Liberation from the animal to become human.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note this example definition of punitive retribution:

“What punishment is retribution?

“Retribution is probably the oldest justification of punishment and can be found in theories offered by Kant and Hegel (Brooks, 2001). It is the fact that the individual has committed a wrongful act that justifies punishment, and that the punishment should be proportional to the wrong committed.”

See for example:

Other refinements were created over history to reinforce the idea of divine retaliation as something good and just- such as the development of the idea of “holiness” in gods. In fact, this would become the prominent feature of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic God. It would be argued that because God was holy, he was therefore obligated to fully punish all “sin” (“sin”- often defined as offenses against religious precepts or laws whether they defined generally accepted morality or not).

Holiness in deity then became part of a broader complex of ideas that supported the demand for retaliatory payback or punishment, including the idea of a holy God who was highly offended by human imperfection or “sinfulness”. As religious believers would subsequently argue, because God was holy, he could not just ignore sin. He could not forgive sin without first punishing it as in demanding full payment, sacrifice and suffering, and restitution.

Holiness in God epitomizes the hurt feelings of offended victims and the desire for revenge, to make things “right” again. To rebalance the scales of retributive justice. Despite the sacralising of retaliation in divinity with concepts like holiness, at core it is still essentially very much about animal-like retaliation, revenge, or payback.

The obligation of God to punish sin was further validated by arguments that sin was “an offense against the honor of God”, an affront to his honor, and to properly restore God’s honor sin must be punished. The same primitive arguments are used to validate honor killings in varied societies even today. In such societies, for example, if a young woman abandons the traditions of her society and family and embraces modern habits, then she has “dishonored” her family. The men of the family will then argue that they are obligated to restore their offended honor by punishing the “sinful” daughter, even killing her. This is similar to arguments for retributive justice as “rebalancing” the scales of justice. It is always the same old, same old petty argument of eye for eye.

The concept of holiness further relates to the early development of the religious categories of purity, and necessary exclusion and separation from things considered unclean or defiled. Holiness was a priestly invention that affirmed the role of priests as mediators between impure people and their gods. Holiness is a concept that intensifies the sense of human imperfection, making natural human imperfection appear all the worse, as something that religious traditions call “sinfulness” or “evil”. Human sinfulness then affirms the view of human imperfection as something that must be punished, something that deserves divine retaliation. Such framing of human imperfection has long promoted excessive guilt, shame, and fear over being fallibly human.

We would do better to view human imperfection in terms of the fact that humanity originated in animal reality but has gradually become a species that has improved remarkably over time (see for instance, Stephen Pinker’s “The Better Angels of Our Nature”, or James Payne’s “The History of Force”). This gradual process of growth, development, and advancement over history is not something that deserves condemnation and punishment. As Bob Brinsmead reminds us, the real story of humanity is not how far we have fallen, but how amazingly we have progressed since our early beginning in animal existence.

(Insert qualifier: This comment is not intended to excuse or downplay the personal failure to live as human and the consequences of bad behavior. With continued development across history, the human family has learned to differentiate between good and bad. We have continued to refine our understanding of what it means to be authentically human as contrasted with the inhuman.

And as free beings today we are responsible for our behavior that has both natural and social consequences. I would break the issues down like this- Victims of offenses are responsible to “love your enemies”, meaning- not “love” as feeling gushy, warm, or fuzzy toward offenders and their horrific offenses but holding the intention to treat offenders humanely and to not respond with the eye for eye punitive retaliation too common to our primitive past. By holding such intention, we maintain our own humanity in the face of evil, despite how we feel about offenders. Outrage/anger at evil is a healthy, fully human response but punitive retaliation is not.

And offenders are responsible to stop harming others, to basically “grow the fuck up” and join the human family as contributing members, taking full responsibility for all behavior and the consequences of bad behavior that include making full restitution to victims.

Add here that incarceration is necessary where offenders will not or cannot control their worst impulses to violence, abuse of minors, etc. But even when incarcerating offenders, we are responsible to treat them humanely as, for example, in the Danish restorative justice prison programs. Further, force is often necessary to stop offenders that cannot be reasoned with- whether terrorists, or violent criminal offenders. Love never abandons common sense in an imperfect world and love is always responsible to protect the innocent, first and foremost.

Such are the conclusions of the more refined human sensibilities of our modern world, our ever-advancing understanding of the true nature of human rights, freedoms, and responsibilities as enshrined in our human rights codes and constitutions. End of insert.)


Another validation for the belief that the gods were retaliatory was the early perception that because the gods were behind the forces of nature, and as those forces were often destructive (i.e. natural disasters, disease, accident, predation), primitive early logic then concluded that the gods must be angry and were retaliating and punishing people for their sins via the destructive forces and events of the natural world. This cursed myth has done more damage than any other in deforming human consciousness and life across history. Note the continued intense expression of this pathological mythology today in the climate alarm crusade- i.e. the common belief that humanity is being punished by an angry Mother Earth, or angry nature, for the sin of enjoying the good life too much (excessive use of natural resources like fossil fuels).

The theme of retaliation is found in the earliest human writing (circa 2500-2000 BCE), notably in the accounts of storm gods (e.g. Enlil) threatening to annihilate early people with a great flood (see the “Sumerian Flood” myth- Wikipedia). It is evident in other early myths of a chaos monster threatening the order of creation (“Cosmos, Chaos, and the World to Come”, Norman Cohn, or Egyptian myths of the “Return to Chaos”, and “Destruction of Mankind”).

These primitive tribal versions of divine destruction myths were eventually developed into the grand meta-myth of a final apocalypse, that a retributive God would destroy the defiled world, purge all imperfection from the world, in a great world-ending punishment. The Zoroastrian version of this myth of fiery apocalypse then shaped the Western religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The pathology of divine retaliation would then reach an epitome expression in the perverse and violent myth of eternal Hell, the final and ultimate divine retaliation against imperfect humanity.

Affirming the above strain of mythology, the ancients argued that any sickness or misfortune in a person’s life was understood to be due to the gods punishing sin or broken taboos. This is found all through early mythology in accounts of gods afflicting people with sickness (e.g. Epic of Gilgamesh, or the myth of Dilmun where Enki is punished with illness for eating the 8 original plants, Adam and Eve punished with sickness, suffering, and death.).

This strain of mythology has cursed people with unbearable additional guilt and fear, people already suffering excessively from physical ailments. Look, for example, at the Old Testament account of Job’s ‘comforters’ berating him with this theme- that his misfortune and illness was retaliatory punishment from God because he had sinned. Paul burdened the Corinthians with the same argument- that their illnesses and deaths were punishment from God for their sins.

In all such mythology, retaliation was being sacralised, made something sacred or divine (“hidden under the canopy of the sacred”). Retaliation was being made a core feature of deity. In doing this, early people were creating divine monsters to frighten one another, far more threatening than the physical monsters of life. Such fear would become a potent weapon for coercively subjecting people to priestly authority and control.

(Insert note: John Pfeiffer in “The Creative Explosion: An inquiry into the origins of art and religion” speculates that early shaman took people deep into the darkness of caves to view “anamorphic” art- i.e. cave paintings that portrayed strange animal/human creatures that appear to move in flickering candlelight. That was apparently done to disorient and frighten people to then believe the shaman’s claims to know the secrets of the invisible realm of spirits- i.e. what taboos people had broken and what sacrifices were then required to appease the angered spirits. It was very much about terror in relation to the invisible realm and consequent submission to shamanic/priestly control. Such was the origin of dominant religious beliefs and religion.)

The projection of retaliation onto deity, as humanity’s highest ideal and authority, has subsequently validated endless retaliatory violence between people, tribes, and nations. Retaliating deities inspire similar retaliatory responses in their followers. We all become just like the gods that we believe in. Part of the reason for this is that people have long naturally appealed to the divine to validate their own lives. People try to replicate in their own lives and societies what they believe to be the divine model or reality. This is known as the “behavior based on belief” relationship, or the “ethic based on theology” relationship. Essential to our primary impulse for meaning is to discover what our created has created us for. Why we exist. Hence, we try to model in our lives what we believe to be the ultimate ideal.

The creation of threatening, punishing gods has long validated people retaliating and punishing one another as “righteous justice”. Therefore, to understand an important foundational validation for violence among people, start with these primitive beliefs that have long affirmed human retaliation or payback (see, for example, books like James Carrol’s “Constantine’s Sword” for more historical illustration of how the influence of violent religious ideas have inspired similar violence toward others).

Notable examples of societies using the divine to validate human behavior and life- Plato’s appeal to the invisible Forms/Ideas/Ideals that should shape the ideal human society, the Hebrew’s appeal to the law/word/will of God to shape all aspects of their Old Testament society down to details about where to locate the 12 tribes, the details of building the Temple, and more. Contemporary examples would include the Balinese modeling of their villages according to what they believe is the divine pattern for humanity.

When you embed retaliation in the sacred or divine, it then becomes untouchable, a sacred ideal not open to challenge or questioning. The things that we protect in God, we are notably afraid to subsequently challenge because of our natural respect for or fear of deity. Such things then become seriously damaging to us because we believe that they originate with God and are therefore ultimately true and immutable. They are realities that must be unquestioningly believed and loyally adhered to. Such appeal to the divine has always been a powerful concept and a potent means to manipulate and control others.

By exposing the primitive animal origins of a feature such as retaliation we may help to break its destructive influence in human narratives and deforming grip on human consciousness.

The Salvation/Sacrifice Industry (the Appeasement Industry)

What has been the most damaging outcome of projecting the animal feature of retaliation onto God? It evokes in people the natural response of necessary appeasement or placation (for illustration on the animal-like placation of an Alpha threat- see, for example, Hector Garcia’s “Alpha God”). The human fear of death and survival impulse plays a central role here. This incites the felt need to appease the angry, threatening gods/God in order to avoid punishment, whether sickness, other misfortune, or outright death. Retaliatory gods have long aroused the primal human fear of death and the related survival impulse. The appeasement response then leads to one of history’s most oppressive outcomes- the enslavement to wasteful priestly systems of sacrifice and burdensome salvation schemes.

Notable emotions played on here- Our natural and deeply felt awareness of our imperfection/”sinfulness”, our sense of failure and unworthiness, our belief that we have violated “justice”, our belief that we consequently deserve punishment, and hence our fear for our survival, and subsequent longing for redemption/salvation, hope for restoration, etc.

Myths of a God angry at human imperfection and failure also led early people to manufacture the corollary idea of separation from God, a separation that supposedly happened at the time of the “Fall” when humans lived in an original paradise called Dilmun or Eden. Since that Fall, or human ruin of paradise, God has purportedly abandoned humanity, rejected corrupted, impure and defiled people, breaking off a former close relationship, according to religions like Judaism and Christianity.

If you think abandonment by parents is traumatizing then add this extra psychic burden of the myth of abandonment by the Creator and Source of all, and understand the impact this can have on human psyches (see, for example, psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo’s “Cruel God, Kind God”). These primitive perceptions further intensify the fear of threatening divinity and heighten the felt need to atone.

And so, the natural psychology of appeasement is aroused and this leads to endeavors to engage some salvation plan, to offer some sacrifice to placate the purportedly angered deity.

It is not clear when the mythology of Salvationism first emerged but we can speculate that it was long ago in prehistory. Some innovative person, probably an early shaman, came up with the idea of blood sacrifice to placate threatening gods. This may have been based on the perception that because life was in the blood then a life could be offered in place of another life (i.e. substitutionary atonement).

I remember a tribal man explaining this to me (i.e. a member of the Manobo tribes of Mindanao, Philippines). He said that to atone for sin and placate an angry, threatening god, they would offer the god the blood of a chicken. The god would then eat that blood and spare the person who had broken some taboo of the gods. The god would eat the animal blood instead of eating the soul of the offending person. In anthropology, the beliefs of the remote tribes of today are recognized as rough proxies for ancient beliefs.

Researchers studying the origin of sacrifice suggest that sacrifices were made for varied reasons- to secure favor from the gods, to feed the gods- but another prominent reason was to appease the gods, to atone for sin (see for instance, notably p. 605, or , also see Sacrifice at Wikipedia). I am focusing on this element of appeasement of angry gods because it arises at the very beginning and it has had such a damaging impact on human psyches and societies.

No matter the ancient reasons for sacrifice, “It is all inhumane and sadistic and stupid” (Bob Brinsmead, personal email, Feb.2013). “As for suggesting that God loved the smell of a burning animal as the OT says…then this god has not yet been humanized” (Ibid).

But here we have it today- Salvationism which argues that a payment must be made. We must pay the debt, pay for the offense, suffer punishment, and make amends. A cruel, violent blood sacrifice must be offered. And again, the belief in essential human sinfulness is integral to this perspective. Human imperfection was developed into the mythical belief in human fallenness or intentional sinfulness, purposeful evil (the free choice to eat forbidden plants or fruit, and thereby “disobey” God). “First degree intentional crime”. That would help to explain why the gods were angry and wanted to retaliate against humanity. As noted earlier, this was further developed into the theological logic that human sinfulness was an intolerable offense against a holy God and hence atonement must be made.

And the early lists of sins to demonize imperfect humanity were beyond petty which revealed the petty nature of the gods that early people had created. The earliest epics of punishing people’s sin told of gods that were upset because people had multiplied too much (early overpopulation fears) and had become too noisy. One god- the waterworks god Enlil- could not sleep because of the noise people made so he concocted a plan to annihilate them all via a great flood ( ). The petty gods hated human self-expression, freedom, and curiosity for knowledge as in the biblical Adam’s “original sin”.

Therefore, because of human imperfection/sinfulness, atonement had to be made. So the burdensome and destructive sacrifice/salvation industry has continued all through human history, playing on primal human fears and feeding off human misery. The sacrifice industry maintains a useless priesthood that lives well off this human misery, propagating salvation myths to manipulate people’s hopes, and control people. Priests claim that the great cosmic separation of humanity from the divine must be healed, the broken relationship must be restored and only they know how to mediate the demanded atonement and restoration. But there is not a shred of evidence anywhere in history that any such abandonment ever occurred except in the minds of power-mongering shamans and priests. It is an overwhelmingly burdensome system of human enslavement of the worst kind- i.e. mental, emotional, and spiritual slavery to inhumane mythology.

The salvation industry has reinforced in human consciousness the monstrous distortion of something threatening and punitive that must be appeased. It is an industry that has resulted in an incalculable waste of human time, resources, and creative potential across history. You see this as people everywhere, laboring under survival fear and felt obligation, trudge off to temples and churches with their offerings, engaging often esoteric religious ritual, believing that if they don’t fulfill those obligations then they will suffer some misfortune in this world or, even worse, in the afterlife. That intensifies the natural human fear of death.

So today people continue to waste time and resources that could be better spent developing themselves in other more beneficial ways. This waste was evident in a documentary I watched a while ago on the Quechua Indians of South America spending their meager resources on offerings made to saints. Entire days were spent in such wasteful activity.

I also saw it firsthand among the Manobo tribal groups of Mindanao. People offering scarce chickens and pigs to placate angry spirits instead of seeking proper medical help. And when those resources were exhausted, then often there were no resources left for a trip to a lowland hospital to save life.

All that salvation/sacrifice activity is engaged to solve a non-existent problem, a mythical problem that does not exist and has never existed- i.e. the need to appease some angry reality that will retaliate and punish you for your imperfections.

These primitive ideas of a threatening and retaliatory super monster persist and continue to inflict damage today. They persist because they resonate with deeply imprinted beliefs and emotions such as the feeling that we somehow deserve punishment because we have screwed up, we are imperfect. Today, just as in the earliest mythology, it is claimed that vengeful Gaia (or “angry planet/Mother Earth, punitive Universe, payback karma”) is angry because people have again multiplied too much and have become too creative, expressive, and successful in technological industrial society. See, for instance, and note the reference to Lovelock’s book “The Revenge of GAIA”.

See also ; and noting this comment, “the tornados and floods battering the country (US) with almost unimaginable severity are the early tantrums of an angry planet”. Nancy Pelosi added to this irrational nonsense when she claimed several years back (2020) that the wildfires in the Western US were evidence that “Mother Earth is angry with us”.

People, trying to better their lives today, are commonly condemned for exhibiting the sin of “greed” and thereby destroying nature by using natural resources. We then see the appeasement propaganda from those who feel obligated to obstruct and halt human economic development and growth, threatening and coercing others to make a sacrifice by embracing “de-development” and a retreat to the “morally superior” primitive or simple lifestyle. All to placate the purported vengeful Gaia or angry planet/Mother Earth. Just as in the ancient past, the obstruction to human progress was done out of the felt need to appease some angered and punitive spirit or god. Many people advocating these views, even considering themselves modern “secular materialists”, are just replicating the mythical beliefs and practises of primitive societies at their worst. Where is “Progressivism” in such primitivism?

Let me summarize this fear/appeasement/salvation process once more as it continues to significantly undermine and hinder human freedom and progress today. It is a pattern that has been repeated endlessly across history. Someone first scares people with a threatening scenario (i.e. imminent apocalypse, the threat of gods punishing us through the natural world, such as today’s claimed threat of global warming soon destroying all life). This exaggerated alarmism touches the most basic thing in human psychology- the fear of disaster and death, the human survival impulse.

The panic-mongers then propose a salvation scheme, notably a sacrifice and suffering of some form. A prominent salvation scheme today- “save the world”- is the insistent proposal of climate alarmists to abandon the “evil” of too much energy use. The sacrifice of modern human well-being is to placate the angry and threatening monster that has been presented to people. Alarmed people are susceptible and willing to support the looniest and most destructive salvation schemes, willingly to give up their freedom (submit to the irrational plans and collectivist solutions of the apocalyptic prophets) in order to find relief from whatever has frightened them. Stirring fear with the primitive myths of apocalyptic millennialism, whether in religious or “secular ideological” versions, is a direct assault on human freedom.

H. L. Mencken, “In Defense of Women”: “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”.

Non-retaliation or Unconditional Emerges

Among the earliest human writing in Sumeria (2500-2000 BCE) we see another line of insight that was entirely opposite to the theme of retaliation. In those early minds, shaped by animal-like impulses and myths of monstrous threatening and punishing gods, the wonder of human consciousness was emerging and making a significant new advance. With their gradually emerging and maturing consciousness, and its human impulses, those early people began to struggle against their past and to discover new insights as to what it meant to be human and to live as human. They were becoming more aware of themselves as human persons and were experiencing new human emotions that inspired them to seek liberation from debasing animal drives and perceptions. That was the emergence of a stunning new stage in the grand story of humanity learning to conquer the animal in order to live as human. Light was breaking through into the animal darkness of early human minds.

Early people were awakening to the inhumanity of retaliation response or payback and how that animal-like behavior reduced the elevated status of being human to pettiness with its promotion of endless cycles of eye for eye violence and death. They were becoming aware of new human ideals and human ways of responding and relating to one another. They were realizing that they did not have to retaliate and destroy one another. They were feeling and experiencing the humanizing emotions of compassion, mercy, and kindness. And that developing awareness of humaneness led to new responses such as forgiveness that disrupted destructive cycles of revenge and violence. People were realizing that they did not have to demand eye for eye justice in their response to offenders but could just forgive unconditionally. The unconditional treatment of imperfect others was a radically new insight and discovery that challenged the heretofore dominant culture of animal-like retaliation.

That was a unique new development in the liberation of humanity from an enslaving animal past with its destructive drives. There are few worse forms of enslavement than to the drive to take vengeance on an offender, to retaliate, punish, and destroy “enemy” others. These base instincts have darkened human minds with hate and revenge across history. They have ruined relationships, communities, entire societies, and significantly disrupted human progress. Look, for example, at the destruction to national infrastructure from war. That has set nations back for decades.

Finding freedom from our animal drives is the great exodus out from animal existence toward a truly human existence. It is the grandest liberation movement that humanity has ever conceived and experienced. It is the real exodus to a promised land. The potential offered by unconditional relating to others, is the potential for liberation to an entirely new and higher plane of human existence. This new human mode of relating argues that no matter how badly people treat us, we can turn human life toward something higher and better by treating offenders more humanely in our responses.

And in doing that we discovered how to maintain our own humanity in the face of evil.

Non-retaliation is one element of what is more generally known as unconditional love. Unconditional refers to the practice of unlimited forgiveness without first demanding that retributive requirements be met or amends be made. It refers to the expression of unlimited mercy and generosity toward those who are undeserving. And it refers to the universal inclusion of all persons whether categorized as good or bad people. Unconditional clarifies in a striking new way the real meaning of human ideals and practices. It elevates as never before the true meaning of the supreme human ideal of love. (Again, note the common-sense qualifiers listed elsewhere regarding the responsibility for the consequences of behavior.)

Unconditional also exposes the petty nature of much tribally defined love- i.e. love limited to family, friends, or one’s ingroup, whether defined by racial/ethnic, religious, political/ideological, national, or other social groupings. Consider this brilliant statement from Historical Jesus on the nature of universal unconditional love:

“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Everyone finds it easy to love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Everyone can do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Most will lend to others, expecting to be repaid in full. But do something more heroic, more humane. (Live on a higher plane of human experience).

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

The above statement can be summarized as “Love your enemies because God does”.

The historically emerging human response of unconditional treatment of others also takes us to the very core of human meaning and purpose. It answers those great questions such as “Why something?”, “Why does this universe exist?”, and “What is the point/purpose of conscious human existence?”. It is simply the most profound insight in history as to what it really means to be human. In the discovery and developing awareness of unconditional treatment of others, people were getting to the essential nature of being truly human.

The emerging response of non-retaliation also proved critical to such things as the development and growth of commerce. Early people chose to begin breaking the patterns of mutual destruction, to stop destroying one another, and chose to begin cooperating in trade and that lifted societies toward more peaceful co-existence and mutual prosperity (e.g. Paul Seabright, “In the Company of Strangers”, Lawrence Keeley, “War Before Civilization: The myth of the Peaceful savage”,). This is known as “the moralizing influence of gentle commerce”. Other forms of good in human society also flowed from the developing practise of nonretaliation. Non-retaliation became central to human success and progress.

The response of non-retaliation and unconditional treatment of others is still a wide-open path into the future for humanity to explore. It is the nucleus of what it means to be truly human, and essential to the ongoing endeavor to humanize all of life. It liberates people to entirely new heights of being human. It offers a fundamental solution to the major problem plaguing human existence- the endless cycles of retaliatory violence and war. It gets to the very root of the worst of human afflictions.

The Origins of Non-retaliation

We find one of the earliest statements of this maturing consciousness of what it means to be human in an ancient bit of Akkadian literature- the “Advice of an Akkadian Father to his son” (circa 2000 BCE). The father says, “Do not return evil to your adversary; requite with kindness the one who does evil to you, maintain justice for your enemy, be friendly to your enemy” ( He adds to sit down and have a beer with your enemy.

We also remember what the prehistorians tell us that what we find in the earliest writing we may also assume represents what was believed in the pre-literature era. Who knows when the earliest non-retaliatory response began. After all, the Neanderthals of over 40,000 years ago were already exhibiting compassion in caring for disabled fellow tribe members.

A similar insight on non-retaliation emerged around 1500-1300 BCE in the Egyptian Instructions of Anii. That states, “Conquer malice in yourself…Do not speak rudely to a brawler…When you are attacked, hold yourself back…when your relations are friendly… the aggressor will desist…” (

The Notable Hebrew Breakthroughs

This non-retaliation insight then emerges in other traditions across the world. For example, the Hebrew prophets (800-600 BCE) began to advocate an entirely new view of justice not as punishment (retaliation, retribution, revenge) but as liberation of the oppressed and mercy toward all. Bob Brinsmead says that in Latin/Western thinking, justice had become associated with penalty, price, punishment, atonement, or payback. His study of the Old Testament word for justice- “sadak- found that it meant, instead, fidelity to a relationship and it had a restorative meaning related to liberation and mercy (personal email, Feb.9/2013).

The Hebrew prophets also presented a revolutionary, for that time and culture, new view of a God who rejected sacrifice or punitive atonement. They claimed that God did not want sacrifice but instead desired mercy (e.g. Hosea 6:6, Micah 6:7-8, Amos 5:21-24). There are other statements noted by Brinsmead: “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart…” (Psalm 51: 11-17). “When I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices” (Jeremiah 7:21, 22). “I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats” (Isaiah 1:11). Brinsmead concludes, “So Paul’s message about the propitiation of God’s wrath by the blood sacrifice of Jesus as a payment and punishment for human sin is not the fulfillment of the message of the Old Testament prophets, but completely contrary to it” (personal email, Feb.18/2013).

With such striking claims, the Old Testament prophets were confronting and challenging the greatest monster ever created in history- the threatening, retaliatory God, the punishing God. They were stating that previous mythical and religious conceptions of deity were all wrong. Now if the story of humanity is about conquering monsters, as Campbell suggests, then the mythology of retaliating, punishing deity is the biggest monster of all for people to confront, conquer, and overcome. And don’t be afraid to do what Christopher Hitchens did and give the finger to such a God. It’s a straw God that has always existed only in religious minds.

The Egyptians were also making similar discoveries with regard to humanizing deity by attributing kindness and mercy to their pharaoh gods: “At the high period of the Pyramid age a new comparatively humane, benevolent, fatherly quality began to be apparent in the character and behavior of the pharaohs…even the gods had become kind” (Joseph Campbell, “Oriental Mythology”, p.95).

This is how the process of humanizing gods works: People discover new more humane features about themselves and then begin to reframe their conceptions of deity with the new features, they then project new human qualities onto deities. They learn to perceive ultimate reality in terms of how they perceive authentic humanity. An understanding of divinity begins with humanity (Campbell, Myths to Live By, p.93, 243-249). Good theology begins with understanding the best in humanity.

Brinsmead also argues that the Hebrew prophets said absolutely nothing about the Jewish Day of Atonement. The justice that they advocated for was freedom from all oppression, to break every yoke, and to let the oppressed go free. It was the Israelite priesthood that had promoted the sacrificial system and Salvationism with its bondage to mediators that oppressed people with the dark theology of looming punishment and the demand to atone. The prophets, to the contrary, were offering an entirely new view of deity as unconditionally forgiving and loving.

This was a radical break with the past dominant views of gods as threatening, punitive monsters seeking retribution against imperfect and fallible people. That had been the overwhelmingly prominent perspective on true “divine justice” through previous history. Retaliatory, punishing gods had terrorized people from the beginning. A reviewer in The American Journal of Theology, vol.13, No.4, Oct. 1909, p.605, “The Origin of Sacrifice”, states regarding a book titled ‘Semitic Magic, Its Origins and Development’ by R. Campbell Thompson, “The author appears to maintain that religious institutions have been molded by belief in evil spirits rather than by faith in good divinities. He directly asserts it of the rite which he calls atoning sacrifice”. He continues, noting the central religious belief that sickness was caused by sin; it was the result of people breaking taboos which offended the gods who then punished those people, hence, the consequent need for atoning sacrifice to appease.

Contrary to the long historical dominance of retaliatory punishment beliefs and responses, people were beginning to discover the new human ideal of non-retaliation or unconditional response toward others. As noted earlier, this new human response included the following elements: Unconditional inclusion of all people as intimate family (no more tribal exclusion that differentiates outsiders as “enemies”), unconditional forgiveness of all offenses/wrongs (while holding offenders responsible for their behavior and its consequences such as restitution, as well as restraining violent people- i.e. incarceration to protect others), and unconditional generosity toward all.

Non-retaliation or unconditional response means absolutely no conditions in our relationships with others; no pre-requisites are to be demanded, and no punishment exacted for failures or mistakes (again, making common-sense distinctions between punitive justice and human responsibility for consequences as in restorative justice). As dictionaries rightly define the word unconditional- i.e. not subject to any conditions, absolutely no conditions. None.

Other traditions offered similar insights on the emerging spread of non-retaliatory response. In Buddhist literature we find the following statements: “Hatreds never cease through hatred in this world: through non-hatred alone they cease…Overcome the angry by non-anger; overcome the wicked by goodness; overcome the miser by generosity; overcome the liar by truth…Let us live happily, not hating those who hate us. Let us therefore overcome anger by kindness, evil by good, falsehood by truth…Nor for this matter shall we give vent to evil words, but we shall remain full of concern and pity, with a mind of love, and we shall not give in to hatred…” (Dhammapada 3-5, 223-234, 197, Majjhima Nikaya 129, written about 250 BCE, though dating to the time of the Buddha around 500 BCE, see for instance such sources as ).

Confucius taught his followers to propose a more humane justice and not revenge or anger (Analects 14.36, ca. 450-250 BCE). The Taoists advocated being kind to the unkind (Tao Te Ching 49, 300 BCE). In Jainism it was said, “Man should subvert anger by forgiveness, subdue pride by modesty, overcome hypocrisy with simplicity” (Samanasuttam 136). Hindus taught that a superior person “does not render evil for evil…but will ever exercise compassion even towards those who enjoy injuring others or those of cruel deeds” (Ramaya, Yuddha Kanda 115, around 500-400 BCE). Socrates (470-400 BCE) urged, “We ought not to retaliate or render evil to anyone, whatever evil we may have suffered from him”. And so on.

Interestingly, Hinduism originated when the people of North India, around the time of the Buddha (roughly 500 BCE), grew disillusioned with the sacrificial system that they viewed as wasteful and cruel (Karen Armstrong, “Buddha”, p.23). They no longer believed that salvation was through animal blood sacrifice and began to seek answers in a new tradition that focused on human potential (p.25). As people continued to develop an understanding of more humane ways of responding and relating, they then rejected sacrifice, payback, and appeasement thinking and practices.
The Hindus also rejected the priestly elites, according to Armstrong. They believed that they could discover God for themselves without a system of sacrifice or a mediating priesthood (p.26).

The Historical Jesus Tradition

The great movement of liberation from animal retaliation and retributive/punitive justice broke through to a new level of coherence and clarity in the teaching of the historical Jesus who is someone entirely different from the Christian “Jesus Christ”. I refer readers to the research of the Jesus Seminar for some basic principles on how to detect what the historical person actually taught as contrasted with the many statements in the New Testament gospels that are attributed to Jesus but which present contradictory teaching to his core message.

For instance, in Matthew 5 Jesus is presented as teaching that we are to “love our enemies”. Then a few chapters later (Matthew 11) we find Matthew claiming that Jesus damned people to hell for not accepting his miracles, for not embracing and believing his message. That is an irreconcilable contradiction in basic teaching and must be rejected as not authentic teaching from the historical person who clearly taught love of enemies. Unfortunately, blind devotion to the sacred, along with doctrines of divine inspiration of scriptures, prohibits people from seeing such contradictions in their holy books.

Using Jesus Seminar principles of interpretation, and more notably “Q Wisdom Sayings” gospel teaching, I would argue that nothing in Jesus’ teaching comprises a more consistent core set of ideas than this theme of unconditional treatment of others. This is the new “kingdom of God” that Jesus spoke about; the new mode of truly human existence.

The historical Jesus presented the wonder of unconditional thinking and existence in a coherent set of sayings and stories. For instance, in Matthew 5:38 he set a context first by summing up the old payback view of justice as “eye for eye” response or justice. This sums up past views of retaliatory or retributive response as taught in the Old Testament and all throughout primitive mythology- reward for good, punishment for wrong. Tit for tat. Getting even in relation to a strict standard of payback.

He then rejected that old view entirely by arguing that we should not retaliate against offenders, we should not respond in kind or in like manner, returning evil for evil. If we are mistreated or offended, we should respond instead with over-the-top goodness, kindness, and generosity. We should not engage in the old payback response of only loving friends and hating enemies, but we should love enemies also.

Once again, my paraphrase of the central message of Jesus:

“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you? Everyone finds it easy to love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Everyone can do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Most will lend to others, expecting to be repaid in full. But do something more heroic, more humane. (Live on a higher plane of human experience).

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

There is nothing authentically human in just loving those who love us. That is limited tribal love, a deformity of authentic love. That is not progress beyond animal behavior. Genuine human response reaches further to love enemies also. It is non-discriminatory, authentically inclusive, and unconditional in its treatment of all people, good and bad.

If we do this- not retaliating, not engaging in payback response toward offenders but instead loving unconditionally and universally- then Jesus says that we will be like God who is loving and generous to all alike. Take a minute and let the radical, consciousness-transforming nature of that comment marinate in your mind. God, according to Jesus, gives good things (sun and rain) to both good and evil. The true nature of God as unconditional love is exhibited every day in the main life-giving features of the natural world.

God does not engage the retributive response of eye for eye treatment of people (rewarding the good and punishing the evil). God does not exclude the bad. God has no favorites, and there are no insiders/outsiders with God. There is no threat and no punishment with a God that is Unconditional Love. Like the Hebrew prophets before him, Jesus was presenting a stunning, entirely new view of deity that countered the previous historical understanding of gods as threatening, excluding, and punitively destructive entities. That was a major historical shift or transformation of human perspective.

The statement of Jesus- if you do this then you will be like God- also plays on the ancient impulse in people to replicate in their lives and societies what they believe to be the divine model; to fulfill in their lives what they believe to be the divine purpose for their lives. The behavior based on belief relationship, or ethic based on similar theological ideal.
There are other comments by the historical Jesus that affirm there is only unconditional goodness behind life and no threatening or punitive reality. Note, for instance, his statement that God clothes the grass and feeds the worthless birds that no one pays any attention to. Limitless generosity shown to all life alike, no matter how insignificant.

Biblical researchers argue that some of the other accounts in the gospels did not originate with the historical Jesus. But whoever recounted them, they are of the same tenor as the core teaching of Jesus on non-retaliatory response toward others. For instance, there is the story of the man born blind in John 9. The writer contradicts conventional perspectives by stating that this sickness was not a punishment for sin. As noted earlier, primitive thought had long understood that any sickness or deformity was a punishment from the gods for human sin. That belief has caused endless misery to unfortunate people afflicted by disease and deformity. It has added an unnecessary psychic burden of guilt and shame to already unbearable physical suffering.

It is one of the cruelest beliefs ever concocted- that a punishing deity gets even with human imperfection and failure by sending sickness and misfortune. Note the persistence of that belief in response to the Japanese tsunami of 2011. A woman in Japan asked rhetorically, “Is God punishing us because we are enjoying life too much?”. Additional guilt, fear, anxiety that intensifies already horrific physical suffering.

Again, this primitive belief promotes a sense of sinfulness and obligation to appease or atone, to submit to salvation/sacrifice schemes and mediating priesthoods. It is oppressive slavery and wasteful to boot. Jesus, to the contrary, taught very clearly that there was no punitive deity that demanded appeasement. He courageously confronted the ancient perception of a threatening punishing God behind life and denied that any such monster existed. He taught the very opposite, and this was considered blasphemy by his contemporaries.

We find this same core theme of unconditional treatment of others in Jesus’ short stories or parables. He spoke, for instance, of a prodigal or wasteful son (Luke 15) who was welcomed home, forgiven, and treated generously by his father who refused the son’s offer of repentance or atonement. The father just wanted to celebrate without any requirement to make amends or demands for payback first for the wrong done by the son.

It is helpful to note that these stories also include other characters who represent conventional retributive justice attitudes. The other characters express the resistant stance of many good people toward this radical new teaching on unconditional treatment of offenders. Note in this regard that the older brother in the prodigal parable was indignant that the father was too generous and unconditional toward the wasteful son. He believed in conventional justice where good was rewarded and wrong was punished. He represents many good, moral religious people who demand that traditional justice be upheld and fulfilled. There should be some form of retribution, some form of exact response according to the deed done, whether good or bad.

But the generous, unconditionally forgiving father would have none of it. He believed in a radical new justice as liberation from guilt and shame, unconditional forgiveness, and scandalous unlimited generosity toward all, whether good or bad. He illustrated the new human response of unconditional treatment of all persons no matter what they have done. The older brother exhibited the harsh and petty nature of payback thinking and response. His sense of righteous morality and retributive justice was offended, and his morality was, in reality, the pettiness and cruelty of primitive retaliatory thinking. It is more animal-like than truly human. This story shows how deeply ingrained such thinking is in many people. Unconditional generosity and mercy offends good moral people demanding conventional justice.

It even enraged others. Note in Luke 4 where Jesus read a passage from Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor”.

But then he refused to read the next part that affirmed retaliatory vengeance- “(to proclaim) the day of vengeance of our God”. His refusal to read that final part of the passage and endorse the conventional Old Testament myth of retributive deity, enraged his listeners. That dismissal of traditional justice, as punitive vengeance, so pissed the Jewish audience that they tried to throw Jesus off a cliff.

The story of the vineyard owner and workers makes a similar point on a non-retributive ethic and God, if we take these stories as Jesus’ expression of his views of ethics and the nature of deity (Matthew 20). At the end of the day all the workers were given the same payment regardless of hours worked. The workers who had started at the beginning of the day were not cheated. They received the wages that they had agreed to. But the late starters who arrive at the end of the day, for whatever reason, also had families to feed.

And the owner gave them the same as the early starters who then found such generosity offensive and complained to the owner. The owner was not acting according to conventional views of just or “fair” treatment of people. He, as a free person, chose to be generous and unconditional, to be too kind and generous according to the workers who started early. And his merciful generosity pissed them off. They lived by conventional fairness as strict reward or punishment according to actions done. They were good, moral people with a strong sense of justice as strict payback. They did not get the new unconditional treatment of undeserving people.

The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) also speaks to unconditional treatment of others. The Samaritan assisted a wounded enemy, showing no sense of tribal exclusion or socially-demanded callousness toward enemies but only concern for the wounded man’s welfare as a fellow member of the human family. Inclusive, universal, generous compassion.

In the striking new teaching of the historical Jesus we are seeing millennia of primitive thought being completely overturned. Jesus is arguing for an entirely new type of authentic human response. And he states very clearly that, contrary to all past historical teaching on deity, this is what God is actually like.

To validate his new ethical teaching, he based it on “a stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory God” (James Robinson). Let me state his theology as plainly as possible: God is in no manner threatening or punitive. God does not retaliate against human failure or wrongdoing. God does not punish anyone. God does not engage payback response toward anyone. And God does not exclude anyone. According to Historical Jesus, most previous human perspective on deity was entirely wrong.

That was such a radical new understanding of Deity or God that it is hard for us to get the full impact that his teaching had on the people of his day. The greatest monster in the history of human consciousness- the threatening, punishing God- was being confronted directly and overthrown as a great lie. That monster was being decapitated and conquered. The great retaliatory justice God of religion, the greatest bogeyman ever created, with varied additional features to terrify people- i.e. holiness, wrath, judgment, hell, blood sacrifice to appease- that was all being discounted entirely as false and thrown out as unworthy of truly human thought and existence.

God was being revealed as unconditional love. At the very core of reality, the creating and sustaining Consciousness was being presented as an inexpressibly wondrous unconditional goodness, generosity, and mercy. The implications of that were stunning. It meant the end and abolishment of all sacrifice and all salvation thinking and practice, and consequent to this, it meant the end of all priest-craft, priesthoods, and religion. It lifted a great burden off of humanity with all the associated guilt, shame, despair, and fear that has always accompanied ideas of human sinfulness and myths of gods punishing that sin.

Follow the obvious conclusions for yourself. Since the beginning, all religion and related Salvationism had been built on the inhuman myths of punishing, retaliating deities. That mythology of monster gods, according to Jesus, did not exist and had never existed. Meaning- the entire complex of subsequent salvation theology and practice was a response to a problem that had never existed in the first place- i.e. meeting atonement conditions to placate angry gods in order to be forgiven and “saved”.

God had never been angry with people for their animal beginnings, their imperfection, and their gradual historical development toward something more human. And God had never abandoned humanity at some mythical fall after a lost paradise. There had never been any separation that needed to be healed or restored. God had never threatened to punish anyone. It was all just bad mythology created by early shamanic minds to scare people. The shaman/priests had from the very beginning used that mythology to manipulate and dominate populations with fear (again, see John Pfeiffer’s “The Creative Explosion: An Inquiry Into the Origins of Art and Religion” on the origin of religion as an institution to terrorize and control people).

Conclusion: We need to radically revise our perceptions of deity or ultimate reality. The ultimate reality behind all was revealed by Jesus as unconditional love. That had always been the true nature and character of God. And now the logical conclusion: Because there is no threatening, punitive God, then there is no need for salvation or any form of sacrifice. This means the end and abolition of religion as we have known it for millennia. This stunning new theology transforms the very core of human narratives. It transforms entirely humanity’s highest ideal and authority- deity. And that points to a profound transformation of human consciousness and life.

Christianity Reverts To Retaliatory Theology and Atonement Conditions

The followers of Jesus, with a stunning lack of insight, dismissed his core theme of unconditional deity and reverted back to the retaliatory theology of all previous mythical and religious belief. Paul, notably, retreated to retaliatory theology in his Christ myth. In the development of Paul’s Christianity, the historical battle between retaliation and non-retaliation reached a new climax of profound contrast, contradiction, and irreconcilability.

And in direct contradiction to Jesus’ unconditional teaching, Paul’s Christianity was developed as a religion of supreme conditions. Christianity then became history’s supreme embodiment of the themes of divine threat, tribal exclusion, retaliatory punishment, and violent destruction, all features that affirmed the requirement to embrace the sacrifice industry and the highly conditional atonement mythology of all previous pagan religion. All this was embodied in Paul’s Christ myth.

In this regard Christianity has been like all religion which makes divine forgiveness and love conditional. But Christianity reached much further than limited tribal religions and created a theology of the greatest condition ever conceived- that of the need for an infinite and universal payment via a cosmic Savior for all humanity. Previous religions had insisted on varied animal sacrifices to appease offended gods, including human and even child sacrifices. But Christianity took this thinking to new heights by arguing that as the sin of humanity was an infinite offense against an infinitely holy God so the payment must be equally infinite and universal.

According to Bob Brinsmead, church theologians then created the theology of not just human sacrifice but of the sacrifice of a “God-man” (a member of the Godhead or Trinity). Only an infinitely valuable sacrifice could meet the infinite demand for making amends to an infinitely offended Deity. This took conditional payback or retaliatory thinking to new unheard-of heights and more universal reach.

Paul’s Christianity came down stubbornly against the new liberation that Jesus was trying to promote, the liberation into unconditional living or the new kingdom of God as truly human belief, relating, and existence. Paul’s Christianity retreated back into the historical enslavement of human consciousness to retaliation thinking and existence. So the historical struggle between retaliation and non-retaliation came to a unique climax in the contradiction between the gospel of Paul and the teaching of Jesus. In the historical Jesus we had found a new summit reached in the understanding and expression of what truly human existence could be- unconditional response and relating based on a similar theology of a stunningly unconditional God. Jesus’ message clearly established a reality of no conditions, no requirements to be met in order to receive full forgiveness, unconditional inclusion, and unlimited generosity.

In pronounced contrast, with Paul’s Christianity we got a system of supreme conditions, based on a return to the old theology of divine anger, threat of punishment, and demand for sacrifice/payment. Unfortunately for Western societies, the Christian belief in retaliatory divine justice has reinforced the promotion of retributive/punitive justice systems in society as well. Note in this regard the Christian support for the death penalty in the US, and record-breaking imprisonment for offenders, even for non-violent offenses (fully one half of US prison population).

How did this happen? How did Christianity get it all so wrong? Because the man whose thinking and theology became Christianity- i.e. the apostle Paul- did not pay attention to what Jesus actually said or taught. Paul ignored entirely the unconditional teaching of Jesus and created instead a new theology about Jesus (ignoring “the message of the man” to create “a message about the man” as a divine person sent from heaven to be a savior). Paul’s gospel was shaped through and through by the primitive retaliatory justice perspective. Paul got Jesus backwards, upside down, and absolutely opposite from what Historical Jesus had actually taught.

Paul, and his fellow Christians, were much like the older brother in the Prodigal parable. With their strong beliefs in righteousness, morality, and justice as full retribution, they could not just ignore human sins/offenses with the free forgiveness that Jesus had advocated. No. All human wrongs first had to be fully punished before forgiveness and salvation could be offered. Amends had to be made. Debt had to be paid as a prerequisite condition. Holiness demanded that all such conditions be met first.

Paul re-affirmed and promoted the primitive complex of myths that humanity had wilfully fallen from original perfection and that all people had become sinful and therefore all deserved punishment and damnation. Consequently, a great cosmic sacrifice/payment had to be made to atone for what was believed to be wilful human sinfulness. A sacrifice of a God-man was necessary to placate an offended God that intended to exact retribution on all humanity.

Note the summaries of the retaliation theme in Paul’s letters, starting with his central book on Christian belief or doctrine- his letter to the Romans: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men (Rom.1:18)…you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God will give to each person according to what he has done….to those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress” (2:5-8), and “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord” (12: 20).

He then presents the solution to avoid the violent damnation threatened by an angry and retaliatory God, “the redemption that came by Jesus Christ. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood” (3:25). The condition for escaping the wrath of God is “faith in the blood sacrifice of Jesus”. This condition for escaping wrath is repeated elsewhere throughout Romans. “If you confess with your mouth…and believe in your heart…you will be saved” (10:9).

Other statements affirm Paul’s retributive, retaliatory theology, “God is just: he will pay back trouble to those who trouble you…He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel…They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord” (2Thessalonians 1:7-9).

The book of Hebrews continues this theme of retaliation and the condition of atonement by blood sacrifice. “Every violation and disobedience received its just punishment…” (2:2). For those who do not believe, “I declared on oath in my anger, they shall never enter my rest…” (3:11). “It is mine to avenge. I will repay” (10:30). The condition to avoid this anger, “He sacrificed for their sins…when he offered himself…” (7:27).

This theme of blood sacrifice to appease a threatening God continues throughout the New Testament and reaches a terrorizing culmination in the book of Revelation. After noting again the condition of violent, bloody sacrifice to appease angry deity (“He has freed us from our sins by his blood”, 1:5) the writer of Revelation then threatens those who refuse this blood sacrifice with an endless roasting on the big barbie down under. And he means burning in the “lake of fire”, forever (20:11-15). Ultimate and eternal payback, punishment, or retaliation. In Revelation the peaceful, forgive-without-limit, cheek-turning, love-your-enemies Jesus is presented as an entirely opposite reality- the furiously angry, sword-sticking-out-of-mouth, unforgiving, fiery eyes, hate-your-enemies Christ. A true Christian monster.

So where Jesus had taught that no payment needed to be made before forgiveness was offered, Paul and other New Testament writers claimed that all debt must be paid in full, all sin punished, before God would forgive. Paul denied completely what Jesus had taught. He contradicted Jesus’ message entirely. He missed the most humanizing insight in all history, the discovery of the greatest human ideal ever conceived. He then successfully aborted the grandest human liberation movement of all; one that Jesus had sought to take even further, to new heights of humane relating and existence. And yet, confoundingly, Christianity claims to be the religion of Jesus. Well, where then is Jesus’ central message of unconditional treatment of others based on a stunning new unconditional God? Christianity opted instead for the message of Paul about supreme conditions.

We inherited Paul’s “Christ-ianity”, not “Jesus-ianity”.

It has been established that Paul was a domineering man who tolerated no opposition and jealously fought to have his theology established as the only true Christian theology (see, for example, Charles Freeman’s “The Closing of the Western Mind”, p.109-114). James Tabor (“Paul and Jesus”) has summed this up well in stating that Paul wrote most of the New Testament and other books support his viewpoint (e.g. the gospels and Acts). Christianity is therefore Paul’s Christianity. Paul’s view of Jesus is the one that the world has received. And there is nothing of true unconditional in Paul or his Christianity.

Yet the diamond of unconditional teaching is still here and there in the New Testament even though it has been almost buried by the dunghill of payback myth and theology of the New Testament. This leads some of us to conclude that the greatest threat to Christianity is not found among its many outside opponents, whether from atheism or other religions. The greatest threat to Christianity is the historical Jesus and taking his unconditional message seriously.

Deity Meeting A Lower Standard

Some Christians today cluelessly use the term unconditional love to describe the Christian God and what they believe they are obligated to fulfill in their lives. But in using the term “unconditional” they are confusing profound differences with an oxymoronic and irreconcilable mixing of entirely opposite things. Consequently, they come up with some fantastical and contorted explanations when presenting what they call “God’s unconditional love through the sacrifice of Jesus”, seemingly unaware of the contradictory nature of what they are combining (see for example, noting the comment, “because love without hypocrisy loves as God loves: unconditionally… By so doing we leave the judgment and vengeance entirely up to the Lord”. Also Others just give up entirely on unconditional, stating there is no such deity- or ).

Admittedly, some Christians do at least embrace and wrestle with this theme of unconditional. They sense the spirit of this ideal in what Jesus taught but they present it thus- We should forgive unconditionally just as Jesus taught, and we must then let God repay as payback is a divine responsibility. In this manner they try to maintain both the theme of unconditional, which cannot be denied in Jesus’ teaching, and yet also maintain the old payback views in their overall theology which is the supporting background of their belief system (that God will exact revenge).

The Christian project to embrace both unconditional and highly conditional realities, is an irreconcilable and profound merging of contradictory things, but it is the best that they can come up with given the starkly opposing realities that they are trying to hold in tension. Christianity could not deny the actual teaching of Jesus as that teaching was widely known in an oral tradition during the generation after Jesus died. The best that Paul could do was ignore it and create a larger story context that was dominated by his Christ myth that then distorted and buried the actual message of Jesus.

The contradictory Christian mish-mash (“Jesus” embedded and transformed in “Jesus Christ”)… the eventual merging of the two is the result of holding a felt obligation to the immutable sacred theology that Christians had inherited (i.e. beliefs in a holy God that must punish sin) and then trying to read the unconditional Jesus through this retributive theology lens. The outcome is that it only distorts and buries the humane ideal that Jesus was advocating. The larger retaliatory theology context that they are maintaining woefully distorts the actual meaning of unconditional. The result is cognitive dissonance around a great contradiction.

When pressed on this issue of genuine unconditional theology, Christian believers will argue that God cannot just forgive sin. God is holy, they claim, and must first punish all sin before he can forgive. Holiness, as restoring offended honor and exacting full punishment of all sin, takes precedence over unconditional love. Therefore, a holy God demands that any debt be first paid in full and justice by fully rebalanced before he will forgive or include anyone. A sacrifice of atonement must first be made before mercy can be shown (in direct contradiction to the earlier Jewish prophet’s claims that God wanted no sacrifice but only mercy). Consequently, unconditional is distorted beyond recognition with such conditions.

In response, we challenge that inherited conditional theology by asking a simple question- why cannot God just exercise authentic forgiveness as Jesus taught. Why can’t God just be merciful and generous without first demanding payment? We imperfect people are urged to act like that- to love and forgive with no pre-conditions being met first. We are told to just forgive others for their offenses. Why is the God of Christianity held to a lower standard of behavior than we are? Is not God supposed to be something better, something more humane than we are? Ultimate goodness and love. Why then are we held to a higher standard of human response and relating than God is? As Brinsmead says, a God who demands full payment before he forgives is a God who knows nothing of genuine forgiveness. Where the debt is paid in full, then no authentic forgiveness is required.

And what about 1 Corinthians 13? It states that authentic love “keeps no record of wrongs”. That sounds like the unconditional love of Jesus. And is not God love? Why then insist that ultimate Love- God- must keep record of all wrongs and punish all sin? The entire salvation and sacrifice industry is built on keeping full records of the faults of imperfect people and demanding atonement for them.

Again, if ordinary people are held to a new humane standard of unconditional love, then it is valid to ask why a supposedly supremely humane God is not held to the same standard? Edward Schillebeeckx has correctly stated, “God is more human (more humane) than any human being” (“The Praxis of the Reign of God”, Mary Hilkert, p.56). Why then these silly contradictory myths of a God maintaining a lower standard of distinctly subhuman behavior? God is either Unconditional Love (absolutely no conditions), or not. If God is not authentically unconditional love, then you cannot define that conditional deity with the term unconditional.

The confusion in the Christian Bible in trying to merge and mix these contradicting realities is overwhelming in its cognitive dissonance (i.e. “the psychological confusion that is the outcome of holding two contradictory beliefs at the same time”).

Watch The Context

Retributive payback thinking has missed entirely the real meaning of ideals such as forgiveness. As noted above, when you try to embed human ideals in a retributive, punitive context (e.g. unconditional love in a Christian retaliatory theology context) you distort the real meaning of these human ideals. They are no longer authentically unconditional. This is the problem with all religion which is essentially conditional at core. Note in this regard that many religious believers have tried to humanize their gods over history, recognizing that the barbaric gods of the past are too primitive for modern minds. So they have added new more humane features to their gods such as love and mercy.

But at the same time religious believers also feel obligated to maintain the features in their holy books that have to do with retaliation and punishment (due in part to the religious belief in “inerrant scriptures”). For instance, as noted above, many religious people will claim that holiness demands punishment. Holiness in deity takes precedence over mercy or love. Divine forgiveness and love are then dependent on first making some payment or sacrifice. Well, forgiveness is then rendered meaningless. Again, as Bob Brinsmead notes- “Where the debt is paid in full, then no authentic forgiveness is required”. A holy God would then know nothing about true forgiveness.

When human ideals are couched in a retributive context (an inhuman context) they are then rendered something entirely different from the unconditional feature that should properly define them.

Ignoring the core message of Jesus, Christianity has continued to uphold the antiquated beliefs of primitive mythologies. The Christian God, supposedly transcending primitive mythology, was shaped as an even more intense version of retributive theology than any before in ancient mythology. The Christian God was retaliation intensified with features such as infinite holiness demanding infinite payment. The Christian God was fashioned as an even more extreme version of retaliatory theology than historically previous deities. Hell in Christian theology became the ultimate statement or expression of the hateful, inhuman response of retaliation toward human imperfection. Again, all to frighten people into the vast salvation/sacrifice industry that saps human time and resources and hinders human progress.

The sum of the matter is that Christianity got Jesus all wrong and it got God all wrong. God is indeed unconditional love just as Jesus taught. And unconditional love to incomprehensible and inexpressible status beyond all human imagination (better than the best that we can imagine). With a God that is love, no conditions love, there is no threat, no condemnation or judgment, no punishment, no conditions to meet for acceptance, absolutely nothing to fear.

Unconditional is the central point that the historical Jesus was trying to make. Every human being is fully and equally included in divine love. All are fully forgiven, and all receive the full generosity of God. All are safe no matter what they believe or don’t believe. There is no threatening monster behind life to fear or dread. There is only Unconditional Love at the very core of all reality and life. There are no conditions to meet to be included in the love and generosity of this Ultimate Reality. No one has ever been separated in any manner from this Unconditional Love.

And while you are conquering the inherited monster that is retaliatory, punitive deity, set your sights also on bringing down the second greatest monster of all- death. Over human history, death has been made an even worse terror to people because it has been defined and explained in terms of religious belief and myth. Shaman and priests have long told people that death was a punishment from God for sin, and further, even more severe punishment would follow after death. Cheer up, they said, the worst is yet to come. Such psycho-pathology intensifies natural human fear of death. Death then becomes a terrifying monster for humanity to face and try to resolve.

I know a lady who was reduced to weeping despair when a relative of hers died, bravely refusing pressure from family to meet the Christian condition of “accepting Jesus” in order to “be saved”. The above weeping lady subsequently believed that her relative had gone to hell. That cruel nonsense adds further psychic misery to already unacceptable human anxiety regarding such things. The realization that there is only unconditional love at the heart of all reality dispels the enslaving fear of death and concern over possible threat of afterlife harm. Unconditional does indeed take the sting out of death. Death can then be seen as the toothless monster that it really is. We should not hesitate to laugh in the face of such a grotesquely exaggerated monster.

Unconditional, as a new cohering center for narratives, offers liberation like nothing else in all history. Especially liberating is the realization that there is no threatening, punishing reality behind life. This gets to the deepest roots of long-held human fears, anxieties, concerns, despair, and depression. In this regard, unconditional is utterly limitless in its liberating potential for human minds. It goes to the root of darkness in human consciousness, darkness long promoted by religion and its myths of this world retribution through nature and, additionally, coming divine payback.

Unconditional love at the very core of all reality breaks the grip of religious fear by overturning the mental pathologies that there exists divine retaliation that needs to be placated with sacrifice. Authentic liberation is not just a feature of our liberal democracies but should more essentially include the full liberation of mind, thought, perception, feeling, and spirit. We can be physically free but still enslaved to the worst of ideas held from a primitive past. Embracing unconditional to define ultimate reality and ethics takes freedom to the very heart of what really enslaves humanity and this positively impacts human creative potential in profound ways. It liberates mind and emotions and spirit from a long history of guilt and shame over being imperfectly human, and still in the process of gradually developing toward something better and more humane.

And unconditional points us toward the ultimate meaning and purpose of the universe and life. As others have suggested, the main point of human existence is to learn something about love. Well, this new definition of love as unconditional, takes that formerly supreme human ideal to new heights of clarity and humaneness.

The insight into unconditional love as the supreme human ideal and the true nature of Ultimate Reality offers profound potential to reshape human behavioral response and society. It liberates as nothing else can ever do from all the debasing and dehumanizing features of animal existence with its conditional exclusion (small band, tribal loyalty), domination, and retaliation, and the destructive consequences of these behaviors in human society.

Issues with Living An Unconditional Life

Naturally, issues arise when people try to express the unconditional ideal in daily life. I once brought up this idea of unconditional treatment of others in a discussion group and someone countered, “Oh, you’re saying that we should let psychopaths go free?” Well, no. Absolutely not. No such stupid thing is being suggested.

Any common-sense understanding of love will recognize the primary responsibility of love to protect innocent people from harm. This means that people who cannot or will not control their worst impulses to harm others will need to be restrained (locked up and in some cases- i.e. psychopathy- the key thrown away). It may even mean pro-active force to prevent such things as terrorism. We remember the common-sense expressed by the pacifist preacher who said, “If someone attacks me and my family, I will beat him over the head with a 2×4 and when he is lying on the ground unconscious then I will sit down and discuss my pacifist principles with him”.

But, seriously, any such protective restraint should be done “with a loving heart and with the other person’s welfare in mind” ( ). This is a call to re-evaluate our views of justice and reformulate justice systems with restorative ideals. The ideal of unconditional treatment of all is a radical challenge to traditional punitive justice systems.

Further, how do we judge and assign culpability in any human life? For example, decades ago a teenage boy in the US was condemned to death for a brutal rape and murder of a woman. But during his trial it came to light that he had been brutalized from before birth. His father, suspicious that his mother may have cheated, had beat her pregnant stomach. After the boy was born, he was thrown against walls for crying, and beaten repeatedly. He knew only hate and violence all through his young life.

And if the condition of psychopathy is involved, researchers suggest there may even be a genetic factor to that pathology. Those people may be born with defective brains. They require ongoing restraint and imprisonment in order to protect others. But surely they should also be shown mercy for things that have happened to them that were beyond their control. So, the argument is not about setting people free that cannot control their own base impulses but for treating humanely and showing mercy to even the worst offenders (e.g. abolishing the death penalty for offenders that are safely imprisoned).

Further, some studies have shown that exacting revenge through our payback justice systems brings no ultimate or final closure to victims (e.g. ). We also remember that forgiveness does not mean that victims are responsible to love offenders in the sense of personally liking them, in order to properly forgive them. Others argue that forgiveness is more an personal mental shift to free oneself from negative emotions. It is about personal liberation, not contacting or befriending one’s offenders.

By way of caution here- human sensitivity will respect the overwhelming trauma caused to victims by the unrestrained and intentionally cruel violence of offenders. Sensitivity will understand that each person approaches human ideals like forgiveness in different ways, from differing experiences, and at their own chosen pace. Any severely traumatized human being deserves the utmost respect in regard to how they may wrestle with such ideals, or choose not to engage them.

So while we can argue that unconditional treatment of all others is a profoundly liberating position to hold, different people will embrace such things as they feel able. The horrific trauma of some people, however, does not mean that unconditional treatment of others should be dismissed as unrealistic, impractical, or unworkable. Such dismissal would miss the liberating potential of this ideal.

Others argue that if justice systems present no threat of punishment then there is nothing to restrain people from wrong behavior. Anarchy and chaos will break forth (the “slippery sliding slope” theory). But the discipline of psychology has shown that most people respond better to positive affirmation than to threat and fear. The Australian Psychological Society has a paper entitled “Punishment and Behavior Change” ( which argues “that recent trends towards increased reliance on punishment as a primary response to crime” do not work as expected. For example, punitive parenting approaches have been linked to higher levels of aggression in children, the paper claims. And these punitive approaches do not rehabilitate and deter criminal offenders. They don’t teach “alternative acceptable behaviors”. The paper recommends approaches that do such things as explain other people’s perspectives and feelings, promoting empathy and other more positive alternatives.

Also, we obviously teach children the natural consequences to all sorts of actions. One man suggested there was value in the driver’s point system for curtailing his daughter’s more aggressive approach to getting to destinations. She was “inspired” by her mounting points to slow down and follow traffic speed limits.

Others have noted the obligation of love in relation to care for family. We all embrace the responsibility to improve our own situations in order to properly care for our families. And if someone runs a business operation then they are not just responsible to care for their own family but also to ensure their business continues to operate so that employees may also care for their families. In such situations debts owed to the business must be paid and we have a legal system to ensure that debts are paid. We do not abandon common sense in the pursuit of human ideals like unconditional in our treatment of others.

Further, unconditional is not an argument against restitution. That is a common sense and entirely humane responsibility of any offender. It is up to the victim to freely choose to engage unconditional response toward offenders, or not.

Contemporary psychology (and theology) further offers another insight that is important to consider in regard to our struggle to overcome our animal past and live as human. It states that we are not our inherited animal brain (e.g. Jeffrey Schwartz, “You Are Not Your Brain”). Though we still struggle against the residual influence of the animal brain, we are in reality a conscious self that is essentially love (see for instance, Albert Nolan’s “Jesus Today”). Some suggest that this true human self as love is the God of love that is incarnated equally in all humanity as the common “human spirit”.

The ideal of unconditional treatment of others faces stiff resistance from varied sectors of the human population. It is an ideal that is particularly offensive to good moral people, and notably to religious folk affiliated with traditions that idealize retaliatory punitive justice (some examples- , and ). We saw this earlier in the stories of Jesus where some characters were included as a contrast to others who were illustrating unconditional generosity. Note again the older brother who was offended at the generous father who refused to punish or demand repayment first from the wasteful son. The father did not act according to conventional retributive justice (reward the good, punish the wrong).

We could respond to that constricted and stingy “righteousness” by reminding such people that all of us intuitively feel that we should be treated unconditionally and our failures forgiven freely. Then why are we often much less generous toward the failures of others? We set conditions for others that are harsher than what we want and apply to ourselves. That leaves us all insecure in the end. Who of us are really forgiven, included, and safe if some are to be excluded from full unconditional treatment? Once we make it conditional and uncertain for some, then it becomes conditional and uncertain for all of us. On the spectrum of human badness who sets the line barring the rest as too bad to be forgiven, and where is the line set?

I would add that to apply the ideal of unconditional treatment of offenders only to the most egregious offenders is to miss an important application. Lifting a population or society is more about all members practicing unconditional in the little details of daily mundane human interaction. That is where we experience unconditional as a “hard saying” (i.e. love your enemies) but as the best way to lift all life toward something better. To spread peace at scale throughout societies.

Human ideals develop over history and often spread gradually through populations. They are first felt and imagined by the courageous few who then begin to experiment with the new ideal in real life situations. Such ideals are often introduced and experimented with against conventional social practices that may dominate societies in a manner contrary to the new ideal. Hence, there is often widespread resistance to the new ideal. But if the new ideal is something authentically human, then it will grow and spread via a natural learning process. For example, the advice of the early Akkadian father to his son to love his enemies was surely not something widely believed or practiced in his time but it has become more broadly accepted and practised in our age.

Also, with new ideals you will often get extremist applications as part of the social learning process. For instance, some have taken unconditional compassion to what is considered a pacifist extreme (i.e. “turn the other cheek” in all situations of violence- the dogmatic non-resistance toward all evil). That is simply unworkable in an imperfect world with pathologies like psychopathy. Also integral to any form of love is the element of healthy rage at evil and the refusal to yield to inhumanity, and the consequent endeavor to prevent further evil in order to protect the innocent.

We might suggest that while Ultimate Reality or deity is absolutely no conditions love, and that serves as a noble ideal for life here, the messy reality of imperfect life requires all sorts of compromises.

There is another important theological component to social change for many people. They come to understand that ultimate reality is unconditional love and that provides a sense of overall security and safety. It has a liberating impact on their consciousness and enables them to embrace life more fully as this realization frees from psychic anxiety, fear, depression, and despair. That can then spread to a wider liberation of public consciousness in significant ways and the beneficial outcomes may reverberate throughout societies.

Love Beyond Comprehension

When considering this historically new discovery that unconditional love most essentially defines the core of all reality (Ultimate creating Reality, deity), it is helpful to remember the true nature of things that are “transcendent” or having to do with divinity.

Such reality is beyond all imagining in terms of its real perfection and beauty. It is beyond our understanding or our limited ability to express. As Joseph Campbell notes, categories, words, names, definitions, or statements only distort and diminish the truly incomprehensible nature of the transcendent that is deity. What Ultimate Reality actually is, is so much infinitely better than we can ever conceive or express.

The reality of a God that is unconditional love is something infinitely beyond the best that can be imagined. When “Near-Death Experiencers” return, after encountering the unconditional love of the great Light in surrounding realms, they cannot find words to express it. So, as NDE researcher Ken Ring says, in frustration they stammer hyperbole about that love. It is something better felt than understood or explained.

My point- I am in agreement with Bob Brinsmead that any understanding of love that is not unconditional is not authentic love at all. Anything less than or contrary to unconditional love could be evaluated as not fully human or humane. Unconditional becomes a new touchstone or centering ideal in human narratives. It becomes the new baseline ideal for perception of reality, for human meaning, for human purpose, for authentically humane feeling, response, ethics/behavior, for overall authentic human existence.

Comparatively, anything less may be considered not authentically human, or subhuman. This historically new ideal informs the profound human desire to know and experience what it means to be truly and fully human. Unconditional is the critical guidepost as to what to look for in order to find that better future or existence that all humanity intuitively longs for.

Thanks to the clarifying insights of Historical Jesus, along with the more recent affirmations of his insights from the NDE movement, we now understand that at the core of the universe there is a pulsating Energy, Life, Power, Mind, and Consciousness that is defined most critically by Unconditional Love. It qualifies as the most profound discovery ever made, the greatest insight ever conceived. It gets to the ultimate meaning of the universe and life, to the purpose of all. And it takes us to the essential nature of what creates and sustains all things, and why all has been brought to exist- i.e. for the purpose of learning, living, and experiencing something of real love, of love that is unconditional. Unconditional takes the ideal of love to new heights of humane experience and expression. Unconditional is the grand liberation that we continue to reach for.

There is a major revolution occurring in the historical development of human perception and outlook. Humanity continues on the trajectory of exploring and discoverer of what it means to be truly human and what is the real nature of humane reality. But we still have a lot of work to do in order to fully root out the perverse and deeply embedded perception that there is some horrific monster behind life that is going to retaliate and punish humanity. That is a residual perception that still hinders modern consciousness from a full liberation into a more humane future.

The grand narrative of humanity is about the liberation into that more human future. Counter movements like Christianity have tried to derail and abort this liberation but it goes on, driven by dreamers like the Akkadian father, the Hebrew prophets, the historical Jesus, and many others who have also felt and experienced something of the wonder of being truly human. We (humanity) are just beginning to play around the edges of something so profoundly wondrous and liberating that we are hardly able to understand or begin to express it. It pulls us forward toward making life something ever better.

Unconditional love is about liberating consciousness from all that limits humanity, from all those dark impulses and validating ideas that devalue the wonder of being human and depress human creative potential. Unconditional offers a genuine purging, cleansing, and transformation of the conscious and subconscious.
Wendell Krossa

Appendice A:

Some argue that any speculation about unknowable realities is a waste of time. Like the frustrated atheist who angrily blurted, “Lets get rid of all this metaphysical bullshit”. But because a lot of distorting speculation has already occurred over history (the basest of primitive features have long been projected onto ultimate reality) and because such pathological speculation has long shaped human thought and behavior, often in damaging ways causing much harm, then it is important to engage and correct that speculation and offer better alternatives. Rather than just ignore or dismiss what exists, we do better to point out what is wrong and offer a better direction for human perception. Hence, my foregoing theological speculation on new ways of perceiving ultimate reality or deity as unconditional love.

As Harold Ellens and Zenon Lotufo have stated:

“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…” (Cruel God, Kind God).

Appendice B:

When we state that the core of all reality is Unconditional Love, we are not referring to some distant-from-humanity reality, out there somewhere, or up above somewhere in the “heavens” (i.e. the primitive mythology of “sky gods”). The Unconditional Love that creates all and sustains all in existence every moment is at the very core of our own consciousness, closer than our own breath or our own atoms. In fact, it is probably not even correct to perceive of human consciousness, or the human spirit, as something separate from the greater creating Consciousness. What matters most in the cosmos and world is right here inside us, at the center of our personhood. We, each one of us, are at the very center of what is most vital in the cosmos. There is no circumference, only Center, and each of us is that Center (to borrow and paraphrase some comments from Joseph Campbell).

This is also to counter the commonly made argument of how small and insignificant humans are in the universe. We need to question this perspective that appears to devalue humanity, as the dimensions of this spatial realm may not mean much in terms of the value and role of consciousness. Conscious human experience appears to be the most real thing of all in the cosmos. It may be the only ‘real’ thing in the cosmos. It may be that which gives reality to all else (see for instance, “Quantum Enigma” by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner).

Appendice C:

If humanity can no longer blame punishing gods, how then do we explain human misfortune and suffering? Contemporary understanding concludes that we can no longer explain it (as people have done all across past history) in terms of gods retaliating against sin, or disciplining failing people, or teaching people lessons. And anyway, what monster would harm or kill people just to teach others lessons, as is the argument of Job’s comforters?

We have better alternatives to help in understanding the mystery of suffering. For instance, we now recognize there is a critical element of freedom in nature and in human existence (i.e. freedom of choice and action).

Freedom is inseparable to the authentic nature of love. Any proper conception of humane deity must embrace the fact that non-intervention (non-coercion) is central to genuine love. Authentic love does not over-rule human freedom, self-determination, and freedom of personal choice. This leaves open the possibility for poor choice and hence, abuse and suffering caused to others. But such freedom also enables genuine moral good to be expressed which, according to theologians/philosophers, is valued highly by a God of love.

For more detailed argument on these issues that have perplexed people for millennia see, for example, “The Triumph of God Over Evil” by William Hasker. He offers a thorough coverage of the issues related to human suffering and attempts to understand and explain this mystery as much as it is possible.

Appendice D: More background to Retaliation and Conditional

Let me rehearse here in summary some of the more prominent themes from early mythology that have continued to shape human belief systems through history, most notably with a punitive orientation. I am focusing on the origins of the two themes developed in this essay.

First, to clarify, the human fear of death is the fundamental impetus to mythmaking (Campbell- “The recognition of mortality and the requirement to transcend it is the first great impulse to mythology” Myths to Live By, p.22). Early people with their developing human consciousness became aware of life, of existence, and of beauty, love, suffering and all that comes with conscious human experience of life. But it was their awareness of death that impacted them the most. Their experience of life and love would end in the rot of death. That realization of finiteness and mortality became a terror to people.

Coupled with their death awareness and death fear they also felt the fundamental impulse of consciousness for meaning and purpose (Victor Frankl). That primal/primary impulse for meaning drove the early human desire to understand it all and, consequently, to explain life and death. That led to early attempts at mythmaking, at creating systems of meaning or explanation.

Prominent among the early complexes of explanatory ideas was the perception that there were spiritual forces or spirits/gods behind all the elements and forces of nature. We see that in early accounts of water and wind gods (storm gods), gods of lightning and thunder, sun gods, moon gods, gods of animals and plants, and varied other gods.

Early people, using the best of primitive logic, then concluded that the spirits/gods were angry because the forces of nature were often destructive and harmful to people.

Further, our ancestors, still emerging from an animal past, understood life in terms of the prominent animal drives and impulses of their existence. Their experience of life included such prominent impulses as the impulse to small band or tribal mentality, the impulse to domination of others (alpha male/female), and the impulse to retaliatory destruction of outsiders (i.e. the destruction of competitors/enemies).

It is important to remember that retaliation begins within the animal world. And we continue to embody our animal past in our physical body and brain, within in our genome (i.e. the 98% similarity with chimpanzees). We still share the same dark and brutal impulses that animals manifest without guilt or shame.

These dark animal impulses often flood our mind and bodies from a core animal brain. This is the dark side in humanity, what religious people call “original sin or human sinfulness/evil”. Viewing ongoing human imperfection and failure as sinfulness is to view humanity too harshly as possessing something intentionally embraced by us that rightly provokes the gods to retaliate. Human imperfection is then viewed as something deserving punishment and damnation.

Early myths also added the element of intentional willfulness to human failure. The ancients claimed that early people intentionally chose evil (a more serious fault- first degree or intentional choice) and they thereby ruined the original paradise and destroyed life (i.e. the Fall of man or original sin myth- whether Sumerian Enki or Jewish Adam). Historically later generations would project the feature of holiness onto their gods which further sharpened and intensified the sense of human imperfection and affirmed the religious demand that God must punish humanity. Theological understanding of justice as necessarily retributive, and understanding of deity as essentially retaliatory, then argued that holy, pure gods were obligated to punish sin.

But to call our animal background and inheritance “sin” is to unnecessarily demonize humanity and to intensify the felt “righteous/moral” urge to punish. Our animal background is our inheritance and it remains with us in the form of this inherited animal core brain (formerly the “tri-partite brain” in evolutionary biology terms- i.e. the reptilian core, the limbic system, and then the later cortex that mediates the more advanced human impulses). Humanity should not be condemned for emerging out of an animal past and struggling to gradually progress toward a more human future. Surely patience and restorative justice is a more appropriate response to our ongoing endeavor to become more human.

Unfortunately, with our animal background and its residual animal drives still prominently experienced in primitive human life, the brutal features of animal existence were then projected by early people onto their gods. Those gods were shaped as predatory, punitive, tribal, dominating, and retaliatory deities. They punished and destroyed people. For example, note the Sumerian Flood myth (Wikipedia) where an early council of gods decided to annihilate humanity with a flood.

Further buttressing those primitive myths, early people developed the belief that any human sickness was evidence of punishment from the gods. It was understood that the gods were responsible for all sickness because people had broken taboos and consequently deserved retribution.

The ultimate expression of the gods retaliating against human imperfection was the idea of final apocalypse, a grand annihilation of all humanity and all life; the ending of the world. That was the ultimate expression of retaliating gods punishing humanity.

But historically later mythmakers would take divine retaliation and punishment even further in the perverse myth of hell. After the apocalyptic ending of the world, imperfect people would then be destroyed and punished forever in a fiery and tormenting hell. That is the dark and perverse drive to retaliate and punish taken to a traumatizing extreme. No wonder his audience members clung to the pillars at the side of the church, wailing and screaming in horror, as Jonathan Edwards preached his sermon on “Sinners in the hands of an angry God”, a graphic portrayal of the torments of hell.

The culmination of developing these ideas/themes in early human mythmaking was the conclusion that there was something threatening and punitive behind life, some great retaliating monster; a super predator. That has been the most damaging perception ever created by human minds. It has reverberated all down through history in human consciousness evoking incalculable terror, misery, and despair.

As noted in this essay, the perception of some ultimate threatening and punitive reality, retaliatory deity, then sparked the appeasement response in early people. That is the fear of death and the related survival impulse being aroused to extreme level. Early people, terrified of the angered spirits/gods, naturally sought a way to escape punishment and death. They desperately sought some way to appease the angry gods, to find salvation from their threats.

The promoters of threat theology, the early shaman/priests, then presented salvation schemes to their fellow tribe members. Notable there was the offering of sacrifices or blood to appease angry spirits. Subsequently, the salvation/sacrifice industry has been developed into a massive all-encompassing societal endeavor throughout human history. It has been revised and refined in diverse ways in the varied religions that people have manufactured but it has always encompassed essentially the same drive to appease some angered and retaliatory entity behind life.

Christianity further developed the above mythological themes into their most intense expression (supreme cosmic and universal savior/salvation). The Christian body of myths has arguably shaped Western consciousness and society more than any other complex of ideas, and the Christian civilization of the West has subsequently influenced much of the rest of the world (e.g. James Tabor- “Paul and Jesus”).

Hence, we have this line of descent from base animal characteristics and existence, embodied and expressed in early animal-like myths and gods, and further down to the more refined expressions of such themes in religions like Christianity.

However, in contrast to this line of descent, we also see the emergence of human consciousness in early humanity. That is something new and uniquely human or humane. As John Eccles says, it is something entirely outside of the evolutionary process- “A supernatural, spiritual creation… no other explanation is plausible”. Human consciousness with its new and unique human impulses takes humanity in an entirely new direction from animal behavior and existence. That is the exodus into freedom (freedom from animal drives and existence). It is the beginning of the humanization of life in the wonder of human civilization.

Evolutionary biology or psychology often does not fully get the human element right with its endeavor to understand human experience and life too much in terms of our animal past and inheritance. These disciplines have consequently distorted and degraded the uniquely human by trying to explain it solely in terms of animal drives and existence. There are more helpful explanations coming from disciplines like theology and psychology that properly honor the unique wonder of being human (see, for example, the books of neuroscientist John Eccles).

With the emergence and maturing of human consciousness there has been an ongoing historical struggle between the human and the animal. Religious traditions try to explain this as a struggle with original sin, but see, for example, Lyall Watson’s “Dark Nature” for alternative approaches to understanding human imperfection. Despite the ongoing influence of the animal inheritance on the human psyche and spirit, our human consciousness has sparked an overall trajectory in history that improves irreversibly toward something better across time. Note, for instance, Stephen Pinker’s “The Better Angels of Our Nature” and James Payne’s “History of Force” for evidence of the long-term improvement, rise, and advance of humanity and human civilization. We become something more humane over time and we also humanize the rest of life.

To sum up, the long historical record of the development and refinement of retaliation (payback, punishment, revenge) has to do with our animal past and inheritance, and the early projection of that feature onto deity and related systems of justice.

The long historical record of the development of the unconditional treatment of others (i.e. non-retaliation, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and other human traits) has to do with human consciousness emerging and maturing in humanity over the long-term. As some argue, this is divinity incarnated in humanity and inspiring humanity through the wonder of human consciousness to become something better over time. To become what we are- truly and fully human.

Let me add that researchers like Karen Armstrong (“Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life”) and Jeffrey Schwartz (“You Are Not Your Brain”) are wrestling with this issue of dualism, or dual natures, in humanity. They argue that as human persons or human selves we are not our animal inheritance. We are more essentially human and defined by the core human ideal of love. This is our essential nature as human persons, as supernatural, spiritual creations. Our consciousness, that is oriented to love, defines us most essentially, not our animal past or inheritance.

Thus a new dualism is being expressed. Note also the “Near-Death Experience” research in this regard. Monism or materialism never dealt properly with the fundamental human impulse for meaning or purpose. It never understood fully the wonder of human consciousness or the wonder of being human as a distinct and unique new reality in life.

Further comment on “From Retaliation to Unconditional”…

Once again, while appreciating the contributions of evolutionary biology and psychology, I have a quibble with such disciplines in that they try to explain the human too much in terms of our animal past and inheritance. Example: Reducing human love to the animal survival impulse- i.e. “species altruism”. Yes, an element of that is in the mix, but human consciousness and love are something far more unique and wondrous than the comparable features found in our animal relatives. We are far more than just the 98% genetic relationship with chimps. That other 2% points to a vast gulf of uniqueness and difference.

Neuroscientist and Nobel laureate John Eccles, for example, details the difference between human and ape/chimp consciousness in his books, hence, the titles of some of his books- “The Wonder of Being Human” or “The Human Mystery”. We are something stunningly unique in the animal world. Our consciousness is something entirely different and wondrously humane. We are much more than just our animal brain to paraphrase Jeffrey Schwartz’s “You Are Not Your Brain”.

I affirm Eccles’ conclusion that we are led to believe that the human self is “a supernatural, spiritual creation”. Something far more wondrous than just another species of animal. Hence, our life trajectory in human civilization toward something uniquely different from animal existence. What we are, counters entirely the dominant anti-humanism of today’s nihilist apocalyptic narratives. Note how Julian Simon, in his own individual way, highlighted the wonder of being human evident our ongoing improvement of life on this planet (“Ultimate Resource”).

Quotes from varied articles and comments:

My comment re a Bari Weiss article on how the far left has taken over our societies…

“The simple-minded categorizing of people as members of a collective, as either/or in some tribal dualism and opposition, ignores individual differences. The individual is to be subordinated to the collective or “greater/common good” as Marxists have long urged. And that collectivism, as they note in regard to Angela Davis, is now understood in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation…”

“Inevitably, collectives will be run by elites who believe that they alone know what is best for all others…”

“The Classic Liberal tradition that descended out of England rejected the special status granted to governing elites (i.e. kings, lords) to give equal freedom and rights to all individuals…”

“Frederik Hayek (“Road to Serfdom”) got things right in stating that the focus on the primacy of free individuals best prevents totalitarianism because rather than centralizing power in collective elites, power is distributed among competing individuals and institutions as in the US tripartite system.”

Comment on Michael Shellenberger’s research/reporting…

“The new home-grown totalitarianism uses propaganda techniques developed from decades of intelligence work shaping narratives in other countries. Those techniques (i.e. “framing” opponents as threats) are now turned inward to demonize and criminalize political opponents, notably anyone to the right of the extreme leftism of the Woke Progressivism that now dominates the liberal side of our societies. The demonization of opponents includes smearing even moderate liberals and independents, along with the “enemy” conservatives. All dissenting from Woke Progressivism are now framed as “Far right extremists”….

The Canadian example of framing opponents in the worst possible manner from an Alex Gutentag report…

“Trudeau Government used faked intelligence to illegally frame protesting truckers as violent extremists: Canadian government used disinformation to invoke the “Emergencies Act”

“Central to Trudeau’s invocation of the Act was the alleged threat of right-wing extremism and violence, but new documents … show that this drastic measure was based on fabricated intelligence…”

Other examples of framing opponents in worst possible manner….

“MSNBC host Joy Reid compares Trump to Hitler during rant on ‘how fascism takes root’:”

“James Carville compared Trump to Nazi military leader Herman Goering…”

Paul Driessen on climate alarmism…

“We’re constantly told the world will plunge into an existential climate cataclysm if average planetary temperatures rise another few tenths of a degree, due to using fossil fuels for reliable, affordable energy, raw materials for over 6,000 vital products, and lifting billions out of poverty, disease and early death….”

“In reality, people and planet are threatened far more by global cooling than warming…” (i.e. the ten times more people who die from cold every year, than die from warming)

Richard Landes on apocalyptic millennialism…

“Apocalyptic millennialism… possesses its believers and ‘rides’ them to their destruction…”

And this from Dave Rubin’s clip of Jordan Peterson’s “most important speech”…

Peterson commented on the critical insight that psychologists have discovered over the past 20 years- “That there is no difference between thinking about yourself and being miserable”.

“You want to be outside yourself, serving a higher purpose, making sacrifices for others and that is so rewarding.”

“This is the meaning and adventure and purpose of life, says Peterson, and it gives us proper self-regard, this sacrifice for others. This is remembering who we really are….”

From my essay on the meaning and purpose of human life… From retaliation to unconditional…

“Our foundational story is the struggle to free ourselves (make an exodus) from our slavery to the animal and to find the freedom to become fully and truly human. Each individual human story is a microcosm of this greater story of humanity across history.”

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

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

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

And much more….

A major theme here- A singular bad idea continuing to validate bad behavior, Wendell Krossa

It is critical to pull the “diamonds” of Jesus from their “inferior minds” context, as per Thomas Jefferson’s insight that the best sayings of Jesus were buried in the larger New Testament context that gives prominence to Paul’s Christ myth. Jefferson and others state more specifically that the diamond insight of Jesus was his “stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory God” (James Robinson). That insight is the potent counter to the ongoing destructive influence of the apocalyptic Christ myth of Paul- history’s epitome embodiment and expression of the ideal of retaliation.

Paul, in his first letters to the Thessalonians, gives expression to the threat of apocalyptic-scale retaliation from the Christ: “Lord Jesus will come in flaming fire to take vengeance on all who don’t obey the gospel of Christ, punishing them with eternal destruction…”. The book of Revelation illustrates that retaliation with graphic imagery. See, for example, Revelation chapters 19-20.

For two millennia, Paul’s apocalyptic Christ has been the singular influence keeping the destructive pathology of apocalyptic alive and prominent in Western narratives and consciousness, in both religious and secular versions like climate apocalypse. Divine retaliation also shaped Western justice systems to be punitive, not restorative (i.e. the conclusion of, for example, Mennonite theologians).

Get Jesus’ diamond insight clear as presented in the Matthew 5:38-48 section, and even better in the Luke 6:27-36 version. The Matthew version is corrupted by Matthew’s conditional ending that subverts the overall unconditional tone of what Jesus had just said (i.e. Matthew ends with- “Be perfect as your father is perfect”). Luke 6:27-36 offers a better summary of Jesus’ central argument for an unconditional ethic based on a validating unconditional theology (i.e. “Be unconditionally merciful just as your father is unconditionally merciful”- my paraphrase).

The central point of Jesus was that there must be no more “eye for eye” retaliation because God doesn’t engage eye for eye retaliation. Instead, we should love our enemies because God does. No retaliation means no tribal exclusion, no punishment, no destruction. And that certainly then leads to the logical conclusion that a non-retaliatory God will not enact the ultimate retaliatory act of a great apocalyptic punishment and destruction. And there goes the long-term theological basis of apocalyptic beliefs. There is no retaliatory God. Never has been any such reality.

Apocalyptic mythology is cosmic-scale wrong and entirely contrary to the fundamental themes of Jesus’ teaching. But Paul revived, in his Christ myth, the primitive pathology that Jesus had rejected two decades earlier. Paul then took themes like apocalyptic to new supreme expression in his cosmic, universal Christ.

Get Jesus’ central insight clear on non-retaliatory, non-apocalyptic deity in order to properly counter the horrifically damaging apocalyptic Christ myth of Paul.

Getting a grip on the non-retaliatory, unconditional theology of Jesus is to go to the very heart of what is wrong today as in residual primitive ideas inciting and validating bad behavior. The diamond insights of Jesus solve pathologies like apocalyptic at the most fundamental level of archetypical themes.

Jesus’ statement on non-retaliatory deity is the central statement summing his teaching, his message, and his life.

A Jesus Seminar scholar challenged me on my contention that the Matthew and Luke sections were Jesus’ central theme or teaching. My response to him is that if you consider the “Q Wisdom Sayings” research (“the closest that we get to what Jesus actually taught”), you will see this central statement of Jesus framed negatively as, “Don’t retaliate because God does not retaliate” or stated positively as- “love your enemies because God does”. That is the central point made by Jesus, the cohering central theme- i.e. no conditions love- that sums up his theology and ethics, a theology and ethics that are further expressed in his parables, notably the unconditionally forgiving Prodigal father and the generous vineyard owner.

A key feature of this central Jesus insight is that it expresses a “behavior that is based on a similar belief”, an ethic validated by a similarly themed theology.

My understanding of this behavior/belief relationship originated with an Asian studies course that I had taken at UBC around the late 1980s. That introduced me to the common human practise of basing behavior on belief, a relationship that people have exhibited across millennia. The professor in that course noted that anthropologist Clifford Geertz had discovered during his field work in Indonesia that the Balinese modelled their villages and houses according to what they believed was the divine pattern.

So also the Greeks had tried to model their behavior and societies according to what they believed were divine Ideals/Forms. The Hebrews in like manner ordered their lives and society according to their views of the word, will, or law of God. I then saw that “behavior based on similar belief” relationship in the Matt.5:38-49 section, whether Jesus consciously did that or not. He must have been aware that the Greeks and Hebrews had followed that practise over previous centuries. It was common throughout ancient cultures.

To sum again– A non-retaliatory God will not execute the ultimate act of retaliation that is apocalypse. Yet the great lie that is apocalyptic, long promoted and affirmed by Paul’s Christ myth, continues to dominate human narratives and consciousness today, in both religious and secular versions. Apocalyptic distorts entirely the true state of life.

Getting the Jesus insight on theology clear, goes to the heart or root of the problem of wrong ideas inciting and validating wrong behavior. Apocalyptic persists with its destructive influence today in terrorizing populations with fear of life ending, and thereby rendering alarmed people susceptible to destructive salvation schemes like decarbonization.

We need the best tools that we can get our hands on to fight and conquer this greatest monster and enemy of all humanity- the great fraud and lie of apocalyptic. The “most violent and destructive idea in history” that has endlessly blinded humanity to the liberating facts on the true state of the world.

Apocalyptic wreaks destruction at the personal level in deforming human personality with unnecessary fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, despair and depression, resignation and withdrawal, nihilism and violence. That individual deformity and destructiveness then inflates out to scale in societies. Just look at the broad support for the salvation scheme of decarbonization that “destroys societies to save the world”.

Take the Jesus insight on non-retaliatory/unconditional deity and go directly to the core of human narratives, to the guiding and validating themes that have long validated pathologies like apocalyptic and its destructive outcomes.

Qualifier/pacifier- requisite politeness, when challenging one of history’s most sacred icons, Wendell Krossa

A qualifier/pacifier to Christian family and friends, former fellow “true believers” during my sojourn in Evangelical Christianity. I have great memories of many good people on that long-ago shared journey.

To be fair and to balance my comments on the highly esteemed Christ of Paul, I do acknowledge below the varied good features in the myth- i.e. love, forgiveness, hope for salvation, future perfection, etc. My argument, though, is that the better features are overwhelmed and distorted by the more prominent themes in the larger context that shape the overall myth.

Love, for example, is deformed as tribal and exclusive (true believers alone saved, unbelievers damned). Forgiveness demands a strict conditional payment/punishment first (the sacrifice of a human). As Bob Brinsmead has stated- “If the debt is paid first then there is no need for forgiveness. A God who demands full payment first before he will forgive, knows nothing about true forgiveness”.

The more humane features of Paul’s Christ myth are thereby rendered something other and lesser than the authentic realities that they should be.

On later-life reflection, I concluded that my early years in Evangelical Christianity were a grand detour into Paul’s pagan mythmaking. Paul borrowed the main themes of surrounding pagan religions like Greek Hellenistic myths (union with gods, heroism, human/god relationships), Roman mystery religions (miraculous virgin births), Mithraism (ritual meal), the cult of Isis (resurrection and afterlife), and Jewish apocalyptic that had descended from the Zoroastrian mythology of a great cosmic dualism (God versus Satan). Paul was a great synthesizer of myths borrowed from surrounding cultures and traditions.

Notably, Paul appropriated the myth of virgin-birth from similar Roman myths of virgin-born Ceasars and other versions of the divine rape of earthly women (the women did not consent). Paul incorporated those pagan myths into his Christ myth. And then Christianity “unethically” (John Dominic Crossan’s statement) claimed that Paul’s version of the virgin birth myth was the true one, contrasted with the “demonic” versions that he had borrowed from. It was unethical to make such a claim, argues Crossan, because it is all the same fundamental myth.

In my comments on the Christ myth, and contrasting that with the message of Historical Jesus, I am highlighting what we should have received from Christianity- i.e. true Jesus-ianity. Instead, we got the opposite- Christ-ianity, a major deformity of Jesus-ianity. Paul’s Christ-ianity is quite entirely opposite to the core themes and message of Historical Jesus. Most important, Paul’s Christ denies, deforms, and buries the singularly profound insight of Jesus that God was an unconditional deity that did not demand blood sacrifice for atonement and salvation.

(Insert note: All religion is inherently conditional and cannot communicate to people the reality of God as unconditional love. No religion has ever communicated the true nature of deity to humanity, but to the contrary, religion buries that truth.)

Further, we can’t deny the horrific outcomes that loyalty to the Christ myth has produced across past millennia- i.e. the violence that erupted from the early Councils over almost-indistinguishable disagreements about esoteric doctrines like the distinction between the two natures of Christ. Add here, the violence of the Crusades, the violence of the Inquisitions, the torture and slaughter of heretics and witches.

John Calvin presents a well-known example of how loyalty to Paul’s Christ myth has led Christians to torture and murder fellow Christians. Calvin had fellow Christian theologian Servetus put to death, using a slow-burning green wood fire (it took half an hour for him to die), all for refusing to move an adjective over three words in a doctrinal statement (i.e. from Servetus’s preferred “Jesus is the son of the eternal God” to Calvin’s demanded “Jesus is the eternal son of God”). Death to the heretic in defense of the glory of Christ.

So also today, militant defense and promotion of an apocalyptic belief and related salvation scheme, an apocalyptic belief that has direct descendance from Paul’s apocalyptic Christ myth, the ferocious loyalty to that pathological belief is leading some true believers to destroy fellow humans, through the apocalyptic climate crusade and its salvation scheme of decarbonization.

The great struggle of today- A renewed battle for freedom against resurging collectivist totalitarianism, Wendell Krossa

This from Bari Weiss’s Free Press on the Far Left takeover of our societies, and yes that Far Leftism is traditional “Marxist collectivism”.

“Weekend Listening: The Right Way to Fight Illiberalism: Christopher Rufo and Yascha Mounk debate”, by Bari Weiss, Jan. 27, 2024

My posts to a discussion group on the Weiss article (W. Krossa):

Note this from Weiss’s Free Press: How the far left has taken over Western societies… It is much more than just rot at universities. They pump this far left collectivism out into the entire society- into mainstream media, entertainment, science, corporations/businesses… everywhere. But pushback is occurring.

Just a note regarding their discussion that traditional Marxism is perhaps not applicable to what is going on today. Others note that yes this is a new collectivism in that people are categorized into two opposing groups- victims and victimizers, oppressed and oppressors, as in traditional Marxist doctrine.

And that simple-minded categorizing of people as either/or in a tribal dualism and opposition, ignores individual differences. The individual is to be subordinated to the collective or “greater/common good” as Marxists have long urged. And that collectivism, as they note in regard to Angela Davis, is now understood in terms of race and so on. Before, if you were of the oppressor class- then you were “bad”. Now if you are of the white class- then you are “bad”. So yes, still simple-minded collectivism- people grouped and subordinated according to some collective where individual differences are dismissed.

And this is the new “Woke Racism” (John McWhorter). Again, people are not to be judged according to their individual character as Martin Luther King urged, but judged once again according to their skin color. A new, but inverted/reversed, racism. Where the formerly oppressed become the new oppressors. Eye for eye now repeated once again at societal scale.

Another post on the Weiss article (W. Krossa):

Former socialist Joshua Muravchik (Heaven On Earth) noted that Robert Owen’s Communalism, Marxism, Communism, Socialism, Social Democracy or Democratic Socialism, are all forms of collectivism. So look past terms to get that core issue. In collectivist approaches to organizing human societies, individuals are subjected to the collective that has to be run by enlightened elites who claim to know what is best for all others, the “enlightened vanguard”. But there is no such thing as “benevolent rulers”. Power corrupts all of us and hence we need institutions and systems of law that protect us from the ever-present impulse to totalitarianism, to meddle, intervene, and control others (i.e. the inherited animal drive to domination- the alpha male/female thing).

And in collectivist systems, decision making (e.g. resource distribution) is centralized in the state elite. Control and power are thereby centralized in the governing elite and their bureaucracy. Further, politicians are too often people with no business sense or experience running major economies.

The Classic Liberal tradition that descended out of England rejected the special status granted to governing elites (i.e. kings, lords) to give equal freedom and rights to all individuals. That unleashed human creativity that has lifted billions out of poverty starting two centuries ago. In Classic Liberal systems, the individual is not subjected to elite domination and control, not subjected to the collective run by elites. The individual- individual rights and freedom- is supreme in society. Good histories of this hugely beneficial Western tradition, its institutions and systems of law, are “Inventing Freedom” by Daniel Hannan, and “The Birth of Plenty” by William Bernstein, also “Libertarianism: A Primer” by David Boaz.

And people like Frederik Hayek (“Road to Serfdom”) got things right in stating that the focus on the primacy of free individuals best prevents totalitarianism because rather than centralizing power, power is distributed among competing individuals and institutions as in the US tripartite system. So, the individual approach to organizing society best protects freedom from totalitarian elites.

Now some quotes from the Weiss article…

“In the past few months, many people were shocked to see the moral rot that has taken hold inside American universities.

“As antisemitism has spread at our universities, many started asking how this could happen when campuses are famously sensitive to microaggressions. How could schools that provide students emotional support animals and cry closets allow this kind of thing?

“Perhaps DEI—diversity, equity, and inclusion—wasn’t actually about those words, but about something else. It’s about replacing the principles of good-faith debate and truth-seeking scholarship with an illiberal orthodoxy that puts a premium on identity over ideas.

(They note that pushback against this far left Woke Progressivism is now spreading)

“Well now, it seems, people have finally had enough….

“On how to describe DEI’s capture of higher education:

“Bari Weiss: Some people call it wokeness, which sort of automatically brands you as being on the right. Other people call it critical theory or identity politics or postmodern neo-Marxism. There’s a lot of disagreement about how we actually describe this thing that all of us are witnessing. So I want to start there. What is it that we’re actually talking about?

“Christopher Rufo…. So it’s a cluster of traits, ideas, concepts, narratives, and bureaucratic arrangements that have really revolutionized American society over the past 50 years. I trace the immediate origins back to the year 1968, and the argument that I make in my book, America’s Cultural Revolution, is that all of the ideas from the radical left of that era—the late 1960s, early 1970s—have infiltrated universities and then started to move laterally through bureaucracies in the state sector, in K–12 education, in HR departments, and even the Fortune 100 companies…..

“Yascha Mounk…. that identity categories like race, gender, and sexual orientation are the key prism for understanding society….

“On whether it’s accurate to say cultural Marxism is taking place:

“YM…. First, because I just don’t think that there’s very much left of Marxism when you take out the economic categories….

“CR… [Herbert] Marcuse was a Marxist, and he was the most influential philosophical figure of the New Left, which is the prototype of the radical left we see today.

“His doctoral student, Angela Davis, was a member of the Communist Party, is a devoted Marxist, and really took the Marxist tradition and applied it to racial categories. Then within academia, most notably her long career at UC–Santa Barbara, and then her mentees, the third generation, were the founders of Black Lives Matter. They said themselves, “we are trained Marxists.” If you read a law review article written by one of the BLM founders, if you listen to their interviews and speeches, and then if you listen to their interviews with Angela Davis, they make very clear: “we are mobilizing along racial lines. We think that that’s the best rhetorical approach to score political victories. But the ultimate goal is the abolition of capitalism.” And you see this absolutely everywhere: in training programs and academic work, and even critical race theory.

“On what’s at stake in the Marxism argument. And if DEI is Marxist, why do Fortune 500 companies employ it?

“YM… One of the things that you cannot understand if you think of these ideas as Marxist, is why it is that Fortune 500 companies have proven so willing to adopt them?…

“CR… One, to limit legal liability because of frivolous racial discrimination claims. Two, to buy off activist groups to leave them alone and not harass them and jeopardize their reputation. And then three, because there is internal pressure to, let’s say, “do something.””

And this from Conrad Black- Illustrating collectivism in regard to Jordan Peterson’s fight against the College of Psychologists of Ontario:

“Jordan Peterson and Mark Steyn- Canada’s warriors for freedom: These two outstanding Canadians deserve the support of all of us”, Conrad Black, Jan.27, 2024


“This past week, I have been somewhat engrossed by the travails of two distinguished friends, the world-famous Jordan Peterson — psychologist, philosopher and social scientist — and the brilliant writer and critic, Mark Steyn. Both are facing the oppressive vagaries of justice….

“The Ontario Divisional Court ruled that the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) had the authority to require Peterson to submit to instruction on public communications….

“(The action of the CPO) vividly demonstrates what depths such people scrape when beset by spiteful jealousy….

“At some point, our courts are going to have to deal with the clash between the individual right of self-expression and the right and duty of the learned professions to self-regulate. In principle, it is certainly preferable for the professions to regulate themselves, but they must also recognize the rights of individual citizens to freedom of expression, thought and conscience….

“This contest between collective and individual rights has been a long and contentious issue in Canada, aggravated by the differences between the French and English traditions. The French advocates of liberty, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, spoke about how “Man is born free but everywhere is in chains,” and that it was mankind that required liberation, not any particular individual. This translated itself in the law of Quebec into the right of society not to be challenged and aggravated by individuals…

“This French tradition gives the self-regulators the ability to override individual rights, and in the name of the profession, to ride roughshod over the individual. Obviously, the basis of Anglo-Saxon law is the rights of every individual. Group rights, as defined by a small clique granted authority over a large number of people in a profession or occupation, provide no reliable rights at all for individuals….

(Insert note- WK: Joshua Muravchik (Heaven on Earth) notes the key difference between the French and American revolutions was that the French demanded the state include and guarantee “equity”, as in equality of outcomes for all citizens. Where, to the contrary, the American Revolution sought to protect the equality of all citizens as in equal opportunity for all- an individual merit-based approach.)

Continuing with Black quotes…

“(On sharing public panels with Tucker Carlson) The prominent American commentator Tucker Carlson….

“He’s an amusing reactionary who responded to the idea of a proposed American wall on its northern border by saying that we must have it to prevent more talented Canadians from moving to the United States…

“The crowd’s uproarious torrent of brickbats whenever the CBC was mentioned was particularly uplifting. Tucker invited the CBC to interview him and was declined.

“Mark Steyn is facing a different problem. In the United States… (being sued by) Michael Mann, the frenzied climate change fear-monger who helped invent the “hockey stick” graph of global temperatures….

“Mark Steyn unleashed the full subtlety and vitriol upon Mann that his admirers have long appreciated; he portrayed his opponent as someone who was almost always on social media, ”harassing and bullying anybody who disagrees with him… He is one of the most vicious blowhards on Twitter.”…

“These two outstanding Canadians deserve the support of all of us; they are warriors for freedom and do honour to this country.”

Numerous voices are warning us consistently about a new totalitarian collectivism spreading through our Western societies. Javier Mileis recently outlined this threat in his brilliant speech to Davos.’m%20here%20to,socialism%20and%20thereby%20to%20poverty.

And this from Michael Shellenberger:

“In order to prevent fascism, we must incarcerate, censor, and prevent Donald Trump from running for office, say the media, Democrats, and NGOs. They are thus undermining democracy in the name of saving it. Elites are in the grip of what is best understood as a kind of madness.”

Some comment on the big background picture of what is happening in our societies today… Wendell Krossa

(In a nod to “bothsideism”: The right or conservative side of our societies must also be aware of and confront its own impulse to totalitarianism and extremism. But as “independent”, I recognize with many others that the main totalitarian threat today is emanating from the liberal or left side of our societies.)

Journalists like Michael Shellenberger correctly term what is happening across Western societies today as a new “totalitarianism”.

Shellenberger and colleague Matt Taibbi, along with Glen Greenwald and many other independent/Classic Liberal journalists are uncovering and exposing the varied fronts, agents, organizations, and methods/techniques of the new totalitarianism.

These journalists previously told us how the Democratic Party, assisted by the intelligence agencies, censored conservative voices on Twitter (the “Censorship Industrial Complex revealed in the “Twitter Files”). That led to further exposure of the larger issue of the corruption of the intelligence agencies that were using techniques formerly used against opponents overseas to now propagandize the American public and subvert opponents at home. That includes framing any opponents to the extremist Woke Progressivism that has taken over the Democratic Party, as domestic enemies and terrorists.

Some of the more notable episodes of intelligence agency corruption:

The intelligence agencies promoted the lie that the Hunter Biden laptop was “Russian disinformation” even thought the FBI knew that it was true back in 2019. They censored the Washington Post story on that and appear to have corrupted the 2020 election as a result (i.e. the 1 in 7 Biden voters who said they would not have voted for him if they had known the laptop was true).

The new home-grown totalitarianism uses propaganda techniques developed from decades of intelligence work shaping narratives in other countries. Those techniques (i.e. “framing” opponents as threats) are now turned inward to demonize and criminalize political opponents, notably anyone to the right of the extreme leftism (i.e. Woke Progressivism) that now dominates the liberal side of our societies. The demonization of opponents includes smearing even moderate liberals and independents as well as the “enemy” conservatives. All dissenting from Woke Progressivism are now “Far right”.

Shellenberger has detailed the intelligence agency program to “frame” sectors of the US population with such things as the persistent slander of being agents of “Russian disinformation”- i.e. the “Russia, Russia, Russia” hysteria that has emanated from the liberal side over past years. As Matt Taibbi said, Joe McCarthy himself would be amazed at how people are today taking his Russia insanity to levels that even he never could have imagined. And the revived McCarthyism of today is coming from the Democratic liberal side that was previously the target of the old McCarthyism.

The new totalitarianism zealously tries to brand opponents as existential threats to democracy- demonizing opponents with a wide array of pejoratives as “Nazis, fascists, promoters of tyranny, White Supremacist extremists, terrorists, racists, dangerous proponents of disinformation, misinformation, mal-information, spreaders of Russian disinformation, and proponents of hate speech (hate speech having undergone “concept creep” to now include any disagreement with the Woke Progressive narrative)”, etc.

“Far right” has been the number one go-to smear of Woke Progressives over past years, the coded dog whistle for “White supremacist Nazi”.

Hence, consequent to such exaggerated demonization- if you frame your opponents as the worst threats ever, as irredeemably evil, then logical to such defamation, they must be censored, banned, and eliminated in order to “save democracy”. Such evil cannot be tolerated in a democracy.

The new totalitarian promotion of Woke Progressivism with its varied sub-strains of DEI, CRT, and other features, is now promoted throughout the education systems from the bottom to the top. Some commentators argue that universities have possibly been corrupted beyond recovery. The new totalitarianism has invaded education from the earliest grades all the way up to its dominant position in Western universities, thereby indoctrinating future generations that will go forth to fill all sorts of positions in societies- in politics, business, media, entertainment, etc.

Shellenberger adds that this new totalitarianism is more dangerous than similar movements of the past because it tries to coercively shape public narratives, thereby shaping how people think, controlling the very thoughts of citizens. It is an inner totalitarianism of the mind.

The threat from this new totalitarian collectivism is being manufactured from within Western societies. As Javier Mileis said in his Davos speech, this collectivism is coming at Western populations today via all sorts of new varieties, in new versions of class warfare (“victim/victimizer, oppressed/oppressor” as, for example, per CRT ideology), new oppositions such as between genders, races (new Woke Racism), sexual orientation, and other divides.

Jimmy Dore adds to the big picture of the new totalitarianism in stating that Americans are the most propagandized people on Earth today. Similar to the totalitarian propagandizing that we all know of in China and Russia. Varied commentators mention that Western societies now appear to be undergoing similar trends long pushed in those collectivist societies- i.e. widespread censorship, criminalizing of dissent to state orthodoxy.

In all this, we are observing a profound corruption of democracy, a new tyranny. Yet its proponents (Woke Progressives mainly in the Democratic party), in a fit of cognitive dissonance and tribal blindness, are projecting this threat onto their opponents on the conservative side of society.

And further in what some term a “great switcheroo”, it is conservatives now mainly defending and promoting Classic Liberal principles of free speech and so on, while Democrats are opposing such (i.e. surveys showing some 60-plus percent of Democrats want censorship, and over 70 percent of Dems want Trump banned from elections). The corruption of democracy is validated as necessary because the threat is so great and existential that normal democratic protocols are unable to stem the threat. “Coercive purification” is required.

As Robert Reich stated a few years back- too much freedom is dangerous, when given to our enemies. Meaning- such freedom given to disagreeing others, threatens the domination of our side’s narrative and our grasp on power. Note his arguments against free speech… how he frames opinions that differ from his as “dangerous”. Notably, he frames and demonizes Elon Musk’s liberation of free speech on Twitter as all about a self-serving grasp for “power”. And he argues that former Democratic censorship on Twitter was to “protect democracy”. He said that someone has to program the algorithms to limit what they permit to be expressed.

Reich seems entirely unaware how his proposals threaten the freedom of all. As former ACLU director Ira Glasser posed- Who gets to determine what is “hate speech” and “threat to democracy”? Who is qualified to define, in a neutral non-partisan way, what is “disinformation, misinformation, mal-information”?

Reich dismisses free speech absolutism as “dangerous rubbish”.

We also see the new totalitarianism more broadly in elites across the world now opposing “populism”, a movement that they have demonized as “far right extremism” when it is more just “the people” as in average citizens. And the “people” joining the populism revolt include conservatives, centrists, and independents, along with disillusioned Democrats/liberals.

This new totalitarianism is further evident in intelligence agencies suppressing the social media expression of one side in favor of the other side. It is evident in social media censorship and their algorithms programmed to hinder conservative voices and give prominence to Woke Progressivism voices. It is evident in Google search results favoring one side and countering any potential viralism from opponents (i.e. “shadow-banning”- muting a user and their content online without telling them).

And, related to the above, partisan totalitarianism has been exposed in AI programming that favors one side over the other. Most obviously it is publicly promoted in mainstream media with their highly partisan coverage and presentation of news and issues. Many in mainstream media have unapologetically abandoned objective journalism for partisan political activism. Further, as noted above, the totalitarian collectivism is apparent all through the education systems indoctrinating students with collectivism via DEI, Wokeism, CRT, direct collectivist Marxism, and so on.

So Shellenberger and others are right that we are facing a battle for freedom like none other before…

Further note on the new totalitarianism:

We have been informed by the above journalists on many things- i.e. the bias in AI and Google search. Note, for example, the bias in Google search results that overwhelmingly give emphasis to climate alarmism sites and comment. As one journalist noted, today’s totalitarians are now aware that if they censor outright as they did on Twitter then that incites public reaction, so they have learned to be more subtle and now work behind the scenes to diminish potential viral responses to opponent’s views and comment. By manipulating things behind the scene, they diminish potential for contrary opinion and speech to reach the public in any widespread manner and go viral.

An illustration of the new Woke Progressive totalitarianism…

“Trudeau Government Used Faked Intelligence To Illegally Frame Protesting Truckers As Violent Extremists: Canadian government used disinformation to invoke the “Emergencies Act” in 2022, and then shared it with other “Five Eyes” nations”, Alex Gutentag, John Morrison, Jan.24, 2024

“Over the last year, Public and others have reported on illegal abuses of power by government intelligence, security, and military agencies across the Western world. These abuses of power have included censorship efforts by the US Department of Homeland Security and British military; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) entrapment schemes; and FBI and Secret Service involvement in January 6, 2021 pipe bomb disinformation.

“Now, a months-long Public investigation reveals that the Canadian government used disinformation to crack down on the “Freedom Convoy” protest, led by truckers demanding an end to Covid-19 vaccine mandates, in February 2022. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada’s national police force, then promoted this false information to other “Five Eyes” English-speaking nations.

“This discovery is significant because it contributes to a pattern of intelligence agencies from the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, which have collaborated on surveillance since World War II, being caught abusing their powers to investigate and persecute the political enemies of elected officials….

“Collaboration between Five Eyes nations also appears to have been used by the FBI in 2016 to create the pretext used for initiating the Russian collusion investigation, which US Department of Justice special prosecutor John Durham denounced last year.

“The story begins in 2022, when news media outlets claimed that the truckers’ Freedom Convoy protest was a racist, fascist, or far-right movement. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the convoy “a small fringe minority with unacceptable views” and accused Conservative Members of Parliament of supporting hate. “Conservative Party members can stand with people who wave swastikas. They can stand with people who wave the Confederate flag,” Trudeau said.

“On February 14, 2022, Trudeau took the extraordinary measure of invoking the “Emergencies Act” for the first time in Canada’s history. The Act gave the government sweeping powers to arrest protesters, freeze their bank accounts, seize property, and dismantle blockades, which is what Trudeau did.

“Central to Trudeau’s invocation of the Act was the alleged threat of right-wing extremism and violence, but new documents … show that this drastic measure was based on fabricated intelligence….

“This scandal appears to add to a growing number of cases revealing the politicization of intelligence and security agencies across Five Eyes nations to achieve ideological, political, and counter-populist goals….

“A government-funded NGO called the “Canadian Anti-Hate Network (CAHN)” created the falsified intelligence that the Trudeau government relied upon to frame the truckers. CAHN claimed that Mackenzie, the podcaster, created a militia group based on a fictional country called “Diagolon.…”

See link above for detail on how this supposed militia group was framed as terrorists and this extrapolated out as a threat to all of Canada, using falsified information…

“But the new evidence detailed above indicates that the government had fabricated “how serious the situation was.…”

“After 2016, the Five Eyes appear to have shifted their focus toward vilifying internal political opponents as violent extremists, turning tools intended for combating foreign threats against their own citizens…. in the US, special counsel John Durham concluded that the FBI used “raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence” to open its investigation into Trump’s alleged ties to Russia”.

Example of “framing” as in the excessive (slanderous) demonization of opponents:

“MSNBC host Joy Reid compares Trump to Hitler during rant on ‘how fascism takes root’: ‘Like Trump, Hitler was also viewed as a clown, a good who could be kept in line,’ Reid said”, Hanna Panreck, Jan. 2024.

Another example of framing and extremist demonizing to discredit opponents:

“James Carville predicts that Trump can win the election if ‘he’s treated like a normal candidate’: Carville compared Trump to Nazi military leader Herman Goering”, Jeffrey Clark, Jan. 2024.

On another note- The ongoing dominance of Declinism ideology/mythology

“In a survey run by YouGov…. 71% of respondents said they thought the world was getting worse”.

This from a post to a discussion group:

“Here in the link below leftist/liberal Jimmy Dore dissects Joy Reid defending graphic sex being available to kids in schools. As the mother says, its not about banning books but doing the same as schools do with restricted internet access for the same kids. Why the contradiction? Note how they dissect Reid’s arguments with the mother.”

“As one panel member notes- many people who agree with the “Mothers for Liberty” are liberals, Democrats who refuse to affirm the Woke dogma. Then note Dore’s comments on a Liberal Democratic city that banned varied classics from schools- like Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn”. The ban was pushed by Democratic voting parents. Why does Reid not go after them? Ah, the tribal thing again.”

And this on upcoming elections across the globe

“Climate and Energy Fantasy and Tyranny: Models, myths, and misinformation on climate drive models, myths, and misinformation on energy” by Paul Driessen, Jan. 27, 2024


“It’s mystifying and terrifying that our lives, livelihoods and living standards are increasingly dictated by activist, political, bureaucratic, academic and media ruling elites, who disseminate theoretical nonsense, calculated myths and outright disinformation.

“Not only on pronouns, gender and immigration – but on climate change … and energy, the foundation of modern civilization and life spans.

“We’re constantly told the world will plunge into an existential climate cataclysm if average planetary temperatures rise another few tenths of a degree, due to using fossil fuels for reliable, affordable energy, raw materials for over 6,000 vital products, and lifting billions out of poverty, disease and early death.

“Climate alarmism implicitly assumes Earth’s climate was stable until coal, oil and gas emissions knocked it off kilter … and would be stable again if people stopped using fossil fuels.

“In the real world, climate has changed numerous times, often dramatically, sometimes catastrophically, and always naturally. Multiple ice ages and interglacial periods, Roman and Medieval warm periods, a Little Ice Age, major floods, droughts and dust bowls all actually happened – long before fossil fuels.

“Data for tornados, hurricanes and other extreme weather events prove they are not getting more frequent or intense….

“We need to ignore the fear-mongering, look at actual historical records, and recognize that more dangerous, unprecedented calamities upward trends simply aren’t there. We need to insist that alarmists distinguish and quantify human influences versus natural forces for recent temperature, climate and weather events – and show when, where and how human activities replaced natural forces. They haven’t done so….

“These climate models are worthless for policymaking because they aren’t verified by actual measurements, don’t account for urban heat island effects, and cannot incorporate the vast scale and complexity of atmospheric, planetary and galactic forces that determine Earth’s climate.

“In reality, people and planet are threatened far more by global cooling than warming…

“We’re also told ruling elites could prevent this imagined crisis by switching us to wind, solar and battery power…

“Build a massive sprawling wind or solar installation, and you have to back up every kilowatt with coal, gas or nuclear power – or with millions of huge batteries – for every windless, sunless period.

“The economic and ecological effects would be ruinous….

“Pseudo-renewable energy worldwide would cost hundreds of trillions of dollars, would have to be subsidized by trillions of taxpayer dollars, and would dramatically increase electricity rates…..

“Just as ominous….

“The Biden Administration and other governments are already dictating the kinds of vehicles we can drive and what appliances and heating systems we can use. They’re already exploring ways to limit the kind and size of homes we can live in, how warm and cool we can keep them, how often we can travel by air, the kinds and amounts of meat we can eat, and many other aspects of our lives….

“This is what America’s 2024 state and national elections are about – and elections in Europe, Canada, Australia and elsewhere. The longer these elites remain in power, the more our liberties, lives and living standards will resemble life a century ago under authoritarian regimes. Vote accordingly.”

More from Richard Landes’s research on the history of apocalyptic millennialism (“Heaven On Earth”):

Landes recounts the “religious madness” of an early millennial Pharoah who was gripped by a particular form of religious zeal, “apocalyptic millennialism… possesses its believers and ‘rides’ them to their destruction…” (Chapter 6).

“Like so many millennial thinkers, the magical beliefs that they held about how their actions would bring on an era of messianic perfection, led them to behave in ways that failed to take account of the realities they firmly believed they had permanently escaped…”

Landes then notes that apocalyptic discourse enters public space and takes over political decision-making. He says, “When a millennial movement reaches such a point of public and political commitment, there is no return. To go back would constitute an impossible admission of error. From this point onward, the more magical the notion, the more terrible the damage at its inevitable failure”.

When an apocalyptic millennial movement begins to show signs of failure the panicked prophets then rachet up denial of the looming failure and double down with intensified aggression to ensure the apocalyptic millennial movement moves forward, even resorting to “coercive purification” to bring on the destructive apocalyptic end of the present order and usher in their utopian alternative.

“The most important speech Jordan Peterson has ever done: Dave Rubin”, Wendell Krossa

“Dave Rubin: This is easily the most important speech Jordan Peterson has ever done” (from the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship conference in London)

My comments to a discussion group on the video clip that Rubin shared of Peterson’s speech:

While the initial part of the speech covered other issues, Peterson, near the end, covers this thing of sacrifice and service for others as crucial to our true identity.

Peterson commented on the critical insight that psychologists have discovered over the past 20 years- “That there is no difference between thinking about yourself and being miserable”.

In this speech he previously noted how people today are lost in their immediate gratification, in gratifying their own hedonistic desires.

He then illustrated this point on being too self-absorbed in life situations, saying that when we become self-conscious, we then drown in anxiety and lose our place. Young people today are taught nothing but to be self-conscious, to do nothing but think about their immediate needs, to refer to themselves as the locus of all things. Peterson says there is nothing that you could do to make them more miserable than to live like that.

You want to be outside yourself, serving a higher purpose, making sacrifices for others and that is so rewarding.

This is the meaning and adventure and purpose of life, says Peterson, and it gives us proper self-regard, this sacrifice for others. This is remembering who we really are.

Note: In another talk Peterson had noted that if we are going to meet with some people or group and are feeling self-consciously anxious, then orient your mind, he urges, to how you might help those other people, how to contribute to making their lives better in some way. Re-orient your mind away from yourself and put your focus on others, serving them. Go into situations thinking of how to benefit others, to ask others questions about themselves.

Other psychologists have added that this generation has been taught to be hypersensitive about their feelings, and to view themselves as victims, overly sensitive to slights, words, looks. And that sense of victimhood feeds into eye for eye cycles of payback, and so on.

As a wise person once said, the best way to overcome this anxiety-ridden hyper-focus on one’s self, is to focus on how to help others, how to exhibit friendliness toward others. And don’t expect the same response from others in return for your kindness. But just do it anyway and you will feel good about yourself. Be the courageous initiator of goodness in your interactions with others. Break “eye for eye” cycles of “tit for tat” ugliness in human interactions.

Now a reposting of a big background picture of reality and life…

This is a meaning site, a project to respond to the primary human impulse for meaning. This site probes human origins in animal reality, the dark features of that existence, the emergence of the human spirit and consciousness, and the new humane features that define truly human existence. This site exposes the narrative themes that continue to incite and validate the residual animal in humanity. It offers new alternative themes to inspire and validate the human spirit.

From Retaliation to Unconditional (some intro stuff to the essay), Wendell Krossa

The fact that it has happened, its our history- i.e. the exodus from our animal past to become human in human civilization. Well, we then read back from the present outcome at this time in human history. That was the point of it all- to become less animal and more human. Its our meta-story. It’s the big picture story that we all replicate in our personal life stories.

Here’s how I frame it: Our foundational story is the struggle to free ourselves (make an exodus) from our slavery to the animal and to find the freedom to become fully and truly human. Each individual human story is a microcosm of this greater story of humanity across history.

The history of humanity as the liberation from animal existence to become human is the revelation of what our primary impulse for meaning is all about. It answers those great questions of why this world exists, why we exist here on this planet undergoing a conscious life experience, living a human story. This enlightens the great why and purpose questions- that we are here to become more fully and truly human.

Another intro point: Animal retaliation renders us petty, childish, infantile, animal-like. It is so entirely contrary to the greatness of the human spirit that we ought to exhibit, towering in stature as maturely human like Nelson Mandela. Retaliation is the evil opposite of love.

Moving along….

This site is a project to counter destructive apocalyptic narratives like today’s “climate emergency” myth. This site probes the deep historical roots of human mythology and the primitive ideas that continue to affirm themes like apocalyptic in contemporary human consciousness and narratives, whether in religious narratives or so-called “secular/ideological” narratives. This site affirms Joseph Campbell’s point that the same primitive myths have been embraced by people across all history and across all the cultures of the world.

This site operates on the understanding that bad ideas incite and validate bad behavior in people. Whereas better alternative ideas can assist in inspiring the better impulses of the human spirit.

Narrative ideas that incite fear, anxiety, and nihilistic despair are crippling to the human spirit and human progress. Bad ideas can facilitate self-fulfilling outcomes that ruin life. Note this in the destructive outcomes of climate alarmism today, notably the outcomes from decarbonization as the salvation scheme of climate alarmism.

Our contemporary “narratives of despair” originate ultimately from the mythical themes of humanity’s ancient past- notably from the apocalypse mythology of Sumeria (i.e. the “Great Sumerian Flood” myth) and Egypt (“Return to Chaos, Destruction of Mankind” myths). Those primitive mythical themes were eventually embraced by the great world religions, both Western and Eastern (yes, Buddhism too- see Mircea Eliade on “History of Religious Ideas”). The primitive mythology of apocalyptic was then passed further down into the “secular” Declinism ideology that dominates our modern era (i.e. “the world is becoming worse”). Apocalyptic despair was even embraced by modern “science” (e.g. “heat death” of the universe, and the climate alarmism claim to be following “consensus science”).

To properly and thoroughly counter the destructive fallacy of apocalypse for the long-term future, go to root themes in human narratives and expose the primitive nature of such mythology. Then offer better alternatives to liberate human consciousness. See, for example, “Old Narrative Themes, Better Alternatives” or “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives” in sections below.

Two metaphysical/”theological” insights this site embraces- Wendell Krossa

The blazing Light at the core of reality is a stunningly inexpressible no conditions love. That is the nature of our creating/sustaining Source, God. This was the central insight of Historical Jesus. Also, the central discovery of the NDE movement.

Correlated with the above insight: The essential nature of the human self or person, our core spirit is also that same love, no conditions love. This is based on “oneness” insights from spiritual traditions, and other.

When we love in a no conditions manner we discover and experience our authentically human self, our true self. And we feel our intense oneness with our creator, who is inseparable from our human spirit.

As a sage said, “Closer than our own atoms or breath”. Making all human rage against evil, action to prevent evil and to make life better, evidence of an immanent God present and active in life. God incarnated in all humanity, equally. There is no absent sky God.

Someone said that the “kingdom of God” is present and evident in all human love and goodness expressed in all areas of life through people trying to contribute to making life better in some way- i.e. in business, work, play/sports, entertainment, music, medicine, science, and more. This presence of divinity in ordinary, mundane human life was also acknowledged by Historical Jesus (the kingdom of God is among you). It is not some “heavenly” reality.

Now, shifting over to climate again…

Response to the nonsense of a Sixth Wave of extinctions, “Surfing the Sixth Wave” by Willis Eschenbach, Jan. 23, 2024

(“IUCN”- International Union for Conservation of Nature)

“I keep reading about how we’re already well into the “Sixth Wave Of Extinctions”¬…. I looked at the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and found that contrary to the “Sixth Wave” hype, 95% of mammal and bird extinctions occurred on islands and in Australia, where they were due to humans introducing new “alien” species after millennia of isolation….

“Let me start with some numbers from the IUCN Red List. It’s the official list of threatened, non-threatened, and extinct members of four great kingdoms of life—animals, plants, fungi, and chromista. And what are chromista when they’re at home? I asked that myself. Turns out they’re a group of mostly single-celled and also some larger life forms that include diatoms, mildews, and sea kelp.

“The Red List has data on some 157,190 species of all kinds in all habitats around the planet….

“Of these 157,190 species, 909 species are listed as extinct, with the earliest extinctions happening in the 1400s….

“I find claims like these… “the rate of species extinctions is accelerating”.

“Now, as my studies have indicated, a disproportionate number of extinctions occurred on islands and Australia…

“However, these island species are only a small percentage of the total number of species… the islands contain a large percentage of all extinctions….

“I’ve shown the period 1850-on when far more extinctions were occurring per year, and for which we have much better data….

“Now, is the post-1850 rate of extinctions greater than the geological rate? Absolutely. It’s an order of magnitude or so greater….

“The 1850-2000 average is 3.6 extinctions of continental and marine species per year, with a peak value of about 8 extinctions per year. The Red List contains 157,190 continental and marine species, of which 909 are extinct.

“So if the rate of extinctions continues at the current level, by the year 2100 we’d see an additional 3.6 extinctions/year * 76 years = 274 extinctions….

“Sorry, friends, but I gotta say that even if extinctions increased to an unbelievable ten times the current extinction rate, I’m still not seeing the fabled “Sixth Wave Of Extinctions…”

“We also need to maintain a sense of proportion. Extinctions are a part of how nature works. Fun fact: ~99.9% of all species that ever existed have gone extinct.”

A straw deity that has never existed anywhere except in religious minds, Wendell Krossa

There were once three notable atheists- termed the “militant atheists” (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris). Unfortunately, we lost Hitchens, a favorite commentator of mine. I appreciate and affirm the contribution of these atheists in their going after the monstrous God of religious traditions. As someone said about Hitchens, he was not afraid to stand in front of the religious God and give him the finger. (“Religious God” as contrasted with an actual Ultimate Reality or deity that exists.)

These atheists offered us much good comment on the irrationality of much religious belief and the horrific outcomes of religious traditions. That contribution is much appreciated and necessary. So props to all of them for their good work and contribution.

But the God that they went after does not exist. That religious God has never existed. It is a straw God. A figment created by primitive religious imagination. That God has never existed as any kind of reality, except in religious minds and traditions.

And it is a “monster God” manufactured to frighten people into submission and obedience (John Pfieffer in “The Creative Explosion”). So yes, going after that monster is necessary to liberate minds. The religious God has held powerful sway over human narratives and consciousness for multiple millennia. That deity has long functioned as the human embodiment of our highest ideals and authority, and thereby powerfully influenced human thought, emotion, motivation, and behavior across millennia, deforming human personality and thereby spreading harm throughout societies.

Nevertheless, that religious deity serves a useful purpose as a stark contrasting background to the single most profound insight ever offered on the metaphysical.

There has been nothing more powerful in liberating people from the consciousness-deforming influence of primitive mythology than the discovery and insight of historical Jesus, a person entirely opposite to Paul’s Christ myth. He was the first in history to confront, expose, and reject the monster gods of all past mythology and religion.

Gods, from the beginning had been presented to people as (1) tribal lords who favored true believer insiders and punished/destroyed outsiders, (2) gods who dominated humans as lords, kings, rulers based on the ancient myth that “people were created to serve the gods”, and (3) gods who, as ultimate judges would reward the good and punish/destroy the bad.

Jesus rejected those long-dominating conceptions deity to state- “love your enemy because God does”. Meaning, there should be no tribal division and separation between people. He based his new non-tribal ethic on a stunning new conception of God as a non-tribal reality who treated all people with the same non-discriminatory inclusion. He argued for this new nontribal ethic based on the obvious natural fact that God gave sun and rain generously to both good and bad people. With God there was no exclusion of bad people from God’s mercy and love, no retaliatory punitive destruction of bad people, no justice as reward/punishment. Only scandalous mercy and generosity toward all.

Further, Jesus urged that there should be no domination of others because true greatness, true humaneness, true love should serve others. Authentic human greatness does not dominate and control free others. He argued for what we should be and do, based on what God was like. Love your enemy because God does. Be merciful just like your Father is merciful (the details of what such mercy meant in terms of human response and behavior were set forth in the preceding statements in Luke 6:27-36). Do all these things and you will be just like God.

So, love your enemy and be just like God, the actual God that has always existed as unconditional love. Unfortunately, this truth has never been presented to humanity by any religion because all religions are highly conditional- i.e. founded on conditions of correct beliefs that define the true faith, demands for sacrifice/payment, required proper rituals and religious lifestyle as identity markers of affiliation and loyalty to the “true religion”, or “true faith”. Conditional religion has always hidden the unconditional God from humanity.

Conditional religion, as in Paul’s highly conditional Christ myth, cannot communicate the truth of an unconditional God. Conditional Christ mythology distorts and buries the profound insights of Jesus (i.e. the conclusions of Thomas Jefferson and Leo Tolstoy).

Go after the climate science, not just the policies

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


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

Insert on Concerns about AI (artificial intelligence) and its possible misuse.

Why not program AI with Classic liberal/libertarian principles- i.e. the protection of individual rights and freedoms, equally for all people. Program AI with the principle of protecting property rights vs collectivism’s appropriation of individual property rights. Program it to protect individual diversity and self-determination, free individual choice, equality under common law. Program it to protect citizens from unlawful state arrest and seizure, and so on. Program AI to promote minimal state intervention in society, minimal taxation and regulation. Include, the protection of free speech absolutism, etc.

Site project: Wendell Krossa

Understand the deepest roots of the human problem, the nature of the fundamental animal impulses that cause so much destruction and misery in life. Become aware of the primitive myths/ideas that early humans created to validate those impulses and note that those ideas/myths have long been embedded deeply in human consciousness/subconscious as “archetypes”. Affirm the ongoing presence of these primitive themes in human narratives today both religious and secular, even scientific.

Acknowledge the destructive outcomes of these impulses and validating ideas- the damage to human personality and the wider destruction at societal scale from salvation schemes that “destroy life to save it”.

And then present the alternatives that can replace those prehuman, subhuman, inhuman themes, new alternatives to inspire and validate new impulses that are truly human, impulses and validating ideas that motivate our better angels to create a better future.

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