Section topics: Notes on theology; Love as ultimate reality, ultimate meaning; Climate updates; An anti-fear project; Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives, and more…
A further explanation on humanizing deity theories:
Just a note on why I include the feature of “domination” (i.e. God as Lord, King) among the barbaric features that must be eliminated from a truly humane God theory (theory of ultimate reality, theory of ultimate meaning/purpose). Domination/subjection forms of relating are common to brutal animal existence. Animals relate in domination/submission relationships, usually with weaker animals subjected to an alpha male or female. Religious traditions have embraced such forms of relating as fundamental to their ultimate ideals and authorities- their gods. See, for example, Alex Garcia’s book ‘Alpha God’.
In addition, one of the first mental creations of early humans was the myth that people were created to do the work of the gods, to serve the gods. That early myth enforced the perception that humans were to be subject to the gods, to be subservient to deity.
Critical to emerging human development was our eventual understanding that enlightened, mature people would relate to one another as equals, not as superiors to inferiors. We now understand that true human greatness is about treating all as equals, and not intervening, overwhelming, controlling, or dominating others. Not violating the freedom and self-determination of others.
Historical Jesus got this right when he reasoned with his followers who wanted positions of authority over others. His response: “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.” True greatness and glory was in serving, not ruling. This humane principle used to be the understood and accepted mandate of politicians in democratic societies.
Consequent to understanding the nature of truly humane forms of relating, we can reason that a truly humane God, a truly loving deity, will relate to all as equals, not as inferiors, subjects, or servants. A fully humane God will relate horizontally to humanity, not vertically as a superior. Relating vertically as a dominating superior would be inhumane and unloving.
Add here Charles Templeton’s point that someone demanding dominance, and attention and praise on pain of death for refusal, would be an Idi Amin-type character (see his book “Farewell to God”). Yet we project such nonsense onto the ultimate Good and Love that is God???
A side note: While life is replete with hierarchical organizations, it is possible to relate within such structures as authentic humans. Those in supervisory positions can express equality with others in the way that they relate to and treat others in lower positions. For example, by honoring the input of others on decisions that impact them. This is important because self-control and self-determination are critical to human health.
Putting something before or above people
I have just watched “The Crown” (Netflix) on British royalty. It reminded me of an old insight that Bob Brinsmead shared with us decades ago- that whenever we put loyalty to something else above people, to something other than people, whether loyalty to law, to a religion or belief system, to God, to an institution, to a nation state or an ideology, to an ethnic group or race, then people tend to be ignored or abused.
People that were loyal, first and foremost, to the monarchy and its archaic traditions/protocols/rituals, people that put the monarchy first, then crushed and destroyed real people around them. Such loyalty led superiors to stifle the diverse personalities, emotions, and expressions of inferiors.
Our primary loyalty, our only loyalty, must always be first to real people and their individual needs, not to something above people that takes priority over them and their needs.
“There are some things Love (agape) cannot do. Therefore, there are some things God cannot do. “It is impossible for God to lie” is an example. In personal relationships there are some things that Love, along with its corollaries of wisdom and justice, that one cannot do. God cannot build Rome in a day because Rome implies a human culture, the formation of a collective character, the development of a language etc. God has entered a partnership, a covenant with his creation and therefore God is limited by the principles of freedom involved in that relationship. So God is not going to intervene as we might want him or even expect him to intervene. I could tease this out, but I suggest the propositions you repeat are not a watertight logic as those who advance these either/or propositions think they are.”
“It comes down to a question of whether love is worthwhile. Life is about the receiving and giving of love. The truth is discovered by getting involved and doing it. It’s a precious gift that took a long time to make and is very precious. Creation (not yet finished) has been a labour of love, and not without pain and suffering. No such thing as the Creator bringing creation to pass without a lot of time and effort. The Creation science wants us to believe God did it in the blink of an eye – easy stuff! The narrative functions with the image of an absolute Dictator Deity using unfettered omnipotent, omniscient, etc. powers, and based on a very wrong concept of God having dominion and requiring of all absolute unquestioning obedience – as the old Calvinists used to say, ‘perfect obedience to every decree to the utmost degree.’ Sounds like the ultimate subjection of the subjects to me.”
Love as Ultimate Reality, ultimate meaning Wendell Krossa
I embrace the view that there is an inexpressibly wondrous love at the core of reality and behind all life. And that love is the meaning and purpose of the cosmos, the world, and conscious human life. We are here to learn love, to exhibit love, to experience love in all the diversity of human stories and experiences. Love is all.
I base my conclusions on several points of reason:
1. Love is our highest and most meaningful ideal. It is the fundamental defining feature of what it means to be human. It is the best and highest thing that we know.
2. Historical Jesus argued that God was love of an unconditional nature. That central insight is expressed in his statement: “Do not engage eye for eye response to offenders, but instead love your enemy because God does, giving sun and rain to all alike” (Matthew 5:38-48, Luke 6:27-36). God was unconditional love. That was Historical Jesus’ greatest contribution to the history of human spiritual insights. (Note: Hist. Jesus appears to point to deity as unconditional reality. Whether he actually does or not, matters little. I do not regard him as some final authority. It is my conclusion.)
Unfortunately, the New Testament authors, shaped by Paul’s thinking, then distorted and buried that unconditional insight with a retreat to the highly conditional and retaliatory Christ of Paul (i.e. “Lord Jesus will return in blazing fire to punish and destroy all who do not believe” Paul’s gospel). The religion of Paul’s Christ myth was created as just another conditional tradition with correct beliefs to be an included insider/true believer, proper rituals, demanded sacrifice/payment, and righteous lifestyle necessary to identify oneself as a “saved” insider of the religion (versus “damned” outsiders).
All such religious conditions were backed with severe threats to those refusing to embrace the conditions- notably, temporal and eternal punishment and destruction. See Paul’s warning to the Corinthian Christians that God was punishing them with sickness and death as retribution for their sins. It would get worse as Paul warned in Romans 12:17-20. Ultimate and eternal vengeance was coming.
3. God as unconditional love is the central discovery of a modern spiritual experience movement- the “Near-Death Experience”. Many of those accounts detail an encounter with a Being of love/light so stunningly unconditional that it is inexpressible in its infinite transcendence and wonder. With that love there is no judgment, no condemnation, no exclusion of anyone, no demanded sacrifice or payment, no punishment or destruction. No conditions at all. None. That means no religion too.
Hence, my conclusion that all are safe in that love, in the end. All are included in that love.
(Note: Any advocacy for no conditions deity raises questions regarding how order and morality can be maintained with such an ultimate ideal. Hence, the following qualifier.)
Qualifier: Ultimate safety and inclusion for all does not mean excusing bad behavior here and now. There are social and natural consequences in this world and that is critical to healthy human development. All of us must learn to be fully responsible for our choices and actions and the consequences for others. People unable or unwilling to control their worst impulses should and will be restrained and even locked up. But that criminal justice response must always be restorative/rehabilitative, as much as possible.
Leo Tolstoy- “The whole trouble lies in that people think that there are circumstances/conditions when they may treat their fellow beings without love, but no such circumstances ever exist.”
And love at the core of reality/life does not mean there will be no suffering in life. Love cannot do some things. It cannot override the freedom of others and the natural freedom throughout life (i.e. predation, plate tectonics). It cannot cure disease with the wave of a magic wand. Finding solutions to such problems across history has involved endless struggle, trial and error responses, and just a lot of hard work by people intent on making life better.
God is a non-material reality and does not coercively invade/intervene in this material world to prevent harm. An alternative- God has incarnated in all humanity and it is up to us as the minds, feet, and hands of God to engage and solve problems in life. Problem-solving involves often slow processes of gradual discovery and improvement. It is entirely up to us, as the incarnations of God, to find the solutions to life’s imperfections and problems. Such is the nature of divine love and its respect for human freedom. The presence of God in humanity is persuasive, not coercive.
Also, if the NDErs and others are right, then this realm was purposely created as an imperfect arena in which to understand and fight wrong, to learn and struggle to do right, and to learn love in the process of some struggle. The highest lesson that we can learn is to “love your enemy”, and that often occurs in contrast with and response to situations of hate, brutality, betrayal and disappointment, among other offenses.
Love of enemy, most certainly, is not limited to an emotional state but is more often the intention to do the humane thing in response to the inhumane. It is a refusal to engage the dehumanizing cycles of “eye for eye” retaliation that renders us such petty caricatures of humanity, more animal-like than human.
Further, if we are all incarnations of a God that is love, then that makes love our essential nature also. We are not the fallen, sinful beings of mythology and religion. In our true human self and human spirit we are most essentially beings of love, most essentially good. Unfortunately, bad ideas in our narratives incite our inherited animal impulses and bring forth the worst in us at times. That is the battle between good and evil that runs down the center of every human heart, (Alex Solzhenitsyn).
Added note: Theologians, and many religious people, have largely ignored the Near-Death Experience (NDE) movement. Why? I would suggest that has to do with its central insight/discovery that God is a stunning unconditional love. That insight undermines the conditions of religious traditions. It overturns the fundamental nature of religion as a conditional institution. It spells the end of such religion. Much like the no conditions parables of Historical Jesus (e.g. the Prodigal Father, vineyard owner) where there was no judgment, no condemnation, no demand for sacrifice/payment, and no retribution/punishment.
A point or two to ponder
If ultimate reality (deity, God) is the stunning unconditional love that many NDEs point to, how would that change the way that we think, feel, and behave? How would that influence our treatment of others, notably “enemies”?
Toy with the idea… It won’t hurt.
What if “no conditions love” is the true nature of ultimate reality (i.e. deity, God), and is therefore the reason why deity created the cosmos and life- as an arena in which to learn such love? What if that love is our true home, the source from which we originated? What if that no conditions love is also our essential being- the core nature of our human self and spirit? What if ultimate reality has incarnated in all of us as the human spirit, in order to engage the imperfection of this world, to struggle against hate, offenders, and all sorts of inhumanity, all as an opportunity to learn how to respond with no conditions love?
What would happen if no conditions love was made the defining feature of humanity’s highest ideal and authority- deity? What if it were the central feature of human worldviews and belief systems? After all, what we believe does shape how we think and act. We do become just like the God that we believe in.
I am just asking, just suggesting things for consideration. I offer these points as alternatives to the dominant themes of conventional mythology and religion. Many theologians and religious people have ignored one of history’s latest spiritual movements and its singular discovery of the nature of ultimate reality as a stunningly, inexpressibly wondrous unconditional love. It overturns entirely the conditional nature of religion.
This discovery/insight that deity is no conditions love is something to add to the mix of things when thinking of ultimate reality, and ultimate meaning and purpose.
What can we know or understand?
While granting that we cannot empirically know a transcendent mystery that humanity has long called the “spiritual” or “God”, we can be reasonably certain of some basic parameters about such an ultimate reality that may be better understood as ultimate Consciousness, Mind, Intelligence, Creating Source, Self. We can conclude that such a reality is not defined by the monstrous projections of primitive mythology and much religion across history, including today. We know that “deity” is not tribally exclusive (favoring true believers, damning unbelievers), dominating (Lord, King), appeased by blood sacrifice, punitive or destructive (i.e. apocalypse, hell). We can emphatically reject all such features as inhumane and unworthy of Ultimate Good. If nothing else can be known, these negatives are a safe place to start.
I would push further and suggest that we can safely reason that ultimate Goodness or Love can be understood in terms of the best insight that we have discovered- no conditions love. I base this on the authority of what ordinary and very imperfect people have learned- i.e. parents, spouses, friends. Look at how they treat one another in the interactions of mundane daily life. They have learned to forgive endlessly the imperfections of others, to include all others without discrimination, to tolerate diversity, to treat all as equals (i.e. respecting the freedom and self-determination of others), in a word- to love unconditionally.
Each one of us pulls together the insights that help us to make sense of our conscious existence in a too often disappointingly imperfect world. We take insights that help us to alleviate our fears and to inspire hope that the events and situations of our life stories have some greater meaning, but that we may never fully understand this side of death. Love at the core goes a long way to providing such meaning.
Preface to Old Story/New Story themes Wendell Krossa
The belief/behavior relationship, or theology/ethics relationship, is as old as conscious humanity. We behave according to what we believe. We act in close relation to what we think.
People, driven/inspired by their primary impulse for meaning, have always tried to model their lives and societies according to some greater ideal or authority, mainly deity.
Plato did this with his argument that the ideal life and society should be shaped according to the invisible Forms or perfect Ideals. The Hebrews followed this pattern in the Old Testament, shaping all aspects of their lives and society according to what they believed was the law, word, and will of their God. Anthropologist Clifford Geertz noted this practice among the Balinese of Indonesia who built their villages and homes according to what they believed was the divine model.
The critical role of belief in shaping human behavior and society (inspiring, validating human behavior) makes it vitally important that our guiding ideals/authorities are fully humane, in line with common humanity’s ever-advancing understanding of the authentically humane in all areas of life. On the flip side, bad ideas will incite, shape, and validate bad behavior.
The 18 “Old story themes” below are some of the most dominant and influential ideas in history. They have shaped human consciousness across history via mythical and religious traditions. They continue to shape the worldviews of most moderns today in “secular” or ideological versions.
The consequences from these subhuman ideas have been, and still are, significantly damaging, both personally and across wider societies. Evidence? On the personal level see psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo’s Cruel God, Kind God. See also the Millennial Studies historians noted in sections below- Richard Landes, Arthur Mendel, and David Redles. They have detailed how the ‘apocalyptic millennial’ complex of ideas contributed to the mass-death movements of the past century (Marxism, Nazism) and are now influencing ‘environmental alarmism’. Mendel (Vision and Violence) was right to conclude that “apocalyptic has been the most violent and destructive idea in history”.
The project to embrace better alternatives is about the full transformation and liberation of consciousness, and consequently, more humane outcomes in human life. The old mythical/religious ideas are no longer credible for defining or explaining reality and life, i.e. myths of original paradise, the “Fall of man”, life subsequently declining toward something worse (apocalypse, ending), demand for atonement/sacrifice, promised salvation into restored paradise/utopia, and all the nasty features of ‘threat theology’- deity as judge, dominating Lord/King, enforcer of tribal divisions between true believers and unbelievers, and deity as punitive Destroyer. We know better today and we need to abandon these mind-deforming pathologies (monster gods) of our infantile past.
(Revised) Old story themes, new story alternatives (rethinking 18, or so, of the most fundamental ideas from across human history)
1. Old story theme: The myth of deity as a judging, punishing, and destroying reality that metes out final justice- rewarding the good, punishing the bad (i.e. threat theology). This myth continues as the cohering central idea of the world religions and is now also given expression in ‘secular’ versions such as vengeful Gaia, angry planet, pissed Mother Earth, retributive Universe, and payback karma- the new retaliatory, destroying gods of environmental alarmism, history’s latest apocalyptic movement.
The myth of God as a retaliating, punishing reality has long under-girded human justice as similarly retaliatory and punitive. From early human beginnings, belief in a punitive deity has incited and affirmed the demand for punitive response to human imperfection and failure.
This primitive view of deity as punitive, of God as the Ultimate Destroyer (via apocalypse, hell), is the single most important “bad idea” to engage and correct. All other bad religious ideas are anchored to this foundational pathology in human thought.
New story alternative: The “stunning new theology” that God (Ultimate Consciousness, Mind, Intelligence, Source) is an inexpressible “no conditions love”, a non-retaliatory Reality. The adjective “unconditional” points to our highest understanding of love and is therefore most critical for defining deity as transcendent “Goodness”. Takeaway? There is no ultimate judgment, no ultimate exclusion of anyone, no demand for payment or sacrifice to appease angry deity, no need for redemption or salvation, and no ultimate punishment or destruction of anyone (no such mind-deforming horror as “hell”).
Why bother with these speculative metaphysical corrections? Because we need to counter humanity’s “primal fear of after-life harm” that is the outcome of millennia of shaman/priests/pastors beating bad religious ideas into human consciousness and subconscious. Also, we need to sever the age-old relationship of validating bad behavior with bad beliefs. However you may try to affirm justice as punitive treatment of the failures of others, know that deity as unconditional reality does not validate such efforts. See “The Christian Contradiction (Historical Jesus versus Paul’s Christ myth)”, below.
None of the great world religions has ever presented the reality of an unconditional deity. All religion across history has been essentially about conditional reality- i.e. the required conditions to appease and please religious deities (conditions of right belief, proper religious rituals, required religious lifestyle, demanded sacrifices/payment for wrong, etc.).
The new theology of God as unconditional Love also overturns the most psychically damaging myth that has burdened and enslaved humanity from the beginning- the myth of divine retribution/punishment exhibited toward imperfect humanity through the nastier features of life. While there are natural and social consequences to living in this world and to our choices and behavior, there is no punitive Force or Spirit behind natural world events and the consequent suffering from such events (i.e. natural disasters, disease, or the predatory cruelty of others). This myth of punitive deity behind such things, whether angry God, vengeful Gaia, angry Planet, retributive Universe, or karma, has long burdened people with unnecessary guilt, shame, fear, and anxiety. Like the distressed Japanese woman who asked after the 2011 tsunami, “Are we being punished for enjoying life too much?”
Paul used this primitive threat theology on the Corinthians, claiming that their sicknesses and deaths were punishment from God for their sins.
(Note the qualifiers below on holding people accountable for their behavior, the need to restrain bad behavior, to encourage responsible human maturing and growth, and to embrace restorative justice approaches. All necessary for healthy human development, in this world.)
2. Old story theme: The myth of a “perfect beginning” and that God is obsessed with perfection in the world and life, that God creates perfection (e.g. Eden), that God is enraged at the subsequent loss of perfection, and God now wants to punish imperfection. This idea of a deity obsessed with perfection originated with the misunderstanding that any good and all-powerful God would only create a perfect world, and if things are not perfect now then blame corrupt humanity for mucking things up that were once perfect. It can’t be God’s fault.
We- humanity- have always had difficulty understanding and embracing imperfection in the world, in life and in ourselves. Imperfection, and fear of divine rage at imperfection, has long deformed human consciousness with fear, anxiety, shame, guilt, and depression. We rightly struggle to improve ourselves and others, and to improve life in general, but we ought to do so without the added psychic burden of fear that there is an angry deity threatening us over our remaining imperfection.
New story alternative: The world began in “chaotic imperfection” but has gradually evolved toward something more complex and organized. Life on this planet is never perfect, but with a lot of hard work we have gradually improved it. Over history, humanity has created something better out of the original imperfect, wilderness world.
In this new story theme, God has no problem with imperfection but includes it in the original creation. Imperfection (in a new story) serves the important purpose of providing an arena where humanity struggles with a messy wilderness situation in order to learn to create something better.
And, most critical, we learn the most important lessons of life in our struggle with our own imperfection. For example, we learn how to love in our struggle with the animal inheritance inside our brains, those base drives to tribally exclude, to dominate, to punish and destroy differing others. We learn what it means to be authentically human in our “righteous struggle against evil” (Joseph Campbell), the battle against evil that runs through the center of every human heart (Solzhenitsyn).
Perfection, aside from being boring, does not bring forth the best of the human spirit. To the contrary, struggle with imperfection in life, and in others, brings forth the best in humanity. See Julian Simon’s argument (Ultimate Resource) that our struggle with problems in the world pushes us to find creative solutions that benefit others. See also the comment below on Joseph Campbell’s outline of human story and our struggle with a personal monster or enemy (i.e. some life problem that may be physical, mental/emotional, interpersonal, financial, social, etc.). That struggle is where we gain insights and learn lessons that can help others. Personal suffering can also inspire empathy with others that similarly suffer.
(Note: The use of the term “imperfection” is not meant to generalize and diminish the horror and trauma that people suffer from natural disaster, disease, and the cruelty of others. But ‘old story’ explanations of the imperfection of the world as a fall from original perfection due to human corruption/sin, and subsequent imperfection introduced as punishment for that original sin… such myths tend to affirm deity as cruel, punitive, and destructive- i.e. God as the great obsessive-compulsive Punisher of imperfection. That only adds psychic suffering to general human suffering- the added burden of unnecessary mental, emotional suffering. We can do better and we can understand original imperfection in alternative ways. And this is the impulse to theodicy, as roughly the belief there is Ultimate Good/Love behind all. Add here the view that the world is an experience or learning arena.)
3. Old story theme (related to previous): The myth that humanity began as a more perfect species but then became corrupted/sinful (the “fall of man” myth). The idea of original human perfection, and subsequent human degeneration toward something worse, is still common in the “noble savage” mythology that dominates throughout academia- the myth that original hunter/gatherer people were more pure and noble but humanity has degenerated in civilization. See, for instance, Steven LeBlanc’s ‘Constant Battles’. Contemporary versions of “fallen humanity” mythology include Green religion’s belief that humanity is a “virus” or “cancer” on the Earth. These are pathologically anti-human views.
New story alternative: Humanity has emerged from the brutality of animal reality (original imperfection) but has gradually become more humane, less violent, and more civilized. See James Payne’s History of Force, also Stephen Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature. Further, the amassed evidence on humanity improving all areas of life across long-term history shows that “we are more creators than destroyers” (Julian Simon in Ultimate Resource).
A new alternative to “fallen humanity” myths will recognize that humanity, with human spirit and human consciousness, is intimately united with the greater Consciousness at the core of reality that is Love. This “union with deity” is more than relationship. It is more about essential nature. This means that the same Love that is God, is also the essential nature of our human spirit or human self. We are most essentially “beings of Love”. We are fundamentally good. We are not “fallen humanity possessing a core ‘sinful nature’” as we have long been told by mythological and religious traditions.
The real issue is not how far humanity has fallen (the mythical perspective) but the real wonder is how far we have risen (the evidence-based perspective) from our brutal animal and primitive human past. Our improvement over history is evidence of the essential goodness of humanity naturally emerging over time.
(Note: How to explain continuing bad human behavior? We have inherited a core animal brain with its base impulses to tribalism and exclusion of differing others (small band mentality), to domination of others (alpha male/female), and to retaliatory and destructive response to others viewed as “enemies”. Our human consciousness/spirit, existing alongside our inherited animal side, explains the great “battle between good and evil that takes place in every human heart”, (Alexander Solzhenitsyn). The bad side in humanity is not “inherited sin” but is better understood in terms of the inherited animal in us. See Lyall Watson’s “Dark Nature”. Fortunately, to paraphrase Jeffrey Schwartz, “We are not our brains”.)
4. Old story theme: The myth that the world began as an original paradise and that ancient “golden age” has been lost and the trajectory of life is now “declining”, or degenerating, toward something worse (“Each present moment is a degeneration from previous moments”, Mircea Eliade).
The trajectory of life as “a decline toward something worse” is a core feature of apocalyptic mythology.
New story alternative: Life does not decline overall but the long-term trajectory of life shows that it actually “improves/rises” toward something ever better. Humanity, as essentially good and creative, is now responsible for the ongoing improvement of life and the world. (Note Julian Simon’s conclusion that over the long-term, we- humanity- have been “more creators than destroyers”.)
Evidence of life improving over past millennia and most especially over recent centuries: Julian Simon’s Ultimate Resource, Greg Easterbrook’s A Moment on the Earth, Bjorn Lomborg’s Skeptical Environmentalist, Indur Goklany’s The Improving State of the World, Matt Ridley’s Rational Optimist, Ronald Bailey’s The End of Doom, Desrocher and Szurmak’s Population Bombed, Bailey and Tupy’s Ten Global Trends, Hans Rosling’s Factfulness, James Payne’s History of Force, Stephen Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment Now, and others.
On the longer “improving” trend of the overall cosmos and the long-term emergence of life toward more complexity, organization, and suitability for carbon-based life to mediate human consciousness, see Brian Green’s ‘The Universe Story’ and Harold Morowitz’s ‘The Emergence of Everything’. Further, even Darwin affirmed that evolution trended toward something more “perfect”.
This theme of long-term improvement, of a fundamental direction toward something better, is critical for countering apocalyptic nihilism and affirming evidence-based hopefulness.
5. Old story theme: The myth that natural disasters, disease, human cruelty, and death are expressions of divine punishment. This adds the unnecessary psychic burden of fear, anxiety, guilt and shame to already unbearable physical suffering. As noted earlier, Paul tormented the Corinthians with this argument that their sicknesses and deaths were punishment from God for their sins.
New story alternative: While there are natural and social consequences all through life, there is no punitive, destroying deity behind the imperfections of life. Ultimately there is only Love at the core of reality (see alternatives below on the relationship of Love to the freedom and randomness in life).
6. Old story theme: The myth that humanity has been rejected by the Creator, that we are separated from our Source and we need to be reconciled, we need to restore the broken relationship with God, via a violent blood sacrifice.
New story alternative: No one has ever been separated from the unconditional Love at the core of reality. That Love has incarnated in all humanity in the human spirit and consciousness. That love is the essence of the human self or person, though its expression is often hindered and buried by the free choice of people to act inhumanely.
But be assured that no one has ever been separated from the indwelling love that is God, no matter their failure to live as human. God as love is always closer than our breath or atoms. God as love is inseparable from our common human spirit and consciousness.
Note: God incarnated in all humanity demands a radical rethink of theology or God theory. There has never been any such thing as a separate “Sky God” up in some distant heaven. God has always been intensely and immediately present in all humanity and this is evident in the best of humanity, in all human goodness. God is present in all human raging against evil and all human suffering. God is present in all human effort to make life better. There has never been any such thing as an absent or silent God. Just listen to and observe the goodness in people all around you.
Again, as stated similarly in number 3 above, this new alternative overturns entirely the historically persistent myths of “fallen”, “essentially sinful”, or “bad-to-the-bone” humanity.
Further, the idea of God incarnated equally in every person presents a new element for affirming equality among all people, and equal respect for all. God incarnated in humanity offers a stunning new element to defining the essential core of being human- what we really are as human persons. The Near-Death Experiences repeatedly note this feature of the astounding human unity with deity- of inseparable oneness.
7. Old story theme: The myth of a cosmic dualism, a Good spirit in opposition to a bad spirit- a demonic entity or Satan. Deity is thereby portrayed as embracing an essentially tribal reality- a good God that wars against evil opponents, a God that favors believers and hates/punishes unbelievers. This idea of a fundamental cosmic dualism is played out through varied human dualisms that mimic the cosmic dualism. We see this in the tribal mindset of “us versus our enemies”, true believers versus unbelievers, or other racial, national, religious, or ideological divisions (include the use of gender as an oppositional divide). Dualism thinking deforms human identity and buries the fact of our essential oneness in the human family. Dualism thinking affirms the inherited animal impulse that orients people to small-band thinking and behavior (the tribal exclusion of differing others). Embracing dualism as a divine reality and ideal will orient people to opposing, dominating, and fighting/destroying others as ‘enemies’.
New story alternative: We all come from the same Oneness and we are all, by natural right, free equals in the one human family. We are not essentially defined by the tribal categories and divisions that we create to set ourselves apart from one another. We are most essentially defined by our common human spirit and human consciousness. And the essential nature of our human spirit is universal or unconditional love. That love is the expression of our authentic core humanity.
Added note: Most modern story-telling (e.g. movies) continues to re-enforce the primitive themes of dualism and tribalism. Note the all-too-common movie theme of good guy versus bad guy, and ‘justice’ as the good guy beating and destroying the bad guy in some way. There is nothing in such narratives about the oneness of the human family. Instead, only further affirmation of infantile tribalism and endless cycles of eye-for-eye retaliation between people. The only dualism that we ought to be concerned about is that of “the battle-line between good and evil that runs through the heart of every person”, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. This is the dualism between our true human spirit or self and our inherited animal impulses.
Caution: The above comment on essential oneness is not intended to diminish the urgency to fight evil and affirm good in this world. But some have suggested that dualism, and the apparent separation related to dualism- the division between good and bad- is only a temporal feature of this material realm. This world with its varied dualisms provides an arena for us to live out our stories and engage our varied “righteous struggles against evil”. Others have said that we only experience and learn what good means in our struggle with the opposites of good- i.e. the bad in others, and in life. Bad/evil in this realm provides a contrasting context in which we experience and learn good. Joseph Campbell suggests that this dualistic realm is where “we act out our differing roles on God’s stage”. But he and others suggest that the dualism between good and bad exists only here in this world. It is temporal and not part of any greater timeless reality. See also Natalie Sudman’s “The Application of Impossible Things”.
Further note on oneness: The oneness of all, along with the core unconditional nature of deity, counters the myth of some people as especially chosen of God and favored by God more than others. There are no “elect people”, or special “children of God”. The people who see themselves as “true believers”, more so than others, are not closer to God than any other people. Essential oneness means that all humanity, that is every person, has God within them, equally. All people have equal access to the immediacy of God that is everywhere present as the sustaining Core or Source of all reality. Further, there are no special “holy places”- temples, churches- where limited religious groups gain more access to God than the ordinary lives and daily mundane spaces of all people. Essential oneness is a more humane theological basis for human equality.
8. Old story theme: The myth of a looming apocalypse as the final judgment, punishment, and destruction of all things. The myth of an apocalyptic ending embraces the pathological theology of God as the destroyer of all things. This ideal has incited endless destructive violence among the followers of such an ideal. Arthur Mendel called apocalyptic “the most violent and destructive idea in history” (Vision and Violence).
To embrace and advocate apocalyptic mythology is to embrace and advocate the epitome expression of nihilism- i.e. the complete and final destruction of life and the world.
Apocalyptic mythology still dominates much of modern story-telling, whether movies, TV, literature (the sub-genre of “post-apocalyptic”), and environmental alarmism or Green religion.
New story alternative: There are problems all through this imperfect world but there is no looming threat of final destruction and ending (the religious understanding of apocalypse since Zoroaster). The apocalyptic alarmist exaggerates problems in the world out to “end of days” scenarios, thereby distorting the true state of things, and that promotes fear (the survival impulse) and even destructive violence in populations. The inciting of violence is evident in the consequent felt need of people to “coercively purge” what is believed to be some great threat. See the notes in following sections on the Marxist, Nazi, and Green apocalyptic movements and their mass-death outcomes.
In the new story alternative theme there is no destroying Force or Spirit behind the harsher elements of this world. Ultimately, there is only creating and sustaining Love. And again, the imperfection of this world serves the purpose of providing a learning arena for humanity to struggle with in order to create something ever better.
Further, the destructive elements in the cosmos and world exist as part of the ongoing creative process (i.e. death as entirely natural and serving the purpose of making room for new life), just as Second Law dissipation of energy is “virtuous waste” that serves the creation of more order (Huber and Mills in Bottomless Well). But again, the element of destruction in the natural world is not evidence of some punitive deity threatening a final punishment and ending of all things. (See also the notes below on “natural consequences”.)
Further helpful here: In response to the theodicy question “Is this the best possible world?” some have made the argument that there are also beneficial outcomes from the destructive elements of nature. For example, the plate tectonic movement that generates destructive earthquakes also generates mountain-building, which creates differences in climate and that contributes to the development of diversity in emerging life (i.e. different environmental pressures on populations and the change that brings forth). Our project is to adapt to such things and we have done better over time. This is evident across history in the decreasing loss of life from natural disasters.
9. Old story theme (key element- instantaneous transformation of life versus “gradualism” in the trajectory of history and life):
The always “imminent” element in apocalyptic proclamations (i.e. the “end is nigh”) demands urgent action to “save” something, to save the world or life. The exaggerated threat of looming apocalyptic ending incites the survival/salvation urge in people. Frightened people then feel the need to take immediate/urgent and sometimes violent action to purge what is presented to them as the threatening thing. Alarmed populations are then more easily manipulated to embrace policies that will abandon the democratic process and instead will support “coercive purification” schemes directed at purported threats from opponents/enemies. “End-of-life” or “end-of-world” claims incite populations to embrace policies that will coercively and instantaneously install their version of salvation and security in some promised paradise.
Alarmism that exaggerates and distorts the true state of things has too often unleashed the totalitarian impulse across history.
We saw the violence of instantaneous transformation policies in the 100 million deaths that stemmed from Marxist urgency to coercively purge the world of the threat from “destructive capitalism”. Marxism pushed for “instantaneous transformation of societies”, to immediately install its vision of communal utopia. We also saw apocalyptic urgency and totalitarianism in the 50-60 million deaths from Nazi alarmism and consequent action to violently purge Germany of the imagined threat from “destructive Jewish Bolshevism”. Nazis then coercively pushed to establish the millennial paradise of the Third Reich. And we are seeing “coercive purification” again today in the environmental alarmist push to save the world from “destructive humanity in industrial civilization” and to restore the lost paradise of a wilderness world (Mendel in Vision and Violence, and Herman in The Idea of Decline).
New story alternative: There is no “end of days” just over the horizon. Rather, life is improving gradually as creative humanity solves problems. The escapist desire for an instantly-installed utopia misses the point of the human story as the struggle with imperfection throughout the world, a struggle that is gradually succeeding. Such struggle is essential to human development, learning, and growth. Mendel in Vision and Violence is good on this issue of “gradualism” versus the violence of “instantaneous transformation” movements. Humanity is learning to patiently improve life through democratic approaches that do not coercively overwhelm the freedom of differing others.
The search for instantaneous salvation comes from the irresponsible escapist mindset of apocalyptic types who cannot endure the struggle to gradually and democratically improve an imperfect world. Such people irresponsibly seek to escape to some instantly installed utopia, even if coercively and violently established.
10. Old story theme: The demand for a salvation plan- a required sacrifice or atonement (debt payment, punishment) as necessary to appease/satisfy some great threat or threatening reality, whether a religious God or vengeful Gaia, angry planet, upset Mother Earth, punitive Universe, or payback karma.
New story alternative: In a stunning rejection of atonement mythology, Jesus rejected the payment of debt as the required demand of God. He advocated the highest form of love, or goodness, as freely giving to everyone without expecting any payment in return. He stated in Luke 6:30-36, “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 those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then… you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”.
Jesus’ argument is that ‘no conditions love’ (not expecting payment) would enable people to be like God who was similarly “no conditions love”. The argument of Luke 6 (also Matthew 5) is that if we do this- give without expecting payment in return- then we will be like God who does not expect payment. God loves and freely gives, and does not expect anything in return. This overthrows the age-old religious belief that God demands payment or punishment for wrongs, that God demands atonement or sacrifice.
The fundamental nature of God as unconditional love means absolutely no conditions. None. To affirm clearly- there is no divine demand for ultimate payment, sacrifice, or conditions to fulfil. With ultimate safety secured, the only “salvation” that we need to engage is the ongoing and gradual struggle to make life better in this world.
The reality of God as “no conditions Love” requires that we make all the logical conclusions that arise from such a stunning new theology. Again, the critically important one is that an authentically unconditional God will not demand any conditions of payment or sacrifice. God does not demand a balancing response to any goodness or love that has been shown. Jesus clearly argued this in his Matthew 5 and Luke 6 statements where he taught that an authentic universal love will not just love those who love in return (i.e. family, friends, or fellow tribe members). Unconditional love will also love those who do not love in return. Unconditional love will freely give to all and not demand any return payment.
Unconditional love does good to everyone without expecting a similar response, without expecting any payback (include sacrifice here). This is how Jesus further defined a God that “loved enemies”.
I am belaboring this point because it is so critical to a new more humane way of thinking and responding to human imperfection. It is critical to grasping the stunning nature of authentic love.
Jesus rejected the principle of debt payment as a fundamental requirement of divine love. Again, this is clearly expressed in the statement to “give/love expecting nothing in return”. Keep in mind that in these passages (Matt.5 and Luke 6) he urged people to love in a new unconditional manner because that was how God loved. He was arguing for a new standard of love that would show what God was like, that would enable people to do just what God did, to be just like God (i.e. “Love your enemy because God does”).
Debt payment, or more generally the righting of wrongs had long been the requirement before offering forgiveness. Payment or punishment had been the basis of atonement thinking from the beginning. That was based on the archaic belief that God, as holy, must punish all wrongs properly and fully, and must rectify all wrongs by demanding payment or retribution of some sort. God must right all wrong, rebalance the scales of justice in the cosmos. Wrong done had to be rebalanced by right done. God could not just forgive, accept, and love without first making all wrongs right. That was necessary to restore divine honor. The God of that old atonement/sacrifice mythology could not just freely forgive and love.
That old theology made no sense because it argued that the love of God, based on prerequisite payment/punishment/atonement, was something less than the best of human love. We are expected to just forgive in an unlimited manner (“seventy times seven”), to accept all people universally, and to love without demanding prerequisite conditions or similar response. Again that statement- “give without expecting payment in return, love without expecting love in return”. Parents, spouses, and friends have all learned that this no conditions love is the best and highest form of love for daily relationships. Surely God as Ultimate Goodness and Love would, at the least, love as well as we are expected to love- that is, unconditionally.
In his parables Jesus further corrected the old religious belief that divine love was conditional and demanded full payment or punishment. His short stories illustrated the ‘no conditions’ love that defined his new theology. In his stories he stressed the point that divine love did not require the payment of debt, or more generally the righting of wrongs, before forgiving, accepting, and loving. Note this element in his Prodigal Son story where the father does not demand a sacrifice, restitution, or repayment before forgiving and fully accepting/loving the wayward son. All such conditions were brushed aside by the father. No conditions love meant no conditions at all. This teaching is a stunning rejection of the long history of sacrifice/payment as required to appease demanding deity.
I reject, as Jesus appears to have done, the old theology that God as ultimate Goodness and Love is held to a lesser standard of love than we are held to. I reject the idea that God remembers all wrongs and can demand conditions before forgiving, while we are told that authentic love, for us, means “keeping no record of wrongs” for some future making-of-things-right. Our love is to be without condition because that is actually how God loves. And it is the unconditional nature of forgiveness and love that constitute the greatness and glory of these features, not the conditions of religious holiness or honor mythology with its prerequisite demands of offenders first making things right.
Unfortunately, Paul refused the new theology of Jesus and retreated back to traditional conditional theology- a punitive God that demanded full payment for sin before forgiving anyone. We inherited Paul’s version of Christianity with its orientation toward punitive and conditional treatment of others. Note the clear New Testament statements on this feature of requisite payment as essential to the Christian gospel. The book of Hebrews (chapter 9), for example, states that “without the shedding of blood (sacrifice) there is no forgiveness”. The book of Romans (chapters 3-5) states that there is only salvation (“saved from wrath”) after the condition of a blood payment/sacrifice has been fulfilled.
And of course, in this life people should learn to be responsible for their behavior, to make amends for wrongs done, and to pay their debts. That is all part of normal human development and growth. This is never in question, but it has no part of the new unconditional theology of Jesus. It has no place in authentic love. Our love, just like God’s love, is not to be conditional on anything done, or not done, by others.
Note: The theology of Jesus is not a prescriptive model for economic/commercial relationships in this world. Jesus was speaking to ultimate realities and the atonement mythology of his era. Further, my reference to “Historical Jesus” is not an appeal to him as some special religious authority on these issues. I refer to him simply because he continues to be revered as a notable religious icon.
And I would repeatedly emphasize the larger background context to these themes- the profound contradiction that exists between the core message of Historical Jesus in the “Q Wisdom Sayings gospel”, and Paul’s Christ myth (the oxymoronic Christian “Jesus Christ”). These two contrary gospels illustrate the profound contradiction between the themes of unconditional and conditional, non-retaliation and retaliation, non-punitive/non-destructive and punitive/destructive, among other contrasting features.
11. Old story theme: The belief that retribution or payback is true justice (i.e. eye for eye), based on the myth that God is a retributive reality that demands the reward of the good and the punishment of the bad. That retributive God demands full punishment of sin. Such hurt for hurt theology, or pain returned for pain caused, still under-girds much thinking on justice today. Though it is often framed as the practical need to present the punishment of offenders as a warning to others, that punitive response to human failure serves as a deterrence example for the general public. Psychology now recognizes that such punitive approaches do not work with criminal offenders or children. Punitive response to human imperfection and failure “does not teach alternative humane behaviors”.
New story alternative: Again, unconditional love keeps no record of wrongs, it does not obsess over imperfection, and it forgives all freely and without limit (“seventy times seven” or unlimited). But yes, there are natural and social consequences to bad behavior in this world. All of us are to be accountable and responsible for our choices and actions. This is essential to human development in this life. But all justice in response to human failure should be restorative or rehabilitative.
As Leo Tolstoy wrote about the criminal justice system, “The whole trouble is that people think there are circumstances when one may deal with human beings without love, but no such circumstances ever exist. Human beings cannot be handled without love. It cannot be otherwise, because mutual love is the fundamental law of human life.”
Added note: Yes, there is value in remembering past bad behavior, and the outcomes of such behavior, as a warning to others. The Holocaust is a signature example of this value. But we remember the bad behavior of others in a larger context of consciously forgiving, with an orientation to restorative justice that is victim-centered (i.e. fully deals with restitution issues). Simon Wiesenthal’s “Justice, Not Vengeance” illustrates the struggle for balance regarding these concerns.
12. Old story theme: The myth of future or “after-life” judgment, exclusion, punishment, and destruction (Hell). The fear of after-life harm is the “primal human fear” (Michael Grosso). Myths of after-life harm have added a magnitude of order increase in fear to the already burdensome fear of death that many people carry.
(Insert: Why bother with speculation about such unknowable realities as after-life reality? Why not just dismiss or ignore such unknowable things? Well, because the speculation has already been done by major belief systems and religions across history and across all the cultures of the world. Pathology- bad mythology like the horrific myth of hell- already exists in human consciousness and ignoring it does nothing to solve the problems that the pathology causes- i.e. unnecessary fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, depression. While all after-life theorizing may be considered speculative, we can at least offer more humane alternatives with healthier parameters that eliminate unnecessary worry regarding death, while also focusing human orientation toward full involvement with here and now reality.)
New story alternative: Again, remember the baseline ideal- that authentic love is unconditional and does not demand the fulfilment of conditions. Unconditional love does not threaten ultimate exclusion or punishment. It embraces all with the same scandalous mercy and unlimited generosity. It gives sun and rain to all, to both good and bad. All- both good and evil- are ultimately safe and included in the love of an unconditional God. Such love scandalizes the mind that is oriented to ultimate (or after-life) conditional payback justice, or “deserved” punishment.
Note again the stories that Jesus told of good, moral people who were offended by the unconditional generosity and love that was shown by, for example, the vineyard owner and the father of the prodigal son. The all-day vineyard workers and the older brother of the prodigal were upset because, in their view, such mercy and generosity were not fair or moral. Everyone received the same reward, the same generous inclusion, in the end. It was not proper justice, in their eyes. Other “righteous” people were also offended and scandalized by Jesus when he invited local outcasts and scoundrels to meals with them. He did not respect the proper tribal boundaries between good and bad people, between true believers and unbelievers. He was too scandalously universal and unconditional.
All such material points to the conclusion that there will be no after-life harm. We die into a stunning no conditions Love that is our origin and final home. We are all safe in that Love (i.e. sun and rain are indiscriminately and generously given to all alike, to both good and bad people). We are never separated from that Love.
Insert: Make the important distinction here between Ultimate Reality and life in this imperfect world. We can recognize the ultimate final reality of God as absolutely no conditions Love but not deny the reality of natural and social consequences in this life. The need to take personal responsibility for behavior is critical to human development. Love here and now is responsible to restrain violence and to protect the innocent, even with force. But our embrace of the ideal of ultimate unconditional love will orient our treatment of human failure and offense away from punitive approaches and toward restorative approaches. An unconditional attitude will recognize that, despite the offense and scandal to conventional payback justice, all of us return safely to the same no conditions Love that birthed us and is our final home. We are all one family, despite our diverse failures to live as fully human in this world.
Add here that self-judgment and self-punishment are the most devastating experiences that human persons can embrace and endure. Most people do not need further threat of ultimate judgment and punishment from some greater reality.
13. Old story theme: The myth of a hero messiah that will use superior force (“coercive purification”) to overthrow enemies, to purge the world of evil, and to bring in a promised utopia. This myth provides the validation to abandon the historical process of gradual improvement, via creative human freedom and endeavor. Hero messiah mythology affirms the demand for overwhelming revolutionary violence that seeks to instantly purge some “corrupt” entity that is viewed as the threat, and then re-install some lost paradise.
We saw this resort to “violent force against an imagined enemy” recently with ISIS in Syria (the struggle to bring on the final annihilation/Armageddon battle and then spread the caliphate across the world). We have also seen the same violence in Jewish history (Old Testament) and Christian history (Crusades, Inquisitions, persecution of heretics).
The embrace of revolutionary violence in the name of God stems from the behavior/belief relationship- that people across history have based their behavior on their beliefs about deity. As Harold Ellens says, “If your God uses force, then so may you, to get your way against your ‘enemies’”.
Again, the great ideals that we embrace will shape our thinking, our feeling, and our responses/behavior. We become just like the God that we believe in. Bad myths like coercive, destroying deity have repeatedly incited people to violent, destructive action, to act as the agents of their violent, destructive God to destroy some enemy and save something that was believed to be under dire and imminent threat from that enemy. Far too often across history the belief in divine violent force has been misappropriated to validate unnecessary harshness and cruelty toward fellow human beings.
New story alternative (see also “16th bad idea” below): A God of authentic love does not intervene with overwhelming force that overrides human freedom and choice. Further, a non-intervening deity helps to explain the gradualism of improving life. It is entirely up to humanity to make the world a better place, in all ways, and to do so while respecting the freedom of others to differ from us.
This is to say that there is no hero messiah, no tribal deity that will intervene with superior force to conquer some enemy of ours and grant us our vision of a paradise with our enemies excluded as per the vision of Revelation where unbelievers are cast out to suffer eternal rejection and punishment.
Note: This point recognizes the valid need at times (police, military) to use legal force to restrain irrational violence. The legitimate use of force is to be distinguished from the harsh mythology that drives ISIS and drove historical Christian violence against fellow Christians that disagreed over theological issues, often very minor disagreements. Note, for example, the shameful incident of Calvin putting his fellow Christian theologian, Servetus, to death over the placement of an adjective in a sentence.
We are seeing the advocacy for coercive force today against fellow citizens in the climate debate. The hysterical exaggeration of natural change in nature, out to apocalyptic-scale scenarios, has clouded the minds of many and has incited the demand for coercive force (i.e. ban, silence, and even criminalize skeptics).
14. Old story theme: The fallacy of Biblicism, the myth that religious holy books are more special and authoritative than ordinary human literature, and that people are obligated to live according to the holy book as the will, law, or word of God. This myth argues that people must submit to divine conditions, or some heavenly model, as outlined by their holy book.
New story alternative: We evaluate all human thought and writing according to basic criteria of right and wrong, good and bad, or humane and inhumane, as agreed upon in common human rights codes or constitutions. Holy books are not exempted from this process of discernment between good and bad.
Further, our highest authority is our own personal consciousness of right and wrong as tuned by common understanding of such things in widely adopted human rights codes and constitutions that are embraced by the entire human family.
15. Old story theme: The myth of God as King, Ruler, Lord, or Judge. The idea that God relates vertically to humanity in domination/submission forms of relating.
New story alternative: There is no domination/subservience relationship of humanity to God. Jesus expressed the divine ideal when he said, “Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant”. True greatness is to serve the other and not to dominate or control others. The greatness of God is exhibited in serving, not existing above to rule or dominate. God is not “above” humanity but has incarnated in all people as equals. God relates horizontally to humanity.
This is another stunning correction to traditional God theories.
We see the presence of this street-level God in all daily, mundane human goodness and love expressed toward others, especially toward enemies, which is the highest expression of authentic love or goodness. When we love unconditionally, we tower in stature as maturely human. We become the hero of our story and conquer our real monster and enemy, the animal inheritance that is within each of us. See the human story outline below.
This portrayal of God as an egalitarian or equality advocate, and not a superior controlling entity, is more of the stunning new theology of Jesus. He is saying in effect, if you think that I am an incarnation of God, a son of God, then I will tell you just what God is like. God does not dominate people like a lord, king, or ruler. God relates to all as equals, serving others, and not lording over them. That is the true greatness of God or anyone- to serve. As an equal.
This comment of Jesus overturns the entire history of human thinking on gods as dominating realities, i.e. lords, kings, rulers. One of the earliest and most primitive of all myths is that humans “were created to serve the gods”, to do their will and work, to provide food for them. Jesus overturned that primitive thinking that divine/human relationships were domination/subservience relationships. He said that type of thinking belonged to primitive people (“the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them”). But if you wanted to be a great human being, a hero, then you should not dominate or control others, he said. That is the secret to true greatness. To respect/honor the freedom and self-determination of all others as true equals.
16. Old story theme: The idea that humanity is obligated to know, serve, and have some relationship with an invisible reality (deity), to give primary loyalty to something outside of and above people (i.e. a law, will, or word of God). This has often led to neglect and abuse of real people.
New story alternative: Our primary loyalty is to love and serve real people around us. Their needs, here and now, take priority in life.
A 17th Old Story theme (related to the earlier theme, in the list above, of a hero-messiah that will intervene to save)
One of humanity’s greatest frustrations has been the apparent “the silence of God” across history. The Holocaust is the iconic example of this traumatizing silence of God.
Where was God when natural disasters took hundreds of thousands of lives? Where was God when human cruelty went unhindered in mass-death movements? Such apparent absence should put to rest the common religious myth of a miraculously intervening God. The evidence has long been final that there never was any such thing as a supernaturally intervening deity that would, for example, violate natural law to protect or rescue people.
What then should we conclude? God is good but powerless to help humanity? Or the atheists are right that there is no God? No. I would offer that the evidence simply urges us to rethink the great question of how God relates to this world. Theologies like Panentheism (not Pantheism) are wrestling with this issue.
And some versions of the Deist’s alternative are not much better than atheism. God is not the absent Creator who starts the whole thing running and then disappears off to some far away heaven to wait and watch as natural law works throughout life.
A new theory or theology is emerging that argues that God has incarnated in all humanity. God did not incarnate only in special ‘holy’ persons like the Christian Jesus. Rather, God has incarnated in all humanity in a oneness with the common human spirit or human consciousness. That human spirit has gradually emerged and developed as more humane across history. This maturing humanity is evident in the trends to decreasing violence, more democratic societies, and generally improved human well-being (the improvement of all areas of life).
And as Bob Brinsmead notes, the improvement in life has been a long, slow process of gradually developing understanding and practise. It has, for instance, taken millennia for us to understand disease and come up with medical cures. See the gradualism arguments in Arthur Mendel’s ‘Vision and Violence’.
We see this common human spirit, or God spirit, emerging and developing in all human goodness, whether expressed in commerce, art, sports, medicine, agriculture, and all areas where people contribute to making life better and just having fun while doing so.
As some have stated- we are the voice, hands, and feet of God in this world.
Conclusion? God has never been silent or absent. There has never been a Sky God up above the world in some heaven, above and outside of humanity, doing things to the world and to people from outside (the “yoyo God”, coming down to intervene in some way and then going back up). To the contrary, God has always been within all things as the creating Sustainer of all reality, and especially within the human family. This means that God is present in all human misery and is visible in all human raging against suffering and evil. God is always present in all human action to prevent evil, to solve problems, and to improve life. Just as God has always been in all humanity across history and present inspiring all good and useful human endeavor. This means that it has always been our responsibility to prevent wrong and to promote good/right in our world. Yes, it is entirely up to us. We must stop looking to the heavens for what is right here and now, in us.
Add this feature to your theology- God is at our very core, as the human impulse to love, to be something better. God is inseparably united with the love that defines us at our best. God is at the core of the real or authentic human self and is evident in the human impulse to be more humane as expressed in all human goodness.
Conclusion? God has always been closer to us than our own breath or atoms. God has never been absent or silent when people have suffered from natural disaster or human cruelty. Religious mythology has never framed this immanent feature properly. The immanence of deity speaks to the fundamental “oneness” behind all things. Even quantum mechanics points to this foundational oneness reality.
The confusion here over silent deity also has to do with the element of freedom or the inseparable relationship of love and freedom. God as love does not coercively overwhelm the independence, self-determination, and freedom of others. Better, God respects human freedom profoundly and influences with gentle, quiet impulses to do the right thing, what we feel is right (i.e. God persuades and does not coerce).
Part of the human confusion over how God relates to this world has to do with our inability to grasp that divine Love prizes freedom highly and will not overwhelm or violate it. Authentic moral goodness emerges only from authentic freedom of choice. Such love entails great risk as authentically free people may choose wrongly. The upside is that nothing in life is pre-planned or predestined. We are free to create our own unique story, to become the heroes of our own life adventure. And there is nothing more heroic than choosing no conditions love, for even the enemy, as the supreme height of human achievement. Then we tower in stature like a Nelson Mandela.
Note: The above comments relate to one of the options offered in Jewish “Protest Theology” that emerged after the Holocaust (i.e. the idea of God willing/choosing to not intervene in human freedom). Others have suggested that, as spirit, God cannot intervene in material reality, aside from gentle suasion on the human spirit and consciousness.
And of course, aside from these points, there are still the myriad unexplainable and fascinating “coincidences” scattered through personal human stories that we may either view as just random, or the work of Providence. Interesting that people tend to explain good coincidences as Providence, but not so much the bad ones.
Added discussion group post from Bob Brinsmead: “____, many thanks for sending the link to this great Wikipedia article on Process Theology. I would have to say that I agree with the main thrust of the thesis.
“To say that God could have stopped the Holocaust but refrained from stopping it is very unsatisfactory to me. I agree with the argument of the PROCESS theologians here. If God is committed to love, then God is committed to human freedom. God can use persuasion but not coercion of the human will. Love would not allow God to do something that was inhuman (interfere, coerce, etc.). If you look at history and daily experience, there is no other conclusion that seems to be either logically or ethically possible. It is also hard to see God acting contrary to the laws of nature or the laws of physics.”
18. One more Old Story Theme, New Story Alternative to add to the list below…
While human selfishness and greed are present in any approach to life, these features do not most essentially define industrial civilization and its outcomes. Collectivists have argued that the free individual model that developed over past centuries in England (i.e. the “classic Liberalism” that protected the individual rights and freedom of all citizens, equally) orients populations to destructive selfishness, greed, disconnect from nature, and violence, among other pathology. But that is not generally true. More importantly, with the fundamental protection of private property rights, the free individual model has unleashed human creativity as never before, along with environmental concerns, to achieve unimaginable new heights in the improvement of all aspects of our lives, and the world in general.
Now the Old story theme related to this: The myth of the moral and spiritual superiority of the simple lifestyle with low consumption (i.e. self-produced, using only local resources). This is related to “noble savage” mythology, the belief that primitive hunter/gatherers were more pure and environmentally conservative before humanity “fell” in developing civilization, falling even further in the last few centuries of industrial civilization with its ever-growing abundance. This myth fosters endless guilt and shame over consumption and the enjoyment of the good life. ‘Small is Beautiful’ by Schumacher was an affirmation of this mythology. Note that it is most often wealthy Western elites that advocate this “morally superior primitivism” lifestyle for poorer people in developing areas.
New story alternative: The search for a better life is the fundamental urge of love- to responsibly improve one’s life and the state of one’s family. And it is the free choice of people to enjoy what they wish to use and enjoy. The abundance that most people enjoy today, with an ever-increasing proportion of humanity moving into middle class status, is part of the larger trajectory of developing technological, industrial civilization that is also lessening environmental impacts.
For example, the trend of continuing world urbanization is concentrating more people in smaller and more efficient spaces- e.g. economies of scale- that lessen pressure on natural areas (see population expert Julian Simon’s ‘Ultimate Resource’). Industrial society further decreases per capita consumption of varied resources with ongoing technological development (the “de-materialization” trend). Thus, the general creation of wealth has also enabled more developed areas to better care for and improve their environments. This overturns the environmental alarmist argument that industrial society is “destroying the world”. See “Environmental transition” research, for example, by Indur Goklany. Also, Desrocher and Szurmak’s Population Bombed.
Added note: There is no finalized consensus on how much of the natural world humans can engage, use, and change. We are a legitimate species and not an intruding “virus or cancer” in the view of those who want a more untouched wilderness world. And from today’s progressing industrial civilization note the emerging trends like ‘peak agriculture’ and the return of agricultural lands to nature as, with safe GM crop inputs, we produce more crops on the same or less land. Note also the improving status of world forests over the past seven decades (FAO reports on increasing world forest cover), and the strengthening of conservation and restoration trends in world fisheries (Ray Hilborn research, University of Washington). Further, there is no species holocaust occurring. It appears the “responsible stewardship” approach of the early 20th Century conservationists is working (see Alston Chase’s ‘In A Dark Wood’).
As Julian Simon said, “Evidence on the big picture and long-term trends of life shows that we are more creators than destroyers”.
Added notes: There is a long history of belief in the moral/spiritual superiority of the ascetic lifestyle and engendering guilt over enjoying the good life too much (the good life viewed in terms of selfishness, greed, the “base” obsession with materialism). Note past history’s cloistered mystics, wandering holy men, and sages, begging for their daily needs. These “holiness exhibited in simple living” cults are found in Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and elsewhere.
Varied other beliefs play into the fear of consumption such as the fallacy of “limited good” that anthropology notes in hunter/gatherer societies where people believe that if some people in the group get more, then others must be getting less, as there are limited resources to go around. But the evidence, while at first seeming counter-intuitive, comes down on the side of ever-expanding human resources across history. “Cornucopians” like Julian Simon were right.
Simon (Ultimate Resource) has outlined the steps in the process that results in the expansion or increase in resources: Within traditional production there is an apparent scarcity of some resource. This leads to increasing prices for that resource. That prompts the search for more reserves of the resource, the discovery of technology that leads to more efficient production and use of the resource, or a search for alternatives to the resource (i.e. the shift from whale oil to fossil fuels). And ultimately there is a return to the trajectory of lowering the price of the resource. We saw the process above operating with the discovery of fracking technology and the opening of vast new sources of fossil fuels in the US.
Added note to Old Story themes: Holiness mythology
One of the most common responses from religious people to the idea of God as no conditions love is that God is also holy and just and therefore must punish wrong. God’s honor is tarnished by the wrongdoing of people so he must be just (exhibit strict eye for eye) and punish all sin. God cannot just freely forgive and love. But this divine holiness myth is primitivism at its worst. How so? It is the very same reasoning that is behind practices like “honor killing”. People in varied cultures today still reason that, for example, a daughter embracing modern habits has dishonored her family and their traditional culture. So the dishonored males are required to punish the “evil” daughter in order to restore their tarnished honor. Holiness theology is embracing this very same primitive reasoning that wrongs must be punished, or justice and honor are not restored properly. I would counter that unconditional forgiveness and love is the true glory of God, the highest goodness and love. Authentic good and love will just forgive without demanding payment or righting of wrongs first.
The holiness feature in theology affirms the myth of God obsessed with perfection and punishing imperfection, hence the creation of a supporting complex of myths related to original paradise/Eden (perfect creation), Fall of humanity and ruin of paradise (loss of perfection), subsequent need for an atonement (sacrifice/payment/punishment in order to restore the lost perfection).
Added note to “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”
The alternative new story themes include a “spiritual” element. This simply affirms what most of humanity across history, and most people today, understand and embrace (the 85% of humanity affiliated with a world religion, with most of the remaining 15% claiming to be “unaffiliated” or “spiritual but not religious”). Humanity in general has always understood that greater or Ultimate Reality (Ultimate meaning) is about more than just energy, natural law, quantum fields, multiple-dimensions, or Self-Organizing Principle as the creating Force of philosophical materialism.
Most human beings across history have intuitively understood that greater Reality has to do with Mind, Consciousness, Self/Personhood, Spirit, or Intelligence. Note that you do not have Consciousness or Mind without personality. Further, the early quantum theorists recognized the foundational Consciousness/Mind element also in their conclusion that their new science pointed to the universe as more “a great Thought than a machine”.
The problem with mythical and religious explanations of greater or Ultimate reality
Mythical and religious traditions emerged during the childhood era of humanity when human understanding was still quite primitive. The result was the projection of subhuman/inhuman features out to define greater or Ultimate Reality/deity. Early humans projected onto the gods features like (1) tribal exclusion of some (unbelievers rejected), (2) domination/subservience relationships (humanity created to serve the gods via subservience to priesthoods/religious authority), and (3) divine justice as punishment/destruction (apocalypse, hell). But we are now a more mature species and we need to put away childish things.
Those features have long been entrenched in our great religious traditions, and their God theories. There has been little serious effort to challenge or dislodge that core pathology. Ongoing reform in religion must overturn those fundamental ideas/myths as they still influence so much else in life and society. Note, for example, the ongoing destructive influence of the nihilistic apocalyptic pathology (God as violent destroyer of all). This primitive mythology is now expressed through environmental alarmism scenarios with their consistently harmful salvation schemes.
There will always be profound mystery to theology, as there is about all reality, and that cautions us against dogmatism in our theological speculations. In addition, any theological speculation must include the framework of the latest discoveries from science, while cautiously noting the persistent tendency of materialist scientists to cross the science-philosophy boundary (Sabine Hossenfelder in ‘Lost in Math’).
The long-term and widely embraced conclusion of humanity that there is a spiritual reality is a fully coherent and rational conclusion about reality and life. I do not accept the materialist argument that humanity needs to grow out of, or move past, the spiritual as with the argument of a frustrated atheist, “Let’s get rid of all this metaphysical bullshit”. Our project should be to reframe it all as something more humane while affirming and guarding the science/philosophy and state/religion boundaries.
(Insert note: While acknowledging that the spiritual plays a crucial role in human meaning/purpose issues, a healthy orientation ought to be toward full here and now involvement- i.e. to improving life in this world. The practical, real-world outcome of ideas is the true test of the goodness or usefulness of an idea.)
The human meaning impulse as expressed in spirituality, and spiritual beliefs, has always been something inherent to conscious human awareness. Even the Neanderthals exhibited such awareness as seen in burial site evidence (i.e. items included for an after-life journey).
It has long been the argument of this site that thorough long-term problem solving should also deal with the human meaning impulse and the meta-narrative themes that express/affirm such meaning. Pathology still dominates at this basic level in public consciousness. And while scientific evidence is always crucial in the problem-solving mix, such evidence does not sway many people toward more rational views due to their deeply held spiritual beliefs. This applies to both sides as secularist/materialist types often hold dogmatic philosophical beliefs just as religious people hold their religious beliefs.
The above comments are not to discourage our atheist friends who have contributed so much good input to the project of challenging religion. But their alternative, notably the more dogmatic forms of atheism, will never resonate with most of the human population. A better alternative is the more moderate “atheism”, as some call it, that has been more about the exchange of old unworkable/discredited gods for new ones- i.e. new god theories or ultimate meaning theories- that are more attuned to modern sensibilities regarding humane reality.
Site project: The “theological” posts below are part of the project to confront the deeply embedded themes that still shape most human consciousness/subconscious, notably the themes of apocalyptic mythology. These themes dominate the world religions that 85% of humanity still affiliate with. These primitive themes/ideas have been embraced by “secular” ideologies like Declinism and its offspring- i.e. movements like environmental/climate alarmism.
Quote from climate summaries further below- “Conclusion: No evidence is found that atmospheric CO2 concentration is responsive to fossil fuel emissions”.
This from Bob Brinsmead regarding the primitive barbarity of blood sacrifice to pay for sin (from a post to discussion group):
“But going deeper than this, Thom Stark (The Human Faces of God), in quite a remarkable book, shows how this concept of a human blood sacrifice was a very old human superstition. It was often practised in Israel before the Captivity, and of course it was copied from the cultures surrounding them. It was practised by the great religions of South America. The idea that nothing pleases God more than blood- lots of blood- is a religious delusion which has been with humanity for a very long time. How otherwise could we explain how the ghastly story of Abraham’s readiness to offer his son to God in a bloody sacrifice got into the Bible? This story has been held up by the three great religions- Judaism, Christianity and Islam- as an exhibition of supreme loyalty to God. That professed followers of the non-violent Jesus have read this story reverently for centuries is like those people fawning with adulation over the clothes of the Emperor who had no clothes.
“That so many people can read this story of Abraham reverently is worse than those who can read about the genocide of Palestinian tribes in Deuteronomy and Joshua with approving reverence. Or if you want, for another Old Testament story of atonement, it would be hard to top the story of David hanging nearly enough sons of Saul to make a football team to make an atonement for the wrongs done to the Gibeonites by their father David- despite Ezekiel 18 saying that sons should not die for the sins of their father. No, this was a blood atonement said to stop a plague killing thousands of Israelites. Yet for centuries religious people have gone on reading such ghastly stories of supreme inhumanity with reverent approval.
“I ask a simple question in the light of the foregoing. Is this lust for bloody sacrifices (millions and millions of them, both human and animal sacrifices) telling us anything about what God desires to make him happy (and don’t tell me that Paul doesn’t talk copiously about God’s wrath as the reason for the atonement), or is it, like the bloody genocide passages of the OT, all a very primitive and barbaric human construct of God, that is, a making of God in man’s image?…
“You will no doubt agree that that the death of Jesus as an atoning sacrifice “for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3) is not based on any observable history. It was an interpretation of history. The interpretation is an article of faith- and no article of faith is provable, otherwise it would not be an article of faith. Anyone seeing Jesus die would have seen no more than a brutal execution performed by order of the Roman authority. The community of the followers of Jesus who gave us the Sayings Gospel Q never even mentioned his death. As tragic as it was, they apparently passed over it as a misadventure, but remembered the good things Jesus had said. The first and mother of all Christian churches led by James for 32 years in Jerusalem had no doctrine of his death being a bloody sacrifice for sin.
“There were apologetic reasons why those who were developing a Christology of Jesus were drawn to come up with a very old theory that the death of a righteous one could somehow atone for the sins of others. Paul says he had some kind of ecstatic apocalyptic visions which he claimed came directly from God, and emphatically did not from James and the other apostles who knew the real Jesus. Paul’s doctrine of the cross as a sacrifice of atonement was an apocalyptic disclosure of the hidden meaning of what was supposed to be an end-time event…
“It is an interpretation of the death of Jesus that has not only outlived its usefulness but is becoming an embarrassment to thoughtful Christians everywhere who realize it is incompatible with a more advanced human consciousness. Some are trying to re-interpret the atonement metaphorically/allegorically or spiritually just as the same apologetic tricks have been applied to re-interpret the OT acts of genocide. At best, these interpretive methods are evasive and at worst dishonest. Thankfully, there are some Christians who are now willing to put up their hands to acknowledge that the good old Book does have some things in it which are indefensible- like the acts of genocide in the OT and the blood atonement in the NT. Any Christian can defend his rejection of such worse-than-pagan ideas by appealing to the clearest teaching of Jesus himself.”
More on climate…
The articles below (Climate Updates, stunning new research) note a key weakness in the Anthropogenic (i.e. human caused) Global Warming theory. The weakness is the uncertainties or fluctuations in the carbon cycle flows of Earth. Carbon cycle flows? That is the exchange of CO2 between oceans and atmosphere, and between land sources and atmosphere.
These natural sources of CO2 (oceans, land biomass) are immensely larger than human emissions and they are not flows that are in perfect balance. This is the uncertainty factor that is not included in the accounting for the increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere over past centuries. AGW proponents claim that one half of the increases in CO2 levels over past decades are due to human emissions. Evidence does not support this claim. Read the research in the links below… see “Climate updates”.
History’s greatest lie
Among all the great frauds and lies that have deformed human consciousness across history, none can compete for primacy over the lie of apocalyptic. That life is declining toward some great collapse and ending.
This lie continues to dominate public consciousness in story-telling media (i.e. Hollywood movies, TV, novels). The myth of apocalyptic dominates environmental alarmism, now climate alarmism, with politicians and media joining the hysteria to endlessly prophesy the “end-of-days”.
Apocalyptic distorts entirely the true state of the world, which shows long-term progress on all the major indicators. Over the long-term life gets ever better, not worse.
Patterns in alarmism movements
Alarmism: Exaggerating problems in life to apocalyptic scale, thereby distorting the true state of things.
Fear incites the survival impulse in populations and results in irrational thinking. Frightened people are then susceptible to coercive salvation schemes, and even violence to prevent claimed threats to life. This is one critical lesson from the Marxist and Nazi movements of past century. Create and promote a great threat to life- i.e. capitalism, Jewish Bolshevism- and then offer a salvation plan that involves coercive purging of the threat, with revolutionary violence. Push for revolutionary violence (“instantaneous transformation”) because the threat is always “imminent”, just a few years or decades up on the horizon. Add the promise of salvation into a renewed paradise and populations can be drawn (unintentionally) into mass-death movements. It happened to many otherwise good people in Germany.
This pattern in playing out again in environmental alarmism (climate hysteria) with its relentless battering of public consciousness with apocalyptic scenarios of looming end of days (dates for the end times repeatedly set). People, including many children, now suffer from “eco-anxiety” and fear they will die. The coercive purging of threat today is oriented to state-forced decarbonization. It’s the same old anti-industrial society Marxism that cost 100 million lives last century. The same old anti-humanism of all apocalyptic movements. More detail in sections below (i.e. Patterns in alarmism movements).
Climate skepticism is not climate denial. Climate skeptics challenge the exaggerated apocalyptic scenarios of alarmists- i.e. the exaggerated claims that “human-caused climate change will be catastrophic”. They do not deny the universally accepted fact that climate changes. Skeptics do not believe climate change is a hoax. Of course, climate is changing and always has. Climate is a dynamic, complex, and chaotic system that is never in stasis.
A skeptic embraces the good evidence that natural factors are more responsible for climate change than humans are. CO2 is only a “bit player” in climate change. And the mild warming of the past century, with only a further mild warming of a few degrees projected, will not result in climate catastrophe or a heat apocalypse. Life will continue to flourish with a few more degrees of warming.
The exaggerated scenarios that there will be 3-6 degrees C of more warming are based on discredited computer models. And that amount of warming for most of long-term past history did not destroy the planet in some heat death, but life actually flourished as human civilization has flourished during the warming periods of more recent past history.
More heat is distributed to the colder areas of the planet and not necessarily to the already warm areas (i.e. tropics).
Keep the basic issues clear
Politicians/media obsessively push the mantra that climate change is dangerous and pair this with constant pressure to cut CO2 emissions. This comes from the narrative that climate change is being caused by humans and it is becoming catastrophic. These are unproven assumptions based on computer models that for the most part have been discredited by observed evidence on climate.
We do not know that humanity is responsible for one half of the rise in CO2 levels over the past half century or so. The natural shifts and uncertainties in Earth’s carbon cycles overwhelms the human input.
Further, other natural factors influence climate far more than CO2 does. CO2 is a “bit player” in comparison to the sun’s influence, the influence of water vapor/clouds, shifts in multi-decadal ocean current, etc. CO2 is not the dominant influence on climate. You cannot control climate by adjusting a CO2 knob.
And there is no evidence that climate change is becoming “catastrophic”. The climate changes that we are observing have been mild in comparison to past changes in climate.
Further, more CO2 has greened the world immensely and plant, animal, and human life have flourished as a result. We are breaking annual crop production records repeatedly.
Point/conclusion? There is no climate crisis and no need to decarbonize our societies.
Climate updates (deniers and skeptics)
Who is in denial now?
Media, oriented overwhelmingly to “Creating Fear: News and the construction of crisis”, persist in distorting the climate issue with their relentless apocalyptic narrative. Media have worsened the distortion in their narrative by denying inclusion of good science from the skeptical side of the climate issue. Skeptics of the apocalyptic climate scenarios see credible evidence that humans are not causing climate change and that change will not be catastrophic.
See this link for some discussion of climate science issues https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/06/03/truth-or-consequences-global-warming-consensus-thinking-and-the-decline-of-public-debate/
Lets clarify who is really denying science in the climate debate. The critical difference between true believers and skeptics is over the human contribution to climate change, and the outcomes of any climate change. How much is humanity influencing climate change and will climate change be catastrophic, as alarmists claim?
The term “denier” is more appropriately applied to the alarmists who refuse to engage the strong scientific evidence that natural elements overwhelm the CO2 influence on climate. Ongoing research shows the prominence of natural factors on climate change and reveals that CO2 is only a “bit player” in any change. Hence, we can safely conclude that humanity is not causing climate change and it will not be catastrophic.
The deniers of natural variation in climate refuse to debate skeptics over this contrary evidence. Instead, alarmists often resort to personal vilification of those who disagree with their apocalyptic claims of human caused climate change that will soon become catastrophic if we don’t decarbonize immediately. Many alarmists now state that the “end-of-days” is only a decade away (2030 or so).
Climate alarmists have even tried to criminalize those skeptical of their apocalyptic scenarios (i.e. Obama’s AG, Loretta Lynch, 2016).
But back to some basic climate facts:
There has never been a majority (97%) consensus that humans are mainly or solely responsible for climate change. And there is no sound evidence that climate change will be catastrophically destructive (“an existential threat… a climate crisis”). The claims of looming climate apocalypse are based on discredited computer models that exaggerate the role of CO2 and exaggerate the outcomes of the climate change that we are observing.
The swings between warming and cooling periods during our Holocene interglacial have been quite mild compared to the more severe climate swings that occurred during the last 30,000 years of the previous glaciation, before our interglacial began.
Contrary to the alarmist’s religious-like scenarios of climate apocalypse, rising CO2 has greened the world immensely (14% more green vegetation over just the past 40 years). Several degrees more warmth will also be a further benefit as 15-20 times more people die from cold than die from warmth every year. For most of the past 500 million years average temperatures were 5-6 degrees C higher than today. Earth is currently in an abnormally cold “ice-age era”, with repeated glaciations that cause more destruction to life than any thing else.
More warmth does not make already warm areas hotter (i.e. tropical areas). More heat energy is distributed by Earth’s great convection currents (atmosphere, ocean) to colder areas (poles), and to colder seasons (winter), and to colder times of day (night). That results in extended habitats for life that allow for more diverse forms of life to populate more areas of Earth. Note that the highest diversity of life today exists in the warmer areas of our planet. So also in the ancient past when tropical areas extended to the polar regions.
Historically recent episodes of hot days and hot periods are features of changing weather, not climate. And such hot periods were more common and more severe in the past than today, notably in the 1930s in the US. We are now on a long-term cooling trend as the warm periods of our interglacial have become cooler than previous ones (i.e. the early Holocene, Roman, and Medieval warm periods were all warmer than today’s warm period).
Also, the oceans are rising no faster today than over the past centuries and millennia, somewhere between 1.5-3.5 mm of rise per year. The rise of oceans is a natural occurrence during interglacial periods when life gets a reprieve from destructive cold.
Further, storms and tornadoes are not stronger or more frequent than in the past. And species like polar bears are not threatened by warmer temperatures but are thriving with much higher numbers than in the past. So it goes with all features of life. Scientific evidence shows that life overall prospers more with more food (CO2) and with warmer temperatures.
There is no “climate crisis” and hence no need to limit our use of fossil fuels, no need to tax carbon, or decarbonize our societies. The apocalyptic exaggeration of climate alarmists is not supported by scientific evidence.
Quote from the link above: “Unlike science denial—which actively challenges or passively ignores accepted science, using dissuasion, disinformation, or propaganda—informed skepticism may bespeak a plausible alternative interpretation of the evidence. For an expert scientific authority to assume a priori that the skeptic has nothing of value to offer seems to us an intellectually undignified position to assume. Closure of dialogue with those articulating any skepticism for AGW is explicitly unscientific”.
The Rationalskeptic.org site offers the following responses to the question- How does theology differ from mythology?
“The only difference that I see is that mythology is taught as what people used to believe, and there is no reason to believe it any longer. But theology is taught as FACT. Even though, in the end, it is just the most current mythology”.
“There is nothing so absurd that some philosopher will not say it” – Cicero.
“Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead” – Stephen Hawking
“Maybe theology is simply the Ph. D. level study of the art of bullshit. After all, apologetics have to work pretty hard to make sure they’re up with all the latest obfuscations.”
“I’d say that current theology is maybe the PhD, but this has been going on for centuries, and the latest batch have the hardest time, what with that pesky science causing them no end of trouble.
“Other than that, I think Oldskeptic pretty much has it right. To me, it’s all mythology, since I have no reason to believe in any of it anymore”.
“Theology is taking mythology way too seriously.”
“Mythology is learning about the story of Medusa turning people into stone. Theology is spending 20 years of your life writing a 800 page tome filled with convoluted arguments purporting to show that fossils prove the existence of gorgons. Theology is the art of taking a conclusion and spending a gigantic amount of effort to try to convince oneself that it is rational at all costs.
“Power doesn’t corrupt, it reveals. Only when someone is free from constraints and consequences do they show their true character”.
“Theology is mythology with added political and military muscle. The only reason Abrahamic mythologies are regarded as somehow ‘distinct’ from other mythologies is because enforcers of conformity thereto had access to political power and weapons. If access to political power and weapons had been denied to adherents of these mythologies, those mythologies would nowadays be regarded in the same light as the tales woven about the Greek gods, the Ancient Egyptian gods, the Sumerian gods, and all the other invented species of magic supernatural entity that human imaginations have fabricated over the millennia. Unfortunately, adherents of those mythologies did acquire political power and weapons, and set about using those tools ruthlessly, with the sordid end result we see in our history books, if only we bother to peel away the specious veneer of respectability that the enforcers of conformity to doctrine have sought to paint over the revolting activities of their forbears”.
“It’s theology when it’s about your own beliefs, and mythology when it’s about somebody else’s.”
Climate updates- evidence overturns the “climate crisis” narrative
We are endlessly told that a “climate catastrophe” looms because of our use of fossil fuels and to avert the looming climate apocalypse we must immediately decarbonize our societies. But instead of this “human-caused climate apocalypse”, evidence the immense benefits from the rising levels of basic plant food (i.e. CO2) in the atmosphere. The most stunning benefit has been the massive greening of our planet over the past 40-plus years. Just since 1982 Earth has added at least 14% more green vegetation, an amount of vegetation equal to twice the continental US.
That has meant huge increases in food supply for the world’s animal life. And it has meant huge increases in crop production (see for example “CO2science.org” on the influence of “aerial fertilization” on crops). Nations across the planet continue to report record-breaking crops every year. Today, humanity produces 25% more food than is needed to feed the world. This huge benefit to the world is largely due to more basic plant food in our atmosphere- CO2.
Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore is right that we should “celebrate CO2”. Not demonize it as a “pollutant” or “poison” (Bill Maher’s ridiculous statement). We are still in a “CO2 starvation era” compared to most of past history where CO2 levels were much higher and life flourished in response.
Add to this that the slight warming over the past century (approx. 1 degree C) has also benefitted our world during this abnormally cold ice-age era that we are suffering where 15-20 times more people die from cold every year, than die from warmth. A few more degrees of warming would not be a climate catastrophe but would be further beneficial to life, expanding plant and animal habitats as it did during the much warmer periods of most of the ancient past.
More warmth does not dangerously increase heat in already warm areas (i.e. tropical areas). More heat is distributed by the world’s ocean and atmospheric convection currents to colder regions (i.e. the poles), to colder seasons (i.e. winter), and to colder times of day (i.e. night).
Conclusion: The whole world benefits from more plant food and more warmth. There is no need to fear rising CO2 levels and warming temperatures. There is no need to tax carbon or decarbonize. Further detail in sections below…
Some stunning research from https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/06/11/contribution-of-anthropogenic-co2-emissions-to-changes-in-atmospheric-concentrations/
Quotes from this report on the annual flux in CO2/carbon cycles on our planet. Human emissions of CO2 show little influence on rising levels of atmospheric CO2 and are swamped by natural sources. This affirms related evidence from, for example, the Vostok ice cores that shows temperatures warm first, causing outgassing of CO2 from the oceans, followed by rising atmospheric CO2 levels. It is nature, not us.
“… That is, not only is the anthropogenic release swamped by natural sources, but even subtle changes, such as a decrease in the rate of increase during the seasonal ramp-up phase, cannot be discerned. The working hypothesis of climatologists is that the long-term atmospheric CO2 increase is the result of anthropogenic emissions. However, the evidence supporting that is weak…
“However, because the total anthropogenic contribution to the atmosphere is only about 4% of the total carbon flux into the atmosphere, humans can’t be responsible for this yearly imbalance! The atmosphere can’t tell the difference between anthropogenic sources and natural sources, such as (ocean) out-gassing and (land) biological decomposition. It is just coincidence that the long-term rise is about one-half of the anthropogenic contributions to the atmosphere…
“It appears that the long-term growth in the atmospheric CO2 concentration is driven not by anthropogenic emissions, but instead, by static effectiveness of the sinks, which because of the seasonal effects, appears to not be keeping up with increasing temperature-driven emissions. There is no question that anthropogenic CO2 is being absorbed in the atmosphere. However, there is no obvious evidence to support the claim that it is totally responsible for the annual CO2 increases. I’m speculating that the carbon flux is large enough that, in the absence of anthropogenic CO2, the annual increase would be at least 96% of what is being measured. The temperature-driven transients are undeniable, and therefore the annual temperature increases must be primarily responsible for the annual increases…”
Nature, not humanity, is responsible for increasing levels of CO2. Nature, not humanity, is therefore responsible for the climate change that we experience.
Further evidence from other sources shows that the climate change we have experienced has been mild compared to other climate change over past history. For instance, it was hotter during the 1930s than it has been over recent years. And previous warm periods in our Holocene interglacial (i.e. Holocene Optimum, Roman and Medieval warm periods) were warmer than our 1975-95 warm period.
Combined, the evidence undermines the anti-human narrative of climate alarmism that humans are causing climate change and it will be catastrophic. This evidence undermines the alarmist call for decarbonizing our societies. There is no “climate crisis”.
More stunning research that undermines AGW narratives
More evidence that natural factors explain the rise in atmospheric CO2 over past history and evidence that the rise is caused by human emissions is weak or non-existent. Quotes from above link:
“At the root of the proposed Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) causation chain is the ability of fossil fuel emissions to cause measurable changes in atmospheric CO2 levels in excess of random natural variability because very old external carbon in fossil fuel emissions acts as a perturbation of the current account of the carbon cycle. AGW climate change theory is specific to the impact of the industrial economy and specific to CO2 from fossil fuels as the ultimate cause of the observed warming since the industrial revolution. Carbon cycle flows are not a factor either in AGW theory or in the design of climate action and carbon budgets needed to attenuate AGW. For example, respiration emissions and photosynthesis absorptions are not a factor in the AGW equation.
“TO SUMMARIZE: AGW IS NOT A THEORY ABOUT THE EVILS OF CARBON DIOXIDE. IT IS A THEORY ABOUT THE EVILS OF FOSSIL FUEL EMISSIONS. This evil is understood as the responsiveness of atmospheric composition to fossil fuel emissions. Fossil fuel emissions cause atmospheric CO2 concentration to rise, and rising atmospheric CO2 causes higher temperatures, and the sequence of higher and higher temperatures caused by higher and higher atmospheric CO2 is understood as global warming and because the rise in atmospheric CO2 was due to human activity, the warming is understood as human caused or anthropogenic. A necessary condition for this theory is that atmospheric composition in terms of its CO2 concentration must be responsive to fossil fuel emissions…
“As explained in the related post, climate science declares uncertainties in carbon cycle flows (shown below) but does not take them into account when making the mass balance. The mass balance made in this way does indicate that the annual rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration is approximately half of the annual fossil fuel emissions. This ratio is described in climate science as the RETAINED FRACTION, meaning that half of the fossil fuel emissions remains in the atmosphere net of carbon cycle flows to and from the atmosphere. This positive constant as a retained fraction implies that atmospheric composition is responsive to fossil fuel emissions. However, this retained fraction computation contains a fatal statistical flaw because the uncertainties in carbon cycle flows, though declared, are not taken into account in the estimation of the retained fraction. In the related post, the magnitude of this error is estimated with a Monte Carlo Simulation…
We conclude from these results that when stated uncertainties in carbon cycle flows are taken into account, no evidence is found that fossil fuel emissions cause changes in atmospheric composition because because the uncertainties in carbon cycle flows are two large to be able to detect the effect of relatively small flows of fossil fuel emissions that are an order of magnitude smaller than carbon cycle flows…
“CONCLUSION: THE DATA FOR ANNUAL FOSSIL FUEL EMISSIONS AND ANNUAL CHANGES IN ATMOSPHERIC CO2 CONCENTRATION DO NOT SHOW THAT FOSSIL FUEL EMISSIONS CAUSE ATMOSPHERIC CO2 CONCENTRATION TO CHANGE. THE FINDING IMPLIES THAT THERE IS NO EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF THE THEORY OF CLIMATE ACTION. THIS THEORY HOLDS THAT MOVING THE GLOBAL ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE FROM FOSSIL FUELS TO RENEWABLES WILL MODERATE THE RATE OF INCREASE IN ATMOSPHERIC CO2 AND THEREBY MODERATE THE RATE OF WARMING…
“SUMMARY: We conclude that the 13C data do not provide empirical evidence that observed changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration can be attributed to fossil fuel emissions. We further note that the high correlation between cumulative changes in the 13C/12C ratio in atmospheric CO2 and cumulative emissions is unreliable and unacceptable as empirical evidence because of the spuriousness of correlations between cumulative values discussed in a related post[LINK].
“Yet another consideration is that it is not possible for carbon isotopic ratios to identify fossil fuel emissions as the source of the rise in atmospheric CO2 because isotopic ratios are unable to distinguish between fossil carbon and geological carbon.
“CONCLUSION: NO EVIDENCE IS FOUND THAT ATMOSPHERIC CO2 CONCENTRATION IS RESPONSIVE TO FOSSIL FUEL EMISSIONS.”
An anti-fear project, Wendell Krossa
This site probes ideas that have incited needless human fears across history, notably the foundational ideas of mythological and religious narratives. In particular, this involves tackling the gods/deities of mythologies and religious traditions because those realities have embodied some of the worst fear-inciting ideas ever concocted by human minds- i.e. ideas of ultimate exclusion (unbelievers eternally rejected), condemnation of human imperfection (God as ultimate Judge), domination (God as eternal King/Lord, humans subject to authority), punishment, and destruction (apocalypse, eternal hell).
One of the worst combinations of some of the above fear-inciting ideas is that of myths of angry, retaliatory gods behind nature punishing people for their imperfection/sin through natural disaster, disease, and the cruelty of others.
Those monstrous ideas have long been protected under the “canopy of the sacred”. Billions of people across history have been subjected to worshipping such inhumanity as something essential to ultimate reality. Far too long such inhuman features have been given undeserved honor because they were embedded in humanity’s ultimate ideal and authority- deity. Deity has long been venerated by most people as beyond question or challenge.
These same primitive themes have now been embraced and promoted in contemporary “secular” deities like vengeful Gaia, angry Planet/Mother Earth, retributive Universe, and payback karma. It is a very difficult thing to question and abandon things long considered sacred.
But you will never fully humanize life until you fully humanize all areas of human thought and belief, including the gods. Humanizing life involves going after the core realities that still maintain inhuman themes, notably the inhumanity that is protected in the untouchable sacred. Deity ideas are the core of the core in terms of foundational ideas in human narratives.
The goal of this site is ultimate liberation- especially, liberating minds from ideas that incite the psychic burden of needless fear. This involves confronting and rejecting the ideas that have caused immense and unnecessary mental and emotional slavery and suffering across history. It is about liberation from history’s worst monsters, the ones that live inside our heads, the monster deeply lodged in our subconscious.
However, this project is not a “throw out the baby with the bath water” project. So no, the alternative is not some form of materialist dogmatism/atheism. We are part of a far-too mysterious reality to embrace such incoherent and absurd alternatives. We are far more creative than to limit ourselves to simpleminded dualisms of opposing alternatives (i.e. religion versus atheism). Creative humans can engage and explore broad continuums of diverse alternatives.
A better response would be to radically reframe deity theory with humanity’s highest human ideal- “no conditions love”. This fundamental transformation of deity theory is so much more than the religious reformism that tinkers at the periphery of religious traditions but avoids touching the deity ideas at the core. Radical reframing of deity ideas/concepts involves going directly to the core/root of the problem to radically change ideas there.
Much like the Historical Jesus who rejected all previous mythical and religious theologies of punitive, destroying gods to offer a “stunning new theology of a non-retaliatory God” (James Robinson). Note his Matthew 5:38-48 statement, “Love your enemy because God does, generously giving sun and rain to all alike”. Unfortunately, a few decades later Paul re-established a retaliatory deity as the God of Christianity (see his views on God in Romans 12:17-20, “Don’t retaliate against your enemy because God will, with wrathful vengeance”). That “monster” deity has dominated the consciousness of billions of people for two millennia with personality-deforming power (note psychotherapist Zenon Lotufo’s analysis of monster-God theology in ‘Cruel God, Kind God’).
Part of the benefit in going after humanity’s highest ideal and authority is to break past the enslaving fear of the “heresy” or “blasphemy” accusations/charges that have long been used to keep religious believers in line. When you challenge the very highest of human ideals and authorities, you have pushed into the final frontier of freedom, and that will help liberate from fear of challenging lesser authorities that also promote subhuman/inhuman ways of thinking/behaving. Getting past our fear of ultimate authorities liberates us to engage skepticism and challenge of all authority.
We know more today of what is inhuman and we are responsible to root out that inhumanity wherever we find it.
Additional note: Bad mythical or religious ideas are often background stuff, subconscious stuff. They have been beaten into human mentality for multiple millennia. They are themes that are often not in the foreground of daily awake consciousness. For example, we hear some idea/theme and it emotionally or subconsciously resonates as “true”. Take the following examples of often unquestioned ideas/themes, widely held by most people as fundamental truths:
1. The past was better and the present is becoming something worse (original paradise myth).
2. We humans are essentially corrupt/sinful and we have ruined the original paradise.
3. Life is now on a trajectory of decline toward ending/apocalypse. (Mircea Eliade, “Each present moment is a degradation from past moments”).
4. We deserve punishment/destruction for our imperfection.
5. We must make some sacrifice/payment for our sin (atonement).
6. If we purge the evil, or enemy, in life then we can be saved (i.e. “save the world”) and restore the lost paradise.
These are some of the most wrong-headed ideas from across human history, yet they continue to dominate world religious traditions and secular ideologies like environmental alarmism. The cohering center of these ideas is that of a punitive, destroying God that metes out ultimate justice as payback.
Thomas Jefferson, “I have sworn eternal hostility to every form of enslavement over the minds of men.”
Defining terms- God on this site, Wendell Krossa
The term “God” appears regularly on this site. This is unavoidable given the fundamental human impulse for ultimate meaning and our consequent curiosity regarding the great questions of the origin of reality, the why/purpose of it all, and the role of conscious humans in this cosmos and life.
My use of the term God refers to an entirely non-religious reality. While I affirm with most of humanity across history that we are part of a greater reality, I reject the many subhuman/inhuman features that most people have projected out to define that reality, notably the features found in primitive mythologies and world religions.
I reject the common features attributed to religious divinities such as tribal exclusion (believers favored, unbelievers condemned/excluded), domination (God as Lord, King, Master- humanity created to serve God), demand for atonement (sacrifice, payment), punishment (God as Judge, retributive justice), and ultimate destruction (apocalypse, hell).
However, I do affirm with most of humanity that greater or ultimate reality is more than just the energy, quantum fields, or natural law of scientific discovery. Greater reality is more than the “Self-Organizing Principle” of materialist philosophy. I affirm with most of humanity across history that greater reality is of the nature of Mind, Consciousness, Intelligence, and hence Self or Personhood. But again, not the gods of religious traditions.
The single most foundational feature that I embrace to define the greater creating and sustaining reality is love. But love of an infinitely more transcendent version than we know. Love that is absolutely “no conditions”. None. Love that does not judge, condemn, exclude, dominate, make demands, punish, or destroy. Yes, that means I embrace ultimate universalism in the end, for everyone.
Religious traditions have buried the true nature of ultimate reality with their freedom-denying and personality-distorting conditions of correct beliefs, proper rituals, demanded sacrifices/payments, and required religious lifestyle, along with horrific threats toward all who disagree with such conditions. That burial of ultimate no conditions love is the single greatest crime against humanity ever and it has resulted in millennia of human mental and emotional enslavement, enslavement that is still widespread today. Many people walk around physically free but are still enslaved to fear of monster deities that judge, exclude, dominate, punish, and destroy. They are denied the liberating potency of the no conditions love at the core of reality and behind all life.
The understanding of greater reality as no conditions love has the potential to liberate human minds and spirits as nothing ever before. It is a liberation that goes to the depth of the human spirit and consciousness, to the very subconscious. And this is the point- freedom from needless, myth-based fears constructed by primitive minds and still venerated as truth in major world belief systems, both religious and secular/ideological.
Unconditional love is the single most humane insight that we have discovered. We then project that onto ultimate reality to define it as ultimate Good, something transcendently better than the best that we can imagine. There is no better ‘theodicy’ (defense of ultimate good) than this.
Ultimate reality as no conditions love then offers the potential to liberate and radically re-orient human consciousness, with this single most important insight that the core of all reality is no conditions love. This no conditions insight liberates from the monster features of religious threat theology- i.e. God as ultimate judge, Lord/King, and ultimate Agent of exclusion, punishment, and destruction.
The single most humane insight that we have ever discovered- unconditional love- when given transcendent definition in ultimate reality, then becomes the new orienting center of human worldviews and narratives and that ideal will then influence the project to humanize all of life.
So the project here is about fully humanizing humanity’s highest ideal and authority- deity- because of its influence on all else. As Bob Brinsmead said, “We become just like the God that we believe in”.
Based on the above insights, my fundamental belief is that we are all safe in the end. We all return to the inexpressible Love that is our true home. Whatever the dualisms (e.g. good/evil), righteous battles, and sufferings of this material realm mean, we all return to the Ultimate Oneness and Love that is our true self and home. This sense of ultimate safety frees us to embrace whatever life throws at us, knowing that it has some greater meaning and purpose in the end because ultimate Love gives meaning and purpose to all things.
My post to a discussion group:
“My comments may seem a bit harsh to some of you that sympathize with Green religion. But my intentions are along the lines of what Ayaan Hirsi Ali said a while back on Joe Rogan’s podcast (JRE, episode 1613, Spotify), that we need to poke fun at extremism, at its religious extremist roots, and comedians especially have a responsibility in this regard. Hirsi Ali said that extremism should be mocked and its nuttiness exposed. Climate physicist Richard Lindzen intimated the same in his more recent comments that climate alarmism should be exposed for the absurdity that it is.
“People espousing ‘climate alarm’ madness should be made to feel silly, but more so- irresponsible, because the consequences of their policies are destructive for so many people, notably for the poorest people. We are all fully responsible for the ideas and policies that we advocate, and their consequences for others” (end of post) Wendell Krossa
And as ever, the intention is not to vilify or humiliate the people embracing apocalyptic mythology but to go after that monstrous idea and its related themes, notably re-emerging in contemporary alarmism movements.
New site comment: Wendell Krossa
The Green movement, that has tried to dominate world consciousness via climate alarmism, is a profoundly religious movement in terms of its fundamental themes (detail just below in “Old Story Themes, New Story Alternatives”). The Green salvation scheme of rapid decarbonization (i.e. “save the world” from the threat of fossil fuels) is based on the most primitive form of extremist cultism- apocalyptic mythology.
The hysterical prophets of Green religion endlessly set and reset dates for the end-of-days. 2030 is the most recent date for the end of the world. The “end-of-days” has to be endlessly reset because the scheduled apocalypse never arrives in an ever-improving world.
Ah, the insanity of religious extremism movements, eh.
Note: Green extremism is something quite different from the concern for environmental improvement that we all share. Note the research on the “Ecological Kuznets Curve”. Similar research is now known as the “Environmental Transition”. See, for example, Indur Goklany at
Note also the dark side of Green zealotry- i.e. that extreme Green policies actually harm the environment.
When someone generally affiliated with Green extremism (i.e. Michael Moore) warns us of the damaging consequences of Green policies, it would be wise to listen to such voices.
Viewing fact in terms of story
Varied climate scientists have bemoaned the fact that scientific evidence has changed few minds in the climate alarmism movement. Nonetheless, good evidence is critically important to understanding the true state of climate.
But do not ignore the more important role that narrative/story plays in the minds and emotions of all human beings. Who was it that said we all live primarily by story? We often look at and interpret the factual world through the lens of the story that we hold. Even scientists do this, more commonly than they will admit.
Do not dismiss the fact that the basic themes of ancient narratives/stories still powerfully shape most people’s worldviews in the present era. Those themes meet deeply embedded human needs such as the felt sense of personal imperfection, the felt need to suffer for failure/sin, the sense of obligation to make a sacrifice to pay for personal failure/sin, righteous battles against enemies/evil, and the hope for redemption/salvation and restoration of a lost paradise. These essential features of human story are deeply rooted stuff, even subconscious stuff. We see strands of these themes throughout the climate alarm movement.
Here again just below are the main themes of the old narratives that have dominated most human minds across history and still dominate the worldviews of most people today. These themes are from the big background narratives of historical mythologies and religions.
Dominate most people’s worldviews? Yes, I refer to the 85% of humanity that still affiliates with one of the great world religions (all embracing some form of apocalyptic mythology), with most of the remaining 15% “unaffiliated”, or “spiritual but not religious” (i.e. embracing modern “secular” forms of apocalyptic narratives).
Calming minds agitated by irresponsible climate alarmism
There has never been any “settled science” that CO2 is responsible for climate change (beyond being just a “bit player” among more dominant natural factors). And therefore, there is no final evidence that humans are responsible for climate change. And most important, there is no observed evidence that climate change will be “catastrophic”.
The public narrative of ‘climate alarmism’, that has been beaten into public consciousness over past decades, is an irresponsible display of irrational apocalyptic madness. But it serves the purpose of providing contemporary expression to the primitive themes of apocalyptic mythology and religion.
The primitive mythology of apocalyptic responds a variety of deeply embedded impulses and their related themes (archetypes). It responds to the ancient belief in a great Force/Spirit behind life that created an original paradise. But corrupted early then people committed an original sin and ruined the paradise, sending life onto a declining trajectory toward disastrous ending.
Ever since the “Fall”, the great punitive Force/Spirit behind life, now angered at “sinful” humanity, has been punishing people through the natural world (i.e. natural disaster, disease, predatory cruelty). The punitive deity will soon bring on the ultimate retribution and punishment by destroying the world in a final apocalypse.
The deity of this primitive mythology also demands a sacrifice if people are to achieve salvation. And unfortunately, the deity of apocalyptic mythology also demands the coercive purging of one’s “enemies” that are the threat to life. The purging of evil is claimed to be the only way to salvation and the restoration of the lost paradise.
Add here the feature of “imminence” that always accompanies the threat theology of apocalyptic mythology. The “end-of-days” is always set just up ahead a few years or decades (2030 is the latest date). That sense of looming threat incites the survival impulse in people and renders them more susceptible to the irrational salvation plans of apocalyptic alarmists.
The salvation schemes of alarmists agitate for the “instantaneous transformation” of societies because there is no time to waste, in order to “save the world”. We are watching this play out today in the mad push for rapid decarbonization. Normal democratic processes be damned. And ban, silence, cancel all who dare disagree with the apocalyptic narrative. Skeptics are even criminalized as the destroyers of the planet.
This complex of primitive mythical themes distorts entirely the actual state of life.
The apocalyptic narrative of climate change ignores the fact that, after declining to dangerously low levels over past history, CO2 is now recovering and rising back toward healthier levels for plant life. This recovery of the basic food of all life has resulted in a massive greening of Earth over the past few decades (a 14% increase in green vegetation across the planet since 1980).
Further, CO2 is now known to be just a “bit player” in climate change/warming. Other natural factors show much stronger correlation to the climate change we have observed.
And the slight 1 degree C warming over the past century has benefitted life during our abnormally cold ice-age era where 15-20 times more people die every year from cold than die from warmth (Lancet study).
A few more degrees of warming will further benefit life with expanded habitats. Extra heat energy does not mean overheating of already tropical areas. The Earth has an efficient energy distribution system that carries extra heat, through atmospheric and ocean convection currents, to the colder regions of Earth, to the colder seasons, and to the colder times of day (i.e. night time).
Conclusion? There is no need to be alarmed about climate change. There is no looming “climate crisis”.
The origins of today’s panic over “human-caused climate catastrophe” (one important fact in the climate change alarm movement)
Reference: IPPC- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Chapter 8: Anthropogenic and Natural Radiative Forcing
The scientists working on chapter 8 of the IPPC’s “Second Assessment Report” (SAR- 1995) concluded that “no study to date has both detected a significant climate change and positively attributed all or part of that change to anthropogenic (human) causes.”
But then Benjamin Santer, a lead author of the SAR chapter on the attribution of climate change, “Under political pressure, likely from Vice-President Al Gore… reversed the scientific finding and changed the conclusion to: “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.” (IPCC, 1996, p. 4)
“This political change to a scientific document led to an enormous uproar in the scientific community and forever stained the IPCC’s reputation for scientific integrity.” (Andy May)
That change also fed the developing public narrative, an ideologically-driven apocalyptic narrative, that human emissions were mainly responsible for global warming and that the warming would be catastrophic unless humanity abandoned fossil fuels. Hence, the irrational/unscientific decarbonization hysteria of today’s world (i.e. carbon taxes, CO2 emissions bans, costly renewables subsidies, and more).
Full quote from the Andy May article at the above “wattsupwiththat.com” link:
“Benjamin Santer, the “fingerprint” guy, widely criticized for his last-minute changes to Chapter 8 of the second IPCC report (SAR) in 1995. He and John Houghton forced a last-minute change to the conclusions of Chapter 8 after the chapter team had approved the conclusion that “no study to date has both detected a significant climate change and positively attributed all or part of that change to anthropogenic causes.” Under political pressure, likely from Vice-President Al Gore, they reversed the scientific finding and changed the conclusion to:
“The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.” (IPCC, 1996, p. 4)
IPCC. (1996). SAR, Climate Change 1995, The Science of Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/ipcc_sar_wg_I_full_report.pdf
May, A. (2020c). Politics and Climate Change: A History. Springfield, Missouri: American Freedom Publications.
EPA deception- See full report and data graphs at this link…
Quotes from report: “New climate change indicators on the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) website are intended to inform science-based decision-making by presenting climate science transparently. But many of the indicators are misleading or deceptive, being based on incomplete evidence or selective data…
“Despite the differences in definition, it’s abundantly clear that heat waves over the last few decades – the ones publicized by the EPA – pale in comparison to those of the 1930s, and even those of other decades such as the 1910s and 1950s. The peak heat wave index in 1936 is a full three times higher than it was in 2012 and up to nine times higher than in many other years…
“The EPA has no justification for omitting 1930s heat waves from their data record, or for suppressing the heat wave index chart…
“What all this means is that the EPA’s heat-wave indicator grossly misrepresents the actual science and defeats its stated goal for the indicators of “informing our understanding of climate change.””
And from this report on the German energy fiasco:
“Politicians and the media have succeeded in creating a climate of fear, so that a large proportion of young people are seriously convinced that the end of humanity is imminent in the next twelve years – unless immediate action is taken and CO2 emissions are brought to zero. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that climate models are running too hot, that the effect of carbon dioxide on global warming is overestimated, and that natural variations in climate, such as those documented in the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, are being ignored.
“And another effect is underestimated: the earth is getting greener, more and more CO2 is absorbed by plants (besides the oceans). Meanwhile, the rise in CO2 has increased yields of wheat, rice and other food crops by 15 percent. Important in the fight against world hunger. We too often forget that CO2 is a basic building block of life.”