Site Comment: Section Four

Landes on apocalyptic shaping Marxism and Nazism; Bad religious ideas; Lotufo quotes; Comment from discussion group- notes material from Nelson-Pallmeyer (Is Religion Killing Us?) and Ellens (The Destructive Power of Religion), among other comments.


Contemporary terrorism affirms again the powerful influence of theological beliefs on human behavior. This pushes us to acknowledge that some very bad features have been projected onto deity where they have long operated as validating ideals. Often validating behavior of the worst kind.

Just defending religion (theism) does not help to resolve this problem. It is important to understand exactly what ideas or features in religious systems have been helpful, and which have been harmful to human relating and existence. Recognizing such distinctions then initiates the project of eliminating the bad stuff. Religious traditions must engage fully the humanizing process that the rest of Western society has undergone over the past few centuries (transforming all ideas, beliefs, ideals, and behaviors into something more humane).

The fact that something is has long been considered “sacred” or “divine” should not prevent its transformation into something more humane.

The most destructive idea in history has been that of violent, vengeful, and punishing deity- the belief that God is engaged in a great struggle to destroy his “enemies” (Zoroastrian dualism). Is this claim of “most destructive idea” perhaps too extravagant? See evidence throughout this site. This is one of the core ideas that drives Islamic violence today. It is an idea that has long been embedded in the foundations of all three Western religions and it has also incited and validated violence throughout the histories of Judaism and Christianity. The myth of violent, punishing deity has profoundly shaped Western narratives, consciousness, justice systems, political policy, personal ethics, and more. The damage from this inhumane myth has been immense in terms of pathologies in human thought, mood, motivation, and behavior (see Lotufo below). Read the rest of Section 4 here!

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Site Comment: Section Five

Roots of alarmist/apocalyptic thinking; Quotes and summaries; A thought breakthrough; Grand narrative core themes (humanizing worldviews); Zoroastrian dualism (opposing and destroying enemies); The discovery; The futility of reforming religion (the stunning contrast between the unconditional teaching of Jesus and the conditional atonement of Paul); Standing up to the bully gods- the monsters of the metaphysical; History’s greatest Terrorist (violence in God); Getting to the root of violence.

Copyright Wendell Krossa

Note: Comments from previous years are preserved further below. They are repetitive of the main themes on this site but they also contain varied points that are not included in similar but more recent comments.

Material on religion and violence (i.e. religion inspiring or validating violence) is scattered throughout the site.

This page presents the big picture of unconditional reality and existence (no conditions, absolutely none). Unconditional offers an entirely new way to view ultimate reality, or what has long been termed the “spiritual”. Despite the secularizing trends in many societies over the past few centuries, the spiritual still plays a prominent role in shaping human perception, mood, and motivation (how we respond and act). In relation to this, unconditional offers a new humanizing ideal for human thought, behavior and existence. It is the most effective way to counter the destructive ideas or ideals at the core of much religion, ideals that have too often incited and validated the worst of human impulses.

This page also presents the developing history of unconditional reality. I note the first expressions of this discovery in some of the earliest human writing, that of the Akkadian father (2200 BCE), and then down through Buddhism, Hinduism, and other traditions. And on to the unique contribution of the historical Jesus (a person entirely different from the Christian Jesus). Historical Jesus was the first to get both the ethical and the theological dimensions of unconditional right. Read the rest of Section 5 here!

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Site Comment: Section Six

A brief history of punishment; Tackling Paul; Ethics and theology contrasted- Jesus versus Paul; Maccoby on Paul inventing his Christ myth; Ethics and theology compared; Central theme repeat; Paul’s reversal/retreat; Eliminating Zoroastrian dualism; Solving the root causes of violence; The wonder of being human; The most potent force against evil; CO2 or natural variation?; Secularized mythology- apocalyptic myth in modern ideology

New Comment

The unconditional treatment of all people presents an authentic way to peace on Earth. It goes to the root of the human tendency to violence and war- the impulse to retaliate and punish. And it challenges the foundational beliefs that have long validated retaliation and punishment.

Also, here is my review of Simon Joseph’s new book The Nonviolent Messiah read my review here . Simon argues convincingly that the new theology of Jesus- a nonviolent, non-punishing God- demands a radical rethinking of core Christian beliefs.

And here is an essay by Robert Perry on the unconditional theme of historical Jesus (Click here to read essay) . Perry expresses well the spirit of unconditional as found in the core teaching of the Palestinian sage.

New material at bottom just above the Joke Bin…includes comment on Harold Ellens’ “The Destructive Power of Religion: Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam”. Ellens is helpful in pointing to the destructive impact of religious ideas but weak on the solution to this root cause of violence. He, and his contributors, get bogged down in endeavor to reform religion. My response- a conditionally oriented institution cannot properly communicate unconditional reality. New wine needs new wineskins.

See also “The Futility of Reform” that comments on the endeavor to reform Christianity and the confusion that is created by claiming that the teaching of Jesus is foundational Christianity. Not true. The teaching of Paul is original, foundational Christianity. Jesus, to the contrary, advocated a new unconditional theology that was entirely opposite to Paul’s highly conditional theology.

In my response to the Ellens material I have outlined the brief history of how our basest impulses to exclude and harm others are incited and validated by our highest ideals and authorities (often religious ideals and authorities). I note how ancient people projected their worst features onto their gods (i.e. violence as in atonement theology, us versus them tribalism, domination, and destruction of enemies), and then subsequently they used those gods to validate the inhuman treatment of others. To solve this root cause of inhumanity we need to thoroughly re-evaluate our most fundamental ideas and beliefs, especially religious ideas and beliefs, and discard those that do not fully express unconditional reality. We need to build unconditional into the very foundations of our thinking or worldviews, as the highest expression of authentic humanity. Read the rest of Section 6 here!

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Site Comment: Section Seven

The problem of deity; Defining and describing God; Reason for this page (leaving conditional religion for unconditional freedom); Former page Intro; Punishment thinking; I am a dreamer (my list of greatest things); Search for the real deal; Summary of core teaching (historical Jesus); Unconditional in the Jesus tradition; Dating the New Testament books and related sources; The great contradiction; Mandela’s example and the cost of unconditional; Unconditional is impractical?; Unconditional and the use of force (advice of Chinese sage); discussion on Mandela; Brinsmead on non-retaliation in relationships; Two essay summary; Humanity’s greatest mistake

The Problem of Deity

Over history an interesting relationship has developed between humanity and deity. People have long taken human features and projected them out to define deity, to shape their understanding of greater reality. We see this in ancient mythology- gods that fight, punish, destroy, and often in the pettiest manner and over the pettiest things. Primitive gods that were very much like the primitive people that created them.

But as we have become more humane so we have updated our conceptions of deity, making gods more humane also. We see this early on in the Pharaoh-gods beginning to exhibit kindness and mercy. We find it later in the Hebrews presenting God as compassionate. Over history we humanize our gods as we become more humane and as we come to understand better the core features of authentic humanity.

This human/god relationship has also worked in a feedback loop manner. People create their perceptions of gods and then use those gods to justify their own actions and existence. As anthropologists note (e.g. Clifford Geertz), people have long appealed to the divine to validate their own lives and societies. This can be seen in the BCE-era Israelites believing that God gave them detailed instructions on how to build their first temple, how to arrange their camps around that temple, and a vast array of other detailed instructions on things like clothing, diet, care and consumption of animals, sexuality, and more. Read the rest of Section 7 here!

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Site Comment: Section Eight

Humanity’s greatest discovery; Post to the Jesus Seminar Fellows; Seminar appreciation; Bob Brinsmead comment; Grand narrative context; Paul’s dominant themes; The benefits of blasphemy; Summary of unconditional; Two grand narratives of cosmos/life/humanity; The Ultimate Resource- Julian Simon quotes; Stephen Pinker on decline of violence; The most fundamental questions; Remembering Nelson Mandela; The ultimate insight; Environmentalist/environmentalism; The Mennonite solution (lipstick on a pig)

Humanity’s greatest discovery

There is no greater discovery in history than the discovery of unconditional at the very heart of all reality. This liberating insight counters entirely humanity’s worst error- that retaliation and punishment defined the core of reality (i.e. ultimate forces/spirits that were punitive).

Unconditional also revolutionizes our views of humanity. We can now apprehend that humanity shares the same unconditional essence as that of ultimate reality, variously referred to as Universal Mind, Consciousness, Spirit, Intelligence, Self, Universe, Being of Light, or God.

And here is the great contradiction between unconditional ultimate reality and religion. Historically, all religion has been about conditional reality- the correct beliefs, sacrifices, rituals, life style, taboos, and rules to appease and please the gods. Religion, in general, has long affirmed the orientation to conditional thinking and existence in society (i.e. justice as payback, eye for eye).

This conditional orientation of religion is entirely contrary to the discovery that ultimate reality is unconditional in its essential nature. Religion, therefore, does not and cannot correctly represent the unconditional love that is ultimate reality or God (unconditional meaning absolutely no conditions, none). Religion, as conditional existence, is entirely opposite to that. And this is especially true of a religion like Christianity that advocates a supreme condition in its Christ myth. That myth is about the demand for an infinite sacrifice- that of a God-man- to meet the demand for infinite punishment for human sin. This is the height of conditional thinking/reality. Christianity’s theology is completely opposite to the original unconditional gospel of Jesus (see essay “Retaliation/Unconditional”). Read the rest of Section 8 here!

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Site Comment: Section Nine

Unconditional goodness; A big picture approach; Previous site summary; No Hell beneath us; Climate change alarmism continues; A fresh look at unconditional; More on site content; Decline or Rise- what is the actual trajectory of life?, There is nothing to fear behind life; Retaliation…non-retaliation; The apocalyptic error and the nature of life as unconditional; Creating divine monsters; Unconditional- correcting the apocalyptic myth; Excerpts from near-death experiences (unconditional love at the core of reality); Decline or Rise; From retaliation to unconditional; Entirely opposite- a shift into reverse; A new unconditional TOE; Essays on unconditional; Two greatest things, Depression and theology

Unconditional Goodness: A liberating new ethical and theological perspective (part of a larger trend to humanize all of human understanding, that is, to make it more humane)

There is an emerging and still developing discovery spreading through public consciousness that is absolutely the most profound perception or insight in all the history of human thought. It is the discovery that unconditional goodness is at the very core of all reality and life. Unconditional goodness defines everything in the most essential manner.

Generally, the adjective unconditional is commonly paired with love (i.e. unconditional love). Unconditional goodness is another way of stating this with the understanding that it also encompasses the full range of meanings related to unconditional, including such things as unconditional forgiveness, unconditional inclusion of all, unconditional mercy, and unconditional generosity, etc. But even more than this I want to focus in more exclusively on the word unconditional itself with the intention to clarify what it actually means. You would think that it explains itself, but unfortunately there is a lot of distorting religious use of this term in contexts that include religious conditions. That only confuses the real meaning of unconditional.

The insight of unconditional, when simply taken for what it says, revolutionizes entirely the human perception of ultimate reality. All past understanding of ultimate forces/spirits viewed the gods as threatening and punishing beings that demanded payment or punishment for wrongs committed (i.e. the condition of blood sacrifice to pay for sin/failure). The gods were oriented to conditions or demands that humans had to fulfill in order to be forgiven, accepted, or to be assisted by the gods (i.e. required offerings). But unconditional overturns all such perceptions with the affirmation that ultimate reality is entirely unconditional. And unconditional means just what it says- absolutely no conditions. None. Read the rest of Section 9 here!

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Site Comment: Section Ten

Discussion group comment; Bob Brinsmead; Dense complexity (causes of violence, NCI response); Mimetic Mennonites (the futility of reforming Christianity); Harold Ellens’ ‘The Destructive Power of Religion’; New comment; It all gets better, infinitely better; History’s greatest liberation movement; Celebrating more CO2; Hitchens on violence; The longing for perfection; Brinsmead on imperfection; God as psychopath; the pathology in Western religion; Zenon Lotufo quotes (the psychopath behind atonement theology- finding satisfaction in the suffering of others); a model of religion and violence; review of Armstrong’s ‘Fields of Blood’; understanding the relationship between religion and violence; and Love and freedom- understanding suffering.

Comment from discussion group August 2014, Wendell Krossa

Much of this comment below, while pulled out of its discussion group context, has to do with response to the recent eruptions of violence in Syria/Iraq (ISIS) and elsewhere. For more detail on the issues discussed, see comment throughout this opening page and in various site articles.

Note comment further below from Bob Brinsmead on the Christian history of violence.

Discussion group comment (Wendell Krossa): He made some good points on the video interview I saw. Arguing that Israel was not gaining points for its still heavy-handed approach. Many commentators have said that this time around world opinion was more on the Israeli side, with the understanding that no country can put up with such ongoing attack on its civilians. But still, more can be done to insure less civilian casualties on the other side also.

And people also understand more of what we are dealing with- a nihilistic hate and lust for death that cannot be reasoned with. But still, for long-term resolution to such violence, total destruction of one side is not the answer. The Ottoman history and larger situation in Bosnia ought to be instructive. Those hatreds and the lust for revenge were passed down over four centuries to each new generation before exploding back in the early 90s as we all saw. Total destruction of your “enemy” is no long term solution. Many others are watching and remembering, and they are building a sense of hate and desire to retaliate, to get even, that will erupt again when it finds the opportunity. Read the rest of Section 10 here!

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