Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mammon's Instrumentation of Evil

MM Book 1 Chapter 1-3

We have been inured by a concept, a category of thought … in our pockets is a weapon of war, a weapon of mass destruction, which cumulatively has killed more people, destroyed more lives, has wrought more environmental destruction than any other weapon ever devised by man – it is an ancient weapon, and it claims all: this weapon demands sacrifice [blood and sweat], it demands complete surrender and obedience, it demands ”worship” – all life is equated with this weapon, its use *is* the “means” of life [all is acquired by violent use of this weapon]; all blessings and punishments are equated, peace and happiness are equated, status and “worth” for life are equated, mind [very thought] is equated [intellectual "property"], even God is equated with this weapon [the ultimate lie]; we are governed by this weapon, it is held over our heads and to our throats, lest we should think or speak against it – this weapon of war is regarded as a weapon of peace, as the very cure for the disease that “it” actually is – we [all of us], by *use* of this weapon *become* the enemy, our enemy, and by its use we are committing collective suicide; this weapon is an instrumentation of evil, and we personify evil by its use – this weapon is known by all, sought by all, and excused by all; all is done in its name and service: THIS WEAPON [OF EVIL] IS MONEY*, AND OUR USE OF IT !! – this weapon *is* absolute [idol] power and author-ity and conveys such to those who wield and control it !! *[as corporate debt-instrument]

MM Book 1 Chapter 1-4

There are writings thousands of years old warning about this weapon and its use; God’s Word explains for us two “ways of life”: a “society of the gift” [giving life (God) to us], or a “society of the take” [taking life from us]; all prophecy, as determinant [not prediction], lays out the choice for us [the blessings and cursings], and gives us the example of our ancestors [Israel], those chosen [small in number and in slavery] and called out of the world’s systemic, to create the alternative, by introducing God to the world, and applying Him in the world, yet the Bible relates the story of Israel’s failure, and the story remains the same today [physically and spiritually] !! – MAMMON [the "business" of] *or* MESSIAH continues as our choice !! – the equating of Mammon with Messiah is our present state of being: BABYLON [confusion by mixing (God is not the author(-ity) of confusion)], where money [corporatized as weapon] is *equated* with life !! – to give consideration or regard to its use, to be a friend or an associate [support and maintenance] of it, IS THE ROOT [cause] OF ALL EVIL !! – the corporate nation, society and church are wholly opposed to our God(-ing), and must be *withdrawn* from [Moses], we must *return* to our God [Elijah] !! – we must have a clean heart and washed hands [innocency]; we must behave wisely and in a perfect way; we must despise [hate] the evil [work] !! – we must recognize God as [our] enabler !!

MM Book 1 Chapter 1-5

The corporate, as “definition of life”, must be rejected in total: GOD *IS* LIFE !! – OUR “SYSTEMIC MIND” MUST BE OF GOD !! – we must “exult” God [prepare the paths; remove the stumbling-blocks]; God has been made irrelevant – Hab. 3:17 systemic failure looming: our selfish mass coveting results in privation for all !! – the whole concept of “money” as we know it [mind it], is a contagion, DEEP SPIRITUAL ILLNESS !! – selfishness knows no bounds, it is a cancer, consuming all !! – the whole “business” concept of life [as means, as prejudiced claim (Nation-State, society, privilege, etc.), the adversarial competition] must be absolutely rejected, it is anti-God !! – each one of us is responsible for all aspects of our society, the privileged, monied pride, and the abject poverty [physically/spiritually]; it is easy to forsake others when our own human-ity [sodality (our fellowship, brotherhood)] has been abandoned – the specter [object of fear, of dread] of business [as mind] is God(-ing): all iniquity *purged* by mercy and truth !! — the physical is a reflection of the spiritual, and our society fits the definition: monied privilege [in the physical; supported by massive debt of claim] existing in abject poverty [spiritually; including the COG Inc., Laodicean spiritual condition]; the debt burden oppresses and controls most; all claim and its social resultant “poverty” [the commodification of life] is a result of our collective spiritual poverty, our lack of God !!

MM Book 1 Chapter 1 web page
MM Book 1 blog home

Cross-Post from Mammon or Messiah research blog home

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Social Meaning of the Lord's Prayer

Walter Rauschenbusch was a key figure in the 'social gospel' movement in N America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A Baptist minister who from working in the 'hell's kitchen' of New York saw that the gospel requires radical social and political transformation. The kingdom of God is a model for a society based on the Christian principles of equal rights and democratic distribution of economic power.

The Social Meaning of the Lord's Prayer
Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918)
Rochester, New York State

The Lord's Prayer is recognized as the purest expression of the mind of Jesus Christ. It crystallizes his thoughts. It conveys the atmosphere of his trust in the Father. It gives proof of the transparent clearness and peace of his soul.

It first took shape as a protest against the worldly flattery with which men tried to influence or persuade their gods. He demanded simplicity and sincerity in all expressions of religion, and offered this as an example of the straightforwardness with which men might deal with their Father. Hence the brevity and conciseness of it:

"In prayer use not vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not therefore like unto them for your Father knoweth what things you have need of before you ask him.

After this manner pray ye:

Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed by thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors
And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
Matthew 6:7-13 (American Revision)

The Lord's Prayer is so familiar to us that few have stopped to understand it. The general tragedy of misunderstanding which has followed Jesus Christ throughout the centuries has frustrated the purpose of his model prayer also. He gave it to stop vain repetitions, and it has been turned into a contrivance for incessant repetition. The churches have employed it for their ecclesiastical ritual. Yet it is not ecclesiastical. There is no hint in it of the Church, the ministry, the doctrines of theology, or the sacraments.

It has also been used for the devotions of the personal religious life. It is, indeed, profoundly personal. But its *deepest significance* for the individual is revealed only when he dedicates his personality to the vaster purposes of the Kingdom of God, and approaches all his personal problems from that point of view. Then he enters both into the real meaning of the Lord's Prayer, and into the spirit of the Lord himself.

The Lord's Prayer is part of the heritage of social Christianity which has been appropriated by men who have had little sympathy with its social spirit. It belongs to the equipment of the soldiers of the Kingdom of God. It is the great charter of all social prayers.

When he bade us say, "Our Father," Jesus spoke from that consciousness of human solidarity which was a matter of course in all his thinking. He compels us to clasp hands in spirit with all our brothers and thus to approach the Father together. Before God no man stands alone.Before the All-seeing he is surrounded by the spiritual throng of all to whom he stands related, near and far, all whom he loves or hates, whom he serves or oppresses, whom he wrongs or saves. We are one with our fellow-men in all our needs. We are one in our sin and our salvation. To recognize that *oneness* is the first step toward praying the Lord's Prayer aright. That recognition is also the foundation of social Christianity.

The three petitions with which the prayer begins express the great desire which was fundamental in the heart and mind of Jesus: "Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth." Together they express his yearning faith in the possibility of a reign of God on earth in which his name shall be hallowed and his will be done.They look forward to the ultimate perfection of the common life of humanity on this earth, and pray for the divine revolution which is to bring that about.

There is no request here that we be saved from earthliness and go to heaven which has been the great object of churchly religion. We pray here that heaven may be duplicated on earth through the moral and spiritual transformation of humanity, *both* in its personal units and its corporate life. No form of religion has ever interpreted this prayer aright which did not have a loving understanding for the plain daily relations of men, and a living faith in their possible spiritual nobility.

And no man has outgrown the crude selfishness of religious immaturity who has not followed Jesus in setting this desire for the social salvation of mankind ahead of all personal desires. The desire for the Kingdom of God precedes and outranks everything else in religion, and forms the tacit presupposition of all our wishes for ourselves. In fact, no one has a clear right to ask for bread for his body or strength for his soul, unless he has identified his will with this all-embracing purpose of God, and intends to use the vitality of body and soul in the attainment of that end.

With that understanding we can say that the remaining petitions deal with personal needs. Among these the prayer for the daily bread takes first place. Jesus was never as "spiritual" as some of his later followers. He never forgot or belittled the elemental need of men for bread. The fundamental place which he gives to this petition is a recognition of the economic basis of life. But he lets us pray only for the bread that is needful, and for that only when it becomes needful. The conception of what is needful will expand as human life develops. But this prayer can never be used to cover luxuries that debilitate, nor accumulations of property that can never be used but are sure to curse the soul of the holder with the diverse diseases of mammonism.

In this petition, too, Jesus compels us to stand together. We have to ask in common for our daily bread. We sit at the common table in God's great house, and the supply of each depends on the security of all. The more society is socialized, the clearer does that fact become, and the more just and humane it organization becomes, the more will that recognition be at the bottom of all our institutions. As we stand thus in common, looking up to God for our bread, every one of us ought to feel the sin and shame of it if he habitually takes more than his fair share and leaves others hungry that he may surfeit. It is inhuman, irreligious, and indecent.

The remaining petitions deal with the spiritual needs. Looking backward, we see that our lives have been full of sin and failure, and we realize the need of forgiveness. Looking forward, we tremble at the temptations that await us and pray for deliverance from evil. In these prayers for the inner life, where the soul seems to confront God alone, we should expect to find only individualistic religion. But even here the social note sounds clarity.

This prayer will not permit us to ask for God's forgiveness without making us affirm that we have forgiven our brothers and are on a basis of brotherly love with all men: "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." We shall have to be socially right if we want to be religiously right. Jesus will not suffer us to be pious toward God and merciless toward men.

In the prayer, "Lead us not into temptation," we feel the human trembling of fear. Experience has taught us our frailty. Every man can see certain contingencies just a step ahead of him and knows that his moral capacity for resistance would collapse hopelessly if he were placed in these situations. Therefore Jesus gives voice to our inarticulate plea to God not to bring us into such situations.

But such situations are created largely by the social life about us. If the society in which we move is rank with alcoholism and drug abuse, or full of the suggestiveness and solicitations of sexual permissiveness; if our business life is such that we have to lie and cheat and be cruel in order to live and prosper; if our political organization offers an ambitious man the alternative of betraying the public good or of being thwarted and crippled in all his efforts, then the temptations are created in which men go under, and society frustrates the prayer we utter to God. No church can interpret this petition intelligently which closes its mind to the debasing or invigorating influence of the spiritual environment furnished by society. No man can utter this petition without conscious or unconscious hypocrisy who is helping to create the temptations in which other are sure to fall.

The words "Deliver us from the evil one" have in them the ring of battle. They bring to mind the incessant grapple of the choice between God and the influencing and malignant powers of evil in the minds and lives of humanity. To the men of the first century that meant Satan and his host of evil spirits who ruled in the oppressive, extortionate, and idolatrous powers of Rome. Today the original spirit of that prayer will probably be best understood by those who are pitted against the terrible powers of organized covetousness and institutionalized oppression.

Thus the Lord's Prayer is the great prayer of social Christianity, [of the Church of God]. It is charged with what we call "social consciousness." It assumes the social solidarity of men as a matter of course. It recognizes the social basis of all moral and religious life even in the most intimate personal relations to God. [It recognizes the communitarian gospel.]

It is not the property of those who chief religious aim is to pass through an evil world in safety, leaving the world's evil unshaken. Its dominating thought is the moral and religious transformation of mankind in *all* its social relations. It was left to us by Jesus Christ, the great initiator of the Christian revolution; and it is the rightful property of those who follow his banner in the conquest of the world.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

John Casti: The Wisdom of Herds

The wisdom of herds: How social mood moves the world
24 May 2010 | New Scientist | RevolutionRadio

During an international conference in Switzerland in 2006 I told an audience that if I were to take a 20-year nap, one thing I would certainly not expect to see when I awoke would be a European Union, or at least not one that bore more than a passing resemblance to today's model. This followed an earlier claim of mine that the phenomenon popularly known as globalisation was in the process of rolling over, and that it will be replaced in the coming years by its opposite, localisation. This was probably the least popular talk at the meeting, and a leading candidate for the talk that provoked the most hostile audience reaction of any I have ever given. (I should mention that this was a conference of futurists.)

What a difference a year or two makes. The driving force behind both these temerarious claims is what I call the "social mood" of a population. No collective human activities or actions, such as globalisation or, for that matter, trends in popular culture such as fashions in films, books or haute couture, can be understood without recognising that it is how a group or population sees the future that shapes events. Feelings, not rational calculations, are what matter. To see what our world might be like tomorrow, next year or next decade, we need to spend time and money investigating "social mood".

Put simply, the mood of a group - an institution, state, continent or even the world - is how that group, as a group, feels about the future. Is the group optimistic or pessimistic? Clearly, this question must be addressed on the timescale appropriate for the type of event we care about. For instance, in a short-timescale prediction such as the sort of films people will like next year, it would be useless to look at the shifting mood of the population over decades. But decades would be exactly right for a phenomenon like globalisation.

So how do we measure the social mood? Public opinion surveys and questionnaires are of very limited use since they don't reflect what people actually do. Nor do they take into account that people are influenced by others and don't make decisions independently. The very essence of social cohesion is grouping together, or "herding", which is the opposite of individuals making independent choices.

It turns out that one very useful measure of the social mood, reflecting both actions and herding, is a financial market average. A market index such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) in New York serves remarkably well to characterise the "bets" people make about the future on all timescales. It is not a perfect "mood meter", but it works, is easy to obtain from newspapers, has very little measurement error, and provides historical data on all timescales.

All of these are highly desirable qualities for any practical "sociometer" - a term coined by the American financial guru and social theorist Robert Prechter in his studies of social mood, brought together in 1999 in The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior and the New Science of Socionomics. This wave principle, formally named the Elliott wave principle after accountant Ralph Nelson Elliott, who developed the concept in the 1930s, describes how financial markets follow swings in mood from pessimism to optimism and back, in a natural sequence, creating wave patterns in price movements.

For nearly a decade now, I have been reflecting on the empirical evidence that strongly suggests that events taking place in periods of positive social mood are of a dramatically different character from events you can expect when the mood is negative. So when people are optimistic about the future, words like "unifying", "liberating", "joining" and "tolerant" tend to describe the events we are likely to see. The opposites - "fragmentation", "separation" "restricting", and "bigoted/xenophobic" - describe events that tend to occur in periods of negative mood.

Returning to globalisation, the modern form - the free flow of money, people, ideas and materials across national boundaries - was born at the 1975 World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. That was a time when the social mood was buoyant and rising dramatically. The Group of Six (the global government forum which by 1997 had grown into the Group of Eight, or G8) was set up that year. In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement was created, followed by the World Trade Organization in 1995. All three events took place when the DJIA was shooting off into the stratosphere.

The associated skyrocketing globalising process started to run out of steam in early 2000, just when the social mood went into decline for nearly three years. Then, in late 2002, the mood (according to the DJIA) turned upward, leading to the spate of articles, books and media reports extolling the virtues of globalisation that we were bombarded with until the bottom fell out of both the social mood and globalisation - and a lot of other things - in late 2007.

Consider these two headlines: "Unexpected results: globalization has widened income disparity" (The Wall Street Journal, 24 May 2007) and "Trade talks fail to get doha plan" (BBC Online, 18 May 2007). Does either sound like it describes a story you would label as being "joining", "unifying" or "tolerant"? They are not about minor technicalities or marginal aspects of globalisation either, but about the very foundations of the process: income balance, free movement of labour, reduction or removal of trade tariffs, and the like. These headlines come from a time when the global social mood, as measured by the DJIA, was rising to its peak in October 2007.

Suppose we want to establish a longer-term picture of Europe's social mood. Using the Dow Jones Stoxx Euro 50 index of blue-chip companies in Europe over the last 25 years, we would add milestone events in the history of the EU to this chart. So, for example, the Single European Act of 1987, the 2001 Treaty of Nice that cleared the way for expanding the union, and the 2009 Lisbon Treaty would be our "positive mood" events, taking place during periods when share prices were topping out. "Negative mood" events, such as setbacks in ratifying the constitution of the EU (2003), the risk to the countries within the euro area from the banking debacle (2008), and the current Greek debt crisis (2010) all took place at periods when shares were tumbling.

To close on a small word of caution: there was never any certainty that the events I have described here would actually happen. Social mood theory provides a probabilistic forecast, not a certainty. But at the end of my book Mood Matters, I argue that it is probably a mistake to think that the long-term negative social mood is over. The DJIA topped out in real-money terms - relative to the value of gold - in 1999 and it has been downhill ever since.

I quote John Petersen, founder of the Arlington Institute, a non-profit think tank which specialises in predictive modelling. He believes we are at the start of "megachanges", including the collapse of the global financial system, the end of oil, serious climate change, dramatic rises in food prices, and more. I would add the loss of everyday jobs such as car worker, and supermarket or airline employee. What makes the situation uniquely complex is that the multiple trends are converging.

So, to keep up with the rapidly changing circumstances of the coming years, and cushion ourselves against the "social tsunami" we are facing, the best strategy is to follow Petersen's advice: stay flexible, remain open to new ideas and, most importantly, stay cool.

John Casti ( is based at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria. He is developing early-warning indicators for extreme events in human society. This essay is based on his new book Mood Matters: From rising skirt lengths to the collapse of world powers (, Copernicus

New Scientist Articles by John Casti
New Scientist home page
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The Ministry of Truth
A mass experiment in altering political memories.
By William Saletan article link
May 24, 2010 | Slate
Slate home page

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Eric Toussaint: The Market: The New Faith

A Death-Breeding Logic
The Market: the New Faith
By ERIC TOUSSAINT article link
May 10, 2010
(bold text emphasis added by MMr)
(cross-post from MM research)

Practically all political leaders - whether from the traditional Left or the Right, from the North or the South - have a quasi-religious faith in the market, especially the financial markets. Or rather, they themselves are the high priests of this religion. Every day in every country, anyone with a television or an Internet connection can attend mass and worship the market-god - in the form of stock exchange and financial market reports. The market-god sends his messages through television anchormen and the financial editors of daily newspapers. Today, this happens not only in OECD countries, but in most parts of the planet. Whether you are in Shangai or Dakar, Rio de Janeiro or Timbuktu, you can receive 'market signals'. Everywhere, governments have privatised and created the illusion that the population will be able to participate directly in market rituals (by buying shares) and reap the benefits in accordance with how well one interprets signals sent by the market-god. In actual fact, the small part of the working population that has acquired shares has no say over market tendencies.

In a few centuries, the history books might say that from the 1980s onwards a fetishist cult prospered. The dramatic rise of this cult will perhaps be associated with two heads of state, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. It will be noted that, from the start, this cult had the backing of governments and powerful private financial interests. Indeed, for this cult to gain ground within the population, public and private media found it necessary to pay homage to it day in and day out.

The gods of this religion are the financial markets. Its temples are known as Stock Exchanges. Only the high priests and their acolytes can tread their holy ground.The faithful are called upon to commune with their market-god on television, on their computer screen, in the daily papers, on the radio or at the bank. Thanks to television, radio and the Internet even in the most remote parts of the planet, hundreds of millions of people who are deprived of the right to meet their basic needs, are also urged to celebrate the market-god. In the North, in newspapers read by a majority of workers, housewives and unemployed, an 'investment' section is published every day, even though the overwhelming majority of readers do not own a single share. Journalists are paid to help the faithful understand signals sent by the gods.

To heighten the power of the gods in the eyes of the faithful, commentators periodically declare that the gods have sent signals to governments to express their satisfaction or discontent. The Greek government and parliament have at last understood the message sent by the gods and adopted a drastic austerity plan that has the lower classes paying the price. But the gods are dissatisfied with Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland. Their governments too will have to contribute their ritual offerings in the guise of strong antisocial measures.

The places where the gods are most likely to forcefully express their moods are Wall Street in New York, the City in London, and the Paris, Frankfurt and Tokyo stock exchanges. To gauge their moods, special indicators have been devised: the Dow Jones in New York, the Nikkei in Tokyo, the CAC40 in France, the Footsie in London, the Dax in Francfort,… To appease the gods, governments must sacrifice the Welfare State to the stock markets. They must also privatise public property.

Why are ordinary market operators given a religious aura? They are neither anonymous nor ethereal. They have names, addresses. They are the people in charge of the 200 biggest TNCs that control the world with the help of the G7, the G20 and institutions such as the IMF, which came back into the limelight thanks to the financial crisis. Next we also have the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation, currently in a rather difficult predicament, but who knows, the gods might favour it again soon. Governments are no strangers to this situation; from Reagan and Thatcher onwards, they relinquished the means they had of controlling financial markets. The situation is now almost reversed: institutional investors (i.e. major banks, pension funds, insurance companies,hedge funds, etc.) received thousands of billions dollars from governments in the form of grants or loans to bail them out after the 2007-8 meltdown. The European Central Bank, the US Federal Reserve, the Bank of England now lend them money on a daily basis at a lower rate than the capital inflation that institutional investors immediately use to speculate against the euro and against public money.

Money can cross borders without a single cent in taxes being levied. More than 3,000 billion dollars race around the planet every day. Less than 2 per cent of this amount is linked to actual trade in goods and services or to productive investments. More than 98 per cent is used for purely speculative operations mainly on currencies, on commodities, and on debt securities.

We have to put a stop to this death-breeding logic. We have to develop a new financial discipline, to expropriate the financial sector and exert social democratic control on all financial matters, to tax all institutional investors (which triggered and then profited from the crisis) heavily, to audit and cancel public debts, to implement a distributive tax reform, to drastically reduce working hours so as to offer more jobs while maintaining wages at their current level... In short, we must launch an anticapitalist project.

Translated by Raghu Krishnan in collaboration with Vicki Briault, Christine Pagnoulle and Judith Harris.

Eric Toussaint, Doctor in Political Science (University of Liege and University of Paris VIII), is president of president of the Committee for the Cancellation of Third World Debt – Belgium , author of The World Bank: A Critical Primer, Pluto, London, 2008.

CounterPunch home page

Mammon or Messiah Book 2 The Midnight Hour

MM Book 2 Chapter 7-17

The currency of ** LOVE ** is our means of exchange [of everything !!] – 1 Cor 14:40 “let *all* things be done decently [honestly] and in order”; GOD IS LOVE, AND SO ARE WE !! – we are the children of LOVE; the kingdom of LOVE is within us; the gospel of LOVE is truth – the tribulation [the curse] arrives *because* of us [the "great transgression"], NOT in spite of us !! – the very fact that we have something to write about [the curses] is because of our failure as the COG, the people of God, as God’s “House of Prayer” [** discerning, petitioning, bringing God's will on the earth **] !! — the Nation(-State) is actually the “physical church” and indeed the brethren [citizens] have been made merchandise of !! — the secular priests are the imposed leaders [ie., the politicians, CEO's, etc., the social elite]; the business guru’s [the prophets of profit]; the economists, the scholars [the theologians]; BUSINESS IS CLAIMED AS [HAS CLAIMED; IMPOSED ON US AS] ABSOLUTE RELIGION; A DEMANDING, UNFORGIVING, UNLOVING GOD — what we actually employ in the western nations [Israel] is “democratic-fascism”, an elected face/mask on a fascist systemic [a system of government characterized by rigid one-party (business party) dictatorship, forcible suppression of opposition, private economic enterprise under centralized governmental control (the SAGE-MIIM); belligerent (bellicose, warlike; a readiness to fight) nationalism, racism, and militarism, etc.]; BUSINESS IS BELLIGERENCY [the state of being at war, or of being recognized as a belligerent (belligerence: aggressively hostile attitude, nature or quality); business is an adversarial covenant designed to employ, produce and secure an artificially contrived resource (money)] — LOVE AS ABSOLUTE MODE [pure form; way of being] AND SYSTEMIC, IS NULLIFIED, IS MADE ABSENT [withheld, restrained, negated] FROM PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL ISRAEL; BUSINESS AS ETHOS IS THE ANTITHESIS [exactly opposite and opposed; an opposition of thought (psychosis)] OF GOD’S LOVE !!

1 John 4:17. Herein is *our love made perfect*, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: ** because as he is, so are we in this world ** [** WE MUST BE AS GOD IN THIS WORLD ** = OUR LOVE MADE PERFECT !!]

MM Book 2 Chapter 7 web page
MM Book 2 blog home

The SAGE: A Private, Closed Society
The Private Agency that Owns and Controls the World

MM Addendum 1-3

Who are the privileged and powerful, those whom the SAGE count as their very own ?? – those who own and direct the Federal Reserve, the central banks, the financial houses, the TNCs, the manufacturing and mining conglomerates, the media and entertainment industries, the PR firms, the agribusiness and life science firms, the public policy institutions (the think-tanks and universities), and the legal and medical establishments are what is meant by the “owning class,” the Fortune 500’s, etc. – the “ruling elites” or “ruling class” are the politically active portion of the “owning class” – they and their faithful acolytes and scribes compose the Business Roundtable, the Business Council, the Trilateral Commission, and the Council on Foreign Relations, etc., they direct the World Bank and the IMF and set the conditions for the WTO – from their ranks are recruited the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Treasury, National Security Advisors and CIA Directors, and, indeed, U.S. Senators, Presidents, and Vice Presidents – for the very top positions of state in the US/UK/EU, the ruling class is mostly self-recruiting – the SAGE are those who direct the “ruling elite” (those “holding power”), they are the “guardian elite” (“holding authority”), the self-appointed royalty of the privileged.

MM Addendum 1 web page
MM Addendum 1 blog home

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pentecost Message - The Adversary of God

For Your Consideration

Spiritually "erased" = "base" Humanity = subhuman conduct/behavior; engendered conflict, protection of vested interest, excused by the "possession of self": beyond "spiritual illness", it is the "contagion" itself, it is very "death" where God is absent - the "self-possessed" are beyond the Devil, they are seeking to "tap" the "Tree of Life"; they seek to possess others by "systemic erasure" of their very "Being": the "other-self" actuation; the "depths" of depravity are seemingly unending, a "black eternity" devoid of light; the self-possessed are now "beyond restraint", having slipped from the Devils grasp during the past 1000 years; they have embraced in total an unrestrained "Faith of the Fallen" utilizing "systemic agency", the very prerogative of God; "deep spiritual erasure" = nonexistence of "agency", the crossing of the threshold, the event horizon: claiming the very "Being" of God -- the SAGE preside over many "politico-economic theologies" (schools of thought) within their ordinate ranks, with many varying "priests of thought" holding sway over "State" policies implemented; the SAGE-Agenda is multi-faceted in actual implementation(/"persona") and is often bitterly contested within-and-amongst the various SAGE-States; all is enveloped within the Mammon Systemic (the "continual"; the systemic soul/"sona"), and played for its benefit (the final arbiter) -- to be "selected and elected" to the Presidency (SAGE chosen) is not a "position of honor" blessed by God; politics regarded as "agency of God" (the idolatry of America) expressed in the "hope of the Nation", the "rapturous" reception of Barak Obama as 44th President and the Nation as "Savior" of the World.

Even the Devil has "paused" at man's behavior and will/is seek(-ing) repentance/salvation; Satan will help to dismantle the very systemic he designed and implemented through human agency, by human agency; it is "man" who will rise against the return of Christ: His very Family - the "Ministry of Reconciliation" is "universal" in application; the "devolution progenitors" will seek to restore the creation as originally conceived and purposed; there is a "perceptual shift" coming vs. the prevailing SAGE-Systemic - "Our Ancient Future" is about to dawn; the ancient "pregenic" conception of God; the ministration of "evocation", a "calling forth", "by the very power invested from God, we call thee forth ..." (we being the Family of God); do not be conformed to this world -- Satan has "lost control" of the SAGE (they are the very "agency" of the Final Hour): the "physical" Family is claiming the "spiritual"; they are creating a "deeper Hell" for themselves than the very "Fallen" created, exactly 6000 years to the very second (civic calendar): 9/11 NYC - the younger SAGE have overstepped themselves and tripped: 2007/08 Financial Crisis; the SAGE "Grandfathers", the "Grey Establishment" have stepped in to correct things (the Obama Presidency), the "new" Mask on the Beast, the "re-inforcement" of the National Mythic; the SAGE are leading/taking Mankind to its final (self-)damnation: very Israel rising against God and His Christ; the SAGE are claiming very "God Agency", they are claiming the very "Throne of God"; the SAGE are now in-effect the "ADVERSARY" of God (and Man).

The "spiritual" Church of God, the very 'Family of God" on the earth at this time is following self-ordained Ministers, Elders and Prophets, each-and-every one of them denying the "anointing of the brethren and sisters", in-effect they are the "anti-anointed", the "anti-Christ" mentioned in the Bible; they are the self-possessed of the "spiritual family" as the SAGE are the "self-possessed" of the "physical family"; Satan remains very much in control of the COG, they have not slipped from His grasp at this time: they are now his only "agency" in this world, yet Satan is paused, very willing to release His grasp, and He will: the "anti-Christ" of "John" is the very "spiritual" Family of God; the very "Bride of Christ" is ready to betray Him, prepared by those who would speak for Him (to their "shame"); the "very" Devil Himself would never think it prudent to "oppose" Christ at His return (Christ previously denied and rejected his offerings), He and His are far more intelligent and are willing, yea, will/are seeking accommodation / repentance at this time: the "Ministry of Reconciliation" are their appointed arbiters (begotten, failed "flesh and blood" arbiters), until the very return of Christ Himself: we shall judge Angels at this, their time, yet subject to the evil remnants, necessitating the intervention of Satan Himself, to oppose Himself for His own very existence and survival; Satan and His Own will have to care for their "arbiters" who succumb to the residue of their very own influence: they become response-able for their very own Salvation as their "arbiters" are exposed to the source "raw" degenerate behavior which may override them: the Devil will have to assist God - "if you study evil, evil will study you" - the Devil is our "brother", we will have to trust him to overcome; we also are "laid bare"; that is the secret of Christ: Satan will assist us, and Christ "in-same-measure will assist Him"; the SAGE/COG shall be undermined by "spiritual agency" in preparation for the "return of Christ", as "witness" against them; their "depths" shall be exposed.

The very "spiritually" self-possessed are in reality the "adversary" of our Lord and Savior, His very Bride shall betray Him - the COG physically and spiritually have become the very "enemy of God" and unknowst to them, Satan shall assist in their very Salvation - much to their shame - Satan shall regain position as "lightbringer" and very Angelic "brother" of Christ and of us, as "Family of God"; those of "position" are very "enmity with God" - it is the decree of the Family of God to "forgive the Devil and those under Him" in the name of our Lord and Savior "Yeshua ben Joseph" - all things shall be brought to God.

Satan is the "only one" who will be universally "laid bare" for all to see, before His forgiveness and ascension to Archangel once again; His Brethren await Him - yet, it is those whom he oppressed who shall "grant" Him His possession of servant-position once again - "I Am What I Will Become" - Satan shall be "laid bare", His immortality taken from Him, yet, given back on repentance: He shall regain his station: the very begotten "Family of God" wills it, in forgiveness: it is therefore "decreed of God" as "gift" - it is the very first act of the actualized born-again "Family of God" as very God; the first act of the Family of God is to forgive the Devil - the "Adversary" shall cease to exist, His "systemic" shall be cast away and be no more: all things shall be made new: 1Co 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

Mat 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard [it], they said, This [fellow] doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. Mat 12:25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: Mat 12:26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
Mar 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. Mar 3:23 And he called them [unto him], and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? Mar 3:24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. Mar 3:25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. Mar 3:26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
Luk 11:15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. Luk 11:16 And others, tempting [him], sought of him a sign from heaven. Luk 11:17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house [divided] against a house falleth. Luk 11:18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mike Lux: Why Are So Many Christians Conservative?

Why Are So Many Christians Conservative?
By Mike Lux article link
May 19, 2010 | AlterNet
[Note: Scripture Passages are referenced (BibleGateway) in original article]

When you are in the political world, you have decisions to make every single day about who you will try to help and who you won't. In spite of the earnest quest of good technocrats everywhere, the simple fact is that there are only a few win-win solutions. Who you tax, who you give a tax break to, what programs you cut or add to, who you tighten regulations on, and who you loosen them on, what kind of contractors are eligible for government work, which school districts and non-profit groups get federal money, etc: these political decisions are generally not win-win. Instead, they mean that one group of people win, and one group of people loses. It is the nature of politics, and you can't take the politics out of politics.

The most fundamental difference between progressives and conservatives is that question of which side you are on. Conservatives believe that the rich and powerful got that way because they deserve to be, that society owes its prosperity to the prosperous, and that government's job when they have to make choices is to side with those businesspeople who are doing well, because all good things trickle down from them. Progressives, on the other hand, believe it is the poor and those who are ill-treated who need the most help from their government, and that prosperity comes from all of us -- the worker as well as the employer, the consumer as well as the seller, the struggling entrepreneur trying to make it as well as the wealthy who already have.

Usually, I might spend my time arguing which of those worldviews gives us better policy outcomes, or which is better politics, but in this post I want to focus on something else: which side the God of the Judeo-Christian Biblical tradition is on.

Between Glenn Beck's conspiracy theories about Christian social justice (Since Communists and Nazis both used the words "social" and "justice," sometimes even together, the phrase must be bad along with other words they used a lot like the, and, one, thank you, please, today, tonight, and tomorrow), Sarah Palin's "spiritual warfare," and my very fun e-mail debates with a much-beloved but sadly misguided conservative Christian relative, I have been thinking a lot about Christians and political ideology of late. As those of you who read me a lot know, I was raised in a church-oriented home, and I write about religion a fair amount. This isn't because I am conventionally religious: I decided about four decades ago that since there was no way for sure about the nature of God or the soul or all that metaphysical stuff, I wasn't going to spend much time thinking, caring, or worrying about it. If that sends one to hell, at least I'll be there with a lot of my favorite people. But I still have the social and moral teaching I learned from my upbringing embedded in me as a core part of my value system, and I still know my Bible pretty well.

That's why I am always puzzled by how people who claim to be followers of the Jesus I read about in the Bible can be political conservatives.

Now I know there are many people who have not been brought up in the Christian faith, or who were but aren't interested in it anymore. Perhaps like a great many folks, you have been turned off by all the high-profile preachers who claim to speak for Christianity but preach a brand of narrow, intolerant conservatism that you can't relate to. My view is that even if that is the case, it is still important to know something about the Christian New Testament because it is such a historical and cultural touchstone in our country. I also think it's important to have a sense of just how different the Bible is from how conservative Christians represent it. For those of you uninterested in all this, I understand why: you definitely won't want to dig into what follows. But for those of who are, here is my argument about Christianity and progressivism in politics.

Conservative Christians' primary argument regarding Jesus and politics is that all he cared about was spiritual matters and an individual's relationship with God. As a result, they say, all those references from Jesus about helping the poor relate only to private charity, not to society as a whole. Their belief is that Jesus, and the New Testament in general, is focused on one thing and one thing only: how do people get into heaven.

The Jesus of the New Testament was of course extremely concerned with spiritual matters: there is no doubt whatsoever about his role or interest in the issues of the day, that the spiritual well-being of his followers was a major interest of his. How much he was involved with or interested in the political situation of the day is a matter of much debate and interpretation. Some say it was a lot and others that it was pretty limited or, as conservatives would say, not at all. However, much of a priority or focus it was, though, if you actually read the Gospels, it is clear that Jesus' main concern in terms of the people whose fates he cared about was for the poor, the oppressed, and the outcast. Comment after comment and story after story in the Gospels about Jesus relates to the treatment of the poor, generosity to those in need, mercy to the outcast, and scorn for the wealthy and powerful. And his philosophy is embedded with the central importance of taking care of others, loving others, treating others as you would want to be treated. There is no virtue of selfishness here, there is no "greed is good," there is no invisible hand of the market or looking out for Number One first. There is nothing about poor people being lazy, nothing about the undeserving poor being leeches on society, nothing about how I pulled myself up by my own bootstraps so everyone else should, too. There is nothing about how in nature, "the lions eat the weak," and therefore we shouldn't help the poor because it weakens them. There is nothing about charity or welfare corrupting a person's spirit.

What there is: quote after quote about compassion for the poor. In Jesus' very first sermon of his ministry, the place where he launched his public career, he stated the reason he had come: to bring good news to the poor, liberty to the captives, to help the oppressed go free, and that he was here to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord -- which in Jewish tradition meant the year that poor debtors were forgiven their debts to bankers and the wealthy. In Luke 6, Jesus says the poor and hungry will be blessed, and the rich will be cursed. He urges his followers to sell all their possessions and give them to the poor. The one time he really focuses on God's judgment and who goes to heaven is in Matthew 25, where he says those who go to heaven will be those who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited those in prison, gave shelter to the hungry, and welcomed the stranger -- and those who don't make it were the ones who refused to help the poor and oppressed.

And he was a really serious class warrior, too -- he wasn't just into helping the poor; he didn't seem to like rich folks very much. In Matthew 6, he focuses on the love of money as a major problem. In Luke 11, he berates a wealthy lawyer for burdening the poor. In Luke 12, he says that the wealthy who store up treasure are cursed by God. In Luke 14, he says if we throw a party, we should invite all poor people and no rich people, and suggests that the wealthy already turned down their invitation to God's feast, and that it is the poor who will get into heaven (a theme repeated multiple times). He says that the rich people will have a harder time getting to heaven than a camel trying to pass through the eye of a needle. He chases the wealthy bankers and merchants from the Temple.

I have never heard a conservative Christian quote any of these verses -- not once, and I have been in a lot of discussions with Christian conservatives, and heard a lot of their speeches and sermons. The one verse they always quote (and I mean always -- I have never talked to a conservative Christian about economics and not heard them quote this verse) is the one time in which Jesus says that "the poor will always be with us." The reason they love this quote so much is that they interpret that line to mean that in spite of everything else Jesus said about the poor, that since the poor will always be with us, we don't need to worry about trying to help them. Apparently since the poor will always be with us, we can go ahead and screw them. But Jesus making a prediction that there will always be oppressive societies doesn't mean he wanted us to join the oppressors. By clinging desperately to that one verse in the Bible, and ignoring all the others about the poor and the rich, Christian conservatives show themselves to be hypocrites, plain and simple.

The Jesus of the New Testament spent his public career preaching about the nature of God and our relationship to God, but also about how we should deal with each other. He repeatedly blessed mercy, gentleness, peacemaking, community, and taking care of each other. He lifted up the poor and oppressed, and spoke poorly of the wealthy and powerful. If anyone in modern society talked like he did, you can bet your bottom dollar that conservatives would condemn that person as a class warrior, a socialist. Jesus may not have been primarily concerned with politics, but for what politics he did have, it is virtually impossible to argue that he was anything but a progressive thinker.

I want to close on one other note here. I focused here on the Jesus of the Gospels (principally Matthew, Mark and Luke -- the Gospel of John is almost all focused on mystical spiritualism), but Jesus is not exactly the only Bible character concerned with issues of social and economic justice. All of the first five books of the Torah (the Old Testament for Christians) talk a lot about justice for the poor; the Psalms are full of verses about the helping poor; every Old Testament prophet castigates the Jewish people (and yes, their governments) for mistreating the poor. And in the New Testament, there are some dynamite passages promoting progressive thinking aside from all of the Jesus quotations I mentioned. Three of my very favorites:

* In Acts 2: 44-45 says: "The faithful all lived together and owned everything in common: they sold their goods and possessions and shared out the proceeds among themselves according to what each are needed." My question: did Karl Marx quote that line directly, or did he come up with his each-according-to-their-own-needs doctrine on his own?

* Jesus' mother Mary says that Jesus will "fill the starving with good things and send the rich away empty" and will "pull the princes from their thrones and raise high the lowly." I guess the big guy came by his politics from his mom.

* Speaking of the big guy's family, in the Book of James, which is purportedly written by Jesus' brother (and scholars think there is a pretty good chance it really was), James really goes heavy into the class warfare stuff. In James 2: 1-13, there is an extended admonishment on respect for the poor and mercy. In 2: 5-8, he says it is the poor whom God chose to be loved, and the rich "who are always against you." In 2: 13, he says that "there will be judgment without mercy for those who have not been merciful themselves, but the merciful need have no fear of judgment."

* And in 5: 16, he condemns the rich again starting out: "Now an answer for the rich. Start crying, weep for the miseries coming to you... Laborers plowed your fields and you cheated them: listen to the wages you kept back, calling out: realize that the cries of the workers have reached the ears of the Lord."

Judeo-Christian scripture is a rich and complicated work of literature. Written over the course of (at least) several hundred years by dozens of different authors, there are a variety of perspectives and many times outright contradictions in the theology and the politics of the writing (if it's all inspired word for word by God, He seems to have changed his mind a lot). But one thing is extremely certain: the poor seem to be who God is most concerned about. Yes, there are a few quotations (four, if I remember right) trashing gay people, along with quite a few more about the right way to do animal sacrifice and to be careful about eating shellfish and hanging out with women who are menstruating. But mercy, kindness, and concern for the poor and the weak and the outcast seems to matter a lot more, with literally several hundred verses referencing those agenda items. If you are a progressive, that is a pretty good ratio.

© 2010 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Elizabeth Kolbert: The Anthropocene Debate

The Anthropocene Debate: Marking Humanity’s Impact
by Elizabeth Kolbert article link article link
Monday, May 17, 2010 | Yale Environment 360 | CommonDreams

The Holocene - or "wholly recent" epoch - is what geologists call the 11,000 years or so since the end of the last ice age. As epochs go, the Holocene is barely out of diapers; its immediate predecessor, the Pleistocene, lasted more than two million years, while many earlier epochs, like the Eocene, went on for more than 20 million years. Still, the Holocene may be done for. People have become such a driving force on the planet that many geologists argue a new epoch - informally dubbed the Anthropocene - has begun.

In a recent paper titled "The New World of the Anthropocene ," which appeared in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, a group of geologists listed more than a half dozen human-driven processes that are likely to leave a lasting mark on the planet - lasting here understood to mean likely to leave traces that will last tens of millions of years. These include: habitat destruction and the introduction of invasive species, which are causing widespread extinctions; ocean acidification, which is changing the chemical makeup of the seas; and urbanization, which is vastly increasing rates of sedimentation and erosion.

Human activity, the group wrote, is altering the planet "on a scale comparable with some of the major events of the ancient past. Some of these changes are now seen as permanent, even on a geological time-scale."

Prompted by the group's paper, the Independent of London last month conducted a straw poll of the members of the International Commission on Stratigraphy, the official keeper of the geological time scale. Half the commission members surveyed said they thought the case for a new epoch was already strong enough to consider a formal designation.

"Human activities, particularly since the onset of the industrial revolution, are clearly having a major impact on the Earth," Barry Richards of the Geological Survey of Canada told the newspaper. "We are leaving a clear and unique record."

The term "Anthropocene" was coined a decade ago by Paul Crutzen, one of the three chemists who shared the 1995 Nobel Prize for discovering the effects of ozone-depleting compounds. In a paper published in 2000, Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer, a professor at the University of Michigan, noted that many forms of human activity now dwarf their natural counterparts; for instance, more nitrogen today is fixed synthetically than is fixed by all the world's plants, on land and in the ocean. Considering this, the pair wrote in the newsletter of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, "it seems to us more than appropriate to emphasize the central role of mankind in geology and ecology by proposing to use the term ‘anthropocene' for the current geological epoch." Two years later, Crutzen restated the argument in an article in Nature titled "Geology of Mankind."

The Anthropocene, Crutzen wrote, "could be said to have started in the latter part of the eighteenth century, when analyses of air trapped in polar ice showed the beginning of growing global concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane."

Soon, the term soon began popping up in other scientific publications. "Riverine quality of the Anthropocene," was the title of a 2002 paper in the journal Aquatic Sciences.

"Soils and sediments in the anthropocene," read the title of a 2004 editorial in the Journal of Soils and Sediments.

Jan Zalasiewicz, a geologist at the Britain's University of Leicester, found the spread of the concept intriguing. "I noticed that Paul Crutzen's term was appearing in the serious literature, in papers in Science and such like, without inverted commas and without a sense of irony," he recalled in a recent interview. At the time, Zalasiewicz was the head of the stratigraphic commission of the Geological Society of London. At luncheon meeting of the society, he asked his fellow stratigraphers what they thought of the idea.

"We simply discussed it," he said. "And to my surprise, because these are technical geologists, a majority of us thought that there was something to this term."

In 2008, Zalasiewicz and 20 other British geologists published an article in GSA Today, the magazine of the Geological Society of America, that asked: "Are we now living in the Anthropocene?" The answer, the group concluded, was probably yes: "Sufficient evidence has emerged of stratigraphically significant change (both elapsed and imminent) for recognition of the Anthropocene... as a new geological epoch to be considered for formalization." (An epoch, in geological terms, is a relatively short span of time; a period, like the Cretaceous, can last for tens of millions of years, and an era, like the Mesozoic, for hundreds of millions.) The group pointed to changes in sedimentation rates, in ocean chemistry, in the climate, and in the global distribution of plants and animals as phenomena that would all leave lasting traces. Increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, the group wrote, are predicted to lead to "global temperatures not encountered since the Tertiary," the period that ended 2.6 million years ago.

Zalasiewicz now heads of the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy, which is looking into whether a new epoch should be officially designated, and if so, how. Traditionally, the boundaries between geological time periods have been established on the basis of changes in the fossil record - by, for example, the appearance of one type of commonly preserved organism or the disappearance of another. The process of naming the various periods and their various subsets is often quite contentious; for years, geologists have debated whether the Quaternary - the geological period that includes both the Holocene and its predecessor, the Pleistocene - ought to exist, or if the term ought to be abolished, in which case the Holocene and Pleistocene would become epochs of the Neogene, which began some 23 million years ago. (Just last year, the International Commission on Stratigraphy decided to keep the Quaternary, but to push back its boundary by almost a million years.)

In recent decades, the ICS has been trying to standardize the geological time scale by choosing a rock sequence in a particular place to serve as a marker. Thus, for example, the marker for the Calabrian stage of the Pleistocene can be found at 39.0385°N 17.1348°E, which is in the toe of the boot of Italy.

Since there is no rock record yet of the Anthropocene, its boundary would obviously have to be marked in a different way. The epoch could be said simply to have begun at a certain date, say 1800. Or its onset could be correlated to the first atomic tests, in the 1940s, which left behind a permanent record in the form of radioactive isotopes.

One argument against the idea that a new human-dominated epoch has recently begun is that humans have been changing the planet for a long time already, indeed practically since the start of the Holocene. People have been farming for 8,000 or 9,000 years, and some scientists - most notably William Ruddiman, of the University of Virginia - have proposed that this development already represents an impact on a geological scale. Alternatively, it could be argued that the Anthropocene has not yet arrived because human impacts on the planet are destined to be even greater 50 or a hundred years from now.

"We're still now debating whether we've actually got to the event horizon, because potentially what's going to happen in the 21st century could be even more significant," observed Mark Williams, a member of the Anthropocene Working Group who is also a geologist at the University of Leicester.

In general, Williams said, the reaction that the working group had received to its efforts so far has been positive. "Most of the geologists and stratigraphers that we've spoken with think it's a very good idea in that they agree that the degree of change is very significant."

Zalasiewicz said that even if new epoch is not formally designated, the exercise of considering it was still useful. "Really it's a piece of science," he said. "We're trying to get some handle on the scale of contemporary change in its very largest context."

© 2010 Yale Environment 360

Elizabeth Kolbert, who conducted this interview for Yale Environment 360, has been a staff writer for the New Yorker since 1999. Her 2005 New Yorker series on global warming, “The Climate of Man,” won a National Magazine Award and was extended into a book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe, which was published in 2006. Prior to joining the staff of the New Yorker, she was a political reporter for the New York Times. In her most recent article for Yale Environment 360, she reported on a new study that found the pace of global warming is outstripping the most recent projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

We Worship God By Loving Our Fellow Man

MM Book 1 Chapter 3-14

For many, excess is never enough — we are responsible for “our” national crimes, done in “our” name(s), the nation’s business, its evil, its demands: a re-evaluation is needed !! – the Gospel is DISCLOSURE, systemic disclosure: GOD IS A WAY OF LIFE, GOD *IS* LIFE [THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS (WAYS OF LIFE) BEFORE ME], LOVE, not systemic lust, claim – money is not the cure, it is the disease — the current of time/event flow, the situational systemic current, the raging waves [foaming shame], the undertow, must be fought against, calm water must be reached for extrication/ withdrawal – our systemic definition must be of God not the devil !! – WE ARE THE GOD-AGENCY IN THIS KOSMOS, THIS PHYSICAL WORLD, WE ARE THE ** HOUSE OF PRAYER ** [awareness and supplication], THE SPIRITUAL INJECTION [application], THE VERY ** ARM OF THE LORD ** DIRECTING THE HAND OF GOD (God’s Spirit) !! – God’s presence provides the healing – humility is accepting God’s “gifts” as gifts to be gifted, not taken and claimed – LIFE IS GIFTING, DEATH IS TAKING !! – the erosion of God by the constant barrage [the sea], the waves, the storms, the seeming splendor of evil, the pull [lack of awareness; misuse] of lust … the immersion, the drowning — the “proof” of Christ is in each of us, look there … – intrusive, psychological fracturing, the disposal, the demise of our common human-ity !! – MOST OF US ARE TOO EMPTY TO GIVE !! – OUR EMPTINESS IMPELS US TO TAKE !!

MM Book 1 Chapter 3-15

What we *do* unto “our fellow-man” we *do* unto God [our being and doing], and what we do unto ourselves we do unto God also: selfishness is an evil that must be overcome, our self-prejudice, individually and group !! – family, marriage and parenthood are a sacrifice of self (and by thus, we understand God): God sacrificed for us, and we must do the same: we are all one human family, soon to be God-family !! — social support, affiliative behaviour begins with family and friends – we must be more befriending, more Christ-like; who we are is indicated by the quality of our friends and friendships – we must be an unselfish gift, freely giving at all times: support/edification – what you are, I AM, what I AM, you shall be [Isa 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD (JEHOVAH, "the *existing* One") do all these things"] – ** WE WORSHIP GOD BY LOVING OUR FELLOW MAN ** – our future is not in our selfish groupings, it is *in* God, “being” within HIS *EXISTING* ONE FAMILY !! – our “being and doing” must be *as* God, NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION, OF OUR HEALING !! – GOD WILL HEAL OUR SPIRITUAL ILLNESS AND THE SPIRITUAL DAMAGE WE HAVE INFLICTED !!

MM Book 1 Chapter 3-16

Genocide: a problem from hell, a creation of it [the eradication of the other, an absolute negation] – “genocide” word origin 1944, in answer to Churchill’s “we are in the presence of a crime without a name” – the penalty, cost for “bystanding” must be increased: we have a moral obligation to stop genocide, to intervene even in the face of adversity – our selfish interests should not come into consideration, our “national and self-prejudices” must be overcome [the slow death of non-systemic, expendable humanity, and of our humanity defines "genocide" also (between 30-50 million needless deaths per year worldwide: deaths of poverty, preventable disease, pollution, conflict, etc., 20,000 die of chronic malnutrition alone, each-and-every day, that's over seven million deaths every year)]; the genocidal politico-business systemic that enables our selfishness, that enforces and excuses it, even expects and demands it !! – this world must be stopped; war is murder, you cannot legalize it, war is criminal, especially war as excuse; WE HAVE NO RIGHT !! – we are a war society, our whole systemic-being is adversarial, every aspect of “our”-selves !! – MONEY IS THE DEVIL’S WEAPON, OUR FALSE GOD, and we bow down to it every moment of our lives; it is our excuse, selfishness manifested; we are immersed in the evil, we wallow in the filth; we don’t grasp it, it grasps us, holds us; the store is open 24/7 and we are satiated !! — this is all we know, we need a new teacher [Christ]; words of blood and thunder or the Word of God, a still, small voice – our lives are in each other, we *are* each other; WE DO NOT EXIST ALONE !! – WE MUST OVERCOME; IT IS NOT A MATTER OF BRAVERY, WE HAVE NO CHOICE – WE WILL CEASE TO EXIST OTHERWISE !!

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Damon Vrabel: Will The Real Church Please Speak Up?

The Coming Crash: Usury and the Irrelevant Church
by Damon Vrabel article link article link
05.13.10 | Canada Free Press | Silver Bear Cafe

Please, let us stop this usury! - Nehemiah 5:10

It’s been a wild couple of weeks - increasing unemployment, Greek debt crisis, yet another ridiculous bailout, pressure on Goldman Sachs, accusations of commodities manipulation by JP Morgan Chase, and new freakish levels of market volatility that might be signaling the next phase of market collapse. The many day-to-day issues can leave us dazed and confused, so most people ignore them. Huge mistake.

They are all related to the most powerful force on earth that controls our lives because it is the very foundation of our society - usury. We are ruled not by governments anymore but by financial powers that use interest-bearing debt to exert control over governments, corporations, and people. Almost all other political issues with which we concern ourselves are secondary symptoms of or purposeful distractions from this larger narrative that is never reported by the Wall-Street-funded media. Sadly the church has remained silent as well.

Explaining the details can be extremely complicated, but the basic core to understand is that the US government issues no money. Instead all money comes from private banking institutions with interest attached. At times in the past the US government issued real money for people to use - US notes and coins. But today all money comes from the Federal Reserve’s private banking system by putting the US government, i.e. 308,000,000 Americans, in debt. If the US government were not in debt to the banking system, the American people would have no money.

More technically, the Fed and its Wall Street cartel banks like JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs make billions by doing nothing but controlling our money. They have the monopoly license to create the core money in our system from holding US Treasury bonds on their balance sheets. These bonds represent the debt of the United States. Thanks to interest, the bonds pull a large portion of our wages to the banks. The primary purpose of the IRS is to take your wages to pay the interest back to the banks. In effect, Wall Street owns a good bit of your labor. And the more bonds they hold, i.e. the more debt the population is in, the more money they make thanks to the interest flows and the profits from gambling on your debt. The system is very much one of "us vs. them." Such is the nature of monopoly power and usury.

Economics and Morality

Controlling others and living off their backs by forcing them to borrow with interest in order to have any money is called usury (this does not include standard, self-liquidating bank loans to businesses to fund production). It is a system that ensures everything we do, whether in the public or private sector, feeds Wall Street and the controllers above it. It creates a two-tiered societal pyramid of money pushers on top vs. money users on bottom. The power differential is huge. Everyone is hostage. In doing something as simple as buying food to survive, we contribute to usury because we only have usury-based money, not real money. Like the slaves who built the Egyptian pyramids, today we are stuck building an invisible pyramid of monetary power.

In such a system there is never enough money to pay back all the interest to the money pushers. The only solution is for the money users - government, corporations, individuals - to borrow more. This is the reason our debt continues skyrocketing to increasingly insane levels. It isn’t about politics, but the fundamental exponential math underlying the system - the users must borrow more and more to pay back interest and keep the system afloat. Such math is guaranteed to fail. Iceland and Greece have reached the point of failure. The rest of the Europe and the US will experience failure as well. Then we will see money and assets vacuumed up the pyramid by the money pushers - the banking establishment that owns the collateral and can take your property.

The exponential math not only creates exponential debt growth, but also exponentially increasing:

* Scale – government and businesses keep getting bigger; we get smaller and local communities lose their meaning
* Velocity – the hamster wheel keeps spinning faster; human life suffers
* Consumption – we buy more and more things that break more quickly
* Production – we make more and more things that break more quickly
* Inflation – the dollar buys less and less; we can’t seem to make progress

None of these things have to happen in an economic system. They only happen in ours because of debt-based money, usury, that greatly benefits the top of the pyramid while everyone else suffers to a certain degree depending on their level in the pyramid.

So this system is guaranteed to fail due to not only the impossible math, but also the fundamental immorality. Taken together those five issues paint a horrible picture. Republicans blame Democrats and vice-versa. Nope. It’s all a very simple result of a system based on usury, which used to be considered profoundly immoral. It was a fundamental violation of every major religion. It still is for Islam, but Christianity succumbed long ago. They thought a free market economic system would be beneficial, but got snookered into thinking that usury had to be part of that system. On the contrary, monolithic usury kills the free market.

Our monetary system is a top-down controlling machine, not a free market. It is run not by government, but by the most powerful financial interests in the world. Some people feel in their guts that someone must be stealing from them because they just can’t get ahead no matter how hard they work. Well that’s because it’s true - someone is legally stealing from them. The simple math of usury pulls money from people on the bottom of the pyramid who create real value toward those at the top who create no value. MBAs and others serving the system must reckon with this truth rather than remaining blind. Farmers understand it well, having lost their property over the years to the bankers. Families feel it in the fact that it’s difficult to get enough money to feed the kids compared to 50 years ago when one parent could work a standard week and feed a family of five. Everyone in the system will feel it once the debt system collapses as it is doing in Greece.

Living off the backs of others was called feudalism 300 years ago. It was slavery 100 years ago. Today it’s called the "free market" thanks to the propaganda and fraud of neoclassical economics. It completely ignores the truth of our monetary system, the math behind it, and the eventual collapse that will result from it. Greece is giving us a glimpse, but it is only a mild pre-game warmup compared to what’s coming. The world will rue the day it was ever seduced into accepting usury and the illusion of prosperity driven by nothing but debt.

The Irrelevant Church

On this issue of monolithic usury, the issue from which many of our other problems spawn, the church seems to have no voice. Recently, an older church leader told me, "Keep it up, this needs to be addressed, but you have more guts than me, I don’t want to be killed." Sobering comment, to be sure, but in the shadow of Gandhi, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Oscar Romero, and Martin Luther King, is the church now impotent? Are its leaders now too afraid to speak truth to power, to stand against darkness? Or is the problem that the church is, like most of us, fooled by the myth that we live in a free market so we don’t realize we are immersed in an immoral system of controlling usury?

Lower class Greek citizens are now learning the painful truth about the mythical free market. A few of them have died as the police brutally repress them to enforce the usury system for the rich bankers like Goldman Sachs. Where is the voice of Bishop Romero? "I order you, stop the repression!" Iceland learned the lesson a few months ago. Several other populations have learned the lesson in the past as the controlling debt peddlers punished, conquered, and restructured their countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, England, etc.). The same lesson is coming to the rest of Europe and the United States. But again, the church seems to be oblivious. It failed to heed Martin Luther King’s warning, "One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake…today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake." The church has fallen asleep.

The Dialectic of Left vs. Right

A possible reason is that the church has been co-opted by the manipulative left vs. right civil war created by the corporate media. In fact, Protestant denominations have split into conservative vs. liberal camps so they war against each other - Wall Street is brilliant at divide and conquer. Some sermons in conservative denominations sound like speeches from conservative politicians. Liberal Christian magazines sometimes seem to be just liberal political magazines with an added dash of Jesus.

Postmodernism should inform us that the left vs. right narrative is contrived to keep people from noticing the real power structure behind Wall Street that controls our lives. As long as the church submits to the false framework, church leaders will be "safe." But that means they will also be irrelevant because they are not speaking to the primary narrative in our world that has always caused problems and is getting ready to unleash far more pain and poverty in the near future - the issue of monolithic usury and debt servitude. By not speaking against usury, the church has become a pawn of it. So the church has largely been conquered by the same concocted civil war that has divided society.

Dollar Tyranny

Another reason the church may be silent is the simple fact that it depends on money just like everything else does. Since all money in our system comes from usury, it is difficult to even notice it. And what authority would the church have to speak against it since it is itself complicit in it? Anybody or any organization that uses a Federal Reserve Note or a credit/debit card, which everyone must do, is unknowingly participating in usury because, again, all of that money comes from the bonds held by Wall Street. But knowingly or not, how could the church or any organization speak against the very thing that fuels its own existence?

The church’s tax-exempt status may be another reason for the silence. Tax exemption is one of the powerful ways the financial empire system influences and controls other entities. If the wrong person says the wrong thing, the IRS has the ability to suddenly remove the exemption, which doubles the cost of running that organization. The church never should have submitted to such tyranny over what may or may not be said.

Comfort of the Middle Class Bubble

Finally, it seems the comfort provided by the monetary system for the great mass in the middle, which is a key part of the church, keeps us from wanting to really think about it. The illusion of peace and prosperity that has lasted for so long has been nice. Some of us even thought we had that comfort because we were better people, so God blessed us. Reckoning with the truth will be painful for those who believe this. The fact is that our perceived comfort today is a result of the darkness of usury. The middle can only exist because there is a bottom that keeps our system afloat. They are the only reason the middle class exists. Moreover, the comfort is currently an illusion because most in the middle class don’t realize how indebted they are. Total unfunded liabilities currently hidden on the government’s financials put each American in an extra $300,000+ in debt that they currently aren’t aware of. That debt comes from the fact that, again, our money comes from usury.

Since the bubble was built on usury, its very existence is immoral, and everyone who participates in it becomes infected. It is also flimsy because usury means the bubble is sustained by debt. Many are already aware of the hollowness of the bubble since it has destroyed the fabric of our communities and a sense of deeper meaning in life. But others are able to ignore that and focus on the material comfort. What will happen to them once the material comfort itself crashes? It will soon. Some market forecasters predict the final collapse of our debt system will be worse than the Great Depression. The math is clear - it will be worse. Just like Greece, we will then see Wall Street paying the government to crackdown on the people, cancel social programs, and take their assets from them to hand them over to the upper class behind the banks. That is the end result of usury - using debt to control others and take their assets so they have no equity. At that point it will be too late for the church to save the lower and middle classes from violent repression and the upper class from their narcissistic detachment from the horror.

"Silence is Betrayal"

So is there a wing of the church that has not yet sold its soul? Is there a remaining Christian voice against usury, or are Muslims the only people in the world who stand against it? The church must wake up to the truth of our system and become relevant again. This is the civil rights issue of the 21st century, only this time it is not black vs. white but a few money pushers vs. the great mass of users. The power of the bond market is getting ready to wreak havoc. We’re all in it together this time. As Martin Luther King said, "There comes a time when silence is betrayal…. That time has come for us today." Will the real church please speak up?

Damon Vrabel Articles Canada Free Press
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Friday, May 14, 2010

Let Us Finally Gift The Life That Was Gifted To Us !!

The occupation of America (the public-Nation) by the United States (the private-State) MUST END - this applies to Canada as well, essentially the 51st State (has been for decades), and Britain; ALL ARE SIMILARLY OCCUPIED AND OWNED, the Anglo-American Brotherhood goes back millennia. WE MUST RESIST: ** OUR ONLY WEAPON IS OUR REFUSAL !! ** Violence must be avoided at all cost, the Corporate behave as beasts, we must not. Partisanship is used by those wholly corporate as it is an instrumentality of it. A blend of Rwandan-Serbian "Tea" steeped in hate and violence will only serve corporate interests and increase our suppression and enslavement. Those who incite violence must be indicted; if death results they must be charged with inciting Genocide. An invective firestorm can only result in harm and they know it - DO NOT BE USED BY THEM !!

We are the VALUE of the currency. The CORPORATE hold the threat of physical force over us, but we hold the the ultimate power over them, the VALUE of their riches, without us they are less than paupers. We must take back our value and employ it for ourselves, together !! Disinvest from the Corporate, repudiate their debt and Government and invest in community. Withdraw all support and use of Federal Reserve Notes (FRN's) and associate currencies (CDN Dollar / Pound / EURO), demand employment of public monies !! Protect your neighbors from predatory banks: surround their homes and resist repossession (without violence) !! Withdraw all monies from any bank who will repossess any home !! POLICE AND MILITARY, WE ARE YOUR BROTHERS, SISTERS, SONS, DAUGHTERS, AUNTS, UNCLES, MOTHERS AND FATHERS: YOU ARE US, WE ARE YOU - STAND WITH US NOT THE CORPORATE: YOU ARE FAMILY, THEY ARE NOT (all of us are considered chattel by them - they "disowned" us as family a long time ago inorder to "own" us as slaves) !! WHEN OUR RIGHTS ARE SUPPRESSED AND TRAMPLED ON SO ARE YOURS - PLEASE DO NOT PUT YOUR SOLES ON OUR SOULS !!

Our Nations are about to collapse, their artificial supports have rotted away, have crumbled, have been hammered by willful intent, neglect and greed !! If we do not step in and assume responsibility for our safety and security we will surely perish. WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO OUR FAMILIES AND TO OURSELVES: OUR FUTURE IS OURS OR THERE WILL BE NO FUTURE !! "DO NO HARM, CAUSE NO LOSS" MUST BE REMADE AS THE COMMON LAW OF THE LAND !! The Spiritual Illness that possesses us, that occupies every facet of our lives must be cured. It is Mammon, the false-god of the Corporate. It is cured by out-going concern, forgiveness and unselfish love - well-being and salvation is the result - a gift from God (no matter your definition): if the "result" is unselfish love (giving not taking) then it is the truth - all else is error. A society of the "gift" gives life, a society of the "take" takes life. LET US FINALLY GIFT THE LIFE THAT WAS GIFTED TO US, IT IS OURS TO GIVE !!

Note: Cross-Post from Mammon or Messiah research. Previously posted on MMr April 03, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Uncompromised Spirit: Fires Of Persecution

"I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." Rev. 1:9. John was banished because he was a witness for Christ in the preaching of the gospel. At that time Christianity was outlawed as a form of *treason* against the Roman gods. ** Paul declared that "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution **." It has always been the fate of Christians, and especially of the prophets of God, to suffer persecution and sometimes martyrdom. Satan never persecutes his own citizens, nor does he afflict cold or lukewarm church members. It was the *godliness* of the early Christians that brought on them the wrath of the great adversary. This explains why *persecution is largely unknown to the modern church*. This fact is set forth by a well-known Christian writer: "Why is it, then, that persecution seems in a great degree to slumber? The only reason is, that the church has ** conformed to the world's standard ** [Woe to them that are at ease in Zion], and therefore awakens no opposition. The religion which is current in our day is not of the pure and holy character that marked the Christian faith in the days of Christ and His apostles. It is only because of the spirit of compromise with sin, because the great truths of the word of God are so indifferently regarded, because there is so little vital godliness in the church, that Christianity is apparently so popular with the world. Let there be a revival of the faith and power of the early church, and the spirit of persecution will be revived, and the fires of persecution will be rekindled." [Ellen G. White (SDA), The Great Controversy, p. 48]

Christ prophesied that persecution would be the fate of His followers, including His immediate disciples. (Matt. 23:34-36.) This prediction was literally fulfilled. His forerunner, John the Baptist, was beheaded by order of King Herod; Christ Himself was scourged and crucified; Stephen was stoned to death; James was beheaded by Herod Agrippa; Philip was scourged, imprisoned, and crucified; Matthew was killed with a halberd; James the Less was stoned, and his brains were dashed out with a fuller's club; Matthias was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded; Andrew was crucified at Edessa; Mark was dragged to pieces by an infuriated mob on the streets of Alexandria; Peter was crucified, head downward at his own request; Paul was beheaded at Rome by order of Nero; Jude, the brother of James, and who was also called Thaddeus, was crucified at Edessa; Bartholomew was beaten and crucified; Thomas was thrust through with a spear; Luke was hanged on an olive tree in Greece; Simon Zelotes was crucified in Britain; and John was persecuted and banished to Patmos, and was the only one of the early disciples who died a natural death. [See Fox's Book of Martyrs]

Persecution for Christ's sake has always been a blessing in disguise. Of the Israelites in Egypt we read that the more they were persecuted "the more they multiplied and grew." Thus it has ever been. The ten pagan Roman persecutions of the early church were terrible beyond description, but during that period Christianity made its greatest progress. By the end of the first century it is estimated that there were more than six millions of Christians in the Roman Empire, and by the end of the third century Christianity had supplanted paganism as the religion of the empire. The first Gospel seeds were watered by the blood of martyrs, and bountiful was the harvest.

Tertullian wrote to a persecuting Roman ruler: "Kill us, torture us, grind us to dust. ... The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in numbers we grow; the blood of Christians is seed." (Apology, chap. 50.) This experience was repeated during the persecutions of the Middle Ages, and will be repeated again just before Christ returns. (Matt. 24:21, 22; Rev. 7:13, 14.) [excerpted from The Seven Epistles of Christ, chapter 1, The Crown Jewel of Prophecy, by Taylor G. Bunch, 1947]

Out of a Roman penitentiary came the Apocalypse to bless Christendom. From the barren rocks of the volcanic hills of Patmos came the book that completes and crowns the canon of Scripture. Although his only earthly companions were criminals, John did not become discouraged and lose hope. He rose above his circumstances and environments. Although he had been compelled to sever his connections with home and loved ones, he maintained his union with God and held communion with heavenly beings. ** We should be thankful for the bleak and barren places of life that cut us off from all earthly help so that heaven can draw near **. Lonely Patmos became to the prophet "the house of God" and "the gate of heaven." A monastery now crowns the summit of the most nearly central height, where tradition says John received his visions. It was built eight centuries ago and dedicated to "Saint John."

From the places of exile and affliction have come the characters and literature and music that have been the greatest blessing to mankind. While in exile, facing the wrath of his brother Esau, Jacob in his extremity found God, and his character was so transformed that he was given a new name to correspond to his new character. It was while Joseph was in exile in Egypt that he developed a character that gave him the blessings of heaven and the favor of Pharaoh. He became a savior of the nation and of his own people. Moses was a fugitive when he met and talked with God at the burning bush, where he received his commission to deliver Israel from affliction and bondage. While a fugitive from the wrath of Pharaoh he wrote the books of Genesis and Job.

The experience of David while fleeing from the wrath of Saul brought him the greatest blessings of his life. It was during this time that he produced the best and most spiritual of his psalms. Elijah was in exile fleeing from the wrath of the angry Jezebel when he heard the "still small voice" directing him to his last work, which culminated in his translation by means of the fiery chariot. Ezekiel and Daniel wrote their great prophecies during Babylonian captivity. Tyndale and Luther produced their Bible translations while fugitives from the wrath and power of papal Rome. Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress came out of Bedford jail to bless the world. In the dark room of affliction and hardship the greatest characters have been developed and the greatest literature has been produced. Such also is the noble heritage of the Revelation. [quoted source unknown]

Monday, May 10, 2010

Chris Hedges: After Religion Fizzles, We’re Stuck with Nietzsche

After Religion Fizzles, We’re Stuck with Nietzsche
by Chris Hedges article link article link
May 10, 2010 |

It is hard to muster much sympathy over the implosion of the Catholic Church, traditional Protestant denominations or Jewish synagogues. These institutions were passive as the Christian right, which peddles magical thinking and a Jesus-as-warrior philosophy, hijacked the language and iconography of traditional Christianity. They have busied themselves with the boutique activism of the culture wars. They have failed to unequivocally denounce unfettered capitalism, globalization and pre-emptive war. The obsession with personal piety and “How-is-it-with-me?” spirituality that permeates most congregations is undiluted narcissism. And while the Protestant church and reformed Judaism have not replicated the perfidiousness of the Catholic bishops, who protect child-molesting priests, they have little to say in an age when we desperately need moral guidance.

I grew up in the church and graduated from a seminary. It is an institution whose cruelty, inflicted on my father, who was a Presbyterian minister, I know intimately. I do not attend church. The cloying, feel-your-pain language of the average clergy member makes me run for the door. The debates in most churches—whether revolving around homosexuality or biblical interpretation—are a waste of energy. I have no desire to belong to any organization, religious or otherwise, which discriminates, nor will I spend my time trying to convince someone that the raw anti-Semitism in the Gospel of John might not be the word of God. It makes no difference to me if Jesus existed or not. There is no historical evidence that he did. Fairy tales about heaven and hell, angels, miracles, saints, divine intervention and God’s beneficent plan for us are repeatedly mocked in the brutality and indiscriminate killing in war zones, where I witnessed children murdered for sport and psychopathic gangsters elevated to demigods. The Bible works only as metaphor.

The institutional church, when it does speak, mutters pious non-statements that mean nothing. “Given the complexity of factors involved, many of which understandably remain confidential, it is altogether appropriate for members of our armed forces to presume the integrity of our leadership and its judgments, and therefore to carry out their military duties in good conscience,” Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, head of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, wrote about the Iraq war. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, on the eve of the invasion, told believers that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was a menace, and that reasonable people could disagree about the necessity of using force to overthrow him. It assured those who supported the war that God would not object.

B’nai B’rith supported a congressional resolution to authorize the 2003 attack on Iraq. The Union of American Hebrew Congregations, which represents Reform Judaism, agreed it would back unilateral action, as long as Congress approved and the president sought support from other nations. The National Council of Churches, which represents 36 different faith groups, in a typical bromide, urged President George W. Bush to “do all possible” to avoid war with Iraq and to stop “demonizing adversaries or enemies” with good-versus-evil rhetoric, but, like the other liberal religious institutions, did not condemn the war.

A Gallup poll in 2006 found that “the more frequently an American attends church, the less likely he or she is to say the war was a mistake.” Given that Jesus was a pacifist, and given that all of us who graduated from seminary rigorously studied Just War doctrine, which was flagrantly violated by the invasion of Iraq, this is a rather startling statistic.

But I cannot rejoice in the collapse of these institutions. We are not going to be saved by faith in reason, science and technology, which the dead zone of oil forming in the Gulf of Mexico and our production of costly and redundant weapons systems illustrate. Frederick Nietzsche’s Übermensch, or “Superman”—our secular religion—is as fantasy-driven as religious magical thinking.

There remain, in spite of the leaders of these institutions, religiously motivated people toiling in the inner city and the slums of the developing world. They remain true to the core religious and moral values ignored by these institutions. The essential teachings of the monotheistic traditions are now lost in the muck of church dogma, hollow creeds and the banal bureaucracy of institutional religion. These teachings helped create the concept of the individual. The belief that we can exist as distinct beings from the tribe, or the crowd, and that we are called on as individuals to make moral decisions that can defy the clamor of the nation is one of the gifts of religious thought. This call for individual responsibility is coupled with the constant injunctions in Islam, Judaism and Christianity for compassion, especially for the weak, the impoverished, the sick and the outcast.

We are rapidly losing the capacity for the moral life. We reject the anxiety of individual responsibility that laid the foundations for the open society. We are enjoined, after all, to love our neighbor, not our tribe. This empowerment of individual conscience was the starting point of the great ethical systems of all civilizations. Those who championed this radical individualism, from Confucius to Socrates to Jesus, fostered not obedience and conformity, but dissent and self-criticism. They initiated the separation of individual responsibility from the demands of the state. They taught that culture and society were not the sole prerogative of the powerful, that freedom and indeed the religious and moral life required us to often oppose and challenge those in authority, even at great personal cost. Immanuel Kant built his ethics upon this radical individualism. And Kant’s injunction to “always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as mere means” runs in a direct line from the Socratic ideal and the Christian Gospels.

The great religions set free the critical powers of humankind. They broke with the older Greek and Roman traditions that gods and Destiny ruled human fate-a belief that, when challenged by Socrates, saw him condemned to death. They challenged the power of the tribe, the closed society. They offered up the possibility that human beings, although limited by circumstance and human weakness, could shape and give direction to society and their own lives. These religious thinkers were our first ethicists. And it is perhaps not accidental that the current pope, as well as the last one, drove out of the Catholic Church thousands of clergy and religious leaders who embodied these qualities, elevating the dregs to positions of leadership and leaving the pedophiles to run the Sunday schools.

These religious institutions are in irreversible decline. They are ruled by moral and intellectual trolls. They have become arrogant and self-absorbed. Their sins are many. They protected criminals. They pandered to the lowest common denominator and illusions of personal fulfillment and surrendered their moral authority. They did not fight the corporate tyrants who have impoverished us. They refused to denounce a caste of Christian heretics embodied by the Christian right and have, for their cowardice, been usurped by bizarre proto-fascists clutching the Christian cross. They have nothing left to say. And their aging congregants, who are fleeing the church in droves, know it. But don't think the world will be a better place for their demise.

As we devolve into a commodity culture, in which celebrity, power and money reign, the older, dimming values of another era are being replaced. We are becoming objects, consumer products and marketable commodities. We have no intrinsic value. We are obsessed with self-presentation. We must remain youthful. We must achieve notoriety and money or the illusion of it. And it does not matter what we do to get there. Success, as Goldman Sachs illustrates, is its own morality. Other people's humiliation, pain and weakness become the fodder for popular entertainment. Education, building community, honesty, transparency and sharing see contestants disappeared from any reality television show or laughed out of any Wall Street firm.

We live in the age of the "Übermensch who rejects the sentimental tenets of traditional religion. The Übermensch creates his own morality based on human instincts, drive and will. We worship the "will to power" and think we have gone "beyond good and evil." We spurn virtue. We think we have the moral fortitude and wisdom to create our own moral code. The high priests of our new religion run Wall Street, the Pentagon and the corporate state. They flood our airwaves with the tawdry and the salacious. They, too, promise a utopia. They redefine truth, beauty, morality, desire and goodness. And we imbibe their poison as blind followers once imbibed the poison of the medieval church.

Nietzsche had his doubts. He suspected that this new secular faith might prefigure an endless middle-class charade. Nietzsche feared the deadening effects of the constant search for material possessions and personal hedonism. Science and technology might rather bring about a new, distorted character Nietzsche called "the Last Man." The Last Man, Nietzsche feared, would engage in the worst kinds of provincialism, believing he had nothing to learn from history. The Last Man would wallow and revel in his ignorance and quest for personal fulfillment. He would be satisfied with everything that he had done and become, and would seek to become nothing more. He would be intellectually and morally stagnant, incapable of growth, and become part of an easily manipulated herd. The Last Man would mistake cynicism for knowledge.

"The time is coming when man will give birth to no more stars," Nietzsche wrote about the Last Man in the prologue of "Thus Spoke Zarathustra." "Alas! The time of the most contemptible man is coming, the man who can no longer despise himself."

"They are clever and know everything that has ever happened: so there is no end to their mockery." The Last Men indulge in "their little pleasure for the day, and their little pleasure for the night."

The consumer culture, as Nietzsche feared, has turned us into what Chalmers Johnson calls a "consumerist Sparta." The immigrants and the poor, all but invisible to us, work as serfs in this new temple of greed and imperialism. Curtis White in "The Middle Mind" argues that most Americans are aware of the brutality and injustice used to maintain the excesses of their consumer society and empire. He suspects they do not care. They don't want to see what is done in their name. They do not want to look at the rows of flag-draped coffins or the horribly maimed bodies and faces of veterans or the human suffering in the blighted and deserted former manufacturing centers. It is too upsetting. Government and corporate censorship is welcomed and appreciated. It ensures that we remain Last Men. And the death of religious institutions will only cement into place the new secular religion of the Last Man, the one that worships military power, personal advancement, hedonism and greed, the one that justifies our ruthless callousness toward the weak and the poor.

© 2010

Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.

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Pedophiles and Popes: Doing the Vatican Shuffle
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