Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Why the Crucifixion of Christ is a Fraud

More than perhaps any other point in the story of Christ, Christians tend to focus of the crucifixion as the seminal event. In fact, for many Christians, the crucifixion is the seminal event in all of human history. This is why the most recognized Christian symbol the world over is the cross, rather than an empty grave. But when one considers the fact that such a brutal act only carries any meaning to human beings, and none at all to any other species of life, and especially to an all powerful everlasting God, it is hard to consider it to be anything but a form of emotional terrorism. It is, as it were, simply a spectacle of horrors designed to cattle-prod people into "believing" a story more out of emotional guilt than out of any consideration of whether such a story makes any rational sense whatsoever. 

If we accept the idea that Christ's death and resurrection were necessary to forgive humanity its disobedience in the Garden of Eden by Adam & Eve, then we are saying that two wrongs make a right, by claiming that the disobedience of the latter was rectified by the killing of the former. But how can our collective disobedience to a God be forgiven by an act of murder of that same God, for which that same God holds us all collectively responsible for as well? 

Assuming such an event actually took place, in addition to assuming that Jesus was the "son of God" in the very sense of that phrase that only the Christian interprets it, it seems to never occur to Christians that to think of the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection as representing some milestone in human history, only makes an utter mockery of a God who is said to be infinite and eternal in every way. It is to see such an event through purely human eyes, and nothing more. From God's perspective, on the other hand, it would be like redeeming humanity by becoming an ant that humanity could step on.  Or it is to obsess over a single number as somehow being far more "perfect" or "blessed" than every other number, or even all other numbers combined, from out of an infinite set of numbers.

 If God is eternal and infinite in every possible way, as the Bible and Christians claim, then why should anyone consider His willingness to come to earth and be crucified, just so he can rise again from the "dead" (especially since death is something only mortal humans can truly do, not immortal gods),  be considered "special" in any way, shape, or form? Why would anyone be impressed by a building falling on Superman, when everyone knows that Superman would be completely unharmed by the event, as would anyone else from the planet Krypton? 

The "pain" and "suffering" Christ is said to have endured during his passion, for example, is only "great" when considered solely from the perspective of human beings, but not from the perspective of computers or the wind, or from the perspective of the sun or the cosmos, and much less so from the perspective of an infinite and all powerful God. While such tortures chill most humans to the bone to behold, Christ's suffering, even when combined with all human suffering throughout history, would still amount to less than a gnat bite to the kind of all powerful, "immaterial" and "immortal"  God the Christians everywhere insist exists. 

No experience of pain to a finite human vessel, in other words, could ever be more than the smallest pin prick of an experience, to a "being" that created sensations along with the sentient beings who may be alone in their capacity to experience them. Perhaps it is this ability to experience such pain, more than anything else, that makes us think we are so special among everything else in the cosmos. Outside of those sentient beings, such sensations would be as neutral as any other experience, in the same way that ideas of "right and wrong" only carry the particular "meaning" they have, to finite, mortal beings like ourselves.

The meanings of ideas of "right and wrong" when such terms are used by, say, computers, AI, or immortal beings, on the other hand, would necessarily carry very different connotations. Murder is only wrong to beings that can die, after all, since they depend upon the health of their flesh and bones to stay that way. But to beings that cannot die, either because they have no material bodies or because those material bodies are in fact immortal in some way, "murder" is a word that either does not apply to them, or it would have to carry a very different meaning than the one humans use. In either case, "murder" would not be "wrong" in the sense that we think of it, even if it was "wrong" in some other sense, depending on how such "immortal" beings chose to define such a word, if they ever even thought to use such a word at all.

And like the term "murder," Christians equally ignore the fact that every attempt to describe God necessarily relies upon not only the limits of human thought - and to presume that humans can even begin to conceive of such a "being" is to elevate the human comprehension to the very same level of such a God - but the necessity of always having to describe such a "being" in terms that are always grounded in our own, finite, human, experience and reality. 

To say that God is "eternal," for example, is to describe God in terms of time, even though the Christian claims that God does not exist within the limits of time itself, since time itself is purely a physical experience, at least as far as we know. It assumes, in other words, that by elevating the idea of "time" to a level of endlessness, that such a concept begins to capture at least some aspect of God, when in fact it does no such thing at all; for not only is time a finite thing, but to a God that necessarily created time, and that exists wholly outside of it, using such a measurement to try and delineate God is like using a composite of all the colors we can design to try and delineate the nature of wind. Or it is like assuming to know something about Picasso by the color red.

The crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, then,  would be events that would have as little meaning to a God as the birth or death or any other sentient thing. And the only "being" that would benefit from getting people to obsess their whole lives over something so meaningless to an infinite God, would be a devil who sought to convince them all that by doing so, they would hope to die so they could "become like God."


Monday, February 26, 2018

Christian Ouroboros: The Great Paradox of Original Sin & Infallibility

 The Ouroboros is the symbol of a snake eating its own tail. This symbol also captures the great paradox of original sin and infallibility, for the former was caused by seeking the latter.   

For Christians, the "old covenant" was one that had been broken by the disobedience of Adam and Eve. In truth, however, that story is but an allegory of the story of King David, who the Jews had always understood to be the one who actually broke the "old covenant," which was established with Moses on Mount Sinai.  When David claimed the throne of Israel and Judah for himself, he thus broke the First Commandment: 'You shall have no other God's before me." To become a King, as all ancient people understood at that time, was to "become like God," for Kings were the authors of the law, and thus the arbiters of "right and wrong." 

Adam & Eve are believed to have "disobeyed" God by eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They were lured by the serpent (ironically enough) in that tree to "believe" they would, by eating that fruit, "become like God, knowing right from wrong." What this means, basically, is that they would know everything (how else could they know ultimate right and ultimate wrong?), and by knowing everything, they could also therefore be both "inerrant" and "infallible" in such God-like "knowledge." But the only positions that have ever bestowed such god-like "power" on an individual, is the throne of a king.

Accepting that the biblical authors were "inerrant" in transcribing everything God wanted them to convey to humanity - which is quite possibly the worst means by which anyone has ever tried to convey any ideas -  just happens to be the very thing that Christians have to "believe" in order to accept the legitimacy and authority of both their bible and their pope.  The biblical authors, in other words, had to possess the very "knowledge," at least while they were writing the bible anyway, that Adam & Eve were punished for pursuing. 

Thus, for Catholics to "believe" their pope can be "infallible" whenever he speaks officially for the Catholic Church on questions of "faith and morals" - which are categories that could be construed to cover almost everything - they have to likewise "believe" that the papal office allows any given pope to "become like God, knowing right from wrong," at least for as long as they hold that papal office, or whenever they speak "ex cathedra" (i.e, with the full authority of the Church and the papal office).  The papacy, in other words, gives to the pope the very "knowledge of good and evil" that Adam and Eve are said to have been seeking when they committed the "original sin" that cursed humanity ever after, and for which the Catholic Church claims to offer the only earthly cure through its "sacraments."

Christians likewise rely on this very same "belief" when they conclude not only that the authors of their Bible were necessarily as inerrant in transcribing the "word of God" as the pope is "infallible" in speaking ex cathedra, but that all of the countless number of people who transcribed that text throughout the years, were likewise "inerrant" in their transcriptions as well, at least for as long as they were essentially possessed by the holy spirit for the purpose of writing and transcribing.

So where does this papal claim of "infallibility" necessarily come from?

When Augustus became emperor of Rome, he appointed himself Pontifex Maximus. Pointifix Maximus, as described on Wikipedia, is Latin for "greatest priest," and was the name for the position of the chief high priest of the College of Pontiffs (Collegium Pontifcum) in ancient Rome.The word "pontifex" and its derivative "pontiff" later became terms used for Christian bishops, including the Bishop of Rome, and the title of "Pontifex Maximus" was applied within the Catholic Church to the Pope as its chief bishop and appears on buildings, monuments and coins of popes of Renaissance and modern times."

This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian first occupied this post. A distinctly religious office under the early Roman Republic, it gradually became politicized until, beginning with Augustus, it was subsumed into the Imperial office.

Laws issued by the Caesars of Rome were necessarily considered "infallible," and with the uniting of Church and state by Augustus, the same became true of any religious decree. When Constantine eventually made Christianity the official religion of Rome, then, all of the political powers of Rome imbued the office of the papacy with similar "infallibility." We even see this is a coin of the Vatican state which says this about Pope Pius VI: Pius Sextus Pontifex Maximus.

We saw an example of this when Louie XIV declared "I am the state!" claiming that he ruled by  "divine right," that there were no independent powers outside of him, and that he was unrestrained by law, nobles or parliaments. We also saw how, when Alexander the Great began to loose his marbles, he started running around proclaiming himself to be God.

The popes were not bold enough to so openly flout the First Commandment, as King David had done, until 1074, when Pope Gregory VII declared that the Catholic Church was "infallible"  because it was given to him by God's inspiration. Like a true despotic emperor, he went on to void all priestly marriages (so much for the "sacrament of marriage") at what was called "The Fastsynod," which allowed him (or as he claimed, the church) to take possession of everything the children of those married priests would have otherwise inherited by birth.

In 1302 Pope Boniface in Unam Sanctam, a letter to the Catholic Church, out did the lust for power that seduced King David when he wrote: "Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff."

Pope Leo XIII would likewise claim that the Roman Catholic Church and the papacy more specifically, held "upon this earth the place of God Almighty.." and that "the supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself."(The full text of which can be found here)

 In 1517, Pope Julius claimed that the pope was infallible in response to Martin Luther challenging the sale of indulgences, which were being sold as a magical exoneration of sins to pay for the building of St. Peter's in Rome and to pay off the loan that Albrecht of Brandenburg had procured from the giant Fugger Bank for the purchasing of his highly sought after position as the bishop of Mainz.

In 1864, Pope Pius issued Quanta Cura, and Syllabus of Errors, including questions about whether the pope was bestowed with the divine power of infallibility. In 1865, on July 13, this question was voted on, with 451 voting yes, 88 no, and 62 who said yes but with reservations. Thus through a democratic act, the papacy became an absolute authoritarian.

In his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope (New York: Alfred A. Knoff. 1995),.Pope John Paul II even wrote that names like "Holy Father" are applicable to the Pope, even though calling him that is counter to the Gospel:    Have no fear when people call me the "Vicar of Christ," when they say to me "Holy Father," or "Your Holiness," or use titles similar to these, which seem even inimical to the Gospel." (page 6.)

In  Vita Consecrata, John Paul II also gave his ascent to calling the Pope "Lord" and "Christ on earth" stating:

 In founders and foundresses we see a constant and lively sense of the Church, which they manifest by their full participation in all aspects of the Church's life, and in their ready obedience to the Bishops and especially to the Roman Pontiff. (emphasis added) Against this background of love towards Holy Church, "the pillar and bulwark of the truth" (1 Tim 3:15), we readily understand the devotion of Saint Francis of Assisi for "the Lord Pope",(like Lord Vader?) the daughterly outspokenness of Saint Catherine of Siena towards the one whom she called "sweet Christ on earth", the apostolic obedience and the sentire cum Ecclesia of Saint Ignatius Loyola,and the joyful profession of faith made by Saint Teresa of Avila: "I am a daughter of the Church".

What is truly baffling about all of this,at least  from the perspective of anyone who is not a Catholic, is how Catholics will point out that whenever such statements are uttered by the likes of Charles Manson, David Koresh or Jim Jones, it is clear evidence that such people are either lunatics, or are simply "false prophets" who have confused themselves for Jesus Christ or who are simply trying to brainwash people into "believing" in their "religion." 

But when these exact same statements are made by Popes or "saints" (and several popes thought that just being a pope was enough to make one a saint), they think it is almost blasphemous to suggest that they should ever be interpreted in the very same way.  It is as if every Catholic possess "infallible" certainty that no pope has ever once, however slightly, been corrupted by the power of their office, or ever once confused them self with actually being "sweet Christ on earth." This is true, even though John Paul II was canonized as a saint, even after he facilitated the sexual crimes of his own Catholic clergy by refusing to take measures to stop it or prosecute those he knew were responsible for it.

The Catholic likewise assumes, again with absolute "infallible" certainty, that by allowing people like Catherine of Siena or Francis of Assisi to refer to a pope with terms like "sweet Christ on earth" and "the Lord pope," that not a single "true" Catholic has ever, or will ever, begin to confuse those popes with their God or their Christ, however slightly. And if ever anyone does, that is their fault, as a lack of "faith," and they will have to figure it out on their own, or suffer the eternal consequences for ever making so fallible a mistake.

Atheists then are left to conclude that this must just be one of those "mysteries of faith" that only the "faithful" know to be "true," because by "truth" they mean simply what they choose to "believe" in faith.
That all of these statements illustrate a far greater insertion of an earthly "God" or spiritual monarch between humanity and God, and therefore a far greater infraction of the First Commandment, than anything King David had ever asserted or did, is simply denied by Catholics and Christians alike, who all insist that the "true" meaning of such statements can only be understood by "true believers." At this point, of course, there's no use in pointing out that this is exactly the same explanation offered by the followers of Charles Manson, David Koresh, and Jim Jones. 

Why Is There No Age Limit on Guns?

You have to be 16 years old to drive a car, 18 years old to smoke cigarettes, vote, or go to war, and 21 to buy alcohol.

So why is there no minimum age for buying an assault rifle?  

While "Federal law prohibits handgun ownership by any person under the age 18, with a handful of exceptions, there is no minimum age for long gun (i.e. rifle and shotgun) ownership."

In 1984, the National drinking age was raised to 21. This was in response to the drunk driving epidemic of the 1970s. According to the NIH, as a result, drunk-driving accidents have dropped by 50 percent since the law passed, and the greatest proportion of this decline was among 16 to 20 year olds: approximately 37 percent of traffic fatalities in this age group were alcohol related in 2013 compared to more than 75 percent in the 1970s. The law was changed, in other words, to protect our children. 

In 1987, the minimum age for smoking was raised from 16 to 18, to protect our children! Indeed, we even require a person be 18 to protect the eyes of our children from rifling through a pornographic magazine!

Yet somehow, when it comes to guns - a tool that was designed explicitly for the purpose of killing people - the NRA has been so successful in selling its religion of "fear your government," that some people are willing to accept every school shooting that has ever happened or will ever happen, as just the necessary price to pay for protecting their right to own a gun - even though requiring an age limit for an assault rifle (or better yet, maybe a license) poses no threat whatsoever to the 2nd Amendment.

Never mind that the "
right of the people to keep and bear Arms" did not help anyone at Ruby Ridge or Waco, or even all the people in those states that sought to secede from the Union during the Civil War. In fact, you pretty much have to go all the way back to the Revolution to find an example in American history where a "well armed militia" opposed what it considered to be a tyrannical form of government with any degree of success, and even then only thanks to a lot of help from the French army.

Nor should anyone ever dare to suggest that the whole idea of a "well regulated militia"  may in anyway imply that a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" could ever have the power to require that someone must reach the age of maturity before buying something as lethal as an assault rifle. In simplest terms, people who oppose any age limit on buying such a rifle see it as a birthright, as if any American citizen is baptized at birth (or even conception) with a God-given right to buy some of the most lethal weapons ever created.

If men could get pregnant, in contrast, they'd be defending their "right to privacy" as much as they defend their "right to bear arms," and arguing that having a right to an abortion is not the same thing as having an abortion, in the same way that having the right to own a gun is not the same thing as having the right to play a real life version of Call of Duty or Doom at the local high school, with an AR-15 some teenager may have picked up for a bargain at the local gun show.

Instead, ardent gun advocates claim that "guns don't kill people, people kill people," and refocus any discussion about guns, away from guns themselves, and onto "mental problems." Never mind that America's opioid epidemic is the result of marketers for Big Pharma working overtime to convince everyone in the country that they are suffering from some form of "mental problem" or another, and usually more than one.  

In fact, since science has replaced religion as the primary lens through which we diagnose those who are incapable of seeing how truly right we are about everything, it has become incredibly fashionable for political pundits across the spectrum to claim that "Liberalism" or "Conservatism" are actually kinds of "mental disease."

Before this paradigm shift from spiritual to psychological, people likewise claimed that religion was not responsible for convincing Christians that people suffering from actual mental problems were simply "witches" in league with Lucifer, and therefore posed a threat to the eternal souls of everyone in a society, but those specific, poor, misguided Christians who had failed to be as "enlightened" by their God as much about the "true" nature of human mind in the 15th century as people are today; especially people who work for the pharmaceutical industry. 

In this same way, as so many Christians did at the time, people even argued that the "separation of church and state" forbade the government from intruding on their divine right to own slaves, as it was spelled out so clearly in their bible. For these people, there was nothing inherently "immoral" about the institution of slavery itself - after all, those slaves were thankful for having a job, and having a place to lay their head was well worth the lashes they received for failing to obey their "masta" - and they shouldn't loose their "right" to do so simply because of some people who had failed to treat their slaves with all the tender love and care proscribed by their holy Bible. 

Like guns, even slave owners would have opposed any idea of an age limit on owning slaves. But if the whole point of opposing literally any kind of regulations on guns or rifles by the NRA and gun enthusiasts is so people can protect themselves from a government that uses drones, and any and all school shootings will therefore require a witch hunt for those with "mental problems," then we are left to worry about who will protect America from the NRA, who is essentially calling for another "red scare" in America, a new age of McCarthyism agaisnt anyone said to be suffering from a "mental problem" (which is basically everyone), and a wholesale renewal of a "witch hunt" and the Phoenix Program relied upon in Vietnam. Oh joy!   

Saturday, February 24, 2018

How Economist's are Priests of a Global Golden Calf

The economist is to an economy what the psychiatrist is to our psyche. And in the same way the latter pretends to know what constitutes the "right" kind of mind, dispensing as many explanations for what they diagnose as wrong as drugs to fix the errors, so the former pretends to the same thing with a countries economy. But in truth, neither really understand either one,  since an economy is simply the result of all human minds, and even the simplest single human mind is still an infinite universe unto itself, perhaps 99.9% of which we either know nothing about, or have no real concrete understanding of. 

The human mind, after all, is a chaotic universe of consciousness and subconsciousness, both of which exist in perpetual flux, reflexively reacting to any infinite array of environmental factors from without, as well as chemical, emotional, and psychological elements from within. An economy is simply a macrocosm of some ever changing number of interactions between those minds, that the economist thinks they can reduce to some numerical "science," from which they can deduce something about the nature of "economics" the same way a physicist uses math to deduce something about the nature of the physical universe. 

Overall, both tend to think their disciplines can truly understand something definitive about their respective fields, one by studying the tree and the other the interactions of the forest, yet each are selling their perspective and their discipline in the same way a priest wishes to convince his parishioners that his particular religion is the surest means of improving the world and avoid eternal damnation in the next life. 

That all three necessarily rely on people's willingness to simply "believe" in both the validity of their respective fields of study, and the competence and insight that the particular disciple of that field is selling, illustrates how truly foolish it is of us to elevate our penchant for simply "believing" in things, to the level of the highest virtue of all. Indeed, we even qualify such a willingness to "believe" - in say a God or a religion - as a "gift of faith" or a "gift from God." 

What's interesting about all three systems of thinking - economics, psychiatry, and religion - is that each has just as many reasons, and just as much evidence, to simply "believe" their ideas must necessarily be "true," as the other two. In fact, each equally enjoys pointing out the splinter in the eye of the other two almost as much as they enjoy denying that the splinter they see in other people's eyes is simply a projection of the beam in their own.     

The Paradox of Capitalism & the State

The anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon pointed out in his book, What is Property?, one of the many paradoxes that exists between Capitalism and the state. That paradox is thus: Even as the most ardent supporters of the former clamor for the minimization of the latter, they deny the fact that with the greater accumulation of wealth by the capitalist comes an ever greater dependence upon both laws promulgated by the state, and the state itself to enforce those laws, and always at tax payer expense.

The wars America wages around the world, then, from Korea and Vietnam to Iraq and Syria, are always clothed in the same verbiage of liberty and freedom. Such terms were used even by the Founding Fathers. By ringing the Pavlovian dinner bell of freedom and liberty, in other words, the average colonialist was lead frothing at the mouth to do the bidding of his financial masters, and hypnotized by their "beliefs" in God, they fought and died to overthrow the rule of King George from abroad for the "freedom" to be ruled even more tyrannically by an aristocracy from within.

And today, we see this same charade going on in every war being waged by America, as tax payers and soldiers of the working classes, are equally spent on fighting to expand the wealth and power of various industries - energy and financial chief among them -  while clothing such wolfish aims in the lamb like language of freedom and democracy. This was no less true during World War I, where the protection of loans doled out by American financial institutions to fund our allies agaisnt Austria and Germany was sold to the American populace, who were subsequently convinced to rush off and kill and die for God and country, as the gravest threat agaisnt "freedom" and "liberty" the world had ever seen. (see details in Operation Mockingbird and the Creel Commission, etc.)

The state does this by first claiming ownership to all property under its control, then taxing all those who live within its jurisdiction for the privilege of doing so, and then using those proceeds to both create the propaganda that is used to hypnotize the masses into believing in the benevolence of their rulers and especially their wars, and fund the military campaigns that are waged everywhere to expand the wealth and power of its wealthiest minority, and always with the lives of the poorest majority.   

 And while political parties and distinctions are used to hide this lie by always convincing the majority of Americans to blame their ills on those from the other side of the political fence, we are sold the religious myth of American exceptionalism to assuage our slavish sufferings from debt, and to convince ourselves that the "fears"we wage our wars to defend agaisnt are always worth any price.   

Private property, in other words, can only exist if there is a first a state that claims to "own" such property in the first place, and then ensure that such property can be further held in the hands of private owners, as a consequence. And as the inequality of wealth that such an arrangement necessary produces, grows exponentially with compounding interest - a fact that has served as the underlying thread of perhaps every conflict through history in one way or another - so the need for some publicly funded system of laws and enforcement is relied upon to defend it, first through propaganda, and then through force whenever and wherever necessary. 

The Church and the state have always agreed, in this respect, to sell everywhere the idea of the virtue of private property ownership, along with the need of hierarchical systems of power that protect such ownership. However opposed the two may be on various issues, they agree completely on the necessity of power over the many being vested in the hands of the few or the one. Communism, capitalism, and Christianity all worked in complete agreement, in this respect, to destroy anarchism during the Spanish Civil War, before they would then agree to turn on each other over which system would ultimately prevail over the spoils.

In his book, The Globalization Paradox, Dani Rodrik, pointed out that a similar problem exists on a global level, as the privatization of all property in the hands of financial and corporate powers, along with the ever increasing inequality of wealth and thus leisure that accompanies such an arrangement, necessitates ever greater governing bodies who can enforce the "justice" of such systems, through both propagandist PR and force. In this, Church and State have been in complete agreement since Constantine wed the two together in their mutual quests for absolute power. 

In this respect, Christianity would only outdo Barabbas in conquering the state from within, by turning the philosophy of Christ into a quest for wealth and power that is indistinguishable from the ultimate aims of capitalism or the state.  

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Reformation: The Temple of David Redux

When David made himself "King of the Jews" - the very "sin" for which Jesus would later be labeled and crucified - he broke the covenant that the Jews had established with Yahweh  on Mount Sinai by breaking the First Commandment: "Thous shalt have no other gods before me." In those days, kings were viewed as gods, after all, for they operated above the law and their decrees were "infallible" and thus beyond questioning. He would also set out to build a temple, which served as a central bank, to consolidate both wealth and power in his own hands (rather than God's) by outlawing all other places of worship but the temple. And by doing so, he would lay the ground work for monopolizing religious power in the hand of his son Solomon, by forcing all Jews to rely on the 'money changers' in that temple to purchase the things they needed to make their required sacrifices to God.

In Germany in 1517, the Catholic Church would pretty much do the exact same thing as David, monopolizing indulgences to fund the building of its own temple/bank - St. Peter's Basilica in Rome - and breaking both the 1st Commandment and the "new covenant" by declaring itself to be as "infallible" as God himself (by claiming that it is God that speaks through the Church, of course, which is pretty much what David and every other "King" has always claimed). In the same way David's desire to consolidate power in his own hands by his decree to build a temple would ultimately lead to rebellion among the 10 northern tribes, so the Pope's desire to elevate papal power to the "infallible" level of that of God, and the funding of the building of the "temple" of St. Peter's, would produce the exact same effect, serving as the spark that ignited the powder keg that today we call the Protestant Reformation.

While the Reformation is usually blamed on Martin Luther, it was actually caused by the Catholic Church following in the footsteps of King David, and succumbing to its quest to "be like God," as foretold in the Book of Genius and as offered to Christ in the desert by the devil.

The question we are left with to ponder from such moves, however, is where was the Holy Spirit in all of this, since Catholics believe the Holy Spirit is responsible for always "guiding" the Church?


After the crises of the Babylonian Captivity and the Great Schism, the papacy was extremely sensitive to the any challenge to papal power. As a result, papal theologian Sylvester Prierias interpreted Luther's 95 theses, which included criticism of the sale of indulgences and the Treasure House of Merit in general (explained below), as a direct attack on the absolute power of the pope, even though Luther had no such intention in mind. To those criticisms, then, the papacy therefore overreacts to defend its claims to power (hell hath no fury like a pope who's power is challenged), much in the same way Caiaphas sought to defend the power of the Sanhedrin by overreacting to the criticisms of Jesus, and Herod the Great sought to protect his monarchy by overreacting to the birth of Jesus by killing all of the first born children of Bethlehem. As a result, the pope issues decrees asserting that the pope is "infallible" in all matters of faith, claiming further that his authority surpassed even that of the Bible - these were claims the Church had never made before.

In these decrees, we see how the Catholic Pope became Joseph Caiaphas, known simply as Caiaphas in the New Testament, "the Jewish high priest who is said to have organized the plot to kill Jesus," who was also said to have been involved in the Sanhedrin trial of Jesus. We also see how the Pope wished to assert his absolute power over all Christians in the same way King David sought to do the same thing over the Tribal League and thus all the Tribes of Israel and Judah (which is why David had the support of the Philistines).  

We even see this parallel in the Conciliarism reform movement in the Catholic Church in general, during the 14th-, 15th- and 16th-century. In the same way the Tribal League opposed the monarchy of David, in short, so Conciliarism held that supreme authority in the Church resided with an Ecumenical Council, apart from, or even against, the pope. This movement emerged in response to the Western Schism between rival popes in Rome and Avignon.


So, how did the Catholic Church cause the Reformation? Well, like most wars and unrest, it was caused by the banks. Here's how. 

Albrecht of Brandenburg became the archbishop of Mainz in 1514 by purchasing that office from the pope for a very large sum of money, which was not an uncommon thing to do in those days. Such a position was sought after for various reasons, but mostly because it provided a good income with minimal work and practically no oversight - one Bishop of Strasbourg never preached a sermon or heard confession in 28 years, for example.  In Albrecht's case, the price was no doubt more than normal, for he was only 16 at the time, which was typically too young to hold such a position.

Lacking the kind of money one needed to purchase such a valuable position within the Church, Albrecht  borrowed it form the giant Fugger Bank of Augsburg, headed by Jacob "the rich." Having spent his handsome income from the Church on the comforts and pleasures of the day,when he was eventually pressed by the bank for repayment on the loan, he had no money to spare. So he appealed to the pope. But the pope informed him that the building of the new St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome (again, yet another bank/temple like that David sought to build, and that Christ would eventually threaten to destroy)  had left the church insolvent.

So, to dig themselves out of the debt they had both fallen into, one through simony and the other by following in the footsteps of David, they decided to sell the real estate of heaven through indulgences. Indulgences were based on the idea that, if the saints and apostles had led such holy lives and gained such merit in the eyes of God that when they died  they did not have to use all of their merit to get into heaven, the excess merit was left to the Church to dole out for others. The Church was thus free to "sell" the excess of "merit" it had inherited from all those dead saints, to all the living who, terrified of hell, sought to spend their life savings on securing a seat in heaven.

The excess amount of such "merit" was stored up in what the Church called "The Treasure House of Merit."  It was the sale of this excess "merit" that would become the Indulgence Crisis of 1517. 

Since a lot of indulgences would need to be sold to cover the cost of both of these expenses, the pope turned to his top indulgence salesmen, Johannes Tetzel, a man who sometimes used questionable tactics, and often promised - much like the serpent in the Garden of Eden - that the "indulgences" did far more than the Church claimed they actually would. In fact, Tetzel told buyers that those indulgences could be used for other than their intended purposes, including to be saved up in advance of sins, and as a means of not only avoiding confession (and since the priests could use the information gained in the confessional as a means of spying on people and use such secrets agaisnt them if need be, this was a very attractive way around that) but of getting deceased relatives out of purgatory. Like a modern day marketing guru, Tetzel even sold those indulgences with a catchy jingle: "As soon as your coin in my coffer rings, a soul up from purgatory springs."

In Wittenburg, right next door, Martin Luther was not just a professor but also a priest in the parish church. He was, thus, in charge of the eternal fate of his parishioners' souls. And when he heard that a number of people had bought indulgences from Tetzel, he became understandably worried.

Luther was not opposed to the sale of indulgences as they had been traditionally conceived by the church, but he had two objections in the way those indulgences were being sold in 1517. The first was that Tetzel was selling those indulgences under false pretenses, which Luther feared might prevent one from going to heaven. And the second was that Luther questioned the idea of the "Treasure House of Merit," as well as whether the Pope had the power to actually sell those "merits" at all. 

These concerns were listed in Luther's famous Ninety-Five Theses, which he did not nail to the door of Wittenburg, but instead sent to archbishop Albrechet, the very person responsible for the sale, who then forwarded it to the pope, who had masterminded the whole spiritual ponzi scheme in the first place. Famously absent from this equation, of course, is the Holy Spirit, unless it can be said that the Holy Spirit was questioning the Church through Martin Luther, in the same way Christ had questioned the Sanhedrin.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

How Christianity Became Anti-Christ

Christianity has largely become anti-Christ, ironically enough, and it did so by following in the footsteps of Judas Iscariot, selling "the body of Christ" for a purse of silver coins, and turning the garden of Eden into a potter's field.  Those purse strings have become the hangman's noose.

If one of the apostles of Christ were transported in time to 21st century America, they would no doubt be at a loss to understand how the religion of a penniless pauper, who died defending the poor from the persecutions of the rich, became a religion for the rich to persecute the poor; from a religion of Lazarus that proclaimed it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, to a religion of the rich man's table, the crumbs of which would "trickle down" to the poor like manna from heaven. 

This worship of an economic religion has transformed Christianity from a religion of salvation through sacrifice, to one that seeks to usher in Christ's return through colonization and the sword;  from the spiritual religion of a monotheist who preached that selflessness was the highest virtue, to an economic religion that extolled the "virtue of selfishness" preached by an avowed atheist; and from one that condemned "the love of money" as "the root of all evil," to one that everywhere worshiped "the profit motive" as the "invisible hand" of God, who's Midas touch transformed the 7 deadly sins into 7 of the most profitable sources of revenue of all time!

We see this in the ever growing number of Christian preachers who proclaim the "prosperity gospel," which amounts to worshiping the golden calf of Goldman Sachs as the one true God, to the fact that so many "Conservative Christians" voted for Donald Trump, a man who has more money than Damien Thorne.  We have gone from rooting for Bob Cratchit and George Bailey, in other words, to celebrating the thrift of Ebeneezer Scrooge and Mr. Potter, and in the process turned America from Bedford Falls into Pottersville.
And we have done it all with the innocence of a Christmas Carol, and the belief that it's a wonderful life, at least for us anyway. But that life must be protected, and therefore denied, to any and all who seem to threaten it. 

A large number Christians and Catholics, for example, not only support a ban on immigration that turns away refugees like so many Inn keepers turned away the "Holy Family," and specifically from those nations the U.S. has treated the same way Herod the Great treated the young male children of Bethlehem (and for essentially the same reason),  but did so by voting for a man who is as anti-Christ as perhaps any president has ever been, while at the same time accusing their own pope of being the "Antichrist" for daring to defend the poor and refusing to cast the first stone at homosexuals by exclaiming "Who am I to judge?"

It is as if those Conservative Christians feel it is their duty to "judge" others, lest they be judged at the end of time as deserving of hell by their "God" for failing to adequately do so. Then again, perhaps this is just an example of history repeating itself, since Christians voting for Trump and opposing the pope is essentially no different than the hue and cry of "free Barabbas" and "Crucify him!"

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Religion: God's Antidote for the Sin of Knowledge

Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden for the sin of seeking knowledge; or more specifically, they were punished for wanting to know and be more like their Dad. So it makes sense that religion would be designed to maintain human ignorance, which is why it uses "beliefs" as a means of punishing us all for the "sin" of seeking such knowledge, even as it only claims to offer us such knowledge. 

We see this in every attempt by Christians to assert some claim to a Bible full of "sacred knowledge," which they claim explains everything from the origin of the universe and the world, to the nature of love and sex, and from the nature of our souls to God's policing of our every thought.  The Bible, in other words, is believed by Christians to offer all of humanity the very thing that the Devil promised Adam and Eve would receive from eating the "forbidden fruit."

That the Christian believes it is their God given duty to interpret every speck of evidence humanity has ever uncovered, during its life long investigation of its own species and everything else within the universe it inhabits, including the universe itself,  as always only ever confirming the sacred "beliefs" found in a Bible that we alone authored only a handful of years ago, is to either worship human ignorance and fear as its greatest God, or to pretend that those who wrote such a book, possessed all the omniscience of God. 

To believe the Bible is the word of God, in other words, is to necessarily believe that the Biblical authors had indeed "become like God, knowing good from evil," exactly as the serpent in the Garden had promised Adam & Eve. 

No wonder that it is that Bible, and indeed all the religions that are derived from it, that has been the greatest stumbling block of all human progress and knowledge, as it has only ever been used to force all of human understanding to conform to its dictates, and often been used as the sole justification for putting to death any who dared to question its "truths" or its authority, including Jesus himself.  Again, it is to assume those who wrote it had received the fruits of the very promise the serpent made to Adam and Eve, and for which Adam and Eve, and all of humanity, where subsequently punished for seeking. 

Hence it is only in the most Orwellian sense that "religion" could ever be said to be a pursuit of "knowledge," since it was exclusively that pursuit which constituted the very sin that led to everything from the fall of man, to the "great flood" of Noah, to the execution of a god-man named Jesus, and allegedly every "evil" that has ever occurred throughout history. 

Or to put it another way, for the great sin of seeking knowledge by Adam and Eve, the grave punishment that God sought to impose upon humanity forever after, was institutional religion, which was as man made as the cross upon which Christ was crucified. Indeed, claiming that institutional religion is as natural as God is like claiming a cross is as natural as a tree.  

The Salvation Equation: How The Sunk Cost of Crucifixion Only Encourages More Sin

Walk into most Catholic churches, and you'll be struck by the larger than life representation of a man nailed gruesomely to a cross hanging from the ceiling, right above the altar, smack dab in the center of the church.

The point, of course, is not only to remind people what sinful bastards they really are, but to also burn into their memory every Sunday the horrendous suffering and death that their 'savior' was forced to endure for their miserable hides because of it, which is why they should all fall to their knees in gratitude!

Yet, when the priest explains that "Jesus died for our sins," no one ever thinks to ask the simple question of "Why?" or even, "Okay, but who asked him to?"

The image is so gruesome and emotionally jarring, in fact, that it short-circuits the rational part of our brain called the cerebral cortex, by triggering a flood of endorphins called an "amygdala hijacking," which basically "baptizes" our brains with a flood of emotions. This is why so many seemingly sane, educated people never notice how truly disturbing it is for them to all file into a "place of worship" that looks like something one might only see in a Stephen King movie or the basement of a serial killer.

This image also serves as a reminder that violence and death are incredibly useful means -  and when one considers how often the two are used in both the Old and New Testaments, they are perhaps God's most favorite means of all - of fulfilling God's "divine plan." No wonder humanity has only ever sought to engage in the more of it, and always tried to surpass the bloody deeds of their "holy homicidal father."

The idea that Christ died for our sins raises numerous paradoxes, of course, but one could be thought of in terms of economics. If all of our "sins" were paid for with that sacrificial act, then the more sins we commit, the better the bargain.

From an economic perspective, one that seeks to maximize returns on investment, Christ's death and resurrection are a sunk cost. In economics and business decision-making, a sunk cost is a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. And since that cost cannot be recovered, the only way to maximize it is to commit as many sins as we can, while we can. 

Think of it this way: if only one person had ever committed a single sin in all of human history, and let's say that sin was swearing, then that would be the only sin that Jesus would have to atone for. In this scenario, the crucifixion seems like overpaying for the single sin of swearing, committed by a single person. The more sins people commit, however, and the worse those sins are, the easier it is for us to imagine that the "crucifixion" was necessary as equal compensation. 

From this perspective, the relationship between the crucifixion and sin is exactly like E=MC2, in the sense  that Christians believe that the amount of suffering Christ endured on the cross was necessarily equal to the amount of sin humanity had or would ever commit, in the same way that E (units of energy) always equals MC2 (mass x the speed of light squared). 

Of course, this only leaves us to wonder how all of the suffering experienced by both people and animals in the Old Testament factored into such an equation, as well as why there would be any need for an Apocalypse as described in the Book of Revelations, let alone why the "sufferings" of purgatory or even eternal hell would be needed to settle the final score between man and God, if Jesus had allegedly paid the tab for all human sin in full already. 

The amygdala hijacking produced by the sight of a crucifix, as such, thus has the same effect on vampires that it has on Catholics who drink the blood of Christ every weekend in the hope of obtaining eternal life.  That Catholics are quite literally vampires,  in this respect, is likewise kept from any rational consideration by such an emotional hijacking.

But here's the problem in an economic sense: If the suffering of Christ on the cross is a fixed sum, then the more sin we can commit, the greater the bargain that fixed sum of suffering acquires, which only incentivizes us to sin only all the more. This is like paying a fixed price for utilities or to eat a buffet lunch. In both cases, the way to maximize what a person pays is to use or eat as much as they can. 

On the other hand, if the suffering of Christ on the cross is an infinite sum (because Christ is supposedly an infinite God) then we have a deficit that we are only incentivized to try and recover, since we are finite beings. This is like paying an infinite amount of money for a buffet lunch, which would only incentivize us to always be as glutinous as possible at every meal, as we strive forever on to get our money's worth.  

In either case, the crucifixion not only glorifies death and violence as the preferred vehicle for advancing the divine plan of the God of peace and love, ironically enough, but only encourages us to commit as much sin as we can possibly commit, in order to maximize the bargain of such a sacrifice.

 This would explain why so many Christians engage in so many "sins," while claiming they are doing it all for their God.



Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Trouble with Using an Infinite God As the Measure of Morality

For all of the talk by various self proclaimed "moral" authorities about  "moral absolutism," the truth is that every human on the planet is necessarily and inescapably a moral relativist. And this is because finite things can only be compared in any meaningful way to other finite things, because to compare them to infinite things makes them all equally inferior. As such, every "moral" comparison, a long with every other comparison, is necessarily "relative" to what it is being compared too, which includes any comparison to the infinite. 

This then illustrates the glaring problem with the idea that God is "infinite" and "eternal," as well as being all powerful and all knowing. That problem is that if he is all of these things, then he cannot be used in anyway as a standard for any system of morality that could be applied to finite human beings. And this is because there is no way to compare an eternal and infinitely large orange to an apple that is smaller than an atom that lasts for only a nanosecond, except to point out that the two are as opposite as any two things can possibly be.  

But a system can only be comprised of things that have comparative commonalities, otherwise it is like trying to design a system of "right" thinking by comparing calculus to colors.
When measured agaisnt an infinite yardstick of God, then, all actions - no matter how good or bad by our own standards - become equally neutral, because they would all be equally inferior by comparison.  The number 10, in other words, is no "closer" to infinity, than the number 10 trillion, and the number 652 is no further from infinity than the number 5.

Comparing any two numbers as "values" or "quantities"  to infinity, then, which is basically what we are doing when we compare ourselves to an "infinite God," only illustrates how both are equally deficient. Infinity, in short, makes everything equally finite.

Hence, anyone who claims to "know" more about God is like a person claiming to know more about infinity than someone else, which is like one person claiming to have gotten closer to counting to infinity than a person who has never even learned how to count. 

In this same way, any act of "evil" a finite human being can commit, would necessarily be equal to any act of "good" they can commit, when both of those acts are only measured agaisnt an infinite scale. It is only when those acts are compared to each other, and measured agaisnt our finite nature, that we can begin to qualify each as one or the other.

Hence, any act of "evil" would still be infinitely better than an infinite number of greater evils that were possible, just like any act of "good" would likewise be infinitely worse than an infinite number of greater possible "goods." And for this reason, anything that can be measured or compared by finite beings, must necessarily be relative.

Friday, February 9, 2018

The First & The Last

People who are often the first to "believe" in Christ today, would have been the last to "believe" in him during his own day. They are just as often the first ones to deny this.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Devil in Jesus Christ: On the Saving Grace of Disobedience

Disobedience has been the doorway to progress as often as "enlightenment" has always been denounced by those in power at the time, as an act of heresy. Those we view as heroes in retrospect, in other words, are always seen as heretics in their own time.  In short, we condemn the Devil for the same disobedience to authority that we applaud in Jesus Christ.

Like Prometheus, Adam and Eve stole the fire of "knowledge" from a God who, out of a desire to keep humanity as dumb and obedient as domesticated beasts, had expressly forbidden them from learning. This same prohibition against learning was imposed upon African slaves by Christian Europeans, once the latter had been stolen  from their homeland and sold into slavery for the enrichment of the former. 

And  like both Adam and Eve (and all of humanity that followed), the means by which those African slaves would eventually be kept ignorant with invisible chains, came from addicting them to a "desire" for salvation, and the "belief" that such a salvation could only come from obedience to the "sacred traditions" of Christianity - a religion that taught Africans (and all of humanity that followed) that their slavery was but a reflection of their relationship with God, and to please that God and hope to get to heaven, they had to please their master here on Earth.  

Jesus likewise defied both the Sanhedrin - the temple priests who claimed their authority came from God - and their "divine" interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. And like those African slaves, all three - Adam, Even and Jesus - were brutally punished for their disobedience. 

What Adam, Eve, and Jesus all have in common, then, is that they were no less disobedient to God (or those who claimed to be his divinely appointed agents) than the Devil himself. And in this same way, all new ideas necessarily begin with someone who has the courage to doubt the old ones, and all progress is a form of heresy to the "sacred" teachings and traditions of the past. 

From the American Colonialists who rebelled agaisnt King George, to Rosa Parks who rebelled against racism in the United States, those who "honor" tradition are as much like the devil toward progress and the quest for knowledge, as those who are willing to dishonor those traditions in pursuit of human freedom and progress are like Jesus Christ. 

Those who "defend" their "sacred" traditions, in other words, do so because those traditions tend to favor their status, their comforts, and their way of living and thinking, the most. Slavery and the system of "separate but equal" that followed in the Jim Crow South, for example, overwhelmingly favored the mentalities and social arrangements enjoyed by whites, which is why the majority of white people in America opposed Civil Rights in the 1960s as much as they opposed the abolition of slavery more than a century earlier. They were, to put it in political terms, "Conservative" for the traditions that constituted their own "comfort zone."

No one likes to upset the apple cart of their little garden of Eden, after all, regardless of how others must suffer for the privilege of  keeping the cart right where it is, so some can eat as many of those apples as they please, even if others starve in the process. 

It is only through the sustained disobedience of slaves to their masters, from Haiti to America, that Christianity was finally converted from a religion that defended slave masters, to a religion of "let my people go." And it was only through the writings of  people like Harriett Beecher Stowe and Fredrick Douglass - and not the "enlightenment" of Europeans or providence of their "Christian" faith - that the verses in the Bible that had always been used to justify and defend slavery, were finally reinterpreted to be condemnations of it instead.

Without disobedience, America would not exist, African Americans would still be slaves, and there would be no such thing as Christianity, since Jesus would never have dared to question the authority and the traditions of his own religion, or the Sanhedrin. Obedience, on the other hand, was how Germany  convinced the most Christian and law abiding society of the 20th century that committing genocide was as holy as reading the Old Testament. 


Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Sin of Knowing God

If there is a God at all, there is probably no greater sin a person can commit agaisnt him than to claim to "know" him better than anyone and everyone else. Yet such claims are the very heart of every religion, which is why religions themselves are no doubt the very apple offered to Adam & Eve in the garden of Eden, and why every person who claims to have some special knowledge of God, is no better than a serpent. Indeed, it was for seeking to obtain such forbidden knowledge that humanity is now said to be accursed with the stain of "original sin."

To claim that God would create all people as equals, and then grant to some of those people a greater knowledge of Himself than to others, in a world where the eternal soul of every single person depends necessarily and exclusively upon such knowledge for its salvation, is not only to deny that God created everyone as equal, but to insist that God "intelligently designed" the world in such a way, that a majority would have to trust - not God - but a "chosen" minority who had been given a special knowledge that God had chosen to deny everyone else. 

Such an arraignment would necessarily mean that God intended that some men should have power over others, for the former would be given inside information that the latter required to save their soul from the eternal flames of hell, and all because this is what God so desired. But where in any holy scriptures does it say that God wanted  to communicate everything about himself to all of humanity, through a "chosen" few, or through select special "prophets" to whom he would grant exclusive access to such knowledge, and to whom the rest would necessarily have to trust and wholly depend? 

What should make this only all the more obvious is the fact that all those who claim to be the messengers of God so often disagree about both the nature of that "one" God as well as His message.  In contrast, when the majority of people in the world were more polytheistic in their "beliefs" about God and gods, it was much harder for any one person to proclaim to have some special message from one particular god that all of humanity necessarily needed to listen to, and subsequently obey. 

It was only with the rise of the idea that one god was greater than all of the rest, which eventually evolved into the idea that there was only ever one God to begin with, that any person or group of people could proclaim to "know" something special about that God that the rest of the world did not, but needed to pay attention to. And this was only possible with the development of both numeracy and literacy, since both numbers and the written word did not exist for most of human history. 

Indeed, what greater act of human hubris and vanity could there be, then to assume that ten thousand years of shared "tradition" and knowledge," which amounts to less than a millisecond in the span of eternity, was adequate enough for some people to presume to know a God that is said by all to be as eternal as "he" is infinite? And yet this is exactly what every priest and pope presumes, and what every person who is gullible enough to "believe" such people are guilty of. Hence, if there is any such thing as God at all, then there is no doubt that "man-made"  religion is the brainchild of the devil himself, and all those who profane the former by their love of the latter, will no doubt one day be called to answer for it.


Christianity teaches people to believe that the best in life comes only after you die.