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Modern religion

When you get right down to it, there’s not a lot of difference between the new one and the old ones.

What do the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) have in common with each other? Besides some form of putative monotheism, quite a bit, as it turns out. Each relies on “prophecy” to justify the validity of its teachings. Each has a canon of sacred scriptures, dictated by the Almighty whether directly or through human intermediaries, which its scholars and adherents pore over in order to discover hidden meanings and glean new insights into the human condition. Each regards itself as the sole repository of truth, to the exclusion of all other rites and practices. Each, in its own way, believes that it alone is God’s prescription for the good and moral life, handed down on high via (pick one) Moses, Jesus of Nazareth, or Muhammad. Each anathematizes heretics. Each defines sin and regards its expiation as essential to eternal salvation. And while they share many of the same cast of characters, each is dogmatically exclusionary of the others.

Let us now add a fourth faith to this trinity: “man-made climate change.” Its professed goals might be quite different, but in practice, it is indistinguishable from the other three. Computer projections forecasting certain doom are its “prophecies” and climatologists are its Hoseas, Jeremiahs, and Isaiahs. Apocalyptic books such as Al Gore’s Earth in the Balance and his movie, An Inconvenient Truth, are Holy Writ. And Greta Thunberg, the Swedish school striker, is its embodiment of Bernadette and Joan of Arc. It is not enough to believe in some of what its votaries say: one must believe in all of it, and the only way to salvation is through its teachings. Time, of course, is of the essence.

Early Believers came to their faiths in part because of their assurances of immediate relief from tribulation. In the early days of rabbinical Judaism, which more or less coincide with the origins of Christianity, the Jews cycled through various messiahs, including Jesus (the Ebionites, who accepted Jesus as the prophesied messiah but kept the Mosaic Law, existed for the first three or four centuries A.D.), and Simon bar-Kokhba, who led the final rebellion of the Jewish Wars against the Romans between 132 and 136. The immediate goal was the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel, according to the prophecies.

Similarly, many early Christians believed in the aftermath of the Crucifixion that the Second Coming was imminent and that Jesus, too, would expel the Romans and establish a new kingdom on earth. (They had thought that even before his execution as a political criminal by Pontius Pilate.) The early ferocious appeal of Islam was that it was inevitable and invincible, and it inspired its followers to a stunning conquest of the Sassanid Persian empire, much Byzantine territory, the remnant of the Western Roman Empire in North Africa and Spain — until it was stopped dead in its tracks by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732, a stunning, almost inconceivable blow to Arab and Muslim pride, as we read in the contemporaneous Islamic accounts of the battle. Call it the “fierce urgency of now.”

So it is with “climate change.” The new Kingdom of Heaven will arrive if only we follow the scriptures; otherwise, we have only a limited time left to survive. That these predictions have been to date entirely wrong doesn’t matter. The appeal of prophetic faith conveniently lies in its non-specificity. The Messiah will come… some day. The risen Jesus will return… some day. The whole world will become the dar al-Islam…someday. The goal is a state of permanent fear with a chimerical hope of relief.

Which state of permanent fear will always and forever be exploited by TPTB to maintain, extend, and magnify the power of the State over its benighted subjects. As it turns out, some things really are eternal. Gee, who knew?

2 thoughts on “Modern religion

  1. Climate Change is a religion but their god is in their mirrors.

    Same as Islam, whose “God” is supposedly the same as Judeo-Christianity, but is really just Man Worship of Mohammed. Everyone sees Mohammed in their mirrors.

    1. “…but their god is in their mirrors.

      Nice, and accurate, description.

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