God the Father takes a selfie 8

For a bit of fun on a Sunday –

We quote two articles from Inside Edition.

First:

God

What does God look like to you? That was the question raised by a University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill study assessing America’s take on the Christian creator.

Their conclusion: God is an average white guy, according to the majority of 511 people, 74 percent of whom were Caucasian.

Participants were shown hundreds of randomly varying face-pairs and were tasked with selecting the face from each pair that looked more like their vision of God …

Researchers combined all the selected faces to assemble a composite “face of God”, the site says. The composite appears average-looking and white, with twinkling eyes.

The study found that some black Americans polled also saw God as a white male, though not all of them.

“People’s tendency to believe in a God that looks like them is consistent with an egocentric bias,” Professor Kurt Gray, a senior author told the College of Arts & Sciences’ site. “People often project their beliefs and traits onto others, and our study shows that God’s appearance is no different — people believe in a God who not only thinks like them, but also looks like them.”

God was also perceived differently down ideological lines.

While liberals tended to see God as more feminine, younger and more loving, conservatives saw God as more Caucasian and more powerful-looking.

Next (but with an illustration of our choosing):

 

God’s son Jesus

What did Jesus Christ really look like?

He has historically been portrayed as a light-skinned man with wavy brown hair down to his shoulders, with a full beard and moustache.

The look has been prominently featured in churches around the world and reinforced in classic Hollywood movies like King of Kings and The Passion of the Christ, as well as hit TV shows like The Bible.

Although the image can be traced back to the 3rd century, Dr. Tom Beaudoin, a professor of religion at Fordham University, explained the depiction is inaccurate.

“Jesus was modeled as a combination of a Greek god and a philosopher,” Beaudoin explained in an interview with Inside Edition.

He said many historians believe that the fair-skinned Jesus was actually inspired by the heir to the Borgia clan in Italy in the 15th century, Caesar Borgia. The Italian Cardinal was famed for his handsome features, and his father, Pope Alexander VI, commissioned Leonardo da Vinci to paint a portrait of Jesus modeled after his son.

But, citing historian Joan Taylor and her latest book, What Did Jesus Look Like?, Beaudoin speculated the real Jesus probably looked much different.

He said historians believe Jesus was much darker of skin, and stood at only 5 feet tall. He would have also worn his beard and hair short.

Instead of a long robe, Jesus likely wore a knee-length tunic with a short mantle or shawl, and wore leather sandals.

“He would have presented very typically, she argues, as a Jewish man of his day, which is quite different than how Jesus is often imagined in Christian churches today,” Beaudoin explained. “Think about Jewish people in Iraq today and this is how we should imagine Jesus. He would have looked like what we think of Middle Eastern presenting people today.”

Despite that characterization, Beaudoin speculates that the image of a light-skinned Jesus persisted to reflect the demographics of some churches in the United States.

“It reflects the whiteness of Christianity in the United States,” Beaudoin said. “We tend to have a very white Jesus in the United States, especially in white churches.”

So to believers in an anthropomorphic universe-creator, God is no longer, or not so much, an old man with a white beard sitting on a cloud. Now he just looks like lots of guys. Not old. Clean shaven. Amiable. Ordinary.

A face snapped in many a selfie.  

And though his son Jesus is still most often depicted as a pretty youth with beautifully shining shampooed well-brushed hair (brown, reddish or blond), and matching neatly trimmed beard and mustache, some believers, in need of verisimilitude, prefer to imagine a Middle Eastern type of Jew in the period of the Emperor Tiberius. Such a one as we show above. A mature man. Only a stumpy five feet in height? If they say so. Hair? He might have worn the hair on his head short like a Roman, but his beard would have been full, at most lightly trimmed. Short tunic like a Roman, even though no longer a youth? Hmm. More likely a long garment with, yes, a mantle – like the pious man in the picture. Sandals, sure. But maybe boots in winter.

And after Jesus rose in the flesh to rule enthroned at the right hand of God in perfect harmony with the not-so-old man? What did he put on his body then? What garment, made of what heavenly cloth – or none? With what razor do they trim or shave their beards?

What air do those four nostrils breathe? What divine foods pass those lips, growing in what gardens or wandering in what forests, and gathered, hunted, cooked by what ethereal processes? Do they digest as we digest, only with unaging entrails and no requirement for sewers?  What immortal hands made their thrones? Their own, that made the planets and the stars? And do they sit there through all the ages, and after time eternally? Do those bodies need no exercise?

And what of the Holy Ghost? Has anyone done a study of how believers visualize him nowadays? Is he still a “he”? Is he still a white dove? White? Are you sure?

Political religions and the politics of religion 1

Robert Spencer is an Eastern Orthodox Christian, so we make allowance for his mistaken belief that our Western civilization is “Judeo-Christian” rather than the product of the Enlightenment.

We quote him because he is expert on the history, texts and teaching of Islam.

Here he talks about Pope Francis appointing himself a defender of that intensely anti-Christian religion:

So the old joke question “Is the Pope Catholic?” is no longer funny. The serious answer is “No.”

The Pope’s opinions derive from various political religions, among them: Marxism, New Leftism, Liberation Theology, and Islam.

Let’s review what the Pope is defending when he defends Islam:

The subjugation of women, including the religion-sanctioned beating of wives, sex slavery, honor killings, and the stoning to death of women and little girls who have been raped

A death sentence for anyone who leaves the faith 

A  death sentence for homosexuals

Intense anti-Semitism; anti-Jew, anti-Christian, anti-Yezidi, anti-polytheist, anti-rival-Muslim-sect terrorism, persecution and enslavement

Routine torture of prisoners and extreme torture to death even of civilians, notably: slow beheading with a knife; stoning; burying alive (of children as well as adults); burning alive; drowning in boiling oil; the amputation of limbs; crucifixion; the throwing to the ground of homosexuals from high places; starvation.

So to defend Islam is to defend oppression, savage cruelty and murder. Judged by contemporary Western criteria, Islam is a deeply immoral religion.

Oppression, cruelty and murder are not, however, against traditional Catholic practice. Catholics can defend the use of torture and murder on the grounds that in the past the Roman Catholic Church needed to have people burnt alive in order to discourage heresy. For hundreds of years the Catholic Church tortured and murdered untold numbers of men, women and children who were guilty of nothing worse than a personal opinion that was not in conformity with Church dogma.

But not now. Now the Pope is virtue-signaling without reference to – and, he must suppose, without taint from – the past.

Now he has decided that capital punishment is “inadmissable”.   

This is a political decision against the teaching of the Roman Catholic religion:

Prior to the changes announced through the Vatican press office Thursday, the Catholic Catechism taught that recourse to the death penalty was not to be “excluded” as a legitimate punishment “if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.”

The Pope probably intended his ruling to have an effect chiefly on the laws of the United States, where capital punishment is still available to judges as a punishment for murder.  

And his decision may be taken notice of in the US.

But it will not make any difference in Islam. On that he relies. If he thought it at all likely to offend those stoners, burners, crucifiers, boilers, buriers, throwers from heights, beheaders and amputators, he would be very unlikely to announce it.

Possessing a fine talent for cognitive dissonance, Francis must be confident that his condemnation of capital punishment will not make his defense of Islam into a bad joke.

Posted under Christianity, Islam, jihad, Judaism, Muslims, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Sunday, August 5, 2018

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Rooting out Allah 6

What is the root, hub, core, foundation, or essence – any one of those words will do, no mixing of metaphors – of Islam?

Allah, of course.

Take away Allah and the whole growth, movement, body, edifice, or idea will wither away, stop, die, collapse, or fail.

Allah the War God is no more and no less a cause of Man-made Global Distress (MGD) than is Jehovah the Vengeful or that ludicrous empyrean bureau, the Trinity.

Christians and believing Jews have no valid argument against Islam.

So it is now the most important task of atheists to destroy Islam by destroying Allah, with Reason and laughter.

Trouble is, atheists on the Left have forged an alliance with Islam. They not only refuse to argue with it, they fiercely attack atheists on the Right who dare to say a word against that deeply immoral religion.

Attacks must not deter us.

Criticizing God is our business. Making him a laughing-stock is our pleasure.

 

 

 

(Hat-tip to Don L for the symbolic device)

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 3, 2018

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Atheism on the political right 58

World Religion News recently interviewed Lauren Ell, the founder of REPUBLICAN ATHEISTS.

She makes many interesting points, among them these:

WRN: Is there a historical precedent for this [Republicans being atheists], or would you call this a relatively new thought process?

LE: I don’t think atheist Republicans are new. They are new in the sense of being more outspoken about their atheist views, but they have existed as far back as the Civil War era. My organization, Republican Atheists, is the first organization I know of at this point that is representing atheist Republicans.

WRN: So you’ve mentioned you had this treatment by certain podcasters and writers, could you go into that in more detail?

LE: I started Republican Atheists in February of 2017 as an experimental project. I haven’t been involved with atheist organizations at all in the United States, such as American Atheists, Freedom From Religion Foundation, or Secular Coalition for America. Originally I had assumed these organizations would take some interest in Republican Atheists. I didn’t expect them to embrace our political views, but I thought at least they would maybe mention the existence of Republican Atheists to their base, considering many of these atheist organizations claim they are representing the entire atheist community in the United States. But I found when I contacted groups I did not get much response from them. They did not respond to the idea of mentioning Republican Atheists to their base. I was in contact with the Secular Coalition for America who at first had interest in Republican Atheists and said they would publish a guest article by me. I was in touch with their media coordinator and we discussed a topic to write about, and I wrote an article for them. It ended up being scrapped because they didn’t like my wording in the article, so I wrote it according to what they recommended and did multiple edits over a period of months. Despite all that time and effort of meeting their requests, at the end of the day they did not publish the article and didn’t even mention Republican Atheists to their base. They actually have not been responsive to me ever since. Some organizations haven’t responded to us at all, so I keep chipping away to build our relevance in the atheist community.

WRN: I would be interested in knowing about podcasters because you mentioned that specifically.

LE: I had an experience with one atheist podcast called Cognitive Dissonance. I actually hadn’t listened to them much, but I sent them an email introducing myself and offered to be interviewed on their show. They agreed to do a 45-minute interview. I was pretty excited because they are one of the more known atheist podcasts. I would say they have around 17,000 followers on Facebook. I ended up doing the interview with them, but they hung up on me 15 minutes into the interview because I mentioned something they didn’t agree with. They called it “the dumbest interview they’ve ever done”. I have actually been met with much more interest in gaining understanding by Christian podcasters.

WRN: What was the particular issue they didn’t agree with?

LE: We were talking about prominent movements such as Women’s March and the Occupy Movement which was big back in 2011. We discussed who is behind the movements in terms of people who financed protests, and I mentioned the name George Soros. The hosts didn’t want to continue the conversation after that.

In the course of the interview Lauren was so kind as to make favorable mention of our editor-in-chief, and simple vanity brings that part of the interview to this post:

WRN: So they’ve associated specific views on issues that don’t relate to Christianity directly, but they still associate it with Christianity. You’re saying within the Republican Party base you can reach a similar conclusion but through a different process and different thinking?

LE: Yes, that is what I do when I communicate with Republicans and Christians. I don’t bring up my atheist views up front and instead focus on what we have in common. I actually never really feel the need to talk about my atheist views unless I am trying to make a point about the existence of atheist Republicans. When I talk to people, I try to find what we have in common in terms of political policies and social policies. We’ll talk about education, taxation, freedom of speech, and so forth. I find a commonality with them, and once we have that commonality, they see that even though I’m atheist we have a lot in common. That is the situation I like to be in.

RN: This reminds me of Christopher Hitchens who was both an outspoken atheist and had several politically conservative stances. Is there anyone who you look to as a person who’s advocating besides of course yourself?

LE: There is a woman who is very impressive, and I wish she was mentioned a lot more. Her name is Jillian Becker, and she manages a blog called The Atheist Conservative. One thing I point out about Jillian Becker is she does not promote the Republican Party. Her thing is just conservatism, and there’s a difference. I always have to point out there’s a difference between an atheist conservative and an atheist Republican. I know a lot of people get it intertwined and sometimes conservatives get a little irritated. But Jillian Becker and I get along pretty well because we see eye to eye on a lot of issues. If you look her up you will see she has an impressive resume. She’s on Wikipedia. She has spoken with the British Parliament in regards to terrorism in the past. She’s a published author, has been featured in interviews, and is very outspoken. She is older now, so I wish she was mentioned more often. I also note Heather Mac Donald who is a published author and a conservative atheist. She was recently shut down on college campuses in California, and she has been interviewed about it.

We too are admirers of Heather Mac Donald, and strongly recommend her books – all of them.

Read the whole interview with Lauren Ell here.

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Conservatism, Religion general, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, June 14, 2018

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Christianity at start-up: “a stupid, pernicious, and vulgar religion” 6

What is also clear is that Celsus is more than just disdainful. He is worried. Pervading his writing is a clear anxiety that this religion—a religion that he considers stupid, pernicious and vulgar—might spread even further and, in so doing, damage Rome. Over 1,500 years later, the eighteenth-century English historian Edward Gibbon would draw similar conclusions, laying part of the blame for the fall of the Roman Empire firmly at the door of the Christians. The Christians’ belief in their forthcoming heavenly realm made them dangerously indifferent to the needs of their earthly one. Christians shirked military service, the clergy actively preached pusillanimity, and vast amounts of public money were spent not on protecting armies but squandered instead on the “useless multitudes” of the Church’s monks and nuns. They showed, Gibbon felt, an “indolent, or even criminal, disregard for the public welfare.  

The Catholic Church and its “useless multitudes” were, in return, magnificently unimpressed by Gibbon’s arguments, and they promptly placed his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, its list of banned books.

Even in liberal England, the atmosphere became fiercely hostile to the historian. Gibbon later said that he had been shocked by the response to his work. “Had I believed,” he wrote, “that the majority of English readers were so fondly attached even to the name and shadow of Christianity . . . I might, perhaps, have softened the two invidious chapters, which would create many enemies, and conciliate few friends.”

Celsus did not soften his attack either. This first assault on Christianity was vicious, powerful and, like Gibbon, immensely readable. Yet unlike Gibbon, today almost no one has heard of Celsus and fewer still have read his work. Because Celsus’s fears came true. Christianity continued to spread, and not just among the lower classes. Within 150 years of Celsus’s attack, even the emperor of Rome professed himself a follower of the religion.

(From The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey)

Posted under Christianity by Jillian Becker on Sunday, May 27, 2018

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More Christian vandalism 2

Medieval monks, at a time when parchment was expensive and classical learning held cheap, simply took pumice stones and scrubbed the last copies of classical works from the page. …

In some cases “whole groups of classical works were deliberately selected to be deleted and overwritten in around AD 700, often with texts authored by [the fathers of the Church or by] legal texts that criticised or banned pagan literature”.

Pliny, Plautus, Cicero, Seneca, Virgil, Ovid, Lucan, Livy and many, many more: all were scrubbed away by the hands of believers.   The evidence from surviving manuscripts is clear: at some point, a hundred or so years after Christianity comes to power, the transcription of the classical texts collapses. From AD 550 to 750 the numbers copied plummeted.

This is not, to be clear, an absolute collapse in copying: monasteries are still producing reams and reams of religious books. Bible after Bible, copy after copy of Augustine is made. And these works are vast. This was not about an absolute shortage of parchment; it was about a lack of interest verging on outright disgust for the ideas of a now-despised canon. The texts that suffer in this period are the texts of the wicked and sinful pagans.

From the entirety of the sixth century only “scraps” of two manuscripts by the satirical Roman poet Juvenal survive and mere “remnants” of two others, one by the Elder and one by the Younger Pliny.

From the next century there survives nothing save a single fragment of the poet Lucan.

From the start of the next century: nothing at all. Far from mourning the loss, Christians delighted in it. As John Chrysostom crowed, the writings “of the Greeks have all perished and are obliterated”.  He warmed to the theme in another sermon: “Where is Plato? Nowhere! Where Paul? In the mouths of all!”  …

It has been estimated that less than ten percent of all classical [Greek] literature has survived into the modern era.   For Latin, the figure is even worse: it is estimated that only one hundredth of all Latin literature remains.   If this was “preservation” — as it is often claimed to be — then it was astonishingly incompetent. If it was censorship, it was brilliantly effective. The ebullient, argumentative classical world was, quite literally, being erased.

 

(from The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey)

 

 

 

Posted under Christianity by Jillian Becker on Thursday, May 24, 2018

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The moment when Christianity brought darkness down on the West for a thousand years 3

More from The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey

In such an atmosphere, it took something for a law to stand out as particularly repressive.

Yet one law did. Out of all the froth and fury that was being issued from the government at the time, one law would become infamous for the next 1,500 years.

Read this law and, in comparison to some of Justinian’s other edicts, it sounds almost underwhelming. Filed under the usual dull bureaucratic subheading, it is now known as “Law 1.11.10.2.” “Moreover,” it reads, “we forbid the teaching of any doctrine by those who labour under the insanity of paganism” so that they might not “corrupt the souls of their disciples.” The law goes on, adding a finicky detail or two about pay, but largely that is it.

Its consequences were formidable.

This was the law that forced [the philosopher] Damascius and his followers to leave Athens. It was this law that caused the Academy to close.

It was this law that led the English scholar Edward Gibbon to declare that the entirety of the barbarian invasions had been less damaging to Athenian philosophy than Christianity was.  

This law’s consequences were described more simply by later historians. It was from this moment, they said, that a Dark Age began to descend upon Europe.

 

Posted under Christianity by Jillian Becker on Sunday, May 20, 2018

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The tragic destruction that Christ wrought 3

This quotation comes from The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 2018, 352 pages.

From the Amazon note about the author: “Her mother was a nun, her father was a monk, and she was brought up Catholic.” Not a conventional nun and monk, apparently. And one wonders if their daughter’s discoveries shock them.

Monasteries did preserve a lot of classical knowledge.

But it is far from the whole truth. In fact, this appealing narrative has almost entirely obscured an earlier, less glorious story. For before it preserved, the Church destroyed. In a spasm of destruction never seen before — and one that appalled many non-Christians watching it — during the fourth and fifth centuries, the Christian Church demolished, vandalized and melted down a simply staggering quantity of art. Classical statues were knocked from their plinths, defaced, defiled and torn limb from limb. Temples were razed to their foundations and mutilated. A temple widely considered to be the most magnificent in the entire empire was leveled. Many of the Parthenon sculptures were attacked, faces were mutilated, hands and limbs were hacked off, and gods were decapitated. Some of the finest statues on the whole building were almost certainly smashed off then ground into rubble that was then used to build churches.

Books — which were often stored in temples — suffered terribly. The remains of the greatest library in the ancient world, a library that had once held perhaps 700,000 volumes, were destroyed in this way by Christians. It was over a millennium before any other library would even come close to its holdings. Works by censured philosophers were forbidden and bonfires blazed across the empire as outlawed books went up in flames. 

We will quote more passages from this excellent book.

 

(Hat-tip Cogito)

 

A famous socialist advocates “humane” mass murder 59

In this video, the Socialist George Bernard Shaw advocates the gassing of people he regards as useless to society.

Shaw, an amusing and much acclaimed playwright, was highly sympathetic to the National Socialist Adolf Hitler, the Fascist Socialist Benito Mussolini, and the Dictators of the Union of Socialist Republics Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin.

Where does the idea that you need to justify your existence come from?

And with it the idea that the justification must only be according to what and how much you do for others? 

As a general moral theory, it was given birth to by Christianity. It is the very essence of Christian moral doctrine. It drives the Christian conscience towards self-sacrifice and martyrdom.

It was inherited by Socialism/Communism/Marxism/Progressivism. The Left. (Not by Hitler’s  National Socialism. Shaw was inconsistent there.)

We live in an age when the Left is so ungrateful for what the Enlightenment and capitalism have done for humankind, its minions so bent on destroying the great achievements of liberty and prosperity, that they deserve to lose the inventors, the doers and makers, the sustainers of our civilization – the Atlases who carry our world on their shoulders. Beware! Atlas can become exasperated. As he does in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. 

Ayn Rand has the characters who speak for her say:

We are on strike against martyrdom — and against the moral code that demands it. We are on strike against those who believe that one man must exist for the sake of another. We are on strike against the morality of cannibals, be it practiced in body or in spirit. We will not deal with men on any terms but ours — and our terms are a moral code which holds that man is an end in himself and not the means to any end of others.

And:

I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

Like Adam Smith, she and all capitalists know (whether they express the notion or not), that the best way of earning a living is to provide other people with something – goods or services – that they will pay you for. The benefit is mutual.

We cannot live without others. We cannot help having an effect on them or stop them having an effect on us, and we are happy when the effect is beneficial. But we do not need to live for them.  

It’s surely hard enough sustaining your own life and the lives of your natural dependents. To think up a single formula for sustaining and ordering the lives of millions, as the Left does, is to be absurd or insane; and the implementation of it is tyranny and mass murder. No two lives are so exactly matched that the same conditions will affect them equally. Let them be free, each to choose his own path. He may be self-centered, he may be avaricious; he may be self-denying, he may be altruistic. He pursues his own happiness.

Because of her insistence that we do not live for the sake of others, Ayn Rand has been likened to Friedrich Nietzsche. (By, for instance, Steven Pinker in his book Enlightenment Now. See our post, Enlightenment, atheism, reason, and the humanist Left, April 12, 2018.)

Nietzsche was a weak, unhealthy, mentally deranged German philosopher who invented and adulated an imaginary super-strong Super-Man. The Super-Man would be above conventional morality. His existence would be far more important than the lives of the superfluous multitudes who are fit only to be trampled down. (A belief of his that was shared by Hitler.)

Ayn Rand’s philosophy is nothing like Nietzsche’s. Rather, it is close to that of the Epicureans. They were atheists (though to save themselves from contumely and attack they would wave the subject away by saying yes, yes, okay, there are gods, but they live very far from us human beings and have nothing whatever to do with us). They accepted that to live is to suffer, so the best way an individual can live his life is by finding ways to enjoy it as much as he can. To pursue his own happiness. As a school of thought they were not sybarites; they did not advocate living luxuriously, though they had nothing against anyone doing so if he chose. Their chief pleasure lay in intellectual exploration. They were not Atlases; they did not carry the world on their shoulders. But they saw no sense in creeds of self-sacrifice, whether to men or to gods.

 

(Hat-tip to Don L for the link to the video)

 

Blackwards to tribalism 4

Those glorious Greeks of old conceived and implemented an Idea that took civilization thousands of thought-miles forward: individuals from any country, any nation, any tribe, could live together under the same rule of law.

What bound them, what commanded their loyalty, would be the Law rather than the Land: the Ius not the Rus – in the language of the grand old Romans who adopted the same idea. 

In the Roman Empire, at first, all the religions of all nations and tribes were tolerated, though tolerance and respect were demanded also for the gods of Rome.

It was a demand that the Judeans, who worshiped one god only, objected to. Their obstinacy on that score did not serve them well.

The Judeans became actively rebellious against Rome, whose protection they had originally invited. The Romans put down the rebellions, finally abolishing the province of Judea entirely. The Judeans turned into the wandering tribe of the Jews.

Before the first of the two great insurrections that ended in the dispersion of the Jews, an energetic Roman citizen of vast ambition came to the Judean capital, Jerusalem, from Tarsus in the Roman province of Cilicia in Asia Minor, and started a movement that was ultimately to destroy and replace the Roman Empire.

He called himself by the Hebrew name Saul (later changing it to Paul). He took the idea of the One  God and mixed it up with mythologies of Roman gods, claiming that the One God had a Son who was killed and rose again from the dead. He named the Son by the Greek name Jesus. His Jesus had been a living person, a Judean who had led a small weak rebellion and was executed for it. His followers maintained that he had “risen in the flesh”, and Saul/Paul was so excited by the tale – enhanced by the claim that the resurrected man was the long hoped-for Jewish Messiah (“Christos” in Greek) – that he invented a new religion. It came to be called Christianity. He moved about the Greek-speaking Eastern Roman Empire from whence he’d come, preaching it; finally taking it to Rome itself, where he died. He won converts. No one knows how many in his lifetime. Some of them reverted to their old polytheism or Judaism, but a fair number remained faithful to the new two-in-one divinity. Some converts composed books about the life of “Christ Jesus” – which Paul himself had not been interested in. The books, and Paul’s letters, eventually provided the mythology of the new religion.Through them the two-in-one divinity became a three-in-one divinity, a “Holy Spirit” being added to God-the-Father and God-the-Son.  The Son was chronicled as being begotten by the Jewish God upon a virgin mother (a concept familiar to the polytheists of classical times).

By this means and that means, the religion spread; through Paul the wandering preacher, the books of the myths, and the appeal that the religion itself had (with its promise of a blissful everlasting afterlife for the obedient faithful, and despite the threat of an eternity of torture for the disobedient unfaithful, the judgment being made by the Triple God alone). It became the Catholic Church, highly organized everywhere, headed and led by the the Church in Rome. More than a hundred years after Paul’s death, a Roman Emperor embraced Paul’s religion, and a few decades later Christianity was imposed on the whole Empire as its the official religion. Gone was the tolerance of earlier years. A few decades more, and Rome itself, weakened by Christianity, fell to the barbarians. The Church slowly took the place of the old order. The Church became the Roman power throughout western Europe. (The Eastern Empire, with the Emperor seated in Constantinople, is another story.)

Paul of Tarsus, though he never knew it, sustained and extended the power of Rome through his invention. But the Great Idea of the Greeks in the days of their glory, and of the Romans in the days of their grandeur, was changed.  Sure, individuals from any country, any nation, any tribe, could live as a “community” under the same rule – but it was the rule of the Roman Catholic Church, and that law was a different kind of law. It was the imposition of dogma: an orthodoxy, a uniformity of belief, essentially intolerant. 

Darkness descended. The Great Idea died.

It rose again after many hundreds of years. It was resurrected as the Idea on which the United States of America was founded.  

For two hundred and twenty-two years the Great Idea has made the United States of America, with a population of individuals deriving from many lands united as one nation under the law, free, prosperous, and powerful. United by Ius not Rus. Geographical origin, ethnicity, physical appearance, religion had no bearing on the rights the law gave all who lived under it. The unifying rule of law insisted on tolerance. By doing so, it guaranteed liberty. 

Now, it seems, that is changing. The Great Idea is under attack in the USA.

Tribes are being formed; some friendly to each other, some inimical to each other. Political cliques and cults, secessionists, states’ governments, defy the federal law. Many prefer to think of themselves as Blacks rather than as Americans, and their enemy as Whites. They actively seek to return to the savage ways of inter-tribal strife. It is atavism. It is a drawing down of darkness as intolerance spreads.

A good description of the disintegration is given by Sultan Knish. He writes (in part) at his website:

The Nation of Islam [NOI] preaches that black people are the master race. It doesn’t just hate white people, Jews and a whole bunch of other folks. It hates them out of a conviction in its own superiority. According to its teachings, “the Blackman is the original man” and lighter skinned people were “devils” created by an evil mad scientist to rule over black people until they are destroyed by UFOs.

It even teaches that monkeys are descended from white people.

Progressive media essays defending Obama, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Danny Davis, Mallory and other black leaders for their Farrakhan links have urged concerned liberals to look at the positive aspects of the Nation of Islam, its love for black people, not the negative, its hatred for white people.

But it is the “positive” that is the problem.

Intersectionality promises to package tribal identity politics into a utopia of social justice. But the essence of tribalism is the superiority of your people and the inferiority of all other groups. …

The clown car of identity politics runs smoothest when it has a common enemy: white people. Coalitions like the Women’s March assemble an array of groups who are united by their hatred of Trump, white people, Israel and root beer. And it works as long as no one lifts up the hood and looks at the engine.

Black nationalism is racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic. The Nation of Islam isn’t an exception. From Jeremiah Wright, “Italians… looked down their garlic noses”, to Eldridge Cleaver, “rape was an insurrectionary act” to Amiri Baraka, the ugliest possible supremacist bigotry is its natural state.

“We are all beautiful (except white people, they are full of, and made of s___),” Amiri Baraka wrote. “The fag’s death they gave us on a cross… they give us to worship a dead jew and not ourselves.”

“I got the extermination blues, jew-boys. I got the Hitler syndrome figured… So come for the rent, jewboys,” the Guggenheim fellowship, PEN and American Book Award winner, and former Poet Laureate of New Jersey ranted.

Baraka was one of the country’s most celebrated black nationalist poets and he was a former member of the Nation of Islam. Baraka’s Black Mass circulated the NOI’s racist creation myth.

It was the NOI’s conviction of black superiority and white inferiority that attracted Baraka and so many other black nationalists. The NOI is one of a variety of black supremacist religious groups, from the similarly exotic Moorish and Black Hebrew churches, to NOI splinter groups such as Five-Percent Nation and black nationalist churches like the one attended by the Obamas and presided over by Jeremiah Wright.

But religious black supremacism is only a component of a larger cultural movement that lies at the heart of black nationalism and mingles historical conspiracy theories with racial supremacism.

The comingling of black nationalism with intersectional politics has produced a new generation (often of second-generation radicals) that dresses up its racism not only in the lyricism of the old black nationalism of Wright and Baraka, but in the obtuse academic jargon of intersectionality.

That’s where Tamika Mallory and Ta-Nehisi Coates come from. But political word salads and poetry only conceal what you choose not to pay attention to. And that’s why we’re talking about Louis Farrakhan.

The mass of progressive media articles, essays and explainers deployed to protect the Women’s March can be summed up as, “Stop paying attention.” And what we’re not supposed to be paying attention to is the slow death of liberalism and its substitution by the intolerant tribal extremism of identity politics.

Intersectionality is a lie. Like the Nation of Islam, it’s not just a lie in its negative hateful aspects, but in its promise of a utopia once the “white devils” and their “white privilege” are out of the way.

Groups of identity politics extremists and their white cishet [pronounced “sis-het”, meaning heterosexual and “not transgendered”, ie. normal. – ed.] lefty allies can only be briefly united by the negative, not the positive. The “call-out culture” meant to spread social justice through the movement isn’t just a form of political terror; it fails to reach the innate bigotry of each identity politics group. …

Identity politics movements can’t fight bigotry, because they are naturally bigoted. Instead of actually rejecting bigotry, they project it on a convenient target like Trump, and then pretend that by destroying him, they can cleanse society. The more targets they destroy, the more they need to find to maintain an alliance whose only true unifying principle is a mutual denial of each other’s supremacist bigotries. And so the battle against racism becomes a war against microaggressions and structural white supremacy.

The whole thing is a ticking time bomb. And it keeps going off every few years. When it blows up, lefty activists rush out, as they are doing now, to plead, wheedle and warn that the real enemy is “white supremacy” and everyone needs to stop paying attention to the racist or sexist views of their own allies.

These “rainbow coalitions” of racist radicals don’t fight bigotry; they mobilize bigots for racial wars.

Tamika Mallory praising Farrakhan isn’t shocking. It would be more shocking if she didn’t. It’s hard to find major black figures in politics and the entertainment industry who don’t hang out with him.

Both Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama, the first two serious black presidential candidates, did. The Congressional Black Caucus hosted him. London Mayor Sadiq Khan acted as his lawyer. The list of black entertainers is all but endless. Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube (both members), Michael Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Spike Lee, Arsenio Hall, Common, Kanye West, Mos Def, Young Jeezy and Erykah Badu to name a few.

Not every individual who meets up with Farrakhan necessarily shares all his bigoted views, but many find his tribal affirmation of black superiority appealing and they value that more than they do any kind of tolerant society. That’s what Tamika Mallory, in her own awkward way, was trying to tell us.

Black nationalism is a tribal cause. It will always put its people first. The same is true of the rest of the hodgepodge of political identity groups that form up the intersectional chorus. No amount of calling out will change that. That’s why the calling out is mostly directed at safe targets, preferably white.

There is no larger unity at the end of the rainbow. Only smoother versions of Farrakhan. Barack instead of Baraka. Rants about “white devils” and “satanic Jews” filtered through academic jargon.

A movement of bigotries can only divide us. And that’s all identity politics has to offer America. Instead of equal rights in a united nation, we will be members of quarreling tribes. And those tribes, like Farrakhan’s fans, will be incapable of seeing members of other tribes as having the same worth they do. …

The left claims that it’s fighting for equality. What it’s actually fighting for is a tribal society where the notion of equal rights for all is as alien as it is in Iraq, Rwanda and Afghanistan, where democracy means tribal bloc votes and where the despotism of majority rule invariably ends in terror and death.

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