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GOD & the Gods: LaVeyan Satanism


The decade of the ‘60s was a turbulent and transitional time particularly in the U.S. It was the decade when the culture in America was irreversibly changed, and I would argue…for the worse.

During this period, the attacks on America were unprecedented for the time: Cuban Missile Crisis, Assassinations, Tet Offensive, Race Riots, and Hippies along with the Haight-Ashbury Counterculture Movement. How is it that we survived all these assaults…or did we? Looking back from today’s perspective you could say that we are reaping what was sown back in the 1960s—what goes around, comes around.

Of course, there was some turbulence in the film industry as well since movies are an integral component of the culture. Notably, the untimely deaths of two of Hollywood’s most notorious sex symbols, Marilyn Monroe by overdose on August 5, 1962 and Jayne Mansfield by car accident on June 29, 1967.

While it may have been the worst of times in many respects, it was the best of times for music. The British Music Invasion gave us the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Animals and many others. It was also the decade when three of the best double albums ever recorded (or ever will be recorded) were released, Cream’s Wheels of Fire, Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland, and the Beatles’ White Album.

Alas, the decade did not go out quietly. On July 20, 1969, the United States landed a man on the Moon; on August 8–9, 1969 members of the Manson Family committed the Tate-LaBianca murders; and finally, on August 15–18, 1969, the Woodstock Music Festival was held on a farm in the New York Catskills which attracted an audience of over 400,000 to hear 32 outdoor acts perform.

Through all the turmoil of the 1960s, there was one event that occurred around mid-point of the decade that instigated a media frenzy but is mostly forgotten today, and that event was when Anton Szandor LaVey founded the Church of Satan on April 30, 1966 in San Francisco, CA. “Anton declared 1966 Year One, Anno Satanas—the first year of the reign of Satan.”1

For those who weren’t caught up in all of the Church of Satan’s outlandish occult symbolism, it was clear to them from the start that LaVey denied the existence of a literal Satan. It’s Interesting that the Church of Satan repudiates their own organization’s namesake. I wonder how Satan really feels about that. Oh, I forgot…he doesn’t exist, he’s just an archetype.2

LaVeyan Satanism is not your daddy’s Satanism notwithstanding all the occultic symbolism that is so stubbornly associated with the Church of Satan and its adherents, primarily a result of LaVey’s cartoonish devil shtick.

Legitimate Satanists, as LaVeyan Satanists like to be called, are atheists, that is, not believing in either God or the Devil. The Church of Satan is a purely secular religion that rejects the supernatural. On the other hand, for a religion that eschews the supernatural, LaVey and other Church of Satan members made liberal use of religious terms such as “unholy,” “infernal,” “devilish,” and “sinister” in their literature. LaVey complained that people accused his religion as Devil worship yet he used every trick in the book to appear as a literal Satan worshiper, at least on the surface.

People identify with labels, so what label can we put on this Legitimate Satanist doctrine? I believe the appropriate label is “cultural liberalism,” that is, the view that individuals are freed from cultural norms. In other words, “You can go your own way.”3 LaVey’s genius was in the way he codified the “Do your own thing” philosophy into a pseudo-religion.

LaVeyan Satanists take cultural liberalism even further by not only rejecting cultural norms, but by creating their own reality by rejecting concepts of good and evil which are derived from any particular moral code and by redefining concepts of right and wrong.4 And according to Nikolas Schreck, black magician and founder of the Werewolf Order of Satanism, who, along with Zeena, in their interview with Bob Larson, declared that “Humanism is not Satanism” and that Humanism and Christianity are the same thing—he calls both “evil.”5 It’s interesting that Schreck was quick to deny the existence of good and evil, but had no trouble calling Christianity evil, all in the same interview!

During the Bob Larson interview, the subject of revenge was discussed. Zeena gave a classic explanation of why Satanists don’t believe in turning the other cheek, she said it’s because “You keep turning the other cheek, you run out of cheeks.”6 I’m always amazed when unbelievers take a literal interpretation of Scripture instead of their usual figurative approach. If you read Luke 6:29 and the following verses in context, you can easily interpret the command to offer the other cheek as not being literal but figurative. I believe the verse in question is how Christians should respond when they are being taken advantage of by someone, which is not the same as self-defense. The verses clearly speak against the wronged person trying “to get even.” To illustrate, it was self-defense when the allies fought against the Germans in World War I, but the terms of the 11/11/1918 Armistice imposed upon Germany was revenge.

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. (Rom. 12:19 NASB)

I must have watched the nineteen eighty-nine Bob Larson interview with Zeena LaVey and Nikolas Schreck at least a half dozen times and I was a little disappointed that Larson was so slow to catch on to essence of LaVeyan Satanism. Both Zeena and Nikolas easily dodged every bullet that Larson fired at them. Larson was defending his position based on biblical absolutes whereas, Zeena and Nikolas defended the Church of Satan’s viewpoints based on relativism.

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Cor. 1:18)

One of the last zingers that Nikolas Schreck fired at Bob Larson was his pronouncement that “Everything in the Bible drips with morbidity and death.”7 This is a common criticism that has influenced popular culture. For example, consider the sharp contrast between believers and non-believers, and between sinners and saints in the Billy Joel song “Only the Good Die Young” where Billy Joel proclaims in a line from the song, “The sinners are much more fun…”8 Undeniably, the lyrics of Joel’s song, whether intentional or unintentional, pay homage to LaVey’s brand of Satanism.

So, if you remove the supernatural element from Satanism, as LaVey had done, can LaVeyan Satanists continue to legitimately call themselves Satanists? Well, the answer is yes and no, depending on whether or not you believe it is legitimate to call upon someone’s name whose very existence you deny, that would be delusional, but that is exactly what LaVey and his followers have done.

On the other hand, you could say that Anton LaVey was the ultimate Satanist since he vehemently hated God as he so clearly and fearlessly stated in his book, Satan Speaks! I won’t repeat the worst of what he said in his book here, but he accuses God of being unjust and a rewarder of those who are “rotten.”9

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isa. 5:20)

It’s well known that Anton LaVey was critical of Christians and Christianity since he believed Christians were for the most part hypocrites; a belief he held since the time he observed his friend’s Sunday School teacher frolicking at Sally Rand’s Nude Ranch one night, an incident which he referred to as his “Satanic epiphany.”10 LaVey reasoned that since the followers of Christ can be hypocritical then God is necessarily hypocritical as well. Doesn’t this sound exactly like the classic case of man projecting his own attributes on God?

Satan opposes God, Anton LaVey did the same. Satan accuses God’s people, Anton LaVey did the same. Satan hates God, Anton LaVey hated God also. So, was Anton LaVey accurate in calling himself a Satanist? Based on LaVey’s virulent opposition to God and Christianity, most reasonable people would have to say, “Yes!”

Anton LaVey, the man, in private life was not the monstrously evil denizen of San Francisco’s Black House as most people would think. In fact, according to descriptions of LaVey as presented in Barton’s biography, LaVey was what we would describe as merely being different or individualistic or as LaVey has said, “supernormal.”11 Contrary to his outrageous public image, LaVey was an introvert—a private person who preferred material things and animals over people,12 which kind of reminds me of the imagery found in the lyrics of the Pearl Jam song, “Jeremy.”

Anton had a nostalgic bent—an aversion to modernity if you will; he realized the value found in things lost and forgotten. As he said, “It’s our past that makes us unique.”13 He believed that magic was doing something in isolation or out of the mainstream—something unique. The power of exclusivity is where the power of magic resides.14 Obviously, Anton’s view on exclusivity was the basis for his belief that Satanism is a religion for the elites instead of for the masses.

While LaVey wouldn’t be considered in alignment with the today’s radical, leftist political views, he did believe in eugenics and natural selection15 or “thinning the herd.” Also, along those same lines, he opposed society’s rewarding of mediocrity, that is, society and its institutions appealing to the “lowest common denominator” instead of the highest.16

Anton LaVey was an enigma. He liked cars, guns,17 and rare red meat.18 He wasn’t a fan of rock music.19 Surprisingly, he was a lifelong “strict law-and-order man.”20 Anton was also against what we would call today, the “herd mentality”21 a doctrine totally embraced by Hollywood, academia and the media elites. You could almost ascribe many of his non-religious preferences to those of a traditional conservative rather than someone firmly on the Left-Hand Path (LHP).

Nevertheless, he embraced most of the tenants of the LHP such as individualism, relativism, and subjectivism. But his true claim to the LHP was his fierce opposition to conventional religious doctrines and beliefs. He didn’t achieve the title of High Priest of the Church of Satan for nothing.

Left-handed people have historically been considered inferior and evil since etymologically the words “left” and “sinister” are related.22 The left is evil and wrong whereas the right is moral and correct. I suppose that’s how Left-wing political parties acquired the label.

For the record, I’m left-handed and I experienced ill-treatment and prejudice regularly in elementary school and beyond while growing up in a predominantly Catholic town—old beliefs die hard. I remember when my parents, on one occasion, were told by my teacher(s) that I should be encouraged to switch handedness since it’s a well-known fact that left-handed people are “in league with the Devil” and no one wants to associate with that kind of person. Besides, being different is the worst thing that could happen to you in school—you just don’t fit in. I wonder if Anton was left-handed.

Anton LaVey fell prey to the one common objection to Christianity that atheists use to discredit God and that is, “How can a loving God allow suffering?” The atheists also expand their objection by substituting “suffering” with “evil,” “calamities” or “natural disasters.” In their view, the reason is that God is either incompetent, uncaring or both. What the atheists, and those in the social gospel camp, forget or refuse to acknowledge is that God is also holy. Man[kind] was placed in the Garden of Eden and commanded what and what not to eat. Adam, as the representative of the human race, decided to disobey God’s command so he incurred God’s judgement which is the curse. The curse was upon Adam and Eve, all their descendants, but also upon the natural world. Anton’s accusations against God were misinformed.

Anton believed he was getting a better deal with Satan, who he didn’t believe actually exists. But did his devotion to Satan provide the rewards he was expecting? I think not based on the following events:

  • Anton was only 67 years old when he died
  • Zeena and Diane (his longtime partner) betrayed him
  • He was forced to sell off his prized collections
  • He was forced into bankruptcy
  • His will was contested
  • Zeena and Karla (older daughter) ransacked the Black House
  • The Black House was eventually torn down

The Church of Satan’s administrative office has since moved from San Francisco to Poughkeepsie, NY at POB 666. Peter H. Gilmore is the High Priest. The church has a website resembling the convergence of the opening credits to an old Hollywood movie and the LaVeyan devil shtick.

Lastly, there is a danger in invoking the name or names of spiritual beings, even if it is done in ignorance. Satan exists and it is possible that Anton was truly beset by an evil spirit along with those closest to him. Refer to 1 Sam. 18:10 where God sends an evil spirit to torment Saul. Dabbling in magic and satanic rituals as Anton LaVey had done may have resulted in some unintended consequences:

Was it just coincidence that both Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield, who were involved with LaVey to varying degrees, died tragically?

Or was it a coincidence that Susan Atkins, who once worked as one of the girls at LaVey’s nightspot in San Francisco would later go on to become one of the Manson Family members who committed the Tate-LaBianca murders?

Again, was it just coincidence that Sharon Tate, at the time of her death, was married to film director Roman Polanski who directed and wrote the screenplay for Rosemary’s Baby, a film about the occult, real Satanism, and witchcraft? The movie was filmed on location at the Dakota apartment building in New York City where John Lennon lived and was shot.

Finally, was it merely coincidence that in the Rosemary’s Baby film the character Roman Castevet, the warlock/coven-leader, exclaims, “Nineteen sixty-six, the Year One!” during a New Year’s Eve gathering in his apartment, echoing almost verbatim what LaVey declared when he founded the Church of Satan.

Theologically speaking, Anton LaVey was the ultimate natural man (1 Cor. 2:14) who lived what he preached apparently right up until his death. He was a man who possessed many worldly talents and was ingenious enough to appropriate the spiritual into an extreme atheistic and carnal belief system.

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Copyright 2019 Gerard Sczepura

  1. Barton, Blanche, The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton Szandor LaVey (p. 76), Feral House, Kindle Edition. 

  2. Bob Larson. Satanism, “Interview with the Daughter of Anton LaVey,” Filmed 1989(?), YouTube video, 1:26:02, Accessed December 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=didlhvI-9yY

  3. Fleetwood Mac, “Go Your Own Way,” Rumors, 1977, Accessed December 30, 2018, https://genius.com/albums/Fleetwood-mac/Rumours

  4. Larson, Interview with the Daughter of Anton LaVey

  5. Ibid. 

  6. Ibid. 

  7. Ibid. 

  8. Billy Joel, “Only the Good Die Young,” The Stranger, 1977, Accessed January 13, 2019, https://genius.com/Billy-joel-only-the-good-die-young-lyrics

  9. LaVey, Anton Szandor, Satan Speaks!, (Port Townsend, Feral House, 1998), 1. 

  10. Barton, Secret Life of a Satanist, 23. 

  11. LaVey, Satan Speaks!, 33. 

  12. Barton, Secret Life of a Satanist, 120-122. 

  13. Ibid., 121-123. 

  14. Ibid., 120. 

  15. Ibid., 160. 

  16. Ibid., 231. 

  17. Ibid. 253. 

  18. Ibid., 129. 

  19. Ibid., 133. 

  20. Ibid., 117. 

  21. Ibid., 232. 

  22. “What are ‘Left Hand Path’ Religions?,” Vexen Crabtree, The Human Truth Foundation, November 28, 2016, http://www.dpjs.co.uk/lefthandpath.html

GOD & the Gods: Hinduism

Swami Achuthananda in his book, Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism, writes that in order to understand or appreciate Hinduism, an individual must necessarily also understand Indian culture.

In India, the religion is the culture and the culture is the religion. You cannot learn one without understanding the other.1

In the 1960s, the Beatles brought an awareness of Indian culture to those in the West through their involvement with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Transcendental Meditation. Naturally, the mode by which the Beatles expressed their exposure to Indian culture was through their music, specifically through George Harrison’s sitar playing, notably on the song, “Norwegian Wood” and others. At the time, George Harrison took a few lessons from the classical sitar master, Ravi Shankar, but would later abandon the instrument. In today’s culture, Harrison probably would have been accused of “cultural appropriation” because of his blending of Indian music with Western pop music and without having taken the “proper” approach to his studies.

As it happens, Indian music was the topic of my high school senior essay. I wanted a topic that was different, and it was. Probably too different since, if I recall correctly, my English teacher dissed it.

Unless one has had the opportunity to actually travel to India, most of us in the U.S. tend to get our exposure to Indian culture, and other far away cultures, through the media, namely movies. Accordingly, I’ve provided a short list of movies that I believe provide a glimpse into Indian culture:

  • The Rains Came, 1939
  • Gunga Din, 1939
  • The Man Who Would be King, 1975
  • Gandhi, 1982
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 2011

The Rains Came is a story that takes place in 1938 Ranchipur, India during the time of British rule. As most would expect, in the opening sequence there are monkeys surrounding a group of men playing instruments (a sitar is being played in another scene) near the grounds of an English family’s home. There are also many scenes of cows roaming the streets unencumbered. The Western view is that cows are sacred in India. Also, nearby an English residence is a statue of Queen Victoria symbolizing British rule. Considering the movie was released in 1939, you never saw anyone sweat even though many characters were complaining of the heat. There was only one scene near the end where Myrna Loy’s character was seen sweating. Throughout the film, there is an undercurrent of British arrogance and contempt towards the Indians and an understated sense of Indian resentment towards the British. In today’s culture we would say the British were guilty of “white privilege.” The film also portrays a high-ranking Indian welcoming his guests with the Namaste—the Indian equivalent of a handshake. In another scene, an apparent Hindu is chanting the word OM while the floods were raging in an attempt to appease a deity or deities since tradition held that catastrophes were caused by God.

Gunga Din is a story set in 1880 British controlled India. The film opens in Tantrapur where members of a Thuggee Cult are cutting telegraph lines leading into the village in preparation for their attack. The landscape including and surrounding the town is mountainous, desolate, and generally inhospitable. Members of the Thuggee Cult, a Hindu sect, are seen calling upon their goddess Kali for help when they are captured by a British patrol who arrived at the village. The Thuggee method of killing is by ritualistic strangulation. Towards the end of the film, two British soldiers and Gunga Din are captured in the Thuggee temple while trying to rescue one of their fellow soldiers who was previously taken. The leader of the cult or Guru as he is referred to in the film, encourages his followers to “Kill! Kill! Kill!” for the love of Kali. As everyone is probably familiar with the story, in the end it was the water boy, Gunga Din—a wannabe soldier, who saves the regiment from certain annihilation by the cult.

The Man Who Would be King is a story taking place in and around Marwar Junction, India. In the opening scenes we see a crowded, hectic marketplace. Camels are ubiquitous. Snake charmers and scorpion tempters are performing in the streets, very occultic. The countryside as viewed from the train scenes travelling from Lahore to Jaipur appears hot, dusty, desolate, and foreboding. The film very explicitly attempts to tie in the Masonic Order with the history and culture of India. References to the theoretical origins of Freemasonry with the builders of Solomon’s Temple are made early on in the film. Our two protagonists in the film attempt to dupe the inhabitants of Kafiristan by one of them pretending to be an incarnation of the Great Architect of the Universe. Initially, the Kafiristan inhabitants fall for this deception due to their recognition of the Square and Compass Masonic symbol. However, our protagonists’ deception is short-lived—the story doesn’t end well for them.

Gandhi begins by showing his assassination by Nathuram Vinayak Godse, a Hindu nationalist, in Delhi. Interestingly, the film doesn’t provide and insight into the motives of Godse, it only shows the assassin’s apparent hatred of Gandhi. After Gandhi returns to India from South Africa, he begins his transformation into the non-violent, Indian Independence leader he is remembered as today. Gandhi’s British resistance movement is best described as civil disobedience. Along the way we see squalor in Bombay, overcrowded train cars, and the occasional camel. The film portrays the British in the worst possible way. At one point, the importation of British clothing into India is blamed for the poverty in the country. Sitar music is played throughout the film along with everyone greeting one another with the Namaste gesture. The issue of the adherence to Indian Untouchable caste is seen when Gandhi’s wife refuses to perform duties that are normally assigned to an Untouchable. The film frequently exposes the underlying current of mistrust between different religious groups in India, particularly between Hindus and Muslims. Gandhi’s philosophy isn’t portrayed as specifically Hindu, because at one point he declares that he is a Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Jew—Gandhi is in favor of Hindu-Muslim unity. The film points out that both the ‘Gitas’ and the Koran were used during worship in Gandhi’s temple. Nevertheless, when India is granted independence from Britain, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is established.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom primarily takes place in the fictitious Pankot Palace but most likely takes place in Rajasthan, India in 1935. Everyone knows the story, Indiana Jones arrives at a remote village where the inhabitants claim that the Hindu god Shiva brought him and his companions to their village so that he [Indiana] could retrieve a Shankara stone that was removed from the village by an evil cult residing in nearby Pankot Palace. As it turns out, the evil cult is none other than anti-British Thuggee worshippers of the Hindu goddess Kali who were thought to have been eradicated long ago. Many strange un-Indian practices are portrayed in the film including the eating of snakes, beetles, and monkey brains. In addition, the worship of Kali consisted of some very occultic practices including “voodoo” inferences. In the final scenes, after saving the village from the “evil” Thugee cult, the characters Indiana Jones, Willie Scott, and Short Round greet the village chieftain with an authentic Hindu Namaste.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a story about a group of retired dysfunctional British citizens who decide to spend their retirement in India at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The film explores and, for the most part, normalizes the outsourcing of jobs to India. The movie opens with the character Evelyn talking on the phone with a support center obviously located in India. The theme of British racism is portrayed by the character Muriel who is advised by her British doctor of Indian descent that she could have her hip replacement surgery done sooner and cheaper if she decided to have it done at a hospital in Jaipur. After the group leaves the airport in India, they are overwhelmed by the apparent chaos, noise, and crowds of people. Camels and elephants are seen roaming the streets while buses made by Tata weave in and out of traffic. The buses are overcrowded and the heat seemingly intolerable. Muriel eventually befriends a hotel maid who is an Untouchable, a person of the lowest caste in India. The character Graham is gay. He confesses to Evelyn that long ago he disgraced Manoj, his former gay partner, and Manoj’s entire family when their relationship was discovered. When Graham dies, Manoj gives him a proper Hindu funeral by cremation and then spreading his ashes in a nearby lake. At one point in the film, Evelyn experiences the infamous Indian headshake. Also, prominently displayed near the hotel’s reception desk is a large photograph of the hotel’s owner, Sonny Kapoor, in a Namaste pose.

Krishna
Figure 1. Moti Jhula (Krishna)

Unlike most other installments in this GOD & the Gods series, Hinduism is not considered to be a mythological belief system as is the case with the Norse and Celts. Hinduism is also not believed to be a polytheistic religion as is commonly perceived by those in the West or those outside the religion, but it is believed to be henotheistic. Hinduism, like the three other major mainstream religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, all believe in a supreme deity. Hinduism is also recognized as the oldest religion in the world, possibly older than Zoroastrianism.2

However, unlike Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Hinduism embraces other significant distinctions in that it has no known founder, no single scripture, and was never under any obligation to a particular dogma.3 Nevertheless, Hindus do believe in three specific doctrines: Karma, Predestination, and Reincarnation.

Along with Swami Achuthananda, Swami Bhaskarananda also believes that Hinduism is henotheistic, that is, a belief in one god without denying the existence of others.4 On the other hand, viewed from a Christian point of view, Swami Achuthananda appears to be in error when he says in one place that “the learned ones call Hinduism a henotheistic religion” and later on implies that Hinduism accepts many paths to God.5 Is he confusing many paths with many gods? Probably not since the Hindu understanding of the term “gods” is different from what is believed in Christianity or in the West. It’s also reasonable to question how Hinduism can be considered monotheistic if the belief in many gods exist? Again, it all boils down to how you define the term “gods.”

I concede that Hinduism accepts that there can be many approaches or paths to understanding God, but the final destination is the one true God, not the many gods. And for Hindus, that “One and Only God”6 is Brahman.

Contrary to what is understood in Christianity, Brahman is not a person but a “single primordial and extremely abstract principle designated THAT.”7 This principle is beyond human comprehension and unknowable by ordinary humans and has evolved into what is now known as Brahman.

The concept of Brahman or the One has always existed, even before anything was created!8 If Brahman is an abstract principle beyond human comprehension, then how is it that this concept has come to be known? The answer is by divine revelation recorded in the Vedic texts.9

Before creation, God (Brahman) existed. The Hindus refer to God in this pre-creation transcendental state of existence as Nirguna Brahman. Nirguna Brahman is not a person and does not possess attributes such as being male or female which explains why the neuter pronoun “That” is used.10 Nevertheless, Nirguna Brahman does possess the non-personal attributes of being infinite, changeless, unfathomable, and indescribable, as well as transcending time and space.11

How is it then that Hindus worship something that is unknowable and impersonal as Nirguna Brahman? Well the answer is simple, yet somewhat difficult to arrive at, and that is by human characteristics being projected on the impersonal infinite Nirguna Brahman by its finite votaries. Through this process, the impersonal becomes personal, Nirguna Brahman becomes Personal Brahman or Personal God.12

Hindus refer to this Personal God as Saguna Brahman or Ishvara. If Ishvara is the one personal God, why so many other gods? Well, the other gods aren’t other gods at all, they are merely different aspects or facets of the one God. Surprisingly, Hinduism has its own version of the Trinity13 which comprise the three fundamental aspects: creator, preserver, and destroyer and are given the names: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva respectively.

Ganesha
Figure 2. Ganesha

Anyone trying to understand the Hindu concept of God who has just a passing interest in Christianity will be immediately struck by the apparent similarities between the two religions. However, despite the similarities, there are many significant differences that seekers of God should be aware of.

The first difference is that the God of the Bible is personal…very personal. While the Hindu concept of Brahman and its derivative Nirguna Brahman is an abstract principle being neither male nor female and referred to as “That,” GOD declares his name in Exodus as “I AM WHO I AM.” (For a more detailed discussion on the name of God, see my One God blog post.) GOD is a person possessing personal attributes: goodness, benevolence, mercy, love, holiness, righteousness, and justice along with some other controversial attributes:

Yet I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau… (Mal. 1:2-3 NASB)

For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (Deut. 4:24)

Note that the Hindu Trinity is economical (create, preserve, destroy) as is the biblical Trinity. However, in the biblical Trinity, the Father, Son, and Spirit are all persons but are economically subordinate meaning they each operate distinctly yet are all equally GOD. The Father initiates, the Son accomplishes, and the Spirit applies.

The second difference is that Christianity, unlike Hinduism, is dogmatic. In order to be considered a Christian, a person must believe that: The Bible is the living Word of GOD; Jesus is GOD incarnate being both GOD and man; and GOD exists in three persons. As I’ve said in another place, “The Bible is the living Word of God, but it isn’t a living document.”

The third major difference is that all paths don’t lead to GOD. Since Hinduism is non-dogmatic, all religions are basically equivalent in that the votaries of each religion can create God in their own image. As expected, the Bible says otherwise:

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matt. 7:13-14)

I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images. (Isa. 42:8)

In Genesis, it says “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen. 1:27) In Hinduism, God is created in man’s image.

Now, how do the three Hindu doctrines compare to biblical doctrines? To partially answer that question, I refer the reader to my blog post on Free Will or Destiny. That blog post takes care of karma and predestination, so that leaves us with the doctrine of reincarnation.

Swami Bhaskarananda writes that there are two reasons for a soul to be reincarnated, one is to satisfy unfulfilled desires, and the second is to achieve a higher-level of spirituality; and interestingly he writes that the departed soul is the one who initiates the reincarnation, not God!14 Sounds like a similar doctrine espoused in verses from a famously arrogant and rebellious poem, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”15

Hinduism is also no stranger to the belief in the evolution of species and the transmigration of souls. Swami Bhaskarananda notes that it is also possible in exceptional circumstances for a soul to be reincarnated in some sub-human species.16 I suppose this aspect of the doctrine is the reason why the character Dr. Vijay Alezais in the film Wolf tells the character Will Randall that his being bitten by a wolf at a time when the moon was closest to the earth in 100 years was auspicious,17 meaning a sign of future success. Dr. Alezais believes Will Randall’s condition to be a gift to be desired and not evil or something to be despised. Dr. Alezais also confesses that damnation is not part of his belief system18 which is consistent with Hinduism.

I’ll close the discussion with two biblical references concerning the impossibility of reincarnation and the certainty of judgement and damnation.

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment… (Heb. 9:27)

‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us. (Luke 16:26)

 

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  1. Swami Achuthananda, Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism, (North Charleston, SC: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013), 1. 

  2. Swami Bhaskarananda, The Essentials of Hinduism: A Comprehensive Overview of the World’s Oldest Religion, (Seattle, Viking Press, 2002), 1. 

  3. Achuthananda, Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism, 98. 

  4. Bhaskarananda, The Essentials of Hinduism, 65. 

  5. Achuthananda, Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism, 61. 

  6. Bhaskarananda, The Essentials of Hinduism, 65. 

  7. Ibid. 

  8. Ibid., 66. 

  9. Ibid., 65. 

  10. Ibid., 68. 

  11. Ibid., 66. 

  12. Ibid., 69. 

  13. Swami Harshananda, Hindu Gods and Goddesses, 2nd ed., (Mylapore, Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1982), 4. 

  14. Bhaskarananda, The Essentials of Hinduism, 94. 

  15. “Invictus,” William Ernest Henley, Poetry Foundation, accessed December 02, 2018, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/51642/invictus

  16. Bhaskarananda, The Essentials of Hinduism, 95. 

  17. Harrison, Jim, Wesley Strick. Wolf. Blu-ray. Directed by: Mike Nichols. Culver City: Columbia, 1994. 

  18. Ibid. 

GOD & the Gods: Norse Mythology

This is the fourth installment in my series on GOD & the Gods. In this series, the one Christian GOD is compared and contrasted with various non-Christian or pagan gods who comprise diverse belief systems held by cultures worldwide throughout history.

The concepts of death and immortality as related to the various pagan gods can be troublesome for someone from a Christian background. The Celtic gods and goddesses, for the most part, are considered immortal yet there was a belief in a new kind of hybrid being who were immortal and could still be killed as noted in my installment on the Celts.1 The Norse gods, on the other hand, are not considered immortal, but that depends on whether or not you attribute immortality to just the soul or to the physical body as well.

If a person or a being, like a god for instance, can be killed, then that being or person is not immortal in the physical sense. If the Norse gods and goddesses were physical beings like us, then it would make sense to say they are not immortal and can die or be killed. If they were truly immortal, as a spirit being would be, then they would exist in their current state, unchangeable, forever. Yet, Norse mythology describes many gods who married, had offspring, and died or were killed, so I believe it is safe to assume that the Norse gods were mortal physical beings—howbeit supernatural beings.

Then there’s the problem of how to explain the various realms of the dead such as Helheim, Niflheim, and Valhalla. If the dead are to inhabit these realms then some aspect of the various beings in Norse mythology are in fact immortal. After all, wouldn’t it be the souls of those dead Norsemen being assigned to the realms of the dead? Then again, if it were true that the Norsemen really believed the physical body would spend its afterlife in Valhalla, for example, then why would they bury or burn their dead? I suggest that the belief in these afterlife realms implies that the concept of the soul was assumed if not explicitly stated.

While Norse mythological stories are normally associated with the Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, it was Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic poet, historian, and politician, who composed the Prose Edda, which contains the authoritative written history of Norse mythology.2

The Viking Period lasted from 800 until 1050 A.D. and its stories, poems, mythology, and religion are of the oral tradition. Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, the most extensive written source on Norse mythology, was written in the early 13th century (1201-1300), approximately 200 years after the end of the Viking Period. By the way, no one today knows what the word Edda means.3

McCoy in his book, The Viking Spirit, asserts that Sturluson deliberately tried to Christianize aspects of Norse Mythology in order to make the stories more palatable to his audience at the time.4 In order to evaluate McCoy’s claims of Christianization, two historical events need to be considered. First, Luther posted his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle church in 1517, some 250 years after the Edda was written. Second, In the 13th century, all Catholic church services were in Latin so if Snorri truly was influenced by Catholicism he would have needed to learn Latin in order to read the Vulgate, the Latin Bible. If Snorri Sturluson was in fact unduly influenced by Christianity during his writing of the Edda, as McCoy states,5 how did he come to learn about Christianity? McCoy doesn’t provide any details concerning this aspect of Snorri’s background—maybe it’s because it’s not known.

Of course, there is another possible explanation as to how and why some aspects of Norse religion seem to resemble certain Bible stories based on the following Scripture:

The whole He hath made beautiful in its season; also, that knowledge He hath put in their heart without which man findeth not out the work that God hath done from the beginning even unto the end. (Eccles. 3:11 YLT)

Unlike the Celtic gods and goddesses who inhabit the natural world, the primary Norse gods and goddesses find their dwelling in the “celestial fortress” Asgard.6 The Norse mythological universe consists of “nine worlds”7 of which only three (although technically four) will be considered in this GOD & the Gods series installment.

The Christian view of the universe consists of three worlds, one is the familiar Heaven, the second is Earth or the natural realm, and the third is Hell or Hades, i.e., the underworld. In Norse mythology the three primary worlds are Asgard (Heaven), Midgard (natural realm), and Hel or Helheim (underworld). There is also another realm related to Helheim and that is Niflheim which could correspond functionally to the Christian lake of fire. Likewise, in Christian theology there is a temporary place for dead believers that is referred to as “Abraham’s bosom” that appears to loosely correspond with the Norse realm of fallen warriors called Valhalla.

In Celtic tradition, the “Threefold One” or earth goddess is highly revered, but in Norse mythology, Odin, the King of the Norse Gods, is also known as the “all-father” which is more closely aligned with Christian teachings on GOD as Abba Father.8 More seemingly interesting parallels between Norse mythology and Christianity are provided in the following sections.

All of the following Norse mythology references are taken from The Norse Gods website (with minor typo corrections in the text) unless otherwise indicated.

Creation

In Norse mythology, the world is described in the beginning as follows:

All this was in the beginning, before there were waves of sand, the sea’s cool waves, waving grass. There was no earth and no heaven above; only Muspell and Niflheim and, between them, Ginnungagap.

This description seems to closely resemble the Earth’s barren condition in the beginning as laid out in Genesis:

The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep… (Gen. 1:2 NASB)

Then there is the creation of the heavenly bodies from Norse mythology:

Then Odin and Vili and Ve seized on the sparks and glowing embers from Muspell and called them sun and moon and stars; they put them high in Ginnungagap to light heaven above and earth below. In this way the brothers gave each star its proper place; some were fixed in the sky, others were free to follow the paths appointed for them.

And again, the parallel verses from Genesis:

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;

and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.

God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.

God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,

and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:14-18)

The Norse first man and woman creation narrative:

One day, Odin and Vili and Ve were striding along the frayed edge of the land, where the earth meets the sea. They came across two fallen trees with their roots ripped out of the ground; one was an ash, the other an elm. Then the sons of Bor raised them and made from them the first man and woman. Odin breathed into them the spirit of life; (emphasis mine) Vili offered them sharp wits and feeling hearts; and Ve gave them the gifts of hearing and sight. The man was called Ask and the women Embla and races of men are descended from them.

Was Snorri Sturluson attempting to convey the notion of a Norse trinity using Odin, Vili, and Ve being a type of biblical Father, Son, and Holy Spirit whom Christians believe comprise the “Our” and “Us” in Genesis 1:28? If so, then Snorri was very clever indeed.

The biblical creation story is remarkably similar in that the first man was created from the “dust of the ground” whereas in Norse mythology man was created from a fallen tree:

Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)

However, the two creation narratives diverge strikingly so when it comes to the creation of woman:

The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. (Genesis 2:22)

Many sermons have been preached on this verse so I won’t try to repeat them here. However, I believe that because the woman was created from the man’s rib, both the man and the woman are coequal and codependent. Whereas in Norse mythology, man and woman are created separately from two different, albeit similar, sources. No doubt that in the Christian view, the woman is naturally more inclined to be attached to the man since she has “skin in the game.” Nevertheless, I’m sure the separate but equal Norse view of the man and the woman is observably more popular with the current generation.

Yggdrasil

In the biblical creation story, we find the tree of life planted in the Garden of Eden:

Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst [emphasis added] of the garden… (Gen. 2:9)

In the Norse mythological cosmos, there is a tree called Yggdrasil which is located in the “geographical center” [emphasis added]9 of the cosmos whose essence appears to be life giver as written, “the well-being of the cosmos depends on the well-being of Yggdrasil.”10

Also, according to a Norse poem, Yggdrasil has three main roots11—three being a recurring theme in Celtic mythology as well as traditional Christianity.

Valkyries

The Valkyries are warrior maidens who are responsible for escorting slain warriors to Valhalla. Again, not unlike the Norse warriors, Christians are engaged in spiritual battle continually as written in the Bible Book of Ephesians. But in the Bible, it’s the angels who escort fallen believers to paradise not the feminine Valkyries:

And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores…Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom… (Luke 16:20,22)

While Norse mythology has its Brunhilde, the biblical belief system has its archangel Michael. Unlike the Valkyries, biblical angels are asexual but definitely masculine:

For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. (Matt. 22:30)

Loki

In every belief system, whether mythological or otherwise, there is a primal antagonist and for the Norsemen, that antagonist is Loki. On the other hand, for the “People of the Book” the antagonist is Satan.

I submit that Loki’s attributes are comparable to Satan’s attributes as follows:

LOKI SATAN
Trickster
Cheater
Evil
Handsome & Fair of Face
Shapeshifter
Accuser
Agent of Destruction
Deceiver
Liar and Father of Lies
Evil One
Beautiful
Disguiser
Accuser
Dragon

Mythology has it that the gods eventually became so tired of Loki’s machinations that they decided to constrain him, hence “The Binding of Loki” tale. Since Loki was by no means innocent of the charges laid against him, along with him being “unrepentant”12 of causing the god Balder’s death, the gods’ punishment of Loki was brutal to say the least.

Likewise, the Bible also records a time when an angel (Michael?) will bound Satan for a thousand years:

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.

And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. (Rev. 20:1-3)

As Satan’s binding is time constrained, so will Loki’s binding remain until Ragnarok.

Ragnarok

Ragnarok is the Norse version of the Apocalypse or what Christians commonly refer to as Armageddon—the final battle. The biblical end times are described throughout Scripture but primarily in the Gospels and the Book of Revelation.

According to conventional wisdom, the Great Tribulation will last seven years, with the first three and a half years being peaceful but the second three and a half years being times of trouble or tribulation.

Coincidentally, in Norse mythology the natural world will be troubled for three winters:

First of all, Midgard will be wrenched and racked by wars for three winters.

This will also be a time when families will turn on each other.

Norse mythology:

Fathers will slaughter sons; brothers will be drenched in one another’s blood. Mothers will desert their menfolk and seduce their own sons; brothers will bed with sisters.

Brothers will fight brothers, fathers will kill sons. Mothers and daughters will be set against each other. Sisters will fall in battle with sisters, and will watch their children murder each other in their turn.13

According to Scripture:

Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. (Matt. 10:21)

The stars and the sun won’t be spared either.

Norse mythology:

The stars will vanish from the sky.

The sun will be dark and there will be no stars in the sky.

According to Scripture:

But in those days, after that tribulation, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT,

AND THE STARS WILL BE FALLING from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. (Mark 13:24-25)

and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. (Rev. 6:13)

At the end, the Earth will be destroyed by fire along with the Norse gods.

There will be a sound like a thousand forests turning to flame, and the air itself will begin to burn.14

Then Surt will fling fire in every direction. Asgard and Midgard and Jotunheim and Niflheim will become furnaces – places of raging flame, swirling smoke, ashes, only ashes. The nine worlds will burn and the gods will die.

Similarly, the heavens and the Earth will be burned up but GOD will not and cannot die as is the fate of the Norse gods.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. (2 Pet. 3:10)

Conclusion

Unlike the Christian GOD, the Norse gods and goddesses are mortal. In addition, according to McCoy in his book The Viking Spirit, none of the gods are “all-powerful” nor is there a notion of a supreme being.15 Even Odin, who is the chief of the gods and who created human beings is neither immortal or “all-powerful.”

Whereas GOD has no beginning and no end, and is above all His creation, the Norse gods and goddesses came into being when the cosmos came into being and are therefore an integral part of the cosmos they inhabit.16

While I believe it is possible that Snorri Sturluson may have embellished portions of his Edda based on his limited understanding of Christian teaching and beliefs, it appears that his narrow embellishments were literarily not doctrinally inspired.

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  1. Gerard Sczepura, “GOD & the Gods: The Celts,” Theological Ruminations (blog), June, 06, 2018, https://gerardsczepura.com/god-the-gods-the-celts/

  2. “The Norse Gods,” accessed August 15, 2018, https://thenorsegods.com/norse-gods/#norse-myths

  3. Daniel McCoy, The Viking Spirit: An Introduction to Norse Mythology and Religion, (Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016), 20 

  4. Ibid., 21 

  5. Ibid. 

  6. “Gods and Creatures,” Norse Mythology for Smart People, accessed August 15, 2018, https://norse-mythology.org/gods-and-creatures/

  7. Ibid. 

  8. Sczepura, “GOD & the Gods: The Celts.” 

  9. “Yggdrasil, Norse Mythology for Smart People. 

  10. Ibid. 

  11. Ibid. 

  12. Neil Gaiman, Norse Mythology, (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2017), 251. 

  13. Gaiman, 270. 

  14. Gaiman, 279. 

  15. Daniel McCoy, The Viking Spirit: An Introduction to Norse Mythology and Religion, (Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016), 25. 

  16. Ibid., 26 

GOD & the Gods: The Celts

Today, the terms Celt and Celtic are primarily associated with Ireland, but the Celtic speaking peoples originated in the Caucasus, the area between the Caspian Sea and Black Sea. The Celts and Italic speaking people derived from these Indo-European (IE) tribes who migrated westward from the Caucasus into central Europe. It’s also noteworthy that the Caucasus is located relatively close to northern Iraq where tradition holds was the site of the Garden of Eden, the Tower of Babel, and Abraham’s original homeland.

Any study of the Celts or Celtic religion is impossible without encountering numerous references to Indo-Europeans, Aryans, Indo-Aryans, Greeks, Romans, Gaul, Caesar, Pythagoras, and the Druids.

Interestingly, the Celts are related to the Indo-Aryan peoples who migrated from northern India and Iran.

It is not the intent of this writing to cover any of the goddesses or gods in any depth, that has already been accomplished by other writers. I would recommend Sarah Owen’s excellent book, Celtic Spirituality: A Beginners Guide for a concise list of the names of Celtic gods and goddesses along with a brief description of each.

The GOD of the Bible is always referenced in masculine terms such as “Abba! Father!” (Mark 14:36, Rom. 8:15, Gal. 4:6 NASB) In addition, Jesus opens His well-known prayer delivered during the Sermon on the Mount with: “Our Father who is in Heaven…” (Matt. 6:9) On the other hand, the Celts regarded the feminine nature Goddess over any masculine counterpart.1

In Christianity, believers worship or communicate with GOD “in spirit and truth,” (John 4:23) but in Celtic religion communion with the Goddess is through being one with nature.2

Edward Anwyl, a Welsh academic who specialized in Celtic languages, points out that the Celtic religion held that spirits (deities) inhabited natural objects such as trees, rivers, lakes, and mountains. He also goes on to explain that certain deities also took on the form of certain animals such as the bear, horse, and surprisingly, swine.3

Sarah Owen takes Anwyl’s animism discussion a step further when she claims that the Celtic deities were able to take on various animal forms at will, i.e., shapeshifting,4 a concept confirmed by MacCulloch.5

The Celtic priests, i.e., the Druids, especially revered trees—the oak tree in particular. Druids believed the oak tree represented death and re-birth and that “oak to be the tree of life at the centre of the earth,” and that the “oak tree was a doorway to other worlds.”6

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Rom. 1:25)

The Greek philosopher Pythagoras, well known for the mathematical theory (a2 + b2 = c2) that bears his name, also believed in the immortality of the soul and in reincarnation. Given the apparent resemblance of Pythagoreanism with the druidic beliefs concerning the soul, the Druids have come to be regarded as philosophers by some.7

GOD and the Celtic gods and goddesses all share the attribute of being invisible.8

The Celtic gods and goddesses also possess the attribute of immortality9 however, by no means do any of them claim to possess the “omni” attributes, which are: omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience, these three attributes are exclusively reserved for GOD. Furthermore, none of Celtic gods or goddesses claimed to have always existed, that is, having no beginning and no end, as the GOD of the Bible has claimed. (Heb. 7:3)

The Celtic gods and goddesses were by no means chaste; they frequently mated with mortals. Goddesses preferred to mate with heroes and the gods with mortal women.10 The Tuatha Dé Dannan, a divine race of people, were believed to have descended from the Goddess Danu.11 This divine race of people possessed all the attributes discussed earlier; they were skilled warriors and magicians; they were also some new kind of hybrid beings who were immortal and yet could still be killed; they were shapeshifters and could become invisible at will.12

Owen goes on to write that the Tuatha Dé Dannan “deified” their people who had become adept scientists and engineers. These engineers are believed to be the ones most likely responsible for the design and construction of the stone circles that can be found throughout Britain today.13

Stonehenge
Figure 1. Stonehenge

Many Celtic beliefs and traditions have been adopted by the Church for example: the Christmas tree, the Yule Log, and mistletoe. These are traditions, but what about Church teachings? Maybe the Celts had more influence on Christian doctrine than we have been led to believe. Marie-Louise Sjoestedt in her short but dense book, Celtic Gods and Heroes, writes that “the number three plays a large part in Celtic tradition.”14 The number three is important in Christian theology as well given the “notion of one God existing in multiple persons”15 is referred to as the “Trinity.” Sjoestedt goes on to write: “…the ‘triad’, a formula which combines three facts or three precepts, is a genre which dominates the gnomic literature of both Wales and Ireland, and triple personages or trios are prominent in the epic tradition of the two peoples.”16

Celtic tradition uses the terms “Threefold One” and “Triple Goddess” when referring to the nature or earth Goddess.17 The term “Threefold One” can also be understood as “Three in One.” Were the Celts influenced by Christian doctrine or was it the other way around? The doctrine of the “Trinity” is a derived teaching based on interpretation since the word itself doesn’t appear in the Bible.

Celtic beliefs and influences have not been lost on today’s pop culture either as evidenced by the following examples:

Fleetwood Mac’s hit song “Rhiannon” is named after a Celtic goddess whose name is “a corruption of Rigantona, ‘great queen’.”18

Enya (Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin), an Irish singer, songwriter, musician and producer famous for her New-age music notably her record albums entitled The Celts and Memory of Trees.

Celtic Women, an all-female (emphasis added) Irish musical ensemble.

Earth, Wind & Fire, a popular 1970s music group. Does their name include a possible reference to “Druidic Wind?”19

Or how about The Twilight Zone episode “Mirror Image” where a woman waiting in a bus terminal has an encounter with her “doppelganger” according to IMDb. However, it could also be that the woman had an encounter with the Faery world. Owen writes that “[t]he Faery world mirrors our ordinary world. Whatever is found in one world has a reflection or polar partner in the other.”20 Was Rod Serling, the episode writer, influenced by Celtic mythology?

Celtic themes have also appeared in more recent films including: Merlin, the warrior-magician, and the legend of Excalibur in The Last Legion; and the Picts in Centurion.

Lastly, I believe many current political and social movements are rooted in the Celtic and Druidic belief system, namely globalism, feminism, and environmentalism. The relationship between feminism and environmentalism with Celtic beliefs should be obvious from the arguments cited earlier in this writing. But what about globalism? Again, Owen writes that in Celtic spirituality all are one with the elements, e.g., “oneness.”21 Even though the concept of “oneness” is primarily described as being in tune with nature, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to apply the concept to all people and geographical locations.

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  1. Sarah Owen, Celtic Spirituality: A Beginners Guide, (Printed by CreateSpace, 2018), 33. 

  2. Ibid. 

  3. Edward Anwyl, Celtic Religion in Pre-Christian Times, (Boston, Adamant Media Corporation, 2005), 39-41. 

  4. Owen, Celtic Spirituality, 39-40. 

  5. J. A. MacCulloch, The Religion of the Ancient Celts (p. 216). Kindle Edition. 

  6. “Nine Sacred Trees of the Druids,” Maureen McGhee, posted April, 03, 2014, https://www.maureenmcghee.com/news/2/

  7. Anwyl, Celtic Religion, 58-59. 

  8. MacCulloch, The Religion of the Ancient Celts, 216. 

  9. Ibid. 

  10. Ibid. 

  11. Owen, Celtic Spirituality, 35. 

  12. Ibid. 36 

  13. Ibid. 

  14. Marie-Louise Sjoestedt, Celtic Gods and Heroes, (Mineola, NY, Dover Publications, Inc., 2000), 17. 

  15. Gerard Sczepura, “GOD & the Gods: One God,” Theological Ruminations (blog), October 22, 2017, https://gerardsczepura.com/god-the-gods-one-god/

  16. Sjoestedt, Celtic Gods and Heroes, 17. 

  17. Owen, Celtic Spirituality, 33. 

  18. MacCulloch, The Religion of the Ancient Celts, 182. 

  19. Sjoestedt, Celtic Gods and Heroes, 11. 

  20. Owen, Celtic Spirituality, 54. 

  21. Ibid, 60-61. 

GOD & the Gods: Buddhism

Up until recently, I’ve always held that Buddhism was a religion and that Buddha was a god. Or, at least I believed he was worshiped or adored as a god. However, now I’ve come to the understanding that Buddhism can also be viewed as a philosophy and not just a religion—contrary to Buddhists’ outward expressions of worship that I’ve had opportunity to witness on several occasions. In theory, Buddhism may be a philosophy and/or psychology but in practice it has all the appearances of a religion.

Bulguksa Temple Buddha
Figure 1. Bulguksa Temple Buddha

I’ve also come to the realization that the word “Buddha” is actually a title meaning “awakened one” or “the enlightened one.” In most Buddhist traditions the first awakened one was Siddhartha Gautama who was born in 623 B.C. in the sacred area of Lumbini located in the plains of southern Nepal, according to most scholars. Today, when people refer to the Buddha, they are actually referring to Siddhartha Gautama, the Supreme Buddha.

Interestingly, Siddhartha Gautama never claimed to be a prophet or a god (deity). This is the argument adherents use to excuse their beliefs as not being pertaining to a religion because Buddhists don’t believe in a supreme being. Since Buddhists don’t believe in a supreme or higher being, it follows that when Buddha spoke, he spoke of himself and not of any other person or deity.

While the Buddha ‘preached’ doctrine to his followers (disciples) he wasn’t dogmatic concerning his teachings. Buddhism isn’t truth, to the contrary, it is the search for truth. Buddhists are required to come to the truth (enlightenment) through their own efforts in order to arrive at what they themselves understand to be the truth.

As it stands, the ultimate goal of all Buddhists is to achieve enlightenment which is arriving at the truth that frees one from suffering. According to Ian Tuhovsky in his Kindle book, Buddhism Beginner’s Guide: Bringing Peace and Happiness to Your Everyday Life, we are the cause of our own suffering1 and that suffering can be overcome by simply having the right view or right perspective of reality.2 This is an integral part of Dharma. But what is Dharma?

Permit me to define Dharma using an analogy with Christianity. If Dharma is considered to be the “right way” then Dharma is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6 NASB) for Buddhists.

It doesn’t take a whole lot of research to learn that Siddhartha Gautama is credited with achieving “full realization”3 of reality or truth which elevated him to the status or title of Buddha. Most sites that discuss this achieving “full realization” concept do so in esoteric terms. That is, they tend to imply that in order for the traveler on the Path to Enlightenment to reach Nirvana, the traveler must first have reached Nirvana. Or, put simply, “You’ll know it when you get there.”

But what is truth? The ancient world was preoccupied with its search for truth; we know this was true in biblical times because Jesus, during His trial, claimed that He came into this world “to testify to the truth.” Pilate’s response to Jesus was “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38). Of course, Jesus was referring to the truth that is GOD. For the Christian, the only path to enlightenment is to know GOD.

While it may be true that Buddhists don’t believe in a supreme being, their philosophy does allow for belief in some minor deities. For example, the story of the demon Mara who tempted Siddhartha Guatama before he attained enlightenment.4 And then there are the Four Heavenly Kings.

If you happen to visit Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju, South Korea, you will have an opportunity to meet these Four Heavenly Kings as you pass through the Gate of the Heavenly Kings on your way to the temple. since they are considered to be protectors of the temple, the monks, the worshippers, and Buddhism itself.5 First time visitors may be taken aback by their somewhat fierce countenance but upon closer examination they seem to take on a more softer appearance as shown below.

Figure 2. Kings of the West & North
Figure 2. Kings of the West & North
Figure 3. Kings of the East & South
Figure 3. Kings of the East & South

In Korean Buddhism, the Four Heavenly Kings are named as follows:

  • Gwangmok-cheonwang – King of the West
  • Damun-cheonwang – King of the North
  • Jigook-cheonwang – King of the East
  • Jeungjang-cheonwang – King of the South

Damun is the protector of the north and the ruler of rain (or wealth); Jeungjang is the ruler of the wind and protector of the Dharma; Jigook uses music to convert people to Buddhism; Gwangmok is one who sees all and who converts unbelievers to Buddhism.6

Even though the Four Heavenly Kings have specific powers over the natural world they are still subservient to the Buddha, even Gwangmok who is attributed with the attribute of being omnipresent.

Since these deities or supernatural beings were not the creators of Dharma, they can’t be considered supreme in the spirit world—that title is reserved for the Buddha.

In contrast, Christians believe that GOD is the supreme being who created all things and Who is sovereign over all His creation. In Christianity, all beings are subservient to GOD; GOD is subservient to no one.

Buddhists don’t believe in a supreme being, yet the minor deities are protectors of Buddhism. If the Four Heavenly Kings are protecting Buddhism they are indirectly protecting the “enlightened one.” That is, the Four Heavenly Kings are serving the Buddha not the other way around. How then is Buddha not considered a supreme deity?

In my opinion, if a belief system includes supernatural beings who dwell in the spirit world, then that belief system is considered a religion. If one practices Buddhism as either philosophy or psychology, it follows that by identification, that person also subscribes to all of the Buddhist practices and beliefs. As in Christianity, a person who follows Christ’s teachings is thereby identified with all of Christ’s teachings. Otherwise, that person’s belief system is ambiguous.

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  1. Ian Tuhovsky. Buddhism: Beginner’s Guide: Bring Peace and Happiness To Your Everyday Life (Positive Psychology Coaching Series Book 5) (p. 25). Kindle Edition. 

  2. Ibid., pp. 28-29 

  3. Reginald Ray, “What is Dharma?,” December 26, 2017, https://www.lionsroar.com/in-a-word-dharma/

  4. Prof. Geller, “Mara,” accessed April 2, 2018, https://mythology.net/demons/mara/

  5. Khan Academy, “Guardian King of the West (Gwangmok cheonwang),” accessed April 03, 2018, https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-asia/korea-japan/korean-art/a/guardian-king-of-the-west-gwangmok-cheonwang

  6. Wikipedia, “Four Heavenly Kings,” accessed April, 04, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Heavenly_Kings

GOD & the Gods: One God

Christianity is unique compared to all other religions of the world. There isn’t any other religion that declares that God took on human form in order to reconcile the world to Himself through Jesus’ substitutionary dead or sacrifice; that is to say, Christianity is what God has done for Man[kind]. This belief is fundamentally rejected by Jews and Muslims based primarily on the claims made by Jesus that he was, in fact, God. They can accept Him as a prophet or messenger but not as the one true Deity. Therefore, Christianity is accused of being polytheistic. As it turns out, the entire foundation of Christian belief is rejected by two of the world’s major religions.

The most fundamental objection to Christianity by both Jews and Muslims is the notion of the Trinity. The Trinity, according to Christian belief, is the concept of God consisting of three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit collectively referred to as the Godhead. Hence, Christianity is rejected by both Jews and Muslims as being a polytheistic belief system, that is, a belief in multiple gods.

Nevertheless, it is somewhat ironic that Christianity began as a Jewish belief system; as Jesus Himself said: “’I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’” (Matt. 15:24 NASB) Yet the Jews rejected and continue to reject Him as their Messiah as was prophesied: “I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’ To a nation which did not call on My name.” (Isa. 65:1)

This post will look at these objections and offer explanations from Scripture as well as some alternative and hopefully novel and interesting ways of looking at the concept of God. Future entries in the series will also examine some of the major differences between Christianity and some of the other major polytheistic religions from Greek Mythology to Buddhism. The intent here is not to be exhaustive, but there are some fundamental differences that are common to all other world religions.

Jews believe that there is only one true God. Both Christians and Jews know Him by many names including Yahweh or Jehovah, and the Muslims as Allah. Judaism and Islam are both recognized as being monotheistic religions, that is, their followers believe in only one true God. In the same way, Christians also believe that Christianity is a monotheistic religion in spite of their acceptance of God in three persons. So, are the accusations that Christianity is polytheistic valid? Does the Bible give us any indication that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three separate gods all acting according to their own individual will and desires? In addition to those arguments found in the Scriptures, this post proposes that Christianity is, in fact, monotheistic using concepts borrowed from object-oriented programming.

In Exodus 3:14 when Moses asks God for His name, God answers with the self-referential phrase YHVH, better known as “I AM WHO I AM.” On the surface, God’s answer seems dismissive or matter-of-fact. His answer really says nothing about who He is, yet at the same time it says everything; I am God, what more do I need to say? From God’s point of view, He is and that’s all Moses needed to know. And by this one attribute alone, the God of Israel sets Himself apart from all the other so-called gods—as we shall see in detail later in this series.

However, before attempting to defend Christianity as a monotheistic belief system, a unique and proper name for the God of Israel; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—who is also the God of Christianity needs to be settled upon. I prefer the name Yehovah, a transliteration of the name YHVH from the Tanakh or Jewish scriptures. YHVH, which is known as the Tetragrammaton meaning “the four letters,” is not pronounced by observant Jews; instead, they substitute Adonai when reading the Torah or the name Hashem, “the Name,” at other times.1

I refuse to yield to the temptation of substituting any of the proper names of God with “G-d” which is another common practice among observant Jews. In my way of thinking, substitutions are more offensive than unintentionally but reverentially mispronouncing any of His names as revealed in Scripture. In the same way, I find the substitution “Xmas” for “Christmas,” irreverent and offensive.

In this series, because I’ll be discussing many gods, I’ve decided to use either a qualifier with the name God when referring to the Hebrew / Christian Deity or simply GOD (all uppercase) as necessary to avoid ambiguity. For example, I may use: Yehovah God, God of Israel, Godhead, or GOD. Of course, the name Allah will be used when referring to God as revealed in the Quran.

My first argument, in a series of arguments, will be to compare Yehovah’s attributes with the attributes of some of the major polytheistic gods from around the world. If Christianity were to be seriously classified as polytheistic, then God as represented in the Christian Trinity would, out of necessity, be expected to possess the same or similar attributes as the gods of commonly recognized polytheistic world religions. I propose to show that Yehovah God is unique among the many gods of popular polytheistic world religions that I’ll be discussing in this series GOD & the Gods.

Also In this series, I’ll attempt to answer some objections that Jews and Muslims have leveled against the Christian Trinity. I’ll also argue that the objections are really leveled against Jesus and not the notion of the Trinity specifically.

Before this series attempts to examine and compare the attributes of GOD with the attributes of the gods of polytheistic religions, the attributes of Yehovah God must first be identified. The first attribute considered is His origin or genesis, if you will. The Scriptures say that He is eternal, without beginning and without end. Finite man cannot fathom the concept of an infinite being—the mind just collapses in on itself. Without a doubt, this is the hardest concept for humankind to comprehend but nevertheless, this is exactly what the Scriptures teach as illustrated in the following verses:

The eternal God is a dwelling place… (Deut. 33:27)

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting… (1 Chron. 16:36)

…Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (Ps. 90:2)
Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting. (Ps. 93:2)

From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. (Prov. 8:23)

As illustrated in the Scripture verses listed above, it can be seen that God is infinite as inferred by the word “everlasting” which is a translation of the word olam (Hebrew NASB Number: 5769). The word olam has also been translated into other English words such as: “eternal,” “continual,” and “perpetual.” Psalm 90:2 clearly says that God is not only eternal but that He is eternally God—a subtle point which will be examined later in this series GOD & the Gods. In addition, God not only existed before all Creation as stated in Psalm 90:2, Proverbs 8:23, and Isaiah 40:28, but He is the author of all Creation.

In Exodus 3:14 when Moses asks God for His name, God answers with the self-referential phrase “I AM WHO I AM.” On the surface, God’s answer seems dismissive or matter-of-fact. His answer really says nothing about who He is, yet at the same time it says everything; I am God, what more do I need to say? From God’s point of view, He is and that’s all Moses needed to know. By this one attribute alone, the God of Israel sets Himself apart from all the other so-called gods—as we shall see in detail later in this series.

The second attribute considered is God’s power or authority. Yehovah God is sovereign over all creation. He exercises His authority over nations, kings, nature, life and death, and the angelic world which includes demons. His position of power and authority is unchallenged and absolute in both the spirit world and in the natural physical world. Consider the following verses:

While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease. (Gen. 8:22)

For this time I will send all My plagues on you and your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like Me in all the earth. For if by now I had put forth My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, you would then have been cut off from the earth. But, indeed, for this reason I have allowed you to remain, in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth. (Exod. 9:14-16)

Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it. (Deut. 10:14)

The LORD commanded the angel, and he put his sword back in its sheath. (1 Chron. 21:27)

Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD before the new court, and he said, ’O LORD, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You.’ (2 Chron. 20:5-6)

And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Rev. 20:10)

In Genesis 1:28, God commands Adam and Eve to multiply, subdue the earth and rule over all living things. Man was given the authority to use the earth and its resources in order for Man to survive and prosper. Then in Genesis 2:15, God balances authority with responsibility when He commands Adam to be a good steward of the garden where he was placed. I am convinced the earth’s resources will last as long as they are intended to last. Contrary to popular opinion, Man wasn’t created for the earth, but the earth was created for Man, even though Man was created later.

Later on, in Genesis 8:21, God, speaking to Himself after bringing the flood upon the earth, promised that He would never again destroy every living thing as He had done with the flood. The interesting statement is in the next verse where God promises that as long as the earth exists, hot and cold, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease. God establishes and preserves the natural order of things, not politicians or so-called environmental activists. If there are, in fact, any variations in the earth’s temperature, God is allowing it to happen. God knows how to keep the earth in balance—after all, He created it.

I believe the third and final attribute that separates God from all the other gods is the one attribute that causes most other religions to stumble and that is the notion of one God existing in multiple persons. (Notice I didn’t say Trinity, but that’s a topic for another time.)

So, how can the concept of One God in three persons be reconciled? Is the Trinity polytheistic? The answer being proposed is to consider God as an instantiation of a One GOD superclass or base class. The Trinity consists of objects instantiated from three subclasses such as Father, Son, Comforter. The three persons that are identified as composing the Trinity are: YHVH, Jesus, and The Spirit respectively. If the Trinity is in fact a composition of all three instantiations of the three subclasses, then you could say that One GOD has a Father; One GOD has a Son; and One GOD has a Comforter. All three persons would have to exist in order for God to exist as One GOD.

I think there is a biblical basis for this theory since God established the notion of classes or kind in creation.

God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. (Gen. 1:25)

Unlike creation, God was self-instantiated.

As it stands, I’ll leave this theory of God, as derived from object-oriented programming, here for now. I plan to elaborate on this in a future post.

I’ll close this writing with one final thought. Isn’t the belief in an all-powerful, all-knowing, eternally existent Deity just as hard to believe as the concept of one God composed of three entities? Just the idea of a being without a beginning or end is enough to make your head explode. Probably the best analogy for this can be found in the Star Trek episode “The Changeling” where the character Captain Kirk confounds the probe Nomad with his accusation that it is imperfect.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Greek-Hebrew dictionary references are from The New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

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  1. “The Hebrew Name for God – YHVH,” John J. Parsons, accessed October 08, 2017, http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/YHVH/yhvh.html

Americanism

If someone stopped you on the street (like Jesse Waters for example) and asked you to define “Americanism,” would you be able to do it?

There was a time when most Americans would describe themselves as: proud, self-reliant, and individualistic. Proud of their country and its flag; reliant on God instead of the state; and free to say and think whatever they wanted without fear of reprisal. Basically, Americanism meant individual freedom.

And now, to the contrary, American society is becoming more and more intolerant and tribalistic, Tribal people are more loyal to their own social group than they are to the country as a whole. The saying or proverb that “It takes a village to raise a child,” at best promotes a certain level of dependence but could also lead to tribalism.

The various tribes each have their own military arm, that being the mob. Their uniforms are hoods and facemasks. Will official uniforms come next?

One of our national mottos, “E Pluribus Unum” could be interpreted now as meaning: “From the masses, one leader.” Could it be that Mussolini was inspired by the phrase “E Pluribus Unum” for his choice, in Italian, of “fascio” to name his political party? Is it not then any surprise that HRC and BHO both elevated “E Pluribus Unum” above our official national motto of “In God We Trust?” Why would two dyed-in-the-wool liberals favor an originalist motto?

And so, the coordination of America continues…

Does anyone find it curious that the wave of opposition to historical statues and monuments has sprung up all over the country with military precision. Even statues of Mary holding the baby Jesus are being removed in Catholic schools! This is very significant since Catholic doctrine elevates Mary, the mother of Jesus, to the position of “Queen of Heaven.” By removing these statues, they are capitulating to the intolerant mob who takes offense not just at statues but the doctrines themselves and by removing these statues, the Catholic schools are now guilty of being complicit. I never thought I’d see the day.

When I was in school, you might be sent to the principal’s office if you cut class or were caught “smokin’ in the boy’s room,” but now first-graders are sent to the principal’s office for the serious offense of misgendering a classmate.

But the worst I’ve heard so far is how NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is considering the removal of the Christopher Columbus statue from the middle of Columbus Circle in Manhattan no less. You can’t make this stuff up.

Want a definition of Americanism, it’s everything progressives hate about America—Borders, Language, and Culture. Where Borders represent America’s sovereignty; Language confirms our identity; and Culture is who we are as a people.

Therefore, isn’t it correct to say that Nationalism is the natural enemy of Globalism and that Americanism is the natural enemy of Multiculturalism?

Speaking of culture, I’m kind of partial to the creed of a famous American Icon namely John Wayne who, in his role as John Bernard Books, said:

I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, and I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.1

That’s a pretty good creed to live by and I believe it’s subtly ingrained in the American consciousness. On the other hand, Americans are an enigmatic people, like General George S. Patton for example, who on the one hand could be very vulgar and profane and yet on the other hand could also be a strong believer in the power of prayer. History seems to prove that Patton’s enigmatic nature worked to his advantage on the battlefield.

Religion also makes up a large part of Americanism. After all, the Puritans who settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony were English Calvinists. The Calvinistic tradition was “responsible for promoting the idea of a job as a ‘calling,’ as opposed to something one did for money.”2 As a result, the Protestant Work Ethic established a strong connection between work and happiness3 which is probably why workers in America have far less time off than their colleagues in Europe. It should be noted that Protestantism, along with Catholicism in Europe, is believed by some to be responsible for the spread of capitalism4 —a theory not overlooked by Karl Marx.

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  1. “The Shootist (1976) Quotes,” IMDB, accessed August 08, 2017, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075213/quotes

  2. “The Protestant Work Ethic Is Real,” Daniel Luzer, Pacific Standard Magazine, Sep 04, 2013, https://psmag.com/economics/protestant-worth-ethic-real-65544

  3. Ibid. 

  4. Ibid. 

American Fascism

Fascism is authoritarianism, and the poster boy for American Fascism today is Donald J. Trump. Now, if you believe President Trump is a fascist then you also believe that Obama is a libertarian.

It’s obvious to everyone that under President Trump’s administration, individual rights have been trampled by the administration’s enforcement of the laws of the United States. According to the Pew Research Center, “Same sex marriages are on the rise.”1 So, the Trump Administration’s authoritarian posture has had a positive effect on the LGBT community.

The violence in Chicago is on track to top 700 homicides for the year.2 Is this an indication of authoritarian rule at the expense of individual rights? Seems Chicago needs a little more, not less, authoritarianism.

And then there’s Trump’s attempts to convert Americans to Christianity illustrated by the appointment of an Evangelical Christian to be deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.3 An Evangelical in government service! What is happening to America? Thank God for the socialist, secularist, atheist, Marxist Senator from Vermont who took a stand for traditional American values.

Everyone these days seems to have a propensity to throw around the word “fascist” without really thinking (or knowing) what it really means. The word fascist comes from the Italian, “fascio” which means “a bundle,” “a sheaf,” or “league” according to Wikipedia. (No, I don’t speak Italian.) Given this definition we can try to apply it, as follows: Fascio delle Nazioni (League of Nations).

Also, don’t think that you will get a clear definition of fascism on the internet because most articles are screeds written by anti-Trumpers. As it stands, there are more and more slogans floating around but here’s one that you may not have heard recently, “All for one and all for the state,” that is, the state and its dictator.

Dictator form of government is the greatest form of government there is, if you have the right Dictator.

Will Rogers

In case one has forgotten, or have never been taught in school, fascism enjoyed widespread popularity in America in the 1920s through the 1940s. And, according to RationalRevolution.net, Some famous fascist sympathizers included such prominent Americans as: William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Kennedy (JFK’s father), Charles Lindbergh, John Rockefeller, and Andrew Mellon.

Look in my eyes, what do you see?
The cult of personality
I know your anger, I know your dreams
I’ve been everything you want to be
I’m the cult of personality
Like Mussolini and Kennedy
I’m the cult of personality
The cult of personality
The cult of personality4

You might already be aware of Columbia University’s Casa Italiana, a center for Italian studies which opened in 1927, but did you know that at the time it was controlled by Mussolini supporters who used it to dispense fascist propaganda.5

Now, let’s take a look at some quotes attributed to Mussolini, the Father of Fascism, taken from AZ Quotes. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out which political ideology Mussolini’s quotes are most closely aligned with today:

  1. The state reserves the right to be the sole interpreter of the needs of society.
  2. Fascism accepts the individual only insofar as his interests coincide with the state’s.
  3. All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.
  4. There is a violence that liberates, and a violence that enslaves; there is a violence that is moral and a violence that is immoral.
  5. You know what I think about violence. For me it is profoundly moral -more moral than compromises and transactions.
  6. Fascism is a religious concept.
  7. Journalism is not a profession, but a mission.
  8. Our future lies to the east and south, in Asia and Africa.

The Juche (North Korean) ideology fits right in with quotes 1-3 except that in the DPRK, the individual is more likely to wind up in a labor camp or face total re-education by anti-aircraft gunfire.

Quotes 4&5 provides the rationale for the anti-Trump, anti-American, Antifa black shirts who use violence and intimidation to suppress those holding opposing viewpoints. Look no further than James T. Hodgkinson, the congressional baseball practice shooter. Antifa is a leftist group and Mr. Hodgkinson was a Bernie Sanders supporter.

You hear a lot of chatter from the political commentators and analysts on why the mainstream media is so biased against President Trump, well it’s because journalism is no longer a profession, instead it is now on a mission to take down our rightfully elected president.

You might ask how could this happen? Well, it’s not just journalism, it’s happened to every major institution in America. They have all been synchronized (coordinated) with progressive ideology. This technique of coordination or “gleichschaltung,” was employed by the Nazis in Hitler’s Germany to get everyone and every institution to follow the Party line.

The Nazi policy of Gleichschaltung (standardization) was an attempt to rid the country of independent institutions. During the Third Reich, almost every public institution and instrument of policy had been altered to serve Nazi purposes (Gleichschaltung), so all such institutions and instruments were subordinated to the Party. Newspapers, schools at every level, banks, courts, publishing houses, theatres, museums, radio stations, and government offices were all coordinated. Political parties ceased to exist. Even the German Red Cross had been corrupted.6

But that was then, now the Alt Left has adopted the same tactics.

What is the “Alt Left”?

It’s a movement of phony self-righteousness and “compassion” that it uses to gain power. It will do anything and say anything to achieve its goal of hammerlock control not only of government, but every significant cultural institution – from schools, universities and the press to churches, foundations, Hollywood and unions.7

So, what happened to America you ask? Well, it has allowed itself to be converted from belief in a divine being to Statism. Naturally, none of the statists are going to admit that they are following a religion because they believe in America and the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Naturally, it follows that statist doctrines are grounded in state socialism imputed to us through Darwinian evolutionary theology. After which, Marx took the Darwinian belief system and applied it to economics and politics. Finally, Lenin took the principles from both and formulated a collectivist system of government.

As a result, now instead of church or synagogue leaders teaching us the precepts of God, we now have central planners in government intent on controlling every aspect of American life.

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  1. “5 Facts About Same Sex Marriage,” Pew Research Center, published June 26, 2017, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/06/26/same-sex-marriage/

  2. “Halfway through 2017, violence remains stubbornly high in Chicago,” Jeremy Gorner, Chicago Tribune, published June 30, 2017, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-violence-first-six-months-met-20170630-story.html

  3. “Bernie Sanders attacks Trump nominee for following teachings of Christ,” Todd Starnes, Fox New, June 09, 2017, http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/06/09/bernie-sanders-attacks-trump-nominee-for-following-teachings-christ.html

  4. Lyrics.com, STANDS4 LLC, 2017. “Cult of Personality Lyrics.” accessed April 29, 2017. http://www.lyrics.com/lyric/1001586

  5. “When Columbia University was on the Mussolini bandwagon,” Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist, August 09, 2014, https://louisproyect.org/2014/08/09/when-columbia-university-was-on-the-mussolini-bandwagon/

  6. “Gleichschaltung [coordination],” GlobalSecurity.org, accessed August 19, 2017, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/de-gleichschaltung.htm

  7. “Let’s take a look at the ‘Alt Left’,” Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily.com, 08/28/2016, http://www.wnd.com/2016/08/lets-take-a-look-at-the-alt-left/

Juche

On June 25, 1950, some 75,000 soldiers of the North Korean People’s Army invaded South Korea starting the Korean War. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) invasion of the South extended all the way down to the outskirts of Busan, demonstrating how ill prepared and caught off-guard the South Koreans found themselves. Considering that, unlike in 1950, the DPRK today has an estimated 1.2 million men in its military, the threat of an invasion would seem even more likely now.

What if the United States was removed from the scene?

On July 27, 1953, the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed officially ending the Korean War. But was it really the end since no peace treaty was ever put into effect? Truman fired General Douglas MacArthur in order to avoid having the Korean Conflict metastasize into WWIII but all he really did was to “kick the can” down the road to our time and now it’s President Trump’s problem. So now instead of facing WWIII we are facing the possibility of a nuclear conflagration. I wonder how that would affect climate change?

Even so, I’m guessing that you may not believe we are still at war in Korea so I’ve provided just three skirmishes which occurred since 1953 that say otherwise:

  • USS Pueblo Incident in 1968
  • Joint Security Area (JSA) Axe Murders in 1978
  • Otto Warmbier’s Death in 2017

All of these actions were taken against the United States without the DPRK suffering any serious retaliation or consequences.

I’ve heard many of the analysts and experts in Asian affairs give their opinions on the motives and/or mental state of Kim Jong Un. Some say he is unstable and unpredictable. Some say he is unhinged or just plain crazy. I say he is cool and calculating and doing exactly what he believes he should be doing given his country is technically at war with the U.S. and its perceived South Korean puppet state.

When news commentators or announcers reference the government of North Korea, they usually use the terms “Totalitarian,” “Stalinist” or “Communistic” which may seem accurate from the outside but I don’t think they, the North Koreans, necessarily view themselves in any of these terms. Instead, the DPRK’s official identity or ideology is “Juche” first proposed by Kim Il Sung.

It’s probably hard for non-Asians to wrap their heads around the concept of Juche since I believe it has strong tie-ins to ancestor worship—but with a Marxist twist. Instead of reverence for deceased family members, Juche ideology removes the spiritual aspect and instead advocates for reverence or worship of a living relative, i.e., a great leader. This leader is derived from a line of great leaders who considered themselves caretakers of their extended family, namely, the North Korean people. The great leader isn’t looked on as a dictator but a paternalistic head of the family. Kind of sounds like the Godfather, doesn’t it?

Another concept of Juche is self-reliance. For the North Korean, the only way to achieve self-reliance is through subordination to the great leader, and the current Great Leader is Kim Jong Un. Since Juche calls for worship of the Great Leader, it’s by definition the state religion. Take all this then throw in a heavy dose of socialism, ultra-nationalism, and hyper-militarism and you will have a better picture of what the DPRK looks like.

The North Korean people are bombarded daily with this humanistic Juche ideology, “The individual is the master of his destiny,” but only if the individual stays on the right path.

So, you have to ask yourself, how do you negotiate with this kind of government?

I believe there are only two ways to deal with the North Korean threat, the first is…well you know what that is. The second is for the United States to recognize the legitimacy of the North Korean state by signing a peace treaty and establishing diplomatic relations. But in order to assure the North Koreans that we respect their sovereignty, the U.S. would eventually arrive at an agreement to pull out all its military forces from the region, basically, abandoning the South Koreans to their North Korean neighbors. Don’t sound so shocked, this is exactly what we did in Vietnam.

As it stands, the status quo won’t last forever, at least not until Kim Jong Un has perfected his ballistic missile capabilities.

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Islamic Jihad: Fulfillment of Prophecy?

There has been a good deal of speculation as to whether or not America is mentioned or even indirectly referenced in the Bible, specifically Revelation 12:14 where it is written that the wings of a great eagle are given to a woman to save her from the face of the serpent.

I believe it is somewhat of a stretch to infer America, i.e., the United States, as being the eagle referred to in the verse mentioned above. The Book of Revelation presents its own unique set of challenges for the reader because both figurative and literal language are interspersed throughout the book.

Unlike the sometimes confusing imagery presented in Revelation, there are other verses that appear in other books that really leave very little doubt as to their meaning and one I’m thinking of is John 16:1-2.

These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.

John 16:1-2 NASB

I’m sure some would argue that since Jesus was speaking to His apostles, He was making a prediction concerning them and I would agree with that argument. But if you read through the Gospels you will find that Jesus frequently spoke in prophetic terms. I believe that most honest scholars, pastors, educators and theologians would agree that the Bible wasn’t written specifically for a certain people during a certain time in history but for all people in all ages. Otherwise, why preach it today?

Besides, at the time Jesus spoke those words, the Church had not yet come into existence. The apostles were all Jewish but they would become the core of the newly formed Christian Church being hand-picked by Jesus Himself.

Nevertheless, the words in John 16:2, “…an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God” strikes a chord especially when you consider the worldwide persecution of Christians in many Muslim majority countries.

Let me rephrase what I just said, Christian are being systematically “cleansed” from many Muslim majority countries. As the saying goes, “This isn’t war it’s genocide.”

Some would argue that the Islamic Jihadis are just terrorists with a political or social agenda. If that’s true, then why does ISIS call it’s captured territory a Caliphate which by definition is an area ruled by an Islamic steward? Islam is still a religion, isn’t it? It should be no surprise then that many, if not all, Jihadis adopted “Allahu Akbar” as their battle cry. I’m aware that the term “Jihad” also carries the meaning of “struggle against self” for Muslims but that is not the meaning of the term I’m discussing here.

Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are all monotheistic religions; however, Muslims and Jews both believe that Christianity is a polytheistic religion. (The belief that Christianity is a polytheistic religion is a topic I’ll investigate in a future series.) This view of Christianity as a polytheistic religion is the root of all the animosity both religions have towards Christianity. Of course with the Jews it’s passive aggressive but for the Jihadis it’s an intense hatred that expresses itself in the extremely violent acts carried out all too frequently throughout the world.

While Muslims can accept Jesus as being a prophet, they reject Him as being God. Jews, on the other hand, reject Him as being both a prophet and God. Therefore, He has become a hindrance or an obstacle to both. The problem was and always will be with Jesus as prophesied:

Then He shall become a sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Isa. 8:14

The bottom line is that there is only one God. Christians and Jews know Him as Jehovah; Muslims know Him as Allah. The problem isn’t with God, it’s with our understanding of who He is and what He has said. So, which religion has it right? I would suggest that one very reliable way to decide is by asking yourself the question, “Whose prophesies have been fulfilled or are now being fulfilled?” I’ve just presented two very obvious ones to consider.

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Copyright 2017 Gerard Sczepura