I really enjoy roaming on foot seeking the most novel signatures of the System’s wide breadth. Recently we were in the slightly lively southern California surfer village of Oceanside just north of San Diego. Would you join me on this modest photologue tour?
We’d stopped to hang out a bit at this quaint “comic book” coffee bar. Shelves of graphic novels covered the walls, with only a single barista, his equipment, and one long table and one high table at the window occupying the rest of the establishment. There was a small table in the corner with a screen and video game consoles.
I like graphic novels but it is very hard to find any that aren’t packed with discomforting sexual tension and commensurate violence. That’s a lot of the point — most of these works appeal to those whose only thrill is anything edgier than the latest sex and death entertainment extravaganza.
I decided to begin that stroll and right around the corner was a Roman Catholic church facility. Naturally the symbol of Cain’s authority over a reprobate population rose above the edifice, you can see it in the photograph, the penal instrument of Roman justice accompanied by emitting rays denoting blinding power.
to the sidewalk was a typical idol of Mary, and the
fact that at her feet are candles and flowers put
there by the faithful definitively demonstrates that
the Catholic institution is one that encourages
people to practice idolatry. This is isn’t new among more Reformation-minded observers,
but it is lost on those captivated by Rome. “It
isn’t idolatry, it's veneration!” they’ll insist.
But then, why all the indulgences here? Ill-versed
in Scripture and outside of the presence of God and
His wisdom, they are still perfectly fine with this
state of affairs as it keeps them quite
Down the street a bit are the service offices. There’s this one with a sign in the door that reminds me of the brutal effects of codependent socialism (what other kind is there?) “No more sandwiches!” is a dead giveaway (not such a figure of speech) that treating things as “free” handed out by good wholesome people means eventually there will be none of that thing — “free” things actually have no value!
There is however, infinite value in
what Jesus did on Calvary! He has the abundance of
all things valuable, by His provision you will never
run out of sandwiches. You can only find
that in His Kingdom, not in these System
counterfeits. As He asked after everyone was well
fed, "Why is it you still do not understand?"
There is however, infinite value in what Jesus did on Calvary! He has the abundance of all things valuable, by His provision you will never run out of sandwiches. You can only find that in His Kingdom, not in these System counterfeits. As He asked after everyone was well fed, "Why is it you still do not understand?"
a bit further is their office of "faith formation." Note the bars on the window making it
either quite disagreeable or rigorously protected from
those who’d want to damage things in there — maybe
because they know something they don’t like about
Rome? What kind of faith exactly are they forming in
there? Certainly inviting such
ruffianism secures the justified reasons to thrust back
with seven-fold vengeance. Hey, it’s a living!
the end of the building is the refreshment room
where a sign-stand having words only in Spanish is
covered by a torn brown paper bag that says, “Coffee
and donuts.” How ironic that right across the street
is a splendidly elaborate City Hall building, this
the east wing! I’ve long thought that the Roman
Church is presently being made expendable by a pope
whose Jesuit training has prepared him to
disestablish the church in order to accomplish its
ends, chiefly ensuring the whole world is firmly in
the grip of the General. Don’t need a
church for that, just a kind, loving, caring
According to the fourth chapter of Genesis, except for those who do authentically call on the name of the Lord everyone is already under the General’s lordship — how tediously mundane. The Jesuits are too acquisitive and too gifted for that — it is much more fun to yank the faithful around a bit, particularly the most rigidly sectarian among them. How many tax dollars in what would be tithes are no longer sent to churches but earmarked for delightfully comfy government buildings — they really are the new cathedrals. Those dollars are also poured into the fisc for legions of administrators for more and more grievance redressment — the pension obligations to the retirees from such occupations are now absolutely crushing municipal and state budgets across the globe.
Just down the way I came across this. Hmm. A spiffy breakfast restaurant with a line of folks outside the door waiting to get in. Not only was this one packed, but another one a block away had similar spillover. There was yet another one bulging not too far from that one. How ferociously must we fill our stomachs with the tastiest physical consumables.
What about the spiritual ones?
Let’s see, back up the street I encountered this, a church above which towered a marquee labeled “Grace.”
I peeked inside and saw about fifty people in attendance, enjoying a relatively hip contemporary worship experience, not bad, not bad at all, but the numbers certainly did match not the volumes seen at the local eating establishments. I’m not making a statement about pathetically low church attendance numbers from an anecdotal stroll, I’m just noting the striking contrast is all. (One thing that appears so debilitating in all this is how the eating establishments have outdoor seating while the church service looks like it held in a cave. This is the way it is for most Americanist church activity! How much more should Christ be proclaimed out in the sunshine!)
In truth, really, how many of those breakfast diners did indeed spend some time that morning, or any time during the week, actually in abiding worship of God, prayerfully fellowshipping with others in some active way? I’m not saying there weren’t, but I’d venture to say — studying the ongoing results of George Barna’s survey efforts — that if you asked most would reply with things like, “I worship God my own way.” “I’m not religious, just spiritual.” “My beliefs are my own and just as valid.” And so forth.
The Roman Catholic Church has been so successful in
convincing people that its Jesus is the one to
believe upon that disgusted people have been
distancing themselves from formal church in droves —
while unwittingly remaining tied to Rome as its
subjects. As much as they trust in courageous
hard-working government people to implement its
designs, whether they embrace them, censure them, or
just flat-out rage against them especially
if it is a vibrant part of that most righteous
crusade often proudly titled "RESIST," they are performing
within the confines of Cain’s legacy.
Right now Pope Francis is pretty much engaged in a long comprehensive apology tour — having been shredded a brand new aye-hole by a very respected high-ranking Vatican operative who detailed how Francis had not done his job of keeping certain church individuals of great repute from kadoodling altar boys. Just yesterday Francis gave a speech at one of these events that included a distended call for greater environmental awareness. Okay so he should've said something about the priests, but at least he recycles!
Never mind that this has been going on for centuries and centuries. Never mind that good Christian people like Matt Walsh are thoroughly hoodwinked into thinking Rome is anywhere close to anything God wants from His own and feel they must zealously implore Rome to do anything other that what it regularly does: commit sodomy against itself. Never mind that Francis is already in so many different ways acknowledged as the ordained leader of the authorized World System. The institution is required to make himself known as such — simply look at the plain subject title in the screen shot of the very mainstream NBC news link on Francis’ troubles.
Back to Matt Walsh. I really like him a lot. He is an amazing apologist for the faith once delivered to the saints. His essay on socialism is really one of the most succinct expositions on the rancid evil of that system. This piece about the horrors of the church actually does spell it out pretty clearly, really. But please. He trashes his entire effort by concluding that Rome must be different than it is. He's actually published a number of pieces pleading with Rome to change — absolutely futile, as it is for any attempted detractor. There are so many of them! Sexualism and socialism are precisely what Rome has been hammering upon the world for millennia, they are ultimately the only ways Cain’s agents can achieve their goals. Maybe now the effects are just being felt more acutely.
Want to refuse to enable these things?
Turn to Christ and live from the Kingdom.
Make your church community ungrafted from the World System and its contractual obligations that tie you to Rome.
All that fodder about the Church “purging”
itself from within? Sorry but impossible to do. At
best everyone will pretend to forgive the pope and the abusive
priests high and low and they’ll still get to have a nifty
God club to visit whenever they feel they’ve got to
show everyone how penitent they can be. Worse,
Rome dissolves into meaninglessness, and I can’t see
how it that isn’t somewhat the case now — the
Catholic Church is seen by more and more as
outdated, out-of-touch, out-to-lunch with its
old-fashioned dogma, and preferably out-and-away from our children and in prison cells
where many in its leadership belong. At its
ugliest worst it may just be that so many
Catholicists know they live such benighted lives
that they're resigned to the fact that their own
immorality is no worse than the church's, so,
what of it.
At its ugliest worst it may just be that so many Catholicists know they live such benighted lives that they're resigned to the fact that their own immorality is no worse than the church's, so, what of it.
The “New” Rome is everyone feeling like they can be free to do whatever they want with their lives, no direction whatsoever — they can have their own morality and their own life laws and by-laws and their own little god clubs with their own little gatherings with smiles and chips and sodas and loud inspirational background music. Church — it's obsolete! We're proud to be "Nones" and the more we hook up with like-minded people the more we can make our own way! We can be like we are gods ourselves.
I can’t think of anything more universal than that desire.
And what is anything catholic except the universal.
How utterly contemptibly wretched oppressive. It is definitely universal: To be a slave to oneself through the newest and most spectacularly attractive rendition of Cain’s legacy.
Want out of that to be truly who God made you to be? And feel genuine joy and peace? Sow bounty and grace into people’s lives? Experience mercy and charity and agape?
Drop the pretense that you can just be a good beloved little god through the piddly quasi-religious programs the World shoves at you, whether they look Catholic or not.
Leave that World and go to Him, and to the Kingdom.
Everybody seems to be enamored with fascism these days. You know, how those evil heteropatriarchal imperialists just have too damned much power. Errgh!
By contrast they seem to be obsessed with socialism, and so many seem to feel that even Jesus was a socialist. You know, how much he wanted to help the poor and at the same time rip a new asshole on every rich person he met. Woo-hoo! You go Jesus! Fighting for the downtrodden and disenfranchised!
For everyone to get on board with making sure everyone is emphatically treated equally in every single area of life, it really requires...
Remember, the term fascist comes from the fasces, a bundle of rods around an axe denoting institutionalized hegemonic strength, indeed a biblically ordained seven-fold dominion — check out the fourth chapter of the book of Genesis for more. Fascism technically refers to the nationalistically directed administration of a region's social and commercial activity.
Yale professor Jason Stanley recently wrote a somewhat well-received book about its manifestation in today's Trumpworld, How Fascism Works. Reading through it you'd have confirmed what you'd thought all along: President Trump is the worst fascist on the planet.
Stanley methodically highlights all the ways Trump and his supporters are merely American fascists, mindlessly executing unjust power-trips through every strata of society. Annnd of course the most guilty are older whiter angrier stupider males. (Mr. Stanley exempted of course, because he has been sufficiently enlightened and proves it by writing prodigiously about it.)
His catalog of fascistic tendencies includes a pronounced emphasis by the reigning fascist on law and order — except how does Mr. Stanley expect to most rigorously implement his enlightened ideas? He says fascists appeal to a "mythic past" — except what historical precedents does he promote to advance his cause without having a "mythic past" himself? He states fascists will portray themselves as victims to engender sympathy — except how it is he is not doing the same making the case that the fascists are victimizing him, and quite mercilessly he whines!
There are a dozen different inane declarations Stanley makes, and they are not inane because they aren't true, they're inane because he claims they only apply to the fascists! He takes perfectly fine things, rural values and sexual morals and healthy inquiry among the others, twists them into perversities, and then applies them to the propaganda and policy of the autocrat. I mean, it wasn't that hard, really. He wrote his book after Trump became president, so he could prooftext like a mad man.
If Mr. Stanley and his legion of cohorts got their way — essentially ensconcing the gloriously utopian ideals of socialism fully into the public endowment — they must be just as fascistic as those they revile. Every civic leader is a fascistic hegemon, and Mr. Stanley is just as much one himself.
What is goofier is that Mr. Stanley insists that he does not have the truth, even bleating that ridiculously typical trope "Anyone who says they have the truth is dangerous!" Really? Then what, precisely, is Mr. Stanley saying when he speaks? What is the substance of that? If what he says isn't truth, why should we listen to him? He sanctimoniously virtue signals his stature beyond those unattractive truth claims, then claims to know unassailable truths we should all embrace.
The reality here is that all these young-blooded broad-minded googly-eyed fascists are living in a postmodernist fog where they think they can reject truth because it is all so much power-grabbing, yet at the very same time tell others that their truth is the one to which they must conform — nope, no rank exertion of oppressive power there, no.
Remember that fine Oscar-winning film Gladiator? The main character, Maximus played by Russell Crowe, was not even the most interesting one. He was certainly a quite compelling and deeply sympathetic protagonist, but the most riveting character was the one played by Joaquin Phoenix, Commodus, the psychopathic tyrant who sought the people's affections even in his awkwardly depraved cunning.
The first of two classic lines in the film comes from him.
"Am I not merciful?!" he furiously screams into the ear of his sister. Doesn't the entrenched autocrat desperately want to feel justified in his institutionalized repressive behavior?
The second comes from Maximus, who sarcastically shouts "Are you not entertained?" after putting on quite a show albeit an extraordinarily bloody one. Later, however, Commodus feels the need to prove his metal in the arena and pitifully wails similar much more sincere sentiments to the colosseum crowd he wishes to arouse in his favor.
Sounds as much like a stridently progressive Ivy League scholar as it does a pathologically insecure dictator.
Every assigned leader in a System position does this, every one of them Caesars and every one fascists by definition. Their jobs are well-defined because every one of us is indeed one of two kinds of slaves, there is no other. The first is the one enslaved to his or her own sin, as such by default Caesar must do business with them — could be priest or minister, could be banker or bureaucrat, could be that overbearing father/mother figure whose immersion in the System and its protocols is so calcified that the ravenous codependent lifestyle is all one knows.
Or, an individual is a slave to that second thing, to that second Person, the Holy Spirit — God as Counselor to lead one with His forgiveness, His mercy, His charity, His righteousness, His salvation, His lovingkindness.
You are a slave.
The question is: to whom are you enslaved?
Do you know?
A meme capturing the fancy of many conservative-minded folk out there is the "NPC." NPC is the acronym for "Non-Playing Character," referring to the anthromorphs in a video game whose actions are dictated by the computer as opposed to another live participant controlling them in multi-player mode. Essentially they are the CGI-generated figures there on the screen you can blow away and score points along the way. Or not.
The point of the NPC is that it is an incisively profound metaphor for so many out there who simply do whatever the "computer" tells them to think or do or say. The computer is essentially the World System. Typically they blither things like "Trump is a fascist," which is why the NPC is frequently pictured blurting "Orange man bad." They are so distressed!
There are a few who know precisely why "Trump is a fascist" does indeed have a great deal of veracity. It is just the NPCers don't because they're hypnotically entranced to say it by World Operatives convincing them the socialist paradise is juuust within their reach and that it certainly does not involve acts of violence on behalf of their beloved fascist leaders as they trudge to the demonstration eagerly stretching their jowls to prepare for the inevitable confrontation.
The whole whirlwind is just another of the hundred avenues along which the officially protracted rebellion metastasizes. Take a gander at the third chapter of Ezekiel. God repeats a number of times how rebellious Israel has been and that is the reason she is enduring her exile. How many times He wants Ezekiel to share that truth with them — in the most dramatic ways! He even supernaturally transports him to the place where people need to hear it!
I think about that whole episode and note that the instrument of Israel's judgment a hundred years before was Assyria, notorious for its cruel and vicious — shall I say it — fascist law enforcement. The more amazing thing is God loved the Assyrian people just as much. Look at the book of Jonah, the one with the story of the guy swallowed by the fish. That's what everyone thinks about, but the theme of the book is how God wants Jonah to tell Assyrians about Him, so they'd turn and be His. Wow.
God loves the worst fascists.
This is the stuff of The Kingdom.
The stuff of the World is designed, arranged, propelled, and fomented by the Society. It isn't that we're on the path to socialism — it's already firmly in place... and because you need an authoritarian administrator in place to effectuate it, it means we really do have fascism firmly, intractably, comprehensively in place. All around us, here in the United States, right now. Shock: Donald Trump actually has one of the smaller roles in the whole marionette cabaret.
Democracy is a showcased fantasy ruse; the reality is the stratospheric roller coaster — rebellion retribution rebellion retribution — again check out that fourth chapter of Genesis, it already tells us everything we need to know about Cain and his ordained work ministering to a reprobate populace. Jason Stanley is merely a crack intelligence officer from a top System office, doing his job exceptionally well.
The Resistance feels sooo good.
It is extraordinarily violent, however, and eternal souls are in great peril.
You don't have to be in that maelstrom...
There is The Kingdom, right there next to you. And there in that place far, far away from the System...
Christ is Freedom, The Joy in the midst of all that.
I had intended to end this piece right there but I can't help but add one more thing. I posted this officially yesterday, but I just have add this, I just have to.
Today on the Christian radio show host Roger Marsh was speaking about the festering social blight having to do with how lonely we all are and how much we long for community and what all the demographic numbers there are that go with it and all the rest of it.
The book he mostly referenced was Them written by Ben Sasse, a U.S. Senator from Nebraska who has been climbing in popularity for his brazenly earthy homespun take on things. What struck me about it was recalling the subtitle of Jason Stanley's book: "The Politics of Us and Them."
Tomes and tomes and tomes are written about the pandemic scratching and clawing to find some common ground, to victoriously attain that method for us all to get along. These kinds of things have been around for eons, and they ultimately don't say very much. In this country they're just Americanist blabs that certainly inspire people to remain in their heinous immoralities in the name of achieving some spunky unity.
The Bible tells us an entirely different story, one that even the most religiously minded people reject in droves. It says we're all hopelessly evil and there is nothing we can do about it. We're alienated from one another because each of us is pretty much consumed with murderous impulses, and it's worse when we imaginatively smother it with the deceit and fraud required for the zealous attempt to rationalize what's going on in our grotesquely charred hearts. We can try really really really hard to smile and pat each other on the back and talk about the weather as if agreeing there's a 75% chance of rain tonight makes it all good.
Of course there is something Jesus has already done about it, afforded to each one of us out of His immense agape, but many of the most hifalutin Christianly oriented people don't even get that. They may have all the right Jesus language down, but so inured to their System obligations they are incessantly crushed and crippled by their overwhelming burdens. They cry in the depths of their souls "I can never be good enough but I must keep trying!"
In fact the main reason socialists spew what they spew is because their insecurities drive them into the most rabid virtue signaling. "Let me be the one to rescue you. Put me in a position of power and I'll do good things for you even if it means taking from some to give to you." Yesterday I caught just a minute of C-SPAN's television coverage of the House proceedings and right there was U.S. Representative John Garamendi showing a placard with a quote Franklin Roosevelt shared to lobby for the New Deal. It was something like "We must take from those who have and give it to those who are needy." He proudly spoke about it as if it were a core American value.
Marx and Engels are partying in their graves right now.
The members of the Society of Jesus are having a riotous celebration in their rectories right now, definitely.
No, Jesus said something very different than this. He said those who have will be given more, and those who don't will have whatever it is they do have taken from them. The servant who put in the covered hole whatever it was he was given to invest was excoriated by Jesus, simply because it is one of the most contemptibly disrespectful acts to take the blessing God has given you and fearfully hide it.
Thing is, World Ops have taken what their Superior has told them and succeeded in getting people to secure positions of power by telling their constituents, "Don't do anything, be needy, let me take care of you." Sounds quite a bit like Cain's words, in a very profound sense: "Am I by brother's keeper? If so, let me go build a city to show you I can be."
The fascist does indeed have the duly authorized power as much as he humbly screeches "AM I NOT MERCIFUL?!"
And on the altar of human sacrifice you go.
At least you'll all be there together getting along with one another just fine.
The tease quote from an October 26 2018 New York Times story "A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge from Silicon Valley" was quite revealing.
"I am convinced the devil lives in our phones."
The words are those of a top Facebook officer, and the full quote appearing in the text of the piece ends with the words "... and is wreaking havoc on our children." The Times noted that the story originally appeared in the print edition with the title "Silicon Valley Wary of the 'Devil' Living in Our Phones."
The folks at Facebook themselves have come under tremendous scrutiny as much as they have engaged in criminal abuse of user data, yet they've still managed to perpetually wiggle out of their predicament. But because of the monolithic social media power it wields Facebook cannot escape a profound dilemma: Regulate nothing — but then permit anyone to upload whatever horrifically ugly material they may for all to behold, or regulate some — and risk being politically consigned to what they select comes across the screen.
Ah the travails of those administering a lucrative media platform for Cain's vast promotional extravaganza.
As I grow and observe and gain wisdom as God graciously provides, I am becoming more convinced that the devil is behind so much more than we know. I look at someone behaving very badly and where I once became a bit piqued, I now settle back and remember what Scripture says. "Our battle is not with flesh and blood." "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do." This doesn't mean I don't have something to think and say about it — I'm engaged in addressing all that here in this writing. It is my ministry.
But look at the ironic contrast. These people in Silicon Valley, the ones who govern the overarching social media milieu, they themselves transparently confess that the devil is indeed in our phones. They see it and they know it. They astutely recognize there is something palpably evil that resides beyond but still claws on our souls.
It definitely invades the material. How courageous, really, to say this when the World sneers at such insights. The Times even confirms this truth, but then cops out by putting quotes around the word devil, just to let us all know that, well, be assured — there really isn't a devil after all, it's just what they say.
I happened to come across an NPR radio show one Saturday a few months ago, one of those weekend morning Here-Are-Some-Really-Crazy-Items-We'd-Like-To-Share-With-You kinds of things, I don't remember what the program was called.
The featured item was about a local radio call-in show in which the participants could leave recorded phone messages about what precisely they'd like Satan to do for them. The NPR show replayed some of the calls, each with the caller adding at the end "Hail Satan." While most were pretty tame, one of note was a quite seething "Put a [EXPLETIVE] hex on my [EXPLETIVE] friend who [EXPLETIVE] did this [EXPLETIVE] thing to me, I want something really [EXPLETIVE] awful to happen to this [EXPLETIVE]! Hail Satan!"
Ow. That sounds really painful.
The narrators of the NPR show spoke dismissively about it, and mentioned that the founders of the radio show hadn't expected it to last and they themselves didn't believe in Satan but that they were fine with sustaining the show as long as there were those who got some thrill from it.
Turns out they have had a lot of patrons, and they have been directly addressing the devil no matter how much show business is involved. I don't think anyone can treat this lightly no matter how much the NPR and radio show hosts let on that they're convinced it's all hokum.
This authentically diabolical activity pales, however, in comparison to a critical component of the widespread belief that the supernatural is a big joke. Portraying Satan as some silly cartoon character generating fine amusement whenever the Saturday Night Live Church Lady spits up the name makes the ruse that much more powerful.
I came across the immense breadth of that influence in a thoroughly engrossing book called The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt. It tells the viscerally compelling story of how Epicureanism became the preeminent philosophy of those whose devotion to Cain and his city building is quite delightfully regnant.
Epicurus was a Greek philosopher who simply asserted that there is no supernatural, and the more you accept that fact the happier you will be. He went so far as to insist that it was perfectly fine for you to believe in supernatural things, as long as that makes you happy. Just don't go around thinking any of it is actually true, or you'll suffer the penalty of ridicule by the more enlightened set around you.
Lucretius was a Roman epic poet who idolized Epicurus, writing De Rerum Natura ("On the Nature of Things") as a hypnotically eloquent treatise essentially using over 7,000 hexameters to say "Atoms and void and nothing else." Really, this is the actual phrase that has been thrust into the collective psyche in order to convince people that God is a really super-nice fairy tale.
This was the message to be repeated over, and over, and over — every attempt to showcase an idea requires this, added here after watching the splendid film Brexit in which the line was expressed by the protagonists starting the campaign to get Brits to vote to leave the European Union. What is that message that can repeated over and over and over — so it can't help but get into everyone's cranium?...
The Swerve gets deep into how Lucretius' words were so seductive that even when sensible people through the ages zealously railed against it, it still had the strength to ravage entire civilizations leaving dead, rotting souls strewn everywhere.
Thing is, none of the provisions and effects of Epicurean entrenchment are new at all — what is intriguing is The Swerve lets us in on a little secret about its propagation, something about which devoted World inhabitants may not have the faintest idea.
It is that the Roman Catholic Church was the true force behind its wide dissemination.
For you see, a kindly mild-mannered scribe named Poggio Bracciolini engaged in an extremely industrious campaign to get the work reintroduced into the mainstream. Poggio was no ordinary seeker. He was deep in the well-respected company of a number of pontiffs serving as apostolic secretary. This is no small role, as he pretty much ran the communications office. Mercury would be so proud.
He was addictively steeped in the humanist spirit of the times, as were most members of the eminently regarded courts throughout Renaissance Italy. His job came with the highest classified security clearance allowing him to go anywhere in the farthest reaches of Vatican enterprise, and from The Swerve, "he had access, as the very word 'secretary' suggests, to the pope's secrets. And the pope had a great many secrets."
His significance did not stop there. "Sophisticated and highly skilled, he had long moved in the circles of the great. The armed guards through at the Vatican and Castel St. Angelo let him pass through the gates without a word of inquiry, and important suitors to the papal court tried to catch his eye."
Poggio was the very definition of World Operative, charged with the task of ensuring the Church's authority is perpetually legitimized through any means imagined. What better way to do that than to release upon the world the very antipathy of what it publically advocates, in order to present ordained mandarins the ready opportunity to return fire with a rigorous barrage of condemnatory vitriol that could benefit Rome for centuries.
Not only was Lucretius' work regularly burned on the steps of every ecclesiastical edifice eliciting maximum gratification of righteous indignation, but its promulgation made for the widest expression of ridicule possible.
It was marketing genius. All Poggio and other Lucretius rediscovery handlers needed to do was extensively fertilize the popular culture with it so it'd first be vigorously reviled, then furtively considered, then neurotically embraced mostly from fear of being subject to the protracted mockery squarely directed at those who still believed in that silly religious stuff.
I'd like to transcribe a paragraph to give you an idea of this operation.
By the 1490s, then, some sixty or seventy years after Lucretius' poem was returned to circulation, atomism was sufficiently present in Florence to make it worth ridiculing. Its presence did not mean that its positions were openly embraced as true. No prudent person stepped forward and said, "I think that the world is only atoms and void; that, in body and soul, we are only fantastically complex structures of atoms linked for a time and destined one day to come apart." No respectable citizen openly said, "The soul dies with the body. There is no judgment after death. The universe was not created for us by divine power, and the whole notion of the afterlife is a superstitious fantasy." No one who wished to live in peace stood up in public and said, "The preachers who tell us to live in fear and trembling are lying. God has no interest in our actions, and though nature is beautiful and intricate, there is no evidence of an underlying intelligent design. What should matter to us is the pursuit of pleasure, for pleasure is the highest goal of existence." No one said, "Death is nothing to us and no concern of ours." But these subversive, Lucretian thoughts percolated and surfaced wherever the Renaissance imagination was at its most alive and intense.
Sure enough, today, here now in bright brand spankin-new so-very-progressive year-of-perhaps-no-lord-at-all 2019, how many brazenly shout these things off the rooftops as gospel truth. Go to any university, listen to most any professor, any of his/her underlings even, you can't miss it. A few may say they're keen to religion, but scratch them, turn your ear in, and you'd hear Lucretius' voice whispering "Don't be a fool," shedding doubt on the whole thing.
Look at what the mainline media pour onto all of our viewing screens, it really is the basis of any prominent journalistic venture: "Look at the fine works of this peculiarly religious person. How cute! How precious! How much good can come from such a fantasy!" Or probably more common: "Look at the evil that this religiously motivated individual wreaks upon humanity! Oh that they would know it's all so fake, then they could be enlightened like us!"
De Rerum Natura is truly one of the greatest ruses in the history of mankind, and it has achieved so much misery. To the genuine credit of Epicurus and Lucretius, neither was likely ever acquainted with Jesus — all around them were fanciful stories of flawed gods extraordinarily useful for crowd control. Their quite rational response: Nothing is supernatural at all. Rome has either devised grand religious drudgery for most of the world to obsess over, or it has fomented Epicureanism in any number of variations as the perfect foil for the religiously captivated.
Another film getting lots of cred right now is Vice, a whimsical portrayal of the tyrant that was Dick Cheney and bumbler that was George Bush. More instructive is Tupper Saussy's short piece, Sympathy for Mr. Cheney, one of his last published works in which he writes cogently about the standard deep politics machinations. The "Commander-in-Chief" here is not exactly the one you may think it is.
Every general knows that winning, whether in war or the jungle, requires exceptional skills in deception. A well-designed and executed ruse, aimed at an enemy or the general's own men or nation, can confound, instill fear, provoke to fruitless extremes, tap precious resources, sap energies and ultimately make the general a conqueror with very little actual combat. The ruse is, by far, the most economical weapon in the Commander-in-Chief's arsenal.
The devil is in our phones all right, but only because he is first in our hearts. Social media and other such scathingly prevalent avenues just make it more visible — now it isn't as hard to see what he's doing all around us, particularly in our children.
A seminal point in the film Brexit is when lead campaigner Dominic Cummings (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) is discussing strategy with a smart young borderline Millennial-Generation Z'er, and he directs his attention to the massive immersion in The Phone.
Comes the dawn. He recognizes Internet technology is the way to get what he wants, to get that idea into that mainstream psyche. "It is not about the left or the right," Cummings is told. "It is now between the old and the new." The old is De Rerum Natura, but just as old is the devil's work. Look at how much he has his grip on the new — today the young and old — through those media.
One of the most attractive sells of Epicureanism is this notion that you are experiencing true liberation, because you now have a buoyant rationale for pursuing pleasure and happiness without all that fear of the nonsensical transcendent getting in the way or those expectations from some burdensome morality mucking things up.
Hmm, pleasure and happiness.
Well, there is something better than that, really, and it comes from beyond. It is indeed the only place it can come from. No better place to see the contrast than at the very end of Brexit.
Cummings is being grilled at a hearing after the successful Brexit vote, and the inquisitors simply don't get it. Thing is, Cummings doesn't get it either. He'd thought he'd been successful, he'd thought he'd achieved what was supposed to make everyone's life better. He'd even spent the last several months swimming in the data, overloaded with it, so much knowledge now about what's right and true and real. Yet all he's feeling is exasperation. He says at one point, "We are adrift without a vision or a purpose." Eventually he storms out of the hearing with the words
"We're done. We're all done."
That's the very end of the film, by the way.
The vanilla-frosting-smothered disconsolation was propelled to the most destructive ends hundreds of years ago by a dutiful well-connected scribe on behalf of the Roman hegemony for the purpose of keeping billions in the devil's grip. Sure happiness and pleasure are fine things, but they are pointless if you're dead. Of course the Epicurean exclaims, "That's what makes it okay! You're dead dead dead, so don't worry about it!"
I cannot see how that is supposed to be of any comfort, and I truly believe even the most seasoned Epicurean deep inside knows it is one of the most heinous lies of all. Sadly I think most ill-versed to grasp the impact on them just absorb it by a sort of spiritual osmosis and haven't even a clue as to how to seriously contemplate how absurd it is.
This is especially true of young people today, young adults just children really. Adrift. Purposeless. They know it in their hearts but tied to the World's philosophy they cannot see an out. As such they go crazy trying to convince everyone they're not in a state of abject despair, and they struggle so much because the only thing that governs their ethical constitution is the stultifyingly superficial glitter and glam splashing from their mobile devices.
It's all they have, the devil keeping them desperate for more and telling them over and over again there is nothing beyond that. They try to find assurance in that ever-so pervasive rule Make your own way with your own lifestyle standards and that's just fine especially when it's fun and flashy, but I can't believe many can't see through it. It can be discouraging, however — it seems millions and millions more are given over to it, never introduced to The One Who Is Life, intractably adopting one of the grandest deceits of all time to their relentless anguish and crushing subjugation.
For those who consider this a bit too melodramatic, that's cool, I understand. Before you dispatch this for the last time, I'd like to invite you to take a quick look at a compilation of the Epicurean assertions I've assembled on this page. There are so many each meriting a response that I've made this special page for it — please, consider continuing the discourse there.
The devil is the father of lies and as nasty as the fruit of Poggio's work has been through the ages, rampant information dissemination today makes it just that much more easy for him to do his work. Indeed it is true as the New York Times says: the devil is speaking through our phones, to our children, to individuals with no protection from The Ruse. It is just another major implement in the armory belonging to the Prince of the Age.
Please be assured of this, however:
He still can't do a thing against the King.
That's because while the Kingdom is also about happiness and pleasure — very much so! — Jesus is way more interested in something else —
Something truly eternal...
That is love and joy.
You may only get them from Him.
This page was originally posted by David Beck at yourownjesus.net on November 27 2018