Robert Bows / OpEd News – 2010-12-25 21:38:33
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
— William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming, 1920
One of the techniques of successful propaganda is to repeat a statement over and over again until people believe it to be true, as any encounter with the media and the pulpit amply demonstrates. So, to transform the world into a sustainable and progressive place, we must deconstruct the underlying lies promulgated by the mouthpieces of plutocratic propaganda, by which they justify the current state of affairs.
Given the increasing gap between rich and poor, the sharp spike in religious fundamentalism, and the impunity with which corporate-controlled states seize resources to which they have no legitimate claim, one of our first priorities must be to disable the use of religious dogma to justify greed and war.
Since surveys indicate that three-quarters of Americans consider themselves to be Christians, let’s begin there. 
It has become a tenet of faith for many Christians that they can simultaneously practice their religion and conduct economic affairs in their own self interest. Indeed, ever since the Protestant Reformation arose from the pressures of the Industrial Revolution, the pulpits of Christianity have been used to turn wealth (economic success) into an indication of favor from God.
Let’s go back to the source of Christianity and see if such thinking holds up.
The statements attributed to Jesus on the subject of wealth are almost unanimously clear on this, for example:
“You cannot serve God and Mammon.”  (Matthew 6:19-24)
The one preeminent exception to this is:
“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17; Luke 20:25.)
As Michael Baigent so astutely documents in The Jesus Papers: Exposing the Greatest Cover-Up in History,  Jesus’ remarks were carefully couched to respond to this trick question on the part of the Pharisees. Cognizant of the slaughter the Romans had inflicted on Jews that refused to pay taxes to the state, Jesus was seeking to avoid a confrontation over this particular issue.
Orthodox fundamentalists may have thought they were tricking Jesus into choosing between supporting Rome (and therefore its taxation) and supporting the indigenous uprising of Judea, but Jesus’ response was a trick as well.
Showing consistency with his earlier remarks that “You cannot serve God and Mammon,” he tells the Pharisees to take the coin with Caesar’s image and give it back to Caesar. In such a remark, Jesus shows his contempt for the empire, while avoiding incarceration and torture over this point. He had bigger fish to fry before the climax of his mission.
In support of the notion of Jesus as a political as well as spiritual figure, Baigent perceptively points out that Jesus was crucified, a Roman punishment for sedition, not stoned, as he would have been if it were the Jews who had him executed for religious crimes.
From this key distortion, cemented into the so-called New Testament under Constantine in 325 AD, comes the source of Anti-Semitism in Christianity that leads directly to Mohammed’s purges, the Inquisition, the pogroms, and the Holocaust.
PHOTO CAPTION: The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem reviewing the Nazi “Handzar” SS division, November, 1943. In an address to the Muslim troops the Mufti puts Islam and Nazism on the same level claiming there were “considerable similarities between Islamic principles and National Socialism.”
So, it is no coincidence that the Roman Catholic Church aligned itself with the Nazis. Both parties had a stake in making sure that Jesus, or a Jewish prophet like him, would never appear. The Muslims were aligned with this as well. They had their own SS brigade, personally reviewed by Hitler and the Mufti of Jerusalem, to contribute to the extermination of the Jews.
PHOTO CAPTION: Catholic clergy and Nazi officials, including Joseph Goebbels (far right) and Wilhelm Frick (second from right), give the Nazi salute. Germany, date uncertain. [Photo source, Holocaust Encyclopedia]
For the church to twist the meaning of “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” into a justification for the enslavement of believers to the cynical earthly powers of Mammon is the ultimate inversion of how Jesus acted and taught.
No wonder then, that a religion such as Christianity supports wars, torture, and other crimes against humanity, as it tacitly does by endorsing the corporate shills who fill the halls of Congress.
Add this to the sex crimes that churches have committed and suppressed for centuries and we see the depths to which these institutions — which present themselves as disciples of Jesus — have plunged. They had better pray for their own spiritual resurrection, because they have crossed the river Styx into Hades and sold their souls to the Plutocracy.
To such behavior that we witness from these so-called Christians, Jesus would say, “‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.'” (Matthew 25:41-45)
While the Christian churches continue to malign Eastern religions, it is clear that Jesus understood such Buddhist concepts as the unity of all things — again, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.” — but he lived in a heathen culture that required physical demonstrations of spiritual metaphors. For example, when Jesus cast out the money changers: “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves.” (Matthew 21:12)
“Casting Out the Money Changers” by Carl Heinrich Bloch.
A lot has been made of Judaic law dealing with usury and the pivotal words that prohibit Jews from charging interest to each other, but permit Jews to charge interest to those outside of the tribe. This code was written at a time when Israel and other nomadic peoples consisted of well-defined tribes.
Codes were written to secure the survival of the tribe. In addition to usury, another example of such a code would be the prohibition of homosexuality, because such unions did not result in greater numbers and more soldiers. Both of these codes have shown themselves to be temporal expediencies, not universal truths. Those who take literally the Torah and its Christian version, the so-called Old Testament, are not able to make the distinction between universal and temporal truth.
Usury was in fact considered immoral by Jews too. The great Jewish theologian, Maimonides, wrote “why is [usury] called nesek [biting]? Because he who takes it bites his fellow, causes pain to him, and eats his flesh.” 
For obvious reasons, most modern churches work very hard to keep economic and spiritual behavior separate, using “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” as a partition to maintain their psychopathology.
But the teachings argue for a frank discussion. The Torah and the Christian Bible combined mention money and financial matters — including gold, silver, wealth, riches, inheritance, debt, and poverty — more than nearly any other subject. So, why the confusion over the message in today’s so-called religions?
As it turns out, both prophets and social theorists predicted this: humankind worships golden idols; everything, including humans, becomes commoditized; political science and prophesy have converged:
“Then [Jesus] said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.'” (Luke 12:15)
“On the basis of political economy itself… we have shown that the worker sinks to the level of a commodity and becomes indeed the most wretched of commodities.” (Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844.)
There is no better example of how greed poisons human relationships than in the banking industry, which, like Ebenezer Scrooge (a bastardization of “squeeze”) aims to kill off “the surplus population.” Dickens makes it very clear in A Christmas Carol that, in the beginning, Scrooge is no Christian. Just so, those who operate the private banks that control a majority of the world’s economies are not Jews, or Christians, or Muslims. They worship a golden idol, just as Scrooge’s one-time fiancÃ©e, Belle, tells him.
Such idolatry allows them to perform criminal acts and characterize it in socially acceptable terms (the very definition of psychopathology), for example, to make money by creating it from nothing and extending it as credit, as if they had the sovereign power to create currency. By charging interest on this faux currency (Federal Reserve Notes), these usurers exacerbate their civil and spiritual crimes.
The currency created by these illegitimate forces is used to drive a wedge between people, rather than unite them. That is why Jesus rejected the coin with Caesar’s image on it.
So, if contemporary religions have been fatally corrupted by those who worship at the altar of mammon, by what principles are we to guide our behavior?
Of course, there are some universal truths to be found in every religion, even if they are not practiced. In fact, there is one precept which is found in every major religion: the Golden Rule. 
+Brahmanism: This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you. (Mahabharata 5:1517)
+Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. (Udana-Varga 5:18)
+Confucianism: Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you. (Analects 15:23)
+Taoism: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. (T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien )
+Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself. (Dadistan-I-dinik 94:5)
+Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowman. That is the entire law; all the rest is commentary. (Talmud, Shabbat 31a)
+Christianity: All things whatsoever ye would that man should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. (New Testament, Matthew 7:12)
+Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. (Sunnah)
There have been attempts to apply this teaching to civil society, for example, the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights,  though this is much like pointing to the Bill of Rights and claiming that the US is a free and democratic republic. Or, as George Bernard Shaw remarked, “Christianity might be a good thing if anyone ever tried it.” Neither the U.N. nor its member nations pay anything but lip service to this well-intentioned document.
So, why is it that despite our best efforts, the ideals to which we aspire are generally ignored? Because of the tyranny of our instincts and ego over our mind and spirit.
There are those — for example, our rulers and their minions — who relish telling us that this state of being (i.e., to be ruled by our instincts and ego) is the human condition, as if the universe was fixed in space-time. It’s easy to understand why anyone trying to preserve the status quo would naturally believe this and use it to justify selfishness and greed.
Of course, science is able to show us that the only constant in the universe is change, other than the Singularity, that omnipresent dimension which animates our light-filled existence. It is light-filled by definition, because we can prove that everything in the universe comes from light and can be traced back to light. 
By coming to understand light (quanta in scientific parlance), we come to know the universe, and vice versa. At its most basic state, light is both a wave and a particle–at the same time no less! If you look for the wave you see the wave; if you look for the particle, you see the particle.
How can this be so? Because we are talking about the fundamental units of space-time. We have nothing smaller by which to measure these energy packets. Our observation of quanta affects our perception of how they behave.
This is perhaps the most beautiful thing in science, what Heisenberg called the Uncertainty Principle, because it means, essentially, that this part of the model can’t be quantified. What a discovery! It is the point at which Science and Spirituality converge: over that which is infinite, greater than any set of symbols we can invent; what science calls the Singularity or the Great Anomaly; what spirituality calls God or the Supreme Being.
We can trace the behavior of light from the origins of the universe into the human genome and to the next step in human evolution: Conscious Spiritual Evolution. The details of this progression are covered in www.solomonsproof.com; it is the steps we need to take to get there than concern us here.
A spiritual practice can be as simple as taking a deep breath and counting to ten, or as involved as the eight limbs of Yoga, but the objective of any bona fide spiritual practice is overcoming the tyranny of the instincts and the ego and learning to share. Any practice which fails to do this condemns its practitioners to the state we find our rulers trying to justify in order to maintain the status quo–that of greed, self-interest, and profiting at the expense of our neighbors.
As all the spiritual masters through the ages have taught, we must be the change that we envision. Non-violent protest is, of course, permitted and even encouraged, but the foundation for the new world we seek is not in present institutions; it is in alternative solutions that we are creating and building. These are the bridges to that new world, which is alive and growing as we speak.
How do we know this? Because we see works in which sharing plays the central role:
“If your brother asks for your shirt, give him your coat, also.” (Matthew 5:40)
By this we do not mean to confine sharing to charitable donations and philanthropy, but to extend this notion to the simplest and most “random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” 
All that this requires is for each of us to discover our unique gift, to develop that gift, and share it with the world. Singularity means that everything in the universe came from the very same thing. Sharing is what manifests this unity in humankind.
Like Scrooge, those who control the world’s largest private banks may not be capable of following Jesus’ advice to “sell everything you have and give to the poor,” but they are made out of light, so we must encourage them to find some measure of illumination within and to build upon that until it extends beyond the illusion of a self disconnected from the omnipresence and reaches out to all of creation.
For all those who claim to be Christians, we say it is time to let go of your ad hominem political nay-saying and practice what you preach.
Was Jesus a socialist? Most definitely! But he was more than that; he was a sharer.
Peace be with you!
 Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar (2009). “AMERICAN RELIGIOUS IDENTIFICATION SURVEY (ARIS) 2008” (PDF). Hartford, Connecticut, USA: Trinity College . http://b27.cc.trincoll.edu/weblogs/AmericanReligionSurvey-ARIS/reports/ARIS_Report_2008.pdf . Retrieved 2009-04-01 .
 Mammon is a term that describes greed, avarice, and unjust worldly gain in Biblical literature. It was personified as a false god in the New Testament. The term is often used to refer to excessive materialism or greed as a negative influence. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammon
 HarperSanFrancisco, 2006.
 Jacob Minkin, Teachings of Maimonides , Jason Aronson, 1987, p. 362. Maimonides wrote these words 450 years before Shylock asked for his pound of flesh.
 Source: The 1999 Old Farmer’s Almanac.
 Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948.
 See the framework for the final theory at www.SolomonsProof.com and as an appendix in “Solomon’s Proof — A Psycho-Spiritual Journey to World Consciousness,” Rabbonai Press, Boulder, CO, 2008.
 Anne Herbert, Sausalito, CA, circa 1982.
Television producer/writer/director, political economist, instructional designer, metaphysician, yogi, and pseudonymous author of www.SolomonsProof.com and Solomon’s Proof: A Psycho-Spiritual Journey to World Consciousness. Author’s Website: http://www.solomonsproof.com
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