Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Watch Out, People - Here Comes the Sun, Part 3

Gosh- another 20 minutes on Google, another batch of sun-drenched church logos (check out the first batch here). Again, I have no reason at all to believe any of these institutions are not perfectly orthodox in their theology, but the looking at this in light of the links between solar symbolism and ancient astronauts (in 2001: A Space Odyssey, for instance) certainly brings to mind interesting and strange possibilities.

(Double click to enlarge)

I'm not anti-Christian, in fact I have nothing but fond memories of my childhood experiences in church, and attended a local church here for a few years. Actually, it wasn't until I went online and saw the blistering ignorance and hatred that was being spewed by Fundamentalists (primarily towards other Christians who didn't adhere to the Dobson/Falwell/Robertson/Swaggart party line) that I began to seriously question the foundational principles of Christianity. I hadn't seen any contradiction between my counter-culture leanings and Christianity, in fact my interpretation of the New Testament was that of a distinctly counter-cultural movement.

But I was so traumatized by the rancor and verbal violence I saw online that I felt there was something seriously wrong with a belief system that could not only tolerate, but encourage such behavior. I came to realize that there are millions of perfectly decent Christians who have been criminally manipulated by unimaginably powerful political and corporate interests for the past 30 years or so, and there's no reason to believe that that manipulation won't continue indefinitely.

The so-called "culture wars" have framed the division in society into the simplest rhetorical terms- those who have "faith" and those who don't. But surveys repeatedly have shown that most American Christians are biblically illiterate and have only a vague notion of what their religion actually teaches. It's simply become a matter of tribal divisions- to be a Evangelical Christian in America you simply need to vote Republican, loathe secularists and liberals, and refrain from (openly) gay sex. We've seen a huge exodus from traditional churches into megachurches - Stalinist auditoriums where stately hymns are replaced by cheeseball pop songs with vaguely devotional lyrics that you can close your eyes and wave your hands above your head to. 70s cult indoctrination techniques and 80s New Age "self-improvement" horseshit have made a major comeback in these establishments, and yet the number of the unchurched has grown in response to the megachurch phenomenon. The local community churches are in rapid decline, unable to compete with these corporate behemoths.

Ask yourself this- given the centralized, authoritarian structure of these churches, how hard would it be to gradually steer a hyper-politicized and overly-subordinate laity towards a very strange new interpretation of the faith? You wouldn't have to really change a jot or tittle, you simply would immerse your parishoners into a new symbol system and introduce a "bold new interpretation" of scripture. Or even use actual coercion to install this new "revelation." Already, we see believers acting more like militant Mithraists than Christians, and isn't how you behave more important than what you claim to believe?

It's been said that it's easier to steer the believer to a new belief system than to make a believer out of an agnostic or atheist. History is filled with precedent for coercive mass conversion, and if the dividing lines today are simply between "belief" and godless secularism, it seems to me that it wouldn't be hard at all to steer the believers towards a faith that their grandparents would find completely alien.

Aw, heck- this is all just idle speculation. I'm sure we'd never see such a thing.



  1. Look at Israel , converted loads of Jews into believing that Israel is a set of map-coordinates. The 'silenced' Jews , who do not support what to their reading is 'atheistic', are ignored.
    And the Jews are pretty knowledgeable about their 'law' , so if they can be 'duped' what chance the double-duped Christians , who still fail to read Matthew 16, verse 20.

    I must say both examples are far more complex than my 'glib' comment.


  2. Chris, I totally agree with you here on this one. I am thinking of writing up a similar piece soon basically due to some fundamentalist Christians trying to "save" me as of late, insisting I am in the thralls of the Devil, they cannot fathom what I have said to many of them that "everyone's path to understanding is different". They INSIST on the Bible is the ONLY truth (almost typed THUTH there LOL) and we must live in that "box" created for them (Religion).

    It is sad when people do not remain open minded and continue to learn and grow through knowledge, it's like they are afraid of it or something. I too have fond memories as a child attending church and my grandmother was in fact a Catholic nun at one point! It's like Morpheus said, "when a mind is beyond a certain age they usually don't attempt to free it". Her beliefs have provided her with a foundation and she is a great person living a good life, I would be a fool to try and bring that down with the truth.

    Fortunately, younger people are waking up to the mind control, it is too bad most do not understand that it is they trapped (Christians, etc) in the Religion that are being manipulated to being prejudiced. Again, I do not dislike Christians or any people of any religions, I despise the manipulation of these people.

    Peace bro, thanks for sharing!

  3. I think alot of these megachurches get followers by putting a "holy" face on the vices that many americans hold dear- greed, intolerance, close-mindedness, and a view that America has a divine right to dominate the earth. So these vices become acceptable, even a sign of strong faith and god's favor, when you're surrounded by thousands who believe the same thing.

    I am in agreement with you that Biblical Christianity is a positive, countercultural movement that has little to do with the "christianity" that many americans believe.

  4. That's so true.

    I wasn't always enamoured with being forced into going to Church myself, but it was based in the hypocrisies of what Catholicism is about and what I was seeing going on around me; how can some of these things be going on, if anyone is listening in Mass - so I'd decided for a while it was all a sham.
    Later I looked into Christianity myself, and found that indeedy it was rooted in good things, and had been just as exploited as every other institutuion has been. Used by the save evils, on various occaisions.

    I really get the same impression myself about those phonies claiming to be Christians; they all look like the same 'satans' to me and everything they say and the way they say it, all sounds like it's crafted towards the most false put-on, trying to hide itself behind a church of some denomination. Those kinds that release their own versions of The Bible....and why exactly are they always condeming lifestyles that they are then caught doing themselves?!

    As an aside but related: here in the UK there is a turbulent history as regards Christianity; a TV doc. the other day reminded me that it was some of the Protestant reformists and Puritans that had attacked the cathedrals, which reminded me that the Master Masons and so forth back then - had all been Catholic (or possibly an earlier form of Christianity in secret! etc).
    In the UK, being a Mason has long been something that Catholics either shouldn't do or just aren't allowed to join; it's interesting how that would have ceased to be about what it used to be.
    In Italy that didn't happen, there wasn't a move away from the Roman church.

    There seems to be a current running through for control of Christianity - at one extreme there's people that believe this whole creation is inherently evil, so they don't like anything that is about enjoying being alive, and they don't think life should be about being comfortable - it's like always they are trying to stop things from settling into a Heaven on Earth.
    I've had a psycho say that to me, "Jesus doesn't want you to be comfortable"...I had to disagree.
    Another person I knew, from a non-church perspective, was like that too; he also would create illusions he liked to believe in where I saw him as some kind of teacher in a spiritual way....I really had to disagree there.
    Sometimes it was amusing, cause he'd rant angrily about how spiritually evolved he was because of things like, he claimed to have meditated for days in one place...and I'd say responses like, "well how come it didn't work then, and you're still at the level of someone ranting about your alleged achievements - not evolved at all."

  5. If you want to have some more fun, then Google "sonshine" and you'll see even more sun images that directly tie the "Son" to the "Sun."

  6. Very interesting comments, everybody. I'll reply in depth once things level out here- very crazy stress day.

  7. True,

    You summed up more pithily and eloquently what is wrong with much of American christendom better than I ever could. You spoke for me.

    I grew up in Dallas, TX during the 1970s and 1980s, a place and time where much of today's corrupt Christianity was taking shape. My sense from very early on was that Christianity, in its true form, was meant to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, but the successful churches in Dallas were based on doing the opposite. The very wealthy and very conservative First Baptist Church in Dallas even had "outreach" programs to impoverished black communities that focused on demonizing sex, gays, women, contraception, and progressive social policies rather than solidarity and uplift.

    I was lucky that I grew up in one of the country's few working-class Episcopal churches, where learning and questioning were encouraged, where fundamentalism and literalism were NOT encouraged, and going to church was usually about mutual support and not about seeing and being seen.

    The other strong current (then and now) in the Bible Belt was the obsession with and fetishization of literal interpretations of an imminent "Revelations"-based Apocalypse. I remember in 4th grade, a nice kid whom I was friends with was always talking about a film that I learned much later was "Thief in the Night." He talked about people being barcoded with the Mark of the Beast, how the end of the world would happen by 1980, etc. At the time, I was totally freaked out by this! I remember watching the 1976 Olympics extra carefully since I thought there wouldn't be another one ! (Funny how with the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow games, I was right!) It took me years of work to get over the Apocalypse childhood I grew up with. I'd be fascinated to read what Chris has to say about the fundamentalist Christian Apocalypse-industrial complex.

  8. @rdb, all:

    I also grew up in an evangelical household in the upper midwest. We did not cotton to the militancy, greed, and intolerance, and did not frequent churches that espoused that stuff in a hardcore way. Though we still believed that Christianity was the ONE TRUE RELIGION. I was a "believer" up until my teenage years, when I started reading robert anton wilson books and they bamaged my drain. Nowadays, I still think Jesus has some super teachings and is a really great deity, one of my all-time faves right along with Lucifer, Baphomet, Allah, and Kali.

    Generally most of the Christians i grew up with, and am friendly to now, tend to be really nice, generous, and relatively open-minded people so long as you don't deliberately try to attack their beliefs or something rude like that. And yes, there's plenty of them who will admit the nasty faux-christians running around today aren't really following the teachings of Christ. If you look around, there's even some megachurch pastors who are pretty progressive. I watch Ed Young sometimes on Sunday morning, and i hear good things about Rick Warren from even non-christian friends. I'm sure there's many other examples out there. Gives me hope the tide may be shifting in our country's dominant religion.

    P.S. I haven't done any research on this, but it seems like alot of the really negative christianity these days is awfully amenable to Neocon ideals. And as we all know, there's no such thing as coincidence.

  9. I think the one thing we all agree on is that Christianity itself is not the problem, it's the pimps and profiteers who have dumbed Christianity down in order to use it as a political recruiting device and cash machine. The absolutism and dogmatism and pure tribal identity politics have polarized the religious discussion of this country to the point that there no longer is any meaningful conversation on religious or spiritual issues. The tragedy of this is that 20 or 30 years of this kind of nonsense has turned tens of millions of people off to Christianity and religion in general.

    And being the cynical bastard I am, of course I believe that was the plan all along. I discussed this with Vyzygoth on his show- every time a rational and open-minded Christianity emerged all the Fundamentalist numbnuts came out of the woodwork and make sure that many educated people wrote Christianity off altogether. This started back in the 70s and repeated itself about once a decade. I realize I'm speaking from a Protestant orientation but it's what I know best. And there's no doubt in my mind that the process will repeat itself once too many Christians leave the brimstone tent.

  10. All of the "Sun" symbology has been with the Christian symbolic mine-field since the very beginning...'t-aint nothin' new...

    If you haven't yet, give David Fiedeler's book, "Jesus Christ Son [sic.] of God" publshed by Phanes Press a look...

    Now of course, one of the questions is, how much of the CURRENT symbolism is coming from a place of mental it done consciously or not? Are "we" in some sense the servants of a larger consciousness who are somehow just compelled to build our images from the archetypal ocean of "the gods"?

    Oh...the other day I heard you talk a little about the movie "Dark City" - one of my favorites. Recently I've been working with it a bit, and was thinking about how in a way it is a whole mystery play involving the Aeonic shift into know...the water bearer/pourer...and who brings the New Sun and the great outpouring of water? We get a clue at the very beginning of the movie...with the breaking of the fish/bowl...Atum rising out of Nun, surrounded by the primal serpent (the ring of the tub) to remember himself and tune into existence the New Age. Bal and Anna...into the new Aeon...

    Peace, Zane

  11. Hey! You said "But surveys repeatedly have shown that most American Christians are biblically illiterate and have only a vague notion of what their religion actually teaches."

    So, I was just wondering why you questioned the foundations of Christianity as a belief system based on the actions of supposed Christians you don't personally know on the internet, when surveys state the above?? As a Christian, I would have to agree with the findings of that survey...and it's a shame because what they represent ends up causing incredibly bright, genuine, feeling, human beings who were made to one day enjoy perefct fllowship between each other and their creator, to turn a blind eye to truth. They focus on imperfect Christians (the only kind there is), and/or false Christians because there is only one who is perfect and that was/is Jesus Christ. That's the key, right there. Romans 1. Have a good one!

    Love the blogs, by the way. :)

  12. Cheers- no, I'm looking to things like The Pharmacratic Inquisition and Astrotheology for the real foundations of Christianity- and I think you and others like you should join me.