Bad Religion 


Baal Worship The Thugs
The Idol Juggernaut Crocodile Gods
Apollonius of Tyana Mary Baker Eddy
Aztec Religion False Messiahs
Wall of Separation Polygamy
I am God The Kabbalah
Dionysus Madame H. P. Blavatsky
Jim Jones of Jonestown Cargo Cults
Liberalism Atheism
Children of God Pied Piper
Southern Baptists Solar Temple
Astrology



Logo Baal Worship

Former President George W. Bush was a man of faith. What was the content of his faith? That religion is good. President Dwight D. Eisenhower said something similar: "The absolute low point of this way of thinking came in a remark of the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who actually said — and I believe I'm quoting him fairly accurately — 'It's important that a person have religion, and I don't care what religion it is.'" (Lectionary Preaching Workbook, by Carlos Wilton, p. 175). Raised in the Jehovah's Witnesses, Eisenhower was baptized a Presbyterian, just in the nick of time, before entering the White House; does it really not matter what is a person's religion? The 'New Atheists,' like Sam Harris, want to examine the question, 'Is religion good?,' with the terrorist attack of 9/11 the central, indeed the only, piece of evidence admitted for scrutiny. Does the Bible teach that religion is good?:



Logo The Bible, God's holy word, in fact, sounds a distinctly negative note on pagan idolatry. Nowhere is it suggested that it doesn't actually matter whether you call God 'Baal' or 'Jehovah.' It seems like it does matter, actually. The psalmist explains that worshipping a metal or wooden idol, nailed in place so that it will not fall over, is not an especially good idea:

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  • “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
    They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:
    They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:
    They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.
    They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.”
  • (Psalm115:4-8).



Strange Gods Gods of Wood and Stone
Is a 'fake rose' a rose? Worship Him!
John Milton Counterfeit Bills
Dark Matter None Like Thee
So-called Gods God of this World
Moses El
Stars Prince of Tyre
Psalm 82 Lower than the Angels
Let Us Make Man Before the gods
The Witch of Endor



LogoThe Thugs

The word 'thug' has entered the English language, meaning, a violent person, a criminal. But the original 'Thugs' were a religious sect in India, suppressed by the British colonial government in the nineteenth century. These men fanned out across the country-side, killing and robbing, all for the greater glory of their goddess 'Kali.' Little girls are taught to be 'nice,' but Kali is one of those grown-up females who does not see any point in being nice.


Thugs of India


Logo Catholic author James Carroll looks forward to the next step in man's ascent, Vatican III, when all religions will be treasured: "There are numerous revelations of the mystery of God, and the shift initiated by Vatican III will be from, at most, a grudging tolerance of other religions to an authentic respect for other religions as true expressions of God 'beckoning' the human heart."(James Carroll, Constantine's Sword, p. 586). But how is Thuggery any display of God 'beckoning' the human heart? Is it God who wants to see innocent people laying there bleeding?

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Merriam-Webster Paradise Lost
Objectivity Euhemerus
Dialogue of the Deaf Liar, Liar



LogoThe Idol Juggernaut

Those gods who do away with their followers hold a very special place in the annals of bad religion. The crocodile gods of the ancient Egyptians, who from time to time would turn and devour their votaries, fall into this class. The idol juggernaut was a wheeled device dragged along the parade ground, under whose crushing wheels the votaries of this demented god-vehicle were either pushed, dragged, or jumped:

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The Idol Juggernaut
The Idol Juggernaut


LogoCrocodile Gods

The crocodile gods of the ancient Egyptians deserve a special mention as bad gods:

"An Egyptian woman nursed a young crocodile, and the Egyptians proclaimed the woman blessed, as being the nurse of a god: some of them also adored both her and the young crocodile. This woman had a son, who was now a lad, and of an equal age with the god, his playfellow, and with whom he had been nursed. And the god, indeed, as long as he was imbecile, was mild, but when he grew large he manifested his nature and devoured the boy. The miserable woman, however, proclaimed her son blessed in his death, as having become a gift to a domestic god." (Maximus of Tyre, The Dissertations, Volume II, Dissertation XXXVIII, p. 192).

Does bad religion get much worse than this? Aelian knew of these 'gods' as well: "In Egypt there are some, like the people of Ombos, who venerate Crocodiles, and just as we regard the Olympian gods with awe, so do they these animals. And when, as often happens, their children are carried off by them, the people are overjoyed, while the mothers of the unfortunates are glad and go about in pride at having, I suppose, borne food and a meal for a god." (Aelian, On Animals, Book X, Chapter 21, pp. 311-313 Loeb edition).

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LogoApollonius of Tyana

Apollonius of Tyana, an ancient mountebank who was an eager student of Eastern spirituality with its attendant practices of levitation, etc., is a preferred Christ-figure for the New Age crowd, superior in their eyes to the monotheistic Jesus of Nazareth. Apollonius was a spell-binder who could get a crowd in his grip, as shown in this terrifying narrative describing how he convinced an angry mob that pummelling a harmless old man to death would stem an epidemic:



  • “With such harangues as these he knit together the people of Smyrna; but when the plague began to rage in Ephesus, and no remedy sufficed to check it, they sent a deputation to Apollonius, asking him to become physician of their infirmity; and he thought that he ought not to postpone his journey, but said: 'Let us go.'
  • “And forthwith he was in Ephesus, performing the same feat, I believe, as Pythagoras, who was in Thurii and Metapontum at one and the same moment. He therefore called together the Ephesians, and said: 'Take courage, for I will today put a stop to the course of the disease.'
  • “And with these words he led the population entire to the the theater, where the image of the Averting god has been set up.  And there he saw what seemed an old mendicant artfully blinking his eyes as if blind, as he carried a wallet and a crust of bread in it; and he was clad in rags and was very squalid of countenance. Apollonius therefore ranged the Ephesians around him and said: 'Pick up as many stones as you can and hurl them at this enemy of the gods.'
  • “Now the Ephesians wondered what he meant, and were shocked at the idea of murdering a stranger so manifestly miserable; for he was begging and praying them to take mercy upon him. Nevertheless Apollonius insisted and egged on the Ephesians to launch themselves on him and not let him go. And as soon as some of them began to take shots and hit him with their stones, the beggar who had seemed to blink and be blind, gave them all a sudden glance and his eyes were full of fire. Then the Ephesians recognized that he was a demon, and they stoned him so thoroughly that their stones were heaped into a great cairn around him.
  • “After a little pause Apollonius bade them remove the stones and acquaint themselves with the wild animal they had slain. When therefore they had exposed the object which they thought they had thrown their missiles at, they found that he had disappeared and instead of him there was a hound who resembled in form and look a Molossian dog, but was in size the equal of the largest lion; there he lay before their eyes, pounded to a pulp by their stones and vomiting foam as mad dogs do.”
  • (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, Book Four, Chapter 10.)



Philostratus
Life of
Apollonius
of Tyana

LogoJesus of Nazareth cast out demons, leaving their innocent victims whole and sound. Apollonius of Tyana incited mob violence against an innocent victim, on the pretense he was a demon! Every harmless old European women ever executed as a witch,— because the crops withered on the vine, the cow got sick and died, and somebody must be found to pin the blame upon,— knows what this friendless old man went through in the closing moments of his life. Those who admire this man are revealing what manner of spirit they are of:

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LogoMary Baker Eddy

People who watch TV have learned to say grace by saying, “Dear God, we paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing!” This however is not the right way. We should thank God for His gracious provision, even when He does not rain down manna from heaven upon our heads. When we go out in the heat of the sun to rake and hoe in the garden, whose creation is the genial sun whose light feeds the plants? Whose the nourishing rain? Everything we have is from Him, and so we thank Him, even if the means of providing it was not miraculous but through 'secondary causes.'

Some people think that, if Jesus can feed a multitude with loaves and fishes, then they ought to sit down and wait for Him to feed them without bestirring themselves. Or actually they don't; oddly enough, when it comes to food, a material substance without which our bodies do not function, people seem to 'get' it. When it comes to medicine, however, certain people think we ought to do without. Her metaphysics left no room for disease,— or matter, for that matter:



  • “Divine metaphysics, as revealed to spiritual understanding, shows clearly that all is Mind, and that Mind is God, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience,— that is, all power, all presence, all Science. Hence all is in reality the manifestation of Mind.”
  • (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, with Keys to the Scriptures, Chapter X, Kindle location 3498).



Logo This does not exactly track with the Bible, which teaches that Adam was made out of the dust:

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

Though she meant no harm to anybody, more than a few earthly pilgrimages have likely been cut short because of Mrs. Eddy. Thus, reluctantly, a place must be found for her in the halls of Bad Religion. She insisted that people must not seek medical attention, which is like insisting that a starving person not visit the grocery store across the street, even if his wallet is full, because God fed Elijah miraculously by means of ravens. The point of the Bible story of Elijah is not that food is illusory or unnecessary; she believed, however, that disease is unreal: "Disease is an image of thought externalized." (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, Chapter XII, Kindle location 5208).

Unreal? Certainly it is undesirable. When disease and mortality were tossed out, matter had to go with them, because, "Admit the existence of matter, and you admit that mortality (and therefore disease) has a foundation in fact." (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health, with Keys to the Scriptures, Chapter XII, Kindle location 4663). But the Bible does not deny the existence of matter! She demurs: "Physicians examine the pulse, tongue, lungs, to discover the condition of matter, when in fact all is Mind." (Ibid., Kindle location 4689).

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Aztec Religion

The Aztec religion revolved around its central sacrament of the sacrifice of an unwilling victim to the sun. The sun, lest his fires grow cold, his fusion furnace flicker fitfully, is intended to be nourished by the offering of the bound victim's still beating heart, ripped out of his chest. How this was supposed to work is unclear, but many human beings met their end in consequence of this insane system. Not only was the practice futile as a means to achieve its intended objective, but human sacrifice is an abomination to the living God:

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The Bible
Human Initiative
Ancient Historians
Archaeology
The Problem of Evil
Child Sacrifice Today
Justice
Last Stand
Binding of Isaac
Infidels' Indictment
Rahab




LogoFalse Messiahs

There have been many false messiahs in human history, and one true one. The false ones have worked a great deal of mischief; one pied piper led his dazed followers off a cliff into the sea! The most flamboyant of the false messiahs was Sabbatai Sevi, a messianic aspirant of the seventeenth century, who astonished the thousands of Jews who believed in him by converting to Islam!:




Not all false Messiahs are a threat to public safety, but one recent aspirant, Hulon Mitchell, who legally changed his name to 'Yahweh ben Yahweh,' wound up in prison for conspiring to kill members who left his cult, which was envisioned like the Roach Motel: guests could check in, but they couldn't check out.

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LogoWall of Separation

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the free exercise of religion, and also prohibits any state establishment. While the protection of the right to free belief, worship, and propaganda is unlimited, in the nature of things the protection for acts cannot be unlimited. A murder committed by a practitioner of the old Aztec religion will be prosecuted just as any other murder; the First Amendment can offer no shield in this case. On the one hand, you are free to preach the old Aztec religion; however, it might get dicey if a parishioner acts upon your exhortations; are you a co-conspirator? The incarcerated Blind Sheik, who counselled a member of his congregation, wearing a wire, on what terrorist targets not to hit, and thus by implication cleared the way for other targets, discovered this conundrum. You can say, 'Kill all the infidels;' but when you say, 'Kill the infidel who lives at 17 Elm Street,' that is solicitation to commit murder.

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Polygamy

Polygamy is a good test case of the Bill of Rights' protection for religious liberty. Mormon 'prophet' Joseph Smith preached and practiced polygamy, not only as permitted as is that practice in Islam, but as essential to heavenly exaltation. This was kept secret at first; the conflict which led to his death at the hands of an angry mob arose over efforts by Mormon defectors to publicize the practice, which was understandably controversial. The Supreme Court ruled that the Mormons have no First Amendment right to practice polygamy, even though it was at the time a mandatory practice of their religion:



In conjunction with obtaining statehood for Utah, the Mormon grandees decided that polygamy wasn't obligatory after all. The spate of small, 'fundamentalist' Mormon spin-offs which still practice it is therefore a headache and an embarrassment for the main organization, which craves respectability above all things. Because Nature and Nature's God have created roughly equal numbers of men and women, all who are willing can pair off, with none left over in this game of musical chairs. But when polygamy enters the equation, there is immediately a 'shortage' of girls, which leads to relentless downward pressure on the age of consent. Students of Islam will recall that Mohammed ibn Abdallah married an underage girl, Ayesha. Recently Mormon fundamentalist cult leader Warren Jeffs ended up in jail for, among other things, engaging in sexual relations with an underage girl. This is part of the baggage polygamy brings with it.

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LogoI am God

Some of the people who say 'I am God,' like Shirley MacLaine, mean it only in the nicest way. They want to share, and play nicely with others; we can all be gods! The only loser by this system of false worship is the servant of such an inept and unsuitable god; if you are your own god, then your god is not mighty to save, but rather, prone to lose the car keys.

However some, like Father Divine, have escalated their god-claims to the point of demanding worship. They are not willing to share, or play nicely with others. One might expect these 'gods' to be persons of majestic countenance or great strength of will; but don't forget the Maharaj Ji, a pudgy young man who was idolized by legions of drug-addled hippies. He married his secretary, quarrelled with his family, and went on a second career as a life coach. Why anyone ever mistook this slacker young man for a god is difficult to fathom. In this crowd are many fakers, a few lunatics, and one honest man; can you spot the true one?:

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  • “The women menacingly followed the chief and his prisoner to the city jail. When the officer booked the Messenger, he asked for the evangelist's true name, and a female disciple shouted, 'He ain't named nothing but God.'”
  • (Jill Watts, God, Harlem, U.S.A., p. 36).


Prince of Tyre Salmoneus
Phya, the Tall Woman Saturn, King of Italy
Empedocles Zalmoxis
Menecrates Amulius
Demetrius Apsethus
Jesus of Nazareth Simon the Samaritan
Epiphanes, son of Carpocrates Little Gods
Jewish Messiahs Gaius Caesar
The Khlysty Muslim Gods
Wallace D. Fard Father Divine
Jim Jones The Maharaj Ji
Draftees Romulus
Apollonius of Tyana


LogoThe Kabbalah

The Kabbalah is a medieval revival of ancient Gnosticism, a form of Christian/pagan syncretism. In medieval Christendom the teaching was transmitted by secretive groups like the Bogomils and Cathars. In the south of France, where the spread of gnostic ideas was so extensive as to provoke a papal crusade to re-establish Catholicism, gnosticism was tacked onto Judaism through the literary expedient of portraying Talmudic Rabbis chatting with one another, in their off-hours, on gnostic themes. The resultant pagan horror still has many adherents in the world today, and has probably influenced many unknowingly, because naive listeners are gullibly prone to believe this medieval pastiche is 'authentic Judaism.' One unexpected student of the Kabbalah is Joseph Smith, the founding 'prophet' of Mormonism:

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Logo Dionysus

As seen above, 'Kali,' the Beatrice of the Thugs of India, is one bad goddess. She is certainly in the running for the 'Bad God' prize, but there are other contenders. Paganism is not for the faint of heart; discover what is involved in following one pagan deity, Dionysius, not meek and mild but with a sadistic streak a mile wide. His devoted follower, Agave, receives what reward for her faithful service? She gets to rip her own cherished son, Pentheus, limb from limb (which is what the maenads used to do out there in the woods). If this is what Dionysus does to his friends, what pay-back may his enemies expect?:


Euripides
The Bacchae


  • “Hushed grew the sky, and still hung each leaf throughout the grassy glen, nor could you have heard one creature cry. But they, not sure of the voice they heard, sprang up and peered all round; then once again his bidding came; and when the daughters of Cadmus knew it was the Bacchic god in very truth that called, swift as doves they darted off in eager haste, his mother Agave and her sisters dear and all the Bacchanals; through torrent glen, over boulders huge they bounded on, inspired with madness by the god. . .
  • “Then were a thousand hands laid on the fir, and from the ground they tore it up, while he from his seat aloft came tumbling to the ground with lamentations long and loud, even Pentheus; for well he knew his hour was come. His mother first, a priestess for the nonce, began the bloody deed and fell upon him; whereon he tore the snood from off his hair, that hapless Agave might recognize and spare him, crying as he touched her cheek, "O mother! it is I, your own son Pentheus, the child you did bear in Echion's halls; have pity on me, mother dear! oh! do not for any sin of mine slay your own son."
  • “But she, the while, with foaming mouth and wildly rolling eyes, bereft of reason as she was, heeded him not; for the god possessed her. And she caught his left hand in her grip, and planting her foot upon her victim's trunk she tore the shoulder from its socket, not of her own strength, but the god made it an easy task to her hands; and Ino set to work upon the other side, rending the flesh with Autonoe and all the eager host of Bacchanals; and one united cry arose, the victim's groans while yet he breathed, and their triumphant shouts. One would make an arm her prey, another a foot with the sandal on it; and his ribs were stripped of flesh by their rending nails; and each one with blood-dabbled hands was tossing Pentheus' limbs about.”
  • (Euripides, Bacchae).




The cult of Dionysus, which originated in areas to the north of Greece, spread like wildfire over the ancient world. Like the 'hippies' of the 1960's, they found in intoxication the secret of a happy life. One can readily imagine how that turned out: the ruined and blasted lives, the human detritus collecting in the gutters. The story tells, that Dionysus invaded India, with his troop of dishevelled, drunken women, many of whom met a miserable death at the hands of their Indian captors. The Indian king charged with protecting homeland security got it right:

"'No god, no god is that man; he has lied about his birth.'" (Demiades, quoted, in Nonnus, Dionysiaca, Book XXXIX, line 53).

Pentheus wasn't buying it either, telling Dionysus: "You also have a touch of your deceitful mother. Semele was a liar, and Cronides burnt her with his thunders: take care that Cronides does not crush you like your mother. . .You are no Olympian offspring of Cronion: for the lightnings cry aloud the shame of your perishing mother, the thunders are witnesses of her illicit bed. Zeus of the Rains burnt not Danae after the bed; he carried Europa, the sister of my Cadmos, and kept her unshaken — he did not drown her in the sea. . .If you have in you the blood of Zeus, migrate to the vault of Olympos and live in heaven, leave to Pentheus his native Thebes." (Nonnus, Dionysiaca, Book XLVI). Of course we know what happened to him. As the history is told by acolytes like Nonnus, Dionysus romped through the ancient world preceded by brutal, senseless, alcohol-fueled murders, which are actually OK because the parties involved were turned into stars or trees or whatever. Dionysus was no god, just a mere man, demon-possessed as it may have been, but with his hand on no door to open into heaven.

Did it happen? Certainly many of the details of the account of Bacchus' triumphal procession from west to east and back are made up; I doubt he was really accompanied by pans, satyrs, and other mythological creatures. However there is probably also a kernel of fact, because there is nothing supernatural or mythical about Timothy Leary and others of the pied pipers who tried to lure a generation of young people down the same dead end. What was promised was bliss, what was delivered may not have been bliss, but only brain damage. Just visualize the dancing frenzies of the Middle Ages, which might, indeed, have been themselves revivals of the Dionysian religion. Mass assemblages spontaneously formed and rolled through the countryside, in Germany and other nominally Christian countries including Belgium and the Netherlands: "So early as the year 1374, assemblages of men and women were seen at Aix-la-Chapelle, who had come out of Germany, and who, united by one common delusion, exhibited to the public both in the streets and in the churches the following strange spectacle. They formed circles hand in hand, and appearing to have lost all control over their senses, continued dancing, regardless of the bystanders, for hours together, in wild delirium, until at length they fell to the ground in a state of exhaustion." (The Dancing Mania, Justus Friedrich Carl, Section 1). "Peasants left their plows, mechanics their workshops, housewives their domestic duties, to join the wild revels, and this rich commercial city [Metz] became the scene of the most ruinous disorder." (The Dancing Mania, Justus Friedrich Carl, Section 1). If Bacchus invaded India in this manner, surrounded by a core of armed men ready to kill and be killed in the midst of a vast procession of drunken dancing maenads, that is far from being historically impossible.

In the religious literature of India, there remains a deposit of information about 'Soma,' which has been monkey-wrenched and disabled to the point where one cannot recognize any really existing substance. One must suspect originally it was just Dionysus' wine, but a later and a wiser generation realized this is one of the worst and most delusive scams you can run on people, to promise heaven but deliver alcoholism. Still they felt the literature was holy and they could not just discard it. This is one false religion which will not only land you in Hell, but will also ruin your life on your way there.

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LogoMadame H. P. Blavatsky

Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and her associates were for a time describing their work product as 'esoteric Buddhism,' but then the Buddhists spoke up and complained, 'We have no idea what these people are talking about.' Certainly Christians can sympathize, when they read Madame Blavatsky's Bible interpretations, which are unexpected to put it mildly. Why is this so? Because the true doctrine, the wisdom of the ancients, is secret, which is why nobody but her knows anything about it:



  • “It has been claimed in all ages that ever since the destruction of the Alexandrian Library. . .every work of a character that might have led the profane to the ultimate discovery and comprehension of some of the mysteries of the Secret Science, was, owing to the combined efforts of the members of the Brotherhoods, diligently searched for. It is added, moreover, by those who know, that once found, save three copies left and stored safely away, such works were all destroyed. In India, the last of the precious manuscripts were secured and hidden during the reign of the Emperor Akbar”
  • (H. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled and the Secret Doctrine, Complete Illustrated Edition, Kindle location 21784).




LogoOne must wonder why Madame Blavatsky did not destroy all but three copies of 'Isis Unveiled' and 'The Secret Doctrine;' who are we, profane and common as we are, to turn her pages and imbibe the hidden wisdom? We were not initiated, after all. Sometimes you get what you pay for:

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Theosophy Modern Science
Table-Rapping Annie Besant
The Christian Alternative Astral Body
All Paths Converge Cosmic Mote
Sparks Ascending Bad Voodoo
Knowledge, Falsely So-Called Satan the Prince
Kwanzaa


LogoJim Jones of Jonestown

No compilation of bad religion would be complete without a mention of this next contestant, because when he died, he did not die alone. Like the idol juggernaut, Jim Jones did away with his devotees. He began his religious pilgrimage in 'Oneness' Pentecostalism, but ended it in some uncharted Marxist-Leninist limbo. It is one of the great mysteries why so many people were persuaded to follow him (though some were 'persuaded' at the point of a gun):

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913 The Call
God-Claims The Illuminati
God Talk Five Fundamentals
End Game Problem of Evil
Reincarnation Evolution


LogoCargo Cults

A modern entry in the 'bad religion' sweepstakes are the cargo cults of the South Pacific. The natives of a number of South Seas islands noticed that the whites, who appeared to do very little work, nevertheless enjoyed great material abundance. Investigating why this was so, they discovered that the Europeans received this bounty in the form of 'cargo' shipped from abroad. They proceeded to build wharves, jetties and airstrips to await deliveries of 'cargo' sent by the ancestors. This hopeful expectation spread throughout the region and produced a kaleidoscopic variety of new sects, most of which eschewed violence but several of which took matters into their own hands:

"Clapcott had been the first to go; Runovoro promised that if the other Europeans were killed, the dead would arise, and the ancestors would return from a far land where the Whites had sent them. . .Runovoro prophesied that the ancestors would arrive after a Deluge in a great white ship loaded with Cargo. This would only be distributed to paid-up members. His followers built a large store for the Cargo; once they nearly seized a recruiting schooner, for 'every passing sail aroused great excitement and fire-signals from the anxious watchers posted on the beach.' . .In retaliation for the murder, HMS Sydney shelled the bush." (Peter Worsley, The Trumpet Shall Sound: A Study of 'Cargo' Cults in Melanesia, pp. 148-149).

Inasmuch as, presumably, dancing around empty, discarded cargo boxes has not produced any cargo deliveries for the sectarians of this new religion, this very worldly and practical-minded devotion must be dismissed as futile. This new religion did not take centuries to develop nor even decades, but sprang up as did Athena, fully-armed, from the forehead of Zeus. Cargo fever gained a new lease on life during and after World War II, when the South Sea islanders came into contact with American G.I.'s and noticed their superior standard of living, the result, it was again deduced, of cargo, but this time on an industrial scale. Some people in the nineteenth century liked to employ an adverb, 'gradually,' as if it were an explanation; but 'gradually' is not the right word to describe the rise of the cargo cults. Is there reason to believe this adverb applies to Christianity?

The forms in which cargo hopes and dreams have been expressed range from unreconstructed paganism to borrowed Biblical themes learned at the Christian missions. At least one Cargo Cult leader from the New Hebrides, John Frum,— if the historical John Frum is indeed a real person,— has claimed deity:

"Meetings were held from which Whites were excluded, as were women. These meetings were to receive the message of one John Frum (spelt sometimes Jonfrum), described as a 'mysterious little man with bleached hair, high-pitched voice and clad in a coat with shining buttons'. . .John Frum issued pacific moral injunctions against idleness, encouraged communal gardening and cooperation, and advocated dancing and kava-drinking. . .The prophet was regarded as the representative or earthly manifestation of Karaperamun, god of the island's highest mountain, Mount Tukosmeru. Karaperamun now appeared as John Frum, who was to be hidden from the Whites and from women.
"John Frum prophesied the occurrence of a cataclysm in which Tanna would become flat, the volcanic mountains would fall and fill the river-beds to form fertile plains, and Tanna would be joined to the neighboring islands of Eromanga and Aneityum to form a new island. Then John Frum would reveal himself, bringing in a reign of bliss, the natives would get back their youth, and there would be no sickness; there would be no need to care for gardens, trees or pigs. The Whites would go. . ." (Peter Worsley, The Trumpet Shall Sound: A Study of 'Cargo' Cults in Melanesia, pp. 153-154).

The failure of the Cargo Cult religion has sparked a whole new branch of junk history which one might label 'Inconsequentialism.' Instead of seeing in the laments of disappointed Cargo Cultists like Yali an opportunity to explain supply-side economics, Jared Diamond instead adapted the 'Just So' stories of contemporary evolutionary biology to the field, explaining that failures of this sort are not the result of unavailing ideologies but rather stem from the fact that the Eurasian continent is long on its east-west axis rather than north-south. People, he hopes, will be relieved to discover that human history is a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing, because its moving motor parts are things in their nature of no interest or consequence. No doubt those distressed by the failure of Marxism-Leninism will find this discovery a comfort as well.

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Liberalism

Modern liberalism has produced a version of Christianity which combines a pallid Deism with the 'Jesus Seminar's' vision of a hippie Jesus, a counter-culture hero who scandalized all the religious folks. Religiously, they have regressed to the stage of shamanism. They like to dance, finding it a way to get in touch with 'the sacred:'



Logo Burton Mack is another liberal savant. These people resemble Charles Taze Russell in that they aspire to start their own religion, and unfortunately also in the sl0venly lack of attention to detail which mars their efforts:

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LogoAtheism

It may seem unfair to list atheism amongst the false religions. Isn't atheism, after all, the absence of religion? In theory it may be, but in practice it finds its natural rank amongst the bad religions. There is always something dangerous and irrational,— Richard Dawkins' 'Pale Blue Dot' for instance,— before which they demand that we kneel down. Karl Marx is a good case in point. He was the grandson of a rabbi; his career-minded father had conformed to the state religion, and young Marx even wrote school compositions from a Christian perspective. However at a certain point, a 'Promethean' note makes itself heard:



  • “Surely, here seems to be a case where a unified (early-plus-late) Marx is vividly revealed. Thus, in his poem "Feelings," dedicated to his childhood sweetheart and later wife, Jenny von Westphalen, Marx expressed both his megalomania and his enormous thirst for destruction:


  •    “'Heaven I would comprehend
       I would draw the world to me;
       Loving, hating, I intend
       That my star shine brilliantly'


  • “and

  •    “'Worlds I would destroy forever,
       Since I can create no world;
       Since my call they notice never
  • '

  • “Here, of course, is a classic expression of Satan's supposed reason for hating, and rebelling against, God.


  • “In another poem Marx writes of his triumph after he shall have destroyed God's created world:


  •    “'Then I will be able to walk triumphantly,
       Like a god, through the ruins of their kingdom.
       Every word of mine is fire and action.
       My breast is equal to that of the Creator.'”


  • (Murray  N. Rothbard, 'Karl Marx: Apocalyptic Reabsorptionist Communist,' on Mises.org).



LogoPrometheus was a Titan, who stole fire from the gods and gave this great gift, without which human life would be miserable, shivering and deprived, to man, for which he was duly punished. In Greek mythology, the gods are not necessarily benevolent nor interested in helping mankind. This viewpoint was taken over by gnosticism, which is a domestication of Jewish and Christian theology to a pagan outline, only to resurface, after bubbling along underground for some centuries, in nineteenth century militant atheism. This might be academic, except that millions of human beings died because of it:

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LogoChildren of God

David 'Mo' Berg was the founder and resident 'prophet' of the counter-culture 'Children of God,' now known as the Family. Many new religious movements arose during the hey-day of the hippies, appealing to that demographic. In some cases, as with Calvary Chapel, an orthodox Christian outfit, these new churches did not compromise at all with the gospel's demand for holiness. The sad case of the 'Children of God,' however, represents a catastrophic collision between the gospel and the sexual revolution then raging. Those children brought up in this cult, 'survivors' as they call themselves, who do not recall a childhood of sexual abuse at the hands of their elders, are a very small minority.

Sigmund Freud promoted a 'therapy,' a 'talking cure,' which cannot be demonstrated to have any therapeutic efficacy: it is the very definition of quackery, and yet at the time it was highly regarded. According to Freud, repression of sexual urges was at the root of most of mankind's troubles. He and his followers did not so much encourage child abuse,— though they perceived small children as sexual beings, they thought there was a 'latency period' that supervened,— however, they were responsible for the 'progressive' talk prevalent in that period, to the effect that child molesters are 'sick,' they need 'help' not punishment, etc. Under the influence of this talk, sentences for child molestation went down and down; but ultimately the children who had suffered this obscenity found their voice and turned the social trend around.

The Children of God embraced the sexual revolution which Freud's 'discoveries' had sparked, and ended up covered with filth as a result. The guiding promise of the sexual revolution was, what a paradise this world would be if we all discarded our hang-ups; no more neurosis, no more unhappiness. This mirage evaporated upon trial. Their founder-prophet, the reclusive alcoholic David 'Mo' Berg, was a pioneer in this trend. He molested his own family, according to the survivors' web-site:

"Because I had refused my father’s desire for an incestuous relationship, I had in effect refused to accept him as God’s Prophet. The prophet did not act selfishly or for his own personal design or pleasure—it was always under the direct inspiration of the Almighty. I had rejected the counsel of the Lord. I was no longer worthy to be called Queen." (Berg's daughter Deborah's written account, Testimony on XFamily.org, 'Life with Grandpa').

Never prosecuted for his crimes, this man died in 1994.

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LogoPied Piper

During the Middle Ages, when Christendom stirred itself to liberate the pilgrimage sites in the Holy Land from Muslim domination, there occurred a strange eruption called the Children's Crusade:

"Still more symptomatic of the diseased spirituality of the time was the Crusade of the Children, which desolated thousands of homes. From vast districts of territory, incited apparently by a simultaneous and spontaneous impulse, crowds of children set forth, without leaders or guides, in search of the Holy Land; and their only answer, when questioned as to their object, was that they were going to Jerusalem. Vainly did parents lock their children up; they would break loose and disappear; and the few who eventually found their way home again could give no reason for the overmastering longing which had carried them away." (Henry C. Lea, A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, Volume I, Kindle location 2603).

These deluded children, in those few bands who found their way to the Holy Land, ended up enslaved by the Muslim overlords of that region.

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LogoSouthern Baptists

One would like to imagine there is a Chinese Wall marking the boundary between good religion and bad religion. Unfortunately that is not always the case. Think of the medieval Catholic church, which racked up appalling human rights abuses during the Albigensian Crusade, while still including believers in its ranks. An instance closer to our time is the Southern Baptist Convention, founded at the outset in order to provide a loving, accepting home for slave owners, at a time when other Baptist fellowships were endorsing abolition. Even after Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, they did not turn immediately toward the light; for many years, some members of this group actively conspired to undermine the civil liberties of their fellow citizens. Yet for all these years they earnestly preached the gospel, as well. So what to make of them? The communities which hosted this uncivil assembly would probably have been better off, in terms of communal peace, had their population taken up the Bahai faith; yet there is still a remembrance of the true faith buried several layers down. How can things of such heterogeneous nature become mingled and entangled like that? God's religion should be a unmixed good.

It seems that they have, in all sincerity, put their past of stirring up racial animosity behind them. . .or have they? Even to the present day, they are industrious accumulators of the kind of political rhetoric that identifies President Obama, for instance, as a practicing Muslim, though he says he is not. Worse than embracing this side of political life, they are not unwilling to use deception to advance their goals. What to make of their loyal and loving embrace of Ergun Caner, a mountebank who offers his audiences an inside look into the life and mind of a trained terrorist:

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Solar Temple

Logo The Solar Temple cult was responsible for a string of murders and suicides in Europe which occurred in October of 1994:

"In Salvan (Valais Canton, Switzerland), Luc Jouret and Joseph Di Mambro asked a blacksmith to change the lock in their chalet, and bought several plastic bags. On October 5, at 1:00 A.M., a fire started in one of the centers of the Solar Temple in Switzerland, the Ferme des Rochettes, near Cheiry, in the Canton of Fribourg — which was also a center for natural agriculture — owned by Albert Giacobino, who as mentioned earlier was. . .an associate of Joseph Di Mambro in several esoteric and neo-Templar activities. The police found twenty-three bodies, one of which was a child's, in a room converted into a temple. . .The same day, at 3:00 A.M., three chalets, inhabited by members of the Solar Temple, caught fire almost simultaneously at Les Granges sur Salvan, in the Valais Canton. In the charred remains were found twenty-five bodies, along with remainders of devices programmed to start the fires (such devices were also found at Morin Heights and at Cheiry), and the pistol which shot the fifty-two bullets destined for the people found dead in Cheiry." (Odd Gods, edited by James R. Lewis, p. 307).

The rationale for these events is the usual drivel,

"It is 'not a suicide in the human sense of the term,' but a deposition of their human bodies to immediately receive new invisible, glorious and 'solar' ones. With these new bodies, they now operate in another dimension, unknown to the uninitiated, presiding over the dissolution of the world and waiting for an esoteric 'redintegratio.' There is also another class of less advanced members of the Solar Temple who cannot understand that in order to take on the 'solar body' one must 'depose' of the mortal one. The documents state that these members must be helped to perform their 'transition' (in other words, must be 'helped' to die) in the least violent way possible." (Odd Gods, edited by James R. Lewis, p. 308).
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Astrology

The way this ancient Chaldaean discipline just keeps on trucking down through the ages excites astonishment. It claims an origin in empiricism. Those of a certain age may remember when the hippies burst upon the scene, offering new and unheard-of perspectives, like. . .

"When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars

"This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
The Age of Aquarius
Aquarius! Aquarius!"

Oh wait, that's not new. Where did it come from? How has it changed down through the years?

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