November 20, 2006

Christian Faith and Bahai

There are many good things to admire about Bahai, a religion that sprang up around 1844 in present-day Iran. So much so that many of its converts come from the ranks of ostensible Christians. One of the main claims of Bahai is that it builds on the doctrines of the prior, major religions including Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. They refer to this cumulative effect as 'progressive revelation'... an expression similar to one used in the Christian faith, but having quite a different meaning. Do the claims of Bahai really hold up to Biblical scrutiny? Here are my own thoughts, having associated with informed Bahais.

To begin with, the claim of progressive revelation itself is essentially contradictory. Since the major historical religions differ markedly among themselves on certain fundamental issues (eg. reincarnation) then how could a later religion represent an accumulation of their collective wisdom? Bahais like to find as many points of agreement among the world faiths as they can-- and yes, there are many, as one would expect-- but at the same time, they overlook the often grating differences among the creeds in order to support their claim of 'essential unity of religions.' Certainly, the Christian creed does not acknowledge progressive revelation in the Bahai sense. Jesus stated 'I am the way, the truth, and the light,' and the New Testament elaborates on his pivotal role in history as the ultimate redeemer of humankind. There are no later Messiahs or incarnations of God expressed in Christian scripture.

As regards society, Bahai holds that on a collective basis, human consciousness is evolving, progressing in a positive direction towards ultimate 'god-awareness.' They believe that after sufficient disasters, mankind will come to see the folly of bad choices and will consequently make the decision to adopt the principles of Bahai. This belief, while comforting to them, simply flies against the statements of Christian scripture... not to mention the plain evidence of our planetary history! Jesus, Paul, Peter, and John all wrote that we are born with the inherent tendency of selfishness-- to do evil. This predisposition may be an unavoidable consequence of free will... without which we would be mere robots. It's like a genetic flaw that we are powerless to eliminate. History amply demonstrates the truth of this assertion. The 20th century, despite hyperbolic technical achievements including landing men on the moon, was the bloodiest century in recorded history. There is simply no veracity to the naive belief that our race is morally improving; in fact, quite the opposite is the inescapable conclusion of a disinterested examination of history. What Christianity asserts is that Jesus Christ is our only hope for the future. The solution to our self-destructiveness is not within us-- it is in our Lord and savior, Jesus, who will ultimately rescue us from our own waywardness.

In keeping with their belief in the progress of human consciousness, Bahais have made representations to the UN urging more resolutions and action in the sphere of religious freedom. On the surface this appears laudable; yet it demonstrates a naive faith in human bureaucratic mechanisms to accomplish what only God's Spirit can effect-- namely, a change in the human heart. In fifty years, the UN has made a few brave attempts to define universal morality, and merely tentative efforts at actively promoting and achieving those goals. Despite any of its efforts, virtually every member of the UN continues to violate even basic human rights every day. As Christianity teaches, the human race is incapable of pulling itself up to Godly levels of morality; it can only come from the gracious act of God towards us.

Although Bahai states a belief in one God, and even believes in His Holy Spirit, the creed does not believe in the existence of Satan (the Devil). They hold that evil is what happens when you remove good, as darkness is the absence of light. It is an outlook that is shared by many modern (eg. New Age) philosophers and religions. But, does it hold up to the evidence of 'demon possession' and other satanic manifestations? When thus pressed, some Bahais will claim that such phenomena are really due to mental disorders. That might explain some cases, but by no means covers all. Where do some people get the ideas that motivate them to commit heinous crimes? Is it purely self-generated? Where do some get the knowledge and powers they need to accomplish some of the worst atrocities? If there is a personal force for good, whom we call God; can't there be an opposing, entity of evil? Since freewill is an essential ingredient for expressions of genuine love from created beings, then even the angels (whose existence Bahai acknowledges) have the option of rebellion. That the most powerful such being chose to exercise that option and became Satan ('the opposer') is not much of a mental stretch. That this creature prefers that humans not recognize his reality is also an easy conclusion.

After examining the teachings of Bahai, the clear conclusion a Christian must reach is that Bahai, for all its surface attractiveness, is yet another instrument of deception for the souls of humanity. 

November 8, 2006

Popular American Myths

While still a relatively young country, nevertheless, Americans have a number of popular myths that they love to believe for the comfort they bring. Let's have a look at a couple of the most common.

America was founded by Christians. Everyone knows that, right? The founding 'fathers' were a group of largely God-fearing men from Christian traditions, who must have been guided, therefore, by God Himself in drafting the constitution of the USA. I used to believe that, too; after all, there's plenty of reference to God in those old documents. No doubt, a lot of American 'Christians' (certainly among solid Republican supporters) rest comfortably at night knowing that God is running their country thru the men who are elected to high office. But, lately, I have finally learned the truth, the awesome truth. America was not founded by Christians; it was founded by Freemasons. A search on the web or a newer history book will reveal that, indeed, many of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence were high-degree Freemasons. Okay, some readers will retort 'So what?; Freemasons are Christians, too.' Well, perhaps among the low-level Masons that may be true. However, at the highest levels of the craft, those men are quite the opposite. They may pay lip service to 'God,' but their god is really Satan. The high-degree symbology of Masonry is inextricably demonic in nature, having to do with 'occult' diagrams, geometry, and numerology. This is easily demonstrated by simply examining a US dollar bill, with its occult eye atop a pyramid, and its latin inscription (the reader is invited to investigate these symbols for him/herself). According to one source, the Masonic symbolism on the dollar bill reveals in coded form the true origins and destiny of the United States. More tangible evidence of the Masonic roots of the USA is embodied right in the geometry of the streets of Washington, DC. A study of the plan view will reveal that the 'mall' is designed as a picture of the compass and square of Masonry, and moreover, a Satanic pentagram (inverted 5-point star) is described by the streets, with its major apex sited on the White House. Other commentators have stated that 'every key Federal building from the White House to the Capitol Building has had a cornerstone laid in a Masonic ritual and had specific Masonic paraphernalia placed in each one.' George Washington was the first of many Freemasons to occupy the White House as president.

Much more could be said, but the point here is that, far from being a nation founded by Christians and based on Christian principles, the USA is instead a nation founded by demon-worshipping Freemasons who injected their principles in numerous subtle ways in the US constitution and related documents. The naive belief of so many Americans that God has granted special status and protection to the USA is a pathetic myth-- a fable of similar proportions to that of an Ayatollah proclaiming his Islamic nation to be the special object of Allah's grace.

Another common myth of Americans is that they live in a democracy-- in fact, the best democracy in the world. Is that true? I maintain that it has never been true; the US has always been ruled by a mere handful of shadowy men who manipulate elections and candidates behind the scenes to ensure that their interests are guarded and promoted. Some of the original participants in the foundation of America had grave misgivings about the constitution and selected model of governance; but the Freemasons carried the day, and inevitable oligarchy was ensured. To those who deny this, I say that the current administration will soon remove all doubt, if they haven't already. The Bush cabinet is populated by individuals drawn from the executive ranks of business who hardly pretend not to promote the interests of big business. More evidence is found in the federal taxation system that has been tilted in favor of the wealthy and burdens the masses of the working/middle class. The last two presidential elections were characterized by voting 'irregularities' the like of which would be soundly condemned by observers in any 'third-world' state. What the plutocrats want to do is preserve the illusion of democracy, to keep the masses in their pacified state of endless consumerism, while actually controlling the government to achieve their desired goals.

An examination of the record of legislation over the past few decades also makes clear that there is, essentially, no difference between the Republicans and the Democrats-- both are in the employ of big business (mainly big oil, big pharma, and the defense industry). Under the American system, it is virtually impossible for an independent candidate or party to intrude in this two-party game. Even if a grass-roots movement should coalesce around a suitable candidate, the big media would simply ignore this impudent upstart, and with no vehicle to carry the message to the electorate, that candidate would quietly flop. So, with two copies of the same character to choose from, how can anyone call it democracy? The truth is that democracy-- to the extent it ever existed in America-- is dead; long dead.

Obviously, the two myths are related. Because the USA was from its very origins designed by self-interested, demonically-inspired Freemasons, the system they implemented was deliberately set up to allow co-opting by a plutocracy, the wealthiest cadre of individuals who were deemed most suitable to govern. It has taken some 230 years (less for perceptive observers) for the wolf to be spotted lurking under the sheep's clothing. Now the secret is out; the US is not a viable democracy, in fact, never was, but has been promoted vigorously by forces that wanted the populace and the outside world to believe the grand illusion. Many will prefer to cling to the illusion than accept the aweful truth. No matter; soon all the pretences will be stripped away as the oligarchy, drunk on the prospect of having control over the mighty American military machine, takes on full authoritarian control of the government. They will do this under the staged threat of 'terrorism' by fabricated enemies that demands drastic assumption of absolute powers to 'protect' the populace. Exercising all the leverage of fear, the draconian action will at first be welcomed by the stupefied citizens, whose reasoning has been compromised by decades of TV drivel and subverted media spin-doctoring. Only when many of them are incarcerated in mega-prison camps will they start to open their dull eyes to the incredible reality.

This sad tale has been foretold in the Bible, in symbolic language to preserve it from the tampering of the guilty. Instead of a wolf in sheep's wool, the Bible talks of a 'lamb-like beast' that suddenly 'spake as a dragon' (Revelation ch. 13). In biblical symbology, a beast represents a nation. A 'lamb-like' beast would be a nation that appears beneficent, peaceful. To speak like a dragon would be to issue fiery, frightening edicts. Does that brief description fit the US? At this moment of history, it certain can. The next few months and years will be literally apocalyptic-- revelatory of where events are going. I believe that only then will the biblical prophecies become decipherable. Stay tuned.

Return to Sanity?

Here we are, near the end of 2006. It's been five years since that now infamous date, 9-11-2001. In that brief five years, the US military has invaded Afghanistan, invaded and destroyed Iraq, incarcerated hundreds of 'suspects' in indefinite detention in Cuba; the US government has passed draconian laws granting the president dictatorial powers 'just in case,' and similar legislation was enacted in Britain, Canada, and other 'democratic' nations. Now, finally, we are starting to hear high-ranked officials talk cautiously about the possibility of a US troop withdrawal from Iraq; the American forces have shuffled off as much responsibility as possible on their NATO partners; and opinion-makers are tentatively questioning the whole, hasty, fear-driven approach to 'fighting terror.' Finally, in other words, a hint of sanity seems to be returning to our political leaders after five years of bully-driven madness. We all know who the bullies are, so I won't dwell on that... another couple of years and they will all be replaced by a new group in madmen (who we hope are rather less vicious).

In dealing with a hypocritical crisis over the testing of a nuclear weapon by North Korea-- one of Washington's designated pariahs-- the White House got, thankfully, distracted from its next major object of yet another failed invasion in the planning, Iran. One has to wonder-- do these insane bullies never learn? It must have something to do with the disease. Yet these people are not stewball street vagrants whose madness is merely pitiable-- these are the officials running the biggest military machine in history! The outcomes of their insane predation could be catastrophic for all humankind. By now, one hopes that even the fear-crazed, uninformed and misinformed masses of Americans will have seen the foolishness of their leaders' counterproductive policies and incompetent actions. And that they can see how much of their precious freedoms they were willing to blindly squander for the insincere promises of 'peace and security.'

Canadians cannot absolve their government and its agencies from the same kind of insanity that swept our neighbor and European nations. On the positive note, we've had an official inquiry into the fumbling that resulted in the shameful and unlawful deportation of a citizen, Maher Arar, to Syria where he was tortured bacause he was 'suspected of links to Al-Qaida.' This kind of stuff is unbelievable in a civilized and mentally healthy nation; yet in the fabricated frenzy of fear following 9-11, government after government in the Western democracies rushed forward with ill-conceived measures to curtail the freedoms that have taken untold centuries to be achieved. How stupid can we get? To those remaining diehard conservatives who say we had to 'do something' to 'combat terrorism,' I have only to ask: 'How much safer are we after surrendering some basic freedoms?' Show me any real indication that we're any safer from terrorism than before. The fact is, we are more vulnerable to terrorism than ever-- and it's terrorism from our own governments that we should now fear! The fact of it is that in a world of suicide bombers who feel there's nothing to lose and paradise to gain, the only way to stop terrorism is to provide the justice that the desperate are seeking. There would be no-one willing to die if he or she grew up in a world where (s)he felt an equitable opportunity to have a decent life. But no, our leaders want us to believe that the only way to deal with those they label 'terrorists' is to resort to the same, despicable tactics. This is patent moral bankruptcy, and can never succeed!

What the world desperately needs is a conscience for social justice to prevail among our leaders; instead our 'elected' officials are too often pawns of the powerful capitalist lobby that wants a 'new world order' wherein the corporations rule over the masses of captive consumers. As we see this trend for saner voices begin to emerge from the babble of war-mongering, the question is: is this a return to relative sanity, whereby the extreme elements of our governments are constrained by cooler heads from embarking on the kind of plain crazy adventures that they are so zealous to pursue? Or, instead, is it just an interlude supplied by providence-- a pause in which we are given a last opportunity to come to our senses and demand rational actions by our politicians, and the enshrinement of human rights from any kind of knee-jerk restrictions?

If the failures of global politics of the last five years-- the first five years of the new millennium-- can teach us anything, it is in the value of a lawful society in which justice can be expected to be done. The law and its application may not be perfect, but at least we want reasonable assurance that everyone will receive due process. We do this now, almost to a fault, in criminal cases... often very serious criminal cases. Why then do we not insist that the same fastidiousness be applied to so-called terrorists? How soon we forget. It was barely a decade and a half ago, and the West was berating the 'evil empire' of the USSR for its shoddy human rights record, and its sham of a justice system. Even today, the USA still has the temerity to refer to other countries' human rights transgressions-- while overlooking the gross violations perpetrated by American agencies like the CIA, and by sub-contracted proxies. Today the USA-- and its major allies-- are in serious peril of becoming exactly what they criticize in those rogue states that aren't 'democratic.' The US government has done a great job of convincing people that they run huge risks from terrorist threats; yet the fact is that people face a much greater risk, statistically, from criminal acts than from terrorism.

It took the big TV drama of 9-11, hyped to the max, to provide the fear factor that authoritarian elements in the US administration wanted to instill. They were marvellously aided by the big media machine, the 3-letter TV networks, and the respected newspapers in New York and Washington. The media have traditionally helped democratic societies maintain sanity and provided that much-needed dampening of zeal for blood in foreign lands. This time-- post 9-11-- they simply hoisted the flag of patriotism to cover the fact that they provided no critical analysis of the head-strong policies of the government.

If this glimmer of sanity is to grow into the norm, it will be necessary for ordinary citizens to take more interest in policy and politics, and to become better informed on what is going on in this world... and to develop better analytical and reasoning skills. The question is: is this possible? And can it be done in a brief enough time to forestall the continued growth of the madness flaunted in our faces by Orwell's chilling phrases: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength?