Smug

Smug Pastor
Smug Pastor

Herbert Armstrong was smug. He had an explanation for everything. He believed that God personally revealed everything really important to him. He was a gnostic. He wrote booklets: Does God Exist, Seven Proofs God Exists, The Proof of the Bible. He was cock sure. At the same time he was so arrogant that he claimed that everybody who did not agree with him was wrong. He left the Church of God Seventh Day because he thought he was so much more brilliant and smart than they were because he had absorbed and knew all the secret knowledge of Greenbury George Rupurt and they didn’t. That made him superior to them. He considered himself a qualified teacher. He claimed he was the first one in over 1900 years to bring the really really true gospel to the world. Everybody else was a failure. He claimed that science didn’t have the answers. He did. There are just a few little things wrong with his world view:

  • He claimed that British Israelism was the Key to Prophecy but it has been disproved scientifically by DNA evidence and made him a spectacularly failed false prophet as a result;
  • He claimed to have reestablished the true church from an unbroken line from the time of the original apostles but it has been proved that his church history was histrionics and total fantasy which not even the Church of God Seventh Day supports;
  • He prophesied over the radio on the World Tomorrow Broadcast during World War II that the United States and Britain would lose the war to the Germans (this caused the United States Government some heartburn and his broadcast was suspended for a time);
  • He predicted that the Great Tribulation would begin in 1972 and his church would be taken to a place of safety;
  • He predicted that Christ would return in 1975;
  • His claim that he brought the true gospel to the world has proven problematic;
  • His Proof of the Bible uses prophecies of the Old Testament to prove the entire Bible true, even though some of the referenced prophecies have failed;
  • His Seven Proofs God Exists claims that the existence of God can be proved because He is the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.

Let’s examine that last point for a moment. Ahmed Farag Ali at Benha University and coauthor Saurya Das at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada, have shown in a paper published in Physics Letters B that the Big Bang singularity can be resolved by their new model in which the universe has no beginning and no end. The new theory works better than the current Big Bang Theory — it solves a lot of problems and the Math is better. If this model is true, then God did not create the universe and He certainly doesn’t sustain it, because it has no beginning or end. What this would do to the idea of the existence of God is unclear. What role would He have? Was He a product of the universe at some point? Could God be an Emergent Property? Is He an advanced Being with highly advanced technology humanity would never be able to understand? Did He create life? Or did He sort of shepherd circumstances to make life appear? Is He really The Designer He was claimed to be in the Booklet? Is God The Lawgiver or are the laws of physics eternal, making God a sort of glorified Hall Monitor? The other problem with this is that the Bible may be terribly unreliable, since many of the books in it seem to be forged. There are at least 40 gospels floating around — it’s a little difficult to claim that you are bringing the one and only true gospel since there are so many of them. How could it really be a reliable guide to exactly who and what God is? And did Jesus actually exist? Historians of the time don’t seem to have mentioned him.

Not to worry.

Armstrongists are assured in their own minds that Herbert Armstrong had all the answers. They claim that they have the answers because they believe what Herbert Armstrong said. They have special revelation from God through Herbert Armstrong.

On the other hand, they point out that Science doesn’t have all the answers. Therefore, they conclude, science is worthless and people should listen to them, particularly when their views don’t agree with the scientists because the Armstrongists claim special knowledge from God and scientists have doubt. Certainly, atheists who depend upon science are just plain wrong. The Armstrongists are supremely confident that they are right. They are smug.

Here is an example from Banned by HWA!:

Anonymous said…

What another load of garbage you keep posting. You cant be serious! You keep thinking the GOG people are in a “cult”, thats just a word people like yourselves throw around to degrade others in the hope of achieving something sinister. That would make any person who goes to any church or part of a political system or sports team for that matter, part of a cult, how simple minded are you.

The real reason you keep this rubbish up is because you once understood the truth, you had the sword the sheild the breastplate and the belt, but you couldnt continue the fight, why? I’ll tell you why; because you have a big yellow streak running down your backs thats why!

To know the truth and then throw your talent away instead of building on it is as cowardly as you can get! You are not the type of people anyone would want in any army. You would throw your arms up in the air and say, “oh this is too hard, I want to get back into the lust of the world it’s a lot easier there”, and then complain about those who fight on.

To justify yourselves you complain about and try to bring down COG people who are out there continuing the fight to defeat satans lies and deceptions by preaching the gospel of the coming kingdom.

When will you get over the fact that we dont follow any man but Christ. All you do is twist the truth like satan himself. Why dont you complain about the apostle Paul how he persecuted the church prior to his conversion, could you imagine if all you perfect souls that comment on this site were around then, what Paul would have to deal with on top of his other persecutions.

Why dont you offer any other solutions if you think your so right. You dont because you dont have any thats why. Its a lot easier pointing the finger at others instead.

You people hound others because they believe in the truth while justifying yourselves because you are spiritually yellow right the way through! It’s hard enough to know the truth but to ridicule it the way you do after you once believed is the biggest act of cowardice!

What you need to do is stop thinking your helping people and wake up! Yes it’s easier not to tithe or develop or grow in grace and knowledge but we choose to and nothing you or your regular scoffers can say or do will ever stop this powerful work from going from strength to strength.

Thats what you’re so sore about isnt it, really, knowing more people are hearing the truth and applying it to their lives while you wander around aimlessly. You dont like being a minority. If you think you know the truth then lets hear it so we can check up on you, but you wont do that because you dont have anything but whining and complaining to offer. Like i said before, the color I see is yellow all over this site.

May 16, 2015 at 12:43 AM

Apparently Armstrongists know everything except how to use apostrophes. And maybe capitals.

Mechanic Getting Started
Mechanic Getting Started

Perhaps we can put things into perspective with a quote from Tony Reno over at Quora:

First, I know other people are going to correct the OP and point out that atheists don’t need to believe in science, but for the sake of my answer, since I’m an atheists who does, let me take it from my point of view.

Imagine my car is stalling on the highway, and I don’t know why. I take my car into the local mechanic. He’s got a small shop, but he’s my friend. He’s fixed several of my cars in the past and I trust him. I ask him to find the problem.

Mechanic Doing Systematic Checks
Mechanic Doing Systematic Checks

He starts working on it, takes the engine apart, runs diagnostics. About this time the local pastor comes in to visit. My mechanic comes out and says, “It’s not the spark plugs, not the wiring.”

I ask? “Do you know what it is yet?”

Mechanic: Not yet.

Pastor: I know what it is.

Mechanic, rolls his eyes.

Me: Really. What is it?

Pastor: God doesn’t want your car to run.

Me: I think I’ll let the mechanic work on it a bit longer.

Mechanic comes back after a while: Well it’s not the fuel line. The coil seems ok too.

Pastor: I told you what it was already. I don’t know why you keep working on it.

Me: Pastor, are you going to fix my car?

Pastor: Well no. I’m just letting you know that God doesn’t want it to run.

Me: Pastor, if you are not going to fix my car, would you please shut up and let the mechanic do his job.

You see, religious people don’t care if I learn what I need to. To them, “God did it,” is all they care about.

Me, I actually want to know the answer. I care about it. I might not need that particular car to run, but I still care about the answer.

Mechanic at Work
Mechanic at Work

When the pastor says he knows the answer he’s totally discounting the work the mechanic has already done. The pastor doesn’t care that the mechanic has done tests and knows things. The pastor is only trying to look smug and important, pretending he has that secret knowledge that the mechanic didn’t have.

But did the pastor know that the spark plugs were fine? Did the pastor know that the wiring was fine? Did he know the coil was fine? No, the pastor didn’t know any of those things.

The pastor is sitting up there with his clean hands and his smug answers and is making a mockery of the years of study and the dirty hard exacting work that the mechanic is doing to find things out.

Do you think the mechanic deserves that kind of treatment?

Pastor: Oh, I know you’ve looked really hard. But you didn’t find the answer. That’s because I already know the answer. No, I didn’t look at the engine. No I didn’t study the instruments. No I didn’t get my hands dirty. No I didn’t run any tests. But none of that matters. I know the answer. God doesn’t want the car to run. That’s your answer.

And you wonder why mechanics might be angry with you? You wonder why car owners might be angry?

Not every atheist is angry, because, as I’m sure people have pointed out, not every atheist cares. But those of us who do care about the car, those of us who appreciate the years of study that went into the mechanic’s discipline, those of us who appreciate the fact that the mechanic is willing to get his hands dirty, take the engine apart, check the instruments out, those who appreciate that these jobs aren’t easy, we wish …

I know it’s a lot to ask …

But we wish you’d quit acting so smug and sure of yourself.

We wish you’d realize that you aren’t fixing the cars.

We wish you’d realize that you aren’t even looking at the engine, much less rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty.

We wish you’d appreciate the hard work that is happening.

We wish you’d realize that even though you don’t really care about the right answers, some of us do.

We wish you’d get out of the way and let the mechanic do his job.

Does that not make any sense as to why the smug behavior of claiming that you know what’s wrong with the car when you are not even offering something that will fix the car, just making a pronouncement, doesn’t go over well? You don’t care what’s wrong with the car. You just want to seem smarter than the mechanic, but unlike the mechanic, you aren’t willing to get your hands dirty and look at the engine.

And in case you are thinking that there are no broken cars involved, you don’t know how science works. Many modern medical instruments come from studies in physics, from detector technology used in studying stars. Science actually gets somewhere. A pastor sitting back and saying, “God doesn’t want your car to work,” is just getting in the way.

Problem Found and Resolved
Problem Found and Resolved

It is clear it’s even worse with doctors.

Was God Really A UFO? A Shocking Possibility!

by

Ralph Haulk


ufo
Herbert Armstrong. Alien To Humanity

After I left the old WCG in 1974, my neighbor talked me into joining the marines, which was interesting, because I did gain access to a lot of writings and publications in California (land of fruits and nuts) than I would have in the foothills of Appalachia.

I ran across a book written by Brad Steiger titled “Mysteries of Time And Space”, and found it quite entertaining, especially the part about UFOs and “cosmic ‘Big Brothers’.

they-live

I have since misplaced the book but Steiger makes a most interesting point. There is no better way, wrote Steiger, of taking over this world than by seeding a crossbred race to operate from within our own species. These “special children” may be totally unaware of any special identity, but are being quietly shepherded by their cosmic “Big Brothers” in a process that will take many generations of mental and spiritual evolution. After that time, wrote Steiger, they may receive a signal which only they will understand, taking over special places in world government.

Most members of the old WCG and offshoots are aware that heaven is not the reward of the “saved” but are taught right off that God is indeed selecting a few who will qualify for places as kings/priests in “The World Tomorrow.”

 

As for “seeding a crossbred race”, my mind instantly went to genesis 21:1-2: “And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.”

 

What did Abraham contribute to Isaac’s birth? Not even sperm, apparently, since Sarah couldn’t get pregnant anyway. While kicking around among the UFO literature of the day, I found a book written by Art Gatti, titled “UFO Encounters of the Fourth Kind”, which dealt with sexual liaisons between women and UFOnauts of that time.Gatti writes: “Cyrus H. Gordon’s scholarly  Before The Bible (Collins, London:1962) points out that, where Genesis points out that the Lord “visited” Sarah, the Bible uses the word paqad,which is the verb meaning a man visiting his wife to have intercourse with her.””And the lord did unto Sarah….”

 

Let’s re-examine the promise made to Abraham and put it in terms  more consistent with the above:

 

“You, Abraham, if you accept my promise, will have a son. This son will be the first of other children to be born under exactly the same conditions, the same circumstances. They will be foreknown, as Isaac is, they will be predestined, as Isaac is, and they will be called and developed by over time, specially selected to take over positions of world government when I decide”.

 

 Once the deal was made, Abraham only had to trust that Yahweh would keep his promise. Abraham only needed to believe. Isaac would be born, and other children would be born as Yahweh selected, over time, under exactly the same promise and the same terms, as Isaac.

 

This is absolutely brilliant in its simplicity. It allows people to believe whatever they wish, to put any interpretation on God they choose. It allows freedom of choice to any degree the human mind is capable, but it keeps Yahweh quietly in charge of a process that is NOT dependent on the understanding of the world’s population. It could be carried out simply and quietly while humans fought and killed over who had the most peaceful religion.

 

Think about Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus. Unless a man be  born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven. The word “again” comes from the Greek “anothen” and means “from above”, not “again”. The word “annagennao” means literally “again born”, as used in 1 Peter 1:3, “…hath begotten us again unto a lively hope…”.

 

I would propose that Peter refers to a group that is “born from above”, and at a later time,“born again”, that is, made aware of their special place. The evidence for this comes abundantly from the verses above it.”Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the spirit…”

 

The word “spirit” plays an important part in both Jesus and Paul’s teachings. These ‘special children are “ready to be revealed in the last time”(verse 5).

 

Jesus tells Nicodemus there is a birth of the flesh, and a birth of the spirit. It is assumed by Christianity that we are “born again” upon acceptance of Christ, and baptism, but that is not exactly what Jesus said.  Nicodemus was well aware of a “special birth” and assumed that all Israelites were literally born to inherit God’s kingdom. The idea that a person must be “born again” or “born from above” was a surprise to him. Can a man re-enter his mother’s womb?

 

The old WCG quoted John 3:8 a lot, but notice what it says: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound therof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the spirit“.

 

John 1:13 also gives an interesting statement on this: “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”.

 

So far, we see an account almost exactly like that proposed by Steiger, above. We see in John 6:37:  “All that the father giveth me shall come to me…”

 

John 6:44: “No man can come to me except the father which hath sent me draw him…”.  This indicates that Yahweh, the actual father of these children, whoever they are, will call them to Jesus by special appointment, not freewill choice. The word “draw” there, comes from the Greek which means, more or less, against one’s intentions. In other words, while they’re looking in one direction, they will be drawn in a direction they do not anticipate. The Greek is “helkos” and is also used in similar fashion in Acts 16:19, drawn against their will, or against the principles of nature.Paul goes into greater detail on the birth of “flesh” and “spirit” in Romans 9:8: “That is, they which are the children of the flesh(Israel) are not the children of God. But the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”

 

What promise? Verse 9: “For this is the word of promise, ‘At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son’.”

 

In verse 11: Paul takes it even further: “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to the election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.” Then Paul goes into great pains, in Romans 9:16-22, to show that there simply exists no decision procedure, no “algorithm”, no process of human will by which we may show ourselves any closer to God than anyone else. Verse 16: “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy“.

 

Paul has gone to great pains to show that it is simply impossible for humans, of their own will, to qualify for this position. There is Romans 8:7, Romans 8:29-30, and Romans 9:8-22.

 

But then, you go into Galatians 3:29, which is even more obvious: “And if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

 

Galatians 4:28: “Now we brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise“.

 

Who are they, assuming they ACTUALLY EXIST? I have no idea, nor does anyone else. There is simply no process by which we can define or recognize them, since they are completely dependent on a deal controlled by Yahweh, made with Abraham.

 

Two different births, one of flesh (Israel), and one of “spirit” or promise. The word “spirit’ and “promise’ are used interchangeably in Galatians 4:29 “But as then he that was born after the flesh, persecuted him that was born after the spirit, even so it is now”.

The allegory that Paul uses was the birth of Isaac, of a free-woman, and Ishmael, who was born of a  bond maid.  The “bond” was then referred to Sinai, the law given to Israel, which places people into bondage to law.  Isaac was born of promise, a deal made with  Abraham which came 430 years before Sinai, so it stands in full intent apart from the law (Galatians 3:17).

 

Yahweh, therefore, had two basic plans in mind.  By giving the law to Israel, he actually created a system that would lead to division, confusion, and discord, but he quietly maintained a promise between himself and Abraham that was not dependent in any way on the will, intent, or decisions of humans as individuals, religions, or governments.

 

 This is far simpler, more brilliant in its simplicity, and can be fully implemented according to a system that is not dependent in any way on human will.

 

If it’s true, there is no need to worry about human authorities, religions, or governments. If it is NOT true, there is STILL no need to worry about  human religions or governments in terms of “God” since you are automatically free of them.

 

The only  correct choice to make in terms of religion, therefore, is given in Matthew 24:23. Don’t believe any of them. The only correct choice you can make, religious or atheist, is to be free from human ideologies and superstitions.

 

 

 

Cambrian Explosion–Evidence For God?

The creationists think they found evidence for God in the Cambrian Explosion. Because distinct species “suddenly” appear adapted to their environmental niche, creationists argue that surely an “outside” hand organized this life.

The Cambrian Explosion is defined from Wikipedia:
The Cambrian explosion or Cambrian radiation was the relatively rapid (over a period of many millions of years) appearance, around 530 million years ago, of most major phyla, as demonstrated in the fossil record,[1][2] accompanied by major diversification of other organisms, including animals, phytoplankton, and calcimicrobes.[3] Before about 580 million years ago, most organisms were simple, composed of individual cells occasionally organized into colonies. Over the following 70 or 80 million years the rate of evolution accelerated by an order of magnitude (as defined in terms of the extinction and origination rate of species[4]) and the diversity of life began to resemble today’s.[5]

This sudden origin of life resembling today’s over a rapid period has been used by creationists as “evidence” of God. In fact, there is no such evidence, and studies in science are proving more to be so.

In fact, new evidence strongly suggests that this quick formation of species actually come from needs of our immune system, resulting in sexual reproduction as a means of “screening” random genetic mutations.

The idea of sex as resulting from needs of the immune system is called the “Red Queen’s Hypothesis” as stated in this Wikipedia entry:

One of the most widely accepted theories to explain the persistence of sex is that it is maintained to assist sexual individuals in resisting parasites, also known as the Red Queen’s Hypothesis.[5][10][11]

“When an environment changes, previously neutral or deleterious alleles can become favorable. If the environment changed sufficiently rapidly (i.e. between generations), these changes in the environment can make sex advantageous for the individual. Such rapid changes in environment are caused by the co-evolution between hosts and parasites.”

“Hosts” and “parasites” are explained simply enough. For example, my body, “me”, becomes a host for a “parasite” such as a virus or bacteria, which, over time, actually becomes part of “me.” Continued in Wikipedia, below:
“Imagine, for example that there is one gene in parasites with two alleles p and P conferring two types of parasitic ability, and one gene in hosts with two alleles h and H, conferring two types of parasite resistance, such that parasites with allele p can attach themselves to hosts with the allele h, and P to H. Such a situation will lead to cyclic changes in allele frequency – as p increases in frequency, h will be disfavored.”

Selection of one system over another, simply by matching pairs of alleles in a genetic system. A majority of one type will gradually select over another type, creating “patterns” that lead to developed species over time. Back to Wikipedia:

“In reality, there will be several genes involved in the relationship between hosts and parasites. In an asexual population of hosts, offspring will only have the different parasitic resistance if a mutation arises. In a sexual population of hosts, however, offspring will have a new combination of parasitic resistance alleles.”

A combination of genes as in sexual reproduction grants more diversity, but this very diversity actually allows for more protection in our immune system. A mutation of a “parasite’ such as a virus or bacteria is limited in the damage it can do, because sexual reproduction causes variations within the gene pool of a species. A mutated virus may enter our bodies, but the genetic differences created by sexual reproduction limits the damage done to us as a species.
Quit simply, over time, this constant battle and interchange among host and parasites, creates a selection process, in which a “survival strategy” emerges that limits the effects of random genetic mutations of viral or bacterial infection. Back to Wikipedia:
“In other words, like Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen, sexual hosts are continually adapting in order to stay ahead of their parasites.

Evidence for this explanation for the evolution of sex is provided by comparison of the rate of molecular evolution of genes for kinases and immunoglobulins in the immune system with genes coding other proteins. The genes coding for immune system proteins evolve considerably faster.[12][13]

…. It was found that clones that were plentiful at the beginning of the study became more susceptible to parasites over time. As parasite infections increased, the once plentiful clones dwindled dramatically in number. Some clonal types disappeared entirely. Meanwhile, sexual snail populations remained much more stable over time.[14][15]

In 2011, researchers used the microscopic roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans as a host and the pathogenic bacteria Serratia marcescens to generate a host-parasite coevolutionary system in a controlled environment, allowing them to conduct more than 70 evolution experiments testing the Red Queen Hypothesis. They genetically manipulated the mating system of C. elegans, causing populations to mate either sexually, by self-fertilization, or a mixture of both within the same population. Then they exposed those populations to the S. marcescens parasite. It was found that the self-fertilizing populations of C. elegans were rapidly driven extinct by the co-evolving parasites while sex allowed populations to keep pace with their parasites, a result consistent with the Red Queen Hypothesis.[16][17]

Critics of the Red Queen hypothesis question whether the constantly-changing environment of hosts and parasites is sufficiently common to explain the evolution of sex.”

In other words, sexual reproduction caused a genetic diversity from generation to generation, but acted to stabilize the species over time, both limiting random change and protecting against excessive damage from random mutation.
In fact, the very exchange of viral information over time caused each organism to select certain genetic information over other information, with constant competition cancelling out factors that didn’t contribute to survival.

Exchanging DNA at a more rapid pace, gradually developed “strategies” that combined to create an overall survival strategy that sought to screen out destructive viral and bacterial agents. Over time, this process of reproduction became sexual reproduction, because genetic information could be passed on and controlled within a species by the male “informing” the egg of the female. The pattern remained generally the same, except now sperm acted as the informing agent, entering the egg, whereas before, a virus entered the cells of less organized bodies, and began replicating itself in order to survive. These replicating processes, over time, became a coordinated “survival strategy’ that worked within a species, with competition among sperm acting in similar fashion to a virus competing to enter a cell.

As you see in the quote from Wikipedia above, cloned systems gradually became extinct, while sexually producing systems maintained stability in their generations. In fact, it is that stability that gradually allowed for sexual selection over cloning.
It is this process in which the male, battling or competing for reproductive rights, is able to “inform” the female with the best genetic “information” as a result of that competition. Competition, instead of providing for evolution, actually guarded against evolutionary change, or at least guarded against randomized evolutionary change.
While we may look for a “mind” or “higher power’ as a regulator in this regard, the simple fact is that all the various DNA strands combining in a multi-celled organism would each select for information consistent with its own goals of survival. The process of life, and its complexity, does not require the maintenance and regulation of “God.”

Sexual reproduction emerged simply as a need for providing a defense against random genetic invasion. Scientists today know that the “germ” cells, those cells that are reproduced through transmission of sexual genetic traits, are not directly affected by viral infection. Germ cells are those cells that pass on information to your children. These, of course, are composed of egg and sperm cells. Another form of cells, however, are known as somatic cells, and the information in somatic cells are never passed on to germ cells. Mutations that occur in the somatic cell cannot be passed on to the germ cells.

This suggests that the germ cells, directly associated with genetic inheritance through sex, “screen” unnecessary changes from the environment.

Females, as the “receiver” of genetic information from men, naturally develop “screening” mechanisms that allow for specific selection of values and cultural traits that tend to forge security among cultures. Socially, this screening process among females has tended to control social arrangements.

From this evolves a selection of related traits in which we progress from religion as a means of securing our collective selves against death, to governments that secure us collectively against threats on earth, and to greater protection of ourselves as members of the group.

Just as rapid exchange of viruses and bacteria was gradually isolated into an immune system over time, so did the social process of animals become locked into protective strategies based on sexual reproduction, such as mating rituals among different species, even species that show very little difference visually to the human eye, which will develop very specific “signals” by which a species selects a proper mate. This allowed each species to adapt strictly to its environment, and to develop resistant genes to external change.

Humans, of course, began to alter this strict behavior when they began traveling extensively and encountering diseases which resulted from viruses and bacteria in foreign climates. In time, rites of passage began to develop, after the models of ritual mating behavior, generally that included fire, as it was discovered fire destroyed the ‘demons” that made the people sick. Food that was cooked with fire destroyed microbes that were harmful, which allowed for a less responsive immune system over time, and ritual behaviors developed that protected groups of humans over time.

What becomes more and more apparent over time, is that all of these basic drives result from the immune system. Sexual reproduction, geared to ritual mating protections, rites of passage, and even religion, over time, served to “immunize” us to the final confrontation of our own death. In many cases, this form of “immunizing” actually was a kind of “numbing” from those aspects of life that were too shocking to face constantly. Religion gradually allowed us to think that the trials and tribulations of this life are nothing compared to what is waiting for us “on the other side.”

Over time, and with exposure to many different religions, it became increasingly complicated to select one that allowed us to ritualize our behaviors and avoid the stress and “overchoice” that culture and technology gradually imposed. Men who weren’t easily convinced by religion needed government, and government began to replace the need of security, the “numbing” immunity that religion could no longer provide.

Marshall McLuhan, the “media guru”, pointed out that the communications medium, whatever it may be, alphabetic text, printing press, radio, TV , etc, is a form of “numbing” of those parts of us that are directly affected by the medium, similar to local anesthesia. The more easily we communicate common feelings and assumptions among ourselves, the more we are “numbed” to the differences that exist among us. Shared “meanings” communicated within our groups, reduced stress within the group by reducing the choices that would have been imposed on us as individuals.

Processes by which early groups formed alliances was also a form of “numbing” by combining social/sexual relations within the tribe, further restricting the genetic interference that would alter collective security. from mating rituals among animals, we developed rites of passage for puberty aged children.

From this, we gradually found ways of “numbing’ our self identity into false-family relations, such as “children of God”, “brotherhood of man”, terms which suggested genetic relations, but were merely conceptions representing such extensions of self. As such, we began looking for more abstract ways of combining collective “immunity” to the point, as Slater writes, that we discovered the “machine-like response”, organizing ourselves in such a way when faced with threat that sacrifice of individuals for the “greater good” allowed us to defeat those cultures less prepared in such mechanical fashion.

In this instance, natural selection became biased toward mechanical processes of organization that led to empires with god-kings and processes of organization that denied individual freedom of choice.

It may be that our deepest dilemmas today are between the immunity of the individual “self” and the collective “self” acting to preserve the “greatest good”. I believe that has always been the underlying argument in civilizations, tracing our decision-making processes to extensions of our immune system. This would also fit with Bruce Lipton’s “Biology of Belief”, and the emergent discoveries in epigenetics.

Government “immunizes’ us against the threat of growing old and having no means of survival, and this can also turn into a war-like “civilizing” influence over other nations, as we see in the US today, with invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya.

The more that individuals are empowered by communications media, however, the greater the threat of revolt against the evolutionary trends toward centralization. Each person becomes a “whole” rather than a mere “cell” in the body, or “cog in the machine”. This empowerment of individuals actually “re-sensitizes” us to events on a more personal level.

As such, we look for ways to “immunize’ our self against the swallowing up of collectivist ideologies. “Terrorism” is merely the war of evolving communications technology. Each individual begins to exercise power that s/he could only dream of at one time, and could only act collectively to achieve. We are more and more empowered to act as individuals, and this will be the central focus of emergent systems.

This empowerment of the individual against both church and state, however, forces us to develop new relations that transcend geographical isolation, and even local communities. Internet transactions allow us to participate “piecemeal” in many different groups, even as many different persons. The individual of the past becomes a complex set of relationships, and can even pretend to be of the opposite sex, pose as a much younger or older person, and is less and less restricted to the necessary identity imposed by both church and state.

From the biological system that gradually centralized us as living bodies over time, telecommunications now permits us to ‘de-centralize” our very personalities in ways that we never before imagined, and whether you are atheist or religious, “God” will undergo many new definitions.