Comfortably Numb in the Land of Mammon

This column is intended mainly for the “Christian nation.” Some who do not subscribe to the Christian belief system and worldview, and some who do, may find what follows a waste of their time.

What is the measure of a man? Is it his willingness to give, unasked? Is it his faith in something greater than himself? Is it the care and protection of those he calls family and those who are less fortunate? It is all these things and more.  What is the result when he strays from those things that define him?

What is the measure of a nation of people? Is it their willingness to stand as a witness and an adversary against tyranny and oppression? Is it the recognition that there is a calling of conscience that is intended to perpetuate justice and equality? Is it the care and protection of its citizens? It is all these things and more. And what is the result when a nation strays from those defining characteristics?

People and nations define themselves, largely, according to the subscribed philosophical/religious tenants that shape their thought and belief. America and many of its long-held beliefs, the very beliefs about freedom that inspired the Revolution, have changed. This change may not reside inside your heart or in the hearts of those you know. But the transition has occurred nonetheless in the American culture.

I believe this transition has occurred incrementally over many decades that span at least a century. The people and their states, no longer sovereign or in control of their own destiny, have over many years been relegated to an increasing degree of subservience on multiple levels, the result of which, shamefully, would make us barely recognizable to those citizens who dared to rise up against the British Crown.

The transformation of the United States has devolved to a point that the belief in and acknowledgement of a Creator God, through the efforts of establishment Science (a religion in its own right), academics, government, entertainment and the various media, has been replaced with a more Spartan assessment of humanity that has its philosophical roots in materialism (for example, mind springs from matter and there is no God… man alone can save himself), mechanism (for example, man and the universe as a machine and the brain as a computer; all explained by the use of “scientific” reductionism), a form of humanism meant to replace the need for God (worshipping the creature more than the Creator), a materialistic theory of mind (one that insists that consciousness comes from the brain) and egoistic hedonism (that has us convinced that the self-serving approach of “looking out for number one” is the pinnacle of rational motivation and experience), among others.

For their part, Christians largely stand by as observers, as if their silence in the face of the transformation is something called for, something to be expected. We say we will not take the mark, yet will we not rise up and fight to keep laws from being enacted that will bring that mark to bear? Being an observer is not possible in God’s participatory universe. Heisenberg and others proved that. So did the Bible.

When a man strays from what once defined him, he becomes less than he was before and more willing to be subservient to the powers around him; powers against which he is told he cannot prevail. So, too, with a nation. Whether complying with the politically correct axiom that “you can’t fight city hall (so why try?) or with the sometimes unspoken requirement to cover up, and even lie, for an employer (think of the people you know, including Christians, who this applies to), acts of subservience accumulate in conscious behavior over time to become patterns of thinking and believing. So, too, with a nation.

And as subservience is cemented the people, as participants in the transformation, become increasingly malleable and unwillingly to confront the authority that shapes their worldview and convinces themselves that they are to believe what they are told to believe, and without question.

We were reminded in the 1st century that we are wrestling (denoting a cognitive and/or physical action) against authorities and powers and world rulers of the darkness that exists. Maybe that’s why in the following verses Paul talked about outfitting ourselves in an armor by which we could resist and stand our ground in the day of evil.

But many Christians believe that America is a good, godly nation. So how could it possibly foster evil?

Some of you will remind me that Christians have biblical foreknowledge that mockery and persecution is to be expected and is unavoidable. This is true. But where is it said that Christians are supposed to be accomplices to that persecution. Are we supposed to sit by in silence as our children are taught theory disguised as fact by academics and text book publishers? Are we supposed to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye while our faith is slaughtered continuously in the media for the past three decades? Are we to act like obedient children when Christianity is torn down yet other religions go unimpeded, even promoted, through that actions of local, state and federal governments?

Most people acquiesce to being followers and are easily swayed. No wonder Christ likened us to sheep. Would that it were true that Christians are not so easily swayed. But over the generations they have proved themselves to be just the same as their brothers and sisters who are not believers. It is not that they compromise their Christian beliefs in church, it is that their willingness to stand up for their beliefs outside church and in the face of unrelenting public condemnation has been wittingly or unwittingly compromised.

We today, by our failure to stand for our beliefs, are more like a house built on shifting sand. The power of Caesar has essentially invaded our homes, our lives, our beliefs… even the very consciousness that some of us believe was manifested at once when God breathed in the breath of life (neshama in the Hebrew) and man became a living soul.

It is difficult to bind a strong man when challenging and or trying to modify his beliefs. It is not so difficult to subdue that strong man who speaks strong words in his house, but weak ones in society, and it is not so difficult to shape his worldview while allowing him to retain some of his spiritual beliefs. This was the Roman tactic that worked so well and helped facilitate the assimilation of nations and religions, including Christianity, on three continents.

We are much like Esau, who sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. Christians in America over the past century sold theirs, as did non-believers, for a different kind of nourishment. People will fall for nearly anything if they are kept fat and relatively comfortable in the land of plenty, in the Land of Mammon (Money).

And with the otherwise innocent promise of “anything is possible in America” our silence and subservience was bought with a price. The price was not spiritual. The price was material. You may say it’s not so, but in the broader American culture, mammon became god. The proof is all around us.

Will Durant once said that “Caesar hoped to reform men by changing laws and institutions; Christ wished to remake institutions and lessen laws by changing men.” Who is Caesar? Does he not live today, and in every day? Or are we to believe that the spirit of anti-Christ has vanished? Do you really believe that some of the authorities and powers and world rulers of the darkness that exists all live in nations other than the U.S? Power, money and control always go together. And the U.S. is still the most powerful nation in the world?

And when your federal Dept. of Homeland Security says in 2009 that those who are pro-life, among other things, are potential domestic terrorists your correct response as weak men and women is to keep quiet and don’t dare speak up for the unborn or speak out against Caesar’s mouthpiece.  And, as usual, we stand by like gutless, Godless wimps; our mouths sealed with the fear of losing a job or alienating ourselves in a nation where political correctness rules our lives. All this in a nation whose federal authority has promoted the killing of nearly 50 million unborn children since 1973.

An example of the presence and nature of Caesar can be found in the symbols used to exalt the seat of power and awe in a nation. Is it coincidence, or perhaps not, that the symbol of the spirit of the Caesar of Rome exists here today in America?

Both in symbol and in practicality, the seat of American democracy is the U.S. Capitol. The word “capitol” was originally the name for the temple to the god Jupiter located on Capitoline Hill in ancient Rome. Some of you say symbols don’t matter, but I doubt you have a “666” necklace in your jewelry case.

But in the form of symbols the Rome of two millennia ago figures prominently in other places where American federal power is denoted. One of these forms, the fasces, the bundle of wooden rods tied with strapping in the form of a cylinder and sometimes topped off with an axe head, was a symbol the imperial power of Rome.

By the mid-20th century the word was transformed to give title to Benito Mussolini’s Fascist Party in Italy.

Today in America, that same symbol is positioned above a doorway in the Oval Office; it is used in the official seal of the U.S. Senate; it is included in the Mace of the U.S. House of Representatives; it is positioned on the U.S. Supreme Court building; it is on the official seal of the U.S. Tax Court; and in many other places, not the least of which is atop the U.S. Capitol where it rings the base of the so-called Statue of Freedom.

The interesting thing about the statue is that it sits so high off the ground that few notice what sits atop the symbol of American “democracy.” The Statue of Freedom, like a few other allegorical female figures used so ubiquitously throughout history, is also the Roman goddess Libera, or Freedom. But a few centuries earlier she was Persephone to the Greeks. And who was Persephone but the daughter of Zeus kidnapped by Hades and later made his wife. So perched atop the U.S. Capitol, positioned in regal form, exalted high above us all in a place of honor, sits none other than the Queen of the Underworld, the Queen of the Dead.

There are many such symbols woven into the American culture, many of which find their place of origin in the land of the Caesars. You may laugh, but go ahead and wear that 666-necklace to Sunday school and watch the reaction from your friends who, too, believe there is no significance or power in symbols.

And since the beginning of recorded human history, from the Chaldeans to the Olmecs to the Egyptians and back to Sumer, and Ur, every civilization has been ruled, in part, with those in power using various symbols and images to reinforce that power, promote allegiance and to humble the masses and keep them in line.

Unlike our time, nearly all of human history was without TV, the internet or books. These symbols and images, as in book of Daniel, were larger than life and inspired awe and subservience and worship. America today is no different. We just usually think ourselves as more cosmopolitan and above such entrapments and superstitions. But do not be fooled by our modernity. Do the research yourself. These images are everywhere and we respect them, largely out of naiveté or out of just plain ignorance of history.

Some of you might say that these are governmental symbols and have no bearing spiritual matters. Please understand that the symbols and images from ancient times, in those times, represented the melding of governmental and religious authority because Caesar and all the other rulers were seen as gods and often worshipped. And the religion was essentially humanism, the first religion known in human history. Born in the Garden, the serpent admonished the first two human to eat the fruit so that “you will be as gods.”

For those who still resist believing that they are being influenced just consider the 2nd Commandment… we were forbidden to make any graven images to our God, yet we think nothing of using, even admiring, the graven images of the gods of other nations and religions that have been incorporated into the American culture and even into Christianity itself, in the broad sense.

But enough talk of symbols. For some of us, and maybe for some of you, it is high time we stop our century-long worship at the feet of the American Caesar. His charge to us is simple. Believe and do what
Caesar (the corporate/government interlock) says, pay your taxes without question, assume the prescribed patriotic posture when Caesar wishes to wage war (this is a far different matter than patriotism born of conviction) and never, ever question Caesar’s authority.

For the past several decades Christianity in the United States has been mocked and belittled by a vast array of societal mechanisms, with most Christians standing idle and mute on the sidelines, as if it is their place in life to do so. But our silence equals consent and consent equals servitude. The new slavery has no need for whips and chains; the shackles of this subservience are worn in the minds of Christians, and others, who dutifully obey the wishes of Caesar. It is fortunate for us that Christ was willing to stand against the system of power rather than being bought out by it.

The difference in the Caesar of Rome and Caesar today is that for much of U.S. history that word, I believe, is interchangeable with what I usually refer to as the American government/corporate interlock, the Ruling Elite. I won’t take up time with that topic here since I have visited it on so many other occasions in other columns.

But the eyes of Christians are also blinded, and their allegiance co-opted, by the handiwork of establishment science, public education and the various forms of news and entertainment media.

As for science and education, while it is certainly the case that one can see the world in a grain of sand through the miracle of creation and consciousness, the religion of Science can only see silicon dioxide, limestone or gypsum and the various other constituent compounds through its insistent predisposition for reductionism. As mentioned earlier, the roots of its belief system (its religion) springs from philosophical precepts that have been worked and re-worked to exclude God. No further explanation should be needed to make this point.

Establishment Science sometimes needs to be reminded that the order of the appearance of life on this planet espoused by Darwin, Lyell and others was also laid out in exactly the same order more than 3,000 years before they were born, in the first chapter of Genesis?

Many Christians scream at the notion of the Big Bang while many in Science cherish it. Both are wrong but for different reasons. Even Einstein resisted the idea that he developed. At the end of the day his theory, built into what is now the law of relativity, accounts for the “generations of the creation” of the heavens and Earth outlined in Genesis. His seminal work on relativity clearly shows that the beginning of the universe (and God said let there be light) came from a point to tiny that it was perhaps no larger than the period at the end of this sentence. Gee, it’s essentially the same thing Nahmanides said in the year 1250 A.D. after reading the opening verses of Genesis. It’s just that Nahmanides went one baby step further, replacing the singularity (the “period at the end of the sentence”) with the event of creation itself.

Establishment Science and the Bible are really so close, it’s just that Science can’t stand for it because its religion is committed to there being no God, contenting itself instead to worship the creature more than the Creator.

Meantime, the prohibition of the emergence of theological physics and other disciplines only guarantees the preeminence of the religion of Science. So much for the education system that propagates atheism and agnosticism and to whose temples on university campuses we send our children to be instructed by the high priests and disciples of the religion of Science. And all the while we sit in silence. And by our silence we give our consent.

As for the national news media and entertainment industry, their mission is simple. Keep the masses divided; keep the patrons of their particular slant polarized (divide and conquer); feed the fires of conflict; keep people’s eyes glazed over with emotion-trapping inducements, much like Huxley talked about in Brave New World; and shape the beliefs that will guarantee our obedience to Caesar’s commands.

Or stated another way by William Randolph Hearst in 1897 to the artist Frederic Remington: “You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” Think for a minute what that statement means. War means business, war means profits and war means death. Who dies?

The “first-born” referred to by Alexander Hamilton usually do not have to die in wars since their families, through their business interests, help fund government. It is us, the masses who, according to Hamilton, are “turbulent and changing and can seldom determine right” that are called on to give that last full measure of devotion.

People in every nation have a territorial predisposition for nationalism, sometimes called patriotism. In this way we are never to speak ill of, and always stand in our support for, our country, our state, our village, our tribe and our high school football team. After all, we’re #1.

Despite everything you’ve just read, sometimes the time comes to take a stand for a higher cause. The trouble with rendering unto Caesar is that Caesar believes he owns everything or has a right to it. And even on the local level, for those few who do not pay rent to a landlord or mortgage company, try going a few years without paying your property tax and see who owns your home. It won’t be you when it’s sold on the courthouse steps.

Through the disconnect arising from timidity and complacency in the Land of Mammon you are a participant of the ushering in of the prophecy that will destroy the very beliefs you hold dear. Resist the finery, like three captives did in Babylon millennia ago, and you may be able to withstand the flames no matter how hot the furnace gets.

Personally, I think the time is past due for Christians to make a choice and to chart a new path. I’m not saying this is the answer, but it can be effective in altering Caesar’s course.

One aspect of that path is economic. Christians by lights years represent the largest block of discretionary spenders in the U.S. If the body of believers as a group of tens of millions decided to make a personal business decision not to buy products from companies that sponsor anti-Christian activities we could shut down the profits of multi-nationals within weeks or months. And for the sake of their profits they would cease those activities. I’m sure you can think of more creative examples of this than I can.

Another way to chart a new course is through civil disobedience in mass, if that’s what it takes; and without the need for violence. With a mass of a million, 10 million or 50 million people taking to the streets when an anti-Christian law or one that usurps another freedom is passed there are not enough jail cells on the planet to hold us.

Caesar is always getting in our face. And we do nothing about it because we are afraid of Caesar, admitted or not. And don’t tell me that you’re not. In my line of work I’ve seen it too many times, whether with state or federal, even local government issues. But It’s time we get in Caesar’s face. If we act in mass Caesar will fear us. And that’s exactly what’s needed.  And plus, we already have the greatest role model for civil disobedience in history on our side: Jesus.

But wait. I’m sure we won’t do either of these. After all, the body of believers is so often divided in the practice (largely by the pigmentation of our skin) of the religion and through the many variations of dogma that we hardly stand a chance. Besides, we’re fat and lazy, afraid to get involved, afraid of Caesar’s power and afraid of our shadow; comfortably numb in the Land of Mammon.

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