Culture and Religion

What better source for the 'goods' on religion than a born-again evangelist (a proud member of MENSA and Prometheus Society) who not only 'saw the light' but who convinced both parents and one of his brothers to join him in apostasy. It struck me Barker is much like a gay who rejects the norm, 'comes out' to his parents (mothers cave almost immediately to prima dons), and turns his folks into gaylib activists. His self-advertisement and its 'heppi end' is sooo American, even a cameo appearance by Oprah Winfrey, it's either touching or over-the-top hilarious. The parallel is apt as gay and atheist somehow are synergies, slightly disorienting, but to be tolerated, both discarding old-fashioned bigotry in favour of freedom, liberty, Paul Revere.

The mid-19th c was phenomenal. So many brilliant composers, scientists, philosophers, genuine geniuses like Marx and Darwin. The age of Prometheus. What Man could achieve seemed limitless. Man shaking his fist at God. Or even taking over, revolting against God. Atheism became the fashion among the intelligentsia. It's as if God got His revenge in the 20th c, showing Man just how childish, ignorant, hateful he could be. Without God. So was it all Marx's fault? What would he do?

Next to workers of the world unite!, Marx's religion is the opium of the people is a meme that is embedded in our consciousness. But like most good things in life, it is misquoted.

If anything proves the validity of Occam's Razor,i it's contemplating the astounding attempts over two millennia to square Christianity's circle, or rather triangle. Trinitarianism: one God existing in three coequal, coeternal, consubstantial divine persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit, three distinct persons (hypostases) sharing one essence/ substance/ nature. The 'what' is one, the 'who' is three.

The Old Testament has been interpreted as referring to the Trinity in many places. One of these is the prophecy about the Messiah in Isaiah 9. The Messiah is called 'Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.' Some Christians see this verse as meaning the Messiah will represent the Trinity on Earth. This is because Counselor is a title for the Holy Spirit (John 14:26), the Trinity is God the Father, Jesus, Son, the Prince of Peace, the Counselor Spirit.

But this trinitarianism is very different from the Hindu Brahma (creator), Vishnu (sustainer), Shiva (destroyer), or the Roman Diana.

Why is the world a mess and getting worse? There are many causes, but I think the main one is the collapse of morality since WWII, those war years being 'anything goes' in so many ways. The orgiastic bloodbath to end bloodbaths still haunts us. The slaughter is still incomprehensible. 100m? How could Christian Europe allow such a horror, culminating in a genocide of European Jews?

At least part of the answer can be found in the critical years between the death of Jesus in 30AD and the death of Paul (67AD?), the man who replaced him at the heart of the new Jewish messianic movement that Paul's followers would call Christianity.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here