Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter 4, part 6

Having laid the groundwork for the outright brigandage of Calvin, let us turn to his more pervasive corruption of the Cross. In the wake of the revolt against the Papacy, Europeans were frightened, endangered, and even worse, unsure. The lethal weapon at Luther’s command-the printing press-had spread a dangerous outbreak of ideas, against which tyrants have always cursed and abjured. As a result, people were left with a void of security, which is the most primal of all human needs. Thus, a time of uncertainty created a prefect soil for a dark harvester to sow. And sow he did.

Calvin was a prolific writer, so it would be manifestly unfair to cherry pick him lop-sidedly. Some of his commentary was valid, even sagacious at times. But we must review the effects of his work, to see what he left behind for us, and little that was mundane survived him. After all, Luther and other Reformers were better exegetes than himself. What did survive his works was his deadly, deranged doctrine of double predestination.

Free will vs pre-destination: preachers and clerics hate this adversity, for it truly has no resolution before the discovery of particle physics. Arminius, the Dutch Reformer, made effective argument against Calvin’s position, but the truth of the matter is that free will is not mentioned in the Bible, and predestination is. That conflict still drives theology today, what little remains. To boil it down, Arminius claimed that Calvin was making God the author of sin, if He predestined a soul to sin against Him and fall. Without a choice, there is no justice in condemning a sinner, since it was God who wrote his life. A normal person would consider that a problem.

Calvin, on the other hand, had no problem with that at all. That was subsidiary to the Depravity of Man-that men were born into sin, and were damned until saved from it, which Augustine declared from times past. This terrible estate drove the ancient church to practice infant baptisms, to shield a baby from going to hell. This practice was rejected, however, by Protestants, including some Calvinists who made it their flagship issue, who became the Baptists. Baptism had to be chosen, as a sign of accepting the Gospel: and the hard core still maintain that in must be a dunk, not a sprinkle.

Yet, Calvin’s double predestination made it clear that you were not in control of salvation. That was decided by Christ, and Christ alone. This made people even more nervous, since the comfort of salvation was now utterly beyond their reach. Why do anything, then, if you are damned or saved before you were even born? Calvin at least knew that this had to be countered ahead of time, lest he be painted into a corner. So he added another impossible dimension to the axiom.

You cannot control you fate, but, you can show that you are amongst the elect, by working very hard, and adhering to all the rules. A life unstained by indolence, sluggardly repose, and waste was the one way you could know that you were likely a saint in the making. This of course meant that if you were not doing this- keeping perfect piety, working hard, with industry, never wasting time on frivolities (Weber concentrates heavily on the ‘time is money’ that made America and its’ ethic)-then you were not a saint. You still might go to hell, even if you did everything right: but, you could find comfort in being able to believe that you at least had a chance, if you adhered to absolute ardor.

This ethic, of never wasting a moment or a coin, was the security that replaces the old Catholic model. Thus, Weber identifies it as the ‘Protestant Work Ethic’: it is not to imply that Catholics are lazy. It was a specifically Protestant, Calvinist response to not having the assurance of the Roman Catholic paradigm. This idea was horrific; I doubt Calvin even knew what he was unleashing. But it was here that the malice associated with Christianity began in full. The Inquisitions, the barbarity in New Spain-these were atrocious. But they died out, having been rejected over time as evil. Calvin’s idea was only beginning.

The terror of hell, of never being certain-without diligence-created a growing coterie of followers who took to the idea fervently. They developed fanatical strength of will, and extraordinary intellect through discipline. This was, in a sense, a ‘super soldier’ program: it refined the genetic limits of the practicioner. This became its’ own curse, however, and a source of great malice to boot. First, it created the idea that if you were doing well in life, God is blessing you. That it to say, if you are successful-as industrious, focused, pennurious people mostly tend to be-it is a sign of God’s favor. This begins the trend to see unsuccessful people as not favored, and therefore, damned.

Here, we see the beginning of the division of the world into the chosen few, and the great unwashed. There is no pity for the weak or wretched; if they failed, then God did not want them. If their piety was impure, they failed. Such sinful lapses revealed a weak will, and that was only made right through the rectification of the flesh, usually through flagellation. And should the weak be unable to rectify himself-well, the whip hand was always at the ready to drive some righteousness in to their hide.

Since the program of double predestination elicited the very best efforts from people, they tended to be extremely genetically fit, and this eventually became, over time, the basis for not only the superiority of white men over all others, but of the physically adroit of the weak and puny, as a sign of divine affirmation. The Greeks called this idea Charisma: that the beautiful were anointed by the Gods, and the deformed rejected by them. There was no physical defect but spiritual light. You had both or neither. Thus, by the mid 19th century, Calvinism had become the basis for Muscular Christianity, the promotion of fitness as a sign of racial and spiritual signs of the blessing of God. This idea transformed into Eugenics, the elimination of the weak and fallow, to preserve the race-which itself was borrowed by a failed artist in Germany.

The survivors of the terror program of Calvinism lost all compassion, all sympathy, and all pity for those who were defective. As a group, they were traumatized into psychotic behavior, and this, in turn, transferred to any who were deemed unworthy. These are the people who gave us witch hunts, hangings for breach of Biblical code, and the genocide of a people in the Americas, who were assigned to hell as ‘red devils’, and wiped out wholesale where possible. The Puritans were miserable, angry, and repressed, which finally led to the collapse of their societies. By the dawn of the 18th century, The disciples of Calvin were largely divested into new traditions, that excised the madness of Calvin in different measures, creating new denominations like Baptists and Presbyterians.

Unfortunately, the dismissal of Puritan power did not erase the impact of Calvinism. The seeds had already been sown. The dawning New World was febrile with hope and energy, with the possibilities of a vast horizon, ripe for a ‘manifest destiny’. Colonial trade with Europe was thriving, and an age of invention was afoot. A man could own his labor, his freedom, for just a few years indentured servitude to pay for passage across the Atlantic. Then, there were some who could not ever do either, who paid with their very humanity to make across the waves.

Slavery in America is a grotesquely complicated, intricate affair, that cannot be cut like the Gordian Knot. You could fill the credit requirements for a History Major with the classes needed to comprehend the elaborate nuances involved in a mastery of all the data involved. I will address the matter spiritually, which is am inversion of the terrestrial examination of the affair. The making of slave-the commodification of a person-is perpendicular to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This rests on on one commandment:

“Do unto others, as you would have done unto you”

No one wants to be vulgarized beneath humanity, robbed of their freedom and dignity, and converted into property for chattel. You cannot out-argue this position. It has a primacy that cannot be eroded, obviated, or ablated. Accordingly, I can say that the Bible does not condone chattel slavery, or the making of free men into slaves. The estates permitted in the Torah were applicable only to Canaan, and only under extreme strictures.

But we know how history went. Slaves were profitable short term-indentured people as well-as the growing economy was hungry for the production of goods. Profits were there to be made-and if that required indentured serfs, African slaves, or Indian genocide, well-they were obviously not elect. Profit was king, because in advancing in wealth, you were one step closer to God. And God loved you, because you were successful.

I will conclude this unhappy affair in the next post, as it becomes a morbid thing to dwell upon too greatly. When I have shown why the Cross is so despised today, I will put the negative behind us, and return to the voyage of the Kalak, which does have, at least, a happy ending. It should have been a spotless vessel, the tiny boat made to reach all men, all places, all times. It should have been a joy to see, as it brang the tidings of the Good News. What would the world look like today, if it had run the Tigris as it was meant? We will see a window on this ahead, as we examine what it looks like now.

Abraham, River of Faith: Chapter 4, part 4

Here, we must discuss the profound, and terrible impact of the life of Jean Calvin on our planet. I won’t clog the process with well-established history: you can easily find many sources that detail his life. What I want to show here is his part in the dialectic of darkness, and how significant he is to it. This requires a brief preamble.

Since the rise of Constantine, the Church began a path of power and pride that resulted in the marrying of itself to the State. It was slow, at first. The Bishop of Rome claimed to rule the Church through the Petrine Doctrine, which asserted that Christ built His church on Peter, whose successors occupied Peter’s chair. When Constantine became a Christian, and ordered orthodoxy in the Church, a swell of power began to rise, where humility was once commanded. Within a century and a half, Pope Hormismas became the first of the office to order the death of a heretic-a power found no where in the Bible.

This would blossom into full madness with the fall of Old Rome. When the Goths took the city in 476, they found a ruined glory, empty of it’s teeming thousands, with no one to even defend it. The sack by the Vandals in 410 had left it threadbare and dingy, as all the choice treasures had been plundered by them. Ostensibly, the government of Rome had been moved to swamps near Ravenna; calling itself the Exarchate, it held out hope that succor would arrive to restore Old Rome-which almost occurred under Justinian in the 6th century, in a reconquista spearheaded by the superb general Belisarius.

Gothic Rome held, however, and like all barbarians, they were much better at taking an empire than ruling it. They were in desperate need of assistance in running the Empire-and of all the institutions that had crumbled and atrophied, there was one that remained energized and vigorous: the Church. The bishop of Rome had a great following, and was a natural source of structure, which gave them a enhanced voice with the Gothic kings. This would find its’ fullness in the son of Merovese, Clovis the Frank.

Clovis married a Catholic girl, Clotilda, who gave him a crucifix to wear,which, according to him, saved his life in battle after he prayed to the Roman war god Christ. She never really explained what it meant-he was a Frank, the hardest fighters in the West, and that was the way he saw ‘gods’. He became a Catholic to honor the war god of his wife’s people, and the Bishop of Rome as all to happy to indulge his misconceptions-since those would now be his to direct. This began the Terror of Rome, and countless were its’ victims for the next millennium.

It was small at first. The Frankish war machine took the North, where the gnostic Gospels had fled after Nicaea, and where paganism was still rife. Here, people were tortured and murdered for resisting the Cross of Christ, which became a standard of violence and terror. In one case, St Dawid earned his stripes by butchering 200,000 pagans. Teutonic pagans were likewise subjected, until Charlemagne wiped them out, and tore down their great tree.

Then, the Papacy, not content to rule Heaven, cast its’ eyes on the seat of the Holy Roman Empire, and with that, it became a purely political office. It began to scheme and plot as any earthly ruler did-and it played the game the same way. It created the False Decretals, and the Donations of Constantine, to prove that the Papacy was the inheritor of the Empire, not the Emperor. This split Europe in two, as men like Dante-at the threat of death and damnation-wrote courageously of the right of the state to rule without subjection to the Church.

The sheer greed of power and opulence began to mushroom forward from the Vatican, and to the desire of the evil Popes, there was no limit. Some men wore the miter with dignity, even honestly. But the structure of the Papacy was increasingly corrupt by nature, as power attracts men willing to sacrifice ethics to obtain it. After time passed, the Papacy began to claim powers so absurd that reason could not bear them-which became a deadly virus to catch anywhere the Cross was displayed. At times, even where it was displayed.

Not only was it criminal to question the Pope, it was equally anathema to seek Christ your own way. Jon Hus was murdered-after a promise of safe conduct-for ‘heresy’, as were the pitiful Vaudois, who were abluted by methods of evil unparalleled until the 20th century, by the very pious Charles Emmanuel II of Savoy. The claims of power and avarice were unchecked, even by kings, as the Bishop of Peter claimed the power of Interdiction-the cutting off of an entire nation from Communion from Christ, if the ruler did not bow before the power of Old Rome.

The Papal Bulls-decrees- are visible to see, as a record of the madness of power. They made the teaching of the poverty of Christ a heresy, while launching wars of acquisition of land in the Levant. And after a while, they assisted empire in the converting people into property, with demarcation of the New World, and the Bull Dum Diversas. By the time of Age of Discovery, the Papacy had the power to conquer the world, and act as its’ primary functionary of human trafficking. Eventually, the became spiritual traffickers as well, being able to spring a loved one from Hell-for a modest donation.

The power of the Papacy to do harm became reckless, unchecked, unfettered, to the extent that they could burn men alive-for having the wrong Bible, or contradicting their version of the truth, like the geocentric doctrine. And when I say could, I mean did. Bruno would not recant the heliocentric model under torture, as poor Galileo did, and was roasted, hurling defiance at the Pope as he burned. At the turn if the 16th century, the Terror of Rome has no rival, no equal, no limit. The Hapsburg alliance controlled most of Europe, and underwrote the Papacy with the full support of the might of Austria, Germany and Spain. Heady with power, it seemed that the dream would never end for the men in the Lateran Palace (incidentally, known as the best whorehouse in Rome, for he array of prostitutes who gathered there, to service knights and priests, or, occasionally, a Pope, like Alexander or Julian). Then, the bravest man in Europe put an end to it all.

The Papacy had survived the game of power, and risen to the top of it. No one could stand against it. Then, a grumpy monk in northern Germany nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, and rewrote the planet dramatically. Martin Luther was the torch on the powder keg that had brewed for a thousand years. Armed with courage, conviction, and a surprise weapon-the printing press-he struck a blow at the Papacy that ignited the resistance to it, and with the help of Frederick the Elector of Saxony, found an ally in a growing movement of nations that would stand up to Rome, including Sweden, under Gustav Adolphus, and the Hanseatic League of the north. Francis of France also agitated greatly against the Hapsburgs, which helped Luther remain safe for a while, but it was the work of Frederick that kept him safe from the Pope’s promise of safe conduct that had led Hus to immolation not long before.

Eventually, the Empire struck back, and the Papacy formed the Councils of Trent, which formulated the response to the Reformation movement-and it was a violent one. Not at first, but an animal near death becomes thrice as savage for it, and the papacy was no different. The counter-Reformation was so bloody a war that Europe had to quit fighting, after a third of it had died, just as in the days of the Black Death. Finally, at Westphalia, all parties agreed on the sacred words: “Cuius Regio, est Religio”-to the ruler, his religion. What is insane-or human- in this whole affair, is that Protestants were seen as another religion.

So, as a new day dawned on Europe in 1648, let us look at the tally at the end of game for the Papacy. Execution by whim, torture at will by Inquisition, rapine and brigandage in the New world, the commodification of non-Christendom, land grabs by war of conquest in the Levant, the hostility to the poverty of Christ, and the assertion of the power to damn the very souls of men. I have not even touched what the Hebrew endured during this time-and what they saw, when the Cross came their way, which is even worse than I have enumerated thus far.

The true villainy of this is that the Bible permits none of this. In an age when the controllers of the Bible dictated what it said, it was used to validate virtually anything the controllers desired. It was, to borrow from Nietzsche, ‘human, all too human’. But, in defiance of the ‘True Scotsman’ nonsense, I must assert that Christ gave us one commandment which makes these affairs impossible to support Biblically. Thus He spoke, as Law from His mouth: “do to others what you would have done to you’. If adhered to, this obviates all the maladies hitherto abjured. He never said ‘If that guy disagrees with your political agenda, cut off his head’. So, it is not Christianity that is to blame, but rather, Christendom, the political edifice built on the Church, all those centuries ago, in the age of Constantine.

Thus, when the Vaudois were savagely extirpated, the last of their tortured moments saw the Cross emblazoned on the armor and shields of their assailants, as did the Cathars. The pagans of Wales and Germany share this with them, as well as the Huguenots of France, who were themselves Christians. The Hebrews, beaten, robbed, massacred, converted by force, burned as witches, and continually dehumanized came to see the Cross as a symbol of absolute terror-as did the Mezo-Americans who were obliterated by the men from the ships bearing it on their sails. Thus was the Cross impugned. It was the standard of men who bore no resemblance to the man who died upon it. It was a politicized emblem of an empire gone berserk. Nothing-nothing– that stood before the Terror of Rome could long survive. And this would be the blueprint for what was to come.

All of this has been a primer-a mere primer- for what is to come. For now, now you are ready to face the iniquity of the Arch villain of history, whose blackness, like a singularity, swallows all that it covers. Here, no light can escape’ here, only darkness prevails. What I showed you in the Papacy was the foreshadowing of the Pope of the Protestants, their true son, who made his father-for Papacy comes from the Latin for Father-proud of the stamp it left on its’ offspring. You saw what the Papacy did to the Cross. Now, prepare to see the epic shadow of the man who drowned the world in madness ineffable. Behold, the shade of Calvin.