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Norway's Massacre and the Spread of Hate

There's an advantage to being older. It's not a complete downer, as pop 'culchure' might suggest. The advantage is that you remember things. Thus, when they try to sell you turds disguised as diamonds, you can spot that they are turds, even if the moderns eagerly embrace the diamonds, wondering why they fail to satisfy. You can also stand up to other moderns who think people today are no different from those of yesterday....only that they have Ipads, and the ancients didn't.

It's not so much facts you remember. Facts are chronicled pretty well on the internet. It's the flavor of the times you recall, which if that is recorded anywhere, it is sniffed at by those educated today as being “anecdotal.” and thereby unreliable.

For example, I am older than the airline hijackings craze of the 60's. It used to be you could park your car at the airport, buy a ticket, and hop on the plane. Nobody wanted to strip search you. Nobody made you walk through wands, puffers, X-rays, and buzzers. Show up ten minutes before departure time? Not a problem. Wikapedia pretty well captures the hard facts of those first hijackings....they were exclusively to Cuba then, but they completely miss the soft facts....that is, how hijackings and the news coverage thereof changed society.

I remember well the atmosphere, if not the specifics, of that first commercial airliner hijacked in the U.S, for it froze public thought. This would have been 1967 or 1968. The plane sat grounded, I forget at which airport, its crew overpowered by desperadoes with some unspecified demands. They wanted to publicize their demands. This was a new tactic. Nobody in the media knew what to do. Should they treat these fellows as common thugs? Or should they make them celebrities, broadcasting their demands for all the world to hear? The uncertainty lasted a day or two. Finally the news people decided to cooperate....the public had a right to know, and the networks had a right to ratings. Hijackings thereafter became a staple of life, the perfect vehicle for any malcontent to gain a listening ear, though they were somewhat abated by international agreements to arrest and extradite any hijacker to their country of origin. Before the late 1960's, there were 2 or 3 hijackings per year worldwide. After the late 1960's, there were 41 per year. (until 1977, the last year of this study)

Fast forward to 2012 and the public trial of Martin Breivik, a killer whose deeds rank as especially heinous even in an age where the slaughter of innocents is commonplace. Distracting authorities with a car bomb explosion parked by an Oslo government building, he boated to nearby Utøya island disguised as a police officer and shot to death 69 persons, mostly children, at a summer youth camp. Many more were injured.

Now, you don't give someone like this a stage upon which to justify his actions. You just don't. A stage is what this fellow wants more than anything, and the deed itself is his means with which to attain it. "Your trial will be your world stage," Breivik exhorts would-be followers through his on-line manisfesto, posted just before his attacks began. Sigh....of course, authorities are granting him his stage. His trial is broadcast throughout Norway to all local courthouses. It's being given exhaustive news coverage. And is he ever savoring the moment! He glides through the courtroom, smiling, gesturing raised-fisted to the cameras. He has no remorse, he would do it again, he says, he ought to receive a medal. It was self-defense for his race, he claims, and the only time true democracy reigned was when Hitler was in power.

Court psychiatrists, before his trial, declared him insane. This did not please him, for who pays attention to a madman? He wants to be paid attention to. Obligingly, other experts reversed course, and declared him sane, even though 'disturbed.' Pleasing him was not their purpose, of was popular outrage they wished to placate....but it was the effect. Those experts watch him closely during the trial, analyzing words and gestures, so as to determine sanity.

Is it not more fitting to ask whether they are the insane ones? Not individually....I don't mean that...they're all honorable people doing their best. But collectively, what on earth is wrong with them? Doesn't that Romans 1:22 verse come to mind, about people who became foolish while asserting they were wise? Breivik's not insane, he's merely hate-filled. Hate-filled people are dime a dozen. But enabling him to broadcast hate throughout the world, surely it takes an “insane” society to do that. If curdled words spread like gangrene in Paul's day, how much more so now. (2 Tim 2:16) We'll see it here in the States, too. Some sick bastard will do some unspeakable deed, and the televised talking heads will speak about it for weeks, mulling, analyzing, and of course, repeating. It's as though they revel in watching their own demise.

On the PBS NewsHour, Margaret Warner asks: “has concern been expressed that this, even though what he says isn't televised, that this trial is giving him a platform to air his views.....that the openness of this trial is giving him that platform?” Norwegian newsman Anders Tvegard, who'd been smooth to this point, stammers though his response. Tvegard's a man with a conscience, no doubt, and he's not comfortable with his role in connecting the man with an audience. After all, is that not the only real difference between Breviek and Hitler.....Hitler found his audience?

“Norway's now taken back to those horrible hours and days last summer, July 22 and -- July 22,” Tvegard says. “And it's -- the national grief and sorrow is back." Trying valiantly to fashion turds into diamonds, he continues: "At the same time, people are listening to what he's saying, like, thinking, how is this possible? Can he really mean that? And to some, it is good to hear that he is a complete lunatic. His views has no resonance in the rest of the public. He does not belong to a political them, it's comforting to see that he is a maniac.”

But I suspect his 'maniac' label is comforting to the 77 victims' families in the same sense that it was comforting to Jews to discover Hitler was a maniac.....namely, not at all. Though perhaps....just is comforting to some others in that it permits absolution from any sense of responsibility. Breveik doesn't come “from us.” We didn't produce him. Why, “he does not belong to a political party.” What more proof does one need? Few people.....and the more prominent they are, the more this is true....want to confront the fact that, in some unexplained way, this system of things cranks out hate-filled persons nearly as fast as Apple cranks out Iphones.

I don't write much about Satan on this blog. Many persons who visit are skeptics, and if they laugh their sides off over mention of God, what will they do at mention of Satan? Moreover, it's hard to draw a line of demarcation, to apportion blame between deeds of twisted  humans and the truly satanic. Suffice it to say the world reflects Satan's values....greed, selfishness..."soft" qualities which inevitably fuel eruptions of “hard” qualities, such as murderous hatred. Several times the Bible points to Satan, not God, as the ruler of this system of things. (John 14:30, 2 Cor 4:44, I John 5:19)

Religion, for the most part, serves to put a smiley face on all of this. It deplores the symptoms, to be sure, and suggests no end of band-aid approaches. But it buys into the overall structure of the world, it's division into nations, it's faith in human self-rule....ingredients which inevitably produces the symptoms it deplores. It has no real problem with the overall structure itself, only the symptoms, and tries to put itself into the driver's seat. To my knowledge, only Jehovah's Witnesses recognizes the true cause of world distress: a Satanic rebellion of long ago. Only Jehovah's Witnesses recognize the ultimate solution: destruction of this system of thing to be replaced by God's Kingdom rule from heaven. Only Jehovah's Witnesses restructure their lives, at considerable personal sacrifice, to tell others of these overall causes.



Tom Irregardless and Me             No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'

Scholars, Experts, and the Transfiguration

The question was: how were Jesus words at Luke 9:27 fulfilled?

“But I tell you truthfully, There are some of those standing here that will not taste death at all until first they see the kingdom of God.”

It was multiple choice! The options were (with hints from the blogmaster):

 A.  The Transfiguration (already widely refuted by Christian scholars)
 B.  Jesus' Resurrection (has nothing to do with seeing Jesus come in His Kingdom)
 C.  Jesus' Ascension into Heaven (has Jesus going somewhere else, not coming in His Kingdom)
 D.  Pentecost (has nothing to do with seeing Jesus or His Kingdom*)
 E.  When the Gospel message was preached to the world (has nothing to do with seeing Jesus come in His Kingdom with power*)
 F.  When the Roman legions, under the command of Titus, crushed the Jewish rebellion and destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE (has nothing to do with seeing Jesus come in His Kingdom)
 G.  When Jesus established His "mediatorial" Kingdom (which nobody can actually see)

Of course, I can't resist multiple choice, especially on the internet! I jumped in both feet and said: “A! It's A!" What clinches it is that “A” is "already widely refuted by Christian scholars. If these guys refute it, it must be so.”

The blogmaster caught my drift: “Always the contrarian, huh tom? Do you run a hedge fund, by any chance?”

I don't. But it is a fact that when all the experts are screaming “sell,” that's the time you buy. And so with choice “A.” All the 'experts' are selling it. I'll buy.

Alright, alright, so it's a little more involved than that. We must look at why the experts refute the transfiguration, which Luke goes on to describe (Luke 9:28-37)

“In actual fact, about eight days after these words, he took Peter and John and James along and climbed up into the mountain to pray. And as he was praying the appearance of his face became different and his apparel became glitteringly white. Also, look! two men were conversing with him, who were Moses and Elijah. These appeared with glory and began talking about his departure that he was destined to fulfill at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those with him were weighed down with sleep; but when they got fully awake they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. And as these were being separated from him, Peter said to Jesus: “Instructor, it is fine for us to be here, so let us erect three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah,” he not realizing what he was saying. But as he was saying these things a cloud formed and began to overshadow them. As they entered into the cloud, they became fearful. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying: “This is my Son, the one that has been chosen. Listen to him.” And as the voice occurred Jesus was found alone. But they kept quiet and did not report to anyone in those days any of the things they saw. On the succeeding day, when they got down from the mountain, a great crowd met him.”

Frankly, how could anyone not take this as the fulfillment of Jesus words. It's the very next event to follow! Luke even throws in a transitional phrase: "in actual fact." ("And it came to pass that"....KJV)  Talk about connecting the dots! How could anyone miss it?!
The answer to how anyone could miss it is that “we don't see things like this happening today.” Thus, if the “scholars” and “experts” give “A” as their answer, they will be laughed off  the stage by those intellectuals whom they so desperately want to be counted among. This is but an NT manisfestation of the OT “we are wise and learned adults, far too clever to be sold Adam and Eve. What's next, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck?” syndrome. Far better to choose from answers “B” through “G,” options which can all be presented as “inspiring” or at least “open to many interpretations” (both the province of intellectuals) rather than “miraculous” (the province of dunces).

These guys are spineless. And faithless. They ought not label themselves Christian experts, but something more along the lines of “deistic-flavored philosophers.” Why wouldn't Jesus' words just prior to Luke 9:27 apply to them?

“For whoever becomes ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of man will be ashamed of this one when he arrives in his glory and that of the Father and of the holy angels”   Luke 9:26

The laugh is that these Christian experts ignore the scripturally obvious answer to Luke 9:27, to suggest less miraculous and thereby more respectable interpretations, only to find that these choices also are ridiculed by today's intellectuals, who lean increasing atheistic. They sell out faith, and gain nothing in return! I'll side with Paul any day, who was “not ashamed” of the good news. (Rom 1:16)

This sucking up to the world is by no means a modern development. Rather, it's a recurrent NT theme, expressed here, for example: “For there will be a period of time when they will not put up with the healthful teaching, but, in accord with their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves to have their ears tickled.”   2 Tim 4:3

To be sure, not “putting up with healthful teaching” was to happen for a variety of reasons. Not all could be chalked up to currying favor with intellectuals, but a lot of it could.

For example, the New Encyclopedia Britannica (remember encyclopedias?) writes: “Christians who had some training in Greek philosophy began to feel the need to express their faith in its terms, both for the own intellectual satisfaction and in order to convert educated pagans.” The Trinity teaching wormed in this way. It's not to be found in scripture, unless you take rather obvious metaphors literally. At various church councils, according to scholar Charles Freeman, those who came to believe Jesus was God “found it difficult to refute the many sayings of Jesus that suggested he was subordinate to God the Father.” So they began to elevate intellectual opinion (the sayings of Church Fathers) over the scriptures themselves!

Now, everyone knows that Christianity began as a working-class religion, not an educated intellectual religion. From the former come folk who can call a spade a spade. From the latter come folk who can lift scripture to a loftier plane, make it respectable, and monetize it. Get a load of this snooty comment from theologian Gregory of Nyssa, mocking the 'lowlife' that were dumb enough to take scripture at face value:

“Clothes dealers, money changers, and grocers are all theologians. If you inquire about the value of your money, some philosopher explains wherein the Son differs from the Father. If you ask the price of bread, your answer is the Father is greater than the Son. If you should want to know whether the bath is ready, you get the pronouncement that the Son was created out of nothing.”

The above three paragraphs incorporates much that was presented in the Jan 15, 2012 Watchtower, including the quote from Gregory. JW detractors apparently accused the Watchtower of making up this quote out of thin air, since they couldn't find it themselves on the internet, and figured if it's not such low-hanging fruit, it must not exist! But Weedhacker [!] would have none of it and tracked down Gregory's words in Greek, Latin, and obscure places. So there.

Back to my “Transfiguration” answer, the one "already widely refuted by Christian scholars."......this is a beaut: the blogmaster summarizes their attitudes thus (with apparent agreement): they “dismiss it by mentioning it in passing, as if it was not worth their effort to rebut because it is already known to be false.” Of course! There's my mistake! I'd overlooked how substantial  their talents and valuable their time must be that they cannot deign to waste them analyzing the verses that immediately follow Jesus' words with regard to coming into his kingdom.

The important thing is for scholars to intellectualize the subject. Armchairify it. Steer far away from any interpretations that give credence to miracles, and especially any that might suggest commitment or action is required. Analyze the words....make a living off analyzing them, in fact. But don't be dumb enough to trap yourself into having to do any of them. Just like at Ezek 33:32: “you are to them like a song of sensuous loves, like one with a pretty voice and playing a stringed instrument well. And they will certainly hear your words, but there are none doing them.” They love to hear them. They love to debate them. They love to discuss them. But they don't love to do them. Not the experts. That's not their gig.


Read ‘Tom Irregardless and Me.’    30% free preview

Starting with Prince, a fierce and frolicking defense of Jehovah’s Witnesses. A riotous romp through their way of life. “We have become a theatrical spectacle in the world, and to angels and to men,” the Bible verse says. That being the case, let’s give them some theater! Let’s skewer the liars who slander the Christ! Let’s pull down the house on the axis lords! Let the seed-pickers unite!



Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the book ‘I Don’t Know Why We Persecute Jehovah’s Witnesses—Searching for the Why’ (free).... and in the West, with the book, 'In the Last of the Last Days: Faith in the Age of Dysfunction'