Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)
Today is the second Son-day of Lent in which we reflect on and prepare for the ritualized remembrance of the death and resurrection of Yeshua, the founder of our faith. Each year, during my meditation on these important spiritual landmarks, I try to reformulate my life views of the past in terms of what I have discovered in the past years to recreate a synthesis that is the most inclusive and coherent of all that I have learnt since.
Over the past three years, I have discovered the life-work of Prof John McMurtry and his decoding of the eco-genocidal machinations of the private transnational money-multiplying sequencing that are destroying every domain of the life-ground that sustains all of life. Over the past week, several eye-opening submissions have passed my way, that have inspired me to reinterpret my faith through his life-value onto-axiological framework. It appears that there are intimations of this framework through and through that are blinkered out from conscious understanding and that can only be made evident with the right life-filters to discern and help us distinguish between life-value and anti-life-value.
The first is a sermon that was sent to me by a man of faith and a patient of mine with whom I have been honoured to serve and to also be able to share my new found understanding of value of all of life. Although he may not have known it, it has distilled in my mind from a historical point of view a crystallization of understanding that connects more dots than I could not have been able to do without this life-value onto-axiological framework.
Second Sunday of Lent February 25 2018
Genesis 22:1-18; Responsorial Psalm 116; Romans 8:31-34; Gospel Acclamation Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:2-10
The first reading this Sunday is a difficult, troublesome reading. It is unthinkable that a loving, compassionate, merciful God would ever demand we offer our first born child as a holocaust to prove our faith to a suspicious God. The reading begins with the statement, “God put Abraham to the test.” What a capricious and angry test: God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son. How ghastly! How unthinkable! God promised Abraham and Sarah that from this child a people whose numbering was impossible to calculate. This test put in total and irrevocable jeopardy the very promise God had given. God tests the faith of Abraham. To what purpose? Why was it necessary for Abraham to prove his faith?
The gospel reading this Sunday contains an answer; well perhaps. But the answer could never have been known by Abraham. Nor could the writer enduring the Babylonian captivity in the sixth century before the birth of the Christ have predicted the awful sacrifice of Jesus in Jerusalem, completed on the wood of the cross. But we see in Jesus, God’s son, another example of faith, of absolute commitment. If we are able to empathize with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane after the last supper we see a parallel with Abraham’s anguish as he walked with his son to the mountain where Isaac was to be sacrificed. How can a just, loving God demand such the death of the child who was God’s gift? In the Christian era we can also ask how the loving, compassionate Father can demand the death of his only son, Jesus.
In the gospel, Jesus ascends a mountain taking with him the three, Peter, James, and John. Whenever there is a mountain in our Bible, our ears should perk up with attention. The mountain is where God comes to humanity, where God reveals himself. Climbing a mountain requires effort: it’s a lot of work even for those with the vigor and energy of youth. In the story Jesus goes to the top of the mountain to pray and wants Peter, James, and John to pray along with him. This happens in the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke as a prelude to Jesus entering Jerusalem the final time. This time Jesus will be put to death by the forces of this world. So does God in some capricious manner demand the death of his only son? Is this God’s will? Is the story of God’s test of Abraham’s faith a foretelling of what will happen thousands of years later? It has often been said that the transfiguration is the preparation of Jesus for his trial, his passion, and his death at the hands of those who live in the ways of the world.
But what of the overshadowing cloud, that clear and certain image of the God’s presence on the mountain where Jesus is conversing with Moses who is the channel of God’s law, and with Elijah the greatest of those who spoke of God’s hope and guidance for his beloved nation? The voice thunders, or was it a whisper that strained the ears of Peter, James, and John? “This is my beloved son: Listen to him.” This is no suggestion: this is no “it-would-be-nice-if-you-listened.” This is a very clear command from God. “Listen to him.” We’re to listen not only to the words of Jesus but to his actions. There are consequences to living a life of faith and truth in the presence of God. We believe we will be welcomed into everlasting life. But before we get there we will be subjected to the anger and violence of the way of the world. The way of the world always attacks, always meets lived faith with violence as it struggles to deny God’s love and compassion.
Let’s take another look at the story of Abraham’s test.
How do we make sense of God demanding Abraham sacrifice his son Isaac? Didn’t God promise Abraham that he and Sarah would be the patriarch and matriarch of a great nation, a people so numerous that no one could count their number? Isaac was the only real life avenue to achieving this. What’s with God? He promises and then reneges on that promise? What’s an answer to this troubling story? What do we tell our children when they ask why God would ask such a sacrifice? In our own time, why would God allow mental illness and undue influence of power and money to set the scene for the death of 14 young persons who were a hope for our nation? Why would God allow three teachers, administrators who worked for the welfare and growth of the young to be cut down?
We could say that Abraham was influenced by the culture that marketed worship of the awful god Moloch. The Canaanite people who followed that cult were obligated to offer their first born sons to that demon. These infants were burned alive in an overheated furnace to honor and seek favor from Moloch. Did Abraham think such behavior would prove his God an equal to Moloch? If the pagans who created this monster god had to be honored by such a sacrifice, did Abraham think it his obligation to prove his faith in his God more than equal to that evil demon? If we think about it with logic and with movements of our hearts, we discover evidence that the cult of Moloch remains active and present in our time. John Paul II spoke often about the culture of death pervading the cultures of the world. As more and more nations succumb to the pressures of Mammon – the god of corrupt wealth and power in all its forms – more and more children are crushed under the treads of vast corporate and individual machines of economic violence and political power. When those who are chosen to represent us, whose obligation is the common good, when those persons surrender their efforts to a corrupt power of wealth our children are periodically sacrifices to the flames of Moloch? There is a contemporary example of this surrender in the array of tools of mass human destruction available to anyone with a purchase price. Are we not complicit in facilitating the theft of the lives of our young when we fall in line with the way of the world? Is not the drive for profit in the manufacture and marketing of weapons for human destruction the root cause of proliferation? Has the need for campaign funds or a desire for a grand life-style subverted the consciences of global politics to corrupting self-interest no matter the collateral damage?
Our season of Lent looks forward to that awesome three-day-long liturgy of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil. We speak often about Jesus dying for the sins of the world. Perhaps we misspeak when we say “for the sins of the world.” A more accurate expression would be to say he died a victim of the corrupt power and wealth. We look at his work in those three terrible days to discover how we are saved, how we are redeemed from what is sinful. Those three days are really a test of God. Wouldn’t we, if our children were murdered not rise up in anger and murder the murderers? The Father’s response is instead of a victory that is the resurrection. The sins of the world will never eliminate God’s love and compassion for his creation. It is his Son who is attacked by greed, avarice, unbridled power, and insatiable wealth. This test of God’s compassion is a proof for the depth of his love for us: it is testimony of God’s enduring love for us. It is witness to the necessity of truth about the way of the world and its effect on our spirits. Sister Verna Holyhead, an Australian Sister, writes in the publication Give Us This Day a clear message regarding the test of Abraham and the test of God’s loving kindness toward us.
“It is well to remember that God did not want the sacrifice of Isaac or any other child, and especially his own Son. What killed Jesus is what continues to crucify today: disregard for human life and human dignity, lust for power, materialism, violence. What gives life is faith and love.
“Every disciple in every age has to learn what Peter, James, and John learned on the Mountain of the Transfiguration: Following Jesus is not about comfort and security but about daring to hammer the tent pegs of our lives into the mystery of Christ, with a readiness to strike camp and move on when he wills.”
In this second week of Lent our readings ask us to consider how we individually and as members of local, federal, and global communities live our faith. Today, as in every age, our faith is tested by the culture of the world around us. When our God becomes a little “g” god we fail the test of faith. When we worship money, power, influence, or fame as our god, we fail to live our faith. Just as the ancient Canaanites worshipped a god of death, we also worship that same god when we have faith in the ways of the world. Those ways ultimately lose their ability to lead us to fullness of life. When wealth, power, influence, and fame are worshipped, we run rough shod over the dignity and worth of God’s creation. We can never allow those things to cloud our vision even though we must make use of them for our living and for God’s purpose. The point is to never allow them to become a dark cloud over our faith, over our reason, or over our understanding and pursuit of the common good. That is, after all, the second great commandment. The overbearing, strident voices of Mammon always appeal to our emotions and insistently divide us into warring camps. Our emotions are unable to discern the truth of what demagogues shout at us. It is our heart, attentive to the Word of God, and our reason, which applies the Word of God to our every circumstance. We must put our trust in God and reject Satan and all his works, and all his temptations. We must climb the mountain and pray for the vision to listen and apply the Word of God. In this beginning of Lent we are called to walk with Abraham as his faith is tested: let us struggle up the mountain and Listen to the voice of God instructing us to “listen to the Word.”
When we resolve to listen we are able to sing with conviction the Responsorial Psalm this Sunday. “I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” Let us reject death and all that supports death and live in the Lord.
“The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!”
Carol & Dennis Keller firstname.lastname@example.org
Revealingly, when I decided to do some research into “the awful Moloch”, this is what I discovered.
Who was Moloch/Molech?
Question: “Who was Moloch/Molech?”
Answer: As with many details in ancient history, the exact origin of Moloch/Molech worship is unclear. The term Moloch is believed to have originated with the Phoenician mlk, which referred to a type of sacrifice made to confirm or acquit a vow. Melekh is the Hebrew word for “king.” It was common for the Israelites to combine the name of pagan gods with the vowels in the Hebrew word for shame: bosheth. This is how the goddess of fertility and war, Astarte, became Ashtoreth. The combination of mlk, melekh, and bosheth results in “Moloch,” which could be interpreted as “the personified ruler of shameful sacrifice.” It has also been spelled Milcom, Milkim, Malik, and Moloch. Ashtoreth was his consort, and ritual prostitution was considered an important form of worship.
The Phoenicians were a loosely gathered group of people who inhabited Canaan (modern-day Lebanon, Syria, and Israel) between 1550 BC and 300 BC. In addition to sexual rituals, Moloch worship included child sacrifice, or “passing children through the fire.” It is believed that idols of Moloch were giant metal statues of a man with a bull’s head. Each image had a hole in the abdomen and possibly outstretched forearms that made a kind of ramp to the hole. A fire was lit in or around the statue. Babies were placed in the statue’s arms or in the hole. When a couple sacrificed their firstborn, they believed that Moloch would ensure financial prosperity for the family and future children.
Moloch/Molech worship wasn’t limited to Canaan. Monoliths in North Africa bear the engraving “mlk”—often written “mlk’mr” and “mlk’dm,” which may mean “sacrifice of lamb” and “sacrifice of man.” In North Africa, Moloch was renamed “Kronos.” Kronos migrated to Carthage in Greece, and his mythology grew to include his becoming a Titan and the father of Zeus. Moloch is affiliated with and sometimes equated to Ba’al, although the word ba’al was also used to designate any god or ruler.
In Genesis 12 Abraham followed God’s call to move to Canaan. Although human sacrifice was not common in Abraham’s native Ur, it was well-established in his new land. God later asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice (Genesis 22:2). But then God distinguished Himself from gods like Moloch. Unlike the native Canaanite gods, Abraham’s God abhorred human sacrifice. God commanded Isaac to be spared, and He provided a ram to take Isaac’s place (Genesis 22:13). God used this event as an illustration of how He would later provide His own Son to take our place.
Over five hundred years after Abraham, Joshua led the Israelites out of the desert to inherit the Promised Land. God knew that the Israelites were immature in their faith and easily distracted from worshiping the one true God (Exodus 32). Before the Israelites had even entered Canaan, God warned them not to participate in Moloch worship (Leviticus 18:21) and repeatedly told them to destroy those cultures that worshiped Moloch. The Israelites didn’t heed God’s warnings. Instead, they incorporated Moloch worship into their own traditions. Even Solomon, the wisest king, was swayed by this cult and built places of worship for Moloch and other gods (1 Kings 11:1–8). Moloch worship occurred in the “high places” (1 Kings 12:31) as well as a narrow ravine outside Jerusalem called the Valley of Hinnom (2 Kings 23:10).
Despite occasional efforts by godly kings, worship of Moloch wasn’t abolished until the Israelites’ captivity in Babylon. (Although the Babylonian religion was pantheistic and characterized by astrology and divination, it did not include human sacrifice.) Somehow, the dispersion of the Israelites into a large pagan civilization succeeded in finally purging them of their false gods. When the Jews returned to their land, they rededicated themselves to God, and the Valley of Hinnom was turned into a place for burning garbage and the bodies of executed criminals. Jesus used the imagery of this place—an eternally burning fire, consuming countless human victims—to describe hell, where those who reject God will burn for eternity (Matthew 10:28).
Recommended Resource: The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible by Geisler & Holden
And finally, this morning, I saw an interview that closed the loop for me.
Published on Jan 9, 2018
My talk with Catherine Austin Fitts former assistant secretary of housing under George Bush Senior. Catherine talks about her own breakaway from the psychopathic, corrupted Government money system, and her wonderful work now at http://www.solari.com where she is helping people to understand our system, and move towards a more symbiotic one, based on empathy, morals, truth and co-operation.
It consolidated in my mind the symbolic meaning and signification of Yeshua’s execution by crucifixion by the ruling class of his time. His crime was that he challenged their authority and authenticity by overturning the money changer’s tables (the corrupt money system) in the temple. Thus his death was a consequence of the money-valued sins of the world that separated our life-blind ruling classes over the years and their indoctrinated complicit masses from seeing the way of the truth and the light of the value of all life.
Instead of worshiping and serving the God of Love and of for-ever-giving and for-giving life, our worship and serving of the god of Moloch (sacrificing our children’s livelihoods on the altar of gun violence, war, and junk food) and the god of Mammon (Wall Street, corporate welfare, private centralized banks, and private transnational money-multiplying sequencing) have created a money capital growth directive that is literally sacrificing all of life on the altar of Eco-Genocidal Holocaust Furnaces in the guise of Global Warming and Nuclear Armageddon.
Many of you would be confused and troubled by what I have written, but in order to defeat this evil in our midst, which one could say is a war of the spirit, I would claim a simpler and more elegant way of looking at our predicament and our way out is to see this as a war between life-value and anti-life value (in all of their manifestations, be it money-capital growth, gun violence, war and noncommunicable diseases).
We all are indebted to the free gifts of sun, air, soil and water that has sustained all of life on the planet, and we should show our gratitude by becoming better stewards of the life-ground of the soil, air and water and all of their inhabitants. We need to reclaim our life-valued maternal gift economy over our patriarchal monopolistic capitalistic life-blind economy (based on the gods of Moloch and Mammon).
Fortunately, for you and me and all of humanity, Prof John McMurtry has gifted us for free his life’s work framework of understanding to anchor, guide, and steer us to a resurrection of a new appreciation of heaven here on Earth based on a Universal Human Economy. This new reframing and resetting would allow us to serve no longer the capricious gods of Moloch and Mammon and their money-value anointed “saviours”, but such life-emancipation would allow us to serve each other and all of life in a more principled life-grounded faith, despite the life-blocking that exists in our midst. It is only when this life-knowledge is known it becomes self-evident, and its undeniability becomes self-empowering and self-realizing in all of the life ranges in our thoughts, felt side of being and actions.
Professor John McMurtry’s interview with Scott Andrew at Project Sanity is the best introduction I have seen thus far in the latest advancement of life-value onto-axiology to awaken us to the divine potential within to resurrect us from our eco-genocidal tendencies that have been recklessly misguided by the life-blind principalities of darkness from without. We should begin to put life-value at the centre of our lives, as it enlightens every aspect of our thinking, experiences and our behaviour.
And last but not least, let us not forget that Easter in its signification should be about life-grounded empathy and not the life-ungrounded empty tomb.
I suspect the writers of old had intimations of life-value in the understanding of the universe, but their ruling class have used life-blind machinations over the years in their scriptures, constitutions, doctrines and treaties, to blinker out this life-understanding in our instituted thought processes.
The one quote that comes readily to mind of this understanding introduced this blog article and is reproduced again below.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)
This has major life-value onto-axiological implications for me and can be paraphrased in life-grounded principled terms as follows:
Now faith (in the Primary Axiom of Value) is the substance (Fields of Thought, Felt Side of Being and Action) of things hoped for (Provisioning of Universal Human Life Necessities and Life Capital Growth), the evidence (Ecological, Physical Input-Output and Human Development Efficiencies) of things not seen (the Life-Ground).
If you are not convinced, please go study The Primary Axiom of Value/The Universal Human Economy as everything else is now just commentary!