Many of the most destructive and counter-factual contemporary Western conspiracy theories are antisemitic because they are new versions of what the gospel scholar Burton L. Mack calls Mark’s apocalyptic “myth of innocence”, otherwise known as the Christian Gospel, that has, since the fourth century ACE, shaped Westerners’ assumptions about reality as a struggle between a wholly innocent, betrayed, and afflicted, but ultimately omnipotent and triumphant, power and the evil, but ultimately doomed, rulers of this world. In this reality, as a Catholic priest once said, “there has to be a betrayer.” And, throughout Western history, not only conspiracy theories, but dominant ideologies of both ruling institutions and revolutionary powers have followed Mark in naming the Jews as the guilty betrayers and cruel persecutors and murderers not only of saviors, but innocence itself.
abstract: Hedges’ claim that “the Christian Right” has contaminated “the Christian religion“ with “aspects” of “American” society—“imperialism, capitalism, chauvinism, violence and bigotry”— that are alien to Christianity is historically false. These evils have characterized the most dominant strands of Christianity throughout its history. Hedges’ denunciation of the Christian right as heretical implicitly enacts an orthodoxy that has authorized and even required Christian “imperialism, … chauvinism, violence and bigotry.” When Hedges denounces the Christian right as heretical, he implicitly uses the orthodox logic that equates imperial might with sacred rightness, precisely the logic that the historical Jesus, according to a great deal of historical evidence, subverted.
I am beginning this series of posts on domesticity anew in the midst of five related global responses to five related global crises: the Black Lives Matters movement that responds to systemic racism, and especially police assaults and murders of people of color; the movement to contain and limit the spread of COVID-19; the MeToo movement that responds to systemic sexism, and especially the harassment, assault, and rape of women; the movements to respond to the current economic and political crises that expose the injustice and cruelty of dominant political and economic systems; and the movements that respond the climate and extinction crises that are already extinguishing vast numbers of species and threaten to make our earth uninhabitable for vast numbers more, as well as for most of our descendants.
Throughout my adult life, I have sought to understand love in order to be more loving. I have also sought to understand how to help communities be more loving. Writing these posts is one way I am continuing to work on what I have, in the past, thought of as two different tasks, but which are, I have come to understand, two aspects of the same work. To love is to participate in loving communities.
In this post, I summarize the theory that grows out of my sense of reality as loving communities, the method I use in thinking and writing about particular events, stories, articles, books, movies, t.v. series, or whatever as constituting elements of reality as loving communities, and a listing of the discussions that result . I will be updating this post as my thinking develops and to keep it current as a table of contents for and summary of the whole series.
I introduce each post with a poem or a selection from a poem. Poetry creates and evokes visceral senses of reality as a whole. Articulating and attending to these senses (feelings, atmospheres, or moods) is essential to understanding reality as loving communities.
Trust assumes empathy, opening to and feeling with the trustworthy other. …. Like trust, with which it is almost synonymous, empathy is ontogenetically and ontologically primal, both the individual historical and the ongoing always present ground of reality as loving communities or co-creative meetings between knowing and known. Reality as a whole and we and all the participants in reality as a whole are continually empathically forming and formed.
The understandings of reality as loving communities and of trust as the womb of being are “religious.” A “religion” is a sense of reality as a trustworthy whole. This definition is a variation of the understandings of “religion” a hundred and fifty years of anthropological, social, psychological, historical, and philosophical studies of “religion” have generated. It builds specifically on the Jewish religious thinker Martin Buber’s statement that “religion” is “the whole of human reality” and the psychologist Erik Erikson’s understanding of “religion” as the social institution charged with restoring, when threatened, basic trust.
The psychologist Erik Erikson observes that what he calls “basic trust,” the openness to reality as a whole as trustworthy, is necessary for human life. As sociologists, anthropologists, and philosophers have observed, the practices that construct the communities that constitute us as social beings assume and enact this visceral sense of reality as fundamentally supportive of our existence. As these thinkers also observe, the senses, paradigms, theories, and ideas, including those of scientists, through which we know the world and ourselves, presume this sense of reality as having an order we can at least partly understand and upon which we can at least partly rely.
Loving communities are not a goal we seek to achieve; they are who and what we are; we begin in and only live and thrive in and as loving communities.
The sources of Christian and Western anti-semitism lie in the betrayal motif which lies at the heart of the Passion Narrative, which lies at the heart of most Christians’ faith.
Roy Herndon Smith
The priest proclaimed, in stentorian voice,
in the inner sanctum of the temple,
“You pure and holy men of faith,
prepare the bread for the King’s banquet.
Do not allow a touch of leaven,
that pus of death, to corrupt it.
And when it’s ready, don’t let a crumb of it
fall into the jaws
of the filthy faithless dogs.”