Tuesday, August 02, 2011

A Day of Horror

Some scattered thoughts around the July 22 massacre in Norway

Terror in Norway
"Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself." ( -- Carl Gustav Jung)
I've always loved this maxim by Jung. It makes me feel good about myself. But after last week, I shudder when I think of what psychopaths may read into it. The mass executioner of young people, age 15 to 34, had quoted John Stewart Mill: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.”

It goes without saying that self-proclaimed secularists, i.e. atheists or non-believers in anything religious, are citing this as a typical example of what "true believers" are made of, and that belief is, ipso facto, unhealthy and dangerous.

From a certain perspective, these secularists have a point; there is a quarter-truth in it, in spite of the fact that this particular crime was motivated not by religion, but by politics with a certain medieval dimension attached to it. What I am getting at is the one of the major principles of anthroposophically oriented spiritual science, namely that at the present time, humanity needs to take the important step from faith, or belief, to knowledge with regard to topics traditionally ascribed to the religious sphere.

Violating this principle by refusing to cultivate objective, self-dependent, critical thinking in all realms of existence can have disastrous consequences. In the case of this particular heinous act, another principle is also highly relevant. There is a certain law at work in human evolution, to the effect that if a cultural element that had its rightful place in a former epoch, is revived, preserved, or imposed upon a later epoch where it does not belong, it retards progress and may become very destructive. The same law applies if something destined to develop in a relatively distant future appears prematurely, but in this case we're dealing with some elements of a past epoch, the high middle ages, namely the Crusades and the Knights Templar.

There are other examples of this from the modern era. Heinrich Himmler built his SS on the model of medieval knighthood, and also on the Jesuit system, the principles of Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556). The Ku Klux Klan was also modeled on medieval knighthood.

Oslo, July 22, 2011

Again I've learned something about my spontaneous hunches, that I'm not in the habit of trusting, so I lean on my intellect instead. I was at home in the suburb when it happened, a fifteen minute drive from the downtown blast area, and when someone said turn on the news and I saw the debris, my first thought was neo-Nazis, I swear! But then my "logic" kicked in, and I said nah, they're so few and so badly organized they could never pull this off. So I thought al-Qaeda and that stuff. But when the kids were being shot in cold blood, executed one by one, at Utøya, the island on the lake northwest of the capital used by the Labor Party as a summer youth camp -- there were 650 of them and at least 76 were murdered -- that didn't compute with Islamist terrorism; this had to be domestic. As for the bomb downtown, an expert said the Islamists would have targeted the main train station or some other crowded spot, not a government building -- one of the few sensible statement coming from experts in this case; most of them have been talking hogwash.

We're dealing with this character, Anders Behring Breivik. I'm reluctant to contribute to his coveted place in history by mentioning his name, but it's unavoidable. I hear he's referred to as ABB, so that's what I'll do henceforth.

The truth is that I don't really feel like writing about this at all, but more than a year has passed since I touched this blog, and it seems like I can't move on to the topics I prefer to write about until I get this out of the way, so here we go. There has been so much blabber and nonsense and speculation in the media since July 22, by psychologists, psychiatrists, terror experts, criminal profilers and every imaginable type of pundit one can think of, even history professors and similar academics.

It should come as no surprise that the conspiracy buffs are making a huge story out of ABB's interest in Freemasonry, especially when he wears masonic attire, which looks like "regalia", in one of his photos. So they say the Freemasons brainwashed him to do his crime, programmed him.

No comment from me on that last point, but I'm reminded of an interview with Johan Galtung on Democracy Now! when Amy Goodman called him up in Spain. Galtung's granddaughter survived the massacre; she was on the boat that transported ABB to the island.

(If you like Noam Chomsky, you'll love Galtung too; their insights and perspectives are very similar. Amy Goodman has done extensive interviews with them both at Democracy Now, a TV and radio magazine I encourage all my readers to monitor regularly for REAL news and insights.)

According to Galtung, ABB's ideology is closest of all to Nazism, with one significant difference: For the Nazis, race was the key issue; for ABB, it's culture (religion):
"So Breivik talks cultures where the Nazis talked race. But otherwise, the similarity is almost point to point. But you see, then, when again you ask the question, 'What does it remind you of?' there is a horrifying answer, which will be very difficult for Norway to process. This is exactly the ideology of the Washington-led attack on Muslim countries. There’s a civil war in Europe. It’s called 'clash of civilizations,' the idea that came from the Princeton professor Bernard Lewis and was taken by Samuel Huntington’s publishers and put as title of his book, and I think wrongly attributed to Sam. But that doesn’t matter; that’s a small detail."
Commentators, columnists, pundits, experts, profilers etc. write pages and pages about ideologies, politics, and extremist views; they talk about it for hours and hours on radio and TV across the globe. What is being said about the crime itself and how it was carried out tends to taper off into all kinds of nonsense, simply because this is one aspect of human nature that is not understood by anybody: The mystery of evil.

Criminal Justice From A Christian Perspective

In the United States, There is a mixture of disbelief, shock and concern about how humanely the suspect will be treated and how mild his sentence will be. Norway, like the rest of Europe and the civilized West, has no death penalty, and maximum punishment for any crime is 21 years in prison -- a prison that looks too cosy and comfortable for the Americans, who feel that this is "inappropriate," "difficult to swallow" etc.

First a few words about Norwegian criminal law and its history: All of Europe eliminated the death penalty many decades ago, after a twelve year terror regime with daily executions on every street corner. And Norway in paritular passed a specific law in 1979 which permanently bans the death penalty, even if the country should be at war(!) This is the influence of the Christ Impulse in Europe over time, in the best sense of the word. It's also the influence of true and genuine humanism.

The Labor Party, which was ABB's target (including the youth camp), has been the most powerful and influential political force in Norway throughout the post-war years, and this is the very party that passed the final and total permanent ban on the death penalty.

In 1905, when Norway gained its independence from Sweden and became a separate nation proper, the death penalty was abolished for civilians, but it was upheld for the military. This meant that the death penalty could only be used in wartime and never against persons under 18 years of age.

In connection with WWII and the Nazi occupation 1940–45, permission to apply the death penalty was expanded to include Norwegian traitors and foreign war criminals. 

Immediately after the war, 24 Norwegians, 1 Dane, and 13 Germans were executed in Norway. The last execution took place in 1948. (Vidkun Quisling was executed by firing squad at Akershus Fort in Oslo 24 October 1945.)

In 1950, the laws were revised with regard to treason, including the rules governing the death penalty. A new military law was passed, allowing the death penalty in extremely severe cases of war treason.

Because of the development in other Nordic countries and elsewhere, the laws about the death penalty in military cases and all other cases were abolished on June 8, 1979. The major argument for the abolition was the principle of life's inviolability. To the best of my layman's understanding, this law is final, constitutional, and irreversible.

Those who shake their heads in disbelief and disapproval, not only at the absence of the death penalty, but at the maximum punishment being 21 years in a relatively comfortable prison regarded as luxury by some, should read the source of this development that works through the subconscious in the Scandinavian peoples, namely a Christian teaching straight from the Bible, from Christ Himself, that is conveniently ignored by those who read this religion very differently, to the point of endorsing killings, wars, torture, and revenge because their beliefs are nothing but a gross and obscene caricature of Christianity:
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." ( -- Matthew 5: 38-48)
When we consider the courts and their judgments, the fact remains that no human being has the right to judge any other human being. It would be utter hypocrisy to do so.

Look at the reality of courts, crime, and punishment from a Christian point of view as spelled out by Christ and explained by Steiner and others: The woman caught in the act of adultery, for which they had capital punishment.
"And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." ( -- John 8:2-11)
Christ wrote on the ground, on the earth, because the woman's sin was recorded in the earth's karma, and this karma is the only legitimate judge or court.
"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." ( -- Romans 12:19 KJV)
In reality, no human being has the right to judge any other human being. Because all human beings are sinful, it is utterly hypocritical for any of us to judge one another. Revenge and hate and retaliation and all that is, of course, totally absurd.

In practical life certain measures have to be taken to restrain crazy and violent people for the protection of others, and this is a challenge that needs to be met with new moral imagination in the future. The sixth post-Atlantean cultural epoch will be an epoch of brotherly love, which means that what I'm pointing out here will have increasing influence and importance in the future.

That's why I tend to get impatient and sometimes crude when I encounter retarded thinking, the kind of "conservatism" that looks toward the more primitive past ages as ideals, whether it's Old Testament times or the Middle Ages. We need to look forward and prepare for the sixth cultural epoch. And the key to such a preparation is a proper understanding of the Gospels.

It's also futile to see all those stupid messages from those who embrace a gross and brutal caricature of Christianity and their atheist critics; there's no point in even trying to set them straight.

I'm always very critical of politicians, including the Norwegian ones, but during the days following July 22 I was surprisingly impressed by them. Norwegian online forums are full of bigots, racists, fascists and what have you, and even some of my personal acquaintances in this country are talking hate and revenge and fear and loathing and even the death penalty. But not one single government representative or politician speaks that kind of language, they are all united in responding to hatred with love and taking better care of each other. So those in charge display the best this nation has to offer, and I have to admit that this has surprised me in the most positive way. And the victims, the kids in their teens and twenties who barely survived while their friends were murdered, express nothing but compassion for the gunman and talk about healing through love. Most 9/11 victims felt the same way ten years ago in NYC, but they were silenced and suppressed by corporate media propaganda backed by the military industrial complex, especially Fox News.

Hippie Nation

I really didn't know, I had absolutely no idea before, but immediately after the tragedy on July 22, Norway became a hippie nation overnight: Flower Power, Make Love Not War, the whole nine yards, with only a very few pieces missing.

I watch TV and discover that the royals are hippies, the MPs are hippies, the govt reps are hippies, even the minister of justice (= attorney general) is a hippie, and a very charming one too! Our defense minister (former justice minister) is no hippie, but let's forget her, they've kept her locked up in the basement for this occasion. Every official person, every politician we've seen is a hippie, leading the entire nation through an ocean of flowers and love and good vibes in this crucial hour of grief, led by the Super-Hippie, the prime minister. Gee, I didn't know he had it in him. He's knocked me off my chair.

This is a revolution of possible global repercussions for a world revolution, just like we dreamed in the sixties! And this is ABB's punishment: He causes a revolution like he had wanted to do, but the opposite of his aspirations. Fabian Stang, mayor of Oslo, said about ABB: "He will be punished. And our punishment will be more democracy, more love, and more openness."

Some comments from across the Atlantic were very inspirational and heart-warming -- Listen to this dude Steve here:

Tell that to Bill O'Reilly, who must be in unimaginable agony if he learns about  all this. He's being punished too, and we must have compassion on him. "May God have mercy on his soul," isn't that what they say?

Or try Pat Buchanan, who had the audacity to proclaim that ABB is right(!)

For those who don't already know this, Pat Buchanan isn't just anybody. He is the very pen behind Ronald Reagan's most famous speeches, e.g. about the Evil Empire (the Soviets) etc. The president's ghost writer. He was senior adviser to Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, in the very hub of power, deep inside the think tanks of executive American politics.

There is a lot of talk these days about the ideological beliefs influencing terrorists. The dominant corporate media, especially the Murdoch-owned Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, say they are more afraid of Islamic terrorists than of far right Western terrorists, Christian or otherwise. And from the left, writers like Chris Hedges at Truthdig, who has also been interviewed on Democracy Now! in the past, says he is much more afraid of Western extreme right terrorism than Islamic terror.

Personally, I would not use the expression "afraid of." This denotes fear, and like Yoda said, "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." We should be extremely vigilant about how we use the power of language, and we should choose our words with great care. So instead of saying I'm afraid, I say I'm concerned. And for reasons that should be obvious, I am much more concerned about the Pat Buchanans of this world than all the Islamists, Christians, and wannabe medieval knights put together.

There are only three pieces missing for the official representatives of Norway to be full-fledged hippies: First, all Norwegian military out of Afghanistan and Libya immediately. Second, longer hair decorated with flowers on all the male politicians and royals (no wigs!) -- and third, legalized marijuana and cannabis. When the grief has subsided, and before this autumn's election campaign begins, Norway deserves one huge, fat joint with homegrown to pass around from flowerbed to flowerbed, from south to north and back. Enjoy the light from the north, light up in the north!

And for those of you who haven't seen the Hippie Land pictures yet, here they are:

Like I said, they only need 3 things to be full-fledged hippies: 1) Long hair with flowers, 2) Stop the bombing and the occupation and all the military stuff, 3) legalize pot and get high; everybody must get stoned, like the good poet once said.

Huffington Post:
"Norway is Passing the Test of Terror" 

"There hasn't even been a public outcry for more security for the politicians to address. No opposition politicians, not even social media voices, have demanded more public security or pointed to the lack thereof as potential discouragements to the attacks. There has been no visible debate on gun laws or even on the sale of fertilizer, used by the attacker. Neither has there been calls for stricter legal punishment."
The United States had precisely the same opportunity a decade ago. Immediately after the massive attack with the four airplanes in New York and Washington, America was loved by the whole world. There was warmth, lots of flowers and support in every city in all countries, the US embassies were showered with flowers and loving cards and letters from the global population -- and almost immediately they destroyed it, blew it, by killing even more civilians i Kabul with bombs than had been killed in the US on that fateful day. The fact that the terrorists were Saudis -- eighteen of the twenty suicidal skyjackers came from Saudi Arabia, and Osama bin Laden too, not Afghans, not Iraqis -- that's beside the point here. The original plan to take out the governments of seven countries in five years with military force was laid on the table a few days after 9/11.

The peace marches were totally ignored by the corporate media. The victims, i.e. the surviving family members and close friends of those who had been killed in the twin towers, who said they did not want revenge or war -- "Not in our name!" -- were systematically silenced in favor of fear manipulation and war propaganda. The very same media are now doing what they can to cover as little as possible from the massive display of flower and peace in Norway -- there were 200,000 people in downtown Oslo and comparable numbers in all other Norwegian cities, all with flowers as far as the eye could see -- and instead, they have been focusing on ABB and various extremist organizations and networks to insure a high enough level of fear in the population to prevent the military budget from being cut in spite of the fact that the US is about to go completely bankrupt these days precisely because of continual, non-stop warfare and 750 military bases worldwide, plus 1000 such bases in the US alone.

Norway's Dark Side

Of course, Norway also has its dark side. The country is not the trouble-free paradise half-jokingly portrayed in Michael Moore's Sicko. Not everybody is into Flower Power and global brotherhood. There are lots of hateful Norwegian racists and bigots and fanatical far right forums, and this is an appropriate opportunity to dig them out of their brown sticky mudholes and into broad daylight and the sunshine they haven't seen in a long time, no need for anger, we'll just shower trhem with good old-fashoned Flower Power and Make Love Not War. Immediately after the bomb explosion on Friday afternoon July 22, there were shameful attacks, insults, spitting and harrassments against innocent Muslims because the culprits were believed to be Islamists.

The justice system is not that ideal either, especially when it comes to drugs. Norway probably has the strictest drug legislation on all of Europe, including cannabis and marijuana.

As a cannabis convict myself (although it's 42 years ago), I've always been supportive of the drug reform movement in the US and also in Norway, and it has infuriated me for many years that you can easily get 15 years for drug smuggling in this country while the average sentence for homicide is 5 years.

Enough said about that by me; I've vented all of it through the years. Been there, done that.

But another note needs to be added about the dark side: The Norwegian PST ("Politiets Sikkerhetstjeneste), literally, the Police Security Service, are now telling media they want people to report "extreme utterances" in internet forums and social media. In the UK, the Westminster anti-terror police recommend that anarchists should be reported and registered.

Anarchists should be reported, advises Westminster anti-terror police ( -- guardian.co.uk)

Nobody is safe. Children should report their grandparents for inappropriate remarks.

The 21 years max, however, is a lot more rational than in the US, where if they don't put you on death row, they give you something like multiple life sentences or 450 years in prison. To make you serve this time, they'll need occultists, spiritual investigators, to know exactly when and where you're reborn, so you can continue your prison sentence when other kids start school, and if you die from a disease at 40, it means an additional lifetime for missed jail time, or at least a partial additional life sentence.

And when on the subject of occultists and initiates, Rudolf Steiner spoke repeatedly about how in the future, progressive humanity would learn to refrain from retaliating against evil. In other words, the punitive instruments of the courts and the penal institutions will have no place in the future. That's why in this particular case, Norway is in the lead, as an exemplary role model. Check this out from CNN:

In other words, Norway's strength lies in its present refusal to change its laws in any manner whatsoever through such pressure, because that would only mean a victory for people like ABB. Let the rest of the world see how a civilized state should behave.

Some Norwegians, not surviving victims, mind you, but complete outsiders, have been screaming about retaliation and hate and even the death penalty, but I simply call them retards and say if they don't like it, move to China or Pakistan or something -- or to the US for that matter, where they can have an eye for an eye.

The Wars Against Civilians

If humane treatment of convicts in Norway is difficult to swallow for Americans, we're even. For Norwegians, and other Europeans too, public executions are not only difficult to swallow, but totally idigestible. And it wouldn't hurt to read Matthew 5:38-48 and listen more carefully to what the Norwegian prime minister, the mayor of Oslo and all the other public figures have been saying repeatedly during the past week, namely that he will be punished, and his punishment shall be more democracy, more love, and more openness. Now again, read that passage in Matthew. That may be hard to swallow for those on the "Christian Right" in the US who feel inspired by thos very same religion to take revenge, wage wars, bomb civilians, execute convicts, and run prisons where rape and murder are common and tolerated practices. This very culture is hailed to be a role model, moral example and so on for the rest of the world -- true leadership showing all of us that the way to paradise and liberty and democracy and I know not what other wonderful things, go through the gallows, the firing squads, the lethal injections, the electric chairs, the gas chambers, the bombings of cities around the world with so-called "smart bombs" where the innumerable children who are maimed and killed are merely accidental casualties of war.

The late great American historian, academic, author, playwright, and social activist Howard Zinn (1922-2010) put it this way:
"And the people you kill in a war are the victims of the tyrant. The people we killed in Germany were the victims of Hitler. The people we killed in Japan were the victims of the Japan Imperial Army, you know. And the people who die in wars are more and more and more people who are not in the military. You may know this about the different ratio of civilian-to-military deaths in war, how in World War I, ten military dead for one civilian dead; in World War II, it was 50-50, half military, half civilian; in Vietnam, it was 70% civilian and 30% military; and in the wars since then, it’s 80% and 85% civilian.
"I became friends a few years ago with an Italian war surgeon named Gino Strada. He spent ten years, fifteen years doing surgery on war victims all over the world. And he wrote a book about it, Green Parrots: Diary of a War Surgeon. He said in all the patients that he operated on in Iraq and Afghanistan and everywhere, 85% of them were civilians, one-third of them, children. If you understand, and if people understand, and if you spread the word of this understanding, that whatever is told to you about war and how we must go to war, and whatever the threat is or whatever the goal is -- a democracy or liberty -- it will always be a war against children. They’re the ones who will die in large numbers.
"So, war -- well, Einstein said this after World War I. He said, 'War cannot be humanized. It can only be abolished.' War has to be abolished, you know. And it’s -- I know it’s a long shot. I understand that, but you have to — when something’s a long shot, but it has to be done, you have to start doing it. Just as the ending of slavery in this country in the 1830s was a really long shot, but people stuck at it, and it took 30 years, but slavery was done away with. And we can see this again and again. So, we have a job to do. We have lots of things to do."

This brings us to the very core of ABB's crime. He regards himself as a soldier, and he expected or hoped to be shot after his incarceration, once the world had heard his messianic political message. This is reminiscent of the fact that war crimes have been rampant among American soldiers in the Vietnam War and the Iraq occupation. Ordinary young boys were pressured by their superior officers to commit such crimes, murdering young children and other innocent civilians, having photos taken of them while striding over their dead victims. Listen to the testimonies from "Winter Soldier" in 1972 and 2006.

This means that there is no noteworthy difference between ABB's misdeed in Norway and the war crimes committed by US soldiers in Vietnam and Iraq, especially when they first shoot civilians suspected of cooperating with their national resistance movement (like my father during the Nazi occupation of Norway), and then they shoot every possible eyewitness, including children.  One such video, titled "Collateral Murder" and available on YouTube, was released by Bradley Manning through Wikileaks. Manning has now been in custody since May last year, with a 52 year prison sentence hanging over his head, for exposing "military secrets," i.e. high treason. So the crime depends upon whether or not the criminal has the backing of the world's most powerful military, often with orders from superiors to carry out precisely the kind of massacre we have just witnessed in Norway. But instead of arresting and arraigning the killer, they go after the "snitch." Something to think about.

Love and Hate

The expression of grief through an unprecedented display of flowers, massive gatherings, love etc. needs to be seen in a light different from other types of deadly disasters. This is no ordinary grief. Let's imagine that the 76 youths, many of whom were only 15-16 years old, had been on a bus that went off a cliff, or on an airplane that crashed, killing everybody onboard. The grief would have been the same for the victims' loved ones, with compassion from the rest of the country, although international media coverage would have been limited to a brief note in the headlines, if anything at all. But after this atrocity, the trauma lies much deeper, because this was one man's inexplicable cold-bloodedness, carefully planned executions of young people while he moved around very calmly, even smiling, not because he suddenly snapped, but after nine years of deliberation. This is perceived as hatred, and that is why the need for an antidote in terms of warmth and love is so much greater than it would have been in the case of an accident. So we're not only looking at compassion, grief, and condolances this time, but an antidote against the coldness and the hatred.

Of course, there is another question that has been debated recently, namely about ABB's obvious lack of insanity; on the contrary, he comes across as ultra-rational. Is he, then, a monster? A demon? In the novel "East of Eden," John Steinbeck writes that some people are born monsters. He describes Catherine, the mother of the two boys, who already as a child murdered her own parents through arson. Neither the 1955 movie nor the later TV version reflect the complete coldness and evil in Catherine that we meet in the novel. "I believe there are monsters born in the world... It is my belief that Cathy Ames was born with the tendencies, or lack of them, which drove and forced her all of her life..." His explanation of this phenomenon is based upon psychology, but from a a spiritual perspective, Rudolf Steiner spoke about some children not being human at all, but demons.

Let's not go there. Don't listen to the so-called experts, who are the soothsayers, the popes and the high priests of our epoch. The mystery of ABB can only be investigated by an initiate. Not by a clairvoyant or a so-called psychic, but by someone capable of examining his past incarnations and especially his last existence between death and rebirth.

The experts, psychologists, academics and so on who opine and theorize about ABB are fumbling around both deaf and blind, in their futile search for clues. This very same blind- and deafness has also influenced popular understanding of religious and philosophical worldviews. These are normally attributed to heritage, social environment, culture, and even ethnic background. But few things are less linked to these factors than religion and philosophy.

The Children of Tomorrow

As a classic example of what I'm getting at, let's look at all this talk about "Muslim children" and "Christian children" that we hear and read about almost daily. This is pure nonsense, because children are much to young to be anything of the kind, even though they belong to families where the adults hold such views. The absurdity of this is easily exposed when we extend this manner of speech to include "atheist children," "agnostic children," "ultra.orthodox children," "neo-Platonic children," and "existentialist children." "New Age children"?

Especially the expression "Muslim children" is used over and over not only in Norway, but in all of Europe. This language is also applied quite extensively by anti-Islamists, or Islamophobes, to create public fear of so many "Muslim children" being born in Western countries. Of course this does not compute, it makes no sense. If these Islamphobes really wish to promote Western culture and values, they are contradicting their very own alleged principles. Western culture is characterized by consigning religious views to the private sphere, based upon strictly personal, individual choices. Children, of course, must grow up under the influence of their parents' value systems and philosophies, but when they have grown up they make their own choices, sometimes in their early teens. What we are doing by using expressions like "Christian" or "Muslim" children, is virtually branding them for the rest of their lives by saying, "That is what you are because you are born that way." Second and third generations of immigrants with Muslim family backgrounds are often struggling to achieve individual independence and liberation from parental controls and dominant influences -- parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts who are clinging to traditions with stubborn and reactionary conservatism. But if we think ahead a few generations, we have to recognize that all demography and statistics with regard to religions and philosophies will probably change quite radically, regardless of heritage and ethnicity. To rubberstamp children with worldviews in our daily speech is an injustice to the children as well as the future they are going to live in. That is just my personal opinion on this subject.

Islam in Europe

With regard to Islam itself, the media coverage and public debates that have been raging in Europe for many years, have all been extremely superficial. One gets the impression, for instance, that what a woman is wearing on her head is more important than what is going on inside that head. What is missing is the high level of theological discussions equal to the works of Averroes (1126-1198) and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). I have previously cited Rudolf Steiner's critique of monotheism, whether this be found in Judaism (where it began), Islam, or Christianity. What Islam itself is concerned, Steiner also explained the origin of this religion from a positive, progressive perspective.

In GA 184, a lecture cycle with the title, "Three Streams in Human Evolution -- The connection of the Luciferic-Ahrimanic Impulses with the Christ-Jahve Impulse," Rudolf Steiner speaks about the emergence of Mohammedism as he characteristically calls it, and in the fifth lecture he says:
"Through the appearance of Mohammed and his visionary religious teaching, there was a deadening of the influence that was meant to go out from Jundí Sábúr. Above all in those regions where it was wished to spread the Gnostic wisdom of Jundí Sábúr, Mohammed took the ground from under its feet. He skimmed the cream off it, and so the Jundí Sábúr influence was left to trail behind and could accomplish nothing in face of what Mohammed had done. Here you can see the wisdom in world-history; we come to know the truth about Mohammedanism only when, in addition to other things, we know that Mohammedanism was destined to deaden the Gnostic wisdom of Jundí Sábúr, to take from it the strong Ahrimanically seductive force which would otherwise have been exercised upon mankind."
In an article titled "What's Going On in the Muslim World in 2011? -- The Impulses of Sun – Moon – Mercury," Terry Boardman writes:
"100 years ago, on 13 March 1911, Steiner gave the 9th lecture in the series 'Background to the Gospel of St Mark'  (GA 124), titled 'The Moon Religion of Jahve and its reflection in Arabism -The Penetration of the Buddha-Mercury Stream in Rosicrucianism.'  One element is crucial for an understanding of today’s developments in the Middle East and  for the history of the 21st century. Christianity, which Steiner calls the stream of the Sun, comes into contact with two other streams – those of the Moon and Mercury. These are Islam and Buddhism."
In an interview with Red Ice Radio, Boardman elaborates on the influences of religious streams in European history, how the Islamic Moon stream gave Europe natural science, agricultural technology, medical knowledge etc. following the Arab conquest of the Iberian peninsula in the 8th century; and then when we move into modern times, we see the Buddhist Mercury stream entering Europe, and this impact is still active today. In other words, Islam is not the major present-day religious-philosophical import in the West, in spite of immigration and demography, but Buddhism. At the present, the Dalai Lama has a huge following in the West, not only among Tibetan exiles. Before that, Boardman tells us, it was Zen Buddhism, and before Zen, it was Hinayana buddhism. And just like the influence of Islam in Europe lasted six hundred years, we are now in a six hundred year influence of Buddhism.

This view is not likely to be met with much understanding from exoteric Christians, Muslims, or anti-Muslims; it is nevertheless the truth. This means that future generations in Europe will be under the influence of a mixture of Sun, Moon, and Mercury. The religions themselves will become more and more detached from churches, mosques and temples, because religious philosophies and worldviews are becoming increasingly privatized, more and more an individualistic, personal concern. And from there, humanity will have to take the step from faith to knowledge also in realms traditionally belonging to the religious realm. This is a necessary step that will increase the need for spiritual science.

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