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    • The Lack of Belief In Good
      Are humans good, bad or neutral? It’s an old philosophical debate, and not just in the West. Confucius thought they were born neutral, for example, while the later Confucian Mencius felt they were good, noting that everyone who saw a child fall into a well would be horrified. Others, including many Confucians and the Christian church, with original sin, have […]
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Hell Comes to Earth

So now we can see what the Devil’s greatest trick was. It was not in pretending that he didn’t exist. It was in making people think that his goal was to lure people into Hell.

Two thousand years of Christianity, and before that, variations of more ancient religions, taught that Hell was somewhere below the earth, a place where people who committed various sins or offenses would burn for eternity. “Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here.” There was no respite, no absolution, you burned forever; and perhaps demons would laugh while they tormented you with pointed instruments while you were burning.

People were at risk of falling into perdition, and the only way to escape it was to read the Bible, practice its precepts. Sometimes self-flagellation was employed by people, to punish themselves, and purge out sins from the body. Some religions taught that repentance can save you, some taught that it did not. Pardoners made money in the Middle Ages by selling Pardons which the Church said would expiate their sins. People bought relics, all with the desperate purpose of avoiding Hell.

But the Devil ignored much of that. He was working on bringing Hell to Earth.

A story from today says this: “Just a week ago, the Pacific Northwest–a place normally known for its cool and wet climate–endured the most extraordinary heat wave ever observed there in modern times. Even seasoned meteorologists could not believe what they were seeing, as seemingly impossible heat persisted day after day.”

The article goes on, “The extremity of the heat wasn’t just unusual, ‘it would have been virtually impossible without human-caused climate change,’ according to a new analysis from 27 climate scientists from the World Weather Attribution Network. And the study warns, ‘As warming continues, it will become a lot less rare.'” One scientist compared this to a once in 150,000 years event, if it were not for the obvious cause of global warming.

So the Devil brought his Hell to the upper world, which turned out to be much easier than trying to induce individual people to fall into Hell, with all those tricky contracts sealed in blood. All he needed was for some of his unwitting minions to keep people from seeing what he was doing. People whose lust for untrammeled wealth and power was the only impulse they heeded.

The industrialists who began this in the 18th Century, spewing out smoke from their “dark Satanic mills” indelibly characterized in the poem “Jerusalem” by William Blake. The people who took oil out of the ground so that they could run their machines, and then sell bigger machines running on the same fuels, to all the people, and attain immense wealth. People whose descendants in nature will never stop in this, but keep looking for more parts of the planet to destroy, to create more oil wells, so that the profits will not stop coming in.

And then the Devil realized that he could speed this up even more, if there were a whole industry of propagandists who would do his work for him, tell people not to worry, there is no global warming, The word “hoax” was one which he invented. His followers said that it was all made up, the temperatures were not rising; and that even if they were, it wasn’t humans who were doing it, so there was nothing they could do to stop it. They told others that, well, it was very hot in the Cretaceous Period, so it just happens, deal with it. It might get cool again in a a few million years. And it probably will, if all the humans are gone, and stop burning fossil fuels. Then the Devil and his demons will have the Earth all to themselves.

Well, I will not go over the statistics about temperatures and melting ice sheets, and rising sea levels. It is terribly depressing to contemplate, and incalculably frustrating to see it, and have scientists tell us about it, and for nothing to be done about it, because billionaire industrialists do not want to lose a cent of possible profits to be made; and because our political system has been gamed and exploited by the politicians whom the industrialists have bought, so that the millions of us who desperately want something to be done about this, cannot achieve it.

Did the Devil invent the filibuster? No, he just seduced the politicians with wealth and power, and knew that they were clever enough to utilize whatever they needed to do, to assure that none of those bleeding heart liberals who kept whining about saving the planet, and warning of a global catastrophe, could never actually pass laws to keep them from from gorging on those precious billions of dollars that matter more to them than anything else ever could.

Now, I actually do not believe in the Devil, but if one did, this conception of how he worked his evil, would seem more compelling than the various stories that organized religions taught people for all these centuries. Interestingly, there is no Hell described in the Jewish religion, or the Old Testament. If anything bad happens, it is the fault of humans, not supernatural entities of evil.

The forces arrayed against us are strong and entrenched. And beyond that, there are people and organizations who do the work of the evil forces, because it would be too much effort to try to do something to fight them. And because they want to keep their jobs and make some money of their own. And because they really want to believe that this will be fixed by itself. Or because they figure that they can outrun it for a time, by moving to cooler places. Or maybe their fantasy is going to Mars with Bill Gates or Elon Musk. But no human is going to be living on Mars any time soon.

Or maybe it seems so depressing and overwhelming, that most people cannot even bear to think about it, they would just prefer to watch a ballgame or go to a concert, or take a walk on a cooler day.. I understand that, and recommend it, but if anyone is going to save any vestige of the world we used to know, it is we humans who are going to have to do it. Voting in the largest numbers possible for people whom we can actually believe are dedicated to combating climate change, is one of the most important things we can do, along with sending them some campaign funds.

One of the warnings that the Puritans used to give to children, or anyone who was not engaged in pursuits which the Puritans approved of, was, “The Devil finds work for idle hands.” And in some sense, at least in the conception I imagined above, it may well have truth in it