Michael Flynn Is The Poster Boy For Why Monotheism Is Dangerous

Michael Flynn speaks during a protest of the outcome of the 2020 presidential election outside the Supreme Court on December 12, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

Ever notice how it’s never Jews or Muslims or Buddhists or Native Americans or anyone other than Christians who think their religion should be the only religion practiced in America? What is it exactly about Christianity — okay, American Christianity — that makes it so easily taken in by megalomaniacs like Jim Jones and David Koresh and a thousand other mostly men who insist they are “God’s messenger” (and you better effiin’ listen to what they say!)? What makes a guy like Michael Flynn say out loud that America should have only one religion: his? What in his religious instruction when he was growing up made him equate “Do unto others” with “Do what I say or else?” How does a loving god become an authoritarian monster? Spoiler alert: it’s how monotheism works. Loving people having loving “God’s” inside their heads. Racist authoritarians have racist, authoritarian gods inside theirs.

Guess who’s better at imposing their god on other people — because that’s what their version of God is telling them too do? Hint — loving Gods don’t ever have to “impose” anything on anyone; they wait for people to come to them. So, it will always be the monotheist with the darker version of God who does the better job of marketing and spreading his version because that’s what his version is telling him to do (while the loving God’s followers preach patience — admirable but time consuming). The whole idea of forced conversion is ludicrous of course. If you have to force belief on someone? That’s probably because what YOU believe isn’t all that believable.

Polytheism itself didn’t produce empires the way monotheism produced the Holy Roman Empire. That’s not a coincidence. Polytheism by its nature diffuses divine power. There may be a “head deity” like a Zeus or Odin but they control the other gods mostly. Humans are incidental to their existence, not its focus. Monotheism flipped that on its head. Now, for reference sake, we should note that the Romans regarded Christians — who didn’t believe in the Roman gods — as atheists. For real! “Atheism”, ya see, is kinda relative. Judaism may have put monotheism on the map, but it was Christianity that took monotheism wide. Following Gods laws was the point of the exercise, not spreading them to people who didn’t believe already. That’s one of the reasons Jews don’t proselytize. In our heads, you have to come to God (or be born into the tribe); there’s no “good news” to spread.

And that “good news” — that’s the whole thrust of Christianity. It’s Paul’s true genius (and Paul invented Christianity, “Jesus” did not). Paul wove a thousand years of conflicting Jewish messiah mythology into a brand new religion that took monotheism itself to a brand new place. While polytheistic gods offered individual humans nothing in return for believing in them, the Hebrews’ Yahweh (itself a distillation of the Canaanite god El) took a personal interest in humans because, for starters, he created them and they epitomized him. Humans were a not-quite-exact-but-close-enough image of God himself. Somehow though, this perfect God creates a creature that can’t even remember who created it. Next thing ya know, these stupid creatures think there are thousands of gods!

In Genesis, Yahweh tells Abraham “Believe in me and me alone and I will make of you a great nation!” Think about that. A deity capable of creating literally everything has to negotiate with something he’s created just to get them to believe in him! But that’s part of what made monotheism so attractive — there’s only one deity and he’s emotionally fragile. And fluid. You can make of this deity what you like. The Apostle Paul clearly understood that. Remember: Paul traveled outside the teeny-tiny world of Judea and Samaria. Jesus (Joshua ben Joseph is how he thought of himself) — a guy Paul never met in the flesh — did not. Jesus was born, lived his entire life and died a Jew. He thought Jewish thoughts and taught Jewish lessons to other Jews who understood all his Jewish references and concepts.

When Saul of Tarsus becomes Paul, it’s because of a vision he has — INSIDE HIS OWN HEAD. He goes to Jerusalem and tries to sell that vision but gets rejected: by the people who knew Joshua ben Joseph personally and who had actually heard him. They reject Paul out of hand because, well, he wasn’t describing the real Joshua ben Joseph, Paul was describing an imaginary character that he himself had created: Jesus, the Christ. And Paul’s version of Jesus did something the real Joshua ben Joseph most certainly did not: he defeated death.

That’s it. That’s Paul’s whole sales pitch in a nutshell — and it’s genius. In a world where gods did nothing for human beings, Paul offered a deity who cared so much about individual humans that he 1) had a son who 2) died for their “sins” and 3) if they believed in him exactly the way they were told to, then 4) just like Jesus, they, too, could live forever! in a magical after life called “heaven”. Of course, if they didn’t accept “the good news”, they would absolutely go to another place Paul and the early church fathers invented: “hell”.

Jesus preached that one didn’t need the corrupt temple or its corrupt priests in order to have a relationship with God. Paul couldn’t preach that because it would cut him out of the relationship. So Paul inserted the very same corrupt temple and priests that Jesus had railed against. In place of a simple one-on-one relationship, Paul inserted complexity over-brimming with dogma. He also created a hierarchy where a direct relationship between human and God was impossible! It required training — or maybe just being “special” — to understand God.

Even the Catholic Church couldn’t always agree with itself what God wanted. During the 14th century, there were two Popes for a while (actually, for a short while there were actually three Popes!) Martin Luther didn’t agree with anything about the Catholic church. I wonder — has anyone ever tried to figure out exactly how many humans died because they disagreed about whether God was a Protestant or a Catholic? Or a Muslim?

Quick reminder: Jews don’t kill other people because they don’t believe in the exact same version of God. Israel’s Palestinian problems are all entirely political, not religious. Their solutions will be entirely political — not religious.

Guys like Michael Flynn are nothing new to non-Christians. Every evangelical is just as threatening because of utter nonsense they accept as “gospel truth”. Remember — in an evangelical’s head, all the Jews have to die in order for the evangelicals to get their final reward. Thanks anyway, fellahs! But, here’s the thing — if we were to sit down with Mike Flynn and go deep into his religious beliefs, we’d get to that place where Flynn has fused his ideas of God with the fact that he “hears God’s voice in his head”, telling him “do this” or “do that”.

When Flynn then “does this” or “does that”? Who does Flynn think he’s doing it for? Himself? He may insist that, no, he’s doing it for God but unless we can see or hear the other side of that conversation for ourselves? Sorry, Mike — that’s just you talking to yourself, telling yourself what you think “God” says. Take this to the bank and anticipate getting richer than rich: people like Michael Flynn have completely swapped their own sense of self for whatever they think “God” is. When they speak for God, they speak AS God.

And that’s because, really, they ARE God.

To be fair, this doesn’t happen inside every monotheist’s head. It doesn’t have to for it to be dangerous. But a monotheist who insists he speaks for God will always be able to sway plenty of other monotheists to go along because that dynamic version of God sounds more appealing than they’re undynamic version. And, so, off they go — a mutually agreed upon version of God in their heads — to attack people whose version of God isn’t the mutually agreed upon version.

Michael Flynn believes that his version of God (and that God’s “religion”) should be the only version of God and religion here in America. Hey, so does Steve Bannon. So does every single Republican member of Congress who calls him or herself “Christian”. They must feel that way about God because that’s how they act. To reiterate: a loving god doesn’t need to be shoved down peoples’ throats.

An angry god, on the other hand, relishes that form of delivery. Take Michael Flynn’s word for it.

Dear Fellow Progressives: Please Take A Deep Breath — Time And Circumstance Are Now Entirely On Our Side

The moment Joe Biden started announcing cabinet choices, people on the winning side started sniping at each other, having immediately lost all perspective apparently. Perspective says this: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris whipped Donald Trump’s ass (Mike Pence doesn’t enter into it — nobody voted “for” Mike Pence except maybe Mike Pence). They beat them substantially with a coalition of voters covering everything from hard core Progressives like me to moderate (former) Republicans (everyone on the Lincoln Project for example). In politics, nothing is free. Ever.

Let me drop a word here: pragmatism. Have the vision. Keep the vision strong. But recognize that it’s still a process getting there. Obstacles remain. Problems will need to be solved. Emotional responses may feel good at first, but they’re unlikely to produce good, workable responses. And being slaves to theory — that, too, may feel good and justified but if you can’t get enough people to buy the theory, you won’t be getting there. One needs to 1) make the theory palatable (so understand who you’re selling to and how to sell to them), and 2) in the event you can’t sell the whole theory right this second? Go with the flow. Sell what you can today with the caveat that you’re coming back to finish the sale tomorrow. That’s pragmatism: sensible, realistic solutions based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.

Reality says there’s literally no conservative way out of this mess. It’s conservatism — its greed, it’s power lust — that put us here. They have no idea how to get us out of it. For starters, they don’t even want to. The majority of Americans now believe that without strong, continuing government assistance — cash infusions into their bank accounts — we’re toast. The reason Mitch McConnell and the RW Money stand steadfastly against giving suffering Americans a penny more than they have to is because if Americans saw how Universal Basic Income works (that’s what this government aid would amount to), they’d want it permanently.

That is, they’d understand that a supposedly “socialist” idea is actually just a productive use of THEIR TAX DOLLARS. Instead of using them to make rich guys richer, we’re using OUR TAX DOLLARS to help US. See how that works? That’s “socialism” in a nutshell.

And the RW Money machine is all about transferring the wealth of ordinary Americans into THEIR already full pockets. If Americans realized how simple it was to take BACK the wealth already stolen from them — and then create structures that guarantee they hold onto that wealth (for instance — by NOT going bankrupt just because they or someone in their family got sick), don’t you think they’d demand it? Especially since the money in question IS THEIRS.

As in OURS.

The most important thing that happened — the only thing that really mattered — was putting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris into the White House. Forget, for a moment, everything else — the Republicans possibly holding onto the Senate, the loss of House seats (making the Democratic majority uncomfortably slim), the prospect of Trumpism enduring — and focus on one thing: having the executive branch in our grasp means having the DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE in our grasp. It means the Department of Justice can now STOP being Trump’s consigliere and go back to being an actual Department of JUSTICE.

Joe Biden has said he wants to focus on healing the nation — as he should. He’s also said it won’t be up to him if a renewed, functional DoJ chooses to investigate anyone on Team Trump — or in the Republican Party. Of course Joe doesn’t want to see that. But, again, IT WON’T BE UP TO HIM. If you think the people in the DoJ who survived Trump won’t be out for blood? You’re not watching the same movie the rest of us are.

The second law ENFORCEMENT becomes the point of the DoJ, they’ll go at both the crimes Trump committed BEFORE he was POTUS and the crimes he committed while he was POTUS. That’s not speculation. Neal Katyal just said as much on Nicolle Wallace’s Deadline White House show. Imagine, for instance, if Sally Yates gets the top spot at Justice. Sally Yates was the person who ran around warning everyone about how dirty Michael Flynn was. How do you think Sally Yates views Trump pardoning Michael Flynn? Approvingly? Hell, no. She wants justice.

The drip-drip-drip of info coming from inside the White House is going to become a cascade the closer we get to Trump’s official sell-by date. And the instant everyone realizes that they have nothing to fear from any NDA they signed because Trump insisted? They’ll be no turning off the spigot. We are about to be deluged with even more detail about just how big a corrupt traitor Trump has been. Donald Trump is never going to have a “good day” for the rest of his stinking, corrupt, treasonous life.

Once the DoJ starts prosecuting Trump, other shoes will drop. Before too long, the DoJ will reinstate every single criminal investigation that Bill Barr hampered or kneecapped. The FBI will finally begin the counter-intelligence investigation that never happened (because Rod Rosenstein prevented it from happening). The SDNY and the Manhattan DA will expand their investigations not only into Trump but into his children. Without the cushy bubble of the presidency to spare him, Trump will quickly roll up into a bloated orange ball.

The prosecutions won’t just impact Trump and his crime family; they’ll; quickly draw the entire Republican Party into the conversation. If you think Republican corruption makes us feel sick now, just wait till we get the full draught of Republican criminal behaviors.

Six months from now, we won’t think of Republicans the way we do today. We’ll think of them as a bunch of criminals facing increased scrutiny. Guys like Devin Nunes, Ron Johnson and Kevin McCarthy — once placed under oath and grilled Benghazi style — will all become the picture definition of “soft, white underbelly”. Mitch McConnell? If he’s the Senate Majority Leader, he’s going to have legal problems to deal with; screwing with the Biden-Harris agenda won’t be quite as important to him as not dying in federal prison.

The biggest thing to impact how time and circumstance will strengthen the hands of Progressives is the pandemic. We’re about to get hammered. But the winter’s death toll will be placed in Donald Trump’s column not Joe Biden’s. When Spring comes — and the dying slows — and one or more vaccines have begun to circulate and we all feel a sense of order where previously there was chaos — that contrast will play as a victory for Team Biden-Harris. Competence will make for good marketing.

The pressure on Mitch and the Republicans to let Americans have their own tax dollars to keep from starving or becoming homeless will only increase — especially as more Americans starve and face homelessness because Republicans refuse to budge. As we learn more and more about Republican criminality — this won’t be defensible for them. Under assault from all sides, more and more Republicans will fold up their tents.

Universal Basic Income, health CARE (not health INSURANCE) and a paid-for public university college education or comparable job training for those who prefer that are not radical ideas anymore. The only “socialism” that’s been practiced in America has been corporate socialism. Socialism for the rich.

We Progressives deserve to have our vision put front and center. It’s the vision America has been heading toward for a generation at least. Circumstances in the form of a pathogen have flipped the world on its head. Just as the Black Death altered life in Medieval Europe — putting an end to feudalism as a social and economic system — so, too, will COVID-19 end how we do things and start something new.

It’s hard to trust that events will happen the way we think they will. It was inevitable that Trump and the Republicans would fail. There’s simply too many of us and not nearly enough of them to pull this off. One thing we CAN do to help ourselves feel less squirrely as events unfold (albeit too slowly for our liking) is to stop being cynical. When we assume the worst will happen regardless of what we do, we surrender the future to the bad guys. A better answer when shitheads do shitty things? Reply “no”. “No, you are not doing that.” Or “No, you are not getting away with that.” or “No, an immoral shit like you doesn’t deserve to walk around free with the rest of us.”

Remember — it’s part of the Trumpian dynamic to instill panic. But, if the panic is purely an invention then it would behoove us to ignore it and focus instead on the entirely real. Now’s a good time to take another deep breath.

And another. We beat him. We beat them. They know it — that’s why they’re fighting so hard to stop what’s coming next. You see, they know what’s coming. That’s how guilty minds work.