Yes, it’s almost mid-September, and while the calender says one thing, I was hoping August had only temporarily hid itself and was secretly getting ready to jump out from behind the calender and say, “see, it’s not autumn, I’m still here!” Alas, August is having a hard time showing up… “sigh”… now that it’s “September” and we’ve had frost warnings, I need to tell you what transpired during the summer-like month of August.
- Spent time working on two major undertakings: First, my ongoing manuscript project, which uses the theme of Oneness as the central point of discussion and exploration – including cultural and political aspects of this rising worldview. Second, a Google Maps-based project that pins the locations of transformational festivals and events in Canada and the US. After presenting on “evolutionary culture” this summer at different speaking venues, and talking to a friend who’s a worldview researcher, I was encouraged to begin visually plotting where these events take place. When the map is complete, it will literally be a graphic image that demonstrates the reality of the spiritual shift happening in our continent.
- Gave a presentation on differing religions to a staff meeting at Valley View Bible Camp. As so many alternative spiritual beliefs have entered the religious “marketplace of ideas,” it is important to first know what and why we as a Christian believe, and then to grasp what others believe so we can interact with a measure of knowledge and respectfully engage as a Christian witness.
- As the end of August was the Burning Man event in the desert of north-western Nevada, I kept my eyes and ears on the live feed of the Burn and spent time interacting with the Burn community in Second Life. Yes, I have wanted to go to the event for years, but was unable to – maybe next year… I also had contacts on-site in Nevada, so there was some important information being shared during the week-long gathering. It is important to note that Burning Man is the most influential transformational festival/event in the Western world, and outwardly represents what is inwardly shifting in our cultural/spiritual landscape.
- Worked on pulling together articles as part of a front-end editing job I do quarterly for Hope For The World Update.
- Radio Shows: I gave two interviews during the month of August, both on the topic of transformational culture and the spiritual underpinnings of Oneness. The first show was with Love For The Truth Radio, and the second was the now annual program with Remnant-X-Radio on the topic of Burning Man.
- A large part of the month was helping a friend move his household from rural Manitoba to Ottawa, Ontario. This required days of packing, picking up a rental truck in North Dakota, installing air shocks on a second truck, and then sloowwly moving our overloaded units through the rock and lake country of Northern Ontario. But it was a fun adventure! While my friend drove one truck and I the other (mine had a 26 foot box and pulled a car on a dolly), we each listened to an audio book – “Democracy in America,” by Alexis de Tocqueville – and discussed it along the way. At night my friend slept in the moving truck, and I stretched out in the back of the car-in-tow. And as two large dogs were part of our crew, we had to stop and stretch our legs, which often meant picking wild raspberries and rose hips along the road. A few parts of the trip were a little stressful; like working from 2 AM to 5 AM trying to turn the rig around in a too-tight yard that was sloped on all sides (lots of jacking, blocking, unhooking…), watching the speedometer fall to 30-kmh as my too heavy truck groaned up long hills (“don’t die on my now Mr. Transmission…”), and having to wedge and weave the truck and trailer through very tight spaces – including an insanely narrow tree-lined lane and an overcrowded Costco parking lot. But we made it to Ottawa… with less then two hours before my flight back to Manitoba!
- Our daughter worked as a Cabin Leader for a couple of weeks in a local Bible camp. This was a learning experience as her first group of girls pushed the limits from the first day onward, but she pulled through with a new appreciation for the strength and wisdom that comes from trusting God. Our son continued his summer working for one of Canada’s largest railroad companies, doing track repair and service work across eastern Manitoba and north-western Ontario. And my good wife spent much of the month working shifts at a local senior home.
- We were blessed in August to enjoy fresh vegetables from the garden, and as I enjoy mushroom picking, we had a couple of good feeds on wild fungi!
- We were saddened by the death of a dear church friend, a man I’ve known since my childhood, and one who always took the time to encourage others.
- John N. Oswalt, The Bible Among The Myths (Zondervan, 2009).
- Robert M. Geraci, Virtually Sacred: Myth and Meaning in World of Warcraft and Second Life (Oxford University Press, 2014).
By Carl Teichrib
Note: If you appreciate the research work and analysis, please consider donating through PayPal (button on right) or becoming a Forcing Change subscriber.
Since the dawn of the Twentieth Century there has seemingly been no end to dreams of one-world and collective cooperation. Advocates and supporters of “world order” have been legion; from H.G. Wells and Bertrand Russell to Mikhail Gorbachev, Ted Turner, Hillary Clinton, and the current United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. Although the visions and applications of one-world have shifted and morphed with each generation, adapting to changing political realities, the desire for internationalism has nevertheless remained. Concepts of “world citizenship,” “global governance,” and “world federalism” have impacted our thinking, politics, and culture. Indeed, the cry for “world government” has been heralded by influential personalities for more than 125 years.
Structurally speaking, “world government” requires a number of interlocking components; A world parliamentary system with the ability to make international laws, a world court and other judicial mechanisms, global enforcement powers, and a world tax or some other monetary agreement to pay for it all. Of course, nations would need to agree in giving up some of their sovereignty – or in more acceptable terms, to “pool sovereignty.” All of the above has been debated and considered by groups like the World Federalist Movement, an organization that helped birth the International Criminal Court.
Of all the differing components, the concept of a “world police” to enforce the will of the international community has been one of controversy and practicality. Controversy in that the full extent of the idea requires a global force operating under the command of an authority outside of the control of any single national government, and practical in that ad-hoc “collective security” forces and regional military coalitions have come together to meet the challenge of aggressors. The Allies of World War II is one example of a limited “world force,” and at that time, many internationalists had hopes the Allies would transform their combined national military units into a permanent arm of the “United Nations.” Such a “big idea” never saw fruition.
Nevertheless, the dream of a UN world force – and the more practical workings of regional military systems like NATO – demonstrates the longevity of the “collective security” ideal, that nations, regions, and potentially the world can “enforce peace.”
In order to grasp the depth of this idea, and how it has changed over the decades, the following article walks you through the last century and into our time period. It is important to note that this timeline only touches on a few examples, and that those given are not always the largest developments, but all point to the fact that the international community continues to seek a “collective” solution to “peace.”
Finally, this short timeline is excerpted from in-depth reports on the subject published in the online journal, Forcing Change. The full documentation can be found in select Forcing Change editions.
1910: During his Nobel Lecture, Theodore Roosevelt advocated for world federalism.
“I cannot help thinking that the Constitution of the United States, notably in the establishment of the Supreme Court and in the methods adopted for securing peace and good relations among and between the different states, offers certain valuable analogies to what should be striven for in order to secure, through the Hague courts and conferences, a species of world federation for international peace and justice.”
Roosevelt added: “Each nation must keep well prepared to defend itself until the establishment of some form of international police power…”
He noted that a combination of countries working together might be the most acceptable way of obtaining this goal, and that “the ruler or statesman” who could bring these dreams to fruition would receive “the gratitude of all mankind.”
1914 (October 18): The New York Times published an interview with the President of Columbia University, Nicholas Murray Butler, during which time Butler admits that the “international organization of the world already has progressed much farther than is ordinarily understood.”
Butler told Times readers,
“…the time will come when each nation will deposit in a world federation some portion of its sovereignty for the general good. When this happens it will be possible to establish an international executive and an international police, both devised for the especial purpose of enforcing the decisions of the international court.”
1919: In Berne, Switzerland, the Independent Labour Party held a meeting with the Socialist International on “International Socialism and World Peace.” The Berne Conference called on the League of Nations to act as a global agency for military re-structuring and world organization; “The League of Nations should abolish all standing armies, and finally bring about complete disarmament… The League of Nations should create an International Court, which, by means of mediation and arbitration, would settle all disputes…”
1924: Philanthropist Edward Bok published a collection of 20 best plans for “world peace.” Ideas included an Organization of Scientists to oversee world affairs, the advocacy of a “unity in religions,” an organization for international Free Trade, an International Criminal Court, national courts operating under world law, and the establishment of an international bureau of education.
One proposal, number 6, outlawed war through a Declaration of Interdependence; pledging allegiance to world peace, education through “universal training in world citizenship,” the establishment of a World Court of International Justice, and an “Interdependent Force of Peace Police.”
1939: The first edition of Clarence Streit’s highly influential book, Union Now, was published. As Europe found itself engulfed in Hitler’s fires, Streit’s book offered a vision for world order: a Union of Democracies.
Streit recommended a “Union of the North Atlantic,” including a “union of government and citizenship,” “a union customs-free economy,” “a union money,” and a union “postal and communications system.” This Union was to form “a nucleus world government” with a “union defence force.” As Streit wrote; “Our Union, we have seen, would be even more powerful in other respects. It would enjoy almost monopoly world control of such war essentials as rubber, nickel, iron, oil, gold and credit…”
In short time, the Union Now book turned into a campaign and an organization, Federal Union Incorporated. By 1941, Federal Union had offices in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, India, and Argentina. Later the group changed its name to the Association to Unite the Democracies, and in 2004 it became The Streit Council for a Union of Democracies. During World War II, Streit’s work influenced politicians and key personalities, including pioneers of NATO and the European Union.
1946: Speaking at Westminster College (Fulton, Missouri), former Prime Minister Winston Churchill endorsed a world force operating through the United Nations Organization (UNO).
“A world organization has already been erected for the prime purpose of preventing war, UNO, the successor of the League of Nations… I have, however, a definite and practical proposal to make for action. Courts and magistrates may be set up but they cannot function without sheriffs and constables. The United Nations Organisation must immediately begin to be equipped with an international armed force… I propose that each of the Powers and States should be invited to delegate a certain number of air squadrons to the service of the world organisation… They would not be required to act against their own nation, but in other respects they would be directed by the world organization.”
Then in 1947, speaking at Albert Hall, London, Churchill appealed for world government.
“The creation of an authoritative, all-powerful world order is the ultimate aim towards which we must strive. Unless some effective World Super-Government can be set up and brought quickly into action, the prospects for peace and human progress are dark and doubtful.”
1953: A compilation of US-based polls from 1939 to 1953 indicated that American citizens overwhelmingly supported the idea of a world body with “an international force to maintain world peace.”
1939 1947 1953
Yes 46% 75% 56%
No 39% 17% 30%
No opinion 15% 8% 14%
1958: The British Government’s White Paper on Defence stated: “The ultimate aim must be comprehensive disarmament by all nations, coupled with comprehensive inspection and control by a world authority.”
Following up on the White Paper, ten Conservative Members of Parliament published a report titled, A World Security Authority? A three-stage process was advocated to achieve total disarmament and the creation of a World Security Authority and World Police Force, complete with nuclear weapons to deter rogue nations from launching a surprise attack against the world authority.
1960: The Soviet Union proposed a three-stage world disarmament program, with Stage 3 culminating in “general and complete disarmament” of all nations. Countries could, under the Soviet plan, retain internal policing units to maintain domestic control. However, these national police units may be called to serve under the command and control of the United Nations Security Council if the need arose.
1961: In September, the US Department of State released Publication 7277, Freedom From War: The United States Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World.
This document essentially mirrored the Soviet three-stage general and complete disarmament program, including disbanding national forces with the exception of what’s needed for internal security. When the third stage was complete, the United Nations would be “sufficiently strong and the obligations of all states under such arrangements sufficiently far-reaching as to assure peace and the just settlement of differences in a disarmed world.”
According to Publication 7277, this meant the development of a progressively strengthened UN Peace Force. The bottom line under both the Soviet and American programs was this: Nations must diminish as the United Nations is empowered.
1962: A World Effectively Controlled by the United Nations was published by the Washington-based Institute for Defense Analysis, under contract by the US Department of State. The document outlined the creation of a UN international force of 500,000 men along with a nuclear force of 50-100 nuclear weapons. An International Court would provide the legal foundation, and the UN would have the power to tax.
1969: The United Nations Association of the USA hosted a panel on “Controlling Conflicts in the 1970s.” The panel recommended the creation of a 25,000 man United Nations stand-by force comprised of “land, sea and air units.”
1970: A congress of the World Association of World Federalists was held in Ottawa, Ontario. The WAWF, now known as the World Federalist Movement, was actively working to influence public policy toward accepting global order through an empowered United Nations. To that end, the congress recommended that a “standby UN peacekeeping force” be established.
1976: The Club of Rome, a prestigious group of world futurists, note that a strengthened UN Peace Force – placed within the context of a “democratized Security Council” – would be an important part of what they called the “new international order.” The Club of Rome also suggested that the United Nations create a World Disarmament Agency to “ensure world security.”
1982: The Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues, also known as the Palme Commission after the fact that Olof Palme – former Prime Minister of Sweden – was its chairman, released its anticipated report, Common Security: A Blueprint for Survival. In analyzing the global security question, the Commission recommended the empowerment of the United Nations by granting the world body its own operational stand-by military forces. This, the report noted, would be part of a larger collective security system, including the building of regional security measures to complement the United Nations. The governments of Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Saudi Arabia, and Sweden were the main financiers of the Commission, with extra funding coming from the Soviet Union, France, West Germany, and Great Britain.
1985: The World Federalists of Canada submitted a paper to the Special Joint Committee on Canada’s International Relations, calling for a “Common Security Alternative.” Recommendations to guide Canada’s foreign policy included commitments to world federalism. In the vein of common security, the World Federalists proposed the creation of an International Criminal Court and the development of a UN force “made up of individuals recruited directly to the UN.”
1992: UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, introduced An Agenda For Peace, a global call for common security with the recommendation that the UN be equipped with “peace-enforcement units.” Then, in 1995, he updated his Agenda with a call to create a UN rapid reaction force – a “strategic reserve” for the UN Security Council. This strategic reserve would be comprised on national military units, stationed in their respective home countries, but in a state of readiness to serve the United Nations upon demand.
1995: The Government of Canada finalized a major study titled Towards a Rapid Reaction Capability for the United Nations. In it the government recommended that a UN rapid-reaction military force, operational headquarters and basing, and satellite intelligence-gathering system be placed under the command of the UN Secretary-General. Ideas on how to pay for this rapid reaction force included a tax on international currency transfers and a special surcharge on airline tickets. Recognizing the sweeping nature of their global security concept, the report reminded its readers that “today’s idealism may readily become tomorrow’s realism.”
1996: Seven nations – Austria, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Sweden – founded the United Nations Standby High Readiness Brigade (SHIRBRIG), a multinational security organ working closely with the UN Secretariat. In December of that year, SHIRBRIG became operational and was headquartered in Denmark. However, the agreed upon command structure didn’t fulfill the dream of a UN-exclusive force. While it technically functioned under the United Nations, its use still required the consent of the participating national governments. Nevertheless, SHIRBRIG did see deployment during peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in Eritrea and the Ivory Coast (2000), Liberia (2003), and Sudan (2004-2005). It also worked closely with the African Union in developing the continent-wide African Standby Force.
In 2009 SHIRBRIG was dismantled, due in large part to participating governments seeking influence and positions within NATO and newly-formed European Union Battlegroups.
2000: In 2000, US Congressman Jim McGovern introduced H.R. 4453, The United Nations Rapid Deployment Police and Security Force Act. Although it didn’t create waves in Congress, it nevertheless became a rallying cry for World Federalists and other international-minded policy groups. The next year, McGovern introduced H.R. 938, a bill to allow the United Nations a functioning 6,000-man volunteer force under the direction of the UN Security Council.
2001: The United Nations-supported International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) released its report, The Responsibility to Protect. The direction given by ICISS launched a new global security doctrine: that if a nation cannot secure the safety of its own people, then the international community has the responsibility to overstep national sovereignty and intervene in the domestic crisis. Responsibility to Protect, also known as R2P, was the context under which NATO launched its military strikes in Libya to support the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. R2P as a context for potential intervention in Syria, and more recently in Nigeria and Iraq, has been considered.
2002: A transnational Working Group for a UN Emergency Peace Service was launched. Supported by the Ford Foundation and Simons Foundation, and organizations like the World Federalist Movement, this group met over the years to contemplate the possibility of a new security organ for the United Nations: a 15,000-man force dubbed the UN Emergency Peace Service. The UNEPS, if achieved, would be a permanent military arm of the UN Security Council and operate under UN command, have its own headquarters and regional bases, and be used in conjunction with existing UN peacekeepers and regional security forces. It would be a rapid reaction unit with the ability to deploy in a short time and have global reach, and it would be used in Responsibility to Protect missions.
In 2011 the Working Group released its final report, recommending that the UNEPS advocacy process continue and expand.
2007: Recognizing that previous UN rapid reaction projects and enhanced peacekeeping have historically been mired in bureaucratic red tape, high costs, and have suffered from lack of interest by major players like the United States, the Peace Operations Institute published a white paper on an alternative approach. Instead of a “supranational army under UN jurisdiction,” the focus should be on outsourcing rapid reaction muscle through private security companies. In other words, the UN Security Council should consider hiring private military contractors and integrating these elements into United Nations military and peacekeeping operations.
2014: With this year marking the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, and with tensions currently mounting in so many parts of the world, there has been a renewed interest in a variety of collective security ideas and capabilities; UN rapid reaction units, European Union battlegroups, African Union military forces, the role of NATO, and the use of Responsibility to Protect. Furthermore, in Russia and China there has been much posturing around their own regional security groups, the Collective Security Treaty Organization – and the ongoing development of its own rapid reaction force, and China’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Indeed, wars and rumours of war have marked our modern era. And as humanity cries for peace amidst the turmoil and strife of our times, the world seeks its own “collective security” solutions.
July was filled to the brim! Here’s the update for the first real month of summer.
- Spoke three times at the Pikes Peak Prophecy Summit in Colorado Springs, CO. My first presentation was on “evolutionary culture” – transformational festivals and the worldview represented in this planet-wide celebratory phenomena. The second talk was a broad survey of global oneness, starting with the Tower of Babel and extending the concept of collective unity into modern political, economic, religious and transhuman endeavors. My final talk was an overview of transhumanism and techno-deification, demonstrating that the notion of transhuman ascension parallels other attempts at self-salvation.
But the real highlight of the Summit was the time spent with the many people who attended; connecting in-person with social media friends, having wonderful and sometimes challenging conversations, and being encouraged and encouraging others.
- Took a little time to work on my manuscript. It’s coming along… very slowly!
- Worked on editing and putting together the July edition of Forcing Change magazine, which features a guest essay on secular humanism. However, due to the fact that the Pikes Peak Summit required a substantial amount of time in preparation and participation, the July edition wasn’t complete until after my return in early August.
- Did a “sit-down” style video recording of my presentation – “Is God Green?” After this project is edited and finalized, the completed DVD will be available for anyone interested in the subject of deep ecology and the Christian perspective of “green.”
- Radio interviews for the month included; The Janet Mefferd Show, Call to Rights (guest hosted by Chuck Coppes), VFTB (to be played in August), and I had the opportunity of doing an in-studio morning interview on Denver’s AM91 (which is located in a really cool castle on the north side of the metro-area).
- On July 8th Leanne and I celebrated 25 years of marriage! It was a nice day. We, along with our daughter, went to Winnipeg and spent time hanging out in Assiniboine Park, enjoyed a nice meal, and later picked up a good friend from the airport. I’ll grant that this doesn’t fit the typical idea of a marriage celebration, but it was a lot of fun, and the main point is that we had a great time together.
- Enjoyed Canada Day celebrations with friends in the town of Austin, Manitoba. For a small community (under 500 people), they put on an excellent fireworks display.
- A family friend from Indiana flew north to experience our Manitoba swarms of mosquitoes, and to visit the Teichrib home! For two weeks we were blessed to spend time visiting, laughing, and enjoying experiences together; including sailing on Clear Lake (thanks to the Dyck family), hiking in Spruce Woods Park, watching a bear ramble around in a friend’s yard, picking fresh strawberries and making jam, and just relaxing.
- Early in the month I participated in a day of paint-ball. What made this outing different was that it was set-up as a rookie introduction day. Experienced players and one old-timer (yours truly) were paired up with enthusiastic youth who were completely new to the sport. It reminded me how out of shape I really am! Besides the tactical, strategic, and action-oriented elements found in paint-ball that make the game so appealing, the sport has an interesting way of disclosing a person’s temperament, honesty, and sense of fair-play.
- Our daughter, Austin, spent a week with her “Aunt Joe” in Saskatchewan butchering chickens. This is the kind of activity that has largely been lost in our urbanized society, but it’s a good hands-on encounter with the food that’s put on the table.
- While in Colorado, Leanne, Austin, and myself took some time after the Summit to wander through the majestic Garden of the Gods, to visit the home of Adventures in Odyssey (Austin was just a tad-bit ecstatic), to hike around Helen Hunt Falls, and to explore the unique art shops in the tucked-away community of Manitou Springs.
- From the start of the month until the end, which found us in Colorado and North Dakota, we were excited about being reunited with old friends. Moreover, we were doubly blessed to make new ones along the way – a beautiful reminder that in Christ Jesus our “family” extends far beyond our little household.
From my friend, Clayton Jennings… where are you going?
June was busy but good. Here’s a breakdown of what transpired in our little world.
- Worked on the June issue of Forcing Change, which was completed at the end of the month. This edition examines present-day economic realities and considers the economic system most inline with a Biblical worldview.
- Spoke at the Learn To Discern Conference in Abbotsford, BC. This was an exhausting but wonderful time in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, interacting with attendees, other speakers, and being blessed with new research contacts and friendships.
- Spoke to a couple of small fellowships in the Interlake region of Manitoba; one in the community of St. Laurent, the other in the town of Gimli.
- Completed a quarterly editorial job for Hope For The World, the research/information ministry of Gary Kah.
- Radio shows: Did a fun yet serious six-part interview with Michael Boehm for his youth apologetics broadcast.
- Spring is always a time for mushrooms! So as the month progressed, and as the tasty wild morsels popped-up, they soon found their way to my plate… yummy!
- Spent some time in the woods. We have access to some heavily wooded property with a river and valley cutting it in two. It’s a great place for campfires, hiking, and just “getting away” for a while. So we did.
- Our son, Scott, had a heavy month of working for a national railway company. But it has been been a good experience, and it has allowed him to see some new country in Northern Ontario.
- Austin, our daughter, kept up with boxing lessons. She’s has a mean left-hook…
- And it rained, and rained, and rained. A lot of rain came down throughout the month of June, but it was during the last weekend of the month when things went from bad to out-of-control. Much of the province was hit with multiple inches – up to 6 and more in places – along with shrieking winds. Fields are underwater, ditches are overflowing, and bridges are washed out.
- In looking back over June, the realization is this: Between speaking engagements and writing assignments, there really wasn’t a lot of time for personal adventures. Hmmm… I’ll have to make it up in July!
- Nick Rosen, Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in America (Penguin, 2010).
- Frank Dikotter, Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962 (Walker & Company, 2010).
- Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay (Scholastic, 2010).
Under War’s Bloody Banner
By Carl Teichrib
Note: Originally published in late 2005, this essay is as relevant and important now as then, for it tackles the criticism – “religion is to blame for all wars” – and explores the interfaith-political outcome that derives from this assumption.
In re-releasing “Under War’s Bloody Banner” on this blog, I have taken the time to re-check and add more information to the “death list” found in the essay – a powerful informational section. I’ve also lightly edited some of the text for better flow and expression.
If you appreciate the type of in-depth research and analysis found in this essay, please consider becoming a member-subscriber to Forcing Change, a monthly online publication that considers global political, religious, economic and social change movements from a conservative Christian perspective. www.forcingchange.org
“…all modern trends point to the specter of a terrifying, bigger and more pitiless conformity.” — Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn. 
If a global motto exists, it would have to be “Give Peace a Chance.”  From every corner of the world, from every academy and institution, from every school, church, and public office, it seems that the cry for global peace is being sounded.
Peace is a noble idea; but since mankind has had a written history, we have never known true peace. The scattered, bleached bones of human history testify to this brutal truth – millions upon millions of times over.
So is Mankind incapable of achieving ultimate peace on Earth? In a nutshell, yes. But accepting this reality doesn’t imply that we are to automatically embrace conflict and strife. If anything, it gives us a window into who we are and how we operate. Unfortunately, the view from this window isn’t very pretty.
How do we collectively respond to this sad state of affairs? By perpetuating a lie.
Religious Guilt and the Death Factor
It has been popularly said that religion is responsible for the majority of the world’s conflicts. Posted on a BBC News Talking Point discussion board on the relevance of religion, one commentator boldly asserted, “Just look around the world today. Religion is the cause of all war and hate.” 
Expounding on this line of thinking is an internet petition seeking “world peace” by the outright banning of “organized religion.” This petition, which needs to be viewed for what it is – an exercise in dissent – makes it very clear that organized religion “in all it’s factions, is responsible for most of the worlds wars and the entire ‘War on Terrorism’.” A number of petition signers, some showing immense tolerance by resorting to obnoxious and crude language, repeat the mantra “Religion is the cause of all wars.” 
On a more serious note, Ken Wilber, a contributor to BeliefNet.com writes,
Throughout history, religion has been the single greatest source of human-caused wars, suffering, and misery. In the name of God, more suffering has been inflicted than by any other manmade cause…for every year of peace in humankind’s history there have been fourteen years of war, 90% of which have been fought either because of, or under the banner of, God by whatever name. 
Has religion really inflicted “more suffering” than any other man-made cause? Is this assumption, one shared by a large segment of society, an accurate notion? Certainly it’s a position that’s well ingrained.  Demonstrating the imbedded nature of this popular impression, history professor Pat Johnson writes, “I challenge my classes to comment on the following statement: Organized religion has caused more suffering, wars and violence than any other cause. Almost all the students raise their hands in agreement.” 
Logically, if religion has been the major cause of the world’s wars and death, then religion should shoulder the burden of responsibility towards making peace. Today, this rationale underscores much of the global interfaith movement, including the recent United Nations Conference on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace. 
But can the finger of guilt really point to religion as the primary cause of war and strife?
The Killing Century
In analyzing this hypothesis of religion’s global war guilt, let’s examine the role of religion as the primary killing factor in the bloodiest century of all time – the last one hundred years. As Winston Churchill explained during the MIT Mid-Century Convocation,
Little did we guess that what has been called the Century of the Common Man would witness as its outstanding feature more common men killing each other with greater facilities than any other five centuries together in the history of the world. 
So was religion the prime death factor, the “single greatest source” of war and suffering, for this very cruel and brutal century?
In order to understand the answer to this question, we need to list the major wars and human-caused genocides that occurred during this time frame. And in order to do this in the space allotted for this short article, we need a lower stop-limit number – let’s say 1.5 million as a minimum death total.
Please bear in mind that this list will not be able to separate-out all examples. Some, such as the death figure for World War II, could be broken down into holocaust tabulations, single battle totals, etc – but we’ll try to keep it simple.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that many historical conflicts and killings lack accurate death tabulations, and in some instances the numbers given in our list may actually be too low.
Other problems arise from the lack of concrete death totals. For example: the Mexican uprisings of 1910-1920 variably runs between 750,000 and 2 million dead, likewise the decades-old Rwanda/Burundi conflict falls into this statistically difficult range. Because of the variance in accounting up to the 1.5 million mark, I will leave out these two examples, along with many others that display complex numerical discrepancies up to the 1.5 million figure.
However, the following death-inventory will suffice for our brief review.  Notice how many of these mass-killing events had classical religion as its central cause. And yes, religious factors do come into play in some instances, yet even in these examples there are other causes and motivations that go beyond religion.
Congo Free State (1886-1908), 8 million – with some estimates up to 13 million; control of colonial profit and power base.
Feudal Russia (1900-1917), 3.5 million; political control and consequences of political struggle.
Turkish Purges (1900-1923), 3 to 5 million; political control before and surrounding the Ottoman collapse, Islamic/ethnic factors within political/national expansionism – Pan Turkism.
First World War (1914-1918), 15 million; balance of power.
Russian Civil War (1917-1922), 9 million; political control.
Stalin (1924-1953), 20 million – with some estimates up to 60 million; political control.
China Nationalist Era (1928-1937), 3 million; political control.
Second World War (1939-1945), 55 million; German/Japanese expansionism, balance of power.
Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), 17 to 24 million; Japanese expansionism into China. Note: this number may or may not include the Henan Famine of 1942-43, which started as a drought but was horrifically accelerated by the Chinese government in Chongqing. If the numbers for the Sino-Japanese War do not include the Henan Famine, than add 3 to 4 million more dead. Furthermore, it must be recognized that the Sino-Japanese War blended into the Pacific Theatre of World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Soviet Repatriations – Victims of Yalta (1944-1947), 1.5 to 2.8 million; end-of-war and post-war repatriation of “Soviet citizens” from Western Allied-controlled territory to the Soviet Union.
Post-World War II German Expulsions (1945-1950), 2.2 million – with some estimates at 5 million; post-war retributions and displacement actions of Germans from Eastern Europe, consequences of Allied policies and Soviet “reparations in kind.”
Yugoslavia (1941-1987), 1.5 to 4.8 million; political control, ethnic/religious issues play an important role. Note: the history of conflict, genocide, and democide in the Balkans is complex and the accuracy of the numbers are difficult to ascertain. That said, the numbers given represent WWII and up to the immediate post-Tito era.
Chinese Civil War (1945-1949), 2.5 million; political control.
Mao Zedong (1949-1975), 45 to 70 million; political control and consequences of collectivist policies. Note: Approximately 45 million perished during Mao’s Great Leap Forward alone, due to starvation, collectivized and forced labor, beatings and executions. The higher number of 70 million would include the death toll of the Great Leap Forward.
North Korea (1948-today), 2 to 3.5 million; political control and consequences of collectivist policies. Note: the numbers may be much higher due to famine/starvation.
Korean War (1950-1953), 3 million; political control.
Second Indochina War (1960-1975), 2 to 4 million; political control. Note: The higher figure represents the expanded capacity of the Second Indochina War beyond Vietnam and into surrounding nations.
Ethiopia (1962-1992), 1.5 to 2 million; political control and the exasperation of famine conditions, ethic issues come into play.
Nigeria-Biafra War (1967-1971), 1 million but up to 3 million due to starvation; political control, religion and ethnic issues play a role.
Pakistan-Bangladesh Genocide (1971), 1.7 to 3 million; political/economic and social control over East Pakistan, ethnic and religious issues come into play.
Khmer Rouge (1975-1978), 2.5 million; political control and collectivist policies.
Afghanistan (1979-2001), 1.8 million; political control, Soviet expansion, religion (Islam) and tribal/ethnic factors plays a role in internal strife.
Second Sudanese War (1983-2005), 2 million; historical ethnic struggles, Islamic issues play a key role, resource control and usage.
Congo (1998-today), 3 to 5.5 million; political control and regional debasement, ethnic strife, resource and territorial control.
The sheer horror and brutality of mankind throughout the twentieth century cannot be properly demonstrated in a simplistic chart. However, it’s more than apparent that the principal causation of the majority of these awful events – especially those with death numbers more than five million high – cannot be laid at the feet of classical religion.
Remember Professor Johnson and his statement, “Organized religion has caused more suffering, wars and violence than any other cause”? Professor Johnson just baited his students, and as the good professor tells us, “Almost all the students raise their hands in agreement.”
I then demand that they provide dead bodies as evidence. They usually mention the Crusades and one or two other religious wars they might have heard of but in none of their examples can they come up with a million deaths…I then point out that most of the people who have died as a result of war, have done so in the Twentieth Century and that most of the killing was done in the name of secular ideologies. I then ask them who is the ‘baddest’ of them all. Most guess Hitler. I then tell them that he is rated #3. Some then guess Stalin and I inform them that most scholars place him at #2 with 20 million killed. Almost no one gets #1 who, of course, is Mao who starts with an estimated 40 million. I then point out that the top two were Communists and Hitler was a radical proponent of Social Darwinism. All of these ideologies are based on atheistic systems. 
Matthew White, a librarian who has done a tremendous amount of study in genocide/war issues, and is the author of the on-line Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century, gives this Q&A response to the question of “religion.”
Q: Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?
A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion. 
Maj. John P. Conway, studying at the US Army Command & General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, commented in an article “War and Religion: Is Religion to Blame?”
Most times, it can be argued that religion may play a key and significant role in the conduct of warfare on a psychological and cultural level, but is it the cause of warfare? Do nations, states and kingdoms wage war over religion? Is religion a primary cause of conflict between governments? Many have argued that it is. Another popular statement is, ‘Religion has been the cause of more wars than any other factor throughout history.’ This is commonly accompanied by ‘people have been killing each other in the name of God for centuries.’ Upon closer examination, these statements exude an element of mythology versus fact… A fundamental analysis of past wars commonly attributed to ‘religion,’ as the causal factor, may reveal an uninformed and reactionary misjudgment. Throughout the course of history, the cause of warfare between sovereign states, kingdoms, and governments is attributable to many factors, but can rarely be attributed to ‘religion’ as is so often the assertion. 
Maj. Conway continues,
…it becomes apparent that those who make the claim ‘religion has been the cause of more wars than any other factor in history’ may speak from ignorance or have ulterior motives for the assertion. Further, this type of assertion seems rooted in anti-religion posturing… Men and nations have a history of warfare and the root of conflict is power and gain… Occasionally war is fought over religion, as is perhaps the case during the reformation period in Europe. More often than not however, the cause of war can’t be laid at the door of religion. 
Certainly religion plays a motivational and ruse factor in various conflict scenarios (all kinds of pretexts can be used in inciting and snow-balling hostilities, in 1969 soccer played a key role in exploding tensions between Honduras and El Salvador), but as a whole the main cause of the major genocides and wars of the last one hundred years lie outside of purely religious stimulus. Moreover, even wars that contain a deep religious element often have multiple causation, including economic, political, and territorial grievances.
None of this is to say that religion is innocent when it comes to strife. Historically we can cite the Crusades, the Reformation genocides, and the mass slaughters done in the name of Allah – such as during the Wars of Apostasy.  In modern times we can see the effects of Catholic-Protestant clashes in the British Isles, Hindu-Islamic hostilities in India, the Islamic-Christian slaughters in Sudan, Buddhist-Hindu warfare in Sri Lanka, Moslem-Christian fighting in Indonesia, and the constant struggle in the Middle East between Israel and her Moslem neighbours. Islam as a religious/cultural/political system does play a dominant role in some regional conflicts and localized tension-points. However, in terms of the largest concentration of outright killing capacity, communism, national socialism, and imperial expansionism – all power struggles based on centralist political methodologies – have been the grandest contributor to war and human-caused mass death. Nothing else comes even remotely close.
Clearly, to exert that “religion is the cause of all war and strife” demonstrates a severe degree of historical naivety, or deeply distorted emotional blinders, or the outright broadcasting of disinformation for an ulterior motive (see Maj. Conway’s above quote).
For the students of Mr. Johnson’s class, naivety is the most probable reason for their belief in this religion-war mythology. But for others, ulterior motives exist.
Wrong Assumptions, Wrong Peace
When wrong suppositions are employed, wrong results are guaranteed.
As already demonstrated, the war/religion assumption is nothing short of faulty. While religions today and historically have been culpable (Islam is a prime example in both modern and ancient contexts ), religion has not been the prime cause in every instance of war and strife, not even in the most extraordinary cases of the 20th century. Embracing this mythology as fact, the quest for world peace already finds itself building on a shaky foundation.
But regardless of the incorrect nature of the above point of view, many religious authors and spiritual leaders hold to this assumption. Then, taking motivational cues from this war theory, a response is formulated around another faulty assumption.
Here’s the crux of the matter: as faith communities are to blame for the world’s sorrows, then religions need to unite under a common umbrella to ensure peace and security prevails. Therefore, by uniting faiths in the push towards world peace, the divisions that drive humanity to mass violence will be bridged. Today’s global interfaith movement takes this approach, as does Ken Wilber of BeliefNet.com.
Postulating this idea of religious unity in light of religion’s historical war burden, Wilber explains,
If humanity is ever to cease its swarming hostilities and be united in one family, without squashing the significant and important differences among us, then something like an integral approach seems the only way. Until that time, religions will continue to brutally divide humanity, as they have throughout history, and not unite, as they must if they are to be a help, not a hindrance, to tomorrow’s existence. 
So what does it mean to be religiously “united in one family”?
Marcus Braybrooke, president of the World Congress of Faiths, explores this theme in his book, Faith and Interfaith in a Global Age,
My hope – though certainly not the hope of all in the interfaith movement – remains that dialogue will eventually bring convergence or, at least, that theology will become an inter-religious discipline or ‘global theology’. 
German Catholic theologian Hans Küng describes a similar pan-spiritual unification, “after intra-Protestant and intra-Christian ecumenism we have irrevocably reached the third ecumenical dimension, ecumenism of the world religions!” 
Küng and Braybrooke’s concept of universalism is shared by a large assortment of spiritual thinkers, and even some religions. John Davis and Naomi Rice – both connected with the Coptic Fellowship International – succinctly tells us that “the ultimate objective is a fellowship of religions, and the gradual appearance of a world-faith, which in its broader concept will be able to encompass all humanity.” Similarly, the Bahá’í International Community, the global representative of the Bahá’í faith, openly asserts, “The key to interfaith harmony and co-operation is to focus on the essential oneness of all religions.” 
To a global public sick of war and bloodshed, the above unification ideology becomes a very appealing venue. Yet this postulation flies in the face of anthropology, sociology, history, and theology. The belief sets of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Animism, Hinduism and so on, are fundamentally and irrevocably disconnected – including who God is (or is not), the constitution of Man, the problem of evil, and the redemption solution to humanities failed state. Furthermore, the concept that all religions are “equally valid” is logically inconsistent.
If all religions are authenticated as valid, we must then admit each spiritual expression into this new “global religious club” as legitimate forms. Therefore, cults-of-death such as the Aum Supreme Truth movement – which was accused of delivering nerve gas inside a Tokyo subway train – must be more than just tolerated, it must be embraced as a legitimate source of truth. Satanism too, along with any other anti-social belief system, no matter how disagreeable, must be accepted on par and received into this universal fold.
Clearly, this “world faith for world peace” assumption is also lacking in credibility. However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise; after all, this flawed unity concept is designed around the first fabrication – the guilt of war.
It can never be said that a House of Truth is built on lies, yet the perfect dream of world peace is being constructed on that very foundation. Waving the flag of tolerance and solidarity, religion is looking to re-invent itself to a new level of “planetary responsibility” – devoid of truth, logic, and reality.
Indeed, as Man sacrifices truth in the pursuit of peace, the only peace gained will come at the sacrifice of liberty. Why? Because such a system, misdirected from the onset, can only coerce and enforce. And whenever Man imposes a utopian peace design – that is, the “creation of peace” at the expense of reality – it inevitably becomes a “bloody utopian dream.” 
Paradoxically, by its nature, a “world faith”- world peace structure may actually become a type of self-fulfilling prophecy, ultimately raising the terrifying banner; “Peace is the destruction of all opposition.”
 Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse (Arlington House Publishers, 1974), p.17.
 The song Give Peace a Chance by John Lennon, recorded on May 31, 1969, has become a type of global anthem often sung at peace rallies.
 BBC News Talking Points, “Is religious faith still relevant?” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/1885779.stm, April 9, 2002 (Accessed November 18, 2005).
 PetitionSpot.com [caution: some of the language is very foul, and would not be suitable for young readers], http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/Ban%20religion/signatures.
 Ken Wilber, “Why Do Religions Teach Love and Yet Cause So Much War,” www.beliefnet.com/story/147/story_14762.html BeliefNet column. Accessed November 17, 2005.
 See Carl Teichrib, “Casting Stones: Christianity and the History of Genocide,”
 Professor Pat Johnson, responding to and supporting an online Christian apologetics discussion regarding war as an excuse against Christianity. http://net-burst.net/hot/war.htm (Accessed November 18, 2005).
 The UN Conference on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace was held on June 22, 2005, in conference room #4 at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. A reading of the various speeches and documents that surround this event demonstrates the link between religion as a conflict force (and the guilt this implies), verses what religions can now do – unite under the banner of world peace and development.
 Winston Churchill, MIT Mid-Century Convocation address, March 31, 1949.
 Sources for this chart include the work of R.J. Rummel, Matthew White, and a host of other encyclopaedic resources.
 Professor Pat Johnson, responding to and supporting an online Christian apologetics discussion regarding war as an excuse against Christianity. http://net-burst.net/hot/war.htm (Accessed November 18, 2005).
 Matthew White FAQ section on twentieth century history, http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/war-faq.htm (Accessed November 19, 2005).
 Maj. John P. Conway, US Army Professional Writing Collection, “War and Religion: Is Religion to Blame?” http://www.army.mil/professionalwriting/volumes/volume1/december_2003/12_03_2.html (Accessed November 17, 2005)
 For more information on these historical conflicts and slaughters, see The Encyclopedia of Military History by R Ernest Dupuy and Trevor N. Dupuy, The Age of Faith by Will Durant, The Crusades by Zoe Oldenbourg, Judgement Day: Islam, Israel and the Nations by Dave Hunt, Martyrs Mirror by Thieleman J. van Braght, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe, A History of the Jews by Abram Leon Sachar, The Arabs in History by Bernard Lewis, etc.
 See Dave Hunt, Judgement Day: Islam, Israel and the Nations (The Berean Call, 2005) and Dore Gold, Hatred’s Kingdom (Regnery Publishing, 2003).
 Ken Wilber, “Why Do Religions Teach Love and Yet Cause So Much War,” see footnote #5 for details.
 Marcus Braybrooke, Faith and Interfaith in a Global Age (CoNexus, 1998), pp.15-16.
 Hans Küng, Preface to Willard G. Oxtoby’s, The Meaning of Other Faiths (The Westminster Press, 1983), p.10.
 John Davis and Naomi Rice, Messiah and the Second Coming (Coptic Press, 1982), p.111.
 Bahá’í International Community, “At the UN, governments and religious NGOs convene a peace conference,” One Country, April-June 2005, p.14.
 See the Bloody Utopian Dreams series by Carl Teichrib
After the craziness of March and April, May felt like a breath of fresh air… without the blizzards and arctic cold of the last 6 months. Here’s what transpired.
- Spend time working on my manuscript. Who knew that trying to write a book would be so, well, trying? But it’s slowly coming together!
- Worked on the May edition of Forcing Change, which is online in the membership section of the Forcing Change webpage. It covers the important topic of “global citizenship education” and activism for world change. If you haven’t read it and are a member, click here, log-in, and download your copy today!
- After much discussion, we dropped the price of Forcing Change to $4.50/month and restructured the billing processor to a monthly system. For the majority of member/subscribers this isn’t an issue, but some have asked why. A major part of the reason is that over the past two years the majority of memberships have been bulked into the space of four months. We’re not sure why this has happened, and while we’re grateful for four months of better income, it has created a cash flow/budgeting problem for other periods of the year. Going to a monthly billing system will, over the long run, smooth out this situation.
- Attended the virtual conference, “Back to the Future in the Metaverse.” The event took place in Second Life and examined breakthroughs in virtual realty as it related to transhumanism. The irony is this: Too many people showed up and crashed the system! That’s right, “due to technical difficulties” in the metaverse, this conference on the future of the metaverse had to quickly be re-arranged through an open YouTube channel. I’m glad the option was available, for it allowed us to hear the speakers, but it lacked the interaction available through the Second Life venue. Ah, the future… oh never mind, the server went down. Sarcasm aside, I did find the information to be of value and I was glad to attend. A nice surprise came at the end of the event when I re-entered Second Life at the conference’s initial location and was approached by an avatar with a question, “Is that you Carl?” Turns out, the other person was a Christian interested in transhumanism from a critical point of view, and had read my previous material on the movement. A very pleasant surprise!
- Had the opportunity to speak at a small church in Kenton, Manitoba. Subject: other religions and spiritual movements compared and contrasted to Christianity, and the Biblical response to our multi-faith society.
- Radio shows: The Janet Mefferd Show and The Christian Outlook, which excerpted part of The Janet Mefferd interview and played it over the air in Washington DC.
- I did some metal detecting in May and was fortunate to find a number of older coins; Quarters, dimes, and small 5 cent pieces. Most dated from 1900 to the 1940s, with an American Indian Head penny from 1893.
- Much of May was focused on our daughter’s festival work. Austin performed at a highlights concert in Gladstone, Manitoba, and then competed at Provincials in the prose/poetry and singing categories. Way to go!
- Our daughter also had the opportunity to stretch in other ways. In the beginning of May she found herself participating in a Model United Nations Assembly, debating world issues and working through resolutions. What made this especially interesting was that she was mentored through the Model program by an elderly friend who’s personal history is deeply entwined with the United Nations and global governance advocacy. Needless to say, we had much to talk about before-and-after the Model UN Assembly! It was a good experience and she’s looking forward to doing it again next year.
- Our son spent all of May working on the railroad and found himself in Northern Ontario, a beautiful part of the country that’s so different from his prairie home. Railroad work is tiring and not without risks, but it’s a fantastic adventure and opportunity. In many respects, this is the summer when our son has crossed the threshold of “teenager” to becoming a man. Keep your eyes on the ultimate prize, Scott! We love you!
- Scott was awarded by the 9th Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron for his long-term service. As he couldn’t attend the ceremonies due to his railroad duties, Leanne accepted the award on his behalf. It was an honor to attend and know that Scott was recognized in this capacity.
- Attended the funeral of a family friend, Mrs. Klassen. It was a bitter sweat time – “For we know that if our earthly house, the tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens.“ Her sons, Murray and Darryl, respectively gave the eulogy and preached the sermon. Neither is an easy task, but both were handled in a way that was honoring to their mother and to Christ Jesus.
- Peter Jones, One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference (Main Entry Editions, 2010).
- Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire (Scholastic, 2009).