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Christian Critique of Religious Transhumanism – Paper to the MTA

April 20, 2015

This essay was produced for the Mormon Transhumanist Association, and it expands on the presentation I made at the 2013 MTA annual meeting. It was originally published on the MTA Scribd document library.

Gods To No End

April 13, 2015
By Carl Teichrib

The February edition of Forcing Change magazine carries a major essay titled “Circle of Gods.” It starts off by having you tag along with me to a New Age meeting I attended in 1999, and the witnessing of a ritualistic group exercise in asserting human divinity – the claim that we are God. February 2015 Cover

In exploring this theme of “becoming God,” we consider how passages in the Book of Genesis are twisted to justify the self-God claim. We also examine a broad range of examples: From the New Age Movement to alien abduction messages to education philosophy to Mormonism and more.

The following text is excerpted from the 19-page essay. To read the full edition, designed to help you “understand the forces of change,” go to www.forcingchange.org and download the report from the membership section.

Note: the endnote numbers in this selection correspond to the original copy. Download the full and original report to access the source documentation and endnote materials.

New Age Movement

The New Age Movement is an eclectic classification of spirituality, incorporating elements from Eastern religions, Perennial Philosophy (all religions share a same truth), channeled teachings (“angels,” spirit guides, etc), self-awareness, esotericism, and neo-paganism. The fundamental message is this: “One Humanity, One world, One true expression of divinity, One within the Christos… One Center of Consciousness… Oneness in all things.”26 Although the term “New Age Movement” is used less today than it was in previous decades, it remains relevant in that its precepts have been infused within all facets of Western society.

In the words of American songwriter and New Age icon, John Denver; “we hear in the cry of our hearts expressing connectedness and wholeness and the recognition that we are One.”27

“Nothing can touch me but the direct action of God and God is my Omnipotent Self. I can do all things through the Strength of the Christ I AM. I AM STRENGTH!” – John Randolph Price (capitals in original).28

“You are the Presence of God. God is present on Earth because of you.” – Ken Carey.29

“The universal God is one, yet he is more than one; all things are God; all things are one… men and birds and beasts and creeping things are deities, made flesh.” – The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ.30

Theosophy

Theosophy calls itself “Divine Wisdom,” and is a system of esoteric philosophy borrowed from world myths, Western occultism, and Eastern spirituality. Organized Theosophy came to fruition in the late 1800s through the work of the Russian-born spirit medium, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, who co-founded the Theosophical Society. William Q. Judge, another co-founder, described Theosophy as “inclusive of all systems and every experience.”31

Lecturer and author, Cherry Gilchrist, tells us “it is the impetus of Theosophy that has enabled the whole New Age movement to come into being.”32

“Theosophy asks every one to reflect whether to give way to the animal below or look up to and be governed by the God within.” – William Q. Judge.33

“Man is not to be compelled; he is to be free. He is not a slave, but a God in the making, and the growth cannot be forced, but must be willed from within.” – Annie Besant.34

“…the inner man is the only God we can have cognizance of. And how can this be otherwise? Grant us our postulate that God is a universally diffused, infinite principle, and how can man alone escape from soaked through, by, and in, the Deity?” – H.P. Blavatsky.35

Rosicrucianism

Rosicrucianism (Rosy Cross, or Rose-Croix) is an esoteric school of thought that dates back to the 17th century, and claims lineage to the legendary figure of German mystic, Christian Rosenkreuz. Over the centuries, various orders and societies inspired by the Rosy Cross – or with claimed Rosicrucian credentials – arose and folded in England, Germany, France and the United States. Some still exist, and new orders have formed in recent years. Nevertheless, the Rosicrucian meme has undeniably influenced modern occultism and Western mysticism.

One organization with a professed Rosicrucian pedigree is the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosæ Crucis (AMORC), which was constituted in June 1915, and is headquartered in San Jose, California. Noted for its public advertising in newspapers and national magazines, AMORC is a worldwide fraternal body with lodges and self-paced study courses. Its teachings on divinity present God as the “Creative Universal Force,” 36 and that “to find God, we must see Him in all things at once…”37

In an AMORC, 9th Degree Confidential Discourse, we read that, “From the highest to the lowest all is ONE” (capitals in original), along with a prophetic telling of humanity’s redemption through the mythic intercourse of nature.38 The following three quotes from AMORC present their concept of divinity.

“It [Divine Mind] is not only the mind of God but also the consciousness and mind of all living beings on the earth plane…” – AMORC.39

“The Temple of the Universe, the Temple of the Earth and the Temple of Life are only one in the Temple of Man… the Messianic Light must emanate from the Heavenly Jerusalem which vibrates within us.”       – Christian Bernard.40

“The God of today, in our comprehension and consciousness, will not be the God of next year, for God will evolve as the consciousness of the soul evolves. This evolution will continue until man becomes fully conscious of the consciousness of the Cosmic…” – AMORC.41

Freemasonry

Most men who join the Masonic Lodge do so without understanding Freemasonry’s philosophical and spiritual reach. As the Lodge experience is wrapped in symbolism and allegory, it is easy for the average member to go-through-the-motions without comprehending the deeper messages embedded in the rituals and movements. Masonic historians have long acknowledged this general ignorance. And yet, from the first degree – Entered Apprentice – the candidate is encouraged to seek the light of Masonic knowledge and work for perfection.42 If this challenge is truly pursued, not only will the Lodge member endeavor to peal back the layers of ritual meaning, he will actively engage in a deeper study of his Craft. It is in this quest that one encounters a wealth of literature penned by illustrious Masonic thinkers and leaders; works of history, philosophy, jurisprudence, and commentary. Here, in this body of knowledge, we encounter the spiritual application of Freemasonry.

As Sovereign Grand Commander of the popular Scottish Rite branch, Henry C. Clausen, wrote back in 1981; “…science and religion will be welded into a unified exponent of an overriding spiritual power… The theme in essence is that the revelations of Eastern mysticism and the discoveries of modern science support the Masonic and Scottish Rite beliefs and teachings.”43

“Man is a god in the making, and as in the mystic myths of Egypt, on the potter’s wheel he is being molded. When his light shines out to lift and preserve all things, he receives the triple crown of godhood, and joins that throng of Master Masons who, in their robes of Blue and Gold, are seeking to dispel the darkness of night with the triple light of the Masonic Lodge.” – Manly P. Hall.44

“Here lies the great secret of Masonry – that it makes a man aware of that divinity within him…”               – Joseph Fort Newton.45

“Masonry, therefore, is not only a system of morality, inculcating the highest ethics through which result, if followed, the conscious unfolding of divinity, but it is also a great dramatic presentation of regeneration. It portrays the recovery of man’s hidden divinity and its bringing forth into the light…”       – Foster Bailey.46 …

Mormonism

Becoming a “God” and the physicality of God as an advanced human-being are concepts found within Mormonism. The religion’s history starts with Joseph Smith and his visitations from an angelic messenger, so I will quote Smith’s teachings.

“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!

…Here, then, is eternal life – to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to an- other, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation…” – Joseph Smith.49

“The Father [God] has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s…” – Doctrine and Covenants.50

“[Speaking of Godhood] What is it? To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a god, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before.” – Joseph Smith.51

Hardly Coincidental

Do you see a trend?

We endlessly assert our Divinity. Today, Cosmic Humanism sells it as a group package. Philip Comella, author of The Collapse of Materialism and host of Conversations Beyond Science and Religion, expresses it thus; “the truth stands in front of us: We are the one mind, and we are dreaming this world. We are God…” (italics in original).53

Alternatively, the Creator of Heaven and Earth declares a contrarian position from the standpoint of the world; “For I am God, and not man…” (Hosea 11:9).

“‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25).54

There is no comparison – we did not create the cosmos, we have not defeated death. For as much as we have advanced ourselves, our limitations are manifest. The more humanity has learned and the more knowledge grows, the more we realize how incomprehensibly complex our universe really is – a universe that declares the glory of the Creator (see, Psalm 19).55

But instead of bowing our knees to Jesus Christ, the Holy One who separated light from darkness, who formed the animal kingdom with distinct species boundaries, who elevated humanity as a royal ambassador,56 and who is exalted above all – “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16)57 – we grandly shout our greatness.

… Ironically, the more we proclaim ourselves to be “as God,” the more we affirm the baseness of humanity. Good intentions not-withstanding.

The words of social theorist Jeremy Rifkin echoes through the ages, showing us just another “circle of Gods.”

“Humanity is abandoning the idea that the universe operates by ironclad truths be- cause it no longer feels the need to be constrained by such fetters. Nature is being made anew, this time by human beings. We no longer feel ourselves to be guests in someone else’s home and therefore obliged to make our behavior conform with a set of pre-existing cosmic rules. It is our creation now. We make the rules. We establish the parameters of reality. We create the world, and because we do, we no longer feel beholden to outside forces. We no longer have to justify our behavior, for we are now the architects of the universe. We are responsible to nothing outside ourselves, for we are the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever.”62

Circle of Gods – Release Note

March 5, 2015

“Prepare to see yourselves as Gods…” – Maitreya.

February 2015 Cover

Chairs shuffled as the conference room came alive. “Now take a hand and form a circle,” explained our afternoon speaker. Quickly I scanned for an exist, but a hand grabbed mine and pulled me to the edge of the row. Another hand connected. Looking at my chair about ten feet from the end of the aisle, I could see that the light on my micro-

cassette recorder was still on. At least I would capture the audio of what I was witnessing.

Eileen Sarafis, a Broadway vocalist with gospel albums, stepped into our giant human ring. The richness of her voice flowed into every corner of the room.

“I AM the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. The First and the Last; I AM, I AM… I AM the Word of God, I AM the Lamb… I AM the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; I AM Holy, Holy Lord. God almighty,

which was and is, and is to come… I AM that I AM…”

Her last note faded into a reverential hush, and many eyes were closed in profound introspection. Breaking the moment, our speaker – now standing in the center – calmly acknowledged the divinity that encircled him; “The Christ within me salutes, honors, and respects the Christ within each and everyone of you…”

—————–

The February issue of Forcing Change opens with the lines above. In this issue, which was released a number of days ago, we explore the idea of divinity as expressed in the New Age Movement and in various branches of spiritual philosophy. More than that, we compare and contrast these God-claims against the Biblical text. The purpose? To better understand the depth and scope of the Genesis account, and to recognize that the core of Genesis 3 remains in motion today.

In fact, it informs our modern world – we continually declare our own mastery, and act it out, often against one another.

Along the way, you’ll join the author as he embeds himself in a New Age conference, and finds himself in a “Circle of Gods.”

Member-subscribers of Forcing Change, go to www.forcingchange.org, log in, and download this historically important edition. Use it as a sounding board – a launching pad for discussion and conversations – and through it, take note how the “old” idea of Genesis continuously plays out in Western society today.

February Update

March 2, 2015
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Q&A at the TruthXChange think tank.

Each month I relate what’s happening with Forcing Change, and give you a glimpse into what we’ve done as a family. Here’s the update for February.

Professional:

– In early February I had the opportunity of traveling to Escondido, California, where I participated in the TruthXChange think tank. Peter Jones, author of Capturing the Pagan Mind, One or Two, and other books on the Christian response to global Oneness, contacted myself around the Christmas season to see if I could attend. As Executive Director of TruthXChange, he graciously allowed me time to give a modified “frontline” presentation to the gathering. It was a great experience with lots of good feedback. My topic? How Oneness is being expressed through evolutionary culture and transformational festivals.

On my way to the think tank, my connecting flight in Minneapolis was delayed because of storms along the eastern seaboard. During the wait, a young lady sat next to me for a few minutes. Based on her attire and other clues, I asked if she was a flow artist – yes! “Which transformational festivals have you attended?” She gave me a quick list of events in New York and California, including Joshua Tree. Understanding that she’d experienced a crosscut of evolutionary culture, I asked her a basic question; “What’s the common connection between the festivals?” Her response was immediate and telling: “It’s spiritual – it’s all very spiritual.”

– February was “manuscript month.” I had a few weeks to push hard on some first draft chapters, and now I just want to keep going! I’m looking forward to the end product, and it might be done before 2025, my sarcastic date-for-completion.

– Finished the February issue of Forcing Change, which looks at the topic of “becoming God.” It’s an overview of Genesis 1 and 3, and how this plays into religious and philosophical thought today. Some of this has been explored in past editions of Forcing Change, but the topic here is being considered in-depth. The essay title is “Circle of Gods.”

Radio Shows: I was a guest on Stand for Truth, hosted by Susan Knowles.

Personal

– As I was in Escondido, California, for the first week of February, I booked one day extra to rent a car and explore. I had never been to California before, and I was excited to check out the scenery, go to the beaches, and just relax. My day’s goal was simple: Drive west until I found salt water, follow the shore at my leisure, and soak up the sun wherever and whenever. So I first found myself in Oceanside and spent time walking the surf there, then drove down to Torrey Pines – but because of some fancy golf tournament, I couldn’t find anywhere to park – thus I continued on until I found myself at Mission Beach. That’s where I stayed until the sun went down, and loved every minute of it. I was a little nervous about finding my way back, for I didn’t have a map, GPS or cell phone, and because I really didn’t know where I was in relationship to Escondido. I just started driving, and everything fell into place.

The beach at Oceanside.

The beach at Oceanside.

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Near Torrey Pines.

– The day after my return from California, Leanne and I were treated to a wonderful choir experience. Scott and Austin, our son and daughter, were part of the Provincial Honour Choirs, an auditioned ensemble made up of singers from across Manitoba. Scott performed with the adult group, conducted by Michelle Chyzyk, and Austin with the Senior School choir, conducted by Christopher Aspaas.

– Leanne had the opportunity of adjudicating a youth speech-arts festival in Binscarth, Manitoba. For two days she listened to poems, readings, speech choirs, and other forms of speech art – and then had the difficult task of evaluating and marking each performance. The level of competence demonstrated by the participating youth was remarkable. Moreover, as Leanne is involved in organizing a similar festival in our area during the month of March, she had to devote a lot of time and attention in February toward this upcoming event.

– Went downhill skiing at a local hill, and I’m paying for it in pain. But it was so much fun! In the past I used to be aggressive on the slope, but over the years I’ve taken a more conservative approach. However, I decided – for old time sake – to push the boundaries. One tabletop jump, in order to clear it, required hitting the approach at top speed. Unfortunately, while in the air, a ski binding let go… so my landing was a little messy. As one ski remained and the other went on without me, I was instantly flipped sideways, landing hard on my left shoulder. “Snap-Crackle-and-Pop” are no longer just Kellogg mascots for Rice Krispies. I don’t think I broke anything… but my shoulder is not quite right. Anyway, I got up, remounted, and – after tightening the bindings – cleared the tabletop (most of the time), again and again and again. Silly tabletop.

– Scott spent a week house sitting for relatives, and this gave him some time on his own. He also went for rail equipment training and received his ticket to operate railway track machinery, so it looks like he’s back on the railroad this spring. And he and Austin volunteered for a couple of days at the toboggan hill at Valley View Bible Camp.

Stinkers for the month of February: Colds all around (Austin is still sick), and a week of tire trouble. In five days we had 7 nails, two flats, and one tire wrecked when a nail went through the sidewall. The joy of living on a dirt/gravel road not far from the municipal garbage dump.

Books Read:

– Josef M. Bauer, As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me (Skyhorse Publishing, 2008).

– Peter Jones, Capturing the Pagan Mind: Paul’s Blueprint for Thinking and Living in the New Global Culture (Broadman & Holman,2003).

– Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. The Majesty of God in the Old Testament (Baker Academic, 2007).

Cult-like in the Church

February 27, 2015

This is a sobering yet important topic – “Is my church acting like a cult?”

The radio host – Cindy Hartline, and the guest – Christopher Lawson, handled this tough subject in a tactful and compassionate manner.

Here’s the link to Cindy Hartline’s radio show, Love For The Truth Radio: www.loveforthetruthradio.com

Here’s the link to Chris Lawson’s website, Spiritual Research Network: www.spiritual-research-network.com

Mind Bending: Education for Global Activism

February 16, 2015

By Carl Teichrib

Note: UNESCO is now pushing hard to bring “global citizenship education” to schools around the world. This report, first published to Forcing Change members, examines part of the global citizenship agenda.

Support Note: If you appreciate the research work involved in this report, please consider donating through the Pay Pal button on the right side of the page.

Special Note: This was not written in support of Global Citizenship Education, but to inform you regarding its techniques, emotional leveraging, and overall thought pattern.

——————————

The first “internationalist” event I attended was the Global Citizenship 2000 Youth Congress, held in Vancouver, British Columbia, back in April 1997. It was an audacious gathering of educators, community leaders and students, inspired by the United Nations “prophet of hope,” Robert Muller.

The point of our gathering was simple yet profound: To embed the principles of global citizenship into Canada’s educational system. We would become global.

What did this mean? It represented the desire to create a new mind, a new way of thinking and thus acting. A globally pertinent change in values and beliefs were presented to us. This planetary approach, passionately communicated by Muller, was built around the ideology of “oneness.”

We are all interconnected was the message; to the Earth, to the energy of the universe, to each other. To express this unity we each received a symbolic “Global Citizenship” passport. The words on the inside back-page encapsulated the purpose of our Congress; “A good inhabitant of the planet Earth, a member of the great human family… You are the Earth become conscious of herself… Unite, global citizens, to save and heal planet Earth.”

As the author of the World Core Curriculum and one who had a personal hand in creating eleven UN agencies, Muller was in an unparalleled position to motivate planetary action. Our task was to flesh out tangible expressions of unity as we focused on the core of his UNESCO-awarded educational philosophy; “A new world morality and world ethics… global management… [a] vast synthesis… to make each human being proud to be a member of a transformed species…” Managing the world, and thus advancing humanity’s collective evolution, will bring about our ascension as “universal, total beings.”

Here are a few of the activism ideas shared by participating groups during the Congress.

– Promote global citizenship clubs in schools.

– Create a “global citizenship” theme park to promote planetary thinking.

– Call for an international water management regime.

– Declare a “Global Citizenship Day.”

– Launch school-based interfaith clubs and groups.

One school team proposed a big idea: To zero-out world debt and issue everyone a biometric card with a money-replacement points program based on your occupation and its value to the planet. At the table next to mine, a group of junior high girls exemplified the new paradigm in a one-act play. “Mother Earth” sat on a round table with pine boughs held aloft, then, one after another, students laid hands on Mother and made confession; “I’m guilty… of wasting water… wasting electricity… killing animals by wearing leather sandals… polluting the environment when I’m fully aware of the oil leak in my dad’s car.” In turn, Gaia – Mother Earth – forgave each child as they vowed to redeem their eco-sins through positive actions.

Muller shared his achievements and vision of unity. He told us about planting the seed of the United Religions Initiative during the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions and then again, in 1995, at the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. “I almost cannot believe they listened to me,” he beamed, “I will be the father of the United Religions!”

Muller, who since passed away in 2010, elaborated on his dreams for a politically managed planet. He suggested different approaches to world order and encouraged the pursuit of each; Empower the United Nations into a “United States of the World,” form a constitutional World Federation, integrate continental regions – creating an American Union and an African Union – and then bring these together with the European Union into a “World Union,” establish communities around dominant terrestrial features such as a Pacific Community, an Atlantic Community, an Arctic Community, etc.

“So you have a fantastic future,” announced the prophet of world order. “Just come up with an idea.”

Muller pressed the need to “acquire new values and behaviour.” If we didn’t change for the global good, then “all life on this planet will extinguish.” The weight of the world’s salvation was placed on our shoulders, and it was an emotionally charged call-of-duty. “Either you change your values, or you don’t… if you change, if you consider the Earth as being number one your Mother, then it will change.”

The flip side was that if we continued to consume and hold the wrong values, “you will be the responsible generation of having to put an end to all life on this planet.”

The spiritual outlook required to save the planet was to recognize the “basic truth” as given by “Jesus, by Mohammad, by these emissaries from outer space.” What was this basic truth? The cosmos incarnating itself through our collective divinity.

“You are not children of Canada, you are really living units of the cosmos be   cause the Earth is a cosmic phenomena… we are all cosmic units. This is why religions tell you, you are divine. We are divine energy… it is in your hands whether evolution on this planet continues or not…”

As an independent attendee I was assigned to a team of university students who were studying to become educators. This group was focussed on tangible ways to integrate the World Core Curriculum into the classroom. How? was the question.

Recognizing the spiritual nature underscoring Muller’s worldview, and that our quest for a global citizenship paradigm had entered the arena of beliefs and values modification, the talk turned to traditionally held parental convictions and how to “deal with parental pessimism.” It was noted that if a child’s values could be changed in the classroom, then family attitudes would shift too. This, the future teachers acknowledged, was a worthy goal. After some discussion it was agreed that creatively placing global citizenship values into all subject areas was the most important way to influence young minds. Global problems requiring global solutions – such as overpopulation – would be integrated into literature, history, and mathematics. Planetary awareness would thus be emphasized, along with the call for collective action. By embedding emotionally-charged global concerns into the lifespan of formal education, and in-turn facilitating the responsive values change, the correct Oneness philosophy would become profoundly infused within every facet of society. As one team member said; “Make it a virus, no inoculation, infect everyone.”

Education for Global Thinking

In the spring of 2014, UNESCO released its report meant to assist in the Education For All program, an ambitious movement to bring “education for all children, youth and adults” by 2015. The document, titled Global Citizenship Education: Preparing Learners for the Challenges of the 21st Century, explores the role of world citizenship education as a tool for social change.

“…there is growing interest in global citizenship education [GCE], signalling a shift in the role and purpose of education to that of forging more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies.”[i]

This is an interesting statement in that it admits to moving a traditional view of education towards a transformational approach. Arithmetic and language arts, history and science, will still play a role in the educational system, but the basic motivation is no longer the development of cognitive skills for the sake of knowledge growth – it is about a new framework, a new way of seeing ourselves as part of the global whole, “to deal with the dynamic and interdependent world of the twenty-first century.”[ii]

In working through the commonalities found within global citizenship education, UNESCO recognized five core elements. Note the collectivist approach.

1. An attitude supported by an understanding of multiple levels of identity, and the potential for a ‘collective identity’ which transcends individual cultural, religious, ethnic or other differences;

2. A deep knowledge of global issues and universal values such as justice, equality, dignity and respect;

3. Cognitive skills to think critically, systemically and creatively, including adopting a multi-perspective approach that recognizes the different dimensions, perspectives and angles of issues;

4. Non-cognitive skills including social skills such as empathy and conflict resolution, communication skills and aptitudes for networking and interacting with people of different backgrounds, origins, cultures and perspectives; and

5. Behavioural capacities to act collaboratively and responsibly to find global solutions for global challenges, and to strive for the collective good.[iii]

The above five points are not found in the paradigm of traditional education, which focused on core subject areas and the facts associated with them. World citizenship thinking, however, requires a new kind of learner – those emotionally aroused through “global problem” narratives and the stirring of “universal values.” Planetary equality and justice are thus demanded in the face of perceived wrongs and narrow views; wealth inequality and the “evils of capitalism,” climate change and “dirty energy,” intolerant religious beliefs, national sovereignty versus “global responsibility,” the bigotry of traditional sexual bounds, and the plight of the environment as caused by the greedy underpinnings of private property.

When the student’s emotions are sufficiently heightened within the shaped egalitarian mindset, then the real push takes place. “We must do something,” cries the curriculum. “We must do something,” demands the collective voice of globally-attuned youth. The need for a “democratic” and “global remedy” becomes the focus. “Change the world” and “we are change” are mantras that energize the classroom. Only through positive planetary deeds, finding “global solutions for global challenges… for the collective good,” can we hope to be the difference.

Understand, the above five points are not about education per se, but about creating activists who seek the “common good” as an expression of their worldview – we are all one. And if we are one, then those who act outside of that parameter need to change or get-out-of-the-way. It’s the classic recipe for revolutionary “citizen democracy.”

Does the above sound too over-the-top? Surely “global citizenship education” isn’t about shaping a generation of global activists?

Consider that on page 20 of the UNESCO document, the report has a subsection acknowledging the fact that global citizenship education and activism are directly correlated. Moreover, page 20 recognizes that,

“citizens… showing active concern for global issues could be perceived as challenging local/national authorities if their actions are deemed to be in conflict with local or national interests. The role of education in challenging the status quo or building skills for activism may be a concern for those who see this as a threat to the stability of the nation state.”

The above statement is accurate, although written from the perspective of advocating transformation. The report goes on to say, “Although global citizenship education does entail resisting the status quo and imagining alternative futures, this should be considered and presented as a positive challenge that can enrich and broaden cultural, local and national identities.”

In the Western experience of ideas and social movements, the concerns regarding the progressive “alternative futures” of change-agents are warranted. Their visions and campaigns – based on emotionally charged ideology – are often couched in good intentions, yet show a lack of understanding for on-the-ground realities and a failure to grasp cause-and-effect. And as those imagined outcomes are frequently utopian in their social/political goals, when those structures-for-change are finally implemented and fail, to the detriment of many, then more systemic transformation is always called for. After all, their vision is never at fault. Instead, the conservative voices of concern are blamed.

More than just a failure to comprehend root causes and unintended consequences, many of the solutions recommended by activists openly require cultural shifts and value modifications that undermine the foundations of Western stability: Christian ethics and moral sensibilities, national sovereignty, laws framed on higher standards, independence, and free enterprise. These traditional building blocks, rather, are to be replaced by “participatory democracy” and its shifting cultural winds, entrenched political correctness, legal ambiguities and larger government bureaucracies, and always more spending – with recommendations that public funds be channeled into “advocacy.” In other words, tax money should be directed back into the activist community, for they have the “vision of the anointed.”[iv]

As social/political critic, Thomas Sowell, explains regarding the intellectual leadership that drives transformational activism,

“In their zeal for particular kinds of decisions to be made, those with the vision of the anointed seldom consider the nature of the process by which decisions are made. Often what they propose amounts to third-party decision making by people who pay no cost for being wrong – surely one of the least promising ways of reaching decisions satisfactory to those who must live with the consequences.”[v]

When one considers the social cost, it’s not unusual to find that liberties are being sacrificed for the sake of the “greater good.” Looking at the history of progressive activism, Sowell reminds us that “seldom have so few cost so much to so many.”[vi]

Examples abound of progressive activism in the classroom, giving a voice to tomorrows leaders today. One will suffice: In 2013, grade 8 children in Lakeview, Michigan, wrote letters to public officials as part of a classroom campaign against hydraulic fracturing (and one student received a letter back from President Obama). The source of their knowledge? The controversial documentary Gasland, an anti-fracking video that used fraudulent footage of “burning” water coming out of a tap. Did the teacher have any real or practical knowledge of hydraulic fracturing? No. And neither did the students, but their emotions had been stirred in light of perceived environmental injustices, and they did what any global citizen would do – “be the change.”

From fracking to gender identity to “global warming” to foreign policies to sustainable development to wealth redistribution and “taxing the rich,” to energy and industry to sexual orientation to… you name it, students are now activists on every front imaginable. Classrooms have become training grounds for experiential forms of “global democracy.” The ill-informed mob, without the constraint of higher standards and factual realities, exert the vision of those who have shaped their thinking. We demand change.

I realize that the above is a generalization, but it is also a norm. I also know that not every educator works to make social change agents out of students. Some teachers I have spoken with are very disturbed by the trend they see; the push for “global citizenship education” and activism. But it nevertheless exists, and it is not isolated nor is it without context. In fact, there is a tangible history behind the idea of education as a tool for social/political indoctrination.[vii]

As the UNESCO report explained, “education for peace and sustainable development” seeks to create “empowered global citizens as an objective.”[viii]

As such, global citizenship education “aims to… focus on engagement in individual and collective action to bring about desired changes; and involve multiple stakeholders, including those outside the learning environment, in the community and in wider society.”[ix]

Accordingly, UNESCO notes that global citizenship education is “built on a lifelong perspective… not only for children and youth but also for adults.” Furthermore, it can be integrated through “formal and informal approaches, curricular and extracurricular interventions and conventional and unconventional pathways to participation.”

The words from my Global Citizenship 2000 Youth Congress come to mind; “make it a virus, no inoculation, infect everyone.”

“Collective identity” and working “for the collective good,” as preached by UNESCO, are paramount to an existence of global interdependence and interconnectedness; “the global challenges which cannot be adequately or uniquely addressed by nations states, sustainability as the main concept of the future.”[x]

Not surprisingly, the UNESCO text points to my province’s Grade 12 “Global Issues: Citizenship and Sustainability” curriculum. This Manitoba Social Studies unit explains that global citizenship education is activism-oriented and works to move the student from “me to we – from passive to active… from status quo to change.” The Take Action unit section explains it this way; “The goal is to move students from awareness through questioning, inquiry and dialogue, to critical consciousness and, ultimately, to praxis – engagement in informed reflective action for positive change… students should be free to plan small or large scale projects, with a local, national or global scope.”

To that end, Manitoba students are to pursue activism in the following areas of concern; Media, Consumerism, Environment, Global Wealth and Power, Social Justice and Human Rights, Biotechnology, Modern Slavery, and Gender and Identity. In pursuing those key topics, a number of sub-issues are listed; energy and resource depletion, global environmental governance, the Gaia Hypothesis, spiritual values in nature, climate change, population growth, consumption, alternatives to the free market, international debt, global equality, environmental justice, human trafficking, “abortion on demand,” controlling family sizes, sexual orientation and LGBT rights, and tactical activism.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is this: Global citizenship education is about ingraining the idea that we are all one, and we must become activists to that end. Spirituality becomes planetary, Earth loyalties are demanded, values are shifted, and global management to solve global problems are proclaimed. In other words, global citizenship demands planetary governance, planetary spirituality, planetary agents of change… planetary bureaucracy. Freedom and liberty in this paradigm demands that you conform to the global consensus. And it’s always for the “general good.”

What isn’t acceptable are the by-products and framework of traditional Christian principles, for this exemplifies social and religious standards that are now deemed archaic. In the name of tolerance, we cannot tolerate your “backward” views of ethics and individual responsibility. Global citizenship demands that we switch to broader mandates. No longer appreciated are the closed-minded moral limits of orthodox Christian principles, national independence which causes separateness, and troubling exclusive religious truth claims. Instead, we are firmly planted in the values of the New Age.

Without hesitation, it is safe to say that the final role of global citizenship education is to bend minds for a planetary correct society, one where students, spurred to action, become “agents for change.”

Robert Muller would be proud.

————–
[i] Global Citizenship Education: Preparing Learners for the Challenges of the 21st Century (UNESCO, 2014), p.5.
[ii] Ibid., p.9.
[iii] Ibid., p.9.
[iv] Thomas Sowell explores this concept in his books, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy (Basic Books, 1995), and Intellectuals and Society (Basic Books, 2010).
[v] Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed (Basic Books, 1995), p.129.
[vi] Ibid., p.260.
[vii] See, Brave New Schools (Harvest House, 1995), written by Berit Kjos.
[viii] Global Citizenship Education, p.11.
[ix] Ibid., p.16.
[x] Ibid., p.17.

January Update

February 3, 2015

Here’s a glimpse into the last four weeks of Forcing Change and the Teichrib life.10885362_10152892881917394_8611965907501353142_n

Professionally:

– Finally had the opportunity of returning to my manuscript project, at least for a while. Yes, I’m trying to write a book. At this point it’s without title, but the thrust of the text examines the ongoing shift to the paradigm of Oneness. To that end, I explore the little mentioned change over from post-modernism into the Age of Re-Enchantment, and the many political, social, technological, and religious by-products that emerges from this transformation. We’re on the edge of a whole new world!

– Spoke three times to congregations in Manitoba. The communities I went to: St. Laurent, Fortier, and Neepawa.

– Worked on a Google Map project in which I’m pinning locations of transformational festivals and events that express evolutionary spiritual change. This project will be used, in-part, during a thirty minute presentation I’m giving at the TruthXChange think tank conference in Escondido, California during the first week of February.

– Finished the January edition of Forcing Change magazine. The January issue delves into three personal and interlocking questions: Who do you follow? Who do you trust? Who do you serve? Moreover, a guest author challenges Christian researchers and activists to pursue their calling with a higher standard.

– Radio Shows I was interviewed on: TruNews, VFTB, Truth Traveler, and The Bunker Files.

Personal:

– The Teichrib household was hit with two-weeks of illness, which started right before the New Year. Oh joy.

– Our daughter has been boxing now for about a year, and in January, Leanne and our son decided to take it up too. What does this mean for me? Think about it… :)

– Gave a speech workshop for one evening to the local 4-H club. It was a lot of fun, and because the ages of club members varied from teens to younger children, the questions were interesting. “What happens if I’m giving my speech and the wind blows and my hair gets in my face?” “What happens if…”

– Attended two funerals in one week. Not fun.

Books Read: Richard E. Byrd, Skyward (Halcyon House, 1937).

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