Innovators World, Introduction, Overview

Moral Innovator perspectives on Christianity #3

This is the third of three essays on Christianity that cover the three Christian breakthroughs from a Moral Innovator perspective:
1. The formation that started 2,000 years ago
2. The split between Orthodox and Catholics 1,000 years ago
3. The split between Catholics and Protestants 500 years ago

In Christianity #1 dated September 11th, 2016, the focus was on formation of Christianity 2,000 years ago. Pre-Christian communities like Essenes and Therapeutae focused on the soul or spirit. Several centuries after the death of Jesus, the writers of the Bible’s New Testament wanted believers to yield their souls to the consubstantial Jesus Christ, leaving all Christian believers only with their personalities. By adopting the Greek philosophers’ “Logos” (instead of Ethos or Pathos) to present compelling arguments for the soul and spirit, pre-Christian communities like Essenes and Therapeutae (and later Gnostics) had to become heretics. This story has not ended, as we may be able to find out more through the Dead Sea Scrolls which have been attributed to writings mostly of the Essenes.

In Christianity #2 dated September 18th, 2016, the focus was on the split between Orthodox and Catholics which was formalized in the year 1054, about 1,000 years ago. Orthodox Christians believe Jesus Christ is full human and full God, part of the trinity. Catholics believe in a consubstantial trinity. Both made Jesus a God even though Jesus himself did not proclaim to be God himself. On the surface, the divergence within Christianity was driven by power and rituals (e.g. should bread made with yeast be used or not during Eucharist/Communions. Catholics say yes, and Orthodox says no.

In Christianity #3, we focus on the Protestant schism from the Catholics. Martin Luther posted his 95 theses in 1517 (in Germany) and John Calvin broke from the Roman Catholic Church in 1530 (in France), leading a confederation of Christians that collectively are called Protestants.

500 years ago, Catholic Christians had achieved independence after the collapse of the Byzantine Empire. Not only was there no longer an empire to backup Christians, the lure of treasures in the Americas led the Spanish-born Pope Alexander VI (1431-1504) to draft The Tordesillas Treaty adopted in 1493 by Spain and Portugal. This Treaty gave 90% of all of Americas to Spain, and the remaining 10% to Portugal which became Brazil today. 20% of all treasures collected in the Americas had to be turned over to Spain as royalty. Pope Alexander VI was one of the most controversial Popes, partly because he acknowledged fathering several children by this mistress, and partly because he expanded the practice of granting indulgences. For example, beginning July 13th 1495, up to 5,500 days less in purgatory can be purchased for reciting the Rosary, a Dominican meditation on Christians’ 15 greatest mysteries. Martin Luther’s protest in 1517 included the selling of indulgences such as reciting the Rosary.

Protestants generally believe the church belongs to the followers (or congregations), and not a separate institution like the Catholic Church. For example, Presbyterians are governed by their congregations, whereas some Calvinists’ believe in pre-destination. More recognized Protestants include Methodists (England), Baptists (Amsterdam), Episcopalian (USA), Pentecostal (USA), Churches of Christ (USA). Others include Salvation Army, Quakers, Mormons, Unitarianism, etc. Martin Luther’s marriage to a former nun Katharina von Bora also set the model for clerical marriage.

One of the most significant reasons Martin Luther (1483-1546) succeeded with the Reformation was the translation of the Bible into German, followed by the mass printing of German Bibles using Gutenberg movable type. We know that the printing of the Vulgate, or the Latin version of the Bible, started as early as 1450s. Up to 180 copies of were made, most of them in two volumes (the first volume ending with The Book of Psalms). We also know copies of vellum were heavier and sometimes bound into three or four volumes. The introduction of the movable type print was comparable to the internet as we entered the 21st century. No longer were scribes needed. Errors in reproduction were eliminated by the printing press. By adding several principles to the art of translation, Martin Luther also influenced the writing of the English Tyndale Bible (and later the King James Bible completed in 1611).

Martin Luther spent most of the last part of his life translating the Bible into German. After being excommunicated by the Catholic Pope (1521), the German New Testament first appeared in 1522 and the entire Old and New Testaments in German began to appear around 1534. In his later works, Martin Luther also expressed Jewish homes and synagogues should be destroyed, their money confiscated, and liberty curtailed, against some of his own congregation of Lutherans. There is still debate among scholars whether the World War II Nazis correctly characterized Martin Luther’s anti-semitic views.

Protestant congregations also adopted Logos to justify a new concept (such as Quakers) based on logical (moral) values, not credibility (Ethos) or emotions (Pathos). Many cult-like religions have been led by charismatic “lone wolf” leaders who attracted enough followers to sustain a congregation. For example, David Koresh believed he was the final prophet in the Davidian Branch. We probably recognize David Koresh as the child abuser who died in the FBI raid in Waco Texas in 1993.
What were the underlying moral values behind this Protestant Schism? It was the belief that scripture (e.g. Bible) has higher authority than the Catholic Church, and no institution or state such as Vatican can replace scripture. A clear example is Catholic confessions. Whereas Catholic followers confess to a preacher, Protestants repent directly to God in prayers.
Today, we know that Protestants and Catholics each have about 1 billion followers, which when combined with the 200-300 million Orthodox followers, make up 35% of humanity.

After 2,000 years, Protestants cannot reasonably expect the Vatican to just disappear because there is no need for Catholic Churches when congregations follow the scripture. An effective way to address this and other differences between Protestants and Catholics is to return to the original message Jesus himself preached during his three years of actual preaching: Love thy neighbor.

The next essay will introduce Islam. With 85% Sunni and 15% Shiite, there was a similar schism among Muslims. We will then introduce the Indian and Chinese civilizations. After we look at Christianity, Islam, Indians and Chinese, we will have addressed over 90% of the 7+ billion humans, and begin to address how Moral Innovations can facilitate a peaceful, homologous world. It will not be Utopia, but we can still thrive with knowledge of your places in the world, so we can do the right things and make it better.

Innovators World, Introduction, Overview

Which of the four global communities do you belong?

Mar2015 Humanity Overview Chart

There is only one universally accepted Golden Rule in various forms: Do unto others what you want others to do unto you. If only all of us follow this moral rule, the world will be a better place. However, The Golden Rule does not feed us. We still have to make a living, support a family, and live in a changing world. We must work hard to innovate with our skills during our lifetime. If we can rely on the hope that our hard work can support our desired lifestyles, there would be less violence and hatred over time. When we can no longer hope our hard work can feed us or do not want to work hard, we begin to sacrifice The Golden Rule. Moral Innovations use history to remind us that we must manage our hope through adversity and work hard with The Golden Rule in mind.

Which global community do you belong? Because we use English to communicate, we are already confined by less than 1.5 billion people out of 7+ billion people who can read English, with less than 500 million native speakers in 54 countries and 27 non-sovereign entities. The chances are, you are a Christian in one of these 54 countries and 27 non-sovereign entities, dominated by USA with more than 50% of the English native speakers worldwide. If we can focus on a Moral Innovation framework in this community first, and respect the culture and rights of the non-English speakers, we are moving in the right direction.

Innovators World, Introduction, Overview

Moral Innovator Perspectives on Race Relations

Focusing on skin color within the USA is insufficient to improve race relations. By looking globally we can gain knowledge from our past to make future improvements with integrity, and re-discover we must follow a universally accepted Golden Rule: Do unto others what you want others to do unto you.

The worst human atrocity committed against fellow humans took place 300-500 years ago after European Christians committed genocide in the Americas in the name of Christianity (worse than World War II, World War I, Holocaust, Chinese Cultural Revolution, etc.).  Up to 100 million humans perished which represent 80% of Native Americans and Africans transported to the Americas as slaves. There is scant record of many rich pre-Columbian cultures in the Americas (e.g. 5,000 year old Sacred City of Caral in Supe Valley, Peru), and Africa’s population was flat between the years 1600-1850 while the rest of the world’s population more than doubled. Why is Columbus, who never set foot on USA soil, celebrated in the USA? Why is Andrew Jackson, who spent his life killing Native Americans, celebrated on $20 dollar bills? Why is Lord Jeff Amherst (1717-1797) a namesake for a city in Massachusetts? Amherst approved the intentional distribution of blankets used by smallpox victims to Native Americans and proclaimed his willingness to adopt “any other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.” His grandnephew Bill (1773-1857) inherited Jeff’s title of Lord in 1797, and went to China in 1816 where he failed to negotiate trade with China which ignited The Opium Wars, then he went on to India and commanded the first Burmese War of 1824 that killed 15,000 British soldiers at a cost of £13 million.

60% of all humans born in the last 200 years have followed Christianity or Islam, much more than the rest of the world largely represented by Indians and Chinese. The key innovation that drove human progress was industrialization which was led by USA/European Christians. The largest transfer of wealth through this industrialization was the forced import of opium into China (against Chinese laws), backed by gunboats, to take an estimated (2014) retail value of $2 trillion per year from China, mostly during the reign of Empress Dowager Cixi who ruled China for 50 years. China fell from the largest economy on earth in the year 1820 with 35% of global GDP to almost declaring bankruptcy in 1902 if not for a 39 year financing to pay Christian countries like Russia and Germany for the suppression of the patriotic Chinese Boxers’ Rebellion. USA also received payment, but returned some to help establish Qinghua University, a top school in China. USA became the global leader with 27-35% of global GDP between the years 1950-2001 on the shoulders of the largest middle class on earth after Henry Ford started to pay premium wages to his workers, but had to share its wealth mostly with Muslims beginning in 1973 when the OPEC cartel steeply increased prices. An estimated (2014) $1 trillion per year cash profit has been paid to OPEC to quench the thirst for energy to sustain industrialization. Both Christians and Muslims have concentrated their wealth in the last 40 years to widen the wealth gap, as the USA/worldwide Christians squeeze the middle class and a super majority of Muslims remain in poverty. Meanwhile, China has lifted more humans out of poverty than the rest of the world by sacrificing their environment.

We do not differentiate Arabs from Jews in the Middle East by skin color. The Chinese, Koreans and other Asians hate the Japanese not because of the color of their skin, but because the Japanese captured and forced over 400,000 women into 400 locations where they were raped by Japanese soldiers multiple times every day until they died. (In Yunnan, China, each Japanese soldier was given two tickets every week to rape innocent females in one of these 400 locations, and these tickets have been shown on documentaries and can still be inspected.)  The Japanese also massacred ~300,000 civilians and raped over 20,000 females in Nanjing, China over a 40 day period where soldiers competed for how many civilians they killed. While forgiveness is a virtue, the Japanese have not atoned for their atrocities. In fact, convicted war criminals in the International Court of Justice are memorialized in a Japanese shrine where top government officials visit every year. This is akin to the USA making August 6th and 9th as Little Boy and Fat Man (codenames for the atomic bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki) Holidays with celebratory parades that killed 129,000 Japanese.  To get a glimpse of The Golden Rule, just look at the Japanese reaction to the gang rape of local girls near the Okinawa US Military Base by US Military Servicemen.  A reason the largest US Military Base in Asia is moving is due to the strong opposition of the local residents against these isolated incidents of raping local girls.  Of course, going back one more step, US Military should never have been stationed in Okinawa in the first place because Japan was supposed to be “expelled from all … territories taken by violence and greed…” based on the November 27th 1943 Cairo Declaration which the Allies dictated in accordance with the Potsdam Declaration which was the term of the Japanese unconditional surrender announced in Japanese radio on August 15th, 1945 and signed on the deck of USS Missouri on September 2nd, 1943.  Okinawa, as we know it today, was unilaterally taken by Japan in 1879 and renamed Okinawa Prefecture from the former Kingdom of Ryukyu.  Japan forced the King of Ryukyu Sho Tai (1843-1901) to move to Tokyo in 1897, even as Ryukyu paid tributes to China for over 450 years, with the last tribute left Ryukyu in the year 1874.  This is the subject of another blog…

How do we not focus on skin color or geography? We still have the American Dream where anyone can maximize their potential within their own lifetime. We think of people like Bill Gates, but he left a legacy of monopolistic practices at Microsoft. We can improve race relations by creating a network that focuses on opportunities with positive legacies while following the Golden Rule.  Use the Golden Rule as the foundation of our great society.  We clearly forgot the Golden Rule when policemen used excessive force to kill innocent citizens in Missouri, New York, Ohio and other places.

Innovators World, Overview, Warrior World

Moral Innovators views on World Order

Moral Innovators balance continuous improvement with integrity. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi have been the best known moral innovators. In the business world, among the better known Moral Innovators is Henry Ford who, as he built the Model T cars, helped create the world’s largest middle class that drove consumer spending that contributed to USA’s world leading 32-35% of Global GDP between the years 1950-2001. China’s open market economy that started in 1978 gave business executives an alternative that squeezed our middle class, exasperating the wealth gap today.

The largest contributor to the wealth gap, on a global basis, is the OPEC oligopoly/cartel. With roughly 25-33% of 30-40 million barrels/day production for about 40 years at average profit margin on each barrel of between $50-$100/barrel, the total pure profit transferred to mostly the top 1% of Muslims who control the oil and gas is roughly the same as our total national debt of $12.6 trillion in 2014!

This peacetime transfer of wealth is by far the largest reason the wealth gap has increased on a global basis. The media has focused on large investments made to sustain oil production, including fracking. The world’s largest philanthropist, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is also the largest shareholder of ExxonMobil, an oil/gas giant. Every time we pump gas in a gas station, or turn on our HVAC system, we contribute to the consumption which helps OPEC sustain their pricing and financing various activities under the name of Islam. The media does not cover this partly because all the major oil and gas companies earn significant profit in refining and distributing the oil and gas products to our gas and power stations.

If oil and gas are truly competitively priced as a consumer commodity, we reduce our national debt, and weaken the financial resources available to sustain the high growth of Islam which has the worst wealth gap among their communities of 1.6 billion believers/followers (which in turn, encourage more extremist activities like Al Qaeda, ISIL, …) We are decades behind in a strategic energy policy to mitigate the influence of OPEC cartel, partly because companies like ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell have self-interests to preserve the status quo, and partly because each President has a maximum of 10 years, or two full terms (which may not deliver results for strategic energy policy initiatives).

Dr. Henry Kissinger’s most recent book, “World Order,” tries to use Westphalia Peace Treaty of 1648 as a reference framework for world order. He did not mention once the OPEC cartel as the root cause of “World Disorder.” Maintaining equilibrium between power and legitimacy under the Westphalia approach ignores the fundamental problems with the world today.

Let’s confront the issues until they are resolved, not avoiding the issues with a framework based on about 200 European Christians seeking to preserve status quo. The status quo can not be sustained, and we will need Moral Innovators.