By Matthew Butler | Conscious Reporter
Last September, Israel’s ex-President Shimon Peres asked Pope Francis to head a future “UN of religions”, a proposed organisation with “unquestionable” authority to proclaim God’s will. Peres argued globalising faith under a single world authority is required to combat terrorism. Is this concept, which has major implications, really about peace, or is there a darker agenda behind it?
For some time now, political and economic decision-making power has devolved away from citizens and the nation-state to global multilateral organizations. As these organisations shape a new global order favoring corporate and financial elites, local populations have a diminished say in economic decisions affecting them – especially when represented by careerist politicians more aligned to the global elite.
Lately there have been signs of a top-down push for the globalisation of religion as well, with calls for global political authority over the world’s spirituality.
The most obvious drive came last September when former President of Israel, Shimon Peres met with the Pope to propose the formation of a new “U.N. of religions”, which the Pope would head. Peres suggested this organisation should wield the “unquestionable” authority to declare what God does and does not want, in order to combat religious extremism.
The implications are huge. 84 percent of the world’s population has a spiritual faith of some kind. Together the Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist religions are followed by more 5.3 billion people, and a diverse mix of folk beliefs and smaller minority faiths, from Bahai to Wicca, account for almost another half billion. With spirituality playing a central role in the lives of most of the world’s population, it would seem “global governance” must inevitably take religion into account.
Various theorists have suggested a “One World Religion” will emerge as part of a “New World Order”. Is it possible that powerful people in the global elite desire – if not an actual monolithic world faith – then a global hegemony over the world’s spirituality, so that religions, and their followers, can be influenced through a central authority? If so, it would mean a similar model of top-down globalisation via multilateral organisations as deployed in politics, economics and trade, would be rolled out to spirituality.
But just how noble are the intentions of those vending this idea? Is their rhetoric bona fide? A closer examination suggests such a scheme is highly suspect, and part of broader agenda with ominous implications.
The Blueprint for a Global Religious Authority
Before his September meeting with the Pope to discuss forming a “U.N. of religions”, Shimon Peres detailed his ideas in an interview with Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana.
“What is needed is an Organisation of United Religions, a U.N. of religions. It would be the best way to combat these terrorists who kill in the name of faith”, Peres was quoted. “In the past, the majority of wars were motivated by the idea of nationhood. Today, instead, wars are sparked above all with the excuse of religion,” he said.
Global interfaith religious initiatives already exist, such as the United Religions Initiative, but evidently Peres envisages a much more top-down and authoritative “Organisation of United Religions”. He was quite blunt about the proposed organisation’s power: “What is needed is an unquestionable moral authority that says in a strong voice ‘No, God does not want this and does not permit it’.” He suggested the Pope lead it because “he is perhaps the only leader who is truly respected”.
The Pope was reportedly sympathetic, but made no “decision or personal commitment” and it remains to be seen whether this new body materialises.
Peres is not the first elite political figure to champion such an approach however. I have written before about Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation, the former UK Prime Minister’s eponymous charity which focuses on “faith and globalisation”. In January 2014 Blair wrote a widely republished essay stating what his foundation seeks to do:
“…the purpose is to change the policy of governments: to start to treat this issue of religious extremism as an issue that is about religion as well as politics, to go to the roots of where a false view of religion is being promulgated, and to make it a major item on the agenda of world leaders to combine effectively to combat it. This is a struggle that is only just beginning.”
Much like Peres, Blair has argued religious extremism is the prime cause of conflict in the world today, and world leaders must unite to address it. Also, like Peres, he claimed a political authority should have the power to determine which religious views are “false”.
Blair, too, also sought support from the Vatican, which leads the world’s largest religious congregation. However, despite being a recently-converted Catholic, Blair was not very successful when he made overtures to the Vatican in 2011, and one prominent Catholic scholar, Professor Michel Schooyans, believed the former UK leader had sinister objectives:
One of the aims of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation will be that of remaking the major religions, just as his colleague Barack Obama will remake global society. With this purpose, the foundation in question will try to expand the ‘new rights’, using the world religions for this end and adapting these for their new duties. The religions will have to be reduced to the same common denominator, which means stripping them of their identity …
This project threatens to set us back to an age in which political power was ascribed the mission of promoting a religious confession, or of changing it. In the case of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, this is also a matter of promoting one and only one religious confession, which a universal, global political power would impose on the entire world. (source)
Blair’s attempt to claim religious extremism is the root cause of today’s global conflict, while at the same time stubbornly justifying his deceptive role in the invasion of Iraq – and calling for more direct military intervention in the Middle East – was always going to raise eyebrows. Given his lack of credibility as a peace advocate, it’s not surprising to see a different retired world leader lobbying for religious globalisation at the Vatican.
The recently retired Peres seems a much better fit for the job. While Blair has a hawkish reputation, Peres is considered to have transformed into a “dove” in his later years in office, where he appeared mild in comparison to some of his more hard-line Zionist compatriots. Pope Francis, who has been a PR coup for Church and was named TIME Magazine’s Man of the Year, also has the credibility and clout to lead such an initiative, a fact Peres seems well aware of.
So is this a legitimate initiative to promote peace, or something else?
Despite their superficial differences, the core argument Peres and Blair make is the same: religious extremism is responsible for today’s conflict, and a global political authority needs to wield control over religions. While religiously motivated violence, particularly in the Islamic world, is undoubtedly a major problem, this argument is extremely deceptive and duplicitous, because it ignores the hidden (and not so hidden) hand which inflamed this problem, and actively works to sustain it.
The fact is the root cause of the explosion of extremist violence in the Middle East has been destructive foreign policies of NATO governments and its allies.
The invasion of Iraq, which Blair co-led, was based on outright lies about the country having weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). The war killed up to a million people, destroyed its secular government, military and infrastructure. The ensuing chaos enabled religious extremists to ravage the region, first as Al Qaeda in Iraq (who had no presence there before the war) and now via the self-proclaimed Islamic State formerly known as ISIS.
Though seen as a “dove” now, Peres also has a chequered past when it comes to promoting world peace which includes being associated with war crimes and acting as a major architect of Israel’s covert nuclear weapons program. It’s an open secret that Israel has an undisclosed nuclear WMD stockpile. Israel began its secret nuclear weapons program in the 1950s, stealing nuclear secrets and materials from many countries, including the USA. Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan boasts that Peres recruited him as an Israeli spy and smuggler in a Tel Aviv nightclub in 1965 for this nuclear program.
In the mid-70s, Israel sought to sell nuclear weapons to apartheid South Africa. Documents obtained by The Guardian and published in 2010 reveal that in 1975 Shimon Peres, then Israel’s defence minister, was in direct negotiations with his South African counterpart and offered to sell the nation nukes “in three sizes”.
Both Blair and Peres have a shady association with WMDs. In assessing their calls for religious globalisation, purportedly to promote peace, we have to ask ourselves: can we really trust a person who lied about WMDs, and another who tried to proliferate them?
A False Premise
The arguments of Blair and Peres also wilfully ignore how the foreign policy of the US government and its allies has fomented Islamic extremism since the 70’s, when the CIA funded and armed the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan to draw the Soviets into a proxy war, a tactic which gave rise to the Taliban and Al Qaeda. In a similar vein, the current foreign policy of the US government and its allies has created ISIS, a fact a retired US General almost admitted in an apparent Freudian slip.
After Iraq’s military and government were pulverized, NATO later turned its attention to Libya and bombed it into a failed state while backing jihadist rebels to topple Gaddafi (both countries formerly had secular governments which kept religious extremism at bay). When Libya fell, Jihadist fighters and weapons began flooding into Syria, which has a secular regime the US government has also sought to topple. In Libya, ISIS is now being led by a rebel NATO directly backed to overthrow Gaddafi.
When ISIS, now calling itself the Islamic State, crossed the Syrian border into Iraq in 2014, the war-torn country was unable to prevent the incursion. In Syria, where a civil war continues to rage, the US government and its allies have been arming and training so-called “moderate” rebels to overthrow the Assad government, despite these rebels having links to Jihadists. Many of these weapons and fighters funded by the US government have ended up in the ranks of ISIS, which also happens to be fighting Assad. There are also recent reports the Iraqi government arrested US and Israeli military advisors in the country this month for directly aiding Islamic State terrorists there. Such connections between the US government and ISIS are apparent even while the US government is supposed to be fighting ISIS in the Middle East at the same time. It seems a geopolitical “double game” is being played. See more on the origins of ISIS/the Islamic State in the video below:
There is a pattern here. The regimes threatened by this foreign policy are secular, and bringing war and chaos to them only favours the rise of extremist groups like the Islamic State, whose recruitment is bolstered further by foreign airstrikes or drone attacks which inevitably kill civilians and cause outrage. At the same time, these extremists “accidently” receive the benefits of funding and weapons provided by the US government and its allies.
Surely changing this destructive and self-defeating foreign policy is the first point of order if reducing global conflict and religious extremism is your objective?
But what if that is not the real objective?
Problem Reaction Solution
The pattern of arming and backing extremists, and fighting them later, has been going on for so long that it’s difficult to believe these “side effects” are purely accidental.
“Problem, Reaction, Solution” describes a process where rulers create a problem, provoking a reaction from the public who demand something be done about it, which then allows the government to bring in its pre-prepared “solution” to solve the problem it created.
The war on terror is a case in point. By continually fuelling the fires of extremism, it keeps the war going. This justifies continued military expenditure, foreign interventions, and the reduction of civil liberties on the home front where a security state is constructed. Since the enemy, “terrorism”, is vague and interchangeable, the war has no end in sight. This means police state measures like mass surveillance can become permanent and entrenched.
The “war on terror” serves multiple ends. While the political and military impacts are more understood, the spiritual implications are less so. It has made religious extremism, presently of the Islamic persuasion, the scapegoat for today’s global conflict – not the foreign policy which has fueled it, funded it, and enabled it to thrive.
In the case of the wars in the Middle East, there is evidently an attempt to pit Christian and Muslim societies of the world against each other in a manufactured “clash of civilizations” which serves the military industrial complex. Interestingly, certain prominent atheists, some of whom are vehemently opposed to all religions, have been stridently supporting this militarism.
Perhaps it is from the ashes of this conflagration that a one world religion will emerge; because increasingly this same manufactured “extremist” threat is being invoked in calls for the top-down globalization of religion.
This is where the global agenda towards spirituality intersects with the war on terror in the new world order. In addition to sustaining perpetual war, it provides a pretext for a one world religious authority.
Parallels between War on Terror and the War on Alternative Spirituality
If a one world religious authority is the end game elites are working toward, then it would not be the first strategy employed to control spiritual options by exploiting fear toward a manufactured threat.
Many people do not realise that a concerted campaign against alternative spirituality has been raging in the West for many decades now. It was sparked by a major catastrophic event, much like the war on terror: the Jonestown massacre. This tragedy at a remote Christian commune in the jungles of Guyana in 1978 resulted in the largest death toll on US civilians by human acts until the September 11 terrorist attacks, and its aftermath sparked a deluge of fear-based propaganda.
Contrary to popular belief, most people did not commit suicide at Jonestown by drinking “Kool Aid”. There was not even any Kool Aid there. Most people were systematically murdered by lethal injection, a finding confirmed by coronary evidence from the scene, where massive quantities of psychiatric mind control drugs were also discovered. The coronary evidence was “lost” by US officials and autopsies of the dead were “botched” behind closed doors on a US base.
The mass suicide story originated from a CIA report dispatched from Guyana before any officials had investigated the crime scene. This story was repeated in the mainstream media by “experts” – the most prominent being medical professionals with ties to US government mind control research programs such as MK-ULTRA (under which covert illegal experiments were done on inmates of prisons and psychiatric institutes).
The Dark Alliance between the anti-cult movement, government and media
Capitalizing on the hysteria generated by the Jonestown massacre, the anti-cult movement became a powerful force fuelling a moral panic with a media platform. Psychologist Margaret Singer, one of its leading luminaries with a background in mind control research for the US military, touted the unsubstantiated theory that so-called “cults” (the new de facto label for any organised belief operating outside a major religious institution) use sophisticated brainwashing techniques. The CIA claimed its own mind control attempts were unsuccessful and “useless” in spite of having vast funds channelled into black projects, secrecy, qualified scientists, drugs, sophisticated technology, and electroshock “therapy” at its disposal. Yet the former government researcher Singer, and her high-profile associate Louis Jolyon West, an MK-ULTRA psychiatrist, wanted people to believe that small, poorly resourced spiritual groups could accomplish what the entire machinery of US government claimed it could not.
The media bought it, and embraced it. Even though Singer’s theory lacked scientific acceptance – and the courts ended her lucrative career as a paid “expert” witness in religious cases after her theories were debunked and rejected – her ideology continued to be sold by the anti-cult movement and uncritically repeated by journalists.
The result was a massive disinformation campaign. After Jonestown there was an explosion of media propaganda about small religious groups which conditioned the population to fear alternative spirituality and led to the online censorship of alternative beliefs. A shift in perception occurred where any group that was small and unconventional was, by default, now a “cult”. This pejorative label, rare before Jonestown, was used with astounding regularity in the media after the massacre, and became conflated with death and suicide. It was vague enough to encompass anything, which meant thousands of harmless groups became guilty until proven innocent and associated with evil. Jonestown also maligned the idea of living in an alternative community, religious or otherwise. Gathering with others to pursue a lifestyle different from the status quo became suspect.
This hysteria sometimes had tragic consequences. During the siege of the Branch Davidian’s ranch at WACO in 1993, leading figures of the anti-cult movement were on the scene encouraging law enforcement to use force against the community. The military-style raid and siege, in which tanks and helicopters surrounded the ranch and pyrotechnic military tear gas rounds were fired against the community’s premises, precipitated a disaster, with most of the members dying in a fire inside their ranch while besieged. It was a tragedy that could have been avoided.
A prominent presence at the siege was the founder of the “Cult Education Institute”, a self-styled “cult expert”. The Cult Education Institute originally bore the eponymous name “Rick A. Ross Institute for the Study of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups, and Movements”, after its founder. The mind control psychologist Margaret Singer (who is now deceased) was on its advisory board.
At the WACO siege, the controversial founder of this institute was influencing both the media’s coverage and the government’s actions, despite having no formal qualifications beyond a high school diploma. He was hired by CBS as an analyst and appeared widely on other networks. He reportedly had unparalleled access to, and influence upon, agents of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF/ATF) who were conducting the siege. Although the Justice Department later claimed the FBI did not “rely” on his advice, according to Professor Nancy T. Ammerman, the FBI’s interview transcripts reveal he was “closely involved” with both the FBI and BATF, and, “The BATF interviewed the persons he directed them to and evidently used information from those interviews in planning their February 28 raid.” Ammerman alleges he recommended that agents “attempt to humiliate Koresh” (the community’s leader) and “the FBI was evidently listening” based on the strategy it employed to embarrass Koresh. All of this occurred despite the FBI being aware that this “cult expert” had ‘“… a personal hatred for all religious cults” and would willingly aid law enforcement in an attempt to “destroy a cult.”’
There was more about his background that should have raised red flags. This same “expert”, who was convicted of burglary in his 20s, had another run-in with the law in 1991 after he was hired as a “deprogrammer” to detain and “deprogram” an 18-year-old member of the Pentecostal church, who was wrestled to the ground and dragged into a van by the “deprogrammer’s” associates. In a civil trial later filed by the abductee, the jury found the “deprogrammer” had “intentionally or recklessly acted in a way so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency and to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community”. The court found him liable for conspiracy to deprive an individual of his civil rights and religious liberties.
Interestingly, this figure is also regarded as an authority in communist China where he is invited to speak at anti-cult symposiums. The communist government in China only sanctions five government-controlled religions, and labels and suppresses anything else an “evil cult”, including Christians and Buddhists. In the case of one heavily persecuted new religious movement, Falun Gong, investigative reports have demonstrated the government has targeted members with live organ harvesting. This horrendous fact has not stopped this cult expert from supporting the Chinese government’s propaganda. It is rather telling that the views of a Western anti-cult activist are in accord with an authoritarian communist regime suppressing religious freedom and committing human rights violations.
In the West however, the anti-cult campaign mostly takes place on the internet. To this end, the Cult Education Institute website hosts a forum which, while claiming to be a “free speech zone”, actually functions something like a virtual inquisition: anonymous posters can start their own witch hunt and accuse people and groups of anything without any accountability, while attempts by those accused to refute allegations are, by some accounts, met with censorship, deletion and being banned from the forums. Not exactly free speech.
The Cult Education Institute is just one component in a bigger machine working against alternative spirituality, but the way its founder has successfully influenced the media and government is an example of how this larger machine operates.
While the dark alliance between government, media and the anti-cult movement is unofficial in most Western countries, it has been legally codified in France where the anti-sect movement has installed its inquisitorial ideology into the country’s institutions. This has led to the circulation and use of a blacklist of so-called sects (the French equivalent of “cults”) created by Parliament, and the creation of the Orwellian agency MIVILUDES (Inter-ministerial Mission for Vigilance and Fighting against Sectarian Deviances) which targets “thought crime”, which it defines as the ‘sin’ of holding “certain ideas which differ from the ideas generally accepted by society”. This creates a situation where people’s freedom of belief and association is actively repressed by the government, media and anti-spiritual organisations acting in concert. As explained by the European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom (EIFRF):
MIVILUDES, throughout the years, has engaged in numerous campaigns not only against new religious movements targeted as “sects”, but also against small communities of older religions, whether Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical or other. They have even organized raids in communities, arriving with journalists and making strong derogatory comments in order to further their agenda of labelling these communities as “sects”.
…someone could think that this only applies to new groups, small unusual groups, New Age or Satanist or any small religion, and think that “this will only happen to others”. The truth is that MIVILUDES and anti-sect associations have been targeting Catholic communities, Evangelical Christians, Hindu communities, amongst others, as “sects”. The sect is the religion someone wants to get the rid of.” (source)
The Bigger Picture: A War on Consciousness
If we step back and look at the bigger picture, it becomes apparent the campaign against alternative spirituality, and the global push for consolidation of the world’s major religions, may function as two prongs of a global strategy to contain and control spiritual freedom in a war on consciousness.
In both cases, people with religious or spiritual beliefs are portrayed as the source of major scourges threatening society, breeding either “cults” or “extremists”:
- There are shady government connections to major crimes committed by heinous villains, and these crimes are then exploited to galvanise a response.
- The crimes of the heinous few are invoked in fear-based propaganda to fabricate the perception of a broader and existential threat menacing society, which fuels a moral panic.
- This results in the public calling for authorities to rectify the problem, and manufactures their consent for the imposed solution, which, though it involves stripping freedoms away, people believe is in their best interests.
The campaign against alternative spirituality may be the first step in this war on consciousness. It has served to cut down on spiritual options within society, while conditioning people to fear alternative spiritual possibilities. It has made taboo any attempt to organise in a spiritual group or community outside of major established religious institutions. When operating outside the status quo is automatically suspect, people are more likely to conform, and less likely to venture outside the box.
The global control of religions may be the next step. After the options have been cut down, this strategy may serve to control and influence the spiritual options that remain.
The world’s major religious institutions are too big and too established to simply be suppressed like smaller groups are. However, creating a global body with the “unquestionable” authority to dictate what God considers acceptable or not, allows those in that elite position to set their parameters across various major faiths. A global consensus can be set. Anything operating outside of the elite body’s guidelines, or without its endorsement, would then be isolated and excluded, seen as rogue or wrong – a “cult”. That would include alternative spiritual groups already being targeted, but also denominations of major religions that refuse to fall under the command of a one world authority.
Under such a model, religions need not be replaced with a single monolithic faith as some predict; rather a central body could influence and infiltrate the world’s major faiths while leaving their external appearance intact. Central decrees could be fed out and passed down within the guise of the tradition people are most accustomed to in different cultures.
Under this model, the “one world religion” would be more like an octopus, where each arm may appear different, but ultimately links back to the same source, and serves it.
Divide and Conquer: The End Game for Spirituality
The consequences of a one world religion are immense, if you think about it.
Whatever differences people in the world may have, ultimately we are of the same source and substance. If a global elite limit and control how human consciousness can experience the world, won’t they essentially control humanity?
“Spirituality”, in its broadest sense, gives people a conduit to a higher source, a power which the rulers of this world cannot control. Whatever people call that power – God, Divinity or Higher Consciousness – spirituality can provide a way for people to connect to and derive strength from that higher source in some way.
In ancient times, spiritual figures venerated in major religions had a profound impact on people and the world. Even in recent history, spirituality has been central to the lives of extremely influential people, such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Whatever one may think of their individual religious views, there is no denying their convictions empowered them, and through their actions, they had a profound positive impact on society.
Having a spiritual connection can allow people to awaken their perception to a bigger picture of life, and activate and awaken consciousness. This can make someone less easy to manipulate and control. However, at the same time, it cannot be denied that spiritual and religious beliefs can also be used by corrupt people to manipulate and control others, and suppress alternative points of view – which may explain the drive to create a one world religious authority.
That is why, I believe, there is an ongoing agenda to cut down on the spiritual options people have, and then control the options which remain. It seems to me there are certain powerful forces operating in this world that do not want people to awaken consciousness and connect with a higher spiritual power.
For this anti-spiritual war on consciousness to be effective, people have to be divided. Once divided they can easily be conquered: divide and conquer is a strategy used by elite powers throughout history.
A lucid description of how this strategy succeeds is found in the famous quote attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller, who initially supported the rise of Nazism in Germany because he opposed communism like the Nazis did, but became disillusioned when the regime sought to control the churches and persecuted Christians. By the time he opposed the dictatorship, the Nazi regime was entrenched and he was put in a concentration camp.
Although the exact wording of his quote is unclear because he used different versions, the most widely used version is this:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Other versions mention different parties targeted such as the “incurables” (the incurably sick and physically/mentally disabled who were forcibly euthanized) and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who were persecuted and completely banned in Germany at that time. But regardless of which version is used, the key message is the same.
On a global scale, divide and conquer is happening in the way Christian and Muslim societies are being pitted against each other in a perpetual war serving the military industrial complex and hollowing out civil liberties in the West. While the wars continue to rage, few notice the hidden hand moving the geopolitical pawns on both sides of the chessboard – playing them off against each other – as the spectre of religious extremism fuelled by the conflict paves the road to a one world religious authority.
In the case of the campaign against spirituality within Western society, divide and conquer also applies. A “new age” group is unlikely to defend a Christian community being persecuted, because they are not Christian. In reverse, a Christian group may not defend a new age group attacked as a “cult” because its beliefs are different. And even within a major tradition like Christianity, a large denomination may not defend the persecution of a smaller one, because it considers it heretical, and therefore may even seek to destroy it.
Unfortunately, due to fanaticism, some religious bodies actively work to persecute other groups, because they wish to assert their own religious supremacy. Witness the Christian counter cult movement, whose definition of a “cult” is roughly equivalent to the definition of a “heresy” – basically anything which does not conform to their own beliefs.
Those who work to attack the spiritual freedom of others fail to realise they are aiding forces that ultimately have all spirituality and religions in their cross hairs in a divide and conquer strategy. Once the smaller targets are picked off, those forces will seek to assimilate the larger institutions into their greater plan too.
It is from this strategy that a one world religious authority may eventually emerge.
Finding Common Ground
When there is freedom of spiritual expression, all individuals benefit from having the right to explore spirituality by the avenue they wish, even if it may be different from what others choose (or if they choose to abstain from spirituality completely). Freedom is the common ground – the common right – that benefits everyone. In a society where this freedom exists, spiritual expression can flourish and consciousness can awaken.
People can defend freedom without endorsing what others choose to do with it, by understanding the common interest it serves. Everyone who values spirituality has a stake in freedom. If we cannot find that common ground, and respect each other’s differences, then we are easy to divide and conquer.
If we continue to allow ourselves to be divided, by the time we come to understand the end game for spirituality in a new world order, it may be too late.
This article originally appeared on Conscious Reporter.