Religion can be a touchy subject, especially in reference to collapse. Given that 85% of the world claims some sort of religion, Kory and Kellan felt that it's important to discuss the countless positives and negatives associated with people's beliefs around the world, and how those beliefs relate to collapse.
If you would like to listen to the rest of our bonus episodes, consider joining us on Patreon.
Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/collapsepod)
Religion can be a touchy subject, especially in reference to collapse. Given that 85% of the world claims some sort of religion, Kory and Kellan felt that it's important to discuss the countless positives and negatives associated with people's beliefs around the world, and how those beliefs relate to collapse.
If you would like to listen to the rest of our bonus episodes, consider joining us on Patreon.
Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/collapsepod)
Episode 38 - Religion
Kory: [00:00:00] All right. Welcome back to breaking down collapse. Kellan I'm curious, did you hear about the, uh, the coup that's coming?
Kellan: [00:00:21] No. What are you talking about?
Kory: [00:00:23] So apparently Donald Trump has been telling people that he's going to be reinstated as president, as soon as August.
Kellan: [00:00:29] is that right?
Kory: [00:00:30] Apparently. Yeah. Which is not really how it works, but, uh, apparently Michael Flynn basically said outright that he supported a Myanmar style coup and then he kind of walked that back later. But I've seen all these interviews since at like these pro Trump rallies and things where people were asked about that. And they basically said like, like, yeah, we support a coup like in Myanmar.
Kellan: [00:00:51] Ya know, in my mind, whether you really appreciate Trump or you don't like him at all. I think the last thing we want is a situation like Myanmar.
Kory: [00:00:59] Yeah, exactly. Um, Let me actually pull us up and play it for you. I'm going to play a clip from one of these interviews here. Check this out.
Audio: [00:01:05] " What's going on in Myanmar right now? The government took over and they're redoing the election, correct? That could possibly happen here." "Would you like to see it happen?" "Absolutely! I would like to see it happen. You know why? Because The election was stolen from us."
Kory: [00:01:17] Yeah. And that's not the only one I've seen a bunch of these clips. And just like you said, I've also seen follow-up clips from like vets, people currently in the military who are saying, if you have ever seen battle, if you've ever actually seen what happens in war, like you absolutely freaking do not want a Myanmar style coup.
And it's funny because I'm guessing a lot of the people who are talking about this likely don't know that much about what's going on in Myanmar and how awful it really is. All they know is this is something that somebody said, it sounds great. It means Trump would be president again. And so we're all for it.
Kellan: [00:01:50] Yeah. You and I have talked about the fact that we try to remain pretty neutral politically in this podcast. And I think even outside of the podcast, we feel like there's ways that we lean left and there's ways that we each lean right. and I hear things like that, like that little clip that you just played, and it just seems so ridiculous that anyone would actually want that. And I'm trying to put myself in the mind of somebody who truly believes that the election has been stolen and I don't know, it's hard. I feel like this isn't the first time an election has been really close. And in any election, you can probably find some evidence of fraud somewhere.
I just don't know what it is about Donald Trump and those that are strong followers of him as a leader that makes this so much different than past elections that people feel like it's been stolen from them.
Kory: [00:02:38] Yeah. And I think people genuinely are feeling disenfranchised, like for people to get to the point that they're at, where they're calling for a coup. I do think that part of it is like we said, not understanding the full impact of what that actually means, but at the same time, we are in a spot where we have these two insanely polarized political parties and whether or not one or either is in the right, which I personally don't feel aligned to either party. the fact that the polarization is so bad that you have, I think it was half of Republicans that actually believe that Donald Trump is still president. Like they believe that he is rightfully the president of the United States and that Biden is illegitimate.
I mean, those are crazy numbers. You know, if you look back just a decade, I feel like the Republican party, the GOP was on the same sort of like shaky ground as Democrats were. But now it just seems like everything is so imbalanced and there's so much distrust and it goes back to our episode on sort of the unraveling of governments and just feels like this unstable ground. It's just going to keep growing and instability as each side hurls more and more insults back and forth and more and more actions are taken. I, it scares me that we might see something similar to January 6th, the riots on the Capitol, but potentially even worse.
Kellan: [00:03:51] Yeah. And I think if things continue the way that they are right now, we won't see anything like that. But I do think if there was some sort of a big tragedy or something hit the nation really hard, like if the stock market totally tanked and we went into another severe recession, you know, I think it's when people start to feel really desperate, then they edge toward the extremes.
And, yeah, it's just an interesting time in history. You know, I know a number of people personally who have this deep respect for Donald Trump and some of those people are people that I have deep respect for, but regardless, you know, I don't want to see him as president again.
And even if I did, again, I just don't think there's anything rational about somebody saying, yeah, we want a military coup, which would undoubtedly result in a huge number of deaths and just about every other negative consequences you can imagine for our country.
Kory: [00:04:41] Yeah. It's something you said is really interesting, you said at our current rate, I don't think we're going to get to something crazy happening, but if there was a big tragedy or event that happened, like the stock market crashing, then maybe something like that could happen. And you know, my brother just started listening to the podcast and he told me he listened to all 36 episodes up to this point in a week, which was awesome. And I, you know, I expected for him to be like, wow, like you're a little paranoid, you know, the normal reactions that we get, but he said, I agree with you on 85% of what you said and the other 15%, I'm just not sure on yet. And I said, well, what was that? 15%? And he said, uh, part of that was the political part.
He said, I don't think we're headed towards a civil war. I don't think we're headed towards like mass conflict, like you've talked about. And I said, yeah, I think you're right. That like right now, there's not this imminent threat of civil war or something like that. But like you said, Kellan, there could be a spark. There could be something that happens and it doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to happen now or soon, but we know the path that we're on with catabolic collapse.
And we know that as we go along that path, those types of things that you just talked about are going to happen. Resources are going to become scarce. Water is going to be hard to come by at some point. I mean, we're already seeing these huge droughts in the west. What happens when states are battling each other for that. You know, right now, already in Oregon there's this whole thing in climate falls with farmers, having their water shut off and Ammon Bundy is already looking like he's going to go up there and have another standoff with the government over that. So there's just so many things that are going to happen over time. And as those things happen, it's going to compound the fragility of that trust that parties have with each other and that the people have with their own government.
And I think at some point along that journey, there's going to be a breaking point.
Kellan: [00:06:20] Yeah. I think people feel pretty good right now because we're coming out of the pandemic. Spirits are high, weather is warm. Ya know, generally speaking things are going well, but you know, let's say as we approach hurricane season, we get a handful of really big hurricanes and parts of the nation are getting hit really hard. That's putting emotions on edge already. And then we get maybe a couple of cases of really severe police brutality that brings back all of those tensions.
And if at the same time, you know, a new strand of the Coronavirus hits the U S and we're struggling against that. Or something happens to the stock market and people see their retirement go down the drain or any other number of things that could cause people to suddenly be in a desperate situation.
And they're either getting evicted from their home or they're struggling to put food on the table all while we've recently seen billionaires make that many more billions. You know, I could see a combination of things like that, that really isn't that unlikely, that could be the kind of spark or the catalyst that causes some really scary things to happen in the nation.
Kory: [00:07:22] Yeah. And it's like, you know, that, that doesn't have to happen this year. We could have a relatively good year and that's great. And maybe even next year, but we know that along the line, the trajectory is downwards. And so at some point the compounding effect of all those things happening is going to be too much. There always has to be someone to blame, right? And in politics, parties blame each other.
Kellan: [00:07:42] So that actually brings up a question that I've had in the back of my mind. I know when you were first, introducing me to the concept of collapse and teaching me the fundamentals I came to you with a bunch of questions, right? A bunch of things that I was skeptical about or things that I was just wondering.
And ever since I kind of decided that, yeah, I think this is something that will happen sooner or later. I haven't really had as many questions, but there is one that comes to mind. And by the way, I hope this isn't too much of a tangent, but I recently saw that China introduced new policy now saying people can have three children. And it sounds like they're doing that with some degree of panic because the rate of their population growth is reaching a point that it's kind of unsustainable. They need people to have more kids if they're going to be able to support the older generations.
Kory: [00:08:26] They don't want to become Japan, basically.
Kellan: [00:08:28] Yeah, exactly. And we're seeing this in a lot of different parts of the world, especially developed countries where people are having less and less kids. So in your mind, could you see us globally, not ever really reaching major crisis, but instead people just choose to have less and less kids. And I mean, it is a form of collapse. Like you said, in your first definition, we decrease our population by X percentage. So if people just basically stopped having kids, or we had a decline in population naturally, would that be enough to prevent the kind of tragedies and crises that we've kind of forecasted up to this point?
Kory: [00:09:07] So I think it'll certainly help but the thing is, you know, the population has been projected to decline, kind of peak around 2050, and plateau, not really grow. Between 20, 50 and 2100 there'll be very little growth. That's, that's kind of always been known. If you go back to limits to growth, the scenarios that they ran, which obviously, again, these are computer models. They're not anything to like completely go off of, but their projections were that the only way to make it even to the year 2100 without collapse was if the population stopped by 1980 or 1985 or something like that, somewhere in that range. Well, at that time, 1980 to 1985, the population was almost half of what it is now.
And right now the global population is still growing. So by the time it does peak, you know, if people did stop having children, if the birth rate decreases, which is what's projected, you know, we'll still get to a point where we're probably well over double the point that it was in the 1980s.
Kellan: [00:10:01] Yeah. And maybe you're going to mention this, but as you say that it reminds me that, you know, we've talked about how our economic system depends on growth and we've talked at length about all the effects of climate change. And I guess I feel kind of silly for even asking the question, because now that I think about it, there are a lot of things that that we're not going to be saved from, just because the population steadily declines.
Kory: [00:10:20] Yeah, exactly. The population could stop growing right now, you know, and from here on out, we could start having less children and the whole economic requirement aside Having less people might mean that, okay, we can feed everyone as long as climate change doesn't continue to worsen, which it will, right. As long as developing nations were to stop developing further because as they continue to develop, we're increasing the amount of carbon dioxide that we're putting into the atmosphere. You know, we've already got a certain amount of climate change that's baked in and that's going to continue to get worse over the next 20 years or so, because that's about how long it takes for what we've already put into the atmosphere to catch up to us temperature-wise.
All the resources that we've talked about from, you know, peak soil to arable land, to the effects that we're having on the oceans and microplastics and all of these different things, that doesn't stop. Yeah. As we lower the population the amount of those things might decrease, but it's still the aggregate of those things that's the problem. They talk about how half of all carbon emissions that have ever been done have been in the last 30 years since you and I were born. So over the next 30 years, you know, is that going to double again? And yeah in your scenario, maybe we decrease the population by a, by a bit, and we don't emit as much, but we're still probably emitting more than we emitting in the last 30 years, unless our population is decreasing at the same rate in which we increased.
And if that happens, like you said, that is collapse in and of itself because our population is decreasing rapidly, which would lead to intense economic issues because our economy requires that we have continued growth, new people to take on the debt that already exists, new people to create more goods so that we can continue to increase our debt further in order to keep the system alive.
And, you know, economically speaking because of this very reason, like it is basically inevitable that we're going to have a complete financial reset. Like I think the system is going to have to start over at some point. How smooth or how rough that happens and how the world embraces it and how. The economy's functioned through that time period and what the solution is, and if there's a solution, like, I don't know, but I think it's going to be a tough time when it does happen.
Anyway, I don't know if that really answered your question, but those are my thoughts.
Kellan: [00:12:22] Yeah, for sure. I think it's a real good reminder. There's so much to collapse and sometimes it's hard to keep it all in my head at once. And I might think, oh, there's a problem because we're consuming so much and we're wasting so much and we're polluting so much. So if we did that less, great problem solved, but there's all the other factors that you just mentioned, all the other things that don't directly correlate with a decrease in population. And like you said, even if that were the case, we've got a ways to go until the population peaks.
Kory: [00:12:50] One more thing, if you don't mind that I'll add, Kellan is, you know, we did our episode on overpopulation versus over-consumption and we kind of scoffed at the question because it's about what the people are consuming that are still there. We could halve the population, but if the 1% stays the 1% or the 1% turns into the 2% and that amount of consumption is still happening, it won't make a bit of a difference if half the people are gone, except for that it will cause all these economic issues that we've talked about.
Kellan: [00:13:16] Yeah, that's a good point. I don't remember the exact statistics. Right. We don't have them in front of us right now, but I do remember during that episode, it was like the top 1% consume 50% or something crazy like that.
And so that's really valid, that just because a change is being made somewhere, it doesn't mean it's the most impactful change or that it really will make a difference.
Kory: [00:13:35] Yep. Well said. So I think with that, um, let's jump into the episode. Kellan came to me with this idea for the episode and I'm really excited every time that he has an idea and something that he wants to talk about because he just brings a totally different insight I think then than what I normally think of when I think of collapse. And so I'll let Kellan kind of introduce what he's got for this one.
Kellan: [00:13:55] Yeah. I think it's worth having a discussion about religion and how that ties into collapse. I see about a hundred different ways that it is relevant to this larger conversation. and in fact, he's such a degree that I'm a little surprised we haven't talked about it up to this point. But I suspect that this episode is going to cause some people to get really upset. And I think there's a whole range of really strong opinions when it comes to religion. and it makes sense, right? It comes down to people's core beliefs and it seems like religion has been the vehicle through which some of the best things have happened in history and the most wholesome and noble and good reflections of human decency have come from religion. while at the same time, some of the worst things in history have been done in the name of religion.
And so I think there's just a lot of really strong opinions, but I think one thing that's worth stating is my goal, I think our goal, Kory, is to look at this objectively. And we might share some personal insights or opinions, but the plan isn't to delve into our personal belief systems.
Kory: [00:14:58] Yeah. I think it's really important to note that Kellan and I, I think we believe in respect a lot and we try and respect other people, other people's beliefs. We don't try and invalidate anybody. And, you know, we expect the same back at us. We know we're a little more in the spotlight and so judgment will be passed our way, but we don't pass judgment on others. And so we hope that in listening to this episode, you don't take it as us claiming one way or the other that religion is good or religion is bad or whatever, we're gonna try and play both sides of the story because there is two sides to every story.
And hopefully more than anything else, you leave the episode educated. That's what we're trying to do is just educate. And, you know, according to statistics, 85% of people belong to some religion. And so Whether or not you're religious, that doesn't change the fact that religion does have a place in what the world is going through and in what it's going to continue to go through during collapse.
Kellan: [00:15:49] Yeah, well said, and I think of, you know, the thousands of listens that we get on this podcast. And of that audience, you know, you think of like a Venn diagram, there's probably people that completely denounce religion and don't have any sort of formalized religious convictions or claim any sort of faith and you've got other people who have very strong religious affiliations and convictions and where there's crossover, at least hopefully for this audience is their view of collapse and their belief that collapse is something we should be concerned about and that we're on a dangerous road.
And I don't know that this is too much of a stretch to say that perhaps the two groups of people that should understand each other best are collapse aware people and religious believers. you know, both groups have a hard time getting others to take them seriously and collapse isn't a religion, at least not under any typical definition.
Kory: [00:16:43] A cult, maybe. Just kidding.
Kellan: [00:16:46] But the premise is interestingly similar in that, you know, the future state of industrialized society is not something we can see. We can just say, like, I have evidence that this is the path we're on and evidence of what I think the state of things will be like in the future. And somebody could come to us and say, well, you don't know for sure. Or you don't have any proof. And we might say, yeah, but just look, look at the evidence. And I think, although there are religious believers out there who only believe something because it sounds nice or because it's what they were taught growing up. There are a lot of really sincere, genuine believers who have a compelling reason for why they believe what they believe in.
And so if I try to introduce collapse to somebody and they say, whoa, you're crazy. Sounds like you're making stuff up, prove it. You don't have any proof. I think people in this day and age who have strong religious convictions come up against the same type of opposition, right. Where they might have reasons for saying, I strongly believe this is true. And here's my spiritual evidence or any other miracles they've seen or evidences that have occurred in their life that make them believe what they believe, but they can be instantly discounted as crazy.
Kory: [00:17:56] Which I think has an effect on people, because when you back someone into a corner and challenge their beliefs, whether they're someone who speaks of collapse or someone who speaks of religion, like, yeah, one is more science-based right.
And the other is based on, like you said, spiritual experiences that people might have, when you back someone into a corner on anything that they believe they get defensive and I think it's kind of a sad thing to see a lot in the collapse community. Like on Reddit, anytime religion is ever brought up there's a lot of pretty derogatory remarks towards people who have religion. I feel like overall people who believe in collapse tend to be less religious or at least the less religious ones are the loudest and I find myself hoping that that doesn't turn away people who might happen to have religion from being willing to learn about and accept that collapse is reality.
Kellan: [00:18:43] yeah, I agree. And I frankly fall in the middle of that Venn diagram, right. Where I have strong religious convictions and that's probably why you hear me kind of making the case for people to be kinder on both sides. While I also see myself as a very rational person who appreciates logic and facts, and I can see how compelling of an argument, it is, you know, with everything that you've shared with me, that collapse is something we're in danger of.
So there's so much to talk about here. Right. Religion plays a big part in the cause of collapse and people's view of collapse and also have a deal with collapse and what collapse looks like. You know, religion, many cases helps people aspire to be better and to take care of others. In principle, at least not always in practice., It helps people work together and forgive. And so you would think that would reduce the political and social turmoil that we talked about before.
Yeah. It inspires people to take responsibility for their actions, you know, to reduce how much they cause harm to others and to take care of the planet and to try to eliminate suffering as much as possible. And it gives purpose and hope, which can be good or bad. Right. If it's to an extreme that hopium, that we've talked about sometimes causes people not to take the action they need to take it encourages people hopefully to seek for truth, which is exactly the purpose of this podcast is to try and get people, to see things that they need to see. You know, and to give to the poor and to close that wealth gap. It helps people cope, you know, but it also can turn people against each other and cause people to dig their heels in. And I know we're going to talk some about that and the conflict that is continually caused by people's religious views.
you could say that as a whole, there's a lot of good and also a lot of bad as it relates to claps when it comes to religion. But something particularly interesting about religion is that most major religions share a belief that the world, at least as we know it is going to end, and that there will be some sort of scenario in which things in the future get really bad, you know? And in some cases, the likely outcomes that we point to on this podcast from a more scientific standpoint are the same outcomes that prophets and holy men from a whole range of different religions have been foretelling for thousands of years.
And so I guess the main difference between someone who sees a collapse-like scenario from a religious perspective and someone who sees it from a purely scientific or academic perspective is whether there's some sort of a divine hand in all of it.
but let me give you an example. Okay. Here are some selections. And by the way, we're going to talk about a number of different religions, but from the Christian Bible book of Matthew, and at least according to Matthew, these are the words of Christ. And I'll skip some verses, but listen to what Jesus Christ said about a time that would eventually come. Um, he says, and you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you be not troubled for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet for nation shall rise against nation. Kingdom against kingdom, there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in diverse places. And all of these are the beginning of sorrows.
Yeah. And you skip down a few verses: for then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time. No, nor ever shall be. And except those days shall be shortened. There should no flesh be saved, but for the elect's sake, those days shall be shortened.
Okay. So Kory as you hear that I want you to just imagine for a moment that you take out the biblical language, you know, the thees and thous and translate it into more modern language.
And instead of that being cited from Jesus Christ, it was somebody like John Michael Greer or Joseph Tainter or any of the other collapsed experts that you've talked about before. You hear something like that and what's your initial reaction?
Kory: [00:22:26] Yeah. I mean, it's interesting. It's coming from there it's a prediction, right? It's here's what's going to happen. Here are all the things that's going to happen and it's going to get worse. I mean, he sounds like a Doomer you know, he sounds like what we get accused of being when we're like, you know, try and be prepared because stuff's going to get really sucky. and I think it's interesting because when you compare, you know, you're just saying, well, if the coming from Christ in the Bible verses John Michael Greer saying it in his book, you know, obviously we get a lot more detail from academics who back it up with a whole bunch of science and research when you hear it from the Bible or from Christ or from any of the other religions that you're about to bring up, it's more of a prediction. And I think that's, to me where the interesting contrast is
Kellan: [00:23:08] yeah, Christ. Isn't saying, you know, here's the specific path. And tying in the resources and the climate change and all these other, you know, the why behind why we're going to have all these earthquakes and that's what has asters and people at war with one another.
Kory: [00:23:23] I don't think as many people would read the Bible if Christ started talking about what we talked about in previous episodes about catabolic collapse and going over like the amount of waste and resources that a society uses. I think if that were the case, then John Michael Greer's paper would be the number one best-selling book of all time, not the Bible.
Kellan: [00:23:40] Yeah, to me, it's just such an interesting perspective, right? To see different sources, setting the same outcome, perhaps for different reasons and pointing to different causes, you know, Christ might point to sin and iniquity and saying kind of the same thing, but in a different tone, collapsed people might point to political corruption and the moral decay that causes people to consume and waste without thinking of others. Anyways, here's another quick passage. This one is from the old Testament in the Bible, but you may have heard about Sodom and Gomorrah, right? The cities that were wiped off the map, they were destroyed and people point to a lot of different reasons for why that might've been the case, assuming the biblical record is accurate,. But in the book of Ezekiel chapter 16, verse 49 : behold, this was the inequity of thy sister Sodom pride, fullness of bread and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
Which, if you were to translate that to collapse lingo, we'd be talking about wealth disparity, right? Not taking care of the poor needy and wastefulness, right. A fullness of bread, abundance of idleness, um, bread and circuses. Right. And so, again, it's just interesting to hear very similar things said from very different groups with a slightly different tone.
Okay. So I've started a couple of passages from the Bible, but I don't want to just speak to Christianity. Let's talk about some of the world's largest religions. Christianity is number one, then Islam. And then outside of that, it's people that are secular, non-religious, agnostic, atheist, and then Hinduism, Buddhism. Ya know, in each of those top religions there is a belief that things are going to get really bad and there will be kind of an end of the world, an end of days scenario.
But I think there are a few things that are really important for us to understand first. So first of all, you can't lump everyone together in what they believe, right? You might say Christians believe this. And yet there's lots of groups and offshoots and and if I were to say Christians, believe X, Y, Z, you might say I'm Christian and I don't believe that. And that goes with any religious group.
And along those lines, it's also hard to say if someone is a certain religion or not based on their behaviors or, you know, some type of initiation requirements or whatever, Christianity in large part requires baptism as kind of this ceremony, this right, this entry into being Christian, but so many other religions out there, there's not like an initiation like that. You might be considered hindu just because you live in India and not that there's great records being kept in some giant database anyways.
so another thing that makes it tricky is that when you talk about what one religion believes, you know, or we cite these passages of holy text or scripture, a lot of the stuff that's in there is considered symbolic and some of it's literal and you don't always know which is which. And so you might read something in a religious text and think like, oh wow, this sounds crazy. When in reality, it's symbolic. Like, I don't know how many people actually think there's four literal horsemen of the apocalypse that are going to present themselves and the timing and the order of events isn't always agreed upon. And you can get, you know, clergy or scholars that spend lifetimes just trying to understand their single religion so to try and step in and give any sort of a summary of certain beliefs of various religions just presents a lot of challenges, but I think it's important to this conversation.
And Kory you brought up something to me that I think is really important to state, which is again, we're not trying to make any sort of a prescriptive claim in any of this. Some of the best people on the planet are not religious. Some of the worst people on the planet are deeply religious and you can swap those adjectives around.
Kory: [00:27:22] Yeah, I think that's super important to point out that when it comes to religion, people don't always, and you might even say very rarely practice what's preached. some people are extremely, you know, bigoted or judgmental based on their religion while other people who aren't religious might be super accepting. And I don't know if there's some poll out there, some way to judge who are better people religious or non-religious, it doesn't matter because there's good and bad of both. And while if you take the tenets of pretty much any religion, the real tenets what they really ya know, the values and things that are, are actually important to those religions. I think we can all agree that those are good.
Charity, honesty, selflessness, you know, serving all these things are really great things. And if everybody lived them religious or not, the world would be a much better place. The fact of the matter is not everybody lives them, religious or not.
Kellan: [00:28:11] Yeah. That's spot on. So I mentioned Christianity a few times. Let's start with that one. When it comes to what Christians in general believe about how things are going to go in the future is that there will be a severe moral decline and a lot of chaos all leading up to christ returning to earth. Kind of like those passages we mentioned before, there's going to be disasters until Christ comes and at that time, all the wicked are going to be destroyed depending on what branch of Christianity, you know, some believe in the rapture, which is this idea that kind of the righteous are caught up to meet Christ while the wicked meet their demise and a time of peace is ushered in.
Kory: [00:28:48] Which, by the way, can I just say how funny it is to me that it seems like so many Christians do not believe in climate change, like the Christian right for the most part are basically climate change deniers. And I think that's so interesting because they've got this book that's declaring what's going to happen. And all these calamities and disasters, where you've got climate change experts who are saying, Hey, we've got all these calamities and disasters that are about to happen. And here's why. But the Christian right tends to say no climate change isn't real. That's just a bunch of lies. It's all political. But we do believe that all these calamities are going to happen. It's just so funny that they'll deny the science of it but continue to believe the religious prediction side of it.
Kellan: [00:29:29] Now you would think that people who would jump at that at the first mention of climate change, you think every Christian out there would be like, "wow, you're absolutely right. And what a crazy thing to see fulfillment of prophecy." And I don't know if it's just scary to some, to think the God that they worship could use natural causes or if they think somehow it's blasphemous or insulting to him to assume that we play any part in it. I don't know, but those beliefs that Christianity has about the end of the world are very similar to what you'll find in Islam and in Judaism. And it's because those three Christianity, Islam and Judaism get grouped together as the Abrahamic religions.
Whether it's the Bible or the Koran or the Tanakh, there's a lot of crossover there, same kind of origin story to a large extent. So in Islam, again, there's this belief that there'll be severe moral decline and chaos. There'll be a day of reckoning. You know, this antichrist is in the world, causing all these issues and Jesus descends into the world to defeat the antichrist.
And again, this is accompanied by destruction of the wicked. Same thing goes with Judaism and there's some little variations in exactly the events that'll happen and what's believed. But whether you claim to be a part of Christianity, Islam, or Judaism, essentially, it's that same theme: there's going to be more and more wickedness, more and more chaos, and there's going to be a lot of destruction.
So if you step outside of that group of religions, let's look at Hinduism. Hinduism's interesting because it's kind of a collection of just related beliefs and practices primarily in India, but they believe that earth has a life expectancy and that there are stages of its life. It gets a little confusing cause there's different gods and they reincarnate with new names sometimes. But brahma is the God of creation, Vishnu, the God of preservation and Shiva, the God of destruction. So the earth was created, it's been preserved, but before the time of destruction here, it is again, the world will slide into evil and materialism and a different individual. In this case, it's not Christ, but Lord Kalki, hope I said that right, arrives riding a white horse with a sword and he punishes the worst wrongdoers.
Which to me is just very interesting that it's a drastically different religion. And yet when it comes to the end of the world and what we can expect for the future, very similar beliefs of how that'll play out.
It's the last of the major religions that we haven't mentioned yet is Buddhism. And in Buddhism, there's this fundamental belief that all things are impermanent, meaning nothing lasts forever. So they believe the world will end. In Buddhism it's less about like a final battle and more about the sun. In Buddhism. There's a belief that additional suns will arrive. There'll be seven. And it's the heat of the sun. That's going to gradually cause the earth to become uninhabitable and will destroy all life on earth.
So those are the major ones. There's the Zoroastrians, you know, ancient Aztecs, you look back at the Vikings and Norse mythology and over and over again, you see this theme, this belief that things are going to get bad. People are going to get worse and worse, generally speaking.KoryThere's going to be more and more chaos. Until there's a time of destruction.
So with that in mind, you know, those major religions that we mentioned, I'm interested to hear from you, Kory. Although there may be different opinions on the timeline of it, if we can assume the statistics are correct, and that the majority of people on the planet fall under one of these religions, what does it do to you to know that there's a shared belief out there that we're heading towards the world's end?
Kory: [00:33:06] Yeah, I think what is so fascinating to me is that only 15% of people are atheist, agnostic, or are just simply unaffiliated. That is a very small percentage of the world's population. And that actually surprised me when I found that out. And so when you consider that you come to the realization that somewhere around 85% of the world has some sort of religious belief that tells them that the world is essentially going to end, that we're going to collapse the other terms.
And then when you add in, and this is just kind of a funny thought, all of the collapse aware people who are not religious we're talking about a significant portion of the world who basically agrees that we're collapsed bound. The disagreements is just in how we're going to get there. Why we're going to get there, maybe what it will look like.
But I think this is where one of the big downsides of religion comes in and it's that if you're collapse aware, you admit and realize that collapses manmade. You know, you talked about earlier about how maybe it's that Christians believe that it's perhaps blasphemous to assume that mankind could have an effect on earth to such a degree that we're basically playing God, right. Whereas a collapse where person fully understands that pretty much everything that's wrong is because of what we've done up to this point. So when you've got 85% of the world's population that is religious and believes that it's all in a god's hands it takes the responsibility away in their minds from their own actions. It seems like in a lot of religions, people think, like, I'm going to be worthy, whatever that means in the religion so that I can get mine in the mansions of heaven. Right. but in the meantime, they neglect earth. And now there are religions that are hyper-focused on the earth and taking care of the earth. And we talked about how earlier, you know, if people would follow what their religion actually teaches, we'd probably be much better off but I really do think that so many people use religion as an excuse to not take care of the earth, to not take care of the finite resources or to not even pay attention to science.
Kellan: [00:35:07] Yeah, I think that's such an interesting point. Ya know If there's one thing that it seems Christ taught over and over again was how much we should love and serve other people. And yet you get people that consider themselves strongly Christian who care very little about the effect they're having on the planet, the effect they're having on others. They're eager to point a finger at somebody else and kind of laugh at thinking, Hey, they're going to end up in hell. while the whole idea of selflessness gets totally forgotten because like you said, they might be completely focused on, Hey, I only do these religious things so I can get my mansions in heaven.
And as it relates to collapse, unfortunately, I think people are often excited when they see the natural disasters and they see the wars and they see all the terrible things that are happening. Like you said, they take the responsibility away from what we're doing as a global population. And they just think, awesome, this just means we're that much closer to...
Kory: [00:35:59] the rapture.
Kellan: [00:36:01] Yeah, exactly.
Kory: [00:36:02] Yeah. So there's a term for that. I don't know if you're familiar with it, Kellan, it's called accelerationism and it's basically that not only can someone who is religious, not help avoid collapse, but actually cause it. You know, like you said, someone who believes in end times or an apocalypse or the rapture or something like that, they can cause collapse to accelerate, whether that's advertently or inadvertently. Believing that something is going to happen or it's supposed to happen by divine design might give one piece, right? It's a coping mechanism, but for some, it may also mean that they're looking forward to it and to such a degree that they're okay with it happening.
You know, think about that grocery store story that I told you a couple episodes ago about the lady whose husband was so excited for civil war. And I think a lot of Christians and a lot of Christians on the right get excited about this idea of a coup or of a civil war or whatever, to restore justice and freedom and peace to the land, because it's something that sounds so biblical, right? The Bible is full of these wars and fighting for our land and our freedom. I think people get it in their heads that they're supposed to be these wars and rumors of wars and all these things happening. And it's actually a self fulfilling prophecy. And then when you throw in there the 85% of the global population belongs to religions who believe in the end times and it seems like we really are probably accelerating it by denying the responsibility and by taking actions that lead us closer.
Kellan: [00:37:24] Yeah. It's interesting to think, you know, let's say pollution was the singular cause of collapse. If I'm somebody who is really excited for the end times, because that's when all the wicked will be destroyed and things will be made right, and it'll be a wonderful time of peace. You know, I might be not only not caring to pick up the trash and put it in the garbage can, but I can see what you're talking about, where I might in that case say what the heck it's going to happen. Anyways, Jesus is going to come save us. Might as well, live it up and pollute as much as I want, or have some sort of a twisted view on it where I think, Hey, maybe if I help accelerate this, that's helping us get to this positive outcome that I'm looking forward to.
Kory: [00:38:04] Exactly. And I think one of the most twisted parts about this is that a religious person might believe that it will all turn out okay for them. Right? They're going to be saved. They're going to be caught up in the rapture while they watch the rest of the world burn. And they may not even be just okay with that, they're excited about that. That the thought of the sinners and the non-believers, you know, being caught up in all the disasters down below while they're being protected. And to me, that's really disturbing, you know, a collapse aware person who really understands this, sees that it's going to happen to everybody, regardless of what you believe. Like we're all kind of screwed equally, right? And while it might happen differently, geographically, and it might happen differently based on your wealth. Um, there isn't this expectation or excitement for it happening. There's this more general understanding "that I believe in collapse. And I understand that for me, this doesn't end well"
and that kind of leads me to think about tribalism amongst religion. No religion drives people to stick to their own. which throughout history has caused all sorts of problems and currently causes all sorts of problems. You think of wars that have happened throughout time. Religion has been a big source of violence and I think that we'll likely see that in the conflicts to come religion will also play a big part. Now it's interesting because religion by itself, I don't think is what usually, it's not the primary driver of a war. I think religion is typically an excuse for it. The main drivers of war are usually resources, right? Like we've talked about desires for land, for water, for whatever oil or whatever the resource is, but often religion is used. As the justification for that war. It's what rallies people together to say, fight for your God is much more noble than to say, fight for oil, you know, fight for a resource for us.
People wouldn't rally for that. and I think that, unfortunately, that's how religion gets used often today. It's a way to pull people together and get them to do something that you want them to do. You think about cult leaders, who their followers will do anything that they say and usually to their detriment and to the detriment of others. You think of the crazy things that have happened, like Waco. You think of Jim Jones and drinking the Kool-Aid. And you even think of today, when you say that Q Anon has its roots in sort of far-right Christianity and it's terrifying to think about what people are willing to do in the name of religion.
we've talked about Robert Evans in the podcast, "it could happen here." in that podcast in one of the episodes, he talks about the potential for American militias being created out of American majority religions, mainly the Christian right. Chris hedges talks about the Christian fascist movement and how there's this fear that much of the fascism to come, will come out of evangelicals. And this declaration that your country's being taken from you, God declared this land is your land. Now take it back.
and Christianity isn't the only religion, obviously, that has roots in prejudice and bigotry. Oftentimes there's ethnic supremacy involved and we see that in religions and religious conflict and wars all over the world and all throughout history.
Kellan: [00:41:00] Yeah. You look at current events and what's going on with the whole Israel Palestinian conflict and there's deep hatred there and it goes back for generations and there's a very strong religious component to that. But it's a compounding factor. Like you mentioned before, a lot of it has to do with resources, land, ya know power, political power. And within all of it there's these extremist groups who do terrible things in the name of religion.
Kory: [00:41:25] Yeah. I think it's scary to think about. Just going back again, one more time to Robert Evans podcast, he talks about how there's this potential for the next genocide in America, basically coming from as things get bad and does militias grow and increase and specifically militias that are built around religion, that minorities, whether that be religious minorities, whether it be racial minorities or LGBTQ, foreigners, whatever that is, those minorities are then in danger.
it goes back to what we talked about before, about how there always has to be someone to blame. And in a world that is dominated by religion, religions tend to blame each other, or they tend to blame the people that they don't feel fits in correctly with their religious beliefs. And in a world that's collapsing, that's the type of conflict that's really unfortunate and really quite scary.
I think it's fair to say that a lot of religions, and again, this is another thing that Robert Evans brings up, in times of crisis can also be forces for good. They're staples in the community that people can rally around. They're the first to maybe provide mutual aid to help make sure that a community is protected. They're an organized structure where if a government fails, the organization of a religion might help keep the community intact.
And so while we go back and forth here talking about positives and negatives, I think it's really important to understand that that in the end, it's up to each individual person and the choices that they make, whether or not they are re a member of a religious group. Ya know I'm never going to judge someone for what they believe. Be it Buddhists, Hindu, Christian, Islam, Jewish, whatever it is. We're all raised certain ways. We all believe certain things. Now your belief in your God has no effect on me so long as you are willing to keep an open mind and be rational. So long as you're not denying science. Likewise, your disbelief in God has no effect on me. Either way. Whichever person you are, as long as you are respectful and kind, if you strive to serve others, you're trying to make the world a better place not a worse place, like, you're all good in my book.
And it's my hope that as things continue to get worse, we see more people like that coming out of the woodworks to help make collapse as bearable as possible for everyone that goes through it.
Kellan: [00:43:33] yeah. I mentioned previously that I've got some really strong religious beliefs and convictions, and yet nothing that I've learned about collapse is at odds with my religious beliefs and nothing within my religious beliefs challenges what I've learned here about collapse. I don't think it has to be an either or type of thing. But my hope is just what you're saying, you know, I know we're not ever prescriptive on this podcast. We try to be informative without telling people what to do, but I think we both feel totally fine, strongly encouraging and pleading everyone to just be kind.
Kory: [00:44:04] Like just don't be a crappy person.
Kellan: [00:44:06] Yeah. Let's lower. The amount of crazy look at things logically and rationally and through it all find ways to ease the suffering of others around you. And whether you believe in a God or you to affiliate with any religion or whether you don't. If like what you said, Kory, everyone can just be totally respectful of each other, and try to lower the amount of hate and greed and conflict, and take responsible action to mitigate all the awful things that we've talked about in the podcast up to this point.
you know, what a cool thing it would be if the thousands of individuals who listen to what we're saying here, just decided, Hey, I'm going to make one small change to be a little bit of a better person. I mean, those things have a huge impact.
Kory: [00:44:48] Yeah. I don't know. That's something, I mean, I'm not the greatest person ever, right? Like we all have areas in which we can be better friends. We can be better spouses, better children, better parents, better whatever it is. And as we all kind of face collapsed head on together, if we can decide to be that person that in collapse, doesn't hoard resources, and I'm going to be the guy who goes out and kills people for their stuff. You know, instead I'm going to be the person that serves others. I'm going to be selfless through it all. I'm going to dedicate what's left of my life to trying to ease someone else's suffering. Whether or not there's a God on the other side, waiting for you, I think that is a worthy aim.
So, this has definitely been different than most of our podcasts. Um, I think this episode, it was really important and I'm really grateful that Kellan brought it up because you can't have 85% of the population who belonged to something and not have it affect the way that collapse is happening, whether that's for good or for bad and a lot of both people have their religious beliefs and it does affect their mindsets and it does affect collapse.