I am going to be covering an upcoming post about the media coverage, or lack thereof, of Ron Paul’s campaign. I would however like to get the ball rolling in advance. If you have an opinion on this one way or another and if you have supporting information I would like to see it. Contact me directly through my site!
Let’s be for real. Conspiracy theories are alive and well. They are getting birthed with every news day. It just seems that the true believers in those theories are slacking off. I am saying that basically because I used to get the regular e-mail calling me a CIA plant, the anti-Christ, a Jesuit coadjutor (though the serial cultist Thomas Richards, the not so bright owner of the Spiritually Smart website, still feels threatened enough to keep it up). But now these are only coming occasionally. And the ones that do come are not with the bite and vigor that I am used to. The new breed are all woosies compared to a few years ago.
Is it because these people are now a bit pre-occupied with other things like the economy, for instance. Or is it that I need to get back to work on popping their balloons? Do I need to circulate my e-mail to get the jump started again/
Maybe it is a little of “all of the above”.
Damn. Where is Jack Chick when you need him?
About Gary Dale Cearley:
|Gary Dale Cearley is an American author, columnist, polyglot and businessman who has lived in Asia for two decades. He is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute, the University of the State of New York (Excelsior College) and the University of Oklahoma. He works in the field of international business-to-business networking and his passions are all things language, history and libertarian politics. Gary Dale is also an avid reader and book reviewer. You can reach Gary Dale directly by clicking here.|
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“The secret of being a top-notch con man is being able to know what the mark wants, and how to make him think he’s getting it.” Ken Kesey
This is one sentence by Ken Kesey is possibly the best quotation I have ever seen regarding con men and how they operate. This also holds true, I have seen, with the conspiracy theory crowd, whether it be with Alex Jones, David Icke or the likes of the religious conspiracy ilk.
People who are familiar with my any of my blogs or my books will know that I spend considerable effort debunking these bogus myths thrust upon the masses by what I like to call the “Cons-Piracy Mafia“. My first book even dealt directly with all the points that one religious fraudster, Alberto Rivera, claimed in his Vatican Islam Conspiracy. But since the book’s publication in 2006 I have had lots of mail from people condemning me for debunking Rivera and the shots over my bow mainly come from the direction of the very dupes who refuse to even open the book. When I consider who my main critics have been over these years it becomes extremely apparent that Jack Chick and Alberto Rivera are giving their audience what they want to see and hear: That the Roman Catholic Church schemed to create Islam in order to subjugate true Christians.
I can’t but help see the psychological parallels in those who follow these conspiracy theories and the victims who get caught up in the Nigerian 419 advance fee scams (as I am currently reading McMafia by Misha Glenny.)
In each case the victims were drawn closer and closer into the scam until in many cases they have allowed themselves to be fleeced of all their money and then some. Of course, in the case of the Nigerian scams people put this crime down to greed but it goes to a level even beyond. You see, the greed in the 419 scam comes from both sides, from both the perpetrator and the victim as well. And I find that this is exactly the same when we look into conspiracy theories. Both the originator of the theory as well as the follower are both “believers” in conspiracy. The follower, the more they are drawn in, become increasingly self-delusional in their acceptance of the lie. The followers begin to lose their free will to judge in these matters, much like a hypnotized person, like the proverbial zombie.
This is definitely true in the Vatican Islam Conspiracy, though I believe that the roles of Alberto Rivera and Jack Chick were initially quite different. Rivera on one hand, I believe was actually a scoundrel. Rivera found the audience and spun the tales to suit what the audience hungered for. It could be very possible that he suffered the fate of many habitual liars – that Rivera eventually began to believe his own lies. Jack Chick on the other hand, in my opinion, was one of the zombies. Chick was predisposed to the type bullshit that Rivera was selling because it fit in with his theological beliefs that were already in place. Chick was a willing dupe who has in turn become the vehicle of this lie.
Part of the art of spinning these conspiratorial tales is the ability of throwing out facts, quasi-facts and disinformation in a way that is either very difficult to check, beyond the education and background knowledge of the audience or preferably both. The well spun conspiracy yarn is certain to leave their heads in a spin. A general feeling of doubt is created from which distrust of the truth in general is created and the Cons-Piracy Mafia feeds on this scenario. For example, think about the last time you watched a movie such as JFK. For the casual viewer so many facts were thrown out to the viewer as “true” that even a clear headed person would be likely to leave the cinema with no idea of what really happened in the assassination of John Kennedy, but he would be fairly convinced that there was indeed a government cover up.
And the people who went into the movie already expecting a government cover up? Well, the got what they paid for!
I believe in free speech and free self expression. People have a right to believe in what they want to believe in. But at the same time, in a libertarian way of looking at things, it is always wrong to try to force your beliefs on someone else. You don’t have too far to look to see that the world is full of this today.
My first book, Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness, was written not to achieve any kind of best seller status and to make me famous. It was written basically because there are scoundrels out there who create false histories all of the time and try to pass this off as a “hidden” truth. A truth that the “powers that be” want suppressed. They decorate their story in so many “facts” that there is no way you can sort through it all unless of course you do what I did and sit down and hash out the story line by line. Then you see it is all a big lie. But these window dressing stories tend to be far too big for average people to investigate. We aren’t all history professors and most of us don’t have the time to go into all of the assertions and assumptions that these scoundrels make. When the scoundrels are secular figures like David Icke with his reptilian theories then it is easier to brush this off and get on back to work.
But this isn’t always the case.
In many of these cases the purpetrators are non other than the ministers in churches. Most of these guys pass on this bunk because it’s been passed on to them by people they have trusted. They are like the rest of the community. Not social scientists and not history professors. But where these stories start are almost always in the imaginations of people who’s intent is not so good. They tend to be megalomaniacal and use these stories to pull their flocks in further. In the case of Alberto Rivera he was just on to the next gig. Then you get the likes of the empire builders like Tony Alamo. And these guys have a lot to answer for with the trash they put out, trying to mix it with religion to lead people off track. As their tenticles spread out they surround themselves with apologists and dissiminators such as Jack Chick and Thomas Richards who act more like attack dogs and in my opinion are just as dishonest, even though they have been dupted themselves.
I have been working on a report on how to spot these guys. I may post it on my website or I may make it into and e-book or e-mag. It won’t be near long enough to be another book project as it doesn’t need to be but it will be an easy enough document to follow so that it will be simple to spot who the crazies are out there. It will be out soon. And I promise to make this as informative as possible.
How are you? I hope well!
I just saw the below message from you which his reply to a post from a viewer in Melbourne, Australia:
tlthe5th (1 month ago) Yes, I read through some of it. Some of it’s highlights. It’s trash. And i mean it. i was so happy to see that actually. What sources he used were very weak and most of it wasn’t sourced at all. The man is a total Vatican shill as well.
For your reference, this was from this YouTube page.
I am writing this to you because a friend of mine in the United States just sent me this exchange between you and the viewer that concerned me directly. I saw the link from her and at first I thought that I would just leave it but then I listened to your diatribe about “lying” in the beginning of this video. As such I feel compelled to reply.
I am the author of the book in question, “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness: The Truth about the Vatican and the Birth of Islam”, and after reading your comments I have to say that I really do not believe that you have actually even seen my book. I personally think that you are lying. I wrote a reply to the post which I hope will be posted.
Where do I start?
Besides calling the book “trash”, which I could be taken as a qualitative opinion on any aspect of the book (cover, artwork, writing style, etc.), I have problems with a few of your assertions. You are free to call the book trash if you want. I certainly don’t share this view but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
What set off alarms in my head was when you said that my sources “were very weak” and “most of it wasn’t sourced at all.” You went on to say that I am “a total Vatican shill as well.”
First of all, I spent two years on the research of this book and there are multiple sources on almost every page. I am very adamant that the sources are open and in order. I hereby request you to point out exactly which sources were weak. I ask you in the process to point out exactly what segments of the book were not sourced at all. I think the onus is on you here due to your unwarranted comments though I seriously doubt that you will take up the challenge. Case in point, in your own video you don’t source your own assertions about Leo Ryan, the CIA, Jim Jones, Gary Metz, etc.
As for me being a “Vatican shill”, I am not a Catholic, have never been a Catholic and on top of that I am highly critical of the Pope and the Catholic Church on almost all of their positions. I was raised in an Evangelical church. My book had nothing to do with defending the Catholic Church at all. It was solely about taking all of Alberto Rivera’s claims regarding the Vatican and the birth of Islam and looking at them one by one and examining them for the historical truth. If you have indeed seen the book, which I doubt, you will note that include Rivera’s entire testimony word by word broken down by chapter. In fact the opening of every one of my chapters that discusses Rivera’s testimony in the book are Alberto Rivera’s own words, as published by Jack Chick, laid out for examination by the entire world.
Personally I do not believe from reading your comments about my book that you have even been in the same room with my book. (If so can you tell me where you saw this book?) I recommend that you have a look at the book yourself. Once you have actually seen and examined the book (and hopefully you will even read it as well!), compare it to your comments. I think then you will see who is a bullshit artist and who has done their homework.
Gary Dale Cearley
This open letter is directed to Thomas Richards.
Dr. Walid Mustafa is Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities at the La Sallian school Bethlehem University of the Holy Land. Since 2004 Dr. Mustafa has been Dean of Faculty of the Arts. Previously he was Dean of Students at the same university. Dr. Mustafa received his Ph.D. from Kiev State University in the Ukraine. He has authored or co-authored seven books and numerous articles about various aspects of history, society and politics in the region. Bethlehem University of the Holy Land, or simply Bethlehem University, is located in the town of Bethlehem in the West Bank area of the Palestinian state.
Gary Dale: Dr. Mustafa, I appreciate the opportunity to interview you and I am very happy to have the chance to gain more background about some of the incredible claims in Alberto Rivera’s account of how the Roman Catholic Church allegedly helped to “create” Islam. Can you begin by telling me a little bit about the Jews of the Arabian Peninsula who were contemporaries of the prophet Mohammed?
Dr. Mustafa: The Jews who lived in this land were of Arab origin. They spoke Arabic and they had Arab names. Their traditions were those of the Arabian Peninsula. Judaism, like Islam and Christianity, is not a nationality. Nor does it mark tribal or national affiliation as is known. A man may be Buddhist and still belong to his homeland India, Thailand, or China. Similarly, a man may belong to Judaism and have an Arab, Russian or French nationality.
Gary Dale: Can you provide a little background on where these Jews came from? What was their history?
Dr. Mustafa: When Moses and his followers in Judaism emigrated from Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the present holy land, archeological studies, including the Israeli’s, that is critical of the Torah-historical school, proved that the number of those who emigrated from Egypt was limited and that that emigration did not take place in thousands. Therefore, Judaism gradually spread to a part of the Canaanite tribes living in those lands. The proof for this is that the state established by Shaoul, David and Solomon did not come into being at once but after about three centuries after the emigration of the followers of Moses to the holy land. Had the emigration been in thousands, when population of the holy land ranged between 50 and100 thousand, the Jewish state would not have taken that long to be established. The facts of archeological studies show that this Jewish state was a part of small political entities, known as city states or tribal cities that were established in the Canaanite land in the 11th century BC. These small states came into being simultaneously in the Canaanite land, namely Philistia, Phoenicia, Aram, Amon, Adom, and the kingdom of Judea, which soon was divided during the reign of Rahba’am (Solomon’s son) into the kingdoms of Judea and Israel. Those six “states” shared their origins, dialects (Semitic languages) and cultural standard. It is difficult to distinguish between the archeological and cultural remains of those states. In other words, the Jewish kingdom was not an alien body, established by aliens in the land but it was established by a group who lived in this region and constituted a part of its history. Consequently, there exists no nationalist ties between the Jews of the world and the kingdom that was established in the 11th century. In fact, the ties between them are spiritual, similar to those that link the Christians with Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Nazareth in the holy land and the Muslim with Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. No Christian or Muslim in the world can claim that he has nationalist ties with Saudi Arabia or Palestine, which give him the right to citizenship, dominion or sovereignty. This land has its nationals that are attached to it historically and nationally.
Gary Dale: You just mentioned that the Jews were emigrating back from Egypt over a long period of time and gradually built up their state. How then did they get so spread throughout the Holy Land as well as outside of the region after that?
Dr. Mustafa: Some citizens in this state, as was the case in other kingdoms, spread in the adjacent regions through what was known in that era, the ten centuries before Christ, as captivity. The victorious or conquerors from Mesopotamia or the Nile used to capture the most beautiful, skilled strongest among the defeated nation and take them to Babel and other capital of the conquering nations, in order to participate in rebuilding, developing and serving those capitals. Some of those used to return home later on or remain in the new country. This happened with the Jews, who were taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar in the 6th century before Christ.
Gary Dale: This is how Jews got to Mesopotamia. Alberto Rivera speaks specifically of Jews in Saudi Arabia. Could you elaborate a little about how the Jews got to Arabia?
Dr. Mustafa: A part of the followers of Judaism who lived in the Holy Land during the Greek and Roman reigns moved to the adjacent regions in the Northern Arabian Peninsula (the city of Yathrib, including the Khaibar village) and to the Southern Peninsula (Yemen), due to the tyranny of the new regimes that did not accept Judaism as a competitor to the official religion of the ruling government. Some of them my have moved of their own will in search for new more favorable means of living in an area other than the homeland, as was the case of the nations of that epoch. This helped in the spread of Judaism in one way or another among the nations of the new regions, which were of Arab origins, to which the Jews emigrated.
Gary Dale: How about Mohammed’s relations with the Jews? Was he known to have contact with Jews in the Arabian Peninsula?
Dr. Mustafa: After the severe ordeal experienced by Prophet Mohammad and his followers at the hands of the leaders of Mecca, he accepted the invitation extended to him and his followers to emigrate to the city of Yathreb, which lies to the south of Mecca and which was considered the second city in importance in the Peninsula at that time. The Jews of Yathreb and Khaibar participated in welcoming Mohammad and his compatriots. However, the establishment of the Islamic state in Yathreb later on and its growing stronger in power led to conflict with the commercial and social interests of the Arab Jewish leaders in Yathreb, which led to eruption of armed struggle with the two parties and the defeat of the Jews. This forced a number of them to leave the North of the Arabian Peninsula, heading to the holy land, Iraq, Yemen and Egypt, either by force or willingly. After the completion of the victory of the Islamic state in the Arabian Peninsula, a law was issued, which forbade followers of other religions to live in the cities of Mecca and Yathreb. They could reside in the other cities and regions of the Peninsula.
Gary Dale: The assertion by Alberto Rivera through Jack Chick’s tract comic “The Prophet” claims that the Vatican used Islam to extinguish Jews and rival Christian, non-Catholic, denominations. Can you give us some back ground as to how the Christians, and Jews, were treated in the area as Islam became the dominant religion of the area?
Dr. Mustafa: When Islam spread in what is called the Middle East at the beginning of the 7th century, the followers of Judaism and Christianity living in that region were clearly protected. Their religious places and properties were also protected. Use was made of their experiences in administrative matters, the sciences, translation and literature. Followers of Judaism and Christianity lived in peace and cooperation with the new Islamic state and many of them were distinguished as men of politics, science, literature and art.
Gary Dale: And how about North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula?
Dr. Mustafa: When the Muslim Arabs conquered northern Africa and the Iberian peninsula (Andalusia), the Jewish Arabs moved with them and emerged as a part of the political entities that were established in that land. When the Arab Muslims were defeated in Andalusia at the end of the 15th century AD, the Muslim, Jewish and Christian Arabs moved to the northern part of Africa and other regions of the Ottoman state. Some Jews lived in the northern part of Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya), forming a large Arab Jewish community there. Some others moved to Egypt, Turkey, Greater Syria and Iraq, joining the Jews who were originally living there.
Gary Dale: And so a good part of the Jewish Diaspora started part and parcel with the spread of Islam, rather than the claims that Jews and Christians were “put under the sword”, so to speak. In the Rivera story this doesn’t fit because he claims that there has been animosity stirred between the Jews and the Arabs by the Vatican since basically the birth of Islam. Can you elaborate on when and where you believe the animosity arose?
Dr. Mustafa: It should be noted that throughout history, Jewish communities moved to Europe via the Persian and Caucasian lands and that community contributed to the spread of Judaism among the different European nations. Arab Jews enjoyed continued living in peace and cooperation with their fellow Christian and Muslim Arabs in most of the Arab countries until the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, when the tragic events that befell the Palestinian people, who paid a heavy price that led to the emigration and evacuation of more than 750,000 Palestinians out of their villages and cities on which Israel was established. That led to spread of an atmosphere of suspicion and hatred, which were used by the Zionist movement, which conducted a wide propaganda campaign that led to the emigration of the vast majority of the Arab Jews from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Iraq Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The number of Jews of Arab origin is estimated to be between 30 and 35% of the population of Israel at present. A visitor to Israel can notice the clinging of those Arab Jews to the customs, traditions and culture that they carried with them from the Arab countries out of which they emigrated. Those residents may serve as a bridge that leads to the achievement of a just and comprehensive peace between Arabs and Jews.
Gary Dale: If you don’t mind, I would like to turn our attention now to Waraqah, who is sort of portrayed as an agent of the Roman Catholic Church. Can you give me some background on him?
Dr. Mustafa: Waraqah was the uncle or cousin of Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, the first wife of the Prophet. Waraqah witnessed their wedding.
Gary Dale: Can you give me an idea of Waraqah’s religious background?
Dr. Mustafa: Waraqah ibn Nawfal was a Christian. He didn’t inherit this from his parents but reached this out of personal conviction. He traveled to Damascus, met there a number of Christians and then followed this religion. Before Islam, Waraqah was known by the Arabs as a member of a group named “Hanafiyeen”, who refused to worship idols and searched for God in creeds other than those of their fathers and forefathers.
Gary Dale: Were there many other Christians in Arabia at the time?
Dr. Mustafa: No evidence exists in history that proves that there was a big Christian community in Mecca and Waraqah was not a Bishop of Mecca. The explanation for that was that Mecca was an important commercial center in the Arabian Peninsula, in whose worship, rituals and trade, many tribes which were living in the Peninsula were united. Each tribe preserved its worship, rituals and gods and sent samples to the noblest of places in Mecca, Al-Kaaba, in which were preserved samples of the gods of Arab tribes. Special festive seasons were devoted there to perform pilgrimage and visit these gods. Therefore, it was no coincidence that the political and trade leadership in Mecca fiercely opposed the new call of Islam. When they could not overcome it, they joined it.
Gary Dale: The Chick Publication claims that Waraqah had lots of influence in Mohammed’s theological development. Can you briefly address this?
Dr. Mustafa: We sometimes read in several historical sources of Christian inclination to exaggeration, in my opinion, of the role played by Waraqah in the formation of the Islamic creed of Mohammed. Doubtless, Mohammed was influenced by the teachings of both Judaism and Christianity. Islam considers itself a continuation and completion of the two religions. Historical Muslim sources prove Waraqah ibn Nawfal’s welcoming of Mohammed’s prophet hood. However, anyone who is deeply knowledgeable about the Islamic teachings notices differences between Islam and the other two religions as there were differences between Christ’s teachings and those of Judaism. Prophet Mohammed lived in a different age and environment and was distinguished by genius that qualified him to bring new things too. Had Waraqah been the mentor and revelation for Mohammed, why didn’t he himself call for it, as he had a status, reputation and roots that were not unequal to Mohammed’s.
Gary Dale: It seems to me far fetched that Waraqah would have even been able to have had anything to do with the Catholic Church as Alberto Rivera claims in his tale of conspiracy. No one knows for certain what faith Waraqah followed. Could you possibly shed any light on the matter?
Dr. Mustafa: Waraqah lived in the second half of the 6th century and beginning of the 7th century AD. He adopted Christianity at the hands of religious men in Damascus. The Damascene church was attached to Constantinople, or the eastern church. Therefore, I think it is unlikely that Waraqah was a Catholic. Moreover, I agree with you that talking about Islam as if it were a Catholic conspiracy for the control of Jerusalem is far-fetched and daring fantasy of interpreting history, which is the result of economic, social and political conditions and not the result of conspiracy.
Gary Dale: Near the end of Alberto Rivera’s story he says that the miracles witnessed in Fátima, Portugal, were all aimed at getting Arabs to convert to Catholicism. I have laid out reasons in my text why this couldn’t be true, but let’s entertain the idea that it was true. I still don’t see any Arabs converting en mass to Catholicism. Can you offer a few words on this subject?
Dr. Mustafa: I think that the present phase of relationship between religions in the world, especially the three monotheistic religions, is characterized by the awareness and conviction of the followers of each of these three religions of their beliefs. The relationship that connects the followers of these religions is tolerance, recognition of the other and respect for the differences among them. Therefore, I think that conversion is rare and if it occurs, there would be narrow material interests behind it. Religion in the Arab world constitutes an essential component of the social fabric and it has deep impact on customs and traditions. It is also part of the essence of human activities, such as marriage, holiday observance, occasions and others. Consequently, conversion is not easy. And if it happens, it leads to the isolation and distancing of the converter from his family and group. On the basis of my general observations, I don’t see a conversion movement. Even moving from one sect to another is rare for the same reasons, e.g., a Sunni becomes a Shiite or an Orthodox Catholic. Moving to a sect may occur in order to get support or financial or educational assistance and not more.