This isn’t a blog about politics, so my own opinions about the causes and consequences of the U.S. government shutdown are not particularly relevant here. However, what is relevant is the reaction of religious extremists who use ancient texts and ancient history to support a call for revolution against the U.S. government. On Monday, Dominionist preacher Rick Joyner released an internet video calling on God to authorize a U.S. military coup d’état to remove Barack Obama from office. Joyner told viewers that “no election” would return a moral leader to office, and he said that America’s “only hope is a military takeover, martial law.” He then asked God to “raise up” a military leader to save the country from tyranny by imposing a dictatorship.
Dominion theology arose in the 1970s as a Christian nationalist movement that claims God’s grant of dominion to Adam in Genesis 1:28 means that humanity needs to be governed by a conservative theocracy.
It’s like Seven Days in May, a 1962 novel (and later movie) about conservatives who plot to oust a liberal president in the name of “saving” America from liberal policies, a plot so realistic that John Kennedy allegedly believed it could really happen—and worked to get a film version made. Rod Serling, who would soon help launch the ancient astronaut and ancient mysteries craze, scripted the 1964 movie. No one, however, could predict that the loudest calls for revolution would come not from political dissenters but from extremists who use religion as a cover for social anxieties.
I think I’ve already made quite plain my view that other elements of historical revisionism play on these same anxieties, from the ancient astronaut theorists trying to find ways for non-fundamentalists to believe in gods and magic, to alternative historians who want to rewrite American history as a story of white triumphalism in an era of increasing racial and ethnic diversity. The political beliefs that pass under the name of religion are no closer to their ancient sources than ancient aliens and lost civilizations are to the actual history of the ancient world.
As depressing as all of that is, perhaps it’s helpful to have a palate cleanser. The U.S. isn’t the only country with nutty extremists looking to remake the country’s past in order to change its future. In Bosnia, you’ll recall, Sam Osmanagich has proudly proclaimed that a large natural formation is actually a 29,000-year-old pyramid built by a lost civilization, therefore making Bosnia the font of human civilization. The late Philip Coppens embraced this idea because it helped prove for him that scientists were dogmatists who refused to recognize truth. Steve Meads has taken pyramid claims further, to the point of utter absurdity.
In a posting on his website (which I discovered through a link posted on Facebook by Irna), Meads asserts that the Ice Age art from Chauvet Cave is actually a map of the Mediterranean on which a triangle shape represents the Bosnian pyramid!
Here is the relevant cave wall, which archaeologists believe was painted in stages, which each lion superimposed upon an earlier one. It is known as the “Panel of Rhinoceroses” and is only the leftmost part of a very large wall of art. The “triangle” is located where I have placed an arrow, and it seems to be formed from overlapping images.
I’m not going to waste your time trying to tease this out as a mystery. Take a look at a photo taken from a slightly different angle. With the light of the flash not bouncing off of a section of the paint, making it seem to disappear, the “pyramid” all but vanishes. There is just a solid line, some uneven rock, and an overlapping lion’s tail.