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Lorin Friesen, October 2013

Pentecostalism is a branch of evangelical Christianity that places an emphasis upon the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, and speaking in tongues. There are 280 million Pentecostals worldwide and Pentecostalism is a growing movement.

Pentecostalism began in 1906 with the three-year long Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles. It grew out of the Holiness movement, which itself emerged from 19th century Methodism. Initially, Pentecostalism was rejected by other Christian denominations as sensationalist. During the 1960s, Pentecostal belief and practice started affecting mainstream evangelical denominations, leading to the charismatic movement. Charismatics place a general emphasis upon the ‘gifts of the Holy Spirit’ without focusing specifically upon ‘speaking in tongues’ as Pentecostals do. Starting in 1967, a Charismatic renewal also began within the Catholic Church and there are currently about 120 million charismatic Catholics.

Pentecostalism seeks ecstatic experiences and supernatural events. Thus, if one uses rational thought to analyze Pentecostal experience, it does not make sense. However, if one examines Pentecostalism from a cognitive viewpoint, then I suggest that it is possible to come up with a rational explanation for Pentecostalism.

The Three Stages of Salvation

I have suggested several times in previous essays that society has gone through a physical transformation that is a partial illustration of what I call the three stages of Christian salvation. In brief, I suggest that Pentecostalism is an attempt to extend this physical transformation to the religious realm—without building upon a proper intellectual foundation. Thus, while Pentecostalism claims that it is being guided by God and the Holy Spirit, I suggest that Pentecostalism is actually being driven primarily by cognitive mechanisms and secular progress. People are experiencing the benefits of science and technology and they are instinctively expecting something similar to occur with religious experience. Therefore, if we wish to understand Pentecostalism, then we first have to understand the physical transformation that the modern world has experienced.

Before we begin, though, I should point out the difference between Pentecostalism and the approach taken by mental symmetry. In both cases the goal is to extend the physical transformation that has been experienced by society to the realm of religion and personal identity. However, mental symmetry is attempting to base this extension upon the solid theoretical foundation of a cognitive model. In contrast, I suggest that Pentecostalism is rooted primarily in blind faith and irrational thought. Stated simply, the goal of mental symmetry is to successfully achieve what Pentecostalism attempts.

Saying this in more detail, if one begins with the cognitive model of mental symmetry, then it appears to be possible to include the natural, the supernatural, the spiritual, and the divine as natural extensions of the cognitive. Mental symmetry then acts as a meta-theory that ties together more specific theories. This does not mean that everything is in the mind, but rather that the natural, supernatural, spiritual, and divine each appear to function in a manner that is consistent—in a different way—with the functioning of the mind. Notice how this differs from scientism. Scientism insists that everything functions in a manner that is consistent with natural law. As a result, it denies the existence of the spiritual, the supernatural, and the divine. Mental symmetry suggests that by going back one step to the cognitive, it is possible to come up with a meta-theory that can include all of these aspects as sub-domains.

For instance, the natural world functions in a manner that is consistent with concrete thought. This leads to both a strength and a weakness. On the positive side, humans can use concrete thought to enjoy and manipulate the physical environment. On the negative side, humans can use the physical environment as a substitute for developing concrete thought, going passively through life and merely responding to physical situations. Similarly, the supernatural realm appears to function in a manner that is consistent with abstract thought, the spiritual realm appears to be consistent with the functioning of mental networks, and the mental concept of God that emerges when one pursues mental wholeness is consistent with the Christian description of a Trinitarian God. This thesis is explored further in other essays.

Now that we know our general direction, let us turn our attention to the three stages of personal salvation, focusing upon the way in which they have been successfully implemented in the physical realm.

The goal of the first stage is to construct a rational understanding within Teacher thought. This first stage may begin with blind faith and rote learning, but in order to successfully complete this stage, one must be go beyond this to rational thought and critical thinking. During this first stage, the greatest danger is self-deception. In the language of mental symmetry, it is very easy for Teacher thought to become twisted by the structures of existing Mercy mental networks of culture, authority figures, and personal identity. Science constructs general Teacher theories that describe the physical world. It gathers Perceiver facts by carefully observing the physical behavior and it avoids self-deception through objectivity, thus ignoring Mercy mental networks of culture, authority, and personal identity. In practice, objectivity is an elusive target, and it is easy for scientific thought to create its own culture, authority figures, and personal identity, which will then place emotional pressure upon scientists to practice ‘orthodox’ scientific thought.

Mental symmetry suggests that a concept of God emerges when a general Teacher theory applies to personal identity. This means that a general theory that applies to the subjective will eventually acquire religious overtones. Mental symmetry also suggests that the mind is governed by inescapable cognitive mechanisms. By observing these cognitive mechanisms at work, both in my mind and in the minds of others, it is possible to construct a general Teacher theory of human thought, leading to a rational concept of God. This requires personal honesty, and if one examines the Christian ‘prayer of salvation’ from a cognitive perspective, it makes personal honesty possible.

Summarizing, the first stage of personal salvation uses Perceiver facts to construct a general Teacher theory. In science, this stage occurred during the scientific revolution, as epitomized by Isaac Newton’s three laws of physical motion. In Christianity, this first stage results in a mental concept of God, based upon the personal honesty that the ‘Christian prayer salvation’ makes possible.

The second stage of personal salvation applies the Teacher understanding that was developed in the first stage. This occurred in science during the industrial revolution, which began in England around 1760, spread first to Belgium, and then to other countries such as the United States in the early 1800s. The main characteristic of the industrial revolution was the mechanization of manufacturing. Instead of making things by hand, items were constructed by machine. In the language of mental symmetry, the structure of a handmade item is determined by the Mercy mental networks of specific people. In contrast, a machine is a physical example of Teacher order-within-complexity, because the parts of a machine all work together in a unified manner to perform some general function. In other words, Server actions are guided primarily by Teacher understanding rather than Mercy personal identity. In religious language, this is known as righteousness—acting in a manner that is consistent with a mental concept of God. Righteousness loses meaning if the character of God is unknowable. For instance, the apophatic theology of Orthodox Christianity says that is not possible to know about the character of God. Therefore, Orthodox Christianity assigns a different meaning to the term ‘righteousness’ than other branches of Christianity.

One of the key components of the industrial revolution was the replaceable part. For instance, if I need a new set of spark plugs for my car, I can go to any auto parts store, order spark plugs for my model of car and be confident that these spark plugs will fit and work. Saying this in the language of mental symmetry, the replaceable part replaces specific objects with Platonic forms. Instead of having a craftsman build a specific replacement spark plug for my car, I can order the Platonic form of ‘a spark plug’ and know that the specific spark plug I receive will be sufficiently close to the Platonic form to be a replacement for my previous specific spark plug.

This brings us to the topic of relating specific to general. I have suggested that the main error of Catholic thought is to equate physical symbols with the Platonic forms that these symbols represent, or in other words, to say that the specific spark plug is the same as the generic category of spark plug. In the essay on Catholicism I stated this principle without providing a cognitive reason for why it emerged. I suggest that the following paragraphs can explain why Catholicism equates physical symbols with Platonic forms. Thus, these next paragraphs really belong in the essay on Catholicism, but they are here because these connections only became apparent to me when examining Pentecostalism. And this principle does apply to Pentecostalism as well so it is not inappropriate to include this material here.

The replaceable part addresses the relationship between Platonic form and specific item through the use of tolerance. Obviously no real object can match the perfection of a Platonic form. But it is possible to guarantee that every real part matches the Platonic form within tolerance. For instance, a 4-40 screw has a maximum permissible diameter of 0.1120 inches and a minimum permissible diameter of 0.1069 inches. The diameter of any ANSI standard 4-40 screw will fall between these two limits.

Technology can also relate specific to general through the less restrictive way of functional equivalence. For instance, suppose that I buy a new monitor for my computer. Before the turn of the millennium, all computer monitors were large and bulky, built around massive picture tubes. These monitors have been replaced by flat panel monitors that are functionally equivalent. Both plug into a computer using the same video cable, both plug into the wall using the same power cord, and both display a computer-generated image. Thus, they both are specific examples of the Platonic form of computer monitor. Viewed as a generic black box from the outside, both tube-based monitors and flat panel monitors perform the same general function. But, if one opens up the ‘black box’ to examine the specifics on the inside, one encounters something that is massively different. Similarly, most new technologies began as functional equivalence of old technologies. For instance, cars began as horseless carriages.

In order to make something that is functionally equivalent, one must know what can be changed and what cannot be changed. First, the general function must be preserved. For instance, all spark plugs must transform a voltage into a spark; all computer monitors must transform a video signal into a moving picture. Knowing the general function of a device requires Teacher thought. When I describe the general function of a device, I am describing its Teacher theory. When Teacher thought is not functioning, then what will be copied is not the underlying function, but rather the physical appearance. The copy will look like the original and its physical movements may even resemble the original, but it will not perform the same function as the original. This distinction is obvious when watching a science fiction movie. The props in a movie look like the devices that they represent, and on the surface they may act like these devices, but they are not functionally equivalent—they do not perform the same function as the devices that they represent.

For instance, the Orthodox Church claims to preserve the unadulterated original version of Christianity. But it also says that the character of God is unknowable in Teacher thought and adopts a Mercy-based experiential approach. As a result, it is unable to distinguish between functions that are essential and functions that can be altered. Because the Orthodox Church does not understand the concept of ‘functionally equivalent’, it attempts to preserve every detail of historic Christianity. In contrast, both Catholic and evangelical Christianity distinguish between core aspects that must be protected in order to preserve the essence of Christianity and peripheral doctrines that can be altered.

Second, a functional equivalent needs to be within tolerance where it connects or relates to other objects. For instance, the video plugs on a tube style monitor and a flat panel monitor need to be the same shape and accept the same electrical signal. Or for another example, all screwdrivers have a part that fits your hand and a part that fits the screw. But if one compares a manual screwdriver with an electric screwdriver then what lies between the handle and the screw bit is quite different.

One sees these same two approaches when giving instructions. One way is to provide a recipe composed of specific steps. When following a recipe, then each step must be performed within a certain tolerance. For instance, when one orders a Big Mac at McDonald’s, one can be confident that it will look and taste the same at every McDonald’s restaurant anywhere in the world. That is because the ingredients and the processing steps are all controlled to within a certain tolerance. Saying this another way, the Big Mac is a replaceable part, and every actual Big Mac is—within tolerance—the same as the Platonic form of a Big Mac. One problem with this approach is that it leads to boredom for Exhorter thought. That is what happens when specific is the same as general.

The second way of delegating is to provide a goal combined with general instructions. This corresponds to the functionally equivalent part. For instance, the instructor who teaches a class is told what the students will know when they start the class and what the students are expected to know when they finish the class. In other words, the connections with other classes are carefully defined and need to be within tolerance. For example, the student who starts taking algebra must first know certain facts about basic mathematics, and the student who completes algebra should know how to work with equations and variables. However, the instructor is only given general guidelines about how he will teach a course. As long as his course is functionally equivalent to similar courses, the precise method that is used to get from start to finish does not matter.

Like the functionally equivalent part, ‘functionally equivalent’ delegation also requires understanding. The fast food employee must be given a detailed recipe to follow because he lacks understanding. As a result, the unskilled labor can generate a reproducible result. A similar combination of unskilled labor and precise instructions can be found in the factory assembly line. In contrast, the professional is given general guidelines to follow and he uses his expertise to generate a functionally equivalent result. [1]

Now let us look at the society in which the Catholic Church grew. Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in 313 under Constantine. This official recognition made it possible for the Catholic Church to develop as an organizational institution. “Throughout his rule, Constantine supported the Church financially, built basilicas, granted privileges to clergy (e.g. exemption from certain taxes), promoted Christians to high office, and returned property confiscated during the Diocletianic persecution.” After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, the Catholic Church became the sole remaining outpost of education, literacy, and structure in Western Europe.

This preservation of civilized existence occurred primarily in the monasteries. As Wikipedia relates, “monasteries became major conduits of civilization, preserving craft and artistic skills while maintaining intellectual culture within their schools, scriptoria and libraries. They functioned as agricultural, economic and production centers as well as a focus for spiritual life.” Most of the monasteries followed the Rule of St. Benedict that was written in 530. “The Rule of Saint Benedict has been used by Benedictines for fifteen centuries, and thus St. Benedict is sometimes regarded as the founder of Western monasticism...Charlemagne had Benedict’s rule copied and distributed to encourage monks throughout western Europe to follow it as a standard. Beyond its religious influences, the Rule of Saint Benedict was one of the most important written works to shape medieval Europe, embodying the ideas of a written constitution and the rule of law. It also incorporated a degree of democracy in a non-democratic society, and dignified manual labor.” The basic motto of the Rule of St. Benedict is ‘ ora et labora’, or work and pray.

Summarizing, when one is attempting to bring organization to those who lack understanding, then one is forced to treat people as fast food employees and follow the cloning method of the reproducible part. This approach is illustrated by the Rule of St. Benedict, which combines Teacher words and Server actions in a regimented manner. Similarly, Charlemagne used the same method to spread the Benedictine approach, essentially treating the Rule of St. Benedict as a monastery franchise.

When individual monasteries and individuals within monasteries are expected to follow carefully written procedures, then one is following the method of the reproducible part which ensures that any specific person or organization adheres within tolerance to the general pattern. Thus, the physical symbol will end up being—within tolerance—a carbon copy of the Platonic form. And when literacy and education are restricted primarily to the clergy, then it makes sense that the average person will focus upon the physical symbol and not the Platonic form and will conclude that the physical symbol is the Platonic form, because the goal is to make the physical symbol resemble the Platonic form as closely as possible. Similarly, because McDonald’s hires untrained workers, it has to tell them in detail what to do. As I have mentioned, when every worker performs the same steps and uses the same ingredients, then every McDonald’s burger will look and taste the same. The end result is that the specific Big Mac that a consumer orders and eats will end up representing all Big Macs and McDonald’s in general. One could describe this as a sort of doctrine of burger transubstantiation. By eating a Big Mac, I am consuming McDonald’s. The American Catholic website says that the structure of the Eucharist developed fairly early and has remained fairly consistent since then. “By the year 150, St. Justin Martyr tells us that the basic structure of the Mass was already in place. These Eucharists were held in people’s homes up until the year 313...It is clear that the basic form of the Eucharist occurred very early and has remained remarkably durable for 2,000 years.” Thus, one is dealing with a kind of ‘reproducible part’ and this sense would be even stronger in Orthodox Christianity than in Catholicism.

Let us turn now to the third stage of personal salvation. The first stage uses Perceiver facts to build a Teacher understanding of God, and corresponds to the scientific revolution. The second stage uses Server actions to apply a Teacher understanding of God and corresponds to the industrial revolution. The end result of the first two stages is a new way of thinking and acting. The third stage occurs when this new way of thinking and acting becomes a new way of existing. In religious language, this is when childish Mercy identity falls apart and is replaced by a new Mercy identity. The old identity rebels from Perceiver facts and Teacher understanding. The new identity is based upon Perceiver facts and is an expression of Teacher understanding.

This third stage of personal salvation occurred in the physical world during the consumer revolution, which began about 1880. It was during this period that invention really started to alter daily existence. The telephone was invented in 1876 as was the internal combustion engine. The first transformed personal communications while the second transformed personal travel through the invention of the automobile in 1885. The gramophone was invented in 1887 and the moving picture in 1895, allowing personal experiences to be recorded for the first time, making mass entertainment possible. Instead of hiring a band, one could now purchase a recording of a band; instead of watching a play one could now watch a recording of a play. The electric light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison in 1879. This was followed shortly by the first electric plant in 1882 that generated electricity and distributed it to homes, making it possible to have electric lighting at home. The AC motor and transformer were invented by Nikola Tesla in 1888 allowing electricity to be distributed much longer distances. The first major hydroelectric powerplant was built at Niagara Falls in 1895, starting the electrification of the world. On a more personal note, while Thomas Crapper did not invent the flush toilet, he did much to popularize it during the 1880s (Yes, that really was his name, and indoor plumbing was a major step forward in personal well-being). Finally, the Maxim gun was invented in 1884, which gave the average soldier the ability to kill anyone quickly and efficiently. It played a major role in the European colonization of Africa in the late 19th century.

Compare this with the major inventions of the industrial revolution. James Watt’s steam engine, invented in 1775, helped to propel factory machines, but no one had a steam engine in his house. George Stephenson’s steam engine was built in 1814, and the railroads that followed revolutionized trade and commerce, but individuals did not have their own personal railroads. The electric telegraph was invented in 1837 and the first successful transatlantic telegraph cable was completed in 1866. But people did not have personal telegraph receivers in their houses. In contrast, the consumer revolution brought electricity and electric lighting to the average household, it allowed families to own their own cars, and people could have telephones in their own homes.

Summarizing, the industrial revolution instituted a new way of performing Server actions that was guided by Teacher structure, but this revolution occurred primarily within factories outside of the home. The consumer revolution occurred when these newfangled methods entered the average home and transformed daily life. This begin somewhere around 1880 and turned into a flood of new household inventions by the 20th century.

One of the main requirements for both the industrial and the consumer revolution was a new source of energy. Machines require energy to run. Without coal and the steam engine, the industrial revolution would not have been possible. Similarly, if everyone is to have an automobile, an oil industry is required that can distribute gasoline through a network of service stations. Likewise, household gadgets run on the electricity that is now distributed to a multiplicity of outlets in every room of the house. While energy is necessary to drive an industrial consumer revolution, it is not sufficient. Energy by itself generates nothing except heat and light. Instead what is needed is energy combined with machinery.

Pentecostalism and the Holy Spirit

Pentecostalism focuses upon the Holy Spirit and the ‘gifts of the spirit’. I have suggested previously that a mental concept of the Holy Spirit is based upon Platonic forms. Repeating part of an explanation from a previous essay, Perceiver thought organizes Mercy experiences into categories and Teacher thought summarizes the essence of these Perceiver categories. This leads indirectly to Platonic forms—Mercy images of idealized experiences that do not exist in real life. For instance, Perceiver thought will notice that Mercy experiences contain round things and come up with a category of ‘round thing’. Teacher thought will then come up with a general theory of ‘roundness’, leading indirectly in Mercy thought to the imaginary image of a perfect circle. This imaginary idealized image is the Platonic form of a circle. It does not exist, but it is based upon a generalization of items that do exist.

Plato suggested that there is a hierarchy of forms, and that the Platonic forms of objects are themselves summarized by higher Platonic forms leading ultimately to what Plato called ‘the Form of the Good’. As the Wikipedia article states, “The Form of the Good is one of the most abstruse doctrines in Plato’s metaphysics and epistemology and there is no scholarly consensus as to its meaning in the abstract or how it is supposed to exercise its influence in practice. In antiquity it was already a byword for obscurity...There is an ancient anecdotal tradition that Plato gave a public lecture entitled ‘On the Good’ which so confused the audience that most walked out.” Thus, even though Plato talks about the form of the good, he does not understand what he is talking about. Instead, it appears that he was attempting to describe something vague that was starting to form within his mind.

Mental symmetry connects Plato’s form of the good with a mental concept of the Holy Spirit. A Platonic form results when Teacher thought looks for the essence of specific objects and experiences. As Teacher thought constructs a general theory, this indirectly leads to a hierarchy of Platonic forms within Mercy thought. When Teacher thought constructs a universal theory, the result within Mercy thought is a Form of the Good, an über-Platonic (or overarching) form that ties together all lesser Platonic forms. Saying this another way, the Holy Spirit is a universal imaginary image within Mercy thought that is an indirect result of a universal Teacher theory. For instance, think of living in a modern city, in which everything is interconnected with power grids, communication networks, water and sewer systems, road networks, bus and subway routes, transportation companies, and mail services. All of these various grids are based in Teacher understanding and are physical examples of Teacher order-within-complexity. Viewed from a Mercy perspective, these interconnected objects and experiences provide an illustration of divine spirit.

Notice that I said divine spirit and not Holy Spirit, because there are two ways to mentally approach the modern city. The first way is to immerse oneself within the interconnected Mercy experiences without having a Teacher understanding of how they are related. This will lead to a mental concept of divine spirit that is a ‘spirit of this world’, because it depends upon external physical structure. In contrast, if one sees the Mercy infrastructure as an expression of general Teacher understanding, then this will lead to a mental concept of the Holy Spirit.

For example, my second computer was an Apple II clone that I assembled from a kit back in the early 1980s. In order to run it, I had to copy the ROMs from a real Apple II computer using an EPROM programmer that I designed and built myself run by a program that I wrote in 6502 assembler language. As a result, when I see a modern computer, I see it as a visible expression of invisible Platonic forms based in my Teacher understanding of how computers work. In contrast, today’s typical computer user may be very good at knowing what buttons to press, but these Mercy experiences with computers are not backed up by any general Teacher understanding.

Compare this with the description of the Holy Spirit given by Jesus in John 15 and 16. “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning...I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” Note the following traits of the Holy Spirit. First, he comes ‘from the Father’, telling us that the source is Teacher understanding. Second, he does not ‘speak on his own initiative’, indicating that the Holy Spirit is an expression of Teacher understanding. Third, he is ‘the Spirit of Truth’, indicating a foundation in Perceiver facts. Fourth, he guides people into ‘all the truth’, telling us that we are dealing with universality.

Fifth, ‘all things that the Father has are mine’ and ‘he takes of mine and will disclose it to you’. In the language of mental symmetry, Contributor thought performs two primary functions. Intellectual Contributor thought works with general Teacher theories, hence ‘what the father has is mine’. Practical Contributor thought works with Mercy experiences, hence ‘he takes of mine and discloses it to you’. This involves imaginary images of what could be, hence ‘disclose to you what is to come’, and generates experiences and objects that are the visible expression of these imaginary images, hence ‘glorify me’. (I suggest that ‘glory’ is an external representation of something internal.)

For instance, consider the invention of the computer. Intellectual Contributor thought works with logic, algorithms, and mathematics. Before computers were invented, these were merely scribbles of equations written on pieces of paper. When intellectual Contributor thought is combined with practical Contributor thought through incarnation, then the technical theories of intellectual Contributor thought turn into the technical plans of practical Contributor thought. For instance, here is the schematic diagram for the Apple II computer. It is a drawing on a piece of paper that shows a number of interconnected chips and logic. It is an expression of intellectual Contributor thought. Here you can see this schematic diagram translated into a real circuit board with real chips and real connections. The abstract plan of intellectual Contributor thought has been turned into a concrete object involving practical Contributor thought.

Notice how the process starts with general Teacher understanding, it is turned into a logical structure using intellectual Contributor thought, it is translated into a physical structure through incarnation, and it is then produced using practical Contributor thought. As this process is followed, the invisible Mercy image gradually coalesces and turns into a physical object. First, there are the Platonic forms associated with math and logic, such as the ideal circles of Plato. Then, there is the Platonic form of an ideal computer, visualized as a schematic on a piece of paper. This turns into the mental concept within Mercy thought of a computer that realizes this math and logic—an imaginary image of ‘what is to come’. The final result is a real, visible computer that glorifies the imaginary image.

We have now reached the end of the theoretical section of this essay. We will now turn our attention to Pentecostalism and how it came into being.

The Holiness Movement

Phoebe Palmer (1807 - 1874) is one of the founders of the holiness movement, which was the precursor to Pentecostalism. She played a major role in providing the theological basis for Pentecostalism by modifying the Methodist view of sanctification. As this paper states, “In Wesley’s doctrine of Christian perfection there is a tension between sanctification as a gradual process and sanctification as an instantaneous blessing. Repeatedly Wesley said that entire sanctification comes as the result of a gradual process and an instantaneous crisis.” Mental symmetry uses the analogy of a school to distinguish between these two. Summarizing from previous essays, a mental concept of God is based in Teacher thought. Teacher thought builds general theories and hates to encounter exceptions to the general rule. In contrast, childish identity in Mercy thought wants good experiences for personal identity regardless of the rules. Thus, Teacher thought naturally views childish identity as a bundle of lawless chaos, as epitomized by the typical child. The solution is to enroll the child in school. Teacher thought will then view the chaotic child as a specific example of school structure. In religious language, the person who ‘asks Jesus to be his Lord and Savior’ is mentally enrolling in a ‘school of salvation’. He is then ‘declared righteous’ because he has now officially become a student in the school of salvation. If he continues in the school, then he will gradually become righteous, just as the ignorant student gradually becomes educated as he passes through the school system. Connecting this with the three stages of salvation, the ‘Christian prayer of salvation’ enrolls a person in the school of salvation, causing a person to be declared righteous. The goal of the first stage of salvation is to construct an adequate mental concept of God. This then causes the trait of being righteous to naturally emerge during the second stage of salvation when Teacher understanding is applied through Server action.

The cognitive mechanism behind the school analogy is explained in greater detail in previous essays. What matters for us here is that enrolling in school is an entry requirement that is followed by gaining a Teacher understanding, which itself is followed by applying this Teacher understanding. This sequence is found in traditional Methodism. “Three teachings they saw as the foundation of Christian faith were: 1) People are all, by nature, ‘dead in sin,’ and, consequently, ‘children of wrath.’ 2) They are ‘justified by faith alone.’ 3) Faith produces inward and outward holiness.” (Note that ‘justified’ means to be ‘declared righteous’.) Methodism acquired its name from the methodical approach taken by its adherents. Thus, Methodists may not have had an integrated Teacher understanding of Christianity, but they did approach Christianity from a Teacher perspective and Methodism itself began as a holy club at Oxford college.

Phoebe Palmer came along in the 1850s and introduced a shortcut to personal holiness. “The thesis of her first theological book is that there is a shorter way to holiness; ‘long waiting and struggling with the powers of darkness is not necessary’ because ‘THERE IS A SHORTER WAY!’ In fact, the shorter way is the only way. She reiterated this idea in all her works, arguing for its truth from her own experience and from the Scripture...Because entire sanctification is available to every believer at this very instant, and because each Christian ought to receive all the blessing that God wants to bestow, no believer should tarry long at the point of justification, but should quickly move on to entire sanctification.” Using a school analogy, one does not have to spend years studying classes in order to become educated. Instead, education can be obtained through a shortcut right after enrolling in school.

Palmer’s shortcut consisted of three steps . The first is consecration, “a perfect and entire yielding up of all to Christ, an entire trust in Christ, and a continuous reliance on Christ, for all needed grace under every diversity of circumstance or experience.” The second is faith. “If believers entirely consecrate themselves to the Lord, they have God’s word that He sanctifies them. Whether or not one feels any different after devoting every area of one’s life to the Lord, one must not question whether God has sanctified the heart. To doubt that one is entirely sanctified is to doubt God’s word. One must not trust feelings; one must trust the written word of God.” The third is testimony. A person must verbally tell others that he has been sanctified. “So important is this third step that Mrs. Palmer warns those who do not confess the blessing that they will not retain it. Citing the case of John Fletcher who lost holiness five times because he refused to testify to it, and quoting John Wesley’s words she told those who were unwilling to profess entire sanctification publicly that they would not be able to keep the blessing.”

Let us now analyze these three steps. Education starts by building a Teacher understanding and then submits to this understanding. Thus, the second stage of salvation does involve consecration, but it is consecration to the content of a Teacher theory backed up by a Teacher mental network. In contrast, Palmer is placing faith in the specific words of the Bible. She is submitting to the specific Teacher words of a book rather than the universal Teacher words of a general theory. And this submission is backed up by a Mercy mental network of blind faith rather than a Teacher mental network of general understanding.

Applying a general Teacher understanding is self-reinforcing. That is because each application of a theory increases its generality, leading to stronger Teacher emotions, which motivate a person to continue applying the theory. This explains why bureaucracy naturally grows. As the saying goes, the bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy. [2] In contrast, Palmer is supporting application by connecting Teacher words with the Mercy mental networks of approval rather than the Teacher mental network of a general theory. The newly sanctified individual is supposed to tell others verbally that he has become sanctified, in effect using societal approval to support his new behavior. Thus, if Mr. White tells all his friends that he no longer drinks whiskey and plays cards, then he is going to feel quite embarrassed if his friends catch him taking a nip out of a bottle hidden in a paper bag.

Why would the average man in the street accept Palmer’s shortcut? Because of the industrial revolution. The average 19th century individual did not understand science, but he did know that there was a newfangled way of using machines to build items of high quality and perfection. He also knew that if he listened to the words of the scientific experts, then he too could set up a modern factory. But if he took the plunge and adopted these new methods, then he would find himself going against the stream of traditional society and many would question his newfangled ways.

Saying this another way, once machines were widely available, then it became possible to take a shortcut to the industrial revolution. The factory owner did not have to invent his own machines. Instead, he could take advantage of the machines that had been invented by others. I am not suggesting that all Palmer followers were factory owners. Rather, I am suggesting that the industrial revolution produced a mindset which knew that machines could be purchased to set up factories, and this mindset mentally resonated with the shortcut preached by Palmer. Her audience ‘knew’ that her words made sense because they were seeing something similar occurring in the physical world. In the language of mental symmetry, her words were consistent with existing mental networks. Saying this another way, what she said matched the stereotype. During the late 20th century, the stereotype was of a scientist working in a lab surrounded by chemicals bubbling in test tubes. Today, the stereotype is of a hacker sitting in front of a computer.

What happens mentally when one takes a shortcut to holiness that lacks Teacher understanding? Righteousness turns into following a recipe. The goal becomes to reproduce accepted Christian behavior within accepted tolerances. One could compare this to the fast food franchise. Not only does the fast food employee follow recipes, but the owner of the fast food restaurant himself follows a recipe that tells him how to set up and run a fast food restaurant. Thus, holiness groups expected “their adherents to obey behavioural rules - for example prohibiting the consumption of alcohol, participation in any form of gambling, and entertainments such as dancing and movie-going.”


Let us turn our attention now to Pentecostalism. Palmer emphasized the Pentecost in her meetings . “Mrs. Palmer and her husband developed an order of service based on Pentecost which later became their standard pattern. They would start by leading a hymn about Pentecost, then have Dr. Palmer read and comment upon Acts 2. Next Mrs. Palmer would exhort those present to be baptized with ‘an inward baptism of pure fire.’ Those wishing to receive the blessing would then come forward for a prayer service around the altar, after which they would be urged to bear testimony about what the Lord had done for them.”

Pentecostalism added a new dimension to the experience of the Pentecost by placing an emphasis upon speaking in tongues and other spiritual gifts. As Wikipedia explains, “The traditional holiness movement is distinct from the Pentecostal movement, which believes that the baptism in the Holy Spirit involves supernatural manifestations such as speaking in unknown tongues. Many of the early Pentecostals were from the holiness movement, and to this day many ‘classical Pentecostals’ maintain much of holiness doctrine and many of its devotional practices. Additionally, the terms Pentecostal and apostolic, now used by adherents to Pentecostal and charismatic doctrine, were once widely used by holiness churches in connection with the consecrated lifestyle described in the New Testament. However, Pentecostals add and emphasize that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is evidenced specifically by supernatural manifestations, a position which churches in the traditional holiness movement do not accept.”

Pentecostalism entered quite dramatically with the Azusa Street revival. “The revival was characterized by ecstatic spiritual experiences accompanied by miracles, dramatic worship services, speaking in tongues, and inter-racial mingling. The participants were criticized by the secular media and Christian theologians for behaviors considered to be outrageous and unorthodox, especially at the time. Today, the revival is considered by historians to be the primary catalyst for the spread of Pentecostalism in the 20th century.”

One local reporter described these meetings as a “disgraceful intermingling of the races...they cry and make howling noises all day and into the night. They run, jump, shake all over, shout to the top of their voice, spin around in circles, fall out on the sawdust blanketed floor jerking, kicking and rolling all over it. Some of them pass out and do not move for hours as though they were dead. These people appear to be mad, mentally deranged or under a spell. They claim to be filled with the spirit. They have a one eyed, illiterate, Negro as their preacher who stays on his knees much of the time with his head hidden between the wooden milk crates. He doesn’t talk very much but at times he can be heard shouting, ‘Repent,’ and he’s supposed to be running the thing... They repeatedly sing the same song, ‘The Comforter Has Come.’”

This sounds similar in character to a description of the Toronto Blessing, which started in Toronto in 1994. “The blessing has become known for ecstatic worship, including what is known as falling or resting in the Spirit, laughter, shaking, and crying. ‘Holy laughter’ was a hallmark manifestation, and there were also instances of participants roaring like lions. Another ‘manifestation of the spirit’ encountered at these meetings was a gesture commonly called ‘crunching’ consisting of a vomit-like heaving to ‘cleanse’ and ‘release’ negative experiences. Leaders and participants claim that these are physical manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power.”

We see here two primary characteristics. First, the primary focus is upon experience and not doctrine. In the language of mental symmetry, Mercy thought is being used and not Teacher thought. Mental symmetry suggests that a concept of the Holy Spirit is associated with Mercy thought and Mercy experiences. Thus, it does make cognitive sense to associate the Holy Spirit with religious experiences.

Second, the experiences are bizarre and irrational. They resemble the type of behavior that occurs during a grand mal epileptic seizure, and many observers concluded that Azusa Street worshipers were ‘mad, mentally deranged or under a spell’. During a seizure, the brain develops a short circuit and ceases to function in an integrated, intelligent manner. Electroconvulsive treatment actually applies electrical current to the brain in order to induce a grand mal brain seizure.

Thus, I suggest that one can make two conclusions, one certain and one tentative. One can state with considerable certainty that this type of religious experience indicates a deep lack of Teacher order-within-complexity because the mind and/or brain is literally falling apart. This tells us that we are dealing with a method that lacks Teacher understanding. Turning to the tentative conclusion, let us suppose that the Pentecostal worshiper really is having a genuine encounter with spiritual power. We know that every industrial and consumer revolution requires a new source of energy. In the same way that applying raw electrical energy to the brain can cause a grand mal seizure, so it is reasonable to assume that the application of raw spiritual energy to the mind might also cause physical thrashing and a loss of consciousness.

In an industrial revolution, energy is turned into useful work through the use of machines, and we have seen that a machine is a practical example of a general Teacher theory, because all the parts work together to produce order-within-complexity. If a person or group that lacked Teacher understanding were to have a genuine spiritual encounter, then one would expect that these individuals would have no way of transforming the spiritual energy into useful work.

That is precisely how the average person encountered electricity in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. “By intimately involving people and their displays, electrical disseminators were able to entrance their audiences... A charming demonstration of this sort was the ‘electric kiss.’ A woman, standing on a resin cake or insulated stool, was connected by an unseen wire to a source of charge, such as a Leyden jar or prime conductor. In its most refined form, an unsuspecting member of the audience was dared to kiss the woman if he could. As his lips approached hers, a spark jumped the gap between them; the painful jolt startled the would-be busser and caused him suddenly to withdraw. Benjamin Franklin found the electric kiss entertaining and even proposed a way to intensify the shock. People figured important in another demonstration that merely illustrated the human body’s ability to conduct electricity. The lecturer recruited several people and directed them to hold hands in a line or semicircle. When he connected the free hands at either end to a sizable Leyden jar, the participants jumped in unison. This demonstration was sometimes conducted on a large scale before an august audience. Louis-Guillaume Le Monnier, for example, performed the stunt with 140 guards before the French king.”

Speaking in Tongues

Moving from the experiential to the doctrinal, “Seymour and the other revivalists at the Apostolic Faith Mission on Azusa Street held to five core beliefs: Salvation by Faith. Sanctification (or Holiness) of the believer. Tongues as evidence of Baptism with the Holy Spirit. Faith healing as part of God’s redemption. The ‘very soon’ return of Christ.”

Let us look in more detail at ‘speaking in tongues’. Initially, Azusa Street participants thought they were speaking actual foreign languages, and they went to other countries expecting to be able to speak the local language instantly. This turned out to be not the case. “Parham and his early followers believed that speaking in tongues was xenoglossia, and some followers traveled to foreign countries and tried to use the gift to share the Gospel with non-English-speaking people. These attempts consistently resulted in failure and many of Parham’s followers rejected his teachings after being disillusioned with their attempts to speak unlearned foreign languages. Despite these setbacks, belief in xenoglossia persisted into the latter half of the 20th century among Pentecostal groups.”

While most ‘speaking in tongues’ does not correspond to any real language, when it is analyzed from a linguistic perspective, it is speech-like. Based upon many samples recorded in different Christian meetings, “Samarin found that glossolalic speech does resemble human language in some respects. The speaker uses accent, rhythm, intonation and pauses to break up the speech into distinct units. Each unit is itself made up of syllables, the syllables being formed from consonants and vowels taken from a language known to the speaker...On the basis of his linguistic analysis, Samarin defined Pentecostal glossolalia as ‘meaningless but phonologically structured human utterance, believed by the speaker to be a real language but bearing no systematic resemblance to any natural language, living or dead.’”

It is also a skill that can be taught. “The material explanation arrived at by a number of studies is that glossolalia is ‘learned behavior’. What is taught is the ability to produce language-like speech. This is only a partial explanation, but it is a part that has withstood much testing. It is possible to train novices to produce glossolalic speech. One experiment with 60 undergraduates found that 20% succeeded after merely listening to a 60-second sample, and 70% succeeded after training.” Interestingly, “An investigation by the Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn showed that the influence of a particular leader can shape a group’s glossolalia: where certain prominent glossolalists had visited, whole groups of glossolalists would speak in his style of speech.”

Angelina Van Dyke and I recently presented a paper at the Canadian national TESOL conference that looked at the relationship between mental symmetry and various elements of linguistics. Summarizing, words are produced by Teacher thought, Server thought organizes Teacher words into a grammatical structure, Perceiver thought assigns meanings to words, and Mercy thought adds the nonverbal component as well as accent. Applying these categories to speaking in tongues, Teacher thought is not being used because there are no actual words. Perceiver thought is not present because the verbal stream has no meaning. Server thought is functioning because the verbal stream is being assembled into a grammatical structure. And the presence of accent suggests that Mercy thought is participating.

A 2006 paper examined glossolalia from a neurological viewpoint. When a person speaks in tongues, there is a significant decrease in prefrontal, left caudate, and left temporal pole activity, as well as a significant increase in the left superior parietal and the right amygdala. Mental symmetry suggests that Teacher, Server, Perceiver, and Mercy are each guided by internal content located in a region within the frontal lobes while storing specific information in either the temporal and parietal lobes. The decrease in prefrontal activity tells us that there is an absence of internal structure. Specific Teacher words are stored within the left temporal pole and specific Server information is located within the left superior parietal lobe. The right amygdala is the emotional processor for Mercy thought. (Interestingly, left caudate activity correlates with the ability to learn a second language, suggesting that speaking in tongues does not help a person to speak another language.)

Thus, both neurology and linguistics say the same thing: The person who is speaking in tongues is not being driven by internal thought. However, he is using Server thought to structure a verbal Teacher stream and he is feeling Mercy emotions. Thus, I suggest that speaking in tongues is the mental equivalent of using a consumer device without understanding how it functions. Let us expand upon this analogy. Suppose that I buy a thingamajig to make my life easier. My motivation for using the thingamajig is Mercy emotions; I want to solve my personal problems in an easier way. I can observe that the thingamajig is composed of a number of interacting parts that go whirr. Therefore, I know that there is Server structure, but I only have a partial grasp of this structure. Finally, I know that the thingamajig is not a normal Mercy-based object but rather rooted in some mysterious manner upon the verbal theories of science. As far as I am concerned these verbal theories are total gibberish. But, I know that this verbal gibberish is associated with grand Teacher theories.

The same cognitive combination is found in speaking in tongues. Mercy emotion is present in the right amygdala as well as Server structure within the left parietal. But this is not accompanied by internal comprehension within the frontal lobes. And the fundamental expression is verbal gibberish, language-like output devoid of words or meaning. However, the person speaking in tongues is convinced that this verbal gibberish is related in some way to God.

Labor-saving consumer devices can transform personal existence even when they are not understood. Similarly, this paper presents a case study describing how speaking in tongues transformed the personal existence of a former drug addict. But when devices are understood, then I suggest that there is a potential for much greater personal transformation.

A Religious Consumer Revolution

Now that we know what is happening cognitively when speaking in tongues, let us look at the bigger picture. Classic Pentecostalism believes in a ‘second blessing’ called the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and teaches that this baptism leads to the gifts of the spirit, which include healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues, as well as an empowerment to live the Christian life.

Thus, salvation is viewed as a two-stage process. First, a person becomes a Christian by praying the ‘Christian prayer of salvation’. Second, a person becomes an empowered Christian by receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Speaking in tongues is seen as a sign that a person has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As Wikipedia states, “Parham was one of the two central figures in the development and early spread of Pentecostalism. It was Parham who associated glossolalia with the baptism in the Holy Spirit, a theological connection crucial to the emergence of Pentecostalism as a distinct movement.” Some Pentecostals still believe, as Parham did, that this baptism is always accompanied by speaking in tongues. A few Pentecostals go further and insist that a person who does not speak in tongues is not a Christian. I distinctly remember my parents interacting with some believers from this school of thought back in the 1970s when my older brother became schizophrenic and my parents were searching desperately for some way out of their emotional purgatory.

I suggest that the characteristics that are associated with the baptism of the Holy Spirit correspond with what the average person experiences physically during a consumer revelation. First, the consumer revolution transforms the daily existence of the average person. Similarly, Holy Spirit baptism affects every member of the church in a deeply personal way. Second, the consumer revolution replaces the Mercy experiences and objects of traditional culture with experiences and devices that are an expression of scientific Teacher understanding. Similarly, a baptism of the Holy Spirit replaces personal dependence upon physically generated Mercy experiences with internally generated Mercy experiences that are an expression of the Teacher understanding of God. Third, the consumer revolution uses scientific understanding to introduce new gadgets that appear miraculous to the average person. Similarly, Holy Spirit baptism opens the door to a plethora of miraculous spiritual gifts. Fourth, the consumer revolution has been accompanied by major medical breakthroughs that make it possible to treat and cure many conditions that used to be untreatable. Similarly, one of the spiritual gifts is the gift of physical healing. Fifth, the consumer revolution gives the average person daily access to a new source of power—the power of gasoline and the power of electricity. Likewise, Holy Spirit baptism empowers the Christian believer. Sixth, the consumer revolution is guided by ‘prophets’ who use their understanding of science and technology to predict the next technological marvels. Similarly, one of the gifts of the spirit is the gift of prophecy. Seventh, the consumer revolution is driven by visionaries who follow the Platonic forms of ‘what could be’. Likewise, the baptized believer experiences visions and dreams that predict what could be. Eighth, the consumer revolution is built upon the abstract language of math and science. As far as the average consumer was concerned, the mathematician speaks an unknown language—he is ‘speaking in tongues’. Ninth, science turns into technology as the incomprehensible words of mathematics are translated into technological plans. Likewise, the gift of tongues is accompanied by the gift of interpretation, which translates the unknown language into comprehensible words. It is typical in a Pentecostal service for one person to speak in tongues and then another person to translate this into English. Tenth, science is based in the universal laws of nature. Likewise, the prophet who is delivering a message or translating tongues believes that he is delivering a message from God.

Summarizing, there is a detailed correspondence between what the consumer revolution delivers in the physical realm and what the baptism of the Holy Spirit claims to deliver in the realm of the spiritual and personal. Saying this another way, one can explain Pentecostalism as a group of people experiencing the consumer revolution and expecting the same thing to happen in the subjective. Do ‘spiritual gifts’ such as physical healing really exist? A good friend of mine who plays the viola had a hand crushed by a falling piano. Every bone in her hand was broken. She had major surgery and was still unable to play. She then had a bona-fide miracle. I know that she experienced a lasting cure because I played in a string quartet with her for many years. Examples such as these provide empirical evidence for supernatural spiritual gifts. However, when the claims of faith healers such as Kathryn Kuhlman or Benny Hinn are rigorously examined, then it is difficult to find solid evidence of actual healings. Thus, while evidence suggests that something is there, the baptism of the Holy Spirit appears to be delivering much less than what its proponents claim.

Like Pentecostalism, mental symmetry also suggests that it is possible to extend the transformation produced by science and technology to the realm of the subjective. However, instead of merely resonating subconsciously with the mental networks of the consumer society as Pentecostalism does, mental symmetry explicitly analyzes and follows the approach practiced by science and technology. In the same way that science is based in the universal laws of nature, so the theory of mental symmetry is based in universal laws of human cognition. In the same way that science constructs its universal theories by using mathematical equations to describe different specific situations, so mental symmetry constructs a general concept of God by using a cognitive model to describe many different specific situations. And just as science recognizes that abstract equations have to be applied to experience any practical benefit, so mental symmetry recognizes that a mental concept of God needs to be followed to experience personal benefits. Will mental symmetry have more spiritual success than Pentecostalism? Theory predicts that it will and the example provided by science and technology suggests that it will, but only time and experience will confirm whether this is actually the case. So far, one can say that mental symmetry does appear to be a valid cognitive model, and that is a good starting point.

Skipping to the Third Stage

Saying this more simply, the consumer revolution was preceded by a scientific revolution and an industrial revolution; in order to make household gadgets, one must first have understanding and factories. Likewise, mental symmetry suggests that a real ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’ occurs during the third stage of salvation, which is preceded by a first stage of being declared righteous so that one can construct a mental concept of God and a second stage of becoming righteous by following this mental concept of God. During the third stage, childish identity falls apart and is replaced by a personal identity that is consistent with Teacher understanding. This ‘dying to self’ could be interpreted as a ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’ because transformed personal identity lives within an internal Mercy environment that is an expression of Teacher understanding. This does not mean that there is no experience of the Holy Spirit during the first two stages or that dying-to-self occurs only during the third stage. But it is during the third stage that the core of personal identity is transformed and personal identity becomes mentally ‘immersed’ in a Mercy mindset that is guided by Platonic forms.

Comparing this with science and technology, the reaction of the Luddites to the introduction of machines indicates that traditional personal identity did experience some dying-to-self during the industrial revolution. However, the greatest personal transformation occurred when machines and gadgets invaded the home during the consumer revolution and began to alter daily existence.

Pentecostalism, in contrast, attempts to jump straight to the third stage of personal transformation without going through the first two stages of gaining understanding and applying this understanding.

Why would Pentecostalism think that it could skip the first two stages? Because that is what the average person does in the consumer revolution. As far as he is concerned, he is living in a world of magical gadgets delivered to him by the high priests of science and the temples of technology. As Arthur C. Clarke stated, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

How can one tell that Pentecostalism is skipping stages? Pentecostalism specifically states that it is possible for a Christian to experience the ‘second blessing’ of the baptism of the Holy Spirit without first building an adequate foundation of Teacher understanding. “Pentecostals believe that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is available to all Christians. Repentance from sin and being born again are fundamental requirements to receive it. There must also be in the believer a deep conviction of needing more of God in his or her life, and a measure of consecration by which the believer yields himself or herself to the will of God...It is received by having faith in God’s promise to fill the believer and in yielding the entire being to Christ. Certain conditions, if present in a believer’s life, could cause delay in receiving Spirit baptism, such as ‘weak faith, unholy living, imperfect consecration, and egocentric motives.’”

It is true that one cannot give a gift to someone who does not need anything, and that one cannot help someone who is looking elsewhere for gratification. These are deep principles that are often forgotten. In the language of mental symmetry, in order to reassemble a mental network it must first fall apart. But I suggest that this is only half the story. Realizing that I need help is necessary, however if there is no one there to help me, then I can cry as long and loud as I want and nothing will happen. That is why one goes through the detour of constructing a mental concept of God. The goal is to integrate the mind around the Teacher mental network of a general understanding. This means taking the positive step of constructing a Teacher mental network as well as the negative step of allowing the Mercy mental networks of childish identity to fall apart. The shortcut of Pentecostalism takes the negative step but not the positive step.

In fact, the very nature of Pentecostalism is to be distrustful of general Teacher understanding. As one seminary professor who grew up in Pentecostalism says, “Endemic to Pentecostalism is a profoundly anti-intellectual ethos. It is manifested in a deep suspicion of scholars and educators and especially biblical scholars and theologians. Yes, there are some Pentecostal scholars who are respected outside the movement...Yet too many Pentecostal leaders hold even their own scholars at arms length and view them with suspicion. Merely being a member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies often brings a Pentecostal scholar’s commitment to the movement into question... Not all Pentecostals are anti-intellectual or revel in incoherence. But a deep antipathy to critical rationality applied to theology is a hallmark of the movement.”

This attempt to jump to the third stage is seen doctrinally in the focus upon the ‘imminent return of Jesus’, one of the five core beliefs taught at the Azusa Street revival and embraced by Pentecostalism. Remember that Mercy identity is transformed during the third stage as Contributor thought returns from the ‘heaven’ of Teacher theory to the ‘earth’ of Mercy experiences. Thus, I suggest that an attempt to skip forward to the third stage will express itself as a focus upon the return of Jesus to earth. But if intermediate steps are being skipped, then one can state with cognitive certainty that Jesus will not return. In a sense, one could compare this to a traditional village building a store that sells consumer gadgets, without having the knowledge, understanding, or factories to make anything to sell in that store. The villagers may hang a large ‘Opening Soon’ banner on the storefront and they may wait with great anticipation for the arrival of consumer goods, but obviously nothing will happen. If a village builds such a store and expects something to happen, then this tells us that the villagers have encountered consumer technology in some other town, but because they encountered it as consumers, they are under the impression that building a store and waiting for it to be filled is sufficient.

This does not mean that there is no such thing as the ‘second coming of Jesus’. History shows that a scientific revolution and an industrial revolution are eventually followed by a consumer revolution in which ‘heaven returns to Earth’ and daily life is transformed. If this has already happened in the realm of physical objects, then it is reasonable to predict that it could also happen in the realm of the subjective and the personal. How will this happen and what will be the result? Attempting to answer that question would be like asking a citizen of the 19th century to predict what life would be like in the 20th century. However, one can state with great certainty that skipping steps will not work. If one is to experience the personal transformation of the third stage of personal salvation, then one must first go through the first and second stages.

Personal Control

I suggested earlier that when Teacher understanding is lacking, then leaders will expect followers to adhere within tolerance to a prescribed standard of behavior. This attitude of control is sometimes seen in Christian interpretations of either the second coming of Jesus or in Christian preparation for the second coming of Jesus, leading to a form of thinking known as Dominion theology. “Most of the contemporary movements labeled Dominion Theology arose in the 1970s in religious movements reasserting aspects of Christian nationalism. Ideas for how to accomplish this vary. Very doctrinaire versions of Dominion Theology are sometimes called ‘Hard Dominionism’ or ‘Theocratic Dominionism,’ because they seek relatively authoritarian theocratic or theonomic forms of government.” A softer version of Dominion theology was examined in an earlier essay when looking at the Seven Mountains of culture. I suggested there that if Christianity is based in blind faith in the Bible, then in each of these ‘seven mountains’ of culture, secular society will have a greater influence upon Christian thought than Christianity has upon secular society.

The consumer society has produced a physical world in which everyday life is profoundly affected by the Teacher theories of science. Thus, to a partial extent we already do live in a theocracy, a world in which the ‘priests’ of science and technology rule over physical human existence, guided by their intimate knowledge of the universal laws of nature. Because this scientific ‘theocracy’ is guided by Teacher understanding, it is being implemented by professionals who apply universal Teacher laws in flexible ways, who are continually looking for new and improved gadgets that are functionally equivalent. In contrast, a person who lacks Teacher understanding will view a theocracy in terms of the reproducible part, because he imagines that God will order every individual to adhere within tolerance to the official standards of holiness. Similarly, when government officials or business managers who lack Teacher understanding attempt to meddle with the scientific ‘theocracy’, then they usually attempt to impose control and demand conformity rather than permit flexibility. [3]

This attitude of religious control is especially apparent in Apostolic Oneness Pentecostal churches, who “tend to emphasize strict ‘holiness standards’ in dress, grooming and other areas of personal conduct that are not necessarily shared by other Pentecostal groups, at least not to the degree that is generally found in Oneness churches.”

One ex-adherent describes her experience. “Being ‘in church’ your [sic] geared to be ‘tight knit’ in one way so you don’t stray from the legalism and control of the preacher. Who ever decides to make their own decisions without contacting others, the preacher or praying, beseeching, fleecing and fasting they are seen in most cases not really part of the flock and are seen as dangerous and are dealt with subtly or swiftly...You have to adhere to strict holiness dress standards so the church members and pastor can judge and monitor your spirituality levels. If you don’t line up to dress standards you will be shunned or called on the carpet so you will be taught a lesson or in hopes you leave because you are rebellious and not serious about living the Apostolic way of life. No two churches teach the same exact by laws. If you attend one church for any extensive amount of time and learn to follow their rules and happen to relocate and attempt to follow the same rules as the previous church (if it was a more liberal or ‘live church’ in worship) you are swiftly taught what’s to be expected when attending the new church.”

Oneness Pentecostals do not ascribe to the Christian doctrine of a Trinitarian God. Instead, “Oneness theology specifically maintains that God is absolutely and indivisibly one.” They are sometimes referred to as ‘ Jesus only’ Pentecostals, because they baptize people ‘in the name of Jesus Christ’, rather than the more common ‘in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” That is because “They believe that the name of the Lord Jesus is, under the new covenant, God’s means of self-revelation and salvation.” Oneness Pentecostalism emerged after bitter doctrinal struggles during the early stages of Pentecostalism and currently claims an estimated 24 million adherents.

Cognitively speaking, Contributor thought plays the role of incarnation within the mind, tying together a concept of God the Father in Teacher thought with a concept of God the Spirit in Mercy thought. When Contributor thought takes control of the mind, the result is a set of carefully defined rules and procedures, which mental symmetry refers to as technical thought. If a mental concept of God is associated solely with Contributor thought, then this will result in a legalistic concept of God. As the quote from the ex-adherent illustrates, it is interesting to note that legalism is a major characteristic of most Openness Pentecostalism.

Moving on, when mental stages are skipped, then success will be temporary because it is built upon an inadequate foundation. As a result, Pentecostal movements have a tendency to collapse into delusional thinking, demagoguery, quackery, and personal scandal. In the words of this Time article, “Some suggest that the risk of high-profile meltdowns may be in the very nature of Pentecostal leadership roles. ‘There’s a lot of soul searching in our movement right now,’ says J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine, because of the spectacle of highly successful preachers losing their way. ‘There’s a saying, “Your anointing can take you to a place where your character cannot sustain you.” I’m hearing that a lot more often these days.’ ‘Anointing’ refers to the Pentecostal belief not only in the conversion experience, but in a ‘second anointing in the Holy Spirit’ that bestows such gifts such as speaking in tongues, healing and prophesying. From its emergence in Los Angeles exactly a century ago, it has tended to be exuberant, physical and generally more theologically adventurous than its evangelical cousins. And despite thousands of pastors and churches that pursue their joyous vision without taint, scandal has dogged some of its most prominent figures.” When a person skips directly from the first stage of childish identity to the third stage of transformed identity, then the ‘anointing’ will ‘take you to a place where your character cannot sustain you’.

The seminary professor quoted earlier adds, “Another part of Pentecostalism’s dark side is rampant sexual and financial scandals. From early Pentecostal leader Charles Parham to Aimee Semple McPherson to Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, the movement has been wracked by charges of misconduct, many of which have been substantiated by investigators...Other Christian movements have suffered similar scandals, but Pentecostalism seems particularly rife with them. Insiders know some of the reasons. Deeply embedded within the Pentecostal movement’s ethos is a cult of personality; charismatic leaders are put on pedestals above accountability and are often virtually worshiped by many of their followers.”

This quote brings up several significant points. If personal transformation is not driven by the Teacher mental network of a general theory, then it must be motivated by some other mental network, which will probably end up being the Mercy mental network associated with some charismatic leader. Thus, there will be demagoguery. If this Mercy mental network is accepted by everyone as the source of Perceiver truth, then there will be delusional thinking, because Perceiver thought in the followers is being overwhelmed by emotional pressure. If the charismatic leader himself is not guided by Perceiver facts and Teacher understanding, then there will be quackery. And if the charismatic leader is the source of Perceiver truth, then obviously he is not subject to Perceiver truth, and the result will be personal scandal.

Todd Bentley gives an especially bizarre account of skipping directly to the third stage of salvation and attempting to acquire internal content through a spiritual shortcut. (There is a partial transcript of the video here.) He talks about being transported via a beam of light onto an angelic operating table in a manner reminiscent of the typical UFO abduction scenario. “The angels start taking these white boxes, they were white boxes (small), I mean like a little Christmas present, but they were white boxes and they were stuff, have you ever seen anyone stuff a turkey…and they start stuffing these things inside of me. They are stuffing these boxes all over and I heard the verse ‘I desire truth in the inward parts.’ I said ‘God what’s happening’ - God responds, ‘Todd this is something I’m doing on the church today as an acceleration’, He says ‘I’m supernaturally imparting the character, the revelation and the knowledge that I need the church to have to so they can do the work I need them to do because the laborers are few.’ He said ‘I don’t have the thirty forty years to prepare a vessel.’ Moses 40 years , 80 years … I don’t have. I’m doing something quick. There’s going to be people who get saved and I’m going to open them up and supernaturally place inside of them 10 years of knowledge, wisdom and even character because of the fruits of the spirit. And so these boxes represent character attributes.” If you want proof that Bentley’s shortcut to acquiring godly character attributes was unsuccessful, then please google ‘Todd Bentley tattoos’.

I suggest that the same principle applies to society in general. If the average person lacks scientific understanding, then the modern technological society will also collapse. We can see this happening today. Instead of living in a democracy, it is now becoming clear that we live in a world that is controlled behind the scenes by demagogues. The average citizen does not practice critical thinking but rather is deluded by the soundbites of an entertaining media controlled by a few individuals. For instance, this chart shows the vast range of television stations, cable networks, and newspapers that are owned by six companies in the United States. In many minds, scientific thought has been replaced by the quackery of New Age thinking and the worship of nature. And it is now taken as normal that politicians lie and that leaders have skeletons in their closets that they are trying to hide.

Limiting the Extent of Blind Faith

I suggest that we can understand the Pentecostal mindset by looking at the relationship between reason and blind faith. Science uses Perceiver thought to build rational Teacher theories. But the rational theories of science are objective, because the scientific thinker tries to avoid encountering Mercy emotions. The result is an emotional vacuum in which science and technology use objective knowledge to transform the physical world while leaving personal identity untouched and unchanged. This vacuum may be filled by blind faith.

As I describe in more detail in a previous essay, Perceiver thought can acquire facts in one of two ways. The method practiced by science is to use Perceiver thought to search for connections that are repeated. This happens, for instance, in object recognition. If I repeatedly observe a metal body resting upon four rubber wheels, then Perceiver thought will learn to recognize the object known as a car. The method practiced by blind faith is to use emotional pressure to overwhelm Perceiver thought into accepting some set of connections as true. For instance, if some person whom I respect tells me that a car is a metal body that rests upon four rubber wheels, then Perceiver thought will believe that this fact is true, not because I observed cars, but because some important person told me about cars.

Evangelical Christianity is ultimately based in blind faith in the Bible. This does not mean that evangelical Christians practice only blind faith. Instead, it means that the final authority is blind faith. In other words, the evangelical Christian ultimately believes that ‘the Bible is true because it was written by God’; the emotional status assigned to God overwhelms Perceiver thought into knowing that the Bible is true. One can tell that Perceiver thought is being overwhelmed because the evangelical Christian will insist that core doctrines such as the Trinity are divine mysteries that are too deep to be understood by mortal man.

Because science is objective, it does not directly address religious topics such as God, sin, worship, conscience, personal salvation, and prayer. Instead, it gradually restricts the realm of religious thought, in the same way that a growing civilization encroaches upon wildlife and limits its domain. During the industrial revolution, science with its rational thought entered the neighborhood. The consumer revolution brought the rational thinking of science into the home. This has led to the contradiction of a limited God. The Bible-believing Christian proclaims that God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, because that is what the Bible says, and he believes the Bible. However, most of existence is now governed by the rational theories of science. Therefore, while the typical Bible-believing Christian may say on Sunday that God knows everything, is everywhere, and can do anything, during the rest of the week he usually acts and thinks as if God does not understand, God is not present, and God is impotent. That is because normal existence is now governed by the ‘godless’ theories of science; thanks to the consumer revolution, normal life is now filled with the fruit of rational scientific thought.

Notice the precise problem. Blind faith in the Bible believes that the ultimate source of universal truth is the words of a specific book. As long as everyone believes in the Bible, the inherent contradiction between universal and specific will not be apparent. But the growth of science and technology has gradually replaced blind faith with rational thought, leading to a situation in which the universal words about God apply primarily to religious places, religious times, and religious people.

Mental symmetry addresses this contradiction by replacing blind faith with rational thought, which means rephrasing Christian doctrine as a general Teacher theory based in universal cognitive mechanisms. Christian doctrine then turns into a meta-theory that integrates other more specific theories, leading to a mental concept of God that really is universal and is not merely proclaimed to be universal. Again, I am not suggesting that only mental symmetry goes beyond blind faith to rational thinking. To a lesser or greater extent, most branches of Christianity have replaced much of their blind faith with rational thought. However, mental symmetry provides a rational explanation for core Christian doctrines, and I am unaware of any other theory that does this.

This statement needs some clarification. Many scientifically-trained individuals believe that the physical universe was created by God. The result is a deistic-like concept of deity which believes that God intervened several billion years ago and has stepped back since then. For instance, many of the fundamental constants in the physical universe appear to be fine-tuned to permit life to exist. This is an interesting argument from a general Teacher viewpoint, but it has nothing to do with personal identity in Mercy thought. Turning to the personal perspective, many Christians and Jews believe that God guides individuals by manipulating personal circumstances through divine providence. Providence does not violate natural law, but rather creates improbable coincidences within natural law. Both deism and providence are ways of reconciling a mental concept of God with the universal laws of nature. However, in both cases one ends up with a ‘God of the gaps’ in which a belief in God survives in the gaps that have not yet been explained by natural law. In contrast, the goal of mental symmetry is to explain Christian doctrine by using a general Teacher theory that explains current existence and normal circumstances, rather than merely primordial existence and extraordinary circumstances.

Universalizing Blind Faith

Pentecostal Christianity, in contrast, makes the God of blind faith universal by applying blind faith universally. For instance, suppose that a person experiences a miraculous healing which the doctors cannot explain. Blind faith sees this type of specific unexplainable experience as proof that the universal being of God exists. That is because the emotional experience is overwhelming Perceiver thought into believing truth about God. All blind faith uses this type of logic. Pentecostalism universalizes this attitude by looking for the miraculous everywhere. Thus, if some strange coincidence occurs on Tuesday afternoon, then this will be seen as a sign that God is present. Similarly, if New Orleans with its ‘godless’ culture is struck by a hurricane, then this is the hand of God.

A similar principle is illustrated by ‘the trip of faith’, in which the believing Christian goes out on a mission trip without any money in order to see if ‘God will provide’. Here are two typical stories. The key aspect to the trip of faith is to step out without rational understanding in order to rely completely upon blind faith. This may have the practical benefit of helping a person to live outside of the box, but it still associates God with the absence of Teacher thought. [4]

Pentecostalism also increases blind faith in God by associating God with intense emotional experiences. Blind faith uses emotional pressure to overwhelm Perceiver thought. Similarly, being ‘slain in the spirit’ uses a combination of emotional, psychological, and spiritual pressure to literally knock a person to the floor, and such an emotional encounter is typically a fundamental aspect of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. One early Pentecostal minister described that ‘I was overcome by the mighty fulness of power and went down under it. For three hours He wrought wonderfully in me. My body was worked in sections, a section at a time. And even the skin on my face was jerked and shaken, and finally I felt my lower jaw begin to quiver in a strange way. This continued for some little time, when finally my throat began to enlarge and I felt my vocal organs being, as it were, drawn into a different shape. O how strange and wonderful it was! and how blessed it was to be thus in the hands of God.’”

Emotionally intense worship is one of the defining characteristics of Pentecostalism. As quoted earlier, the Azusa Street ‘revival was characterized by ecstatic spiritual experiences’. Similarly, the Toronto Blessing ‘has become known for ecstatic worship, including what is known as falling or resting in the Spirit, laughter, shaking, and crying.’

Summarizing, science is based upon rational general Teacher theories, however these universal laws describe natural processes and tend to ignore subjective emotions. Science rejects religious blind faith because it uses the ‘wrong’ method of blind faith and studies the ‘wrong’ area of the supernatural. Pentecostalism responds to this by attempting to live as much as possible within blind faith and the supernatural. Thus, Pentecostalism can be seen as a reaction to modern science triggered by the pervasiveness of the consumer revolution. But we also saw that Pentecostalism is a reflection of the consumer revolution.

This means that a fundamental contradiction lies at the heart of Pentecostalism. On the one hand, we saw earlier that Pentecostalism is attempting to extend the practical benefits of the consumer revolution to the religious realm. Here, the consumer revolution provides the pattern that Pentecostalism is attempting to emulate. This is a subconscious copying driven by resonating mental networks. On the other hand, we have just seen that Pentecostalism attempts to replace rational thought with blind faith. Thus, Pentecostalism is attempting to suppress the form of thought that led to the consumer revolution. This is a conscious decision driven by conflicting ways of thinking. In other words, Pentecostalism is choosing to reject science and technology within a framework determined by science and technology. This is like writing an article in German that attacks the use of the German language.

I suggest that this inherent contradiction helps to explain why Pentecostal revivals do not last. On the one hand, Pentecostalism is attempting to emulate a pattern that is based upon rational thought—the consumer revolution. On the other hand, Pentecostalism is copying this pattern by embracing irrational thought through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As a result, a Pentecostal revival by its very nature will destroy its own foundations. I attended a charismatic church for several years in the 1980s. I never spoke in tongues but I did learn how to play violin by ear. My observation was that the Pentecostal experience was most beneficial to those who had a solid foundation of Christian doctrine and common sense. In contrast, most of those who lacked education and/or common sense ended up being psychologically and emotionally manipulated.

Of the World but not In the World

This combination leads to a mindset which could be described as ‘of the world but not in the world’. It is ‘of the world’ because it is subconsciously copying the pattern of the world. It is ‘not in the world’ because it is making a distinction between religious blind faith and secular rational thought. Saying this another way, there will be a Christian subculture that copies the secular culture but makes it feel Christian by censoring undesirable secular elements and adding Christian words and cultural connections. In contrast, when Teacher thought leads to Platonic forms and this expresses itself in the real world, the result is ‘in the world but not of the world’. It is ‘in the world’ because it meets legitimate Mercy needs and satisfies legitimate Mercy desires in real ways. It is ‘not of the world’ because it is guided by understanding and not experience. For instance, the gameTrivial Pursuit was intensely popular when I was in college. So it was natural that a religious version came out with Bible questions. There is nothing inherently wrong with making a religious trivia game, but it does illustrate what it means to be ‘of the world but not in the world’.

This description of the opening of the New York subway in 1904 provides an example of ‘in the world but not of the world’. “The general public would not be admitted until 7 o’clock, and its curiosity was vastly whetted all the afternoon by the unfamiliar appearance of crowds emerging from the earth. Of this sight New York seemed never to tire, and no matter how often it was seen there was always the shock of the unaccustomed about it. All the afternoon the crowds hung around the curious-looking little stations, waiting for heads and shoulders to appear at their feet and grow into bodies. Much as the Subway has been talked about, New York was not prepared for this scene and did not seem able to grow used to it.” A subway train merely transports people from point A to point B. In that aspect it is common and ‘in the world’. But the manner in which people are transported felt ‘not of this world’ when first introduced to North America in 1904, as the first bystanders could not get over the bizarre sight of ‘crowds emerging from the earth’.

Spiritual Awakening

So far we have examined the temporary nature of Pentecostal revival from a purely cognitive perspective. Let us assume that the supernatural and the spiritual really exist and that Pentecostalism is managing to tap into these other realms. We have seen that an industrial or consumer revolution requires both a source of energy and machines that can turn this energy into useful work. In the mind, energy is provided by Exhorter thought, which finds excitement in strong emotions, especially the strong emotions of mental networks. (Notice in the diagram of mental symmetry that there is a line connecting Exhorter with Teacher and Mercy.) Adding the spiritual dimension, if the spiritual realm interacts with mental networks, then spiritual ‘energy’ would in some way complement the cognitive energy provided by mental networks. (I have suggested elsewhere that the spiritual realm appears to be capable of supercharging mental networks.)

Being ‘slain in the spirit’ figures prominently in Pentecostalism (as well as its successor, the charismatic movement). Previously, we noted that the range of behavior that is associated with being slain in the spirit resembles an epileptic seizure and we saw that it is possible to induce an epileptic seizure by applying electricity to the brain. We will now examine the possible source of energy that leads to being slain in the spirit. Similar ecstatic experiences occur in many religions and not just Pentecostalism. For instance, this webpage examines the parallels between what people experienced in the Toronto Blessing and what is known in Hinduism as kundalini energy.

Kundalini is described as a dormant psychic energy that can be awakened. For instance , “One man said he felt an activity at the base of his spine starting to flow so he relaxed and allowed it to happen. A feeling of surging energy began traveling up his back, at each chakra he felt an orgasmic electric feeling like every nerve trunk on his spine beginning to fire. A second man describes a similar experience but accompanied by a wave of euphoria and happiness softly permeating his being. He described the surging energy as being like electricity but hot, traveling from the base of his spine to the top of his head. He said the more he analyzed the experience, the less it occurred.”

Compare this with a description of being slain in the spirit. “Those who got touched described it as a feeling of intense peace and calm that they did not want to wake from. Some said they felt really, really warm and there were like electricity flowing over them...The first time it ever happened to me, I felt as if I had a heavy lead blanket laying on me. I was unable to move even my little pinky up off the floor, but it was a comforting heaviness, warm and secure feeling.”

Notice the common attributes of an electric-like energy combined with an intense feeling of euphoria. This implies that one is dealing with some sort of spiritual energy that is linked to mental networks.

Wikipedia explains further, “The experience of kundalini awakening can happen when one is either prepared or unprepared. According to Hindu tradition, in order to be able to integrate this spiritual energy, a period of careful purification and strengthening of the body and nervous system is usually required beforehand...Patañjali emphasised a firm ethical and moral foundation to ensure the aspirant is comfortable with a reasonable degree of discipline and has a serious intention to awaken their full potential...The kundalini can also awaken spontaneously, for no obvious reason or triggered by intense personal experiences such as accidents, near death experiences, childbirth, emotional trauma, extreme mental stress, and so on.”

This description of kundalini contains three significant points. First, kundalini energy lies dormant and can be awakened. Second, this awakening can be triggered by strong mental networks. Third, if a person lacks sufficient mental content to contain or channel this energy, the results will be physically and psychologically harmful.

Is such an awakening good or bad? Let us look first at how an attitude of Christian blind faith would evaluate this question. Blind faith occurs when emotional pressure overwhelms Perceiver thought. Therefore, Perceiver truth will be evaluated as good or bad depending upon whether the emotional source of that truth is regarded by Mercy thought as good or bad. Thus, if ‘slain in the spirit’ occurs in a Christian setting and is caused by a Christian minister, then it will be labeled as good. However, if ‘being slain in the spirit’ is like kundalini awakening, then it will be labeled as bad because kundalini is associated with Hinduism, which the Christian believer regards as bad.

Mental symmetry, in contrast, suggests that the standard is mental wholeness. All forms of energy are destructive when they are not harnessed. Being slain in the spirit and kundalini awakening could be compared to sticking one’s finger into a power socket. For instance, I remember being thrown back several feet when I accidentally touched a live 230 V line in an engineering lab. It was not pleasant. Kundalini experts may state that ‘a period of careful purification and strengthening of the body and nervous system is usually required’ before experiencing kundalini awakening, but the general approach taken by Hinduism is only partially compatible with mental wholeness. In contrast, Christian doctrine does appear to be compatible with mental wholeness, but the Christian believer will not achieve mental wholeness by skipping straight to the third step in Pentecostal fashion.

Looking at this from a theological perspective, if God is a universal being, then everything ultimately has its source in God, and there is no such thing as inherent, independent evil. Rather, all evil is a distortion of good. Saying this in the language of mental symmetry, if an image of God is based in a universal Teacher understanding, then nothing exists independently of this Teacher understanding. Applying this to kundalini and being slain in the spirit, if spiritual power exists and if God is universal then all spiritual power ultimately comes from God. The challenge is to discover how to use this power in an undistorted manner that leads to mental wholeness.

Let me try to explain the difference between these two attitudes with the help of an example. Larry Norman played a major role in the rise of Christian rock music back in the 1970s. One of his most famous songs—and one of his most famous lines—was ‘Why should the Devil have all the good music?’ Quoting some lines from the song, “What’s a good boy doing in a rock and roll band. There’s nothing wrong with playing blues licks. But if you got a reason tell me to my face, Why should the devil have all the good music? There’s nothing wrong with what we play ‘cause Jesus is the Rock and He rolled my blues away.” These words illustrate what happened when an attitude of Christian blind faith was followed in the area of music. First, Christians labeled rock music as ‘the music of the devil’ because it came from a ‘bad source’. Second, Larry Norman and others rejected this label, embraced rock music because they enjoyed it, and began to express the Christian message using the language of rock ‘n roll. I suggest that this is what happens when the focus is upon the Mercy source. Something will be either rejected totally as evil or else accepted wholesale as good. In contrast, a search for mental wholeness will analyze the various elements of music, examine why they resonate with human desire, and then ask how music can be constructed in such a way to encourage mental wholeness. Similarly, instead of regarding kundalini as evil and being slain in the spirit as good—or vice versa, one should analyze the various elements of these experiences and then ask how one can approach this subject in a way that encourages mental wholeness.

Looking at a more general example, in the past, technology has often been regarded by people in more traditional societies as a ‘work of the devil’. This was driven by a gut feeling that technology gave such personal power that it had to be acquired through illicit means—through some sort of Faustian deal with the devil. One can still find this flavor of thinking on some websites. Since the consumer revolution, the tendency has been to take the opposite view point and embrace new technology as inherently good. I suggest that both of these attitudes are flawed. Technology itself may be amoral, but the way that technology is applied is highly moral, and the development of technology forces people to make moral decisions. Saying this another way, technology raises the moral stakes. For instance, the Internet is neither good nor bad. But the existence of the Internet is now forcing society to make deep moral decisions. Will the Internet be used to spread knowledge and enable personal freedom, or will it be used to spy on everyone and enable global dictatorship? Similarly, I suggest that spiritual energy is neither good nor evil. However, a spiritual awakening will force an individual to make deep moral choices, because spiritual energy gives a person greater potential for either mental wholeness or mental chaos.

Therefore, let us examine in general terms what it means to harness energy—both mentally and physically. This will bring us back to the topic of machines, which were discussed at the beginning of this essay. As we shall see, there are strong parallels between the way that the mind harnesses mental energy and the way that a machine harnesses physical energy. This implies that there may also be parallels between the way that mental energy functions and the way that spiritual energy functions. Saying this another way, I am applying the general principle mentioned at the beginning of this essay. If one begins with the mental realm, then I suggest that it is possible to understand both the physical realm and the spiritual realm. This does not mean that ‘everything is in the mind’ but rather that these various external realms all appear to function in a manner that is consistent with the structure of the mind.

Power and Machines

Power is turned into useful work by feeding it into a machine, and that machine must be able to handle the various forces that are created when transforming power into work. For instance, the boiler in a steam engine has to be able to handle pressure without blowing up. The pistons in a car engine have to be able to survive the force of repeated explosions. Electric motors and generators are also subject to major forces that threaten to tear them apart. For instance, here is a terrifying 2009 account of excessive vibration causing a 1500 ton power turbine in the largest hydropower station in Russia to break free of a cover that was bolted down by 80 three-inch diameter bolts. The power turbine shot 50 feet into the air, leaving a hole through which water flooded the powerhouse at a rate of 100,000 gallons of water per second, killing 75 people.

We saw earlier that a machine is a physical example of Teacher order-within-complexity. Each part performs a Server function, and these various functions combine to generate an overall function. For instance, all the parts in a car engine work together to perform the general function of spinning the wheels of the car. We will now add a few more details to this description. We have seen that each part of a machine carries out a Server function. But each part is also a Perceiver object, and a machine is constructed by assembling these various Perceiver objects together. For instance, a spark plug performs the function of transforming electricity into a spark. But a spark plug is also a physical object that must screw snugly into the engine block. If the spark plug does not perform the Server function of transforming electricity into sparks, then the engine will not work. If the spark plug does not have the Perceiver shape that allows it to fit firmly into the engine block, then this will also prevent the engine from functioning properly.

If one examines the diagram of mental symmetry, one can see that both Server and Perceiver lie on the row labeled ‘confidence’. Confidence is the mental ability to handle emotional stress without falling apart. Building mental confidence could be compared to lifting weights. If one practices lifting weights that are heavy—but not too heavy—then one will gradually become stronger. Similarly, whenever a person successfully holds onto a Perceiver fact or Server sequence in the middle of emotional pressure, then the level of Perceiver confidence or Server confidence will go up.

Now let us put these various pieces together. First, a machine is a physical example of Teacher order-within-complexity. This tells us that rational Teacher understanding is required to design and build machines. Second, a machine is composed of Perceiver objects that perform Server sequences. This means that both Perceiver and Server content is required to construct machines. Third, Contributor thought plays a major role in designing and constructing machines. That is because Contributor thought connects Perceiver facts with Server sequences, and a machine is composed of Perceiver objects that perform Server sequences. Fourth, operating a machine subjects it to various forces, and a machine will only continue to function if its various parts can handle these forces and remain intact. Thus, not only is Perceiver and Server content required to construct a machine, but this Perceiver and Server content must have sufficient confidence to handle stress. Mentally speaking, this confidence can only be built up gradually over time by continuing to successfully handle emotional stress. Fifth, a machine requires a source of energy. This is provided in the mind by Exhorter thought, and Exhorter energy is based upon strong Teacher and Mercy emotions. For instance, the Exhorter person feels energized when he is in the middle of an emotional crisis, but lacks energy when there are no strong emotions. Concluding, we see that there are deep parallels between the functioning of a machine and the functioning of the mind.

Now let us turn from the machine to the mind and the three stages of personal salvation. The first stage of salvation requires extensive personal honesty. This means holding on to Perceiver facts even when they make personal identity feel bad. This will develop Perceiver confidence as well as construct a mental concept of God that is based in Teacher understanding. The second stage of salvation requires extensive personal application. This means performing Server actions even when they do not lead to immediate Mercy results. This will develop Server confidence as well as build the character attribute of righteousness. Looking at this from the viewpoint of machines, the first two stages of salvation build the combination of Teacher understanding, tested Perceiver facts, and practiced Server sequences, that is required to construct mental machines. During the third stage, personal identity moves within the structure that was constructed during the first two stages. Personal identity is composed of emotional Mercy experiences and Mercy mental networks. These strong emotions provide the source for Exhorter drive and energy. Thus, when childish personal identity falls apart and is replaced by a personal identity that is consistent with Teacher understanding, then this is like mentally plugging in a machine and turning on the power. When these three stages are properly followed—without taking any shortcuts, then I suggest that the third stage can legitimately be described as a ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’. Because these three stages use a combination of Perceiver facts and Server sequences to connect Teacher thought with Mercy thought, Contributor thought (which ties together Perceiver and Server) plays an essential incarnational role, which has been analyzed elsewhere but is not being emphasized here.

This mental combination describes the professional, who has a mental collection of Perceiver facts and Server skills that are held together by a general Teacher understanding and who is able to hold on to these facts and perform these skills under emotional pressure. For instance, a medical doctor knows Perceiver facts about the physical body and has the Server skill of being able to perform actions upon the physical body. These facts and skills are held together by a general Teacher understanding of human medicine. A doctor is able to use these facts and perform his skills when faced with a living, breathing human being. Saying this more bluntly, a repair man diagnoses machines, whereas a physician diagnoses living machines. It takes more Perceiver confidence to diagnose living machines than inanimate machines. A butcher cuts dead meat; a surgeon cuts live meat. It takes significantly more Server confidence to cut live meat than dead meat.

Now let us add the spiritual dimension. I suggested earlier that the spiritual realm makes sense if one begins with the cognitive realm. The professionally trained individual has gained knowledge and skills about some objective field of knowledge, guided by a Teacher understanding of the laws of nature. As a byproduct, he has also developed some internal Perceiver confidence and Server confidence, and a peripheral aspect of his personal identity has become transformed. In contrast, following the three stages of personal salvation will lead to knowledge and skills that apply directly to personal identity, guided by a Teacher understanding of the character of God. The personal honesty and personal application that this requires will develop extensive Perceiver confidence and Server confidence, and the core of personal identity will become transformed. Theory suggests that if one wishes to successfully harness the psychic energy that is awakened by what Pentecostalism calls a baptism of the Holy Spirit and Hinduism calls a kundalini awakening, then one must transform the core of personal identity and not just the periphery.

Saying this more concisely, I suggest that spiritual power is merely a more personal form of professionalism. From a mental viewpoint there would be no essential distinction between being a professional and having a spiritual power. The one is merely an extension of the other. And if spiritual power expresses itself through mental networks, then it would feel like a somewhat out-of-control, supercharged version of professionalism, a sort of playing-by-ear that is based upon professional training but goes further.

Putting this another way, adding the spiritual, supernatural, or divine realm does not change the fundamental requirement, which is achieving and maintaining mental wholeness. Why does one become a professional? In order to interact with the physical realm in a way that preserves mental wholeness. Similarly, why does one become reconciled with God through incarnation? In order to interact with God in a way that preserves mental wholeness. Why does one become transformed in the core of personal identity? One reason is that this makes it possible to interact with the spiritual realm in a way that preserves mental wholeness. Likewise, why does one extend professionalism to the subjective core? Theory suggests that this makes it possible to interact with the supernatural realm in a way that preserves mental wholeness.

What happens if one attempts in Pentecostal fashion to jump directly to the third stage of salvation? The professionalism will not be present. There will be energy but no machine. There will be power but no mental wholeness to channel this power. Raw electrical energy leads to electrical shock. Raw psychic/spiritual energy, by analogy, leads to ‘being slain in the spirit’ or a kundalini awakening. In contrast, If a person goes through all three stages of salvation, then energy will be combined with professionalism.

Suppose that one jumps from a foundation of blind faith or partial understanding to a baptism of the Holy Spirit. The result, I suggest, will be like plugging in a poorly constructed machine. It will work for a while and then it will fall apart. This temporary functioning will be especially apparent when starting from a foundation of blind faith. Blind faith uses emotional pressure to freeze Perceiver thought. Thus, jumping from blind faith to a baptism in the Holy Spirit could be compared to building a car engine out of ice. The heat of operating the engine will melt the ice out of which the engine is constructed.

Remember that blind faith in revealed truth only remains solid as long as a person is convinced that the emotional status of the source of truth is much greater than the emotional status of personal identity. Saying this more simply, blind faith in revealed truth requires an attitude of religious self-denial. We have seen that there is a strong tendency in Pentecostal circles to base Perceiver truth in Mercy authority. Pentecostal believers tend to idolize religious leaders, especially leaders who appear to have spiritual gifts. Suppose that a Pentecostal believer does acquire a spiritual gift by jumping directly from blind faith to the baptism of the Holy Spirit. People around him will begin to idolize him and his gift. If he accepts this personal adoration, then this will cause his blind faith in Perceiver truth to waver. Instead of feeling that he must submit to God’s truth, he will think that he is a source of God’s truth. First, his ‘machinery of ice’ will melt and he will lose the mental integrity that is required to channel spiritual energy. Second, he will start to view spiritual energy as a way for him to impose structure on others. Paraphrasing an earlier quote, his ‘anointing will take him to a place where his character cannot sustain him’. Using religious language, he will lose his spiritual gift while retaining the ability to slay others in the spirit. Going further, if he focuses so much upon acquiring material wealth and physical prosperity that he loses his connection to the spiritual realm, then all that will remain is the psychological ability to overwhelm and impress others, and he will only be able to continue his ministry by using fraud and deception to pretend that he still has a spiritual gift.

Cognitive Skepticism

The previous paragraphs assumed that a spiritual realm really exists. Let us now take a purely cognitive perspective. Remember that mental networks attempt to impose their structure when triggered. The scientist assumes that his thinking is driven by rational thought because he used rational thought to build his theories. But he does not realize that any theory that continues to be used will turn into a Teacher mental network, which will emotionally drive him to belittle and reject any theories that are inconsistent with his current paradigm. Thomas Kuhn describes how scientists naturally reject competing paradigms. This webpage gives “a list of scientists who were reviled for their crackpottery, only to be later proven correct.” It also points out, as Thomas Kuhn did, that “Today’s science texts are dishonest to the extent that they hide these huge mistakes made by the scientific community. They rarely discuss the acts of intellectual suppression which were directed at the following researchers by their colleagues.”

Thus, the empirical scientist who starts with the natural laws of science will be driven by his Teacher mental network to insist that nothing exists except physical reality, and he will be emotionally driven to deny the existence of the supernatural and the spiritual. However, because he uses rational thought to manipulate the laws of science, and because objective science tends to ignore emotions, he will probably not realize that his rejection of nonphysical existence is driven by emotions and not by rational thought.

For instance, I appreciate Wikipedia because it presents information on a wide variety of topics without passing value judgments. However, the Wikipedia article on creation science goes out of its way to make repeated value judgments in order to prove that creation science has been rejected by all ‘normal thinkers’. Quoting a few snippets: ‘The overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is that creation science is a religious, not a scientific view, and that creation science does not qualify as science because it lacks empirical support, supplies no tentative hypotheses, and resolves to describe natural history in terms of scientifically untestable supernatural causes. Creation science has been characterized as a pseudo-scientific attempt to map the Bible into scientific facts.” “Creation science is generally rejected by the Church of England as well as the Roman Catholic Church. The Pontifical Gregorian University has officially discussed intelligent Design as a ‘cultural phenomenon’ without scientific elements. The Church of England’s official website cites Charles Darwin’s local work assisting people in his religious parish.” “The scientific community has overwhelmingly rejected the ideas put forth in creation science as lying outside the boundaries of a legitimate science. (See also: List of scientific societies explicitly rejecting intelligent design.)” “The court further noted that no recognized scientific journal had published any article espousing the creation science theory as described in the Arkansas law, and stated that the testimony presented by defense attributing the absence to censorship was not credible.” “Many Christian theologies, including Liberal Christianity, consider the Genesis creation myth to be a poetic and allegorical work rather than a literal history, and many Christian churches—including the Roman Catholic, Anglican and the more liberal denominations of the Lutheran, Methodist, Congregationalist and Presbyterian faiths—have either rejected creation science outright or are ambivalent to it.”

I am not trying to start a debate on creation versus evolution. Rather, I am attempting to illustrate what happens when a Teacher mental network encounters an inconsistent theory. I have used Wikipedia extensively in my study of different branches of Christianity as well as other religions. None of the Wikipedia articles on religion that I have read contain a fraction of the value judgments that one finds in the Wikipedia article on creation science. I suggest that this is because religious experience does not mentally trigger a Teacher mental network that is based in natural law and objective evidence. However, creation science does mentally trigger Teacher mental networks of natural law. As quoted above, ‘Creation science has been characterized as a pseudo-scientific attempt to map the Bible into scientific facts.’ Hence, the plethora of value judgments.

Examining this from a cognitive viewpoint, I suggest that the real problem with creation science is that it is an un-theory. Teacher thought wants an explanation, and merely stating that God did something is not an explanation. As Thomas Kuhn states, once a scientist has a paradigm he cannot return to the situation of not having a paradigm; he will only leave his existing paradigm if he is given an alternative paradigm. Creation science is starting to come up with some explanations. For instance, here is a possible explanation for the Ice Age. However, the core of creation science is still driven by the un-theory of ‘God did it’, and for a scientist, embracing an un-theory is emotional suicide.

We have examined the approach that is taken by Pentecostalism. Mental symmetry takes an approach that is different than either science or Pentecostalism. Like science, mental symmetry is not satisfied with an un-theory but insists upon a rational, coherent, integrated explanation. But unlike science, this general theory begins with universal cognitive mechanisms. The resulting cognitive theory appears to be compatible with scientific thought. On the one hand, I show in God, Theology & Cognitive Modules that mental symmetry can explain many aspects of scientific thought in considerable detail. Saying this another way, mental symmetry appears to be consistent with the philosophy of science. On the other hand, it is possible to support the theory of mental symmetry with evidence from neurology, psychology, and cognitive science. Using the language of mental symmetry, the Teacher mental network of natural science appears to be consistent with the Teacher mental network of mental symmetry.

If one starts with a meta-theory of mental symmetry rather than the theories of natural science, then other areas of thought fall into place as well. Mental symmetry can be used to provide a rational explanation for religious thought and behavior. When mental symmetry is used to analyze Christianity, then one discovers that Christian doctrine describes the cognitive steps that must be taken to reach mental wholeness. Even though mental symmetry does not use the method of blind faith, it can explain the methods used by Christianity (and other religions) and it is consistent with both the content of Christianity and the Christian concept of a Trinitarian God. Looking further, mental symmetry notes that it is possible to explain the supernatural realm as a mirror image of natural existence, and the spiritual as a realm that interacts directly with mental networks. Summarizing, mental symmetry suggests that the natural, the supernatural, and the spiritual are all distinct realms governed by their own set of universal laws tied together by the cognitively-based meta-theory of mental symmetry. Stated simply, even though the natural, the supernatural, and the spiritual are each governed by different universal laws, a mentally whole person should be able to live within any or all of these realms and remain sane.

Does this mean that a mentally whole person will live in all these realms? I do not know. The only way to know for certain is to pursue mental wholeness and see if it is possible to live in more than one realm. However, I am reasonably certain that the converse is true. A person who is not mentally whole will not be able to live in all these realms.

I also am not suggesting that the human mind holds these various realms together. If these various realms exist, then they are held together by something or someone outside of the human mind. According to the Bible, this ‘gluing together’ of various realms is done by divine incarnation. “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 2). Rather, I am suggesting that mental wholeness makes it possible to interact with these various realms. For instance, if I speak both French and Spanish, then I can live in both France and Spain. My ability to speak French and Spanish does not hold France and Spain together. They exist independently of my mind. What holds France and Spain together is the fact that they exist adjacent to each other upon the same physical planet. However, if I want to live in both France and Spain, then I have to learn to think in both French and Spanish.

A general theory that can explain many individual items produces Teacher pleasure. When a general theory turns into a Teacher mental network, then there will be a strong emotional drive to universalize this theory by using it to explain everything. This explains why the average scientist is driven to come up with a naturalistic explanation for everything. Similarly, if one begins with the theory of mental symmetry and if one pursues the goal of mental wholeness, then the resulting Teacher mental network will emotionally drive a person to believe that the cognitive, the natural, the supernatural, the spiritual, and the divine all work together in an integrated manner.

Mental symmetry suggests that the real issue is cognitive development and not physical reality, not because of ‘mind over matter’ but rather because a person is ultimately incapable of thinking or acting in a way that violates his fundamental mental networks. Stated bluntly, every person will eventually become emotionally imprisoned within the mental prison that he himself has constructed. As Thomas Kuhn suggests, everyone will eventually be limited by his paradigms. Thus, I suggest that the choice is not between mental prison and mental freedom. Instead, the choice is between one mental prison and another. Thus, if one discovers a theory that leads to mental wholeness, can explain Christian doctrine and theology, is consistent with science, is backed up by neurology and psychology, and leads to a mindset that could exist independently of the physical body within the spiritual and the supernatural, then what better mental prison is there?

Pentecostalism suggests that total commitment to God is a prerequisite for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I am suggesting something similar. In Pentecostalism, a person commits himself to God by emotionally embracing blind faith and rejecting rational thought. Mental symmetry suggests that a person commits himself to God by emotionally embracing the Teacher mental network of a mental concept of God. In both cases, there is an emotional commitment as well as the recognition that one is making a decision that will fundamentally affect personal existence. However, the goal of mental symmetry is not to abandon rational thought but rather to become emotionally committed to a mental framework that includes as much rational thought and personal meaning as possible. Because Platonic forms are an indirect Mercy result of general Teacher understanding, and because a concept of the Holy Spirit emerges in Mercy thought as Platonic forms come together to create a ‘Form of the Good’, then this emotional commitment could be legitimately described as a ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’.

The Charismatic Movement

Initially, Pentecostalism was largely shunned by other Christian denominations. In the 1960s, Protestants and Catholics begin to adopt elements of Pentecostalism, leading to what is called the charismatic movement. Like Pentecostalism, charismatics place an emphasis upon spiritual gifts and the supernatural, but speaking in tongues is seen as only one spiritual gift rather than the defining gift. And instead of talking of a baptism of the Holy Spirit that occurs at a specific time after becoming a Christian, charismatics prefer to talk of spiritual encounters which are described as ‘being filled with the Holy Spirit’.

Christian Worship Music (CWM)

One of the most obvious characteristics of charismatic Christianity is contemporary Christian worship music (CWM), and this is the aspect of charismatic Christianity that has spread most widely beyond charismatic circles to other Protestant churches. CWM is typically led by a ‘praise team’, composed of singers and musicians, who perform at the front of the auditorium while the audience sings along. A number of songs are usually performed as a package, with upbeat ‘praise songs’ followed by more mellow ‘worship songs’. The lyrics and chords are generally fairly simple, and the songs are often repeated several times. The style of music varies from pop to rock and is designed to appeal to the average listener. The words usually emphasize a personal encounter with God.

Wikipedia describes the type of lyrics that are usually used. “Lyrically, the informal, sometimes intimate, language of relationship is employed. The terms ‘You’ and ‘I’ are used rather than ‘God’ and ‘we’, and lyrics such as, ‘I, I’m desperate for You’, and ‘Hungry I come to You for I know You satisfy, I am empty but I know Your love does not run dry’ both exemplify the similarity of the lyrics of some CWM to popular love songs.”

The composing style is also described. “Because, in common with hymns, such music is sung communally, there can be a practical and theological emphasis on its accessibility, to enable every member of the congregation to participate in a corporate act of worship. This often manifests in simple, easy-to-pick-up melodies in a mid-vocal range; repetition; familiar chord progressions and a restricted harmonic palette. Unlike hymns, the music notation may primarily be based around the chords, with the keyboard score being secondary.”

Generally speaking, the volume is loud. As Wikipedia notes, “There has been a shift within the genre towards using amplified instruments and voices, again paralleling popular music, though some churches play the same songs with simpler or acoustic instrumentation.”

CWM plays a defining role in current Christianity. In today’s typical church service, 1/3 to 1/2 of the time is spent singing worship songs led by the praise team. Friends of mine who have spent most of their lives touring the world doing Christian music (she was the one who experienced the hand miracle) tell me that the typical praise team is very possessive of its time and will insist upon performing a complete package of songs even when there are visiting musicians.

I suggested earlier that Pentecostalism is an expression of the consumer society. In the language of mental symmetry, it is consistent with the mental networks that are created by living within a consumer society. Western society experienced a major shift in the 1960s and 70s, as the average person rejected traditional standards of truth and morality. The effect that this shift had upon evangelical Christianity is discussed in another essay.

One aspect of the youth rebellion of the 60s and 70s was the Jesus movement, which was a Christian hippie counterculture that begin in the Western Coast of the US in the late 60s and spread through North America and Europe in the 1970s. As Wikipedia relates, “The Jesus movement left a legacy of various denominations and other Christian organizations, and had an impact on both the development of the contemporary Christian right and the Christian left. Jesus music, which grew out of the movement, greatly influenced contemporary Christian music, helping to create various musical subgenres such as Christian rock and Christian metal... Although the Jesus movement lasted no more than a decade (except for the Jesus People USA which continues to exist in Chicago), its influence on Christian culture can still be seen. Thousands of converts moved into leadership positions in churches and parachurch organisations. The informality of the Jesus movement’s music and worship affected almost all evangelical churches...Perhaps the most significant and lasting influence, however, was the growth of an emerging strand within evangelical Christianity that appealed to the contemporary youth culture. There has been a long legacy of Christian music connected to the Jesus movement. Jesus music, also known as gospel beat music in the UK, primarily began when some hippie and street musicians of the late 1960s and early 1970s converted to Christianity. They continued to play the same style of music they had played previously but began to write lyrics with a Christian message.”

Summarizing, one facet of the 60s youth rebellion was the Jesus movement. The Jesus movement created a genre of music that combined Christian lyrics with popular music styles. This style of music turned into CWM, which has been the lasting legacy of the Jesus movement.

The 1970s have been described as the decade of the ‘me generation’. As people rejected blind faith in authority and revealed truth, the attitude of self-denial that accompanies blind faith was replaced by a focus on self- discovery and hedonism. In the words of Wikipedia “Unapologetic hedonism became acceptable among the young, expressed in the Disco music popular at the time. The new introspectiveness announced the demise of an established set of traditional faiths centred on work and the postponement of gratification, and the emergence of a consumption-oriented lifestyle ethic centred on lived experience and the immediacy of daily lifestyle choices.”

The result was a new twist on the consumer society. Previously, technology was used to make life easier for people. However the bottom line was still duty to God, government, family, and society, and consumer devices helped to facilitate this. When the me generation rejected duty and embraced self-expression, the consumer society became the servant of self-expression, fun, and entertainment. As the Wikipedia article relates, “The marketing of lifestyle products, eagerly consumed by Baby Boomers with disposable income during the 1970s, became an inescapable part of the culture. Revlon’s marketing staff did research into young women’s cultural values during the 1970s, and the research revealed that young women were striving to compete with men in the workplace and to express themselves as independent individuals.” The free dictionary puts it more succinctly: “Me generation: The generation, originally in the 1970s, characterized by self-absorption; in the 1980s, characterized by material greed.”

CWM expresses this culture of science and technology as the servant of self-expression, fun, and entertainment. The Teacher words in CWM are a combination of Christian theology and self-expression, while the nonverbal Mercy-based musical content appeals to youth culture. Saying this more simply, the words are vaguely Christian while the music reflects popular culture.

Now let us relate this to the Holy Spirit. Remember that a mental concept of the Holy Spirit emerges in Mercy thought as an indirect result of an understanding of God in Teacher thought. Teacher processing, with its focus upon general theory and order-within-complexity ends up modifying Mercy concepts to be more perfect, more pure, more beautiful, more elegant, and more holy. The resulting Platonic forms have an uplifting effect upon Mercy thought. The result is a motivation to transcend the limitations and imperfections of physical reality. Notice that this is a non-verbal effect which depends upon words but does not involve words. On the one hand, Platonic forms are a mental byproduct of rational Teacher understanding. Therefore, it is possible—by definition—to use rational language to analyze and define Platonic forms. However, while Platonic forms are based upon rational Teacher theories, they go beyond words to involve nonverbal Mercy experiences and images.

The basic premise of Pentecostalism and charismatic Christianity is that one is being guided by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, let us examine CWM in the light of the Holy Spirit. Some of these next statements are based upon my personal experiences as a professionally trained musician who has interacted extensively with church music over several decades.

First, CWM makes a sharp distinction between the verbal message and the non-verbal musical style. The general consensus among CWM leaders is that the words of the song should reflect Christian doctrine while musical style is a matter of personal taste. In contrast, Platonic forms by their very nature are based upon Teacher mental networks of universal understanding and not upon Mercy mental networks of personal taste. This does not mean that one has to preserve musical style unchanged over the centuries as Orthodox Christianity does. As we saw at the beginning of this essay, that is what happens when one thinks in terms of replaceable parts, rather than equivalent function. This contrast is illustrated by the difference between fads and classic fashion. Fads change depending upon the current Mercy mental networks. Classic fashion varies in its specific expression but is still based upon timeless principles of form and beauty. The primary goal of CWM is being culturally relevant and not upon following ‘timeless principles of form and beauty’. As Wikipedia states, “A worship band can create a contemporary sound to the worship that younger worshipers can identify with. Worship bands may also be utilized with the rationale that some non-churchgoing visitors will feel more comfortable.” This suggests that CWM is driven primarily by cultural Mercy mental networks and not by the Teacher mental network of a concept of God. In other words, CWM is not an expression of the Holy Spirit but rather an expression of the spirit of the culture.

Second, my experience is that most CWM leaders are highly resistant to any analysis of musical style that is based upon rational Teacher understanding. Not only do CWM advocates say that musical style is a matter of personal taste, but they will usually insist that this is the case. When rational Teacher understanding is being suppressed, then one is also suppressing Platonic forms, and if a concept of the Holy Spirit is based in Platonic forms, then one is suppressing the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if a worship leader is unwilling to use rational thought to analyze his musical style, then—by definition—he is opposing the Holy Spirit and not worshiping the Holy Spirit.

Third, not only do most CWM leaders resist rational analysis of musical style, but they will use their Mercy status as a CWM leader to impose the view that musical style is a matter of personal taste and to ignore and suppress any dissenting view. This, I suggest, is a natural result of basing musical style in the specific Mercy mental networks of people and culture. If musical style is a matter of personal taste, then accepted musical style will be decided by the musical tastes of some person and some group. Since the CWM leader is in charge, he will use his emotional status to impose his personal musical tastes, and the musical tastes of his cultural group, upon the rest of the church. As Wikipedia states, “The worship leader has a prominent role in contemporary worship services and is responsible for much of the spiritual direction of the meeting and often will choose the songs that will be sung. This can be contrasted with traditional churches, where the entire service is normally led by a member of the clergy. Also, in many cases, the worship leader is responsible for recruiting, assigning, and training other musicians to compose a worship band or team.”

Fourth, the stage presentation of the typical CWM praise team illustrates personal Mercy status and not Teacher order-within-complexity. The focus, both visually and auditorily, is upon the lead singers, rather than upon the group as a whole. Similarly, as was mentioned before, the pronouns ‘I’ and ‘me’ figure prominently in many CWM songs, and personal feelings are emphasized, indicating that Mercy mental networks play a primary role. In addition, the musical structure and chord structure of the typical CWM song is quite limited, indicating a paucity of Teacher thought. As Wikipedia says, “Because, in common with hymns, such music is sung communally, there can be a practical and theological emphasis on its accessibility, to enable every member of the congregation to participate in a corporate act of worship. This often manifests in simple, easy-to-pick-up melodies in a mid-vocal range; repetition; familiar chord progressions and a restricted harmonic palette.” This is backed up by my personal experience. I am reasonably skilled at playing violin by ear—making up a harmony line to songs. I do this by using Perceiver thought to put together a mental map of the chord structure and then playing within that structure. I find it difficult to play with most modern CWM because the melodies and chord structures are too disjointed, fragmented, and angular. This indicates at a very fundamental level the absence of Teacher thought, because Platonic forms by their very nature are connected, integrated, and smooth.

Fifth, the general movement of CWM over the decades has not been in the direction of more pure, more holy, more beautiful, and more elegant. Rather, the overall trend has been in the opposite direction. Quoting again from Wikipedia, “Worship bands have varying compositions and use a variety of non-traditional church instruments. In the 1970s and 1980s, a folk music style was commonplace with acoustic string or woodwind instruments being popular. Today, the influence of rock music is widespread and the use of electric instruments has increased.”

‘Christian’ Rap

This trend is illustrated by the emergence of so-called ‘Christian rap music’. Songs have a verbal and nonverbal component. Both the words and the musical style communicate a message. The nonverbal message of the song can support the verbal message or it can undermine it. In the case of ‘Christian rap’, I suggest that the nonverbal message is so fundamentally opposed to the verbal message of Christianity that the medium ends up destroying the message. (I suggest that similar statements can be made about Christian heavy metal music.) I say this for two reasons. First, the goal of the Christian path is to transform childish identity. Rap, in contrast, celebrates childish identity. Second, childish identity rebels from structure whereas transform identity lives within structure. Rap has almost no musical structure, and therefore it communicates the nonverbal message of rebelling from structure.

Because there is such a fundamental contradiction between the verbal message of Christianity and the nonverbal message of rap, and because ‘rap music’ is now starting to be used in Christian circles, I would like to take a few paragraphs to look specifically at this genre.

As this hip-hop site relates, “In the early 1970s a musical genre was born in the crime-ridden neighborhoods of the South Bronx. Gifted teenagers with plenty of imagination but little cash began to forge a new style from spare parts. Hip-hop, as it was then known, was a product of pure streetwise ingenuity; extracting rhythms and melodies from existing records and mixing them up with searing poetry chronicling life in the ‘hood, hip-hop spilled out of the ghetto. From the housing projects hip-hop poured onto the streets and subways, taking root in Bronx clubs like the Savoy Manor Ballroom, Ecstasy Garage, Club 371, The Disco Fever, and the T-Connection. From there it spread downtown to the Renaissance Ballroom, Hotel Diplomat, the Roxy, and The Fun House. It migrated to Los Angeles, where a whole West Coast hip-hop scene developed, sporting its own musical idiosyncrasies, its own wild style.”

Any musical genre that has roots in crime-ridden neighborhoods is, by definition, an expression of childish Mercy identity and not transformed Mercy identity. One can tell that this is the case, because the primary emotional component of rap is personal attitude—a vaunting and flaunting of raw personal desires and urges. Rap ‘music’ contains very little of the components of music, which is why I put the word ‘music’ in single quotes.

For instance, this webpage does a musical analysis of one typical rap song, and mentions musical motives that are being played by various instruments. One gains the impression from this musical analysis that rap is another form of music. However, if one listens to the actual ‘song’ (search YouTube), then one discovers that the entire accompaniment consists of only these musical fragments being repeated. The fragments are not connected, they are not developed, they are not transposed, there is no transition from one fragment to another, there is no harmony, there are no cadences, there are no melodies, and there are no phrases. Instead, what holds everything together is Mercy attitude expressed by the nonverbal tone of rapping and backed up by the image of a glaring artist. The ‘composer’ calls himself ‘Dr. Dre’, but he failed to enroll in an apprenticeship program because of his low high school grades. (I chose Dr. Dre at random but it turns out that he is the third richest figure in the American hip-hop scene. He is now taking music harmony lessons.) As a professionally trained musician, I am forced to conclude that equating rap with music is like saying that ‘+3 )2b =- 8[’ is math. Yes, the mathematical symbols are there, but they have not been combined in a way that indicates either Teacher understanding or Teacher structure. This is reflected by the ‘composing’ style of Dr. Dre. “Every Dre track begins the same way, with Dre behind a drum machine in a room full of trusted musicians. (They carry beepers. When he wants to work, they work.) He’ll program a beat, then ask the musicians to play along; when Dre hears something he likes, he isolates the player and tells him how to refine the sound. ‘My greatest talent,’ Dre says, ‘is knowing exactly what I want to hear.’” This is like coming up with random combinations of mathematical symbols until one encounters one that looks good. Such a process is driven by Mercy feelings of personal taste and not by Teacher understanding. Notice also that Dr. Dre is using his personal status to impose his personal taste and personal schedule upon musicians that he trusts.

Obviously, a single example does not prove a general pattern, but it does illustrate the general pattern that rap is based almost completely upon the Mercy mental networks of childish personal identity and is almost devoid of any Teacher mental networks of general understanding. Thus, I suggest that it is both intellectually and spiritually absurd to suggest that rap has anything in common with Christianity. Yet, there are many ‘Christian hip-hop and rap artists’ and the magazine Christianity Today recently did a cover article on ‘why the Gospel needs hip-hop’.

Why does evangelical Christianity think that ‘the gospel needs hip-hop’? I suggest that evangelical Christianity is facing an intractable problem, which is analyzed in the article on American evangelical Christianity. As I have mentioned, in the 1960s and 70s, Western society as a whole stopped placing blind faith in biblical truth and biblical moral standards. This put evangelical Christianity into a quandary. If it continued with its current form of church and Christian belief, it would lose the next generation. If it used emotional force to impose blind faith in the Bible, then it would turn dictatorial. If it embraced secular culture, then this would undermine Christian belief, because secular culture was based in a rebellion from Christian belief. The typical church response has been to apply some combination of these three elements, walking a tightrope of clinging to traditional belief, imposing religious standards, and appealing to secular culture. Mental symmetry suggests that the solution to the problem is to re-formulate Christianity as a rational general Teacher theory that is not based in blind faith upon any holy book. Of course, this assumes that Christian doctrine really can be placed within the package of a general Teacher theory, which appears to be the case. This does not mean throwing out the Bible, but rather regarding the Bible as an accurate description of truth, rather than the sole source of truth, in the same way that a well-written science textbook is regarded as an accurate description of scientific truth.

One final question. Why would rap ‘music’ come out of the ghetto? Let me suggest a possible reason, using a concept that is described in God, Theology & Cognitive Modules. Living in a physical body that inhabits a physical world leads to the development of two primary sets of mental networks within Mercy thought. The first set of mental networks is what I have referred to as childish Mercy identity. Physical experiences with strong feelings naturally lead to the development of mental networks, causing identity to identify with pleasant experiences and block off unpleasant experiences. For instance, if my neighbor is wearing a new pair of sneakers, then I steal them from my neighbor. If he resists, then I kill him.

The second set of mental networks is the basis for common sense. The physical body is vulnerable. If I play on a busy road, for instance, then I will probably get hit by a car. Thus, if I want to feed and protect my body then I must learn Perceiver facts and acquire Server skills, and I must submit my personal identity to these facts and skills. Saying this another way, the school of hard knocks forces an aspect of personal identity to go through the three stages of personal salvation. Anyone who does not learn a modicum of common sense will end up physically injured or dead.

Now let us look at life in the ghetto. In order to learn common sense, one must live in an environment of natural cause and effect. A ghetto is an artificial environment in which everything is provided by people and there is almost no nature with which to interact. If I want food, instead of growing it, I buy it from a person at the local store. Normally, a person who is hungry is forced to gather food and a person who is cold is forced to build shelter. In a ghetto, these basic needs are all provided by people, often in the form of government programs. The result is a strong childish identity combined with very little common sense. In other words, a lot of Mercy attitude is combined with very little knowledge and skills. That combination defines rap ‘music’. The obvious solution is to take the troubled teen out of the ghetto and place him in a natural environment away from people, where he is forced to learn common sense. Thisapproach is effective.

Praise and Worship

‘Christian rap’ is an extreme example of juxtaposing Christian words with childish ‘music’. Not all CWM is loud, juvenile, and obnoxious. Instead, some of it is pleasant, spiritual, and uplifting. However, I suggest that the whole concept of ‘Christian praise and worship’ often reflects a core aspect of the modern consumer society, which could be described as alternate reality. For instance, the person who watches a movie or TV show will temporarily suspend disbelief in order to emotionally identify with what is happening on the screen. In the language of mental symmetry, Perceiver thought will temporarily stop analyzing situations in order to allow Mercy thought to identify emotionally with the experiences. For instance, we all know how annoying it is when we are trying to enjoy a movie and someone in the room is continually analyzing and explaining the events. “Can’t you just be quiet and enjoy the show!”

Alternate reality has always been with us. For instance, Aristotle mentioned how watching a play can bring emotional catharsis. However, the development of movie special effects has made it possible to create increasingly vivid depictions of alternate universes within which we can temporarily immerse ourselves. Similarly, computers and the Internet now allow individuals to ‘live’ within artificial worlds. For instance, gamer widow is a site that is dedicated to the spouses of those who spend too much time playing online games. In their words, ‘A Gamer Widow is a term for those who have a relationship with an Addicted Gamer (one who plays video games to excess, be it on a console or on the computer) who pays more attention to the video game than to their partner….thereby making their partner a ‘gamer widow’ (female) or ‘gamer widower’ (male).”

What is wrong with living in alternate reality? Alternate reality is a limited world in which only an aspect of identity can temporarily live. Anyone who tries to live full-time in alternate reality will die. Real reality, in contrast, can satisfy all of one’s needs, and it is possible to live in real reality all the time. Alternate reality does have a purpose. It allows a person to explore what it would be like to live in a different kind of world. For instance, airplane pilots now receive most of their training on aircraft simulators. An aircraft simulator costs less to operate than a real airplane, and it is possible to use a simulator to teach a pilot how to recover from hazardous situations. Stated simply, alternate reality helps promote mental integration when it is used to create what-if situations that explore aspects of reality, but it leads to mental fragmentation when it is used to escape from reality. Putting it bluntly, the single young man who lives in his parent’s basement and has become a level 90 dark elf in an online game is a loser who is living in the illusion that he has become someone.

The danger with Christian praise and worship is that it can become an alternate reality that replaces real personal transformation with an emotional simulation of personal transformation. Mental symmetry suggests that one must first build a mental concept of God and then use this mental concept of God to transform personal identity. Praise and worship encapsulates this general process. Typically, praise and worship begins by singing upbeat, exuberant, praise songs that focus upon the power and majesty of God. This is then followed by singing more mellow worship songs that emphasize God’s love for me and my surrender to God.

I have mentioned in other essays that Mercy feelings can be used to substitute for Teacher emotions. For instance, if I say ‘God is great’, then this will not feel like a general statement to Teacher thought. However, if I say ‘God is great’ with emotional conviction, backed up by a loud and exciting song, then Teacher thought will interpret this emotional intensity from the Teacher perspective of generality and feel that a universal statement has been made about God. In simple terms, Mercy emotions are being used to fool Teacher thought. This, I suggest, describes the mental mechanism used by praise songs. They give the emotional impression that a universal concept of God has been constructed within Teacher thought. Worship songs, in contrast, create a feeling of love and intimacy for personal identity, and focus upon commitment to God and trust in God. If praise songs are followed by worship songs, then it will feel as if personal identity has been loved and transformed by God, just as it feels as if personal identity has achieved something or has become someone when watching a movie or playing an online game.

This does not mean that praise and worship is necessarily bad. In the same way that alternate reality becomes harmful when it substitutes for real reality and allows a person to escape emotionally from real reality, so I suggest that praise and worship is harmful when it becomes a substitute for real personal change.

Spiritual Gifts

The charismatic movement emphasizes ‘spiritual gifts’. Therefore, I would like to look briefly at the Bible passages that talk about spiritual gifts, which the Wikipedia article summarizes in table form. There are four lists, one in Romans 12, two in I Corinthians 12, and one in Ephesians 4. Many peoplecombinetheseall into one mega-list. The theory of mental symmetry began with the assumption that the list of spiritual gifts in Romans 12 contains a complete, self-contained description. If the theory of mental symmetry is accurate, then this implies that these four lists should be regarded separately and not jumbled together.

The introduction to the Romans 12 list makes it clear that it is referring to thinking styles. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”

Notice that ‘mind’ is used once and ‘think’ three times. Interestingly, this passage also summarizes the essence of the three stages of salvation. Childish identity acquires its initial content from the physical body. In order to reach mental wholeness, one must allow a concept of God to fragment these Mercy mental networks. In other words, ‘present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God’. The motivation for doing this is not religious self-denial, but rather personal salvation. Hence, ‘I urge you by the mercies of God’. A person is normally guided by the mental networks that reflect the social and physical environment. Paul calls ‘this being conformed to this world’. However, it is also possible to transform mental networks by constructing a mental concept of God. Therefore, ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is’. Building a concept of God is followed by acting in a manner that is consistent with this concept of God. Thus, the focus is upon proving the will of God. This will is good (agathos), suggesting that it is consistent with Teacher-based moral law, it is acceptable (euarestos), implying that Mercy thought finds it pleasant, and it is perfect (teleios), which could also be translated as completeness or wholeness. [5]

Let us turn now to the list in I Corinthians 12:8-10, which Paul introduces by saying that ‘each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.’ This list contains nine items: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healings, miracles, prophecy, distinguishing spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. The normal charismatic interpretation is to view this list as a collection of supernatural abilities. However, we know that the Romans 12 list describes rational thought. Similarly, there does not appear to be anything in the original Greek that demands a supernatural interpretation of the I Corinthians list.

Looking at this list in more detail, word of wisdom (sophia) and word of knowledge (gnosis) appear to describe two methods of moving from Mercy experiences to Teacher words. Wisdom is more personal, knowledge is more impersonal. Faith (pistis) and gifts of healing (iama) describe the application of knowledge. Faith is the ability to apply knowledge in uncertain circumstances while healing applies knowledge to emotional situations. When viewed from a cognitive perspective, tongues (glossa) is the ability to construct general Teacher theories, whereas interpretation of tongues (hermeneia) is the ability to translate esoteric theories into everyday language. I know from personal experience what these two ‘gifts’ are like. Whenever I start studying a new field, I feel like the authors are speaking in tongues. And when I attempt to explain mental symmetry to others, I use metaphors to translate the ‘tongues’ of my abstract theory into language that others can understand. Of course, translation is also needed when going from one language to another, and not just from one specialization of another. It is interesting that this passage talks about different kinds of tongues because each technical field generates its own jargon that is incomprehensible to those outside of the field—and each culture has its own language that is incomprehensible to other language groups. [6]

The two gifts of prophecy (propheteia) and discerning of spirits (diakrisis) make sense from the perspective of mental networks. Prophecy is both an ability to predict the future and an ability to address core issues. If one understands how the mind works, and if one has an awareness of fundamental mental networks, then one can predict with great accuracy the direction of a person or society. I know from personal experience how difficult it is to overcome the inertia of core mental networks and alter the path of a person or society. Similarly, discerning of spirits is an ability to recognize and distinguish core mental networks. Whenever I examine some new author, topic, or group, I always look for the underlying bias, or in other words, the core mental networks. Once this is worked out, then everything else usually falls into place. Finally, there is the ‘working of miracles’. This sounds supernatural, but the original greek is more ambiguous, referring to the energema of dunamis, or the operating of power. In simple terms, every industrial and consumer revolution requires a source of energy, and someone has to be in charge of the power grid.

Summarizing, there appear to be four pairs of gifts. One pair leads to understanding, another to application. The third pair works with theory and Teacher mental networks, while the fourth pair handles motivation and Mercy mental networks. In each of these four cases, one of the pairs is more emotional and the other is more factual. The ninth gift provides the energy that drives the other eight. The four knowledge and application gifts are mentioned at first, followed by the energy gift, and then the four mental network gifts, consistent with the idea that mental networks should be constructed upon a foundation of knowledge and application.

The third list in I Corinthians 12:28 refers explicitly to a sequence. “And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.” Notice that this describes how God works with a group of people who are following God. In other words, we are looking at a process that begins with general Teacher understanding. A field of thought is initially defined by apostles (apostolos) who lay the underlying theoretical foundation. This is followed by prophets (prophetes) who expand upon this theoretical foundation. Teachers (didaskalos) then spread this abstract knowledge by sharing it with students. Next comes dunamis or power, translated as miracles. As with the previous list we see abstract thought being followed by energy and motivation. This is followed by practical application. Healing (iama) uses this knowledge to heal people, while helps (antilepsis) assists others in less personal ways. Government (kubernesis) then organizes everything, and a diversity of tongues (glossa) interacts with other disciplines.

The final list in Ephesians 4 is similar to the list that was just discussed but the focus here is upon education and reaching mental maturity. “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.” Notice that the goal is to become ‘a mature man’, gaining ‘the knowledge of the Son of God’, so that one is no longer mesmerized and misled by the Mercy mental network of the latest guru. Saying this more bluntly, the Ephesians 4 list is meant to save people from the hero worship of Pentecostalism.

As with the previous list, the starting point is apostles and prophets. This is followed by three different ways of spreading abstract knowledge to the average population. The evangelist (euaggelistes), or bearer of good news, shares the personal benefits of knowledge. The pastor (poimen), or shepherd, takes a more personal approach. Finally, the teacher (didaskalos) does more formal instruction.

Summarizing, none of these lists appear to be describing anything that is exclusively supernatural or irrational. Rather, they appear to be well thought-out descriptions of social structure. I am not suggesting that there is no spiritual component to spiritual gifts. Rather, I am suggesting that the spiritual component is compatible with the cognitive component and that it does not violate rational thought. In contrast, the description of spiritual gifts found in Wikipedia conveys the impression of being driven by religious fervor to abandon rational thought. For instance, here some of the phrases used in the Wikipedia article: ‘reporting something that God spontaneously brings to your mind’, ‘devotes himself to preaching the gospel’, ‘share their own possessions with others with extraordinary generosity’, ‘a ministry of visitation, prayer, and compassion’, ‘know whether a prophetic utterance was truly inspired by God’, ‘spiritual burden and a God-given love for the needy and afflicted’. The problem, I suggest, lies in separating subjective from objective. Life is more than merely acquiring knowledge and possessions. It is good to transcend objective thought and be guided by emotions to help people. However, embracing the heart does not mean shutting down the head. Instead, the heart should express the head while the head needs to guide the heart.

I have learned over the years that if one does not use this type of religious jargon to describe spiritual gifts, then one will be ignored by the religious crowd, even by those who are using the same seven labels and the samebasic descriptions. I mention this to point out the gulf that separates using blind faith to regard the Bible as the source of absolute truth, and using critical thinking to regard the Bible as an accurate description of universal truth. I am attempting to take the latter approach; most of those who teach spiritual gifts use the former. Don and Katie Fortune are a partial exception to this rule. I visited their home for the first time in 2012, and spent several hours comparing notes with Katie Fortune. They began studying and teaching cognitive styles shortly before we did and the traits that they have discovered are about 95% consistent with the ones that we have uncovered (Like all others who teach spiritual gifts, they confuse the Teacher person with the intellectual Contributor person.) They also teach a secular version of Romans 12 spiritual gifts. However, their material still contains just enough Christian religiosity to make their presentation palatable to Christian audiences (they have sold 300,000 books) and to make the cognitive approach taken by mental symmetry unpalatable to them.

The Third Wave

We began by looking at the holiness movement. This was followed by Pentecostalism, which started in 1901, and is sometimes referred to as the ‘first wave’ of the Holy Spirit. The ‘second wave’ describes the charismatic movement that began in the 1960s. The term ‘third wave’ was coined byC. Peter Wagner, who taught a course on ‘The Miraculous and Church Growth’ at Fuller seminary in California from 1982 to 1985.

The primary teachings of the Third Wave movement are that “People can be possessed (or demonized) by evil spirits with or without their consent. Some Christians have a special gift to discern demonic presence and exorcize it. There are beings called ‘territorial spirits’ who hold a special kind of domination over neighborhoods, cities, and even countries. Some Christians have a special ability to identify and to challenge their control. Objects or places can project evil influence and act as conduits for demonic oppression. Traumatic events, either in our lives or in our ancestral past, can make us particularly vulnerable to demonic influence.”

Notice that the focus is upon invisible Mercy spirits rather than visible people. Notice also that the emphasis is upon fighting spirits, not upon helping spirits.

The Wikipedia article on spiritual warfare adds that “In the version of spiritual warfare of Wagner and his associates and followers, ‘spiritual mapping’ or ‘mapping’ involves research and prayer, either to locate specific individuals who are then accused of witchcraft, or to locate individuals, groups, or locations that are thought to be victims of witchcraft or possessed by demons, against which spiritual warfare is then waged. Peter Wagner claims that this type of spiritual warfare was ‘virtually unknown to the majority of Christians before the 1990s’. According to Wagner, the basic methodology is to use spiritual mapping to locate areas, demon-possessed persons, occult practitioners such as witches and Freemasons, or occult idol objects like statues of Catholic saints, which are then named and fought, using methods ranging from intensive prayer to burning with fire.” Again notice the focus upon attacking evil rather than upon building good.

Spiritual mapping is described in more detail in another article. “The history of the target city must be studied and understood by the evangelist who takes spiritual mapping seriously. Certain key questions must be answered. For example, How and why did the city begin? Who were the founders and what were their intentions and spiritual condition? What presently characterizes the city, or, what is it known for? This and much more information is necessary in order to ‘map’ the city. The latest demographic study of the city should be analyzed. The history of race relations must be studied along with any traumatic event the city had experienced like an earthquake, a flood, etc. With all in hand then, the demonic spirit(s) in control of the city will be identified and thus their power can be broken by the use of some appropriate human effort. For instance, if a city is characterized by pride, then the Christian response ought to be humility.”

Examining this from a cognitive perspective, what is basically being described here is mental networks—with a twist. Emotional experiences create mental networks. Mental networks guide the behavior of individuals. People who have similar mental networks are attracted to each other, defining the mindset of a cultural group. Going beyond the cognitive to the spiritual, a spiritual realm may exist that interacts via mental networks with the physical realm. Thus, in the same way that a mental concept of God that is cognitively backed up by a mental network might also be energized by a real God, so the more limited mental networks of a culture or neighborhood might also be energized by finite spirits.[7]

That brings us to the twist. Mental symmetry agrees that recognizing and analyzing mental networks is a major component of the process of personal transformation. However, mental symmetry suggests that the primary battleground is cognitive and not spiritual. In other words, one is ‘transformed by the renewing of the mind’ and not by seeing demons hide behind every psychological problem. Cognitive transformation will lead to the formation of new mental networks, which will indirectly impact a postulated spiritual realm. This does not mean that it is all in the mind. There might well be a spiritual realm. But if one focuses upon the spiritual realm without transforming mental networks, then there will be no lasting effect. In contrast, if mental networks are transformed, then this will also affect the spiritual. In essence, as I have suggested several times in this essay, a postulated spiritual realm can be viewed as an extension of the cognitive realm that adds emotional intensity to any struggle involving mental networks. [8]

Mental symmetry also suggests that the way to transform mental networks is through rational Teacher understanding. Teacher thought brings integration and builds order. Thus, the focus should be upon using general theories to understand and explain mental networks, the approach which mental symmetry is attempting to follow. Spiritual warfare, in contrast, focuses upon attacking the enemy rather than building an understanding. Saying this another way, instead of following God, spiritual warfare attacks Satan.

Why did spiritual warfare become popular in the 1980s? As before, I suggest that the consumer society is forming mental networks within the mind of the average person and these mental networks are resonating with a version of Christianity that is consistent. As I mentioned earlier, the first popular personal computer was the Apple II, which was introduced in 1977. The IBM PC, the precursor to all current Windows PCs, was first sold in 1981. The major feature of a computer is that a hidden internal world resides within the physical object. The personal computer is not just an object sitting on a desk. Rather, it is a doorway to an entire invisible world of computer programs and artificial realities. Thus, it is natural that Christians would focus beyond the visible to the invisible, and look past the material to the spiritual.

However, the approach taken by spiritual warfare tells us that the invisible spiritual realm is still being approached as a consumer who lacks Teacher understanding. First, the focus of spiritual mapping is upon physical buildings and physical locations. For instance, one guide to spiritual mapping says, “The Lord instructed me to get a map. On this map we placed colored pins with each color representing certain categories of unrighteous works. Each colored pin is numbered with a corresponding file. In the file we simply list the name of the place and its address.” The site mentions using red pins to mark “Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Halls, Morman Temples, Bahia, Unity, Unitarian, Christian Science, etc.” Blue pins indicate “businesses involved in the cult or occult. Places that do metaphysical healings, Reiki teaching, reincarnation and past life therapy, astrologers, chakra and energy works, I Chang. Places that don’t seem obvious, comic book and baseball card shops. Many of them sell magic cards, Dungeons & Dragons as well. Large chain toy stores in malls sell all sorts of spiritual garbage. This list seems endless.” Green pins mark “any place from the very obvious XXX bookstore or lounge that has nude dancers, to a gas station or a small food stop store that sells pornographic magazines. Large chain bookstores carry a lot of pornography, as do airports, some lingerie shops, neighborhood video stores.”

In contrast, mental symmetry suggests that what matters is not the physical location but rather the mental network. Behavior that is driven by mental networks may be expressed at certain physical locations, but focusing upon the physical location will simply drive the behavior elsewhere. In order to change the behavior one has to alter the underlying mental networks. Similarly, mental symmetry suggests that if there is a spiritual realm it is interacting with the physical realm via mental networks.

Second, the emphasis is upon attacking the enemy. Behavior that is driven by Mercy mental networks will naturally be tribal and will divide people into groups of ‘us versus them’. People whose Mercy mental networks resonate with mine will be labeled as ‘us’, while people whose Mercy mental networks conflict with mine will be labeled as ‘them’. If Christian belief is based in blind faith in the Bible and/or religious leaders then secular thought will naturally be viewed as the enemy of Christian thought. Similarly, if Christianity is associated with an attitude of religious self-denial, then hedonism will naturally be seen as a rebellion from Christianity.

In contrast, mental symmetry suggests that mental networks need to be analyzed and understood, and not vilified and condemned. This does not mean that every mental network should be celebrated as an ‘alternative lifestyle’ and allowed to function intact. Instead, mental networks need to be analyzed with brutal honesty in order to determine which aspects have lasting value. In my experience, every mental network is based upon some legitimate need—that is often being pursued in an illegitimate manner. Constructing a mental concept of God means analyzing mental networks, placing the legitimate aspects within a universal framework, and explaining the illegitimate aspects using cognitive mechanisms.

For instance, consider the topic of pornography. An attitude of religious self-denial will naturally view any form of hedonism as evil. However, the real problem is that childish identity is trying to emotionally identify with pleasant experiences. This emotional identification—or idolization—drives pornography. As Moslem countries illustrate, the core issue is not covering up women’s bodies but rather cleaning up men’s minds (as well as educating women’s minds). Wearing a hijab or even a burqa will notstopsexual harassment. Jesus says the same thing in Matthew 5. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Notice that Jesus does not address the topic of what the woman is wearing. Instead, he focuses upon what the man is thinking.

I suggest that ‘cleaning up’ a mind means replacing idolatry with Platonic forms. A Platonic form, by definition, is not an idol. That is because a Platonic form is an internal image based upon many specific external situations, whereas an idol is based upon a specific external object or experience. If physical beauty is viewed as one aspect of the Platonic form of total beauty and attractiveness, then whenever this Platonic form is triggered by the sight of something or someone that is beautiful, then that specific person or object will be viewed in the light of this Platonic form, and the goal will be to help that person or object to become more like the Platonic form. In essence, I am talking about Platonic love, but not one that ignores the physical but rather one that views the physical as an expression of the internal. Notice again that the underlying focus is upon using Teacher thought to construct mental networks. This does not mean that Platonic love does not include Mercy emotions, but rather that the Mercy feelings exist within a framework of Teacher understanding, just as the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. If the Holy Spirit is treated as the first person of the Trinity, then the mental result will not be a Holy Spirit but rather a spirit of this world based upon idolatry.

In a previous essay, I looked at the topic of universal government surveillance and suggested that there is a place for personal privacy. Government should be able to know general statistics about the population, but it is not appropriate for a government to know everything about every individual. Similarly, when examining the Catholic concept of the Confessional I suggested that it is appropriate to share personal concerns with others in general terms, but it is not appropriate for a priest to hear every private detail about a person’s life. In the same manner, I suggest that it is appropriate to have a physical sense of privacy and to wear clothes. The reasoning in each case is the same. Everyone has a finite personal identity in Mercy thought and a distinction needs to be made between the identity of one person and the identity of another. The level of sexual harassment that occurs in Muslim countries demonstrates that internal respect for personal identity is the key. If a man has no mental respect for the identity of a woman, then he will have no physical respect for the body of a woman, no matter how many layers of clothing she wears.

The Three Temptations of Jesus

Pentecostalism focuses upon the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’ and following the Spirit. The Bible talks about Jesus receiving the Holy Spirit and then being led by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil. It is interesting to view the three temptations of Jesus from the perspective of Pentecostalism. I suggest that each temptation describes a potential trap for Pentecostalism and its successors.

The story of Jesus’ temptation is mentioned in Matthew 4. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”’ Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, “He will command His angels concerning You”; and “On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.”’ Jesus said to him, ‘On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”’ Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.”

The first temptation talks about using universal religious principles for personal gain. Jesus is hungry, so the devil tells him to use his power to make food out of stones. Jesus responds by saying that one should be driven by universal Teacher words rather than specific personal Mercy needs. This error is seen quite blatantly in prosperity theology, more colloquially known as ‘name it and claim it’. In the words of Wikipedia, “Prosperity theology teaches that Christians are entitled to well-being and, because physical and spiritual realities are seen as one inseparable reality, this is interpreted as physical health and economic prosperity. Teachers of the doctrine focus on personal empowerment, promoting a positive view of the spirit and body. They maintain that Christians have been given power over creation because they are made in the image of God and teach that positive confession allows Christians to exercise dominion over their souls and material objects around them. Leaders of the movement view the atonement as providing for the alleviation of sickness, poverty, and spiritual corruption; poverty and illness are cast as curses which can be broken by faith and righteous actions...Wealth is interpreted in prosperity theology as a blessing from God, obtained through a spiritual law of positive confession, visualization, and donations. This process is often taught in almost mechanical terms; Kenneth Copeland, an American author and televangelist, argues that prosperity is governed by laws, while other teachers portray the process formulaically. Journalists David van Biema and Jeff Chu of Time have described Word of Faith pastor Creflo Dollar’s teachings about prosperity as an inviolable contract between God and humanity.”

I suggest that ‘name it and claim it’ is a mental shortcut that can be analyzed using mental symmetry and illustrated using science and technology. Practical Contributor thought thinks in terms of cause-and-effect; if I do ‘this’ then ‘that’ will be the result. Intellectual Contributor thought takes the principles of cause-and-effect that are noticed by practical Contributor thought and turns them into universal laws. This transition from practical to intellectual Contributor thought forms the basis for science. For instance, practical Contributor thought will notice that it is possible to move a stone from one location to another and then use this discovery to do things like moving stones out of fields into ditches and onto fences. Intellectual Contributor thought will ignore the field, the ditch, and the fence, and focus upon the movement of stones and other objects. Historically, this change in focus led eventually to Newton’s laws of movement—universal statements that described the movement of all physical objects. As we have seen, this scientific revolution led through the industrial revolution to the consumer revolution, in which the consumer can now buy gadgets that are based in an understanding of the laws of nature, and use these gadgets for personal benefit.

Thus, ‘name it and claim it’ is correct in suggesting that belief in God is based in universal laws that lead to personal prosperity. But like the typical modern consumer, prosperity theology is glossing over all of the intermediate steps involving Teacher understanding and Server application. Jesus says, in contrast, that one should listen to every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. In the language of mental symmetry, this means constructing a general Teacher theory that applies to personal identity by searching for universal, verbal principles. [9] In essence, ‘name it and claim it’ says that the universal laws of nature can be boiled down to heading to the local store and buying laborsaving devices. In fact, much of the current American economy could be described as ‘name it and claim it’, because most of the intermediate steps have been exported to China. What remains within America is an advertising and marketing industry that creates a need, and a distribution and retail outlet network that fulfills this need. Again we see the Pentecostal mindset of jumping straight to the third stage of personal salvation by adopting the mindset of the consumer.

In the second temptation, Jesus is brought to the top of the holy temple in Jerusalem and told to jump off the temple in a violation of natural law, guided by the certainty that he will be protected from personal harm by supernatural assistance. This, I suggest, describes the essence of the Pentecostal mindset. It starts from the pinnacle of religiosity and then mentally ‘jumps off’ in order to extend blind faith to the physical realm. That is because it associates God with the violation of natural law, and it is assuming that supernatural assistance can protect the believer from natural harm. For instance, “During the initial decades of the movement, Pentecostals thought it was sinful to take medicine or receive care from doctors. Over time, Pentecostals moderated their views concerning medicine and doctor visits; however, a minority of Pentecostal churches continue to rely exclusively on prayer and divine healing.”

Jesus responds to the second temptation by saying that one should not test God. That is because this attitude faces a concept of God with a contradiction. On the one hand, the metaphysical ‘jumper’ is acting as if a God exists who transcends natural existence. On the other hand, God is being mentally associated with the violation of universal principles. Science and technology demonstrate that the solution is not to look for violations of natural law but rather to gain a deeper understanding of natural law. Mental symmetry goes one step further by suggesting that the supernatural itself is governed by a set of universal laws that are related through symmetry to the physical laws of nature.

One occasionally hears stories of Christians going on a faith trip without any preparation or money in order to test how ‘God will provide’. Luke 9 is often given as a scriptural backing for this approach. “And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. And He said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city. And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.” The next chapter (Luke 10) talks about Jesus sending out 70 disciples in a similar manner.

If one examines merely this passage, then one will conclude that Jesus is sending out his disciples without any preparation. However, if one examines the preceding paragraphs, one notices that Jesus is being mobbed by crowds. “And as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him. And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus’ feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house; for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him. And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. And Jesus said, ‘Who is the one who touched Me?’ And while they were all denying it, Peter said, ‘Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.’” (Luke 9). Given this amount of publicity, there was not much danger that the disciples would starve, and considering that Jesus could barely move for the crowds, it made sense for Jesus to send out his disciples.

I am not suggesting that it is wrong to step out in faith. However, I suggest that this faith needs to be guided by Teacher understanding. The bottom line is not ‘jumping off the temple’ by embracing blind faith but rather applying Teacher understanding even when there is Mercy uncertainty. The first violates Teacher structure, the second extends it. The former tempts God, the latter follows God. For instance, the devil backs up this temptation by quoting the end of Psalm 91. “He will give His angels charge concerning you...They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone.” However, this psalm begins by saying that “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!’” Thus the context is following God and not tempting fate.

Similarly, George Mueller is often cited as an example of Christian faith. Over his lifetime, he cared for 10,024 orphans and established 117 schools. As Wikipedia relates, “Through all this, Müller never made requests for financial support, nor did he go into debt, even though the five homes cost over £100,000 to build. Many times, he received unsolicited food donations only hours before they were needed to feed the children, further strengthening his faith in God. For example, on one well-documented occasion, they gave thanks for breakfast when all the children were sitting at the table, even though there was nothing to eat in the house. As they finished praying, the baker knocked on the door with sufficient fresh bread to feed everyone, and the milkman gave them plenty of fresh milk because his cart broke down in front of the orphanage.”

However, notice that Mueller was not ‘jumping off the temple’ in blind faith. Instead, his methods demonstrated Teacher order and structure and he brought mental, physical, and spiritual wholeness to those who were literally trapped in childish identity. Continuing from Wikipedia, “Every single gift was recorded, whether a single farthing, £3,000 or an old teaspoon. Accounting records were scrupulously kept and made available for scrutiny...The children were dressed well and educated – Müller even employed a schools inspector to maintain high standards. In fact, many claimed that nearby factories and mines were unable to obtain enough workers because of his efforts in securing apprenticeships, professional training, and domestic service positions for the children old enough to leave the orphanage.” [10]

Moving on, the third temptation is to achieve results by worshiping the devil. This temptation makes sense if one understands the meaning of the word ‘devil’. It comes from the Greek term ‘diabolos’ which means to accuse or slander. This, I suggest, describes ‘spiritual warfare’. The Wikipedia article referred to earlier describes the kind of spiritual warfare that is typical in the third wave movement. “According to Wagner, the basic methodology is to use spiritual mapping to locate areas, demon-possessed persons, occult practitioners such as witches and Freemasons, or occult idol objects like statues of Catholic saints, which are then named and fought, using methods ranging from intensive prayer to burning with fire. ‘[T]hey must burn the idols… the kinds of material things that might be bringing honor to the spirits of darkness: pictures, statues, Catholic saints, Books of Mormon… [T]he witches and warlocks had surrounded the area… When the flames shot up, a woman right behind Doris [Wagner’s wife] screamed and manifested a demon, which Doris immediately cast out!’”

Notice the core attribute of slander—using words to attack the enemy. When the focus is upon verbally attacking opposition, then one is adopting the method of slander, or submitting to diabolos. The danger of adopting a slanderous approach is mentioned in the short book of Jude. “But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ But these men revile the things which they do not understand.”

Jesus responds to the third temptation by calling the devil ‘Satan’, which means adversary, and stating that one should only follow God. In the language of mental symmetry, basing thought in Mercy mental networks is adversarial. An adversarial approach divides. In contrast, one should follow the integrating method of using Teacher thought to look for universal principles.

Paul describes ‘spiritual warfare’ in II Corinthians 10. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.” Paul is stating here that one is dealing with an invisible battle and not a physical one. But the goal is not to destroy or slander the opposition but rather to bring isolated systems of thought into submission to a universal understanding and then to ensure that action is consistent with this understanding. Slander is driven by Mercy mental networks and is based in an us-versus-them attitude. What Paul is describing, in contrast, is driven by the Teacher mental network of a universal understanding.

Thus, instead of practicing spiritual warfare, Paul recommends spiritual reconciliation. “Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (II Corinthians 5).

This third temptation is traditionally interpreted in terms of domain. The view is that Satan, as legitimate ruler of earthly kingdoms, is offering to give these kingdoms to Jesus if Jesus submits to the rulership of Satan. There is nothing wrong with this interpretation, but it leaves several questions unanswered. Why are human kingdoms part of the domain of Satan? What does it mean to submit to the rulership of Satan? How does one escape from the domain of Satan? I suggest that the cognitive mechanisms which we have discussed provide possible answers for these deeper questions. Because the childish mind is ruled by warring, lawless Mercy mental networks, humans and human society fall within the domain of Satan, which is characterized by adversarial tribalism and slanderous rationalizing. In order to escape this domain and submit to God, childish Mercy mental networks must be transformed by a general Teacher understanding of God, a process that involves personal rebirth.

Summarizing, Pentecostalism and its successors have tended to fall prey to three flawed methods which appear to correspond to the three temptations of Jesus. The first is the attitude of ‘name it and claim it’, which ignores the intermediate steps between having a Mercy need and fulfilling that need. Instead of using knowledge to build universal understanding, it uses knowledge solely to meet personal needs. The second is the mindset of following God by extending the domain and intensity of blind faith. This ignores the fact that God is a universal being who expresses himself through universal law. The third is the method of spiritual warfare which adopts a satanic adversarial and a devilish slanderous approach, thus refusing to acknowledge the universal nature of God.

[1] Notice that carefully defined, reproducible connections and interfaces are required because one is interacting with physical objects. If one deals purely with Server sequences and Teacher theories, or if one starts with a clean slate without having to connect with existing objects, then it is possible to be completely flexible in the way that one applies understanding.

[2] Because applying a Teacher theory is naturally self-reinforcing, it is important to construct an accurate Teacher theory before committing oneself to this theory. That is why application is the second stage of personal salvation and not the first stage.

[3] John Calvin, the founder of Calvinism, lived before Galileo Galilei and Johannes Kepler and over a century before Isaac Newton. He lived in the era that gave birth to scientific thought and he attempted to approach God and theology from a Teacher perspective. But he could not think in terms of functional equivalence because scientific understanding did not yet exist. Thus, it is natural that he would conclude that God can only control human history by ensuring that every individual adheres within tolerance to the divine plan.

[4] At the beginning of this essay, I suggested that mental symmetry can act as a meta-theory to tie together the physical, the supernatural, the spiritual, and the divine. Looking at this purely from a cognitive perspective, technical thought can be used to come up with rigorous explanations of limited realms. However, if one wishes to tie together these various limited realms, then one must use the semi-rigorous, analogical thinking of normal thought. If the external functions in a similar manner, then the physical, the supernatural, the spiritual, and the divine are each governed by their own set of rigorous universal laws, and the laws of one realm are related through analogy to the laws of another. If this is the case, then one encounters another realm not by violating universal natural law but rather by submitting to another set of laws, and one moves between one realm and another not by violating natural law but rather by submitting to a higher set of meta-laws.

[5] As a person gets older and begins to experience physical frailties, then personal identity will naturally extend beyond the purely physical to the internal. However, there is a huge difference between starting with a general Teacher understanding as described in Romans 12 andadding Teacher understanding after experiencing some midlife crisis. This contrast can be clearly seen in the essay on Anthony Robbins.

[6] Does this gift of tongues also refer to Pentecostal ‘speaking in tongues’? It is difficult to say. As we saw earlier, Pentecostal tongues are linguistically and neurologically associated with a lack of mental content. In contrast, spiritual gifts as portrayed in the Bible appear to require mental content and build mental content.

[7] This may be related to Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious. Using the language of mental symmetry, if a group of people share a similar set of mental networks, and if there is a spiritual realm that interacts with mental networks, then the culture that is based in common mental networks will be backed up by a corresponding ‘spiritual landscape’. Jung associated the collective unconscious with the divine. Mental symmetry, in contrast, suggests that the collective unconscious describes the ‘spirit of an age’, which is often inconsistent with a mental concept of God.

[8] Biblical references to angels and spirits are discussed in another essay. These references strongly suggest that spirits can inhabit human minds and have the ability to amplify human traits. In contrast, angels appeared to have their own personalities and interact with humans rather than inhabiting human minds.

[9] The distinction between using Ci to discover universal rules and using Ci as a servant of Cp for personal advantage is explained in greater detail in the essay on Anthony Robbins.

[10] Should one follow George Mueller’s example of refusing to ask others for financial help? I don’t know. But I do know that one should not follow the typical televangelist’s example of continually asking for financial assistance.