"When they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whether will ye that I let loose unto you Barabas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew well, that for envy they had delivered Him." Matthew 27: 17-18 The beginning of all sin said St. Augustine, is pride. In modern terminology, pride is the self-aggrandizing narcissism that has swollen to epidemic proportions at every level of American society. Scripture combines pride and envy with jealousy, covetousness, lust, selfishness and hate into a single concept that is a manifestation of idolatry of the self.
The constant companion of idolatry is the selfish belief that there is not enough to go around. This belief is usually framed in terms of what is fair and not fair, of the necessity for redistribution of wealth and resources, and of justice required for 'alternative genders,' nonwhite 'races,' the environment, animals and even the whole planet.
Envy is cruel and often indistinguishable from hatred:
"The envious die not once, but as oft as the envied win applause." ~Baltasar Gracian
"Whoever envies another confesses his superiority". ~Samuel Johnson, The Rambler
"(Envy) aims, at least in terms of one's wishes, at destroying others' good fortune." (German philosopher Immanuel Kant, cited in "Truths About Socialism," Coral Ridge Ministries, p.65)
"(Envy is) the great leveler...it is a destroyer â€” rather than have anyone happier than itself, it will see us all miserable together." (Dorothy Sayers, ibid, p. 66)
"(Envy is one of the) 'cold-blooded' deadly sins....the cruelest of all.' 'When I say that Marxism is based on envy, I mean that the glorious revolution of the proletariat...was really a promise to put a final end to all conditions that make for envy." (Joseph Epstein, former editor of The American Scholar, ibid. p. 66)
In his book, "Death by Envy," Fr. George R.A. Aquaro defines envy as,
"...a desire to do harm to another person perceived by the envious as having an advantage." (p. 1)
Envy is a spiritual pathology that abuses power to destroy the spiritual and moral growth and/or perfection of others for the purpose of defending and preserving the honor of the envy-bitten individuals' own sick self. The envious begin their attack by transfering their own sins onto the object of their envy, an action known as scapegoating. Scapegoating allows them to rationalize the need to crucify and/or destroy their intended victim.
Helmut Schoeck (Graz, July 3, 1922-February 2, 1993) was an Austrian-German sociologist and writer, best known for his work "Envy: A Theory of Social Behaviour" (Der Neid. Eine Theorie der Gesellschaft). Schoeck identifies envy as the single most powerful passion a human is capable of experiencing. Envy said Schoeck, is an admission of inadequacy which is almost never honestly confessed. There are no reciprocal feelings involved with envy, meaning the envious absolutely do not want those they envy to vent the same disordered passion on them. And even if the envious sees the object of their envy destroyed, the root of inadequacy within himself remains unchanged, thus there is no easing of envy's painful gnawing teeth.
Envy has no positive attributes and is so powerful and feared that Schoeck theorizes that it compels human beings to form societies and cultures in order to protect men from one another's envy. Even so, no society has ever been able to eliminate envy for the reason that it is a spiritual sickness.
Envy is both universal and ancient as evidenced by thousands upon thousands of Sumerian clay business contracts designed to protect ancient Sumerians from the envious behavior of fellow citizens. (ibid, p. 2)
"Hatred is active, and envy passive dislike; there is but one step from envy to hate." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
There is nothing new under the sun. Where envy, scapegoating and crucifixion once was there will it be again. That said, Jewish High Priests envied Jesus Christ and their active hatred demanded His crucifixion. Today's envious High Priests and active haters are crucifying Him again. On one hand, passive dislike of Jesus Christ has led some contemporary religious leaders to subtley crucify Him while on the other hand, one man's active hatred of Jesus Christ resulted in a two and a half year lawsuit against Chaplain Klingenschmitt.
(story here: http://www.prayinjesusname.org/2012/04/victory-chaplain-sued-for-praying-psalm-109-to-god-is-vindicated-by-judge/ )
Examples of passive dislike are much too numerous for a comprehensive treatment, thus five must suffice:
1. When at the 2009 inaugural of Obama, Emergent Church leader Rick Warren identified God incarnate Jesus Christ by his Muslim name Isa, a mortal prophet, Warren had quietly crucified Him.
2. Bishop TD Jakes is a modalist, said Sandy Simpson, author of "The Third Wave, New Apostolic Reformation," a comprehensive examination of heresy, spiritism, and sorcery in the contemporary Church. Modalism is a second and third century heresy that denies the doctrine of the Trinity, teaching there is only one Person in the Godhead, usually the Father. This too is a way of subtley crucifying Jesus Christ, second Person of the Trinity.
3. The Joelâ€™s Army/Kingdom Now/Dominion theology movement crucifies Jesus Christ with its teaching that Christ is in us as a â€œseedâ€ that evolves into a prophet. (ibid) In this way Jesus Christ is crucified that Christless Christians can be as gods.
4. In 1907 Pope Pius X identified Modernism and its fundamental doctrine evolution as, â€œthe synthesis of all heresiesâ€ in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici gregis. When applied to the Bible, Evolutionary Theory compromises the Genesis account, which in turn compromises the whole Bible and its' main theme---manâ€™s need of redemption.
The Genesis account speaks of manâ€™s relationship with God starting at the pinnacle of Creation week in the Garden of Eden after which degeneration commenced. Evolutionary Theory turns the Genesis account upside-down by teaching that man started out at the bottom and evolved his way to the top via the ancient amoeba-to-fish-to-dinosaur-to-ape-to-man story, meaning that possibly millions of lifeforms arose and died before man finally appeared. But if this account is true, then the Triune God---the Father,the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is a God of death, not life. As such, man needs to be saved from Him, not by Him. Here too is a very subtle, clever way of crucifying Jesus Christ.
5. The Communist Party USA recently invited all forward-thinking apostates and neo-pagans to view an exciting film entitled, â€œJesus Was A Commie." The underlying belief common to Communists, apostates and neo-pagans is naturalism. Naturalism denies the supernatural Triune God. It imaginatively subsumes the Divine Trinity into nature, thereby conceiving a divine energy force (i.e., impersonal Christ, God or Holy Spirit- consciousness) flowing throughout nature and within man himself. In this Jesus Christ God incarnate is crucified in order that envious man can call himself god.
For the envious, the problem centers on the issue of the incarnate God Jesus Christ. This is because the notion of a distant, unknowable God (Pharisees, Deists, Unitarians, Mormons, Muslims, modalists) or the notion of a God-force immanent and/or identical with nature, therefore of man (ie., Hermetic Mystery Religions, Liberal Christianity, Joelâ€™s Army/Kingdom Now/Dominion theology, neo-pagan Interfaith Alliance, neo-Communism, Zen Buddhism, Hinduism) are concepts that most accomodate the pride, envy, covetousness and selfishness of men. In short, these concepts place immeasurable power in the hands of envious men by allowing them to set themselves up as the interpreters who may shed definitive light on and even speak for the distant god and/or god-force as the case may be.
Over the centuries this function has been filled by Hermetics, Pharisees, Buddha, and Greek nature philosophers, to name but a few. A short list of contemporary interpreters includes Georg Hegel, Karl Marx, Nietzsche, Darwin, Teilhard de Chardin, Indian gurus, Ken Wilber, Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey, contemporary Super Apostles, Emergent Church leaders such as Rick Warren, Brian McLaren and Rob Bell, and Word Faith gurus like Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, Oral Roberts, Richard Roberts, John Avanzini, Reinhard Bonnke, Rodney Howard-Browne, Morris Cerullo, and Robert Tilton.
According to any of these positions, man becomes by default, by direct or indirect appointment a divine being insofar as he occupies the supreme spiritual role in the universe. The divine-man may cherish the absolute uniqueness of his thoughts, emotions, aspirations, and enthusiasms. His will becomes the highest form of thought, decision, or action.
This is of course the idolatry condemned over and over again by Scripture.
By contrast, the incarnate God Jesus Christ presents to man an immediate form of the living, personal Absolute God outside of and discontinuous with man and nature. The supernatural Triune God is near enough to man to be known, to know manâ€™s thoughts, and be consulted. The incarnate God imposes on man decisive limitations, ie., the finiteness of manâ€™s mind, his falleness, and the two sexes, male and female. He requires that man give an account of himself during his time here on earth.
In conclusion, increasing numbers of American Christians are heeding the teachings of false teachers who have in one way or another, crucified Jesus Christ that they may present themselves as supreme spiritual gurus. And this was foretold:
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they draw to themselves teachers, having itching ears..." 2 Tim. 4:3
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come the falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition...." 2 Thessalonians 2:3