Christianity, Imperialism, Capitalism: Christian Dogma Should Be Questioned
19 Dec 2014 – This year as in every other year, Christianity and fundamentalist/military capitalism, two great allies, are joining their forces to extract billions of dollars, all over the world, mainly from the poor.
As money flies towards the coffers of churches and into corporate accounts, over-sugary, kitschy Christmas carols and gospels are soaring out from the audio systems of department stores and malls all over the Empire and in almost all of its colonies (Saudi Arabia being an exception).
‘White Christmas’ is re-enacted and faked in the steaming-hot tropical ‘client states’, into where Christianity with all its nomenclature was forcefully injected decades and centuries ago.
Christmas trees, colorful balls and stars camouflage the sharp teeth, swords, torture instruments and propaganda tools. This faith was built on all conquered continents, on fear, never on love! Righteousness, aggressiveness and intimidation have been some of the trademarks of Christianity, for centuries. The faith which murdered hundreds of millions of people worldwide, reducing hundreds of great civilizations to ashes, is, until now, unapologetic and self-assured.
It is no wonder, as the greatest pillars of the modern-day oppression support it: the Empire itself as well as its unchallengeable fundamentalist capitalist doctrines.
Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, a giant in psychology and psychotherapy, declared in 1942:
“The Christian Church should put ashes on her head and rend her garments on account of the guilt of her children. The shadow of their guilt has fallen on her as much as upon Europe, the mother of monsters.”
But was Jung only referring to the horrors of WWII? Definitely not! He viewed Christian dogma and especially its practices, as racist, intolerant, dictatorial and imperialist, and his conclusion and suggestion for treatment was clear:
“We are therefore forced to go back to pre-Christian and non-Christian conceptions and to conclude that Western man does not possess the monopoly of human wisdom and that the white race is not a species of ‘Homo sapiens’ specially favored by God…”
But is the world really moving to embrace what Jung used to call pre-Christian and non-Christian conceptions?
The Empire itself is constructed on Christian dogmas, symbolism and practices. All of its leaders are Christians, almost all – Protestant. Every time they drag the world into war, their mouths are full of religious rhetoric and ‘mysticism’. We are not supposed to question the logic of bombing some poor countries, into the ground. We are not supposed to question the morality of the societies that are abandoning the fate of people to private and voluntary charities, instead of giving rights to all citizens. We are supposed to ‘believe’, to ‘trust’! And if we can’t believe in such idiocy, then at least we are forced to be scared.
The dogmas of Christianity, of Western imperialism, capitalism, together with their brainwashing propaganda and ‘education’, have created one powerful entity. It fully controls the planet, allows no intellectual dissent, and destroys everything that dares to stand on its way.
By now, our minds are fully ‘colonized’, our morality twisted, our logic corrupted.
Only those who are by some ‘miracle’ spared formal education (read: propaganda) can see clearly.
Christian crusades and colonialist expeditions did not end with the military terror, with rapes, plunder and physical enslavement of the planet. They have been continuing with spreading the most complete and complex net of indoctrination, aiming at ending intellectual diversity.
Those of us, who fell, at least for some time, into this machine of brainwashing, see the world with the same eyes, even if we are critical of it. And even those of us who call themselves agnostics or atheists, have subconsciously been conditioned, at least partially, to see life through irrational and self-serving Christian lenses.
That is why we do nothing or very little, when millions of ‘Others’ are slaughtered by our rulers, when children are dying from depleted uranium left behind by our bombs, when the entire planet is ‘sinking’ as a result of our unbridled consumerism. That is why we just stare, like buffalos, when the group of twisted capitalist moguls is forcing entire nations to serve them like slaves, sacrificing lives for their wellbeing.
Christian logic, its dark dogma, millennia old, implemented and upheld, is the best guarantee that the world will never change, never improve, and never become egalitarian, a great place for all!
The terror spread to all corners of the planet by Christianity, has been unprecedented, and it has to be remembered especially now, when the most celebrated Christian holiday is painting homes and shopping centers in that innocent and hypocritical white color, while hiding deep down the color red, that of spilt blood, as well as the color black, that of burned and ruined cities and nations.
After enslaving men, women and children, after taking away from them anything of any value, Christianity began ‘converting’, forcing people to accept all its gory symbolism, that of blood and puss, that of guilt and fear, and of a man nailed to the cross, as the very essence of their existence.
What a pathetic, sad and immoral world it become… But to refuse would have meant death!
Many have died. In Africa, South and Central America, in Caribbean, North America, Middle East, Sub-Continent, in Asia and Oceania. We will never know the exact numbers, but roughly, the victims of Christian terror can be counted in hundreds of millions.
I want to discuss the role of Christianity in today’s world.
I want to know some practical things: about corruption, the embezzlement of billions by priests, I want to know about the Vatican Bank.
I want to have statistics that have been compiled about those rapes of children by preachers, and priests.
But above all, I want to see links between the most terrible chapters of modern history, and Christianity.
I am extremely interested in the Pentecostal Protestant sects in Africa, Oceania, Indonesia and elsewhere.
I was recently told and explained to, about that grand design of Pentecostal churches, backed by the Empire, which is trying to destabilize many countries that are seen as adversaries of the West, from Eritrea to China.
In several old pro-Western fascist regimes, like those of Indonesia, Pentecostal religions thrive, are groomed and then exported to China and elsewhere, with a single goal – to destabilize and to brainwash the nations.
I want to know about those Pentecostal and other Protestant fundamentalist churches, all over Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia. I lived in Samoa and I know all about the extortion, corruption and ignorance, which they are spreading there. I know about child molestation and abuse committed by preachers and priests, with total impunity.
The poorer and more uneducated people are, the more they flock into the new Protestant Pentecostal churches, where the “Prosperity Gospel” is quickly becoming the most preached one, in the cities like Kampala in Uganda, or Surabaya in Indonesia.
It is not just some religious fundamentalism, but it is also the market fundamentalism and the right-wing individualism: all walking hand in hand with those new pop, anti-humanist religious implants.
The new toxic, fluorescent wave of Christianity mostly comes from the United States, but also from Australia: prefabricated, shiny, ready to go directly into action, brainwashing people, and keeping societies stagnant.
In such churches, what is white and Western is fully and unquestionably admired. And there are even some Western preachers who are ‘imported’.
Listening to their preaching, one really wonders whether they are working for God or for the intelligence agencies, or for both.
But that is no surprise. Christianity has always collaborated with oppressive right-wing powers: kings, aristocracy, banks, business interests, Nazis, slave owners, fascist dictators…
Family members and members of congregations are tied-up; they are psychologically conditioned to obey. They do not dare to leave, to rebel. They all become the same: they think the same way, they live the same way, and they desire the same things. Fly-by-wire lives are mass-produced. People are scared to dare, to dream, to ‘fly’, to fight, and to rebel! This ensures fully obedient, servile, uncreative societies: exactly what capitalism and the Empire want!
Everything is made primitive and commercialized: now, there are pop bands singing about Jesus in Manila and elsewhere, and there are entire melodrama-monologues delivered by preachers and their helpers, asking Jesus and God to solve all the financial and other problems of their congregations. It is the same idiocy as Televangelism in the West.
“God hates poor people and that is why they are poor. God loves those who are rich, and that is why they are rich”, I recently heard at a mammoth service in a church that operates inside a mall, in one of the Southeast Asian countries.
But this is happening everywhere, in every miserable place on Earth. Malls and Christianity are merging, forming great strategic alliance!
No matter where I have worked, on all the continents, there are those young determined men with a black name tag, ‘spreading the gospel’ among the natives.
I want to know who exactly they are and who is, exactly, behind them!
Michael Kafero, a Ugandan thinker and activist, explains:
“Uganda traditionally had an alternative Christian tradition to the mainstream Church, the “Born Again Movement” or known locally as the “Balokole”. These were historically a fundamentalist sects that stuck closely to Biblical teachings, interpreting them literally… In recent times they have been sidelined by the ‘new wave’ invasion of the American Pentecostals… Prosperity Gospel is now the most preached, and it has packed the churches to the rafters. In this sea of poverty, desperation has taken root, as opportunities are non-existent. Such hypocrisy sits nicely with the parked Humvees owned by pastors, paid for through donations called ‘tithes’, collected from the downtrodden, who believe that they are planting seeds for their own future prosperity.”
Uganda is of course bleeding from its civil war, and so is the neighboring DR Congo, where around 8 million lives have already been lost, since 1995, because of the brutal plunder of its natural resources by Rwanda and Uganda, on behalf of the West.
The most heartless militia commanders in DR Congo are, of course, religious Christian leaders; some claiming that they are related to God, others ‘serving God faithfully’.
In the meantime, the Church is sucking dry all poor neighborhoods in West Africa and East Africa, as well as in the southern part of Africa, in the process, keeping people as ignorant as possible, pillaging their meager resources, and blocking birth-control wherever it can.
In Latin America it was the same. The Church sided with all the monstrous regimes, from Chile (through ‘Opus Dei’) to Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Paraguay and elsewhere. The Bishops supported the countless coups orchestrated by the United States. Yes, there were exceptions: the Jesuits, Bishop Romero, the Bishop of Linares, my buddy Padre Pepe in El Salvador, and others, but they were nothing else other than exceptions proving the rule.
It took great change in Latin American societies; it took true revolution, to put the priests where they belong, after addressing the past and the present.
To be a preacher is the guarantee of prosperity. Even the preachers in those ‘poor’ parishes live and enjoy life in ‘gated communities’; they possess several cars and send their children to private (religious, of course) schools.
In many countries, even retired preachers are driven in chauffeured cars, something that is enjoyed, in places such as Europe, only by royalty and pop-stars. While the majority of people are resigned to the most appalling medical treatment in decrepit hospitals, the preachers are using the services of the best private medical facilities.
In Samoa where I lived for several years, I encountered priests and preachers who had entire armies of domestics: from drivers and cooks, to servants and gardeners.
Once, in Oceania, I caught my assistant stealing. She stole money, consistently, in all currencies. I confronted her. She fell on her knees, crying. “Punish me!” she screamed. By that she meant a beating, or perhaps something worse.
Horrified, I asked her to get back on her feet. After making her a cup of tea, I demanded only one thing: to know why she was stealing from me.
Through tears she explained:
“I am poor, and a single mother, but we are managing to survive… But every week, when I go to my church, the preacher demands money in an open envelope. And when he sees how little I can give, he threatens me, humiliating me in front of everybody.”
I know many stories like this. I know people who were molested and raped by their priests and preachers when they were children. I know people who were driven close to suicide by their parish. These stories come from all continents; they are uniform.
I want all of this to be discussed, openly!
I also want to discuss the political affiliations of the churches. Why most of them are right wing, and why so many of them are outrightly fascist?
Christianity supported the West during the Cold War.
I want to know more; also about that anti-Communist agent – Wojtyla. ‘The Village Voice’ in New York wrote in 2005:
“The public eulogies for Pope John Paul II may have ended, but another one lurks in the files of the Central Intelligence Agency. There, the Pope’s fight against Communism is depicted not as a crusade of uncompromising moral force, but as a careful, calculated political campaign.”
We know that Christianity supported Fascists in Italy and Nazis in Germany, and Franco in Spain, it supported Pinochet in Chile, Videla in Argentina, Marcos in Philippines, Suharto in Indonesia, almost all Western implants and despots in Africa, to name just a few.
More, let us learn more! What have they done in Latin America, exactly? I investigated that Nazi territory in Chile – Colonia Dignidad – where they were torturing left-wing opposition, raping women with dogs and performing medical experiments on people. I fought against that imported hellish hoard, in the country that I love! I can testify about the involvement of the Church there, but what about elsewhere?
What about Cuba – was the Church trying to overthrow the government, there? Of course it was!
Christianity is heavily involved in China, Eritrea, Venezuela, and Indonesia – always on the side of Western imperialism. It supports every imaginable and unimaginable fascist and pro-western regime in Africa.
Those who say that ‘all religions’ are equally destructive are simply refusing to register the numbers.
During the last decades and centuries, Christianity is not acting independently in the places like Europe or North America. It forms inseparable part of the regime, of the Empire. Or more precisely, the Empire is fully constructed on Christian doctrines.
‘White Christmas’ is coming! This is announced in front of department stores and malls, not only in New York and Paris, but also in Manila, Lima, Suva, Johannesburg, and Nairobi, even in Beirut.
It is not really white at all, even where there is some snow around. It smells of gasoline, it is marked by global warming and by unbridled, energy-intensive consumerism.
I am actually writing this essay in Lebanon, where bullet holes in one of the buildings are clearly visible behind the figures erected to commemorate the birth of Jesus. The building and the figures are near the biggest and the most luxurious mall in Beirut – ABC.
Syrian refugees are overwhelming this tiny country – Lebanon. Officially 1.3 million are here, but a more realistic count would indicate well over 2 million desperate immigrants. Syrian children are now begging all over the capital. The U.N. is warning that it is running out of cash. I have just returned from Bekaa Valley. Cold winter is approaching. Many people may freeze to death, or die from hunger.
Syria was destroyed by the modern-day crusades propelled by the neo-con clique, which consists mainly of the conservative Protestant fundamentalists.
It is seldom put like this, but it is correct. As happened in the era of the crusades, a predominantly white and overwhelmingly Christian bunch of rulers has gathered around the fundamentalist belief that their faith, the color of their skin and their ‘culture’, puts them well above the rest of humanity. And that the entire humanity and the riches above and below Earth, have to be controlled by them and only by them, so help them God!
This belief has propelled many outrageous extermination campaigns against entire nations and cultures, during all the stages of European colonialism, and to this day. The consistency and intensity of the onslaughts has been uniquely Western and Christian. Non-Christian countries like China travelled to the same places as the Westerners did, including Africa, in the same period of time or even earlier than Europeans. They came with much more potent weapons, but with no appetite to colonize and to plunder.
One of the main characteristics of Christianity has been its obsession with the total control over human lives, and over entire nations. Children have been literally enslaved by their Christian parents; and the entire continents, from Latin America to Asia, were not treated in any better way.
Disobedience had to be broken, rebelliousness oppressed.
Slavery in all imaginable forms was imposed.
It is little wonder, because both Old Testament and New Testament treats slavery as a given.
Turning conquered people into slaves was and to a great extent, still is common practice of the Christian empires.
According to the African Holocaust Society:
“Slavery in various forms has been a part of the social environment for much of Christianity’s history, spanning well over eighteen centuries. In the early years of Christianity, slavery was a normal feature of the economy and society in the Roman Empire, and this persisted in different forms and with regional differences well into the Middle Ages.”
No ideology, no religion, no calamity, killed more people on our planet than Christianity.
Year after year, wherever I happen to be and work on this planet, I’m waiting for these topics of utmost importance to be discussed. I am waiting in vain. With the exception of Latin America where many great thinkers like Eduardo Galeano or Abel Posse are relentlessly reminding the people about their past – about the horrendous crimes committed in the name of and under the shadow of the Cross – Christianity with the inexorable support of the Empire’s propaganda is still managing to choke the memory of the world. It is also managing to break the ability of people to clearly analyze the horrendous past that is now effortlessly overflowing into the present, and poisoning our planet.
The past is intertwined with the present.
The crusades of the past, and the burning cities of Libya, Iraq and Syria now… The conquest of the entire (what is now called) Latin America, and the modern-day implementation of the ‘Monroe Doctrine’ (isn’t that true Christian dogma?)… The Christian enslavement of Africa, the justification of slave trade and murder of millions of ‘savages’ neatly justified by Christian bigots, and the present day murder of the millions in DR Congo, Somalia, Mali and elsewhere…
Everything is connected, and I want to talk about it!
There was enough of the silence. Really enough…
We often say, correctly, in South Africa and in South America, that unless the past is addressed and fully understood, there can be no hope for a decent future.
Therefore, during these days when Christianity is flexing its muscle, when it is singing its gospels loudly, using thousands of choirs consisting of brainwashed individuals – military marches disguised as ‘peace and happiness’ hymns – let us demand that the whole truth and dirt hiding behind the cross gets exposed!
There can be no peace on earth until Christianity loses its grip on political and economic power. It can have no moral mandate, after all those crimes it has committed!
For endless centuries, Christianity was always allied with oppressive forces, be they big business, slavery, feudalism or capitalism. It has been marching hand in hand with despotic concepts like Western imperialism, racism and sexism, with royalism and colonialism. And it was not just a passive marcher: again and again it was pushing oppressors in the back, directly helping to construct the most horrendous models on earth.
Christianity blessed the ships sailing to distant shores, in order to colonize, plunder and destroy far away lands. It built its churches and cathedrals from the ruins of ancient temples in South America, forcibly converting broken and humiliated people. Much more than that – it actually invested in these expeditions of loot, it participated in them!
Offer another cheek? Metaphorically speaking: if someone were to as little as slap Christianity’s refined cheek, he or she, or the entire village, would soon be showered with spears or bullets or missiles!
Let us talk about all this!
People burned alive, people tortured and raped by the priests in dungeons. They have been totally against sex, but they did not mind raping and torturing women! There are entire museums of Christian torture, of Inquisition; the most graphic one located in Lima, Peru, which was one of the headquarters of Christian barbarity.
It should all be discussed, and not just in this essay, which is too short for listing even the most essential crimes committed by Christianity. We need hundreds of thousands of pages of books and hundreds of films to just touch on the very basics.
We need it, because this era of Christian dictate never really ended.
And let us never again accept that nonsense repeated by apologists: that the Christian religion is essentially good, but people, the followers, are bad! That is as insulting as if the Nazis declared that their movement was just fine, but very mean members managed to kidnap it.
Let us all read the Bible again, that horror of horrors of cruelty – the Old Testament. And then let’s also read the New Testament, both books that accept slavery, and call for violence and the spreading of dogma.
Let us read very, very carefully. It is all there, black on white.
It is clear, it is obvious, that extremely destructive things are encoded in the dogmas of Christianity. Not ‘in its people’, but in the very dogma, in the essence of the religion, which has made people behave like animals and worse, for centuries, for millennia. The Bible and the dogma actually inspired, allowed all those outrageous crimes, massacres, and genocides to take place.
We have to find, urgently, before it is too late, what exactly that toxic, violent stuff is.
On all continents, Christianity spread agony and corruption, theft and misery. It sided everywhere with the rulers, against the people. And it was the last one to support defunct regimes. All in the name of its perverse, false ‘morality’, all in the name of God, who it knows as little about as all the rest of us!
Morality… Rapes and indoctrination, fear… Always fear!
Let us talk, openly, because the crimes of Christianity were committed everywhere, because they still are committed everywhere. Because the Empire is Christian, and because the rulers are! We have to define what Christianity really is and what it has done, because there is no way forward for this humanity, unless this dogma is prevented from controlling the world!
Let us throw away clichés erected by the Empire and its religion. Let us talk loudly, because Christians are in stupor: most of them have no clue that they belong to the most violent group on earth. I spoke to Christian men and women, in Europe and Asia, in the Middle East, Oceania and Africa, and in North and South America. Most of them, especially those who were educated in their lobotomizing private religious schools, have never heard about the onslaughts by their faith. They live in total darkness, in absolute torpor.
Let us open this difficult discussion, now, when Western neo-colonialism, a shadow and delayed twin of the Christian crusades, is trying to bulldoze out of its way, everything that may prevent it from taking final control over the world.
How is Christianity, which directly participated in colonialism, crusades, and extermination of entire nations, in Nazism… how is it still, now, shaping those brains of the neo-cons, of mass murderers who are leveling entire nations into the ground, at this very moment, as these words are being written.
Once again, I don’t want to talk about ‘bad Christians’ who ‘give Christianity bad name’. I want to talk about the dogma itself, about the essence of the belief, one which has created so many monsters, and so much suffering all over the world.
After hundreds of millions of deaths, I believe that such a demand is justifiable. Were Christianity to be a political party or a movement, it would be condemned, banned and declared to be the most brutal creation of humanity.
But it is hiding behind some abstract figure of God, of divinity, which it arrogantly claims it represents! It made itself ‘untouchable’. It is not. It should never be!
Are some believers going to be offended? But of course! Their faith can murder the world, but others, even the victims, have to be ‘sensitive’! But should some ‘sensitivities’ of those who believe in fairytales, and are willing to sacrifice hundreds of millions of human lives on the altar of irrational invents, be put above survival of humanity? By no means! Those who believe in the Christian doctrine, or in market fundamentalism, imperialism, slavery or racial superiority, should be questioned, challenged and confronted.
It is all very urgent, especially now when the Empire and its lackeys are once again threatening survival of our planet.
Let us talk, when there is still some time left, let us analyze, and let us contain the dogma, which has been poisoning this planet, by murdering, frightening and ruining human lives for endless centuries!
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.
Tags: Africa, Capitalism, Christianity, Conflict, Culture, Economics, European Union, Exploitation, Hegemony, History, Imperialism, International Relations, Latin America Caribbean, Military, Neocolonialism, Neoliberalism, Politics, Power, Religion, USA, Violence, War, West, World
DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
One Response to “Christianity, Imperialism, Capitalism: Christian Dogma Should Be Questioned”
Click here to go to the current weekly digest or pick another article:
- G7: Sowing Hunger, Reaping Profits - Our Bread, Our Freedom Campaign
- St. Petersburg Sets the Stage for the War of Economic Corridors
- A Lemming Leading the Lemmings: Slavoj Žižek and the Collapse of the Anti-War Left
- Why Does the United States Have a Military Base in Ghana?
- New Bill That Passed U.S. House Reinvokes Old Russian Bogeyman as Pretext for More Intervention in Africa
- African Union Leaders Meet with Russian Government amid Escalating Food Crisis
- U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Roe V. Wade, Ending Right to Abortion Upheld for Decades
- Fascists in Our Midst
- Fear and Loathing: The US Travel Guide to the World
- Multiple Articles on U.S. Militarism, Weapons, War Preparations
- Peace Chaplain
- Multiple Articles on U.S. Militarism, Weapons, War Preparations in Space
- Europe Dumps Its Climate Commitments after Facing Shortage of Russian Gas
- Why Won’t Europe Call for an End to This War?
- Italy Drops Last COVID Entry Rules, Ditches Testing and Vaccination Restrictions
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN:
- Gustavo Petro Wins Colombian Election, Makes History as Country’s First Leftist President
- Summit of the Americas Fails: Boycott by Presidents of Mexico, Bolivia, Honduras, Guatemala
- Guantanamo, Cuba: VII Symposium on the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases
- Pandemic Created 1 New Billionaire Every 30 Hours, Now Millions Could Face ‘Extreme’ Poverty
- Big Fossil’s Disaster Capitalist Response to Russia-Ukraine
- The Legal Psychedelics Industry: Capitalism on Drugs
- Who Is to Blame for Inflation? The Power Brokers of Capitalism
- Ukraine and the Global Economic War: Is This Barbarism or Civilization?
- Slavoj Zizek: It’s Naive to Think Bitcoin & NFT Give Us Freedom