Archive for May, 2009

Hijacking Christianity

Posted in Atheist, Christianity, culture, history, random, religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2009 by chouck017894

Back in the days before television, religion in the United States was pretty much regarded as strictly a personal thing—not a motive for national political grandstanding, not a reason for attempting mass brainwashing, not cause for exaggerated claims of godly interest in government, and not an excuse for trying to steal public money for some self-serving belief system.  Such reprehensible behavior was understood as associated with the low ethics of theocracy, not conduct worthy of the principles of democracy, personal integrity and religious freedom.

As noted  in an earlier blog (God’s Political Addiction, May 9, 2009), the appearance of the technological wonder of television upon the scene in the early 1950s was quickly embraced by pulpit profiteers who would soon  become known as televangelists.  As noted in another earlier blog (God’s Henchment, April 22, 2009), the profits could be enormous by hijacking Christianity and pretending to save souls by trimming down the seekers’ wallets while also skimming off money the government collected for public good under the dodge as tax free organization.

The religious insanity that had once dominated Europe for centuries, and which is referred to as the Dark Ages (c. 476 – c. 1453), was being resuscitated in the United States and the hybrid energized by electronic impulse was lustful and ravenous.  The gates of exploitation had been flung open and the hijackers of Christianity surged through like a tsunami.  Unheeded were the warnings in the New Testament that motivations and excesses and accumulation of riches create danger for personal and social salvation.  Ignored were the parables attributed to Jesus about pursuing power and a slavish accumulation of riches, property and worldly structures.

So where do the pulpit power brokers today stand in the Jesus method of judgment?  The parables of the rich farmer and the one of the rich young ruler being judged wanting should give pause for thought to such Bible thumpers as Pat Robertson and his $460 million a year religious-front operation, all tax free.  And there is the influential evangelical leader James Dobson and his operation Focus on the Family, easily siphoning in $140 million a year tax free, a system that would be more aptly designated as Focus on Himself.   After all, he did declare that he would bring down the GOP if it failed him: he lusted for theocracy.  Forget the has-beens Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed, Gary Bauer, Jeramiah White, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Leroy Kopp, Aubrey Lee, etc. etc. etc…

After George W. Bush, a GOP faith-distracted president, dutifully packed the federal courts with ultraconservative judges the Religious Right, dreaming that theocracy was near, surged forth in shameless attempts to bring down the wall  of separation of church and state with their self-serving cases in the federal courts.  What the Religious Right have their eyes set upon is not upon public good, however, but temporal power and the tempting profits to be had in “faith-based” scams, which are better described as embezzlement of public money.

Manufacturing a Miracle

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, Bible, Christianity, culture, history, humanity, life, logic, random, religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2009 by chouck017894

In December 1854, as Pope Pius IX ruled over the Vatican, the bishops from all parts of Catholic dominance were called to Rome to establish a new twist in devotion to Jesus as Christ the Savior.  In an elective process of collected bishops it was decided, with only four dissenting votes, that when Mary had died she had been raised bodily from the dead and “ascended into heaven.”   With this set in place as official church declaration Mary would henceforth be addressed and worshiped as the “Immaculate Conception.”   All this was made official despite the fact that there is not one line in original scriptures that ever implied that Mary was “immaculately” conceived—or, for that matter, that she could make atonement for sin because she was at the foot of the cross at her son’s crucifixion—“her heart pierced with grief.”  With this allegation made official, the terms “Sacred Heart” and “Queen of Heaven” became ingredients of the church’s religious phraseology.

Although nothing in any original writings of the early Christian movement had ever presented any such storyline, Pope Pius IX proclaimed that the Immaculate Conception must “be believed firmly and constantly by all,” and that any dissenter is “condemned” and “separated” from true Christianity!  (Pope Pius XII would echo the same declaration of the Assumption in 1950.)

The faithful today are not troubled that this declaration of “assumption” simply reinstated much older Pagan concepts.  The Greek grammarian Apollodorus (flourished 2nd century BCE) stated in his history of Greek religions, On the Gods, that Bacchus (symbolizing the reproductive force of Nature) carried his mother to heaven.  And according to the Roman poet Ovid (43 BCE-17 CE), Bacchus addressed his mother as Thuone, the feminine of Bacchus’ Latin name Thyoneus, meaning “the lamented one.”  Thus Thuone was the Pagan lamenting goddess–the role reinstated with Mary’s 1854 papal promotion—a role complete with all the attributes and honors once given to the Babylonian/Assyrian goddess Ishtar and the Roman goddess Juno (and other similar Pagan goddesses).

Only a mere four years after Mary’s promotion, in 1856, a fourteen year old peasant girl, Marie Bernadette Soubiroux, declared that she had eighteen visions of the Virgin in a grotto at Lourdes, France, which occurred from February 11 through July 16.  One of the more peculiar aspects of this miracle is that the Virgin is said to have repeatedly referred to herself as the Immaculate Conception—a precept initiated by the church only four years before!  The Lourdes grotto quickly became a shrine, and by 1862 the faithful were assured that they were justified in believing in the reality of the apparitions.  A basilica was built upon the rock of Massabielle where the visions were said to have occurred.  Twenty-one years after the spate of apppartitions, 1876, the basilica was consecrated and a statue of the Virgin was solemnly crowned.

The Catholic Encyclopedia thus assures the faithful that devotion at Lourdes was “…founded on the apparitions of the “blessed Virgin” to a poor 14 year old girl, Bernadette Soubiroux.”  It does not mention that the timing of these apparitions could not have been better for the politics of the church.

Presidential Oath of Office

Posted in Atheist, Christianity, culture, history, life, logic, politics, random, religion, secularism, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 24, 2009 by chouck017894

Unlike many federal oaths of office, the oath taken by the incoming President of the United States is not required constitutionally to embellish upon the oath with a public entreaty of “So help me god.”  Indeed, the constitution agreed upon by the nation’s founding fathers mandate the exact language to be publicly recited as the oath of office, which consisted of a mere thirty-five words.

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of the president of the United States and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

History revisionists love to insist that the United States was founded as “a Christian nation,” but while most of the founding fathers acknowledged a higher power few of them could be termed as even remotely hardcore religionists.  In fact the centuries of turmoil that had raged through Europe’s Christian nations due to church (Catholic) lust for temporal power made the founders determined that separation of church and state was absolutely imperative if a fair and just government for all people was to be established.

A favorite ploy of revisionists is to claim that George Washington established the precedent of invoking the phrase “so help me god” into the first inaugural in 1789.  But even though the Library of Congress site dutifully echoes this claim, such a public statement appealing to a deity would not have been characteristic of Washington.  Indeed, such a public plea for an otherworldly being’s guidance would more likely have been judged by him as something that could be mistaken for an endorsement of religious manipulation. 

Washington’s personal inclination in this regard can be ascertained in one incident.  During the two years that New York City was the acting national capital (1789-1790), Washington attended Trinity Church (Broadway), always in pew 60.  But he always left the church before communion, a situation that irked the church shepherds to the extent that they chastised Washington for the habit.  Because of this obvious attempt to impose their notions upon his personal faith, Washington never again attended church on communion Sunday.1  This action does not inspire the concept that he would have jeopardized the integrity of the nation’s highest office with an off the cuff addition of “so help me god.”

Furthermore, the men who framed the Constitution gave no reference to “god,” and asserted that all men were created with the inalienable rights to live their  lives in their own way—as long as it did not intrude upon the rights of others. 

As an additional note, the War of Independence with Britain was not officially over until twenty-one years after 1776 when, in 1797, the document of treaty was signed by representatives of both nations who met in Tripoli.  There is a bold declaration in that treaty that is found in Article 11–daring and important enough to merit bold type.

“The government  of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.”

1) Around 146 years later (1935) this same church used Washington’s words out of context from a 1783 letter addressed to governors of 13 states to forge a prayer attributed to Washington, and the plaque was installed at pew 60.  Details of this are on page 377 in Time Frames and Taboo Data.

Holy Prejudices

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, Bible, Christianity, culture, enlightenment, humanism, humanity, life, meaning of life, naturalism, random, religion, sex taboos, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2009 by chouck017894

Equality, democratic principles or respect for life’s diversities are not exactly the hallmarks of any rigidly organized religion.  Indeed, the indulgence in numerous prejudices is deemed in fundamentalist “faiths” as the way of winning favor with the creator that was responsible for those countless diversities!  Certainly the expected “Heaven” or “Paradise” envisioned by these arrogant institutions is that any divine reward awaits only conscripts: a holy reward that will consist of singing endless praises to an indifferent overseer.  In other words, never-ending tyranny is regarded by fundamentalists as the blessed estate.  Such is the vanity of religious certainty. 

Fanning prejudice and spouting hatreds are the big moneymakers for fundamentalist and evangelical type religions.  For instance, calling some life diversity “ungodly,” such as homsexuality, is not a provable assertion for it is constantly disproved throughout nature, and nature happens to be the bearing system of the Creative Principle: that is to say, indiscriminate nature is the fulfilling program of the very power which organized religions like to personify as a highly prejudiced “God.”

Seeking “god’s” approval or disapproval of something is always determined in evangelical/fundamentalist systems by some man-written exercise that is used by their corporate structured business machine (religious application) to manipulate as much of the population as they can intimidate.  The alleged secondary position of women in the scheme of life is another typical religious absurdity.

Paul is depicted in Titus 2:5 as admonishing women “…to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”   The book  of Titus was penned c. 103-105, and it is Roman social demeanor that is being promoted, for the author was Roman schooled and therfore not giving testament of Jesus’ teachings or of god’s judgment.  Nonetheless, from this pretense of alleged heavenly commandment women are still being routinely put down as subservient to men.  The Saddleback megachurch in Lake  Forest, California, for example, is a big promoter of wifely submission.  If in doubt check the church website.  You will find the book of Ephesians (re-edited c. 100-105) quoted:  “So you wives must willing obey your husbands in everything, just as the Church obeys Christ.”  Degrading women as mere  subjects of their husbands does not balance with the earlier tales of Jesus’ teachings even though Jewish tradition also regarded women as inferior to men.  So are these churches really obeying Christ?

There is nothing more obstinate than those whose egos have been inflated with fantasies of godly favoritism.

Paul, the Revisionist

Posted in Atheist, Bible, Christianity, culture, freethought, history, random, religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 23, 2009 by chouck017894

Paul of Tarsus, the self-proclaimed apostle of Jesus, appears conveniently upon the scene when the floundering Jesus cult that had arisen c.65 was in need of redirection to attract more followers. Unfortunately no genuine records or legal accounts have ever been found to support that he ever existed.

With the character of Paul introduced into the scheme of things c.95 the original focus of the Jesus cult was skillfully shifted away from spiritual/moral teachings attributed to the Jew Jesus (as in Matthew and Mark) and redirected to more mundane values of attracting a broader-based sector of converts and setting up an operational structure of the sect. The awkwardness of the transitional period (c.84-100) has been buried under countless rewrites by the faith business, and Pauline graft-ons to the Peter foundation is all but forgotten by present day devotees.  But where the character of Paul is portrayed as having labored to broaden the principles of Christian faith to welcome and enfold the diverse ranks of man–not just the Jews–the character of Peter (the alleged “rock of the church”) had, in the earliest gospel tales, openly rejected Gentile faithful!

There are curious parallels in the presentation of Paul which seem like a distant echo of events that distinguished Old Testament characters. For beginners, this New Testament character has his name changed from Saul to Paul–which oddly echoes the Jewish myths in which Abram becomes Abraham, and Jacob becomes Israel. The life-parallels then proceed with suspicious similarity. To quote from Time Frames and Taboo Data:

“Savants have pointed out that Paul’s conversation, conversion and mission closely parallel the story highlights of Moses’ calling. Moses, by Old Testament accounts, was raised as an Egyptian but became the leader of the Israelites, and Paul was born a Jew and became leader of the Christians; God allegedly revealed himself to Moses in a burning bush, and Jesus supposedly made himself known to Paul in a blinding light; Moses became the lawgiver of the Israelites, and Paul is credited with laying down the principles of salvation. God allegedly instructed Moses to go to Sinai and do god’s work, and Paul is depicted as having been instructed to go to Damascus to further Jesus’ uncompleted work.” (page 201) In addition, just as Moses was portrayed as clashing with the rigid policy of the pharaoh, Paul was cast as clashing with the policy of Peter in Rome.

Unaswered in Gospel is how Paul was able to finance the many travels he is said to have undertaken to spread his version of Jesus’ sacrified for them. As noted in Time Frames and Taboo Data, “…although accounts of his travels indicate genuine knowledge of the places mentioned, there is never any account of how he could have financed so many wide-ranging journeys. And he did not travel alone; others are mentioned in letters attributed to him. Any long journey necessitated carrying along food, drink, clothing, and arrangements had to be made for ships or pack animals. How could a mere missionary pay for all that activity?” It was also noted that only aristocrats and/or ranking military persons could have financed such extensive travels.

Paul is portrayed as having traveled to many major cities and several provinces of the Roman Empire: places such as Damascus, Antioch, Troas, Ephesus, Philippi, Thessalonia, Athens, and Corinth. The provinces he is claimed to have visited included Syria, Cilica, Galatia, Macedonia, Achaia, and Illyricum. Noted in the book, “Even if financial support could have been offered from various fledgling churches, they could not have afforded such monumental costs, for in this time period the outlying churches would have been struggling just to exist.”

At this time the movement that would become Christianity was being redirected, with earlier “gospels” being altered for broader appeal. In 2 Corinthians, for example, it is averred that Paul’s account of Jesus’ life is the only true one: the apostles that are said to have actually associated with and interacted with Jesus–some of whom were supposedly still preaching–are called deceivers! In 1 Timothy (1:3), Paul struggles with so-called heretics of his doctrine. Also in 1 Timothy (6:3), Paul’s usurpation of the earlier cult movement is muscled into place with Paul stating that anyone who disagrees with him will go to hell.

But it would not be until 325 CE and the Council of Nice that Paul’s theories and doctrine would be voted into near-“official” status. Then in 382, with the Council of Rome, the doers and shapers of faith made it bindingly official, and accepted only four books as coming closest to Paul’s ideas—those being the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This was all in spite of the claim that it was Peter on whom the church was built! As they say, god moves in mysterious ways. Thus a vast library of early books was relegated to the trash bin and the business of Christian domination of the people was officially launched.

And the Roman Empire collapsed not long after.

Indulgence of Ego

Posted in Atheist, culture, enlightenment, life, logic, naturalism, politics, random, religion, thoughts, Uncategorized on May 21, 2009 by chouck017894

Appealing and catering to disguised ego-gratification, which is to say the indulgence known as organized religion, invites the habit of disregard for any circumstance that does not correspond with their own.  Intolerance then becomes practiced as a spiritual virtue.  The inevitable result is conflict, which can hardly be claimed as a state of divine enlightenment. 

What we are then rewarded with from organized religions is not enlightenment, but armies of advocates espousing what they imagine to be religious correctness–devotion to an ism.  With that in place as their standard they freely parade their contempt for all the diverse states of material existence that give life its meaning and which affords life’s means of continuance.  Thus, when we speak of organized religion we are actually referring to the political manipulation of  “spirit” as a means of self-gratification.

This may explain why the history of every organized religion in the world is awash with blood instead of light, and why each “faith” functions more as a center of frustration instead of inner peace.  In other words, ego-gratification consumes itself to such an extent that it transforms itself into a life-denial program.   Once that plateau is attainted, self-serving doctrines and dogmas are set in place to destroy or at least oppose any different (saner) views of life’s connection to the universal.

Toe-the-line religions, as practices of ego-gratification, thus consciously turn their collective backs on the innumerable things that all manifested energy-forms have in common, and choose instead to emphasize the few differences that give life its potential to evolve into higher intelligence.  The shame of all organized religions is the emphasis that they always place on differences and then smear with prejudice.  The underlying singularity from which and in which all defined energy-forms experience manifestation can never be comprehended in such practices—especially when that singularity is imagined to be in the image of human characteristics!

The whole idea of spiritual superiority to any other manifest energy forms is nothing more than indulgence in ego-gratification:  in other words, a socially acceptable way to masturbate one’s ego.

Biblical Mathematics

Posted in Atheist, Bible, Christianity, culture, history, prehistory, random, religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 20, 2009 by chouck017894

When numbers are used in biblical tales, especially when the number is not a neat round number such as 100 or 1000, they invariably relay hidden meaning to those trained in the art of sacred language. In ancient times long before the rise of Judaism among the Hebrew tribes, numbers were considered to carry mystical significance. That perplexity of mathematical exercise simply became another of the borrowed Babylonian traditions that were incorporated into “holy” writings. More often than not the numbers presented in the stories hold no genuine historical significance.

In the Genesis myth, Creation is accounted for as having occurred in six days. The first number that the Pythagoreans (c.500 BCE) regarded as expressing perfection was the number 6. A number was regarded as “perfect” if it is equal to the sum of its proper divisors: the number 6, for example, equals 1+2+3. Thus the number 6 was regarded as the number of God in Judaism. And later Augustine, regarded a Christian “saint,” expounded upon this mathematical endowment saying, “Six is a number perfect in itself, and not because God created all things in six days: rather the inverse is true; God created all things in six days because this number is perfect. And it would remain perfect even if the work of six days did not exist.”

The next “perfect” number is 28, and is equal to 1+2+4+7+14. It is recognized that both these “perfect” numbers are mirrored in the structural energies of the universe and its operational movements! The Moon, for example, orbits planet Earth in approximately 28 days.

Also in the book of Genesis 32:14 another number pops up. Jacob is portrayed as giving his twin brother E’sau, from whom he had stolen the “birthright” blessing of their father, “two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats” as a token of his good will. (There are other numbers included with this “goodwill” gesture, such as 30 milk camels and their colts, 40 kine and 10 bulls, and 20 she-asses and 10 foals—all of which carry occult meaning to the initiated.) The number 220, mentioned with the goats, happens to be the first among particular numbers regarded by Pythagorean as charged with “friendly” vibartions. The reason for this assertion is that certain numbers, such as 220 and 284, are each equal to the sum of the proper divisors of the other.

The proper divisors of 220 are, 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 11, 20, 22, 44, 55, and 110. These are numbers that divide evenly into a number, including 1, but excluding the number itself. As another example, the proper divisors of 284 are 1, 2, 4, 71, and 142, which sum to 220. These were seen as being “friendly” because, like a friend, they act as the number’s alter ego.

It is interesting to note that ancient Babylonian and Egyptian mathematicians were quite familiar with the fact that the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle is a constant that we refer to today as pi. They understood as well that pi was no ordinary constant, for its precise value can never be known and so holds the special status of being transcendental. This is so because it is a decimal that does not repeat or terminate. The ancient mathematicians were also well aware of other numbers that shared the baffling properties of pi. As an example, the ratios of the diagonal to the side of a square is also a decimal that neither repeats nor ends. A diagonal line drawn through a square results in two right triangles whose hypotenuse is the diagonal with the sides of the square also acting as the sides of the triangles. This division of space symbolized in this way is therefore mathematically equivalent to the division of light from darkness as told in Genesis 1:4, the division of waters from waters in Genesis 1:27, and even the apparent divsion as male and female in Genesis. The ratio of two intergers is calculated by a decimal that neither repeats nor ends, and it is this “irrational number” that can be said to be representative of the “God” in scriptural storytelling.

Persons who are prone to regard biblical tales as having been written by God and therefore unerring become very upset when the author seems to get tripped up by principles of common mathematics. The account of the resplendent temple allegely erected by Solomon in 1 Kings 7:23 stumbles over the calculations given for the “molten sea”—a huge circular tank that held water for religious ceremonies.  This holding pool is described as being “…ten cubits from one brim to the other…and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.”  This implies that the value of pi is 3—which is glaringly at odds with the true value of 3.14159+.  The contention presented in this tale that direct divine wisdom presented the information is thus exposed as a fraudulent claim. 

CMH