Archive for November, 2009

Myths Built Around Winter Solstice

Posted in Astronomy, Atheist, belief, culture, faith, history, life, nature, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on November 18, 2009 by chouck017894

Every year as the hours of daylight grow progressively less in the Northern Hemisphere, western organized religions (especially Christian) burst forth during the approach of the Winter Solstice in lavish displays of belief that a one-time-only soul-saving event occurred just for them.  In truth, that which is being celebrated is the celestial panorama that activates the seasons and which has set the pace of life on Earth for millions of years.

Astrological elements are the basis for many portions of scriptural stories, and the two major turning points of the year—the solstices—have been artfully disguised in sacred tales which allowed practitioners of divine deceits to manipulate large masses of people.

The  seasonal change occurring with the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere signals a time of new beginnings.  That change is the meaning behind the word solstice, which comes from the Latin word sol, meaning Sun, and the Latin word sistere, past participle of stit, meaning “to stand.”   The illusion that the Sun moves periodically southward in the winter and northward in the spring is, as we know today, caused by Earth’s axial tilt as it orbits the Sun.  For life in the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun appears to reach its most southern point on December 21, and appears to remain in a stationary period for three days time, after which it appears to start moving northward again—on December 25th.  In pre-Christian Rome the 25th of December was therefore known as Natalis Solis Invict, meaning “birthday of the Sun.”

With the approach of winter, the star Murzim  or Murzar (in constellation Canis Major) rises upon the eastern horizon.  The name Murzim is said to mean, “The Announcer,” and it precedes the arrival of the star Sirius, seemingly to announce the greater light to come—just as in the New Testament the character of John the Baptist is portrayed as announcing the coming of Jesus (who declared “I am the light of the world”).

The month leading into the Winter Solstice carried great significance in ancient cultures, and it is from Pagan study of astronomical movements that the observance of Advent was incorporated into Catholic formality—which allows four Sundays to make ready for the light (personified as Jesus) to come back in glory.

In Judaism, the festival of Hanukkah, meaning “dedication” (to light which will be increasing), is observed within the same seasonal period of the approaching Winter Solstice, being celebrated from the 25th of Kislev to the first of Tevet of the Jewish calendar (overlaps December-January).

The connection of the Muslim fast of Ramadan to the Winter Solstice is far less obvious, due primarily to Mohammad’s (or his scribes’) misunderstanding of Jewish/Christian myth that allowed for ceremonial observance of the solstice period.  Being from a desert culture the seasonal change was not such an obvious yearly transitional event as it was to those of more northerly or southerly regions.  In addition, Islam uses a lunar calendar which is about eleven days shorter than the solar calendar that is more widely used throughout the world.  For this reason the Islamic holidays “move” each year.  Nevertheless, the Muslim celebration of Laylat-al-Qadr, meaning the “Night of Power,” is held on the evening of the 27th day of the ninth month of the Muslim year.  Although not as obviously related to recognition of the light phenomenon at the Winter Solstice due to geographic location (desert), the fasting and rites of the Night of Power were inspired by the Jewish/Christian observances of the yearly occasion of feeble light, after which light increases.

Advertisements

Pre 9/11 War Plans

Posted in Atheist, culture, Government, history, humanity, life, politics, random, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on November 17, 2009 by chouck017894

In these days, in the US, as men with real conscience are trying to clean up the war mess left by the previous administration, the nation is faced with having to consider some unsavory implications about a group of schemers that brainstormed plans on how to mismanage government. 

In 1998, when Bill Clinton was President, a group calling themselves the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) sent the President a communiqué signed by forty persons urging a comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam Hussein and his Iraq regime.  The PNAC was founded as an alleged non-profit educational organization by so-called “conservatives” William Kristol and Robert Kagan.  The position expressed by the group was that the United States was the only superpower left and the only wise thing to do was to use the nation’s overwhelming military might to “take control of the Middle East and its oil.” 

At least ten of the forty who signed that Project for a New American Century advice letter would later take up administrative positions when G. W. Bush attained the Presidency under some strangely clouded circumstances and unprecedented Supreme Court meddling.  Signatures on the open-letter to Clinton had included: 1) Richard Cheney, 2) Scooter Libby (who became V.P. Cheney’s assistant). 3) Donald Rumsfeld (who became Secretary of Defense), 4) Paul Wolfowitz (who was made Deputy Defense Secretary), 5) Richard Perle (who became Pentagon policy adviser), 6) Elliott Abrams (numersous hats within the National Security Council,) 7) Eliot A. Cohen (member of Defense Policy Advisory Board), 8) Richard Armitage (four years as Deputy Secretary of State), 9) Peter W. Rodham (six years as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security), 10) Robert B. Zoellick (US Trade Representative, Deputy Secretary of Stated, and now the 11th President of the World Bank).  We should not forget there were many others in the loop such as John Bolton and GW’s brother, Jeb.

Well, the catastrophic happening that the PNAC had considered as probably necessary for flexing military might conveniently came to pass  after a minimally discrete amount of time under the newly installed born-again president.  The entire world remembers the date of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, and remember as well the peculiar collapse, story by story, of the towers.  With that, of course, the nation had to take up arms and bring down the villains—who were declared to be in Afghanistan.  The best way to accomplish the capture of the terrorists, it was counseled, was to cut through Iraq and “free” the people.  It had a cockeyed biblical ring to it.  With that advice the neo-cons set about to propagandize and  idealize for the US citizens the concept of war on terrorism—and in doing so failed to assess the shortcomings of their assumed world-control strategy.

The biggest enthusiasts for the war on terrorists happened to by what Tam Dalyell, British Labor politician and member of the House of Commons from 1962 to 2005, referred to as chicken hawks—most of them men like Dick Cheney who were draft-dodgers in the Vietnamn war, but who were/are obsessed with the idea of war and world control. 

By the close of 2006 the glory days of the PNAC faded into nothingness, but its passing left behind the stench of terrorism, the Iraqi War and Afghanistan instability as legacy.  And it should have taught a lesson:  that the most important thing to remember about “conservatives” is that the serve in the word refers to helping themselves, and what everyone else should guard against is the con part.

Hiding the Family Jewels

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, life, naturalism, nature, random, sex, thoughts with tags , , , on November 13, 2009 by chouck017894

 He walked with a determined stride out onto the football field and the packed crowd in the stadium suddenly erupted with all kinds of reactions.  Security personnel and various staffers were rushing out to apprehend the man, but it was obvious that he had no means for destructive action.  Nonetheless, the clamor was intense, the TV cameras had all swung around to catch the scuffle on the  field, and half the crowd was on its feet.  The reason for the alarm?   He was naked.

The great hoopla over someone appearing au naturel in public brings many questions to ponder for viewers.  What were his intentions?  Was it in protest?  Was he high?  Was he overly proud?  What’s the big deal, a person is either male or female: so what!  Etc.  But there is a seldom asked question.  Why is it considered indecent exposure to be comfortable in your own skin?  Nudity is subliminally accepted as a religious prohibition, and yet scripture is not exactly clear on the motivation for hiding what you are.

One of the more peculiar perceptions in religious posturing is the assertion that the human physical body is, for some reason, offensive to the power that is credited with having designed and engineered the human physical form.  That assertion of god’s displeasure seems to be a contradiction to the opening of scriptural myth, for there it is fully accepted in Genesis that the power called god saw nothing wrong or indecent with Adam and Eve meandering naked around the Garden of Eden.  Chapter two, verse 25 clearly reports, “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

Adam, with Eve’s help, is said to have acquired knowingness, which caused Adam to decide that it might be wise to cover up, so “…they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” (Genesis 3:7)   The Lord, when he saw their sorry attire, was not exactly pleased and said, “Who told thee that thou was naked?” (3:11)  Being naked obviously was not deemed as shameful by the Lord.  If anything, the act of donning superfluous attributes was what disturbed the Lord most.   Miffed at their awkward self-awareness, the Lord then compounded their perplexity by covering the with “coats of skin” and hustling them out the exit gate. 

There is deep irony in this scriptural portrayal of blameless nakedness.  The nakedness of the Eden inhabitants represents pure innocence and complete truth, for nothing was meant to be kept hidden from view.  Apparently not even sexual inquisitiveness was held to be offensive in Paradise.  The “sin” that troubled god, therefore, rested in the attempt to deceive by concealing what is true.  It is for this reason that the naked human form has, from time out of mind, been held symbolic of absolute truth.

Western rank-and-file religions, however, have habitually regarded anyone seen when naked as being in a state of disgrace!  Noah’s son accidently seeing their father naked, for example.  Despite the fact that every life form enters life in innocent nakedness, the natural splendor of the unadorned body has been liberally painted with great dollops of false guilt.  Thus the self-proclaimed representatives of god—the preachers, priests, pastors, ministers, etc.–dress themselves in layered costumes with only their head and hands exposed in a pretense that they are the ambassadors of the Lord’s truth.  Such showy, distracting and often ostentatious paraphernalia of religious pretension would seem to be more the uniform donned for spreading aggressive deceit rather than accessories approved for the genuine messengers of god’s liberating truth.

The general understanding that there is some god-required priestly dress code is presented only in the priest-written book of Leviticus where the garments to be worn by the high priest Aaron for divine intercourse are lovingly, almost lasciviously defined.  The clue to the true meaning behind the descriptions of the god-approved dress code for his pulpit generals rest in what Aaron’s name means: the name is derived from the word harah and means to conceive.  It is from the Leviticus myth, therefore, that when filled with an arousal to perform for god, the Catholic bishops and other ecclesiastics often sport those tall, pointy, phallic-looking miters.  It’s all showmanship though.  Even so those old men do not act particularly enlightened, let alone sexy. 

  • Related posts: Dressed for Sex, Bible Style, Sept. 8, 2009; Breastplate, Sexy Biblical Garb, Sept. 09, 2009.

Neo-Cons’ Concept of Evil

Posted in Atheist, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, Government, history, humanity, life, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on November 5, 2009 by chouck017894

Neo-conservatism has burrowed into the American psyche and guts through the last few decades and has flourished due primarily to the juvenile Christian perception of evil.  As a result, the nature of American politics evolved increasingly into a radical and warmongering style that in turn infected and attacked the very roots of our democracy.

The neo-conservative attitude seems to consistently struggle upon the quicksand-assessment that human beings are innately wicked, and the heart that pumps this attitude rests in the ribs of biblical myth that presents the idea of original sin.  That fairy tale approach to what is the natural interfacing and resultant friction met in everyday life permits them only the premise that humans do “evil” for the perverse gratification of it!  Consequently they themselves have come to embody and exemplify that virulent interpretation that they so vehemently denounce.

Of course the neo-cons insist that they alone faithfully embody only the good and wholesome attributes favored by god, and all others are aligned with Lucifer and are irrational villains.  From this sand fortress they then feel secure enough in god’s graciousness to hurl grenades of slander and libel against any life expressions that do not match up with their narrow understanding of Creation’s diversity.  Thus self-blinded it became only a skip and a jump to selling weapons of mass destruction to other authoritarians, making deals with brutal dictators, counting corporate profits from invasions of foreign countries, and shrugging off the innocent civilian lives lost from indulging in bombing “infidels.”

Through the decades as radical religionism contaminated American government there has grown, for the neo-cons, an awkward bewilderment expressed in their plaintive question, “Why have they (the foreign nations) come to despise us so?”  Self righteousness is a peculiar form of blindness.  Compromise through negotiations with the “enemy” is held by the neocons to be unacceptable, for it allows respectful coexistence of diverse elements.  They refuse to recognize or accept that the activation of countless diverse forces served as the foundation of Creation and is what continues to sustain it—a truth lightly alluded to in the book of Genesis and confirmed by science.  Nonetheless, the neo-cons and the Christian radical right formed an adulterous relationship under which diplomacy and negotiation was rejected for apocalyptic-style military solutions.

By biblical standards this is judged to be fully acceptable.  After all, in biblical tales god repeatedly erupted in wrath and punished all of Israel for the transgressions of a few, as elaborated in Joshua 7:1-12, and 2 Samuel 21:2.  Under such Bible guidance it is deemed okay to strike at anyone who oppose neo-cons’ plans, even the patently unjust ones, under the self-delusion that they are “doing god’s work.”  In that stance, however, all they are declaring is their impatience with god, for he, god, is in the habit of taking intolerable amounts of time to express his will.

Fundamentalists Marriage Merry-go-round

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, life, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , on November 3, 2009 by chouck017894

One of the great myths of radical right religionism is the propaganda that they alone stand upon the highest moral ground—family values, pro-life, material profit prove god’s love, man should not love man, take every man-written sentence of the Bible literally—that sort of stuff.

 So when it comes to the sanctity of marriage among the fundamentalists, there is a curious point to ponder.  With the passage of time after the exchange of “I Do’s” among the hard-nosed religionists, the ironic thing is that born-again fundamentalists can turn around and boast of having one of the highest divorce rates in the nation.  This is not made up to give liberalists or atheists a turn at snickering up their sleeves.  In fact some years back, around 2006, an evangelical pollster, George Barna, found a very high rate of divorce among conservative Christians.  Even more disturbing to the pollster, the trend had been in place for more years than the fundamentalists wished to admit.

To add to the embarrassment, an independent research outfit found that the “Bible Belt” states had higher divorce rates than did other regions of the country.  The hellish irony for the self-righteous believers was that states scorned by them as being hotbeds of liberalism had far lower divorce rates.

Most alarming for the hard-nosed evangelical ambassadors of god was the glaring proof that their much touted Bible-based counseling for couples was seriously flawed.  The alarm among the fundamentalists was not so much in regard to the many marital split-ups, but that the evidence of counseling failure seriously threatened the (unconstitutional) channeling of tax monies into their religious programs–programs they constantly declared worked.  But their true success rate was in the toilet.  And worse, it was common practice among the religious “counselors” to stack statistics to conceal the ineffectiveness of their Bible-based programs.

Bible-based counseling included such fundamentalist dogma-style guidance as: men should run the household and wives were meant to submit to their husbands; warned that wives are at risk of becoming jealous of their husband’s relationship with his mother; children are meant to be brought forth in sorrow; woman is commanded to be under obedience (1 Corinthians 14:34); woman must learn from her husband at home (verse 35); and similar dogma inspired counseling.  Then the counselors feigned bewilderment that using the Bible as a marriage manual had not brought the blessings of the “practical and life-changing support for steadfast marriages” as they claimed.

The guise that radical religious groups were protecting marriage brought considerable blessings of public money into the coffers of groups such as the Northwest Marriage Institute.  Congress was actually duped into allocating more than $100,000 to this group in 2006 for the alleged purpose of building healthy marriages which, they declared, would lower the nation’s divorce rate.  We have seen how well that worked out.

 The Northwest Marriage Institute later ducked out of a court challenge brought against them regarding its use of tax money for Bible-based marriage counseling by dropping the Bible quotes in order to keep its public funding.  Apparently foregoing the Bible quotes had nothing at all to do with the commandment not to bear false witness.

We Are One

Posted in Atheist, belief, biological traits, culture, faith, humanity, life, logic, meaning of life, nature, random, religion with tags , , , , on November 1, 2009 by chouck017894

Beneath the surface differences that we think of as reality all life remains committed to interrelationship, and that is most remarkably shown in the ladder of life that we now know as DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).  Bogus spirituality and human cultivated ignorance keep too many persons blind to the fact that the DNA of every living person is 99.9 percent the same.  It doesn’t matter if one is tall or short, fat or thin, white, black, yellow or red, male or female, genius or slow-witted, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or atheist, hetero or homo, all persons are composed of the exact same DNA.  Genetically speaking, every human on Earth is eerily close to being your identical twin! 

The majority of problems that have arisen among the human family is easily traced back to the so-called “holy revealed wisdom” in selected writings that has misled seekers to concentrate on what are only superficial differences.  As a result the human species continues to fail in understanding that all things in Creation remain interrelated.  This self-induced failure of spirit to see the common relationship of all things only makes for an atmosphere of smug ignorance where the smallest diversities are pointed to as inferior or even “an abomination” in the sight of the power that created them!   In truth, the real abomination is to hoard such ignorance as spiritual truth, for such ignorance only teaches hatreds, and cultivated hatreds breed only violence, and we wind up with the world in a state of constant bloody conflict that we now have.

Knowledge of our close interrelationship with each other and other life forms was discovered barely over one hundred years ago, so we do have great piles of ignorance to flush away.  And of course, religious doctrines that were fashioned millennia ago to calm fears of the unknown and for ego gratification are intolerant of questions, investigation and exposure about how life-forms actually manifest.  None of the scriptural heroes ever mentioned that every cell nucleus in the human body contains the genetic master code for the entire physical body, for example.  And it was only in occasional flashes of intuition that a hint of the interrelatedness of all life might bob up in an obsure verse or two in scripture.  But the great diversity of all the observable life forms just did not seem to support such strange suggestions.

The propaganda that spiritual understanding was saved when it turned to monotheistic comprehension attempts to suggest that it became intellectually understood that all things are made manifest out one source and are therefore interrelated.  That is not how the lumbering monotheistic religions conduct themselves, however.  In many ways the Pagan attitude that all things held its own divine essence and that their influence radiated about them brought intimacy to Creation.  That recognition was actually more respectful of the source-power that had brought them into manifestation than is the practice of shortsightedly focusing on the minor physical differences seemingly decreed by an impassive creative being.