Archive for March, 2010

Saints and Religious Propaganda

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, history, politics, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2010 by chouck017894

Religious adherence, like any marketable product, needs a variety of representations and catch phrases to keep sales active and appealing.  In western religious practice one of those tools, especially as taken over in Christian practice, is the use of the word “saint.”  That word is commonly traced back as translating some derivative of the Hebrew qados and/or the Greek hagios.   In both cases these words were applied primarily to the gods that inspired awe and therefore rightly warranted adoration.  Of course those in the business of selling belief found it profitable to extend the meaning to include those persons or things that allegedly had a unique relationship to the gods.  The advertising ploy was that this special relationship of certain persons or things had been set apart from the unhallowed world and made sufficiently clean (rendered holy”) by man-concocted rites so that they could be used for sacred theatrics. 

Thus in religious phraseology the political minded priests of Yahweh at work in Jerusalem c. 850 BCE (their works would not be codified until the early 5th century BCE) declared anyone devoted to their god made up the “holy people” of Israel.  This necessitated that the priests indulge themselves in a bit of flim-flam, for “holy” in this use did not imply any moral sense: it was simply the priestly claims of being specially selected as God’s people.  Behind this priestly indulgence of smoke and mirrors, the true purpose had nothing to do with people’s personal spiritual advancement; it was totally focused on attaining and maintaining material advantages for their “faith” project.  Thus the followers of the Yahweh priests were declared “holy people”—or what we are taught to think of as “saints”—in their  meaning a nation set apart (self-segregated) for worship or service to God under priestly administration.

This false sense of spiritual entitlement that was introduced in the “faith” that was being manufactured in Jerusalem cultivated characteristics that guaranteed the faith could never reflect the all-embracing, liberal power that they claimed to serve.  By their self-serving interpretation of material  existence the incalculable diversity displayed throughout Creation is said to be manage through a system of favoritism and discrimination.

The rise of a counter doctrine was inevitable, especially since the  devotees to the priestly politics of spirit in Jerusalem had made for unending skirmishes through the young muscle-bound Roman Empire.  The invention of Christianity occurring in this timeframe was primarily a political undertaking, not some miraculous intervention of heaven to “save” the (Roman) world.  It is for this reason that the starring character in the new movement was cast as a Jewish rebel, whose name was derived from the Torah‘s brutal messiah named Joshua.  Thus in the anthology that became the New Testament there is found a heavy draw upon things Jewish in hope of clearing away at least some of that gang mentality that was the core of Judaism. 

The new faith movement was conceived and fleshed out primarily in Rome, not Jerusalem, but the authors had a certain amount of familiarity with the governing families in Jerusalem.  As the Christian counter movement evolved, borrowing strong attributes from other religious cults active in Rome at that time, the emphasis remained on a more moderated and less special interest understanding of things that function  beyond human comprehension.  But various authors brought different colorings to the new cult, among which was  the absorption of the notion of special category of persons that supposedly pleased heaven and which also appealed to the egos of converts.  Thus, as the people of Israel had been presented as “holy ones” or “saints,” there had to be allowance made that placed the competing “faith” movement in Rome on an equality basis with the unruly Jews.  Consequently God suddenly found himself possessed with a whole new variety of “favorites.”

The political minded authors of the Christian cult therefore cleverly incorporated into the new holy works the idea that those who comprised the church were “holy” and “saints” because they were set apart for God (not by God), and the church itself was the alleged new Israel.  So we now read in Romans 1:7, written 100 CE when the authors were restructuring the  earlier Christian strategies, that Christians are referred  to as God’s own people.  This theme is also implied in 1:1 Philippians undoubtedly written much later that the 64 date commonly insisted upon.  By this time Roman annoyance at the Jews spiritual arrogance was being channeled toward a practice of spiritual intimidation—which reached its orgiastic conclusion in Revelation (written c. 135 CE) where a new Jerusalem is lowered to Earth.

As the Christian movement grew and its tentacles spread from Rome across Europe, the movement became the replacement  for the collapsed Roman Empire.  It cannot be said to have been a true blessing for the world.  But its “saints” had amazing self-breeding capability.  The first “saints,” of course, were the supposed disciples;  the church could not have been built if they had not been systematically put in place.  In this is found the clue for church respect for all those it has promoted as “saints.”  From that starting point every figure ever presented as a “saint” throughout Christian history has been so honored because that “saint” in some manner advanced the corporate church itself.  In no way did any of those church approved “saints” ever advance man’s understanding that the universe responds directly to each person if each person learns to approach it in true humbleness.

So how have religion’s “saints” advanced the spiritual potential of mankind?  A look at the many schisms in every organized religion suggests that the evil so railed against by all of them is actually nurtured primarily within those practices of imagined superiority.  But the magic acts are still being indulged in even as we pass through the front hall of the 21st century—a calendar dating system, incidentally, based on a “holy” character whose existence has never been proven.  Amazingly, the Roman Catholic Church is still indulging in the old self-promotion scams, and plans are in place to elevate the late Pope John Paul to “saint” status.  All that is needed is a miracle that can be credited to him.  As the old adage goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

Heaven in Turmoil

Posted in agnoticism, Astronomy, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, history, life, prehistory, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2010 by chouck017894

Curiosities abound throughout the “authorized” accounts of humankind’s history.  Few, however, are as baffling as to why the celestial body we know as planet Venus suddenly became the object of worldwide attention around the general timeframe 1650-1600 BCE.  In this timeframe the Babylonians were well-schooled in mathematics, calculations, algebra, and quadratic equations, and they had become increasingly nervous about disturbances taking place in the heavens.  Astronomical records were being kept in the reign of Ammisaduga, and from these it is clear that astronomers were fully aware that the routine rotation of stars around Earth was an illusion that was caused by Earth revolving on it own axis.  The plotting of heavenly mechanics such as the equinoxes and solstices were routine to them. 

So it was a situation of uneasiness to witness the looming presence in the sky of an unknown celestial object—especially since its presence coincided with an alteration in Earth’s rotation and tilt.  And there was also the small matter of the volcanic mountain Stroggili on the Isle of Thera (Santorin) having erupted in the Mediterranean—one of the planet’s oversized volcanic eruptions.  It was in this period that the new celestial entity began being addressed as a deity—a goddess of awesome beauty and terrifying power—an awe and fear that would possess the people of the world for many generations.  Indeed, this period of frightening and dramatic celestial changes is attested to in later Roman literature, such as the book Of The Race of the Roman People by Marcus Varro.  In this book the author related that the planet we know as Venus had “…changed its color, size , form, course, which had not happened before nor since…”  Varro backed up his account saying that renowned astronomers affirmed that the event had indeed happened to the “Morning star,” and it had never happened before or  since.  Varro also noted, “…we read from the divine books that even the sun itself stood still when a holy man Joshua, the son of Nun, had begged this from God.”  Let us note here that even “saint”  Augustine quoted from this man’s book. 

The timeframe in question here, c. 1600s BCE, is another period that has often been accepted as the period-setting for the Exodus story—as well as being the “time of Agog,” who allegedly laid the foundation of Thebes (Egypt).  It can be understood how recollections of such chaotic events could be confused, condensed and intermingled by later historians.  There is, as example, a Samaritan chronicle that relates that during the time period in which Joshua supposedly led an invasion into Canaan a new star was born in the east.   If this star-birth event took place in the time allotted to Joshua, then it predates the timeframe for the Moses tale by centuries.  The Samaritan account of the new star said it held power “against which all magic is vain.”  That pretty much discredits the claim that Joshua had any influence over the heavenly bombardment that took place. 

Of interest  in connection with this are the findings unearthed by recent archeologists that confirm that events of the Joshua story were in reference to celestial conditions and activities that took place earlier than events that make up the Moses epic.  The later priest-historians at work  in Jerusalem (c. 800 BCE) found it more beneficial to their purpose to reinterpret past events to provide themselves with a history that supported their claim to authority. 

There are other scriptural stories that tell of these heavenly happening and the continuing threats from the heavens that went on for generations.  Approximately fifty-two years after c. 1600 BCE, or around 1548, the celestial body that had so traumatized Earth seems to have emerged out of decades of clouded skies to appear as a radiant new member of the solar family—that is to say it had attained a fairly orderly orbital pattern among the neighboring planets. The Assyrians called the new planet Ishtar: the Greeks called it Aphrodite: the ancient Mexican records name it Quetzalcoatl: and the Romans would call it Venus. 

The heavens were not yet peaceful, however, and Earth had more to endure.  The awe and fear that the new planet still inspired is shown in it being addressed as beautiful but fearsome celestial deity.  Even some 750 years later(c. 800 BCE) the new planet still exerted strong influence upon planet Earth to trigger exogenous disturbances in Earth’s rotation, which coincided with a  reverse in Earth’s magnetic field.  And this is the timeframe of the “prophet” Isaiah who had this to say about the adjustment of the new-neighbor planet: “How art thou fallen from heaven O Lucifer (Venus), son of the morning!  How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12-13)

Even as late as c. 606 BCE, the timeframe of the “prophet” Jeremiah, the inhabitants of Earth were still apprehensive of the orbital irregularities of planets Venus and Mars—for the Venus intrusion had serious effect on the orbit of the once peaceful Mars.  In this period, even in spite of the recent Babylonian invasion and destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews still gave Venus devotion as “queen of heaven” and burned incense and offered wine to her on the roofs of buildings.  Jeremiah was an astronomer, and was portrayed as a “prophet” simply because he could chart the likely times of violent planetary interactions.  Thus in the book of Jeremiah, chapter 44, the account says all the men knew that their wives had burnt incense unto other gods (meaning to Venus).  And the women adamantly continued to “burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our father, our kings, and our  princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem…”

Reference to the heavens once being in disarray can be found in many ancient records and texts.  And even when they are part of accounts deemed sacred there is a peculiar self-inflicted blindness that such planetary caroming through the skies could have once taken place.  Even today’s science denies it.  And the heavens remain indifferent at mankind’s lack of curiosity.

Ancient Source of Holy Trinity Concept

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, humanity, nature, prehistory, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on March 20, 2010 by chouck017894

The concept of three-in-one, or triune involvement, is a feature in all religions in some manner.  The religions that have evolved through the millennia have clouded and lost the  more ancient understanding of the Creation process as they were once taught and which became presented and personified as the “trinity” in holy mystery.  Modern science helps us understand the genius that was present in prehistory cultures that knew what truly constitutes the three-in-one.  In ancient teachings the three-in-one aspects as the Source of all things actually concerned what modern physics calls the three families of elementary particles. 

The basic particles of all matter as defined in atomic chemistry are electrons, protons, and neutrons.  These constitute the three-in-one that serve as the nucleus that activates as elementary substance.  The electron is the smallest unit charge of negative electricity.  Together with the proton and neutron, they make up one of the fundamental particles of which all matter is composed.  In the simplest nucleus, that of the hydrogen atom of mass 1, the nucleus  consists of a single proton which has a positive charge of electricity that is equal in magnitude to that of an electron.  The neutron, the third part of the nucleus, is an uncharged particle.  These three particles must be present together to activate into elementary substance, the basis of all matter: allegorically one god subsisting in three persons and one substance.  Thus in Christian rearrangement this accounts for the “three persons” where Jesus allegedly commanded his disciples to go out and baptize “in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

Molecules, those minute particles that move about as a singular whole, were once thought to be the fundamental particles—or building blocks of matter.  It was eventually determined, however, that molecules were made up of atoms.  Looking further into atoms, science then discovered that the atoms were nuclei with electrons around them.  From this discovery the understanding arose that nuclei were composed of neutrons and protons.  But even these were discovered not to be the smallest elementary particles, but that neutrons and protons were themselves built out of quarks.

The quark of physics is a miniscule set of fermions having an electrical charge, and this is thought to be the fundamental particle of the universe.  The word “particle,” unfortunately, tends to be interpreted as singular thing with quantity.  But a fundamental particle is more representative of what may be termed a trace point of eternal energy involvement.  This is not something that can be regarded as “god” or a divine being, although it is ever-circling of energy within itself out which is projected the kaleidoscopic colorings that we see as the complexity of the universe.

Actively involving out and with quarks, the neutrons and protons arise much like polar energies.  These, in turn, involve and transform as nuclei with electrons around it.  These elementary particles are not yet what could be considered defined form, but only a unity of primal energy with the potential of forming into energy-substance.  All three aspect  within the primordial conditions gather as potential form that is capable of emanating as a force, and this is then capable of exerting itself with four distinct properties of involvement necessary for material manifestation—allegorized in Genesis as four rivers out of Eden.  The unlimited potentiality held within the elementary particle was represented as three eternal, interacting, and inseparable aspects that ejaculate as energies of Creation.  This is ancient knowledge that was used in the claims of “revealed” information in sacred texts.  In the New Testament, for example, the unverifiable character of John is alleged to have said, “…there are three that bear record in heaven, these three are one.”  As we have seen, the three-in-one is indeed recorded through the universe, and indeed the three creative principles do bear witness in the projected energy that defines Earth, and thus confirms that they agree in one. 

However, the NT account does not exactly confirm the reality of the story characters.

 

Making Holy Myths

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, humanity, life, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , on March 16, 2010 by chouck017894

Of all the creation myths of ancient peoples, the opening chapter of the book of Genesis stands in a class by itself.  Unlike all cultures Before our Common Era the priests of Yahweh in Jerusalem were busily indulging themselves in setting up the premise of divine discrimination.  The Creator they presented in Genesis, who walked in his garden and talked to himself, is thus depicted as either not omniscient (all-knowing) or as a heartless schemer.  For example, where is the wisdom of placing two tempting trees as the focal point of the garden and then forbidding two uncomprehending creatures the freedom to eat of them?  It is weak story plotting.  But it didn’t much matter, for the underlying purpose was to channel the Hebrew  people away from belief in numerous gods and goddesses to slowly, and with some difficulty, indoctrinate them with the premise of one being that created limited identities without the necessity of energy intercourse.

In this prehistory period the civilizations such as Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, Greece, etc., recognized and respected the interactions of incalculable universal energies, and it was these unseen interrelated and interacting primal creative forces that the ancient cultures personified as a pantisocracy of “gods.”  The energies that interact throughout nature and the observable universe do often appear to be in opposition, hence the “gods” were often depicted in Pagan cultures as in competition or in a state of lust.  There was never any doubt among those Pagan cultures, however, that such creative energies originated out of a singular cause.

What the Yahweh priests contrived was the claim that the indifferent source-power of Creation had singled out one group of people (them, of course) as the sole recipients of his blessings.  To accomplish this pretext of divine discrimination the wily priest-editors referred to the same  primal and diverse energies responsible for all manifested life as their historical ancestors and dubbed those primal creative energies as Israelites.  The “gods” that were recognized by the surrounding cultures and which symbolized the same diverse creative energies were then purposely ridiculed as too lacking to have been chosen by the source power which the author-priests referred to as Yahweh.  But this counter assault on Pagan wisdom necessitated finding a means to explain the diverse energy-attributes that were presented and personified with the Pagan gods.

The priest-editors of reworked Hebrew myths certainly knew what the Pagan gods symbolized: they knew that there are energy interactions all through the universe that, although unseen for the most part, do have an effect on life forces.  The way out for demoting the Pagan gods was simply to give those forces a different designation, so the diverse forces were reassigned by the priests of Yahweh from acknowledgment as Pagan “gods” to Yahweh’s servants which were hailed as “angels.”  For all extent and purpose, the attributes and special duties of the Pagan gods were simply transferred to a regiment of “angels.”  The angels, of course, were envisioned as acting under the direction of an amoral source-power personified as Yahweh-God.  We must note that amoral does not mean immoral: it means that any judgmental inclination or personality features are not present. 

The Demotion of Eve.      In the earliest part of Genesis the character of Eve is referred to as “Mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20), which suggests the rank of a near-sacred being.  This title that Adam allegedly bestowed upon Eve, “Mother of all living,” is identical to what the Sumerians had bestowed upon the love goddess Aruru, for she was regarded in their culture as the creatrix of life.  Eve’s implied eminence in Genesis, even after making a fruit-picking mistake, reflects the Pagan understanding that creation of all life can take place only through a process of polar energy interaction.  This is why various neighboring cultures that the Yahweh priests so envied, such as Sumerian, Phoenician, Hittie, Ugaritic, etc., gave homage to goddesses as being equal in divine power with the gods.  But Eve, according to the Yahweh priests, was demoted and declared to have been designed by Yahweh-Jehovah simply to serve as Adam’s helpmeet.  This was the deliberate capsizing of Pagan understanding, and it had no parallel in any other early Mediterranean or Middle Eastern myths.  The advantage of this slight-of-hand was that it placed man (especially the political minded priests) in the authoritative position.  Unfortunately, by demoting the feminine polar aspect necessary for life production, the Genesis myth of Creation insanely rejects the fundamental polar energy principle necessary for Creation.  And western religious understanding of the basic principle of creation and the fruition (evolution) of life manifestation has been plagued with controversy and  misunderstanding ever since.

Choosing What to Believe

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, history, humanity, life, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on March 13, 2010 by chouck017894

Most of the writings that are known as the New Testament were established by canon around 200 CE.  In this process the “fathers” of Christianity were highly selective in the choices of their scriptural literature, often rejecting some parts within a literary work or even rejecting complete works of the same general tone.  This gathering took place to set up the politics to be structured into their faith system and it required careful pruning and rejection of many literary works that were in use by outlying Christian cults that were springing up throughout the Roman Empire.  The “fathers,” in their zeal to impose a management system upon as many seekers as possible, indulged themselves in a pick-and-choose orgy of various works that often proved to be too contradictory.

With politics of the struggling faith system always in the back of their minds the “fathers” therefore found the Gospel of John to be tolerable but cast aside similar works such as the Dialogue of Thomas.  The Gospel of John happened to be written in such a manner that it could be utilized (read altered) to promote certain policies that the “fathers” favored.  Gnostic-like works such as the Dialogue of Thomas and similar works encompassed a much broader and freer acceptance of religious practice than the power-seeking “fathers” liked.  The “fathers” wanted the people to become totally reliant upon the dictates of church representatives.  If seekers believed that one could approach the power that was personified as “God” only through his son-agent, and the church was the son’s representative, then the church had to be obeyed

Thus the Gospels that were not rejected survived simply because they served the political needs of the newly emerging authority-seeking priest class.  The shapers of the Christian cult in 200 CE followed the example of priest-authors devoted to Yahweh in the 7th century BCE in Jerusalem who understood that the basic institutional structure of their religion had to have the apparent support of “authorized” scriptures.

The political platform upon which episcopal authority (church government) campaigned and  overran the more natural and honest religions at that time was the insistence that each person had to have a means beyond their own personal power to approach the creative primacy that was/is personified as “God.”  In this way the concept of “salvation” became totally a churchly matter and no longer a personal affair between each person and the Creator.  This irrational intrusion of the church being thrust between a seeker and the Absolute had to carry the appearance of being divinely ordained if it was to become an influencing factor over the masses.  And this is what accounts for the selection of Gospels that have been held out for nearly 2000 years as God’s approved pathway to heaven.  It was simply coincidence that those painstakingly selected works allowed for the souls of seeker to be held hostage as a means of financial resources and political muscle for the church.

Examples for Bible-based Government

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, Government, history, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2010 by chouck017894

By biblical clues it was once determined that the murder of Abel by his brother Cain occurred in 3875 BCE.  Interestingly, the first year of the Jewish calendar was set as beginning in 3760 BCE—or 115 years later.  The brief and incomplete list that follows here, taken from “Holy Bible” stories, make it clear that the respect for life was not an especially high priority among God’s favorites.

The Deluge, whipped up by none other than God himself with the sole intention of obliterating the human species, supposedly occurred in 2348 BCE.  Oddly, part of the Lord’s instruction to Noah (who escaped being done in) was that Noah and his progeny must, among other listed immoral acts, refrain from committing homicide—the shameless counseling of do as I say, not as I do.  Scanning over the following brief highlights from biblical tales, remember that the definition of murder is the unconscionable killing of a human being.

 In the time of Abraham (c. 1860 BCE), the alleged progenitor of the Hebrews, the Lord asked Abe to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Abe said okay, but then the Lord said that it was only a test and provided a ram for slaughter.  Why the all-knowing creator would have to test Abraham in this cruel manner is never explained.  What this tale does reveal is that any tradition about not killing handed down from the time of Noah 488 years before was not taken seriously.

By the most commonly accepted calculations, Moses did not receive any commandment against homicide until 1491 BCE—or 369 years after Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of his son, and 2384 years after Abel’s death.  It might be said that the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” given to Moses was a case of too little too late.  Even with this commandment as counsel, good old Joshua, the God-favored successor to Moses, is proudly presented as freely indulging himself in holocaustic slaughter of countless Canaanites.

Then there is the tale of Jephthah, a blustery Israelite who was called upon by the Israelite elders to head off a threatened Ammonite attack around 1143 BCE.  Jephthah, positive of God’s favor, swore that if he won in battle then whatsoever cometh forth out of the doors of my house to meet me…” he would offer it  up for a burnt offering to God (II Judges).  Well, Jephthah won the battle.  His “honor” supposedly demanded the ritual murder of his daughter, for in joy to see his safe return she had rushed out to greet him.  God is portrayed as knowing all, so was it Jephthah’s fault or God’s divine indifference that Jeph had to murder his own daughter by fire?  Even God seems to have ignored his own edict handed down to Moses only 348 years earlier, for he did nothing to save the girl.

412 years after the Commandment Thou shalt not kill had been handed down, King Saul of Israel indulged himself in a swift war of extermination against the Amalekites in 1079 BCE in which, the boast goes, every man, woman babe and child were “utterly destroyed.”  This was bad enough, but then King Saul’s pitiless “prophet,” Samuel, is recorded as having savagely chopped the captured and defenseless Amalekites King Agag into mincemeat with a sword.  Samuel also contributed  to Israel’s gory glory by then promoting David (1040?-973? BCE) for the throne.  And ultimately, 23 years later after the slaughter of Agag, David did succeed Saul as King of Israel.

David is  presented in Holy Scripture as a master of deceit, mendacity and bloodshed, and followed the traditional pattern of killing everyone among a conquered people, including women, babes and children.  He even had people killed “lest they should tell on us” (1 Samuel 27:11).  David’s list of slaughters and atrocities are too many to present here, but his open disregard for the sixth commandment makes it questionable as to why God could ever have considered him a worthy founder of a royal dynasty or to be the protector of the Holy Ark of the Covenant.  David is commonly excused under the pretext that he displayed unfailing devotion to Jehovah!

Next we have Elijah, c. 910 BCE, who had the Phenician prophets of Baal put to death to prevent them from muscling in on his hold on the official religion of Israel.  The myth goes that after the murder of the Baal priests, rain and dew which God had jealously withheld for three years finally returned.  Besides murdering the priests of  Baal, Elijah also caused the destruction of two companies of fifty innocent messengers that had been sent to him by King Ahaziah of Israel.  There was eager anticipation that this “holy man” was to return to Earth, and this was later incorporated into Christian myth as the spiritual fulfillment in John the Baptist.

The successor of Elijah was Elisha, c. 896 BCE, another typically short-tempered and irascible Israelite “prophet,” who displayed his disregard for the sixth commandment with 42 unruly children on the road to Bethel.  The young delinquents allegedly teased him about his bald head.  In angry retaliation, holy Elisha is said to have cursed the children in the name of the Lord and immediately two bears appeared and ripped the children to shreds.  The weak excuse for this god-assisted murder of  forty-two children is that the “prophet” was weary and agitated from his fifteen mile hike from Jericho.  Elisha was not weary, however, when he hatched the conspiracy to seize the throne of Israel and elevate Jehu, the last son of Joram, as king.

Jehu, allegedly appointed by God and anointed by murderous Elisha as king of Israel (c. 843? BCE), lost little time in setting out to exterminate his predecessor King Ahab’s seventy children as well as the priests of Baal.  How the murder of the priests was accomplished is a mystery, for Elijah had supposedly already done all that.  But true to form, here is what chapter 10, verse 30 of 2 Kings says: And the Lord said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is  right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.  Thus  blessed by the Lord, Jehu, without an ounce of scruple, later ordered two or three eunuchs to throw his wife Jezebel out a window to her death.

This  brief and far from complete list of God-favored characters from “the good book” have been offered as spiritual inspiration for countless generations.  Do they really exemplify the most exalted way of attracting peace, love, justice, mercy or intelligence that is so yearned for in the world?  Are these really examples that an advanced nation should follow?

 

Early Challengers to Creation Myths

Posted in Atheist, belief, humanity, life, nature, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , on March 8, 2010 by chouck017894

During the early 1800s the long-held notions of humankind being a special creation began to be seriously questioned by the general public.  Openly questioned were such things as why there were so many different species of plants and animals, how had they originated, and why would God indulge in such extravagant diversity?   The public interest was as though such questions had never occurred to anyone before.  The theory of evolution was alien to the public, and the priestly explanation was that nature was an orderly and elegantly harmonious system that functioned under divine law.  Even naturalists of the time explained that all species were purposefully adapted to the places for which God had destined them—a weak variation of God’s ambassadors who had always claimed that everything was due to divine intervention.  But they neglected to explain why, if a species was “perfectly adapted,” had God found it necessary at times to intervene and cancel some species.

One of the great landmarks in mankind’s exploration of the living world was the discovery that all things—plant or animal—were composed of cells.  In 1838 Mathias Jacob Schleiden, a German botanist, described how all plants were composed of cells.  At nearly the same time a German anatomist, Theodor Schwann, found that cells were the basis of all animal tissue.  The truth of cell composition being the basis for all life was set firmly into place in 1864 by the French scientist Louis Pasteur.  His experiments demonstrated conclusively that every cell—even the smallest bacteria—is the product of other cells.  The secret of life was shown to be the creative power that is held in the infinitely tiny, self-replicating, self-sustaining biochemical energy of the cell. 

While scientists were discovering the cell to be the basic unit of all life, it was a naturalist who advanced the theoretical conclusion that the cell was the origin of all life as well.  That was Charles Robert Darwin who advanced the theory of evolution by natural selection in his book The Origin of Species in 1859.  Needless to say, there was much uproar, especially among the devout, for the theory was an apparent contradiction of the supernatural explanation offered in holy scripture.

The Aristotelian concept that nothing ever really changes was embedded so deeply in man’s taught religious view of life that the evolution theory was deemed blasphemous.  Nonetheless, such men as biologist\scholar Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) and German scientist Ernest Haechel (1834-1919) were strong champions of organic evolution.  Biblical creationists found themselves disorganized and numbed into near silence as men such as these contributed their theories to textbooks which would inspire and instruct new scientists who would throw open the doors to remarkable discoveries in the twentieth century.

In the 1900s  new discoveries in astronomy stimulated people’s rethinking about the evolution of life.  The atmosphere of the planets Saturn and Jupiter, it was discovered, had no oxygen, but was composed of methane and ammonia.  This got astronomers, naturalists, philosophers and others to wondering if Earth had once been similar to those planets before the advent of life.

In the 1920s two independent researchers published papers on how organic compounds could have arisen out of such conditions.  One was a Russian biochemist, A. I. Oparin, and the other was J. B. S. Haldane, a British biologist.  Both had reached the same conclusion independently that organic compounds could have been created by vast amounts of energy generated by the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation upon such an atmosphere. They pointed out that another active principle in activating life would have been the tremendous electrical storms that repeatedly charged the atmosphere over millions of years and the compound would become charged with self-replicating properties.  The supernatural explanations so long offered by religious myths began to crumble under provable demonstrations of cause and effect.

And yet even in the closing days of the twentieth century so rich in technological wonders the stubbornly “faithful” remained convinced that it was all due to Intelligent Design and some being saying “Let there be….”