Archive for June, 2010

Priest-Style History

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, history, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by chouck017894

After the little kingdom of Israel fell to Assyria, c. 722 BCE, the more rugged central hill country of Judah south of Israel experienced an influx of refugees and the modest village of Jerusalem burst forth in sudden expansion c. 720-718 BCE.  Until this time Jerusalem had covered no more than ten-and-a-half acres, but it quickly expanded outward from its narrow ridge site to engulf the entire western hill and envelop one hundred and fifty acres with closely packed residences, workshops, businesses and public buildings.

In this timeframe Jerusalem was not yet regarded as a “holy city”—except, perhaps, by the priests of Yahweh who had long dreamed of making their temple in Jerusalem the center of political spirituality.  The common understanding has long been nourished that Jerusalem and the region around it was always devoted to belief in one god and one god only.  In truth there was a widespread diversity of worship practices throughout Judah, and there was a widespread mixing of other gods with that of Yahweh in the Jerusalem Temple.  Archaeology finds have shown conclusively that the claimed golden age of tribal and Davidic fidelity to Yahweh was not a historic reality.  Indeed, cults of various gods and goddesses were prevalent throughout Judah.  So diverse were the customs of the people that some of them regarded the Ugaritic mother-goddess Asherah as the consort of YHWH.  This, of course, was deemed blasphemous by the priests of Yahweh.

Scriptural accounts of coexisting kingdoms of Israel and Judah (as noted in the previous post Scriptures’ Contrived History, June 16) is priestly fabrication, for Judah developed extensively only after Israel’s fall to Assyria.  The priest account of defensive forts said to have been erected by Solomon’s son Rehoboam were actually erected 200 years later than the implied c. 931-914 BCE date as II Chronicles 11:5-12 would have us believe.  The same is true of the palaces and gates that Solomon is claimed to have commissioned.

The political minded priests in Jerusalem recognized that they had to blend the popular Creation myths known in Israel with their own myths if they were to lure the refugees into becoming part of the “chosen people” of Yahweh.  Thus chapters one and two of Genesis present noticeable differences in Creation sequences, as well as the different versions that Adam and Eve allegedly played in the Creator’s scheme of  things.  The two accounts are mismatched enough that Bible scholars refer to them as the “J” and “E” versions.  The “J” version was written by priests in Judah whose God was addressed as Yahweh: the version that was known in Israel is referred to as the “E” account because the authors of that tale referred to the Creator as Elohim.

It should be noted that the “J” version of Genesis does not exactly make it clear as to whether or not Yahweh was the sole creator of heaven and earth and Man.  In trying to bond the two accounts the authors of the revision suddenly have God muse aloud, “Let us create man in our image…” (Genesis 1:26).  But in the second chapter it says, “God (again singular) formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…” (Genesis 2:7).  The political reason for this description of man being fashioned from dust was to block any idea that man might share some divine attributes of the Creator as other cultures believed.  The “J” authors were determined to bind the act of Creation to ordinary time, which allowed themselves the liberty to compose a “history” in which those who believed in Yahweh could be presented with the status of having been “chosen.”  And with the characters of Moses and Abram/Abraham there was set in place the means by which they could claim the special destiny of owning the land of Canaan. 

For the fundamentalists who assert that every word in scriptures is to be taken as God-sent, it might be wise to note that the uncertainty that is revealed in the two patched together Creation myths is reason to pause for reassessment.  That the scriptures were written with political intent, not spiritual enlightenment, is only faintly disguised somewhat later (in II Kings) with the priestly assessment of Manasseh who came to the throne of Judah at age 12, c. 692 BCE, after his father, Hezekiah, revolted against Assyria and was defeated (even though priests assured him that God approved his policy of religious purification).  It was up the Manasseh to pick up the pieces and try to restore Judah to an operational kingdom.  His subjects were primarily country folks and few of them had ever embraced Yahweh as the one-and-only God that the priests demanded.  As a result, religious pluralism returned.  The priest authors in Jerusalem were a spiteful group, and in their writings expressed only denunciatory outrage at Manasseh for letting this happen.  True to the revisionist style of history making, we find Manasseh being presented by the priest authors as the most sinful monarch that the kingdom Judah ever had (II Kings 21: 1-18).

Archaeological evidence reveals that Manasseh was nothing of the sort.  Under Manasseh the kingdom of Judah was revived and prospered.  For the sake of the kingdom and the people Manasseh became a vassal of Assyria—and went on to reign for fifty-five years—the longest, most prosperous and most peaceful reign of any Israelite or Judean king.  The population grew and the nation flourished under his policies.  But the priests continued to fume with jealousy over the blessings enjoyed under his rule—all of which occurred without the benefit of priestly intercession with Yahweh. 

Fundamentalists, take note:  The settlements and cities that were established during Manasseh’s reign survived and thrived after his death.  Indeed, it was only after the priests had again finagled themselves into political influence that Judah fell c. 587 BCE.

Lying for the Lord

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, Government, history, humanity, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , on June 20, 2010 by chouck017894

During the Great Depression years of the 1930s there were the inevitable cliques of religious devotees in the United States that indulged in rewriting true history to gratify their imagined spiritual superiority.  That indulgence in revising true history has been standard operating procedure of political schemers and cult members for thousands of years.  Another common characteristic is that these pretenders feel no shame in their lack of spiritual responsibility.

An example of this commitment to indulge in lying for the Lord came to public attention in 1935 when a deliberate scorn of truth and a mockery of morality was brought to court by a group of atheists.  The object of their legal attention was located at pew 60 in St. Paul’s Chapel and Trinity Church (Broadway) in New York City: it was a small bronze plague bearing an inscription of a prayer allegedly composed by none other than George Washington.

It was true that George Washington did attend the church, pew 60, during the two years that New York City was the nation’s temporary capital.  Washington always left before communion service, however, and after being chastised for that habit by the church head honchos Washington never again attended church on communion Sunday.  This documented fact did not prevent church claims in 1934 that Washington was heavily devoted to Christianity.  And the bronze plaque, purportedly a prayer by the first President, was displayed as confirmation of Washington’s steadfast Christian faith.  But the prayer was an unmitigated deception.

The alleged Washington prayer had been fashioned using excerpts from the last paragraph of a circular letter, dated June 8, 1783, in which Washington had addressed thirteen state governors about disbanding of the army.  The pious forgers, to accomplish their devious aims, had omitted approximately one-third of the letter’s last paragraph and substituted the word “thou” wherever Washington had used the word “you,” and the forgers inserted pleas for God’s indulgence that were totally uncharacteristic of Washington.

During the lawsuit brought against the Trinity Church for capitalizing on the forgery, church representatives admitted that “alterations” had been implemented on a genuine Washington document.  Church representatives excused themselves for the forgery by declaring that it was, “appropriate for display and distribution in a place of worship”!  Never mind that the 9th Commandment prohibits bearing false witness (lying).  Thus, with this plea, was the low quality of their devotion to truth, their negligible spirit of moral conduct, and their minimal commitment to holy integrity excused by the court!

This is recalled here because nothing much has changed in religious practice or political storytelling.  Indeed this fake George Washington prayer was recently read to congress (by Michele Bachmann of Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District), and she avowed it to be the inaugural prayer of Washington.  It is, as noted, a hodgepodge of thees and thous and wilts, as well as a tone of verbal groveling that is at odds with Washington’s character.  In case you missed this farce of Washington’s prayer shoveled out on numerous Christian websites, here are the words that Bachmann dared to avow in Congress were spoken by George Washington at the first inaugural.

“Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.  And finally, that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”

That this prayer is pure fallacy is bad enough, but to have a princess of doublespeak use it in the pretense of devotion to democratic governing principles of the United States is to dishonor the true code of equality upon which this nation was founded.  Such conduct is inexcusable from persons whose first allegiance is meant to be to the people they are supposed to represent, not to ego centered belief systems.  Trying to force bogus versions of American history into government is to be anti-American, and lying for some narrow religious belief system is not likely to earn them the keys to Heaven.

Scripture’s Contrived History

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, history, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2010 by chouck017894

According to scriptural accounts a Jewish kingdom of Israel was welded in the land of Canaan by David, and his kingdom is portrayed as having prospered as a great unified kingdom under David’s son, Solomon.  That account was long accepted as a given truth by biblical scholars until the science of archaeology showed conclusively that the claimed powerful kingdom said to have been ruled from Jerusalem could not have existed as portrayed in the priest-writings.  No hard archaeological evidence has ever been found to support the priest compiled story, but has revealed instead that Jerusalem was simply a modest, economically borderline village in the era when David, Solomon and Rehoboam (son of Solomon) are claimed to have ruled. 

Archaeology has revealed that the territory north of Jerusalem in the claimed timeframe was considerably more populated and flourishing economically than the region around Jerusalem.  However, in biblical myth the northern territory is claimed to have broken away from the alleged unified kingdom under Solomon’s son (c. 931-913 BCE), and developed as the kingdom of Israel.  Both territorial areas did worship YHWH among other gods, spoke dialects of Hebrew, and wrote in the same script, but the southern territory (Judah) became more developed much later than the northern; it had remained sparse due to its more rugged terrain.  The bond of blood kinship of the northern and southern territories was openly acknowledged, but they had become politically divided.  Until the northern kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians (c. 734 BCE), the little “kingdom” of Judah languished in the shadow of Israel.  The fall of Israel was a blessing for the priests based in the village of Jerusalem who had long lusted to impose their method of religious observance upon all Hebrew people and wished to make the temple in Jerusalem the holiest place of their faith. 

Josiah, son and successor of Judah’s King Amon, came to the throne at the age of eight (c. 639 BCE), and was tutored by priests during his youth.  Because of this background Josiah soon reestablished the worship of Yahweh/Jehovah.  And it was during Josiah’s reign, apparently by divine providence, that a book of law was allegedly discovered by the high-priest Hilkiah when workmen were repairing the temple (as recorded in II Kings 22).  Josiah was inspired by the miraculously produced writing which has ever since been accepted as the book of Deuteronomy, supposedly the work of Moses.  Deuteronomy only recapitulated the law already recorded in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, but the framework in which the laws are set is notably (suspiciously) different from that of the other codes.  Notable in Deuteronomy is the contention that the Exodus version of the Covenant with Yahweh/God at Sinai was not made on the basis of the Decalogue; instead it is implied that only ten laws (Commandments) were given to the people at Sinai, with the rest delivered to Moses alone, and promulgated later at the Jordan.  This conveniently allowed enormous leeway for the high-priest Hilkiah to restructure and reform religious practice that gave greater prominence to themes of God’s sovereignty, justice, mercy and love rather than to outward observances of ritual and ceremonial emphasis.  In the discovered sermon of Moses it reads, “For you are a people consecrated to Yahweh your Elohim; it is you that Yahweh our Elohim has chosen to be his very own people out of all the peoples of the earth.”  This happily aligned priestly ambitions with that of Josiah’s inherited  dominion, and just happened to inspire a narrow national outlook.

With Israel reduced to secondary power and refugees fleeing south into Judah, the priests devoted to YHWH moved to expand, and they established shrines and sanctuaries at Dan and Bethel.  And as refugees poured in from the north the Yahweh priests in Jerusalem quickly embarked on a prodigious propaganda campaign of rewriting history and codifying material that now makes up the early books of the Old Testament.  Additional books were compiled to promote the impression that the little kingdom of Judah had been divinely ordained.  To account for the alleged split in the united kingdom into rival kingdoms, the blame for it was given with the myth of Solomon having his heart turned from YHWH by his foreign wives.  Sadly, for trusting believers, over one hundred years of intensive archaeology investigation have never been able to confirm David or Solomon as historical persons.

Predators and Politics

Posted in Atheist, culture, Government, history, life, politics, prehistory, random, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on June 12, 2010 by chouck017894

Way back in pre-history, a ruler in the ancient land of Sumer found so much immoral activity being indulged in in his kingdom that he found it necessary to inject force into the kingdom’s state of affairs.  A public inscription was posted on a stele by order of the ruler named Urukagina (c.2600 BCE) which decreed adherence to and respect for personal freedom, equality, mutual respect and justice.  A few of the injustices that Urukagina addressed included the unfair use by supervisors of their power to take the best things for themselves; the abuse of one’s official position; and the practice of monopolistic groups to extort unbearable prices upon the vulnerable populace.  If this reminds you of corporate business practices indulged in throughout the world today—well, predatory traits in animal life persist.

Approximately 875 years later (c.1758 BCE) Hammurabi ascended the throne of Babylon, and he is most famous for his codification of contemporary Babylonian laws and edicts.  The extensive code which sought to protect the weak and the poor against injustices at the hands of the greedy and powerful was displayed on an engraved stele of black diorite nearly eight feet tall.  This codification is the earliest complete legal code known to history, and consisted of 282 paragraphs, which were alleged to have been issued directly to Hammurabi by the sun god Shamash.

Of interest to modern corporate-victimized societies, the code begins with direction for legal procedure and the statement of penalties for unjust claims, false testimony, and injustice done by judges.  Included with this were laws concerning property rights, loans, deposits, and debts, domestic property, and family rights.  Also of interest were the penalties imposed for injuries that patients sustained through unsuccessful operation; also payment for damages sustained by citizens through neglect in various trades were put in place.  The “conservatives” of today, at least in the USA, who have chipped away at all government fair-play restrictions will cringe at the code which fixed rates for various forms of service in most branches of trade and commerce.  And to the shock of the religious right of today who make every effort to inject their narrow  brand of “faith” into the government of widely diverse peoples, the Hammurabi code contained no law concerning religion.  In other words, the code was posed to protect the weak and the poor against injustices at the hand of the unscrupulous.

The weakness in the Code of Hammurabi is that many of the laws were based on the principle of equal retaliation—a tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye type of justice.  This was also the concept of  justice in Hebrew-Judaic practice and is promoted in Old Testament tales.  That form of justice is strangely appealing today in light of the damages done by such outfits as British Petroleum, the let’s-start-a-war crowd, and the Wall Street shysters.

The majority of world governments today are at least moderately corrupt.  The prospect of ordinary citizens receiving just treatment in many of them is slim.  Once upon a time the USA was admired throughout the world as a nation that truly sought liberty, equality and justice for all, but greed has a way of sucking morality out of high ideals.  In the US the citizens have witnessed over the last few decades the slow and deliberate chipping away of regulatory laws so that corporations and big business could steal away more cash and political power.  So the government itself has been hijacked and is overrun with politicians contaminated with greed.  To illustrate, citizens in the US today actually pay over 40 different taxes to financially support what has been perverted into a notoriously unproductive bureaucratic government.  The so-called “representatives” of the citizens thus received at least twice the pay than what the genuinely productive private sector receives.  As if this was not evil enough, as of January 1, 2010 an enormous amount of new laws and regulations went into effect across the nation which give those unproductive bureaucrats even broader control over those of us who pay their salaries!  It is organized theft, pure and simple.  Worse, it is another step closer to destroying true democracy.

The injustices that Urukagina and Hammurabi found so dishonorable in their prehistory societies thousands of years ago have been far surpassed by today’s variety of predators.  Big Oil, Big Pharmacy, Big Finance, etc. all function as gangster operations.  Oil is a prime example, but until recently less known have been the tactics of large Wall Street investment banks.  Goldman Sachs, for example, pilots the idea of loaning cash-strapped states huge sums of money for leasing public highways from those states.  The catch—and it’s a doozie—the highways would then be converted into toll-ways, and travelers would have to shell out up to 75 cents a mile to use them.  Idle rumor?  The Texas state Republican governor, Perry, is a big supporter of the rip-off scheme.  And if this corrupt notion flies in Texas, bureaucrats in other states will soon be howling to jump on the gravy boat too. 

All this tends to prove that history does indeed repeat itself.  But history has shown also that runaway greed always winds up devouring itself.  Unfortunately, the immorality that the greedy ones perpetuate lives on after them.

Primitive Belief in Sacrifice

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, environment, faith, freethought, history, humanity, life, prehistory, random, religion, sex, thoughts with tags , , , , on June 9, 2010 by chouck017894

Where did the idea originate that the creative force that is personified as “God” required a sacrifice to save the world from the consequences of its imperfections?  Sacrifice is a pivotal turning point in the biblical tale of Abraham being told by God to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac.  And the whole focus of Christianity is upon the same superstition that man’s redemption can be achieved only at the expense of some innocent victim.  As a result of this “find-a-victim” approach many of the world’s cultures have blatantly victimized each other for thousands of years because of the immoral assertion that God demands victims.

It has always been held to be irreverent to ask such questions of priest-invented tales that were made-up by them to explain the unknown principles at work as creation.  However, the concept that God or the gods demanded sacrifices to receive his/their favoritism can be reliably traced back to the dark and dangerous environment of prehistory man.

In the ethnological phases in humankind’s development—the food gathering, small game hunting, agricultural and pottery phases—the framework of all life was thought by early man to be a spiritual universe.  The eventual discovery of how to extract metals from ores and creating useful objects from the metals abruptly altered man’s concept of how human force shaped the elements to become diverse creations.  The implied muscularity necessary for creation seemed to deny the previous belief that all life was created in and issued from a Great Mother, and the result was that the idea of a reflexively produced creation changed into an understanding that all within the universe was due to procreation.  Metal working required labor; ores had to be mined, metals extracted, and more labor was necessary to create useful objects from those metals.  Such work was rarely accomplished without significant pain, and even loss of blood often occurred in the process.  From this metallurgy work arose the themes of ritual union, blood sacrifice, immolation or self-immolation; and sacrifice was assessed as a condition of creation.  This, in turn, introduced the idea that life can only be engendered from another life that has been immolated.  The stage was then set where the process of creation or fabrication was deemed inconceivable without previous sacrifice.  This notion evolved to the point that when important buildings were built, victims were sacrificed so the “life” essence or “soul” of the victim would be transferred to the building itself.  In priestly theory the building then became the victim’s body.

The bulk of man’s beliefs from the Iron Age onward carried their theme that Creation is the result of sacrifice.  The precept was that life can be put into that which has been created only by giving to it one’s own life essences (blood, tears, sweat, semen, etc.).  From these concepts that sacrifice of life’s essence is necessary to instill the power of life there emerged the ideas of the sexualization of the mineral kingdom and vegetable kingdom.  In connection with this symbolism, the  mines that the men worked for ores were compared to the uterus and the ores were compared to embryos; it was the male entering that brought life out of belly of Earth.  From metal working there thus arose the widespread conception of the cosmic reality as also sexually oriented.  In some mining-centered cultures ores were classified as either male or female.  Those ores that were black and hard taken from the surface were classified as male, and ores that were soft and reddish extracted from inside mines were regarded as female.  That was a somewhat elastic means of classification, for neither the color nor firmness of ores always bestowed the decisive factor of the ore’s “sexual” evaluation.  This awareness of vague sexual characteristics brought recognition that a wide range in sexual orientation exists naturally throughout the cosmos. 

The premise of sacrifice was also a feature at the time of smelting—a mythico-ritual theme was generally practiced and accented the belief that a mystical union occurred between a human and the metals.  To ensure the “marriage” (civil union?) of metals in the smelting process it was thought that a living being must animate the process, and the prime way to accomplish this was by the transference of life—meaning a sacrifice.  From this perceived divine means of creating new manifestations from sacrifices offered up in primitive man’s furnaces new values would also be manufactured—values such as the sacrifice of Jesus to be transmuted into Christ for the salvation of the world. 

Man’s technologies have advanced beyond the need for immolation of human victims, but the superstitions are still intact in man’s faith systems and cloud our lives.

History, Traditions and Religion

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, culture, faith, freethought, history, humanity, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , on June 5, 2010 by chouck017894

History, according to most theologians of the western world, is the unfolding of God’s purpose.  And the stress that is placed upon the claimed historic value of their faith hinges upon a strategic rewrite of some unsettled conditions in one vicinity of the world in a narrow timeframe.  This perspective that it is their belief system which has historic value is quite unlike older faith traditions that were  more spiritually centered and which held that historical facts were of sparse value in terms of soul expansion.  The difference in the two approaches rests in the fact that the “miracles” credited to the central character in Eastern and older Pagan belief systems were accepted as incidental signs which attested to his divine authority.  Western religions, however, make the alleged “miracles” of the principal character the main essence of its alleged history.  The supernatural elements packaged into the scriptural accounts of Jesus, for example, are supposed to be accepted as historical happenings.  As summed up by an early Christian apologist, “If Christ be not risen from the dead, then is your faith vain.”

Genuine history always leaves tangible evidence behind that attests to particular persons and/or events.  Simply claiming historicity of biblical narratives is not legitimate evidence of historic happenings.  The time of the writing of various biblical accounts is of historical value, however, for the conditions of life in the region where the accounts were penned (not the setting of the story) colors the relationship to what is claimed as history.  That consideration of real-time and place is steadfastly avoided in both the Hebrew and Christian traditions, and by extension Islam as well, unless it happens to play into some claim that they put forward. 

God is presented in western faith systems as a being possessing an objective and permanent reality, a belief which for the faithful correlates as hard fact.  And this has made for western world cultures in which believers struggle with subliminal resentment over miracle happenings in antiquity that are apparently no longer granted to mortals by heaven.  Religious dogma does not allow sect members the luxury of logic, and as a result the devout (especially the fundamentalists) fail to see that miracles have been produced abundantly in modern times: we have received them through mankind’s pursuit of science and technology. 

Ironically, Christianity more than any other religion has served as the seedbed for man’s scientific and technological experiments in seeking some command over nature.   These pursuits for dominion over the physical world rest wholly on the Judaic/Christian scriptures that assert that man was meant to have rulership over earth life.  Other faiths never presumed such a thing, insisting that one should live in harmony with all life expressions.  But the holy word of God, as the western theologians chose to interpret it, subtly instilled a state of mind that lusted to impose transformational power over the physical world. 

If history is the unfolding of God’s purpose, as the devout theologians declare, the progressive movement of history has indicated that science and technology are Heaven’s favored path into transformation through the determined closing down of finite limits.

Christianity, An Urbanized Faith

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, faith, history, nature, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , on June 1, 2010 by chouck017894

Christianity can be said to have been formulated by and for city dwellers.  Rome was certainly Christianity’s nursery, and the great outlying cities of Antioch, Corinth, Ephesus and Alexandria served as its teething rings.  As Roman domination surged after Octavian became sole ruler of the Roman world (as Augustus, 34 BCE), the cultural attractions and economic allure of Rome developed steadily.  Augustus was a patron of the arts, and maintained close friendship with Ovid, Horace, Vergil, and Livy.  The phrase “the Augustan age” became a synonym for this timeframe in which literature and architecture triumphed.  This environment was to influence events that would result in the initiation of a defiant new cult that would evolve into Christianity.  There arose, as a consequence, a subtle urban style about the faith’s character quite unlike the world’s more nature-focused faiths of the peasantry.  This has led some scholars  to assess Christianity’s elaborate atmosphere as the most unnatural religion in the world, for it functions not so much on what one may feel inwardly but upon what one wills.  That, of course, reflects the traits by which the Roman Empire rose to domination.

Christianity, taking root in Rome, could be evaluated as a religion in determined disregard for the natural world, for the alleged supernatural conception of the savior, the miraculous overrule of normal limitations, and the alleged physical resurrection from death have nothing to do with the world in which we live.  That, of course, is the intent, and the tribulations of the natural world are openly scorned in Jesus saying, “My kingdom is not of this world.”  Somehow that doesn’t ring true if God the Father created this world. 

Nature, “in the likeness” of the power and force that is personified as God, is amoral (neither good nor evil) in its implementation and operation.  Pagan reverence of natural energy involvements as minor gods tended to offer mankind nothing greater than a numb resignation that this life experience is all that one could ever expect.  That didn’t set well in a willful and thriving urban environment that expanded and prospered while extending respect to the belief systems of conquered peoples.  Despite this extended tolerance, the empire found its governance being repeatedly disrupted by the civil disobedience of those of the Jewish faith.  In face of these continuous disruptions which threatened the stability of the empire it seems more than a bit peculiar that it was in this timeframe that God suddenly found it necessary to dispatch his only begotten son to instruct the (Roman) world in the technique of gaining heavenly favor.  In defense of the new Christian cult so influenced by urban abundance and self-alienation from nature, it dared to throw off the sense of resignation and pursue a more joyous prospect of an ultimate payoff.

In city life it was easier to ignore the seeming indifference to the struggle for life that appears to underscore nature.  The religion that arose within the Roman Empire was shaped instead to appeal to human nature’s deepest yearnings for joyous, abundant life.  Christianity was offered much like a divine lotto game: if you picked the right choices, you won; if chose wrongly you gained nothing.  It offered unsupportable promises, sweetly frosted with hope.

Many of the urbane principles that came to define Christianity were polished in the environment of the outlying major cities.  These were then later revamped and stamped as canon in which belief and doctrine and dogma and rites were held to be more important than one’s inward and indefinable life experiences.  Like a map of city streets, these codes were marketed as the best means to arrive at one’s desired destination.  The young faith was blueprinted in an architectural style, an assemblage of parts—not exactly a faith that grew organically or spontaneously.  Devotion to the resultant set of principles was declared to be the only thoroughfare into the willed love of God.  The only thing not provided for was the need for occasional rest stops.