Archive for July, 2010

Covenant of Special Favor

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, history, humanity, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2010 by chouck017894

…or Promises Not Kept

At Mount Sinai, Moses allegedly received directly from God the list of Laws under which the Israelites were to forever abide.  But when Moses trudged down the mountain to the Israelite camp with the stone tablets of  Law he found the Israelites had fashioned a golden calf idol to lavish their attention upon.  In anger Moses hurled the tablets of Law at the dejected Israelites and the Laws became rubble.  There was no backup technology in those days so Moses had to camber back up the mountain again to get a second batch of commandments that spelled out the rules by which the Israelites could make themselves worthy of receiving God’s conditional love.  This set of stone tablets survived and were then lugged around in an ark for years and served as the Israelites’ battle standard during their weary wanderings, for there had been no map included with the commandments.

The rest of the Old Testament pivots upon the alleged covenant that Yahweh is said to have established with the Israelites at Sinai.  For some never explained reason Yahweh pledged to make  the Israelites—out  of all the people on the planet—his chosen ones and bestowed special favors upon them.  Yahweh’s promises included a peaceful and affluent homeland.  Oddly, that land was already occupied!  But all  they had to do to receive the “Promised Land” was to indulge in a bit of genocide to show their worthiness of the gift.  According to the priest written “history,” the Israelites thus received their “inheritance” by cleansing the land with Canaanite blood as Yahweh cheered them on. 

Once the Israelites were in possession of the coveted land, the Israelites had every expectation, according to their understanding of the Sinai contract, to live peacefully in their enclosed, uncontaminated region.  But even Moses apparently neglected to note the fine print clauses attached to the Sinai Covenant.  The inherited land was not as peaceful as anticipated.  After years of guidance under assorted Judges, the Philistine armies routed the Israelite tribal levies in battle and took the Ark of the Covenant as booty.  The priests and “prophets” came to the conclusion that the reason for their problem was because Yahweh had expected them to set up their inherited land as a kingdom.  Sure enough, the “prophet” Samuel avowed that indeed such was the wish of Yahweh, and the Lord’s selection was Saul to be first king of Israel.  Saul proved to have been the Lord’s spur of the moment decision, for it proved to be a not-so-omniscient choice; and even as Saul continued to reign, God was directing the “prophet” Samuel to select the youngest son of Jesse (of the Benjamin tribe), David, to be groomed for king.  The timeframe for David is traditionally placed as 1040?-973 BCE.

So how did the Lord show his favor for David?  In a combat situation with a Philistine giant named Goliath.  Priest “history” asserts  that the youth David, who was too young to serve in the military but brought supplies, was the only one connected to Saul’s defence forces who was brave enough to meet Goliath in one-on-one combat.  The priest authors noted that David shouted, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with javelins; but I come to you in the name of the Lord.”   And the Lord made certain that the single small stone from David’s slingshot struck the most vulnerable spot on Goliath’s helmeted skull.  Later on, however, the Lord did nothing to assist all those in dire need who joined with David when he became the renegade leader of fugitives and soldiers.  After Saul’s death some 23 years later, traditionally placed about 1013 BCE, David was allegedly anointed king of Israel. 

The “word of the Lord,” according to the minor “prophet” Nathan, was relayed to David with another glorious covenant promise (1 Kings 7:12-16); that the house, the kingdom and the throne of David “…shall be established for ever.”  The only restrictive clause in this covenant was that if the king did wrong in the Lord’s sight, then the king, not the people, would be punished; even so, God would not take the kingdom away from David as he had done with Saul.  This sounds like an unconditional promise—the house of David was to continue for ever.

Genuine history seems not to have followed the Lord’s plan: the kingdom of the Israelites was conquered and completely destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BCE, never to be resurrected as a monarchy ruled over by a descendant of David.  (Incidentally, something time-altering occurred in 587 BCE that forced every nation on Earth to begin recalculating its chronology.  It was not because David’s kingdom fell.)  Today, of course, there is the nation of Israel, but it is not under the rule of a descendant of David; it functions loosely as a democracy.  This means that the greatest covenants that God extended to the Israelites were sacred promises that was not kept.

That fact does not seem to register with the army of Bible thumpers who choose to cherry pick verses out of scriptures that will inflate their egos.  Ignoring the unfulfilled promises of the covenants that were avowed to have been extended to the Israelites allows them the privilege of accepting the present day democratic nation of Israel as the fulfillment of God’s promises.  The reason  for their self-inflicted blindness is that it allows them to indulge in spiritual lust over the New Testament book of Revelation and the alleged  “prophecy” of Armageddon—the promised first step to Christian domination of Earth.

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Commercializing Spirit

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, religion, thoughts with tags , , , on July 19, 2010 by chouck017894

Religious invention, like any marketable product, needs a variety of representations and catch phrases to keep sales appealing and active.  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 warranted adoration.  Those in the business of selling belief  found it profitable to extend the meaning to include those persons or things that allegedly held a unique relationship to the gods.  The devised ploy was that a special relationship of certain persons had been divinely set apart from the corrupt world and made sufficiently clean—that is, rendered “holy” by man-concocted magic rites so that legendary persons or objects could be used for sacred theatrics.

The political minded priests of Yahweh at work in Jerusalem in the 7th century BCE declared that anyone devoted to their god constituted 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 having been especially selected as God’s people.  Behind this priestly indulgence in sales technique, the true purpose had nothing to do with the people’s personal spiritual advancement; it was totally focused on attaining and maintaining material/political advantages for their belief project.  Thus the followers of the Yahweh priests were declared to be “holy people”—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 into the “faith” that was being manufactured in Jerusalem cultivated characteristics that guaranteed that the faith could never reflect the diverse and all-embracing power that they claimed to serve.  Creation, as priests of Yahweh presented it, is said to be managed through a system of favoritism and discrimination.

The rise of a counter doctrine was inevitable, especially since the devotees to the politics of spirit fostered in Jerusalem had made for unending skirmishes throughout the young musclebound Roman Empire.  The initiation of the cult that was to become Christianity happened to feature a man cast as a Jewish rebel whose name happened to be derived from the Torah’s militaristic and brutal messiah named Joshua.  Thus in the anthology that would evolve as the New Testament there is found a heavy draw upon all things Jewish. 

The new faith movement was conceived and fleshed out primarily in Rome, not in Jerusalem, but the early authors did have a certain amount of personal familiarity with the governing families in Jerusalem.  As the Christian counter-movement evolved, it also borrowed strong attributes from other religious cults of the time–Mithraism, Orphism, Gnosticism, even Stoicism, etc.  Also, various authors brought different colorings to the new cult, among which was the absorption of the Jewish notion of a special category of  persons who pleased heaven and which also appealed to the egos of attracted converts.  Thus, since the people of Judaism had been presented as “holy ones,” there had to be allowance made which placed the young competing “faith” movement on a competitive base with the unruly Jews.  Consequently, God suddenly found himself possessed with a whole new variety of “favorites.”

The political minded authors of the new Christian cult therefore cleverly incorporated into the new holy works the idea that those who comprised the new church were “holy” and called them “saints” because they were allegedly 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 c. 100 CE when the authors were restructuring the earlier Christian strategies), that Christians are artfully referred to as God’s own people.  This theme is also implied in 1:1 of Philippians, undoubtedly written much later than the 64 date that is commonly insisted upon.  At the time when Philippians was penned, Roman annoyance at the Jews spiritual conceit and arrogance was being channeled into a strategy of spiritual intimidation; this intent would reach it orgiastic conclusion in the book of Revelation (written c. 135 CE) where a new Jerusalem is allegedly to be lowered to Earth after Christ’s aggressive judgment is passed.  The rest of the Roman world was apparently meant to continue.

As the Christian movement grew over the centuries and its influence spread from Rome across Europe, the religious movement became something of a replacement for the collapsed Roman Empire.  It cannot be said to have been exactly a godly blessing for the world.  The first recognized “saints,” of  course, were the disciples given in the cult account.  From that starting point every figure ever presented as a “saint” throughout Christian history has in some manner advanced the corporate church itself—and not one of those “saints” can be said to have advanced mankind’s understanding that the universe responds directly to each person if each person learns to approach it in sincere reverence.

Today, locked in its time warp, the Roman Catholic Church is still indulging in the old self-promotion tactics, and plans are in place to elevate the late Pope John Paul to “saint” status.  All that is needed for this celebrated recognition is a miracle that can be credited to him.  As the old adage goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

A Counterfeit Messiah

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, freethought, history, life, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , , on July 8, 2010 by chouck017894

The “conquest” of the Near-East region of Canaan by Israelites is presumed to have occurred between 1230 and 1220 BCE.  It was, so the scriptural “history” account claims, a destiny that God had preordained.  Thus Moses led the Israelites to the borders of the “Promised Land” where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were said to have dwelt.  But it was up to Joshua to mount hard-striking military campaigns to defeat powerful kings to gain possession of the land which God promised was just for them.  Why the Lord did not or could not keep Canaan a virgin territory for his chosen ones is not too clear.  Anyway, the Israelites had to fight tooth and nail to “inherit” their “Promised Land.”

Joshua was an eager messiah, concocting holocuastic strategy that only fanatic priest-authors could invent or approve.  Interestingly, the saga of the conquest of Canaan begins with the book of Deuteronomy, a book claimed to be linked with the Moses chronicles, but which did not see the light of day until c. 629 BCE, or around 600 years after “inheriting” Canaan, when the book was conveniently “discovered” in the Temple wall during remodeling.  (More on this in Scripture’s Contrived History, June 2010.)  And what an eye-opening discovery it was, telling of the famished Israelite “army,” accompanied by women, children and aged, achieving stunning and murderous victories in rapid succession over heavily fortified Canaanite cities.

According to scriptural “history,” God commanded that Joshua should establish a bridgehead for the invasion of Canaan at the city of Jericho, which was across the Jordan River from the land of Moab.  The tale of the walls of Jericho falling to the Israelites after priests marched around the city seven times blowing trumpets is too well-known to detail here.  But is it not strange that priests would provide the frontline of an invasion attack?  Not if the authors of the tale were priests.

There followed in rapid succession the storming and defeat of other alleged fortified cities, such as Ai, Gibeon, Lachish, Hazor, etc.  Apparently God had watched it all as a sports fan would watch and cheer for his favorite team: and when the Israelites at last moved in a surprise attack against the Jerusalem coalition, God became so excited that he hurled great stones from heaven at the assembled Canaanite kings!  The priestly account brags, “…they were more which died because of the hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.” (Joshua 10:11)

In rapid  follow-up Joshua then commanded the Sun to stand still upon Gibeon and the Moon to stand still in the valley of Ajalon so the Israelites could continue their bloody rampage.  The kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and of  Eglon were alledly defeated and then publicly ridiculed and slain, their bodies strung up in trees for display.  And the holocaust continued, “And the Lord delivered them (Israelite enemies) into the hand of Israel, who smote them…” (Joshua 11:9)  Thus did the Israelites and God himself ignore the 6th Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”  The final carnage is depicted as having taken place in the north where the Israelites met a Canaanite coalition headed by Jabin of Hazor; a coalition consisting of “…a great host, in number like the sand that is upon the seashore, with very many horses and chariots” (Joshua 11:4).  But of course the capital city of Hazor fell to the Israelites, and it was subsequently reduced to ashes.

So the story goes.  The priest-authors could never have imagined that ages later an investigative science, archaeology, would expose the fabrication that the priest-tales presented as holy truth.  An armed invasion of Canaan never occurred between 1230 and 1220 BCE.  There was, however, a group named Israel established there by 1207 BCE that endured a defeat by Egyptians according to the Egyptian upright stone slab known as the Merneptah Stele.  Indeed, in the timeframe of 1230 and 1220 BCE, the Canaanite “kings” of Jerusalem, Shechem, Megiddo, Hazor, and Lachish were vassals of Egypt.  Furthermore, the “cities” of Canaan in this age were only small villages, and being under the protection of Egyptian forces they had no need for fortified city walls. 

In the timeframe of the 13th century BCE, presented as the era of the Joshua-led invasion of Canaan, careful archaeological digs have revealed a dramatically different setting than is presented in Deuteronomy or in the book of Joshua.  We must repeat: archaeological research has shown that the cities of Canaan were not wall-fortified.  More disturbing to the faithful than a lack of Jericho’s walls is the revelation that in the timeframe of the 13th century BCE no settlement at all existed at the site claimed for Jericho.  So the walls did not come tumbling down as priests sounded trumpets and paraded around Jericho with the Ark of the Covenant. 

Joshua’s second conquest is alleged to have been the city of Ai, a name that translates in meaning as “ruins.”  By the 13th century BCE, whatever settlement that had once stood there had already been reduced to ruins.  Nonetheless, Joshua is said to have ambushed the inhabitants of the ruins in order to capture the site.  The rest of Joshua’s alleged campaigns may be judged accordingly.

As noted in an earlier post, Years of Heavenly Havoc, June 2010, unsettling events in the heavens had occurred from at least c. 1600 BCE until around 750 BCE, and all of planet Earth was periodically shaken—literally.  In the Bible the focus of events is kept upon the land of Israel.  The 13th century BCE was one of the rough times in the planet’s history, and people around the world experienced  upheaval, social breakdown, mass migration, cities and villages ignited and burned to the ground: in short, the Bronze Age kingdoms everywhere, not just in Canaan, were plunged into momentous transformations.

Biblical Patriarchs

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, history, humanity, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2010 by chouck017894

Patriarchs: the names given to the alleged heads of families in early Scriptural “history.”  Any of the progenitors of the human race before the Deluge, from Adam to Noah: the post-Flood characters of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or any of Jacob’s twelve sons, said to be the eponymous  progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel. 

It has been noted in these Time Frame posts that the 8th and 7th centuries BCE covered a period of intense writing in Jerusalem of those “sacred” tales regarded as patriarchal narratives.  In this period of dynamic priest writing the nation of Assyria dominated much of the Mid East region; it was, we should note, only in this timeframe that camels became common enough as beasts of burden to merit mention only incidentally in trader’s reports.  Archaeology research has shown that camels were not domesticated until after c. 1000 BCE., which makes it awkward for some Genesis tales. 

In Genesis 37:25, for example, the story goes that Joseph, the eleventh son of the patriarch Jacob (generally claimed to have lived c. 1700 BCE) is alleged to have been sold into slavery by his brothers and taken to Egypt.  In the scene that is set with the slavery sale, there is mention of camels as beasts of burden as well as products such as “gum, balm and myrrh.”  In the 7th century BCE, at the time of the writing, these were main products in active  trade under Assyrian supervision—but not in the alleged time-setting of the Jacob-Joseph story.

Given mention in Genesis 20:1, in the alleged Isaac narrative, is found reference to a Philistine center named Gerar in connection with the Abraham saga, which implies it was a center of some importance in Abraham’s time.  By some accounts the time projected for Abram and Sarai was c. 2150-2100 BCE.  Others insist that Abraham departed from Ur in Chaldea around 2100 BCE.  And  others assert that Abraham made his way to Egypt c. 1935 BCE.  In the Isaac narrative Gerar is not actually identified as a Philistine center by the authors—probably because that location did not gain importance until about the time of the priestly composition of patriarchal lore—the 7th century BCE—when it was a heavily fortified Assyrian administrative stronghold.  Nonetheless, in Genesis 26:1, we are told that Isaac, son of Abraham, encountered King Abimelech of the Philistines, the very king who had taken to his harem Abraham’s wife Sarah.  And Isaac is said to have dwelt the Gerar because the Lord had told him, “Go not down into Egypt (verse 3).  But archaeological evidence shows that no city of the Philistines flourished until after c. 1200 BCE; they did, however, continue into Assyrian times.

Obviously the alleged patriarchal narratives were late compositions, for the incidental details that set the scenes, such as camels, non-existent cities, caravan products, etc, are out of  place for the timeframes of the alleged patriarchal characters.

The priests of Yahweh, in authoring their version of “history,” also freely indulged themselves in reproachful commentary on any and all cultural neighbors—especially those to the east such as Moab and Ammon.  With holy hatred they declared that the nations of Moab and Ammon arose from sons born to the two daughters of Lot who had an incestuous union with their father following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:30-38).  This was clearly invented propaganda by the 8th-7th century BCE priests to inflame followers with hatred for those rival nations across the Dead Sea.

Thus today do the three organized religions of the west still dish out the legacy of crafted lies and practiced hatred as the sacred path into God’s acceptance!

Years of Heavenly Havoc

Posted in Astronomy, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, history, nature, prehistory, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on July 1, 2010 by chouck017894

Of major importance in understanding how the priests of Yahweh could convince people that their staging of “history” was truthful, it all seemed to be supported by periodic disturbances that had dominated the heavens for generations.  The heavens had been in a state of instability that began around 1600 BCE with the passage of a huge comet into the solar system.  In the eighth century BCE, as Yahweh’s priests composed their version of history, planet Earth experienced exogenous disturbances in its rotation, and this coincided with a reverse in Earth’s magnetic poles.  Also at this time the young planet Venus had at last attained an established orbit, causing the “prophet” Isaiah (who kept watch of the heavens, meaning he was an astronomer) to allegedly say, “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).  In this same general  timeframe other cultures around the world, such as Babylon and  China, found  it necessary to formulate a new calendar.  The newly established eight-year orbital cycle of Venus determined the schedule for the Olympic Games, the event being held every half cycle.  The orbital period of Venus was also of prime importance to the Mayans and Aztecs on the opposite side of the planet.

Other biblical astronomer “prophets” of this general timeframe were the minor “prophets” Joel, Micha and Amos.  It was Amos who began warning that a new terror was approaching “out of the north,” referring to the disturbed orbit of the planet Mars.  He predicted that a raash—a catastrophic commotion—was to fall upon Earth and that Syria, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Phisitia and other far-off countries would be devoured “…with the tempest in the day of the whirlwind.”  Both Amos and Joel warned that the whole Earth would be shaken (using the word shaog) as opposed to some local earthquake.  For all his warnings the astronomer Amos was persecuted and killed.  But all that he foretold came to pass, and the planetary jolt was so severe that Earth’s rotation was disturbed.  Assyro-Babylonian records confirm heavenly havoc took place and that there was no eclipse of the sun in the regions of Babylon or Assyria between the years 762 to 701 BCE.  Science has confirmed the reversal of Earth’s magnetic poles is clearly evident in the magnetic dip of the iron particles in the kiln-dried vases by the Greeks and Etruscans of this timeframe. 

The “prophet” Isaiah had an observatory-watchtower from which he pursued his calculations of heavenly activities.  In this timeframe the focus of his concern was the trajectory of planet Mars, which had had its previous calm orbital pattern disturbed by the movements of Venus.  Thus the portrayal of Isaiah as a “prophet” disguised and mystified his reliance upon the science of astronomy to warn of impending upheavals.  The priests later recorded in Isaiah 29:5-6 that “…a multitude of terrible ones” bombarded the Earth.  In other words, there was a rain of destruction caused by the inrush of meteors during the close passage of Earth’s two neighboring planets.  Mars passed close to Earth’s electrical field which resulted in “…thunder, and earthquake, and great noise, the storm and tempest and the flame of devouring fire…”  Thus when the “prophet” Isaiah warned of “stones falling  from the sky,” he meant exactly that.

Isaiah relied entirely on his skills in the science of astronomy, charting the times of likely heavenly turmoil.  The priestly authors of Judaic lore, however, preferred to render the scientific studies used by Isaiah into the illusion that God had showered him with the divine gift of prophecy.  That way even in times of terrifying turmoil the priests could pretend an especial insight of God’s plans.  Isaiah conducted his watch of the heavens through the reign of four kings of Juda  —Uzziah,  Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah.  In this period of time Assyria was at the height of its power, and Hezekiah’s priest advisors were urging the king to ally himself with the Egyptians against the possible Assyrian invasion.  Isaiah, however, thought it much wiser to ally with Assyria, for he reasoned that the coming natural disasters would be better met by having closer provisional support.  Hezekiah followed priestly advice and Assyria attacked.  The skies opened and according to 2 Kings an “…angel of the  Lord went forth and slew a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians.”  In other words, the unprotected Assyrians were driven off by the bombardment of meteorites. 

 The book of Isaiah is the first and longest book of the major “prophets,” consisting of a collection of “prophecies” attributed to Isaiah. The book, which is divided into five sections that are of similar length, is the result of a massive amount of editing and self-serving by the priest authors.  Each section begins with an attack on people’s arrogance and an appeal for (priestly) justice, and culminates with a hymn or prophecy of salvation—obvious  intrusions on what Isaiah had actually presented.  The books of the “prophets” extend from c. 750 to c. 450 BCE, and  include Amos, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Lamentation, and Daniel—a period in which the heaven adjusted to portray what we see today.

Neither religionists nor scientists of today give serious consideration to ancient accounts of interplanetary disturbances in Earth’s past.  Indeed, most accounts were systematically destroyed.  All of them could not be obliterated, however, and we have reference to those frightening times by several eminent writers.  One highly reputable one was Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BCE-65 CE), who wrote in what is called the Silver Age of Latin literature.  Seneca authored seven books under the title of Questiones Naturuleas dealing with meteorology and astronomy.  Pertinent to this post, Seneca wrote of frightening heavenly disturbances that once occurred in the Etruscan-Roman past, and he made careful distinction between the lightning discharges of  “lesser bolts” generated out of clouds and the Earth-scarring bolts that had taken place between planets “by which the threefold mass of mountains fell.”

And a contemporary of Seneca, Pliny the Elder (c. 23-79 CE), soldier, statesman and author, was familiar with older Etruscan books and referred to them in his Natural History regarding a great planetary lightning discharge from the planet Mars a few centuries previously which totally destroyed Bolsena, “the richest town in Tuscany” (in Etruscan territory).  As did Seneca, Pliny made studied distinction between lightning generated between clouds and the thunderbolts exchanged between planets.