Archive for April, 2011

US Supreme Court Betrays Democracy–Again

Posted in Atheist, culture, Government, history, politics, random, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , on April 30, 2011 by chouck017894

The US Supreme Court, dominated five out of nine by Republican nominated Catholic “justices,” has once again favored corporations and big money over the citizens of the nation whom they are supposed to protect.  There is no longer any doubt as to the true allegiance of Chief “Justice” Roberts and his fellow conspirators.

Consumer rights were again fluffed off by the April 27th, 2010 court ruling (5 to 4); citizens’ fragile lines of defense against unscrupulous corporation practices were virtually stripped away, patted down, lewdly shafted and thrown to be meat for the predatory corporations.  Old reliable Justice Scalia indifferently recited the court’s incontestable decision that favored AT&T and actually gave open range ability to corporations to use consumer and employment contracts to strip the citizens of any rights to join class-action lawsuits!  (The case was AT&T v. Concepcion.)

Any consumer has faced corporation “agreements”—too often without even paying attention to the barriers the corporations place in the “agreement” which allows them to sidestep responsibility for irresponsible performances.  Ever arranged needed medical care in a hospital or doctor’s office?  Ever opened a bank account (the same banks that got billions of dollars of bailout from your tax money)?  Ever gotten a mortgage, or refinanced your home? Ever bought a cell phone?  Ever purchased a refrigerator?  Ha!  The “agreement” you signed certainly was not something agreed upon through any negotiation with you.  Think that was to protect your interests?

Almost all corporation “agreement” contracts contain the barely legal inclusion that contain “arbitration clauses,” which gives the false impression that corporations are willing to bother themselves with ironing out any wrinkles of discontent with some individual. 

So buyer beware!  This phony implied offer of arbitration blocks the protection for individuals through traditional trials, even barring mistreated persons the right and ability to gather information from corporate defendants!  Furthermore, the largest “arbitration” firms are notoriously partial to Big Business, not individuals. 

Ahh, but these shady dealings are  just hunky-dory with the carefully stacked US Supreme Court.  The typical corporate indulgences in actual fraud, discrimination, unprofessional conduct, and other practices against groups of consumers and even employees, are but another means of destroying the foundation of democracy.  That is the intent of Right Wing fanatics.  And now, true to form, five of the right-leaning high court “justices” gave their blessing upon corporations by allowing them to force people into arbitration, while those whom the corporations harm are denied the right of assembly with others who are also seeking actual justice in a court of law.

Denying people allowance to confront corporations’ wrongdoings through class action suits for a fair opportunity to obtain rectification is not concerned with genuine justice.  Corporations may now indulge themselves in even more lucrative rip-offs.  Apparently the Catholic dominated US Supreme Court implies divine guidance in allowing corporations to this, which only proves how out of touch with reality that stacked court really is.

If there are any members of Congress that are actually honorable and truly have any loyalty to the democratic principles put in place by this nation’s founding fathers, then get down to some real work and reintroduce and enact the Arbitration Fairness Act that got shelved.  The nation was not founded upon we the corporations treachery—a fact that the stacked Supreme Court has self-servingly forgotten.

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Myths of Heaven and Hell

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, Hebrew scripture, history, life, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2011 by chouck017894

…or Where Do We Divide Eternity?

Eternity is generally defined as the totality of time which is without beginning or end: an infinite time.  From this understanding religious practices have promoted the belief in the endless period of time following death; the afterlife; immortality.  This allows the faith system wiggle room to claim special allowance to those who follow their faith system as having a privileged continuation in the abode of God–Heaven.  That imagined reward is always painted as a place of bliss where the souls of sanctified departed (blessed by the faith system) enter their spiritual potential.

Those who are not deemed qualified by the faith system are deemed to be shuffled off to a different locale in eternity, the famous godforsaken Hell.  Hell is always presented as the underworld, which most likely developed out of the caveman notion of an underworld as the abode of the dead.  This belief was a natural conclusion drawn from placing the dead in graves or in caves.  Faith system manufacturers found this to be a convenient angle to build upon, for it provided the means to manipulate through use of threats and/or bribery of some eternal consequence of their faith.  An imagined painful region of eternity was addressed by the priest-authors of Hebrew Scriptures as Sheol (the Pit); in Greco-Roman tradition it was called Hades.

In Jewish mythical cosmology composed c. 8th century BCE, a cherub named Lucifer (the planet Venus), also called Son of Dawn, is said to have walked in Eden and had been designated as Guardian of All Nations by God.  The Garden of Eden apparently encompassed a number of nations!  The colors that are said to have been embodied by Lucifer are actually reference to the comet phase of the object which eventually became Earth’s neighboring planet.  This is acknowledged by stating that his body was afire with carnelian, topaz, emerald, diamond, beryl, onyx, jasper, sapphire and carbuncle.  The myth continued that Lucifer soon became lost in pride and he plotted to “ascend above the stars” where he would become God’s equal.  God did not much care for that idea of rival glory, and cast Lucifer down to Earth, and then flung him into Sheol.  In his fall through the heavens (ala comet-style), Lucifer was said to have shone like lightning, and was reduced to ashes.  All that remained of Lucifer was spirit, which is said to eternally waver about in the Bottomless Pit.  The word Sheol is presented 65 time in Hebrew Scriptures.  It was not until around the 6th or 5th century BCE that the perception arose among the Jews that God also controlled Sheol, and this is mirrored in the re-edited books of Job:6, Psalms 139:8, and Proverbs 15:11.

In the mystical cosmology upon which Hebrew Scriptures were woven, Sheol was imagined as the highest of seven layers of the Fifth Earth, and like the lower layers Sheol held a storehouse of darkness.  The fiery elements of the six layers below Sheol were said to increase to sixty times fiercer than the layer above it.  The six layers below Sheol were: Perdition, Lowest Pit, the Bilge, Silence, the Gates of Death, and the Gates of the Shadow of Death.  With these additions, Sheol then took on the attributes similar to the later Catholic idea of Purgatory where souls pass time until the Last Judgment. 

The imagined underground location of hell as inferred by early Christian writers is also rooted in cosmology of antiquity, which imagined the universe as divided into heaven, Earth and the underworld.  Christianity, developing in the Roman Empire, elaborated upon the Greco-Roman Hades angle, but Hell is mention no more than about a dozen times throughout the New Testament.  Nonetheless, Hell is disproportionately expounded upon in too many sermons. 

The literature known as the New Testament was composed in Roman Empire times between c. 55 and 140 (and the true authors of any of the 27 books have never been satisfactorily answered).  Hellfire—or Gehenna—is defined in the book of Matthew 5:22; and Hell–or Hades—is summarized in the book of Luke 16:23.  The scare tactics of later Christian sects elaborated upon the imagined eternal tortures which Satan allegedly inflicted upon condemned souls. 

In the Catholic faith system there is a formal process that allegedly identifies souls that were regarded fit enough to enter heaven, and the competition is something like an Olympic event in which the gold medal that is given out is the title of “saint.”  That the “saint” race is a rigged event is obvious by the fact that those who achieve that faith’s highest honor have been judged to have in some manner contributed to advancing the institution of the faith system itself, not due to any concern for the sheep. 

The doctrine of damnation or blessedness is more a policy designed for ego manipulation than it is to promote any spiritual truth.  The Augustine-Jerome message of inescapable sin, which became the cornerstone of the Christian faith market, deliberately pushed aside the idea that Jesus died for everyone’s sins to imply that Jesus’ saving power came only through the faith system itself.

The Islamic hell is called Jahannum and, as imagined by Mohammed, is nothing less than Allah’s torture chamber.  There the unbelievers of Mohammed’s faith system (such as the Jews, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, etc.), called kafirs, burn in eternal agony in God’s inferno.  The Koran does not use the neutral word unbelievers, but applies the word kafir to imply the lowest form of life, and it is okay to cheat them, lie to them, torture and kill them.   Muslim wrongdoers, however, no matter how horrific, are exempt from hell because Mohammed will intercede for his followers on the Day of Judgment.  Those who have remained dedicated to Islam will bypass hell and will enter Jannat (Paradise), which is outfitted with beautiful virgins and young boys to fulfill any desire.  The details of Jahannum (hell) are more broadly presented in the Koran, and numerous inhumane suggestions listed on how Muslim faithful are to treat the kafirs.  This angle is the inspiration for the hateful fanaticism of Muslim terrorist groups.

These faith system concepts of heaven and hell serve only one purpose: to frighten the unwary into servitude to a power structure presided over by the manipulators.  This is a tried and true con game that flourishes simply because personal faith is all about ego.  And the irrationality of eternal blessedness or unending damnation are the tools of ego manipulation—the “I’m saved, you’re not” stratagem.  Unfortunately, these taught judgmental concepts of who is blessed and who is damned serve only as the seeds of hatred and continuing world discord.  Ultimately, with these taught faith system beliefs we all lose.

Enough of Right Wing BS

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, culture, environment, freethought, Government, history, humanity, life, politics, random, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , on April 18, 2011 by chouck017894

In case some readers may have missed this, here is a slightly modified version of an open letter written by an unnamed man from Montana to Alan Simpson, former Republican senator from Wyoming.  In August 2010 Simpson, an Anglican/Episcopalian, proved the caliber of his understanding of important and proven government programs by comparing Social Security to “a milk cow with 310 teats (well, he said tits).  And his assessment of those who earned that security through Social Security withholding from their earnings he actually called “the greediest generation”!  That knucklehead deserved more than this harsh tongue lashing, but the Montana man speaks volumes of truth—a commodity that is in much disfavor with the religious right dominated Republican/tea party.  Here is the letter.

Hey Alan, let’s get a few things straight.

1)  As a career politician, you have been on the public dole for fifty years.

2)  I have been paying Social Security taxes for 48 years (since I was 15 years old.  I am now 63).

3)  My Social Security payments, and those of  millions of other Americans, were safely tucked away in an interest bearing account for decades until you political pukes decided to raid the account and give our money to a bunch of zero ambition losers in return for votes, thus bankrupting the system and turning Social Security into a Ponzi scheme that would have made Bernie Madoff proud.

4)  Recently, just like Lucy and Charlie Brown, you and your ilk pulled the proverbial football away from millions of American seniors nearing retirement and moved the  goalposts for full retirement from 65 to 67.  Now, you and your shill commission is proposing to move the goalposts yet again.

5)  I, and millions of other Americans, have been paying into Medicare from Day One, and now you (scheming) morons propose to change the rules of the game.  Why? Because you idiots mismanaged other parts of the economy to such an extent that you need to steal money from Medicare to pay the bills.

6)  I, and millions of other Americans, have been paying income taxes our entire lives, and now you propose to increase our taxes (on the poor) yet again.  Why?  Because you incompetent bastards spent our money so profligately that you just kept on spending even after you ran out of money.  Now, you come to the American taxpayers and say you need more money to pay off your debt.

To add insult to injury, you label us greedy for calling bulls**t on your incompetence.  Well, Captain Bulls**t, I have a few questions for you.

1)  How much money have you earned from your pathetic 50-year political career?

2)  At what age did you retire from your pathetic political career, and how much are you (still) receiving in annual retirement benefits from the American taxpayers?

3)  How much do you pay for your government provided health insurance?

4)  What cuts in your retirement and healthcare benefits are you proposing in your disgusting deficit reduction proposal, or, as usual, have you exempted yourself and your political cronies?

It is you, Captain Bulls**t, and your political co-conspiritors who are the (true) “greedy ones.”  It is you and your fellow nutcases who have bankrupted America and stolen the American dream from millions of loyal, patriotic taxpayers.  And for what?  Votes.  That’s right, sir.  You and yours have  bankrupted America for the sole purpose of advancing your pathetic political careers.  You know it, we know it, and you know that we know it. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Since this was written the open criminality against American citizens by right wing politicians has only gotten worse.  Washington DC has always been a lure for those looking to make some easy money and luxuriate in privilege.  Full scale war on democratic principles didn’t really get rolling  full swing until the Relgious Right managed to gain full control of the Republican Party in 1996.

Sins of the Early Christian Cult

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, history, humanity, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , on April 16, 2011 by chouck017894

As the Christian cult struggled out of the decaying Roman Empire in the general timeframe of the early 400s, the previous ages of artistic beauty and high craftsmanship so respected by Pagan traditions began to sink into decline.  Systematically purged from Christian cult values were all the delights in human beauty and grace; discarded were the attributes of comeliness and tolerance.  Elitist insolence engulfed Christian mentality as the church’s influence savaged it way into the distant corners of the declining empire.  There are many accounts in ancient Roman files of senseless Christian violence as the cult strove for power, but these have been carefully suppressed.

Art and beauty once used in tribute of higher principles, which were long personified as gods, was replaced with hard symbols  of pain, suffering and aggression.  Aesthetic sense was judged to be “Pagan error,” and was replaced with a religious creed of false shames, false guilts, castigation of skeptics, and a nagging pessimism.  It was a sparse attitude of faith that would fester into the spiritual dejection known as the Dark Ages.  “Saints” such a Jerome and Augustine seemed maniacally determined to smear every physical joy with a patina of “sin,” and instilled that neurosis as Christianity’s major message to the world.

The fall of Rome is placed at 410 when the Visigoth king captured and pillaged the city.  But in this timeframe the Pagan world’s higher principles were still honored across the Mediterranean Sea at Alexandria, Egypt, much to the displeasure of Christian hucksters.  The quality of the Christian cult to which the less educated were drawn would assert itself even in this illustrious city, however.  But Christian historians give little attention to the  many acts of violence indulged in at the hands of Christians throughout the empire.  One particularly despicable act was carried out in Alexandria, Egypt. 

There lived in Alexandria a very wise and beautiful young woman named Hypatia, the daughter of a famous Pagan mathematician, astronomer and teacher named Theon.  Hypatia had assisted her father in his writings, and upon her father’s death had succeeded him as lecturer on mathematics, astronomy and Greek philosophy at Alexandria.  By 400 CE, Hypatia was the undisputed leader of the Neo-Platonist school of philosophy, as well an author of commentaries on ancient astronomy and mathematics.  Her intellectual gifts and her personal beauty attracted students from foreign countries, and she was so highly respected that she was regularly consulted by magistrates of Alexandria on important issues.

To the Christian bishop in Alexandria named Cyril, however, her very existence was like a personal threat to his ideas of how God should work.  She was everything that the bishop detested: she was a woman, she was a beautiful woman, she was an intellectual, an eloquent speaker, a respected teacher, and had powerful friends.  Even Synesius of Ptolemais, a Neo-Platonic philosopher and Christian bishop, corresponded with her and often visited her.  The governor of Alexandria was Orestes, and in this period was shocked at the conduct of the Christian bishop named Cyril who was fanning hatred throughout Alexandria and forcing the expulsion of Jews.   Hypatia joined with the Pagan magistrates of Alexandria in opposition to Christian persecution of Jews and other non-Christian people.  Not surprisingly, this further incurred Bishop Cyril’s wrath, which not so coincidently incited Christian monks to murder the governor.

Self-satisfied that God approved, Bishop Cyril continued to indulge himself in furious rhetoric from his pulpit, fanning hatred of Hypatia to such a pitch that finally a self-righteous Christian mob, ably assisted by several Christian monks, rose to take action.  They waited until one day when the noble lady was traveling by chariot near the Christian church, and the crazed mob ambushed her, dragging her from her carriage toward the church.  At the church steps the mob was in such a frenzy that they stripped her and began beating and stabbing her as they dragged her into the church.  There, according to contemporary accounts, the furor proceeded to toward the altar, which was ablaze with candles.  And it was there that Hypatia’s tormentors stole her last breath beneath the cross symbol of their alleged “prince of peace.”  By some accounts the pious monks then sliced flesh from her bones with oyster shells, and methodically reduced the flesh to ashes one small piece at a time. 

 And what did Bishop Cyril receive for stirring up all this merciless hostility toward all those Pagans whom he considered to be incompatible with his Christian ethics?  After Cyril died and he was assumed to have been received in heaven by Jesus, the church honored Cyril as a “saint.”  His feast day is February 9th.

This true story is horrifying in itself, but it is rendered even more disheartening by the fact that today, nearly 2000 years later, similar deadly conduct is still being indulged in throughout the world and is carried out in the name of some religion.  That same vicious brand of religious fanaticism is seen at work today in the United States in the blatant attempts to sabotage the democratic rights of a broadly diverse citizenry.

Conveniently ignored is the wise counseling, follow after things which make for peace (Romans 14:16).

Faith, Facts and Frustration

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, history, random, religion, science, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on April 11, 2011 by chouck017894

The “good book” tells us in the first chapter, verse 3, that light and darkness had already been established, and God had found the division to be good, and it was these which he called Day and Night.  Dry land did not appear by command until the second “day” (verse 9).  Consequently, the Earth came to be created before the luminaries of the Sun and the Moon, which occurred on day three (verse 16).  The assumption seemed to be that these later additions were something like polished balls put in place for Earth’s benefit.  But that had not been the general understanding which was taught in earlier cultures such as the Sumerians, Babylonians, Egyptians, etc.  But then those ancient Pagan civilizations had not been divinely blessed with revealed wisdom such as spewed out of 8th century BCE Jerusalem. 

Even when God’s son was sent into the Roman Empire a few centuries later, Jesus found no need to explain cosmic principles as means of teaching how his father ran things throughout Creation.  Not even Jesus’ disciples were clued-in, which might have advanced man’s potential considerably.  Of course it may be that mankind was supposed to discover these creative principles on his own by following a few veiled hints.  That, however, required concentration on things other than material gratification.  In addition, the unconventional interpretation of Judaic traditions advocated by Jesus set a course of  understanding that would schism into a hierarchical faith system in which the “saved ones” were groomed to dominate the world.  Any scientific principles were consequently smothered under a blanket of politically structured spiritualism.

Under the faith system that developed as the Roman Empire began to decline, the high political office of that faith system which developed was woefully short of any scientific curiosity.  There would, of course, be those who would step forth to shore up the reputation of the political head of the faith system so people would not  start to question the reverent one too closely.  There was, for example, good old political minded “saint” Augustine (353-430) who was of blessed certainty that scientific mistakes in the pope’s  pronouncements did not invalidate religious authority unless there had been divine support for the errors the pope made.  Such a stance made it halfheartedly tolerable that the pope apparently did not receive regular updates on heavenly actions. 

Augustine’s maneuvering tactics could, for centuries after that, be used to excuse any of the embarrassingly awkward incidents that have revolved around various pope’s scientific and political pronouncements.  This reverent scheming makes it possible for the faithful to continue to defer to the “authority” of the church in its supposed superior understanding of ecclesiastical matters.  Such faith merely requires the sacrificing of one’s skepticism upon the church altar and abandoning any thought that perhaps this wobbly claim of holy word infallibility might put one’s soul in peril.

This political sidestepping would continue to help excuse such booboos as the 1633 affair when the mathematician/astronomer Galileo was summoned before the Inquisition in Rome and forced to recant his writing that Earth moved around the Sun.  Because Galileo had pointed the new invention of the telescope toward the heavens, he had dared to look upon truth.  Contrary to biblical implications, the Moon was not a smooth orb, the Sun was not a polished disc but a flame-covered inferno, and the planet known as Venus displayed itself in periodic phases!  For reporting these wonders to the world, Galileo was promptly found guilty of heresy by the Catholic Church.  Galileo could not deny the truth that he had witnessed, and during his trial remarked something to the effect, “The Bible tells you how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.”

Galileo’s trial set the standard by which western religions brushed off any scientific endeavors.  Fortunately there were men who continued to feel intuitively that perhaps God had chosen not to reveal too much wisdom to man all at once, and the reason might be that man was to make himself worthy by seeking further wisdom.  Through the centuries men such as Isaac Newton (1642-1727) struggled to reconcile their scientific findings with religious texts, but there always seemed to be irreconcilable differences despite shared feelings of humbleness and awe when pondering the majesty of what we see as Creation.

Even one of the great minds of the 20th century, Albert Einstein, could not break free of the primal concept that some being must have fashioned the universe like some work of art or mechanism.  After decades of searching for the secrets of gravity, time-space, and quantum mechanics, Einstein would say it was not easy to catch a peek at God’s playing cards.  Typically, he would let “the Lord” off easy, saying that although the laws of Creation are subtle, “the  Lord” (creative law) was not malicious.  To a contemporary physicist, Niels Bohr (Danish), Einstein continued to refer to God more than was necessary, and he told Einstein to stop telling God what to do.  But perhaps Einstein’s speaking of God may not have been so much a statement of personal belief as it was the use of common beliefs to comfortably acquaint the unscientific pubic with the operational processes of the universe.  Certainly, in that timeframe, if Einstein had failed to acknowledge a “maker,” the public would have vilified him as  enthusiastically as they had glorified him. 

Today, in the 21st century, some astrophysicist may, in some interview, give mention to God when some newscaster questions how the laws of physics came into being.  It’s a loaded question, for as yet there is still no sufficient data or theory to give a satisfactory answer.  That does not mean, however, that the Bible gives a superior accounting of the creative  forces at work, for if any disguised scientific solutions to cosmic principles were embedded in those holy texts some astrophysicist would be mining them with celebrated results.

It is the magnificence of the living universe that keeps mankind’s faith systems and mankind’s sciences in wonderment and reverence.  Whatever man may deduce from his perspective of Creation, the truth is that there can be no center of infinity.  Most certainly planet Earth is not at its center; and it is even more certain that no man-invented, self-serving faith system is at its center.

The Lord’s Tough-Love Tactics

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, Hebrew scripture, history, humanity, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , on April 6, 2011 by chouck017894

The Lord allegedly became frustrated and angry a lot in the Old Testament.  And rather than just guide his chosen ones through omniscient psychological counseling, the Lord was prone to strengthening those who opposed his darlings in order to inflict punishment upon his chosen ones!  At least that is the imagined motivation as presented by the priest-authors who aspired to chronicle God’s holy mood swings.  The favored excuse for explaining away any Israelite defeats was that they “…went a whoring after other gods.”  The priest-authors were very fond of belittling whoever displeased them. 

A typical but lesser known example of this favored excuse comes from the book of Judges, which purports to cover the “history” of Israel from the time of the settlement of Canaan until just before the establishment of the monarchy.  (Related post: Fables From the Book of Judges, August 2010.)  According to the priest-authors of Judges, the fall of the Israelites was due to a series of desertions from the faith.  By that the priest-authors meant that the people resented priestly indulgences imposed upon them as an alleged condition for receiving the Lord’s conditional love.

The book of Judges was an attempt to connect and continue the priestly saga of the alleged battles for the “Promised Land” that had been introduced with the book of Joshua.  Sadly, no leader who was comparable to Joshua had been provided by God after Joshua died, and thus the unity of the tribes supposedly weakened and degenerated into apostasy followed by military defeat to Mesopotamia.  Thus the book of Judges continued the blood and guts stories, which seems a peculiar documentation to express the alleged love, grace and favoritism supposedly showered upon the Israelites by the Lord.

The ways of the Lord are mysterious, and so after the Israelites suffered defeat to Mesopotamia, the Lord determined that the Israelites must be made to endure eight years under Mesopotamian rule before he would raise up a warrior (Othniel, Joshua 10:15:17 and Judges 3:9) to deliver them.  But after the typical forty years of  Othniel’s supervision the people again “went a whoring after other gods.”  This, of course, was the alleged cause for Israelite defeat c.1406 BCE by Eglon, king of the Moabites, who had allied with the Ammonites and Amalekites against God’s darlings.

After eighteen years under the harsh thumb of King Eglon (Joshua 10:3; Judges 1:12, 14, 15,17), a self-appointed rescuer named Ehud (Joshua 3:15; 4:1) from the tribe of Benjamin decided to redeem his people by assassinating King Eglon.  Ehud was convinced that getting rid of the tyrant Eglon was his godly calling, and so he fashioned a two-edged dagger about eighteen inches long, hid it in the  folds of his cloak, and managed to get into the presence of the obese King Eglon.  Ehud implied that he had a secret errand, so the king allowed Ehud a private meeting in the king’s summer parlor.

According to the priest-authors it is deception that, for some mysterious holy reason, is the honored way to serve God, so Ehud came close to the king, saying, “I have a message from God unto thee” (Judges 3:20).  As the king bent near, Ehud then drew with his left hand the dagger hidden beneath his cloak on Ehud’s right thigh, and thrust the long blade into the obese king’s belly. 

The lethal attack is adoringly detailed: “And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed in upon the blade, so that he (Ehud) could not draw the dagger out of his (Eglon’s) belly; and the dirt came out.”  Skulking away and locking the door to the summer parlor behind him, Ehud managed to depart the crime scene just as the servants arrived and hovered outside the parlor door, for they were afraid to impose upon the king’s  privacy.  Then from verse 27 to 30 Ehud raises an army, leads them into battle, and allegedly slays “…ten thousand men, all lusty and all men of valor; and there escaped not a man.”   There is no further narrative.  There is only the statement that Ehud, inferring that Ehud had God’s blessing, “delivered Israel.”  Thus Ehud is ensconced as the second of the revered “judges” of Israel.

If such a premeditated, cold-blooded murder as so graphically detailed in holy scripture of Eglon’s murder was carried out in modern societies of today, would it be so callously brushed aside as in this savage tale presented in the book of Judges?  Well, perhaps—in the blow-’em-apart movies made for immature audiences.

Could any sane person possibly believe that such practiced betrayal and plotted taking of human life (even of a tyrant) can in some way be carried out as fulfillment of some divine commission?  Unfortunately, yes.  There are still religious fanatics who hold up tales such as these as examples of “biblical values” which they wish to install upon the masses as guidance for conducting a democratic government!

Construction of Christian Doctrine

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, history, life, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , on April 1, 2011 by chouck017894

Most of the writings that are known as the New Testament were established by canon in timeframes after 200 CE.  In this manufacturing process the “fathers” of Christianity were highly discriminating in the choices of various texts available in that era.  Their primary concern was not the saving of souls or the spiritual awakening of followers, but what could be used to give the appearance of heaven’s bestowal of priestly authority. 

This may be a hard pill to swallow for those who regard the Bible to be the incorruptible word of God.  And yet the fact that the “authority” of  Christian policies were self-proclaimed was clearly stated in the admission of none other than Cardinal Hosius (c. 257-358).  He said, “But for the church, the scriptures would have no more  authority than the fables of Aesop.”

In implementing their power structure the fathers often rejected some parts within a literary work or even rejected complete works of the same general tone.  In other words, the synods and councils that took place were to set up the politics to be structured into their faith system, and it required careful pruning and rejection of numerous literary works.  Many of the texts they considered were being used by outlying branches of the movement which had spread 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 literary works that often presented contradictory features. 

With politics of the struggling faith system always uppermost in their minds, the “fathers” therefore found the Gospel of John to be tolerable but cast aside similar works such as The Dialogue of Thomas.  As an example, they favored the Gospel of John because it happened to be written in such a manner that it could be utilized (read altered) to promote certain policies for an authoritarian structure that the fathers favored.  Gnostic-like works such as the Dialogue of Thomas encompassed a much broader or freer acceptance of religious practice than the power-seeking “fathers” preferred.  Being Rome-centered, the church fathers were inspired to imitate the authoritative structure of the Roman Empire, with those drawn into the faith made totally reliant upon the dictates of the church representatives.  If seekers believed that a person could approach the creative 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.

As a brief example of what the fathers thought that seekers should be led to believe, consider the Council of Hippo in 393.  Found worthy of holy belief was the OT book of Daniel (taken from a Babylonian poem) to which they added the story of Susanna as chapter 13, now regarded by most as apocryphal (see footnote).  The corporate atmosphere of what was to be marketed as revealed truth continued to be modified up  to (and after) the eighteenth ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, which assembled at Trent, Italy in 1545.  That little shindig was noteworthy for the fact that it continued, with only a few intermissions, from 1545 until 1563!  Three pontiffs—Popes Paul III, Julius III, and Pius IV—would sit upon the papal throne before that council would be closed.   

It was in the fourth council session (1546) that sacred tradition was elevated by the priests as being on par with priest-chosen scriptures.  This long-winded Middle Ages council set the standard of the Roman Catholic faith and practices which still remain, and many aspects of those plotted doctrines seeped into the reformation sects that branched off.  How tentative the council choices were is shown by the council hesitantly dropping books Third and Fourth Maccabees due to Protestant (protesters) criticism.  Those protesters’ criticisms gave rise to the faith system known as Protestants.

Thus the literary works that were not rejected in those many pick-and-choose conferences managed to survive the selection process simply because the chosen works served the political needs of the authority-seeking priest class.  The shapers of the rudimentary Christian cult had cunningly followed the example of the 7th century BCE Yahweh priest-authors who had understood that the basic institutional structure of an organized faith system had to have the apparent support of “God-authorized” scriptures.

The political platform upon which episcopal authority (church government) campaigned and overran the more natural and honest Pagan religions of earlier timeframes 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.”  To accomplish this the Pagan perception that “salvation” was gained only through personal integrity had to be displaced.  So Christian emphasis was shifted toward claims that “salvation” was totally a matter of churchly supplication and no longer a personal affair between a person and their Creator.

The irrationality of having a corporate-styled faith system 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 careful selection of New Testament books that have been held out to Christians over the centuries as being God’s only approved pathway to heaven.  It was not simply coincidence that those painstakingly selected literary works also happened to allow for the souls of seekers to be held hostage as a means of financial resources and political muscle to be used by those self-appointed representatives of that invented faith system.

  • See also: The Book of Daniel, Another Borrowed Myth, Nov. 2010
  • Susanna Did What! also Nov. 2010