Archive for November, 2011

Timely Appearance of Jesus

Posted in Atheist, Bible, Hebrew scripture, history, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on November 24, 2011 by chouck017894

In the timeframe accepted for Jesus’ existence on Earth, there were two Jewish sects vying for dominance of the Jewish faithful, the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  Both divisions of Judaism held that there was only one way—their priest-invented way, of course—to acknowledge a higher source.  The rest of the citizens throughout the Roman Empire followed less judgmental spiritual practices.

Prior to the undocumented event of Jesus’ birth there was in Palestine, c. 112 BCE, a Jewish school, the Chasidim  (Hassidim), meaning “the holy ones,” which became active and known as the Pharisees.  Their chief predisposition was to resist all Greek or outside influences which a clique of scribes felt could undermine their sacred interpretation of how followers were to kowtow to that interpretation.  In short, the Pharisees were therefore most emphatic in regard to what was to be presented as “Divine Law.”  The championing of “Divine Law,” which was to be exercised in all public affairs, called for obedience without regard to priestly or aristocratic families—the Sadducees—or the old-line statesmen or the heroes who had brought the Assyrian wars to a successful conclusion.  It was the inflexible Pharisees, however, despite their ban on outside influence, who brought ideas of salvation and resurrection into Jewish thought.

The Sadducees (or Zadokites), on the other hand, were aristocratic (largely descended through the older priest class), and they held that the priest-written Torah was binding in all matters.  Thus the Sadducees rejected the version of the “Divine Law” as it was interpreted and championed by the Chasidim scribes, and demanded obedience to the older ancestral customs and legal standpoints.  Equally inflexible as the Pharisees, the Sadducees did not believe in resurrection, in angels, nor in any personal continuance after death, a doctrine that clung closely to the original Torah theology.

By c. 60 BCE—as planet Earth entered the Age of Pisces—the rabbinical hierarchical system as had been instituted in Jerusalem had existed for about three centuries.  The Jews in Alexandria, Egypt, however, paid no allegiance to any form of rabbinical institution which had been responsible for the Talmudic presentation.  It was in that older presentation that heavy attention was placed upon customs as they had evolved in Judea, and which would later be collected (c. 200 CE) into the Mishna, a collection of decisions that had been laid down by priests in Jerusalem and which were aimed largely at prohibiting the rearing of children in Greek lore.  The priests in Jerusalem had virtually jack-hammered their priestly decisions into “legal” status.

The capture of Jerusalem by the Roman general Pompey in 60 BCE had been deemed necessary due to the aggressive power struggle between two sons of King Aristobulus who had recently died.  Years later, however, in 47 BCE, the Rome-installed Herod was driven from Jerusalem by one of the former King Aristobulus’ sons, Antigonus, and he then ruled as the last Hasmonean priest-king until 37 BCE when his reign was ended by Marc Antony.  Jerusalem’s struggle to disassociate itself from Rome galvanized even more after Antigonus was scourged, then bound to a stake and beheaded.  Herod was then reinstated to rule, and he sought to consolidate his position with the Jews by wedding Mariamne, a princess of the Hasmonean line.  Herod later bequeathed portions of his kingdom between three sons, and the Roman Emperor Augustus confirmed the will.  The division of the kingdom was not appreciated among the Jews.

Into this long simmering brew there appeared the Alexandrian Jewish philosopher, Philo (c. 20 BCE – 50 CE), considered the greatest Jewish philosopher of this timeframe.  For orthodox Judaism, as represented by Palestinian Jews of the time, the study of languages, especially Greek, was regarded as profane and worthy only for slaves and infidels.  But Philo was born into a wealthy and aristocratic Jewish family in Greek-founded Alexandria, thus his education had included Greek literature and philosophy, especially that of Plato, Pythagoras and the Stoics.  Philo’s writings were to exert considerable influence upon both Jewish and Christian thought, and his writings heavily influenced the Alexandrian Christian theologians Clement (no genuine documentation of him has ever been produced) and Origen (185?-254? CE).  Philo’s philosophic endeavors brought a breath of fresh air into the congested cell of orthodox Jewish thought.  Philo maintained, as did many of his contemporaries, that the major part of the Pentateuch (first five books of scriptures), especially its “historical” and legal portions, should be explained allegorically, for it was only in this way that its truest and deepest meaning could be understood.  This wise advice has been steadfastly ignored by the three interrelated western organized faith systems as they evolved.

A Jewish rabbi and teacher named Hillel rose to prominence from 30 BCE to c. 09 CE.  He was the first Jewish scholar to systematize the interpretation and explanation of scriptural law.  Hillel had to contend with a rival named Shammai, an eminent doctor of the Jewish law at the time of Herod, and he stood rigidly insistent upon a merciless interpretation of priest-written scriptural law.  The conflict between the two schools of thought was to endure for nearly one hundred years after Hillel’s death.  A persistent allegation is that Hillel’s teachings influenced young Jesus, for many of the sayings attributed to Jesus are startlingly similar to those of Hillel.  The vague timeframe projected for Jesus’ childhood as presented in the New Testament can be seen to loosely correspond to this general timeframe.  However, any contemporary historian, writer or Roman aristocrat in charge of that region’s affairs would have been intimately familiar with such interpretations of scriptural laws: in fact some aristocrats married members of the Herodian family.

In the timeframe of Nero (37-68 CE) and the marriage to his pro-Jewish second wife Poppaea Sabina, various Roman aristocrats, statesmen and authors were becoming alarmed over the Empire’s stability due to the constant uprisings instigated by Jewish agitators.  It was into this political unease during Nero’s reign that the first books known as Mark and Matthew suddenly appeared, which introduced into the Roman Empire culture the teachings that were attributed to a benevolent and tolerant Jewish man named Jesus.

Pay to Play Politics and Phony Piety

Posted in Atheist, belief, culture, faith, freethought, Government, history, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , on November 14, 2011 by chouck017894

In the worst economic downturn in the United States since the Great Depression of the 1930s, members of the US Congress have tended to nonchalantly warm their congressional seats rather than to actively fulfill their oath to protect rank and file citizens.  They can afford to just sit on their butts (and just say no); their personal wealth continued to grow by an average of 16 percent.  Indeed, the Center for Responsive Politics reported that the median personal wealth for members of Congress grew from $785,515 in 2008 to $911,510 in 2009.  And that advantage certainly is not threatened in this 2011-2012 economy.

For the most part the professional politicians in the USA of today are not exactly the dedicated patriots as were the self-sacrificing men who founded this nation.  There is a super abundance of all those rah-rah politicos today who strut their stuff and wave flags and wear little flags on their lapels and shout “in god we trust” as they pretend devotion to democracy.  Ignored are the true workers who built this nation, and dishonored are the true defenders of democracy who physically protect the liberty which allows those professional blowhards the privilege to indulge in such charade.  Shamefully, the average combat soldier (such as those deployed in Afghanistan) earn a paltry $38,000 a year salary.  Meanwhile…

  • Retired US Presidents (such as born again G. W. Bush) receive $180,000 salary a year for life.
  • Members of the House/Senate now receive $223,500 salary for life.
  • Speaker of the House receives $193,400 salary for life.
  • Majority/Minority Leaders each receive $193,400 salary for life.
  • Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court receives $223,500 per year for life.
  • Associate Justices of the US Supreme Court receive $212,900 per year for life.
  • Rank and file members of the House and Senate each pocket $174,000 per year.

Out of the 535 voting members of Congress, 261 of the members, or nearly one half of Congress is composed of multimillionaires.  Results from the study conducted by the Center for Responsive Politics noted in November 2010 that “Congressional representatives on balance rank among the wealthiest of wealthy Americans and boast financial portfolios that are all but unattainable for most of their constituents.”   The executive director of the Center, Sheila Krumholz, pointed out that, “Few federal lawmakers must grapple with the financial ills–unemployment, loss of housing, wiped out savings—that have befallen millions of Americans.”  We should remember, the salaries of our so-called “representatives” are sucked out of tax payers’ wallets.  Such is the glory in the land of opportunity.

The recession in the US began in December 2007 under the G. W. Bush administration, and American workers found huge bites taken out of their paychecks.  But members of the House and Senate, while warming their seats in tax-funded marble halls, watched their salaries increase through 2009 by more than five percent—which has added up to $8,800 for each of  them from the time the recession began to 2009.  And their salary figures do not account for the many perks the lawmakers granted themselves—like health benefits, pension plans, etc.  In that same period, 2007 to 2009, the per capita personal income of citizens dropped from $39,392 down to $39,138–a drop of more than one half a percentage point.  But the far right, seeking to cut “deficits” that their own incompetence initiated, were clamoring to abolish Social Security, Medicare, and other safeguards for working American citizens!  Isn’t that rather like biting the hand that feeds them?

The loophole for these dedicated “representatives” of the citizens is provided in the Constitution, Article 1, Section 6, which allows Congress to determine its own pay.  From 1789 up to 1968—or for 179 years—members of Congress found it convenient to use that allowance only twenty-two times.  But in 1967 (Lyndon Johnson was President) Congress established the Commission on Executive, Legislative and Judicial Salaries (P.L. 90-206) through which salary increases could be recommended for top-level federal officials.

Then another method for determining pay increase (P.L. 94-82) was dreamed up in 1975 (Gerald Ford was President) by which the salary for Congress could be changed—through annual adjustments.  The annual”adjustments” could then go into effect automatically.  However, these raises can be voluntarily restricted if: 1) Congress selflessly decides to statutorily prohibit the adjustment; or 2) If Congress statutorily revises such adjustment; or 3) If the scheduled increase for members’ annual base pay has to be adjusted due to a formula using the Employment Cost Index, which would mean a lower rate of payment for members.  (The Employment Cost Index records private industry wages and salaries, which are not seasonally adjusted.)  By law Congressional Members may not receive an increase greater than the increase in the base pay of General Schedule (GS) federal employees.

After the “born again” and god-led Republican takeover of government in 2000 the payment rate for Representatives and Senators rose steadily.  In January 2000 their payable annual salary was $141,300.  January 1, 2001 their salary rose to $145,100; January 1, 2002 up to $150,000; January 1, 2003 an increase to $154,700; January 1, 2004 up to $158,100; January 1, 2005 up to $162,100; January 1, 2006 it jumped to $165,200.  And there it paused as the war on terror began to awaken public suspicion on national leadership.  But on January 1, 2008 Congressional pay rose to $169,300 a year.

Since the takeover of the Republican party by religious extremists in 1996, and later abetted by the tea baggers who were manipulated by the undemocratic wealthy, the lives of working  people are presently set up as sacrifice for material accumulation (in the name of faith).  And they loudly bray “in god we trust, but it is obvious that they pay little attention to the texts they consider holy.  Ignored is such wisdom as: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith…” (1 Timothy 6:10).  And it is observed in the book of Ecclesiastes 5:10, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: that is also vanity.”  Ignored too by those clamoring to put god in government, is Hebrews 13:5, which advises, “Let your conversation (such as in all your unproductive committees) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have:…”  (Schofield Reference Bible versions.)

If only our elected officials had a smidgen of the integrity and love for true equality as our nation’s forefathers.

  • Related blog: Abuse of Democracy Within US Congress, July 2011

Ancient Moon/Brain Analogy

Posted in Atheist, belief, freethought, history, nature, Pantheism, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , on November 9, 2011 by chouck017894

Often noted in these web postings is the fact that the science of astronomy in the ancient past played a central role in presenting spiritual teachings.  For example, in prehistory cultures the Moon, or Luna, served as a fitting symbol for the enlightened mind.  Their reasoning was astonishingly insightful and testified to a committed study of Earth’s celestial companion as well as a keen observation of the workings of the human brain.  The Moon was understood by our “primitive” ancestors as symbolically embodying the negative principle by which man receives mental discernment, for neither the Moon nor man’s brain shed their own light, but only reflect what they borrow from a higher source.

The Moon was regarded as the material symbol of the receptive principle which is at work throughout Creation, and which enfold the attributes of mental discernment.  In conjunction with this, the Earth itself was, for obvious reasons, the common symbol for the human species.  The Moon/Earth relationship presented an active illustration of how man absorbs the light of wisdom.  In that distant timeframe it was known and taught that the Earth revolved about the Sun, and from this scientific knowledge of the electric relationship of these two spheres the electromagnetic activity centered in the brain could be demonstrated.

The prehistory sages observed in the phases of the Moon a repeating review of the creative powers that are eternally at work.  The cyclic enactment of the “dark of the moon,” or when the Moon passes into the shadow of the Earth, for example, was seen to symbolize life issuing out of the void.  The new moon phase, of course, is not new; it is simply an illusion caused by a dense matter object (Earth) moving in its cyclic pattern and temporarily blocking the light that the Moon reflects from the source.

Earth in its rotation about the Sun will periodically turn from that source of light, and consequently bring upon portions of itself periods of non-illumination.  This seemed to the prehistory sages to act as an illustration of humankind’s repeated lapses of attention in regard to respecting the sustaining power of Cosmic Intelligence.  In ignoring our relationship with the rest of Creation, humankind obliges itself to depend upon the reflected light which intellect offers, just as the Moon reflects the light offered by the Sun.  This analogy is itself remarkable wisdom when we consider that without the light of the Sun to give purpose to the Moon’s presence (visibility), the Moon would be virtually invisible to our sight.

Like the Earth in its turning, half of a person’s human nature receives illumination while the other half rests in apparent darkness (non-awareness of self).  Even so, the resting mind continues to retain and maintain its identity within the cosmic panorama, and the enlightened mind perceives itself as rising again—like the new Moon—above the horizon of self-awareness to dispel the dark.

To those prehistory sages every phenomenon of the Moon’s appearance, just as every feature of Nature, held symbolic expression.  The first quarter of the Moon was seen by them as having issued from its conjunction with the fecundating principle of life.  Luna was therefore seen as typifying the gestation attributes of Nature, the first quarter of the Moon’s increasing light representing to them first growth—and the issuance of higher wisdom.

It is for this reason that the crescent new Moon was often used on the robes of Pagan-age wizards, priests and priestesses.  This is the reason also why it is regarded as the symbol of the goddess honored by Witch-Nature covens.  And this accounts, too, why the crescent new Moon came to be held as the attribute of Christianity’s Virgin Mary.  Certainly the New Testament texts offer no reason to associate Mary with the Moon.  That association was brought into Roman Catholic thought during the Middle Ages.  The waxing Moon had stood as a symbol of the young maiden from the most ancient times from a belief that the waxing phase of the Moon was connected to a maiden’s menstruation period.  In Pagan interpretation the three phases of the Moon—waxing, full, and waning—served as the receiving representative of intellect, thus it was regarded as a feminine aspect.  These three phases were consequently presented as maiden, mother, and crone.  Christian myth makers chose to ignore the “crone” part, of course.

The Moon, as a passive receiver, was adopted in ancient times as a goddess figure, and the three aspects became a trinity mystery.   In various ancient cults this triple aspect came to represent the “Great Mother,” and in this capacity was often referred to as the “White Goddess.”  This triple aspect is adored by many in Witchcraft.  This is the background upon which the Virgin Mary came to be associated with the waxing Moon.

Knowledge once known to the most ancient known culture, the Sumerians, became fragmented long ago.  Somehow those prehistory scientists knew that the Moon held no atmosphere.  And they regarded the Moon to be a separate and independent member of the solar family, not some satellite of Earth.  The folklore that grew around that ancient knowledge stated that when energies were forming as our solar systems’ planets, an invading planet-sized object interacted with this planet’s unstable material.  That “battle” thus accounted for a smaller portion breaking away from the unstable mass which would become Earth.  That chunk that broke away then lost its primal atmosphere and radioactive elements, causing it to shrink in size.  Drained of its elements, and thrown from the orbital pattern established by the forming planet Earth, it became the companion of Earth, sharing its orbital neighborhood.

Abridged from The Shiny Herd.

Fallacy of Sinful Sodom

Posted in Atheist, Bible, freethought, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , on November 1, 2011 by chouck017894

Nowhere in biblical tales is there ever any mention as to what was happening across the rest of planet Earth or in other civilizations during the timeframe-settings used in the priest-composed stories.  The tale of the “sinful” city of Sodom (and Gomorrah, etc) is found in the scriptural book of Genesis, a title meaning beginnings, i.e. Creation.  So the tale of Sodom is another disguised account of the Creation process.  That ancient “city” in the region of Palestine is traditionally accepted as having been located just south of the Dead Sea and was destroyed by “brimstone and fire from the Lord (Genesis 19:24-25), allegedly due to its occupants’ incorrigible wickedness.

That some actual worldwide traumatic event(s) occurred in past eras and were later recounted from the limited perspective of one group of people in one limited locality should always be taken into account.  Those prehistory events, passed down through oral legends and drawn upon for plotlines to serve as a history for the nomadic Hebrew people, were not perfectly reworked.  Whatever the legends origins may have been, the Genesis tale of Sodom and Gomorrah has been presented through millennia as the ultimate symbols of human wickedness and divine retribution.  The peculiar aspect of this biblical tale is that the city’s implied “sinfulness” is never specified; it all hangs on insinuation.  The titillating suggestion that the men of Sodom were primarily same-sex oriented was an interpretation of a later interpreter of holy word, injected no doubt to spice up a monologue to get people’s attention—or perhaps to express some repressed desire.

To repeat, the priest-written book of Genesis is about beginnings, the process of Creation, particularly the buildup of energies that manifest as matter.  (This is encoded in Einstein’s formula E=MC2.)  Each developmental stage, or what ancient teachings referred to as a patriarchal principle of Creation, is thus disguised as some Hebrew/Israelite “patriarch” throughout the book of Genesis.  Each of the claimed “patriarchs” actually represent some developmental stage of energy involvement; and each level of energy has certain inherent limitations, thus each subsequent level of creative energy supersedes the previous one.  This is the meaning behind all the “begats” of unknown characters that are listed.  And this brings us to the disguised meaning behind the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim (Genesis 18-19), each of which represent a pre-physical energy level.  In the subplot of Lot, the nephew of the “patriarch” Abraham, Lot is the focus on the transitional phase of energy into the next level of creative energy which is accounted for by the “Lord” allowing Lot to flee to the fifth “little” city of Zoar, which is stressed as being “nearby.” (Genesis 19:20)

So what traumatic period of real planetary history was used to give this story its apparent background legitimacy?  There are two general timeframes that have been used in attempts to find confirmation of Sodom’s existence and destruction: Those dates are 29 June 3123 BCE, and the other is a timeframe between c. 2800 and 2300 BCE.  In more recent times researchers have concentrated more on the earlier 3123 BCE timeframe.  Interestingly, the first year of the Jewish calendar is placed in the year 3760 BCE, which allows a mere 637 years for serious accounting of alleged Israelite events leading to Sodom being obliterated by god’s wrath.

There is proof that throughout the narrow timeframe of 3200-3100 BCE a very serious planetary trauma was being played out.  On the opposite side of planet Earth, for example, a precise date was recorded in a Mayan account: It records a terrifying period of long darkness that began in the night of 4 Ahau 8 Cumku, which corresponds to modern reckoning as the 13th of August 3114 BCE.  And curiously the earliest “omen tablets” of the Sumerian/Babylonian cuneiform tablets have also been dated from this general timeframe!  Something of worldwide importance alarmed all world cultures.  Scientific investigation has detected that a large meteorite was  involved earlier on the date 29 June 3123 BCE.  Whatever occurred nine years later in 3114 BCE was likely a secondary event set off by that earlier heavenly disturbance.  Strangely, in this timeframe the celestial body we know as the planet Venus suddenly gained holy importance to many world cultures.

Was that celestial object we call Venus the cause, or did it act as a deflecting influence?  Venus does have some strange characteristics that do not match with the rest of the solar family lineup.  For example, Venus is the only planet to revolve on its axis in an opposite direction from any of the other planets.  Furthermore, Venus is unique in that it has the most sluggish rotation in the solar system: it is some 250 times slower than the rotation of Earth.  But for whatever the reason for Venus’ difference, the timeframe of 3123 BCE is a highly unlikely time for the Sodom saga in relation to all the other Israelite tales.

Most likely the five “sinful” cities of Genesis fame met their destruction in a later time period.  Using the traditional dating set for the Noah flood, archeological science has determined that the so-called “Cities of the Plain” in the Valley of Siddim could have existed only in a five hundred year span between 2800 to 2300 BCE.  It is verifiable that there were towns along the shore of the Dead Sea in this timeframe, and they were established for the collection of and trade in quantities of asphalt that was abundant in these surroundings.  Asphalt was highly prized in many ancient cultures as waterproofing material for boats, roofing and mortaring stone works.

Global disruptions and unusual celestial activities were still occurring and being recorded in this 500-year timeframe.  It should be noted that the Dead Sea region where the five “cities” were situated was, and still is, prone to earthquake activity.  The “wickedness” of these towns actually lay beneath the sandy soil upon which they had been built.  The sandy soil would weaken in what is called liquefaction when subjected to severe earthquake pressure.  In an earthquake of magnitude six or more, the buildings in the city would have sunk into the ooze by at least three feet, and a considerable expanse could have flowed into the sea.

The locale of this biblical tale was, throughout the 2000s BCE, an active asphalt production area, and pockets of methane gas trapped beneath the surface would have burst into devastating firestorms when flying sparks ignited them.  Thus the holy account  says, “…and lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.” (Genesis 19:28)  Within twenty minutes the stricken cities could have vanished from the face of the Earth.  It was too ripe of a legend not to use when the priests were fabricating their Israelite history.

With this dramatic backdrop the character of Lot personifies the Life Principle which moves in transitional stages of manifestation toward matter development.  This meaning is also supported in Genesis 19:29 where it says that Lot was “…sent out of the midst of the overthrow, when he (god) overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt.”  To dwell in five cities would mean constant movement.  In this subplot of the Abraham character, the five cities therefore represent nuclear involvement which gives rise to chemical elements—the catalyst for all life force and mental activity.  It is from these elements that there is generated a vast horde of different compounds which are necessary for life.  And so the story continues with Lot fleeing to a cave situated above Zoar; in myths caves traditionally represent pre-physical conditions (the virginal void), and there, ardent for life, Lot is made drunk (just as was Noah when he attained matter).  Abraham’s nephew then has an incestuous relationship with his two daughters (representing energy substance), who subsequently bore sons, one named Moab and the other named Benammi.  Thus an extended plotline is provided to build upon later, and Lot, his daughters and their claim to legitimate history abruptly disappear from the stage.