Archive for March, 2012

Christianity and the PTR Factor

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, faith, history, random, religion, Social with tags , , , , on March 24, 2012 by chouck017894

It was noted in the previous blog, Simon/Peter, Historical or Mythical, that Jesus’ apostle Simon, who became known as Peter, strongly supported Jewish social customs and religious traditions.  By tradition it was considered by devout Jews of that time to be “unclean” to venture into other cultural territories, especially Greek and Roman, and anyone who traveled outside of Jewish dominance had to be ritually purified before they could again take up social customs among their countrymen.  That long-held convention alone brings into doubt the claim that Simon would have set his sights on Rome with the intention of raising Jesus’ church there.  The polytheistic nature (the respect for the deities of all citizens) that united the Roman Empire holds the clue as to how the claim that Simon-Peter founded Jesus’ church in Rome came to be made acceptable—but only after the fourth century.

Among the various spiritual instructions available in Rome after the time of Caesar (44 BCE), there was a Pagan mystery school presided over by a priest who revealed and explained the Mysteries to the initiates.  This teacher was highly revered in Rome as an interpreter of spiritual truths, and was referred to by a primitive Chaldean word for interpreter, which was indicated with the letters PTR.

Instruction in Greek mysteries were also available in Rome in this timeframe, the Eleusinian Mysteries, the secret doctrines of which were read to the initiates from a book which was known among them as the book of stone (solid principles of Creation), or Book PeT-Roma.  Mix in with this the Greek association with the Egyptian god Thoth, the interpreter of the gods, who was credited with authoring works on alchemy, astronomy and invention, and the “book of stone” used by the interpreter further explains the Pagan interpreter being honored within Rome under the designation of PTR.

Simon-Peter’s alleged presence in Rome in 67 would mean that both Peter and Paul had been representing Christianity in Rome in that narrow timeframe.  Such an overlapping of an alleged close apostle of Jesus with a man who claimed that he received a message from Jesus in a blinding light diminishes the authority of both.

In the NT book Galatians it is stated that when Peter visited Antioch, Peter refused to have full fellowship with gentile Christians (Galatians 2:11-14).  That is hardly a favorable resume for the top position in Jesus’ church.  [The book of Galatians is traditionally held to have been written by Paul between c. 48 and 55; not likelyGalatians, 1 Corinthians and Ephesians date more toward c. 94-100.]  After the gentiles were allegedly allotted to Paul and the Jew converts apportioned to Peter (Acts 15 and Galatians 2:1-10), Peter fades out of the NT, and evidently James then became the sole leader of the Jerusalem church as Peter went forth into Pagan territories seeking converts.  From that point on Paul dominates how the faith system we know as Christianity became instituted.  [It should be noted that Justin Martyr, honored as “Saint” Justin (100-167), a dedicated Christian apologist who wrote voluminously about early Christianity, never mentioned Paul or his epistles.]  Extra-biblical tradition has it that Peter died a martyr in Rome in 78, and that St. Peters in Rome was built over the place of his burial.  If so, it was built over the Pagan PTR, not the staunch Jew, Simon, whom Jesus is alleged to have named Peter.

The worship of Mithras (or Mithra), Persian divinity of light, had been introduced into Rome in 68 BCE, and from that timeframe onward the Persian faith system had spread rapidly throughout Italy and Roman provinces.  Mithraism greatly influenced the authors of the struggling Christian cult with its ideals of brotherly love, humility, rite of communion, use of holy water, adoration of shepherds at Mithras’ birth, use of Sunday as its holy day, and belief  in the last judgment, immorality of the soul, and resurrection.  Even into the third century CE Mithraism was the greatest rival of the Christian movement.

Chaldean mysteries, and most of the mystery cults prevalent within Rome itself in the fourth century timeframe, included the use of keys to symbolize the opening of esoteric doctrine by an interpreter.  The Roman god Janus with his keys was already identified with Rome, his name being derived from janua, meaning “gate” or “opening.”  And the Greek goddess Cybele, mother and source of life, also had keys as her attributes when she was introduced among the Romans in the 3rd century.

Then the seat of the empire was moved from Rome to Constantinople in 328, founded by Roman emperor Constantine the Great, and thus as Constantinople (capital of Eastern Roman Empire) began to eclipse Rome, the loss of Rome’s previous association with the center of world power threatened the continuation of the Christian cult’s stature.

Subsequently, after years of decline of Rome’s former glory, the pope began, around 378, to claim in closed meetings with converts to be in possession of the same keys that had been long associated with the god Janus and the goddess Cybele.  The title of PTR of the Pagan interpreters of divine mysteries was still too valuable an asset not to be incorporated into a Romanized version of authority that could reconcile the struggling young cult into broader Pagan acceptance.  It is interesting to note that the title of pope, with a capital P, did not come into propaganda use until 384.  The claim to the keys of the pope’s spiritual authority began to be publicly rumored around 428, but the claim to the keys of spiritual authority an Christ’s representative was not openly asserted unit around 430.

The alleged “dispute” between Peter and Paul has the earmarks of a crafted story when it is remembered that Simon was decidedly too Jewish, as noted earlier, to ever desire to raise Jesus’ church in unclean Rome.  The “dispute” incident that now graces NT accounts is set in Antioch during the mid-first century, and the cause is implied to have been over dietary and circumcision requirements for gentiles.  The vague details given in Galatians, chapter two, never clarifies if this dispute happened before or after the Council of Jerusalem c. 50.  On the other hand, The Acts of the Apostles does relate a break between Paul and his former friend Barnabas soon after the Council of Jerusalem, and that break, which was of less importance, is explained.

The issue of how god’s “law,” as stated in Hebrew scriptures, is relative to Christianity has remained disputed to this day—a strange situation for an omniscient Creator to allow if the world was supposed to honor his “only begotten son.”  Christianity as we know it today was crafted under the  pseudonym Paul (from the name Saul), but it is still Peter who is held to be the “rock” upon which that faith system was erected.  Thus the Catholic Encyclopedia asserts, “St. Paul’s account of the incident (that allegedly occurred in Antioch) leaves no doubt that St. Peter saw the justice in the rebuke” (of Peter).  And the church “historian,” Eusebius, Bishop of Corinth (260?-340?), who was prone to rewriting history for his own purpose, stated that both Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom at the same time in Rome.  Nothing has ever been uncovered to support that assertion, but it did help to paper over the reason behind the change in direction of the struggling young faith system.

The political motivation that inspired the writings and rewriting of Mark and Matthew c.55 and c.80 did experience change around 84 CE.  In that timeframe emphasis shifted from an earlier attempt to convert Jews to a more sociable belief system into an attempt to unite Pagan ideologies into a faith system with an authoritative head.  It is this change in the political direction which accounts for the alleged “dispute” between Peter and Paul.

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Simon/Peter, Historical or Mythical

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , on March 16, 2012 by chouck017894

Authority over eternal elements which result in manifestations of matter obviously belongs to the creative power that creates those elements and which is personified by man as “god.”  This would seem to be a logical conclusion.  But allow scheming material-obsessed men the freedom to fiddle with logic or common sense and the result is the convoluted indulgence that we respectfully call “religion.”  A prime example (among countless examples) of logic being made impotent appears in Christian accounts as the character named Simon, aka Peter.

There is a remarkable verse in the New Testament (Matthew 16:23) that pretty much states what is wrong with all organized religions.  Jesus is portrayed as speaking to Simon Peter, saying, “…thou art an offence unto me: for you savor not the things of God, but those that be of men.”  The real kicker in this scene is that this reproach of Peter follows immediately after Peter has allegedly been given the keys to the kingdom of heaven!  Thus the church that Peter is to establish is intended to be the adversary of the infinite creative powers that are personified as “god.”  Speak of diabolical!

There is profound Gnostic wisdom conveyed here.  The reason for the rebuke by Jesus is that Peter stands as the representative of consciousness in matter existence that resists the necessity of its own refinement.  Thus Jesus utters the accusation that Peter savours those thing that be of men.  What is illustrated with this convoluted scene is that the confinement of consciousness within our physical-matter forms is what actually traumatizes human ego, which is obsessed with material identity and wishes to dam Creation’s natural flow that we interpret as life/death.  All faith systems, therefore, have been contrived to answer ego’s obsession with material self-perpetuation.

Knowing this, we are justified in saying to organized, material-obsessed religions, just as Jesus is alleged to have said to Peter, “Get thee behind me Satan: you are an offence to me.”  Any man-conceived faith system serves only as the husk of resistance with which personal ego surrounds itself against the flow that we experience as life/death.  To paraphrase an old truism, any faith system is made for man; man is not made for any particular religion.

In the book of Matthew, 16:18-19, as rewritten c. 70-75, Jesus says to Peter, “And I say unto thee, That thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Whoa!  Wait a minute!  The authority over whatsoever binds man on earth is to be determined by this weak-kneed mortal man, and is also to bind man in heaven?  A mortal is granted infinite power?  How can it be then, that only four verses later (23), Peter is referred to by Jesus as Satan!  Oops!

The Roman Catholic Church was instituted on the assertion that Peter was the founder of that faith system, and all the Christian off-shoots also subscribe to the principle of Peter being the “rock” upon which the varied faith systems called Christianity received their spiritual authority.  The early Peter/Satan inference, drawn upon older Gnostic teachings, troubled many of the initial possible converts.  The character of Peter therefore had to be smoothed over.  Thus in the book of Luke 22:31-32 (written later in 84-90), the direct association of Peter with Satan is somewhat softened, saying, “And the Lord said to Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired you, that he may sift you as wheat:But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted (from an alliance with Satan?), strengthen thy brethren.”

The earlier Gnostic inference was that Satan was a personification of the limited and imperfect conditions we each experience as a matter entity.  Peter being presented as the “rock” of Jesus’ church was a distant echo of the Hebrew scriptural character of Esau (twin brother of Jacob/Israel) who was regarded as the ancestor of the Edomites.  The Hebrew accounts presented Esau with the founding of the land of Edom, but the connection as given in Genesis 25:19-34 makes that claim tenuous at best.  Nonetheless, the Christian interpretation of Esau’ character (as in Romans 9:28-29, written even later, c. 100 CE) presented the notion that Esau exemplified the blessings promised by god to all descendants of Isaac, thus the Esau connection became central in the Christian debates regarding predestination—i.e. those things loosed on earth and loosed in heaven.

The authors who shaped the young cult that was being fashioned in Rome were aware that Edom in the Hebrew account was reference to earth itself.  The relationship of Peter as the “rock” upon which Jesus’ church was to be built therefore also referred to the earth.  In other words, it is planet Earth which “binds” and “looses” the Life Principle according to the laws of physics that determined the planet’s structure.  That means that no mortal man has ever been empowered to determine the eternal destiny for all humankind as the Christian myth of Peter and his “keys” imply.

Thus it is that in the Gospels no successor to Peter was ever suggested by the Lord, which is peculiar if Jesus’ church was to continue to function after Peter was to take up his gate-keeping duties just outside of heaven.  That is an especially embarrassing detail for Roman Catholics.  But knowing that Peter—the “rock“—is analogous to planet Earth, then it is understandable why no mortal successor needed to be named.

Christian tradition asserts that it was Peter who brought the Christian message to Rome.  This is extremely curious.  If an apostle to Jesus named Simon/Peter was truly a historical person who lived in the holy land, it would be quite unlikely—if he was as stated in the Gospel account an “apostle of circumcision,” meaning of the Jews—that he would ever have set foot upon Italian soil at all, let alone reign as “Bishop of Rome,” a gentile church.  The “authority” for the claim that Peter was in Rome rests entirely on one source alone—a work entitled The Clementines, which was written in Egypt before the mid-100s CE .  Certainly nothing in that tale can be legitimately used as proof that that character of Peter was the Simon Peter of Christian gospels.

Furthermore, Peter being associated with Rome was never promoted until the fourth century; that association appeared in Historia Eccleciasica by Eusebius of Caesarea (260?-340?).  Eusebius was a theologian and church “historian,” who “improved” New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John into the so-called Ammonian Sections written in the margin of the texts.  He stood in high favor with the Emperor Constantine, and it is only by Eusebius’ assertion that Constantine is believed to have converted to Christianity.  It should be noted that Eusebius was not above rewriting history if it furthered his “spiritual” opinions or material obsessions.

Samson and Delilah Myth

Posted in Atheist, Bible, faith, Hebrew scripture, random, religion with tags , , , on March 8, 2012 by chouck017894

The twelfth and last “Judge” of Israel is alleged to have come into the judge lineup as civil war loomed upon the horizon, and his name was Samson, according to priest-written “history” (Judges 13:16).  The name of this “Judge” is derived from the word for the sun, and the revealing number twelve provides another clue that this is but another mythic tale. In typical mythic form, Samson’s birth was predicted to his barren mother (Judges 13), and barren women throughout any holy account always symbolizes the void out of which all Creation seems to become manifest.

As a personification of the sun, Samson is depicted as possessed with a powerful libido (just as was King Solomon, whose name was also derived from words for sun).  The character of Samson, however, falls outside the usual behavioral customs of Israelite society and is flaunted in questionable morality and swaggering vengeance which brings neither intercession for, nor delivery of his people.  In this portrayal, the Samson tale resembles the older Sumerian Gilgamesh myth, Homer’s account of Mycenaean Greeks, and motifs of Indo-European tales.  And from other sources it is revealed that Samson had another distinctiveness that other ancient cultures gave to their fire gods; he was said to be lame.  That is consistently ignored.

Samson loved three women, all of whom betrayed him (they represent creative energy involving as substance).  One sought to lure him through their intimate relationship into revealing the answer to his riddle of a beehive in the carcass of a lion; that information was vital to the Philistines who planned to kill him.  Another woman also attempted to use her sexual wiles as a means of learning the secret of Samson’s strength.  But it is the deception and betrayal of Samson by Delilah that has always held most interest in this myth.

The character of Delilah is derived from the name Lilith (from Babylonian Lilitu, an evil night spirit), a well-known character in earlier myths who was portrayed as Adam’s first wife.  The priests of Yahweh, writing in Jerusalem in the 8th century BCE, discarded this in the corpus of their religious myths but utilized aspects from the older myth.  The name Delilah linked two meanings in one word; the Hebrew letter D (daleth) means “door,” and the  word lilah means “darkness.”  Delilah thus represents the door into darkness.  The letter D also happens to have Qabalah (Cabala) association with resistance, coming from the letter dallet, which represents resistance.  It is from the association with dallet that biblical tales also acquired the character of the Devil to alibi the resistance which mortals feel toward the infinite creative powers.  From this association, therefore, various degrees of resistance can then be excused as works of devils, daemons, demons, and Diablo—the damned D words.

Delilah, who lived “…in the valley of Sorek,” eventually coaxed the secret of Samson’s strength from him after a prolonged affair, and the secret was that his strength resided in his hair, which had never been shorn.  Physically this is absurd; symbolically it makes sense when we remember that the name Samson is derived from the word for sun.  The hair in this myth therefore alludes to the rays of the sun, and if these radiant energies are lost the sun becomes extinct.  Samson reveals to Delilah, “…If they bind me with seven green withes that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.”  (Withes: tough, supple twigs, especially from the willow.)

Use of the number seven is another strong clue that this is but myth.  Hinted here is that the unshorn hair consists of seven strands, and these refer to the seven prismatic colors within the sun’s rays.  The number seven also holds cosmological implication as well, hinting of the seven periods of Creation (ala Genesis).  The climax of the Samson saga has the hero blinded, and brought down to Gaza (which symbolizes the creative energies brought down to the matter plane of Creation activity), and there Samson is compelled to grind in the mill with slaves.  Samson being depicted as harnessed to the millstone (at Gaza) symbolizes the revolving heavens, an illusionary condition that is caused by Earth’s rotating motion about the sun.

Samson’s dramatic exit from this lowly condition was placed at the pillars of the Philistine temple of Dagon, which is representative of the pulling down of creative power upon himself.  Rightfully this “pulling down” symbolizes creative energy being pulled down into material manifestation, but holy myth-writers often reversed the progressive steps of Creation to disguise the true source of their “revealed” wisdom.  Samson’s story is a great tale of action, seduction and intrigue, but how could his escapades ever be interpreted as the delivery of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines?

Conclusion:  The book of Judges, following the book of Joshua, is a composite of war stories, accounts of heroism, and battles between Israelites and their neighbors—violence indulged in to keep and maintain a land that god had allegedly promised to them alone.  It was a strange covenant, to say the least, promising a land which had to be forcibly taken away from established dwellers.  Couldn’t the omniscient Creator have provided his chosen ones with virgin territory?  And that covenant, according to the priest-authors, carried even weirder provisions which stated that the Hebrew-Israelites had to remain apart from that indigenous population—or else!  That is typical regulations demanded by neurotic cult founders. To absorb the native people, it was implied, would invoke divine punishment.  Evidently the invading people were not as hard-hearted as the Lord, and allegedly their willingness to commingle angered the Lord.  Consequently, there arose divinely inspired leaders to intervene on Israel’s behalf, and these are the ones who are  listed in scripture as “judges.”

The historical reliability of the Hebrew scriptures has come under serious scrutiny with the science of archaeology.  For well over one hundred and fifty years of serious study in areas such as Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, archaeologists have found no evidence whatsoever that the Exodus saga ever took place; no evidence of Joshua’s take-over of Canaan; and nothing has ever been found to prove that there  ever was a David/Solomon unified monarchy.  And there is yet to be found any archaeological evidence that would support the claim that righteous Israelite “judges” once safeguarded the “Promised Land.”  Obviously, history is not the central objective of these tales; it was a literary project designed for political authority under the guise of godly guidance.

Related post: Fables From the Book of Judges, August 2010.