Archive for June, 2012

Sacred Mountains in Religious Myths

Posted in Astronomy, Atheist, prehistory, random, religion with tags , , , , on June 21, 2012 by chouck017894

In planet Earth’s distant past, which we dismiss as prehistory, the uncluttered heavens presented a constant awe-inspiring panorama.  When systems of writing were not yet invented, the patterns perceived to be outlined in the countless stars became the focal points to stimulate people’s imagination and served to illustrate lessons of Creation and life purpose.

In those ancient lessons given with the imagined figures of the zodiac, the North Pole Star was held to be in a summary position by prehistory teachers, by which they meant that it is from this star’s position that all lessons of Creation and lessons of life’s purpose could be observed in their entirety.  And since the North Pole Star (Polaris, today) seemed to them to be the highest advantage position, it was regarded in many cultures as “the throne of the most high.”  This gave rise to later notions that linked the Pole Star with the tip of a regional mountain, which caused it to be thought of as a “holy mountain.”  Ancient Sumerian inscriptions, for example, spoke of a great mountain peak in the north as “the mountain of the world,” and it was regarded as the home of the gods.  The lofty home of the gods was therefore thought to support the pillars of heaven.  In later times the temple “mountains” built in Sumer and Babylon (ziggurats), the pyramids of Egypt, the pyramid temples of Central America, and the “cosmic mountain” temples of India, to mention a few, all have intimate connection to the Pole Star.  The Canaanite god Ba’al, for example, was said to have his palace in the “farthest north,” which meant the Pole Star.  The Hebrew god Yahweh, of course, could not be allowed to have less.

In every populated region of the ancient world, seekers and believers always regarded the loftiest mountain within their locality to be the symbol of god’s abode.  Thus all the “sacred mountains” of various cultures, such as Mount Parnassus of the Greeks; Mount Meru (or Sumeru) of Jain, Hindu and Buddhist cosmology; the heavenly mountain of Tien Shan; the Paradise of Taoist immortals; or Mount Zion of the Hebrew/Jews.  For each of these earliest cosmology/theology systems the “holy” mountain represented the highest purpose of Creation.  In the Old Testament book of Isaiah 14:13 this understanding is expressed as “…the mount of congregation, in the uttermost North.”  Psalms 125 opens, “They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever.”  And in Psalms 48:2 it says, “Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.”

When it is understood that these “sacred Mounts” also symbolized mental insight for the ancient cultures, a deeper meaning is opened to the in-crowd as to why scriptural characters, such as Moses, always had to go climb a mountain to receive instructions  from god.

Because of the Pole Star’s position is regarded as a “fixed star”—meaning that it seems to be in a constant position in relation to Earth—it has to be one of the most celebrated stars in the sky.  It was the permanence and dependability that the Pole Star presented to travelers in ancient times as a  positional marker that it came to represent for them a divine love which never misleads—if you pay attention.

The North Pole Star was spoken of as “The Axis of the Universe” and as “The Cosmic Mountain” in texts of ancient China.  In eastern cultures of the ancient world the knowledge that the Pole Star aligned with this planet’s axis inspired the understanding of “The Wheel of Life” and “The Wheel of Law,” and so represented the center of creative action from which birth and rebirth issued.  And the awe of this repeating celestial rotation upon the celestial hub evolved into the belief in karma.

There is only one constellation that seems to pivot on the North Pole Star and keeps a tight revolving motion around it—constellation Ursa Minor, which is erroneously known to us as the Little Bear.  It is only this constellation that revolves tightly around the Pole Star without any apparent drift in its relative position to that star.  There is also a curious positioning of constellation Cepheus in connection with the North Pole Star.  Remember, these constellation figures predate all organized religions of today.  Cepheus is depicted as the Crowned King, and in the outline of stars associated with the zodiac, this figure stands with his left foot poised above the Pole Star.  The brightest star in Cepheus is known to us today as Alderamin, meaning “the right arm,” and it is this arm that holds aloft the royal scepter.  This third magnitude star is distinguished by it unusually rapid rotation, and it also holds the distinction of also being located near the path that is followed by the Earth’s axis of rotation during the entire precession cycle of 25,800 Earth years around the center of our galaxy.  There is thus a strong correlation with OT verses, for the right arm is held to point toward the grand orbit of Earth’s movement through the universe!  This bit of scientific truth was known to the prehistory teachers, but not fully understood by the authors of “holy writ.”

In the New Testament book of Hebrews, 12;22 (which was written after the book of Revelation), it states, “But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable host of angels.”  This is a sly connection to a verse in Psalms (48:2) which reads, “Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole Earth is Mount Zion (North Pole Star), on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.”   The mention of Mount Zion in both of these accounts, like the holy mounts in all myths, stands for the highest point from which Earth was thought to be viewed in its entirety by the personified creative source.  The “heavenly Jerusalem” spoken of in the NT book of Hebrews is a play upon the meaning in the name Jerusalem—“light and peace”—and that reference was meant by the Roman author to imply the spiritual failure of the troublesome town in the empire by that name.  The “innumerable host of angels” of the verse pointedly refers to the many stars that revolve about the North Pole as symbolic of the innumerable and diverse emanations of creative energy which are made manifest as life.   This brushes admirably close to scientific instruction!  But that scientific potential is then quickly negated in the final chapter 13 where there is then listed various things that concern the corporate-style Christian churches, but are things that do little for inspiring an actual method for teaching individuals how they may personally attain genuine spiritual enlightenment.  In the closing verses of Hebrews we are treated instead with instructions about not listening to “strange doctrines,” suggestions on the acceptable methods of worship among Christians, the obedience and sacrifice requirements expected of believers and priests, and concludes with an uninspiring benediction.

Peter and the Keys to Heaven

Posted in Atheist, Christianity, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , on June 10, 2012 by chouck017894

Authority over eternal elements obviously belongs to the creative power that created those elements, and it is this impersonal power which organized religions choose to personify as “God.”  Such an understanding of that ultimate power assures belief that it alone would sit upon the seat of judgment regarding life’s diversity, man’s conduct and “soul” advancement.  But allow scheming material-minded men the freedom to fiddle with such logic or common sense and the result is the convoluted indulgence we know as regimented religion.  A prime example of logic rendered impotent is presented in the Christian account of Simon, aka Peter.

There is a remarkable verse in the New Testament (Matthew 16:23) which pretty much states what is wrong with all organized and regimented faith systems.  Jesus is portrayed as speaking to Simon, who Jesus had allegedly renamed 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 reproach of Peter is that it follows immediately after Peter had allegedly been given the keys of the kingdom of heaven!  Thus the “church” that Peter was expected to establish was intended to be the adversary of the infinite creative powers that are personified as “God.”  In other words, man’s contrived faith systems are expected to be materially obsessed.  Speak of diabolical!

There is profound Gnostic wisdom embedded here.  The reason for the rebuke by Jesus is that Peter stands as the representative of the continuity in matter existence that resists the necessity of its own destruction.  Thus Jesus uttered the accusation that Peter savors those things that be of men.  What is illustrated with this drawn-out scene is that the confinement of consciousness which we experience in our physical-matter forms is what actually traumatizes human ego which is obsessed with its material identity and wishes to dam Creation’s natural flow which is interpreted by man as life/death.  All faith systems of man’s invention have therefore been contrived to answer man’s obsession with material self-perception.

Knowing this, we are justified in saying to self-serving, organized faith systems, just as Jesus is alleged to have said to Peter, “Get thee behind me Satan: you are an offence to me.”  Any faith system serves as the shell of resistance which personal ego surrounds itself as a shield against the flow of life/death.   This is why wise men have cautioned that any faith system is made for man; man is not made for any particular manmade faith system.

In the book of Matthew, chapter 16, verses 18-19, written c. 70-75 CE, it says, “And I say also 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!  Back up there!  The authority of whatsoever binds man on earth is to be determined by this weak-kneed, not-too-bright mortal fisherman!  And whatsoever this mortal shall loose on earth is to be loosed in heaven?  Something smells not-so-divine in this setup.  And then only four verses later (23) Peter is referred to by Jesus as Satan!  Oops.

The Roman Catholic Church was set up on the premise of Peter being the founder of that faith system, and all of the Christian offshoots also dutifully subscribe to the principle of Simon/Peter being the “rock” upon which their faith system stands supreme.  All the Gnostic influence in the Matthew presentation of Peter’s true character had to be smoothed over; thus in adjustments made in the book of Luke 22:31-32 (rewritten c. 84-90 CE), the direct association of Peter with Satan is softened somewhat by 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 his allegiance with Satan?) strengthen thy brethren.”

The Gnostic understanding of Satan, and which was purged from the rewrites, was as a personification of the limited and imperfect conditions that are experienced by us as mortal entities.  Peter, thus presented as the “rock” of Jesus’ church, is something of an echo of the Hebrew character Esau, twin brother of Jacob, and regarded as the ancestor of the Edomites.  Priest-written accounts credited Esau with the founding of the land of Edom, but the connection given in Genesis (25:19-34) linked with the Jacob tale makes the claim tenuous at best.  Christian interpretation of Esau (as in Romans 9:28-29, written c. 100 CE), presented the notion that Esau exemplified the blessings promised by god to all descendants of Isaac, and Esau was thus made central in church council debates regarding predestination.  What was not understood by the New Testament authors and their priestly mouthpieces was that “the land of Edom” corresponds to Earth itself.  Thus Edom as Earth and Peter as the “rock” actually means that it is this material-matter Earth which “binds” and “looses” the Life Principle at this energy dimension of Creation, and this dimension of energy is made manifest according to the laws of physics that determine all matter-form entities.  That means, by extension, that no mortal has ever been and never will be empowered to determine the eternal destiny for all humankind as the Christian myth of Peter implies.

No successor and no means of selecting a successor to Peter was ever suggested by the Lord anywhere in the NT which would allow Jesus’ church to continue to function after Peter was elevated to his gatekeeping duties.  For Catholics in particular, that is an embarrassing detail.  But knowing that Peter—the “rock”—is a reference to the Earth itself, then no successor needed to be named.

  • Related blogs:  Christianity and the PTR Factor, March 2012;  Simon/Peter, Historical or Mythical, March 2012.

Sanctity of Marriage

Posted in Atheist, humanism, humanist, random, religion with tags , , , , on June 1, 2012 by chouck017894

Undefined threats to the “sanctity” of marriage have become obsessive propaganda material among some ego-driven religionists in the twenty-first century USA.  Since the “holy scriptures” that these judgmental believers cling to says little-or-nothing about such alleged god-approved contracts, where does that self-serving opinion come from?  Where did they arrive at the claim that a contract of marriage somehow bestows a higher degree of spiritual value that is extended only between breeders?  Could that possibly be because it is a manufactured prejudice circulated by organized faith systems for their own purpose?

In the eighth century BCE, marriage outside the cult system dedicated to Yahweh, as expressed in the Deuteronomic view, was hostile—due to the typical cult fear that it could lead to the abandonment of faith (Deuteronomy 7:1–6).  This fear is also prominent in 1 Kings 11:8 and in 16:31-32.  These books were composed in the same general timeframe as Deuteronomy, and probably by the same priestly authors.  Postexilic accounts such as Ezra 9-10 and Nehemiah 10:28 and 13:23-28, again took up the position that marrying outside the faith really was about the unspoken fear that it would threaten priestly authority, hardly a spiritual endorsement for commitment to a domestic partnership.

To the aggravation of Christian hawkers today who love to proclaim the “sacred” place of marriage and family in god’s judgment, the New Testament actually offers no definite or comprehensive ideas concerning marriage.  The closest the NT comes to a discussion on marriage is in 1 Corinthians, chapter 7 (written by a Roman Empire author c. 94-100 CE), where the greatest thing that the self-appointed “apostle” Paul has to say (not Jesus) is that marriage is an answer to sexual immorality; but Paul thought celibacy was better.  The problem with this assessment is that two thousand years ago, Paul, who was not married, used that assessment in support of the storyline that Jesus’ second coming was imminent, thus in god’s final judgment the sexual conduct in marriage would be regarded as somehow less immoral than other consenting sex acts.  Later writing attributed to Paul, and which some call the “household codes,” imitate the more conventional Roman approach on marriage in that timeframe—such as the subordinate standing of the woman in the partnership.

The priestly impression of what marriage symbolized in both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament is that a marriage commitment is a reflection of the relationship between god and his people.  The marriage vows were therefore meant to publicly express the emotional-spiritual union between the participants, thus the biblical “prophets” used marriage commitment to express the higher commitment between god and his people.  As an example, that curious imagery that was utilized in the end-times book of Revelation 21:2, where it speaks of “…a new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  Then in verse 9 it speaks of “…the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”  Etc., etc.

Marriage was not particularly thought of as being a “holy” event in one’s personal life until the timeframe of the early Middle Ages.  In those feudal societies marriage commitments were looked upon as simply a contract for breeding purposes, and agreement was solidified by paying for a license or legal permit that was issued in the villages, towns or cities where a couple swore not vows of love but reproductive obligations.  When the Catholic Church awoke to the money-making potential of such contracts, the promotional scheme of “holy wedlock” was contrived so that “what god hath joined together (read church controlled), let no man put asunder.”  The feudal legal contract, which was more a breeders commitment and could be easily terminated if children were not to a sire’s liking, then got tossed into the cauldron of religious ceremonial magic.  It all became “holy” once some god-representative presided over the agreement and he mumbled a few man-conceived magic rites over the glassy-eyed couple and presto! they were zapped into a god-approved union ever after.

The mutterings of some faith system’s representative over a couple’s expectations does not, unfortunately, assure or insure a “holy” union, as millions of couples will testify.  The fraud of “holy wedlock” incorporates ceremony to mark their agreement, and that does provide an emotional way to make public their commitment to each other.  But the magical incantations of some faith system’s representative are superfluous to those who are sincerely committed to one another, and those priestly theatrics become utterly meaningless to those who grow disenchanted with each other.  Bluntly stated, religious ceremony giving alleged heavenly blessing to physical pairing amounts to a strategy of control for a faith system’s use based on faulty misinterpretation of the natural world.  Religious marriage ceremonies constitute only a revenue pursuit for faith systems and they bestow nothing tangible or enduring to the parties of the contract.

That which is truly “holy” in any devotional commitment is generated by the couples’ desire to commit to each other, and holiness does not  arise out of some exterior element claiming to have exclusive “holy” influence.  The true secret of “holy wedlock” is found in being emotionally and instinctively involved (it’s called love) to confront life together for mutually desired ends.

Addendum:   Christian myth has it that Jesus’ first miracle was whipped up for a marriage that allegedly occurred “…the third day (and) there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there” (John, chapter two).  No explanation is ever given from what event the “third day” was reckoned, and theologians have often stressed-out over this.  It refers to the third day of Creation, however, and is a coded reference to the “spirit” in Genesis 1:2 that moved upon the waters and turned energy into matter (Genesis 1:9-13).  Therefore Mary, the mother (personification of the virginal void out of which Creation is made manifest), had to be there, and thus she complained about the lack of wine (waters of life).  Well, Jesus, the Life Principle, called for six water pots to be filled with water for the one-time-only event.  Why six water pots?  Because they represent the six days (phases) of Creation development ala Genesis.  Jesus then conjured up about sixty gallons of wine for the alleged wedding party.

Interestingly, when Jesus was asked to perform the water/wine miracle at the wedding, he initially responded to Mary, “Who is my mother and who are my brethren?”  And he also tossed out a statement that has always made theologians squirm.  “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”  That is an uncomfortable bit of holy word for family values.  What is disregarded is that this is myth, and it has nothing to do with any human mother and son: it is cosmological action presented in mythic dress and used as “history” just as it was in Genesis.  Jesus’ seemingly harsh response to Mary therefore pointedly indicates that no physical manifestations (i.e. mother, brothers, etc.) can be an all-inclusive representative of the Life Principle that is active throughout all Creation.