Archive for March, 2013

Birthplace and Delivery of Christianity

Posted in belief, Christianity, faith, religion with tags , , , , , on March 26, 2013 by chouck017894

The New Testament character of “saint” Paul occasionally dropped little bits of information that later generations would fail to notice, or perhaps they chose to ignore them.  A case in point is his offhand statement that Christianity had actually begun in the city of Antioch (Acts 11), which was then part of Syria, but is now known as Antakya in southern Turkey.  So what was this “saint” referring to?

Antioch was founded c. 300 BCE on the left bank of the Orontes River, and was named by Seduces (1) Nicator in honor of the founder’s father, King Antiochus III the Great.  The settlement and two other nearby colonies were populated largely by Macedonians.  The region was occupied by Pompey in 64 BCE, and Antioch rapidly developed into the largest and most important Roman city in the region, attaining its greatest glory under the Roman emperors.  In the first century CE Antioch was the third largest city of the Roman Empire, and served as the capital of the proconsul province of Syria.  The city would grow in Roman Empire times to become one of the most sumptuous cities in the world due to the fact that it lay on the intersection of trade routes from the Euphrates to the sea, from El Bika to Asia Minor.  It was, therefore, a melting pot of numerous religious cultures as well.  Antioch in the Roman Empire times could boast of a great library and a noted school of philosophy.  And there, too, was traditionally celebrated the yearly death and resurrection of the Babylonian harvest god Tammuz, also known by the Phenician word Adonis, which meant “Lord.”  This Pagan faith had considerable influence on Jewish thought–remember, Ezekiel is said to have roundly rebuked the women of Jerusalem outside the gate of his temple for weeping for the dead Tammuz (Jerome, Epistle 58, ad Paulinium).

There existed in Antioch as well a group of Greek Gnostics who recognized and honored the universal “Logos,” which they identified and revered as the Chrestos, the Life Principle (creative “word”).  From their Chrestos or Chrest this esoteric group referred to themselves as Chrestianoi.  It is from this Greek Gnostic sect’s identity that the authors of Acts introduced the term Chrest, which through the timeframe of Acts composition became written variously as Chrest, Chreist, or as Christ.  Indeed the manner of spelling the word actually identified a specific author through a code of numerical value of the letters!  True history shows that the reference of Jesus as Christ did not become standardized until around 300 CE.  So the Chrestianoi predated by about 300 years the Jesus cult movement, which 600 years later became standarized as Christian.  As Paul acknowledged, the true founding place of Christianity was actually Antioch, and not a region of Palestine nor the city of Rome.

In the timeframe when Paul allegedly visited Antioch on a mission among Antiochene Jews, a famine occurred in Jerusalem (Acts 11:27-30), and Paul and Barnabas are said to have been sent there with famine relief by the new Antiochene church.  How the new fledgling church could have afforded to do this goes unexplained.  But more pressing to Paul was his wish to discuss the issue concerning observance of the Mosaic Law by gentile converts (Acts 15) in regard to the question whether or not men’s genitals had to be circumsized.  To Roman and Pagan seekers the scarring of mens penises seemed a bizarre passport into God’s good graces.

This alleged discussion among the apostles and elders in Jerusalem is referred to as the Apostolic Council, and is said to have taken place in front of the assembled church of Jerusalem.  And here is was that Peter is alleged to have saved the day by purportedly referring to his own experiences with converted gentiles: he is said to have declared that the converts had already received the Holy Spirit apart from the Law.  Considering how strict Simon-Peter was characterized in regard to Judaic Law, this would have been a near-profane assertion from him.  But then the disciple James is claimed to have stepped forward with proof-texts “from the prophets” which he said did indirectly support Peter’s interpretation of the Holy Spirit’s allowance.  James then further  smoothed things over by suggesting a set of minimum obligations for gentiles to follow, and James’ proposal was adopted and became incorporated into what is referred to as the Apostolic Decree, which was then dispatched to the churches in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia.  The obligations that were proposed strangely echoed verses 17-18 (chapter 10) from the priest written book of Leviticus which concerned certain demands directed to the aliens residing in Israel in that prehistory Leviticus timeframe. The adjusted requirements in the Apostolic Decree thus demanded abstinence from idolatry, blood, meat from animals that had been strangled, and sexual immorality.  All theses no-no requirements, however, managed to gradually get watered down into a minimal moral code referred to as the “golden rule.”  Oddly, in Galatians 2:11-14 the impression is given that the question of necessary obligations for converts had not really been been resolved between Paul and Peter.

Unfortunately, the authors of Acts in the earliest versions, in which the character of Paul alluded to the universal Logos (Chrest), did not appeal to the Jewish mentality which leaned through training toward narrow, literal and strict tenets.  This necessitated editing the earlier Pauline theology in which Antioch Gnosticism could be grafted upon Jewish roots.  And this is the whole basis of what became known as the Peter-Paul controversy.  In the earliest writings attributed to Paul there was no expression of a belief in a personal Christ: the tenor was always in regard to a principle, which the Gnostics spoke of as the Chrestos.  The indelible impact that the auxiliary apostle Paul afforded for the emerging church was the blending of the Jewish ideas of Law and submission with the Gnostic interpretations of life, death and resurrection which became the groundwork of Christian doctrine.

A curious fact lingers over the Pauline influence and the Antiochene flavoring that evolved as the Christian faith system, and that is the fact that the early apologist and prodigious writer for the Christian movement, “saint” Justin Martyr (c. 100-165), never mentioned Paul!  That is a most peculiar silence.  But then as late as 254 there were lingering debates over the authenticity of the epistles attributed to Paul.

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Democratic Principles of Creation and Heaven

Posted in belief, faith, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , on March 17, 2013 by chouck017894

Mankind’s  social and governmental structures which grant and inspire the rights of individualism and personal expression is what is called democracy.  This all-inclusive and broadly composed form of human government is probably the closest that man comes to emulating the original cause of all things in Creation which grants the privilege of plurality and  wide-ranging diversity throughout Creation.  The opposite of that allowance within Creation’s source for self-governing and variety is glaringly demonstrated in human conduct in the numb obsession of hardline faith systems which are referred to as fundamentalism

Fundametalism may be best evaluated as a paralysis of spiritual insight which results from an unwavering belief in a set of man-conceived strategies of religious, political or philosophical nature which are made compulsory as the basic and unalterable game-plan for storming Heaven.  With no wiggle room left for seekers to question or study all the enormous possibilities which “God” left open to seekers of truth, any social or true spiritual advancement then becomes virtually unachievable.

The power which was/is responsible for Creation’s manifestations has always been on purely democratic principles and is sustained and maintained through the collaboration of all individual components for the preservation of all.  In short, all things exist as part of an unrestricted principle just as the pre-Christian Roman and Greek philosophers taught.  In that perception regarding the essential interaction of all components which define Creation, all things great and small therefore stand equal before Creation’s power, which may be better termed as Cosmic Consciousness.  That creative directive of equal status which is active throughout Creation is best expressed in the democratic forms of man’s governments.  Plurality and interacting diversity is seen throughout all Creation and is the indisputable evidence that democratic principles prevail within the quantum Source.  In direct opposition to this, the hardline religionists and obstructionist politicos’ idea of heaven and social order is that everything is structured as either a one-dimensional kingdom or a monotonous inflexible theocracy. 

True democratic management, which is active as the creative principle throughout the observable universe, is not concerned with the possessions or power plays over which individual entities are inclined to obsess over.  From the democratic process which is active in the universe, the freedom of expression and interactivity serve as the sustaining framework for Creation.  Indeed all things must respect and support each other, otherwise the universe would cease to exist.  The minority is always preserved and respectedd as an inherent stabilizing element within the activities of the whole.  This is a fact of universal continuance that all the world’s  man-invented faith systems should consider, especially since they love to pretend such devotion to a humanlike god as the Creator of all. 

Democracy is modeled upon that respect and liberty which is extended throughout Creation, and in that creative activity there is granted the assurance of personal freedom which entitles each citizen the liberty and the responsibilty of shaping their own identity.  Equality before creation’s law is the basic principle within Creation, and in  man’s evolved societies equality before the law is the basic principle of democratic governing.  No individual or group can hold a monopoly on wisdom, virtue or importance before the creative Source.  That means that in man’s democratic governments the stripping away of laws for the benefit of special interests, as currently pursued by the political and religious zealots in the USA, is therefore the open contempt for established and proven laws of Creation.

An important part in pre-Christian times, such as prevailed in the city-states of classical Greece and Rome, the rule by the people was vitally important.  However, those ancient forms of near-democratic forms of government did not presume that all individuals necessarily held equal qualities.  It was understood that every entity is made definable by its limitations, but any perceived differences were nonetheless interlocked within the whole, and they are therefore impartially balanced as far as the creative Source is concerned.

Stoic philosophy in the pre-Christian timeframe held that every matter object with which we interact is a passive condition of energy and is distinguishable from the animating or active principle—which traditional man-centered faith systems consistently personify as a humanlike god.  Stoic ethics cannot be described as a metaphysical theory, although it regarded the creative energy spark from which each individual living thing attained manifestation as the defining feature of each living being’s individuality.  Man’s faith systems have referred to this defining feature as “soul” or “spirit,” which most everyone habitually confuses with their ego.

The four cardinal virtues of Stoicism reflect the philosophy that had been put forth by the Greek philosphers Plato and Socrates, these being wisdom, courage, justice and temperance.  Stoicism, which existed long before Christianity, recognized and advocated the brotherhood of all mankind.  And in this understanding any differences that were attained in rank and/or material wealth were rightfully regarded as merely external and temporary, and consequently each person should strive to help one another.  The natural equality of all beings and inanimate objects within the visible Creation was stressed as showing the democratic character by which man should live and prosper.  This certainly is not something understood or practiced by the many faith systems and politcal factions that seek to dominate man’s affairs today.

Stoic philosophy as honored in pre-Christian times had understood that man is but a small part of a divine principle.  The Jewish and Christian faith sytems struggled at times with this awareness, and it led them to emphasize the rights of the poor, the underprivileged, and even acknowledge that all humans stand equal before the creative power that is personified as “God.”  Unfortunately, the allowance for equal opportunity within Creation’s democratic structure even allows self-indulgence to run wild.  That allowance for self-entwinement is made evident in the politcal extremism and corporate styled faith systems today that have strayed far from the democratic principles that sustains all Creation.

Making Holy Myths

Posted in Bible, faith, random, religion, scriptures, thoughts with tags , , , , on March 1, 2013 by chouck017894

Of all the creation myths of ancient people, the opening chapter of the book of Genesis, ie book of beginnings, stands in a class by itself.  Unlike all other cultures Before our Common Era, the priests of Yahweh in 8th century BCE Jerusalem were busily indulging themselves in setting up the self-serving premise of divine discrimination.  The Creator which the authors presented in Genesis, who walked in his walled-in garden and talked to himself, is thus depicted as either not omniscient (all knowing) or as an insensitive schemer.  For example, where is the wisdom of placing two tempting fruit bearing trees as the focal point of his garden landscape and then forbidding two newly created and uncomprehending beings the freedom to eat of them?  It is weak story plotting.  But it didn’t really matter to the priest authors, for the underlying purpose of the story was to channel the Hebrew people away from a belief in numerous gods and goddesses as revered in other surrounding cultures.  Gradually and with considerable difficulty the people were indoctrinated with the premise of one humanlike being–male of course–who created limited matter identities without the necessity of polar energy intercourse.

In this 8th century BCE timeframe the civilizations such as Babylonia, Egypt, Assyria, Greece, etc., recognized and respected the interactions of the incalculable universal energies.  And it was these unseen but interrelated and interacting primal creative forces which the ancient cultures personified as a pantisocracy* of gods and goddesses.  (*A utopian society in which all are equal and each has governing power: it is a concept which is the heartbeat of democracy.)  The energies that interact throughout nature and all through the universe do often appear in opposition, hence the “gods” that personified those primal actions were often depicted in Pagan cultures as in competition or in a state of lust.  There was never any doubt among those Pagan cultures however that such creative energies originated from a singular Source.

The Yahweh priests in the 8th century BCE Jerusalem slyly contrived the claim that the indifferent source-power of Creation had singled out only one group of people (them, of course) as the sole recipients of his blessings.  To accomplish this pretext of divine discrimination the wily priest-editors referred to those same primal and diverse creative energies which were responsible for all manifested life as their historical ancestors and dubbed those primal energies as Israelites–the alleged descendants of the Genesis character Jacob-Israel.  The “gods” that were recognized by the surrounding cultures, and which symbolized the same diverse creative energies were then purposely ridiculed as being too spiritually deficient to have been chosen by the source power which the priests characterized a Yahweh.  But this assault on Pagan wisdom necessitated finding a means to explain the diverse energy attributes which were represented and personified by those cultures as gods and goddesses.

The priest editors who reworked ancient astronomy knowledge, Cabalistic texts and old Pagan and Hebrew myths certainly knew what the Pagan gods actually symbolized: that those gods signified energy interactions operating all through the universe which, unseen for the most part by man, do have direct effect on all life forms.  The Yahweh priests’ clever scheme for demoting the Pagans’ numerous gods was to simply give those primal creative forces a different designation.  Consequently those diverse creative forces were reassigned by the priests from Pagan recognition as “gods” into Yahweh’s servants, and they were then addressed as “angels.”  For all extent and purpose, the attributes and special duties which the Pagan cultures recognized as gods were simply transferred to a regiment of “angels.”   The angels, of course, were envisioned as acting under the direction of a divinely indifferent (amoral) source-power which was personified as Yahweh-God.  It should be noted that amoral does not mean immoral: it signifies that any judgmental inclinations or condemnatory personality features are not present.

Another major misunderstanding regarding creative principles that is promoted in Genesis is in the personification of the polar energies necessary for any and all definable energy-form manifestations.  These personifications are the well-known characters of Adam and Eve.  In the earliest part of the book of Genesis the character of Eve is referred to as “Mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20), which suggests the rank of a near-sacred being.  Curiously, this title which Adam allegedly bestowed upon Eve happens to be identical to what the Sumerians had bestowed upon the love goddess Aruru, for she was regarded in their prehistory culture to be the creatrix of all life.

Eve’s implied eminence in Genesis, even after she made her alleged fruit-picking mistake, reflects the Pagan understanding that creation of all life forms can take place only through a process of polar energy interaction.  That is why various neighboring cultures around Jerusalem which the priests of Yahweh envied, such as Phencian, Hittie, Assyrian, Egyptian, Ugaritic, etc., gave homage to goddesses as being equal in divine power with the gods.  But Eve, according to the Yahweh priest authors, was demoted and declared to have been extracted from Adam’s side and designed by Yahweh-Jehovah simply to serve as Adam’s helpmeet.  This was a deliberate capsizing of Pagan understanding that creation of all definable energy forms came from an exchange of equal but counterpart polar energies.  The premise presented by the priest authors was that Yahweh merely had to mutter things into material existence, and this story feature had no parallel in any other early Mediterranean or Eastern  myths.  The advantage of this priestly flight of fancy of divine discrimination was that it placed man (especially the political minded priests) in an indisputable authoritarian position.  Unfortunately, by demoting the feminine polar aspect (popularly designated the negative pole) which is equal and necessary for life production, the Genesis myth of Creation essentially rejects the scientific principle by which polarized energies manifest as matter forms.  And western religious understanding of the basic principles of Creation and fruition (evolution) of life manifestation has been plagued with controversy and misunderstanding ever since.