Playing Games of Spiritual Monopoly

Back in the year 536 BCE the Persian King Cyrus II (The Great), freed the people of Judah from Babylonian Captivity and aided their return to Judah.  After seventy years in exile virtually all that had once been programmed into Judean consciousness as sacred truth by the Yahweh priests–the priest-composed laws and traditions–had been largely forgotten.  In that memorable seventy year exile referred to as the Babylonian Captivity the Judeans had, of course, been heavily influenced by the Chaldeans and Persians who became united into one nation by the might of Cyrus.  This national unity seemed heaven-sent and the Judeans were heavily influenced by the religion of Zoroaster.  Indeed, there is a Talmudic passage which freely acknowledges that the names of the angels (which earlier cultures associated with the planets), the names of the months, and even the letters of the alphabet were brought from the land of exile.  It is from the return of the people of Judah to their homeland that the literature now cherished by Jews as the Torah was assembled and established as law.

The principal architect of the Judean reconstruction period is traditionally claimed to have been a priest named Ezra (c.458 BCE); however nothing has ever been presented to verify that such a person ever existed.  It is more likely that some enterprising men among the returnees discovered versions of priest-written accounts which are now referred to as the E, the J, and the P versions, and edited them into the works now known as Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, and also included the  book Deuteronomy which had allegedly been “discovered” during remodeling of the Temple in 640 BCE.  The returning Judeans set about rebuilding the Temple, and at the early meeting held there this revised anthology was read aloud, which gave origin to the Torah.  To establish it as holy authority, the works were claimed to have been dictated by God to the character Moses.

It was from this general 536 BCE timeframe that the industrious revisionists of Judean faith also introduced the character of Job into their sacred myths, which theistically is not Hebrew but was most likely drawn from a Babylonian source.  It was with this work that Judaism was presented with the premier appearance of “Satan,” with a capital S.  What the returned exiles apparently had not carried back with them was the understanding of what certain elements in the tale represented in the original form.  Unrecognized, or perhaps deliberately ignored, was the zodiacal and astronomical significance that was attached to such things as the names of the months, or the cosmological significance of the purely allegorical “angels.”  It is possible that part of that mix-up may have been due to Zoroaster, the “prophet” of ancient Persia, whose ideas of “angels” became separated from older celestial references and redefined by him as an infernal hierarchy.  The consequences of borrowing from the captors’ interpretations was that the Judeans became hopelessly confused in regard to the symbolism for similar ideas used in the so-called Pagan cultures.  Thus today the western and near-east cultures are still trying to dig out from under that disastrous avalanche of sacred interpretation.

The period of the Judean exiles return and restructuring of their homeland and traditions seem strangely linked to an upsurge in the pursuance of higher awareness in the world which would mark the fifth century BCE.  The teachings promoted by Zoroastrianism, for example, went on to develop as Mithraism, which would have a heavy impact on Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  Fragments of the teachings and the hymns attributed to Zoroaster were assembled into a book that is known as the Avesta, or Zend-Avesta, and became the bible of the Persians.  The teachings of Buddha (563?-480?) were passed orally for centuries before being written down as Buddhist scriptures.  In this general timeframe also other thinkers would influence higher thought.  Confuscius, Chinese philosopher (c. 551-479 BCE), Herodotus, the Greek historian (c. 485-425 BCE), Anaxagoras, the Greek philosopher (c. 500?-428 BCE), Pericles, Athenian statesman and orator (C. 500-429 BCE), Socrates, Greek philosopher (c. 470?-399 BCE), and Plato, Greek philosopher (c. 427-347 BCE).  All these men were part of a seeming influx of seekers of life’s meaning which was theorized as radiating from an energy essence, which is commonly termed “soul.”

Rarely is any relationship to such true historical persons such as these acknowledged by the three major organized religions of the western world today.  The Jews, for example, during their reinvention of faith, went to extremes to avoid contact with Greek philosophy, declaring such philosophical searching to be unclean.  Christianity, which became formulated in Rome, embraced much from Greek influence and used it to counter the self-obessed theology of the Jews.  But the Christian focus would also turn in upon itself, and as the Roman Empire declined the life that the Christian faith system came to embrace was firmly anchored upon achieving dominance in all earthly affairs, and from this demanded submission.

Across the centuries the Jews and Christians would spar continuously over which was the true representative of God.  This might seem rather pointless since God is the avowed Creator and Sustainer of all things, but the argument is partly clarified when ego is mistaken for spirit.  The running argument did not keep either faith system from commercial trading with “heathens” however.  And thus it was that an Arab trade merchant assessed the arguments from both sides during his many merchant caravans across the Arabian desert in the 600’s CE.  And eventually God decided to reveal his wishes to Mohammad also.  Since the Creator is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, everything that was revealed to each belief system was relayed from God’s all-seeing (surreal) perspective.  Thus in all these “holy” books–the Torah, New testament and Quran–there are found countless contradictions, which believers will, of course, deny exist.  The escape hatch built into all these texts is always the claim of “revealed” word.  Never do any of the godly representatives explain why would an omniscient being have to resort to such a shoddy method of communication in order to convey his wishes to the world. 

What all this demonstrates–Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc.–is that the spiritual “truth” they each claim to represent is crafted, modified and controlled by those who were/are not well attuned to a true universal perspective.  Thus their limited comprehension regarding the universal interrelatedness of all things has become reduced to dry dogma.  We could, perhaps, conclude from all this that the nuts and bolts used in construction of such faith systems has consisted mainly of nuts.

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