Archive for August, 2013

An Ungodly Fixation, Fundamentalism

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, faith, history, humanity, religion, scriptures, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , on August 21, 2013 by chouck017894

Back in the Middle Ages the Crusades became the big religious pastime in European circles. Christians were called by Catholic fundamentalists to mount an offensive against the “evil Moors,” and the unquestioning believers dutifully sallied forth to slay hundreds of thousands of “heretics” for the glory of the “Prince of Peace.” The bulk of the victims across Europe over the centuries of the Inquisition were not Moors, but simply people who sought spiritual alliance with the Source in their own way. Later, in the 1800s the popular sport of the British Protestant fundamentalists was to indulge in terrorism against the Irish Catholics in Northern Ireland. More recently, when Iran was taken over by Muslim fundamentalists in the Islamic Revolution of 1979, thousands of “non-believers” were heartlessly slaughtered. In India on October 31, 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, a Hindu of the Adi Dharma Brahmic religion, was shot to death by a Sikh fundamentalist. The Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was shot to death in 1995 by a Jewish fundamentalist. And in our present day epidemic of fundamentalist mental affliction, one brand of Muslim fundamentalists continue to indulge themselves in the hit-or-miss slaughtering anywhere of anyone whom they judge to be infidels.

In the United States today the fever of Christian fundamentalists has managed (since 1996) to infect and pervert the workings of true democracy. As usual with any fundamentalist, the delusions of righteousness and holy exclusiveness from which they suffer is detectable by their addiction to unclean hatreds. In the affliction of fundamentalism it is not really their specific narrow faith that is at fault: it is the delusion that they and they alone know what is true and right in the sight of God. In their spiritual fever they fail to recognize that the “truths” they credit to God are actually nothing other than their own ego judgments fashioned by man’s fear of the unknown. Ego does not like any contrariness, and once ego fashions an emotional fortress (faith) it will rarely respond to rational examination.

Karl Marx made the insightful observation that religion is the opium of the masses. As with drug addiction, the quest of the religious fundies is the pursuit of the feel-good high they get from their indulgence. And they will defend without scruples their indulgence of “faith” against any rational examination. The lust for God’s imagined favoritism commonly drives them into unholy behavior such as name-calling, half-truths, outright lies, and even killing anyone considered to be a threat to their imagined superior spiritual status. So contaminated are they that they cannot see their spiritual insincerity when they judge other people to be “lost,” or a “devil’s advocate,” or “demon possessed” as they themselves go about disrupting every facet of social structure for the majority. They never explain why God, if “he” is omniscient,” has to rely on their pathetically limited abilities to clean up the spiritual confusion in regard to himself.

Fundamentalist Christians hold that the Bible is man’s sole authority. This is stridently avowed despite the many contradictions that the “holy texts” hold. There is a fact that would be amusing if it were not so tragic, but the average fundamentalists have not and do not actually read the Bible themselves—it is so much easier to listen to some overzealous interpreter who cherry picks verses from the “good book” to inflame others with their slanted concepts. The common response to weaving some out-of-context verses into emotional rhetoric is to focus on some imagined revulsion that God supposedly finds within his creation of variety and diversity of life. Hatred for the superficial differences which make up life expressions is very easy to arouse, and accusations that others indulge in sin are so easy to assert—especially if any of those “sins” happen not to be one of the favorites of the fundamentalists.

Such pretense of possessing the only upright “faith” may give each other within their little faith system clique a sense of exclusivity, but it does not fool the ultimate power which creates in endless variety and diversity. And that fundamentalist attitude that everyone else is wrong certainly was not a message in the alleged teachings of Jesus. Indeed, Jesus was depicted as actually standing up to the Jewish fundamentalists of his day; he was radical in that he praised compassion, forgiveness, and being non-judgmental. In the book of Matthew 23:27 Jesus is even depicted as having commented on the shallow spirituality of fundamentalists. It might be wise, therefore, if the fundamentalists of today would get down off their self-constructed pedestals and actually read the book they claim to live by. Concerning the fundamentalists, Jesus is quoted as referring to them as “…whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

Yikes! Does that Gospel truth mean that all fundamentalists are actually—zombies?

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Arrested Spiritual Development, AKA Theology

Posted in Atheist, belief, enlightenment, faith, random, religion, theology with tags , , , , , , on August 15, 2013 by chouck017894

Theology is generally defined as a methodically formulated “study” which dares to claim that it provides “knowledge” and the “science” regarding the nature of God. In actuality theology is more of a speculative exercise system of belief which builds upon the hypothesis that a supernatural being (with humanlike characteristics) created and sits in judgment of everything in Creation. This “study” is heavily promoted as religious truth and theological science which allegedly provides rational inquiry into religious questions. Oddly, all organized faith systems, especially those which are run by the book, pivot upon somewhat differing opinions as to what constitutes “divinity” and what humanity’s relationship is with that alleged “divine being.” The subject of theoloty is marketed as a study course which specializes in “religious research,” and is commonly obtainable at a faith-based university or seminary. In other words, the “science” (loosely defined) is a money oriented study for attaining a salary-oriented career.

The modern use of the term “theology” refers to a rather narrow approach to the universal powers which are imagined to correspond to a super-humanlike being. This is a self-serving mode of propaganda which insinuates that it teaches exclusive knowledge. But in more ancient timeframes such as classical Greece, theology, by the etymology of the word, signified a discourse about the divine Source as ultimate god by men such as Pherecydes of Syros (6th century BCE), a teacher of Pythagoras, and the man Epimenides of Crete (around 600 BCE), who is reputedly the “prophet” quoted by “Saint” Paul in Titus 1:12. Broadly speaking, theology includes the earliest classical understanding as being a discourse about God, but the study also theorizes man’s nature which seems to indicate a distinct (faith system) relationship with that theorized god. This is then easily expanded into speculation of how each person’s life experiences determine the relationship of each person’s destiny with God.

Theological studies assert that “other sciences” such as biology are incorporated, and these true sciences allegedly support and affirm “the scientific explanation of religious life.” Even so, this claimed “scientific” relationship still generates only a system of doctrines, dogmatism, and duties which support and promotes the faith system. Nothing in such a setup really elevates a seeker’s spirit into true enlightenment. It might be concluded, therefore, that theology is an elaborate practice which was invented for the bedevilment of reason.

There is, consequently, an abundance of terms and expressions that have been produced to promote the beliefs which each faith system offers. About the only thing that all these man-formulated systems (categorized under the umbrella of “religion”) actually agree upon is that anyone who does not subscribe to a supernatural explanation of universal powers is damned and those poor souls’ rational skepticism is spoken of as (gasp) “atheism!” In other words,a theist’s judgment is systematically and subconsciously programmed with hatred toward any differing search for enlightenment instead of being infused with spiritual tolerance. Meanwhile the vocabulary of faith system believers remains colored with its descriptive theist tag, meaning “god,” in words such as monotheist, henotheist, polytheist, pantheist, and even atheist, and the misunderstood term deist. Deism, as an example, is the belief that the truth of the existence of the creative Life Principle (which is commonly personified as God) can only be discovered by each individual through the evidence of reason and nature, and without resort to any particular church or to claims of revelation. The bulk of founding fathers of the United States were deists, not Christians, as example. Deism is from Latin, theism is from Greek.

Excesses of any faith system are inestimable, and they flourish under such proudly displayed emblems as two interlocked triangles making up a six pointed star, a dead body hanging on a cross, a crescent moon cupping a five-pointed star, and other faith system insignia. All too commonly religious devotion to imagined divinities has been slyly misdirected and that yearning by seekers for true enlightenment then becomes sacrificed for an indulgence in eccentric procedures. Theological construction utilizes (for it own ends) philosophical terms of value, but rationality is the least valued of those terms. At its best, theological study can only tippy-toe around philosophical dedication to rationality in its pursuit of theological tenets.

True philosophy is the attempt to uncover an ultimate truth by rational means; theology, however, is prone to limit (and heavily so) rational investigation, willingly sacrificing that standard of philosophy for the faith system purpose which strives to impose a submit-and-obey following. To accomplish this, theological study has to incorporate a philosophical starting point if it is to make the study appear rational. Thus are alleged “revelations” which have been handed down by tribal ancestors made to serve as the starting point upon which a pretense of “scientific study” of those revelations may be presented by imitating philosophical premises. Theology’s claimed affiliation with philosophy, we could thus say, is something like an occasional behind-the-barn intimacy. It is akin to a hormone-driven need to feel intimacy with rationality, but those moments of dalliance must be kept hidden from the gullible public.

Exegetical theology is a more recent attempt at trying to include genuine scientific principles in support of their belief system by accepting the evidence of evolution as being active in both the spiritual and material dimensions of creation. In other words, exegetical theology leans strongly toward universalism. By this means, however, the creative life-infusing power which is personified as “God” can never really be classified as Jewish, Christian, Muslim or any other man-contrived membership belief system, for that Source power continues to indiscriminately uphold any and all aspects of whatever mankind may perceive from his limited observation of Creation.

So is it ever appropriate to bestow upon ethnic faith systems a collection of invented theological claims as being “scientific” or “facts”? The central tenets of any established faith system must, of necessity, provide some allusion of historical background for those tenets, but any in-depth investigation of any faith system will reveal that there is not one in existence which has not heavily whitewashed its true history. Ignoring true historical data does not enhance spiritual reliability.

Related post: Haggling Over What To Believe, January 2013

Ten Commandments Really Property Rights

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, Hebrew scripture, prehistory, religion, scriptures, Social with tags , , , , on August 1, 2013 by chouck017894

The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue (the ten words), are presented in two places in the Bible (Exodus 20:1-17, and Deuteronomy 5:6-21), both containing a short summary of godly demand allegedly revealed personally by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. These are known as Mosaic Laws. Strangely, those in Exodus and Deuteronomy are listed somewhat differently. Despite this, the brief list of commandments can be divided into four categories. The first three commandments (or four, depending on which faith system version) cannot be said to concern ethical, moral or even spiritual enlightenment, but lay down the “submit and obey” principles which any cult or faith system seeks to impose. Supposedly these first three (or four) commandments protect the religious followers from misusing divine power to serve personal ends. (How well these actually safeguard the misuse of divine power in political practice is periodically demonstrated by fanatics who belligerently post these commandments in courthouses and government buildings in attempts to force their particular religious convictions upon everyone else.)

In short, the first three (or four) commandments of the ten provide absolutely nothing to elevate any personal spiritual relationship with the creative Source: it is all about “I am the boss, and don’t you forget it.” This just happens, coincidently of course, to establish a power base for the go-betweens who (selflessly, of course) place themselves in service to the big boss. God will brook no rivalry and allows no divided loyalty. These opening commandments may therefore be considered to be the property rights for the priest-class, which leave the remaining commandments open for priestly interpretation of what the big boss wants (even though their interpretations often run counter to the stated commandments).

Not all biblically based faith systems, as noted, follow the same sequence, but the commandment that is most often placed after God’s self promotion is “Honor thy father and mother.” This is indeed a moral responsibility, but equally correct this commandment is a property right. for it protects the elderly when they may no longer be of any economical value to a society. (This places the religious rights’ domination of the Republican Party since 1996 in an awkward position, considering their constant push to destroy Social Security.) All the commandments, most of which are stated in negative “thou shalt not” form, are not strictly a system of heavenly righteousness as is routinely implied but concern matter-life property rights. The commandment “Thou shalt not kill, for example, is an affirmation of the sanctity (personal possession) of life: to take that right-to-life from any person for any reason is against social stability. How loyally this Thou shalt not kill commandment was observed is displayed in the priest-written book of Leviticus which lists twenty-some ways to kill those whom the priests judged did not follow the commandments!

Next is the “Thou shalt not commit adultery” commandment, the sole purpose of which is in regard to men’s property rights, for in priest-written sacred word, woman is assessed as merely the property of man. As in the holy story of Lot, man is free to sell, rent or loan out his daughters and he may use his wife however pleases him. Adultery is thus but a variation of the next commandment which declares “Thou shalt not steal” another man’s property.

The last two holy commandments are actually more in regard to one’s social and/or public reputation which could inflict negative consequences and damage the personal property rights of others—the personal treasure known as integrity (a quality of personhood virtually unknown among religious fanatics and politicians). Thus in bearing false witness (#9) another person’s honor (their personal property of integrity) is soiled which can easily ruin one’s life and property in a community. And “Thou shalt not covet” (#10) is to crave (and probably strive for) something which rightfully belongs to someone else.

Things to consider:
There is very little attention given in textbooks regarding any human cultures prior to around 2500 BCE. This has long been standard practice despite the fact that artifacts, archaeological sites and biological evidence confirms the existence of human cultures dating back at least one million years. Little noted in textbooks is the fact that in the timeframe c.2600 BCE a ruler of Sumer, named Urukagina, found so much immoral activity in his kingdom that he found it necessary to crack down on it. A long inscription by this ruler is regarded as the first-ever record of social reform, and it was founded on a virtuous sense of freedom, equality and justice. A few of the injustices that Urukagina addressed included the unfair use by supervisors of their power to take the best of everything for themselves; the abuse of one’s official position; and the practice of monopolistic groups to impose unbearable prices on the general public. Sound familiar?

Approximately 875 years later (c.1758 BCE) Hammurabi ascended the throne of Babylonia. History, surprisingly, does record that he was responsible for the codification of Babylonian laws and edicts, which were displayed on a stele for the public to see. Hammurabi depicted himself as receiving the code from the god Shamash. The code was strictly a civil code which contained 282 paragraphs covering such things as legal procedures and penalties for unjust accusations, false testimony, and injustice done by judges, etc. Other laws were based on equal retaliation–the eye for an eye approach which later became the suggested “law” practice in the priest-written book Leviticus.

Moses is speculated to have received the Ten Commandments around 1540-30 BCE, and thereafter the Decalogue is said to have served as the fundamental laws of the Hebrews. The Ten Commandments which Moses allegedly received directly from God functioned as a severely condensed version of those earlier rulers. It was the cunning act of dressing those laws in sacred scripture which subtly implied that they were enforced by divine power and which provided their endurance.