Archive for June, 2014

Elijah: Prophet or Propaganda?

Posted in Atheist, Bible, faith, Hebrew scripture, random, religion, scriptures with tags , , , , , on June 18, 2014 by chouck017894

In Jewish and Christian traditions a special status has existed for persons (almost always male) whose alleged prophetic talents were claimed to have come from their direct connection with a divine being. The utterances of these alleged specialists are, however, salvaged only in fragments such as in the prophetical divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) in which the prophecies were concerned principally with the wrongdoings of the local people who cringed under the guidance of the priests and prophets of Yahweh. In that context the prophecies routinely pivoted upon threats of divine punishment for disobedience to Yahweh’s will–as God’s will was allegedly revealed to the priests. In this regard the holy Jewish prophets differed from the Pagan diviners, soothsayers and oracles only in that the Pagan equivalents more often employed females and more theatrical oracular devices to determine the will of the gods and thereby predict a course of events.

The 9th century BCE prophet Elijah (c. 850 BCE)–Elias in NT version–is one of the earliest examples of the Hebrew major “prophets” and known to us through the priest-written books of 1 and 2 Kings, and he is representative of a timeframe of turbulent social and religious change in that narrow Near East region. Elijah was an alleged prophet in the northern kingdom of the alleged divided monarchy Israel/Judah. (We must ignore the fact that Judah did not become a kingdom until after the kingdom of Israel had fallen to the Syrians.) Elijah is cast as the star of a local drama (so it is not a godly judgment of the world) in which the Yahweh priests were in opposition to the idolatrous religious practices performed to address the god Baal.

In considering this “prophet” from priest-written Hebrew scriptures we should bear in mind the phonetic part of the character’s name: the prefix Eli means “god,” and the suffix jah is sacred language reference to Yahweh (coded), the creative energies personified. Thus the character of Elijah is a metaphoric personification of the Life Principle’s creative activity which precedes formation as matter. Consider: Elijah, according to Hebrew Scripture, spent a lot of time in the “desert” and in sacred language “desert” and/or “wilderness” always alluded to the primordial energy phases out of which matter is made manifest. These primal stages are to be passed over as they involve toward and into a defined energy-matter form. For this reason the circumstances of Elijah’s birth and youth were never recorded, and even the name of his father is strangely absent–a true oddity in scriptural obsession for listing all fathers. Nonetheless, we are assured that he was a native of Tishbe in Gilead–only no one knows where that Transjordan site was supposedly located.

The alleged prophetic activity of Elijah is cast as having begun in the timeframe of King Ahab of northern Israel (king c. 875-853 BCE), who had the misfortune of inheriting from his father, Omri, a kingdom in extreme peril from the expanding Assyrian kingdom. Ahab made his kingdom of Judah an ally (perhaps a vassal) of the kingdom of Tyre by marrying princess Jezebel, thereby achieving a semblance of uneasy neutrality. Regrettably King Ahab’s young wife was psychologically conditioned to believe that the ruling power of Creation was the Baal (more accurately the tutelary god of Tyre) which was worshipped as Melkart. Ahab was guilty only in allowing his wife the freedom of having a place to worship the lone deity that she had ever known. (Her father, King Ethbaal of Sidon, had formerly served as a priest of the Tyrian religion, after all.) The extremist priests of Yahweh, of course, found this allowance of spiritual freedom to be an offense to their imagined god Yahweh even though an alliance among Semite people had traditionally meant a mutual honoring of gods. In fact even Yahweh had been worshipped earlier as a baal–a local deity. Nonetheless, the Yahweh priest authors cast Jezebel as the bitterest opponent of the prophet Elijah, and further libeled her as the instigator of the murder of Nathor for his vineyard!

By the priest-historians’ twisted version, however, King Ahab’s political dilemma was purposely intermingled with features drawn from the Babylonian storm-god Adad, the “rainmaker” whom the Babylonians regarded as the cosmological flood maker. Thus we read that Elijah supposedly said to King Ahab “…Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain” (1 Kings 18:41). The storm-god model in association with King Ahab is then reinforced in verses 44-45: “…Behold there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he (god) said (to Elijah), Go up say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. And it came to pass in the meanwhile, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel.”

The Elijah tale is, first and foremost, a one-sided priestly account of the struggle in the north for the survival of the Yahweh priests’ influence. By legitimate account, King Ahab (and his son-successor Ahaziah) acknowledged not only Yahweh but also Baal (and Baal’s consort Asherah) for providing the winter rains as well as for the summer dew which was necessary for crop growth (1 Kings 17-19). The ambitious Yahweh priests certainly did not appreciate any competition from the “prophets” (priests) of Baal, and thus in the Yahweh priests’ writings Elijah supposedly appeared to take center stage in Yahweh’s behalf. The north-south tensions, fanned by the vying priesthoods, were deeply rooted and thus we receive the priest-written story of the alleged antagonism between King Ahab and Elijah. As a consequence this slanted “history” has been passed down to spiritual seekers for many centuries as a highly contemptuous version of Ahab.

Even so, the scriptural narrative regarding King Ahab inadvertently carries evidence of two different points of view of Ahab: one which more honestly presented Ahab as a competent, brave and popular king; the other is the Yahweh priests’ fabrication which painted Ahab as a bad man and a faithless monarch. The religious fanaticism which the character of Elijah personifies is pointedly suggestive of priestly propaganda rather than any actual reporting of some genuine prophetic person with divine connections. Remember, the priests’ version recorded that 400 priests of the Yahweh cult had supposedly prophesied just before Ahab departed on his final campaign. Without question the character of Elijah represents the consolidation of all that vicious priestly fervor. The story goes that Elijah engaged in a contest of miracles with the prophets of Baal for the command of rain, and of course Elijah won. Elijah, in the name of the Life Principle, then had all the prophets of Baal killed—and the needed rains came. But underlying all that political propaganda of the priests the truth shines through that deep north/south tensions were fanned by the priests, and those authors deceptively pictured it as hard antagonism between King Ahab and the alleged prophet Elijah.

Elijah was not the only prophet of Yahweh in this timeframe, but it is averred that only Elijah had foretold a drought (1 Kings 17:1), and that he was shielded from its effects as well as protected from the king’s disfavor (1 Kings 17:2-24). Elijah comes across more as a conman than a prophet, for it was he who challenged the prophets of Baal (falsely cast as Ahab’s prophets) to a duel of deities, so to speak, to determine whose god could end the drought. There are two versions of this contest: one has it that Yahweh displayed his power by consuming a sacrified bull by fire, and the other says Elijah proposed that he and other prophets each build an altar (on Mt. Carmel) and whichever god could bring forth fire upon it without being lighted by them would show which deity was capable of ending the drought. To be brief, Elijah’s altar burst out in flames. The power of Yahweh-Jehovah was allegedly revealed by the miraculous automatic fire. This pivotal “miracle” by Elijah solidly established his political power. Remember: the contest was proposed by Elijah himself.

Note: Even in the timeframe of Elijah there were persons from certain parts of the Near East who were well aware of crude petroleum. Sodom and Gomorrah, for example, had once been centers where that tar-like substance was obtained to seal boats. There were actually some persons who had discovered how to make what is now known as naphtha, a colorless flammable liquid obtained from crude petroleum. It had been discovered that piles of combustible materials would suddenly ignite by chemical reaction in certain circumstances. It is known today that oxidation creates heat that will intesify if not dissipated and it will eventually ignite within piles of fibrous material–as in the “two measures of seed” mentioned in verse 32. The stacking of stones (as described) would certainly concentrate the build up of heat by slowing the heat from being released into the air and thus result in spontaneous combustion. And Elijah had instructed that “water” was to be poured upon the altar–not once but three times—and the aforementioned naphtha is colorless as water and highly flammable. Hence a “miracle” was provided (1 Kings 18:38). Tellingly the verse concludes that the fire “…licked up the water in the trench.”)

To make priestly animosity toward Ahab and Jezebel sound murderously greedy the plot line then avers that Ahab coveted his neighbor’s vineyard, and Jezebel is said to have instigated the murder of Naboth. This in turn provided reason for Elijah to arrange to have Jezebel killed–with Yahweh’s approval. In this timeframe such priest promoted viciousness was routine. Consider: in the bulk of priest-written scriptural accounts killing was a favorite indulgence of Yahweh followers. Characters such as Joshua were held up as spiritual models for having indulged in holocaustic killings to acquire the god-promised land of Canaan. (Archeological digs have shown conclusively the Canaan was never under violent invasion tactics as related in scripture. Suggested reading, The Bible Unearthed, by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman.) Why god could not have provided his chosen ones with virgin territory as their “inheritance” is never explained.

The Elijah account is really a priest-written hindsight tale that masks the priestly rivalries which seethed in only one small region on planet Earth in the 9th century BCE. Unfortunately that hateful priestly propaganda recited by three sister faith systems has continued as example of spiritual “guidance” which has prevailed to this day.

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Abushing Spirit

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, Hebrew scripture, random, religion, scriptures with tags , , , , , , on June 15, 2014 by chouck017894

All scriptural texts of man’s contrivance have a lot of hatred enshrined throughout their many pages. The Bible, the “good book,” for example, is correctly speaking a library of books, all of which were purely man-conceived and designed to provide those authors with bogus authority over the people who might seek spiritual enlightenment. Instilling a sense of guilt is underhandedly injected from the very first book, Genesis, with Eve and Adam allegedly being tossed out of Eden for having “fallen” from god’s favor; the catch 22 allusion of original sin in this plotline was thus established early on, which allowed the priest class a chokehold on all subsequent generations.

Man-concocted faith systems have the tendency to exalt themselves by routinely focusing on the differences and the dissimilar features and characteristics that give life its radiant and diverse range. The creative, unifying force in which life is expressed is too often imagined in “sacred” accounts to be mainly concerned with the dilemmas of only one narrow selection of human species in one small region on planet Earth, and which just happens to represent that particular faith system. Such a narrow understanding of life and spirit’s significance in relation to the rest of the universe has resulted in many carefully cultivated hatreds which have for centuries set the stage for persistent and unnecessary conflicts.

Reason and knowledge are seriously constrained when self-serving faith systems labor to impose preconceptions of any kind to hover over people’s interactions with others. In man-structured faith systems, for example, seekers are indoctrinated and continuously conditioned with claims that it is only through their particular dreamed-up rites and rituals that they can attain the favoritism of the Creative Life Principle, which is personified as a humanlike “God.” But the universe and nature do not reflect that severely restrictive disposition in which the diversity and variety of life is continually formulated and made manifest by the Life Principle.

Promoting the idea of godly hatred toward anything which is made manifest within Creation is the greatest act of blasphemy that can be indulged in by any organized faith system. An organized, highly structured hierarchial faith system inflicts orderliness, methodology, regulation, systematization, inflexible rules, and narrow interpretations, most of which pretty much fly in the face of universal tolerance for variety and diversity within life experience. But these man-contrived faith systems take advantage of the fact that even their despicable posturing is tolerated in the democratic flexibility of Creation.

When the Creative Life Principle is imagined to be in man’s image, there is left scant room for any believer to ever attain their highest potential. Since all man-concocted faith systems have long histories of indulging in each and every one of the indulgences said to be hated by god, the followers should remember that a spiritually wise man questions every extreme of passion–especially in those professing to be spiritual guides. After all, the creative Life Principle installed a brain within man with the expectation that man would practice rationality so man could establish his own relationship with that creative power. It is alarming, therefore, that our personal connection to the Life Principle is so often negatively approached in so many “holy” books such as in (OT) Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Ezra, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and hatreds are expressed in (NT) Matthew, Luke, Ephesians, Romans, Titus, 1 John, Hebrews, and Revelation. And in the Quran there are well over one hundred verses of outright murderous hatred encouraged!

Samples of alleged godly hatred: Proverbs 6:16 lists “…six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination to him.” The “things” that are subsequently listed by the priest-author certainly cannot be assessed as ethical conduct, and so the list of god’s alleged hatreds are actually extreme negative social interaction practices. To frighten followers into ethical conduct the priest-authors therefore asserted that the Creator turns livid over: 1) a proud look, 2) a lying tongue, 3) hands that shed innocent blood, 4) a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, 5) feet that be swift in running to mischief, 6) a false witness that speaketh lies, and 7) he that soweth discord among brethren.* (There is not a faith system in existence that has not indulged in every one of these.) In Ecclesiastes 3, pretended holy insight has it that everything has its appointed time and even lists “a time to kill (3), and “a time to hate (8). (*It was from the Proverbs list that Pope Gregory I, “the great”, 590-604, elaborated upon the “seven deadly sins,” which a lower priest had commented upon years earlier but received no credit.)

In the New Testament, Luke 14:26, even has Jesus avowing, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and bothers and sisters, yes, and even his own soul, he cannot be my disciple.” That is rather strong validation that what is recorded in those tales is not divine disclosure which was relayed from an omniscient being to a few favored priest-scribes. The words put into Jesus’ mouth by the interpreters are the very principles which are routinely untilized in cults promoting their faith system practices.

And in the Quran there are, as noted, well over one hundred verses which actually summon Muslims to indulge in violent hatred and outright murder. Indeed, the verses which implant murderous hatred as expressed in the Quran exceed all the expressions of hatred which appear in the combined Old and New Testaments. As a “spiritual” guidebook it is certainly something of an oxymoron for Muslims to claim the Quran guides a religion of peace. Mohammad’s constant “message” is the contention that everyone is an enemy to his spiritual tribe. For example: in the Quran 8:65 it is averred, “O Prophet, exhort the believers to fight.” No Islamist dares ask why, if Allah knows all and created all, he should have to relay his maintenance directives through a caravan merchant when he, Allah, could directly instill in every brain whatever information he desired. The overused excuse is that Allah, who knows all, found it necessary to use a prophet or messenger as a means to test everyone. This echoes the same “test” that was supposedly imposed upon Abraham who, it is claimed, was instructed by God to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a test of faith. An omniscient (all-knowing) god would have absolutely no reason to “test” anything.

Islam is not a faith system which reflects any genuine enlightenment value of tolerance toward the Creator’s use of diversity and variety in life expressions. That failing is not an exclusive trait of their faith, for as we have recounted here all man-concocted faith systems were built and function under the premise of submit and obey the faith systems’ manipulative procedures.

To the credit of humankind, however, that which is assessed as “spirit” is evolving among the broader masses. The allegations that the Life Principle, personified as God or Allah, would hold hatred toward any of the diverse and varied manifestations of life are slowly evaporating under the pursuit of true enlightenment. Unfortunately old tribal distrusts which habitually flavored so much of all man-written “holy” texts still pollute “spirit” like malignant cancer cells.

Tangled Threads of Belief

Posted in Atheist, belief, culture, faith, Hebrew scripture, prehistory, random, religion, scriptures, theology with tags , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2014 by chouck017894

The average person’s familiarity with scriptural texts (of any faith system) is selective at best, and typical seekers are content to surrender the tricky situations of otherworldly powers to those representatives who claim to be blessed for interpretation. That leaves the range of “spiritual” control open for swarms of heaven’s self-promoted ambassadors who happily provide the detours around the many “revealed” messages which ordinary persons could often find to bristle with inconsistencies and contradictions. In other words, what we are led to believe as holy truth depends upon the perspective that is brought to bear by those self-promoted interpreters.

Judaic and Christian texts, as an example, tend to revolve around a longed-for coming of corrective influence by some anticipated messiah–i.e. a deliverer or liberator or savior. The Hebrew meaning of mashiah (messiah) is “the anointed,” which suggests that a qualification for being a messiah is that the person must first be anointed (consecrated) by some heavenly certified person and thus made ready to take up the obligations of guidance. By some interpretations the act of being baptized has been erroneously regarded as virtually carrying the same significance, but baptism is the symbolic washing away of “original sin” so a soul may start life with a clean slate, so to speak. An anointed one, on the other hand, was deemed to have been chosen, elevated and supposedly instilled with blessings to fulfill God’s higher purpose. The OT kings Saul, David and Solomon were said to have been anointed, for example.

Unlike baptism, an anointing was a selective ceremony reserved to signify some alleged God-selected purpose for an individual, such as royalty or dignitary or messiah. The esteem that was placed upon the anointed one was signified with the use of very expensive oil made available for the ceremony. It is this expense–the high cost–which clouds the depiction of Jesus’ anointing. The oil was a cosmetic luxury, particularly of the Near East and Greek cultures where it had been the highlight in a ceremony establishing kingship. The practice, however, was condemned in the book of Amos (6:6). In the Gospel texts of Mark, Matthew and John, each gives a different version of where, when and by whom the anointing occurred. All agree on one odd thing, however; that it was a woman who anointed Jesus. That is because in those pre-history Creation-cosmology lessons upon which the stories were modeled feminine qualities symbolized energy-substane out of which visible matter evolves. According to John that anointing episode occurred only after Jesus had allegedly raised the dead man, Lazarus, who had “…lain in the grave four days already.”

The name Lazarus appears only three times in New Testament texts; once in Luke 16 as a leper supposedly healed by Jesus, and twice in John, chapters 11 and 12, in regard to an alleged miracle of raising up the dead man. The name Lazarus is claimed to be abridged from the Hebrew name Eliazar (Eliezer), which is said to mean “God has helped.” Strangely it is only in John that the re-invigoration from the dead of the man Lazarus of Bethany is addressed, an alleged miracle which is suggestive of far greater power and consequence than any of the miracles presented in the books of Mark, Matthew or Luke. The plot-purpose of Lazarus in John is to serve as a kind of prelude to Jesus’ own greater miraculous resurrection that is to come. As noted in a previous web-post, the characters of Lazarus and his sisters in John’s account have a peculiarly close relationship to a far older Egyptian story concerning a man named El-Azar-us and his two sisters named Meri and Merti who happened to live in a village called Bethanu. The Egyptian name of the village meant “house of god,” referring to the Egyptian god Anu. The god Anu happened to be honored in the even older Sumerian culture and was known as the “first among the gods”, a reference to the quantum Source. The Egyptian version also exposes where the Hebrew word beth, meaning “house,” originated (as in Bethany and Bethlehem.

Once again the Genesis plotline is followed in the Luke tale, and the Genesis account leaned heavily on the pre-history Creation lessons which were once illustrated with groups of stars (constellations). That connection to pre-history Creation lessons is guardedly apparent in the seeming indifference of Jesus upon hearing of Lazarus being “..sick unto death” and saying, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God.” Then in John 11:17 it avers that Lazarus had “…lain in the grave for four days already.” Only in understanding the ancient lessons concerning pre-physical energies which involve as Creation do these story elements hold any rationality. In ancient cultures the first four phases of primal energy involvement which pass over to congeal as matter were often likened to a grave or tomb: the reason for that metaphor being that the primordial energy conditions hold only the potential for purposeful existence which must be raised into life by the Life Principle. (This is a fact of Creation that anti-abortionists should understand.) The “four days” (as in the “days” timeframe of Creation) of Lazarus’ alleged entombment are therefore in reference to the four earliest periods–or pre-physical stages–of primal energy involvement. The mid-range of energy involvement between prototype and first visible energy-form was known in those ancient teachings as Devolution.

Verse 16 of John 11 then affirms this meaning, saying, “Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.” This bizarre suggestion has long puzzled many Gospel scholars. Didymus, the which not the who of the quoted verse, refers to the constellation Gemini with which was once taught the ancient lessons of Creation energies which are to involve as prototypes of a matter form. It was these involving energies which were equated in those ancient lessons to mental matter, as taught and illustrated with constellation Gemini. In zodiac depictions Gemini is said to govern–to direct through mental energy–the shoulders, arms and hands; Thomas, remember, had to see the two scarred hands of the resurrected Jesus to be sure the transformed man was truly Jesus.

Figuratively, the prototypal forms within the elementary energy planes must die (or be passed over) in order to involve as defined matter. Note also that near the conclusion of John’s version of the crucifixion events the “grave” of Jesus was described as: “It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.” (John 11:38) In those prehistory Creation-cosmology lessons the void (quantum energy source) out of which Creation takes place was commonly allegorized as a cave. The stone said to be laid upon the cave symbolized the taking on of dense matter form, which is to say, this energy plane where each of us is conscious of self as biological life.

Thus it is that faith systems have been woven from threads of very ancient teachings which once offered genuine scientific understanding of universal principles. Unfortunately those threads tended to be unraveled and recast into contorted assertions. For example, an interesting side-bar to the alleged Lazarus incident is something of a stretch: a tradition in the Roman Catholic Church has it that the resurrected Lazarus later became the first bishop of Marseille. And such is holy truth.