Archive for Abraham

Pre-History: Abridged From Scripture

Posted in Atheist, Bible, faith, Hebrew scripture, history, prehistory, random, religion, scriptures with tags , , , , , , , on March 11, 2014 by chouck017894

Far back in planet Earth’s existence there were no reporters to address and chronicle the developmental events that would contribute to the rise of humankind. To answer that oversight the Creator eventually attempted to correct that situation by “revealing” to a few select men a brief crafted version of his productive activity. Strangely, this did not occur until He found a band of fixated men in a tiny outpost called Jerusalem in the timeframe we now list as c. 8th century BCE. Relying on mere mortal men to explain the complication of his “days” of Creation may not have been the Creator’s best decision.

As a result of relying upon man’s comprehension there is a great deal of hatred, both openly and by implication, expressed throughout the western worlds’ three “holy books.” For example, it is said that even God himself got all riled up and fumed with indignation and hatred very early in the account given in Genesis, a series of stories all of which pivot on the theme of Creation. Supposedly the Omniscient One (all-knowing) was so neurotic over the trespassing by two innocent naked persons upon an alluring tree he had placed in the center of his garden landscape that it caused him to rant curses at a serpent, a curious woman and a bewildered man. Barely controlling his indignation, God tossed the clueless couple out of his garden on their fig leaf covered butts and slammed the garden gate behind them.

The man and woman managed to survive in the unfamiliar, rough terrain, however, and since they were still pretty much innocent about how things worked, they wound up with two sons. By this time the Omniscient One had apparently invented some semblance of anger management, and giving into his own curiosity stepped out of his garden to observe the rejected family. That little episode did not exactly work out too well either because God expected the two offspring of the original pair to shower him with material offerings. When the two boys finally gathered from their meager supplies to offer them to God, God had the audacity to show favoritism to only one! When that favoritism resulted in jealousy and the favored boy was killed by his brother, the Omniscient One once again chose to expel the culprit rather than to patiently teach him the principles of moral responsibility. And oddly, God did not bother himself to restore the favored boy back to life, which is strange when all he had to do was say, “let there be life.” Anyway the killer, Cain, was deprived by God of the privilege to till the ground, so the dispossessed boy took off to establish a city in the land of Nod, and there he proceeded to build and populate the whole region in only two generations! Strangely, it is never explained where he found the necessary females. This population explosion is never adequately explained; perhaps because everyone was too interested in cohabitation.

Meanwhile, Adam and Eve also contributed to population statistics. Indeed, the “begetting” that followed seemed unstoppable. Apparently in dejection, God had gone back to his secluded landscaped garden and cogitated for a while, and when he eventually ventured outside again to see what was going on he was stunned. The world outside was inundated with so many people, and they all seemed so obnoxious. Again his anger erupted, and he determined he would drown the whole perverted mess—all the living creatures and vegetation, and men, women, children, all. He would flush them all down the drain.

But damned if a glitch didn’t screw up the Omniscient One’s deluge plan! Some guy named Noah got word of the Creator’s hateful scheme and the guy dared to build himself a cargo ship to preserve himself, his family and every animal, amphibian and insect species with the vital necessities for life. When the Deluge gushed in Noah dutifully recorded in the ship’s log on a daily basis, and this wound up being salvaged and is available in abbreviated for in Genesis. Planet Earth was inudated just as God had planned, soaked to at least fifteen cubits of water above the highest mountains, according to Noah’s log. Apparently Noah spent a lot of time leaning over the ship’s railing, ostensibly taking depth-soundings when he wasn’t busy feeding the parental stock of all life; at least the depth of the flood waters got recorded. Noah’s rescue accomplishments did not exactly result in personal glory, however. He wound up being castrated by one of his family members as he lay unconscious and naked after having imbibed too much green wine that he had made from the grapevines he had planted immediately after touching dry land. Strangely, that emasculation episode was not so painstakingly reported. All that is recorded is that “…Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.” Actually he blamed the wrong kid, but the “seed” of Noah and his sons were grudgingly blessed by God and “…of them was the whole earth (to be) overspread.” (Genesis 9:24)

For awhile, evidently, God again just let things coast along, hoping perhaps that the devious people who had so vigorously reproduced might starve of do themselves in. But once again, possibly from nagging curiosity, God decided to step out of his garden and survey the damage. To his amazement he found that the whole earth was of a lone language, and of one speech, and the people had clustered in the land of Shinar (Sumer) [Genesis 11:6]. Even more exasperating to him, the people were constructing a tower with which they could peer over his garden wall and spy upon his privacy! Such impudence! In sudden hateful anger the Creator-God confounded the people’s language so they could not understand each other. That, he grumbled, should teach them to be more cooperative and improve their behavior. And to further emphasize his displeasure ‘…did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” But scattering them hither and thither did nothing to stop all the begetting.

After taking another break from supervising the descendants of the original couple, God once again gathered nerve enough to look in upon the situation outside his garden. By this time you would think that he would have few high expectations. He found only agitation due to the incomplete obedience to his vaguely explained wishes. Throttling his hateful anger, God randomly selected a subject whom he could groom to act as his diplomatic go-between. To lure the selected subject into service, God even promised the man, named Abram, that he would “make thee a great nation,” and to even curse anyone who might curse his chosen spokesman. But the guy Abram was not wildly enthusiastic about much of the Lord’s plan except sowing his seed.

Anyway, mankind’s history is purportedly assessed from Abram who had been designated as the Omniscient One’s seed bearer. Being young and horny, Abram left home looking for a wife, and in the process wound up wasting at least fourteen years before marrying the woman Sari whom he had vowed to possess. But Abram had not been idle, exactly: he had a child or two on the sly. Because Sari was easy on the eye, Abram convinced her to play along in a scheme to swindle the Pharaoh of Egypt out of a fortune in domestic animals and servants. Understandably indignant, the Pharaoh, much like the Creator would do, then ordered them all to depart his land. So Abram and Sari and Abram’s nephew, Lot, and all the newly gained wealth journeyed back to Abram’s earlier location.

Along the way Abram’s nephew, Lot, took up residence in a strange little village named Sodom. Well, that choice didn’t pan out too well either. The Lord supposedly hated the selective intimacy of the residents and so, being omniscient but divinely prejudiced and dour, marked the place for destruction. Being a relative of God’s chosen spokesman, Abram’s nephew was ordered to flee the place, a command which wound up being the direct cause of an incest episode with Lot and his two daughters. All in all, the whole incident did not make the Lord joyful.

Everything from then on, we are divinely assured, is accurate history. Abram had his name changed by God who bestowed the alias Abraham upon him; and Sari, the Lord said, should go by the name Sarah. Thus, having followed God’s command, Abraham allegedly became the progenitor and founder of the Hebrew people. Glory was thus rescued from earlier chaotic circumstances and Abraham, having fulfilled his usefulness, expired at the age of 175. And to this day his descendant still attempt, as demanded in Genesis 22:17, “…to become as numerous as the sand upon the seashore.”

Sacred Hints on Sin-Dodging

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, faith, Hebrew scripture, history, life, random, religion, scriptures, theology with tags , , , , , , , on December 19, 2013 by chouck017894

Sin, the alleged estrangement from God due to transgressing what is claimed to be God’s “known will,” is the age-old whip of faith system chieftains. The superstition that offending some god, directly or inadvertently, brings about disastrous consequences seemed plausible in the hostile conditions of primal forests or in the depths of gloomy caves. That trait, born of fear of the unknown, is cast into the DNA of animate life as a self-preserving attribute. That natural preservation trait, unfortunately, can be mined like a vein of gold by crafty schemers for their means of control.

By chapter three of Genesis, after the compressed account of Creation is dispensed with, the plot jumps rapidly into the introduction of sin with Eve nibbling fruit from the do-not-touch Tree of Knowledge. For this alleged sinful incident not only was Eve, Adam and the serpent given a death sentence, but all life forms were condemned to experience God’s endless indulgence in vengeance! Sin is then installed as a vicious circle in Genesis 4:7 with God allegedly saying to Adam and Eve’s son, Cain, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” Cain, not understanding the concept of “sin,”–perhaps because mom Eve had already tainted all life with “original sin”–by the very next verse (8) he kills his brother Abel. Now that is divine speed-plotting. But God’s earlier condemning judgment upon sin is then shown to be amendable in his setting a protective mark upon Cain’s head so he can avoid consequences. Thus did “sin” become the meal ticket for the CEOs of any western faith system.

The great pivotal moment in sacred “history,” according to 8th century BCE priest-authored accounts, hinges upon the Lord’s alleged call for Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac as a burnt offering to receive special blessings. The Jews celebrate that alleged irrational incident of Abraham’s unquestioning obedience (Rosh Hashanah) as representative of their faith system’s especial characteristic–this despite the fact that in the Genesis timeframe Judaism was not yet an organized faith system. Was Isaac to be a sin offering? It is never said precisely why God would have asked for such a depraved act. Some suggest that it was a test of Abraham’s devotion, but if God is omniscient (all-knowing) as claimed, what could he possibly be uncertain about? As the story is depicted (by the priest authors), neither God nor Abraham inspire any spiritual admiration. And why would Isaac be such a spineless wimp? For some spiritual cowards, however, Isaac is held to be the first Jewish martyr (although Judaism was then far from its 8th century BCE invention as an organized faith system). Functionally, there can be only one purpose for this tale: since God, the personification of the Life Principle, would never condone such child abuse, the story purpose in the priest-written texts is aimed at encouraging submission and obedience to the priest-manufactured faith system.

In the later priest-written book of Leviticus (18:7), jammed between Exodus and Numbers, this priestly lust for ugly showmanship is highlighted in a shift-the-guilt rite–allegedly with God’s okay–from the guilty party to some hapless victim. The alleged God-approved instructions read, “And he shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the door of the tent of meeting. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other for Azazel.” We should note here that the word “tent” was commonly used as an occult reference to the primordial energy planes out of which Creation is made manifest, which is why it is referred to as the “tent of meeting.” To retain their authority the arrogant priests indulged themselves in the slaughter of one goat on the Temple altar, and sent the other hapless goat out into the wilds to be torn apart by predators. Or, depending upon location, the other goat was hurled by priests from a cliff to be cruelly dashed upon the jagged rocks below. Supposedly Azazel was imprisoned beneath the mount.

Nowhere is it ever explained in Hebrew or Jewish myths why the “Lord”–a self-admitted jealous god–would ever sanction such a custom of equal offerings, for by presenting identical offerings it is openly admitted that Azazel was considered to be the equal to God. Consider also that the name Azazel is said to mean “God strengthens,” so the implication seems to be that one aspect of the creative Source, active as the Life Principle, cannot be honored without the other. What this tale inadvertently reveals is that the Source power cannot create and bring all things into existence except through an interactive process of positive/negative energy exchange and interaction.

Even in this twenty-first century of space flights and instantaneous communications around the planet there are still Orthodox Jews who practice the ancient bloody ritual of slaughtering hapless animal life (such as chickens) in an appeal to God for personal forgiveness. In Los Angeles, California, for example, there are Orthodox Jews seeking to save themselves from sin through such indulgence in animal abuse.

The Roman “fathers” and “saints” of Christianity (such as Paul, Jerome, Augustine, etc.) enthusiastically took up the sin entrapment tactic along with the submit-and-obey features of the faith by asserting how Jesus was sacrificed for the sins of the world. On that occasion, however, God did not see any reason to substitute a ram or goat (or whatever) for the spectacle. What is the reason for such spiritual injustice? Allegedly because God so loved the world that he would allow mankind to sidestep responsibility for its sins by letting his “only begotten son” be sacrificed!

Why should this alleged God-approved torture and homicide of his own “beloved” and “only begotten” son inspire the world with any spiritual love or trust? Such a concept hinges upon pre-Christian societies of the Near and Mid East in which no rite was seen to hold more august power than the sacrifice of the king or the king’s son for the redemption of the king’s people. That was impressed upon Roman awareness around 60 BCE when the Roman general Pompey captured Jerusalem, which was then weakened due to the power struggle between the two sons of King Aristobulus. Pompey installed one son, Hyreau, as high priest, and took the other brother, Antigonus (along with his sons), to Rome as displays of triumph. Eventually, however, it was Antigonus who became priest-king of Jerusalem and in his short reign before being taken by Marc Antony in 37 BCE he had slain his own two sons–presumably as sacrifice for the welfare of the people. The whole mystery ritual of redemption seemed to the Jews to be played out once again for them when Antigonus himself was scourged, then bound to the stake, and then beheaded. The Jews chose to see in this his sacrifice to redeem his people.

As noted, exploiting scapegoats, as promoted in Leviticus, was always subtly promoted in Hebrew Scriptures. Unfortunately, the only standard that such alleged godly allowance for subjecting a substitute for the guilty is that it encourages the faithful to always look for ways to sidestep responsibility for themselves. All they need do in either Judaism or Christian practice is pass the buck or find a scapegoat–then they will be free to ascend to Heaven on a comfortable mattress of lies. The rest of God’s creations can go to hell.

Tribal Heritage of Faith Systems

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, Hebrew scripture, random, religion, scriptures with tags , , , , , on October 1, 2013 by chouck017894

Very little is known concerning the ancient history of the alleged twelve tribes which are referred to in Hebrew Scriptures. Genesis 49 speaks of the “blessings of Jacob,” and Deuteronomy 33 speaks of the “blessings of Moses,” but these priestly notations provide only allusions to earlier tribal measures. Always there is presented the insinuation that the twelve alleged tribes always functioned as a united people (as is inferred in the much-edited book of Joshua). The claim that there were twelve tribes drew their identity from the twelve sons of Jacob seem most likely to have been cleverly modeled by the priest-authors, for manipulative reasons, upon the twelve signs of the zodiac.

The perception of “tribe” is of a unity of primitive social organization, commonly living together under a headsman (chief). Even after establishment in Canaan the Hebrew settlers (AKA Israelites) are depicted as clinging to their tribal customs. And it was because of this that Israel was never among the great political powers in the ancient world despite the grandiose claims of the priest-authors of scripture. Nor can it be claimed that either Israel of Judah excelled in architecture or minor arts. But in literature and especially in historiography the Yahweh priests were without equal. Unlike the Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, etc., the tribal mentality among the Hebrews did not embrace a practice of assimilation: it was always an attitude of us-against-them. The premise of what constituted tribal “law,” for example, was the indulgence in retaliation–the talion–such as an eye for an eye.

In a later timeframe, in the vicinity of ancient Rome (founded c. 753 BCE), there were three tribal divisions which included Latin, Etruscan and Sabine. These cannot be ranked in the same manner with the cruder tribal aspects of the people at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. The Etruscan inhabitants of ancient Etruria (Tuscany region) in Italy was a center of cultured civilization which was absorbed into the Roman way of life during the close of the fifth century BCE. The Sabine people, of Umbro-Sabellian stock NE of Rome in central Italy, was dominated and assimilated by Romans in 290 BCE. Legend has it that a colony of Sabines from Cures occupied the Quirinal Hill in Rome and became incorporated with followers of Romulus on the Palatine. The Sabines were granted Roman citizenship in 268 BCE. It is the granting of citizenship which marks the principled difference between Roman acceptance of outsiders within society as opposed to the tribal mentality of mutual-restriction among the Near East people. This Roman practice of inclusiveness by Latin clan would prove to set a pattern which contributed to a belief system that would be born in Rome and which would, despite internal conflicts, differ markedly from the narrow tribal mentality that shaped Judaism (and Islam later). It would be from these two different approaches of what constituted membership that would determine the flowers of the three manmade faith systems of western cultures.

Considerably later, prior to the mid-seventh century CE there was no central authority to weld the nomadic clans/tribes of the Arab people with any unifying social consciousness. To be more precise, each clan/tribe within the vast arid region existed as a single entity which was in an almost steady state of bitter competition with other clans/tribes for the essentials of life. In such conditions the only “law” was also understood as equal retaliation for wrongs inflicted by others. The natural outcome of this was that a condition of perpetual warlike circumstances continued among the tribes. Tensions among the tribes would be brought to a standstill only during the mutually agreed upon times of spiritual observances at Mecca where three stones (meteorites) had once fallen from heaven (in connection with the planet we know as Venus). This was the atmosphere which shaped Mohammed’s youth.

Mohammed is said to have traveled widely with his tradesman uncle in his youth, as well as when he was himself a prosperous merchant. This gave Mohammed abundant opportunity during caravan travels to hear the religious claims of both the Jews and Christians from which he would develop his own ideas of spiritual regulation. It was from these encounters that the scriptural character of Abraham became claimed by Mohammed as the ancestor of the Arab people through Abraham’s concubine, Hagar. Mohammed became convinced that because the Jewish and Christian holy accounts seemed to him to deviate from the Lord’s directives to Abraham (Ibrahim) that he, Mohammed, had been called to restore the pure religion of Abraham (Ibrahim). Thus was a monotheistic faith introduced into Arab thought which had its spiritual roots transplanted in a piety for an indefinite forebear. Consequently the concept that all Arabs were descended from a mutual forebear became the catalyst for the rapid spread of the Islamic faith. And the old tribal animosity so long cultivated among the old tribes was simply transformed into a jihad attitude against any differing spiritual understanding among more cultured people.

The point being labored for here is that it was tribal mentality and superstition that served as the tap roots from which the flowering of each of these three interrelated faith systems evolved. The political administration of each faith system, whether Jewish, Christian or Islam, suggests that something more secular, more materialistic was at work behind the scenes than a patient, plodding and variable heaven would have pursued. Of the three sister faith systems, it is Judaism and Islam which still hold a closer resemblance to ancient tribal attitude. Both retain that old tribal indifference to the welfare of outsiders—not that Christianity is overly blessed with any love-thy-neighbor consciousness. But that old Roman acceptance of outsiders into the folds of society did happen to flavor the principles of the belief system that developed in the Roman Empire. Add to this that no dutiful divine messenger of the Life Principle (commonly personified as “God”) would ever be inclined to promote the oxymoron “holy war” upon any of life’s intended diversities as being somehow a God-ordained spiritual duty. The idea that God (the Life Principle) would call for a “holy war” is contradictory, for why should that creative power feel any need for worldly conquest? That creative power was/is an all-inclusive power which created and continues to sustain all things.

When Mediterranean Cultures Discovered Judaism

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, Hebrew scripture, history, prehistory, random, religion, scriptures with tags , , , , , , on September 14, 2013 by chouck017894

After the conquest of the Near East by Alexander the Great, c. 332 BCE, there was a gradual and steady increase of awareness and recognition among the Mediterranean cultures in regard to the Judeans. In this 300 BCE timeframe the Etruscans had submitted to Rome, and the Etruscan influence would contribute significantly to Roman culture in matters of ritual and religion. And it was around 300 BCE, in the Hellenistic period, that foreign observers began to investigate about the laws, traditions and customs of the Jewish people. In this general timeframe the Torah, purportedly giving a continuous narrative of the Creation of the world to the death of Moses, had been canonized (by priest-authors) as God’s official word. Strangely, God never showed up to testify personally, so the priestly verdict was all based on circumstantial necessities for retaining authority.

The Greek skeptic, historian and philosopher Hecataeus of Abdera (4th century BCE) recorded observations of Jewish life in his work Peri Hyperborean. Hecataeus noted with some wonderment the Jewish traditions which in that timeframe lavished their conspiring priests with highest prestige, and he pondered over the tribal laws given in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy which prevailed over Jewish social legislation. Indeed, the Jewish monarchy which had crystallized with King Josiah (died 608? BCE), was the same timeframe in which Deuteronomy had been conveniently discovered—in the walls of the Temple no less. But by this later 300 BCE timeframe, royalty had become completely overshadowed: kingship had given way once again to priestly authority.

Jews, Hecataeus noted, were more fanatically devoted to their God than were most Pagan cultures that he had encountered. That Jewish devotion to an unseen being was more strangling than Pagan spirituality which retained a closer affiliation with Nature in which the Pagan recognized the interlocking energy aspects that were eternally at work. The Pagans respected those creative energy aspects as godlike in their displayed energy attractions. The Jews, on the other hand, long dominated by priest-transmitted commandments, had been conditioned for generations through use of priestly writings from the time of King Josiah and so shared the belief in the God-led “history” as composed by the priests of Yahweh which starred Abram/Abraham as their God-blessed progenitor. According to priestly accounts, God had no interest in regard to the rest of the world.

The priest written “holy” history asserted that from the time of Abram/Abraham a whole string of alleged Israelite ancestors could be claimed by them, all of whom had allegedly spoken directly with God. The history, as presented in Exodus, for example, asserted that God had promised that his “chosen ones” would inherit the land of Canaan–which, inexplicably, was not virgin territory but just happened to have been long inhabited by other people! It was this invented priestly “history” which provided the elements for a shared identity among the Jewish tribespeople in a psychological manner that the mythologies of other cultures could not. Thus conditioned for generations, the Jews shared priest-written law codes attributed to Moses–a whole battery of 613 laws–which, strangely had not been found until the time of young King Josiah (see related post, A Priest’s Convenient Discovery, December 2011). The unity of the Judean people was anchored upon the priest-written holy account and their allusion of their faith’s historic past.

The book of Leviticus was supposedly a testament regarding the Levite people, but that book-heading seemed intentionally deceiving to Hecataeus, for the primary focus remained on claims of priestly authority and offered precious little concerning any actual Levite persons. Foreigners puzzled, therefore, over why Leviticus seemed to have been unceremoniously jammed into the migration narrative between the books of Exodus and Numbers, which interrupted the intriguing story flow with the insertions of ceremonial laws! To foreign investigators such as Hectaeus, it seemed that to be properly explained the priestly code really extended from Genesis through the book of Joshua, which made for a literary whole. Why, then, was Joshua omitted and only the five books, with Leviticus jammed in, promoted as being most holy? Only these five books had been canonized c. 400 BCE (Pentateuch).

Unquestionably, the priests of Yahweh were accomplished story tellers who liberally borrowed inspiration from prehistory astronomy-cosmological lessons which had once taught of Creations’ energies. Those interacting creative energies from the ancient lessons were then personified by the authors as Israelites and presented as having been living historic ancestors. Mesopotamian and Persian religious epics, for example, had offered the same ancient astronomy secrets also, but those creative principles given with those lessons were not presented in a manner which seemed to be directly linked to a certain people’s special history. Neither did the epic sagas of other cultures particularly inspire any principles of moral responsibility or ethics. And the Greek myths of deities and their epics of gods and heroes, as another example, were presented in metaphorical style, which were simply meant to inspire people with a personal sense of purpose, perseverance and strength through larger-than-life examples.

By the second century BCE there had evolved a questioning spirit among the Judean people themselves, which resulted from their association with Syrian and Greek cultures after Syria was conquered by Antiochus III, the Great. Antiochus reigned from 223 to 187 BCE, and he had obtained possession of all of Palestine and Coeli-Syria by 198 BCE. But the excesses of Antiochus’ son, Antiochus IV, eventually triggered what is known as the Maccabean revolt (166 BCE). Antiochus IV had captured Jerusalem and prohibited Judaism; he sought instead to establish the worship of Greek gods. Events would eventually bring Syria (and the Jews) under Roman control (64 BCE). The world was, in this timeframe, at the entrance into the Age of Pisces (c. 60 BCE), which would bring with it the construction of two faith systems that, in their turn, would reinterpret the Jewish formula of faith for their own purpose.

Abraham, Sarah and India

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, freethought, prehistory, random, religion with tags , , , , , , , on September 22, 2010 by chouck017894

Did the Hebrew priests of Yahweh in 7th century BCE Jerusalem get religious ideas not only from Babylonia and Egypt, but from India as well? Few persons in the three western Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) ever seem to notice the anagrammatic relationship of the name Abraham to the supreme being known as Brahma in Hindu religion and philosophy.  In the earliest part of Hindu texts the name of the Hindu initiator of life was spelled Brama, but later the letter H is added thus making it Brahma.  To understand the value behind Brahma’s name, the Creator-being of Hinduism, it is found encoded in the word used for the Source and Cause of everything; Parabrahm.  There is insider information for the addition of the letter H to the names Brama and Abram—and it was also added to the name Sari, Abram’s sister/wife, as well, changing her identity to Sarah.  The letter H or h is inserted to indicate the accomplishment of life with defined matter form. 

The story of Abram and Sari appearing in Genesis, the book of beginnings, continues in mythological style the dimensional advance of pre-physical energies that were earlier represented with the characters of Adam and Eve, and which personified primal elements being moved out of Source.  In other words, Adam and Eve represent polar activity that is necessary for primal elements to be energized toward life.  Abram and Sari literally flesh out the story elements as personifications of the pre-physical energies advancing into material identity.  These biblical characters, therefore, were not based on any historical persons; they represent the two polar developmental aspects within creative energy that are responsible for all life attaining matter form.

Abram’s “ancestry” is recorded in chapter 11 of Genesis, the book of beginnings, with a listing of much begatting which ends, finally, with the terse verse 27; “Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.”  That’s it.  No angelic announcements, no signs in the sky, nothing that commonly attends the introduction of such a major mythic character.  Just splat! there he is.  For a man held to be the alleged seed bearer of all Israelites this is rather a short shrift.  Abram’s father’s name, Terah, has a curious phonetic and suggestive echo to the Latin word terra, which means “earth.”

Abram is depicted as having been the patriarch of “Ur of the Chaldees,” and the name of the city, Ur, means “light” or “fire.”  One of the identities in the Chaldean trinity was known as Aur, the god of light.  Thus Abram symbolically represents the Life Principle which is active within Creation’s Source, so he represents the same light that all theological interpretations say accompanies energy manifestation toward a defined form.

Abram is thus the personification of the Genetic Principle, and Sarai is the related primal energy-substance that is acted upon.  It is identical in plotline and meaning as the earlier Adam and Eve story.  Abram was told to leave “…from thy father’s house…” just as Adam was given the bum’s rush out of Eden.  And Abram departed “…not knowing whither he went.”  Hidden in this line is a scientific truth: genetic energy is not dynamic for the purpose of any particular destiny.  Abram departs from Ur and, the authors assert, winds up in Canaan, which is used as a metaphor for energy in proto-matter formation.  And he then has a layover at Beth-el, which happens to mean “house of God;” so the characters have not yet left the primal planes of Creation.  The source material from which the priest-authors drew inspiration for this claim is obvious, for beth is Egyptian meaning “house,” and el is Babylonian meaning “god.”  So Abram and Sarai are still “in the house of god” and not yet endowed with physical identity.

We should note here that the Hindu goddess Saraswati (saras means “flow”) was said to be the sister-consort of Brahma.  The Yahweh priest-authors who knew of the Hindu texts were not exactly confident as to what Brama and his sister-consort Saraswati represented.  The priest-authors, not knowledgeable of the polar aspect within Creative activity, felt morally bound to refine the idea of a marriage of brother and sister by recasting Sarai as Abram’s half-sister, which was then acceptable according to their law.  In doing so the authors wound up mystifying and suppressing the more scientific ancient teachings of how life becomes manifest as matter.  The authors did not feel any particular moral guilt in reinterpreting that knowledge into theological-historical context, however.

Thus the story continues that at the alleged age of 75 Abram set out with Sarai, Lot, their servants, cattle and treasures, and journeyed southward to Shechem, a major Canaanite hill country city.  There God allegedly appeared to Abram to tell him that his offspring would possess the material future.  At this point the priest-authors then had Abram journey into Egypt.  But Egypt was commonly used as a metaphor for energy as matter in scriptural myth, and since Abram and Sarai have not yet had the letter H added to their names, the plotline of them temporarily entering the energy plane of matter is out of sequence—they are not yet matter beings!  Nonetheless, their priest-inspired adventures illustrate how to gain by deceit, for by having Abram not telling the Pharaoh that Sarai was his wife, and the Pharaoh desired her for his concubine, they gained considerable material wealth.  Abram and Sarai are portrayed as using the same scam again on King Abimelech of Gerar.  (These episodes were “borrowed” from the Egyptian Tale of the Two Brothers—which also provided a similar storyline regarding Joseph and the wife of Potiphar, in Genesis also, 39:1-20.)

Even after years of marriage Sarai was barren, and so she provided eighty-five year old Abram with her Egyptian bond-woman that he might conceive a son.  Thus began the myth of Ishmael.  (We should note here that Sarai’s long barrenness is paralleled in the later Genesis myths of Rachel, wife of Jacob, and Rebekah, wife of Isaac.)  But then when Abram was ninety-nine, according to biblical reckoning, Abram evolved into Abraham, and Sarai was transformed into Sarah.  The transformation into definable matter had occurred.  It was then that God is alleged to have told Abraham that his descendants would rule all the land of Canaan.

In Hebrew myth the physical Sarah was said to have remained irresistibly beautiful even after her ninetieth year, which is when she conceived and bore Isaac.  And, legend asserts, she even was capable of suckling all her neighbors infant children as well as Isaac.  This is not within human capacity, but it underlines the mythic atmosphere that covered the ancient lessons that once taught how energy takes form as matter. “Barren” Sarai personified primordial energy-substance, which can and does suckle all developing life, but Sarah represents matter-life; so these two different personifications of matter-life development are again blurred.

Few who take the  Bible literally seldom ponder the implication of this transformation into Abraham and Sarah, or that aging of the body never occurred in any prior biblical tale.  And to Abraham and Sarah the son Isaac was born, and it was only after this that conditions of lingering death began to be portrayed.  There is no account of Eve dying, for example, because she represents the primal and eternal energy-substance out of which all matter is to be projected into manifestation.  On the other hand, Sarah “…died in Kirjath-arba; the same is in the land of Canaan…”  (Genesis 23:2), for she represents the energy-substance through which matter-life achieves its expression.  With the birth of Isaac, Sarah soon exits the story.  Strangely, Isaac is in turn about the most shadowy figure among the other alleged patriarchs.

Isaac fulfills the means for Abraham’s descendents to claim rule of all the land of Canaan, as Yahweh allegedly promised.  There is, however, a bizarre last-minute stipulation for them to receive this bequest, the priest-authors recorded, and that was the covenant that every male child was to be circumcised.  Ancient Creation lessons from which this practice was instigated had taught that consciousness in matter is to be cut away in order for higher potential to advance into refined being.  Circumcision of males offers wise health advantages for males, but it is hardly a reasonable mark of godly favoritism.  If God deemed the foreskin to be superfluous or offensive to him, he could, being omniscient, easily eliminate it without imposing pain and scars.  Indeed, twelve starring characters in scriptural myths are claimed to have been born already circumcised: Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem, Terah, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah and Jeremiah.  Thus the illusion of God’s tendency to favoritism is made to prevail.

Will literalists ever wake up to the fact that such stories as these are not based on historical events?  The mythical style used throughout Hebrew scriptures is acceptable only when understood that it illustrates the non-moral genetic nature of Causation.

Old Turmoil and New Belief

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, culture, faith, history, random, religion, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 1, 2010 by chouck017894

It was not until about 300 BCE, in the Hellenistic period, that foreign observers began to write extensively about the laws, traditions and customs of the Jewish people.  The Greek skeptic, historian and philosopher Hecataeus of Abdera (4th century BCE) recorded observations of Jewish life in his work Peri Hyperborean.  Hecataeus noted with some wonderment the Jewish traditions which then lavished their priests with highest prestige, and he pondered over the Laws of Deuteronomy which prevailed over social legislation.  Indeed, the monarchy which had crystallized with King Josiah (d. 608? BCE) had been completely overshadowed by this 300 timeframe.  He sensed the irony in the fact that it had been during the reign of King Josiah that the book of Deuteronomy happened to have been “discovered” in the Temple wall in Jerusalem.

 Jews were more fanatically devoted to their God than most Pagan cultures that Hecataeus had encountered.  That difference was due principally to the Pagans having closer affiliations with nature in which they recognized the interlocking aspects at work within nature and respected those aspects as godlike in their own right.  The Jews, on the other hand, long dominated by priest-organizers, had been conditioned for generations through use of priestly writings from the time of King Josiah and so shared the belief in a composed history that starred Abraham as their God-blessed progenitor.  The priest-written history assured them that from the time of Abraham a whole string of Israelite ancestors could be claimed, all of whom had spoken directly with God.  The “history” of Exodus, for example, and the asserted inheritance of the Promised Land provided the elements for a shared identity for the people in a psychological manner that the mythologies of other cultures could not.  Thus conditioned for generations, the Jews shared law codes attributed to Moses—a whole battery of laws (613) which, strangely, as noted, had not been found until the time of King Josiah.  The unity of the Judean people was strongly anchored upon the priests’ holy narratives that provided the illusion of their faith’s historic past.

The priests of Yahweh, accomplished story-tellers, borrowed from extremely ancient cosmological teachings as the source from which they constructed Israelite “history.”  Mesopotamian and Persian religious epics, for instance, offered ancient cosmic secrets also, but these were not presented in a manner that seemed to be linked to a people’ personal history.  Neither did those epical myths particularly inspire principles of moral responsibility.  Similarly, the Greek myths of deities and epics of heroes were presented in metaphorical fashion, and were meant only to inspire by example.

After the conquest of the Near East c. 332 BCE by Alexander the Great, there was a gradual and steady increase of awareness and recognition of the Judeans (Jews) throughout the Mediterranean world.  By the time of the second century BCE there had evolved a questioning spirit among the Judean people, which resulted from association with Syrian culture after being conquered by Antiochus the Great in 198 BCE.  There was mounting dissatisfaction with the excesses of Antiochus and it eventually lead to outright revolt by the Maccabees under Mattathias, a priest.  (Maccabees are more properly referred to as Hasmoneans, from Hasmon, a name of an ancestor.)  The priest-inspired revolt went on, led by the priest’s son Judas, to conquer a large part of the land traditionally regarded as the land of Israel, and the Judean’s Law was forced upon the conquered inhabitants.  In 165 BCE Judas regained possession of Jerusalem and immediately purified and rededicated the Temple.  (This is celebrated even today in the Jewish Feast of the Dedication.)  Judas was later slain in battle against the successor of Antiochus, and Judas was succeeded by his brother Jonathan.  With this, under sufferance of other powers, the Hasmonean line of priest-rulers was established. 

But by the first century BCE the Maccabean kingship had degenerated due to petty squabbles.  The Roman Senate, at the insistence of Marcus Antonius and annoyed at the Jews’ narrow patriotism and self-righteousness, installed Herod as King of Judea in 39 BCE.  The Herodians were more of a political party than a priest-led religious sect.  Of course the Judeans were not particularly happy with that either.

It was this distinctive prickly characteristic of God’s chosen ones that apparently grew wearisome even to God, and so he made arrangements forthwith for his only begotten son to manifest into the troublesome little region on planet Earth.  Evidently nowhere else on Earth was there dire need of such a direct intrusion and supervision.  Thus in the incensed environment around one group of people in the world—a people troubled by resentful and unspiritual religious controversies and manipulated through elaborate religious ritual—Jesus came upon the local Near-East scene to bring holy adjustment to the entire world.

A Counterfeit Messiah

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, freethought, history, life, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , , on July 8, 2010 by chouck017894

The “conquest” of the Near-East region of Canaan by Israelites is presumed to have occurred between 1230 and 1220 BCE.  It was, so the scriptural “history” account claims, a destiny that God had preordained.  Thus Moses led the Israelites to the borders of the “Promised Land” where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were said to have dwelt.  But it was up to Joshua to mount hard-striking military campaigns to defeat powerful kings to gain possession of the land which God promised was just for them.  Why the Lord did not or could not keep Canaan a virgin territory for his chosen ones is not too clear.  Anyway, the Israelites had to fight tooth and nail to “inherit” their “Promised Land.”

Joshua was an eager messiah, concocting holocuastic strategy that only fanatic priest-authors could invent or approve.  Interestingly, the saga of the conquest of Canaan begins with the book of Deuteronomy, a book claimed to be linked with the Moses chronicles, but which did not see the light of day until c. 629 BCE, or around 600 years after “inheriting” Canaan, when the book was conveniently “discovered” in the Temple wall during remodeling.  (More on this in Scripture’s Contrived History, June 2010.)  And what an eye-opening discovery it was, telling of the famished Israelite “army,” accompanied by women, children and aged, achieving stunning and murderous victories in rapid succession over heavily fortified Canaanite cities.

According to scriptural “history,” God commanded that Joshua should establish a bridgehead for the invasion of Canaan at the city of Jericho, which was across the Jordan River from the land of Moab.  The tale of the walls of Jericho falling to the Israelites after priests marched around the city seven times blowing trumpets is too well-known to detail here.  But is it not strange that priests would provide the frontline of an invasion attack?  Not if the authors of the tale were priests.

There followed in rapid succession the storming and defeat of other alleged fortified cities, such as Ai, Gibeon, Lachish, Hazor, etc.  Apparently God had watched it all as a sports fan would watch and cheer for his favorite team: and when the Israelites at last moved in a surprise attack against the Jerusalem coalition, God became so excited that he hurled great stones from heaven at the assembled Canaanite kings!  The priestly account brags, “…they were more which died because of the hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.” (Joshua 10:11)

In rapid  follow-up Joshua then commanded the Sun to stand still upon Gibeon and the Moon to stand still in the valley of Ajalon so the Israelites could continue their bloody rampage.  The kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and of  Eglon were alledly defeated and then publicly ridiculed and slain, their bodies strung up in trees for display.  And the holocaust continued, “And the Lord delivered them (Israelite enemies) into the hand of Israel, who smote them…” (Joshua 11:9)  Thus did the Israelites and God himself ignore the 6th Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”  The final carnage is depicted as having taken place in the north where the Israelites met a Canaanite coalition headed by Jabin of Hazor; a coalition consisting of “…a great host, in number like the sand that is upon the seashore, with very many horses and chariots” (Joshua 11:4).  But of course the capital city of Hazor fell to the Israelites, and it was subsequently reduced to ashes.

So the story goes.  The priest-authors could never have imagined that ages later an investigative science, archaeology, would expose the fabrication that the priest-tales presented as holy truth.  An armed invasion of Canaan never occurred between 1230 and 1220 BCE.  There was, however, a group named Israel established there by 1207 BCE that endured a defeat by Egyptians according to the Egyptian upright stone slab known as the Merneptah Stele.  Indeed, in the timeframe of 1230 and 1220 BCE, the Canaanite “kings” of Jerusalem, Shechem, Megiddo, Hazor, and Lachish were vassals of Egypt.  Furthermore, the “cities” of Canaan in this age were only small villages, and being under the protection of Egyptian forces they had no need for fortified city walls. 

In the timeframe of the 13th century BCE, presented as the era of the Joshua-led invasion of Canaan, careful archaeological digs have revealed a dramatically different setting than is presented in Deuteronomy or in the book of Joshua.  We must repeat: archaeological research has shown that the cities of Canaan were not wall-fortified.  More disturbing to the faithful than a lack of Jericho’s walls is the revelation that in the timeframe of the 13th century BCE no settlement at all existed at the site claimed for Jericho.  So the walls did not come tumbling down as priests sounded trumpets and paraded around Jericho with the Ark of the Covenant. 

Joshua’s second conquest is alleged to have been the city of Ai, a name that translates in meaning as “ruins.”  By the 13th century BCE, whatever settlement that had once stood there had already been reduced to ruins.  Nonetheless, Joshua is said to have ambushed the inhabitants of the ruins in order to capture the site.  The rest of Joshua’s alleged campaigns may be judged accordingly.

As noted in an earlier post, Years of Heavenly Havoc, June 2010, unsettling events in the heavens had occurred from at least c. 1600 BCE until around 750 BCE, and all of planet Earth was periodically shaken—literally.  In the Bible the focus of events is kept upon the land of Israel.  The 13th century BCE was one of the rough times in the planet’s history, and people around the world experienced  upheaval, social breakdown, mass migration, cities and villages ignited and burned to the ground: in short, the Bronze Age kingdoms everywhere, not just in Canaan, were plunged into momentous transformations.

Biblical Patriarchs

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, history, humanity, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 6, 2010 by chouck017894

Patriarchs: the names given to the alleged heads of families in early Scriptural “history.”  Any of the progenitors of the human race before the Deluge, from Adam to Noah: the post-Flood characters of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or any of Jacob’s twelve sons, said to be the eponymous  progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel. 

It has been noted in these Time Frame posts that the 8th and 7th centuries BCE covered a period of intense writing in Jerusalem of those “sacred” tales regarded as patriarchal narratives.  In this period of dynamic priest writing the nation of Assyria dominated much of the Mid East region; it was, we should note, only in this timeframe that camels became common enough as beasts of burden to merit mention only incidentally in trader’s reports.  Archaeology research has shown that camels were not domesticated until after c. 1000 BCE., which makes it awkward for some Genesis tales. 

In Genesis 37:25, for example, the story goes that Joseph, the eleventh son of the patriarch Jacob (generally claimed to have lived c. 1700 BCE) is alleged to have been sold into slavery by his brothers and taken to Egypt.  In the scene that is set with the slavery sale, there is mention of camels as beasts of burden as well as products such as “gum, balm and myrrh.”  In the 7th century BCE, at the time of the writing, these were main products in active  trade under Assyrian supervision—but not in the alleged time-setting of the Jacob-Joseph story.

Given mention in Genesis 20:1, in the alleged Isaac narrative, is found reference to a Philistine center named Gerar in connection with the Abraham saga, which implies it was a center of some importance in Abraham’s time.  By some accounts the time projected for Abram and Sarai was c. 2150-2100 BCE.  Others insist that Abraham departed from Ur in Chaldea around 2100 BCE.  And  others assert that Abraham made his way to Egypt c. 1935 BCE.  In the Isaac narrative Gerar is not actually identified as a Philistine center by the authors—probably because that location did not gain importance until about the time of the priestly composition of patriarchal lore—the 7th century BCE—when it was a heavily fortified Assyrian administrative stronghold.  Nonetheless, in Genesis 26:1, we are told that Isaac, son of Abraham, encountered King Abimelech of the Philistines, the very king who had taken to his harem Abraham’s wife Sarah.  And Isaac is said to have dwelt the Gerar because the Lord had told him, “Go not down into Egypt (verse 3).  But archaeological evidence shows that no city of the Philistines flourished until after c. 1200 BCE; they did, however, continue into Assyrian times.

Obviously the alleged patriarchal narratives were late compositions, for the incidental details that set the scenes, such as camels, non-existent cities, caravan products, etc, are out of  place for the timeframes of the alleged patriarchal characters.

The priests of Yahweh, in authoring their version of “history,” also freely indulged themselves in reproachful commentary on any and all cultural neighbors—especially those to the east such as Moab and Ammon.  With holy hatred they declared that the nations of Moab and Ammon arose from sons born to the two daughters of Lot who had an incestuous union with their father following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:30-38).  This was clearly invented propaganda by the 8th-7th century BCE priests to inflame followers with hatred for those rival nations across the Dead Sea.

Thus today do the three organized religions of the west still dish out the legacy of crafted lies and practiced hatred as the sacred path into God’s acceptance!

What Marked Jerusalem as Holy

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, history, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2010 by chouck017894

What was it about the location that became Jerusalem that inflamed Yahweh priests with the obsession that a temple must be built upon one certain mount in Judaea?  Even before the priests of Yahweh arrived at the mount, the site had been regarded as sacred by inhabitants of the region.  The earliest known name for the site was Ur-Shalem (or Yeru-Shalem), and from as far back as can be traced the hub area of Ur-Shalem encompassed three particular mounts.  The most ancient names of the mounts seem to point to some singular association that is yet to be discovered.  The southernmost mount had the name of “Mount of the Signal” in antiquity; the northernmost peak is said to have been known as “Mount of the Observers.”  The central mount, however, seems to have been central in more ways than one, for it bore the name “Mount of Directing.”  This is the mount which is claimed to have been seen by Abraham from a distance; he is alleged to have  witnessed a heavy cloud over this mount in which the glory of god was seen.  The word Ur translates roughly as fire or light, but the word Shalem is remarkably similar to the Hebrew shalom, the greeting or farewell meaning peace.  Jerusalem has thus been said, rather ironically considering its history of discord, to mean light and peace.  Another speculation is that shalem means something like the perfect place.

Curiously the barren mountain site that would become Jerusalem lacked the basic needs for a center of religious or political pursuits.  There was neither water nor food sources near the site, nor even any trade or military routes anywhere near.  One might be inclined to call it a god-forsaken place!  Around c. 2000-1800 BCE there was little in the region but small sparsely inhabited highland areas.  When the Yahweh priests arrived they were already determined that one particular spot there was marked out as a center that god favored.  What was the supposed special indicator that the place was blessed by heaven?  It was a massive artificially cut rock.  The priests were divinely certain that despite the stone’s antiquity it had all been fashioned just for them.

The sacred rock was  known in Hebrew as Eben Sheti-yah, and translates as the “Stone from which the world was woven.”  This reference seems to hold an intricate relationship to the more ancient names for the three mounts mentioned earlier upon which Jerusalem evolved.  The sacred rock can be deduced as once having served as a kind of platform that was put in place atop artificially cut massive stone blocks—in pre-diluvial times.  The sacred rock at the Jerusalem location has a startling similarity in age and structure to the more massive stone platform located at Baalbeck, in today’s Lebanon.  This sacred rock, therefore, existed for millennia before c 1000 BCE—which is the timeframe when David is alleged to have captured the sparse area (today’s Mount Zion) from the Jebusites (an early tribal league).

Tradition says that the sacred rock was cube-like, with its corners precisely facing the four directions of the compass.  In addition, it is said that two tube-like funnels had been bored out of the rock, and these connected to a subterranean tunnel.  How these feats could have been accomplished in prehistory times, or the purpose they served is unknown.  Tradition has it also that the construction plans for the temple that was erected later had been provided directly by an unnamed source which holy myth, of course, credits to “the Lord.”

We should also note that ancient names of the valleys in the area carried special implication as well.  For example, Isaiah spoke of one of them as the Valley of Hizzayon, which loosely translates as Valley of Vision.  Ugaritic texts tell of divine healers in a valley they called Valley of Repha’im (the healers).  Legends from prehistory times also tell of a subterranean region in “the Valley of Hinnom,” where the entrance could be discerned by a column of smoke that rose between two palm trees. 

Archeological research has shown that the biblical accounts of Canaan-Israel-Judah history are far from reliable.  A brief example: the character of Saul (c. 1025-1005 BCE), the alleged first king of Israel, was supposedly installed by the eleventh century BCE judge and “prophet” Samuel.  This places it in the Iron Age I period.  Nothing has ever been unearthed in archeological digs that even suggests that a prosperous united monarchy existed then.  And no archeological evidence has ever been found of David’s alleged kingdom, and no indication of the conquests attributed to David have been unearthed either.  In fact, evidence reveals that settlements in the Jerusalem region in this Iron Age I timeframe experienced no interruption of Canaanite culture.  Likewise, in regard to David’s alleged son Solomon (time setting c. 970-931 BCE), nothing has ever been brought to light of any monumental architecture in Jerusalem, Megiddo or Hazor in this timeframe as has been attributed to Solomon. 

The holy truth is that precious little reliable priestly accounting of Israel or Judah surfaces until around 800 BCE.  Even then much of the priest-written “history” has been freely embroidered upon.  It is wise to remember that Jews are never mentioned until the Maccabees (Hasmonaeans), a Jewish dynasty of “patriots,” high priests and kings of the 2nd and 1st century BCE who sought to rouse the Jews against their Seleucid ruler.

  •  See related posts, The David Saga, parts 1 and 2; and  Solomon’s Majesty, August 2009.

Examples for Bible-based Government

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, Government, history, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2010 by chouck017894

By biblical clues it was once determined that the murder of Abel by his brother Cain occurred in 3875 BCE.  Interestingly, the first year of the Jewish calendar was set as beginning in 3760 BCE—or 115 years later.  The brief and incomplete list that follows here, taken from “Holy Bible” stories, make it clear that the respect for life was not an especially high priority among God’s favorites.

The Deluge, whipped up by none other than God himself with the sole intention of obliterating the human species, supposedly occurred in 2348 BCE.  Oddly, part of the Lord’s instruction to Noah (who escaped being done in) was that Noah and his progeny must, among other listed immoral acts, refrain from committing homicide—the shameless counseling of do as I say, not as I do.  Scanning over the following brief highlights from biblical tales, remember that the definition of murder is the unconscionable killing of a human being.

 In the time of Abraham (c. 1860 BCE), the alleged progenitor of the Hebrews, the Lord asked Abe to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Abe said okay, but then the Lord said that it was only a test and provided a ram for slaughter.  Why the all-knowing creator would have to test Abraham in this cruel manner is never explained.  What this tale does reveal is that any tradition about not killing handed down from the time of Noah 488 years before was not taken seriously.

By the most commonly accepted calculations, Moses did not receive any commandment against homicide until 1491 BCE—or 369 years after Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of his son, and 2384 years after Abel’s death.  It might be said that the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” given to Moses was a case of too little too late.  Even with this commandment as counsel, good old Joshua, the God-favored successor to Moses, is proudly presented as freely indulging himself in holocaustic slaughter of countless Canaanites.

Then there is the tale of Jephthah, a blustery Israelite who was called upon by the Israelite elders to head off a threatened Ammonite attack around 1143 BCE.  Jephthah, positive of God’s favor, swore that if he won in battle then whatsoever cometh forth out of the doors of my house to meet me…” he would offer it  up for a burnt offering to God (II Judges).  Well, Jephthah won the battle.  His “honor” supposedly demanded the ritual murder of his daughter, for in joy to see his safe return she had rushed out to greet him.  God is portrayed as knowing all, so was it Jephthah’s fault or God’s divine indifference that Jeph had to murder his own daughter by fire?  Even God seems to have ignored his own edict handed down to Moses only 348 years earlier, for he did nothing to save the girl.

412 years after the Commandment Thou shalt not kill had been handed down, King Saul of Israel indulged himself in a swift war of extermination against the Amalekites in 1079 BCE in which, the boast goes, every man, woman babe and child were “utterly destroyed.”  This was bad enough, but then King Saul’s pitiless “prophet,” Samuel, is recorded as having savagely chopped the captured and defenseless Amalekites King Agag into mincemeat with a sword.  Samuel also contributed  to Israel’s gory glory by then promoting David (1040?-973? BCE) for the throne.  And ultimately, 23 years later after the slaughter of Agag, David did succeed Saul as King of Israel.

David is  presented in Holy Scripture as a master of deceit, mendacity and bloodshed, and followed the traditional pattern of killing everyone among a conquered people, including women, babes and children.  He even had people killed “lest they should tell on us” (1 Samuel 27:11).  David’s list of slaughters and atrocities are too many to present here, but his open disregard for the sixth commandment makes it questionable as to why God could ever have considered him a worthy founder of a royal dynasty or to be the protector of the Holy Ark of the Covenant.  David is commonly excused under the pretext that he displayed unfailing devotion to Jehovah!

Next we have Elijah, c. 910 BCE, who had the Phenician prophets of Baal put to death to prevent them from muscling in on his hold on the official religion of Israel.  The myth goes that after the murder of the Baal priests, rain and dew which God had jealously withheld for three years finally returned.  Besides murdering the priests of  Baal, Elijah also caused the destruction of two companies of fifty innocent messengers that had been sent to him by King Ahaziah of Israel.  There was eager anticipation that this “holy man” was to return to Earth, and this was later incorporated into Christian myth as the spiritual fulfillment in John the Baptist.

The successor of Elijah was Elisha, c. 896 BCE, another typically short-tempered and irascible Israelite “prophet,” who displayed his disregard for the sixth commandment with 42 unruly children on the road to Bethel.  The young delinquents allegedly teased him about his bald head.  In angry retaliation, holy Elisha is said to have cursed the children in the name of the Lord and immediately two bears appeared and ripped the children to shreds.  The weak excuse for this god-assisted murder of  forty-two children is that the “prophet” was weary and agitated from his fifteen mile hike from Jericho.  Elisha was not weary, however, when he hatched the conspiracy to seize the throne of Israel and elevate Jehu, the last son of Joram, as king.

Jehu, allegedly appointed by God and anointed by murderous Elisha as king of Israel (c. 843? BCE), lost little time in setting out to exterminate his predecessor King Ahab’s seventy children as well as the priests of Baal.  How the murder of the priests was accomplished is a mystery, for Elijah had supposedly already done all that.  But true to form, here is what chapter 10, verse 30 of 2 Kings says: And the Lord said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is  right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.  Thus  blessed by the Lord, Jehu, without an ounce of scruple, later ordered two or three eunuchs to throw his wife Jezebel out a window to her death.

This  brief and far from complete list of God-favored characters from “the good book” have been offered as spiritual inspiration for countless generations.  Do they really exemplify the most exalted way of attracting peace, love, justice, mercy or intelligence that is so yearned for in the world?  Are these really examples that an advanced nation should follow?