Archive for Bible

A Short Example of “Biblical Values”

Posted in belief, Bible, Hebrew scripture, random, religion with tags , , , , , , , on October 8, 2012 by chouck017894

The Lord got frustrated and angry a lot in the Old Testament.  And rather than just guide his chosen ones through calm psychological counseling, the Lord was often prone to strengthening the enemies of his chosen ones in order to inflict punishment on his darlings.  At least that is often the judgment presented by the priest authors who pretended to chronicle truth of the Lord’s holy mood swings.  Whenever the Yahweh priests lost total control over those subjected to their self-proclaimed god-given authority, and another ethnic group or culture prevailed, a favorite excuse for the Israelite’s defeat was that the Israelites “went awhoring after other gods.”  A typical but lesser known example of this favored excuse is found in the book of Judges, which purports to cover the history of Israel from the time of the settlement in Canaan until just before establishment of the monarchy.  (Related post: Fables From the Book of Judges, August 2010.)

The Old Testament runneth over with blood and guts stories, which seems a peculiar way to express the love and the alleged continual blessing and favoritism of the Lord.  The book of Judges attempted to connect and continue the priestly saga of the violent settlement of Canaan that had begun with the book of Joshua.  But no leader who was comparable to the merciless Joshua had been provided by the Lord after Joshua died, and thus the unity of the tribes weakened, and consequently degenerated into apostasy followed by military defeat to Mesopotamia.  According to the alleged Israelite history by the priest-authors of Judges, Israel’s fall to Mesopotamia was due to a series of desertions from the faith.  So the omniscient Lord determined that the Israelites must therefore be made to endure eight years under Mesopotamian rule, and only then would God raise up a warrior, Othniel, to deliver them.  But then after forty years under Othniel’s supervision the people again “went awhoring after other gods” (a favorite phrase among priest-authors).  And of course God’s favorites wound up defeated c. 1406 BCE by Eglon, king of the Moabites, who had allied with the Ammonites and Amalekites against God’s darlings.

After eighteen years under the harsh thumb of King Eglon, a self-appointed rescuer named Ehud from the tribe of Benjamin decided to redeem his people by assassinating King Eglon.  Ehud, acclaimed as the second of the revered “Judges,” was convinced that getting rid of the tyrant Eglon was his godly calling, and so he fashioned a two-edged dagger about eighteen inches long, hid it in the folds of his cloak, and managed to get into the presence of the obese king Eglon.  Ehud implied to the king that he had a secret errand, so the king allowed Ehud a private meeting in the king’s summer parlor.  According to the priest-authors, deception for some mysterious holy reason is the honored way to serve an omniscient God, so Ehud came close to the king, saying, “I have a message from God unto thee” (Judges 3:20).  As the king bent near, Ehud then drew with his left hand the dagger hidden under his cloak on his right thigh and thrust the long blade into the belly of the corpulent king.

The lethal attack upon the king is lavishly detailed: “And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he (Ehud) could not draw the dagger out of his (Eglon’s) belly; and the dirt came out.”  Slinking away and locking the door to the summer parlor behind him, Ehud managed to depart the crime scene just as palace servants arrived and lingered uneasily outside the parlor door, for they were sore afraid to intrude upon the king’s privacy.  That detailed gory story is presented in a style similar to cloak and dagger entertainment features of today in which the hero (Ehud) answers his highest spiritual calling.  The priest-written story then gets abruptly condensed from verse 27 to 30 with a hasty brush off saying that Ehud raised an army which he led against the implied might of the combined Moabite, Ammonite and Amalekite forces.  The priestly account tersely sums it up that the combat resulted in the slaying of “…ten thousand men, all lusty and all men of valor; and there escape not a man.”  The chapter then concludes with the claim that Israel “…had rest fourscore years” (the typical forty years in such tales).  There is no further narrative; there is only the statement that Ehud “delivered Israel,” the implication being that all the violence, destruction and killing had been with God’s blessing.

If such a premeditated, cold-blooded murder, as is so explicitly detailed of King Eglon’s murder was carried out today in the manner stated would it be so callously brushed aside as it is presented in the circumstances depicted in the book of Judges?  Could any rational person possibly believe that such practiced betrayal and plotted taking of human life could be carried out as a fulfillment of some divine commission?  The Ehud tale obviously is not true spiritual guidance, and should not be accepted as inspirational or motivational.  Unfortunately, there are religious extremists in the United States today who seek to install such bloody “biblical values” as the righteous path for achieving God’s favor for the nation.

Addendum:  There is a peculiarity to this particular “holy” tale, which is that there is a word used in the telling which is not found anywhere else in “holy scriptures.”  That is the word misdaron, which has often been translated as “vestibule” or “porch“–or as in the above version as “parlor.”  But Professor Baruch Halpern (Pennsylvania University), compared palace architecture of the region in this timeframe and found that the word misdaron is most probably in reference to King Eglon’s toilet.  Royal palaces did in fact have indoor toilet facilities in the mid-second millennium BCE.  No wonder the servants would not be eager to disturb the king’s privacy!

This, however, leaves us wondering why Ehud would have been conversing with Eglon when the king was sitting on that throne.  On the other hand, it does explain the  particular detail that “all the dirt came out” when Ehud plunged the knife into the king’s gut.  Plus it is more logical that Ehud could have escaped through the misdaron while the toilet door was still locked and he exited by means of the droppings area below which was flushed out by a royal “plumber.”  Certainly such labor was not open to public view, which would explain Ehud’s easy escape.

This tale in the time of its writing would have been greeted with hilarity, which was probably the point of the priest authors.  And the abrupt denouement with Ehud’s wondrous triumphs simply added a twist of the knife, so to speak.

Transition of Pre-Christian Jesus

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, Hebrew scripture, history, religion with tags , , , , on April 2, 2012 by chouck017894

Belief in a soon-to-come messiah was deep-seated among the Jews after the time of the Maccabean revolt (144 BCE), and the fervor of that belief virtually elevated that expected savior into a secondary god.  The Ethiopic book of Enoch,* for example, reveals that veneration saying, “Before the sun and the signs were created, before the stars of heaven were made, his name was called before the Lord of Spirits.”  In this glorification of the expected messiah there is found the influence of Babylonian myth.  And in this is also found the seed from which Christianity would evolve.  (*If you are unfamiliar with the book of Enoch, it is because it was one of many quasi-religious Jewish writings that were not included as part of Biblical canon because it did not contribute to the idea of church authority.  Consider the astronomy-zodiac inferences.)

The yearned for messiah was fashioned upon the legendary Israelite deliverer named Joshua (Jeschu), and Jewish literature such as Proverbs, Ecclesiastics, and Enoch reflect a background of centuries of polytheistic ideas among the tribal Hebrews.  Hellenism became an influencing factor upon tribal faith, causing mounting dissatisfaction with pure Judaism among the Jews after the Babylonian captivity (c.597 and 587/586 BCE), but before the destruction of the Temple (in August of 70 CE).   Ceremonial “laws” and endless taboos, sacrifices and superstitions provided individuals with little inspiration to act virtuously.  Almost in defiance there developed an association of Joshua/Jeschu with the Greek Logos, and that association as Son of God and messiah is present in the Pentateuch.  Thus the name Jesus, derived from Jeschu/Joshua, became revered among some factions of Judaism long before the appearance of Christianity.  This claim is strengthened in the fact that about a century before the death of Herod (44 CE), there is recorded the public execution of a man named Jesus and his body was hung upon a tree.  The name recorded was Jesus ben Pandira, and it was recorded in the reign of the Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus.

There are old documents which show that the early cult of Jesus, in rivalry with Judaism, was attracting converts among the Jews after the Babylonian captivity.  In the oldest documents of this cult the central feature was the eucharist–the sacrament in which bread and wine (or water) was consecrated, then consumed in memory of a revered deity (generally a deity that had been sacrificed).  This rite was common in many faith practices of the Mideast region, but was practiced in secret among the Jews who were becoming discontented with the futility of tribal ceremonial “laws.”  The point labored for here is that this places familiarity with the name Jesus as messiah nearly a century before the Roman authors of Mark and Matthew introduced the character of Jesus to the Roman public.  On the whole, however, those early writings were aimed primarily at those discontented Jews who already wanted a more moralizing and uplifting form of faith.

The original character of Jeschu/Joshua had several attributes that were always associated with Pagan sun gods—the alleged power of halting the course of the sun, for example.  But in the version by the Yahweh priests, Joshua was reduced to human status.  This sun god relationship is echoed in Christian scripture with Joshua’s namesake, Jesus, saying of himself, “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12).  True of the light from the sun, the verse declares, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  It is from this sun god association that Christians proclaim their faith on Sunday, the day of the Sun.  (The day for holy observance among the Jew is Saturday, the day of Saturn.)

In 60 BCE, Jerusalem was captured by Rome; in 06 CE Judea was annexed by Rome; by 55 CE the proportion of Jews in the Empire was over twenty percent; by year 66 the constant antagonism of the Jews flamed into a rebellion.  That portion of the Roman Empire was a source of continuous friction.

When Octavian became sole master of the Roman world in 29 BCE, his empire had spread from Africa, Asia, Gaul, Spain and Dalmatia, so preserving order was vital for its continuance.  By the time that Emperor Augustus died in 39 CE, the Roman populace had become fascinated by the exotic character of cults and rituals such as Mithras (Persia), Isis (Egyptian), and Cybele (Phrygian).  The acceptance of these within Rome made for easier transitions with these conquered regions.  So the Jewish Jesus cult would not have gone unobserved by the Roman aristocrats and literati.  But the Empire still continued to be constantly troubled with Jewish haughtiness.  Thus, around 50-55 CE, as the more hardline Jews kept being fanned into periodic insurrections, a few Roman aristocrats and literati began to toy with the idea that it could be politically advantageous to cultivate that deviation of the Jesus cult within Jewish culture.  So, can it be simply coincidence that the first versions of Mark and Matthew happened to make their appearance in the Roman Empire in this same timeframe?

And isn’t it strange that later New Testament books appeared either during or shortly after other periods of conflict with the Jews?  There was war in Judea in 69, and Jerusalem fell in 70.  Perhaps it is coincidence that the revisions of Mark and Matthew came to pass between 70 and 80.  This was also the timeframe in which the destruction of the last three outposts of Jewish resistance, Machaerus, Herodian, and Masada occurred.  After another long siege in 79, Jerusalem was captured.  In the period following this, 84-90, a broader strategy was initiated to unite the diverse people of the Empire.  In this timeframe the books of Luke and Acts of the Apostles appeared, which connected the advance of the “gospel” from Jerusalem to Rome, and featured a converted Jew, Saul-Paul.  (Luke is referred to in Philemon 24 as Paul’s “fellow worker.”)  Both of these books bear the stamp of a two-person authorship.

Continuing acts of civil disobedience throughout Jewish population centers necessitated constant monitoring, and in this general timeframe, 94-100, the books 1 Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians were written.  Also in this general timeframe the Pharisees declared that Italy, and especially Rome, was “unclean.” The composition of the book of Romans date c. 100;  2 Corinthians and the editing of Ephesians occurred c. 100-105; 1 Timothy and Titus c. 105-107; and Philemon c. 106-107.  The second great revolt by the Jews began c. 115, and one million Jews took over Alexandria, Egypt, and held it for nearly a year.  By 116 there were also uprisings in Parthia and other places.  2 Peter and 1, 2, and 3 John, and the book of Jude all date c. 110-115.

Another great Jewish revolt began in 131 under the leadership of Bar Cocheba, and the Roman troops sent to restore order suffered a surprising defeat.  Roman patience with Jewish spiritual obstinacy was running thin.  The violence of the rebellion in Jerusalem lasted for four years and was climaxed by the Emperor Hadrian having Jerusalem destroyed and forbidding any Jew from setting foot on the site.  Can it be coincidence that the book of Revelation was written c. 135-138, the period following the violent insurrection of the Jews?  Curiously, however, the last book to be written for the New Testament lineup was Hebrews, written c. 135-140.  It is in Hebrews 8:6-13 that there is found a “new covenant” for the Jewish people.  Even at that late date the Roman rule was not out to destroy Jewish culture: they sought only to soften the Jewish obsessive pretense of spiritual elitism.

Jonah and the Whale Myth

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, Hebrew scripture, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on October 1, 2011 by chouck017894

Storylines in biblical tales are utilized repeatedly, but are cunningly disguised.  The whale of a tale of Jonah, the 32nd book in the Old Testament production lineup, is another case in point.  The story of Jonah in the belly of the whale is presented in Judaism as a model of human ability to repent and the willingness of god to forgive.  The book of Jonah is regarded to be so profound by the Jews that the entire four chapter book is read in the synagogue each year on the Day of Atonement (10th of Tishrei).  Indeed, Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for them, and atonement and repentance are the central theme.  This period of observance was mandated in the priest-written book of Leviticus 16:29, but there is only bleak  acknowledgement of its connection with the Autumnal Equinox.  A new year is calculated from this period, but, curiously, the Torah makes no mention that 1 Tishrei is to be regarded as marking the start of a new year.  Christianity puts its own spin on the Jonah myth, imagining that the alleged deliverance of Jonah from the belly of the “great fish” was a foretoken of the resurrection of Jesus.

A short synopsis: – Jonah was charged by god to go to the city of Nineveh to cry out against it.  But Jonah was not too thrilled at the idea of going to Nineveh and indulge himself in rabble-rousing, so he hopped the first available ship out of Joppa that was headed for Tarshish in attempt “to get away from the service of the Lord.”  Never considered in Judaism or Christian acceptance of the Jonah myth is the fact that in older Greek myth the demigod Herakles (Hercules) was also swallowed by a whale, and he too had departed from Joppa!  Add to this curious coincidence that it was at Joppa also where, in Greek myth, Andromeda was bound beside the sea as a sacrifice to a sea monster.  So where was Joppa located?  In Greek myth Joppa was located in Aethiopia.  No, this is not the same as the African nation of Ethiopia.  Aethiopia symbolized the dark, mysterious primordial energies out of which Creation is initiated.  Figuratively speaking Joppa was the capital of that region of primal energies, thus a seaport city.

This means that the  book of Jonah is another “holy” tale utilizing coded elements from prehistory wisdom which taught how elemental energies issue out of Source and begin involvement in their formation of matter.  Nineveh, therefore, represents energy involvement at the third pre-physical stage of development.  But Jonah is portrayed as longing to escape to Tarshish—which just happens to be identical with the Tarshish of the Solomon myth and identical with Tartarus in Greek myth.  So Jonah’s hoped for destination comes from the zodiacal sign of Taurus, in which the lessons of Creative Energy had been taught in prehistory time.  Thus Jonah, as he is meant to be, is fleeing  upon the waters (elementary energies) of Creation.  The chaos within the creative energies is accounted for by relating “…the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was threatened to break apart” (Jonah 1:4).  The sailors aboard the ship surmised that Jonah was somehow to blame for the tempest and so tossed him overboard.  He was, of course, supposed to be a part of the Creation energy-waters.  This, too, was in older Greek myth.

God cannot be outsmarted, and so the Lord had prearranged that a “great fish” would be stationed nearby to swallow Jonah, and the reluctant “prophet” wound up in the belly of the “great fish” for three days and three nights (echoing the first three days of Creation).  So the three days and three nights allegorize the first three dimensions out of quantum conditions, as had been taught in pre-history Creation lessons.

The greatest puzzle of this story for the theologians and biblical scholars is not the assertion that Jonah lived for three days and three nights in the guts of a “great fish,” but they puzzle over the prayer that Jonah allegedly recited while inside the belly of the “fish.”  Jonah did not repent his refusal of god’s command to go to Nineveh, he did not beg for forgiveness, and he did not beg for deliverance from his predicament.  Instead Jonah gives praise for being saved, and this baffles the biblical experts.  How, the devout wonder, could he say while in the fish’s belly, “For thou didst cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood was around about me, all thy waves and thy billows passed over me…Yet you didst bring up my life from the Pit…” (from out of the quantum conditions).

Lost in the sacred language style of holy storytelling is the fact that genetic consciousness (personified as Jonah) must be immersed in primal creative energies and “swallowed” to become active as the Life Principle.  Once the third energy phase is accomplished, genetic consciousness then becomes active and is “vomited” forth upon the next dimension of creative energy to progress into and through the four energy planes that will involve as dense matter forms.  This is why Jonah, while in the guts of the “fish,” is portrayed as expressing praise rather than seeking forgiveness.

The Jonah myth continues with the “great fish” vomiting him upon “dry land”—the same “dry land” mentioned in the Genesis myth after the “firmament” had been accounted for.  And it is the same “dry land” attained by Noah at the 40th day.  At this point Jonah must then trudge his way to Nineveh to fulfill his duty.  In other words, it is not material-matter land as we think of it, but is the developing prototypal form of matter.  This is why Jonah is then totally content to follow god’s orders and proceeds to Nineveh, which represents the powerful primal energy stages through which the Life Principle is to manifest all life forms.  Ignored by the bewildered faithful who are distracted by Jonah’s prayer is the assertion that it took three days to cross the city of Nineveh: no manmade city takes three days to go across.  It does, however, take three cosmic “days” for the Life Principle to span the primordial energy stages to approach involvement as matter–just as the first three “days” in the Genesis account of Creation.  And this is why Nineveh must be saved, and Jonah then plays the “prophet” saying an eight word prophecy, “Yet forty days (the next four phases of energy development), and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” (Jonah 3:4)  This modest “prophecy” allegedly caused “…the greatest of them to the least of them…” to repent immediately, and they “perished not.”

All such biblical myths dramatize the fact that the Life Principle originates through the elementary planes of energy to manifest as diverse matter-life forms.  The most important revelation of these mythic accounts is that everything which is made manifest is refined in this way, and the very same energies go into all things living and inanimate, and are therefore equally honored by the Source.  This truth horrifies those who are puffed with spiritual pride.

In Christian myth Jesus personifies the Life Principle, so Jonah gets referred to in the book of Matthew 12:40: “For as Jonas was three days in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of Earth.”  Thus life rises triumphantly out of elemental circumstances.  This is nothing other than sacred language methodology which repeatedly rework a small selection of storylines throughout the entire collection of Old and New Testament books.

Spiritual Rigor Mortis

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, freethought, history, humanism, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , on November 19, 2010 by chouck017894

The general consensus among man-fashioned faith systems is that the creative power that is to be ceremoniously appealed to is an omnipotent and omniscient (all-powerful and all-knowing) being.  This raises a nagging question: Why should mortal persons be encouraged to whip themselves into a neurotic conviction that there is only one way—their man-concocted way, of course—to seek higher attunement with that omnipotent and omniscient intelligence?  And why would an all-powerful and all-knowing being feel any need to rely upon a theatrical marathon led by pompous and outlandishly costumed charlatans to accomplish his divine intention?

Something in each faith system’s My-Way-Only approach to attracting universal attention simply does not add up; especially considering that this little planet is swamped with a minimum of 4,200 religions, faith groups, schism denominations, independent churches, tribal beliefs, cultural traditions, congregations, etc.  (These statistics were calculated by aherents.com/)  And every one of them is convinced that they alone possess exclusive access to an afterlife paradise or bliss or something resembling a spiritual country club that defies depiction.

These eternally unanswered challenges should send up caution signals to any rational mind.  We should always question any faith system that seeks to forcibly impose their man-invented brand of religious theatrics upon the masses in the name of that all-embracing creative power that demonstratively expresses creative will in endlessly diverse ways.  The diversity that is found throughout all that is seen as life signals to us the universal truth that one’s connection to that Source may also be achieved in endlessly diverse personal ways—not  just through some unyielding, uncompromising dogma.  It is when something is dead that it becomes stiff, cold, inflexible, and unfeeling; i.e. unspiritual.

Rigor mortis is defined as the progressive stiffening of muscular tissues after death, which is due to chemical changes in the physical body.  And this fact of life illustrates the standard by which we may estimate the life-and-spiritual value in our self-awareness which allows each individual to interact with that sustaining creative power.  The creative force  responsible for all creation grants the privilege of diversity throughout all creation.  When faith is made to shrivel into a rigid, unbending, adamant, pitiless practice (fundamentalism), there is no way that such a dead approach could possibly reflect the all-embracing omnipotent and omniscient will in which all diverse things are sustained.  Such self-centered insolence is not a living spiritual practice, for it is purposely directed to achieve only material-tyrannical objectives. 

The fundamentalists habitually string their beliefs upon a few narrowly selected verses of “holy word,” but ignore that the bulk of those stories which they cannibalize for examples on how to stroke God’s ego were primarily concerned about political struggles that were palmed off by the human writers of those self-serving tales as being divine disclosure.  Thus psychologically conditioned, the insecurity that fundamentalists feel in their belief system drives them to seek legal trickery to enforce their distorted values upon the multitude.  Cultivating hatreds and inciting disorder against all those who do not share their inflexible “faith” amounts to nothing more than an indoctrination practice in which followers are conditioned to act as dedicated assassins of spiritual equality.  That is not an honorable way to serve the hallowed source of life; that is personal spirit in the throes of rigor mortis.  There is advice to be found in the New Testament book of Matthew 8:22 that may be directed to those poor souls who have allowed themselves to stiffen into such spiritual rigidity: there it says, “…let the dead bury the dead.”

Two Hothead “Prophets” of Scriptural Myth

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, freethought, Hebrew scripture, history, life, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , on November 13, 2010 by chouck017894

Accepting Bible stories literally is always an indulgence in naivety for at least two reasons: 1) All biblical accounts were penned long after the timeframes in which the event allegedly occurred; and 2) Few, if any, genuine historical records ever support the contention that the starring figure in the religious myths even existed.  Where any person or persons can be verified by historical records, they always serve only in peripheral roles, which any writer of fiction knows will add the illusion of reality to a made-up tale.  Take the two “prophets” Elijah and Elisha, for example.

Elijah.  The priest-authors of the “prophet” tales—as they did with every Hebrew scripture tale—took great liberty in use of cosmological facts known to prehistory cultures, and plagiarized myth from neighboring cultures to play upon people’s gullibility.  Regarding the two “prophets” here referred to, both were named by incorporating the word Eli, which means “god,” and using a suffix that referred to life.  In the Ecclesiasticus, an apocryphal or New Testament version, which consists mainly of a series of maxims concerning the practical and moral (?) aspects of life, Elijah was altered to Elias.

Elijah (said to mean “Yah[weh] is my God) is cast as a 9th century BCE Hebrew “prophet” (traditionally c. 910 BCE), which was indeed a timeframe of social and religious changes.  According to priest-authors writing in Jerusalem in the seventh century BCE, Elijah supposedly led the struggle against the idolatrous worship of the Phenician god Baal.  This is told in 1 Kings 17-18 and in 2 Kings 2:15, both composed, remember, in the seventh century BCE Jerusalem.  Elijah is featured in the tale of King Ahab of Israel who married Jezebel of Tyre, and built a temple of Baal for her, which led to a contest of “miracles” between Elijah and the “prophets” of Baal.  According to biblical myth, Elijah commanded that no rain or dew was to fall except by his okay.  Three years allegedly passed with no rain or even any dew falling.  Myth disguises that King Ahab is actually the Babylonian storm god who was named Adad.

To pursue this tale further, we must recognize that it is a variation of the Deluge scenario from the Noah myth of Genesis.  According to 1 Kings, chapter 18, God told Elijah to go show himself to King Ahab, and then God would send rain upon the Earth (as Noah was told to get ready before the Flood).  Here the plot deviates somewhat:  Elijah goes to the top of Mount Carmel where  he awaits the rain, and seven times he had to send his servant to look toward the sea (symbol of the Source of Creative energy) for what we might think of as a weather forecast.  Finally, at the seventh try “…the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain” (flooding).  It was then that “…Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel” (1 Kings 18:45).  And so too did Elijah go, who had “…girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab (the storm god) to the entrance of Jezreel;” meaning the passing over into the first dimension of material matter, just as Noah’s landing on Ararat symbolized.  And what happened?  The queen, Jezebel (symbol of energy-substance in early formation of matter) sought to kill the “prophet.”  But Elijah escaped; he withdrew to the “wilderness,” which is always used as the symbol for the pre-physical energy dimensions.  And guess what: he had to stay there for “forty days and forty nights.”

To cut this story summary short, Elijah was told by God to return—just as Moses had been told to leave the unfulfilling conditions of Egypt and renew the movement through the wilderness to continue the process of energy evolving as matter, i.e. the promised land.  Having demonstrated the supremacy of the god Yahweh over Baal, according to the priest-authors, Elijah then had the “prophets” of  Baal put to death.  Typically, the Hebrew priest account implies that omnipotent, omniscient creative power likes to indulge in fiddling around in the political affairs of one tiny region on planet Earth—Israel.  And a later episode tells of Elijah having 102 innocent soldiers burned alive, for following orders to take the “prophet” into custody.  This is the character that is hailed by some Christians as the precursor of the Messiah—a claim based only on the myth of Elijah being carried to heaven in a chariot of fire (a symbol of the sun).

Elisha.  Elisha’s name is Hebrew meaning “God is deliverance.”  The death of this alleged “prophet” is traditionally set in the 8th century BCE.  Elisha was portrayed as having been a farmer who was chosen by Elijah to be his disciple.  When Elijah supposedly ascended to heaven in his fiery chariot he cast his mantle upon Elisha to indicate that Elisha then bore the responsibility of continuing the struggle against the idolatrous Baal cult.  Although Elisha was portrayed as less fervent than his  predecessor, he is credited with attaining much greater political influence through his alleged power to work miracles.   But he, too, had an impulsive murderous streak.  And the tale of Elisha is strangely reminiscent of the Moses/Joshua involvement, even to the point of repeating their miracles.  For example, in 2 Kings 2:14 it says, “And he (Elisha) took the mantle of Elijah that fell  from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of  Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.”  How many Bible interpreters recognize that God separating the “waters” for Creation is repeated in Moses, Joshua, and Elijah myths, and symbolize the same cosmological circumstances?  The initiation of energy toward definition as matter.

Later, after passing over into the intended land (commonly accepted as having taken place c. 896 BCE), bald-headed Elisha trudged his way for fifteen miles from Jericho to Jerusalem.  His “prophet” status got off to a rough start, however, when he was accosted by 42 mocking boys near the town of Bethel who taunted him, “Go up, thou bald head: go up, thou bald head.”  Elisha lost his cool, cursed the youngsters in the name of the Lord, and immediately two bears miraculously appeared and tore all the juvenile delinquents to shreds.  Biblical scholars disagree as to the authenticity of this tale.  (But who could ever doubt it!)  True or not, Elisha using the power of the Lord to destroy 42 youth still amounts to murder.  Thus, not only Elisha but the Lord himself stand guilty of disobeying the Sixth Commandment.

Elisha, nonetheless, is allowed a  passing report card; the reason being that he supposedly allowed himself some compassionate acts later in his “prophet” career.  Priest-authors claim that he made a poisonous spring wholesome, made poison soup palatable and harmless, saved a woman who was deeply in debt from having  to sell her sons into slavery, cured a barren woman and raised her dead son, and other standard miracles.  And Elisha even cured the Syrian king Naaman of  leprosy; this kindness was much appreciated by the king, but not so much by the king’s servant, Gehazi, to whom the ghastly disease was transferred!  Hey, God thought it was okay.

But, as with Elijah, impulsiveness was never abandoned in Elisha’s character.  He is credited with having played a role in two assassinations years later for political reasons.   The first assassination involved Hazael who murdered Ben-hadad (2 Kings 7-15), and the second assassination allegedly took  place after Elisha instigated an uprising following the idolatrous Jehu gaining the throne of Israel (2 Kings 1:37).  It all seems to have amused God, for apparently nothing else on this little planet was worth looking into.

Again it becomes rather obvious why the fundamentalists and those who want the US government to be Bible-based or “God-led” find the holy book so inspiring.  Upon Elisha’s death, traditionally placed c. 841 BCE, the king of Israel is said to have wept copiously for the “prophet,” and the bald man was buried with highest honors.  Holy word remains frustratingly silent as to whether the townspeople of Bethel, where the 42 children were killed, felt the same grief at the “prophet’s” demise.

Fundamentalism, An Ungodly Fixation

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, history, humanity, life, Middle Ages,, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on May 16, 2010 by chouck017894

Back in the Middle Ages the Crusades became the big religious pastime in European circles.  Christians were called by Catholic fundamentalists to mount an offensive drive against the evil “Moors,” and the unquestioning believers dutifully sallied forth to slay hundreds of thousands of “heretics” for the glory of god.  In the 1800s the popular sport of the British Protestant fundamentalists was to indulge themselves in terrorism against the Irish Catholics in Northern Ireland.  More recently, when Iran was taken over by Muslim fundamentalists in the Islamic Revolution of 1979, thousands of unbelievers were heartlessly killed.  In India on October 31,1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was shot to death by a Sikh fundamentalist.  The Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was shot to death in 1995 by a Jewish fundamentalist.  And in our present-day epidemic of that mental affliction, one brand of Muslim fundamentalism indulges itself in the hit-or-miss slaughtering anywhere of anyone whom they regard as an infidel.

In the United States today the fever of Christian fundamentalism has managed to infect and pervert the workings of democracy.  As usual with any fundamentalists, the delusions of righteousness and holy exclusiveness that they suffer is detectable by their addiction to unclean hatreds.  In the affliction of fundamentalism it is not really their specific faith that is at fault; it is the delusion that they and they alone know what is true and right in the sight of god.  In their fever they fail to recognize that the “truths” they credit to god are actually ego judgments fashioned by man’s fear of the unknown.  Ego does not like any contrariness, and once ego fashions an emotional fortress (faith) around itself, it will rarely respond to rational examination. 

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

Fundamental Christians hold that the Bible is man’s sole authority.  This is despite the many contradictions that the narrative collection holds.  There is a fact that would be amusing if it weren’t so tragic, but the average fundamentalists have not and do not actually read the Bible themselves—it is so much easier to listen to some overzealous interpreter who cherry picks verses from the “good book” to inflame others with their unfounded concepts.  The common response to weaving out-of-context verses into emotional rhetoric is to focus on some  imagined revulsion that god finds within the intentional diversity of life that he is said to have created.  Hatred for the differences that make up life is so easy to arouse, and accusation of others indulging in sin are so easy to assert—especially if any of those “sins” are not one of their own favorites.  Such pretense of uptight “faith” may give each other a sense of exclusivity, but it does not fool the power that creates.  And that attitude certainly was not a message in anything that Jesus is portrayed as having taught.  Indeed, Jesus was depicted as actually standing up to the fundamentalists of his day.  He was radical in that he praised compassion, forgiveness, and being non-judgmental.  In the book of Matthew, for example, Jesus even commented on fundamentalists.  It might be wise if the fundamentalists of today would abandon their self-centeredness and actually read the book they claim to live by.  Of the fundamentalists Jesus is quoted as referring to them as “…whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

Promoting Holy Horrors

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, biological traits, Christianity, culture, faith, history, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2010 by chouck017894

The role of religion in incidents of escalating violence throughout the world is broadly ignored and suppressed in daily “news” reporting, and this avoidance is peculiarly conspicuous in the United States.  The media’s self-imposed censorship of religious pretentiousness and deceitfulness in synthetic acts of serving civil freedom is something of an oxymoron.

The relationship between each person’s taught belief system and a cultivated tendency to fan it into physical violence rests in a complicated asymmetrical balance of emotions that are due in part to the contradictory elements that make up religious “traditions” and practice.  Much of western organized religions have become so heavily politicized and pretentious that any creditable spiritual content it had has settled like sludge to the bottom of the barrel.

The Torah, the Christian Bible, and the Quran are close cousins that have indulged in an ongoing incestuous relationship for millennia.  Each “holy” record claims common ancestors, and the love-hate infatuation of their close relatedness has bred only deformed mental attitudes that have disturbed the whole world.  Each “faith” extols the virtues of compassion, altruism, humility, mercy, peace and justice, while also relating alleged god-approved acts such as stoning, warring, enslavement, destruction and deceit.  Spiritual integrity cannot evolve in such an agitated environment for it teaches seekers to direct noble sentiment of respect only to specific persons or to some man-conceived method of honoring the Source of all things. 

That which is revered as  “faith” is, more often than not, little more than a focus on some self-proclaimed authority and a practice of bibliolatry—text worship—that  is always open to questionable interpretation.  Extreme devotion to the written word that was presented by men who awed tribal members with their improvable claims of divine favoritism is like trying to drive forward down the highway of life while staring into the rearview mirror.  It  is indispensable to know what is behind you, but it is more essential to keep your eyes on the road itself.  Too often the aim of those “authority” figures seeking to direct traffic is to stir up a sense of sanctified rage in others which feed into their sense of personal power more than it accomplishes anything with decisive merit. 

If one studies the genuine, honest history of major western religious movements—not just the faith’s approved whitewashed versions—it is a shock to find that most pages are blood-soaked.  To hold up such falsified storied accounts as examples to follow to meet one’s higher potential assures nothing but continued tragedy.  If we remove the blinders which “faith” has pressured upon us, we can see that even today the savagery of sacrificing diverse life expressions is accepted as being appealing to the Source of all that diversity!

 We need look no further than the sorry loss of spiritual integrity now being advocated throughout some African nations.  As Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity has spread across Nigeria and Congo, the teachings of the missionaries has been that the Bible is the perfect word of God.  That perverted teaching has insured the practice of bibliolatry, the literal interpretation of every word.  The result has been the heartless indulgence among the converts in beating, burning, and disfiguring of children that have been condemned by Christian pastors and priests as “witches”!   It is all done in the name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, so how can it be evil?

And let us not ignore any longer the horror that has recently been advocated in the African nation of Uganda under the instigation of Evangelicals known as “The Family” from the United States.  Uganda’s president succumbed to Evangelical pressure and converted to their highly politicized form of “faith.”  Now convinced that he is fully filled with holy insight he has accepted the challenge of “wiping out” homosexuality in his earthly (and over populated) realm.  Rather than seek to understand causes from biological perspectives, he has chosen instead to dedicate his leadership to eliminating the natural diversity in life’s pool.  Thus he promoted a bill that allowed the death penalty for any gay infected with AIDS, and even advocated jail time for parents that did not report their homosexual teens to the police.  Gestapo tactics for God. 

Thus throughout Africa the Evangelical and Pentecostal missionaries still peddle their Bibles and seek to convert the largely docile people into acceptance of sacrificing innocent persons to receive favorable reward from the Prince of Peace.