Archive for Buddhists

Far East Influence on Christian Development

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, faith, random, religion with tags , , , , , on June 22, 2013 by chouck017894

Throughout the Roman occupation of Palestine c. 40 BCE there were living in that country a number of missionary Buddhist monks. This fact is indisputably evidenced by a number of clay figurines that these monks carried into Palestine dating from this general timeframe. Buddhist monks industriously traveled far and wide in their avid pursuit of converts. Palestine, as a commercial crossroad between nations, was a natural target area in a Buddhist missionary appeal that was aggressively aimed to convert others away from the many competing and indistinguishable faith systems simmering there.

Earth had just entered into the Age of Pisces, and the majority of cultures in this pivotal age were content to quietly tend to their own beliefs, practicing an illuminated tolerance of “live and let live.” Perhaps each small sect or mystery school may have been calmly convinced that the rest of the population was destined for spiritual oblivion, but they did not feel duty-bound to rush out to imposed their teachings upon others, or even offer a prospect of salvation for the price of conformity. The concept of active recruitment, introduced among the western cultures by the Buddhist monks, was viewed as not only strange and aggressive, but as an inexcusably offensive intrusion into other people’s personal affairs.

Pagan understanding was that spiritual attunement is highly personal and was meant to be experienced by each person individually. The reason why Pagans were not encouraged to actively solicit others to join any particular spiritual quest was the belief that the impulse for spiritual enlightenment must originate within the person himself. Such an inner longing for enlightenment was not viewed as a commercial project. The Pagans knew that the first place of one’s spiritual preparation had to germinate from within each being’s heart. Spiritual preparation, they understood, was not something acquired through exterior pressures. To the Pagan, regardless of what small sect or mystery school he or she might ascribe to, it was always accepted that those in any leadership-counselor positions were like elder brethren who, just as the postulants, were sharing in a similar search for divine enlightenment. Attainment of enlightenment was understood to be attained through personal effort, not through watching priestly theatrical performances.

How different from the western world’s rivalling solicitation-faith systems with their hierarchical structuring and constant clamoring for monetary donations and political clout and which, as a result, promote precious little in personal spiritual advancement.

To the Pagans, no bribery in Creation could cancel out or alter a seeker’s personal responsibility of proceeding at one’s own pace and standing totally responsible for self at all times. To attempt otherwise was simply a futile attempt to bury the truth of one’s personal relationship with the universe and their consequential responsibility under the carcass of a fictional scapegoat. Destined also to influence Christian practice (primarily Catholic) was how the Buddhists, from the earliest periods, had utilized relics that were claimed to have produced miracles. The origin of Buddhist relic worship, some scholars have suggested, can be traced back to the story that at his death the bones of Buddha’s limbs had been scattered over the world. This is not too dissimilar to myths surrounding such revered holy ones in other cultures such as the Egyptian god Osiris, the Greek god Zagreus, etc. The prime duty of Buddha’s descendants and followers was professed to be for them to search out and collect the scattered relics and entomb them.

The aggressiveness with which the Buddhist monks had approached the western cultures in Palestine did not go unobserved by the officials and aristocrats of the Roman Empire—especially since that foreign spiritual credo had managed to carry on in the region of Palestine where the Jews were routinely a source of conflicts with Roman authority. Through the course of time reports of contacts with Buddhists would filter into Rome from centers of commercial trade–Antioch, for example–and curiosity of the Far East would lure adventurers to investigate. Apollonius of Tyana, Cappadocia (early first century CE) was one who traveled widely, particularly in India where he was initiated into the doctrines of the Brahmans. This is noted here because Apollonius would translate a story about the Hindu god Krishna, son of the god Indra, which he altered somewhat according to his own philosophy while retaining all the major story components. That literary work became widely discussed among the Roman aristocrats and literati, and elements of the work would influence the author of the book of Mark, the first Gospel to be written.

By the later timeframe, c. 75 CE, within the struggling faith sect that would become Christianity, the Buddhist type activity of recruitment became a requirement even before its basic faith-articles were defined! Thus Christianity was founded upon the aggressive concept of a proselytizing religion–one which seeks out to convert others into their formulated manner of faith. This mania for drawing everyone they could into a religio-club-like atmosphere for practicing prescribed manmade formulas of devotional practices has infected the western world ever since.

It was this commitment to active religious competition as Christianity muscled it way into a position of broad material power which came to influence other cultures to also engage in similar competitive tactics of spiritual pretense. Personal spiritual integrity, so highly prized by the Pagans, became crucified upon practices of prejudice and rivalry. Abandoned and lost was the truth that acive recruitment into a religious affiliation is itself an act of premeditated aggression and is nothing more than a devotional practice of intolerance.

[This post was abridged from Time Frames and Taboo Data, pages 153-155 and 184. All posts are under copyright.]

The Unholy Practice of Proselytizing

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, history, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2010 by chouck017894

In the time of Emperor Augustus (Octavian, 63 BCE-14 CE) numerous eastern cults were flourishing in Rome, and their exotic character and rituals elicited considerable attention among the Roman populace.  The eastern influence was in competition with three major religious movements in Rome at the time, those being based upon Mithras (Persian), Isis (Egyptian), and Cybele (Phrygian).  Roman culture, being heavily modeled by Grecian philosophy, adapted the exotic eastern cult attributes accordingly. 

In this period of time also (c.40 BCE) Rome occupied Palestine, and there were living in that country a number of missionary Buddhist monks.  Archeologists have confirmed that Buddhist monks had brought with them into Palestine a wide array of clay figurines.  The monks had traveled far and wide in their avid pursuit of attaining converts.  Palestine, as a commercial crossroad between nations, was a natural target area in the Buddhist missionary appeal to attract others away from the many virtually indistinguishable religions that simmered there.

The majority of the so-called Pagan religions were content to quietly tend to their own belief, practicing an instinctive tolerance of “live and let  live.”  Each little sect might have been convinced that the rest of the world was destined for spiritual oblivion, but they did not feel obligated to rush out and force salvation upon others under the enforcement of conformity.  The concept of  actively recruiting others, introduced among the Pagans by the Buddhist monks,was viewed not only as strange and aggressive but as an offensive intrusion upon other people’s personal affairs. 

Pagan understanding was that things spiritual are highly personal and are meant to be experienced by each person individually.  The reason why Pagans did not actively solicit others to join any particular sect was the belief that the impulse for spiritual enlightenment must originate within the person himself.  The Pagans knew instinctively that the first place of one’s spiritual preparation had to be within one’s own heart.  Spiritual preparation, they correctly understood, was not something acquired through exterior pressure.  To the Pagan, regardless of what little sect he or she might ascribe to, it was always accepted that those in any superior positions were like elder brethren who, just as the postulants, were sharing in a similar search for higher understanding. 

To the Pagan no bribery or aggression could cancel or alter the  personal responsibility of proceeding at one’s  own pace into  spiritual calm and to stand totally responsible for self at all times.  To attempt otherwise was simply trying to bury the truth of one’s personal responsibility under the carcass of some irrelevant scapegoat.

The newly forming faith that would become Christianity latched onto the Buddhist type activity of recruitment in its earliest days.  By 75 CE it was a requirement even though its articles of faith were not yet defined.  Thus Christianity was founded upon the concept of a proselytizing religion—one that actively seeks out and recruits others into mindless dedication.  It was this commitment to active religious competition that then came to influence other cultures to engage in similar competitive tactics as Christianity muscled its way into a position of power.  Spiritual integrity, so highly prized by the Pagans, became overpowered by practices of prejudice and rivalry.  Lost in the competitive scramble was the truth that active recruitment into religious affiliation is itself an act of premeditated aggression and is therefore nothing more than a devotional practice of intolerance.  It was in this timeframe, c. 75 CE, that the new versions of Mark and Matthew were introduced to replace the earlier versions.

The legacy is today’s solicitation-religions with their hierarchical structuring and constant clamoring for monetary donations and which share precious little in spiritual achievement or instruction.  The epidemic of highly contagious proselytizing in the United States can be traced back to the early 1950s when television became the must-have novelty.  With the new wonder, television, a vast horizon of new opportunities was presented to a whole new batch of holy word interpreters that were still clutching their newly printed diplomas from some bible school business system.  Salvation could be offered to anyone who would send money to support their electronic ministry.  The spiritually lazy found this to be a godsend and a new wave of religious enthusiasm was fanned into fixation by a variety of hucksters for god.  Wiser heads warned that the new wave of religious enthusiasm could easily proliferate to threaten true religious freedom with the sly diversion of public funds to private sectarian schools. 

Through the rest of the twentieth century there followed a deluge of holy performers parading in an endless televised Christian carnival.  Out of this there was set in place the dynamics found in ultra-fundamentalism and an upsurge of evangelical posturing.  Hand in hand with the gold rush into television-land the newly inspired “faithful” were becoming vociferous in the 1960s and began to actually challenge careful scientific studies—especially those in regard to the discernible principles of creation and evolution.  The media at the time crowed that a religious revival was sweeping America, church attendance was up, and the televangelists were beginning to rake in huge donations.  The media carefully avoided mentioning the other side of the phenomena—that keeping pace with the rising religious fervor was the steady rise in crime, delinquency, racial tensions, alcoholism, a rise in drug problems, higher divorce rates, and increase in suicides.  But alarmed citizens had to move to file addition court actions to block the clearly unconstitutional forms of aid to religion-based indulgences.  Youth instinctively felt the hypocrisy that brewed in the religious hoopla and the so-called “sexual revolution” burst out with a vengeance.

As the 1960s closed, man was kicking up dust on the Moon while the pope was ranting against all artificial means of contraception.  1970 saw a self-propelled eight-wheeled vehicle on the Moon, an unmanned Soviet space craft landing on the planet Venus, while Pope Paul VI proclaimed that unnatural celibacy was a fundamental principle of the Roman Catholic Church.  Meanwhile, a great deal of religious sneaky-deal operations were in progress in the United States, such as the “Wylie Amendment” introduced in the House of Representatives to force mandatory programs of prayer and religious instruction in all public schools!   When that was struck down those high on holy spirit then pursued a new self-serving form of parochial-aid scheme known as “vouchers.”  By the 1970s the religiously inspired were forming pressure groups to prevent sexual education in schools, apparently convinced that suggestive whispers and back-alley experimentation were truer to God’s method of learning.  Meanwhile, research and sociological surveys—which were allowed very little news attention—were showing that people from devoutly religious backgrounds were statistically less intelligent and economically less productive.  Nonetheless, the nation was supposed to follow their leadership!

The eighties and nineties saw religious-inspired policies bringing havoc across the world.  The religious fanatic Ayatollah Khomeini slithered into Iran in the 80s and the Reagan administration was  illegally shipping arms to help set up the Ayatollah.  The nineties saw the  Religious Right gaining full control of the Republican Party, and the betrayal of democratic  principles that had made the U.S. great was taken up with a fervor of a devil.  Proselytizing was big business with a “born again” president who had been put in office under suspicious circumstances.

In this new century, after eight years under Bible-inspired governance in the U.S. and the stripping away of constitutional rights, robbing the working citizens to serve the rich, an illegal war, god-approved torture, allowing corporations and economic institution to monitor themselves, etc., the citizens of Earth should awaken to the evil that alway beats in the heart of proselytizing religions.