Archive for disciples

Saints and Religious Propaganda

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, history, politics, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2010 by chouck017894

Religious adherence, like any marketable product, needs a variety of representations and catch phrases to keep sales active and appealing.  In western religious practice one of those tools, especially as taken over in Christian practice, is the use of the word “saint.”  That word is commonly traced back as translating some derivative of the Hebrew qados and/or the Greek hagios.   In both cases these words were applied primarily to the gods that inspired awe and therefore rightly warranted adoration.  Of course those in the business of selling belief found it profitable to extend the meaning to include those persons or things that allegedly had a unique relationship to the gods.  The advertising ploy was that this special relationship of certain persons or things had been set apart from the unhallowed world and made sufficiently clean (rendered holy”) by man-concocted rites so that they could be used for sacred theatrics. 

Thus in religious phraseology the political minded priests of Yahweh at work in Jerusalem c. 850 BCE (their works would not be codified until the early 5th century BCE) declared anyone devoted to their god made up the “holy people” of Israel.  This necessitated that the priests indulge themselves in a bit of flim-flam, for “holy” in this use did not imply any moral sense: it was simply the priestly claims of being specially selected as God’s people.  Behind this priestly indulgence of smoke and mirrors, the true purpose had nothing to do with people’s personal spiritual advancement; it was totally focused on attaining and maintaining material advantages for their “faith” project.  Thus the followers of the Yahweh priests were declared “holy people”—or what we are taught to think of as “saints”—in their  meaning a nation set apart (self-segregated) for worship or service to God under priestly administration.

This false sense of spiritual entitlement that was introduced in the “faith” that was being manufactured in Jerusalem cultivated characteristics that guaranteed the faith could never reflect the all-embracing, liberal power that they claimed to serve.  By their self-serving interpretation of material  existence the incalculable diversity displayed throughout Creation is said to be manage through a system of favoritism and discrimination.

The rise of a counter doctrine was inevitable, especially since the  devotees to the priestly politics of spirit in Jerusalem had made for unending skirmishes through the young muscle-bound Roman Empire.  The invention of Christianity occurring in this timeframe was primarily a political undertaking, not some miraculous intervention of heaven to “save” the (Roman) world.  It is for this reason that the starring character in the new movement was cast as a Jewish rebel, whose name was derived from the Torah‘s brutal messiah named Joshua.  Thus in the anthology that became the New Testament there is found a heavy draw upon things Jewish in hope of clearing away at least some of that gang mentality that was the core of Judaism. 

The new faith movement was conceived and fleshed out primarily in Rome, not Jerusalem, but the authors had a certain amount of familiarity with the governing families in Jerusalem.  As the Christian counter movement evolved, borrowing strong attributes from other religious cults active in Rome at that time, the emphasis remained on a more moderated and less special interest understanding of things that function  beyond human comprehension.  But various authors brought different colorings to the new cult, among which was  the absorption of the notion of special category of persons that supposedly pleased heaven and which also appealed to the egos of converts.  Thus, as the people of Israel had been presented as “holy ones” or “saints,” there had to be allowance made that placed the competing “faith” movement in Rome on an equality basis with the unruly Jews.  Consequently God suddenly found himself possessed with a whole new variety of “favorites.”

The political minded authors of the Christian cult therefore cleverly incorporated into the new holy works the idea that those who comprised the church were “holy” and “saints” because they were set apart for God (not by God), and the church itself was the alleged new Israel.  So we now read in Romans 1:7, written 100 CE when the authors were restructuring the  earlier Christian strategies, that Christians are referred  to as God’s own people.  This theme is also implied in 1:1 Philippians undoubtedly written much later that the 64 date commonly insisted upon.  By this time Roman annoyance at the Jews spiritual arrogance was being channeled toward a practice of spiritual intimidation—which reached its orgiastic conclusion in Revelation (written c. 135 CE) where a new Jerusalem is lowered to Earth.

As the Christian movement grew and its tentacles spread from Rome across Europe, the movement became the replacement  for the collapsed Roman Empire.  It cannot be said to have been a true blessing for the world.  But its “saints” had amazing self-breeding capability.  The first “saints,” of course, were the supposed disciples;  the church could not have been built if they had not been systematically put in place.  In this is found the clue for church respect for all those it has promoted as “saints.”  From that starting point every figure ever presented as a “saint” throughout Christian history has been so honored because that “saint” in some manner advanced the corporate church itself.  In no way did any of those church approved “saints” ever advance man’s understanding that the universe responds directly to each person if each person learns to approach it in true humbleness.

So how have religion’s “saints” advanced the spiritual potential of mankind?  A look at the many schisms in every organized religion suggests that the evil so railed against by all of them is actually nurtured primarily within those practices of imagined superiority.  But the magic acts are still being indulged in even as we pass through the front hall of the 21st century—a calendar dating system, incidentally, based on a “holy” character whose existence has never been proven.  Amazingly, the Roman Catholic Church is still indulging in the old self-promotion scams, and plans are in place to elevate the late Pope John Paul to “saint” status.  All that is needed is a miracle that can be credited to him.  As the old adage goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

Advertisements

God So Loved the World

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, faith, history, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2010 by chouck017894

To the author of the book of John, written c. 105-106 CE, from which the title of this blog-post was borrowed, the “world” spoken of consisted of the Roman Empire.  There was limited awareness of Asiatic peoples, but no awareness whatsoever of other peoples on the other side of the planet.  This fact should be a pertinent point to consider when assessing any messages allegedly relayed to the world through Roman-citizen mediums of that era. 

Excuse this glare of logic cast upon the recesses of faith; it is mentioned here due to the fanaticism of a Baptist group in the state of Texas who “want to bring Christ’s message of hope into every home in Texas” i.e. proselytize.  And they want to do this good deed before Easter (April 4, 2010).  The name Easter, we should remember, is borrowed from a Pagan goddess that was honored each year at the time of the vernal equinox.  The do-gooders, in their commitment to seek believers, are striving to flood every household with CDs, in both English and Spanish, of how “God so loved the world” that he would sacrifice his “only begotten son” for one little material planet that he had created out of nothing.

To quote from Time Frames and Taboo Data, pages 196-197:  The book of “Saint” John, inserted between Luke and The Acts of the Apostles (both written c. 84-90 CE), was written considerably later than the two mentioned books—almost certainly it was composed c 105-106 CE.  This “fourth” gospel has been questioned on critical grounds, and an earlier date for authorship—85-90—is generally insisted upon to make it seem as contemporary to Luke and Acts.  The John book allegedly covers the last seven years of Jesus’ life, but there is a committed dogmatic feel to it that is more in keeping with the recently established church guidelines that came into being in the early 100s.  The Jesus movement had, by the early 100s, moved away completely in an attempt to convert Jews; thus in John the character of Jesus has developed into the ethereal “Christ.”  The author was obviously intent upon eliminating the irrelevant and ambiguous incidents given in earlier gospels to focus upon and emphasize the tenets of the newly established Christology.  It is as though the gospel of John had been fashioned in the hope that it might replace the “gospels” of Mark, Matthew and Luke.  That intent seems evident in the opening line of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word (implying Christ) was with God…”  By doing this the author virtually disqualifies the other gospels, which, as in Mark began with the baptism of Jesus and in Luke which began with the birth of John the Baptist, to set Jesus as Christ at the beginning of Creation.

According to John, Jesus called his disciples in a town called Bethany; a town that John says was along the Jordan River.  Mark and Matthew, however, say that Jesus chose fishermen from the lakeshore town of Capernaum where Jesus found them fishing.  John also relates that John the Baptist told two of his followers to follow Jesus because Jesus was the Messiah.  These two were Andrew and Simon, and for some unexplained reason Jesus is made to rename Simon Kephas, which is said to be from Greek and translate as “Peter.”  There is something contrived here: something that is meant to juggle into place a claim that Simon, alias Peter, ventured to Rome to establish his church there.  Another curiosity is that a disciple that is never mentioned in Mark, Matthew or Luke is said to have joined, along with Philip, those who were with Jesus, and this newly introduced disciple is given the name Nathanael.  There are numerous other points in John’s account that are contrary to those found in the other three “gospels,” but the point here is that the author then expended some effort to harmonize events leading up to Jesus’ last conflicts.  For example, to get Jesus into position to enter Jerusalem where he is to stir up the hostility of Jewish priests, John asserts that Jesus spent the night in an unnamed town on the Mount of Olives.  The next day in the temple, Jesus more-or-less absolves a woman caught in adultery, and later immodestly speaks of himself as “the Light of the World” that had come down to Earth to save humankind.  The Jews were then depicted as descendents of Satan (even though Jesus was himself a Jew) who wanted to stone Jesus.  There are considerably more variants from the three synoptic writings, but these brief examples are more consistent with the later date of authorship and the intent for it to supplant the first three gospels. 

It was also noted on page 198 of TFTD that the message of salvation and transfiguration did not fully solidify as Christianity’s offer until c. 105-106 with all the refinements being incorporated in to gospel of Saint John.

So the fervor of the Texas proselytizers seems to have no concern about all the inconsistencies and contradictions in the convictions that they advocate.  A message of hope gets a little fuzzy when accompanied with so much ambiguity.  For those of us who dig for answers, it will take a little more than just rephrasing it all in English and Spanish.