Archive for Elijah

Elijah: Prophet or Propaganda?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Parting the Waters

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

Creation began, according to the biblical book of Genesis, with God parting the elements, which the authors symbolized as “the waters.”  That choice of wording is science being told in mythic style.  In the opening chapter of Genesis, verse 2, it is declared that the spirit of God “moved upon the face of the waters” (upon the primordial energies).  We have to understand that the 8th century BCE authors of Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) were not particularly prone to theoretical thought, and consequently interpreted some prehistory teachings that they possessed and used (perhaps stored away in some ark?) in terms that their followers could wrap their heads around.  So the primal energies that the authors equated with “waters” were divided. 

Today, in the field of quantum mechanics it is understood that duality extends into this energy dimension which we think of as matter.  Scientists determined in 1924 that subatomic particles (of the lepton family) should be regarded as not only individual particles but also as being associated with systems of waves.  Science has named the most elementary charge of negative electricity and constituents of all atoms as electrons.  An integral part of modern quantum mechanics happens to involve wave mechanics.  We are talking of the subatomic levels which gives rise to all matter forms, which is to say the causation or starting point of  all material objects, as the opening of Genesis attempts to explain.

Much of what is widely regarded as historical narratives in the Bible books which follow Genesis are often also constructed on the Creation formula used in Genesis and are passed off as historical documentation. Consider Moses parting the waters: Joshua parting the Jordan River flow: Elijah dividing the waters: Elisha dividing the waters, etc.  And every such “holy” event was a one time deal for each of them.  That is because every character of scriptures then passed over from primal energy conditions into the purpose that they were meant to fulfill.

There is more text devoted to the activities of Moses than there is to any other timeframe in Israel’s biblical “history.”  Following immediately after the book of Genesis, we should take note how the Moses tale seems something like a modification of the Creation story.  Moses was saved from water–remember Exodus 2:3-6–and thus having been accounted for he was positioned in circumstances which permitted him the protection to develop.  As the story goes, he increased in power, did away with a confining situation (killed an Egyptian), and eventually divided the waters of the Red Sea allowing followers to pass over a shallow sea.  This was a one time deal for him, and the primal creative elements chosen by the Creator in Genesis have been recycled and personified as the Israelites.

Moses, with God’s help, allegedly divided the Red Sea (just as the Creator divided the “waters”).  Tradition, which is totally improvable, says it was the Red Sea. Why?  Because, like Adam who was supposedly formed from red dust in Scriptures, the color red symbolized the elementary elements (atoms, electrons, particles, etc.) from which all matter is made manifest.  And as Noah is said to have spent 40 days in the ark riding upon the Deluge, Moses is alleged to have led the Israelites through the “wilderness” for 40 years.  In any myths where the number 40 is at the core, drop the zero: the number always refers to the first four primal energy dimensions (out of seven energy dimensions which are active as Causation) which involve/evolve toward manifestation.  Because Moses personifies the Life Principle within creative energy action through the primary energy dimensions before creative action passes over into visible form it is claimed that he is not permitted by God to enter “the Promised Land.”  And with this it is claimed that the historical books of the Old Testament therefore extend from Joshua to Esther inclusive.

Joshua, the next in command of the Israelites (personifying elementary energies), is also alleged to have parted the waters of River Jordan (river of life) in Joshua 4:18.  It, too, was a one time deal which allowed him and the Israelites to pass over into the next developmental dimension of creative energy.  Joshua is presented as parting the waters of River Jordan so that the “…soles of the priests feet” remained dry, and the “waters of the Jordan returned unto their banks…” and Canaan then came under siege.  Thus Joshua, the personification of the violent conditions active within the primal stages of Creation, is then portrayed as violently taking the “Promised Land” with holocaustic fervor.

Biblical accounts intentionally pervert the energy sequences of Creation dimensions in order to disguise it as Israel “history” and use the subsequent dimensions of Creation’s energy development in matter formation by presenting the next intermediate dimension as the cruel “prophet” Elijah.  Of course he too must part the waters to pass over into his purpose.  To assess the characterizing of the “prophets” Elijah and his successor Elisha, we should study the meanings in the names.  The prefix Eli means “God,” and any suffix indicates an aspect of life development; in this case, Eli, meaning “God” is combined with jah, which refers to Yahweh.  Elijah was allegedly sent by God to confront King Ahab (c. 875-853 BCE), but Ahab actually represent the Babylonian storm god Adad—the rain maker.  Thus in 1 Kings 18:41-45 Elijah supposedly counseled the king of an approaching storm.  But Ahab’s wife, Jezreel, wanted Elijah killed, which caused Elija to flee into–where else?–“the wilderness”–which is to say back into the intermediate energy dimensions of Creation, just like Moses was depicted as fleeing into the wilderness after slaying an Egyptian.  And there in the wilderness Elijah lingered for the typical 40 days and nights, just like Noah, and the 40 years in the Moses tale.

Of course Creation must continue, and so Elijah was directed by God to “Go, return…”  And on his journey back, since he was passing that way anyway, God directed Elijah to anoint Hazael as king over Syria, and to anoint Jehu as king over Israel, and to anoint Elisha as prophet to succeed Elijah.  In other words, the Creator of the universe found nothing of interest in universal affairs and so was dabbling in the political affairs of 8th century BCE Israel!  This meant that Elijah had venture out of the”wilderness” again.  Thus in 2 Kings 2:8 it says, “And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped (it) together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground”–just like Moses at the Red Sea and Joshua at the River Jordan,  This is history

Elisha, the successor of Elijah, is another biblical character which represents the Life Principle advancing into the next intermediate dimension of primordial energy development.  Thus this unpleasant character is a wee bit more refined than Moses and the violent Joshua, but like them Elisha too must “part the waters”–the pre-physical energies–to pass over into energy conditions which allow prototypal formation to mass.  Thus in 1 Kings 2:14, the priest composed “history” relates: “And he (Elisha, whose name means “God has granted salvation”) 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.”  This is history?  Elisha represents the prototypal energy into visible matter, and the myth follows the sacred language tradition where a name-change occurs.  This time from Elijah to Eli-sha (as Abram to Abraham, and Jacob to Israel) to signify the transformation into visible matter substance, which is recorded as “…and Elisha went over.”  And then  Elisha hightailed it straight to Bethel: beth happens to mean “house,” and el means “God.”  Oddly Bethel also happened to be the same spot where Abram is alleged to have had his name changed, and also where Jacob watched angels climbing up and down a ladder and had his name changed.  Again, this is history?

The only bit of physical description ever given for this holy character of Elisha is that he was bald.  As Elisha approached Bethel “…there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head, go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them and cursed them in the name of the Lord.  And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tore forty and two of them (1 Kings 2:23-24).  Forty-and-two adds up to six, or yod, which in Jewish tradition is representative of God, i.e. the Life Principle.  In this priest written holy tale what is dramatized is the prototypes (children) being reconstituted so that the Life Principle (symbolized with Elisha) may proceed into full matter manifestation.  Elisha is characterized as bald because he represents the naked Earth–the no vegetation stage of Earth development, which is also why Noah was seen naked after getting drunk on the wine of life after landing on Mount Ararat.

This mythic style of presenting “history” is continued in the New Testament with the personification of the Life Principle, Jesus (a name derived from Joshua), reaching the event of quality change at the waters of the Sea of Galilee. It is the Creation formula played all over again. In Mark 6:48, the first of the NT texts to be written, Jesus is depicted as not just parting the waters, but is alleged to have walked on the waters, which expresses the identical power over Creation principles as did the “spirit” that moved on the face of the waters in Genesis 1:2.
 Now the final twist to this Christian version: remember that every one of the mythic characters who parted the waters in the OT also included the number four (disguised as 40 days or years, and even Noah rode upon the waters for 40 days). The number 4 always refers to the last of the four energy planes which precedes visible matter manifestation. And in chapter six, verse 48 of Mark, Jesus allegedly sees that his disciples on board a ship in the midst of the sea are toiling desperately in the turbulent waters. The verse continues, “…for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.” The “night” of this verse alludes to the void out of which Creation occurred. Thus in verse 53 it says, “And when they had passed over they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew ashore.” The water-walk of Jesus is also related in Matthew 14:22-23, and in John 6:15-21.  That too, like all OT characters who parted the waters, was only a one time deal.  And like them, Jesus then passed over to take up his destiny as Christ, the logos and/or word of God made in the flesh.

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?

 

Bible-Based Examples for Governing

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, freethought, history, humanity, life, logic, politics, random, religion, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2009 by chouck017894

By biblical clues it was once determined that the murder of Abel by his brother Cain had occurred in 3875 BCE.  Interestingly, the first year of the Jewish calendar is set as beginning in 3760 BCE—a mere 115 years later.  The brief and incomplete list that follows here, taken from  “holy Bible” stories, make it dishearteningly clear that the respect for life was not especially a high priority of too many biblical characters.  Perhaps this was inspired by god’s indifference.

The Deluge, whipped up by god himself with the sole intention of obliterating the human species, supposedly occurred in 2348 BCE—1,527 years after Abel was slain.  Oddly, part of the Lord’s instruction to Noah after unleashing the killing deed upon the Earth was the admonishment that Noah and his progeny must, among other listed immoral acts, refrain from committing homicide.  A case of do as I say, not as I do.  As you scan over these brief highlights from biblical tales, remember that the definition of murder is the unconscionable killing of a human being.  Of course there had been no code of law established in Eden; an embarrassing oversight for an all-knowing Creator.

In the time of Abraham, the alleged progenitor of the Israelites, the Lord is said to have saved Abraham’s son Isaac from being sacrificed by Abraham in 1860 BCE.  Obviously any tradition handed down from the time of Noah 488 years earlier did not include the admonishment to refrain from taking another person’s life.

By the most commonly accepted calculations, Moses did not receive any announcement against homicide until c. 1491 BCE—or 369 years after Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of his son, and 2384 years after Abel’s untimely demise.  It might be said that the commandment “thou shalt not kill” was a case of too little too late.  Even with this commandment as counsel, good old Joshua, the god-favored successor to Moses, is portrayed as happily 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 in 1143 BCE.  Jephthah swore that if he won in battle then “…whatsoever cometh forth out of the doors of my house to meet me…” I will then offer it up for a burnt offering (2 Judges).  Well, Jephthah won the battle.  His “honor” supposedly demanded the ritual murder of his daughter, for in her joy to see his safe return his daughter had rushed out to meet him.  Was it Jephthah’s fault or god’s indifference that caused the girl to be burned to death?  Even god seems to have ignored his own edict not to kill that he had handed down only 348 years before, for he did nothing to save the girl.

412 years after the commandment not to kill had been handed down, King Saul of Israel is said to have 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 poor press for the children of god, but was made even worse by King Saul’s pitiless “prophet,” Samuel, depicted as having savagely chopped the captured and defenseless Amalekite 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 after Saul’s slaughter of Agag, David is said to have succeeded Saul as King of Israel.

David was a master of deceit, mendacity, and bloodshed, and he 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 why god could ever have considered him a worthy founder of a royal dynasty or to be the protector of the Ark of the Covenant.  David is commonly excused under the pretext that he displayed unfailing devotion to Jehovah.  Say What? 

Elijah, c. 910 BCE, had the Phenician prophets of Baal put to death to prevent them from muscling in on his hold on the official religion in Israel.  The myth goes that after the slaughter of Baal priests, rain and dew which god had grudgingly withheld for three years finally fell.  Besides destroying the priests of Baal, Elijah also caused the destruction of two companies of fifty innocent messengers c. 852 BCE who had been sent to him by King Ahaziah of Israel.  The eager anticipation of this “holy” man’s return to Earth became incorporated in Christian myth as spiritually fulfilled in John the Baptist.

Elisha, c. 896 BCE, another typically short-tempered and irascible Israelite “prophet,” displayed his disregard for the sixth commandment in his encounter 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 pieces.  The weak excuse for the god-assisted murder of 42 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, appointed by god and anointed by the “prophet” 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.  (Hadn’t Elijah done away with Baal priests already?)  But true to form, here is what 2 Kings 10:30 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 god for his killing, Jehu, without an ounce of scruple, later ordered two or three eunuchs to throw his wife Jezebel out of a window to fall to her death. 

This brief and incomplete list of biblical characters from “the good book” have been offered as spiritual inspiration for countless generations.  Do these bloody tales really exemplify the most exalted way of attracting peace, justice, love, and mercy that is so yearned for in the world?  Do the citizens of the United States really aspire to use these “Bible based” or “Faith Based” examples as our principles of a just government?

Time Honored Holy Examples

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, Bible, culture, random, religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2009 by chouck017894

By biblical clues it was once determined that the murder of Abel by his brother Cain happened in 3875 BCE.  Interestingly, the first year of the Jewish calendar is set as beginning in 3760–a mere 115 years later.  The brief and incomplete list that now follows, taken from “holy Bible” stories, make it distressingly clear that the respect for life was not especially a high priority of too many biblical characters.  Perhaps this was inspired by god’s divine indifference.

The Deluge, whipped up by 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 after unleashing the killing deed was the admonishment that Noah and his progeny must, among other listed immoral acts, refrain from committing homicide.  A case of do as I say, not as I do.  So as you scan over these brief highlights taken from biblical tales, remember that the definition of murder is the unconscionable killing of a human being.

In the  time Abraham, the alleged progenitor of the Hebrews, the Lord allegedly saved Isaac, Abraham’s son, from being sacrificed to the Lord by Abraham in 1860 BCE.  Obviously any tradition handed down from the time of Noah 488 years earlier had not included the admonishment to refrain from taking another person’s life.

By the most commonly  accepted calculations, Moses did not receive any announcement against homicide until 1491 BCE—or 369 years after Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of his son, and 2384 years after Abel’s untimely demise.  It might be said that the commandment “thou shalt not kill” was a case of too little too late.  Even with this commandment as counsel, good old Joshua (from which the name Jesus was derived), the god-favored successor to Moses, indulged 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 in 1143 BCE.  He swore that if he won in battle then whatsoever cometh forth out of the doors  of  my house to meet me…” I will offer it up for a burnt offering (II Judges).  Well, Jephthah won, apparently with god’s help.  His “honor” supposedly demanded the ritual murder of his daughter, for in her joy to see his return, she had rushed out to meet him.  Was it Jephthah’s fault or god’s indifference that caused the girl to be burned to death?  Even god seemed to ignore his own edict handed down only 348 years before, for he did nothing to save the girl.

412 years after the commandment not to 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 Saul’s pitiless “prophet” Samuel is recorded as having savagely chopped the captured and defenseless Amalekite 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, twenty-three years later after the slaughter of Agag, David did allegedly succeed Saul as King of Israel.

David was 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 make it questionable why god could ever have considered him worthy of a royal dynasty or to be the protector of the Ark of the Covenant.  David is commonly excused under the pretext that he displayed unfailing devotion to Jehovah.  Say what?

Elijah, c. 910 BCE, 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 slaughter of Baal priests, rain and dew which god had withheld for three years finally fell again.  Besides destroying the priests of Baal, Elijah also caused the destruction of two companies of fifty innocent messengers c. 825 BCE sent to him by King Ahaziah of Israel.  The eager anticipation of this “holy” man’s return to earth was later incorporated into Christian myth as the spiritual fulfillment in John the Baptist.

Elisha, c. 896 BCE, was another short-tempered and irascible Israelite “prophet” who showed his disregard for the sixth commandment in his encounter 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 pieces. The weak excuse for the god-assisted murder of 42 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, appointed by god and anointed by 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 priests had to be exterminated is a mystery, for Elijah had supposedly done all that before.)  But true to form, here is what chapter10, 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 of a window to her death.

This brief and incomplete list of biblical 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, justice, love and mercy that is so yearned for in the world?

Biblical Crimes

Posted in Bible, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2009 by chouck017894

For thousands of years the Bible has been promoted as the ultimate in moral guidance. But anyone possessed with genuine respect for moral conduct often staggers away in bewilderment.

Indeed, the opening chapters of Genesis kicks things off with a highly questionable take on common ethics. Adam and Eve are apparently fashioned for fun and games for they are placed naked in a decievingly paradisical setting in which two trees hold center stage–two trees that they are forbidden to use as a source of food. The godly set up is a game of entrapment. When the inevitable happens and they eat of the tree, God feins outrage that they gave in to temptation and declares death to be their punishment–not just Adam and Eve, but all life forms! The divine rules of the game do not take into account that if the couple had no experience with life how could they comprehend the threat of death?

Kicked out of Paradise, Adam and Eve produce two sons. One, Cain, is an agriculturalist and the other, Abel, is a sheepherder. For all the blessings that God bestowed, He expected material offerings to be brought to him by Adam’s sons. Abel dutifully slit a sheep’s throat and God found it pleasing, but Cain’s gift so laborously tended from the soil was scorned.

Cain, not surprisingly, smarted at the discrimination and in frenzy at holy prejudice killed his brother. There were no laws established in Paradise so this act cannot technically be called murder or even manslaughter. The “justice” meted out to Cain by the Omniscient One was banishment from Cain’s native land and a command that he not till the ground any more. It was evolutionary for Cain one might say, for he was wonderfully successful after that. We are not supposed to ask; if God was all-powerful, why didn’t he simply resurrect Abel and give instruction on moral beahavior?

The same loose concept of moral conduct continues throughout the “Good Book” with material goodies being awarded by God to morally deficient persons. Aggression is highly praised in the divine tales, and war crimes regarded as acceptable–if carried out for God’s security. Examples: under Moses’ generalship the Israelites killed all the Midianite men, their kings and the prophet Balaam; Joshua loved holocaustic violence in which even thousands of noncombatant women, children and aged were slaughtered; deceitful David exterminated men, women and children in various stories, even sawing them and hacking them to pieces. He was also partial to penis trophies.

Other bibilcal characters are admired for homicide: the “prophet” Elijah, for example, killed 450 priests of Baal to “justify” Jehovah; the “prophet” Elisha sent out two bears to kill 48 children who had mocked his bald head; Esther is praised for scheming the murders of Persians; Jezebel admired for trumping up false charges against a father and his two sons so they would be slain. Etc, etc, etc…

Sexual escapades and misconduct, as long as they are strictly heterosexual, are sniffed over. Lot and his daughters merit no chastising for incest; the maltreatment of Sarah by Abraham benefitted Abraham; Isaac followed his father’s footsteps and profitted by passing his wife off as his sister to the king; deceitful David indulged in adultery and had the woman’s husband set up for assassination; Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, too young to give legal consent was defiled by her half-brother; etc. etc. etc.

Nowhere throughout these “holy” stories is it ever told how a seeker may achieve a personal state of grace. Maybe because that requires a high respect for true ethics and morality.