Archive for Hebrew scriptures

Sacred Uncertainties

Posted in Astronomy, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, enlightenment, faith, Hebrew scripture, random, religion, scriptures, Social, theology with tags , , , , , , , on January 1, 2015 by chouck017894

For the majority of persons of the western world today who have been indoctrinated into the Christian faith systems, few are aware that there is yet to be found any original copies of any of the books which are honored as the New Testament. There are age-old copies, to be sure, but they are just that–copies. Usually of copies. And the Hebrew Scriptures, so proudly declared to be meticulously accurate reproduction of god-dictated word, many uncertainties happen to linger there which necessitate footnotes (as in the New Revised Standard Version). In fact various passages are integrated where translators were uncertain what the original text really was (as, for example, in 1 and 2 Samuel). This presents a tragic predicament for world cultures because of the many uncertainties which continue to hover over and cloud all man-written “sacred” texts (including the Quran). Despite their glaring faults the questionable texts have been used as models upon which were fashioned each culture’s morals, ethics and spiritual trust. Thus it is sacred uncertainties which have served as foundations for three by-th-book faith systems which routinely reflect their holiness in constant murderous conflicts.

Basic beliefs, most of which originated in Bronze Age tribal cultures, were heavily colored by fears and superstition. In addition the words which have been handed down through century after century have been altered–sometimes accidentally, more often deliberately–by the countless interpreters and translators who put their own spin on the declared meaning in those copied words. Predictably the declared meaning said to be god-relayed in those man-written texts was always interpreted from the events of the interpreter’s timeframe. The fundamental philosophy which brought about all the age-old written “holy” words conveniently allowed for such self-defensive flexibility and manipulative license. And it is precisely this philosophical elasticity which stimulates the addictive fascination for what is revered as holy word. It provides anxious seekers with ego gratification–which is commonly praised and promoted as spiritual fulfillment. Unfortunately, the stories in extreme antiquity were knowingly penned to illustrate cosmological and/or life-purpose points. Regrettably these were often indirectly, and more often intentionally, colored by later scribes personal likes, dislikes, envy and jealousies, which consequently provoked irrelevant posturing and theatrics rather than radiating any genuine spiritual enlightenment.

The faithful who cling unquestioningly to sacred texts (Hebrew Scriptures, New Testament or Quran, as examples) like to believe that those compositions which have been accepted as revealed and sacred, contain no mistakes, no textural booboos, no additions, and no faulty assessments. But every such textural “holy” work was produced by human hands, and even the most faithful humans fall far short in cosmic awareness to serve as infallible spokesmen for the perfection and broad diversity which is the creative and sustaining power which is the all-enfolding Source.

The discovery in 1947 of a number of parchment scrolls which contained Hebrew and Aramaic scriptural texts and liturgical writings of an ascetic community which dated from c. 250 BCE to about 70 CE are known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The intensive research on these scrolls brought to light the startling fact that those texts, which are around a thousand years older than any previously known “old texts,” contained a stockpile of significant differences from the Hebrew Scriptures which are today considered to have always been rigidly inviolable. Time and circumstances since the era of the Scroll’s authorship brought with them alterations that resulted in textural content which became more or less standardized only around 1000 CE. Thus the western world today has become victim to what may be termed sacred shell games.

Genuine history is routinely forgotten in what has become accepted as holy word. For example, the OT book of Esther was rewritten from an older version which some scholars have said had been composed by some Roman author. Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph(c. 50-132 BCE) was one of the most eminent teachers of his timeframe, and he headed the school at Jaffa–and it was he who rewrote the text known as Esther. And the Jewish code known as the Mishnah was developed by him partly on the basis of his own teachings. In the original Roman account of the Esther tale there was a character named Haman (or Aman or Hamin) who vowed to kill all Jews. (Some scholars say that Haman was modeled upon a Roman aristocrat, Arius Piso.) The Jewish holiday feast of Purim was established ostensibly to celebrate the deliverance of the Jews from that threatened massacre by Haman. The rewritten book of Esther and the association of Haman with Roman aristocracy (Piso) therefore served as a covert reminder to all Jews of the alleged conspiracy of the Romans to destroy the Jews.

Once a faith system has compiled its self-serving literary collection and stamped it as “canon” (an ecclesiastical code or laws), that man-written anthology is advertised and marketed as containing all knowledge and information which is ever necessary for a believer to attain godly protection, salvation or entrance into Paradise. Thus have sacred theatrics and devised by-the-book directions been set in place as the edifying mechanism over mankind’s social and spiritual evolution (or lack thereof).

Today, contented that the faith systems which we have been taught as holding divine knowledge and which supposedly extends privileged access into a higher and exclusive domain, we are kept uninformed of how and from what that belief slowly and haphazardly evolved. Every man-contrived faith system has been built upon the awe and wonder that our ancient ancestors had felt for the celestial panorama which was then unmarred by the light and air pollution we humans produce today. In our self-enveloped bubble of technology we have been led away from the ancients’ awareness and veneration of the universal phenomenon, and those observations and practices became intentionally modified and disguised. Why? Because the”Pagan” sources from which those holy words were “revealed” had openly respected such things as solstice periods, time of equinoxes, phases of the moon, constellation grouping of stars, and their associated cycles with nature. These and other such natural observable facts played calculated influences in every man-contrived by-the-book faith system which dominate societies today, and those natural wonders are camouflaged and smothered under priest-invented “histories” and theatrical performances.

Man, it’s almost enough to drive an atheist to attempt a prayer! Lord, rest your hand upon the heads of your earnest seekers, and your other hand over the mouths of the self-possessed proselytizers.

Invention of By-The-Book Faith Systems

Posted in Astronomy, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, Hebrew scripture, history, prehistory, random, scriptures, Social, theology with tags , , , , , , , on November 1, 2014 by chouck017894

Genuine history shows that each of the three sister monotheistic faith systems of western cultures were launched as an insurrectionary movement against established social orders, all of which had tended to honor a broad-based tolerance for diverse spiritual practices. The hard-line monotheistic faith systems which dominate western cultures today expanded and have maintained their power only by indoctrination practices which have included perceptible intimidation tactics and even terrorism (such as is brutally demonstrated in Muslim region today). These systems did not establish themselves as claimed by practicing benevolence, tolerance and compassion. In other words, the whole purpose of monotheistic practices is to establish a closed environment in which each person is conditioned to submit and obey. The means of any faith system’s empowerment is the injected subconscious fear of godly retribution which will withhold any promise of attaining a glorious afterlife. With this improvable assertion of a paradisiacal afterlife for the alleged favorites of God the “flock” is persuaded to sheepishly submit and obey. To keep faith system discipline the contention is put forth that the all-enfolding Life Principle (personified as God) favors them alone: however, this is the very antithesis of freedom, inner peace, tolerance, compassion, fairness, justice, ethics, morality, and all other true qualities which elevate spirit into an evolved state of existence.

As a consequence the formalized “religions” that we have presented to us as spiritual guidance are faith systems which are constructed and characterized by constant arguments over artificial objectives, empty symbols, phony prophets, shallow judgments of others, superficial prejudices, and pompous ritualism which intentionally keep seekers blind to our interrelationship to the rest of the universe. What this shows is that manmade faith systems are essentially geared to regulate material greed and self-promotional events, not to guide seekers into personal attunement with Creation’s forces. When man-composed “holy word” texts are primarily assertions about godly nit-picking and jealousy, accounts of wars, invasions, killings and similar irreverent acts toward interrelated intelligent beings something is tragically inappropriate for authentic spiritual enlightenment. Certainly the glorification of such stirred up conflicts with life’s intended diversity and variety only encourage the practices of self-indulgence and prejudice, and should not be held as the foundation of ethical/moral attitude for social interchange.

Only in fairly recent times has the means been established to provide the capability to check the reliability and truthfulness of Old Testament accounts. That painstaking science is biblical archaeology. For well over a century of digs throughout Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon there have been uncovered factual details of everyday life during the timeframes and events that make up the bulk of Hebrew Scriptures. The discoveries have often stunned and dismayed the archaeologists, and the implications have horrified those who desperately wish to believe that the books thought of as “holy word” were indeed God’s revealed truth. The truth that is exposed is that the books of Hebrew Scripture were actually codified in the 8th/7th century BCE–or generations after the portrayed events. And the reason for that labor of systematizing such works was the political crisis which loomed over Judah in the timeframe following the fall of the kingdom of Israel to the north which had fallen to Assyria. Thus the origin and purpose for writing the stories of “God’s chosen one’s” have to be reassessed with an eye kept upon the political crises that motivated them.

Likewise the New Testament, composed within the Roman Empire timeframe, should be reassessed with an eye on the political crisis that the Jewish fanatics in Palestine presented to the Empire. During the Roman occupation of Palestine the Jews pointed to their priest-written Hebrew Scriptures as proof that they were answerable only to God and therefore the Roman Empire had no authority over them. That belligerent attitude of exclusivity, not surprisingly, brought the Jews into constant friction with the Roman Empire, and that characteristic is still at the heart of Judaism.

In assessing the “holy books” of western culture faith systems, it should also be remembered that the harsh Arab regions had no prophet or written book to unite them until the timeframe of Mohammad (570?-632 Current Era). The fundamental tenets of Islam are: 1) There is one God [Allah]; 2) Man must submit and obey Allah (as Mohammad assessed it); and 3) The world will (eventually) end with a great judgment. These tenets have direct and undeniable association with Judaic and Christian systems of belief–which Mohammad had heard during his many caravan travels.

Lost in these systems’ contrived rituals, unfortunately, is the means of perceiving personal spiritual alignment with the highest essences which are the foundation of our real self. The exploration of the inner self with the motivation to establish meaningful balance with nature and the universe is not a feature of any of these three regimented and self-focused faith systems of the western world. Everything always remains focused on the faith systems themselves, which subconsciously suggest to seekers that the individual is not of any particular importance to a humanlike deity. Nothing in this form of faith system commerce is even suggestive of addressing the actual spiritual qualities which are inherent within every being. Instead every seeker is instructed to submit and obey their man-written holy book instructions but are not shown any means of opening themselves for the experience of evolving. The difference between praciting a religion and making oneself open to spiritual vitality is as different as taking or receiving. If the emphasis is on ideology and ritual, then it is religion, for religious practice can only take its authority from those who relinquish their spiritual energy to it. On the other hand, that essential spiritual quality which is the essence of each personal identity can align with Cosmic Conscience only by achieving a reflective state of consciousness, for what we term spirit is itself a reflective infrastructure component of that higher Cosmic Conscience. If personal attention is grounded in what is only an orchestrated theatrical performance then the path into the higher state of spiritual awareness remains blocked.

To be blunt: A person’s genuine spirituality begins to malfunction as soon as exterior authority is imposed upon it.

These website posts have often referred to ancient lessons which concerned Creation/cosmology and life purpose, and those lessons were once illustrated by using the universe itself as background—the use of groups of stars (constellations) to illustrate the lessons. That prehistory means of instruction was not corrupted with any pretentious claims that universal truths were accessible only through some regimented, club-like membership-only faith system. There was then no merchandising of our spiritual connection into that higher power; there were no claims of a monopoly on universal truths as made by faith systems today–systems which distinguish themselves primarily by their hostility toward each other. Mankind must awaken to the fact that there can be no expansion or attainment of spiritual enlightenment from such corporate-style by-the-book faith systems when those systems are demonstratively superficial in the universe as a whole, and are too implausible and unnatural in the technological cultures on the smaller scale. Clearly what humankind is desperately in need of is not the pretense of faith system exclusivity but a new dimension of consciousness.

Concealed Background of Scriptures

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

Long before the Hebrew scriptures were crafted in 7th century BCE Jerusalem, the nomadic Hebrew tribes were clearly influenced by older cultures they touched upon during their wanderings across the ancient Near East.  In their extended wanderings, often across barren regions, the creative powers that other cultures personified as gods were more easily comprehended by them as a singularly harsh deity that was grudgingly supportive.  Not surprisingly, tribal leaders found it politically convenient to insinuate that they embodied some supernatural connection to that power, and the concept of a priest-like go-between was the accepted custom. 

Centuries later when the nomadic Hebrew tribes had wandered with their herds into the more agricultural region of Canaan, the rank of priest was virtually one and the same as tribal leader.  Even in the more advanced cultures that the Hebrew tribes touched upon—cultures such as Egypt, Babylonia and Assyria—were commonly presided over by priest-kings.  The more prosperous Hebrew tribes that had settled in the northern regions developed into the kingdom of Israel as the southern secondary Hebrew tribes tended their flocks and herds in the more rugged hill country.  But the northern kingdom of Israel fell to Assyrian invasion, and the priests in the little 7th century BCE village of Jerusalem, fearing a similar fate, threw their lot in with the young tribal leader Josiah who dreamed of bringing the scattered tribes of the south into a cohesive society.  To aid and abet Josiah in this ambition, the priests of Yahweh embarked upon a propaganda program to not only inspire allegiance of the people but to intimidate any neighboring cultures that entertained any ideas of taking control of the territory of Judah.

In the process of composing a “history” for their tribal region and the cult of Yahweh, the priests drew upon two teaching devices that they had collected (but little understood) in their wanderings and which were regarded as ancient even then.  One was astronomy-inspired teachings of Sumerian origin that once used  groups of stars (constellations) to illustrate lessons of creation and cosmology.  These astronomy-based educational props were referred to as “logi.”  The second device drawn upon was a text known as Ha-Qabala —a set of guide lines better known today as the Cabala or Kabala.  This is commonly, but erroneously, said to be an occult mystical philosophy of rabbinical origin, which became widely transmitted in medieval Europe.  But the analytical eminence upon which the Ha-Qabala later became interpreted in that medieval timeframe pre-dated any esoteric rabbinical interpretation of the Hebrew scripture.

There is a claim among Cabalists, undoubtedly with much justification, that a kind of religious metaphysics  was taught by word of mouth among some of the Tannaim—i.e. the earliest theology-shapers of Judaism.  Certainly oral instruction preceded the invention of writing.  Not generally known among Bible scholars is that the opening book of the Bible, Genesis, was originally presented in cabalistic script.  The key to cabalistic script lies in understanding the code that was used, which involved the use of graphs derived from twenty-two proper names and which correspond to numbers, symbols and ideas.  The difficulty in translating from this original code was formidable, for the cabalistic presentation of twenty-two proper names did not simply designate identifiable things: the names were regarded as being the things themselves!  This is difficult for most of us to comprehend who are trained in the A-B-C approach to teaching.  We do not use words that have an ontological link with the essence of the object that the words specify.  That is to say, the words that we use do not emanate from the objects that are designated.  An example is the opening line of Genesis; in the schemata of the cabalistic Genesis the words are: Bereschyt Bara Elohim.  From this the Yahweh priests interpreted “In the beginning God…”

Ancient Cabalistic insight was not concerned with any specific persons, nor was it concerned about the history of any group of persons.  Neither did that insight embrace the notion of a humanlike discriminatory god.  The Cabalistic texts from which the priests worked was encoded with names such as Aleph, Bayt, Ghimel, etc., and these pertained to projections of biologically structured energies at various stages of manifestation.  In other words, the Creation process.  The ontological connection with names taken from the Ha-Qabala reveals a startlingly different understanding of Creation than the Yahweh priests interpreted it.  The subject is too vast to be adequately covered here, but consider these few names from the Ha-Qabala texts as examples of how priestly translations perverted the scientific significance of the complicated texts.

Moses:  The Cabalistic name from which the star of the Exodus tale was derived is traced to Mosheh, properly spelled Mem-Sheen-Hay. The Mem part of the name refers to water—the waters (energies) of Creation.  This was altered in priest translation to mo, the Egyptian word for water, which strengthened the association of the character to that earthly locale.  The kingdom of Egypt in the Exodus saga symbolizes the power and abundance that is the generative source of Creation.  The Sheen part of the name means “breath,” and  implies the stirrings of life which emanate from those primal energies.  The Hay part of the name referred to the activation of life.  The biblical character of Moses therefore personifies the Life Principle in its movement through the elemental energy dimensions to manifest as matter form.  The energy involvement as matter is thus presented as the destined “Promised Land.”

Abram/Abraham:  To understand the Cabalistic meaning with these two adjusted names, we have to first look at the ram part of the name.  The ram component carries the crucial meaning of “Cosmic Dwelling”—or what may be interpreted as the non-manifesting conditions out of which all diverse energy forms of matter are projected.  Thus Ab-ram (or Av-ram) indicated the stage of primal energy development out of ram, so Abram represents the Life Principle at the level of cosmic action.

For this reason the priests of Yahweh declared Ab-ram to be the seed bearer—the biological regeneration factor that is carried into manifestations of life.  These energies evolve and transform as matter forms of life, and this transformation was indicated in scripture with the character’s name being changed from Ab-ram to Abraham.  It is at this point that the four skins of matter are initiated (mental, astral, etheric and dense energies).  In the priest contrived “history,” Abraham is then characterized as a fervent, unquestioning believer in Yahweh.  The Ha-Qabala, however, stated only that the manifested life form recognized its energy alliance with the Life Principle.  This is what is declared by the priests of Yahweh to be God’s covenant with Abraham.  But to advance beyond the imperfect stage of dense matter development, the four energy dimensions from which a matter form is made manifest (the four skins of matter) must be transcended (cut around), and it is from this Cabalistic teaching that the practice of circumcision was instituted as a condition of Jewish faith.

Ararat:  The mountain upon which the scriptural character of Noah is alleged to have landed after the Deluge is given as Ararat, a name derived from a Cabalistic name that vibrates in meaning as “new cycle.”  Noah is depicted as riding upon the waters of Creation into a new cycle of energy involvement that is represented as having taken place over forty days.  This disguises the involvement with, and passage through the four elemental energy planes that manifest as matter—identical with the four energy planes mentioned with Abram-Abraham.  Thus in scriptural myth Noah’s ark was launched upon Creation’s waters to navigate out of timelessness to become grounded upon the peak of matter where a new energy cycle is begun.  The scriptural version then asserts that Noah planted a grape-vine, made wine (of life), and became drunk (intoxicated with life) all in the same day after he landed!

These few examples of the prehistory astronomy knowledge and the Cabalistic source material used to manufacture a “history” of ancestors of the Judaic faith system provide reason for Jews, Christians and Muslims to reevaluate their “holy words;” and maybe reconsider their contentious relationship to each other.