Archive for Iron Age

Primitive Belief in Sacrifice

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, environment, faith, freethought, history, humanity, life, prehistory, random, religion, sex, thoughts with tags , , , , on June 9, 2010 by chouck017894

Where did the idea originate that the creative force that is personified as “God” required a sacrifice to save the world from the consequences of its imperfections?  Sacrifice is a pivotal turning point in the biblical tale of Abraham being told by God to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac.  And the whole focus of Christianity is upon the same superstition that man’s redemption can be achieved only at the expense of some innocent victim.  As a result of this “find-a-victim” approach many of the world’s cultures have blatantly victimized each other for thousands of years because of the immoral assertion that God demands victims.

It has always been held to be irreverent to ask such questions of priest-invented tales that were made-up by them to explain the unknown principles at work as creation.  However, the concept that God or the gods demanded sacrifices to receive his/their favoritism can be reliably traced back to the dark and dangerous environment of prehistory man.

In the ethnological phases in humankind’s development—the food gathering, small game hunting, agricultural and pottery phases—the framework of all life was thought by early man to be a spiritual universe.  The eventual discovery of how to extract metals from ores and creating useful objects from the metals abruptly altered man’s concept of how human force shaped the elements to become diverse creations.  The implied muscularity necessary for creation seemed to deny the previous belief that all life was created in and issued from a Great Mother, and the result was that the idea of a reflexively produced creation changed into an understanding that all within the universe was due to procreation.  Metal working required labor; ores had to be mined, metals extracted, and more labor was necessary to create useful objects from those metals.  Such work was rarely accomplished without significant pain, and even loss of blood often occurred in the process.  From this metallurgy work arose the themes of ritual union, blood sacrifice, immolation or self-immolation; and sacrifice was assessed as a condition of creation.  This, in turn, introduced the idea that life can only be engendered from another life that has been immolated.  The stage was then set where the process of creation or fabrication was deemed inconceivable without previous sacrifice.  This notion evolved to the point that when important buildings were built, victims were sacrificed so the “life” essence or “soul” of the victim would be transferred to the building itself.  In priestly theory the building then became the victim’s body.

The bulk of man’s beliefs from the Iron Age onward carried their theme that Creation is the result of sacrifice.  The precept was that life can be put into that which has been created only by giving to it one’s own life essences (blood, tears, sweat, semen, etc.).  From these concepts that sacrifice of life’s essence is necessary to instill the power of life there emerged the ideas of the sexualization of the mineral kingdom and vegetable kingdom.  In connection with this symbolism, the  mines that the men worked for ores were compared to the uterus and the ores were compared to embryos; it was the male entering that brought life out of belly of Earth.  From metal working there thus arose the widespread conception of the cosmic reality as also sexually oriented.  In some mining-centered cultures ores were classified as either male or female.  Those ores that were black and hard taken from the surface were classified as male, and ores that were soft and reddish extracted from inside mines were regarded as female.  That was a somewhat elastic means of classification, for neither the color nor firmness of ores always bestowed the decisive factor of the ore’s “sexual” evaluation.  This awareness of vague sexual characteristics brought recognition that a wide range in sexual orientation exists naturally throughout the cosmos. 

The premise of sacrifice was also a feature at the time of smelting—a mythico-ritual theme was generally practiced and accented the belief that a mystical union occurred between a human and the metals.  To ensure the “marriage” (civil union?) of metals in the smelting process it was thought that a living being must animate the process, and the prime way to accomplish this was by the transference of life—meaning a sacrifice.  From this perceived divine means of creating new manifestations from sacrifices offered up in primitive man’s furnaces new values would also be manufactured—values such as the sacrifice of Jesus to be transmuted into Christ for the salvation of the world. 

Man’s technologies have advanced beyond the need for immolation of human victims, but the superstitions are still intact in man’s faith systems and cloud our lives.

Surge of Spirit c. 1000 BCE

Posted in Astronomy, Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, history, prehistory, random, religion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2009 by chouck017894

The first millennium BCE, mainly the first half, was an oddly productive period in which there was being produced across the world insightful expressions and explanations of spiritual nature in the affairs of man.  Little acknowledged in history, religion, or the science of astronomy, this particular period of time was overshadowed by the planet Mars.  The skies were troubled in those days, and during times of conjuctions the atmosphere of Mars stretched into a shape that appeared like a sword.  The ancients tended to classify comets according to their appearance, and in their ancient astrological texts the comets that were said to take the shape of a sword were acknowledged as related to the planet Mars.  This celestial turmoil undoubtedly played a part in the worldwide longing for a modicum of understanding.

In this era  the Vedas and Upanishads, ancient sacred literature of India, were among the earliest texts on spiritual linking with our cosmic environment, dating back perhaps even earlier than 1200 BCE.  And there was already in existence in Egypt in this general time a book known as The Wisdom of Amenhotep, mentioned here for its influence on texts that would be written later in Jerusalem.  Zoroastrianism was forming in Persia; Buddhism and Taoism began unfolding in the east; and the classical age of Greece was beginning to set its mark on history.  This flurry of philosophical and theological conjectures, emerging in the later part of the Age of Aries (c.2208-60 BCE), all of which labored with notorious inconsistencies, set down the foundation upon which would arise the burgeoning faith systems that were to dominate our Age of Pisces (c.60 BCE-2100CE).

There is a bounty of evidence that planet Earth experienced considerable buffeting through many centuries from interaction caused by the passage of a large object into the solar system.  The threat in the heavens would continue up to the seventh century BCE, and served as the basis for the “prophets” in that period who prophesied from study of the skies (astronomy).  This is disguised in O.T. accounts in which Isaiah, Hosea, Ezra and Ezekiel are featured.

In Greece c. 1000 BCE, the classic Olympian gods (Zeus, et al) were attaining dominance.  Ionians were driven from their homeland in Greece and founded twelve cities on the west coast of Asia Minor.  In Egypt the 20th dynasty was in decline, about the time of Rameses XI: civil war and leprosy raged in Egypt.  Leprosy was also rampant in India.  In India, Brahmanism and Atmanism developed.  We should note that the Indian lunar-year calendar of 360 days was adjusted in this general time to coincide with the solar year.  In China the height of the sun was measured in relation to the incline of Earth’s polar axis; events in the heavens made it urgent to keep track of Earth’s motion and relationship with neighboring planets.

This time frame, c. 1000 BCE, marks the beginning  of the true Iron Age in Palestine and Syria.  In the north mass migrations of Germanic peoples were taking place.  The Assyrian empire was fortifying against migrating people from the north, and moved to capture Babylon.  In Nineveh, capital of ancient Assyria, the Ishtar temple (to Venus) and the royal palace was being rebuilt after planet-wide earthquakes.  A winged celestial object—commonly and erroneously interpreted as the sun—was revered in most eastern Mediterranean cultures.

In Mesoamerica the Olmecs were actively at work on Teotihuacan, and had developed hieroglyphs, a calendar, and a system of religious and societal leadership that would endure through all succeeding Mesoamerican cultures.

And in the Near-East, c. 1000 BCE, writings were being collected by migrant Hebrews that would eventually be edited in Jerusalem c. 850 BCE—in which there would be included almost verbatim portions of the aforementioned Egyptian book The Wisdom of Amenhotep.  The plagiarized portions are known to us as Proverbs 22:17 through 23:11, and are attributed to Solomon by the priest-authors.  In this  time frame, c. 1000 BCE, spiritual texts (composed and edited c. 850 BCE) assert that the principal characters of Jewish faith—the alleged “historical” characters Saul, David and Solomon—had founded the kingdom of Israel.  These scriptural characters would become firmly installed as testimony of a Hebrew cult’s alleged especial link with god.  Unfortunately, archaeological research does not support such persons or events.  But the Age of Judges is said to have followed, and the earliest Hebrew sky-watching “prophets” would come upon the scene c. 900 BCE.

First Israelites

Posted in Atheist with tags , , , , , , on March 14, 2009 by chouck017894

As mentioned in an earlier post, archaeological work in the Near East has shown that the Old Testament stories are not particularly reliable as a true recording of historical events. Certainly very little is ever presented in regard to the day-to-day life styles of the people that are supposedly represented. Where, for example, is there any information on the type of settlements that the “Israelites” favored? Where is it explained how the Israelites, fresh from a forty-year tromp through the wilderness and after many debilitaing battles, managed to support themselves after wresting the land from those who had dwelt there?

As history the Old Testament fails in presenting the how, why, where, and when of the take over of the Canaan region that would give support to the claims that are made. Ignored, for example, is any explanation of how the unkempt, bedraggled immigrants could have so quickly mastered the farming techiques that would be vitally necessary for successful settlement of the uplands and narrow valleys that they allegedly “conquered.” Instead, that which is offered as the “holy” accounting is a blindsided focus on more material things such as the alleged battle campaigns or the details of lands claimed by various tribes (as presented in Joshua). Or (as Judges) there is little but exaggerations of wars with enemies of the “kingdom” of Israel.

The seeming immediate adaptation of the forty-year wanderers to a sedentary way of life is nowhere explained. The reason for this omission is apparent when archaeological evidence is brought to light. The signs of “Israelite” arrival in the region is indisputable, but there has been found no supporting evidence that they marched in as a warring people. If any struggle took place, as the tales relate, it was in occassional scattered conflicts between desert herdsmen and established agriculturists, with the refugees gradually adopting the advantages of the sedentary way of life. Farmers and herders were not that difficult to evolve as components of a single society.

Sites that can be said to have been purely “Israelite” were located in the wooded regions of the central hill country of Canaan which were settled in the main during the Iron Age I (c.12th-11th centuries BCE), and the sites were continuously occupied into the period of the claimed Judaic  monarchies. Canaanite cities were beginning to break up in the Iron Age period and a transformation in lifestyle brought about the sudden establishment of over two hundred hilltop communities, and from a historical point these account for the first Israelites. These villages were not fortified, which is glaringly at odds with the biblical claim that there was almost continual warfare between the Israelites and their neighbors.