Archive for Islam

Mohammad’s By-The-Book Instructions

Posted in Atheist, belief, culture, faith, history, random, religion with tags , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2014 by chouck017894

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Making Violence “Holy”

Nowhere in the Quran is there any mention that humanity exists as a broadly diverse but interrelated whole, or that humanity is, in turn, interrelated with all else in Creation. (To be fair, neither Judaic nor Christian systems are particularly instructive in this truth of Creation either.) What Mohammad chose to stress from having lived in and conditioned by the harsh desert environment was the arid belief that all factions of life are in competition for any and all necessities of continued existence. Once he took up the role as prophet, and had his visions written down in book form (as were Judaic and Christian beliefs which he had encountered in his caravan travels), his hardened tribal approach to “faith” was to stress the idea that any natural diversities and varieties of life were to be confronted aggressively. Mohammad’s preaching and teachings thus assumed the flavor of a tribal chieftain’s directives in which belief was judged by whether or not one chose to believe in Mohammad as the prophet of Allah. Anyone who did not accept his prophet status were/are rejected as kafir (disbeliever), which has become the most shameful word in Muslim devotional rhetoric.

The continuous tribal warfare conditions which prevailed through Mohammad’s youth heavily colored his instructed contempt for the kafir, and this actively encourages arrogant belief, for throughout the entire Quran there is a vigorous undercurrent of hostility and hatred. Although Allah is declared “Lord of the worlds” (as in 6:45), the obvious Allah-approved diversity and variety of those worlds and the interrelatedness of all things in Creation are nowhere acknowledged. Instead, any differences are shamelessly presented as reason enough to practice violent acts in the name of narrow belief. The Quran, credited to Mohammad, is the by-the-book reference of Islam, a faith system which ironically assesses itself as the Religion of Peace. Oddly, justification for indulging in violence is asserted repeatedly throughout its pages. Indeed, no matter how you read the Quran the path to Islamic Paradise is a bloody one. For example, there are at minimum some 109 verses which make a direct call for Muslims to war with any and all people who do not subscribe to Mohammad’s interpretation of what constitutes holy conduct. This is an ideology that completely ignores the variety and diversity of spirit which is openly proclaimed throughout Creation. And this hostility to Creation’s variety and diversity is drummed into each child’s head with repeated recitations of hostile-flavored Quran verses, such as:

* 2:216 Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not. (This devotion to violence is a constant repetition akin to the old tribal-style self-hypnotizing practice indulged in prior to going into battle; and that mesmerizing practice of cultivated hatred continues throughout the Quran.)
* 3:151 Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers (kafirs), for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority. (The “joined companions with Allah” can be twisted to include the Trinity in Christian theology, for example.)
* 4:74 Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward. (This call is for battle, and the undisguised summons to destroy and inflict death is allegedly for Allah.)
* 4:91 If they do not keep away from you or offer you peace or withdraw their hostilities, then seize them and kill them wherever they are. We give you complete authority over them. (It is always the divine “We”, inferring Allah and his self-proclaimed messenger.)
* 5:33 The only reward for those who war against Allah and his messengers and strive to commit mischief in the land is that they should be slain or crucified, have their alternate hands and feet cut off, or be banished from the land. This will be their disgrace in this world, and a great torment shall be theirs in the next except those who repent before you overpower them. Know that Allah is forgiving and merciful. (How’s that again??)
* 8:12 Then the Lord spoke to His angels and said, I will be with you. Give strength to the believers. I will send terror into the kafirs’ hearts, cut off their heads and even the tips of their fingers.
* 8:65 O Prophet, exhort the believers to fight… (Remember, this is a religion of peace.)
* 9:28 Oh, believers, only the kafirs are unclean.
* 9:29 Make war on those who have received the Scriptures (Jews and/or Christians) but do not believe in Allah or the Last Day. They do not forbid what Allah and his messenger (Mohammad) have forbidden… (Jews and Christians, in some versions of the Quran are referred to as “People of the Book”, an ironic snub to the religions which served as his models for the faith system which is also guided by-the-book.)
* 23:97 And say: Oh my Lord. I seek refuge with You from the suggestions of the evil ones (the kafirs). And I seek refuge with you, my Lord, from their presence.
* 25:52 Therefore listen not to the unbelievers (kafirs), but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness… (In other words, indulge in Jihad. Not considered in Muslim’s evaluation of this verse is that it was penned in reference to the taking of Mecca, and not a recommendation for a life style.)
* 25:77 Say to the kafirs (disbelievers): My Lord does not care for you or your prayers. You have rejected the truth, so sooner or later, a punishment will come.
* 33:60 They (the kafirs) will be cursed, and wherever they are found, they will be seized and murdered. It was Allah’s same practiece with those who came before them, and you will find no change in Allah’s ways. (Apparently Allah hated most everything he had created, but was unable to clean it up himself.)
* 40:35 They (the kafirs) who dispute the signs of Allah without authority having reached them are greatly hated by Allah and the believers. So Allah seals up every arrogant, disdainful heart and (is) despised by Allah.
* 47:4 When you encounter the kafirs on the battlefield, cut off their heads until you have throughly defeated them and then take the prisoners and tie them up firmly.
* 86:15 They (the kafirs) plot and scheme against you, and I (Allah) plot and scheme against them. Therefore deal calmly with the kafirs and leave them alone for awhile. (It is not explained what circumstances signal the renewed attacks on the kafirs.)

Just as the numerous differing versions of the Old and New Testaments, there are also differing versions and translations of the Quran. The verses cited here are just a few examples. The purpose is simply to show that there is a great deal of hatred repeatedly expressed in the texts of all three of the western worlds’ faith systems, but as shown here, the Quran expresses total hatred repeatedly and most adamantly. No one is supposed to escape from Muslim’s contempt; not Jews, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists–or whoever is different. The implied primary directive in Islam seems to be, hate everyone who reveres the Life Principle in a different manner; a kind of kill first and ask questions later. The inherited tribal mentality and conduct in which Mohammad was raised was thus continued, and this was/is shown in regard toward women who were/are taken captive by Mohammad’s followers. The captive women could be used freely for any of the men’s sexual pleasure; the only forbidden contact was with “unclean” women as defined in Muslim law concerning menstruation. The only other technicality about using captive women as the men pleased concerned pregnant women; they were forbidden for sexual use until after she had given birth. Such freedom of sexual availability for the men was regarded as a kind of preview of the limitless pleasures that supposedly awaits in Paradise for Mohammad’s followers.

Compassion for the interrelated aspects of all life is not a concept to which the author of the Quran could relate, primarily because it was not seen as being demonstrated anywhere in the harsh desert environment in which he dwelt. Interestingly, Islam still is concentrated and flourishes primarily in the more harsh regions of Earth; and in those regions where the faith system is dominant any religious minorities which endure there suffer considerable religious intolerance. This is indisputable evidence that Islam is hardly a religion of peace and tolerance as claimed.

Further evidence of sanctioned fanatical intolerance is found in the conventional Dictionary of Islam in which the word jihad is defined as: “A religious war with those who are unbelievers in the mission of Mohammad. It is an incumbent religious duty, established in the Quran and in the Traditions as a divine institution, and enjoined specially for the purpose of advancing Islam and for repelling evil from Muslims…”

Such is the “divine” assignment of Islam, a faith system which teaches that peace is to be violently pursued.

Desert Reality and Divine Delusions

Posted in Atheist, belief, faith, random, religion with tags , , , , , , on August 23, 2014 by chouck017894

The prophet Mohammad was probably born c 560 CE; this is the most likely date out of eight dates that have been given in various accounts of his life. In the days of his boyhood there was no central authority to weld nomadic tribes with any social consciousness. Rather, each tribe existed as a single and separate entity that was in constant competition with other tribes for the essentials of life. Under such conditions personal retaliation was the only “law” that they understood when loss was experienced due to another tribe or person. “Justice” was therefore understood as imposing an extortion of payment; in other words, indulgence in vendetta. That is a feature which still erupts from the background of Islam, for that tribal retaliation mindset remains the heart and soul of Muslim conduct with all whom they choose to judge to be “infidels.” The natural outcome of the vendetta mindset was a state of perpetual warlike conditions among the tribes, for each retaliation necessitated in turn the opponents’ retaliation. Such ongoing irrational indignities were brought to a standstill among the tribes only during the mutually agreed upon times of religious observances at Mecca. Mohammad, however, grandiosely claimed to be counseled by Allah and thus chose not to respect such rationality. (The recognition of Allah was derived from an earlier tribal designation al-Lah, meaning High God in a pantheon of earlier Arab gods.)

The Arabs up to the general timeframe of Mohammad’s youth had long observed a custom of addressing the planet Venus as al-Uzza, meaning “The Mighty One,” and it was by that name that Mohammad had worshipped it as a youth. The Sabeans (Sabaeans), the ancient inhabitants of the kingdom of Saba (Sheba), regarded the Moon as the visible symbol of their principal deity. The birth festival associated with this deity occurred in the tenth month by Arab reckoning (which equals the 24th of December in western cultures), with the birth of the “Lord Moon” being celebrated on that night. This provides the reason for the emblem of Islam being the crescent new Moon and a single star. The true relationship of Earth circling the sun occurring at that time of year was not recognized as important for they regarded the sun as feminine.

During his merchant travels Mohammad had plenty of opportunity to listen to Jewish and Christian merchants speak of their faiths. Gradually Mohammad apparently grew to understand that his youthful adoration of al-Uzza (Venus), as one of three bannat al-Lab, or “Daughters of God,” had been focused upon the symbol of past celestial turmoil. The other two “Daughters of God” were known as al-Lat, “the goddess,” and Manat, “the Fateful One.” These three deities were of especial importance to the Arabs of the Hejaz in the time of Mohammad’s youth. (Within Hejaz in NW Arabia are Mecca and Medina, the holy places of Islam.) Influenced by Jewish and Christian tales Mohammad apparently concluded that those revered stones could not rightfully represent the Sustainer out of which the legendary events had occurred.

The implied kinship, “Daughters of God,” and also the reference to the three “sisters” as bannat al-dabr, meaning “daughters of fate,” seemed to hint of past tribulations and woe for Earth.* Further indication that these “daughters” were linked to past Venus-Earth turmoil is the fact that the three deities had been represented with large standing stones, not as comprehensible feminine forms. Thus in the Quran (53:19-26) the question is raised in regard to having formerly worshipped al Uzza, al-Lat, and Manat, calling them “…nothing but empty names which you have invented–you and your forefathers–for which God has bestowed no warrant from on high.” Nonetheless, a meteorite stone, which probably hurtled to Earth during one of the encounters with the planet-sized comet which had disturbed the orbits of both Earth and Mars became the cornerstone of the Muslim shrine Kaaba.

The association of al Uzza, al-Lat and Manat in Arabic culture is thus far older than Mohammad. The legends and folklore among the Arab tribes concerning past celestial terrors associated with Venus would naturally color Mohammad’s interpretation of a divine being. This background of star-associated legends gives added dimension to the romanticized picturing of Mohammad meditating under the crescent moon — and perhaps concentrating on the planet Venus.

It is said that Mohammad, during his youth, had traveled widely with his tradesman uncle, and he continued to travel widely after he had become a prosperous merchant himself. This traveling merchant connection has led some scholars to speculate that his wide-ranging journeys provided abundant opportunity to hear the religious claims of both the Jews and Christians. The theory is that the stories that he heard from members of each faith as they read from their holy books inspired him, and this, they say, is evident in the use of biblical characters in his later dictations. The muddle of these recited tales must have seemed bewildering to the prophet. Somewhere amid all this, possibly as he meditated upon the planet Venus under a crescent new moon while on Mount Hira, Mohammad is claimed to have had a “vision.”

Islam’s origins, even though well within the framework of verifiable history, is strangely imprecise. Islam’s traditions of a desert prophet passing along angelic revelations to a ragtag band of followers, although colorful and inspiring, is rejected by main scholars. The underlying reason is the historically verifiable rapid politcal success of the movement, which indicates that something much more secular was at work than patient heaven customarily sponsors. An omniscient Creator would find it creatively impractical to promote the self-contradictory term “holy war” as a devotional duty: worldly conquest can hardly be an obsession for an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Creator.

Mohammad died unexpectedly in 632. Strangely, the prophet had provided no instruction as to who was to carry on his holy work, for he left no male heir to continue the prophetic lineage. This lack of foresight regarding future leadership naturally resulted in confusion and uncertainty concerning Allah’s desires on how the Arab people were to conduct themselves. That question of entitlement over who was intended to represent Mohammad’s spiritual vision is still violently contested between the Sunni and Shia to this day in continuous tribal-style conflicts.

Regional Influence On Faith System Origins

Posted in belief, Christianity, culture, Hebrew scripture, random, religion with tags , , , , , , , on November 12, 2012 by chouck017894

In the real estate profession there is a dictum that insinuates the value of any given property, and that quality-gauge is tersely summed up as location, location, location.  Oddly, that real estate saying can help us understand the personality traits of the major organized faith systems that are active in our world today.  Location and the timeframe in which each faith system began its development served as the gene pool for its offspring (ie beliefs), and from these grew the idiosyncrasies that now characterize their interrelated practices.  Stir into this mix any noticeable seasonal changes and astronomical positions that predominated in that timeframe and the results become local interpretations of universal/cosmic interactions.

Circumstances that prevailed in a region where a faith system originated will always continue to color the customs of that faith system.  The regional environment in a definable timeframe accounts for the characteristics of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Brahmanism, etc., etc.  In other words, it was never divine communications directed at certain chosen persons that “revealed” spiritual qualifications of those faith systems in any particular region: it was some material insecurity in the regional environment which inspired attempts to explain natural cause and effect.

The regional circumstances and the timeframe in which a religion originated served to influence its interpretation of an imagined deity’s personality and psychological profile, which in turn shaped the doctrines which, it was hoped, would favorably influence that imagined deity.  Thus today we find ourselves bound to primitive hand-me-down values of conduct that vary from “faith” to “faith,” and which have shaped doctrines that often defy rationality.

Of the three western highly structured but competing religions, there is the peculiarity of each of them claiming descent from the same seed-bearer named Abraham, an alleged ancestor which none of these faiths have ever been able to authenticate.  All three also claim the same angels—Gabriel, Michael, etc; and they claim linkage to the same lands and they claim a singular Creator-God.  But that God has, apparently, given each of them conflicting data on how the faithful are to win that God’s conditional love.  Understandably, this has caused more spiritual, social, economical and physical distress and suffering throughout the world than is appropriate if they are, as each of them claims, a legitimate representative of the omniscient Creative Source.

The precepts of the faith that would develop as Judaism, for example, were accumulated and developed in the central hill country of Canaan (Judah) around the little settlement  of Jerusalem (c. early 8th century BCE).  The more urbanized Hebrew tribal groups to the north had established a kingdom, Israel, which had fallen to Assyrian invasion.  There was not then and never had been a united monarchy Israel/Judah as priest written Old Testament accounts imply.  (Suggested reading: The Bible Unearthed, by Finkelstein and Silberman.)  Priests in little Jerusalem, situated in the highlands of Canaan between the major competitive powers of Egypt and Assyria, were understandably nervous about their precarious position.  Thus to intimidate those powers and psychologically arm the Judean people, the priest composed “history” presented tales of a god-chosen people possessed of unconquerable strength.

Around the mid-eighth century BCE when the Hebrew scriptures were beginning to be compiled, the Earth happened to experience exogenous disturbances in its rotation, and these coincided with a reverse in Earth’s magnetic field.  This is the timeframe in which the “prophet” Isaiah is cast.  It was in this timeframe also that Babylon and China found it necessary to devise a new calendar.  It should be noted here as well that it was c. 776 BCE that the first Olympiad was inaugurated in Greece, and that event was unquestionably in connection with earlier events concerning the celestial object we today call Venus which had disturbed the heavens through previous generations.

On the other side of our planet in this same timeframe, the ancestors of the Mayans also remained wary and kept nervous watch on the heavens, especially on the planet Venus.  What these worldwide concerns with the heavens reveal is that Isaiah and the later minor “prophets” such as Joel, Micah and Amos were actually astronomers who were concerned about planetary interaction with Earth, first with Venus, and later the disturbed movements of Mars in the timeframe 763-765 BCE.  Add to this timeframe of worldwide disturbances that the traditional date for the founding of Rome is 753 BCE–and that site was dedicated to Mars, which was personified as the god of war.

In Egypt, long before the Jewish faith was concocted, there was a tradition of “the coming messiah,” which was referred to as Madhi.  The point here is that in all ancient pre-Jewish cultures the reference to a Messiah alway carried planetary meaning.  It never referred to any human champion charged with the mission to save or rescue certain people, but referred to expected planetary conditions that were to bring forth new circumstances for all human life.

Christianity is the world’s only city-bred faith system, and it is a product engendered out of Rome and Antioch.  In the timeframe which we consider to be the sixth year of our Common Era (CE), Judah had long been annexed by Rome.  By the late 50s the proportion of Jews in the Roman Empire was over twenty percent.  There had previously arisen a new Pharisaic party of the Humanistic Jews, which had evolved out of the teachings of Hillel the Pharisee (30 BCE).   This was felt to pose a possible threat to the Roman economic structure, for Hillel’s humanistic approach did not accept the practice of slavery, which was the backbone of Roman economy.  (For this reason there is no condemnation of slavery to be found in the New Testament.)  The Pagan Roman Empire always sought to embrace the diversity of its conquered people, and that characteristic is somewhat reflected in the earliest “gospel” writing of Mark, written c. 55-60, and Matthew, written c. 70-75.

Christianity, as such, was not known in the timeframe of the Emperor Nero, 54-68.  The members of the developing Jesus-cult that would evolve as Christianity referred to themselves simply as “brethren.”  Classification as “Christians” was introduced by later interpreters of history who happened to subscribe to the early Jesus-cult teachings as formulated in Antioch.  After the  forced suicide of Nero in 68, a brief civil war followed that brought the Empire to its knees as four “Emperors” battled for power between the months of June and December of 68.

The date of birth for Jesus is, to put it kindly, blurry at best, and equally uncertain is the time of Jesus’ alleged crucifixion–but  it is projected to be some time between the years 30 and 36, since Pontius Pilate is presented in the trial scene.   For all the claimed disturbing circumstances before, during and after the crucifixion, the execution death was not noted in any legal account nor by any contemporary historian.  However, the character of Paul of Tarsus (whose alleged conversion to Jesus bore extraordinary similarity to Moses’ call to faith) came upon the scene in just that timeframe. But the Jesus-cult carried no definable outline at that time.  Paul thus assumed he was called to dedicate himself to formulating doctrine and ceremonial procedures.  Oddly, there is no verifiable proof in regard to Saul/Paul of Tarsus either; his missionary role-playing is narrated in a somewhat haphazard manner.  Some investigators have contended that Pliny the Younger may have been the author of thirteen of the epistles in the NT which are attributed to Paul.  It is a fact that Pliny the Younger was noted for his epistle style writing.

Centuries later Islam developed in the arid, merciless desert atmosphere where nature seems to extend little sympathy to any form of life in its struggle to survive.  Austerity and harshness of the desert encouraged an acceptance that the creative powers offered but limited compassion for life.  There is no question that in the 6th century CE, Mohammad, who traveled widely as a caravan merchant, became aware of stories from both the Jewish Torah and the Christian Gospels.  In his youth, however, Mohammad, as most Arab tribespeople in that timeframe, had been taught to adore al-Uzza (Venus), one of three bana al-Lab, or “Daughters of God.”  The two other “daughters” were known as al-Lat, “the Goddess,” and Manat, “the Fateful One.”  These three deities were of special importance to the Arabs of the Hijaz in the time of Mohammad’s youth.  This adoration of celestial objects obviously had generated out of past traumatic celestial events in which the “daughters” were involved, and they were associated with tribulations and woe.  Thus in the Quran (53:19-26) the question is raised in regard to having formerly worshipped al-Uzza, al-Lat and Manat, calling them “…nothing but empty names which you have invented–you and your forefathers–for which God has bestowed no warrant on high.”  The meteorite stone that had been venerated formerly in connection with al-Uzza is possibly the famous black cornerstone of the Muslim shrine Kaaba at Mecca.

Mohammad’s early radical preaching at Mecca was tolerated for a while, but eventually the priests of Kaaba became concerned over his radical views and forbade him to preach among the Arabs that gathered at Mecca.  Thus he started preaching to any foreigners that happened to pass through: technically he followed the priests’ orders, but the priests of Kaaba were not pleased.

According to Islamic tradition, Mohammad became aware of a plot by the priests of Kaaba in Mecca to have him assassinated for continuing to expound his radical ideas.  This is peculiar, for such violence was strictly prohibited by those in charge of the shrine.  But according to tradition Mohammad fled Mecca at the height of summer and arrived at Yathrib, now known as Medina, on September 20–the time of the autumnal equinox, which also happened to be the time of Jewish atonement.  The popular account says that in 627 Mohammad and his followers were attacked in Yathrib (Medina) by the Meccan leader Abu Sufyan, and this is known as the Battle of the Trench.  Abu Sufyan abandoned the attack after fifteen days, and Mohammad suspected that the Banu Quraiza Jews who resided in Yathrib had aided the Meccans, and so Mohammad had all the Jewish men killed.  Mohammad then went to war against Mecca.  Capturing Mecca is known as Mohammad’s Day of Deliverance, which is said to have occurred on March 16–the approaching days of the vernal equinox, which, of course, is never alluded to.  The account of Mohammad’s “deliverance” has a rather eerie similarity to the Israelite deliverance from their alleged “slavery” in Egypt as it is related in Hebrew legend and which is celebrated by Jews as Passover during the time of the vernal equinox.

These brief outlines on how regional and celestial events stimulated belief systems of the western world are equally applicable to other interpretations of creative deities as well.  Hinduism and Brahmanism, for example, took root where lofty mountains inspired a strong impression of the energy interconnection of spirit, earth and heaven.  Another example: the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans held age-old legends of a past heavenly turmoil, and this coupled with their location in the jungles of South America, suggested to them that the gods always expected sacrifice and appeasement for continuance of life.  And in North America, the natives could appraise in the openness of the land and its bountiful wild life a stern spirit which was nonetheless wide-ranging and interactive with all life.  Thus we can see how the origin of any faith system was influenced by location, location, location.

Freedom of Faith & the UN

Posted in Atheist, belief, culture, faith, history, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 25, 2009 by chouck017894

Freedom of faith—the awareness that every being in Creation has their own link to the Creative Source—is not an ideology favored by persons hungry for worldly power. Unlike the United States where freedom of faith and of speech was set down as two of the cornerstones of democracy, many other regions of the world have not been blessed with such an intelligent approach to government.

After World War II, as nations sought intelligent means of cooperation among nations, the ideals that had led the United States into the world’s major power became the model upon which the United Nations was established in 1948.  Freedom of speech and faith was recognized as the premium means of encouraging understanding and tolerance among nations.  Thus these principles of man’s equal rights became enshrined as a universal Declaration of Human Rights to which every member nation must set their sign of approval.  And guided by that Declaration the United Nations has continued to function as the forum where promotion of peace and human rights have been honored and upheld.

But there is an upcoming annual attempt by some member nations to slyly undermine those noble principles which they declared to have accepted.  The cover for that annual move to curb religious freedom bears the innocuous sounding title The Defamation of Religion Resolution.  Buried beneath that headstone, however, is the intent to silence the words or actions that are judged to be detrimental to a particular religion—and that religion just happens to be Islam.  In other words, the true purpose of that annual proposal is the attempt to silence anyone who might hold a differing faith, or no faith at all. 

The driving force behind that annual move to savage the UN Declaration of Human Rights is none other than the Organization of Islamic Conference composed of 57 countries with a heavy Muslim majority.  Their objective, when analyzed, is hardly a peaceful one.  It is clearly, as Leonard A. Leo, chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom observed, a deceitful attempt to “create a global blasphemy law.”

Certainly the Muslim proposed Resolution is not concerned with genuine religious freedom; it is concerned totally with protecting their own  man-conceived religious practices.  Tolerance, charity and love are not exactly the strong points of Islam, as is indicated by their repressive governments where anyone deemed as offensive or who dares to speak out against a favored sect or religious practice is punished severely—even with death.

Questioning the Quran and its contradictions, for example, is enough to allow gross violations of human rights.  There are “blasphemy laws” in Pakistan, as an illustration, that are routinely used against Christians and other minorities as reason for arrests and inhumane treatment.  If the UN ever voted in favor of the deceptive Defamation of Religion Resolution, the world would then find the blasphemy laws held up as justification for selectively restricting religious speech of minority communities.  It is then but a tiny step toward selectively curtailing civil dissent and  muzzling any criticism of the political structure in power.

A Gaggle of Angels

Posted in Atheist, Bible, Christianity, culture, life, random, religion with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2009 by chouck017894

The first mention of an angel in biblical myths is in Genesis 16:7 where Abram’s concubine, Hagar, pregnant with Abram’s “seed,” has fled into “the wilderness” to escape Sarai’s jealous wrath.  “And an angel of Yahweh found her (Hagar) at the water well (or “fountain of waters”) in the wilderness…” verse 7 tells us.  It should be noted that at this point of the myth neither Abram nor Sarai have yet had the letter H added to their names.  (The significance of adding the letter H and the hidden meaning of “wilderness” and “water well” are revealed in The Celestial Scriptures.)

This introduction to “angels” into the story also carries with it a glut of subtle clues that only the  in-crowd of priestly reciters were privy to, for they used a sacred language style to disguise “holy” meanings to themselves and away from the uneducated masses.  As a result the writing gets a little confusing at times.  For example, as the “angel” speaks to Hagar, that which is being spoken shifts from a kind of third-person messenge-service pronouncement to words being spoken by God himself.  It should be noted that in the earliest presentations of “angels,” this was an intentionally indistinct method of storytelling by overlapping the deity with the lesser “angel” image to convey the illusion that “angels” were simply an expression of God’s presense.

Belief in multiple gods, as recognized in Pagan cultures, was regarded by the Judaic authors to be irreligious, but their various “angels,” entrusted with essentially the same attributes and responsibilities, was held to be a  different story.

Later in Genesis, two angels are portrayed as arriving at the door of Abraham’s nephew Lot, who lived in Sodom.  Oddly, Lot addressed the pair as “My Lord” (Genesis 19:18).  The message given by the pair was apparently presented as something like a singing telegram: “Flee there quickly (to the near-by city of Zoar) because I cannot do a thing until you get there.”  Lot protests that Zoar “…is a little city” and that “it is near.”  (Why the word is was stressed is explained in The Celestial Scriptures.)

As noted in Time Frames and Taboo Data, the archangel lineup from Judaic lore cagily personified our solar system’s planets.  Thus the archangel Michael personifies the Sun; Gabriel, the Moon; Raphael, the planet Mercury; Samael, the planet Mars; Sadkiel, the planet Jupiter; and  Cassiel, the planet Saturn.  The archangel Arnad was the last to be enlisted into the ranks of archangels and represented the young planet Venus.  A Talmudic passage freely acknowledges that the names of the angels, the names of the months, and even the letters of the alphabet were brought  from the exile in Babylon.

Christians got the holy lowdown on angels when the Council of  Bishops was assembled by Pope Liberius in 364 to determine what would and would not be considered canon.  Strictly regulated were rituals, precedents, heresy, baptism, fasts, angel worship, etc.  There was agreement that  referring to angels by name was forbidden. 

The Jewish recognition of angels that had been carried over into Christian myth became a near obsession during the Dark Ages.  By 787  the Second Council of Nicaea determined that angels might receive reverential obeisance, but were not to receive divine worship.  It was also determined after much haggling that nine orders of angels existed wherein archangels made up the eighth level—or next highest in management duties. 

Of course angels became a prominent feature in Muslim lore also for, as noted earlier, it was the angel from Jewish myth that comes to Abram’s concubine Hagar.  “And an angel of Yahweh found her (Hagar) at the water well in the wilderness” (Genesis 16:7) and told her that God  would “greatly muliply thy seed” and the son that she would bear was to be named Ishmael.  The Mohammedans therefore look upon Hagar as Abram’s true wife and upon Ishmael as the favorite son.  Thus the genealogical traditions of Hebrews and Arabs were made to unite and provided the foundation for the establishment of Islam.  And by borrowing from Judaic/Christian fabrication of angels, it was easy to accept that when Mohammed went into battle at Badr and Mecca he had allegedly been assisted by 1000 to 3000 angels.