Archive for Israel

Saints and Religious Propaganda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heaven’s Insensitive Ambassador

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, history, humanity, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2010 by chouck017894

January 2010:   As the horrendous devastation of the Haitian earthquake flashed upon a shocked world, Pat Robertson seized upon the phenomenon of indifferent nature to display the true depth of his Christian compassion for human tragedy.  As usual it was all about what his ego chose to twist  into what he considered relative.  This self-proclaimed ambassador of God thus used his Christian Broadcasting Network to spread the news that the reason for the horrendous suffering of the Haitians was due to the abused slaves having revolted against the French slaveholders there over two centuries ago!  Robertson’s claim is that they had “made a pact with the devil” back then to gain their basic human rights!  Well, of course he is backed by the fact that the Bible nowhere ever condemned slavery.

We should remember that this is the same self-proclaimed representative of Christ who once claimed that he could stop a hurricane through prayer.  He apparently never felt obliged to offer any prayer for New Orléans when Katrina roared out of the southeast—or afterward for that matter.  Instead he said nature’s fury was all because the Master of Ceremonies for the Oscar presentation was by a lesbian who happened to have been born there.  Sure; it made perfect sense to a mind that would also advocate assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

Like all religious pretenders, Robertson has no hesitation about fracturing the truth to serve his purpose.  In his presidential bid in 1988, for example, Robertson’s campaign literature stated that he had been a combat Marine in the Korean War.  Genuine Korean War Marine veterans objected to his implied “combat” status, saying that Robertson’s real service record was the responsibility to serve alcoholic beverages to his officers. 

There are so many “divine” Robertson quotes to inspire the irrational that it would take too much space for this blog.  A half-dozen must suffice.  1) On why Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke on the fourth of January 2006, Robertson said that Sharon was felled because he  “…was dividing God’s land.”  After all, the (priest-written) Old Testament stated that God had claimed Israel as his own.  2) About equal rights for women, Robertson actually said that the “…feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women.  It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.  3) Robertson’s low regard for women was again revealed in his statement, “…if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household, and the husband is the head of the wife, and that’s the way it is, period.”  4) Robertson advocated nuking the State Department, saying, “Maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up.”  5) On America being too liberal and his propaganda that evangelical Christians were being persecuted, he avowed that it was no different from what Nazi Germany had done to the Jews.  He elaborated and embellished, of course.  “It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians.  Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America todayMore terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history.”  (Italics added by this author.)  6) Robertson’s dream of a theocracy replacing democracy was revealed in this humble prayer: “Lord, give us righteous judges who will not try to legislate and dominate this society.  Take control, Lord!  We ask for additional vacancies on the court.”  (In other words, Kill ’em off, Lord, so we Christians can dominate society.)

Apparently the Lord heard his prayer, and America was blessed with Bush-Cheney who attained office not by democratic vote, but by the “none-interferring” action of righteous judges.

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.

Where’s the Proof?

Posted in Atheist, freethought, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2009 by chouck017894

Intensive modern archaeological research of the “Holy Land” conducted on up-to-date stratigraphic principles has been going on for well over a century. The century-plus search to confirm the claimed biblical past has unearthed absolutely nothing to verify the existence of any of the legendary persons such as Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Saul, David, Solomon, John the Baptist, Jesus or the alleged twelve apostles.

There have been hundreds of excavations conducted through the Near East region, especially modern Israel and Palestine, that did indeed serve to identify numerous sites used as the setting for biblical stories. From those careful digs there have been amassed detailed chronologies that range from the earliest permanent settlements of the Paleolithic Age up to the Late Bronze Age city-states. Atop these there has been unearthed an impressive hoard of material evidence of later Judean kingdoms on through the Roman and Byzantine periods. Even so, there is yet to be found any archeological find that provides evidence that any of the starring characters of the biblical tales were real persons. The names of minor biblical characters have been found, however, on inscriptions, seals and seal impressions. But inclusion of precise atmospheric details such as political names do not attest that the stars of biblical lore were real any more than using world-known personalities of today in some fictional story mean the main characters are real.

Surveys and excavations of early settlement sites on the West Bank which have long been claimed to be of Israelite origin have brought into doubt the scriptural accounts of the ancient “conquest” of Canaan. Territories traditionally claimed as “god given” to the Israelites have yielded nothing to lend verification that the claim carries historical truth. This presents an ominous threat to the traditions of the three major religions of the western world. As another example, there has been nothing unearthed that could support the traditional accounts of the Islamic Conquest; rather the carefully sifted evidence shows that Islamic domination over the region was not the result of a swift military campaign but resulted as a gradual shift in social structure.

What has to be acknowledged is that religious and political “traditions” most commonly arise from storyline manipulation of various events for the purpose of mass control. This in turn demonstrates that religious belief systems are history’s most powerful form of brainwashing.