Archive for Jerusalem

What Marked Jerusalem as Holy

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, history, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2010 by chouck017894

What was it about the location that became Jerusalem that inflamed Yahweh priests with the obsession that a temple must be built upon one certain mount in Judaea?  Even before the priests of Yahweh arrived at the mount, the site had been regarded as sacred by inhabitants of the region.  The earliest known name for the site was Ur-Shalem (or Yeru-Shalem), and from as far back as can be traced the hub area of Ur-Shalem encompassed three particular mounts.  The most ancient names of the mounts seem to point to some singular association that is yet to be discovered.  The southernmost mount had the name of “Mount of the Signal” in antiquity; the northernmost peak is said to have been known as “Mount of the Observers.”  The central mount, however, seems to have been central in more ways than one, for it bore the name “Mount of Directing.”  This is the mount which is claimed to have been seen by Abraham from a distance; he is alleged to have  witnessed a heavy cloud over this mount in which the glory of god was seen.  The word Ur translates roughly as fire or light, but the word Shalem is remarkably similar to the Hebrew shalom, the greeting or farewell meaning peace.  Jerusalem has thus been said, rather ironically considering its history of discord, to mean light and peace.  Another speculation is that shalem means something like the perfect place.

Curiously the barren mountain site that would become Jerusalem lacked the basic needs for a center of religious or political pursuits.  There was neither water nor food sources near the site, nor even any trade or military routes anywhere near.  One might be inclined to call it a god-forsaken place!  Around c. 2000-1800 BCE there was little in the region but small sparsely inhabited highland areas.  When the Yahweh priests arrived they were already determined that one particular spot there was marked out as a center that god favored.  What was the supposed special indicator that the place was blessed by heaven?  It was a massive artificially cut rock.  The priests were divinely certain that despite the stone’s antiquity it had all been fashioned just for them.

The sacred rock was  known in Hebrew as Eben Sheti-yah, and translates as the “Stone from which the world was woven.”  This reference seems to hold an intricate relationship to the more ancient names for the three mounts mentioned earlier upon which Jerusalem evolved.  The sacred rock can be deduced as once having served as a kind of platform that was put in place atop artificially cut massive stone blocks—in pre-diluvial times.  The sacred rock at the Jerusalem location has a startling similarity in age and structure to the more massive stone platform located at Baalbeck, in today’s Lebanon.  This sacred rock, therefore, existed for millennia before c 1000 BCE—which is the timeframe when David is alleged to have captured the sparse area (today’s Mount Zion) from the Jebusites (an early tribal league).

Tradition says that the sacred rock was cube-like, with its corners precisely facing the four directions of the compass.  In addition, it is said that two tube-like funnels had been bored out of the rock, and these connected to a subterranean tunnel.  How these feats could have been accomplished in prehistory times, or the purpose they served is unknown.  Tradition has it also that the construction plans for the temple that was erected later had been provided directly by an unnamed source which holy myth, of course, credits to “the Lord.”

We should also note that ancient names of the valleys in the area carried special implication as well.  For example, Isaiah spoke of one of them as the Valley of Hizzayon, which loosely translates as Valley of Vision.  Ugaritic texts tell of divine healers in a valley they called Valley of Repha’im (the healers).  Legends from prehistory times also tell of a subterranean region in “the Valley of Hinnom,” where the entrance could be discerned by a column of smoke that rose between two palm trees. 

Archeological research has shown that the biblical accounts of Canaan-Israel-Judah history are far from reliable.  A brief example: the character of Saul (c. 1025-1005 BCE), the alleged first king of Israel, was supposedly installed by the eleventh century BCE judge and “prophet” Samuel.  This places it in the Iron Age I period.  Nothing has ever been unearthed in archeological digs that even suggests that a prosperous united monarchy existed then.  And no archeological evidence has ever been found of David’s alleged kingdom, and no indication of the conquests attributed to David have been unearthed either.  In fact, evidence reveals that settlements in the Jerusalem region in this Iron Age I timeframe experienced no interruption of Canaanite culture.  Likewise, in regard to David’s alleged son Solomon (time setting c. 970-931 BCE), nothing has ever been brought to light of any monumental architecture in Jerusalem, Megiddo or Hazor in this timeframe as has been attributed to Solomon. 

The holy truth is that precious little reliable priestly accounting of Israel or Judah surfaces until around 800 BCE.  Even then much of the priest-written “history” has been freely embroidered upon.  It is wise to remember that Jews are never mentioned until the Maccabees (Hasmonaeans), a Jewish dynasty of “patriots,” high priests and kings of the 2nd and 1st century BCE who sought to rouse the Jews against their Seleucid ruler.

  •  See related posts, The David Saga, parts 1 and 2; and  Solomon’s Majesty, August 2009.

Echoes Through History

Posted in Atheist, Christianity, culture, faith, history, humanity, Middle Ages,, politics, random, religion with tags , , , , on August 9, 2009 by chouck017894

Over the passage of time, history has a way of duplicating events—not exactly the repetition of events but giving forth variations on a plot line with a different setting.

We would hardly think, for example, that recent events in the United States today would have anything in common with the militaristic religiosity that propelled the Crusades of the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries which brought needless distress to Europe and the Near East.  At that time the western powers (hard-line church politics) cast covetous eyes toward Jerusalem, ostensibly as a point of pilgrimage to the alleged tomb of Jesus.  But the Muslim brand of spiritual understanding, although giving recognition to Jesus, did not relish the idea of foreigners overrunning their territory and digging around for a legendary but unconfirmed burial site.  So the Caliph, al-Hakim, called “the mad” in western cultures, barred further pilgrimage passage through the territory.  Christians were whipped up by the pope and priests to wax indignant, hateful and belligerent (as right-wingers in the U.S. are today), and the barring of access to Jerusalem was assessed by the church and Europeans as “persecution.”

Around the year 1090 profound religious fervor permeated all sections of the European population, the Muslim nations were arming themselves, and countries such as France and Germany were impoverished.  Thus in 1095 Pope Urban II exhorted Christendom to take up arms and march to take Jerusalem by force, and the stage was set for seven bloody Crusades stretching over three centuries.

The motivation for the Crusades was always claimed to be religious, of course, but the results just happened to bring wealth and prestige to the church.  This tended to disenchant many gentle Christians who believed that enriching spiritual understanding was supposed to be the foremost function of the church.

As unalike as these time-separated scenarios may seem to be, there are many incidents of today that parallel the Crusade times—not the least of which is the boisterous religiosity that has increasingly infected the governing of the USA through the last few decades.  Add to this that today the Near East region is disenchanted with foreigners overrunning their territory in pursuit of oil to satisfy the high priests of commercialism.

Like the propaganda-inspired Dark Ages crusades where only the high politicos of the Catholic Church gained materially, today the only ones that really gain anything from the bloody and costly intrusion upon  foreign nations are the high priests of corporate commerce.  Let us hope that their lust for material accumulation does not last for over three centuries as did the Crusades.

Ezra’s Contribution to Sacred Writ

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, history, religion with tags , , , , , on July 18, 2009 by chouck017894

Much of what the western world has accepted as explanation of what constitutes “holy” favoritism was framed by disruptive planetary events in the ancient past and a few power seekers who promoted themselves as being privileged to higher instruction.  Thus one’s holiness was determined by who could arouse and inspire the most people. 

And this observation brings us to the biblical character of Ezra (5th century BCE) who was most likely modeled upon a man that had sojourned in Babylon during  “captivity” and had studied astronomy there.  Special understanding of the heavens is conveyed with the character, and that understanding had to be presented to the people in a manner that could impress even the lowest denominator of their clannish culture.  The character of Ezra is thus portrayed as being horrified upon return to Jerusalem at finding his people’s easygoing acceptance of  spiritual conduct–such as intermarriage with Hitties, Ammonites, Egyptians and other Pagan peoples.  He felt duty-bound to set about refashioning the religious literature to inspire the wayward Jews to return to the folds of their ancestral god.  An assemblage of priest-scribes thus set about dusting off the old Moses tale to rework and expand it into Moses-as-savior figure that would serve as the nucleus of Jewish faith.  In elevating  Moses into savior status, new rites had to be dreamed up: thus Passover was elevated to prime rite, and such things as the menorah from Babylonian religious rites appropriated, and the health practice of circumcision more strongly imposed as an alleged “covenant with god.”  Even the Jewish obserance of Sabbath came from the Babylonian word Sabattu, meaning day of rest.

Prior to and during this time of Ezra, planet Earth had experienced frightening episodes of disruptions due to interplanetary jostlings.  That the inspiration for the Moses tale is structured upon and refers to those past worldwide traumas come through in numerous passages.  For example, the fourth book  of Ezra (14:4) refers to the simultaneous changes in the motions of the Earth, moon and planets, with these being accounted for by saying that Moses had been taken to Mount Sinai.  And while Moses allegedly hobnobbed with god on Mount Sinai, god is said to have “…told him many wondrous things, showed him the secrets of the times, declared to him the end of the seasons.”  Another version of the fourth book of Ezra says, “Thou didst bow down the heavens, didst make the Earth to quake, and convulsed the world.  Thou didst cause the deep to tremble and didst alarm the spheres.”  Strangely, religion and science disregard the clues of world disturbances in BCE  times and of planetary turmoil that are hidden in such accounts.

The character of Ezra is thus presented by priest-authors as the veritable second founder of the Jewish nation, having shaped extensive codification of the laws, especially the laws governing temple worship and scriptural canon.  The books of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy were fully redrafted, and it is in this general time that the book of Leviticus was probably composed and jimmied into the scriptural lineup.

Leviticus is a glaring travesty of sacred instruction: its twenty-seven chapters were thrust between the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy, and is devoted entirely to priestly authority and the alleged godly prejudices that have no genuine connection to what was said to have transpired “in the wilderness.”

In the main, all the “laws” presented in this book are crude, shamelessly prejudicial and insensitive, being designed solely for the purpose of establishing uncontested priestly control over the people under the guise of divine installation.  The book labors endlessly on such details as priestly dress, rites, ceremonies, dietary choice, etc., and on the alleged prejudices to which god is prone.  An example of god’s prejudices: chapter 21 lists the physical “blemishes” that god supposedly found so nauseating as to disqualify such persons for priesthood.  Verse 18 says god detests the blind, the lame, “or he that hath a flat nose or any thing superfluous, or has a broken foot or a broken hand.”  Likewise, god is displeased with “…the crookback,  or a dwarf or (those) that hath his stones (testicles) broken” (verse 20). 

If we are to use the monstrosities in this book as our moral guide, we should also stone to death all adulterers and our unruly children.  The book of Leviticus is without question the most shameful excuse to ever be presented as divine word.

Revelation, fallacy of

Posted in Astronomy, Atheist, Bible, Christianity, culture, history, random, religion with tags , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2009 by chouck017894

Written in the occult style, the book of Revelation, penned c. 135-138, is not “revelation” at all but is embellishment upon mystery teachings concerning the dimensions and advancement of creation powers that were ancient even in Roman Empire times.  The occult manner of presentation such as the repeated use of the number seven should be clue enough to alert any reader that the “revealed” information is being presented in a questionable mystical style.  Consider for example—7 angels, 7 horns, 7 stars, 7 seals, 7 vials (of god’s wrath), 7 plagues, 7 candlesticks, 7 churches, 7 letters (to the churches), 7 spirits (before the throne), 7 dooms, 7 heads, 7 kings–and eventually 7 new things.

An important factor to remember about the book of Reveleation is the timeframe of its composition.  The Roman Empire at the time was in an extremely critical state from barbarian invasions and the revolts of subject peoples, especially the Jews.  Emperor Hadrian had been compelled to go to Palestine to put down the insurrection of the Jews that had escalated from 132 under the leadership of Bar Cocheba.  Roman patience was running thin at the decades-long stubborn noncompliance of the Jews.  Revolts had spread even to Cyrene, Egypt, Cyprus, and Mesopotamia.  Jerusalem was destroyed by Hadrian’s army and Jews were forbidden to set foot on the site.  It was established by Roman strategists that the spiritual obstinacy and consistent disquiet of the Jews was anchored in their priest-written and self-serving scriptures.  Out of this came the inspiration for the work claimed to have been authored by “Saint John the Divine,” but was more likely the work of a Roman frustrated at Jewish resistance to Roman governance.

The Apocryphal vision presented in Revelation was unmistakably influenced by Hebrew stories such as that of Moses and the “war in heaven” allegedly fought between the archangel Michael and Satan for possession of Moses’ body.  Obviously that tale was not about a mortal man but used Moses as analogous to the primal Earth.  In other words, that tale was cosmology told in occult style.  Among the elements borrowed from that Moses myth and incorporated into Revelation was the attention given to the number seven, as mentioned earlier.

Many of the symbols in  Revelation are also found in Ezekiel; i.e. gates of heaven opening, a throne within, seven lamps, etc.  As in Ezekiel, dead bodies are seen in the street which, after three and a half days, rise and walk.  There are numerous other parallels.  And all of them were borrowed from  more ancient mystery teachings on creation processes and cosmology, but tossed together without proper sequence to present the ecclesiastic deception of man’s downfall if Christianity was not embraced by all. 

Another example out of hundreds of the occult treatment used as Revelation can be discerned in chapter 4 verses 2-3 that describes “…a throne was set in heaven, and one sat upon the throne.  And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.”  More ecclesiastic deception: these gemstones symbolize the Zodiac constellations Pisces, Gemini, and Cancer.  (See accompanying notes on Gemstones of the Bible.)

Another example of  occult story handling continues in verses 6-7: “…and round about the throne were  four beasts full of eyes before and behind.  And the first beast was  like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had the face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.”   Really?   It all sounds suspiciously like the four quarters of the Zodiac (also used by Ezekiel) listed out of sequence—Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, and Scorpio (the eagle was Hebrew symbol for Scorpius).  Why are Zodiac symbols part of  Revelation?  Because in cultures predating the Hebrews, creation-cosmology lessons were taught using the constellations as focus for the lessons.  (As detailed in The Celestial Scriptures: Keys to the Suppressed Wisdom of the Ancients.)

The  book of Revelation is not worthy spiritual material, which is probably why so many other “saints” could not comprehend it.

Hanky-Panky in the Promised Land

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, Bible, culture, freethought, history, nontheism, prehistory, random, religion, sex taboos with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2009 by chouck017894

As the stories in the Bible have been passed down from the editing pens of priest-authors, the deliberate misinformation that was incorporated as “holy word” has well served them as the core of a mind control system that is held in regard as religion. We have also seen in previous web postings that modern archaeological and anthropological finds have proven that a heady amount of revered “holy” accounts simply do not jibe with evidence that has been systematically unearthed and studied. The conquering of the “Promised Land” known as Canaan, it is shown, did not occur through an invasion of war as the “holy book” stories imply.

This means that all the blood and guts of Joshua’s holocaustic indugences was simply priestly abuse of facts–probably fabricated in the hope of intimidating the more powerful neighbor-nations around them.

The priest-authors were often sloppy about characterization and plotlines, and certainly would have made lousy generals. But taking of Canaan–supposedly promised to them by god, of course–was made into an epic with a cast of thousands. Moses and Aaron are portrayed as leading the Israelites out of Egypt under god’s promise that “…you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation.” Exodus 19:6. Curiously, the Creator of all things seems always to have to rely on the bestial side of his favorites to accomplish anything of merit among humans.

There are a number of things that are rather sidestepped in the epic of “capturing” Canaan for god–and his priests. After the invasion was set, Moses appointed twelve men to advance and reconnoiter the land to be occupied. Among those men selected were Joshua, son of Nun, and Caleb, a member of the tribe of Judah. Much is made over Joshua’s bloodlust as a heroic obsession which propelled him into virtual savior status among Jews. (So admired was he that even the name Jesus is derived from the name Joshua.) But of Josua’s buddy, Caleb, there are some tolerable references but a sparse storyline.

Part of the priest-authors’ downplay of Caleb rests in the name itself, which is Keleb in Hebrew, and means “dog.” Although Caleb had been admitted into the tribe of Judah, the later account says that Caleb “…again separated himself from god, while remaining faithful to the q’deshim” (or “holy ones”). The part that is brushed aside with this statement is that Caleb adopted Canaanite religious customs, the q’deshim cult in particular, according to Deuteronomy.

Genuine history shows that early Hebrews had sacred prostitutes in their temples–a common custom in Babylonian, Assyrian and other neighboring cultures of the time. Female prostitutes were known as q’deshah–and the male equivalents were the q’deshim, who were known as dog-priests for the positions they assumed for their service. That Caleb was an acknowledged member of the tribe of Judah is consistent with the legend that Judah himself was an unashamed user of temple prostitutes.

Apparently in that historic age the Lord had not yet gotten all his prejudices sorted out, for a personal favorite of his, David, came from the tribe of Judah (and he had loved Johathan), and David had used Caleb’s territory, Hebron, as his capital until he supposedly captured Jerusalem.