Archive for Joshua

Jesus And His Gang

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, history, random, religion, scriptures, theology with tags , , , , , on March 1, 2014 by chouck017894

The three widespread run-by-the-book, corporate-style faith systems of the western world all contain huge discrepancies and contradictions within all their texts which are promoted as holy wisdom. Seekers have a right, therefore, to question anything written, copied and abridged by human intermediaries who sought to give some explanation for the unknowns which attend the variety and diversity that is life. Always in those “holy” accounts the “revealed” events were interpreted from what they needed or wished for, and which was colored by regional surroundings in their timeframe. In that methodology of evaluating such faith-promotional material, consider one possibility (among many) regarding the Christian icon, Jesus.

As noted in an earlier blog, a Jesus cult existed in Judea for decades before our Common Era timeframe. (See Pre-Christian Jesus Cult, Sept. 2013.) What if the name Jesus, which is derived from the name Joshua, was a name that was assumed by a zealot who led the opposition against the Herod-appointed priests who had replaced him in the Temple of Solomon? To the Jewish faithful the position of Temple priests was a question of legitimacy, for the Herod replacements were not of “the sons of Aaron.” That bold interference by Roman officials in customary Jewish appointment of priests was certainly an overreach in the usual Roman management style, for the gods of conquered regions were usually respected–even in Rome itself. Of course spiritual belligerence was not as sharply intrusive among other people as it was in the Jewish population.

If there had been an actual historical zealot leader, it would have been inspirational to the community if the leader would assume the name derived from Joshua, a name from Jewish myth of the merciless slaughterer of men, women, children and even the animals of the conquered people of Canaan. (Archaeological digs have revealed that Canaan was never violently subjugated by invading Israelites as depicted in the Jewish priest-author account.) The Roman authors of Gospels may well have utilized the Jewish rebel-model, the alleged savior of God’s “chosen ones,” but shrewdly altered the zealot into the gentle savior of the world for broader consumption. That certainly would gain the attention of the Jews.

A hint that Jesus was possibly based on an actual zealot–or what we today would call a “terrorist” or “guerrilla”–is indicated in Matthew 21:12-13. There it says, “…and Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” In the same chapter, the morning after his rampage in the temple, and hungry from overnight travel, Jesus cursed a barren fig tree for not bearing fruit out of season! That must have sorely perplexed his Father.

The scene of muscular disturbance in the temple is retold in Luke 19:45-47; “And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And he taught daily in the temple, But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him.” It is important to remember that those priests and scribes referred to would have been individuals who had been installed in the temple by Herod.

Then in John 2:14-17 it relates, “And he (Jesus) found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15) And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables. 16) And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise.” Then there follows another curious clue in verse 17, saying, “…the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.”

These Matthew, Luke and John verses relating fierce actions taken by Jesus have long bewildered many scholars and clerics, for it seemingly runs counter to the “Prince of Peace” and gentle teacher image of Jesus that is commonly promoted. But if there had been such an actual temple incident it would have been widely known among the Jews themselves, and that historic happening could be utilized to possibly attract the disgruntled people toward the alleged teachings of the peaceful teacher.

The Roman author of the Gospel book John was well aware that the Jewish zealots had not accepted the Herod-appointed priests in the Temple of Solomon, especially in respect to the high priest. Herod was closely affiliated with Rome, therefore any resistance fighters would be considered to be in violation of Roman authority, which would merit crucifixion.

What these three Gospel versions may off-handedly infer is that the zealot who took on the name derived from the legendary Israelite’s savior Joshua may have been one of those priests demoted by Herod. Since the NT Jesus is depicted as having then “taught daily in the temple” (Luke 19) after driving out the merchants, it hints that he was familiar in that environment. No wonder those who had been appointed as priests by Herod would then call for Roman justice–not the Jewish death by stoning. This proposed scenario may be the closest that we will ever come to some actual historical link with Jesus, the star of Gospel.

Then there is the curious episode in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to Jesus being arrested, as told in Luke. Something much more dire than a crime of radical preaching is indicated in the conversation between Jesus and Peter when (22:33) Peter is quoted as saying, “…Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.” The disciples are then warned of coming conflicts, and in verse 36 Jesus says, “…he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his script; and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” In verse 38 his disciples said, “Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.” Why is that ignored? Bluntly, this staging with weapons was in regard to something more subversive than a prayer meeting.

So the leader of the temple rebellion may well have served as the model-inspiration for the Roman authors of these texts in response to the constant Jewish uprisings in the Empire. But the aim, originally, of those authors, starting with Mark, was to soften the constant Jewish rebellions and perhaps gain converts. It was necessary, of course, to tone down the real model’s actual resistance to Roman rule in the storyline of the faith system that they were trying to put in place. However, the needed softening influences were available to them in prehistory cosmological/creation lessons, Pagan myths, Gnosticism, and mystery school instruction.

Advertisements

Parting the Waters

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, Hebrew scripture, random, religion, scriptures with tags , , , , , , , on April 1, 2013 by chouck017894

Creation began, according to the biblical book of Genesis, with God parting the elements, which the authors symbolized as “the waters.”  That choice of wording is science being told in mythic style.  In the opening chapter of Genesis, verse 2, it is declared that the spirit of God “moved upon the face of the waters” (upon the primordial energies).  We have to understand that the 8th century BCE authors of Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) were not particularly prone to theoretical thought, and consequently interpreted some prehistory teachings that they possessed and used (perhaps stored away in some ark?) in terms that their followers could wrap their heads around.  So the primal energies that the authors equated with “waters” were divided. 

Today, in the field of quantum mechanics it is understood that duality extends into this energy dimension which we think of as matter.  Scientists determined in 1924 that subatomic particles (of the lepton family) should be regarded as not only individual particles but also as being associated with systems of waves.  Science has named the most elementary charge of negative electricity and constituents of all atoms as electrons.  An integral part of modern quantum mechanics happens to involve wave mechanics.  We are talking of the subatomic levels which gives rise to all matter forms, which is to say the causation or starting point of  all material objects, as the opening of Genesis attempts to explain.

Much of what is widely regarded as historical narratives in the Bible books which follow Genesis are often also constructed on the Creation formula used in Genesis and are passed off as historical documentation. Consider Moses parting the waters: Joshua parting the Jordan River flow: Elijah dividing the waters: Elisha dividing the waters, etc.  And every such “holy” event was a one time deal for each of them.  That is because every character of scriptures then passed over from primal energy conditions into the purpose that they were meant to fulfill.

There is more text devoted to the activities of Moses than there is to any other timeframe in Israel’s biblical “history.”  Following immediately after the book of Genesis, we should take note how the Moses tale seems something like a modification of the Creation story.  Moses was saved from water–remember Exodus 2:3-6–and thus having been accounted for he was positioned in circumstances which permitted him the protection to develop.  As the story goes, he increased in power, did away with a confining situation (killed an Egyptian), and eventually divided the waters of the Red Sea allowing followers to pass over a shallow sea.  This was a one time deal for him, and the primal creative elements chosen by the Creator in Genesis have been recycled and personified as the Israelites.

Moses, with God’s help, allegedly divided the Red Sea (just as the Creator divided the “waters”).  Tradition, which is totally improvable, says it was the Red Sea. Why?  Because, like Adam who was supposedly formed from red dust in Scriptures, the color red symbolized the elementary elements (atoms, electrons, particles, etc.) from which all matter is made manifest.  And as Noah is said to have spent 40 days in the ark riding upon the Deluge, Moses is alleged to have led the Israelites through the “wilderness” for 40 years.  In any myths where the number 40 is at the core, drop the zero: the number always refers to the first four primal energy dimensions (out of seven energy dimensions which are active as Causation) which involve/evolve toward manifestation.  Because Moses personifies the Life Principle within creative energy action through the primary energy dimensions before creative action passes over into visible form it is claimed that he is not permitted by God to enter “the Promised Land.”  And with this it is claimed that the historical books of the Old Testament therefore extend from Joshua to Esther inclusive.

Joshua, the next in command of the Israelites (personifying elementary energies), is also alleged to have parted the waters of River Jordan (river of life) in Joshua 4:18.  It, too, was a one time deal which allowed him and the Israelites to pass over into the next developmental dimension of creative energy.  Joshua is presented as parting the waters of River Jordan so that the “…soles of the priests feet” remained dry, and the “waters of the Jordan returned unto their banks…” and Canaan then came under siege.  Thus Joshua, the personification of the violent conditions active within the primal stages of Creation, is then portrayed as violently taking the “Promised Land” with holocaustic fervor.

Biblical accounts intentionally pervert the energy sequences of Creation dimensions in order to disguise it as Israel “history” and use the subsequent dimensions of Creation’s energy development in matter formation by presenting the next intermediate dimension as the cruel “prophet” Elijah.  Of course he too must part the waters to pass over into his purpose.  To assess the characterizing of the “prophets” Elijah and his successor Elisha, we should study the meanings in the names.  The prefix Eli means “God,” and any suffix indicates an aspect of life development; in this case, Eli, meaning “God” is combined with jah, which refers to Yahweh.  Elijah was allegedly sent by God to confront King Ahab (c. 875-853 BCE), but Ahab actually represent the Babylonian storm god Adad—the rain maker.  Thus in 1 Kings 18:41-45 Elijah supposedly counseled the king of an approaching storm.  But Ahab’s wife, Jezreel, wanted Elijah killed, which caused Elija to flee into–where else?–“the wilderness”–which is to say back into the intermediate energy dimensions of Creation, just like Moses was depicted as fleeing into the wilderness after slaying an Egyptian.  And there in the wilderness Elijah lingered for the typical 40 days and nights, just like Noah, and the 40 years in the Moses tale.

Of course Creation must continue, and so Elijah was directed by God to “Go, return…”  And on his journey back, since he was passing that way anyway, God directed Elijah to anoint Hazael as king over Syria, and to anoint Jehu as king over Israel, and to anoint Elisha as prophet to succeed Elijah.  In other words, the Creator of the universe found nothing of interest in universal affairs and so was dabbling in the political affairs of 8th century BCE Israel!  This meant that Elijah had venture out of the”wilderness” again.  Thus in 2 Kings 2:8 it says, “And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped (it) together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground”–just like Moses at the Red Sea and Joshua at the River Jordan,  This is history

Elisha, the successor of Elijah, is another biblical character which represents the Life Principle advancing into the next intermediate dimension of primordial energy development.  Thus this unpleasant character is a wee bit more refined than Moses and the violent Joshua, but like them Elisha too must “part the waters”–the pre-physical energies–to pass over into energy conditions which allow prototypal formation to mass.  Thus in 1 Kings 2:14, the priest composed “history” relates: “And he (Elisha, whose name means “God has granted salvation”) took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah?  And when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.”  This is history?  Elisha represents the prototypal energy into visible matter, and the myth follows the sacred language tradition where a name-change occurs.  This time from Elijah to Eli-sha (as Abram to Abraham, and Jacob to Israel) to signify the transformation into visible matter substance, which is recorded as “…and Elisha went over.”  And then  Elisha hightailed it straight to Bethel: beth happens to mean “house,” and el means “God.”  Oddly Bethel also happened to be the same spot where Abram is alleged to have had his name changed, and also where Jacob watched angels climbing up and down a ladder and had his name changed.  Again, this is history?

The only bit of physical description ever given for this holy character of Elisha is that he was bald.  As Elisha approached Bethel “…there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head, go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them and cursed them in the name of the Lord.  And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tore forty and two of them (1 Kings 2:23-24).  Forty-and-two adds up to six, or yod, which in Jewish tradition is representative of God, i.e. the Life Principle.  In this priest written holy tale what is dramatized is the prototypes (children) being reconstituted so that the Life Principle (symbolized with Elisha) may proceed into full matter manifestation.  Elisha is characterized as bald because he represents the naked Earth–the no vegetation stage of Earth development, which is also why Noah was seen naked after getting drunk on the wine of life after landing on Mount Ararat.

This mythic style of presenting “history” is continued in the New Testament with the personification of the Life Principle, Jesus (a name derived from Joshua), reaching the event of quality change at the waters of the Sea of Galilee. It is the Creation formula played all over again. In Mark 6:48, the first of the NT texts to be written, Jesus is depicted as not just parting the waters, but is alleged to have walked on the waters, which expresses the identical power over Creation principles as did the “spirit” that moved on the face of the waters in Genesis 1:2.
 Now the final twist to this Christian version: remember that every one of the mythic characters who parted the waters in the OT also included the number four (disguised as 40 days or years, and even Noah rode upon the waters for 40 days). The number 4 always refers to the last of the four energy planes which precedes visible matter manifestation. And in chapter six, verse 48 of Mark, Jesus allegedly sees that his disciples on board a ship in the midst of the sea are toiling desperately in the turbulent waters. The verse continues, “…for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.” The “night” of this verse alludes to the void out of which Creation occurred. Thus in verse 53 it says, “And when they had passed over they came into the land of Gennesaret, and drew ashore.” The water-walk of Jesus is also related in Matthew 14:22-23, and in John 6:15-21.  That too, like all OT characters who parted the waters, was only a one time deal.  And like them, Jesus then passed over to take up his destiny as Christ, the logos and/or word of God made in the flesh.

A Short Example of “Biblical Values”

Posted in belief, Bible, Hebrew scripture, random, religion with tags , , , , , , , on October 8, 2012 by chouck017894

The Lord got frustrated and angry a lot in the Old Testament.  And rather than just guide his chosen ones through calm psychological counseling, the Lord was often prone to strengthening the enemies of his chosen ones in order to inflict punishment on his darlings.  At least that is often the judgment presented by the priest authors who pretended to chronicle truth of the Lord’s holy mood swings.  Whenever the Yahweh priests lost total control over those subjected to their self-proclaimed god-given authority, and another ethnic group or culture prevailed, a favorite excuse for the Israelite’s defeat was that the Israelites “went awhoring after other gods.”  A typical but lesser known example of this favored excuse is found in the book of Judges, which purports to cover the history of Israel from the time of the settlement in Canaan until just before establishment of the monarchy.  (Related post: Fables From the Book of Judges, August 2010.)

The Old Testament runneth over with blood and guts stories, which seems a peculiar way to express the love and the alleged continual blessing and favoritism of the Lord.  The book of Judges attempted to connect and continue the priestly saga of the violent settlement of Canaan that had begun with the book of Joshua.  But no leader who was comparable to the merciless Joshua had been provided by the Lord after Joshua died, and thus the unity of the tribes weakened, and consequently degenerated into apostasy followed by military defeat to Mesopotamia.  According to the alleged Israelite history by the priest-authors of Judges, Israel’s fall to Mesopotamia was due to a series of desertions from the faith.  So the omniscient Lord determined that the Israelites must therefore be made to endure eight years under Mesopotamian rule, and only then would God raise up a warrior, Othniel, to deliver them.  But then after forty years under Othniel’s supervision the people again “went awhoring after other gods” (a favorite phrase among priest-authors).  And of course God’s favorites wound up defeated c. 1406 BCE by Eglon, king of the Moabites, who had allied with the Ammonites and Amalekites against God’s darlings.

After eighteen years under the harsh thumb of King Eglon, a self-appointed rescuer named Ehud from the tribe of Benjamin decided to redeem his people by assassinating King Eglon.  Ehud, acclaimed as the second of the revered “Judges,” was convinced that getting rid of the tyrant Eglon was his godly calling, and so he fashioned a two-edged dagger about eighteen inches long, hid it in the folds of his cloak, and managed to get into the presence of the obese king Eglon.  Ehud implied to the king that he had a secret errand, so the king allowed Ehud a private meeting in the king’s summer parlor.  According to the priest-authors, deception for some mysterious holy reason is the honored way to serve an omniscient God, so Ehud came close to the king, saying, “I have a message from God unto thee” (Judges 3:20).  As the king bent near, Ehud then drew with his left hand the dagger hidden under his cloak on his right thigh and thrust the long blade into the belly of the corpulent king.

The lethal attack upon the king is lavishly detailed: “And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he (Ehud) could not draw the dagger out of his (Eglon’s) belly; and the dirt came out.”  Slinking away and locking the door to the summer parlor behind him, Ehud managed to depart the crime scene just as palace servants arrived and lingered uneasily outside the parlor door, for they were sore afraid to intrude upon the king’s privacy.  That detailed gory story is presented in a style similar to cloak and dagger entertainment features of today in which the hero (Ehud) answers his highest spiritual calling.  The priest-written story then gets abruptly condensed from verse 27 to 30 with a hasty brush off saying that Ehud raised an army which he led against the implied might of the combined Moabite, Ammonite and Amalekite forces.  The priestly account tersely sums it up that the combat resulted in the slaying of “…ten thousand men, all lusty and all men of valor; and there escape not a man.”  The chapter then concludes with the claim that Israel “…had rest fourscore years” (the typical forty years in such tales).  There is no further narrative; there is only the statement that Ehud “delivered Israel,” the implication being that all the violence, destruction and killing had been with God’s blessing.

If such a premeditated, cold-blooded murder, as is so explicitly detailed of King Eglon’s murder was carried out today in the manner stated would it be so callously brushed aside as it is presented in the circumstances depicted in the book of Judges?  Could any rational person possibly believe that such practiced betrayal and plotted taking of human life could be carried out as a fulfillment of some divine commission?  The Ehud tale obviously is not true spiritual guidance, and should not be accepted as inspirational or motivational.  Unfortunately, there are religious extremists in the United States today who seek to install such bloody “biblical values” as the righteous path for achieving God’s favor for the nation.

Addendum:  There is a peculiarity to this particular “holy” tale, which is that there is a word used in the telling which is not found anywhere else in “holy scriptures.”  That is the word misdaron, which has often been translated as “vestibule” or “porch“–or as in the above version as “parlor.”  But Professor Baruch Halpern (Pennsylvania University), compared palace architecture of the region in this timeframe and found that the word misdaron is most probably in reference to King Eglon’s toilet.  Royal palaces did in fact have indoor toilet facilities in the mid-second millennium BCE.  No wonder the servants would not be eager to disturb the king’s privacy!

This, however, leaves us wondering why Ehud would have been conversing with Eglon when the king was sitting on that throne.  On the other hand, it does explain the  particular detail that “all the dirt came out” when Ehud plunged the knife into the king’s gut.  Plus it is more logical that Ehud could have escaped through the misdaron while the toilet door was still locked and he exited by means of the droppings area below which was flushed out by a royal “plumber.”  Certainly such labor was not open to public view, which would explain Ehud’s easy escape.

This tale in the time of its writing would have been greeted with hilarity, which was probably the point of the priest authors.  And the abrupt denouement with Ehud’s wondrous triumphs simply added a twist of the knife, so to speak.

Fables From the Book of Judges

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on August 21, 2010 by chouck017894

There is no lack of blood and guts in the Old Testament.  Exodus gives us Godly plagues cast for the benefit of the Israelites, and God mercilessly drowned the pharaoh’s army for daring to pursue God’s alleged favorites.  Leviticus lists twenty-eight alleged God-approved methods for killing any persons who did not knuckle-under to priestly judgement.  Joshua is praised for being the instigator of a grand-scale holocaust extermination of the inhabitants of Canaan.  And the book of Judges is primarily a collection of war stories that focus on Israelite personalities who felt driven to eliminate their neighbors.  The book is commonly defined as containing the “history” of the Israelites during the rule of the Judges.

What is never explained is why God should have neurotic need for mortals’ militant devotion, or why he would feel so much prejudice for everyone in the world except the Israelites.  If he is the omniscient Creator of everything as presented in Genesis, then this claim fails to ring true.  Certainly the assertion provides absolutely no spiritual enlightenment for seekers, for it dwells totally on material acquisitions.  (This may, perhaps, explain why the radical right-wing religionists campaign so shamelessly for a “God-based government” in the US.)

It should be remembered that these bloody biblical stories were written in Jerusalem in the 7th century BCE.  In considering the book of Judges as revealed history, a careful reader will ponder over the fact that the time span that is presented is much too long if it is supposed to cover events from instituting the rule of Judges to the anointing of Saul in the mid-eleventh century BCE.  The book of Judges does not coordinate the savior-judges to each other for the simple reason that the book is a collection of stories that circulated about separate tribal heroes.  And there is the typical editorial contrivance of having the traditional twelve starring characters.  The actual featuring of individual “judges” is not taken up until Judges 3:7, and the tales conclude at 16:31; but the alleged bloody events were all said to have been carried out “in the spirit of Yahweh.”

The book of Judges is part of the Deuteronomists collection assembled by priest-authors in 7th century BCE Jerusalem.  The intent, more political than spiritual, was to present a version of heritage for the people of Israel that would inspire and unite the people.  But the stories in Judges cannot be taken as factual history of Canaan in the earlier timeframe of the 12th or 11 centuries BCE.  For one thing, the chronological order can only be described as surreal; if taken at face value the events cover approximately 400 years.  Tradition place the Exodus events in the 13th century BCE; the exploits of the savior-judges, therefore, would have only 200 years to play out all their heroic parts.

The  reason for the distorted time line is to imply that the various tribal myths took place as a continuous history involving persons who arose out of obscurity to perform heroic deeds to save the dream of Israel.  The priestly rewrite of tribal myths never failed to place the blame for Israel suffering under the assaults of oppressors as being the result of the people having repeatedly backsliding in their worship of Yahweh.

Among the traditional twelve Judges of Israel there are listed:  Othniel (Judges 3:7-11), of the Caleb tribe, who supposedly beat back a Mesopotamian foe named Cushanrishathaim;  Ehud (3:12-30), of the Benjamin tribe, who assassinated the Moab king Eglon;  Smamgar (3:31), portrayed as having slain 600 Philistines with an ox goad.  Then there is Yael, the wife of Herber, a Kenite, who is glorified for killing a Canaanite general named Sisera by driving a tent stake through his skull while he slept.  Deborah and Barak shine in Judges 4:1-23, but Barak is said to have killed Jabin, the king of Hazor, which is weird, for it is said in the book of Joshua that Joshua did the bloody deed.  Another judge was Gideon (6:1-8.35), who summoned the Israelites to attack the Midianites and pursued them to the river Jordan.  He was offered a crown for his leadership, but refused, asking only for the many gold earrings captured from the enemy, from which he is said to have fashioned an ephod (for the meaning of ephod see post Sex in Sacred Disguise, March 2009).  Gideon then sacrificed his loving daughter in appreciation of victory over the Ammonites (11:34-40).  And we must not forget Samson (13:1-16.31), and the hair-raising story of his killing 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of and ass.

Samson is something of a misfit as a “judge” for he is not portrayed in any leadership action against enemies of the Israelites; his are personal battles with the Philistines.  His inclusion in the book of Judges is based solely on his alleged bringing down the Philistine temple, thus implying the superiority of the god Yahweh.  Samson is the Hebrew version of the Greek Heracles (Hercules), mixed with Apollo.  The name means “man of the Sun,” so what we are offered is really an allegory of the sun’s power.  That it is myth, not history, is also revealed in the style of story development.  All Pagan and scriptural myths depict only briefly a demigod’s or hero’s birth.  As are some other biblical heroes, Samson’s mother had been barren, but an angel of the Lord told her that she would bear a son, and then the story leaps to his adult life.   The secret of Samson’s strength was in his hair; in other words, the sun’s rays.  It is a Hebrew myth mimicking of the Apollo myth, the Greek sun god, of whom Homer said, “…he of unshorn hair.”  The Philistine vixen, Delilah, is said to have discovered the secret of Samson’s strength, and while he slept she cut off his “seven locks” of hair.  Embedded in the name of the villainess is the Hebrew word lilah, which means “darkness” or “night.”  Prefacing lilah with D, the Hebrew daleth, which means “door,” indicated that De-lilah personified darkness, which in all mythological tales always symbolized the underworld. 

The Deuteronomists examples of God’s alleged favoritism of the Hebrew/Israelites continue in the books of Samuel, the alleged king-maker.

A Counterfeit Messiah

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, freethought, history, life, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , , on July 8, 2010 by chouck017894

The “conquest” of the Near-East region of Canaan by Israelites is presumed to have occurred between 1230 and 1220 BCE.  It was, so the scriptural “history” account claims, a destiny that God had preordained.  Thus Moses led the Israelites to the borders of the “Promised Land” where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were said to have dwelt.  But it was up to Joshua to mount hard-striking military campaigns to defeat powerful kings to gain possession of the land which God promised was just for them.  Why the Lord did not or could not keep Canaan a virgin territory for his chosen ones is not too clear.  Anyway, the Israelites had to fight tooth and nail to “inherit” their “Promised Land.”

Joshua was an eager messiah, concocting holocuastic strategy that only fanatic priest-authors could invent or approve.  Interestingly, the saga of the conquest of Canaan begins with the book of Deuteronomy, a book claimed to be linked with the Moses chronicles, but which did not see the light of day until c. 629 BCE, or around 600 years after “inheriting” Canaan, when the book was conveniently “discovered” in the Temple wall during remodeling.  (More on this in Scripture’s Contrived History, June 2010.)  And what an eye-opening discovery it was, telling of the famished Israelite “army,” accompanied by women, children and aged, achieving stunning and murderous victories in rapid succession over heavily fortified Canaanite cities.

According to scriptural “history,” God commanded that Joshua should establish a bridgehead for the invasion of Canaan at the city of Jericho, which was across the Jordan River from the land of Moab.  The tale of the walls of Jericho falling to the Israelites after priests marched around the city seven times blowing trumpets is too well-known to detail here.  But is it not strange that priests would provide the frontline of an invasion attack?  Not if the authors of the tale were priests.

There followed in rapid succession the storming and defeat of other alleged fortified cities, such as Ai, Gibeon, Lachish, Hazor, etc.  Apparently God had watched it all as a sports fan would watch and cheer for his favorite team: and when the Israelites at last moved in a surprise attack against the Jerusalem coalition, God became so excited that he hurled great stones from heaven at the assembled Canaanite kings!  The priestly account brags, “…they were more which died because of the hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword.” (Joshua 10:11)

In rapid  follow-up Joshua then commanded the Sun to stand still upon Gibeon and the Moon to stand still in the valley of Ajalon so the Israelites could continue their bloody rampage.  The kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and of  Eglon were alledly defeated and then publicly ridiculed and slain, their bodies strung up in trees for display.  And the holocaust continued, “And the Lord delivered them (Israelite enemies) into the hand of Israel, who smote them…” (Joshua 11:9)  Thus did the Israelites and God himself ignore the 6th Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”  The final carnage is depicted as having taken place in the north where the Israelites met a Canaanite coalition headed by Jabin of Hazor; a coalition consisting of “…a great host, in number like the sand that is upon the seashore, with very many horses and chariots” (Joshua 11:4).  But of course the capital city of Hazor fell to the Israelites, and it was subsequently reduced to ashes.

So the story goes.  The priest-authors could never have imagined that ages later an investigative science, archaeology, would expose the fabrication that the priest-tales presented as holy truth.  An armed invasion of Canaan never occurred between 1230 and 1220 BCE.  There was, however, a group named Israel established there by 1207 BCE that endured a defeat by Egyptians according to the Egyptian upright stone slab known as the Merneptah Stele.  Indeed, in the timeframe of 1230 and 1220 BCE, the Canaanite “kings” of Jerusalem, Shechem, Megiddo, Hazor, and Lachish were vassals of Egypt.  Furthermore, the “cities” of Canaan in this age were only small villages, and being under the protection of Egyptian forces they had no need for fortified city walls. 

In the timeframe of the 13th century BCE, presented as the era of the Joshua-led invasion of Canaan, careful archaeological digs have revealed a dramatically different setting than is presented in Deuteronomy or in the book of Joshua.  We must repeat: archaeological research has shown that the cities of Canaan were not wall-fortified.  More disturbing to the faithful than a lack of Jericho’s walls is the revelation that in the timeframe of the 13th century BCE no settlement at all existed at the site claimed for Jericho.  So the walls did not come tumbling down as priests sounded trumpets and paraded around Jericho with the Ark of the Covenant. 

Joshua’s second conquest is alleged to have been the city of Ai, a name that translates in meaning as “ruins.”  By the 13th century BCE, whatever settlement that had once stood there had already been reduced to ruins.  Nonetheless, Joshua is said to have ambushed the inhabitants of the ruins in order to capture the site.  The rest of Joshua’s alleged campaigns may be judged accordingly.

As noted in an earlier post, Years of Heavenly Havoc, June 2010, unsettling events in the heavens had occurred from at least c. 1600 BCE until around 750 BCE, and all of planet Earth was periodically shaken—literally.  In the Bible the focus of events is kept upon the land of Israel.  The 13th century BCE was one of the rough times in the planet’s history, and people around the world experienced  upheaval, social breakdown, mass migration, cities and villages ignited and burned to the ground: in short, the Bronze Age kingdoms everywhere, not just in Canaan, were plunged into momentous transformations.

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 in Turmoil

Posted in agnoticism, Astronomy, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, history, life, prehistory, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2010 by chouck017894

Curiosities abound throughout the “authorized” accounts of humankind’s history.  Few, however, are as baffling as to why the celestial body we know as planet Venus suddenly became the object of worldwide attention around the general timeframe 1650-1600 BCE.  In this timeframe the Babylonians were well-schooled in mathematics, calculations, algebra, and quadratic equations, and they had become increasingly nervous about disturbances taking place in the heavens.  Astronomical records were being kept in the reign of Ammisaduga, and from these it is clear that astronomers were fully aware that the routine rotation of stars around Earth was an illusion that was caused by Earth revolving on it own axis.  The plotting of heavenly mechanics such as the equinoxes and solstices were routine to them. 

So it was a situation of uneasiness to witness the looming presence in the sky of an unknown celestial object—especially since its presence coincided with an alteration in Earth’s rotation and tilt.  And there was also the small matter of the volcanic mountain Stroggili on the Isle of Thera (Santorin) having erupted in the Mediterranean—one of the planet’s oversized volcanic eruptions.  It was in this period that the new celestial entity began being addressed as a deity—a goddess of awesome beauty and terrifying power—an awe and fear that would possess the people of the world for many generations.  Indeed, this period of frightening and dramatic celestial changes is attested to in later Roman literature, such as the book Of The Race of the Roman People by Marcus Varro.  In this book the author related that the planet we know as Venus had “…changed its color, size , form, course, which had not happened before nor since…”  Varro backed up his account saying that renowned astronomers affirmed that the event had indeed happened to the “Morning star,” and it had never happened before or  since.  Varro also noted, “…we read from the divine books that even the sun itself stood still when a holy man Joshua, the son of Nun, had begged this from God.”  Let us note here that even “saint”  Augustine quoted from this man’s book. 

The timeframe in question here, c. 1600s BCE, is another period that has often been accepted as the period-setting for the Exodus story—as well as being the “time of Agog,” who allegedly laid the foundation of Thebes (Egypt).  It can be understood how recollections of such chaotic events could be confused, condensed and intermingled by later historians.  There is, as example, a Samaritan chronicle that relates that during the time period in which Joshua supposedly led an invasion into Canaan a new star was born in the east.   If this star-birth event took place in the time allotted to Joshua, then it predates the timeframe for the Moses tale by centuries.  The Samaritan account of the new star said it held power “against which all magic is vain.”  That pretty much discredits the claim that Joshua had any influence over the heavenly bombardment that took place. 

Of interest  in connection with this are the findings unearthed by recent archeologists that confirm that events of the Joshua story were in reference to celestial conditions and activities that took place earlier than events that make up the Moses epic.  The later priest-historians at work  in Jerusalem (c. 800 BCE) found it more beneficial to their purpose to reinterpret past events to provide themselves with a history that supported their claim to authority. 

There are other scriptural stories that tell of these heavenly happening and the continuing threats from the heavens that went on for generations.  Approximately fifty-two years after c. 1600 BCE, or around 1548, the celestial body that had so traumatized Earth seems to have emerged out of decades of clouded skies to appear as a radiant new member of the solar family—that is to say it had attained a fairly orderly orbital pattern among the neighboring planets. The Assyrians called the new planet Ishtar: the Greeks called it Aphrodite: the ancient Mexican records name it Quetzalcoatl: and the Romans would call it Venus. 

The heavens were not yet peaceful, however, and Earth had more to endure.  The awe and fear that the new planet still inspired is shown in it being addressed as beautiful but fearsome celestial deity.  Even some 750 years later(c. 800 BCE) the new planet still exerted strong influence upon planet Earth to trigger exogenous disturbances in Earth’s rotation, which coincided with a  reverse in Earth’s magnetic field.  And this is the timeframe of the “prophet” Isaiah who had this to say about the adjustment of the new-neighbor planet: “How art thou fallen from heaven O Lucifer (Venus), son of the morning!  How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12-13)

Even as late as c. 606 BCE, the timeframe of the “prophet” Jeremiah, the inhabitants of Earth were still apprehensive of the orbital irregularities of planets Venus and Mars—for the Venus intrusion had serious effect on the orbit of the once peaceful Mars.  In this period, even in spite of the recent Babylonian invasion and destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews still gave Venus devotion as “queen of heaven” and burned incense and offered wine to her on the roofs of buildings.  Jeremiah was an astronomer, and was portrayed as a “prophet” simply because he could chart the likely times of violent planetary interactions.  Thus in the book of Jeremiah, chapter 44, the account says all the men knew that their wives had burnt incense unto other gods (meaning to Venus).  And the women adamantly continued to “burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our father, our kings, and our  princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem…”

Reference to the heavens once being in disarray can be found in many ancient records and texts.  And even when they are part of accounts deemed sacred there is a peculiar self-inflicted blindness that such planetary caroming through the skies could have once taken place.  Even today’s science denies it.  And the heavens remain indifferent at mankind’s lack of curiosity.