Archive for Old Testament

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.

Gnostic Wisdom in New Testament

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, ecology, faith, freethought, humanity, life, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2010 by chouck017894

Over two thousand years ago the symbolism and mythology of several Pagan mystery sects were beginning to fragment while a multifaceted group was developing diverse interpretations which became lumped under the identity as “Gnostic”—from Greek gnostikos, “man of knowledge.”  The movement spread largely through men of culture who sought the secret of higher life.  Unfortunately, lofty thought became entangled with crude mythology and then floundered in mysticism.

Gnosticism was, for the most part, centered on the highest ethics.  To understand Gnostic thought, their concept of ethics was perceived from an amoral perspective.  Remember, amoral does not mean immoral: it is non-judgmental acceptance.  This is difficult for modern religionists to comprehend since standard religious instruction is to uncompromisingly classify things as good/sinful and black/white—with no shades of gray being allowed for consideration.  Unlike rigid religionism, Gnostics recognized that diverse energies found throughout the universe serve as the generative action responsible for all things in Creation.  For this reason the Gnostics regarded what we know as the Old Testament to be the shameful account of Jehovah’s crimes against humanity.  Yahweh/Jehovah was not accepted by them as the true God or the active Source, but as the identity of a demiurge—an energy involvement that fashioned the material world.  Such Pentateuch/Old Testament characters as Abraham, Moses and the like were consequently regarded as the henchmen of Jehovah who had been dedicated to misdirecting the souls of humans into matter and ignorance.

Since the original purpose of the early Christian literature was composed in Rome in the attempt to soften Jewish spiritual arrogance, the new cultists played down the Gnostic attitude to prevent a too strong direct offence to Jews.  Nonetheless, Gnostic influence was cautiously scattered throughout the New Testament.  Although Christianity owes  many planks of its formation and doctrines to Gnosticism, pure Gnosticism itself also represented one of the most challenging threats to the new Christian movement.  Specifically, it denied the keystone upon which the aspiring priestly hierarchy sought to establish itself.  If, as the Gnostics claimed, evil had existed in Creation from the beginning then Adam, meaning mankind, could not possibly have fallen and neither he nor Eve had chosen to disobey God in Eden.  It then followed that Jesus could not possibly be presented by the priesthood as God’s token of forgiveness for humankind’s entanglement with that inescapable condition.

There is a remarkable verse in the New Testament (Matthew 16:23, revised c. 75 CE) that pretty much states what is wrong with all hard-line and fundamentalist organized religions.  Jesus is portrayed as speaking to Simon Peter, saying, “…thou art an offence unto me: for you savor not the things that be of  God, but those that be  of men.”  The real kicker in this scene is that this reproach of Peter comes after verse 19, or immediately after Peter had been given the keys of the kingdom of heaven!  The implication is that the church that he is to establish is intended to be the challenger of the infinite creative powers that are personified as “God.”  There is profound Gnostic wisdom hidden here.

The reason for this rebuke of Peter by Jesus is that Peter stands as the representative of the continuity in matter-existence that resists the necessity of its own transformation.  Thus Jesus utters the accusation that Peter savours those thing that be of men.  What is illustrated with this peculiar scene is that the confinement of consciousness in our physical-matter forms is what traumatizes the human ego, for it is ego that is obsessed with material identity and wishes to dam the natural flow that we interpret as life/death.

Mankind has lost sight of the soul-saving truth that religion is made for man: man is not made for any particular religion.

Knowing this, we are justified in saying to hard-line and hierarchical style religions, just as Jesus is alleged to have said to Peter, “Get the behind me Satan: you are an offence to me.”

The DNA Lottery

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, history, humanity, Inspiration, life, meaning of life, prehistory, random, religion, science, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2009 by chouck017894

The key to all aspects of life and death are programmed in DNA.

Secrets of DNA were actually known to academic men in ancient cultures such as Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, the Indus Valley, etc.  This may seem to be an exaggerated claim, but the proof of that scientific knowledge happens to be recorded in many art representations of those ancient cultures.  That knowledge is even presented, although in a less persuasive version, in the Old Testament.

The most telling art alluding to DNA from those more ancient cultures—older than the priest-authors of “scriptures”—was  of the Mesopotamian region—Sumer/Babylonia.  The secrets of genetics and biomedicine are fully depicted in many wall sculpture and bas-reliefs—the images of entwined serpents—an emblem used to this day for the arts of medicine and healing.

In ancient Egypt, too, entwined serpents symbolized life, and the “god” associated with that symbol was known as PTAH, the developer.  That the scientific principle of DNA was known in ancient Egypt is artfully presented in the myth of the half brothers Seth and Osiris.  Seth was the unscrupulous one, and sought the domain ruled over by his brother Osiris.  Seth made two attempts to dispose of Osiris, the second time by seizing  Osiris, murdering him and cutting his body into fourteen parts, which he scattered across the world.  Osiris’  grieving wife, Isis, managed to recover all parts of her husband’s body except for his phallus.  With the help of the god Thoth, the Divine Scribe, they managed to extract “the essence” from Osiris’ body from which Isis impregnated herself and eventually gave birth to the god, Horus.  It is the first known recorded case of artificial insemination!

In biblical myth the reference to life’s DNA connection is in the presentation of the serpent in the Garden of Eden.  A fertilizing gamete of a male (spermatozoon) is a long nucleated cell with a thin, mobile tail; which is to say it is serpentine in appearance, and is why in the Genesis myth it is the Serpent that awakens life-awareness in Eve. 

Later in the Genesis myth, the rivalry expressed in the Egyptian Seth/Osiris myth is echoed in the myth of Cain murdering Abel.  The later priest-authors dedicated to Yahweh, however, were a little fuzzy on the scientific particulars expressed in the Egyptian tale, and interpreted it as an underlying rivalry between agriculture and animal breeding.

The sacred Serpent of the pre-Jewish Hebrews was Nehushtan or Ne-esthan from the Hebrew root NHSH, which meant, “to decipher”or to make out the meaning.  Again the serpent was a reference to the life-awakening power symbolized with the squiggling fertilizing gamete.  Thus in the book of Numbers this is the meaning behind the story of Moses making—at God’s command—the Brazen Serpent that was to be placed upon a pole (Numbers 21:9).  The symbolism got lightly brushed with superstition by saying that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he would behold the serpent of brass, he lived.  

The point of mentioning these few examples is to show that the understanding of the Serpent figure as symbolizing the creative impulsion was worldwide in ancient times.  The accusation extended in the Judeo-Christian faith that the Serpent represents evil was therefore far from universal.  It demonstrates that in the competing divisions of religious politics it is common practice to use the competition’s emblems as representing evil.  Thus in Judeo-Christian myth the creative wisdom represented with the serpent became inverted.

  • See also related posts: Dressed for Sex, Bible Style, Sept. 08;  Breastplate, Sexy Biblical Garb, Sept. 09;  The Stringy Coil of Life, July 01;  Inner Relationship of All Things, July 27; Natural Equality, August 21. 

Dressed for Sex, Bible-Style

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, biological traits, Christianity, culture, faith, life, random, religion with tags , , , , , , on September 8, 2009 by chouck017894

Use of sacred language was a means of disguising many ancient teachings among the politically minded plotters known as priests who chose not to share wisdom with others in order to exercise control over the masses.  Thus in the stories and “history” that scriptures allege to convey, especially in the Old Testament tales, rarely is there provided much functional information for seekers to follow for spiritual advancement.  A prime illustration of sacred language technique used to disguise their true meaning swirls around the character of Aaron introduced in the book of Exodus, and it has to do with the godly prescribed “holy” paraphernalia that Aaron was to wear in his role as high priest.  The hidden meanings will surely shock many devout Bible addicts.

First of all, the name Aaron is derived from the word harah, which means “to conceive.”   Since this myth was written by priests to give themselves authority status, the physical organs necessary for conceiving were disguised as “garments for glory and for beauty” (Exodus 28:40) of which it said, “…from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach” (28:42).  With these “garments” Aaron and his sons were to “…minister in the holy place.”   The chapter then ends saying that these garments are to be “a statute forever unto him and his seed after him.”  The required “garments” are listed as breastplate, ephod, two onyx stones, and pouches of gold.  And the rites to be enacted with these “holy garments” also included liberal use of  “holy anointing oil.”

What do these “garments” really signify?   The word ephod is derived from the Greek word ephobos, which means entering upon early manhood—the time of raging hormones and acute sexual urges.  Bluntly, the word ephod therefore refers to an erect phallus, the organ of conceiving.  This is indirectly reaffirmed in verse 32, where it says, “And there shall be an hole to the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have binding of woven work around the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.”   The word habergeon is a translator’s word from the French, and refers to a sleeveless coat of mail, which is peculiarly suggestive of the network of nerves in the corona of the penis.

Of the two “onyx stones” (verse 9 through 14), the reader probably already surmises.  The holy instructions declare that all the names of the children of Israel are to be engraved upon the two small stones.  Although the implication seems to be that only six tribal names are written upon each of the two stones, the phrase “children of Israel” means the entire countless descendants—millions upon millions.  Thus the sacred language disguises the biological fact that millions of “names”—or sperm cells—are encoded in the testes. 

The “garment” inventory immediately adds that the “onyx stones” are to be “set in pouches of gold.”  Sacred language uses the value of gold to indicate the sacred respect that was directed to the scrotum and its contents.  Indeed, so holy was the scrotal sac deemed to be that oaths requiring the vow of truthfulness were declared while cupping the testes, the sac of life, for to swear falsely upon one’s “stones” was to court reproductive disaster upon the one so swearing.  From this ancient cutom of testes-cupping we use such words today as testify, testimony, testament, testate, etc As for the “holy anointing oil,” that should be pretty much self explanatory.

  • Abridged from The Celestial Scriptures.  CMH
  • Next posting, Breastplate, meaning of 

Urban-Bred Christianity

Posted in Bible, Christianity, culture, enlightenment, humanity, life, meaning of life, naturalism, nature, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , on June 16, 2009 by chouck017894

Unlike Judaism and Islam in the western world, the spiritual perception that is Christianity had its inception, emphasis, message and character in the urban centers of the Roman Empire.  Economic and cultural attractions of city life, especially Rome, thus made a deep and lasting influence on the developing movement, which undoubtedly accounts for Christianity being the most unnatural religion in the world.

The faithful will, of course, protest this, but grant some charity to rational thought.  It is historic fact that for around 1500 years after the advent of what became the Christian theory of spiritual meaning, the prime and most steadfast opposition to it came from the nature  religions of the peasantry.  The practice of walling oneself into a limited artificial space to attain an illusion of oneness with the out-of-this-world Creator seemed demonstratively contrary to the Creator’s  expressions to those who were accustomed to working with nature.  Surrounded with the awesome atmosphere of nature, resplendent with untainted air, sky, clouds, stars, mountains, seas, trees, flowers and astonishing diversity of life, there was a natural sense of oneness with all these things.  There was no need for droning sermons by ego-centered practitioners of an improvable theory: in the walled-in Christian atomosphere faith became not what one felt and experienced but was only what one attempted to will into feeling.

More than any other faith system, the Christian approach to spiritual meaning has been that nature is a force that is to be dominated and any sense of oneness with all else in nature has been looked upon as causing man to in someway lose mastery.  This is one of Christian religion’s many half truths.   Nature, as enticing as it is, is not really the face of immorality even though below the aesthetic surfaces everything pursues its existence only at the expense of something else—a system of predators and prey apparently instituted by intelligent design.  And this everything-lives-at-the-expense-of-something-else playbill of nature happens to be the framework and general idea behind the entire Old Testament and which glaringly confirms that the evil and deceptions of  man far exceed the most vicious of nature’s predators.  It is this nature of  man that must be overcome and dominated by man, not the indiscriminate environment that is merely the bearing principle of matter life.

Ethics and morality are, after all, concepts of man, not nature.  This, of course, is held up in western religions–especially Christianity–as evidence of man’s superiority, and so all of man’s artificial constructs are claimed to more  closely reflect the perceived supernatural essence that is thought of as god.  This at least extends the hope of life beyond life as opposed to the nature religions that numbed the spirit with resignation that as part of nature man is held in a system that is indifferent to the concept of good and evil.

On the other hand, sealing believers away in orderly, artificial enclosures with light filtered through colored glass, stocked with altars and incense and secluded away from the open sky and earthy scents is not the best way to transend  personal nature.  Such man-created objects only gratify the apprehensive ego.  Ultimatelly the only true shrine to life is within ourselves.

Days of the Prophets

Posted in Astronomy, Atheist, Bible, culture, enlightenment, history, humanity, life, nontheism, random, religion, science, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 2, 2009 by chouck017894

In Old Testament lore, much respect is extended to the select “prophets” who were allegedly privy to god’s plans to test man’s endurance and faith. There is a peculiar sequential order in the appearance of the “prophets” in scripture, with early minor “prophets” named Hosea, Amos, and Jonah said to have been in Israel. The most revered of the “prophets” are depicted as having been active prior to the “exile;” those being Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Obadiah, Micha, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephariah. The post-exile “prophets” are the lesser known Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Of the pre-exile prophets, one has to wonder about why and how Jonah came to be listed as a “prophet” to the Israelites when he is portrayed as uttering only a five word “prophecy”—and that was not to the Israelites but to Nineveh! (The reason is explained in The Celestial Scriptures: Keys to the Suppressed Wisdom of the Ancients.) The “prophets” Hosea and Amos sound more like priests, for their “prophecies” are that the people must repent or they would be thrust into exile. And another “prophecy” is a promise that god would bring them back and then he would love them.

The alleged history as set down by the priests of Yahweh in Jerusalem during the seventh century BCE was influenced by the frightening celestial events that planet Earth had witnessed for generations and which still caused severe aftereffects. Tradition has it that Isaiah was born c.760 BCE (and guesstimated to have died c.700 BCE) and he would therefore have grown up in a period of time when strange electromagnetic interactions were taking place between Earth, Mars and Venus. Indeed, Assyro-Babylonian records from that time attest that there was no eclipse of the sun in the regions of Babylonia or Assyria between 762 to 701 BCE. Isaiah, being of “noble” parentage (priest-parent), would have been trained to keep watch for any peculiar activity in the heavens. In other words, he was trained as an astronomer. With this knowledge of planetary interactions Isaiah “prophesied” the expected conditions that would alter circumstances in human life around the world. This was the god-given insight by which all the pre-exile “prophets” were able to warn people of times of coming turmoil.

A sudden and catastrophic change in climate occurred c.747 BCE: Isaiah would have been around thirteen years old if time estimate of his birth is correct, and his reliance on the science of astronomy was already the fixation of his life. The “prophet” had an observatory-watchtower from which he pursued his study, and it was from here that he issued warnings of upheavals that were to occur. Thus it is recorded in Isaiah 29:5-6 that “…a multitude of terrible ones” (meteorites) bombarded the Earth–the reference is to the rain of destruction caused by the inrush of meteors initiated by the interaction of electrical fields of Earth and Mars. The Isaiah account continues by describing, “…thunder and earthquake, and great noise, the storm and tempest and the flame of devouring fire.” When this “prophet” spoke of “stones falling from the sky,” it was not some colorful phrase of a priest-author fear-merchant, he meant stones falling from the sky.

After 747 BCE the polar axis of Earth pointed to one of the stars in constellation Ursa Major, a fact that was commented upon centuries later by the great Roman playwright Seneca (4 BCE-65 CE). In Babylonia the New Year was recorded from this 747 BCE event; across the planet the peoples of Mexico also began observing the New Year from this same period; and in China, too, a new calendar was begun from this same time frame.

Gnostic vs. Judaic/Christian

Posted in agnoticism, Atheist, Bible, culture, history, naturalism, nontheism, religion with tags , , , , , , , on April 15, 2009 by chouck017894

The writings we refer to today as the Old Testament were regarded by Gnostics as the accounts of Jehovah’s crimes against humanity. Jehovah (Yahweh) was not accepted by them as the true god but was assessed as the identity of a Demiurge (creator of the material world).  Such OT characters as Abraham, Moses and the like were regarded as the henchmen of Jehovah who were dedicated to misdirecting the souls of humans into matter and ignorance. This, of course, was considered heretical by the Jewish priests and Christian fathers. But the Gnostics believed that inquiry into spiritual truth was of  more spiritual value than brainless adherence to priest-concocted rituals and ceremonies.

Of the Gnostics themselves very little is known of their true doctrines, with most of the accounts of them provided by opponents and detractors, thus those accounts are probably not too reliable. Because the Gnostics did not regard matter-life to be the true residence of the human spirit they tried to avoid creating material evidence of their entrapment in this material plane. Any writing or illustrative work on Gnostic belief was regarded with contempt, for it was judged by them to provide the means of engendering new errors. As a result there is very little true Gnostic literature or artifacts available for study.

Despite the accounts by opponents and detractors whose interest was promotion of their own belief systems, Gnosticism was, for the most part, centered on the highest ethic. That their concept of ethics was held to be judged from an amoral perspective is difficult to comprehend by modern western religions that insist that everything is to be classified as either good or evil, black or white, or positive or negative. Sex, for example, was not deemed a horrendous wrongdoing by them as western religions chose to pretend and have used to chain people to dogmas through a sense of guilt. Sex was held by the Gnostics to be strictly the business of consenting partners or participants. As Basilides, and Alexandrian Gnostic master of the early first century CE said, “The perpetration of any voluptuous act whatever is a matter of indifference”–to the highest powers.

Indeed, consensual sexual activity was held with positive regard in the little that is known of Gnostic theology, for it was recognized as the means of experiencing the indiscriminate Life Force. The sexual impulse was understood by them to be the highly personal energy field that can open a release from the constricting pressures of this matter world. In other words, sex was seen as a means of re-creating their identity within the universal creative powers –the primary intent of sexual activity. And since the Gnostics sought to avoid entrapping others in this material plane crafted by the Demiurge, procreation was regarded as less than of secondary importance. To the Gnostics the command to go forth and multiply was the enticement to moral and ecological disaster.

Maybe they were on to something.