Archive for proselytizing

Far East Influence on Christian Development

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, faith, random, religion with tags , , , , , on June 22, 2013 by chouck017894

Throughout the Roman occupation of Palestine c. 40 BCE there were living in that country a number of missionary Buddhist monks. This fact is indisputably evidenced by a number of clay figurines that these monks carried into Palestine dating from this general timeframe. Buddhist monks industriously traveled far and wide in their avid pursuit of converts. Palestine, as a commercial crossroad between nations, was a natural target area in a Buddhist missionary appeal that was aggressively aimed to convert others away from the many competing and indistinguishable faith systems simmering there.

Earth had just entered into the Age of Pisces, and the majority of cultures in this pivotal age were content to quietly tend to their own beliefs, practicing an illuminated tolerance of “live and let live.” Perhaps each small sect or mystery school may have been calmly convinced that the rest of the population was destined for spiritual oblivion, but they did not feel duty-bound to rush out to imposed their teachings upon others, or even offer a prospect of salvation for the price of conformity. The concept of active recruitment, introduced among the western cultures by the Buddhist monks, was viewed as not only strange and aggressive, but as an inexcusably offensive intrusion into other people’s personal affairs.

Pagan understanding was that spiritual attunement is highly personal and was meant to be experienced by each person individually. The reason why Pagans were not encouraged to actively solicit others to join any particular spiritual quest was the belief that the impulse for spiritual enlightenment must originate within the person himself. Such an inner longing for enlightenment was not viewed as a commercial project. The Pagans knew that the first place of one’s spiritual preparation had to germinate from within each being’s heart. Spiritual preparation, they understood, was not something acquired through exterior pressures. To the Pagan, regardless of what small sect or mystery school he or she might ascribe to, it was always accepted that those in any leadership-counselor positions were like elder brethren who, just as the postulants, were sharing in a similar search for divine enlightenment. Attainment of enlightenment was understood to be attained through personal effort, not through watching priestly theatrical performances.

How different from the western world’s rivalling solicitation-faith systems with their hierarchical structuring and constant clamoring for monetary donations and political clout and which, as a result, promote precious little in personal spiritual advancement.

To the Pagans, no bribery in Creation could cancel out or alter a seeker’s personal responsibility of proceeding at one’s own pace and standing totally responsible for self at all times. To attempt otherwise was simply a futile attempt to bury the truth of one’s personal relationship with the universe and their consequential responsibility under the carcass of a fictional scapegoat. Destined also to influence Christian practice (primarily Catholic) was how the Buddhists, from the earliest periods, had utilized relics that were claimed to have produced miracles. The origin of Buddhist relic worship, some scholars have suggested, can be traced back to the story that at his death the bones of Buddha’s limbs had been scattered over the world. This is not too dissimilar to myths surrounding such revered holy ones in other cultures such as the Egyptian god Osiris, the Greek god Zagreus, etc. The prime duty of Buddha’s descendants and followers was professed to be for them to search out and collect the scattered relics and entomb them.

The aggressiveness with which the Buddhist monks had approached the western cultures in Palestine did not go unobserved by the officials and aristocrats of the Roman Empire—especially since that foreign spiritual credo had managed to carry on in the region of Palestine where the Jews were routinely a source of conflicts with Roman authority. Through the course of time reports of contacts with Buddhists would filter into Rome from centers of commercial trade–Antioch, for example–and curiosity of the Far East would lure adventurers to investigate. Apollonius of Tyana, Cappadocia (early first century CE) was one who traveled widely, particularly in India where he was initiated into the doctrines of the Brahmans. This is noted here because Apollonius would translate a story about the Hindu god Krishna, son of the god Indra, which he altered somewhat according to his own philosophy while retaining all the major story components. That literary work became widely discussed among the Roman aristocrats and literati, and elements of the work would influence the author of the book of Mark, the first Gospel to be written.

By the later timeframe, c. 75 CE, within the struggling faith sect that would become Christianity, the Buddhist type activity of recruitment became a requirement even before its basic faith-articles were defined! Thus Christianity was founded upon the aggressive concept of a proselytizing religion–one which seeks out to convert others into their formulated manner of faith. This mania for drawing everyone they could into a religio-club-like atmosphere for practicing prescribed manmade formulas of devotional practices has infected the western world ever since.

It was this commitment to active religious competition as Christianity muscled it way into a position of broad material power which came to influence other cultures to also engage in similar competitive tactics of spiritual pretense. Personal spiritual integrity, so highly prized by the Pagans, became crucified upon practices of prejudice and rivalry. Abandoned and lost was the truth that acive recruitment into a religious affiliation is itself an act of premeditated aggression and is nothing more than a devotional practice of intolerance.

[This post was abridged from Time Frames and Taboo Data, pages 153-155 and 184. All posts are under copyright.]

Belligerent Faith, A Danger to Democracy

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, faith, freethought, Government, humanity, Military, politics, random, religion, Social, thoughts with tags , , , , , , on December 18, 2010 by chouck017894

When one’s “faith” is expressed belligerently or aggressively, that “faith” has willfully closed itself off from receiving the in-flow of any higher spiritual potential.  Once “faith” is expressed in aggressive proselytizing it has degenerated into an attempt to take from other people’s spiritual essence rather than remain open to receive from universal essence.  The reason for this philosophical observation is prompted from having read once again of the shameful proselytizing that continues to infest the U. S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. 

A ministry founded by Don and Anna Warrick calling itself Cadets for Christ has long been given pretty much free rein to indulge themselves in unwanted proselytizing all over the campus.  How could this unconstitutional imposition of one religion over the widely diverse backgrounds of cadets be allowed?  The answer is not pretty, and it discloses how tenacious and deceiving the fundamentalist Christian organizations can be, for behind the allowance are some close ties to senior Pentagon officials!  There is no question that this allowance of Christian proselytizing amounts to subversion of the democratic principles set down by the founding fathers—the very principles upon which this democratic form of government rose to world power. 

A recent  United States Air Force Academy Climate Survey has brought to light some taboo data.  (It should be noted that the Survey was undertaken only after insistent pressure from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.)  The statistics on the inappropriate proselytization conduct that has been allowed to continue at the Academy revealed that at least 20,000 servicemen and women, as well as Department of Defense civilians have experienced religious harassment.  And of the non-Christian Air Force Academy Cadets, forty-one percent of them related that they had been subjected to fundamentalist proselytization spiels, and even outright threats.  How the fundamentalists equate this  mental/physical harassment as spiritual guidance is, apparently, a divine mystery.

But this type of religious abuse goes much further than the Air Force Academy: the abuse and infractions by fundamentalist Christians has been uncovered at nearly every military installation across the world.  The fact is that such reprehensible religious posturing extends even into the Pentagon, which places democratic principles and national security in unreliable hands, thus posing a danger to everyone’s freedom.

Think that this is an extreme deduction?  As an example, The Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches has for years been making it possible for a stream of military chaplains to thumb their noses at the military code of behavior and have refused to cease and desist from proselytizing when in uniform.  In doing this, they do not even follow the advice given in Romans 13:2, “…he who opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God…”  And in verse 10 it adds, “Love does not work evil to one’s neighbor…”  But then fundamentalists are experts at ignoring things that interfere with their material ambitions. 

How did the beautiful democratic acceptance of each person’s religion get levered around the longstanding regulation that apportioned chaplains in accordance with religious demographics that determined the faith of the majority of service personnel?  Properly, the percentage of one particular belief background would be matched closely with the same percentage of that faith’s chaplains.  Even so, all chaplains were then  obliged to receive training to minister to the troops of any faith.  All that changed after the Reagan administration breezed in.  The Pentagon, like the nation, was becoming infected with dubious divine sales pitches, resulting in accrediting a disproportional amount of evangelical and Pentecostal so-called “endorsing agencies” that then swamped the chaplain posts.  Those  who were “endorsed” were graduated from fundamentalist Bible colleges that taught that any other faiths were enemies of Christ.  Thus today this “conservative” and/or Pentecostal atmosphere has come to predominate as the spiritual guidance offered throughout all military branches!

As an example of how this imposition of evangelical/Pentecostal Christian “faith” upon what amounts to a captive group can be more of a disservice than a blessing, consider how service persons suffering post traumatic stress disorder from combat have been too often “treated.”  Far too many who have been casualties in body and  spirit have received “treatment” by religious quacks rather than by psychological diagnosis and professional treatment.  Chaplains generously offered comfort through evangelism, in effect implying that only in accepting Jesus as savior would they experience healing.  Prescribing heavy doses of scripture can twist even a healthy mind, so in effect the evangelical prescription was more like pouring gasoline on a fire.

Those men and women who place themselves in harm’s way for the nation that is supposedly dedicated to freedom and liberty deserve to be granted freedom from such shameful proselytizing in military closed ranks and freedom from chaplain “treatments” that alleviate nothing. 

Religionists Attempt Takeover of US Military

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, freethought, history, Military, politics, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , on April 27, 2010 by chouck017894

Every citizen of the United States should awaken to the real and present danger that religious fanatics in branches of the US military bring to national security.   Religious fanatics with guns and aircraft and uniforms and a Pentagon allowance are today a part of an undemocratic contagion being nurtured in the bowels of democracy.  The idea that a combination of mismatched ideological groups are actually conspiring for the common goal of imposing a theocratic-form of government  upon US citizens may seem unbelievable, but that element does exist.  If in doubt, consider how religious views influenced the Bush administration and shaped the nation’s foreign policy that regarded the war in the Middle East as essential to its Bible-inspired mission.  And let us not forget the devotion expressed by the born-again president for torture of defenseless prisoners as was practiced in Europe during the church-controlled Middle Ages. 

We should ask, who makes up these seemingly mismatched ideological groups?  First off, major corporations and their puppets known as neoconservatives.  Corporate ideology stresses for profit business.  In itself that is not anti-American.  But it is how they wheedle lawmakers and the media to con the public in ways that increase profits while also setting up safeguards for themselves to avoid liability for the damages they knowingly inflict upon the public.  As a screen these cohorts invariably set up so-called “think tanks” and phony “not-for-profit” fronts that twist their purpose into plausible sounding indulgences.  The goal, however, always remains money and power.

Linked with these are the theo-cons who are dedicated to a theocratic agenda.  In “spirit” there are “faith” enthusiasts who choose to indulge in a long-range plan of Christian reconstruction of America’s genuine history for the purpose of eventually imposing severe  limitations  on every citizen’s freedoms.  Since the 1970s these political minded persons have used religion as a front for attempting the overthrow of democratic principles and imposing a restricted form of government—or as they put it, a  “God-based or Bible -based government.”  The proposal agreed upon in the late seventies and early eighties was to gain control of one of the political parties, and this was accomplished with the full takeover of the Republican Party in 1996.  A few names that were active in this mockery of democracy have become well-known: Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, Jack Abramoff, Ralph Reed, Karl Rove, John Hagee, to mention only a few.  The organizing was covertly funded by corporations, and the big-lie battle-cry adopted by the brainwashed was that the constitutional demand for separation of church and state was a myth!

But this was not the end of the religious right-wing plotting.  Grabbing and taking command of the nation’s muscle—the military operations—was desired and remains the big prize.  If the military can be brought into submission under religious intimidation, Christian tyranny can be made to prevail.

Thus with religious undertones the US was urged by the Bush administration into a “crusade” against Iraq, and to engage in a “war on terrorism.”  The funding for the religious-right clamoring was  provided by the major corporations that would thereby augment their profits by ensuring their control over the oil subsidized NeoCons.  It has been these institutions that have bankrolled the right-wing religious activists that have brazenly attempted to seize control within the US military. 

Today in 2010, in all the military branches that are intended to guard America’s freedoms, there are still acts of religious intimidation taking place.  At the US Air Force Academy, for example, cadets were still being subjected very recently to heavy-handed proselytism by evangelical Christians.  Shockingly, military officials appeared to be working in conjunction with them.  Hundreds of active duty servicemen from all military branches have reported and complained of similar ham-fisted proselytism tactics.  The general pitch of the proselytizers is that if one does not believe in the Christian version of “spiritual” salvation, then they are destined to become, as on proselytizing officer avowed, nothing more than “worm-dirt.”

Such shameful disregard for spiritual integrity and a lack of respect for other peoples’ sense of spirit is still being fanned by those who profit materially by the phony holy hubbub.  The extremes that militant faith will sink to was recently revealed to the public in the disturbing news that a rifle-sight supplier to the Department of Defense had been imprinting all their rifle-sights with coded references to Bible verses.  Our service personnel must face constant danger and the possibility of death every day when on active duty: they should not be made to endure such a conniving  practice of Christian proselytizing while they are defending a nation that rose  to power by proclaiming everyone’s right to religious freedom.

The Unholy Practice of Proselytizing

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, culture, faith, history, humanity, life, politics, random, religion, science, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2010 by chouck017894

In the time of Emperor Augustus (Octavian, 63 BCE-14 CE) numerous eastern cults were flourishing in Rome, and their exotic character and rituals elicited considerable attention among the Roman populace.  The eastern influence was in competition with three major religious movements in Rome at the time, those being based upon Mithras (Persian), Isis (Egyptian), and Cybele (Phrygian).  Roman culture, being heavily modeled by Grecian philosophy, adapted the exotic eastern cult attributes accordingly. 

In this period of time also (c.40 BCE) Rome occupied Palestine, and there were living in that country a number of missionary Buddhist monks.  Archeologists have confirmed that Buddhist monks had brought with them into Palestine a wide array of clay figurines.  The monks had traveled far and wide in their avid pursuit of attaining converts.  Palestine, as a commercial crossroad between nations, was a natural target area in the Buddhist missionary appeal to attract others away from the many virtually indistinguishable religions that simmered there.

The majority of the so-called Pagan religions were content to quietly tend to their own belief, practicing an instinctive tolerance of “live and let  live.”  Each little sect might have been convinced that the rest of the world was destined for spiritual oblivion, but they did not feel obligated to rush out and force salvation upon others under the enforcement of conformity.  The concept of  actively recruiting others, introduced among the Pagans by the Buddhist monks,was viewed not only as strange and aggressive but as an offensive intrusion upon other people’s personal affairs. 

Pagan understanding was that things spiritual are highly personal and are meant to be experienced by each person individually.  The reason why Pagans did not actively solicit others to join any particular sect was the belief that the impulse for spiritual enlightenment must originate within the person himself.  The Pagans knew instinctively that the first place of one’s spiritual preparation had to be within one’s own heart.  Spiritual preparation, they correctly understood, was not something acquired through exterior pressure.  To the Pagan, regardless of what little sect he or she might ascribe to, it was always accepted that those in any superior positions were like elder brethren who, just as the postulants, were sharing in a similar search for higher understanding. 

To the Pagan no bribery or aggression could cancel or alter the  personal responsibility of proceeding at one’s  own pace into  spiritual calm and to stand totally responsible for self at all times.  To attempt otherwise was simply trying to bury the truth of one’s personal responsibility under the carcass of some irrelevant scapegoat.

The newly forming faith that would become Christianity latched onto the Buddhist type activity of recruitment in its earliest days.  By 75 CE it was a requirement even though its articles of faith were not yet defined.  Thus Christianity was founded upon the concept of a proselytizing religion—one that actively seeks out and recruits others into mindless dedication.  It was this commitment to active religious competition that then came to influence other cultures to engage in similar competitive tactics as Christianity muscled its way into a position of power.  Spiritual integrity, so highly prized by the Pagans, became overpowered by practices of prejudice and rivalry.  Lost in the competitive scramble was the truth that active recruitment into religious affiliation is itself an act of premeditated aggression and is therefore nothing more than a devotional practice of intolerance.  It was in this timeframe, c. 75 CE, that the new versions of Mark and Matthew were introduced to replace the earlier versions.

The legacy is today’s solicitation-religions with their hierarchical structuring and constant clamoring for monetary donations and which share precious little in spiritual achievement or instruction.  The epidemic of highly contagious proselytizing in the United States can be traced back to the early 1950s when television became the must-have novelty.  With the new wonder, television, a vast horizon of new opportunities was presented to a whole new batch of holy word interpreters that were still clutching their newly printed diplomas from some bible school business system.  Salvation could be offered to anyone who would send money to support their electronic ministry.  The spiritually lazy found this to be a godsend and a new wave of religious enthusiasm was fanned into fixation by a variety of hucksters for god.  Wiser heads warned that the new wave of religious enthusiasm could easily proliferate to threaten true religious freedom with the sly diversion of public funds to private sectarian schools. 

Through the rest of the twentieth century there followed a deluge of holy performers parading in an endless televised Christian carnival.  Out of this there was set in place the dynamics found in ultra-fundamentalism and an upsurge of evangelical posturing.  Hand in hand with the gold rush into television-land the newly inspired “faithful” were becoming vociferous in the 1960s and began to actually challenge careful scientific studies—especially those in regard to the discernible principles of creation and evolution.  The media at the time crowed that a religious revival was sweeping America, church attendance was up, and the televangelists were beginning to rake in huge donations.  The media carefully avoided mentioning the other side of the phenomena—that keeping pace with the rising religious fervor was the steady rise in crime, delinquency, racial tensions, alcoholism, a rise in drug problems, higher divorce rates, and increase in suicides.  But alarmed citizens had to move to file addition court actions to block the clearly unconstitutional forms of aid to religion-based indulgences.  Youth instinctively felt the hypocrisy that brewed in the religious hoopla and the so-called “sexual revolution” burst out with a vengeance.

As the 1960s closed, man was kicking up dust on the Moon while the pope was ranting against all artificial means of contraception.  1970 saw a self-propelled eight-wheeled vehicle on the Moon, an unmanned Soviet space craft landing on the planet Venus, while Pope Paul VI proclaimed that unnatural celibacy was a fundamental principle of the Roman Catholic Church.  Meanwhile, a great deal of religious sneaky-deal operations were in progress in the United States, such as the “Wylie Amendment” introduced in the House of Representatives to force mandatory programs of prayer and religious instruction in all public schools!   When that was struck down those high on holy spirit then pursued a new self-serving form of parochial-aid scheme known as “vouchers.”  By the 1970s the religiously inspired were forming pressure groups to prevent sexual education in schools, apparently convinced that suggestive whispers and back-alley experimentation were truer to God’s method of learning.  Meanwhile, research and sociological surveys—which were allowed very little news attention—were showing that people from devoutly religious backgrounds were statistically less intelligent and economically less productive.  Nonetheless, the nation was supposed to follow their leadership!

The eighties and nineties saw religious-inspired policies bringing havoc across the world.  The religious fanatic Ayatollah Khomeini slithered into Iran in the 80s and the Reagan administration was  illegally shipping arms to help set up the Ayatollah.  The nineties saw the  Religious Right gaining full control of the Republican Party, and the betrayal of democratic  principles that had made the U.S. great was taken up with a fervor of a devil.  Proselytizing was big business with a “born again” president who had been put in office under suspicious circumstances.

In this new century, after eight years under Bible-inspired governance in the U.S. and the stripping away of constitutional rights, robbing the working citizens to serve the rich, an illegal war, god-approved torture, allowing corporations and economic institution to monitor themselves, etc., the citizens of Earth should awaken to the evil that alway beats in the heart of proselytizing religions.

Pretense of Piety

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, enlightenment, faith, history, life, politics, random, religion, secularism, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2010 by chouck017894

Religious proselytizing is a special type of propaganda.  From at least the early 1960s in the United States there has been a virtual epidemic of this type of pseudo holiness.  The spread of this affliction has been a carefully plotted pattern of contamination by those who recognized the material profits and worldly power that was to be had by injecting people’s psyches with holy fears of being rejected by the Source and sustainer of all diverse life.

Through the last couple of decades of the twentieth century each person’s personal beliefs about how they are to respect the creative life force has been artfully deformed into a political cause that dares assert that their selected belief systems should have free access to tax money collected from all diverse people to practice their religious brand of discrimination.  “Faith-based” is a deceptive moniker chosen to proclaim their delusions of exclusive access to an indifferent creative force, and is nothing more than propaganda rhetoric.  Even today, a decade into the 21st century, sectarian lobbies shamelessly seek the political clout to force all U. S. citizens to live under their narrow, man-invented theological regulations.  How militaristic maneuvering for earthly power is a soul-saving operation for a loving omnipotent Creator fails to compute as spiritual integrity.

Think this claim of religious politicizing is farfetched?  In November 2009 a coalition of extremist evangelicals and Roman Catholic bishops met to pound out a 4,700 page document they called “Manhattan Declaration,” with the pretentious subtitle, “A Call of Christian Conscience.”  Of course it is implied that the arrogant political demands framed in the document were God-directed, with God supposedly recommending public policies that covered such things as marriage rights, reproductive rights, what is to be accepted as proper sexual magnetism, and other niceties.  These representatives of a proclaimed loving God backed up their holiness by declaring they would ignore any democratic-flavored laws that they did not like.  They, and no one else, had heard God’s shrill trumpet—or “clarion call”—for strict regimentation in conduct of life’s diversity that would please him. 

So extreme and devious are these types of hierarchical “faith” systems that they dare to self-promote their spiritual selfishness as “a promotion of human dignity.”  And, by God,  they will seek to wipe out anyone who disagrees with them!

The Preamble of this bloated Declaration begins with the statement that…”Christians are heirs of a 2,000 year tradition of proclaiming God’s word, seeking justice in our societies, resisting tyranny, and reaching out with compassion to the poor, the oppressed and suffering.”  The interpretation of Christian history that follows this whitewash then lingers only on the sparse times when Christian practitioners happened to actually rise above the very offenses they say that they denounce.  True history shows that justice was not exactly a Christian concern in the formative years of the movement: they were more rebels, criminals and agitators than law-abiders.  The tyranny of the Roman Catholic Church indulged in justice by “reaching out with the compassion” that is known as the Inquisition when millions of defenseless souls were tortured and killed for not measuring up to church demands. 

The document sidesteps all the many gory pages of their religious practices by saying, “While fully acknowledging the imperfections and shortcomings of Christian institutions and communities in all ages…” they then quickly claim Christianity to have been the only source that “defended innocent  life”!  If this document is taken as truth, only Christians have been responsible for any advances in human welfare and care in the world. 

To borrow words from the Manhattan Document, “…consider carefully and reflect critically on the issues…” that you pompously trumpet.  You have no right whatsoever to make demands on the diverse expressions of life that you dare to judge.  What you pretend is spiritual enlightenment amounts to little more than masturbation of your ego.

God So Loved the World

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, Christianity, faith, history, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2010 by chouck017894

To the author of the book of John, written c. 105-106 CE, from which the title of this blog-post was borrowed, the “world” spoken of consisted of the Roman Empire.  There was limited awareness of Asiatic peoples, but no awareness whatsoever of other peoples on the other side of the planet.  This fact should be a pertinent point to consider when assessing any messages allegedly relayed to the world through Roman-citizen mediums of that era. 

Excuse this glare of logic cast upon the recesses of faith; it is mentioned here due to the fanaticism of a Baptist group in the state of Texas who “want to bring Christ’s message of hope into every home in Texas” i.e. proselytize.  And they want to do this good deed before Easter (April 4, 2010).  The name Easter, we should remember, is borrowed from a Pagan goddess that was honored each year at the time of the vernal equinox.  The do-gooders, in their commitment to seek believers, are striving to flood every household with CDs, in both English and Spanish, of how “God so loved the world” that he would sacrifice his “only begotten son” for one little material planet that he had created out of nothing.

To quote from Time Frames and Taboo Data, pages 196-197:  The book of “Saint” John, inserted between Luke and The Acts of the Apostles (both written c. 84-90 CE), was written considerably later than the two mentioned books—almost certainly it was composed c 105-106 CE.  This “fourth” gospel has been questioned on critical grounds, and an earlier date for authorship—85-90—is generally insisted upon to make it seem as contemporary to Luke and Acts.  The John book allegedly covers the last seven years of Jesus’ life, but there is a committed dogmatic feel to it that is more in keeping with the recently established church guidelines that came into being in the early 100s.  The Jesus movement had, by the early 100s, moved away completely in an attempt to convert Jews; thus in John the character of Jesus has developed into the ethereal “Christ.”  The author was obviously intent upon eliminating the irrelevant and ambiguous incidents given in earlier gospels to focus upon and emphasize the tenets of the newly established Christology.  It is as though the gospel of John had been fashioned in the hope that it might replace the “gospels” of Mark, Matthew and Luke.  That intent seems evident in the opening line of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word (implying Christ) was with God…”  By doing this the author virtually disqualifies the other gospels, which, as in Mark began with the baptism of Jesus and in Luke which began with the birth of John the Baptist, to set Jesus as Christ at the beginning of Creation.

According to John, Jesus called his disciples in a town called Bethany; a town that John says was along the Jordan River.  Mark and Matthew, however, say that Jesus chose fishermen from the lakeshore town of Capernaum where Jesus found them fishing.  John also relates that John the Baptist told two of his followers to follow Jesus because Jesus was the Messiah.  These two were Andrew and Simon, and for some unexplained reason Jesus is made to rename Simon Kephas, which is said to be from Greek and translate as “Peter.”  There is something contrived here: something that is meant to juggle into place a claim that Simon, alias Peter, ventured to Rome to establish his church there.  Another curiosity is that a disciple that is never mentioned in Mark, Matthew or Luke is said to have joined, along with Philip, those who were with Jesus, and this newly introduced disciple is given the name Nathanael.  There are numerous other points in John’s account that are contrary to those found in the other three “gospels,” but the point here is that the author then expended some effort to harmonize events leading up to Jesus’ last conflicts.  For example, to get Jesus into position to enter Jerusalem where he is to stir up the hostility of Jewish priests, John asserts that Jesus spent the night in an unnamed town on the Mount of Olives.  The next day in the temple, Jesus more-or-less absolves a woman caught in adultery, and later immodestly speaks of himself as “the Light of the World” that had come down to Earth to save humankind.  The Jews were then depicted as descendents of Satan (even though Jesus was himself a Jew) who wanted to stone Jesus.  There are considerably more variants from the three synoptic writings, but these brief examples are more consistent with the later date of authorship and the intent for it to supplant the first three gospels. 

It was also noted on page 198 of TFTD that the message of salvation and transfiguration did not fully solidify as Christianity’s offer until c. 105-106 with all the refinements being incorporated in to gospel of Saint John.

So the fervor of the Texas proselytizers seems to have no concern about all the inconsistencies and contradictions in the convictions that they advocate.  A message of hope gets a little fuzzy when accompanied with so much ambiguity.  For those of us who dig for answers, it will take a little more than just rephrasing it all in English and Spanish.

Sinning Against Democratic Principles

Posted in Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, Government, history, humanity, Inspiration, naturalism, politics, random, religion, secularism, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2009 by chouck017894

Genuine freedom for everyone, as the US Constitution proclaims, certainly is not being served by persons who seek to bring down the Founding Fathers’ ideals of governing, which wisely stressed separation of church and state.  Nor should the right of free speech be twisted into a perverse interpretation that it is a license to proselytize to captive audiences of school students as the overly vocal bloc of Christian radicals, such as the noble-sounding Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), have chosen to interpret it.  This Christian rightwing legal affiliation has trained more than nine hundred lawyers in the art of sidestepping tolerance and compassion for any who may live or believe differently than they.

 If the idea that religious fanatics can influence the US Supreme Court sounds impossible, think again.  Since 1995 the Supreme Court has been leaning more and more toward passing judgments that threaten to undermine the safeguard of separation of church and state as championed by our nations’ Founding Fathers.

It all began with the landmark case Rosenberger vs. the Regents of the University of Virginia.  The charge brought forth by the so-called Alliance Defense Fund was that secular clubs were funded through student activity fees, but the fees were not available to fund religious student groups.  This shameless jargon used by the ADF to cause the Supreme Court to deviate from the Establishment Clause* was due to the fact that the university could not by law appear to endorse any particular religion—thus the ADF howled “viewpoint discrimination”!  (*Establishment Clause: one of two “religion clauses” of the First Amendment.)

 Since the religious radicals got their foot through the door, the Catholic dominated Supreme Court has bowed to the mythology of those claiming to be “victimized Christians,” and the  court has continued to deviate from earlier and wiser precedence and has leaned toward the “reasoning” that if secular clubs were funded but not religious proselytizing groups, then discrimination was present!

The irony of the very ones who so actively and loudly promoted discrimination against diverse lifestyles standing up and claiming to be victims of discrimination would be amusing if it wasn’t such a dangerous act of hatred and psychic terrorism.  They hide behind the trumped up claim that they are “biblically compelled” to condemn various groups; homosexuals, for example.  They like to use the Bible as their permission from god to indulge themselves in orgiastic hatred and intolerance.  In regard to same-sex appeal, discrimination is stirred up by using a half sentence verse of Romans (1:27); “…And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”

 First, let us note that, as it is stated, woman was regarded as nothing more than an outlet to be used for man’s sexual release.  The line in question was not a religious directive and not reallly spiritual condemnation so much as simply reflecting the social etiquette of Rome c.100 CE, the time of the book of Romans‘ composing, the authorship of which has never been satisfactorily determined.  In addition, endless translations of “holy word” have not insured accuracy of what the verse-twisters like to allege.

Diversity is highly respected in the energy-mechanism of Creation, for it is only through an unlimited spectrum of life expression that the Source is made absolute and omniscient.  To pretend otherwise, as radical religionists do, is true irreverence, for such hostile opposition to the natural diversity expressed in life in the guise of religious superiority is not reflected anywhere else in Nature or the universe.  That odious pretense of favoritism radiates chiefly around the endless parade of self-appointed mouthpieces of god.  They may build their earthly power structures and influence by fanning indulgence in bigotry, but it remains highly unlikely that the ladder to Heaven is outfitted with rungs of hatred.




Natural Equality

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, faith, history, humanity, life, Pantheism, random, religion with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2009 by chouck017894

Religious pretentiousness has the self-delusional habit of refusing to recognize that humankind is but one species of mammal.  The eagerness to disassociate themselves from our distant relatives has inspired apprehensive men to invent convoluted notions of superiority and then practice that misconception as a religious truth. 

In the practice of organized religions the natural equality of all life is categorically denied—even though it is an equality that is easily proved by the chromosomal elements that all life forms share in common.  And herein is exposed a vital clue in solving the reason for the conflicts and bloody failures of organized religions—especially the western versions of “holy” truth.

Mammals vie for territory: it is the means of self-survival and species continuation.  And that territorial drive is reflected in the human clustering habit practiced as religion which, by extension, accounts for their attempts to impose themselves upon other through proselytizing.  Notions of spiritual exclusiveness are in direct opposition to experiencing life in concert with reason; that is to say, mutual respect.  Instead, all of man’s organized religions choose to concentrate on differences and magnifying them into gross distortions that continually attack and weaken the quality of man’s higher potential.

There have been great minds in the past, however, that have championed a deeper, more bonding understanding of man’s potential.  Unfortunately, wisdom is seen as a threat to a large segment of our species and so they are easily distracted and stampeded by the braying of fools that tell them they have elite status elsewhere.

The insolence and contempt for others that is often practiced today as religious “truth” has much in common with a school of philosophers known as Cynics founded by a  pupil of  Socrates named Antisthenes (144-375?  BCE).  The general attitude of the Cynics was to view everything in the external material world about them with contempt.  The nobler Stoic philosphy developed out of this in Athens around 300 BCE, and was introduced into Rome around 100 BCE by the Stoic philosopher Panaetius of Rhodes.  Panaetius had considerable influence on a literary group in Rome, and through them influenced Roman thought, especially regarding moral duties which served as basis for Cicero’s De Officiis.

Stoicism’s most distinctive aspect was in the attribute that we may evaluate as cosmopolitanism—the  sophisticated understanding that all men are manifestations of one universal spirit.  In that understanding the Stoics stressed living in brotherly love and readily helping one another.  Wealth and rank were recognized by the Stoics as purely external and transient, and therefore such things were regarded as virtually meaningless in social relationships.  Thus stressed was the recognition of the natural equality of all human beings—a wisdom that is sorely lacking in the three militantly organized religions that developed to distort the consciousness of the western world.

Stoicism prevailed widely in the classic Roman world, with metaphysics and pantheistic materialism being part of its ethics.  Material matter was regarded as passive (subject to man’s management) and was distinguished from the cosmic, animating principle that is active as life.  That sustaining energy-link out of that life principle was understood as constituting what religions refer to as ones soul.  The ideal followed by the Stoics was that man’s superiority does not lie in external objects, but exists in the state of ones soul.  Thus living in accordance with reason was expressed in the Stoic’s four cardinal virtues of–wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance.  This  reasonable approach honored in Stoic philosophy played a major role in Roman jurisprudence.

It is a historical fact, therefore, that well before the advent of Christianity, Stoicism accepted life’s unity (or natural equality) and believed in the brotherhood of mana tenet often praised in Christian adherence but haphazardly practiced. 

 That means that unlike Judaism, Christianity or Islam, the Stoics never pretended to be the especial darlings of the creative power.  Untroubled with rationality, Judaism, Christianity and Islam nonchalantly trampled underfoot any genuine thought to Natural Equality.