Archive for religion

Ten Commandments Really Property Rights

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, Hebrew scripture, prehistory, religion, scriptures, Social with tags , , , , on August 1, 2013 by chouck017894

The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue (the ten words), are presented in two places in the Bible (Exodus 20:1-17, and Deuteronomy 5:6-21), both containing a short summary of godly demand allegedly revealed personally by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. These are known as Mosaic Laws. Strangely, those in Exodus and Deuteronomy are listed somewhat differently. Despite this, the brief list of commandments can be divided into four categories. The first three commandments (or four, depending on which faith system version) cannot be said to concern ethical, moral or even spiritual enlightenment, but lay down the “submit and obey” principles which any cult or faith system seeks to impose. Supposedly these first three (or four) commandments protect the religious followers from misusing divine power to serve personal ends. (How well these actually safeguard the misuse of divine power in political practice is periodically demonstrated by fanatics who belligerently post these commandments in courthouses and government buildings in attempts to force their particular religious convictions upon everyone else.)

In short, the first three (or four) commandments of the ten provide absolutely nothing to elevate any personal spiritual relationship with the creative Source: it is all about “I am the boss, and don’t you forget it.” This just happens, coincidently of course, to establish a power base for the go-betweens who (selflessly, of course) place themselves in service to the big boss. God will brook no rivalry and allows no divided loyalty. These opening commandments may therefore be considered to be the property rights for the priest-class, which leave the remaining commandments open for priestly interpretation of what the big boss wants (even though their interpretations often run counter to the stated commandments).

Not all biblically based faith systems, as noted, follow the same sequence, but the commandment that is most often placed after God’s self promotion is “Honor thy father and mother.” This is indeed a moral responsibility, but equally correct this commandment is a property right. for it protects the elderly when they may no longer be of any economical value to a society. (This places the religious rights’ domination of the Republican Party since 1996 in an awkward position, considering their constant push to destroy Social Security.) All the commandments, most of which are stated in negative “thou shalt not” form, are not strictly a system of heavenly righteousness as is routinely implied but concern matter-life property rights. The commandment “Thou shalt not kill, for example, is an affirmation of the sanctity (personal possession) of life: to take that right-to-life from any person for any reason is against social stability. How loyally this Thou shalt not kill commandment was observed is displayed in the priest-written book of Leviticus which lists twenty-some ways to kill those whom the priests judged did not follow the commandments!

Next is the “Thou shalt not commit adultery” commandment, the sole purpose of which is in regard to men’s property rights, for in priest-written sacred word, woman is assessed as merely the property of man. As in the holy story of Lot, man is free to sell, rent or loan out his daughters and he may use his wife however pleases him. Adultery is thus but a variation of the next commandment which declares “Thou shalt not steal” another man’s property.

The last two holy commandments are actually more in regard to one’s social and/or public reputation which could inflict negative consequences and damage the personal property rights of others—the personal treasure known as integrity (a quality of personhood virtually unknown among religious fanatics and politicians). Thus in bearing false witness (#9) another person’s honor (their personal property of integrity) is soiled which can easily ruin one’s life and property in a community. And “Thou shalt not covet” (#10) is to crave (and probably strive for) something which rightfully belongs to someone else.

Things to consider:
There is very little attention given in textbooks regarding any human cultures prior to around 2500 BCE. This has long been standard practice despite the fact that artifacts, archaeological sites and biological evidence confirms the existence of human cultures dating back at least one million years. Little noted in textbooks is the fact that in the timeframe c.2600 BCE a ruler of Sumer, named Urukagina, found so much immoral activity in his kingdom that he found it necessary to crack down on it. A long inscription by this ruler is regarded as the first-ever record of social reform, and it was founded on a virtuous sense of freedom, equality and justice. A few of the injustices that Urukagina addressed included the unfair use by supervisors of their power to take the best of everything for themselves; the abuse of one’s official position; and the practice of monopolistic groups to impose unbearable prices on the general public. Sound familiar?

Approximately 875 years later (c.1758 BCE) Hammurabi ascended the throne of Babylonia. History, surprisingly, does record that he was responsible for the codification of Babylonian laws and edicts, which were displayed on a stele for the public to see. Hammurabi depicted himself as receiving the code from the god Shamash. The code was strictly a civil code which contained 282 paragraphs covering such things as legal procedures and penalties for unjust accusations, false testimony, and injustice done by judges, etc. Other laws were based on equal retaliation–the eye for an eye approach which later became the suggested “law” practice in the priest-written book Leviticus.

Moses is speculated to have received the Ten Commandments around 1540-30 BCE, and thereafter the Decalogue is said to have served as the fundamental laws of the Hebrews. The Ten Commandments which Moses allegedly received directly from God functioned as a severely condensed version of those earlier rulers. It was the cunning act of dressing those laws in sacred scripture which subtly implied that they were enforced by divine power and which provided their endurance.

Curious Circumstances Regarding Jesus’ Trial

Posted in belief, Bible, Christianity, faith, random, religion, scriptures with tags , , , , , , on June 2, 2013 by chouck017894

There are a considerable number of questionable things in the accepted New Testament versions of Jesus’ ministry and the alleged events of his final days, especially the account of his blasphemy trial which was allegedly presided over by Pontius Pilate.  Pilate was indeed the Prefect of the Roman provinces of Judea, Samaria and Idumaea from c. 29 to 36 CE, having been appointed by Emperor Tiberius.  And yes, he was endowed with the power of supreme judge.  But it is highly improbable that the trial of Jesus’ alleged “treason” trial would have been conducted as portrayed in the crafted texts. 

There is the fact that the Prefect, a Roman governor who was not particularly sympathetic to the religious convictions or spiritual pride of the Jews, would have personally interrogated some gentle rebel of that faith.  The Roman jails held many other felons who merited more serious attention, and in addition it would have been the duty of the Prefect’s subordinates to interrogate the common-law violators.  Remember that Jesus was, for the most part, known only as a wandering preacher, and not yet renowned as someone bearing the exalted caliber of “Christ.”  (That designation originated in the Greek community of Antioch before the timeframe set as Jesus’ birth, which would not have been respected by Jews.)  Also, in cases which related to religious matters, the seriousness of an accused Jew’s offence was determined by the Sanhedrin–the Jewish supreme council and tribunal.  The Sanhedrin is portrayed as having found Jesus guilty of blasphemy, but that council did not have the power to sentence him with death.  Jesus was then allegedly brought before Pilate (Mark 15:5, Matthew 27:1-14, Luke 23:17, and John 18:29-38–all of which sustained several rewrites).

Pilate is portrayed rightfully as having refused to approve the judgment of death without Roman style investigation, and here again this duty would have been carried out by underlings.  This cautionary procedure purportedly inspired the Jewish priests to invent other charges against Jesus which allegedly led Pilate to interview Jesus privately.  On the surface this sounds reasonable, but nothing is ever conveyed how this interview with a jailbird could have occurred.  Jesus is said to have spoken Aramaic, and Pontius Pilate may have known some Hebrew, but his native language was Latin.  Did Jesus carry the omniscient gene of his divine father and thus understand everything about everything?  According to John’s Gospel, Pilate conversed with Jesus without need of an interpretor.  Curious.

According to John, the Jewish conspirators had led Jesus to the judgment hall but would not enter the Roman facility for fear of being defiled and thus rendered unqualified to partake of Passover.  Pilate obliged them and went outside to ask what accusations they made against Jesus.  Not particularly impressed with the Jews’ claim, Pilate told them to judge Jesus according to their own law, to which the Jews replied that it was unlawful for them to put any man to death (John 18:31).  At this point Pilate allegedly went back into the judgment hall and conversed with Jesus (without an interpretor), asking Jesus pointedly “Art thou the King of the Jews?”  Jesus never said yes exactly, and he didn’t say no; he said only that “My kingdom is not of this world.”  Pilate apparently just shrugged, saying, “What is truth?” (John 18:38) and went back outside to tell the accusers, “I find in him no fault at all.”

The situation then became a bit more muddled with Pilate saying to the Jews (verse 39), “But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at Passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?”  Verse 40 continues, Then cried they all again saying, Not this man, but Barabbas.  (We will ignore here that the name Barabbas means son of the father, which could be applied to the only begotten son of God.)  The chapter concludes saying, Now Barabbas was a robber.  Chapter 19 begins by saying that “Pilate therefore took Jesus and sourged him.”  Are we to believe that a Roman governor would personally scourge a jailbird?  For what offense?  Pilate had found no fault in Jesus.  The crime of Jesus is the allegation of treason, but it was not treason or blasphemy in the eyes of Roman law, so Pilate said simply, “Behold the man.”  To which the chief priests and officers allegedly cried out “Crucify him, crucify him.”  And Pilate is said to have replied to the malicious priests, “Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.”  In Matthew 27:19 Pilate is quoted as saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.”

Now we get into even murkier territory.  Pilate had already announced that he found no fault in Jesus, and so the resposibility of a death sentence was passed back to the Jews.  But—and this is an important but—crucifixion was not a killing techique among the Jews; for the crime of blasphemy Jesus would have been, by Leviticus law, stoned to death.  Pilate sought to release Jesus (John 19:12), but for the Christian authors to get the crucifixion angle to work Pilate was pictured as being maneuvered by the priests who taunted Pilate saying, “If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend; (to) maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.”  This is pathetic story plotting: even if Jesus claimed to be a king, he would not have been seriously considered in Rome to be any threat to imperial authority.  On the other hand the Christian cult desperately needed a messiah capable of resurrecting without too much physical damage.  And so Jesus was, by Gospel accounts, nailed to a cross–allegedly by the order of Pontius Pilate.

Another weakness in this crucifixion plotline is that the disgraced victims–Jews or not–were rarely permitted to be taken down for burial as is described for Jesus.  Customarily victims were left upon the cross to the mercy of dogs and wild beasts, for the crosses upon which victims were impaled were not the high silhoettes that Christian artists love to glorify; the Roman instrument of slow murder was rarely more than eight feet tall once it was anchored in the ground in an upright position.  The remains of the executed victims were, in due course, dumped into a mass grave.

There is an interesting footnote to Pontius Pilate’s alleged role in condemning Jesus to death by crucifixion.  Back in the nineteenth century the records of Pilate’s court were still in existence, and a distinguished scholar-educator (rabbi) Isaac Mayer Wise (1819-1900), was able to study those records in a search of evidence of Jesus’ famous blasphemy trial.  Rabbi Wise could find absolutely nothing concerning such a trial. 

 

Playing Games of Spiritual Monopoly

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

Back in the year 536 BCE the Persian King Cyrus II (The Great), freed the people of Judah from Babylonian Captivity and aided their return to Judah.  After seventy years in exile virtually all that had once been programmed into Judean consciousness as sacred truth by the Yahweh priests–the priest-composed laws and traditions–had been largely forgotten.  In that memorable seventy year exile referred to as the Babylonian Captivity the Judeans had, of course, been heavily influenced by the Chaldeans and Persians who became united into one nation by the might of Cyrus.  This national unity seemed heaven-sent and the Judeans were heavily influenced by the religion of Zoroaster.  Indeed, there is a Talmudic passage which freely acknowledges that the names of the angels (which earlier cultures associated with the planets), the names of the months, and even the letters of the alphabet were brought from the land of exile.  It is from the return of the people of Judah to their homeland that the literature now cherished by Jews as the Torah was assembled and established as law.

The principal architect of the Judean reconstruction period is traditionally claimed to have been a priest named Ezra (c.458 BCE); however nothing has ever been presented to verify that such a person ever existed.  It is more likely that some enterprising men among the returnees discovered versions of priest-written accounts which are now referred to as the E, the J, and the P versions, and edited them into the works now known as Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, and also included the  book Deuteronomy which had allegedly been “discovered” during remodeling of the Temple in 640 BCE.  The returning Judeans set about rebuilding the Temple, and at the early meeting held there this revised anthology was read aloud, which gave origin to the Torah.  To establish it as holy authority, the works were claimed to have been dictated by God to the character Moses.

It was from this general 536 BCE timeframe that the industrious revisionists of Judean faith also introduced the character of Job into their sacred myths, which theistically is not Hebrew but was most likely drawn from a Babylonian source.  It was with this work that Judaism was presented with the premier appearance of “Satan,” with a capital S.  What the returned exiles apparently had not carried back with them was the understanding of what certain elements in the tale represented in the original form.  Unrecognized, or perhaps deliberately ignored, was the zodiacal and astronomical significance that was attached to such things as the names of the months, or the cosmological significance of the purely allegorical “angels.”  It is possible that part of that mix-up may have been due to Zoroaster, the “prophet” of ancient Persia, whose ideas of “angels” became separated from older celestial references and redefined by him as an infernal hierarchy.  The consequences of borrowing from the captors’ interpretations was that the Judeans became hopelessly confused in regard to the symbolism for similar ideas used in the so-called Pagan cultures.  Thus today the western and near-east cultures are still trying to dig out from under that disastrous avalanche of sacred interpretation.

The period of the Judean exiles return and restructuring of their homeland and traditions seem strangely linked to an upsurge in the pursuance of higher awareness in the world which would mark the fifth century BCE.  The teachings promoted by Zoroastrianism, for example, went on to develop as Mithraism, which would have a heavy impact on Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  Fragments of the teachings and the hymns attributed to Zoroaster were assembled into a book that is known as the Avesta, or Zend-Avesta, and became the bible of the Persians.  The teachings of Buddha (563?-480?) were passed orally for centuries before being written down as Buddhist scriptures.  In this general timeframe also other thinkers would influence higher thought.  Confuscius, Chinese philosopher (c. 551-479 BCE), Herodotus, the Greek historian (c. 485-425 BCE), Anaxagoras, the Greek philosopher (c. 500?-428 BCE), Pericles, Athenian statesman and orator (C. 500-429 BCE), Socrates, Greek philosopher (c. 470?-399 BCE), and Plato, Greek philosopher (c. 427-347 BCE).  All these men were part of a seeming influx of seekers of life’s meaning which was theorized as radiating from an energy essence, which is commonly termed “soul.”

Rarely is any relationship to such true historical persons such as these acknowledged by the three major organized religions of the western world today.  The Jews, for example, during their reinvention of faith, went to extremes to avoid contact with Greek philosophy, declaring such philosophical searching to be unclean.  Christianity, which became formulated in Rome, embraced much from Greek influence and used it to counter the self-obessed theology of the Jews.  But the Christian focus would also turn in upon itself, and as the Roman Empire declined the life that the Christian faith system came to embrace was firmly anchored upon achieving dominance in all earthly affairs, and from this demanded submission.

Across the centuries the Jews and Christians would spar continuously over which was the true representative of God.  This might seem rather pointless since God is the avowed Creator and Sustainer of all things, but the argument is partly clarified when ego is mistaken for spirit.  The running argument did not keep either faith system from commercial trading with “heathens” however.  And thus it was that an Arab trade merchant assessed the arguments from both sides during his many merchant caravans across the Arabian desert in the 600’s CE.  And eventually God decided to reveal his wishes to Mohammad also.  Since the Creator is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, everything that was revealed to each belief system was relayed from God’s all-seeing (surreal) perspective.  Thus in all these “holy” books–the Torah, New testament and Quran–there are found countless contradictions, which believers will, of course, deny exist.  The escape hatch built into all these texts is always the claim of “revealed” word.  Never do any of the godly representatives explain why would an omniscient being have to resort to such a shoddy method of communication in order to convey his wishes to the world. 

What all this demonstrates–Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc.–is that the spiritual “truth” they each claim to represent is crafted, modified and controlled by those who were/are not well attuned to a true universal perspective.  Thus their limited comprehension regarding the universal interrelatedness of all things has become reduced to dry dogma.  We could, perhaps, conclude from all this that the nuts and bolts used in construction of such faith systems has consisted mainly of nuts.

Holy Embellishments

Posted in belief, Bible, Christianity, random, religion, scriptures with tags , , , , , on February 20, 2013 by chouck017894

No one knows what was really contained in most of the original manuscripts that are considered “holy scriptures” or “gospel.” The reason for this uncertainty is because all that is known and revered today of the New Testament accounts are copies and translations of earlier works, which were also taken from even earlier copies.

The book of Mark was the initial book written in what became the New Testament collection of holy word (c. 55-60 CE).  After much thought and marketing strategy, however, Mark was relegated to second place in presentation of the established lineup with the book of Matthew, because Matthew was the most Jewish of the Gospels, was therefore given the primary position.  The book of Mark first appeared during the reign of Nero and was then revised c. 70-80.  The extended period for all New Testament writings occurred in the Roman Empire over a period from c. 60 to c. 135.  Listed here is just a sample of some verses (as presented in the King James Bible, Authorized Version), known to have not been in the original NT books. 

There are a couple of problems in regard to the book of Mark, the first and shortest of the four canonical Gospels to be written, which are continually and conveniently disregarded.  The first is that there is a seeming lack of familiarity with Judean history, customs, traditions and geography.  Secondly, this pioneer gospel opens with a prophecy that Mark, the alleged author, pretends came from the OT book of Isaiah, but which actually draws not only from Isaiah, but the books Exodus and Maliachi as well.  The author most likely was using a Greek translation of these books when formulating parts of his account.  Remember, the Greek translation, the Pentateuch, had been in circulation from the fifth century BCE.  From Exodus the writer drew upon the Israelites being led out of the wilderness, and from Malachi the author utilized the flavoring concerning the fall of Babylon.  By blending these elements into the appearance of prophecy, the impression was established that a messenger was coming to prepare the way for the Messiah.  As in Exodus, the first thirteen verses place Jesus in the wilderness, from which he moves into Galilee. It should be noted also that in this pioneer work when Jesus allegedly foretold his destiny there was no suggestion of a joyful resurrection as became emphasized in the later writings (during and after the time of Paul). 

Over time this pioneer cult literature was subjected to editing which included motivational additions by copyists.  One authenticated addition is now presented in the  book of Mark as verses 17 and 18 in chapter sixteen.  These verses read: 17) “These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons and they will speak with new tongues.  18) And they will take up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any poison it will not harm them, and they will lay their hands on the sick and they will become well.” There was an abrupt conclusion to the original Gospel According to Mark at verse 6, which may have been due to damage of the original, or the author may have simply stopped writing. Whatever the reason for the unsatisfying finale in the original, the sense of incompleteness seems to have been rescued by another copyist with the inserted call to discipleship that offered the shaman-like powers alluded to in verses 17 and 18.

The book of Luke, which attempted to introduce a historical perspective, is third in line in Gospel placement, and was also blessed with several copyist additions meant to inspire. Certain references in Luke, such as Jerusalem being “surrounded by camps” (21:20) indicate that the timeframe in which Luke was written was after the fall of Jerusalem (in the year 70). The book of Mark was reedited around 70 also, and was undoubtedly among the sources used later by Luke in composing his gospel. As in Mark the Lucan gospel contains defective knowledge of Palestine indicating that it was not composed there. As an example of additions to the original, chapter twenty-two, verse 20 was not originally part of the text concerning the Last Supper but was inserted by some enthusiastic scribe.  Thus we read, (verse 20) “And in the same way after supper Jesus took the cup and said, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.'”  And in the same chapter, verse 44, the addition reads, “In his anguish Jesus began to pray more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.” This dramatic embellishment is uncharacteristic in the historical perspective that is central and unique to the original author.

The book of St. John is placed fourth in Gospel lineup, and there is a proven later addition to the original text that is found in chapter five, verse 4.  It smacks so strongly of peasant superstition that it is jarring: “For an angel of the Lord went down at certain times into the pool and disturbed the waters; and whoever was the  first to step in when the water was disturbed was healed of whatever disease he had.”  In this book, also, is found two of the more famous added lines in Christian lore and are found in verse 7 and in verse 11 in chapter eight.  Verse 7 concerns the  woman “taken in adultery” who was allegedly brought to Jesus for judgment as weighed against Mosaic law.  Not in the original texts was the line, 7) “Let the one who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her.”  When no one dared to be so vain as to claim to be sinless the woman was spared being stoned to death.  After this incident the added verse 11 presents a compassionate Jesus who dispenses spiritual wisdom: “Neither do I condemn you.  Go and sin no more.”

In a later timeframe, c. 100, the units I, II, and III John, were penned and by that timeframe the Jesus cult had become an organized but struggling movement with centers in at least seven Roman Empire cities.  The Pauline influence had been overlaid upon the earlier Peter “the rock” inspiration, and Jesus was beginning to be nudged in theological maneuvering into the mystery of a triune godhead.  Somewhat later an inserted verse to the original text strengthened this trinity aspect further in I John, chapter five, verse7, by saying, “There are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.”  This possibly evolved from two earlier writings, Matthew 28:19 and 2 Corinthians 13:13.  In Matthew Jesus allegedly instructed his disciples to go out and baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  Curiously, the word “holy” did not appear before “spirit” in the earliest edited version.  And then in 2 Corinthians (attributed to Paul) Paul extends “the grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit” to guide the people of Corinth.  But the term Trinity does not appear anywhere in the New Testament.  The concept of three coequal partners in the godhead was an even later creedal embellishment which, strangely, cannot be clearly distinguished even within the margins of canon!

I, II, and III John were originally part of correspondence to a struggling church. There has been a long-standing debate over the identity of the author of the three John texts’relationship to the four gospels and the book of Revelation. I John, as it was edited, does not seem to start as a personal letter for it is quickly evident that it is in regard to one of the churches in Asia Minor (most likely Ephesus) that was experiencing problems of belief and behavior.  By 2:19 of I John it is evident that secessionists were splitting off and this letter and the other two letters attempted to take back the dissident groups by pointing out the error of their interpretation of the Jesus movements’ fundamental elements.  The John letters’ plea for love and flexible unity did not exactly resolve the tensions of the time, but nonetheless the values of love and unity that were expressed became an indispensable part of Christian literature.

 

Colonial Activist for Church-State Separation

Posted in Atheist, belief, faith, Government, random, religion with tags , , , , , , on February 1, 2013 by chouck017894

For decades in the United States groups of ego-centered religionists have been demanding that their brand of religion be jammed into the mechanism of national government. None of those holy howlers seem to be aware that the call for church/state separation was originally championed by a truth-seeking religionist. That man was Roger Williams who fled England in 1631 to put down roots in the “new world” where he hoped to worship God in his chosen way (Calvinist-Puritan). Earlier, in 1630, one thousand persons under the leadership of John Winthrop had established the Massachusetts Bay Colony in an effort to distance themselves from the tyranny of the crown, which they regarded as practicing corruption through supervision of the Church of England. Williams, with his family in tow, arrived in Boston in February of 1631.

The form of faith which Williams hoped to find available in the Massachusetts Bay Colony did not measure up to his idea of proper spiritual conduct. He was appalled that the people of the Boston congregation had never publicly declared their repentance for their former communion with the Church of England. He therefore took his spiritual opinions to Salem where he had obtained a pastorate position. But there, too, Williams soon alienated the civil authorities by daring to accuse them of exceeding their proper jurisdiction in their inflicting of punishment on those who broke the rules for observing the Sabbath. Such conduct, Williams declared, was a violation of ecclesiastical authority. The civil authorities were not amused, and promptly expelled Williams, and he sought refuge in Plymouth. Christian charity and forgiveness struggled to assert itself in Salem, however, and Williams was grudgingly permitted to return to Salem in 1633.

Ah, but Williams’ spiritual conviction (or maybe it was ego) had not softened. To his credit Williams acknowledged the equality of spirit before God which is within everyone, and that democratic perspective of fairness toward others led to serious conflict with the Massachusetts Bay government. William dared to question the validity of the Massachusetts Bay charter under which the colonial authorities had taken possession of the land of the Indians without giving any form of compensation. Williams also noted that the colonists had an authoritarian practice of faith imposed upon them that was much like the tyrannical imposition from which the colonists had fled England. This assessment caused the government piety to hit the fan in 1635 and Williams was banished from Massachusetts by the order of the General Court and warned that he would be deported to England if he continued his disruptive behavior.

Williams apparently said to himself the Puritan equivalent of WTF, and with a few devoted friends took off in midwinter for Narragansett Bay where, in 1636, he purchased land from the local Indian chiefs, and founded Providence, Rhode Island. The government that he then established was founded on complete religious toleration. Along this spiritual journey, Williams had embraced the belief in submersion baptism, and in 1639 was himself baptized and then baptized others. Thus was founded the first Baptist church in the colonies. But Williams continued to be spiritually frustrated, and doubt crept upon him over the validity of his own baptism, which agitated him to the point that he withdrew from the church that he had founded! He did not, however, waver in his basic Christian principles.

Through the following years Williams would journey twice to England; first in 1643 to obtain from the crown a charter for the Providence Plantations in Narragansett Bay. By this time the theocratic governing body in Massachusetts looked upon Rhode Island as infected with spiritual pestilence and proceeded to march through Providence and by force of arms seize what is now Warwick. Only the English Parliament, which supported Massachusetts, could stop the power play, and England itself was in a civil war because of the state-controlled Church of England. Religious freedom was not understood intellectually, and Christians in England slaughtered other Christians simply because they chose to worship differently. But somehow Williams managed to procure legal charter from Parliament, and it confirmed to him the wisdom of keeping church and state separate.

The second journey to England was in October 1652, again to seek renewal of colony charter. By that time King Charles II ruled over England, and the king confirmed Rhode Island’s charter. Notable in the king’s approval of the colony charter was the affirmation that no person was to be “molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences in opinion in matters of religion.” Wisdom was beginning to evolve. During both sojourns in England, Williams wrote a number of dissertations, notable among them was a treatise on the nature and jurisdiction of civil government entitled The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause Of Conscience Discussed (Old English spelling).

After Williams returned to Rhode Island in 1654, he was elected president of the colony, and served in that capacity until 1657. During his presidency, in 1656, heavy persecution of the Society of Friends, better known as Quakers, in Boston had resulted in Quakers seeking refuge in Rhode Island. Williams had always remained steadfast in his guiding principle of religious tolerance, and he refused to persecute the refugees. In Williams’ view, the state could not prevent error in religious interpretations of God’s laws, and by the same measure, religious dogmatists (with their tendency to err) could not be expected to reliably direct tolerant workings of government policies over the wide diversity of people which God had fashioned.

It is interesting to note that in the later part of his life Williams accepted that institutions which were formulated by faith systems did not really function as expressions of God’s will. It seemed to him that it was only within each individual’s personal essence that life’s higher potential could be achieved. During the remainder of his life Roger Williams, a former pastor, continued to advocate separation of church and state; but he was never again a member of any self-serving church.

Another New Year

Posted in belief, faith, Inspiration, nature, Pantheism, random, religion with tags , , , , , on December 1, 2012 by chouck017894

Each year the Sun reestablishes its apparent northward movement on the 25th of December, marking the position at which light begins to increase in the northern hemisphere.  This phenomenon is much grander in scope and more awesome in infinite power than is any imagined virgin birth of a demigod or some oil lamp in a temple allegedly burning on limited oil for eight days.  The interaction of planet Earth and the Sun is in every way a much truer covenant extended to all life by the creative universal power than are the ego-gratifying stories of special favor extended by god only to some select assemblage of people.

For our ancient ancestors—those much maligned Pagans—who felt a more intimate connection with nature and the observable heavens than is acknowledged today, there was no egotistical need to disguise the natural occurrences such as the solstice and equinox periods as being some mythic miracle performed only for a favored few.

For seven days following the end of the Winter Solstice (Dec. 25), which was honored by the Pagans as “Mother Night,” the beginning of increasing light was reason for celebration and the exchange of gifts among family and friends to acknowledge the approach of production and abundance.  And in this period, in recognition of the true miracle of the Sun’s support of life, the customary salutation upon parting with loved ones or friends was the blessing, “May your light increase.”

After seven days of celebration from Earth’s apparent emergence from the long nights, the routine chores of life were taken up anew, and a new cycle was calculated from the end of that seven-day celebration period.  Thus the time of the New Year observance that is today recognized across much of the world has its foundation in Pagan recognition of the scientific principles that are active throughout the universe and demonstrated in the Earth/Sun relationship.

The awe-inspiring universe was perceived by Pagan cultures to be a living thing–a vast unified consciousness.  When the Pagans looked out into the universe they identified something at work that was much grander in scope than do the constraining faith systems of today which choose to imagine some humanlike personification presiding over and directing that all-embracing power.  The Pagans felt an intimacy with that enfolding universal power which the practice of ecclesiasticism can never experience.  The spiritual attunement of the ancient Pagans with the surrounding universe confirmed for them the interrelatedness of all things.  They would judge as weirdly unrealistic the religious interpretations postulated by self-serving faith systems today that Creation’s power is separate, distant and aloof from everything that is made manifest.

Humankind’s invented hierarchical faith systems always have an unfortunate tendency to leave their followers with vague, uneasy feelings of being unfulfilled, which inevitably erodes their spirit with unrecognized resentment.  By ignoring Nature and the universe, and focusing exclusively upon itself, these faith systems have become systems in which one must will themselves to believe rather than feel one’s unity with it all.  Intricately structured faith systems such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam are not faiths that can be assessed as arising from natural expressions of consciousness.  They are, unfortunately, faith systems that encourage a denial of compassion for all things and beings that coexist with them in spite of their faith system’s self-set boundaries.  The reason behind their negative approach to Creation’s wealth of diversity is that allowing oneself to be open to feel compassion for all life is curtly dismissed by male-dominated faith systems as a feminine aspect and is therefore unworthy to be cultivated.  In other words, such faith systems are formulated to gratify their egos through carefully crafted hypocrisy.

It is unlikely that each individual’s higher potential was fashioned by a Creator to simply act as some separate organ of some religious social structure.  Dedicating oneself to what is only a man-conceived faith system reduces followers to little more than hive workers and breeders who, through indoctrination processing and mental conditioning, would find emotional survival virtually impossible if separated from the body of their faith system.  Followers of such systems are made blind to the beautiful transcendent unity that is made possible in the acceptance of all diverse people.  The binding element in that acceptance is the yearning of human spirit for enlightenment, and that is not achieved through some self-imposed alienation from everything else.

Despite mankind’s struggles with such bouts of self-inflicted delusions, the heavens still bear witness to the flow of Creation.  We need only to remove the blinders that have been placed over our eyes by those who make a habit of taking advantage of our blindness.  Lured away from adoring the unity of all things, which is openly expressed and demonstrated in the universe, we have been “guided” to seek spiritual enlightenment by huddling together in echoing “sanctified” enclosures.  There, the devout are given role models of heroes and saints and saviors and kings who would never have accepted being herded into such self-demeaning behavior as self-dedicated faith systems teach.

But the universe continues to fuse it all together by patiently extending allowance for wide-ranging diversity.  If mankind wishes to pretend that it is the sum-total of universal wisdom, the universe can afford to be patient.  Meanwhile the interaction of Earth and the Sun annually extends and reaffirms the covenant to all life, and that power is not restricted by time or mankind’s self-imposed limited beliefs.  As another New Year unfolds, that covenant is renewed.

May your light increase.

Regional Influence On Faith System Origins

Posted in belief, Christianity, culture, Hebrew scripture, random, religion with tags , , , , , , , on November 12, 2012 by chouck017894

In the real estate profession there is a dictum that insinuates the value of any given property, and that quality-gauge is tersely summed up as location, location, location.  Oddly, that real estate saying can help us understand the personality traits of the major organized faith systems that are active in our world today.  Location and the timeframe in which each faith system began its development served as the gene pool for its offspring (ie beliefs), and from these grew the idiosyncrasies that now characterize their interrelated practices.  Stir into this mix any noticeable seasonal changes and astronomical positions that predominated in that timeframe and the results become local interpretations of universal/cosmic interactions.

Circumstances that prevailed in a region where a faith system originated will always continue to color the customs of that faith system.  The regional environment in a definable timeframe accounts for the characteristics of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Brahmanism, etc., etc.  In other words, it was never divine communications directed at certain chosen persons that “revealed” spiritual qualifications of those faith systems in any particular region: it was some material insecurity in the regional environment which inspired attempts to explain natural cause and effect.

The regional circumstances and the timeframe in which a religion originated served to influence its interpretation of an imagined deity’s personality and psychological profile, which in turn shaped the doctrines which, it was hoped, would favorably influence that imagined deity.  Thus today we find ourselves bound to primitive hand-me-down values of conduct that vary from “faith” to “faith,” and which have shaped doctrines that often defy rationality.

Of the three western highly structured but competing religions, there is the peculiarity of each of them claiming descent from the same seed-bearer named Abraham, an alleged ancestor which none of these faiths have ever been able to authenticate.  All three also claim the same angels—Gabriel, Michael, etc; and they claim linkage to the same lands and they claim a singular Creator-God.  But that God has, apparently, given each of them conflicting data on how the faithful are to win that God’s conditional love.  Understandably, this has caused more spiritual, social, economical and physical distress and suffering throughout the world than is appropriate if they are, as each of them claims, a legitimate representative of the omniscient Creative Source.

The precepts of the faith that would develop as Judaism, for example, were accumulated and developed in the central hill country of Canaan (Judah) around the little settlement  of Jerusalem (c. early 8th century BCE).  The more urbanized Hebrew tribal groups to the north had established a kingdom, Israel, which had fallen to Assyrian invasion.  There was not then and never had been a united monarchy Israel/Judah as priest written Old Testament accounts imply.  (Suggested reading: The Bible Unearthed, by Finkelstein and Silberman.)  Priests in little Jerusalem, situated in the highlands of Canaan between the major competitive powers of Egypt and Assyria, were understandably nervous about their precarious position.  Thus to intimidate those powers and psychologically arm the Judean people, the priest composed “history” presented tales of a god-chosen people possessed of unconquerable strength.

Around the mid-eighth century BCE when the Hebrew scriptures were beginning to be compiled, the Earth happened to experience exogenous disturbances in its rotation, and these coincided with a reverse in Earth’s magnetic field.  This is the timeframe in which the “prophet” Isaiah is cast.  It was in this timeframe also that Babylon and China found it necessary to devise a new calendar.  It should be noted here as well that it was c. 776 BCE that the first Olympiad was inaugurated in Greece, and that event was unquestionably in connection with earlier events concerning the celestial object we today call Venus which had disturbed the heavens through previous generations.

On the other side of our planet in this same timeframe, the ancestors of the Mayans also remained wary and kept nervous watch on the heavens, especially on the planet Venus.  What these worldwide concerns with the heavens reveal is that Isaiah and the later minor “prophets” such as Joel, Micah and Amos were actually astronomers who were concerned about planetary interaction with Earth, first with Venus, and later the disturbed movements of Mars in the timeframe 763-765 BCE.  Add to this timeframe of worldwide disturbances that the traditional date for the founding of Rome is 753 BCE–and that site was dedicated to Mars, which was personified as the god of war.

In Egypt, long before the Jewish faith was concocted, there was a tradition of “the coming messiah,” which was referred to as Madhi.  The point here is that in all ancient pre-Jewish cultures the reference to a Messiah alway carried planetary meaning.  It never referred to any human champion charged with the mission to save or rescue certain people, but referred to expected planetary conditions that were to bring forth new circumstances for all human life.

Christianity is the world’s only city-bred faith system, and it is a product engendered out of Rome and Antioch.  In the timeframe which we consider to be the sixth year of our Common Era (CE), Judah had long been annexed by Rome.  By the late 50s the proportion of Jews in the Roman Empire was over twenty percent.  There had previously arisen a new Pharisaic party of the Humanistic Jews, which had evolved out of the teachings of Hillel the Pharisee (30 BCE).   This was felt to pose a possible threat to the Roman economic structure, for Hillel’s humanistic approach did not accept the practice of slavery, which was the backbone of Roman economy.  (For this reason there is no condemnation of slavery to be found in the New Testament.)  The Pagan Roman Empire always sought to embrace the diversity of its conquered people, and that characteristic is somewhat reflected in the earliest “gospel” writing of Mark, written c. 55-60, and Matthew, written c. 70-75.

Christianity, as such, was not known in the timeframe of the Emperor Nero, 54-68.  The members of the developing Jesus-cult that would evolve as Christianity referred to themselves simply as “brethren.”  Classification as “Christians” was introduced by later interpreters of history who happened to subscribe to the early Jesus-cult teachings as formulated in Antioch.  After the  forced suicide of Nero in 68, a brief civil war followed that brought the Empire to its knees as four “Emperors” battled for power between the months of June and December of 68.

The date of birth for Jesus is, to put it kindly, blurry at best, and equally uncertain is the time of Jesus’ alleged crucifixion–but  it is projected to be some time between the years 30 and 36, since Pontius Pilate is presented in the trial scene.   For all the claimed disturbing circumstances before, during and after the crucifixion, the execution death was not noted in any legal account nor by any contemporary historian.  However, the character of Paul of Tarsus (whose alleged conversion to Jesus bore extraordinary similarity to Moses’ call to faith) came upon the scene in just that timeframe. But the Jesus-cult carried no definable outline at that time.  Paul thus assumed he was called to dedicate himself to formulating doctrine and ceremonial procedures.  Oddly, there is no verifiable proof in regard to Saul/Paul of Tarsus either; his missionary role-playing is narrated in a somewhat haphazard manner.  Some investigators have contended that Pliny the Younger may have been the author of thirteen of the epistles in the NT which are attributed to Paul.  It is a fact that Pliny the Younger was noted for his epistle style writing.

Centuries later Islam developed in the arid, merciless desert atmosphere where nature seems to extend little sympathy to any form of life in its struggle to survive.  Austerity and harshness of the desert encouraged an acceptance that the creative powers offered but limited compassion for life.  There is no question that in the 6th century CE, Mohammad, who traveled widely as a caravan merchant, became aware of stories from both the Jewish Torah and the Christian Gospels.  In his youth, however, Mohammad, as most Arab tribespeople in that timeframe, had been taught to adore al-Uzza (Venus), one of three bana al-Lab, or “Daughters of God.”  The two other “daughters” were known as al-Lat, “the Goddess,” and Manat, “the Fateful One.”  These three deities were of special importance to the Arabs of the Hijaz in the time of Mohammad’s youth.  This adoration of celestial objects obviously had generated out of past traumatic celestial events in which the “daughters” were involved, and they were associated with tribulations and woe.  Thus in the Quran (53:19-26) the question is raised in regard to having formerly worshipped al-Uzza, al-Lat and Manat, calling them “…nothing but empty names which you have invented–you and your forefathers–for which God has bestowed no warrant on high.”  The meteorite stone that had been venerated formerly in connection with al-Uzza is possibly the famous black cornerstone of the Muslim shrine Kaaba at Mecca.

Mohammad’s early radical preaching at Mecca was tolerated for a while, but eventually the priests of Kaaba became concerned over his radical views and forbade him to preach among the Arabs that gathered at Mecca.  Thus he started preaching to any foreigners that happened to pass through: technically he followed the priests’ orders, but the priests of Kaaba were not pleased.

According to Islamic tradition, Mohammad became aware of a plot by the priests of Kaaba in Mecca to have him assassinated for continuing to expound his radical ideas.  This is peculiar, for such violence was strictly prohibited by those in charge of the shrine.  But according to tradition Mohammad fled Mecca at the height of summer and arrived at Yathrib, now known as Medina, on September 20–the time of the autumnal equinox, which also happened to be the time of Jewish atonement.  The popular account says that in 627 Mohammad and his followers were attacked in Yathrib (Medina) by the Meccan leader Abu Sufyan, and this is known as the Battle of the Trench.  Abu Sufyan abandoned the attack after fifteen days, and Mohammad suspected that the Banu Quraiza Jews who resided in Yathrib had aided the Meccans, and so Mohammad had all the Jewish men killed.  Mohammad then went to war against Mecca.  Capturing Mecca is known as Mohammad’s Day of Deliverance, which is said to have occurred on March 16–the approaching days of the vernal equinox, which, of course, is never alluded to.  The account of Mohammad’s “deliverance” has a rather eerie similarity to the Israelite deliverance from their alleged “slavery” in Egypt as it is related in Hebrew legend and which is celebrated by Jews as Passover during the time of the vernal equinox.

These brief outlines on how regional and celestial events stimulated belief systems of the western world are equally applicable to other interpretations of creative deities as well.  Hinduism and Brahmanism, for example, took root where lofty mountains inspired a strong impression of the energy interconnection of spirit, earth and heaven.  Another example: the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans held age-old legends of a past heavenly turmoil, and this coupled with their location in the jungles of South America, suggested to them that the gods always expected sacrifice and appeasement for continuance of life.  And in North America, the natives could appraise in the openness of the land and its bountiful wild life a stern spirit which was nonetheless wide-ranging and interactive with all life.  Thus we can see how the origin of any faith system was influenced by location, location, location.

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.

Fundamental Delusions

Posted in belief, culture, faith, random, religion, Social with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2012 by chouck017894

Few things are more perilous to human spirit than a rigid fundamentalist approach to universal mysteries.  This applies to fundamentalists of any faith system: Jewish, Christian, Islam and others.  One need only to look out into the universe to detect that whatever that creative power might be which is responsible for all that we see, it expresses itself with a sweeping indulgence of variety and diversity.  Creative abundance as it is thus exemplified by that creative power is not something which that power has come to regret as fundamentalist egotism prefers to believe.  In a universe of unbounded variety and diversity, the creation of which is always attributed to an omniscient (all-knowing) “god,” the fundamentalists choose to interpret it all with tight-assed narrowness.

The universe unreservedly displays divine affection and indulgence for variety and diversity, but fundamentalists choose to look upon this as creative excess which “god” came to regret in the afterglow of his creative indulgence.  Of all that exuberant outpouring of Creation, they say, “god” now approves of only an extremely small fragment of it, and that favored portion, of course, is them.  With minds crippled with a conviction of their exalted status with the Maker, they feel compelled to sweep up god’s diverse clutter and render the Maker’s spectacular Creation sterile.  Gentle, loving, tolerant or compassionate the hard-nosed dogmatists are not, and in their toxic obsession they rush about to contaminate any moderate-minded persons whom their polluted egos like to imagine as god’s discarded “damned.”

To accomplish their self-assigned clean up mission, the fundies dedicate themselves to constantly trying to resuscitate the superstitions once held by the political minded shaman/priest authors of antiquity who always declared their authority had been placed upon them directly by god.  Today’s fundies continually fail to recognize that the ancient past—always alluded to as tradition—is merely the tail that few upon the body of political experiences which is now palmed off as divine wisdom.  Many thousands of years ago the assertions of specialness by a few schemers in a savage world did actually afford some security, balance and structure within primitive societies, but that tail that grew upon the butt of tribal politics should not be wagging the body of today’s advanced (evolved) insight.

Redemption or salvation of one’s soul (personal energy potential) will never be found in the dark confines of religious affectation and spiritual arrogance, which always displays itself in acts of discrimination, subterfuge and violence.  That amounts to nothing  more than ego masturbation.  True spiritual faith comes only through an inner sense of at-one-ment with universal powers which brings an inner peace which recognizes there is no holy commandment to degrade, harass or subjugate anyone.  It is only the insecurity of one’s belief that drives the anxiety-driven fundamentalist to seek legal trickery to enforce their misshapen values upon the  multitude.  The symbol of their religious “faith” is habitually worn on their sleeves or lapel or around the neck, and that prominently displayed symbol actually serves as a testament of their spiritual insecurity, not heartfelt piety.  In their cultivated hatreds for all those who do not share their particular stylized devotion to regimented misery, they then become dedicated assassins of spiritual equality.

No matter what deistic religion one may have been indoctrinated into, the deity that they are taught to envision is perceived only through the cracked mirror of their ego.  When “faith” is directed by the lustfully energized and disfigured ego, and anchored upon obsessions of this world while sneering at reason, rationality and scientific research, their chance of “doing god’s work” or enriching their own spirit has been rendered impotent.

The creative power to which the self-professed “only true believers” equate themselves is an absolute omniscient power, which is revered as ultimate wisdom that is in everlasting perfect self-control.  They remain blind to the contradictions within that belief, and that it discolors the premise of the alleged state of perfection.  Omniscience is ecclesiastically characterized as all-knowing, which implies ultimate self-control, but any necessity for absolute self-control indicates a measure of inhibition.  And if the creative power active as “god” attempted perfect inhibition it would not, could not exist: it would be in a state of perfect paralysis.

When “abiding faith” is transformed into an obsession to compel others to practice “reverence” in some specific man-invented manner, that “faith” has ceased to honor the omniscient power active as the Life Principle and turns all reverence in upon itself.  Such self-absorption is not how reverence is expressed for the power that is active within all things that are made manifest.  Indeed, when “faith” is made into a regime it has degraded itself by pursuing worldly advantages for itself under a false flag.  Thus every organized faith system, by thrusting itself between seekers and the omniscient power, makes itself a failure for instruction on how each individual may approach and be infused by that power.  Keeping the “flock” in ignorance of their personal spiritual capability simply plays into the non-spiritual desires of the practitioners for the jaded sense of control over others.

Fundamentalism is not, as the fanatical ones like to think, the glorious insignia of genuine faith.  Psychologically that amounts to little more than egoism; an abnormal sense of self-importance; a metaphysical classification of subjective idealism in which personal ego is regarded as the prime reality (soul), and belief that they alone hold some exalted rank with the Absolute.  These characteristics of fundamentalists assure only practices of intolerance and senseless conflicts.

Ultimately the only “faith” that is essential to one’s soul-welfare is the awareness that everything we perceive, and much more that we cannot perceive, has its identity within a singular all-embracing creative power which places high value on variety and diversity.  That Source power is not something that is sliced up or diced up into unrelated bits and pieces; not a power that discriminates against portions of itself; and not a paranoid power which hides from dismembered parts of itself.  And this, perhaps, is the reason that Jesus (presented as god in mortal form) is portrayed as saying, “…Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”  Matthew 25:40.

Boundaries of Belief

Posted in Atheist, belief, faith, random, religion with tags , , , , on July 26, 2012 by chouck017894

Even if the projected time span is only a few thousand years since the event of Creation, as some religious factions insist, man has managed to invent an astonishing number of gods in that short period.  That collection of gods presents a huge dilemma for the religiously devout, for how are they to be certain that they have chosen the “one true faith” or the correct interpretation of god to believe in?  That dilemma has been a continuous golden opportunity for imaginative schemers, allowing the religious hucksters to maneuver back and forth between god and go-L-d.

The three major corporate styled faith systems of the western world stand as monuments raised to spiritual deceit.  Being male-founded and male dominated, the three domineering western faith systems bristle with masculine rigidity and combative schemes for forcibly taking possession of the “kingdom of heaven.”  These are faith systems that counsel believers to will themselves to believe in what amounts to nothing more than certain attack strategies for wheedling godly favors.  As a result a stubborn dysfunction is embedded in these man-conceived faith systems which, as a result, has “blessed” man with century after century of experiencing senseless animosity toward others, which happens to be convenient for the faith systems’ promoters, for it keeps spirit from attaining its higher potential.

Personifying the creative power of the Source as having humanlike characteristics (such as anger, jealousy, prejudices, etc.) is a favorite indulgence of man’s egocentered faith systems.  Such a means of trying to understand the workings of the observable universe and man’s limited place within it is an ineffective attempt at comprehension, for it is not particularly logical.

Manufactured religions (and similarly structured political factions) prosper mainly through the practice of dividing humankind into artificial categories that are defined by employing conveniently moveable boundaries such as race, ethnic grouping, lifestyles, sex, nationality, faith practices, etc.  Nothing in these temporary material appearances actually makes any perceivable differences for claiming that others are spiritually inferior or less than what was intended by the Omniscient creative force.  The wide variety of life’s expression do not stand as a legitimate cause to claim a license from god for attempting to impose some man-conceived faith system upon others.

All that any man-invented faith system has to offer to their pondering seekers is a con-man’s IOU that is to be paid back by god—not by the priests—to the faithful after some distant “judgment day.”  Believers are taught that they need only to practice man-invented rites and rituals in the here-and-now—and contribute to the faith system’s operational fund—and you are given a halo-edged IOU for a future slice of heaven.

In the methodology of corporate styled faith systems, reason and logic are expelled for the benefit of theologies.  Thus what these faith systems offer are not eternal verities.  Instead, they teach divisional practices that encourage indulgence in prejudice, bigotry, religious-inspired massacres and wars.  The unifying power that constantly sustains and maintains everything that we perceive as the universe is totally ignored for the faith system’s self-serving illusion of exclusivity.

Supplying each person’s “spirit” with inner harmony is much talked about in these regimented faith systems, but the means of inspiring true spiritual harmony with the diversity that is perceived as life is seldom practiced in these material-minded faith systems.  Keeping the “flock’s” attention on differences, sometimes absurdly small differences, rather than focus on  the wonder of the interrelatedness of all things is to use our personal connection to that creative power in a negative manner, which only generates needless turmoil and grief.

No material-focused faith system of man’s invention is ever going to embrace the soul-liberating truth of spiritual equality.  The reason for encouraging that cultivated remoteness is that any man-conceived faith system is intentionally geared to revolved upon each devotee’s ego, which the advocates of the faith system purposely misinterprets as one’s “spirit.”

When “faith” is made into a religious regime, it has degraded itself by using a false flag to pursue worldly advantages for the faith system itself.  Thus every organize religion, by deliberately thrusting itself between its sincere seekers and the omniscient creative power, makes itself incapable of instructing individuals on how to approach and be infused by that creative power.  Every faith system promotes itself as the object of attention: they do not instruct how every person may personally draw upon that higher creative power for spiritual advancement, and this only benefits the faith system’s desire for secular power.

As noted in the blog Faith, Facts and Frustration, April 2011, it is the living universe that inspires mankind’s faith systems as well as mankind’s sciences with wonderment and reverence.  Whatever man may deduce from his perception of Creation, the truth remains that there can be no definable center of infinity.  Planet Earth certainly is not at the center of infinity as once proclaimed as holy truth, and it is even more certain that no man-invented, self-serving faith system functions as infinity’s center as they like to imply.

All the potentiality and  instincts which each of us embody have been thousands and even millions of years in the making, and that genetic heritage, that resilience out of which we each have evolved resulted only from the interacting and cooperative energies that we call Creation.  Man’s self-serving faith systems refuse to acknowledge that a cooperative involvement is the fundamental pattern for establishing the real substance of anything.  The seemingly unrelated energy structures that we move among during this life experience are due to those cooperative energies, and man’s self-focused faith systems purposely refuse to acknowledge the creative truth that our spiritual potential will be achieved only through cooperation with each other.

Any organized faith system (religion) in the world today was founded upon desires to exercise power in pursuit of material greed.  Every one of the major faith systems which are continually feuding with each other today has a carefully hidden history of lies, bloodshed, corruption, dishonesty, cruelty, forgery, destruction of recorded knowledge, etc., while hypocritically pretending to be a shelter of truth, peace and enlightenment.  Isn’t it time for man to move out of those caves of deception into his higher potential?