Archive for Venus

Desert Reality and Divine Delusions

Posted in Atheist, belief, faith, random, religion with tags , , , , , , on August 23, 2014 by chouck017894

The prophet Mohammad was probably born c 560 CE; this is the most likely date out of eight dates that have been given in various accounts of his life. In the days of his boyhood there was no central authority to weld nomadic tribes with any social consciousness. Rather, each tribe existed as a single and separate entity that was in constant competition with other tribes for the essentials of life. Under such conditions personal retaliation was the only “law” that they understood when loss was experienced due to another tribe or person. “Justice” was therefore understood as imposing an extortion of payment; in other words, indulgence in vendetta. That is a feature which still erupts from the background of Islam, for that tribal retaliation mindset remains the heart and soul of Muslim conduct with all whom they choose to judge to be “infidels.” The natural outcome of the vendetta mindset was a state of perpetual warlike conditions among the tribes, for each retaliation necessitated in turn the opponents’ retaliation. Such ongoing irrational indignities were brought to a standstill among the tribes only during the mutually agreed upon times of religious observances at Mecca. Mohammad, however, grandiosely claimed to be counseled by Allah and thus chose not to respect such rationality. (The recognition of Allah was derived from an earlier tribal designation al-Lah, meaning High God in a pantheon of earlier Arab gods.)

The Arabs up to the general timeframe of Mohammad’s youth had long observed a custom of addressing the planet Venus as al-Uzza, meaning “The Mighty One,” and it was by that name that Mohammad had worshipped it as a youth. The Sabeans (Sabaeans), the ancient inhabitants of the kingdom of Saba (Sheba), regarded the Moon as the visible symbol of their principal deity. The birth festival associated with this deity occurred in the tenth month by Arab reckoning (which equals the 24th of December in western cultures), with the birth of the “Lord Moon” being celebrated on that night. This provides the reason for the emblem of Islam being the crescent new Moon and a single star. The true relationship of Earth circling the sun occurring at that time of year was not recognized as important for they regarded the sun as feminine.

During his merchant travels Mohammad had plenty of opportunity to listen to Jewish and Christian merchants speak of their faiths. Gradually Mohammad apparently grew to understand that his youthful adoration of al-Uzza (Venus), as one of three bannat al-Lab, or “Daughters of God,” had been focused upon the symbol of past celestial turmoil. The other two “Daughters of God” were known as al-Lat, “the goddess,” and Manat, “the Fateful One.” These three deities were of especial importance to the Arabs of the Hejaz in the time of Mohammad’s youth. (Within Hejaz in NW Arabia are Mecca and Medina, the holy places of Islam.) Influenced by Jewish and Christian tales Mohammad apparently concluded that those revered stones could not rightfully represent the Sustainer out of which the legendary events had occurred.

The implied kinship, “Daughters of God,” and also the reference to the three “sisters” as bannat al-dabr, meaning “daughters of fate,” seemed to hint of past tribulations and woe for Earth.* Further indication that these “daughters” were linked to past Venus-Earth turmoil is the fact that the three deities had been represented with large standing stones, not as comprehensible feminine forms. 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 from on high.” Nonetheless, a meteorite stone, which probably hurtled to Earth during one of the encounters with the planet-sized comet which had disturbed the orbits of both Earth and Mars became the cornerstone of the Muslim shrine Kaaba.

The association of al Uzza, al-Lat and Manat in Arabic culture is thus far older than Mohammad. The legends and folklore among the Arab tribes concerning past celestial terrors associated with Venus would naturally color Mohammad’s interpretation of a divine being. This background of star-associated legends gives added dimension to the romanticized picturing of Mohammad meditating under the crescent moon — and perhaps concentrating on the planet Venus.

It is said that Mohammad, during his youth, had traveled widely with his tradesman uncle, and he continued to travel widely after he had become a prosperous merchant himself. This traveling merchant connection has led some scholars to speculate that his wide-ranging journeys provided abundant opportunity to hear the religious claims of both the Jews and Christians. The theory is that the stories that he heard from members of each faith as they read from their holy books inspired him, and this, they say, is evident in the use of biblical characters in his later dictations. The muddle of these recited tales must have seemed bewildering to the prophet. Somewhere amid all this, possibly as he meditated upon the planet Venus under a crescent new moon while on Mount Hira, Mohammad is claimed to have had a “vision.”

Islam’s origins, even though well within the framework of verifiable history, is strangely imprecise. Islam’s traditions of a desert prophet passing along angelic revelations to a ragtag band of followers, although colorful and inspiring, is rejected by main scholars. The underlying reason is the historically verifiable rapid politcal success of the movement, which indicates that something much more secular was at work than patient heaven customarily sponsors. An omniscient Creator would find it creatively impractical to promote the self-contradictory term “holy war” as a devotional duty: worldly conquest can hardly be an obsession for an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Creator.

Mohammad died unexpectedly in 632. Strangely, the prophet had provided no instruction as to who was to carry on his holy work, for he left no male heir to continue the prophetic lineage. This lack of foresight regarding future leadership naturally resulted in confusion and uncertainty concerning Allah’s desires on how the Arab people were to conduct themselves. That question of entitlement over who was intended to represent Mohammad’s spiritual vision is still violently contested between the Sunni and Shia to this day in continuous tribal-style conflicts.

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Threats From Heaven

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, ecology, environment, freethought, history, nature, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , on September 18, 2010 by chouck017894

Planet Earth had billions of years of experience and trauma behind it long before it eventually noticed that the proliferation of the animal that called itself man was a possible menace.  And man, on the whole, is so self-absorbed that he prefers to believe that the planet exists solely for his exploitation.  As a result, human acknowledgement of what he considers significant events in Earth’s past do not extend back much further than around four thousand years BCE.  The first year of the Jewish calendar, for example, is placed in the year 3760 BCE.  For most humans, whatever their “faith,” they labor under a peculiar blindness in regard to planetary disturbances that played into mankind’s spiritual understanding of Creation and the unity of all life.

For example, there is seldom even a nod given toward any past planetary events in organized religious practice; historians wallow in man’s continuous attacks upon it own species; and only a slim subdivision of science examines evidence of the traumas endured by Earth in the planet’s distant past.  This across-the-board avoidance in giving recognition to ancient cosmological interactions and Earth traumas seem almost schizophrenic.  Even when “holy” texts do allude to some celestial activities, the references are always kept tightly muzzled.

Past planetary events present some curiosities; such as the oddity that prior to c. 3600 BCE no object was recorded as moving in the orbital  position now traversed by the planet Venus.  And why is Venus the only member in our solar family that revolves upon its axis in a clockwise direction when all other “family” members revolve in a counterclockwise manner?  This is not likely to have developed if the object we call Venus had been in the formative period of planets around the gravitational force of solar activity.  It is curious also that prior to this time the Sumerians had believed in only one god.  Something seems to have happened in this general timeframe that changed popular belief in how the universe seemed to be governed.  Thus around c. 3500 BCE there came to be recognition of a number of gods, and chief among them in Sumer was the planet-god Marduk.

The later Neolithic period in Western Europe is calculated from around this same period; c. 3500 BCE to about 1500 BCE.  For some reason there seemed to have been widespread building of megaliths during this era.  It is estimated that over 50,000 such megaliths were built in this period of unusual celestial activity.  Placid skies may invite wonder and awe, but they do not often inspire groups  of people over a wide region to raise such structures for the purpose of vigilant observation of celestial movements.  From Egypt to the Indus Valley, from China to South and Central America there were also being built structures dedicated to the study of heavenly movements.  It was in this troubled age that the site that would become known a Jericho struggled as a small village which would last until it was leveled by planet-wide quakes around 1580 BCE.

Earlier, by about 2772 BCE, the great disturbances in the heavens and planetary shifts had necessitated the establishment of a new means of calculating the passage of time.  Thus a new calendar was introduced in Egypt in this period.  The beginning of the Egyptian calendar opened on the date which we would regard as July 19, 2769 BCE.  Years of observation had revealed that the fixed star Sirius appeared in the morning sky simultaneously with the onset of the flood season, which occurred annually between July 17 and 19.  And in China, too, the calendar was changed to the variable Sun-Moon observance, and by c. 2500 BCE it had been upgraded on the newly recognized equinoxes and solstices.

It is interesting to note that the Hebrew interpretation of regional happenings that make up the early books of the Hebrew Testament do not extend back in time much further than 2500 BCE.  By biblical tradition it is implied that Creation occurred only a thousand or so years earlier; thus Jewish tradition has their history beginning in 3760 BCE—or somewhat prior to the c. 3500 BCE onslaught of celestial disturbances.  There is a three hundred year time gap between the setting of Genesis and that of Exodus, which is traditionally accepted as having taken place around 1390 BCE.  The Flood story of Genesis, alleged to have occurred in 2348 BCE (according to Ussher’s Biblical Chronology), thus gets placed within the board timeframe of the celestial disturbances.  However, the succession of kings in ancient Egypt can be traced from 3001 BCE and continues uninterrupted through twelve dynasties, ending in 2146 BCE, so obviously any Deluge was not worldwide.

The legendary cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar would have flourished in this broad timeframe; all except Zoar are said to have been destroyed by a rain of brimstone.  Geologists who have studied the earth structure of the alleged locations have shown that the sites could have existed only in a 500 year span between 2800 and 2300 BCE—the very time that Ussher had placed the Deluge.  If the “wicked” cities had been built in the assumed locations they would have been built upon sandy soil that is subject to liquefaction under severe earthquake activity.  And this was a period of serious planetary quakes.  Buildings in that location would have quickly sunk into the ooze by at least three feet and the whole expanse would have flowed into the salty depths of the Dead Sea.  The friction and the sudden release of methane gas would have resulted in the intense fires that were said to have  accompanied the cities’ destruction.

For generations global climate disruptions continued to bring misery around the planet.  In Egypt rainfall ceased for years, and conditions became so bad that even the earthworms perished.  The severe conditions  prevailed for nearly 300 years (c. 2200 to 1900 BCE), and agricultural cities were completely abandoned.  But this is the time traditionally allotted for Abram and Sari—before they materialized as Abraham and Sarah.  Only in the early part of the second millennium BCE did there arrive in the Palestine region the tall, course, barbarous herdsmen—the ancestors of the Hebrews.  These cattle-owning, flesh-eating Semites who wandered into the agrarian region were at this time worshippers of a bull-god whom they called El.

The biblical patriarch Jacob is alleged to have lived around 1700 BCE.  And he is said to have moved to Egypt because severe famine had swept the world.  By this period the celestial disturbances had lessened for a while.  It was in this timeframe that Stonehenge, in what is now Great Britain, took on its larger megalithic form.  But then once again Earth was buffeted by celestial disturbances.  And curiously around 1600 BCE, according to the “authorized” accounts of humankind’s history, worldwide attention abruptly became  focused again upon disruptions in space.  The movements and proximity of that celestial body was again the source of uneasiness which would continue for more generations.  And nearly a thousand years later this would still be recalled in ancient Roman literature; it was even commented upon by Augustus, who quoted from a book called Of the Race of the Roman People by Marcus Varro.  In that book it was related that the planet they spoke of as Venus had once “…changed color, size,  form and  course, which had not happened before nor since…”   Of course religious implication had to be linked with the information, and Varro added, “…we read from the divine  books that even the sun itself stood still when a holy man, Joshua son of Nun, had begged this from God.”  This raises a problem, for if this happened in the time of Joshua’s invasion of Canaan then it predates Moses by centuries.  In association with this, however, the plagues that supposedly affirmed God’s favoritism of the Israelites and his prejudice against the Egyptians as related in Exodus would not be peculiar to Egypt; plague-like conditions would have been happening all around the planet.

Around 1500 BCE (slightly before the alleged time  of Moses) planet Earth entered into a strong magnetic field, resulting in a period of very heavy meteor showers.  This is confirmed by the accretion of meteoric dust throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and represent several times greater an accumulation than would otherwise be found there.  In the timeframe c. 1548 BCE the clouds that had long cloaked Earth had begun to dissipate, and to the astonishment of the world a radiant new planetary member had positioned itself: the Assyrians would call it Ishtar; the Greeks, Aphrodite; the Central American Indians, Quetzalcoatl; and the Romans named it Venus.

From c. 1548 BCE down to about the 8th century BCE was the period when the astronomer “prophets”  were repeatedly warning of approaching catastrophic events.  The newly established planet had affected not only the orbit and rotation of Earth, but had jarred the planet Mars into an uneasy path.  It was in this period that Mars gained the reputation around the world as the god of war; until this period little attention had ever been given to the quiet red planet.  It is the likely time that Mars lost its reserves of water.  While this was going on, all kinds of turmoil was loosed on Earth and there were mass migratory movements everywhere.  Thus c. 1445  BCE is the approximate time most commonly given in Hebrew accounts for the entry of the alleged twelve tribes of Israel into Palestine.  However, there are no history records anywhere to confirm this; there is only mention that a band of people known as Habiru or Abiri had come into the region.

Celestial  disturbances began to ease slightly toward the close of the 8th century BCE.  But Earth was experiencing exogenous disturbances in it rotation, and this  coincided with a reverse in Earth’s magnetic field.  Venus was then in an established orbit between Mars and Mercury.  It is in this timeframe that the “prophet” Isaiah referred to Venus in its orderly orbit allegedly saying, “How art thou fallen from heaven O Lucifer, son of the  morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12-13)  Other astronomer “prophets” of this general time were the minor “prophets” Joel, Micah and Amos.  Meanwhile Mars was struggling to obtain a regular orbit, and its unsettled circumstance was causing problems on Earth.

As is only vaguely indicated in the book of Isaiah, the mid-eighth century BCE was a period of worldwide disturbances, and this is supported by accounts from the other side of the planet.  Mayan chronology, according to the “Vatican Codes A-3738,” listed five distinct cycles of Earth’s continuation.  The end of the fourth cycle was given as c. 751 BCE (by modern calculation), and is said to have culminated in worldwide starvation.  Even so, it should be noted that the founding of Rome is traditionally placed in 753 BCE, and understandably Rome’s patron god was regarded to be Mars.  But troublesome events did not cease; a sudden catastrophic change in world climate occurred c. 747 BCE, which was hardest felt across the northern hemisphere.  After 747 BCE the orbit of planet Earth became slightly wider, the year lengthened accordingly, and it became necessary to again compile a new calendar.  Severe climate conditions were repeated again in 702 and 687 BCE.  Of course the familiar positions  of all constellations had changed, and this was even  commented upon centuries later by the great Roman playwright Seneca (4 BCE-65 CE).

These earthshaking events in our planets’ distant past were trimmed down as having been only regional confrontations in scriptural tales, which has only served to disguise and trivialize momentous truths. Could this scriptural habit be what inspires the advocates for Bible-based government in the U.S. to use climate science as a political football?

Time-Warps, Planets & Creationism

Posted in Astronomy, Atheist, Bible, history, humanity, logic, prehistory, religion, science with tags , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2009 by chouck017894

Creationists, using priest-written texts of “revealed” knowledge, choose to think that creation began only a few thousand years ago.  However, under that format they are hard-pressed to explain how so many remarkable advancements of man could have been crammed into such a meager time slot.  In the Mesopotamian region in the time frame of the Creationists’ “beginning,” for example, the human species was startlingly advanced.  Somehow in in this period of time the newly created humans were already building cities with multistoried buildings, complex street systems, market places, schools, banking systems, and a sophisticated judicial system! They were also making use of weights and measures, dabbled in international commerce, made use of ships that sailed to and from wharves in well-tended harbors, and who used wheeled chariots as a common means of transport.  This is the land mentioned as the “land of Shin’ar” in biblical stories.  Of course a concept of evolution is out of the question for them: God would neither want nor need to labor over refining any basic idea of something.  Instead, everything is believed to have been installed as perfect from the start.  That way he would never again have to be bothered with it all.  On the other hand, if change seemed desirable to him, he could always clean it up using a flash flood technique.

By Creationist’s calculation the creation of the universe and its supposed central focus, Earth, is vaguely placed as somewhere around 4500 BCE at most.  The funny thing is that their calculation could have a modicum of merit.  Their calculations are based on the Hebrew version of creation drawn from other cultures’ myths, and that version became the condensed and simplified account that opens the book of Genesis in the Pentateuch.  Events on Earth were chaotic back in that general period of mythmaking, with many great cities and civilizations rising and falling as the nomadic Hebrew tribes sought a land of refuge.  Even the heavens seemed to be in turmoil.  This may account why the first year of the Jewish calendar is placed in the year 3760 BCE—around the late Neolithic period in the Canaan region (4500 BCE)—when some measure of stability was taken up by the Hebrews in some methodical manner.  By this period farming collectives were being established across the Middle and Near East, with an intermingling of “racial” types becoming acceptable.  Nomadic herders who  followed their livestock found that cultivating crops allowed them to settle in one region. 

For a little over two thousand years between c. 3600 to c. 1500 BCE there was a puzzling flurry of megalithbuilding that extended in a wide arc around the coasts of Europe.  If creation occurred only a couple thousand years before that, this is amazing creative ability for the creature man.  It is estimated that over 50,000 such megaliths were built, the most famous among them is known to us as Stonehenge (then in its first stage).  Only something urgent would have inspired such wide-scale constructions that ranged from Malta, Spain and Portugal to Sweden and the Shetland Islands, etc.  And that urgency had to do with a frightening disorder in the observable heavens.  From Egypt to the Indus Valley, from China to South and Central America, detailed layouts and monumental labor went into the careful construction of structures dedicated to the study of the heaven’s movements.  Placid skies do not motivate such commitment.

Then, generations later, c. 3114 BCE, the Mayans tell of the beginning of a new cycle of time which is precisely dated as having begun in a long darkness that occurred on 4 Ahau 8 Cumku, which corresponds to the 13th of August 3114 BCE.  And on the opposite side of the planet the earliest so-called “omen tablets” written on Sumerian/Babylonian tablets also date from this eventful date.

For some reason the celestial body we know as the planet Venus gained a major holy role throughout many widely distant cultures in this time.  Oddly, today’s religions, sciences and even historians avoid investigation of how our disturbed planetary neighbors may have contributed to mankind’s place in the scheme of things.

See related posting, 2012 Doomsday, March 13, 2009.