Who is Mary Magdalene?

So just who is this woman Mary Magdalene; Is she Saint or sinner?

In one of the sermons that Pope Gregory I gave in 591, he identifies Mary Magdalene as: “She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary [of Bethany], we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark.” Remember this is the Pope who started celibacy in ‘The Church.’ The Catholics only reversed their unofficial position in the late 1960’s.

Peter was at odds with her. He openly criticizes her in front of other Apostles and is rebuked by Levi for his attitude towards her.

Did she actually write the Gospel of Mary? People of religion have told me that the Nag Hammadi Gnostic Gospels were too late (200’s-300’s CE) to be considered as real or applying to Christianity as we know it now. But, I think they forget that Eusebius was collecting letters and papers for the modern Bible as late as the 350’s CE.

Was she the enigmatic ‘Beloved Disciple’ of the Gospels; was she in fact the writer of the Gospel of John, as some people believe. See: Elaine Pagels …and others…check out Wikipedia and Mary Magdalene on the net. Sorry, no evidence that she had Jesus’ baby.

Did she retire to France, where 5 churches claim to have her bones, or did she retire along with John and Mary mother of Jesus, to Ephesus, Turkey where they all died?

Reading the convoluted history of the early Christian Church is much like reading a very anticipated crime novel by your favorite author. There are twists and turns that no one could even think of in earlier times. The level of scholarship relating to the early church is amazing and exhaustive. Modern researchers have turned upside down early theories and some biblical ‘truths’.

From Mary Magdalene article in Wikipedia:

“Further attestation of Mary of Magdala and her role among some early Christians is provided by the Gnostic, apocryphal Gospel of Mary Magdalene which survives in two 3rd century Greek fragments and a longer 5th century translation into Coptic. In the Gospel the testimony of a woman first needed to be defended. All of these manuscripts were first discovered and published between 1938 and 1983, but as early as the 3rd century there are Patristic references to the Gospel of Mary. These writings reveal the degree to which that gospel was despised and dismissed by the early Church fathers. In the fragmentary text, the disciples ask questions of the risen Savior (a designation that dates the original no earlier than the 2nd century) and are answered.”

The history I am finding…is fascinating, and I find a lot of it contradicts today’s evangelical fundamentalist thought. Of course they just think this stuff is lies spread by the devil.

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God’s Wife

Very interesting site that talks about God’s wife Asherah and how she was deleted from the Hebrew Pantheon in the early days, as the priests adjusted the story of Yahweh, El, or Elohim to make a monotheistic God. Shrewd story tellers those Hebrews. Go: Here

From the ABC radio program The Ark, hosted by Rachael Kohn.

Rachael Kohn: “To archaeologists and some Biblical historians the Israelites’ monotheism, enshrined in the Bible, was a long time coming. Before the single God of the Bible, there was a divine couple, and Asherah was in effect, God’s wife. Biblical archaeologist, Dr Diana Edelman from Sheffield University in the UK says the evidence for ‘Mrs. God’, known as Asherah, is both material and scriptural.”

Diana Edelman: “Well in the Bible, we in fact have a mention of God’s wife about 48 times, but she has come to be a little bit obscured, probably deliberately, when monotheism truly did develop, and God was made to look like a bachelor, even though he was officially made a widower.”…

…Diana Edelman: …well Israel ceased to be in 721 BC; Judah continued that religion. When it was sent into exile there was a change, and it’s when they come back from exile that it seems that Mrs. God has been ousted. She’s no longer welcome in the Pantheon. And it’s when we get the new Temple rebuilt in Jerusalem the traditional date for that is given under Darius about 515 BCE.”

We have all sorts of funny things in that new Temple. No.1, we don’t have The Ark any more. The primary symbol of Yahweh when he used to be the God of Judah, was the Ark, which seems to have been tied up with the title Yahweh of the Hosts, showing him a very martial God; that symbol is gone…”

William Dever, See this article in Biblical Archaeology Review

Asherah was, of course, finally driven underground by the reformist parties that edited the Hebrew Bible. In its final form she is written out of the text. Hence, she disappeared and all her cult imagery with her when Jewish monotheism at last triumphed in the period after the Israelites returned from the Babylonian exile.”

From Wikipedia, Here
The goddess Asherah, whose worship Jeremiah so vehemently opposed, was worshipped in ancient Israel and Judah as the consort of Yahweh and Queen of Heaven (the Hebrews baked small cakes for her festival):

“Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.” -Jeremiah 7:17-18

“… to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem …” -Jeremiah 44:17

…”Tilde Binger notes in her study, Asherah: Goddesses in Ugarit, Israel and the Old Testament (1997, p. 141), that there is warrant for seeing an Asherah as, variously, “a wooden-aniconic-stela or column of some kind; a living tree; or a more regular statue.” A rudely carved wooden statue planted on the ground of the house was Asherah’s symbol, and sometimes a clay statue without legs. Her cult images- “idols”- were found also in forests, carved on living trees, or in the form of poles beside altars that were placed at the side of some roads. Asherah poles are mentioned in the books of Exodus, Deuteronomy, Judges, the Books of Kings, the second Book of Chronicles, and the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah. The term often appears as merely אשרה, Asherah; this is translated as “groves” in the King James Version and “poles” in the New Revised Standard Version, although no word that may be translated as “poles” appears in the text. Scholars have indicated, however, that the plural use of the term Asherahs, as Asherim or Asherot, provides ample evidence that reference is being made to objects of worship rather than a transcendent figure.”

Most Christians have no idea that the Bible was continually edited and changed significantly well into the fourth Century CE. Strong Christian believers I have talked to just flatly deny that the Bible was ever messed with and they will not listen, I suppose they are thinking I’m the devil. Well, I guess that is the kind of single-mindedness that is required to be Christian…there’s too much information out there, so lets not listen anymore.

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What Trinity?

So I can’t seem to find any references to the trinity in the Bible. I can’t even find any ambiguous mumbo-jumbo type sentences that today’s evangelical fundamentalists seem to use in their attempt to confuse me, and the general public.

John 12:48-50 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him-the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” (Jesus speaking at Last Supper).

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever (Jesus speaking at Last Supper)

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (Also Jesus speaking at Last Supper)

John 15:9-10 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. (Says Jesus) All KJV quotes

That darn Jesus and His people. They just don’t seem to get the idea. Somehow we’ve got to get word to Him and His followers that we’ve updated the theology. Jesus just can’t seem to understand that He is also God and the Holy Spirit. He keeps speaking in the improper tense and Denying that He is God.

Random stuff
In the mid 1200’s, St. Bonaventure, a Doctor of the Church and Minister General of the Franciscan Order, argued that God had provided humans with as much knowledge as they needed to live the proper Christian life. “To investigate by reason beyond the point of adequate knowledge, is to move away from divine wisdom and be guilty of curiositas.”

This pretty much sums up religions attitude towards science. “We don’t want too much knowledge floating around.”

So ALL or MOST all of the Holy Scripture was handled and passed down by the Catholic Church. They had practically absolute control of Biblical literature for about 1300 years. All secular history of The Roman Catholic Church points to it being a very evil institute. It was a ‘for profit church’ and they killed and/or tortured people that didn’t believe the line they were passing down. You could buy ‘indulgences’ which absolved you of the sin of your actions. Also, I really doubt that the fairly recent uncovering of rampant pedophilia in the Church is just a modern phenomenon, and I doubt that it was practiced in just a few churches.

So, should we trust that the Holy Work/Scripture, the true unblemished ‘Word,’ and the proper way to worship and think about God were passed unchanged through such an evil institution? I for one have many doubts about this, and I wonder what…if anything…convinced God that the Catholic Church was trustworthy for this challenge?

Individually the Catholics are good people, at least the ones I have meet. I haven’t had the misfortune to meet anyone from the Mafia, or Columbian and Mexican drug lords, who all seem to be baptized Catholics. I have seen, in passing, some priests that were later shown to be pedophiles. Don’t they still absolve these people of their sins in confession?

I don’t know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didn’t. Jules Renard, French writer, 1864-1910

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Bush ‘plans Iran air strike by August’

May 28th. Headline from the Asia Times Online out of Hong Kong.

The George W Bush administration plans to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months, an informed source tells Asia Times Online, echoing other reports that have surfaced in the media in the United States recently.

Two key US senators briefed on the attack planned to go public with their opposition to the move, according to the source, but their projected New York Times op-ed piece has yet to appear.”

Story Here: Asia Times

We really need another war, don’t we? So far in Iraq we have lost over 4000 young Americans and it’s going to cost well over a trillion dollars. America is already broke; we just don’t realize it yet. China and Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries already own our economy. Bush and his policies have hocked our children’s, children’s, children’s future.

Isn’t Russia and China pretty friendly with Iran? Can you say “End Times?”

If this attack really happens, we need to immediately start bending over to kiss our ass goodbye.

Update 9.27.08  Well so much for that prognostication.

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Religion sucks the life out of…

The early Christian church underwrote scientific investigation to more fully understand the glory of God’s creation. But as soon as science started turning up little things that contradicted Biblical Scripture…the relationship turned chilly. Science however just kept on, bit-by-bit, learning the secrets of our world and universe, what makes things tick, how we can do this…or that.

We can glean much information from bones that are millions of years old. We can and have solved the puzzle of where man/woman came from. We can take peoples DNA and tell whether they committed crimes…or not.

We can tell when civilizations started-and-ended. For better or worse we can manipulate the genes of plants and animals, but then we have been doing that for thousands of years, we just called it something different, and now we can do it faster and in ways that should never have been contemplated. We are sending probes to other planets and moons in our solar system. We are getting better and better at solving the puzzle of life…elsewhere. We are coming closer and closer to creating life itself.

We, as the Human Race, have evolved from semi-apes on African savannas, totally at the mercy of bigger, meaner omnivores and carnivores and chaotic weather conditions…to a race of peoples who very stupidly alter our own world; sometimes in non-reversible ways.

We look to the stars, but crap in our own nest.

Religion reluctantly goes along on this trip, all the while gripping and complaining. We’re doing this or that wrong, every second thing we do is sinful, we need to be under religious control…the world is going to end ‘Soon’ All man/womankind is going to hell…you must live your life as an ascetic so you can live on a cloud, plucking a harp and being bored to death for eternity. If you’re not for Christ, you’re for the Devil. Face it; the world of religion sucks the life…out of life.

So many people live by a book written 2000 years ago, that was meant for a totally different purpose and was talking about people and problems and religion of the time. An enterprising group gets together and makes a scam out of it, and bamboozles billions of souls. “Hey, we can make a lifelong career of this”. The common people think if they live right, tithe to the proper sect and espouse the ‘line’, they will live forever. Poor confused, mind controlled, led by the nose people.

They think they have freedom, they just can’t see how controlled they really are. Politicians and world leaders love religion…it makes people very predictable and easy to control.

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Angry God

In the Old Testament, God is mostly depicted as an angry, disagreeable deity.

He delivers His people from slavery in Egypt, He *”gives” them the Promised Land for eternity, only to find them ungrateful and sinful. * They really had to kill for it.

Time after time they run after foreign gods…so God punishes them by letting their enemies capture and rule over them…and they cry for God to help them…God accepts their contrition…He gives them a righteous leader who leads them to victory over their enemy, and then after a while they start sinning again, on and on.

What kind of god would put up with that? I don’t find much of anything in the Old Testament that makes “Godly” sense. The only thing the Jewish people in the OT seem good at is bitching and spinning tall tales. They don’t appear to be in the least bit special, and their line of ‘heroes’, as listed in the Bible, are just as sinful as the rest of humanity at the time. Think David killing his lover’s husband; Solomon having a thousand wives.

The people don’t seem to deserve any special consideration. Their story seems more like a wandering peoples trying to justify their killing off of an already establish bunch of landowners, to take the land for themselves.

In fact, as I read about all the wars and mass killings listed in the OT Bible I get the feeling these are just wars to redistribute the wealth of the one group over another. The one excuse listed more than any other for the Jews to go to war and commit genocide against their neighbors is sinfulness. Those darn people of Jericho, and Ai are just really bad sinners…let go kill them all and take this land for our own. They go to war at the drop of a bagel…but only because God said it was OK.

They have a God that follows them all over the country and directs them to kill and take peoples land. How conveeenient.

God tells the Jews their people will be like the sands on the beach…uncountable.

God tells David his line and throne will last forever.

Yet modern history, also tells us these two things didn’t happen.

Archaeology also tells us many things in the Bible didn’t happen.

Jesus is said to have descended from David…two different stories about that in Bible.

The more you research…everything…connected with the Christian religion, the more uncertainties, and factual problems you encounter. The more I research, the more I get the feeling this religion is just a fairy tale of the Jewish people. It wouldn’t be so bad if some of the stories had some actual facts backing them up. Most of them don’t, and Christians go around doing back-flips trying to explain them, rather than just admitting they are moral illustrations and allegory meant to make a point. Nooo…the Bible is literal line for line truth.

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To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin. Cardinal Bellarmine, during the trial of Galileo Galileo, 1615

Original Sin

The idea of Original Sin is based on Paul’s supposition that all humans are born sinful. It is not a theological concept that is brought up or mentioned in the original text of the Old Testament.

In the fifth chapter of Romans, according to Paul, humanity was cursed because Adam and Eve sinned when they ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. As Paul puts it:

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Rom. 5:12

…or as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor. 15:22

17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
Rom. 5:17-19

Now we have to remember that Paul saw Jesus in a beam of light on the road to Damascus. He never studied with him or listened to him, though he was alive at the same time. And Jesus, when he was alive, was preaching a pro-Hebrew apocalyptic message. Paul saw fit to subtly change the thrust of Jesus’ teaching to what we have now, one-size-fits-all, believe in us or die.

At no point in the OT do we see anything that might qualify as a curse of “Original Sin” to be handed down to all of Adam and Eve’s descendants. Yes, their lives are supposed to become more difficult than they had heretofore experienced; but where is all of that is the “Sin” being passed along?

Perhaps more importantly, there is no indication that this sin must be “redeemed” eventually by Jesus? Christianity is anxious to portray itself as the logical and theological offspring of Judaism, but if Paul simply invents a concept and tacks it on to Jewish stories, it’s hard to see how that makes it true. If I went around claiming that Jesus spoke to me in a ‘beam of light’ and he conveyed new theological concepts to be accepted by all Christianity…how far would I get before being locked up in the funny farm?

In Genesis and all of the way through to the ending of Malachi, there isn’t the slightest hint of there being any sort of Original Sin inherited by all humans through Adam and Eve. There are stories of God getting angry at humanity in general…and at the Jews in particular…offering many opportunities for God to point out how everyone is “sinful” because of Adam and Eve. Yet we find nothing about that.

Also, there is nothing about how everyone who isn’t “right” with God will go to hell and be tormented… another staple of Christian theology connected to Original Sin. You would think that God would have the civility to mention something this important to us.

Not even Jesus is quoted as having been concerned with Adam and Original Sin. Paul’s interpretation is not really warranted by the actual story. This is a big problem. If this interpretation is not right, the whole Christian scheme of salvation falls apart.

Just as the Trinity is made up by later ‘Christians’, so too is ‘Original Sin’.

Christians however, have a uncommon ability to ignore facts.

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