Where’s Jesus ?

Philo, a prolific Jewish writer who lived from 20 BCE to 50 CE, wrote extensively about the political and theological movements throughout the Mediterranean, and his views foreshadowed Christian theology, yet he never once wrote anything about Jesus. Not only this, but he actually wrote about political conflicts between the Jews and Pontius Pilate in Judea
http://rationalrevolution.net/articles/jesus_myth_history.htm#6

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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Heaven or Hell…God or Satan

Below, in today’s post, I am corresponding with a nice young man named Justin. He is in college and is a very evangelical soul. Although I disbelieve in his worldview, I am happy to ‘talk’ with him. I hope you find our discussion as interesting as I do. You-refers to Justin. Me-refers to me. 😉

You: I’m going to try to ignore possible sarcasm in these questions and answer simply. Refers to post Here
Me: What? Me being sarcastic….Noooo 🙂

Me: Did matter always exist in the universe?
You: God began time. God created matter.
Me: Standard non-believer response…who or what created God?

Me: *Did God always exist in the universe?
You: No, God created time. God created the universe.
Me: Standard response, see above.

Me: Was there ‘nothingness’ everywhere that was filled up with a sentient cloud of electrons or atoms? Or was there absolutely nothing there…but, somehow, something…was a God?
You: There was God. Then he created.
Me: See above.

Me: Were we, and our universe, as we know it, purposely created to ‘glorify’ a cloud of sentient nothingness?
You:
We were created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Me: Again with the ‘glorify’ thing. What is it with all Gods that we have to glorify them? Doesn’t he realize that the human race has evolved away from the wide-eyed innocence that priests in the past could count on for easy obedience in the flock? The church leaders couldn’t come up with anything better than he needs to be glorified? God doesn’t need to be glorified. Satan doesn’t need to be glorified…this ‘glorified’ crap needs to be re-examined. It sounds like an easy way out of explaining a phenomenon that really needs to be re-examined in the light of our better understanding of the world, and the universe, and human motives. Besides, how is God’s wife (Asherah) going to feel, if we go around glorifying him and leave her out? J

Me: Are we even real? Could we be a dream that a cloud of nothingness is dreaming? Shades of Matrix 🙂
You: We are real. Interestingly, it is the Christian worldview which states that we are real and the laws of nature are unchanging that allows science to take place.
Me: Well, actually I was being a little sarcastic there. The laws of nature, so far, don’t need a God to explain things. They’re a little fuzzy on the very beginning of things, as even I will allow for the possibility of ‘God’ or something having started it (time…the universe), but after it was here, natural processes can account for everything. We still come back to the conundrum of who created the creator. “He was always there” doesn’t cut it in my humble estimation.

Me: Why would a God set up a paradise, with a snake/Satan that he knew would cause Eve to “Sin”? and Why was Satan…the sinner…even around then, or allowed to be in the garden?
You: God was not surprised. He allowed people to do what they did as part of His prearranged plan. God gets all the proper glory and credit in the end.
Me: So, let me get this straight; God, even in the beginning, was setting up this little plot to terrorize and murder mankind? He sets up this drama so the glory and credit will fall on him when we go through this horrible experience that is our human history? Man, that’s Evil with a capitol E. Who needs Satan when we have a God that can plot all of this from the beginning of time? *see asterisk below

Me: How was Satan even considered evil or sinful, when there was no evil or sin existing at the time?
You: Satan began to think of Himself like God. That was wrong. Through Adam the curse of sin entered mankind who was made in the image of God.
Me: Yea, those youngsters that we create get all full of themselves when they hit the teen years. We humans all seem to attribute anthropomorphism to our creations. If we are made in his image, I picture a 6’6″ human shape floating around in space, trying to figure out which end is up. Obviously not true that we are made in his image.

Me: Why was Satan even allowed to be around later in this fairy tale?
You: Not a fairy tale. However, see above comment on prearranged plan.
Me: *See above asterisked comment. That’s really Evil to plan something like that.

Me: Why would an intelligent cloud of nothingness set up the trap for his creations (us), knowing what the outcome would be? Isn’t that kind of like leaving a very sharp butcher knife in front of your one-year-old kid?
You: Not an intelligent cloud of nothingness. He is the Creator. He is God. See comment on prearranged plan.
Me: That God is Evil.

Me: Why would a God even create an evil being?
You: Does cold exist? It is the absence of heat. Does darkness exist? It is the absence of light. Does evil exist? It is the absence of God.
Me: I believe that is flawed logic. You are using physical phenomena that have no relationship to metaphysical reasoning. Yes there is good and evil in this world, and they are opposites in our logic. But, the absence of God does not mean all that’s left is evil? I have no sense of God in my mind, and I am far from evil. In my logic of un-belief, you really have no God directing your actions, and I believe you are probably not evil.

Me: Why is God so directly involved with the killing of so many humans?
You: I do not tell you what to do with your broken microwave. Please be respectful by not telling God how to initiate His justice against a rebellious creation.
Me: Well, the thing is…I’m one of the creatures that your God goes around indiscriminately killing and maiming with His Love. His ‘plan’ as described by various church leaders and evangelical civilians….sucks.

Me: Who tempted Satan to sin…why? If there was no sin before, what was the sin?
You: *Humans did not sin because they were tempted by Satan.* They did so because they chose to do so. You could say they were morally neutral unlike humans today who are inclined towards sin. I am speculating here as I have not done a study on it, but perhaps the angels were created morally neutral.
Me: * I’m sorry, did I miss something here? Didn’t Satan in the form of a snake, tempt Eve to take that fateful bite? Because he is an evil, arrogant, conniving, devilishly convincing fast talker. Here was poor Adam and Eve, literal ‘babes in the woods’ in a world that, to them, was brand new…they had no history to draw on, no instruction classes on the evil ways of some creatures, nothing to base critical decisions on. How gullible are we as young people…before we have had some bad experiences? And, if as you suggest earlier, this is just a pre-arranged plot…that’s just Evil.

Me: If there is no sin in heaven how did Satan sin? Do sins just pop-up, so to speak?
You: You have an incorrect presupposition. Take that away before reading this next sentence. Satan chose to have a rebellious attitude and thus sinned.
Me: Well we know from your exegesis that this was pre-arranged for him to act this way. He was destined from the moment of his creation to be sinful. So I guess God was just setting up this universe and us to be puppets in a play.

ME: What happens if we get to heaven and, God forgive…have a sinful thought?
You: Christians are born again and given a new nature. When in Heaven, there will be no sin. How exactly will that work? There are multiple theories, but I don’t think that is specifically laid out in the Bible. God created the universe. He can handle it.
Me: Ah, there it is. We are born again. The theory that explains it all.

Me: Since there is no visible heaven, will we be among the stars, on earth, another planet, or in our own imagination/minds?
You: Your question has a presupposition. Take that away before reading this next sentence. From my understanding, Earth will be restored and Christians will have access to it and Heaven while the unredeemed will be in Hell.
Me: So the earth will be like new again, and we (well…you) will live on it…and in heaven. Just Christians though. So approximately 40 to 80 billion souls will burn in hell?

Me: Where exactly do you think hell is, and why would a ‘loving God’ want to burn and torture people in it for eternity?
You: Hell is God’s place of justice. God is love. He loves life, therefore he hates murder, Love requires hate in a sense. God is loving and just, therefore Hell must exist. As it is just, it cannot be defined as torture.
Me: I’m sorry, but that’s some really bad logic there. 🙂 I’ll take the last part first: “As it is just, it cannot be defined as torture.” I think that’s what George Bush and Dick Cheney are rationalizing to themselves as they torture people. The rest of what you’re saying here is just so convoluted I can’t even wrap my brain around it enough to reply. I worry about your soul, in a metaphorical way.

Me: Did you ever examine your belief that Santa Claus is not real, and why you think that way? It’s because of the evidence…right?
You: Yes
Me: Give me something real.

Me: Do you Really believe that a ‘Universe Creating God’ would make up this little story of sin and redemption you claim we are all living?
You: No, I do not believe God would make up the story. It is not little either.
Me: You’re right; it’s not little. In most of the above discussion you assert that God did make up the conflict, from ‘the beginning.’ You’re trying to confuse me, right?

Me: Why do you still believe the Bible is the real inerrant word of a God, when you have been shown the many errors in it?
You: Your question has a presupposition. Examined correctly, there are no errors in the Bible. Secondly, I know the perfect God so His Word cannot error.
Me: “Examined correctly.” Those two words speak volumes about Christian Apologetics and the faith in general.

Me: Jesus was, without a doubt, preaching of the second coming of the ‘Kingdom of God’ in the near future, and here we are two thousand years later, still falling for it. Why?
You: People redeemed are part of God’s Kingdom. Christ’s return is coming soon in God’s accounting of time. Be ready.
Me: This doesn’t answer the question. Jesus was preaching the soon to come, new Kingdom of God, the second coming. Where is it? He said some of the same people he was preaching to would still be alive when it happened. If his words were inerrant, as all the words are (?), what happened?

Me: Evidence that believers cannot reach a consensus on the Bible (or the Koran for that matter) is found all over the Christian and Jewish communities. They disagree with each other…sometimes violently…over interpretations of their so-called Holy Script. That alone, is testament to the non-holy status of the Bible, and their sects founded on it. If the Bible and religion were true…the divisions would not even be there. The whole world would be under its sway.
You: You presuppose that if God wrote it, everybody would agree. You’re simply wrong on this point.
Me: Well, I think you’re wrong. 🙂 If there were a ‘True God’ out there in our world, the whole earth would know it, and the nightly network news would be doing interviews. That wouldn’t be something that would be denied in our world today…if the proofs were there. You have to step away from this little ‘Pre-planned By God’ drama. In the ancient world these mythical stories couldn’t be denied because not only wasn’t there enough knowledge about ‘things.’, but people were very gullible. They were not educated and hardly had knowledge of things further than their own horizons.
As people get educated and learn about the real world, these purposely planted superstitions fade away. There is no observable supernatural or magic phenomenon operating in our world. There is not any evidence or proofs that there ever was. A real God operating in our universe requires that magic be true…it isn’t.

Shalom

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Biblical Truth?

Christian theology and the Bible

It’s been roughly two thousand years since the birth of Jesus. In that time the Christian world has seen incredible changes. For nearly 1200 years the Catholic Church dominated all Christian worship. Rejection or skepticism of the Catholic Dogma was sometimes a death warrant. After the Protestant Reformation, core theology/Dogma changed dramatically, but the New Testament remained largely unchanged, even though it was assembled by the same leaders whose beliefs were now rejected.

When one looks through the many translations of the New Testament now available, you are struck by the differences in interpretations, and you can’t help but wonder about any personal notions about Christianity the interpreter may have inserted.

The native tongue of Jesus was Aramaic, and the oldest surviving texts are in Greek. Without any surviving Aramaic texts we have no record of Jesus’ actual words. All we truly have are subjective translations by an army of ancient scribes, and we have a gap of maybe three hundred years between actual writing and the surviving copies. With no printing presses at the time it is possible for many scribal errors to creep in, and many undoubtedly did. Pile this on top of historically recorded burnings and destructions of many early Christian writings and there is true reason for doubting the canonicity of what we have now.

Now people keep telling me that God made sure we have the true “word”, but I just have this nagging feeling after reading the many twists and turns that the Bible went through in its acceptance by the Catholics, whom I don’t trust at all in matters of theology, and consequent small changes by the new Protestants that something isn’t kosher.

Since 325 AD, Christianity; in its many permutations, has been closely allied with the civil leadership, be it theistic or not. It has mostly flourished and has sometimes been a force for good. However, as we all know, most wars that have ever been fought, somehow have a religious connection. The God of the Old Testament was figured to be directly responsible for over 20 million human deaths. The writings of Paul, after the death of Jesus were largely responsible for changing the face of the Christian OT God by directing attention away from Him, onto the much gentler message and folk theology of a thoroughly Jewish Messiah. Or it just may be Paul’s personal interpretation of Jesus’ message.

The first four chapters in modern NT were accepted fairly early on by most Christian congregations, and were formalized by Bishop Irenæus about 185 AD. The rest of the NT was relatively slow to materialize, as various combinations of epistles, and letters were tried by different congregations to fit into their own particular understanding of the message of Jesus.

The Catholic congregation was one of the dozens of denominations vying for supremacy in the Christian world, pre-Constantine. When Constantine made Catholicism the state religion of Rome, all other divisions of Christianity were branded heretical. It was in the year 367 AD with the Epistle of Athanasius that the Church finally agreed on which writings were “authentic” and formed the official “canon” of the New Testament we know today. Other writings were destroyed by the new “official” religion of the western world.

Is it just me, or are the stories we have leading up to a Canonized Bible seem more like a political contest than a divine ascension of the true God to moral and religious leadership of the world?

As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, after two thousand years…you would think God would somehow manage to assert his true self and the desired manner that we humans should “glorify” Him. After all He managed to establish the official True Word, didn’t He? Instead we are still killing each other in His name. Still arguing about the miniscule details and hopeless mish-mash of contradictory writings. This is a sign that something is truly wrong there.

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Is The Christian Trinity Real?

Hi daymore,

In response to your Feb. 28, 2008 reply:
I am posting a reply to you in a regular column. I hope you don’t mind.

You write to my question of the trinity: “About trinity I can’t explain it to you. I can’t explain how telepathy works either. But I know it works. I live with many other mystries in life. Do you have answers to all questions about life that you live with, like how the food that you eat becomes blood and marrow? If you decide to eat only after you could explain fully how metabolism works, I bet you’ll never be able to eat.”

I don’t need explanation for digestion; that has been explained very adequately by doctors. Nor for telepathy, as I swear my wife can read my mind. The Trinity has not been.

You are basically saying to me that the Trinity is a mystery and could not be explained to me. I don’t care for the mumbo-jumbo I have been given as an answer to this question by you and others… I mean that in a nice way…perhaps I might explain it to you. 🙂

Matt. 26:39, “Going a little farther he [Jesus Christ] fell on his face and prayed, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

If the Father and the Son were not distinct individuals, such a prayer would have been meaningless. Jesus would have been praying to himself, and his will would of necessity have been the Father’s will.)

John 8:17, 18, “[Jesus answered the Jewish Pharisees:] In your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true; I bear witness to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me.”

So, Jesus definitely spoke of himself as being an individual separate and distinct from the Father.

Acts 7:55, 56 reports that Stephen was given a vision of heaven in which he saw “Jesus standing at God’s right hand.”

John 14:28, “[Jesus said:] If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.”

Matthew 27:54, But the army officer and those with him watching over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things happening, grew very much afraid, saying: “Certainly this was God’s Son.”

The fact is, the word “trinity” does not even once occur in the Holy Bible. Nor are such expressions as “one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” or “one substance with the Father,” found in the Bible. To the contrary, the Bible speaks of Christ as “the beginning of the creation by God,” and says, “The head of the Christ is God.” (Rev. 3:14; 1 Cor. 11:3) Thus, the New Catholic Encyclopedia says of the Trinity: “It is not, as already seen, directly and immediately the word of God.”-Volume 14, page 304.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia also states: “The formulation ‘one God in three Persons’ was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title the Trinitarian dogma. Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective.”-(1967), Vol. XIV, p. 299.

The New Encyclopædia Britannica says: “Neither the word Trinity, nor the explicit doctrine as such, appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Old Testament: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord’ (Deut. 6:4). . . . The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies. . . . By the end of the 4th century . . . the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since.”-(1976), Micropædia, Vol. X, p. 126.

The Encyclopedia Americana says: “Christianity derived from Judaism, and Judaism was strictly Unitarian [believing that God is one person]. The road that led from Jerusalem to Nicea was scarcely a straight one. Fourth century Trinitarianism did not reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God; it was, on the contrary, a deviation from this teaching.”-(1956), Vol. XXVII, p. 294L.

My interpretation of all of the above is that there is no “Trinity,” it is all made up; and men, specifically Early Catholic hierarchy, were the makeupees. This was done in the 4th. century AD, is not mentioned in either testament…I doubt it’s true.

Now perhaps you could try again. There are too many discrepancies going on in that Bible, or at least people seem to keep making them up.

Also, where in the Bible does it mention “rapture?” But, that’s for another time.

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