Truth Honesty And The American Way

“The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment. I call on all nations to speak out against torture in all its forms and to make ending torture an essential part of their diplomacy.” -– George W. Bush, 2003

George Bush is a right wing evangelical fundamentalist dupe.

Happy 4th of July and thank goodness we can rotate our leaders.

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Torture is Prohibited by Law Throughout the United States

In 1998 the United States reported to the United Nations that the following is our pledge to the UN Convention Against Torture.

Torture is prohibited by law throughout the United States. It is categorically denounced as a matter of policy and as a tool of state authority. Every act constituting torture under the Convention constitutes a criminal offense under the law of the United States. No official of the government, federal, state or local, civilian or military, is authorized to commit or to instruct anyone else to commit torture. Nor may any official condone or tolerate torture in any form. No exceptional circumstances may be invoked as a justification of torture.” I added the bold to some text

“Except when WE want to”– George Bush…I just made that up, but it probably adequately describes what really happened. I heard that at least 10 other treaties were tossed aside for the Bush/Cheney war on civilization.

The United States has a very long history of making accords, pacts, treaties, deals, and solemn promises and almost universally and immediately breaking said accords, pacts, deals, treaties, etc.  Talk to the native Americans, I don’t think ANY of the treaties we made with them were honored and we continued to steal what is theirs right up to today.  We look good on paper, but don’t count on any promises we make as a country. Do as we say…don’t do as we do.

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Seizing Power

Quote of the day

“The (Republicans and Democrats) Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”  llewrO egroeG

How weird, I keep having these dreams about Lipton’s Tea.

If you accidentally unintentionally disrespect Mohammad in any way  the Muslims will want to kill you…be careful.

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God…Bad Jesus…Good

God has a hissy fit. He still hasn’t learned to stay out of Hebrew affairs
Leviticus 26:27-34
” ‘If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters. I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you. I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings. I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled. I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins.”

1 Chronicles 21:14
“So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men.” These were innocents by the way.

Somehow I’m missing the love here.

Hosea 13:16
“The people of Samaria must bear the consequences of their guilt because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords.” I think I’m going to be sick here. Are we seeing the love yet?

These, of course, are just a few of the scriptures that illustrate the love that courses throughout the OT part of the Bible. How people can read past these things and not be suspicious of the supposed God behind them is beyond me.

Is it any wonder that Paul, in his New Testament takeover, quickly steers the focus of the faithful away from this Old Testament Ogre, and into the different world vision of his supposed encounter with Jesus on the road (in a beam of light) to Damascus. Using the established OT world vision that many/most people of that culture were acquainted with, and building a new mythology, a new religion based on a kinder, gentler God image. Jesus…a God of Love…yea, that’s the ticket. Well, he didn’t really work out Jesus being God…that had to wait until the Catholics got into power. The early theology was a little rough and had to be tweaked a bit to make it more believable

I think Paul was looking around at all the religious fervor going on in his time, and got to thinking that if he could somehow meld the established OT religion (which Jesus was espousing) into the new mold of a milder spiritual personality that didn’t go around killing, raping, and torturing …he just might achieve lifetime employment for himself. The apostles didn’t seem to be doing much with their inheritance, why not fudge a little and scoop up this opportunity and run with it.

The concept of ‘original sin’ was pure genius on his part. Oh, the possibilities of this for sermons, placing guilt on the masses, and solidifying his place in history. A new concept that heretofore was not even thought of or mentioned in OT writings, or by Jesus, and he was able…by himself… to get it accepted by the theologians and common folk. What a guy.

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Religion and Slavery

A person who often replies to this blog…and me…are in a discussion on slavery in the Bible.

I feel that by condoning the practice in many places in the Scripture, the Bible is letting us know that Christianity and the Bible is not ‘Divinely Inspired’ or the actual work of a God.

For those who want to look it up, here are a few places to go:

Exodus 21:4-6 Guidelines for buying, selling, treatment, etc.
Deuteronomy 15:15-17 Handle your maid slaves
Exodus 21:7-9 Sell your daughters into.
Joel 3:8 Sell off your sons and daughters
1 Timothy 6:1-2 Masters are worthy of honor
Matthew 10:24 and John 13:16 Masters are better, maid slaves be submissive in ALL ways
Ephesians 6:5 and Colossians 3:22 ‘Slaves obey your master’
10 Commandments, numbers 4 and 10 recognize and therefore give tacit approval to slavery.
Matthew 8:5-13 Jesus heals Roman centurions slave while praising centurion.
Luke 12:47 Jesus recommends the beating of slaves.
Matthew 24-25 Jesus reminds slaves they are not better than their masters.
Neither the Old nor New Testament condemns slavery. By not condemning, there is tacit approval given.

There is Christian Apologetics out there that try to minimize what they were teaching and practicing.
It took secular leaders and common people to finally get together and condemned it. As you know a war was fought over it…surely a God would know this, and put a verse in the Bible to call Christians together to end slavery…never happened.

If you put yourself into the position of the writers of the Scripture and realize that they were brought up seeing slavery all around them. Their fathers and grandfathers and so on were brought up with the practice all around them. Some of them were slaves maybe. There was no thought that slavery is a BAD (unless you were one) thing…that a God would not allow it, or condone it. So they wrote slavery into the Bible as common everyday stuff.

One of the lines of apologetics for slavery follows:

Another crucial point is that the purpose of the Bible is to point the way to salvation, not to reform society.” http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-slavery.html

I believe that yes…religion, God, and the Bible’s purpose IS to reform; not only society, but also man himself. This Bible is used all the time as an example to reform man and society. Jesus was set up to be a shining example of how a human should be.

So the Hebrews did not realize when they wrote their ‘holy text’ that slavery wasn’t normal, it wasn’t a Godlike thing to do, and a real God would not condone enslavement. This of course speaks to the Bible not being inspired by God, but written by man.

And lets not forget all those Old Testament babies being bashed against the walls, and the pregnant women being run through with a sword…at God’s direction. No amount of apologetics can explain these actions as the works of a loving God.

The only reasonable explanations for all of the carnage, rape, murder, torture, and slavery that is recorded by the old Hebrew scribes and Paul is…it is a product of human minds…not a God creature.

“Once there was a time when all people believed in God, and the church ruled. This time is called the Dark Ages.”

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Biblical Inerrancy?

No book of ancient times has come down to us exactly as it left the hands of its author- all have been in some way altered. ”
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14530a.htm

So what does this say about Bible inerrancy for today’s evangelical fundamentalists?  We know that the Catholic Church had unhindered and exclusive access to early Christian writings after about c315-325 CE.  They absolutely controlled what was canonized and passed on, and what was considered heresy (didn’t agree with them) so they could burn or suppress (and they did both) anything they wanted.  They also controlled the scribes and approved copies.

We also know that Eusebius was heavily involved with the picking and choosing of what was included, and was commissioned by Emperor Constantine, sometime after 325 CE, to produce 50 copies of a Bible to send to churches. It is believed that the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus are surviving examples. This also marked the first time the Old Testament and New Testament were produced together.

Most real Biblical scholars agree that Scripture has been edited to agree with the Catholic dogma, or the scribes particular bent, and there can be found alterations made by later Protestants. We can go online to Bible Gateway at: http://www.biblegateway.com/ and find 20 different English versions of The Book, and there can be found very subtle differences that can totally alter the thought or meaning.

We have no existing-original writings of the early Biblical authors. Many of the writers whose name appears in the headings today did not actually write them. Nothing original left to compare modern versions to.  So all of the modern interpretations have to be taken on ‘faith’ 🙂  We also know from extensive histories, that interpretations have varied…in *very large ways…from the time of Jesus to modern days. There is no continuity or consistency to this so-called ‘God’s Word’ or consistency of dogma or worship.  Would this be the hallmark of a real God? Is this a Godly enterprise?  Or could it be made-up by man?  Maybe the real god is ‘out there’ or ‘in there’, waiting to be discovered.

I find it hard to muster up that much faith and enthusiasm for what appears to be a major scam.

*Polygamy, slavery, rights of kings, second class feminine, right of ‘The Church’ to torture and kill in the name of God, etc.   Human slavery is the worst thing a God could have ever sanctioned. There can be no excuse for that little mistake…when this was included as a Godly thing; the Hebrew scribes at that point proved there is no God…in my humble opinion.

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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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