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Everything posted by Blood

  1. I believe "Judeo-Christian" is a modern (post-1920s) construction. Nobody from 100 to 1900 talked about "Judeo-Christian values." The main appeal of Christianity is that they were better than the Jews. They were the real chosen people, not the Jews. They (in their minds) triumphed over the Jews. The Bible was written by Jews for Jews. Unfortunately, they made the serious error of evangelizing (never a good idea), and brought in some Greeks and Latins ("Gentiles") to the fold at a certain point. After awhile, some of this faction decided that while the texts themselves were pretty cool, the whole "Jewish" aspect of the religion had to be whitewashed. There were no copyright laws in those days. So they essentially not only stole the main intellectual property of the Jews (which would have been bad enough), they compounded the theft by audaciously writing new scriptures that demonized the Jews. These actions have been the main source for the schizophrenia of the West for the last 2,000 years.
  2. I haven't read the book, but I think about this subject often. A big part of the problem, in my opinion, is the interpretation of who "the founders" of the United States are, and the decision to omit the previous 170 years of social evolution from the discussion, as if that epoch was irrelevant to what happened in the 1770s-80s. Some of the early migrants to North America were leaving England or Holland for religious reasons. The Separatists ("Pilgrims") left Holland, where there was religious toleration, for Plymouth, along with other non-members of their sect. The Separatists were highly religious and idealistic. But their tiny sect didn't last in North America. The Puritans left England because of ongoing hostility to their rebellious ways by the Stuart kings. They were much more successful in the new world than the Separatists. The Massachusetts Bay Colony that they founded flourished despite rigid rules and no toleration for other sects. Still, Puritanism was not evangelical, they did not try to spread their faith and it remained limited to their region, and not influential outside of it. The main settlers of Virginia and Carolina were Anglicans, who were strongly opposed to the Puritans. The settlers of Pennsylvania were Quakers, a liberal form of Christianity from northern England. They were opposed to the Puritans and Anglicans, but had a high degree of tolerance for all religions. Most of these sects were opposed to Catholicism, which was illegal to practice in 10 out of 13 colonies before the war. So, in most cases, the main people establishing local governments in North America were doing so under the pretense of some form of Christianity. These sects were at odds with one another. They had no intention of ever "uniting" with one another. The whole purpose of their migration was to establish autonomy for their sect, with no oversight from the Church of England. The sole exceptions being Virginia and Carolina. There was no thought whatsoever about ecumenicism with the other sects colonizing North America in most cases. All of these sects were opposed to monarchy except the Anglicans in Virginia and Carolina. So the ideology of the American Revolution was ever-present from 1620 onward. The Great Awakening was a revival movement in the 1700s that ignited religious enthusiasm throughout the land. The point of all this is to demonstrate that North America from 1607-1787 was deeply immersed in a multiplicity of Christian sects, ideas, and enthusiasms. The "separation of church and state" was not necessary because if you didn't like the religious authority in one area, you were free to migrate to another area, or move to the hinterlands and start your own religion. The people are "the founders" of the United States, not a few elected officials who met in Philadelphia in 1787. So it doesn't matter what the religious ideas of the latter are. The people had already broken from the king of England in 1620. The only thing "founded" in 1789 (after the new Constitution was ratified) was a central government with unlimited taxation powers, a court system, and a small standing army. No national church was founded, but that is a trivial point since there never was anyone calling for such a thing, and the vast majority practiced some form of Christianity. The majority of people were still Puritans (Congregationalists), Anglicans (Episcopalians), Baptists, Quakers, Methodists, etc. These are the ones referred to as "we the people" in the Constitution of 1787. They were the ones who ratified the new Constitution. Had the Puritans (for example) seen the new Constitution as a threat to their religious authority in Eastern Massachusetts, they surely would have voted it down. Very few people saw the new central government as being, in any way, hostile to Christianity. The personal opinions of a few people who drafted the document was irrelevant.
  3. The colonists' rebellion was illegal. But they never agreed to be militarily occupied after the French and Indian War concluded. Those kinds of things tend to stir resentment toward authority. Resentment translates into political action, and political action sometimes cannot be resolved through peaceful means.
  4. "The Confederacy" was an illegal enterprise. Statehood was granted to each new state by the original 13 states with the legal agreement that they would exist as singular political bodies subservient to the supremacy clause of the Constitution. The moment that a "Confederacy" was formed, they had broken the law and they no longer had any rights. You arrest people who break the law, or else the law is rendered meaningless.
  5. I get the impression that most American Christians believe in "the elect" theology, whether or not they belong to a "Calvinist" sect, or even know what Calvinism is.
  6. That's my perspective as well. The Bible is basically just Hellenized "Epic of Gilgamesh" fan fiction, plus some pseudo-philosophy from some eccentric people. The kind of stuff Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels would have written if he'd lived in ancient times.
  7. The Gospel of Mark doesn't read like oral history at all. He's just intertextually re-writing Greek Old Testament stories with some Homeric bits. And if the other gospels take Mark as their base text, that means they aren't oral history either. All religions consist of made-up stories intended to keep people in awe. Christianity's no different.
  8. The most surprising aspect of the Bible is that a significant number of people were willing to go to the trouble of copying it down, word for word, year after year, century after century. Why? Why did people allow the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Enuma Elish to fade into dust, forgotten, but not the Bible? Texts live a very fragile existence. It's astonishing that people didn't simply give up copying it down at a certain point. The second most significant aspect of the Bible is that non-Jews were strongly attracted to it, even though it is clearly written solely for Jews. That's very strange. Why the attraction? If there was similar attraction to other religious texts, we have no record of it. We have no record of Greeks appropriating the holy scriptures of Syrians or Persians, even though they were deeply interested in the Persians. There must have been a large number of people who played significant roles in this process, but we have no idea who they were, why they did it, when they did it, or where this process occurred. The appropriation of the Hebrew Bible by non-Jews is the most shocking example of intellectual property theft in world history. Not simply for the theft, but for having the audacity to demonize Jews in the process. There is no parallel to this crime in ancient or modern history.
  9. It isn't surprising that 1 Corinthians 13 is cited so often, as it is one of the very few passages in the entire New Testament that has any philosophic or literary value. That's not very impressive when you consider that Shakespeare, for example, has hundreds of passages of profound meaning, and he wasn't claiming to be a god or inspired by a god. 98% of the Pauline epistles sounds like they were written in a lunatic asylum by a deranged psychopath. It's cultic psycho-babble meant to instill fear, paranoia and guilt on the reader or listener.
  10. The author certainly makes it clear that fundamentalist Christianity = political conservatism. The Senate majority is Republicans, and Republicans are the instruments of God's will.
  11. This sums it all up beautifully. The evolution from "Invisible people in the sky" to "fewer invisible people in the sky" = "rationalism" to primitive modern minds. This is probably the biggest delusion of all.
  12. That's pretty scary to think about.
  13. I think Gnosticism's pretty interesting, too. The historical/social context of all this is highly elusive, but I think early Christianity was basically a pop culture trend in the first century, not too different than the Egyptomania fad in 19th century Europe, or the spiritualism fad later in the same century. The early ekklesia were philosophy clubs where the Greek Bible was discussed along with philosophy and literature. The Gnostics were on the philosophical side of things and took a cynical view of the world. The people who made up the Latin church were not philosophical; they were lawyers (like Tertullian) interested in establishing a hierarchal chain-of-command in which a Bishop held ultimate authority. The Gnostics were anti-authoritarians. A modern analogy would be Southern Baptists vs. the Quakers. The Southern Baptist theology is based on strict rules, fear, fundamentalism, fear of non-Baptists, obedience, and so on. The Quaker theology is based on a Gnostic-like "inner light" theology, freedom of will, freedom of choice, acceptance of different religions and races, and so on.
  14. I think he did use his real name. This was a couple years back.
  15. There's a guy on the Internet, Tim O'Neill, who does that as a full-time job. He joined this forum once just to bash Carrier, because somebody posted a video.
  16. They will go to great lengths to argue that no, Jesus is totally different from all previous religious deities. I like Herodotus' explanation for the resurrection of Zalmoxis: he built a secret apartment underground and lived there for three years before emerging and announcing that he had returned from the dead.
  17. OK, that makes sense. "According to the number of Elohim." The idea was that there were 72 nations and El-Elyon had appointed one god for each nation. Unfortunately, no list of the 72 god names survives, as far as I know. I'm not sure Yahweh would have even been conceived of yet during the late Bronze/early Iron Age period when this theology was formulated.
  18. Yes. The article has some good information, despite the author's bias. That's true of a lot of historical writing by Christians.
  19. Good article, despite the unedited OCR scanning making nonsense of non-English word patterns. I didn't quite understand why "Elohim" is rendered as "Myhilox." I was jolted when I reached this passage: "What logical correlation was Moses making when he wrote in verse 8 that God "set the bounds of the people according to the number of the chil- dren of Israel" and then made the concluding observation in verse 9 that "the LORD's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance" (NIV)?" The author believes Moses wrote Deuteronomy? You don't see that assertion made in the scholarly literature very much these days. The author must be a fundamentalist. The article says, "Michael S. Heiser is a Ph.D. candidate in Hebrew and Semitic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison." So, fundamentalists who believe Moses wrote the Torah are not just limited to Southern Bible colleges.
  20. Does that refer to the Tower of Babylon? I thought it was just a general statement. Once again, modern English translations are garbage for passages like this because they conflate "Most High," "God, and "Lord," which makes it incoherent. Most High = El-Elyon, the father of all the gods God = Yahweh, one of the sons of El-Elyon So Deu 32 is mixed up. It seems like it should say, "according to the number of the sons of El-Elyon," rather than "sons of God (Yahweh)." El-Elyon was the god with sons, not Yahweh, until New Testament imagineers conceived of that idea. So for this passage to be coherent, the original probably said something like, "according to the number of the sons of El-Elyon / but Yahweh's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage."
  21. I said, you are Elohim You are all sons of El-Elyon But you will die like mere mortals you will fall like every other ruler Rise up, o Yahweh, judge the earth for all nations are your inheritance. This passage makes no sense. Being sons of the Most High God meant that they were immortal. It also clearly shows that Yahweh was conceived of as one of the sons of El-Elyon. Yahweh was the "son of God."
  22. 1. The Bible 2. The Koran Everything else is child's play. These two books will literally drive you insane.
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