Dying/Resurrection God Myths

Death and resurrection myths were common to several cultures some 2,000-3,000 years ago:

The Greeks had their Dionysus, the half god/half mortal who was ripped to shreds by angry and agenda driven Titans, only to be reassembled and resurrected to become one of the most revered and influential gods of the Grecian culture; as well as being the only Greek god who ever descended to the realm of death and successfully raised another from the dead; when he rescued his deceased mother from the underworld.

Asia Minor had Attis, who castrated himself on his wedding day and bled to death under a pine tree, only to be raised from the dead before and without suffering decay.

Egypt had Osiris, who in spite of being suffocated to death in a box, floated “down the river” in his coffin, and mutilated; was nonetheless reassembled in order to reign as the king of the underworld and to serve as the Judge of the eternal fate of the deceased.

Canaan had Baal; the son of God (El, aka Dagon); who was killed, banished to the netherworld; presumed dead; raised up and restored to his throne and rightful position as Lord and Master.

The Hebrews had Jesus; the half god/half mortal son of God who was executed by crucifixion; only to be raised from the dead before his body suffered decay; and soon thereafter to ascend to heaven in order to reign at the right hand of God before eventually judging the eternal fate of the deceased.

Observations:

Every god listed above; without exception, was alleged to have died and subsequently spent time in the underworld/realm of death, before being resurrected to live again.

Every god listed above; with one exception, served as the god of fertility/vegetation of his respective culture.  The lone exception being the Hebrew dying/rising from the dead god Jesus.

Every culture listed above; with one exception, associated the mythical tale of the miraculous death and subsequent resurrection of their respective dying/rising gods primarily with agricultural and natural experiences such as the annual dying and seasonal revival of crops, and the daily departure and cyclical return of the sun.  The lone exception being the Hebrew culture with reference to their dying/rising from the dead god Jesus.

The Hebrew culture in fact have seemingly “flipped” the perspective in that they associate the natural death and rebirth of crops with the miraculous death, burial, and resurrection of their dying/rising from the dead god Jesus (John 12:24,27); as opposed to vice versa.

The primary concern then of most of the cultures listed above seems to have been the natural practical matter of survival based upon the fertility of agriculture and the stability of the environment.  The exceptions being the Hebrew culture, and to an extent the Egyptians.

The primary concern of the Hebrew culture on the other hand seems to have been the supernatural spiritual matter of salvation based upon faith in the details of their myth of the death, burial, and miraculous resurrection of their god/man Jesus; and furthermore faithful obedience to set doctrines relative to the myth itself (namely; baptism and ceremonial worship).

The Egyptian culture seems to have assumed a hybrid perspective with regards to their mythical dying/rising god tale in that they associated Osiris with both the natural practicalities of survival based upon the dying and returning of crops; and yet likewise associated Osiris with one’s supernatural afterlife state by portraying Osiris as the judge of the deceased in the underworld.

Speculations:

The fact that these tales of dying/rising gods are usually associated with practical natural matters leads me to view such as cultural myths whose agenda related to everyday “here and now” affairs.

The fact that the Hebrew dying/rising god myth seems to be somewhat uniquely a primarily and fundamentally supernatural/afterlife agenda based tale, leads me to view such as a party driven myth, as opposed to one whose concerns represented any given culture as a general whole.

History would seem to indicate that the party(s) so referenced would be the early Christian movements (Gnostic Christian, Marcionite Christian, Jewish Christian, and early Catholic Church come to mind.  Early Christianity was split into a variety of philosophic factions; 1 Cor 1:12).

Regardless of whether the agenda be practical or philosophical, the nature of the tales and the scope of the exercise of mythical creation and circulation leads me to conclude that no one dying/rising god myth is in fact historic and/or true.  (This is not to say that any claims of historicity relative to any such myths are efforts to deceive or are lies as such; this is merely to say that all such myths are creations of the human imagination for a variety of heretofore mentioned reasons, and therefore not to be confused as fact. Or so it seems to me).

Conclusion:

It seems that the value of any given cultural/party agenda based myth would surely be for the most part specific to the demographic of the given culture and/or concerned party who maintained a vested interest in each respective tale.

Clearly, most of the dying/rising god myth tales taught reverence for and respect of the earth and the environment; if for no other reason than one’s own survival (A lesson which would do our society an element of good in my personal opinion).

The Egyptian Osiris and the Hebrew Jesus dying/rising from the dead myths no doubt counseled a degree of respectable lifestyle and social engagement, as each involved a post life judgment relative to how the deceased had conducted their earthly lives.

Regardless then of the alleged historicity of a given cultural/party agenda based myth, suffice it to say that the value of such is somewhat relative to the perspective of the individual.

Dave Henderson

Denison, Texas

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On Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny is the myth that with God on “our side”,  meanness is permissible and even the most cruel means to a desired end are justifiable.

The basic theory of Manifest Destiny is that “with God on our side” a given people can do whatever they want on the premise that by so doing they are fulfilling “God’s will”.  The end always justifies the means because the doing of the deed is allegedly the execution of “God’s will”.

The bottom line is the theory that war crimes and wicked deeds are justified so long as God is “on our side”.

Manifest Destiny is by no means a new concept.  The theory dates back as far as written history itself records beliefs in deities and regional conquests for gain.  The former has historically been utilized to justify the latter.

Manifest Destiny was the justification for the indiscriminate and inhumane slaughtering of men, women, children, and even animals at Jericho by the Joshua lead Israeli Army as recorded in Joshua 6 of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)

Manifest Destiny was the justification of the slaughter of the Midianite men, women, and children; and the subsequent capture of the virgin girls to be taken as sex slaves by the Israeli Army as commanded by Moses and as recorded in Numbers 31 of the Hebrew Bible.

Manifest Destiny was the justification for the exploitation of the gentleness and the generosity of the Indigenous people of the Caribbean by Columbus when he stumbled upon the proverbial gold mine of the Caribbean Islands in search of the Americas.  Clearly, it was God’s will that Columbus get lost and land at the wrong spot, thereby allowing Columbus and his men to enslave the gentle natives to rape their own land in search of gold for Columbus to take back as a peace offering (bribe?) to the queen to pacify her and to justify his less than efficient navigational skills (Speaking of rape of the land, there was even more literal rape as well; but as we have already seen from the Old Testament, rape is by no means taboo when executing God’s will.  Manifest Destiny does allow for certain “spoils for the victors”; a concept that the biblical hero Moses had understood all too well).

Manifest Destiny was the justification for the slaughter of the Native Americans and the stealing of their land by the undocumented Euromaniacs who illegally invaded this land and immorally stole it from the Indigenous people whom they subjugated, slaughtered, and displaced.  Indeed our country itself was founded by illegal immigration and immoral means; but when God is on your side, the means of meanness are mere utility to the doing of His will.

Manifest Destiny was the justification for the cruel and lethal slave trade and the institutional slavery which resulted from the very process itself.  The ignorant theory being that people of color are inferior beings, and thus it was clearly God’s will that Africans be utilized to effect the means of superior minds in accord with the manifest plan of the Almighty God Himself.  (Even today, the ignorant and thoughtless statement is made that Blacks are better off now because they were brought to America from Africa as though institutional slavery and Jim Crow racism are somehow an “upgrade” and a justification for uprooting people from their homeland, inhumanely cramming them onto ships, then enslaving the ⅓ of the people who actually survived the trip.  The ignorance of those who maintain the theory of Manifest Destiny is all too oftentimes matched by the thoughtless and insensitive arrogance of the same).

Manifest Destiny was the justification for dropping the Atomic bomb not only once but TWICE on the same nation, killing almost a quarter of a million people, mainly innocent civilians.  When I was in public school I was taught that the killing of those quarter of a million people in Japan saved lives by ending the war, but only faith in Manifest Destiny could be so irrational.  The untold misery upon the Japanese people is still commonly thought to be a justifiable act of war by those who are able to justify in their own deluded minds such atrocities in the name of an allegedly benevolent God.

Even now Manifest Destiny is the justification by the radical Christian terrorists known as The Lord’s Resistance Army who have kidnapped, maimed, and  tortured in order to convert the people of Africa in their quest to impose the Bible’s Ten Commandments as the law of the land.  They have kidnapped girls in order to have wives, and they have murdered those who refuse to convert since their reign of terror began in the late 1980’s and continues even now.  And they do so because they believe that God is on their side.  In other words they believe that their barbaric deeds are justified as a matter of Manifest Destiny.

Even now Manifest Destiny is the justification by the radical Islamic terrorists known as The Islamic State who have kidnapped, maimed, and  tortured in order to convert the people of Syria and Iraq in their quest to impose the teachings of radical Islam as the law of the land.  They have kidnapped girls in order to have wives, and they have murdered those who refuse to convert since their reign of terror began about a year ago,  and continues even now.  And they do so because they believe that Allah is on their side.  In other words they believe that their barbaric deeds are justified as a matter of Manifest Destiny.

And so on and on the madness and the malevolence of the human race continues.  And so continues the theory that war crimes and wicked deeds are justified so long as God is “on our side”.

Perhaps such is merely the Manifest Destiny of humanity.

Dave Henderson

Denison, Texas

Denton, Texas Demonstrates Democracy In Action; Bans Fracking!!!

Last night yielded questionable results for the American people in the Senate, but there was a major victory for Democracy in Denton, Texas!!

I am so proud of my daughter Cassie Henderson and the entire community of Denton for standing up to big oil and big money by exercising Democracy in Action by voting to ban fracking in their town.

This grassroots effort was David vs Goliath; a community of concerned citizens versus the money of big oil and the fracking industry.

Goliath spent the money and spread the misinformation.

Goliath threatened to and no doubt will sue the City of Denton for the sins of the citizens.

And what were the sins of the citizens of Denton, Texas?

The sins of the citizens of Denton, Texas is that they refused to be economically terrorized, bullied, and pushed around by Goliath.

The citizens of Denton, Texas refused to bow the knee to Baal by meekly submitting to the will of the fracking industry.

The citizens of Denton put five rocks in the sling, and confronted the mighty, loud mouthed Goliath; but it only took one rock and a lot of collective effort to get the job done.

The people of Denton, Texas demonstrated, held concerts, performed informative and thought provoking plays (Cassie’s significant role was via this venue), wrote letters, and basically banded together against the fracking industry, and THEN….

They went to the Polls on Election Day and collectively said HELL NO to the fracking industry and big oil.

Denton, Texas has won a victory for clean air, clean water, and for the environment.

And in the process Denton, Texas has demonstrated to America what Democracy is and how Democracy functions.

Thank you Denton, Texas for showing the rest of America how Democracy can work for the people and for the planet against greed and big business!!!!

Dave Henderson

Denison, Texas

On Offensive Mascots

As of late, the topic of “offensive mascots” in sports has resurfaced, specifically with reference to the Washington Redskins. Although this topic oftentimes circulates, there seems to be very little action taken towards changing the name of questionable mascots. Yet the controversy abounds, as evidenced by the recent Native American demonstration outside the nationally televised Dallas-Washington Monday night football game in Texas.

Invariably, (and predictably) people tend to opine quite passionately on each side of this issue when the topic arises. The arguments vary from allusions to tradition and history by those who wish to maintain the “status quo”, to accusations of bigotry and racism by those who are calling for changes to be made. The “maintain status quo” crowd claims the groups calling for mascot name changes are being overly sensitive. The “make name changes” crowd claims that those who cling to questionable mascots are being insensitive.

Who is right?
Who is wrong?

Let us consider the perspective of “the maintain status quo” crowd.

I can well recall my perspective when I first became aware that there even was an issue relative to team mascots. I thought the whole debate was simply ridiculous. I had grown up a baseball fan, and in particularly was taken with Hank Aaron, the great Atlanta Braves slugger who eventually broke Babe Ruth’s career home run record. As Hammerin’ Hank neared the record, the role of the longtime Braves’ mascot Chief Noc-A-Homa took on a more than significant meaning to baseball fans of the early ‘70s. In fact, during the period of time en route to Aaron’s eventual overtaking of The Babe on the All Time Home Run list, Chief Noc-A-Homa was perhaps the best known and most beloved of all baseball mascots.

I had likewise attended Texas Rangers baseball games in my home community of DFW, and more than once I had the opportunity to watch them compete against the Cleveland Indians. It never occurred to me when I saw the Chief Wahoo caricature on the opposition’s caps that such was somehow insensitive or offensive. I merely wanted my Rangers to beat the visiting Cleveland club. The image of the Native American with the silly looking grin on his face was of no concern to me one way or the other.

Such is the perspective of the unaffected and the historically biased with regards to racial insensitivity. Unfortunately, such is the perspective of conditioned ignorance which can lead to selective insensitivity.

I myself unwittingly maintained a historic bias with regards to racially insensitive mascots and logos.

My historical bias was of course that of a sports fan. My perspective was to view mascots such as Atlanta’s Chief Noc-A-Homa and Cleveland’s Chief Wahoo as merely an aspect of the sports fan experience. I never would have thought to associate Chief Noc-A-Homa’s Tee Pee in the stands as making fun of or insensitive towards the Native American people. Nor would I have thought of the silly grin on Chief Wahoo’s face as somehow disrespectful towards or demeaning of Native American persons. But the reason for my clueless perspective was that I was viewing such through the prism of a sports fan with no depth of thought as to unintended effect.

But my thinking on the matter was likewise clouded by yet another historical bias. For my historical bias as to offensive mascots was not only that of a sports fan, but likewise my historical bias was that of being the product of a less racially sensitive time than even now.

Granted, the ‘60s and ‘70s (my school years) were times of growth, maturity, and progress with reference to race relations. Yet, those were likewise times of awkwardness, frustration, and insensitivity towards minorities as caucasians and minorities alike adjusted to the concept of social equality. Now in some ways these were mere “growing pains”, yet there was an undercurrent of a more problematic nature which made the transition uncomfortable and in some cases unbearable for minorities in general. There were doubtless positive strides made towards social equality, but looking back I think we were more slow to be SENSITIVE to the feelings of minorities in the process than we likely realized. Frankly, there was a sense of condescension as minorities were allowed to “come on board” so to speak, that left an impression that we caucasians were doing some sort of favor for African Americans and others by accepting them onto the same side of the street, into the same public schools, and yes; even into the same public restrooms. Consequently, there was undoubtedly an intensified frustration for minorities who were being “allowed” into a mainstream public, when that public included restaurants with names like Sambos and where influential city personnel and public officials had lawn ornaments of little black boys with white hats and silly grins.

The transition of race relations in the ‘60s and ‘70s was frankly slow and tedious, and our thinking was unfortunately still clouded by an assumed superiority and a sometimes unintentional yet nonetheless ever hurtful insensitivity to people who had been subjugated and separated for no fault of their own save the ignorance and arrogance of our own forefathers.

But that was then, and this is now.

Frankly, the times of unintentional insensitivity are times of the past. As lame as the excuses were then, there simply are no longer viable excuses for vile conduct. We caucasians have had plenty of time to finally grow up and get over our assumed superiority over the minorities of our society.

It is time that we stop telling others what is and is not offensive, and time for us to LISTEN to others as they ENLIGHTEN US as to the realities of insensitivity and inappropriateness.

It is time for us to accept that ours is not to assume that we know what is and is not acceptable, and time for us to LISTEN to others as they ENLIGHTEN US as to what is and what is not appropriate.

I am convinced that the burden of responsibility is upon society to listen to AND to defer as a matter of respect to minorities with reference to any and all mascots that they deem offensive, and make the necessary adjustments post haste. If that means that the name Redskins needs to go the way of the name of Sambo’s, then so be it. If that means Chief Wahoo needs to go the way of racist lawn ornaments then so be it. If that even means that mascots such as Chiefs (my favorite NFL team as it were), Braves, and Warriors need to go by the wayside as well, then so be it.

The responsibility is not for minorities to “grow up by giving in” to the will of the caucasian driven society, but rather the time is come for society to be sensitive to and willingly defer to the feelings of all people.

The place is not society’s to dictate to minorities what should and should not be offensive to them. Rather the time has come for society to be sensitive towards the feelings of all people and acquiesce to those who request change as a matter of respect for their heritage and their culture.

Frankly, the time has come for a culture which claims to be founded upon Christian values to practice what their principles preach. It is time to “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”.

It is time to stop hiding behind lame excuses of pure intent, and time to make respectful changes necessary to demonstrate pure intent.

It is time to be sensitive towards the feelings of others.

It is time to actually care about the effect that our social actions have on others.

It is time for our society to grow up and do the right thing.

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas