On Biblical Standards and Natural Understanding

The Bible is a volume of writings which were hand selected (and in some cases hand edited) by the early Roman Church in the 4th century CE, and subsequently deemed as the exclusive and sacred word of God. About a thousand years later, these same writings were divided and organized into chapters, verses, and into a two fold division of an “Old” and a “New” Testament. The earlier major section of these writings reflects the personal, social, and religious values of a relatively isolated, desert people of an era of some two millenniums past; whereas the latter section reflects the ethical values of the Greco-Roman era of a slightly later time. The latter section likewise seems to serve as the subtext for a 2nd CE struggle between two general factions of the then recently conceived religious movement known as Christianity.

Each of the two major sections of the Bible center upon creative tales and embellished claims of the development of a select chosen people of God into an influential and powerful collective. In the first major section, that collective was visualized as the great and powerful nation of Israel. In the latter section, the collective so visualized was the institutional Church. There is a sense of validity to the existence of the respective collectives themselves, though in each case the chronology of the claimed circumstances are debatable, and the actual extent of influence and affluence are seemingly overstated, that is if taken literally.

The writings of the former major section are primarily composed of ancient Hebrew mythology, poetry, preaching, and the biased, fanciful tales of the over exaggerated national empire heretofore mentioned. The humble state of the allegedly once significant people is attributed to sin and faithlessness of the people themselves.

Meanwhile, the latter major section (evidently written primarily in the 2nd century CE) opens with the narrative of a wildly popular itinerant preacher who captured the interest and following of the local peasants, who conversely drew the ire of the religious establishment of the day, and who eventually was executed as a blasphemer. This young cleric’s claims of an impending apocalyptic crisis, coupled with the conclusion to the narrative being an empty grave and a claim that he was resurrected, lead to ever evolving claims of immortality, ascension, and even deity.

Although the content of the biblical narratives are primarily mythical tales, nonetheless there is no denying their worldwide influence even to this day. The first major section of the Bible is the forerunner for and serves as the foundation of the three major global monotheistic religions; namely Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The latter major section though is primarily the domain of the numerous sects of the Christian religion. In this respect, the influence of these texts in a variety of cultures simply cannot be overstated or underestimated.

Perhaps the most profound such influences have been realized in the realm of social relations. The adaptation of ancient thinking and harsh standards to modern societies has involved a predictable share of problems and unfavorable influence. Unfortunately, a number of unseemly social and systemic issues which plague contemporary cultures have precedent in and therefore may be founded upon biblical ideology.

Such include:

Patriarchy, Sexism, and Misogyny.
State sanctioned murder (aka Death Penalty, Capital Punishment)
Theocratic justifiable murder
Infanticide
Genocide
Religious Bigotry
Institutional Slavery/Exploitation of Labor
Sex Slavery
Militarism
Imperialism
Colonialism
Homophobia
Xenophobia

This list is not necessarily totally exclusive, and by all means some the of cited issues may overlap with each other. For example, the Old Testament authorized (even commanded) that non virgin newlywed wives should be executed for crimes against Israel. Such would constitute both Misogyny and Capital Punishment, which are each social issues to themselves, but in this case, they clearly overlap. There are several other such instances, but this example suffices for the moment.

The presumption then that biblical writings are of a sacred nature unfortunately can leave the false impression that the thinking of the people and the way of life of those depicted in biblical literature are somehow just and correct simply as a matter of record. And so to many people, mere biblical statements and examples are their basis to justify debatable social practices. And so, one might quote “an eye for an eye” to justify Capital Punishment, or “if any will not work, neither let him eat” to justify cutting funding for Food Stamps, with no need for further deliberation or alternative considerations. There is undoubtedly a “the Bible says it, that settles it” mentality among a large demographic of our society, but such is based upon the heretofore mentioned presumption that biblical writings are sacred in and of themselves.

Now, to be certain as to the matter; not all Jews, Muslims, and/or Christians are bigoted, homophobic, or misogynists; and for that demographic of religious monotheists I have the utmost respect. It is not easy for a Christian to take a “live and let live” perspective with regards to the LGBTQ community while they hear homophobic propaganda from their Preachers, nor is it easy for peaceful Muslims to conduct their lives while being slandered for the deeds of extremists Islamists. But the fact remains that the social values of many monotheists; especially here in the Southern region of the US, are based upon the social values of a desert people from an isolated region of over 2,000 years ago.

And thus the conclusion of the matter at hand:

Shall we, as individuals and as collective societies, base our standards upon our own natural understanding of “right and wrong”, or shall we allow our natural senses to be influenced by ancient writings from harsh and somewhat barbaric cultures? Shall we trust our common sense and natural sense of compassion as a moral guide, or shall we trust the harsh standards of a people of antiquity?

I suggest that such queries are not so much a matter of faith or religious ideology, but a much more basic reality of natural existence and common sense.

As for me, I choose to trust my own natural understandings.

But to each their own.

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On Our Innate Qualities Of Social Behavior

I find the following two common philosophies among many Christians disturbing:

1. That every person is born in sin.
2. And/or that humans are somehow incapable of distinguishing right from wrong on our own, without some external aid from a celestial deity.

I find both premises lack merit, and quite frankly make no sense.

Every thing that exists has principle and function.

A rock has the natural qualities of a rock, and albeit its function may be dormant; nonetheless the rock provides a surface for things of different qualities to rest upon. To that end the rock is naturally equipped.

A tree has the natural qualities of a tree, and among its functions are those of being a source of feeding and shade. To those ends the tree is naturally equipped.

Water has the natural qualities of water, and it functions to provide sustenance and life for many beings; including our own species. To a variety of such ends, water is naturally equipped.

Humans have the natural qualities of humanness, and among our functions is that of social behavior. To that end we humans are naturally equipped.

To conclude otherwise would make no sense.

How is that, that of all the myriad of things in all the universe, we; who appear to be of the highest degree of level of communication, creativity, and compassion; are somehow incapable of one of our most basic functions, that of social behavior, without some external aid of an alleged celestial deity?

I maintain that everything that naturally exists, is naturally equipped with certain distinctive qualities to function so as to effect certain basic principles, which are unique to each such thing.

To conclude otherwise with reference to a mere one among the incalculable things in all the known universe, simply makes no sense to me.

Hence I conclude, that we humans are naturally equipped with all necessary qualities to distinguish right from wrong, which is of course a most basic aspect of proper social behavior.

And thus my personal perspective is, that the cultivation of my natural qualities of goodness, is both the most natural of all endeavors, and the most noble of all efforts.

Everything Is Relative

Christianity and Islam are each Monotheistic religions based upon antiquated Hebrew myths. They each worship one God. They each preach heaven and hell. They each cherish their own holy book. Each of their holy books teach peace and love. Each of their books teach violence and murder. Christianity and Islam are each represented mainly by good and decent people who want to lead good lives and go to heaven. Yet both Christianity and Islam have extremist terrorist groups which maim, torture and murder those who do not believe as they, and who kidnap children and convert them to their cause. In my mind, the Christian terrorists in Africa are no more representative of the good and decent Christian; then the Islamist terrorists in the Middle East are representative of the good and decent Muslim. I believe that when the Muslim and the Christian each take the finer and more refined passages of their holy books as their guide for daily living, then neither are a threat to anyone, and each represents themselves and their respective religions with honor and dignity.

That said: Everything is relative.

Of Morality and Humanity

There is a myth relative to morality.

The myth relative to morality is that without God there is no morality.  The myth assumes the existence of God, then attaches the concept of morality to the concept of God. Thus, the case is asserted that morality not only proves the existence of God, but likewise that if there is no God, then there are no morals. Basically, the theory maintains that people would not know the difference between the concepts of right and wrong if God does not exist.

The first observation of note is that the concepts of right and wrong are relative to the individual. Many are the factors which play a part in the molding of each individual’s value system.  And I cannot overstress that each person’s value system is a making of their individuality and one’s own inner deliberation based upon one’s own experiences in life.  Depending upon the context of a person’s life, and depending upon one’s cultural conditioning, and quite frankly depending upon the values which the given individual adopts as their own, there are simply a variety of interpretations of and personal conclusions regarding that which constitutes right and wrong.

And oftentimes the one person’s right is the other person’s wrong; and vice versa.

Of such is morality and humanity.

One person thinks it’s wrong to shoot a sitting duck.  Another person says all game is fair to hunt.  Another person says it it wrong to kill the duck except for one’s own personal survival.  Yet another person says it is wrong to kill the duck except to put the duck out of an irreversible misery.

One person says it is wrong to refuse to take the pledge of allegiance to the flag of ones’ country.  Another says it is wrong to actually take the pledge of allegiance to the flag. Some say it is wrong to march off to war.  Some say it is wrong to march for peace.

Some say it is wrong for a couple to live together without being married.  Others say it is wrong for certain couples to get married.

On and on I could go.

Suffice it to say that personal perspective and the rules of social convention produce a variety of values and a corpus of conflicting notions as to that which constitutes right and that which constitutes wrong.  And each person tends to assume their values to be preferable to those of another.

Of such is morality and humanity.

For example, I myself believe that the values which are based upon the matter of the undue suffering of another are those which constitute the only natural concept of right and wrong.  I base my values upon what seems to me to be a natural aversion to one’s own personal discomfort of any degree, and an equally natural sensitivity to the suffering of others.  Hence, the moral compass by which I measure right and wrong relates to whether I cause or neglect the suffering of another being.

Now, inasmuch as I believe my values to be sound and certain, the fact is that not everyone interprets the concepts of right and wrong as I do.  Inasmuch as I am the only one who lives my personal experience, and who experiences my personal life, then who am I to judge those who opt for a standard differing from my own?  So all I know to do is to live my life the best I know how, and to leave everyone else to their own inner deliberations and subsequent deeds.

For therein seems to be the common denominator which ultimately unites us all as to the divisive topic of personal values. The fact is that most every person, regardless of background or upbringing, deliberates within themselves and subsequently decides for themselves as to their  values, and then acts accordingly.

Of such is morality and humanity.

Now, some might ask: “What about God?”.
To which I reply:  “What about God?”

God has nothing to do with morality, except in the mind of the one who chooses to incorporate a subjective concept of a deity into an ever transforming personal concept of morality. For everyone’s concept of morality is a work in progress and relative to each given circumstance, hence God is only relative to such when incorporated into the process of the inner deliberation of the individual believer.  To such a person of course their concept of their deity functions as a role in their own personal deliberation as to their specific values, which then in turn affects their given choices in life.

Ultimately then, the concept of right and wrong is relative in general, yet case specific to the given individual.  For when all factors are considered, and all conditions have been figured, each individual decides for themselves what constitutes right and wrong to their own way of thinking.  Then we all act accordingly.

Of such is morality and humanity.

Some might say: “Well then, that means everyone can do whatever they want to do.”
To which I respond:  “Well.  Yeah.”

The fact is that everyone can do whatever they want to do, and actually do so on a daily basis; the concept of God notwithstanding.  When it comes down to what the individual person decides to do, the concept of God will neither hinder nor engage in the exercise thereof.  Every person can do whatever they want; regardless of the web of subsequent consequences relative to any given deed. We as individuals are simply free to do whatever we want to do, and no concept of God affects such one way or the other at the moment of truth.

Of such is morality and humanity.

Some people who believe in the concept of God live peaceably with their fellow beings. Other people who believe in the concept of God kill without mercy.  Some people who believe in the concept of God would not so much as step on a bug on the sidewalk.  Other people who believe in the concept of God torture and authorize the torture of their fellow beings.

Some Atheists live peaceably with their fellow beings.  Some Atheists are disagreeable personalities.  Some Atheist kill.  Some Atheists do not kill.

Some people who believe in the concept of God are good people.  Some Atheists are good people.  Some people who believe in God are rude and greedy.  Some Atheists are rude and greedy.  Some people who believe in God exploit their fellow beings for personal gain. Some Atheists exploit their fellow beings for personal gain.

There are Christians who believe in shooting the other person before he has the chance to shoot you.  There are Atheists who turn the other cheek.

People choose the values by which they live each given moment of their lives.  Some people factor the concept of a deity into their given value system.  Other folk do not.

But every person is experiencing an ever transforming value system of their own individual choice.

Of such is morality and humanity.

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

Of Gods and Myths

The discussion of deities addresses matters which are seemingly beyond human comprehension. Such discussions are communicated and related in terms of concepts and symbols as narrated in that which is known as the myth.

The myth itself has typically been culture based, hence there are a variety of concepts and symbols systematically depicted in such cultural narrative. The gods then have naturally been relative to any given specific culture, and the symbols so utilized would consequently reflect the values and everyday concerns of the people of each such society.

And so mythical tales have historically given people connection to matters seemingly beyond the grasp of comprehension, and have furthermore given people a sense of control where they otherwise feel somewhat helpless and hopeless.  The daily struggle to survive, ongoing battles between good and evil, the dread of bodily decay and death are among the primary concerns which relate to all peoples of all time.  Yet, the details are unique to each individual, and more specifically those details are case specific to one’s place and time of existence.

Though a common utility of antiquity, the myth is nonetheless an ongoing form of such communication.  The narratives evolve relative to each given culture and their respective time in history, yet the general struggles of humanity remain the same.  Hence, each culture seems to continue the exercise of the myth as individuals continue to attempt to connect with that which is incomprehensible and transcendent to real life. Furthermore, most everyone desperately aims to maintain a sense of control in the state of chaos known as human existence.

Though the yearning to connect with the incomprehensible continues even to this day, the discoveries of the natural sciences have somewhat altered the scope of inquiry.  Humanity is simply no longer in the same state of ignorance relative to the cosmos and our earth as were our social ancestors of two millenniums ago.  That said, even the most learned scientists readily admit limits to our knowledge on scales immeasurable. Even so, the discoveries of humanity as to the natural operation of our universe have rendered any concept of a creation god as lacking in historical value, hence all such creation accounts are most assuredly mythical in nature.

Nonetheless, there are those who continue to seek connection with the incomprehensible in terms of faith in a higher level of existence.  The nature of such is of course subjective to the perception of each individual believer.  Deities in this regard then are as various as is the volume of such respective subjective perspectives, and are only of value to those who are inclined to connect on the level of faith to a being who symbolically transcends the natural.

Mythical narratives have of course evolved from the days of the tales of supernatural gods to a more modernized form of the same. The heros of theatrical plays, dime novels, radio and television programs, movies, and most recently video games are all mythical displays of the ever present struggle between good and evil.  Be it the old West gunslinger in a Zane Grey novel, the hard boiled detective in a Raymond Chandler book, or a superhero in a modern day video game; each such literary figure continues the legacy of the symbolic hero entangled in a seemingly endless struggle with the forces of evil.  These figures, though fictional as to their nature, serve a practical purpose in depicting a sense of control on behalf of those who endure the conflicts of the struggles of everyday life in the context of the real world of the human predicament.

The substance of the myth then is its symbolic nature.  The characters themselves may be either historical or fictional, but in either case their role in the myth transcends reality.  The key question then relative to the myth is not “did this actually happen”, but rather “what concept does this narrative represent”.  The myth permits the characters, whether historical or fictional, to operate outside of or even beyond the laws of nature, for realism is not necessarily the point of any given such narrative.

Thus, the reader of the Zane Grey novel is by no means concerned with whether the gunslingers and outlaws of the old west reference therein actually lived. Nor are the readers of a Raymond Chandler thriller concerned with whether the hard boiled detective Philip Marlowe actually worked the dark and sinister streets of the inner city in search of villains and criminals. Rather, the characters illustrated within the western “shoot ‘em up” and the “who dun it” murder mystery symbolize concepts relative to the reader.

Granted, the middle aged man sitting in his easy chair on a Sunday afternoon reading a few pages of a novel between rounds of snoozing and snoring will never walk the streets of Tombstone or occupy a dirty, dingy Private Investigators office down on the waterfront or on the 4th floor of a poorly maintained office building.  Nor will he likely ever engage in a good old fashioned shoot out, or turn his latest love interest over to the cops for killing his partner.  Yet most everyone lives in a world with constant struggles between forces of good and evil, and thus when the hero saves the damsel in distress, or when the crime boss is brought to justice, then every person engaged in such a story experiences the thrill of the experience of right prevailing over wrong, even if such only be in a story.

Such is the power of the myth.

The substance of the myth then is by no means its historicity, but rather its symbolism.  The credibility of any given myth is not the point, but rather core concepts of the human experience as represented by the characters so depicted within the context of the plot itself.  Those concepts are thus the area of connection between the reader in the real world and the context of the characters who have been systematically mythologized to that very end.

And so it is with biblical interpretation.  For example, the question is not whether Adam and Eve were historical figures who lived in an actual Garden of Eden.  Nor is the question whether Jesus Christ was an actual person who lived and died in Palestine.  As with any other myth, the key to biblical interpretation is to ascertain the concepts which are symbolized in narratives involving these and other well known literary figures.

Without a doubt, the challenges faced by Adam and Eve, both from without and likewise from within, represent true to life struggles of everyday people. For most everyone works by the sweat of the brow in order to survive, suffers physical hardships throughout the natural course of the human experience, and is even tempted from time to time to test the potential consequences of sampling forbidden fruit.  Granted, everyday life is no Garden of Eden, but that is the very point being driven home by the myth of Adam and Eve.

The story of Adam and Eve is a myth which represents the struggles of everyday existence.  Once understood on the level of symbolism and representative narrative, the story of Adam and Eve is so true to life as to be accurately representative of the everyday lives of ordinary people. The concept so symbolized by their story is in fact much like Albert Camus’s Myth of Sisyphus, in which the main character spends his entire life pushing a large stone to the top of a hill, only to have it roll to the bottom again so that Sisyphus can repeat the process. If ever there were a biblical story to which we can all relate, it is the tale of Adam and Eve, for such is a myth of the struggles of everyday existence in the real world.

A biblical myth of another sort is that of Jesus Christ.  Now, I say of another sort, for unlike the tale of Adam and Eve; which symbolized concepts common to most every person in the real world, Jesus Christ symbolized concepts which are above and beyond even the best and most powerful of all living beings.  None of us quite frankly can relate to a virgin birth, or to the ability to walk on water, or to being raised from the dead before our corpse began to decay and decompose.  Yet such claims attributed to Jesus Christ represent concepts most every one of us wishes were ours.

For deep down inside, most everyone wished they could be perfect and immortal; each qualities attributed to Jesus Christ in the gospels.  And such concepts are enveloped within the Christian doctrine; that the believer can be both perfect and immortal in Christ Jesus.  For the doctrine of personal sanctification and the general resurrection of the dead in the last day symbolizes concepts so very highly coveted by believers in Christ.

Now, the point is neither the historicity nor the divinity of Jesus Christ, for neither matter is relevant to the intent of the story of his life and deeds. It does not matter whether Jesus actually walked on water or arose from the dead, for these accounts merely symbolize concepts which are most significant to every person who has ever lived.  Jesus as a literary figure transcends natural laws which restrict even the most routine human activity, and furthermore goes beyond the border which restrict all human existence; that being life ending death.

Whether Jesus the literary figure actually did such, or actually was such, or even actually was, or even actually did anything at all is not the point.  The point of the myth of Jesus is that he symbolizes the concept of a perfect nature and eternal being, which are concepts which all people would willingly aspire to were it not for our frail and finite nature. Literary Jesus lived as no one had lived before, both in terms of his earthly experience and his post life presence.

And so unlike the biblical myth of Adam and Eve, which represents everyday struggles to which most everyone can relate, the biblical myth of Jesus Christ represents personhood and a state of being which most everyone would want, yet which no one can relate with due to our own shortcomings and finite state of existence.  In this regard, literary Jesus Christ represents a concept of human nature and being which most everyone wishes for, but can only be experienced through his symbolic being.

And so we return to the original topic:  The discussion of deities.

As mentioned from the outset, any discussion of deities is one which communicates through symbols and concepts, as narrated in the myth.  And as further discussed, the myths which narrate of gods and god like figures are for the most part culturally based. Thus, history is aplenty with gods, super heroes, and seemingly ordinary people who live larger than life within the annals of antiquity.  Consequently, the deities of the major monotheistic religions of the 21st Century have evolved from the spiritual and social superheroes of ancient cultures.  It might be said then, that today’s gods are yesteryears’ super heroes.

And so the lifeline of the gods is maintained through the medium of the myth, hence, such concepts are sustained through the symbolic actions and traditions so related. Therefore; the basic aspects associated with most religions; the rituals, the traditions, the ceremonial practices, and such like, for all practical purposes serve as the life support system of the literary figures known as the gods.

Thus the deities of antiquity; Beelzebub of the Canaanites, Yahweh of both the Canaanites and the Hebrews, Zeus of the Greeks, Orisis of the Egyptians, Mithra of the Persians, and even others, are the literary symbols of the concept of the divine as depicted by each of their respective cultures.  Quite frankly, these gods survival is dependent upon the faith of each individual believer who believes in the cultural myth so depicting each respective god.

For such is the way of gods and myths.

Dave Henderson

Denison, Texas

An Ode To The Odious

The women of Gaza weep;
O’er babies mutilated by bombs.
Sent special delivery,
From the chosen children of God.

A Missouri woman weeps,
The bullet riddled body of her son.
Lies uncovered on the street for hours.
While the Police cover up (AKA: “Report”) is done.

A War Criminal smiles in the comforts,
Of his mansion down in Texas.
Knowing damn well he will never be accountable;
Regardless of what the facts is.

Some people on paid vacation,
Other people demonstrate.
The wheels of injustice succeed,
There will be no court date.

Christmas bells are ringing,
Lip service to God one can hear.
The suffering of foreigners and black folk,
Will not hinder our Holiday Cheer.

Self righteous hypocrites on Sunday,
Sing, pray, and listen to a sermon.
Indifferent to the suffering of the afflicted,
Then justify scum and vermin.

The stench of social injustice.
The indifference of hypocrites.
The filth of society’s sins,
Smell of sewage and piles of

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

Jehovah On Trial: Global Drowning (The Uncut Version)

The recent acquittal of George Zimmerman has me thinking about trials and free passes.  Which naturally got me to thinking:  What if Jehovah were put on trial?

The charges?  Multiple counts of homicide, attempted genocide, infanticide, animal abuse, sex trafficking, slavery, and torture to name a few.

The witnesses?  Well, if you buy the notion that the Bible is “the word of God”, then upon that very premise, do we not have a confession?  In case of  point, if indeed the Bible is “the word of God”, then every biblical account which records such misdeeds by Jehovah or under his command are in and of themselves true confessions, are they not?

As to the multiple counts of homicide; oh where shall I begin?  Well, how about the infamous global flood.  Yep, long before there was global warming there was global drowning!! In fact, so as to not bog ourselves down with too much information at once, let’s confine ourselves at this time to this one particular Biblical account, so as to only have to consider the charges of multiple counts of homicide, infanticide, and animal abuse.

Genesis 6-8 gives us the general account of the setting involving the flood.  The specifics as to why are a matter of record:

  • “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.  So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”  (Genesis 6:5-8)

So, because humanity was so evil that everyone could only think of evil continually, God destroyed everyone except the Noah family. Yeah, I guess those animals must have had nothing but continually evil thoughts as well.  And the babies, those beady little eyes peering out of their cribs.  No doubt they were just waiting to get on their feet, start talking, and plotting evil against the Lord their God!

There you have it folks.  Multiple counts of homicide, infanticide, and animal abuse all in one neatly packaged Bible story.  Hell, I will even give Jehovah a pass on the attempted genocide rap.  After all, he did spare Mr Noah and family.

Everytime I read that narrative I chuckle as I think back to my church days, which is admittedly not so many years ago.  The story of Noah and the flood is a favorite in Bible Classes in the Church of Christ.  It seems that almost every Toddler’s Class that I can recall came equipped with toy Arks on wheels that the kiddos could roll around the room while their well meaning Teachers indoctrinated them with accounts of God’s love in sparing Noah’s family and the animals which he gathered into the Ark.  The kiddos would place small plastic animals into the Ark, and pull the Ark around the room and sing songs of God’s love and grace.  Good times….

But what we never told the kiddos about were “the others”.  The other animals.  The other people.  The other toddlers their very own age who were not lucky enough to be born to Mr and Mrs Noah.  (What was her name anyway.  Oh yeah, this is the Bible, the names of wives are somewhat insignificant to the overall plot.  For example, you know we are told to “Remember Lot’s wife”?  Well, how the hell do you remember someone whose name you do not even know?  I mean really, come on!  You tell me how evil she was in “looking back”, and you tell me that she was instantly transformed into a pillar of salt, you tell me to “remember her”, but you don’t even tell me her name?  Oh, come on!!  Well, there are lots of details that get left out of Bible Stories, which brings us back to the victims of The Flood.)

Just once, just once, I would like to see the uncut version of the biblical account of The Flood presented in a Toddlers Bible Class.  Can’t you just see it?  Envision a whirlpool set up in the corner of  the classroom.  After the children had helped Mr Noah load the wife and kids and all the local pets into the Ark for the world’s first cruise, then they could help Mr Jehovah destroy everyone else by tossing plastic toy babies, animals, trees, and such into the whirlpool, and then fire that baby up!  Imagine the looks on their curious little faces as they saw the image of the lifeless little faces just like their own floating and swirling around in the whirlpool while the Bible Class teacher told them about the love and grace of God, and lead them in choruses of “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hand”.  It damn near brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it!

Well, that is enough for today.  By his own confession as recorded in Genesis 6-8 Jehovah was guilty of multiple counts of homicide, infanticide, and animal abuse.  We will get to sex trafficking, slavery, and torture some other time.  I am short on time as it is.  Its Sunday morning, and I am late for Bible Class.

Playing God and Real World Issues

As a general rule, I refrain from offering my opinions of issues related to women’s health. Frankly, my ignorance as to such simply embarasses me.  Even more embarrassing is to hear those of my own gender speak flippantly and with presumptive authority as to matters which quite frankly do not concern we males.  Until such time as I suffer the natural physical hardships which burden the female community, I simply do not feel qualified to opine regarding issues so involved.  However, I do feel inclined and somewhat obligated to speak out when representatives of my own gender take it upon themselves to share a patriarchal perspective which is critical and judgmental of decisions made by women related specifically to feminine issues.  More to the point, I have in mind at the moment Arkansas’ own Public Preacher/Politician/Patriarchal Commentator; Mike Huckabee.

It seems that the good Reverend has decided that when a woman chooses to abort a pregnancy she is thereby “playing God”.  Now his private opinion as to such matters is his right, but his public proclamation as to such merely exposes his ignorance and insults the intelligence of free thinkers in general.  To coin a southern colloquialism, this is a matter of “the pot calling the kettle black”.  It is in fact Mr Huckabee specifically and the religious community in general who “play God”.  Whereas I admittedly feel somewhat uncomfortable discussing feminine issues due to my ignorance of such matters, “playing God” is a practice with which I am all too familiar.  As one who was for many years a very involved practicing Christian, I know all too well the experiences of “playing God”.

People of all religious types “play God”.  Some play “Jehovah God”, some play “Allah God”, while others play “Elohim God”.  Some even enhance the experience by playing “Jesus God” and “Holy Spirit  God”. Now although I have left the Christian community, and reasoned my way to Secular Humanism, I nonetheless continue to fully support the right of Mr Huckabee and the entire religious community to “play God” as they will; yet in PRIVATE.  In a free society, people should and must have the freedom to practice religion as they so choose.  Yet whether folks play “Jehovah God”, “Beelshebub God”, “Assher God”, “Ra the Sun God God”, or “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster God”, regardless any and all such “play God” experiences are exclusively a PRIVATE right, and simply must remain so if we are to legitimately be a free society.

Frankly speaking, there is no place for religious theories in discussions of real world consequences.  The stakes of real world issues are simply too high for intelligent beings to be burdened with the introduction of unconfirmed theories and ancient myths into the discussion.  The Mike Huckabees of the world are completely entitled to their personal practices and beliefs, yet an intelligent society simply must sift reality from fiction in order to function in accord with natural human intelligence and with respect to actual human rights.

If Mike Huckabee wishes to look to his beloved Jehovah as the source of all life, such is his prerogative.  If Mike Huckabee wishes to regard Jehovah as the reason abortion is wrong, in spite of the fact that the Bible alleges that Jehovah drowned innocent children (so much for the “all loving” nature of God) because people did not turn out the way he wanted them to (so much for the “all knowing” nature of God); and in spite of the fact that the Bible alleges that Jehovah promoted the mutilation of innocent babies who were born of a certain lineage (Hosea 13:16 for the curious); then such is his prerogative.  But an intelligent and free society simply must distinguish between fact and fairy tale when addressing real world issues.

As to those who are inclined to go the way of the Mike Huckabees of the world, I will ALWAYS defend their right to “play God” in private.  Yet, the freedom of religion NEVER gives Religionists the right “play God” in public.

As to men who are inclined to opine regarding a woman’s rights as to her personal health and choices, I recommend that we males enjoy our natural qualities such as facial hair and deep voices, and leave the female gender to deal with their own bodies and choices as they deem reasonable.