And here I am, doing a book review on a religious (sort of) book, authored by (of all people) Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
Here's the inside poop (the U.S chapter) on Rajneesh - http://www.answers.com/topic/rajneesh?method=22:
"In 1981, Rajneesh was taken to the United States in search of better medical care (he suffered from diabetes and severe back problems) and also, reportedly, to escape tax evasion charges in India. His followers, at his request, bought (for US$6 million) a ranch in Wasco County, Oregon, previously known as "The Big Muddy", but later renamed Rajneeshpuram where they settled for the next several years.
Disagreements over zoning rules and building codes in the beginning continued to escalate between not only his followers and the inhabitants of Wasco County, but eventually with the rest of the state. His followers, known as Rajneeshees, settled en bloc in Antelope, Oregon, and were able to elect a majority of the town council. Comments by his public spokeswoman, Ma Anand Sheela, only increased tensions. Matters were not helped by Rajneesh's vow of silence, or the 93 Rolls-Royces his followers bought him as gifts - they said that he wanted 365cars so that he had a new one for each day of the year (technically, he did not have income or own any property). One of his followers explains this in what is called "Face to Faith Parable of the Rolls Royces." When the Rajneeshees subsequently recruited homeless people from across the United States to settle at Rajneeshpuram, it was widely seen as an attempt to use the ballot box to seize control of Wasco County.
At the same time the commune offered an international refuge for his followers to live Osho's teaching; the ideal of meditating, celebrating, and trusting in love. At its largest, Rajneeshpuram consisted of some 7,000 members on a 100-square-mile ranch in Antelope. It included homes, meditation centers, its own road system, power grid, bus service, schools for children, and even a small airport.
In 1984, a bioterrorist attack involving salmonella typhimurium contamination in the salad bars of the 10 restaurants at The Dalles, Oregon, was traced to the Rajneeshee group. The attack sickened about 750 people; none died. It was the first known bioterrorist attack of the 20th century in the United States. Eventually Sheela and Ma Anand Puja, another of Osho's close advisors, confessed to the salmonella attack and to attempted poisonings on county officials. About this time, Sheela was removed from her post in the Rajneesh's service, and shortly afterwards left for Germany.
While these controversial events brought much negative publicity to the commune, it is worth noting that Osho himself spoke very strongly against these acts, and that it was only a handful of people who were responsible out of the thousands of people who were living in the communce either permanently or temporarily. Osho never apologized to any of the victims of the germ attack, which was orchestrated by his own hand picked disciples. Some of the victims were women and small children.
In May 1985, Sheela called a meeting of Rajneesh's inner circle to plot the assassination of Charles Turner, the U.S. Attorney for Oregon, after the attorney was appointed to head a grand jury investigation into the commune. Catherine Jane Stubbs, known as Ma Shanti Bhadra, volunteered to be the killer. She later bought weapons and scouted Turner's property.
In 1985, Rajneesh was arrested in North Carolina as he was allegedly fleeing the U.S. On October 23, 1985, a federal grand jury in Portland, Oregon had secretly indicted Rajneesh, Sheela, and six others of his followers for alleged immigration crimes. Two days later, a Wasco County grand jury returned indictments against Sheela and two others, charging them with the attempted murder of Swami Devaraj, Bhagwan's personal doctor. Rajneesh on advice of his lawyers entered an "Alford plea," also called a no-contest plea, and was given a suspended sentence on condition that he leave the country."
Now, I am not, nor ever have been, a follower of this fellow. I've owned the book since the early nineties (it was recommended to me by a Tai Chi teacher). The title of the book is When The Shoe Fits - Talks on the stories of Chuang Tzu.
I find it a very...calming read.
It's basically an extended commentary on many of the stories of Chuang Tzu. For those of you unfamiliar with this gentleman, read here:
Chuang-tzu or Chuang-tze (both: jwäng-dzu() , c.369–c.286 B.C., Chinese Taoist writer. Little is known about his life. He was a native of the state of Meng, on the border of present-day Shandong and Henan provinces, and is said to have lived as a hermit. The collection of essays attributed to him, called the Chuang-tzu, is distinguished by its brilliant and original style, with abundant use of satire, paradox, and seemingly nonsensical stories. Chuang-tzu emphasizes the relativity of all ideas and conventions that are the basis of judgments and distinctions; he puts forward as the solution to the problems of the human condition freedom in identification with the universal Tao, or principle of Nature. He is less political in his orientation than the earlier Taoist Lao Tzu. He is also called Chuang Chou.
Now, even though I'm an atheist, I confess a bit of a soft spot for Taoism:
The philosophical system stems largely from the Tao-te-ching, a text traditionally ascribed to Lao Tzu but probably written in the mid-3d cent. B.C. The Tao, in the broadest sense, is the way the universe functions, the path [Chin. tao=path] taken by natural events. It is characterized by spontaneous creativity and by regular alternations of phenomena (such as day following night) that proceed without effort. Effortless action may be illustrated by the conduct of water, which unresistingly accepts the lowest level and yet wears away the hardest substance. Human beings, following the Tao, must abjure all striving. The ideal state of being, fully attainable only by mystical contemplation, is simplicity and freedom from desire, comparable to that of an infant or an “uncarved block.”
Truth be told, I favor it mostly because it's so quiet in expression. No Sturm und drang, no kick school mentality, no force enacted on another.
On to the book now: I shall try not to digress (and it's tough, when you get to my age, trust you me).
Rajneesh, I gotta hand this much to the fellow, was a fairly sharp fellow (During the 1960s he served as philosophy professor at the University of Jabalpur while touring India lecturing on his philosophy). Maybe not in judging human nature (it was, if memory serves, his inner circle that screwed up big time: he also got greedy, as shown here in Face to Faith - Parable of the Rolls-Royces), but his writings (this book at least, I've not read anything else by him) are filled with wit and insight. He salts his discussion on Taoism by liberally borrowing from Buddhism, Hinduism, and our all-time favorite, xtianity, not to mention funny anecdotes about some fellow named Mulla Nasrudin (who is his literary straight man, so to speak).
The title comes from this:
So, when the shoe fits, the foot is forgotten:
when the belt fits, the belly is forgotten: and when the heart is right,
'for' and 'against' are forgotten.
"You must have heard the story of the centipede? A centipede walks with a hundred legs.
A frog, a philosopher, saw the centipede, he looked and watched and he became very troubled;
iti so difficult to walk even with four legs, but this centipede was walking with 100 legs.
This was a miracle! How did the centipede decide which leg to move first
and then which one next and then which one after that? And 100 legs!
So the frog stopped the centipede and asked a question: I am a philosopher and I am puzzled by you.
A problem has arisen which I cannot solve. How do you walk? How do you manage it at all? It seems impossible!
The centipede said: I have been walking all my life, but I have not thought about it. Now that you ask, I will think about it and then I will tell you.
"For the 1st time thought entered the centipede's consciousness. Really, the frog was right - which leg should be moved 1st?
The centipede stood there for a few minutes, couldn't move, wobbled, and fell down. And he said this to the frog:
Please don't ask another centipede this question. I have been walking throughout my life and it was never a problem,
and now you have killed me completely! I cannot move. And a 100 legs to move! How can I manage?
"Life moves in a perfect circle, life moves perfectly, there is no problem.
Chuang Tzu says of Chu'i that he could draw more perfect circles freehand than with a compass.
You need a compass because you are not confident of life; you need moralities, precepts, principles,
Bibles, Korans, Gitas to direct you because you are not confident of the inner force.
That is your life. And these Bibles, Korans, and Gitas,
they have created the same situation for you that the frog created for the centipede."
I don't know about anyone else, but I find that an amusing metaphor of modernity.
Interspersed throughout this book are constant salvos against the fragile construct of the ego: how it is unnatural, a superficial extension of modern man (what really cracks me up is each chapter is headed up by pictures of Rajneesh. Sheesh!).
There are so many bits and pieces that I'd dearly love to quote at you, however, I'm consciously trying to keep the post smaller. This book's not bad, but you'd be much better off reading Chuang Tzu.
The story of the prince and the monkey, the tale of the fighting cock (this is ancient China, you hedonists, so no funky innuendoes, please!).
My favorite (Chuang Tzu here) is this one:
"Chuang Tzu with his bamboo pole was fishing in the Pu river.
The prince of Chu sent two vice-chancellors with a formal document: We hereby appoint you Prime Minister.
Chuang Tzu held his bamboo pole. Still watching Pu river, he said:
'I am told there is a sacred tortoise offered and canonised three thousand years ago, venerated by the prince, wrapped in silk, in a precious shrine on an altar in the Temple.
What do you think? Is it better to give up one's life and leave a sacred shell as an object of cult in a cloud of incense for 3000 years, or better to live as a plan turtle dragging its tail in the mud?'
'For the turtle' said the vice-chancellor, 'better to live and drag its tail in the mud!'
'Go home!' said Chuang Tzu. 'Leave me here to drag my tail in the mud.'"
A good Mulla Nasrudin story:
'It happened that Mulla Nasrudin entered a hospital. The surgeon who was going to operate said to him:
Here we believe in speed, and we don't waste any time. After the operation, on the very first day, you have to walk for 5 minutes in the room; the next day, for 1/2 an hour, outside the hospital; the third day, a long walk of 1 hour. Here we don't waste time. Life is short and time is money. It has to be saved.
Mulla Nasrudin said: Just 1 question---do you mind if I lie down for the operation?"
And one for our xtian friends:
"Duke Hwan of Khi, 1st in his dynasty, sat under his canpopy reading his philosophy. And Phien the wheelwright was out in the yard making a wheel.
Phien laid aside hammer and chisel, climbed the steps, and said to Duke Hwan:
'May I ask you, Lord, what is this you're reading?'
The Duke said: 'The experts, the authorities.' And Phien asked: 'Alive or Dead?' The Duke said: 'Dead a long time.'
'Then,' said the wheelwright, 'you are reading only the dirt they left behind.'
The Duke replied: 'What do you know about it? You are only a wheelwright. You had better give me a good explanation or else you must die.'
The wheelwright said: 'Let us look at the affair from my point of view. When I make wheels, if I go easy they fall apart, and if I am too rough they do not fit.
'But if I am neither too easy nor too violent they come out right. The work is what I want it to be. You cannot put this into words, you just have to know how it is.
'I cannot even tell my own son exactly how it is done, and my own son cannot learn it from me. So here I am, 70 years old, still making wheels!
'The men of old took all they really knew with them to the grave. And so, Lord what you are reading there is only the dirt they left behind them.'
So, in short, an easy read, and if you filter out the more religious references (according to Rajneesh, Tao=God, which I don't think is correct), it's a little bit of all right.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
And here I am, doing a book review on a religious (sort of) book, authored by (of all people) Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
I was puttering around on a theist site, when I came across this:
It was fairly interesting (at least it was lucid, and in no ways resembled the lunacy of the Twin Peaks episodes). I shan't poke fun: rather, I am republishing an article from my original website.
LIPPING OFF TO GOD
Now, I had this dream one night (9/10/2005), really strange. This is not bullshit.
I was having problems sleeping (drank too much coffee that day), and so I decided to find some kind of peaceful scenario, and lo! I was walking down a beach, seagulls flying, somewhat overcast (so I'm not a sun-worshipper: so sue me). I look up, and this is no bullshit folks, I see this huge, I mean HUGE ivory cathedral in the distance, in the clouds, and I see this large figure, some kind of shiny medieval Christ-figure (stay with me, this is where it gets good) at the gates, fades back to the cloud-wreathed gates, and I hear this voice, calling my name, saying "You deny me?"
And guess what the first words out of my mouth were? "What about the Canaanites?"
I hear this intonation, "Where were you when I laid the foundations of--?"
"Yeah, yeah," I tell the voice. "The earth. Wasn't there. Now, howzabout them Canaanites?"
"Wait. Don't go! I want an explanation!"
I woke up.
Now, I don't mind saying, it made me more than a little nervous. There are provisos here (aren't there always?):
1. If I have 2 more of these (visions? Dreams? Let's go with dreams for the nonce), then I will have some SERIOUS issues to cope with, and
2. The shiny medieval Christ-figure. If it had been a living, breathing figure, well, you wouldn't be reading this here. I'd have dumped the website, rent my garments, pledged my soul, clad myself in ash cloth (you get the general idea), etc. But what I saw in the dream looked like something you'd buy in a Tijuana curios shop (probably cleaner and newer, I'd guess).
As of this writing (6 days later), no revelations from on high. I wait, pensively.
More on this if it happens.
October 9th, 2005.
At some juncture (perhaps in the Hour of the Wolf?), I realized I was dreaming. Always love those. Wish I could do what that old charlatan, Castaneda, called 'creative dreaming', if memory serves, where a person dreams in a manner directed at a specific target.
And so, I said, "Cool, I'm dreaming. Let's fly!"
There was indeed some sensation, not the sort I'd experienced as a youth. Explanation later.
I began spinning thru a dizzying vortex of cumulus clouds, and somehow (no joke, folks!) I was an angel of some sort (I have a memory of briefly glimpsing reflections of myself, decked out in white, full wings, the works).
At some point, I came back to Earth, and it became a dull, dreary return to dust, pollution, bad neighborhoods w/chain-link fences (which is odd, as I grew up in Pleasanton, nothing like that at all).
Brief interlude (I hope) on flying dreams:
There's all sorts of explanations for these, but I like the Taoist concept best.
In this, there is a human treasure called Shen, which roughly translates from the Chinese as spirit. In Taoism, the prevalent theory is that when one is young, and one experiences the flying sensation in these flying dreams, it means that the spirit isn't as firmly embedded as it is when one grows older. And anyone reading this who has had such a dream has probably experienced that sensation.
Now for the disclaimer.
I am still an atheist, thank you very much. I said I like this explanation, it's a pretty idea and all, but likely as not, some scientist will release a study next year, or whenever, w/a perfectly rational explanation.
Still, the angelic imagery troubles me sorely.
As of this date (5/27/2006), no religious iconography has plagued me yet.
But, in honesty, I question myself, my atheism, every day (if I can remember to: old age, it's a creepin' in all right). The nature of my personal skepticism, is, to quote Descartes: "Dubito ergo sum."
And still I wait for someone else to prove me wrong. Anyone. Even myself.
Thus far, all have fallen short of the mark.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Well, since my post on the car culture, maybe, as Desi Arnaz would say to his wife, "Lucy, you got some 'splainin' to do!"
So, it's confessional time.
I didn't get my driver's license till I was thirty-one.
Close the dropped jaw. I can explain.
One of the few rites of passage we have in this country is the procurement of a driver's license. That, and losing one's virginity. Rest assured, that DID happen in high school.
Here's the skinny:
I was sixteen, and of course, as per California law, I had to go through driver's ed. We watched one of those horrifying flicks they subject the kids to. Hey, I'm not against it at all. All I know, is that I watched that (and I have a clear recollection of being aghast as they scooped up bloody brain matter from the asphalt), and I told myself, "No way in hell am I going to be responsible for getting someone else killed!"
This isn't to say I didn't drive till the ripe old age mentioned above: I actually did get behind the wheel prior to that. Driving illegally is such a stupid, stupid thing to do. My only excuse (and not a good one at that), is that I was young. As a special note, when I did finally receive a license, in less than a year, it got taken away. Yeah, I am brighter than I look: I'd have to be.
So anyways, in the fourteen years (I'm subtracting the one where I bopped about illegally, until someone stole my car, another story), I encountered a huge degree of discrimination.
And I am not engaging in hyperbole here.
For instance, in California, the ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) instructs clerks that sell spirits NOT to sell to anyone without a driver's license. So, if you have a CA ID, you're SOL. For those of you unfamiliar with the latter, the CID is AN EXACT DUPLICATE of the CDL, but for the label that states: "This is not a license to drive." The argument being, the CID is easier to duplicate. Of course, I was in "Drinking is a sport" mode in my twenties, which made it irksome, to say the least. But my phobia was still in full throttle at this juncture.
Other forms of discrimination include:
Being turned down for jobs. NON-DRIVING jobs. After all, nobody likes a tardy employee, right? Never mind I was disciplined enough to get there ON TIME (hell, I went through a point in my life, where I was working two jobs, going to school, lived many miles away from job #1, yet I always was on time, no car. The clincher? The lady who was Asst. Mgr. was chronologically dysfunctional, and she lived two blocks away). Of course, I could've lied, but then, as now, that's not in my mental make-up.
People would be surprised when I told them I had no CDL. I had one fellow, a hippy-dippy liberal stoner type no less, tell me point blank: "I'll take you out! I'll help you get a license! You're not a real person if you don't have a license!"
I had a conversation with an Indian fellow at a bus stop, who told me, "In this country, you have no license, you are considered handicapped." Wow, was he right.
When I began my IT career, I moved in with my mom (to save money), and had no car. You can well imagine how my social life sucked. Thanks to American culture (and the insidious, invidious nature of those stupid talk shows), I may as well as have had 'Loser' tattooed on my forehead. I actually had women make efforts to talk to me, flirt, then when I'd reveal my circumstances at the time, I'd be dropped like a hot potato. Thanks, dear Abby!
And here's a kicker: this was as a rule, white American women. This is wholly anecdotal in nature: I am not besmirching anyone here. No broad brushes. I dated two black women in that time of no car and living with my mom, had a pretty Chinese gal interested in me, and met my long-term girlfriend at that point (she's Phillipino), who I eventually moved in with, got my license, and lo and behold! Started getting good jobs! What a shock!
As an aside: in America, we kick the kid out at eighteen (as a rule, not a hard and fast one). Anyone still living with their folks in this country in the 21st (or even the 20th) CE is automatically branded as a co-dependent lackwit. In Asia, however, this isn't looked down upon. I couldn't tell you how it is in Europe.
So, at the time when I moved in with my now ex-GF, she'd help me by dropping me off at work (at first), but later on, began gently pushing me to get my CDL. So I went in, got it taken care of (my record got wiped clean after 5 years), and next thing you know, I became the official driver.
So let's cut to the chase here:
Does this in any way reflect on my manhood? Hell no. Women drive too. Does this make me anything else, besides a bit of a late bloomer in this facet of this culture? Decidedly hell NO.
Because being a loser isn't a state. It's a state of mind. I never allow anyone else decide who or what I am. I do that.
So, till the next post then.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Here's a real doozie, case you hadn't heard about this:
"Don't forget about our new Jesus Loves You Full Sandals! These sandals were compared with $80.00 sandals for comfort and the new Jesus Loves You full sandals proved to be much more comfortable.
Still available are our original Jesus Loves You Sandals, wrapped in a fisherman's net, and T-Shirts. Great for fundraising, beach evangelism and mission trips! Available in 10 sizes. Same day delivery available on all Jesus Loves You Sandals."
The words, 'cognitive dissonance' spring to mind.
This wack-a-doo's story is as follows:
"When Dr. Kathleen Farrell* (Founder of Shoes of The Fisherman, Inc.) was in college, she was abducted by a stranger. During her captivity, without thinking about what she was saying, she repeated the 23rd Psalm out loud. Praise The Lord, she was released. How important were the words of the Psalm? Kathleen believes they saved her life and perhaps saved the soul of her abductor."
Absolutely no details. The conversation between her and the alleged 'abductor'. Did he speak English? Was it a man? Where was this? Unless I got details, it's purely anecdotal .
For a Ph.D (in what, exactly? Lemme guess: Theology, Divinity, one of those useless degrees. Oh,, wait, podiatry, hehehehe), she's none too bright. I can only find one Kathleen Farrel Ph.D who's legitimate on the web, and guess what? That one's a transgender therapist. So I really doubt they're the same person.
"After my horrible experience, I thought about ways to spread the Good News."
Guess I'll have to take her word for it, as she doesn't share any information about the 'encounter'.
Then the idea came to me to cut out letters from an inner tube and glue them backwards to the bottom of sandals," Kathleen says. "When I walked from wet grass onto a wooden deck and the sandals left the words JESUS LOVES YOU all over, it was awesome. I knew God was directing a wonderful new way to proclaim His Love."
Sure it wasn't your weird shoe fetish talking?
That sappy 'god's footprints' springs to mind.
This gives me a great idea: attention, all atheists! Slap on your antiatheist slogans on your sandals. NO GOD, or ATHEISTS RULE!, or even (if you really have a mean streak, and want to fuck with the feeble-minded): SATAN WAS HERE, or SATAN'S FOLLOWING YOU (yeah, I know, that last one's too long, unless you have big feet like me). Or one of those circles with a slash through it, over a cross. A Nietsche quote, or Voltaire, would obviously be too long.
"Never criticize a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes. That way, if he doesn't like what you have to say, it'll be okay because you'll be a mile way and you'll have his shoes."
"Religion is sort of like a lift in your shoes. If it makes you feel better, fine. Just don't ask me to wear your shoes." [George Carlin]
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
This was in my Yahoo news content today.
This is always a pivotal argument for the xtians: how does one account for the empty tomb?
For a group of folks who put much stock (at least the Catholics) in relics and holy places, this is a major point of contention. Let's never mind that no one can agree where the bloody thing is: or that the quality of 'eyewitnesses' would be chucked out of any court, ancient or modern (the Jews of the first CE, as well as the Romans, never accepted hearsay testimony in their courts).
Part the one is mostly back story, the reader is welcome to view the link provided. Part the second is somewhat more to the meat of the matter (part the third will arrive tomorrow):
"I embarked on my own journey nearly 30 years ago, a quest that that began in an old London bookshop and sent me down a trail of evidence reaching from Palestine to Kashmir, and beyond to the Tibetan border. It suggests that after the crucifixion, Jesus did not ascend to heaven, but remained alive, escaped into Persia, and continued to travel east. This theory that Jesus became a father, lived out his final years in Kashmir and remains buried there today, bears odd resemblance to the "Da Vinci Code" theory.
The New Testament itself has puzzling passages, such as the one from Luke where Christ speaks to his disciples after the crucifixion. "Behold my hands and feet that it is I myself, handle me and see for a spirit hath no flesh and bones as ye see me have.""
The gentleman named Saleem, continues:
"According to the family history and genealogical tables (written in Persian), the name clearly and explicitly mentioned is Shahzada Nabi Hazrat Yura Asaf. From him the lineage comes directly down to my father and to me. This man came here from
Afghanistan more than 1,900 years ago. He was a prophet, highly reverenced, some sources say of the highest reverence, who performed miracles.
"But the name," Saleem said carefully, "is always Yura Asaf, not Jesus."
The group that first claimed that Jesus and Yura Asaf were the same man was the Ahmadiyya movement, a controversial nineteenth century offshoot of Islam. Numerous Muslim and Persian documents - the Tafir-Ibn-I-Jarir, the Kanz-al-Ummal, and the Rauzat-us-Safa - have references that contribute to the theory of Christ's escape. Some of these also mention that Jesus was accompanied by Mary, and there is another burial place in Pakistan, along his theoretical route to Kashmir, known as Mai Mari da Ashtan, or "resting place of Mother Mary."
The Tarik-i-Kashmir tells of the prophet Yura Asaf arriving in Kashmir at a time coinciding with the supposed arrival of Jesus. An old Persian book, Negaris-Tan-i-Kashmir, tells how Jesus became a husband and father. The Bhavishya Mahapuroma, an ancient Hindu text, places him in Kashmir decades after the crucifixion, and in the old lamasery of Hemis in Ladakh, scrolls exist which reportedly attest to Christ's presence there at one time."
I have seen this theory before, here.
Before anyone scoffs, here's an interesting passage from the above website:
"I was sent by Titus Caesar with Ceralius and a thousand riders to a certain town by the name of Thecoa to find out whether a camp could be set up at this place. On my return I saw many prisoners who had been crucified, and recognized three of them as my former companions. I was inwardly very sad about this and went with tears in my eyes to Titus and told him about them. He at once gave the order that they should be taken down and given the best treatment so they could get better. However two of them died while being attended to by the doctor; the third recovered.”
The above quote from Josephus is very significant. We are conditioned from birth to associate crucifixion with death. Many people will never have heard of the idea of survival of crucifixion. The idea of Jesus dying on the cross is something that is so widely accepted that its rarely questioned.
But what happened to Jesus Christ? We are fortunate to live in modern times, when science and the field of medicine lend us powerful tools of analysis, as well as a language of medical and scientific terminology. These things even allow us to determine what may have occurred physiologically to Jesus Christ during and, assuming he survived the crucifixion, even after his ordeal on the cross.
One of the more interesting features of said tomb is here.
This is perhaps the most unique aspect of any tomb found in the world. Unseen (that I know of) anywhere else in this world.
The question still stands: Which Jesus are we talking about here?
Of course, the truth of this would bring the blind, shambling giant of xtianity crashing down, a slung stone striking the behemoth in its sightless, cyclopean eye.
I do expect to hear some noise on this. After all, to paraphrase that song by the Whispers,
"And the bleat goes on...."
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Let's define the word (we all know it, we understand the implications of it, but let's do so anyways):
The Dictionary entry says this - "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons."
The Legal Encyclopedia defines it thusly:
"The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property in order to coerce or intimidate a government or the civilian population in furtherance of political or social objectives.
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror or violence to achieve political goals. The targets of terrorism include government officials, identified individuals or groups, and innocent bystanders. In most cases terrorists seek to overthrow or destabilize an existing political regime, but totalitarian and dictatorial governments use terror to maintain their power."
We will take these two definitions, and sally forth from there. When we look at the utter immorality of the OT, the thorough lack of regard for human life whatsoever, it becomes readily apparent, that despite all objections to the contrary, the alleged deity in question is...drum roll please!...a complete racist, a sociopath, a thug, a child-killer, a propounder of blood 'n guts politics, a purveyor of iniquities to daunt the shades of the more bloodthirsty dictators in history.
"Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard. He drank some of the wine and became drunk, and he lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father's nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, "Cursed be Canaan; lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers." He also said, "Blessed by the Lord my God be Shem; and let Canaan be his slave. May God make space for Japheth, and let him live in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his slave." (Genesis 9:20-27 NRSV)
Could someone explain how multiple generations are condemned to slavery, for such a puerile reason?
"When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are all more powerful than you. When the LORD your God hands these nations over to you and you conquer them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaties with them and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them, and don't let your daughters and sons marry their sons and daughters. They will lead your young people away from me to worship other gods. Then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and he will destroy you." (Deuteronomy 7:1-4 NLT)
Tell me how this isn't nationalistic supremacism.
"Exodus 11:5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts."
That sounds fair...NOT.
"But then the Jewish leaders came to me and said, "Many of the people of Israel, and even some of the priests and Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the other peoples living in the land. They have taken up the detestable practices of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites. For the men of Israel have married women from these people and have taken them as wives for their sons. So the holy race has become polluted by these mixed marriages. To make matters worse, the officials and leaders are some of the worst offenders." (Ezra 9:1-2 NLT)"
The HOLY race? How were they chosen, anyways? Someone draw the short straw?
"Every city and province, without exception, that does not observe this decree shall be ruthlessly destroyed with fire and sword, so that it will be left not merely untrodden by men, but even shunned by wild beasts and birds forever." (Esther 8:24 NAB)
Curse the land? What, is something there contagious?
"The men of Israel withdrew through the territory of the Benjaminites, putting to the sword the inhabitants of the city, the livestock, and all they chanced upon. Moreover they destroyed by fire all the cities they came upon. " (Judges 20:48 NAB)
Real merciful, ey?
"When Jehu left there, he met Jehonadab son of Recab, who was coming to meet him. After they had greeted each other, Jehu said to him, "Are you as loyal to me as I am to you?" "Yes, I am," Jehonadab replied."If you are," Jehu said, "then give me your hand." So Jehonadab put out his hand, and Jehu helped him into the chariot. Then Jehu said, "Now come with me, and see how devoted I am to the LORD." So Jehonadab rode along with him. When Jehu arrived in Samaria, he killed everyone who was left there from Ahab's family, just as the LORD had promised through Elijah. " (2 Kings 10:10-17)
As it was written? God of love my ass.
"The glory of Israel will fly away like a bird, for your children will die at birth or perish in the womb or never even be conceived. Even if your children do survive to grow up, I will take them from you. It will be a terrible day when I turn away and leave you alone. I have watched Israel become as beautiful and pleasant as Tyre. But now Israel will bring out her children to be slaughtered." O LORD, what should I request for your people? I will ask for wombs that don't give birth and breasts that give no milk. The LORD says, "All their wickedness began at Gilgal; there I began to hate them. I will drive them from my land because of their evil actions. I will love them no more because all their leaders are rebels. The people of Israel are stricken. Their roots are dried up; they will bear no more fruit. And if they give birth, I will slaughter their beloved children." (Hosea 9:11-16 NLT)
Yeah, your little toys aren't doing what you want. Real nice.
"So they sent twelve thousand warriors to Jabesh-gilead with orders to kill everyone there, including women and children. "This is what you are to do," they said. "Completely destroy all the males and every woman who is not a virgin." Among the residents of Jabesh-gilead they found four hundred young virgins who had never slept with a man, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh in the land of Canaan."
"The Israelite assembly sent a peace delegation to the little remnant of Benjamin who were living at the rock of Rimmon. Then the men of Benjamin returned to their homes, and the four hundred women of Jabesh-gilead who were spared were given to them as wives. But there were not enough women for all of them. The people felt sorry for Benjamin because the LORD had left this gap in the tribes of Israel. So the Israelite leaders asked, "How can we find wives for the few who remain, since all the women of the tribe of Benjamin are dead? There must be heirs for the survivors so that an entire tribe of Israel will not be lost forever. But we cannot give them our own daughters in marriage because we have sworn with a solemn oath that anyone who does this will fall under God's curse."
"Then they thought of the annual festival of the LORD held in Shiloh, between Lebonah and Bethel, along the east side of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem. They told the men of Benjamin who still needed wives, "Go and hide in the vineyards. When the women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to be your wife! And when their fathers and brothers come to us in protest, we will tell them, 'Please be understanding. Let them have your daughters, for we didn't find enough wives for them when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead. And you are not guilty of breaking the vow since you did not give your daughters in marriage to them.'" So the men of Benjamin did as they were told. They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried them off to the land of their own inheritance. Then they rebuilt their towns and lived in them. So the assembly of Israel departed by tribes and families, and they returned to their own homes." (Judges 21:10-24 NLT)"
So thanks to some racist law, Israelites get to abscond with women.
"This is what the Lord of hosts has to say: 'I will punish what Amalek did to Israel when he barred his way as he was coming up from Egypt. Go, now, attack Amalek, and deal with him and all that he has under the ban. Do not spare him, but kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and asses.'" (1 Samuel 15:2-3 NAB)
Kill 'em all, let god sort 'em out.
"Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, "Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at the Temple." So they began by killing the seventy leaders. "Defile the Temple!" the LORD commanded. "Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!" So they went throughout the city and did as they were told." (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT)
"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." (Hosea 13:16 NLT)
The word SAVAGES springs to mind.
"But judging them little by little thou gavest them a chance to repent, though thou wast not unaware that their origin was evil and their wickedness inborn, and that their way of thinking would never change. For they were an accursed race from the beginning, and it was not through fear of any one that thou didst leave them unpunished for their sins." (Wisdom 12:10-11 RSV)
Yeah everybody's accursed except...Guess who? Got it in one.
"I will spend on them woe upon woe and exhaust all my arrows against them: Emaciating hunger and consuming fever and bitter pestilence, And the teeth of wild beasts I will send among them, with the venom of reptiles gliding in the dust. Snatched away by the sword in the street and by sheer terror at home: Shall be the youth and the maiden alike, the nursing babe as well as the hoary old man. " (Deuteronomy 32:23-25 NAB)
"I brought hunger to every city and famine to every town. But still you wouldn't return to me," says the LORD.
Gee, wonder why?
"I kept the rain from falling when you needed it the most, ruining all your crops. I sent rain on one town but withheld it from another. Rain fell on one field, while another field withered away. People staggered from one town to another for a drink of water, but there was never enough. But still you wouldn't return to me," says the LORD.
I could venture some guesses why.
"I struck your farms and vineyards with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured all your fig and olive trees. But still you wouldn't return to me," says the LORD.
Sounds like a lateral Abusive Spouse Syndrome to me.
"I sent plagues against you like the plagues I sent against Egypt long ago. I killed your young men in war and slaughtered all your horses. The stench of death filled the air! But still you wouldn't return to me," says the LORD.
More flies with honey, as they say.
"I destroyed some of your cities, as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Those of you who survived were like half-burned sticks snatched from a fire. But still you wouldn't return to me," says the LORD." (Amos 4:6-11 NLT)
Hey, go pick someone else as your 'chosen people'.
"The LORD, the God of their ancestors, repeatedly sent his prophets to warn them, for he had compassion on his people and his Temple. But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the LORD's anger could no longer be restrained and there was no remedy. So the LORD brought the king of Babylon against them. The Babylonians killed Judah's young men, even chasing after them into the Temple. They had no pity on the people, killing both young and old, men and women, healthy and sick. God handed them all over to Nebuchadnezzar. The king also took home to Babylon all the utensils, large and small, used in the Temple of God, and the treasures from both the LORD's Temple and the royal palace. He also took with him all the royal princes. Then his army set fire to the Temple of God, broke down the walls of Jerusalem, burned all the palaces, and completely destroyed everything of value. The few who survived were taken away to Babylon, and they became servants to the king and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. So the message of the LORD spoken through Jeremiah was fulfilled. The land finally enjoyed its Sabbath rest, lying desolate for seventy years, just as the prophet had said." (2 Chronicles 36:15-21 NLT)
How many times do these folks need to get burned, to realize this is all crap spewing from the high priests?
"So beware, for the time is coming, says the LORD, when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. For I will upset the battle plans of Judah and Jerusalem and let invading armies slaughter them. The enemy will leave the dead bodies as food for the vultures and wild animals. I will wipe Jerusalem from the face of the earth, making it a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be appalled and will gasp at the destruction they see there. I will see to it that your enemies lay siege to the city until all the food is gone. Then those trapped inside will have to eat their own sons and daughters and friends. They will be driven to utter despair.' (Jeremiah 19:6-9 NLT)
Aye, caramba! Divine stalker!
"While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: "Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother's home. Suddenly, a powerful wind [sent by God] swept in from the desert and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you." (Job 1:18-19 NLT)
All over a bet between god and satan.
"The LORD left certain nations in the land to test those Israelites who had not participated in the wars of Canaan. He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle. These were the nations: the Philistines (those living under the five Philistine rulers), all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the hill country of Lebanon from Mount Baal-hermon to Lebo-hamath. These people were left to test the Israelites – to see whether they would obey the commands the LORD had given to their ancestors through Moses." (Judges 3:1-4 NLT)
I find all this gut-wrenching.
The jury is in: if YHVH exists, he needs to be put on trial for war-crimes. Genocide. Infanticide. Let's encapsulate, all in one word:
Friday, May 12, 2006
I got this wild, WILD thing in my account (my reluctant atheist mailbox, no less).
Excuse me, do I KNOW you?
I am Sussan Adams
How nice for you.
PLEASE ENDEAVOUR TO USE IT FOR THE CHILDREN OF GOD.
Hey babe, I'm the reluctant atheist, emphasis on the atheist.
I am the above named person. I am married to Dr. Donald Adams A LIBERIAN but Inow in Nigerian General HOSPITAL taking treatment for my sickness, who worked with U.S embassy in LIBERIAN for nine years before he died in the year 2000.
You got my sympathies.
We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days.
I'm starting to hear violins here, troops.
Before his death we were both born again Christians.
Here it comes.
Since his death I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is against.
And this is my problem how?
When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of$10.5 Million (Ten Million five hundred thousand U.S.Dollars) with A Bank Presently, this money is still under the safe keeping of the Reserve FINANCE COMPANY Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next SEVEN months due to my cancer
You got my attention now, you betcha
Though what disturbs me most is my stroke.
Waitaminnit: a stroke and cancer? I'd say god ain't lookin' out for you, honey.
Having known my condition, I decided to donate this fund to church or better still a Christian or muslim individual That will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct here in.
If you wanted to cover all bases with this scam, you shoulda said Jewish as well.
I want a church that will use this fund on, orphanages, deaf and domb and poor widows propagating the word of God and to ensure that the house of God is maintained.
I like the deliberate misspelling of 'dumb', don't you?
The Bible made us to understand that blessed is the hand that giveth. I took this decision because I don't have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not Christians and I don't want my husband's hard earned money to be misused by unbelievers.
What, you don't understand what the word atheist means?
I don't want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner. Hence the reason for taking this bold decision.
See comment above. Better believe I will find some 'ungodly' uses for it.
I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going.
Hey, so do I. Nowhere.
I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Lord. Exodus 14 VS 14 says that the lord will fight my case and I shall hold my peace.
He ain't doing such a great job, from the sounds of it.
I don't need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health because of the presence of my husband's relatives around me always.
Ooooh, I'm her confidante now. How exciting!
I don't want them to know about this development.
Hey, I understand. But I trust YOU now! Yeah, right.
With God all things are possible. As soon as I receive your reply I forward your personal information, such as Your full name, Your full address, with Your telephone and fax number to my lawyer so that he will contact you as the legal owner of my fund before the bank will be transferring the fund into your nominated Bank Account in your country.
THERE'S the money shot! Since we're now confidants in Christ,
I will also issue you a letter of a authority that will back you up as the real next of kin and the original- beneficiary of my fund.
Ooooh! I can hardly wait!
I want you and the church to always pray for me because the lord is my shepherd,
Baby, you done been fleeced. That's what happens to sheeple.
you will also promise me that you will not seat on the fund when it gets into your bank account.
Oh, don't worry: YOU'RE not getting ANY of my info.
My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian.
Yeah, and got a stroke and cancer for your trouble. If you exist. Which I doubt.
Whoever that wants to serve the Lord must serve him in spirit and truth.
Like you are, in this scam.
Please always be prayerful all through your life, any delay in your reply will give me room in serching for a church or Christian individual for this same purpose.
'Hurry! Hurry before I find someone else!' Bite my ass.
Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. Hoping to hear from you as soon as possible.
Remain blessed in the name of the Lord.
Well, since there AIN'T any such critter, should be easy enough.
Yours in Christ,
Mrs. Sussan Adams
Yours in disbelief, a complete APOSTATE!
Apparently, religious people are extremely gullible.
What a newsflash.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
I have mentioned this before, in other threads: yet I find the concept intrigues me.
This time, I'm looking at Flipper. For those of you too young to recall, I'm speaking, of course, of the dolphin.
[NOTE: I have been thinking about this on and off, but a recent post at Aaron Kinney's Kill the Afterlife prompted this.]
Maybe it's personification, but it sure seems like there's something behind the eyeball of a dolphin. Mind you, I've never looked myself, but I'll never forget a Jacques Costeau special, they were taping a whale of some sort, and the cetacean looked directly at the camera, and I'd swear that there's something going on in there, besides the four F's of survival.
"Characteristics and Species
Dolphins are fishlike in form, with streamlined, hairless bodies. Their powerful, horizontal flukes, or tail fins, drive them through or out of the water, while their forefins and dorsal fin are used for steering. Constantly shedding their skins, dolphins accumulate no barnacles or other external parasites. A layer of blubber protects them from cold and seals small wounds. Dolphins breathe air through a single, dorsal blowhole.
The dolphin's intelligence, playfulness, and friendliness, its built-in smile and merry-looking eyes have been a source of interest and enchantment to human beings from earliest times; it is a common figure in mythology and literature and has been much depicted in art, especially in the posture of its graceful, arched, 30-ft (9-m) leap. Dolphins have long been famous for riding the bows of ships, and it is now known that they also ride the bows of large whales. Today they are valued and exploited as entertainers in more than 40 water shows around the world and have thus become available for extensive study."
"Echolocation and Communication
Dolphins produce an enormous variety of sounds, up to frequencies ten times those heard by human beings. The sounds are apparently produced by a complex of anatomical structures including the blowhole with its air sacs and valves. Each dolphin has a signature whistle with which it identifies itself; a calf soon learns to recognize its mother's whistle. Clicking and rapid creaking sounds are the basis of the echolocation mechanism (sonar) with which the dolphin gathers extremely precise information about the size, location, and nature of surrounding objects. Dolphins communicate by means of a demonstrably descriptive language understood by more than one species, using all the sounds in their repertory. They are observed to converse, and it has been repeatedly shown that one animal can convey instructions to another. Computer-aided efforts are being made, so far without success, to learn the dolphin language and to teach dolphins human speech, either in its normal form or translated into whistle combinations."
Maybe I'm just a hopeless romantic, but much of that sounds, well, sentient to me.
"Interaction with Humans
Dolphins are capable of imitation and memorization; they demonstrate foresight, learn from observation, communicate experience, solve complex problems, perform elaborate tasks, and learn multiple procedures simultaneously. Their so-called training is in fact a discipline structured around play, using their natural behavior as the basis for involved maneuvers; they appear to perform primarily for their own enjoyment. In situations of great stress in captivity they have been known to commit suicide by starvation, battering against walls, or drowning. There are many reports of dolphins rescuing people from drowning."
Holy crap! I mean, I've known OODLES of folks (myself included!) who don't demonstrate that much friggin' sentience!
And just so we're all clear, the definition of sentience, from Wiki:
"Sentience is a capacity for basic consciousness—the ability to feel or perceive, not necessarily including the faculty of self-awareness. The word sentient is often confused with the word sapient, which can connote knowledge, higher consciousness, or apperception. The root of the confusion is that the word conscious has a number of different meanings in English. The two words can be distinguished by looking at their Latin roots: sentire, "to feel"; and sapere, "to know".
Sentience is the ability to perceive. It is separate from, and not dependent on, the other aspects of consciousness; because of this, some have suggested the possibility of philosophical zombies, beings which are not sentient but nonetheless behave exactly as you would expect a human to behave."
So here's a poser, for the theists: how come dolphins seem to have more morals than a large percentile of humanity? Here's a species completely void of opposable thumbs, buildings, temples, can communicate with other species (something WE certainly have never accomplished, outside of the occasional primate), can have discussions (though that latest episode on 'American Dad', the son complains all dolphins want to do is discuss mackerel), and actually RESCUES HUMAN BEINGS ( a more decidedly alien species than their own, no less!).
After all, dolphins aren't mentioned in the bible, are they?
But of course, the ID'ers seize on this for an argument for 'irreducible complexity', here.
Oh, and here's another kicker:
"Claim: Bonobos and dolphins are the only animals other than humans who engage in sex for pleasure.
Status: True. "
Oh, and here's an amusing factoid:
There are only three animals who mate belly-to-belly. Humans. Dolphins. And porcupines. That last one makes a whole lotta sense, you ask me.
Anyways, food for thought.
Till the next post, then.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
I get really, really irate when some commercial comes on, anthropomorphizing a non-organic object.
I see this commercial recently:
"When is a car....
Not a car?
"When does a car become...
a part of the family?
more than a means to go between point A and point B?
And so on, ad nauseum.
And it really gets up my nose some.
Try answering 'Never!' to any of the above inane questions.
Wake up! It's just a frickin' machine! It's only intrinsic value is transport. Nothing else. I can understand getting a little attached to it: it's human nature. We're such creatures of convenience: you, me, everyone. We like structure and consistency, routine is inherent in us. But the ongoing romance with an automobile is just so...it seems theistic in nature.
Mind you, I have a car. I drive it (as little as possible: I bought the thing in 1997, 45,000 odd miles, as of this date, I'm ALMOST turning it over at 100,000) to work. I don't 'cruise', nor do I approve of these idiots who four-wheel up and down in the mud (yeah, tell me that AIN'T thrashing the environment, then sell me the Brooklyn Bridge while you're at it), I think these 'Monster Truck' rallies are such a waste of money, space, time, and our dwindling oil supplies, and 'tricking out your wheels' is going to prove to be an utter waste of resources when the gas finally DOES run out (and it will, very soon).
And we're literally bombarded with personifying propaganda. The cars talk, they supposedly tell the world, 'This is where I'm at, hey baby!' (a ptarmigan in full plumage during mating season), dating all the way back from 'My Mother the Car', to 'Knight Ryder', we have this ridiculous attachment to a machine, so much so that it (in some cases) rules our bloody lives.
Not to mention, that it insulates us to a terrifying degree in our society. It does. Here's an anecdote from my long lost youth:
When I was 16, I would walk about two miles (all uphill, both ways! Hehehehe, no really, all flatland) to go play chess with a buddy of mine. Then, after 8 hours, I'd walk back. One day, I was pounding the pavement, when I saw this tableau:
Tall, lanky, long-haired shirtless adult male (early 20's) walking away from this crying woman. She follows him. He stops, smacks her, yells "STAY AWAY FROM ME!" Turns, tries to leave. She follows. He repeats prior action. This went on a few times. I kept walking (hey, I was a kid, what was I gonna do?).
My point here being, is if I'd driven by, I would've gotten only a brief glimpse of one minor detail. Probably the woman getting smacked. And that, in macrocosm, is essentially (IMO) what is going on with America today (at least one factor). We're being programmed (whether unwittingly or no) to make value judgments based on a quick glimpse, rather than getting the whole story. An ingrained response, that is broadly affecting how we view each other, our country, our world. We zip past something, and formulate from there.
And of course, Ramen help you if you try to criticize the 'romance', as it were. Remember the big hubbub about SUV's, some years back? A bunch of soccer moms got up in ARMS no less, protesting the ban. I recall some environmentalists protesting some 4-wheeler enthusiasts riding up and down the landscape. One of the protestees got violent, and hit a protester. And I don't think I need to get into the instances of road rage that go on. I mean, someone cuts you off, or hits your car, you're going to HARM someone over that? What are you, twelve years old or something?
I can understand if you have to take your kids to school, or go to work, but come on! It's still JUST A MACHINE. Or to paraphrase Neil Diamond, "But it don’t sing and dance,
And it don’t talk."
So let's get a clue, people. It's a CAR. It can't comfort you in the wee hours of the morning, when loneliness and desperation make you weep, it can't trot out a tune on a dance floor, can't return your affection, give you children, answer your questions: in short, it's a MACHINE. So try not to invest too much of the 'Disney Syndrome' into the bloody thing. And next time you yell out "Road trip!", do me a favor:
Walk down to your local library.
"When a civilization buries its dreams in smoke, asphalt and concrete, madness is the result."
And that's my nickel's worth. Spend it or flip it: it's your choice.
And now, another long-awaited episode of ALLEGORIES GONE WILD! And, whoo-hoo! Have I gotta a wild one for y'all this time!
It all began on a dark and stormy night...aw, bollocks, never liked Bulwher-Lytton that much (though Snoopy swears by him). It began with the infamous Face On Mars, and very quickly spiralled into a maelstrom of baroque meritocracy that would make even Charles Forte flinch.
All pioneered by one Richard Hoagland, who, according to answers.com:
""Richard Caulfield Hoagland (born April 25, 1945) is a propounder of theories on astronomical topics that are considered offbeat by many. His major focus is on extraterrestrial life in the solar system, in particular Mars. While Hoagland's books have sold very well, most in the scientific establishment consider his theories to be pseudoscience.
Hoagland is a frequent guest on Coast to Coast AM, making several appearances a month, often merely repeating the same information from his previous visit. He has more airtime than any other guest on the show, and is regularly permitted to solicit money from Coast to Coast's audience."
"Hoagland has served as a "Curator of Astronomy & Space Science" at the "Springfield Museum of Science" (Springfield Science Museum) located at The Quadrangle in Springfield, Massachusetts, and a science adviser to Walter Cronkite and CBS News during the Apollo program."
"Hoagland claims to have co-produced with WTIC (AM) a Peabody Award-nominated radio program, "A Night of Encounter," covering the July 14, 1965, Mariner 4 flyby of the planet Mars. However, the official Peabody Awards entry form (51-65R) held at the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia Libraries in Athens, Georgia, submitted by Paul W. Morency, President of Broadcast-Plaza, Inc., lists only Charles Renaud as the producer of the program. WTIC announcer Dick Bertel hosted the program and interviewed Hoagland. The program featured a conversation between Hoagland and astronomer Dr. Robert S. Richardson, Associate Director of the Griffith Observatory.
In 1993, Hoagland was awarded the "International Angstrom Medal for Excellence in Science.".
That last entry is most striking, because when I google "International Angstrom Medal for Excellence in Science.",-hoagland (that's any mention without Hoagland), I get ZERO hits. I find that odd. But it gets zanier from there:
Hoagland has made numerous claims about the existence of extraterrestrial life (or intelligence, at some point), which he believes is supported by the presence of the so-called Face on Mars. He claims that the face was part of a city built on Cydonia Planitia by extraterrestrial intelligences. The "city" apparently consists of very large pyramids and mounds arranged in a geometrical pattern, with the ratios between measured angles roughly equaling mathematical constants like pi, e and the square root of two. Hoagland's numerous theories are also frequently supported by numerological justifications, such as his Iapetus theory revolving around Base 60 and the numeric factors of platonic solids."
Hoagland's claims and theories are, obviously, not without controversy:
* The claim that Hoagland is most famous - or infamous - for is that of the Face on Mars that appears in a Viking Orbiter image taken of the Cydonia region on Mars. Hoagland claimed at the time that this 'face' was actually evidence that an advanced civilization existed on Mars, and that NASA was suppressing the evidence for reasons never specifically explained. In 1997, the Mars Global Surveyor probe sent back extremely high resolution images of the Cydonia region that provided irrefutable evidence that the 'face' was nowhere near as symmetrical as Hoagland's claims called for, and was in fact nothing more than an irregular shaped mountain. Hoagland refuses to accept these images as valid.
* Hoagland has also claimed responsibility for the theory concerning the presence of water on Jupiter's moon Europa. However, several scientific articles about this subject were written years before Hoagland's article was published.
* The claim that the Galileo Probe caused a "mysterious black spot" has since been debunked by both NASA and several independent astronomers, with photographic proof that the "black spot" was present in imagery of Jupiter for several years prior to Hoagland's "discovery" of it.
* Finally, Hoagland has claimed a close friendship with legendary CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite. While Hoagland was a minor fact-checking assistant to Cronkite during the Apollo Missions, Cronkite has specifically distanced himself from Hoagland and his pseudoscience. According to his daughter, Kathy Cronkite, during an on-the-air radio morning show on KLBJ-AM in 1994 where hosts Dale Dudley and Bob Fonseca were discussing Hoagland's claims, Kathy was very frank in relating her father's wishes that Hoagland would 'quit referring to [her father] ever again as long as he keeps acting like a kook'. "
Is that silly enough for ya? But wait! There's more! Much more! Too much more!
From the website promoting David Flynn's science fantasy book, 'CYDONIA: The Secret Chronicles of Mars':
"Flynn 's Cydonia: The Secret Chronicles of Mars reveals:
- 2012, the great Cosmic Clock embodied in the symbol of the Ouroboros
- the "gods" who ruled the planets in the ages before Adam
- the distinctly Martian influence on human civilization from earliest times to the present
- the meaning behind the esoteric tenet "As Above, So Below"
- Freemason symbolism, the Mystery Schools & the modern alchemists of NASA
And THEN, this yahoo claims:
"The Milky Way Galaxy is the inspiration for the symbol of the Ouroboros. Myth refers to a serpent of light residing in the heavens. The Milky Way is this serpent, and viewed at galactic central point near sagittarius, this serpent eats its own tail. "
Well, I hate to break it to you fella, but answers.com says of Ouroboros:
The serpent or dragon eating its own tail can be traced back to Ancient Egypt, circa 1600 BC. However the pig dragons of the Hongshan culture (4700--2200 BC) of China are older. From ancient Egypt it passed to Phoenicia and then to the Greek philosophers, who gave it the name Ouroboros ("tail-devourer")."
And the only way people can see the Milky Way, is through a telescope. Excuse me: when was that invented?
"The first practical telescopes were refracting telescopes produced at the beginning of the 17th cent. By 1610, Galileo had made extensive astronomical use of the simple refractor. The best telescopes of this period had very long focal lengths to minimize the chromatic aberration inherent in the single-element objective."
Of course, if you have ET as a patron, that resolves that little issue, don't it?
And here of course, some clinchers: the Bible helps bolster the theories!
"UFOs & the Bible: Nephilim 101
Medieval Painting depicting UFO & MARY from article in Fate Magazine 1999
Fate Magazine. Whadda surprise, ey?
It has been said that Christians are "pretty narrow minded" to limit the population of the universe to merely GOD, ANGELS, AND MAN. After all, there are "billions and billions" of stars which perhaps have planets, which perhaps have civilizations etc. However, within the classification of angels [non-human intelligent beings] exist diverse myriads. Hierarchies of innumerable angels still populate the universe. These angelic non-human intelligent beings built civilizations in our solar system -- even upon the Earth -- before Adam.
ANGELS ARE INTELLIGENT BEINGS WHO ARE NOT HUMAN, MYSTERIOUS BEINGS WHO ARE "ALIEN" TO US. Angels are non-human intelligent beings who have superior technology and comprehension of physics, having been present at the creation of the material universe.The concept of an ANGEL comes from the Greek aggelos; from the Hebrew ago for "one going forth" or "one leading"; messenger. Not all angels are "good". Although the angels were originally created by God to convey His "message" for His purposes according to His plan, some angels rebelled, some angels go forth to give their own message, to carry out their own plans. "
"Ancient deity Baal was lord of war and of the sky. Many titles were given to Baal by adding endings to his name. Some examples found in scripture are Baalhazor "Lord of the Fortresses", Baalbamoth = Lord of the high places, Baalzebub = Lord of those who fly, or, flit. Zebub is a Hebrew verb which means to flit from place to place , having been popularly translated as "Lord of the Flies" it is more properly rendered "Lord of Those Things that Fly". Baal is identified as Satan by Jesus himself, Matt.10:25 Mark. 3:22 Luke 11:15. Paul says we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers, with spirits in high places, literally, "in the heavens" "in the aerial regions" Eph.6:12. Hence Satan is called "the prince of the Power of the Air" "the prince of the aerial host" Eph.2:2. Imagine the confederation of rebellious angels seated in the atmospheric heaven in the spaces above and around our planet. This fundamental of scripture contradicts many traditional concepts of "hell" as the domain of the devil and his minions... the popular notion of "satan ruling the underworld" is not found in the Bible. King David realized the "sons of the mighty" inhabited the sky:"
Oh great. Evil aliens. Never heard THAT one before. If this nitwit actually did some research:
"Baal-zebub ) [Heb.,=lord of flies], a deliberate Hebrew distortion of the name of the god of Ekron in 2 Kings. In the Gospels of Mark and Luke, Beelzebul, the Greek form of the epithet Baal-zebul [Baal the Prince], is encountered. See Baal and Satan."
"Jesus Christ explained to His apostles what events would immediately precede his second coming, "It shall be exactly as in the days before Noah entered the ark". Matt 24:38 , Luke 17:27. What is the significance of this statement and how does it relate to Ufos? The Flood epic Gen. 6 begins with a strange account of the "sons of God" (b'nai Elohim), taking wives from among the daughters of Adam. "
Sufficient to say, these yobbos draw also on the Book of Enoch as well. And get this: crop circles are warnings from On High! At the bottom of the webpage, a direct link to this site (Goro Adachi) says:
"'Crop circles', while beautiful and puzzling, had never been something I would actively investigate. Like ghosts, I felt that the phenomenon was a dead-end street; tangible answers were just not likely to come from it. So it was a strange development when I personally facilitated the entry of a certain crop formation in England into the ongoing drama surrounding Cydonia (see the Endgame: Odyssey and the Martian Trojan Horse article). The link was not explicit, but there were striking, multi-layered associations and hints that I just found difficult to ignore."
Sure. Lacking a real hobby or a girlfriend, EVERYTHING'S hard to ignore. Bad news fella: Crop circles are a myth. From here:
"Crop circles are areas of cereal or similar crops that have been systematically flattened to form various geometric patterns. The phenomenon itself only entered the public imagination in its current form after the notable appearances in England in the late 1970s. Various scientific and pseudo-scientific explanations were put forward to explain the phenomenon, which soon spread around the world. In 1991, more than a decade after the phenomena began, two men, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley, revealed that they had been making crop circles in England since 1978 using planks, rope, hats and wire as their only tools. Many other people around the world are also openly making crop circles, notably Circlemakers.org. Although the commonly accepted view today is that crop circles are a man-made phenomenon, paranormal explanations, often including UFOs, are still popular."
There goes another theory, eh?
"For some reason, the crop glyph seemed to suggest that they were to be tied in with NASA's Odyssey IR image mysteriously acquired by Richard Hoagland's Enterprise Mission team on July 25, 2002 in the United States. "
Cue the weird whistle music from the X Files.
"Previously, we noted that both the 'SETI response' crop glyph and the Cydonia issue involved the idea of 'First Contact' with extraterrestrial intelligence, and that the timing of the crop formation directly overlapped the initial stage of the Odyssey picture controversy that straddle the month of August. Curiously, August was also exactly when Signs, the Hollywood film about crop circles, was released - as if to underscore the significance of the events in this time window."
Not to mention your medication ran out a week before, and you never got a new prescription.
"I also pointed out in the Endgame article that the disk in the alien glyph was likely an allusion to the golden disk onboard the Voyager spacecraft (launched 1977) which carried encoded SETI messages, intended for some potential ET civilization out there. I considered this postulation plausible because of the fact that the other crop formation created exactly one year prior (Aug. 14, 2001) in a nearby field was clearly stylized as a response to the SETI message transmitted by the Arecibo radio telescope in 1974."
Clearly stylized? Look for yourselves - this is a thin premise at best, I'd say. It's in a CIRCLE....wooo-eeee-ooooh!
"This context then nicely related back to Hoagland, as it was him -- then an adviser to NASA -- who first came up with the idea of sending a SETI message on spacecraft (Pioneer 10, 1972)."
Let's tie it all together with your hero, then.
"Strengthening the Martian connection further was the message found encoded on the disk of the 2002 alien crop formation:
Beware the bearers of FALSE gifts & their BROKEN PROMISES. Much PAIN but still time. EELRIJUE. There is GOOD out there. We OPpose DECEPTION. Conduit CLOSING (BELL SOUND)"
Bell sound? I thought the crap (whoops! Crop) circles didn't make noise?
A 'false gift' designed to deceive would archetypally be embodied by the Trojan Horse of Greek mythology. To get inside the city of Troy, the Greeks constructed the wooden horse and left it as a gift in front of the city. The Trojans, though initially suspicious, eventually dragged the horse through the gate into the city, not realizing that it was a big military operation carefully designed by the Greeks. At night, the soldiers who were hiding inside the wooden horse came out, opened the city's gates from inside, and a bloody surprise attack on the city ensued. Thus Troy finally fell. And it was all thanks to the 'false gift' of the Trojan Horse."
Aye caramba! So now Homer was in on it? (The writer, not the cartoon figure).
"Who was the genius that concocted this scheme against the Trojans? It was a figure named Odysseus, whose adventures are detailed in Homer's great epic, The Odyssey. Needless to say, 'Odyssey' is the very name given to the NASA Mars probe currently orbiting the Red Planet and giving us intriguing Infrared images - including Hoagland's Cydonia picture presently at the center of controversy."
Needless to say: go get your olanzapine prescription filled. And fire your therapist: he's not doing you any good at all.
"The name 'Odyssey' also nicely correlates with the underlying theme of 'Contact' - with alien intelligence. Exoterically, the name is an obvious reference to the popular book/film written by Arthur C. Clark, '2001: A Space Odyssey', that deals with the subject of contact with higher intelligence. Consequently, I speculated in my first Endgame report that the Odyssey's controversial Cydonia data might represent some kind of a 'false gift' as well."
Bing! Synchronicity confirms it! Yeesh, get a clue, fella.
" I looked at the Ultra-Tech logo again and saw the "Personal Computer Service" part, and then the computer chip inside the 'disk'.
High-tech, computers, Trojan Horse, the alien disk encoded with computer ASCII language code, the crop alien appearing 'digital'...
Then it hit me. Could the alien warning be about, at least on one level, some kind of computer virus, particularly the type known as 'Trojans', which, like the mythical Trojan Horse, infiltrate computers by passing itself off as something else? Could this perhaps be how the terrorists might attack the United States or its allies next?"
Like water on a hot griddle, this guy's all OVER the place!
"According to the growing opinion of the scientific community today, meteorites can literally be 'seeds'. This increasingly popular view contends that cosmic rocks flying through outer space may be carrying microbial life - or perhaps "virus" - and that they are capable of seeding planetary bodies with this extraterrestrial life. Of course, many environmental conditions must be met for the alien life to survive and flourish. But to a receptive and nurturing 'garden', this cosmic seed would be the beginning of life or the introduction of a new form of life. It would be, in a way, the moment of 'creation'."
I'm surprised, at this point, that no 'biblical evidence' is being trotted out here. But there will be.
"This theory got a big boost when NASA announced triumphantly in 1996 that a Martian rock, labeled ALH84001, contained fossils of bacteria-like organims that may have lived on the Red Planet billions of years ago. Thus we learned that the meteorites theoretically responsible for seeding Earth may well have come from the Red Planet."
So some ET civlization spat 'life' onto Earth from Mars?
"At this point, then, the implication would emerge that the 'false gifts' mentioned in the 2002 alien message might also relate to the 'fallen angels' in some way. Actually, this cannot be more fitting because the key function of these angelic beings in ancient tradition was to impart the 'gift' of advanced knowledge to mankind. In Greek myth, this story is repeated by Prometheus giving 'fire' to mankind, immediately followed by an unfortunate event involving Pandora's Box, a 'false gift' sent by Zeus. These, we are told, led to the corruption and suffering of man."
Newsflash: why do you think it's called mythology?
"Traditionally, the forbidden distribution of knowledge paves the way for the Great Flood - a drastic measure taken by 'God' to eradicate the 'virus' in the system."
Bing! Synchronicity strikes again!
"Turning back our attention to our own time, note that the biggest event witnessed in the year of 'Odyssey', 2001, was the 9/11 terrorism. And as those who have read my previous articles would know, the destruction was in many ways the modern version of the Great Flood (see Mystery, Babylon the Great, etc.). The parallel was very clear on many levels."
" Babylon Revisited
Immediately following the tale of Noah's Great Flood in Genesis is the famous story about the Tower of Babel, the modern version of which was the destroyed twin towers in NYC, as explained in my previous writings."
Hmmmm....and yet here we are, still able to communicate with one another.
"And here, too, appears the shem, i.e. the 'gift' of the heavenly stone:
…let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a shem, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. "
And yet they still were. And here, we have...ta-DAH! Kaballah yet again!
"The term 'Babel' denotes 'confusion', which in turn relates to the word Kabalah/Kabbalah that similarly implies confusion; and, to corroborate the underlying theme, the latter also happens to denote 'that which is received', i.e. 'gift'"
Hey, I think you missed the Popul Voh.
"In the post-9/11 era, many priests, the self-appointed mediator between God and people, have been publicly exposed to be pedophile, sexual predators, who have habitually terrorized countless innocent children. This situation is remarkably evocative of the deeds of the shadowy 'fallen angels'.
As written in Genesis, "the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men," or in other words, the angels - the mediator between God and man - had an inappropriate sexual relationship with young members of mankind."
And dragging pedophiliac RC priests into the mix? Can you say 'baroque meritocracy', boys and girls?
"But what gives some seriousness to this humorous interpretation is the December timeframe. As explained in The Message of Cycle 23 and Endgame, there are various indications that the coming December of 2002 could be an important time window for something big. Tentatively, in fact, I postulated that this window might see the exit of the Pope or the US President - both being the leader of 'Babylon'. "
"And we can also plausibly add Iraq and Saddam, i.e. the ancient Babylon, to the list. Whatever the case, it is eerie to see how the 'alien warning' relatable to Christmas, the time of 'gifts', would nicely fit into the projected time window. There may well be something to the Christmas connection."
Hey, who couldn't see THOSE two coming anyways? You didn't need to be Madame Cleo to figure THAT one out. Still off on the 2002 date. But wait! There's even more! He brings the fucking Nazis into his wild Daliean tapestry:
"It is quite well known that the Nazi regime, especially the infamous SS squad, held bizarre mystical beliefs and was driven by them. Indeed, the Third Reich was the first state in Western history since ancient Rome to be based mainly on religious/magical principles. It was a big 'anomaly' in modern history and the world today still deeply feels its impact after all these years. Most of us sincerely hope that we will never have to deal with such a ruthless and able killing machine again."
Wait...you're accusing the SS of having 'bizarre mystical beliefs'? Try looking in a mirror sometime soon.
"Though seemingly the stuff of wild conspiracy theories flying around out there,"
Man, talk about pot.kettle.black!
"the idea of the Reich surviving the WW 2 defeat is really nothing new. And, in fact, on various levels their continuation is very real. At the very least, it is no secret that the remarkable technological aspect of Nazi Germany was allowed to continue in other countries such as the U.S. and Soviet Union. For example, we know that many of NASA's founding fathers and leaders of the aerospace industry - such as Wernher von Braun (director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center), Walter Dornberger (vice president of Bell Aircraft Company and Bell Aerosystems Company), Dr. Kurt H. Debus (director of Kennedy Space Center), Richard Gompertz (head of NASA's Chrysler space division) - were former Nazi scientists/officials. Many of these former Nazis were connected to one of Germany's most secret weapons programs, the V-2 rocket. Their contribution to the US space program was such that it would not be an exaggeration to state that without the the technological 'gift' from the Reich, the Apollo missions to the Moon, one of the greatest achievement of mankind, would not have been possible. In a sense, interestingly, the intense space race between the US and Soviet Union, which also acquired many Nazi technological secrets at the end of the war, was collectively the continuing legacy of Nazi technology."
Oh, great. Like you didn't sound like a loon before.
Goro then goes on and on about NASA/Nazi collaboration, secret recruitment, all the old lunatic fringe denouements.
Goro Adachi is also a proponent of the concept of Time Rivers.
"The Time River Theory (TRT) is ultimately about the discovery and decoding of the 'blueprint' of reality - a blueprint that was literally carved on this planet by an unknown high intelligence. This is a brand new field just activated in 2003 via the publication of The Time Rivers. It's about time we opened up the Gateway... to a new dimension.
To get a little more specific, here is an abbreviated list of what the Time River Theory is about and what it reveals (at least in the book The Time Rivers):
* A grand system of literal 'rivers of time' flowing on our planet, created by some mysterious, higher intelligence.
* The intricate 'Time River scheme' produced by the Nile, Tigris-Euphrates, Mississippi, etc. showing us the entire timeline of human civilization, both past and future.
* Solutions to deep ancient mysteries of Egypt, Sumer, and even Mars.
* Encoded 'messages' revealing extraterrestrial and/or extra-temporal origins of human civilization.
* The 21st century being specifically pinpointed as the edge of time, when a 'timegate' opens up to bring mankind back to the realm of 'Genesis'.
* Tangible and unique solutions to the biblical events of Genesis such as Creation, the fallen angels, the Great Flood, the Ark, etc.
* An encoded timeline of the United States anticipating '9/11', an event suggested to mark the 'end' of the United States.
Please note that the the theory is extensive and still rapidly evolving, thus the above should be viewed as only the tip of the iceberg."
I'm waiting for him to tie this up with other multiple theories, along with Star Trek TNG, Stargate DS-1, and maybe even the sinking of the Titanic. He says that it's a new theory, I'll not go after this right now, other to say: THERE'S NO PROOF. It sounds like a great idea for a Sci-Fi novel, but until actual physical evidence is presented this is all a theory, definition #6 - "An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture."
There's also a debunking here, on Bad Astronomy.
Multiple and profuse apologies for being all over the place on this, folks, but there was just so MUCH content, and if I were to do a Fiskian rebuttal, well, that woulda been a whole lot less fun.
Covered a great deal of ground though.
Until the next post, then. Dubito ergo sum.
Monday, May 08, 2006
Y'all gotta check this out. Being an old Marvel man (More of a DC/Vertigo/Dark Horse guy these days), I found this especially hysterical. My favorite scene is the one where Galactcus and the Silver Surfer break dance to rap music.
What? So I'm a middle-aged man who reads graphic novels. I am most definitely NOT the Comic Book guy from the Simpsons. I got WAY too many people skills, I teach martial arts, I speak two languages, oh hell, let's just say I easily crack most of the stereotypes in half.
Anyways, for your viewing pleasure:
Those of you who don't read comic books, well, you may find it vastly amusing as well.
For those of you who look down your nose at graphic novels, comic books, etc:
Lighten up. You'll live longer. Shouldn't look down your nose at something until you take a taste of it.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
I BELIEVE IN JESUS! HALLELUJAH! PRAISE THE LORD AND PASS THE AMMUNITION....WAITAMINNIT: WHICH JESUS WE TALKIN' ABOUT HERE?
Hee-HEE-hee (as Michael Jackson loves to emote): hope I made some of you jump for a second. I know, April Fool's is long gone. Sorry, couldn't resist.
I was at this site when I came across the 'Surfeit of Jesuses'.
"Josephus, the first century Jewish historian mentions no fewer than nineteen different Yeshuas/Jesii, about half of them contemporaries of the supposed Christ! In his Antiquities, of the twenty-eight high priests who held office from the reign of Herod the Great to the fall of the Temple, no fewer than four bore the name Jesus: Jesus ben Phiabi, Jesus ben Sec, Jesus ben Damneus and Jesus ben Gamaliel. Even Saint Paul makes reference to a rival magician, preaching 'another Jesus' (2 Corinthians 11,4). The surfeit of early Jesuses includes:
Jesus ben Sirach. This Jesus was reputedly the author of the Book of Sirach (aka 'Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach'), part of Old Testament Apocrypha. Ben Sirach, writing in Greek about 180 BC, brought together Jewish 'wisdom' and Homeric-style heroes.
Jesus ben Pandira. A wonder-worker during the reign of Alexander Jannaeus (106-79 BC), one of the most ruthless of the Maccabean kings. Imprudently, this Jesus launched into a career of end-time prophesy and agitation which upset the king. He met his own premature end-time by being hung on a tree – and on the eve of a Passover. Scholars have speculated this Jesus founded the Essene sect.
Jesus ben Ananias. Beginning in 62AD, this Jesus had caused disquiet in Jerusalem with a non-stop doom-laden mantra of ‘Woe to the city’. He prophesied rather vaguely:
"A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against the whole people."
(Josephus, Wars 6:3)
Arrested and flogged by the Romans, he was released as nothing more dangerous than a mad man. He died during the siege of Jerusalem from a rock hurled by a Roman catapult.
Jesus ben Saphat. In the insurrection of 68AD that wrought havoc in Galilee, this Jesus had led the rebels in Tiberias. When the city was about to fall to Vespasian’s legionaries he fled north to Tarichea on the Sea of Galilee.
Jesus ben Gamala. During 68/69 AD this Jesus was a leader of the ‘peace party’ in the civil war wrecking Judaea. From the walls of Jerusalem he had remonstrated with the besieging Idumeans (led by ‘James and John, sons of Susa’). It did him no good. When the Idumeans breached the walls he was put to death and his body thrown to the dogs and carrion birds.
Jesus ben Thebuth. A priest who, in the final capitulation of the upper city in 69AD, saved his own skin by surrendering the treasures of the Temple, which included two holy candlesticks, goblets of pure gold, sacred curtains and robes of the high priests. The booty figured prominently in the Triumph held for Vespasian and his son Titus.
Too strange to be a coincidence!
According to the Biblical account, Pilate offered the Jews the release of just one prisoner and the cursed race chose Barabbas rather than gentle Jesus.
But hold on a minute: in the original text studied by Origen (and in some recent ones) the chosen criminal was Jesus Barabbas – and Bar Abba in Hebrew means ‘Son of the Father’!
Are we to believe that Pilate had a Jesus, Son of God and a Jesus, Son of the Father in his prison at the same time??!!
Perhaps the truth is that a single executed criminal helped flesh out the whole fantastic fable. Gospel writers, in scrambling details, used the Aramaic Barabbas knowing that few Latin or Greek speakers would know its meaning.
But was there a crucified Jesus?
Certainly. Jesus ben Stada was a Judean agitator who gave the Romans a headache in the early years of the second century. He met his end in the town of Lydda (twenty five miles from Jerusalem) at the hands of a Roman crucifixion crew. And given the scale that Roman retribution could reach – at the height of the siege of Jerusalem the Romans were crucifying upwards of five hundred captives a day before the city walls – dead heroes called Jesus would (quite literally) have been thick on the ground. Not one merits a full-stop in the great universal history. "
Thought I'd double-check my stats before I ran my mouth off for the Sunday Sermon, and sure enuff, came up with this:
The New Testament refers to five persons bearing the name Jesus:
* Jesus of Nazareth / Jesus the Nazarene, believed by Christians to be the Son of God and the King of the Jews, also known as Jesus Christ. See also New Testament view on Jesus' life and Historical Jesus.
* An ancestor of Jesus of Nazareth (Luke 3:29). The later Textus Receptus reads "Jose(s)."
* A Christian, evidently Jewish, and fellow worker of Paul. He was also called Justus.(Colossians 4:11).
* Jesus Barabbas
* Elymas, also known as Bar-Jesus, was a Jewish magician who appears in the New Testament in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 13.
Additionally, the area around Judea raised many people who either claimed to be the Jewish Messiah, or were simply resistance fighters who wanted to overthrow Roman authority. Some of these include:
* Jesus ben Gamala. During AD 68/69 this Jesus was a leader of the 'peace activists' in the civil war wrecking Judaea, but was put to death by the victors.
* Jesus ben Saphat. Led Tiberian rebels in the Galilee insurrection of AD 68 and fled just before its end.
* Jesus ben Ananias. A prophecier who caused discontent in Jerusalem with laments of 'The End Times' around AD 62. He was considered a madman by the Roman authorities, and died in an attack on Jerusalem in 68/69AD when hit by a rock from a Roman catapult.
Earlier significant figures sometimes known as Jesus include:
* Jesus ben Sirach, the author of Ecclesiasticus
* Joshua, known as Jesus in the King James Version of the New Testament
Other individuals who have been referred to as "Jesus":
* Yeshu ben Pandera, translated "Jesus" by some, who was the teacher of Jacob of Sichnin in the 2nd century AD.
* ben Stada who was stoned at Lydda (Lod), assumed by some to be identical to Yeshu ben Pandera and thus referred to as "Jesus".
* Yeshu, translated "Jesus" by some, who lived at the start of the 1st century BC under the Hasmoneans.
As to Jesus Barabbas:
"The Gospels all state that there was a custom at Passover during which the Roman governor would release a prisoner of the crowd's choice. Mark 15:6; Matt. 27:15; John 18:39; Luke 23:17 (though this verse in Luke is not present in the earliest manuscripts and may be a later gloss to bring Luke into conformity)
However, no other such release is recorded in any historical document, not even as a passing mention. Some point to the perception of Pontius Pilate's disregard for Jewish sensibilities; the idea of him honouring Jewish Passover in any way may not fit with historical accounts of his character. However, other historians take the exact opposite approach, arguing that Pilate showed careful regard to Jewish customs in order to avoid revolts in an unruly province, and this may be an example of Pilate creating an "ad hoc" tradition in order to avoid a possibly explosive situation.
If Pilate did not offer a choice between Jesus and another person, several possible explanations for the origin of such a story have been offered by a number of scholars."
Read the whole section, if you're interested.
So what am I saying here? Do I really need to spell it out? Okay, I will:
We have MULTIPLE mentions in the glorious historian that the xtians love to trot out as 'proof' for their spurious fables (Josephus, 'The Jewish Wars') of more than ONE person of that name. Yet the central figure in that role was given barely a nod (see here for a biting analysis of Eusebius' fornicatory interpolation).
(To be sung to the tune of 'It's looking a lot like Xmas') "It's looking a lot like...no Jee-buz, he didn't exist at all...."
More nails in the coffin of Christianity. Let's hope the ripples finally fade away.
And that, dear readers, is my nickel's worth. Spend it wisely, or flip a coin. Your choice.