left biblioblography: May 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Spark That Ignited The Enlightenment - Oops!

I stumbled across this, and I advise you set your irony meter to high.

Pierre Bayle was a progressive Christian scholar who argued that faith could not be justified by reason, on the grounds that God is incomprehensible to man. As one of his proofs he pointed out that no reasonable person could discern any sense in God's choice of a leader for the Jewish nation: King David was indisputably a liar, murderer, thief and adulterer. Although Bayle's intent was to turn people against reason in matters of faith, he was so thorough in debunking the reasonableness and coherency of religion that his works subsequently influenced the development of the Enlightenment. In fact, he was considered by many to be a skeptic. Exceedingly influential in his time, the author is little known today (important though his role has been both as a forerunner of the Encyclopedists, and as a pioneer in the advancement of the principle of the toleration of divergent beliefs).

While I'm sure that is a bit of an over-simplification (there were no doubt multiple environmental factors that caused the conflagration), still, it puts a smile on my lips.

In 1684 Bayle began the publication of his Nouvelles de la république des lettres, a journal of literary criticism. In 1690 there appeared a work entitled Avis important aux refugies, which Jurieu attributed to Bayle, whom he attacked with great animosity. After a long quarrel, Bayle was deprived of his chair in 1693. However, he was not depressed by this misfortune, especially as he was at the time engaged in the preparation of his massive magnum opus, the Historical and Critical Dictionary, which actually constituted one of the first encyclopedias (before the term had come into wide circulation) of ideas and their originators. Bayle's attempt at impartial presentation of these ideas was instituted within a non-partisan framework of thoughtful consideration of both sides of any dispute. In his articles on the founder of Islam "Mahomet" and the Italian reforming monk Savonarola, to take but two examples, Bayle displays his penchant for judicious assessment of highly controversial figures and philosophies, while eschewing partisan interpretations. While this striving for objectivity is a standard criterion of scholarship in the modern world, in Bayle's time he was among the first to implement it in a sustained intellectual endeavor like his "Dictionary," amidst a sea of contentious ideologies and their zealous proponents.

 Here is his home page, for the interested reader.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Profiles In Atheism - The American Abolitionist

From here:

"Elizur Wright, American (1804-1885).
Elizur Wright was a life long social reformer. He was reared in an evangelical Congregationalist family in Connecticut and Ohio. As a young man he attended Yale with the intention of preparing for a career in the ministry. While at Yale he became interested in the anti-slavery cause. He graduated from Yale with growing doubts about entering the ministry but he did spend some time working for the American Tract Society and worked as a school teacher. Later he took a position as a professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at Western Reserve College. There he became further involved in the abolitionist movement moving from support for gradual emancipation and colonization of ex-slaves in Africa to support for the more radical position of immediatism. After he became a more committed Abolitionist he eventually resigned his position at Western Reserve to work as secretary for the American Anti-Slavery Society.

"It was while working for the Abolitionist movement that Wright gradually became disillusioned with the Christian churches and their perceived tolerance for slavery and their general hypocrisy over this issue. His disillusionment with the churches on moral grounds gradually led down the road towards freethought and atheism while still retaining the moral fervor of his evangelical background. In 1847 he wrote "Christianity is itself a total failure... so far as it is a plan of saving souls for a future life without saving souls and bodies for this." In 1860 he wrote to his friend Beriah Green--"I don't believe in the God of books...I don't believe in anything but facts appreciated by some degree of evidence." Wright in his old age worked actively on behalf for freethought causes. He worked for the National Liberal League in association with such prominent freethinkers as Robert Ingersoll. Towards the end of his life Wright openly described himself as an "infidel," an "atheist," and a "pagan." He called himself a "materialist" in the tradition of Spinoza, Paine, Darwin, and Huxley. He was quite partial to the Positivism of August Comte.

"Abolitionism and freethought were by no means the only causes that Wright devoted himself to. He used his mathematical training to establish himself as an insurance actuary and this led him to one of other favorite causes--that of life insurance reform. His efforts in that field eventually led to his being appointed commissioner of life insurance in Massachusetts. As commissioner he sought to place the industry on sound scientific actuarial principles. Another cause that he devoted himself to was that of conservation. He successfully fought for the establishment of the Middlesex Fells Reservation (the Fells are a wooded plateau in and around Medford, Massachusetts) to preserve the forested lands there from encroaching real estate pressures. Wright's Pond and Wright's Boulder are named for him. [Abolitionist, Actuary, Atheist: Elizur Wright and the Reform Impulse Lawrence Goodheart (The Kent State University Press, 1990)."


Monday, May 28, 2007

Allegories Gone Wild - The Corpse Buffet

Today I woke up uncertain,
and you know that gives me the fits,
so I left this land of fungible convictions
because it seemed like the pits.

- The Ballad of The Sin Eater, Ted Leo And the Pharmacists.

Once humanity accepted external blame for the processes that seemed to work against it (I refer to that hoary old chestnut, original sin), it was inevitable that a large variety of sins would be developed, ranging from imagined slights (casting a lustful look on another's spouse, the occasional 'white lie') to actual physical infringements (rape, murder, theft). The Seven Deadly Sins (that list was developed by Pope Gregory I) is the commonest meme that springs to mind.

And of course, once these slights and/or infringements were codified (or reified), human beings sought some form of dodging 'paying the piper', or avoiding the tune, from indulgences to absolution, penance to contrition.

Perhaps the most grotesque of these was that old tradition, that of the sin-eater, of which the link says this:

The term sin-eater refers to a person who, through ritual means, would take on by means of food and drink the sins of a deceased person, thus absolving his or her soul and allowing that person to rest in peace. Sin-eating is a form of religious magic, part of the study of folklore. This is similar to the religious ceremony of the scape-goat which was once a part of the ceremonies of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in Judaism.

The life of the sin-eater was a lonely one, it appears:

"Professor Evans of the Presbyterian College, Carmarthen, actually saw a sin-eater about the year 1825, who was then living near Llanwenog, Cardiganshire. Abhorred by the superstitious villagers as a thing unclean, the sin-eater cut himself off from all social intercourse with his fellow creatures by reason of the life he had chosen; he lived as a rule in a remote place by himself, and those who chanced to meet him avoided him as they would a leper. This unfortunate was held to be the associate of evil spirits, and given to witchcraft, incantations and unholy practices; only when a death took place did they seek him out, and when his purpose was accomplished they burned the wooden bowl and platter from which he had eaten the food handed across, or placed on the corpse for his consumption". - Funeral Customs by Bertram S. Puckle, 1926.

Talk about taking a hit for the team, no?

I've said it before, I'll say it again: Religion. Bringing out the best in people since the dawn of recorded history.

Fair weather faith, of that I have no doubt.

Unsurprisingly, there's a quite a few references in literature, music, and film to this grotesque belief, ranging from fantasy novels (the Outlanders, The Iron Dragon's Daughter) to ballads, as the following video illustrates,

And even in the cinema (the latest being the film titled The Order) - yes, there's an upcoming movie this year (2007), titled The Last Sin Eater, of which the About tab states,

"In 1850's Applachia, 10-year-old Cadi feels responsible for her little sister's death, so she searches out the one man she feels can take away her sin ~ The Sin Eater. But in her quest for redemption, Cadi uncovers a dark secret that threatens to divide her family and community. Ultimately, Cadi shows them the truth in Jesus, reminding us that the human condition is beyond human remedy: only Christ provides for the absolution of sin."

There was once upon a time where I would've loved to have seen this flick: I was always into the concept of redemption, and enjoyed superstitious thrillers with a gusto. Hell, I could perhaps even write something using this content, rich as it is.

But religious content is simply fiction, folks. Regardless of the feel-good warm-tummy crapola you may indulge yourself in.

I doubt there's a restaurant chain for this in the foreseeable future.

And that, dear readers, is my nickel's worth: careful where you spend it.

Till the next post, then.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Pillars Of Creation

For those of you unfamiliar with the picture illustrated, Eagle_nebula_pillarsthis is the famous Eagle Nebula, and this particular shot is known as the Pillars of Creation.

While someone in the throes of pareidolia might project fingers, or serpents, or even the tentacles of Cthulhu reaching out to the stars from R'lyeh (I know, that last one is even more of a stretch), personally, I see a vast, unearthly beauty that tells me this: if there is indeed a creator, then we are as different from it as we are from jellyfish (the operant word here is xenogenesis).

We are finding on a regular basis, that indeed, not only is the universe NOT built with humanity in mind, but also that the processes that swirl in cosmic blossoming are far beyond anything imagined by our predecessors, ancient or otherwise.

I have just watched the series Hyperspace, and it is a sobering, wondrous journey to behold.

Why are these named the 'pillars of creation'? Because it's eerily similar to the way our own sun was born:

Earth's Sun is thought to have formed some 5 billion years ago after clouds of dust and gas were seared by ultraviolet radiation and pounded by shockwaves from one or more supernovae explosions, Linsky said. "The Sun was likely born in a region like the Pillars of Creation because the chemical abundances in the solar system indicate that a supernova occurred nearby and contributed its heavy elements to the gas of which the Sun and the planets formed." Studying E42 and how it continues to develop will help astronomers understand how our own Sun formed and how it affected the environment of the early solar system.

So look upwards, to the night sky, and ponder that we sprang, all of us, from the dust of stars, from the darkness of space, that some distant pinprick of light was in some way responsible for our existence. A mother, a father, a remote cousin of sorts. An intricate dance of energy patterns that wove us into being.

It's humbling.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Militant Or Scientific?

Wow, I'm equally scientific AND militant? Hmmm....

You scored as Scientific Atheist, These guys rule. I'm not one of them myself, although I play one online. They know the rules of debate, the Laws of Thermodynamics, and can explain evolution in fifty words or less. More concerned with how things ARE than how they should be, these are the people who will bring us into the future.

Militant Atheist


Scientific Atheist


Spiritual Atheist


Angry Atheist




Apathetic Atheist




What kind of atheist are you?
created with QuizFarm.com


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Soul Of An Atheist - The Chimera Of Doubt That Became Faith

(Cross-posted at God is for Suckers!)ex-atheist

In my ongoing efforts to find the wild, the weird, the diverse (I rather enjoy pissing on the shoes of the Young Earth creationists as much as the next infidel, but let's face it: fish in a barrel is the adage that comes to mind), I present unto you that most unique of perspectives, the atheist that changes her mind.

How I stumbled across this, I cannot say or recall. One hundred clicks later, one wonders to himself, "How did I arrive here? What onramp on the information highway did I take?"

I dug into this website, hoping perhaps there was some new, unusual content, perhaps actual evidence, perhaps a new methodology to explore, perchance an angle I'd missed over.

It's...strange, I'll give you that. Some of it old hat (I'll demonstrate that in a touch), some of it just...perplexing.

One A.S.A Jones at Ex-Atheist.com (I wonder what the initials stand for? 'A Satanic Asshat', perhaps?) goes on at length about her 're-conversion'.

First, the personal account:

I was raised a Roman Catholic in a home where the name of Jesus Christ and God was never mentioned. I was encouraged to attend catechism and church every weekend, but the concept of God was never made completely real to me. I entertained the notion as any child would, but I just wasn't into the imaginary friend scene and by the time I was thirteen, I had concluded that God was merely a vicious adult version of the Easter bunny. I abandoned the lie, informed my upset parents that I would no longer be attending church, and began seeking truth.

In the absence of a religious belief to answer life's questions, I turned my mental energy to science. Science had an awesome track record of solving many problems and its resulting technology had provided tangible benefits to all of mankind. Science was the answer! I reasoned that if we could educate our populations and continue to make advances in medicine, agriculture and energy production, we would one day have the mythical Eden as our reality.

I threw myself into my studies, determined to become a scientific messiah who would one day deliver people from the bondage of disease. At the age of sixteen, my IQ and my grades made me eligible for my high school's early release program and I began my studies in biology and chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.

So far, so good.

Humanity had become nothing more to me than an organized network of molecules and enzymes. I viewed people as mere organisms going through their daily routines of metabolizing nutrients and expelling wastes, ovulating their eggs and ejaculating their semen. I knew the psychology of humans almost as well as their anatomies. The hidden things that pulled them this way and that were very evident to me. They were like guinea pigs, only more predictable, and my chief form of entertainment was to see how skillfully I could manipulate them. I knew that I was supposed to care about them, but I didn't. I couldn't. If mankind's goal was to alleviate its own suffering, a bullet to the head was more efficient and made more sense in my thinking than screwing around with medication or disease control.

What was the point of prolonging any one life? What difference did it make if a girl didn't live to marry or her mother live to see it? Of what value were temporary emotional experiences? They were simply the biochemistry of the brain reacting to sensory input and, upon that individual's death, any remaining memory of that experience would be thrown away along with the person who had experienced it. My extreme point of view had reduced people into throwaway metabolic units; I had become as cold and indifferent as the logic that I exalted.

My first response was, "Oh, wow." Second was, "Oh my." A bullet to the head? I see the gibbering monkeys of madness gnawing away at the fringes of this person's psyche.

I'm skipping a few paragraphs here (not trying to strawman this, just an overview), so forgive me.

That was fine with me. I was prepared to live my life by this truth and discovered that the prospect of a life without meaning can be a very freeing experience. I set out to take advantage of moral relativism and effectively destroyed any of my remaining conscience. Friends, let me tell you, I fell far, far away, but I didn't know it. I busied myself with one diversion after another, trying to fill my life with meaningless activity in order to forget how meaningless it was. In my desperation, I grew self-righteous and indignant. I was secretly envious of the morons who seemed blissfully unaware of their own meaninglessness. I wanted to shake them awake and get them to see how worthless their lives really were.

My jaw dropped. WTF?!? So you missed that personal touch of the supernatural (that vast, unprovable 'what if?), and elevated yourself above the hoi polloi via your imagined intellect?

The worst idiots were the Christians. I hated them because, in their ignorance of naturalism, they failed to see that there was no reason for the rest of the world to believe in their god, live by their standards or give a damn about what they had to say, yet there they were, acting as if they had a copyright on truth. Their pretentiousness sickened me, despite my being equally pretentious toward them. After all, I was justified in my pretentiousness! At least I could give logical reasons for not believing in the supernatural. I would challenge them to give reasons for believing in something that couldn't be seen and they would reply, "You can't see the wind but it's there." I would then try to explain to them that wind was created by differences in pressure and that there was plenty of scientific proof for the existence of wind but none for their god. Even the most intelligent Christians I knew had a difficult time articulating their reason for faith.


Most of the explanations I heard rested on the Bible's authority. "The Bible says... the Bible says... the Bible says." Who cared what the Bible said? I certainly didn't. "It's all a bunch of made up, superstitious baloney. Can't you see?" and I would then go into pagan origins, etc., and try to demonstrate that Jesus was a manufactured myth. I ended up knowing the Bible inside and out just to be able to debate against it.

My anti-Christian arguments became my ultimate diversion to a hopeless life. I learned that religious debate wasn't as much about truth as it was about language and presentation. I began seeing flaws in my own logic while trying to demonstrate certain instances of Biblical errancy, but that didn't keep me on the bench. To justify my desire to destroy Christianity, I had to find reasons to discredit it. I railed against its hypocrisy, the behavior of its followers, the wars fought in its name and I questioned the motives of its bloody god and the religion's effective outcome. In short, I began seeing it as the supreme evil, despite the fact that my own view of moral relativism did not permit a logical defense of the concept of evil.

Here's the thing: not all atheists are moral relativists. I know I'm not - it's morally bankrupt. I rail against religion on a personal level, because humanity has been lied to. Well, that and the fact that most Christians are a tad overly anxious to share, whether any of us like it or not. Oh, and the efforts made to infiltrate our lives on multiple levels. Otherwise, you want to live a lie? That's your business, none of mine. Until you make it my business.


The Bible didn't make sense to me. But why did it make sense to others? What were they seeing that I didn't? Did they so desperately want there to be a God that they had deluded themselves into thinking that there was one? It was New Year's Day, 1998. I made a resolution to read the entire Bible again, only this time I was going to read it as I would poetry or fiction, and not as a proposal of fact.

I confess, dear readers: the bible actually does make a lot of sense to me. I fancy I do understand the major themes, the cultural environment it was written in, the undertones, the allegory and parables.

Comprehension is NOT the equivalent of agreement.


In the months that followed, I kept my resolution and I began noticing a change in my way of interpreting the Bible. Intellectually, I found that my mind could logically accept two very different interpretations of almost everything I was reading. One interpretation of any verse or passage would render the whole story as nonsensical. But the other interpretation allowed the whole story to make sense.

(Note to self: moral relativism is a BAD thing.)


If my mind was capable of accepting interpretations that allowed the whole book to make sense, then what was it in me that wanted it not to make sense? This book was reading me as surely as I was reading it. Every time I found fault with its god, I ended up finding a fault of my own. What was I doing when I condemned this god for commanding Moses to kill? Was I arrogantly making my morality superior to that of the being who allegedly authored all of morality? Was I condemning the actions of an entire nation, which was trapped in a kill or be killed situation? What was it in me that wanted to express outrage at Jesus Christ for telling me that I had to give away everything to be considered worthy to follow him? Was it my own selfishness?

The book was reading you? Bad news: if a fictional book is reading you while you're reading it, then I suggest therapy. It's not a living being - personification is the word that springs to mind.

The moment I was made aware of my despicable nature, I realized that Jesus had died for me. I never had recognized sin and, therefore, thought that Christ had died for nothing. But this man was able to see the horrible nature present in all of humanity and yet he had sacrificed himself to save us from ourselves. In a very real sense, my sinful nature had caused the death of an innocent man. I never believed in hell prior to this, but one of my first thoughts, after seeing how hellish a person that I was, was that I deserved to be in it.

Talk about issues. A secret envy of mentally challenged people? Why are they happy, and you not? The rest of the testimonial descends into predictable drivel from there.

And the debate methodologies are contemptibly skewed - see here.

And get this:

In trying to find quick answers, I turned from the library to the Internet and ran smack into J.P. Holding’s Tekton Apologetics Ministries. In my opinion, this guy is the most thorough researcher and honest apologist I have ever read. His website is a treasure to any Christian who is bothered or entertained by debate. The anti-Christian crowd is fond of dismissing Christian apologists for telling 'what could have been or the way things may have been', but there is no denying that Mr. Holding's research illustrates what actually was and the way things actually were.

Holding? You're...kidding me, right? The guy in the glass house who throws stones? If I were a Christian, you bet your bottom dollar, I'd most strenuously object to him on multiple levels. Yeah, I'd pull a Scotsman on him on a moment's notice.

I found this to be especially repugnant:

When a Christian did the impossible or the outrageous or lived out the extreme philosophy of Jesus Christ, these were the things that caused me to take notice and offense. No amount of talk about God's Law could have made any difference with me. The only time that caught my attention was when a Christian acted extraordinarily in the Spirit of the Law.

Hey, ya know what? When someone does behave in the manner most pay lip service, I can respect that. I may disagree with their epistemology, but I've managed to make a Christian friend or two via the internet. One of them actually throws me some web work on occasion, despite our obvious differences.

I get hot and lathered when the concern becomes some sort of coercion. I get 'rabid' when some wackjob like Cho goes postal and blithers about Jay-sus. I get bent out of shape when some woman excuses her husband for microwaving their baby by blaming it on Satan. I get pissed off when some drooling imbecile decides that his gawd is going to call the shots for the rest of us. The laundry list is long, and stomach-wrenching.

These, then, are the wages of original sin. That some imagined flaw fashioned into our clay by a cosmic babysitter is our fault (Tsk, tsk, let's not blame the parent for how fucked up the child is, shall we?), that must be washed away by baptismal blood sacrifice (the bloodlust of this phantasmal being is beyond anything that could be termed 'loving').

It beggars the imagination that anyone could even remotely consider this acceptable.

Final analysis: my eyes were somewhat crossed, and glad this person isn't batting for our team.

(Note: I will email her, so have any notes ready.)


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Profiles In Atheism - The Positive Sociologist

"Auguste Comte (full name: Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte; January 17, 1798 - September 5, 1857) was a French thinker who coined the term "sociology." He is remembered for being the first to apply the scientific method to the social world.


"Comte was born at Montpellier, in southwestern France. After attending school there, he was admitted to the École Polytechnique in Paris. The École Polytechnique was notable for its adherence to French ideals of republicanism and progress. In 1816 the École closed for reorganization. Thus Comte had to leave the École, and continued his studies at the medical school at Montpellier. When the École Polytechnique reopened, he did not request readmission.

"Soon he saw unbridgeable differences with his Catholic and Monarchist family and left again for Paris, earning money by small jobs. Then in August of 1817 he became a student and secretary for Claude Henri de Rouvroy, Comte de Saint-Simon, who brought Comte into intellectual society. In 1824, Comte left Saint-Simon, again because of unbridgeable differences.

"Comte now knew what he wanted to do: work out the philosophy of positivism. This plan he published as Plan de travaux scientifiques nécessaires pour réorganiser la société (1822) (Plan of scientific studies necessary for the reorganization of society). But he failed to get an academic position. His day-to-day life depended on sponsors and financial help from friends.

"He married Caroline Massin, but divorced in 1842. In 1826 he was brought into a mental health hospital, but left it without being cured -- only stabilized by Massin -- so that he could work again on his plan. In the time between this and their divorce, he published the six volumes of his Cours.

"From 1844, Comte was involved with Clotilde de Vaux, a relationship that remained platonic. After her death in 1846 this love became quasi-religious, and Comte saw himself as founder and prophet of a new "religion of humanity". He published four volumes of Système de politique positive (1851 - 1854).

"He died in Paris on September 5th, 1857 and is buried at the famous Cimetière du Père Lachaise.


"The motto Ordem e Progresso ("Order and Progress") in the flag of Brazil is inspired by Auguste Comte's motto of positivism: L'amour pour principe et l'ordre pour base; le progrès pour but ("Love as a principle and order as the basis; Progress as the goal"). It was inserted due to the fact that several of the people involved in the military coup d'état that deposed the monarchy and proclaimed Brazil a republic were followers of the ideas of Comte.

"One universal law that Comte saw at work in all sciences he called the 'law of three phases'. It is by his statement of this law that he is best known in the English-speaking world; namely, that society has gone through three phases: Theological, Metaphysical, and Scientific. To the last of these he also gave the name "Positive," because of the polysemous connotations of that word.

"The Theological phase was seen from the perspective of 19th century France as preceding the Enlightenment, in which man's place in society and society's restrictions upon man were referenced to God. By the "Metaphysical" phase, he was not referring to the Metaphysics of Aristotle or any other ancient Greek philosopher, but for Comte was rooted in the problems of French society subsequent to the revolution of 1789. This Metaphysical phase involved the justification of universal rights as being on a vauntedly higher plane than the authority of any human ruler to countermand, although said rights were not referenced to the sacred beyond mere metaphor. What he announced by his term of the Scientific phase, which came into being after the failure of the revolution and of Napoleon, was that people could find solutions to social problems and bring them into force despite the proclamations of human rights or prophecy of the will of God. In this regard he was similar to Karl Marx and Jeremy Bentham. For its time, this idea of a Scientific phase was considered up-to-date, although from a later standpoint it is too derivative of classical physics and academic history.

"The other universal law he called the 'encyclopedic law'. By combining these laws, Comte developed a systematic and hierarchical classification of all sciences, including inorganic physics (astronomy, earth science and chemistry) and organic physics (biology and for the first time, physique sociale, later renamed sociologie).

"This idea of a special science—not the humanities, not metaphysics—for the social was prominent in the 19th century and not unique to Comte. The ambitious—many would say grandiose—way that Comte conceived of it, however, was unique.

"Comte saw this new science, sociology, as the last and greatest of all sciences, one that would include all other sciences, and which would integrate and relate their findings into a cohesive whole.

"Comte’s explanation of the Positive philosophy introduced the important relationship between theory, practice and human understanding of the world. On page 27 of the 1855 printing of Harriet Martineau’s translation of The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte, we see his observation that, “If it is true that every theory must be based upon observed facts, it is equally true that facts can not be observed without the guidance of some theory. Without such guidance, our facts would be desultory and fruitless; we could not retain them: for the most part we could not even perceive them. (Comte, A. (1974 reprint). The positive philosophy of Auguste Comte freely translated and condensed by Harriet Martineau. New York, NY: AMS Press. (Original work published in 1855, New York, NY: Calvin Blanchard, p. 27.)

"He coined the word "altruism" to refer to what he believed to be a moral obligation of individuals to serve others and place their interests above one's own. He opposed the idea of individual rights, maintaining that they were not consistent with this supposed ethical obligation (Catechisme Positiviste).

"As already mentioned, Comte formulated the law of three stages, one of the first theories of the social evolutionism: that human development (social progress) progresses from the theological stage, in which nature was mythically conceived and man sought the explanation of natural phenomena from supernatural beings, through metaphysical stage in which nature was conceived of as a result of obscure forces and man sought the explanation of natural phenomena from them until the final positive stage in which all abstract and obscure forces are discarded, and natural phenomena are explained by their constant relationship. This progress is forced through the development of the human mind, and increasing application of thought, reasoning and logic to the understanding of the world.

"In Comte's lifetime, his work was sometimes viewed skeptically because he had elevated Positivism to a religion and had named himself the Pope of Positivism. He coined the term "sociology" to denote the new science of society. He had earlier used the expression, "social physics," to refer to the positive science of society; but because others, notably the Belgian statistician Adolphe Quetelet, had begun to use that term in a different meaning, Comte felt the need to invent the neologism, "sociology," a hybrid of the Latin "socius" ("friend") and the Greek "λόγος" (logos, "word").

"Comte is generally regarded as the first Western sociologist (Ibn Khaldun having preceded him in the East by nearly four centuries). Comte's emphasis on the interconnectedness of social elements was a forerunner of modern functionalism. Nevertheless, as with many others of Comte's time, certain elements of his work are now viewed as eccentric and unscientific, and his grand vision of sociology as the centerpiece of all the sciences has not come to fruition.

"His emphasis on a quantitative, mathematical basis for decision-making remains with us today. It is a foundation of the modern notion of Positivism, modern quantitative statistical analysis, and business decision-making. His description of the continuing cyclical relationship between theory and practice is seen in modern business systems of Total Quality Management and Continuous Quality Improvement where advocates describe a continuous cycle of theory and practice through the four-part cycle of plan, do, check, and act. Despite his advocacy of quantitative analysis, Comte saw a limit in its ability to help explain social phenomena.

Three Stages

"Each department of knowledge passes through three stages. The theological stage; the metaphysical or abstract stage, and positive stage" -Comte

  1. Theological Stage
    1. Fetishism
    2. Polytheism
    3. Monotheism
  2. Metaphysical or Abstract Stage
  3. Positive Stage"


"Auguste Comte was born at Montpellier, France in 1798 to a devout Catholic family. However, Comte announced, at the age of fourteen, that he had "naturally ceased believing in God". At the same time, he abandoned the royalist sympathies of his family and became a republican. As a result, the young Comte’s relationship with his family was strained throughout his relatively short life."

A few quotations:

"Social positivism only accepts duties, for all and towards all. Its constant social viewpoint cannot include any notion of rights, for such notion always rests on individuality. We are born under a load of obligations of every kind, to our predecessors, to our successors, to our contemporaries. These obligations then increase or accumulate, for it is some time before we can return any service. ... Any human right is therefore as absurd as immoral. Since there are no divine rights anymore, this concept must therefore disappear completely as related only to the preliminary regime and totally inconsistent with the final state where there are only duties based on functions."

"[When] Men are not allowed to think freely about chemistry and biology, why should they be allowed to think freely about political philosophy?"

"The dead govern the living."

Till the next post, then.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Walker, Texas Deranger, Has Revealed The Nefarious Plot At Last!

More Norris nonsense:

C.S. Lewis, the former atheist and famous Oxford scholar, once said "Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning...."

I find Yogi Berra's tautologies much more amusing.

There are a myriad of eminent scholars (like Lewis) who understand the folly of atheism. I will list a few others in this second part of my treatise to expose atheists' agenda to ban Christianity from the courts of culture. In my last article I discussed "step 1" of their plan. In this discourse I will address steps 2 & 3.

The evil atheist conspiracy (again! - GROAN). These people see the devil under every rock, behind every tree, lurking behind every strand of grass. Paranoia sure is a fun way to live, ain't it?

Step two: target younger generations with atheism

Atheists are making a concerted effort to win the youth of America and the world. Hundreds of web sites and blogs on the Internet seek to convince and convert adolescents, endeavoring to remove any residue of theism from their minds and hearts by packaging atheism as the choice of a new generation. While you think your kids are innocently surfing the Web, secular progressives are intentionally preying on their innocence and naivete.

Christlation: Them thar nefarious secular humanists are hatching plots to pollute the precious bodily fluids of your children! Oh, the humanity! I read between the lines here, and come up with a comparison to online predators.
Gee, thanks chuckles.

What's preposterous is that atheists are now advertising and soliciting on websites particularly created for teens. The London Telegraph noted that, "Groups including Atheists for Human Rights and Atheist Alliance International – ‘Call 1-866-HERETIC' - are setting up summer camps and an internet recruiting campaign."

Herr brownshirt would most likely like to have this sort of advertising outlawed, cowboy style.

YouTube, the most popular video site on the Net for young people, is one of their primary avenues for passing off their secularist propaganda. Another antagonistic and self-proclaimed "blasphemous" site even beckons youth to record their anti-Christian beliefs on it.

Welcome to America, chuckles.

Even Oxford scientist Richard Dawkins is on personal campaign and militant quest to spread his name, books, and atheism all over the Internet by hoping young people will post his graphics on their MySpace page. Rather than question or critique his methods as slick marketing, young atheists are proud to post his links, follow and defend him like a religious sage, and cite his texts as infallible truth.

Say what? Talk about poisoning the well. Young atheists? What about us middle-aged folk? Or elderly? Appealing to the 'kiddie culture' is the root of any advertising methodology. Infallible truth? Geez, these people project too much.

Of course, it's all right if they do it.

Step three: package and promote atheism as reasonable and scientific

Presenting atheism as scientific fact might be secularists' greatest plan and others point of greatest gullibility, in hope of winning the battle for the ultimate view of reality. And hailed as their chief advocates are men like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, Oxford University's ethologist and evolutionary biologist, with his book, "The God Delusion," atheists' newest "bible" or authoritative text.

Bad news: there's quite a few 'authoritative texts' out there, dating back to a time when the religious stopped being able to put the torch to them.

So what credentials does a man like Dawkins have to discuss the presence or absence of God? Answer: He's "a scientist." And the fact is anyone in our age who is a naturalist professor or wears a white lab coat can virtually speak upon any issue (even God) and their words are received as gospel – unless of course they are a theist!

Oh, goodie - this again. 'Don't have an opinion unless you have sheepskin to back it up'. That is, unless you're religious, that's sacrosanct (of course).

What's interesting is that atheists like Dawkins fall into the same snare they accuse of theists. While he might condemn Christians like me for not being educated enough to speak about theism or creation, his own expertise remains outside the realm of antagonism that defines his world crusade. To make dogmatic assertions about the absence of God and not possess expertise in cosmology, astrophysics, or even theology gives him no more of a credible platform than you and me, except to his devoted followers of course. He is an ethologist and evolutionary biologist – since when does that make one an expert on God? (Similarly, Sam Harris has a bachelor's in philosophy – since when does that make one an expert on the universe?)

Problem is, there ain't no such critter. Prove it, or piss off. This is really quite pathetic. Requiring the child have a degree in the fashion industry is unnecessary to pronounce the emperor naked.

Dawkins condemns Christians for being narrow minded and non-adaptive to other cultures which believed in Thor or Zeus, yet he is unwavering in disrespecting any other creation authority except Western science. What about the wisdom of African, Middle-Eastern or Far-Eastern sages, shamans, or religious figures? Just because science can explain many things in the natural realm, does that mean it owns the corner market on metaphysics and God?

Presuppositionalism at its finest. What about all those other alternative wisdoms? Lending them credence, are we, Herr Norris?

As they say in Missouri, "Show me."

Is it possible that the scientific worldview is inferior to reveal the truths behind the curtain of creation?

Seeing as the supernatural can't even seem to pull the curtain, or provide a peek, and seeing also that science has pulled its weight (whereas theology has not), looks that way.

Even Paul Davies, the renown British-born physicist, agnostic, professor of cosmology, quantum field theory, and astrobiology, said to Time, "Science, God, and Man," that no one can rightfully say there is no God. "Agnosticism – reserving judgment about divine purpose – remains as defensible as ever, but atheism – the confident denial of divine purpose – becomes trickier. If you admit that we can't peer behind a curtain, how can you be sure there's nothing there?"

Negative proof fallacy.

John Horgan, a former senior staff writer for Scientific American and the Director of the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology, wrote a book titled, "The End of Science." In it he discusses the futility of men like Oxford's Dawkins, Cambridge's Hawking, and others pursuit to discover a "theory of everything." He agrees with Paul Davies in purporting that we must face the limits of science in the twilight of the scientific age, opting that the discovery of ultimate answers about the universe will not rely in rationale and empirical examination but possibly a metaphysical practice. (A striking similarity to the words in the Bible, "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command...")

That's nice. Christlation: "Let's surround our ignorance with flowery rhetoric."

Of course for men like Harris, Dawkins, and other atheists, the thought that science cannot provide these ultimate answers must be a horrifying reality to face, as their whole lives depend upon the western-scientific paradigm of reality. Their predicament reminds me of the words of Robert Jastrow, American astronomer, physicist, and cosmologist, from his work, "God and the Astronomers"

'Ultimate answers'? Is he kidding? Only madmen or neurotics cry for 100 percent certitude.

The universe has a beginning.This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. They have always accepted the word of the Bible: In the beginning God created heaven and earth.For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.

Oh, please. Did anyone ever say otherwise? No. The onus is on the believer to provide a human face behind the somewhat mysterious processes of the universe. One that doesn't appear on a tortilla, that is.

Once again the Bible is proven correct, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no god.'"

And the wise man posts it on his website.

That, dear readers, is my nickel's worth: spend it wisely, and well.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ding-Dong, The Shaman's Dead!

Ordinarily, I don't indulge in posthumous acrimony, but in this case, I feel obliged to make an exception.

We're all aware that Jerry Falwell has passed away.

Inerrantist, evangelist, raving anti-Semite, two-faced conniver, he convinced a large majority (the Moron Majority, I like to call them) to stick their collective ignorant noses into American politics, with disastrous results. He personally made it his business to implement the Shrub dynasty, pushed a Dominionist platform, and by and large, violated many key tenets of the Founding Fathers.

The man flip-flopped on a regular basis, from his segregationist pro-to-con stance to civil rights to homosexual rights...it's a long list, and a nauseating one, to boot.

Good riddance. He was a boil on the tuchis of humanity, a perfect example of how religion turns people into lunatics, and I wish I could find some kind words in me at his demise, but the only quote that springs to mind is: "Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it; he died as one that had been studied in his death to throw away the dearest thing he owed, as 't were a careless trifle". - (Act I, Scene IV), Macbeth.

ADDENDUM - Hitchens goes for broke in the following two videos (tip of the hat to Pharyngula):



Now for a bit of hilarity from the Family Guy - Robertson and Falwell.

Good-bye, Falwell: the world's better off without you.


Friday, May 18, 2007

The Source Of Identity - The Mote In The 'Mine's I'

I was watching Planet Earth with my nephew the other day (he's still oscillating between the Dinosaur/Nature phase), and was struck for the first time at how many species stake a claim, and seem to know instinctively how the border lines are drawn, as if there's some form of invisible demarcation that separates one squatter's domain over another.

In most cases, these are readily transparent (the bird's nest in a tree, or a bear's cave), but we were watching the episodes about the Arctic Tundra and the Great Plains, where there's a transparent lack of defining landmarks - it's all (relatively) level.

And from the obvious territorialism, some seeds sprouted in the garden of my mind (I trimmed it recently with a weed-whacker, so some things are a little more visible, hehehehe).

Watching birds fending off Arctic foxes, witnessing that even the nomadic Caribou have specific migration patterns, it seems that even the lower forms of life have a fairly powerful grasp of the concept, "Mine!"

So obviously, we can take the old "What came first, the chicken or the egg" scenario, and substitute 'chicken' for 'I', and 'egg' for 'mine'.

I'm sure that smarter folks than myself have come up with this concept.

We often hear this from theists: "How did consciousness get born from the lack thereof" (or something similar)?

It's really so simple, it's brilliant: the vast majority of life on earth has some conception of possession, a sense of ownership. Simple neural pathways of familiarity, from subtle to radical. Some compounded simplicity (evolution), mix in a few benign mutations, a change in diet (from minor to extreme), throw in an environmental shift (or not), and from 'mine' to 'I' is a short leap indeed.

It has been shown that apes, elephants, and some cetaceans evince varying degrees of self-awareness, so we're not quite alone in this development, as some theists posit. True, we've taken it farther (more to our prolificacy, is my bet): none of these critters have developed civilization, language, or any of the other multiple facets of our species. Give it a few more million years (if we don't get pulverized by another galaxy, comet, or meteor), and we will most likely be sharing this world with a number of other species who have managed to develop their own primitive civilizations.

That is, if we don't blow the bloody place up, or learn to transcend our obvious territorialism.

I'd be willing to bet that raccoons might be next up: they're bold as brass, omnivorous, have opposable thumbs, and are actually quite bright critters. While listed as carnivorous, they're actually omnivorous as a rule, and while not a pack animal per se, they do tend to travel in family groups.

What follows is a neat little video - enjoy:


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Profiles In Atheism - The Devil's Chaplain

Here, I believe, is the inspiration for the title of Dawkins' book of the same name.

"Reverend Robert Taylor (17841844), was an early 19th century Radical, a clergyman turned freethinker whose "Infidel home missionary tour" was a dramatic incident in Charles Darwin's education, subsequently leaving Charles Darwin with a horrifying memory of "the Devil's Chaplain" as a warning of the dangers of dissent from established Church of England doctrine.

Qualification and turn to anti-clericalism

"Taylor studied at St John's College, Cambridge for three years to qualify as a clergyman. At that time the University of Cambridge was under the established Church of England and most students were preparing for positions in the Anglican church. The Revd. Simeon gained Taylor his first curacy, but five years after ordination Taylor gave up Christianity and turned from evangelism to eccentric anti-clericalism.

"He set up a Christian Evidence Society and lectured in London pubs dressed in elaborate vestments, attacking the Anglican liturgy and the barbarities of the Establishment for what he called its "Pagan creed". At this time blasphemy was a criminal offence against the Anglican faith "by law established", and he was sentenced to a year in gaol. In his cell he wrote The Diegesis, attacking Christianity on the basis of comparative mythology and attempting to expound it as a scheme of solar myths.

Infidel home missionary tour

"On his release he joined up with the Radical Richard Carlile and, with his book newly published, set out on an "infidel home missionary tour". On Thursday 21 May 1829 they arrived in Cambridge and strolled round the colleges, then in the evening attended Holy Trinity Church for a hell-fire sermon by the Revd. Simeon which they sneered at as "one of the worst imaginable for the morals of mankind".

"Next day they rented lodgings for a fortnight above a print shop in Rose Crescent from the unsuspecting landlord William Smith, as their "Infidel Head-Quarters". By noon they had sent a printed challenge to the Vice-Chancellor, the leading Doctors of Divinity, the heads of all the colleges and the Revd. Simeon:

The Rev. Robert Taylor, A.B., of Carey Street, Lincoln's Inn, and Mr. Richard Carlile, of Fleet-street, London, present their compliments as Infidel missionaries, to (as it may be) and most respectfully and earnestly invite discussion on the merits of the Christian religion, which they argumentatively challenge, in the confidence of their competence to prove, that such a person as Jesus Christ, alleged to have been of Nazareth, never existed; and that the Christian religion has no such origin as has been pretended; neither is it in any way beneficial to mankind; but that it is nothing more than an emanation from the ancient Pagan religion. The researches of the Rev. Robert Taylor, on the subject, are embodied in his newly-published work, THE DIEGESIS, in which may be found the routine of their argument.
They also impugn the honesty of a continued preaching, while discussion is challenged on the whole of the merits of the Christian religion.
At home, for conversation, at any appointed time. 7, Rose Crescent.

"They then went around the University precincts, with Taylor immaculately dressed in university cap and gown greeting old friends, giving out circulars and seeking out freethinkers.

"On the Saturday morning an anticipated article about their mission failed to appear in the morning paper. The university Proctors who were in charge of discipline interrogated the landlord, then demanded his lodging-house licence. Smith refused to hand it over, and appealed to the Vice-Chancellor, "most deferentially" asking the reason as he had not violated any regulations, and the licence had been granted its annual renewal the day before, but had no reply. The Vice-Chancellor and Proctors revoked the licence and made the lodgings out of bounds, posting a notice in the butteries of all the colleges to warn the students, who included Charles Darwin in his second year.

"The Radical pair responded to this "paltry spite" the next day by putting a public notice on the door of the University Library, challenging a university that "punishes the innocent... crushes the weak... oppresses [and] persecutes", taking away half the livelihood of Smith, with his wife and six children. On Monday all the students were talking about this iniquitous situation, and a group of "young men" prepared vigilante action against the Radicals to avenge the landlord. Carlile and Taylor heard of this, and on Tuesday apologized to the landlord, prodded the authorities to restore his licence, and slipped out of town. They were satisfied that they had uncovered "about fifty... young collegians, who were somewhat bold in vowing Infidelity among each other", though few would "break... the shackles" of their education and they would have "a most painful conflict to endure."

The Devil's Chaplain

"Amidst public unrest in July 1830 when the French king was deposed by middle class republicans and given refuge in England by the Tory government, Carlile gave Taylor a platform in The Rotunda, a ramshackle building on the south bank of the River Thames where republican atheists now gathered. Several times a week Taylor dressed in canonicals staged infidel melodramas, preaching bombastic sermons to artisans. Two Sunday sermons on "The Devil" caused particular outrage when he pronounced "God and the Devil... to be but one and the self-same being... Hell and Hell-fire... are, in the original, nothing more than names and titles of the Supreme God." He was then dubbed "The Devil's Chaplain", and thousands of copies of his ceremonies were circulated in a seditious publication, The Devil's Pulpit. As the Tory government collapsed in November, Taylor preached against the establishment while a revolutionary tricolour flew from the roof of The Rotunda.

"At the start of April 1831 Taylor was again indicted for blasphemy over two Easter sermons in the last days of The Rotunda. He was sentenced to two years' imprisonment in Horsemonger Lane Gaol from where he sent protesting letters to The Times, but his pleas were snubbed by the Home Secretary. In a letter to W.Watts he described his physical decline and fear that "the Christians have determined to kill me.... I never expect to leave this Bastille but Heels foremost. Your greatly obliged Murdered Friend, Robert Taylor." Despite these fears, he lived on till 1844.The original letter is now in the possession of: L.M. Wright.See:'Christianity, Astrology & Myth',Fairview Books,2000.

Darwin recalls Taylor

"Taylor would be remembered by Charles Darwin as a warning example of an outcast from society who had challenged Christianity and had been imprisoned for blasphemy, one of many warnings that gave him a well founded fear of revealing his theory. In 1857 as he worked towards the publication of Darwin's theory he wrote "What a book a Devil's Chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering low & horridly cruel works of Nature!" in what Desmond and Moore argue is a reference to Taylor's nickname. However the term "the Devil's Chaplain" goes back to Chaucer who has his Parson say "Flatereres been the develes chapelleyns, that syngen evere placebo."

"As the reaction to Darwin's theory developed in March 1860 he described his close ally Thomas Huxley as his "good and kind agent for the propagation of the Gospel – i.e. the devil's gospel."

Interesting tale - albeit it set the science of evolution back a few years.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Another Comedian Joins The Blogroll!

There's a new kid on the block - at By The Book Comics, by one DocMike (hat tip to Mojoey for this one).

Let me take this moment to give a shout out to Mojoey. Thanks to his tireless efforts to solidify the blogging network, not only do I not have to bust my ass searching out other atheist blogs, but alternately, they don't need to slog through Google to reach out to me.

Seriously, thanks, Mojoey. You're a gentleman and a scholar, and I promise to swing by more often.

On to the hilarity - I find these two following comics utterly uproarious.

I'm going to ask my buddy Aaron Kinney who the guy with the shaved head reminds him of.


Walker, Texas Ranger, Has Delusions About 'Fighting The Good Fight' - More Norris Nonsense


(Cross-posted at God is for Suckers!)

Old Chuck is at it again. More martyrdom drivel.

This past week an ABC News debate aired on "Nightline," which pitted popular theists against Internet atheists. While I'll have more to say about that battle of wits in my next article, it testifies to the growing number (30 million Americans) of those who profess there is no God. Add to that what I believe is possibly three times the number of functional atheists, those who believe in a God but practically don't show it, and America is facing a new religious horizon in which atheism is becoming a formidable foe.

Well, first and foremost, it wasn't by any stretch a 'battle of wits', since Cameron and Comfort got their asses handed to them. If it was to be made into an action film, it'd probably resemble a vaudevillian rendition of the Gunfight At The O. K. Corral, with Ray and Kirk as the Clantons, fumbling for their guns before getting their fool heads blown off. Secondly, atheism's not a religion, third, if atheists want a seat at the damn table; unless I woke up in Berlin in 1941, this is fucking America, Chuck, and neither you nor anyone else has the constitutional right to deny me or anyone else a seat at that table.

Though the majority of Americans continue to claim to be Christians, a Gallup poll discovered 45 percent of us would support an atheist for president, 55 percent would support a homosexual candidate and 72 percent would support a Mormon candidate.

Such a survey is a clear indication that most Americans are simply confused about what it means to be Christian. It also shows that the secularization of society is alive and well, especially when almost half would endorse an atheist president.

Ummm...most Christians are confused about what it means to be them, and you clowns still can't agree on a standard.

Secularization is a bad thing, how exactly?

The opponents of God

Once upon a time, years ago, it seemed that the only major fire for atheism burned from the anti-Christian work of Madelyn Murray O'Hair and the American Atheist organization, whose claim to fame was the banning of prayer and Bible reading in public schools in 1963.

O'Hair was a primary figurehead in America in the 20th century, but atheism has been around since ancient Greece up until this century.

Today many more antagonist groups and individuals to theism abound, and they are using every means possible for global proliferation – from local government to the World Wide Web. Such secular progressives include the Institute for Humanist Studies, Secular Coalition of America, American Atheists, American Humanist Association, Internet Infidels, the Atheist Alliance International, Secular Student Alliance, Society for Humanistic Judaism, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, etc. Of course no list of atheistic advocates would be complete without mentioning the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, as well as the anti-God militancy of men like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.

Cue the weird X Files whistle music...the creeping conspirators are hiding in the shadows, waiting to pounce!

Life ain't an action movie, Chuck.

Though the U.S. Constitution outlaws religious discrimination, these organizations and individuals would love nothing more than to help society look with distain upon Christianity and, ultimately, make its components illegal. In fact, right now, they are coalescing and rallying at least 5 million of their troops to mount counter offensives to Christianity.

We have heard this particular nonsense before, have we not? Discrimination = criticism, and vice versa. I love how he make it seem as if it's some sort of war of good vs. evil. Dontcha just love these folks, living in a comic book world?

For that reason I believe theistic patriots need to be wise to atheists' overt and covert schemes, exposing their agenda and fighting to lay waste to their plans.

Wow, do I hear the thrumming chords of McCarthyism in all this? Yes I do.

Not too patriotic, Chuck.

Step 1: Initiate restrictions and legislation against theism and Christianity

In God we bust

For these liberal groups to win the war of ideological dominance, they know they must minimize the effects of Christianity, which many are doing (unbeknownst to others) behind the scenes through lobbying and legislation. In fact, two significant actions occurred on the National Day of Prayer just two weeks ago!

'Minimize the effects of Christianity'? What effects? The crazies wandering the streets with sandwich boards, pronouncing the 'End Of Days'? Women claiming that 'gawd' told them to kill their kids? GW sending our troops into a debacle based on a little voice in his head? Dominionists trying to take over our country in the name of their cosmic babysitter?
Shame on you. Shame on you all.

The London Telegraph noted that, while American Christians were praying across the land on the National Day of Prayer, atheists were petitioning the Texas Legislature against the civic display of the words, "In God We Trust."

Umm...hello? Establishment clause of the First Amendment? Don't let a little thing like constitutional rights get in the way, now.

Eroding and erasing theistic language in culture is a growing trend. Earlier this year George Washington dollar coins were not only inscribed with the words "In God We Trust" on their edges, but many excluded them entirely! Such minting modifications are a flagrant defiance against theism and a public reflection of the place God is now relegated – to the fringes of society.

That was an error, Chuck, not some 'evil atheist conspiracy'. Sheesh, I'll lend you a quarter so you can by a clue. Or one of those mis-struck dollar coins, hehehehe.

Secularists of course have made repeated attempts to rid "under God" from "The Pledge of Allegiance." Thank God the Legislature of Texas is moving along a bill to include the words in our state pledge: "Honor the Texas flag; I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God and indivisible." I was also grateful to read in the Dallas Morning News May 1 that the House also embraced legislation "that seeks to clarify the rights of Texas public school students to offer public prayers at football games or graduation, hand out religious messages or hold religious meetings during the school day if they want."

The Pledge of Allegiance, as anyone well-informed knows, was inserted in the last half of the 20th century during the...drum roll please!...Tah DAH! The McCarthy era.

If Texas wants to secede, I'm all for it. Ass-backwards state anyways.

Another example of atheistic advocacy can be found in the 10,000-member Freedom from Religion Foundation initiation of a Supreme Court case, which asserts that President Bush's faith-based initiatives pose a violation of the wall of separation between church and state.

Surprise! Yes, they do indeed. Reading comprehension must be shot to hell, Chuck. ' Prohibiting or respecting'...guess where that comes from?

Atheists also received a proverbial shot in the arm by locating a representative and advocate of sorts in Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., who "is the first member of Congress – and the highest-ranking elected official in the country – to make known that he is a nontheist."

No doubt Chuckles and his brownshirt buddies would forcibly eject Mr. Stark from office, if they could.

His election stands in stark contrast to the wishes of our Founding Fathers, who encouraged American citizens to vote Christians into public office. As John Jay, the first chief justice of the United States, wrote to Jedidiah Morse on Feb. 28, 1797, "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers. And it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."

So you may as well as ban Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and any other 'alternate' religions from attaining office as well.

I have illustrated amply both here and here, that not only is this horrendously incorrect, it's discriminatory and yes, unpatriotic.

The tyranny of the state over the church

The other legal disgrace that occurred on the National Day of Prayer was that Congress passed what might become one of the most religiously restrictive pieces of legislation in history: H.R. 1592, "The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act." With Senate approval, this bill will expand the law against such hate crimes, allowing federal funds and other resources to assist local law enforcement to deter and punish acts of violence committed against an individual because of the victim's race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.

LEGAL DISGRACE!?!? Let me get this straight - you want to become an advocate for violence committed against non-Christians? Wait for it...Chuckles tries to pull some rhetorical crap about this:

While the bill purports to target crimes of brutality, not speech, it could very easily end up (even inadvertently) restricting First Amendment rights of Christians to speak freely against such anti-biblical practices as homosexuality and transvestitism. As Janet Folger, the author of "Criminalizing Christianity," has pointed out, "H.R. 1592 isn't about hate. It isn't about crime. It's about silencing our speech."

Obviously, Norris hasn't read the damn thing.

As with other laws of this type, once enacted, local justices could easily expand its interpretive enforcement to encompass a wider meaning than originally conceived. Once enforced, what would stop a clergy from being accused as an accessory to a hate crime, after he preached to his church on Sunday about the woes of same-sex marriage and discovered on Monday one of his congregants got in a fight with a homosexual co-worker as a result of a moral altercation? The fact is, if the hate-crime bill passes, pastors could easily become pulpit partners in crime.

Read the whole bloody thing. It specifically mentions physical violence several times, along with kidnapping, and it's hardly loose in its wording.

I agree with Rev. Henry Jackson, who said the law would "mandate unequal protection under the law and will pave the way for criminalization of thoughts and religious beliefs contrary to politically correct ideas."

I call bullshit on that one. Denouncing something from a pulpit isn't included, if you want to speak out against something, go to it, this is America, baby. But if you (as a pastor) specifically instruct the sheep to 'smite the unbeliever', the homosexual or transvestite, then sorry buck-a-roo, your ass is in a sling. Freedom of speech doesn't hand you a blank check to do as you like. It's not a luxury, it's a privilege and a responsibility, and if you cause violence by blathering about it, you share the blame.

Hate-crime laws are not only a violation of our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion, but a violation of the 10th Amendment's limitations on the power of federal government.

The 10th amendment is hotly contested, even today. A reserved powers clause hardly applies here. Besides, most hate-crime laws are targeting people who would infringe on other people's ' life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness', don't they?

Hang together or hang separately?

Thank God our president's senior advisers have gone on record that they will advise him to veto the bill if it reaches the doors of the White House. We, too, must follow his lead by speaking up and taking a stand against this unnecessary and unconstitutional bill – and any others like it. Just as atheists are gathering to combat God, we patriots must come together to sustain the godly heritage we've been handed. As Benjamin Franklin said, "We must all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately."

Oh, goodie - more false dichotomies, religious oppression, and comic book histrionics. The 'Evil Atheist Conspiracy' is conspiring to take religion away!
Get real. Better yet, get bent.

I urge you to write the president and your representatives today to encourage the overturning of this ungodly, religiously restricting and unconstitutional piece of legislation, erroneously titled by the misnomer, "Hate Crimes Prevention Act."

There must be something incredibly potent in the water table in Texas - it seems to make folks more than a little crazy.

Final analysis - intolerant, unbelievable, the Karate Kommando is cognitively dissonant.

In laymen's terms, he's thoroughly addled.

Not a very good American, I might add.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

More Prophecies Unfulfilled - The Old Testament Revisited

This is an old article, from my defunct website. An amateur effort at exegesis. It's a long one folks, so my apologies.

Sometimes, it seems, that I protest too much; but I feel that I must preface many of my extrapolations with the protest that I am indeed a tolerant and open-minded man. But I must also repeat my motto, ad infinitum, it seems; res ipsa loquitur ("the thing speaks for itself"). Logic is my curse; reason is a harsh mistress, for she requires facts, and not romantic fiction. I confess in my youth that I was a Romantic, and had a baroque meritocracy: I was far too open-minded, in that way that Ayn Rand describes as 'flitting from one idea to another, never settling on one' (a paraphrase). Not that I am an objectivist: I am a skeptic, and one who does his homework. Logic teaches the laws of non-contradiction, and the process of elimination. In this treatise, with all personal considerations aside, we will look at the value-biases of the NT, and do the comparative homework to disabuse the notion of Jesus and his fulfillment of OT prophecy.

The 1st target is that of Deut 18:21 - 21: THE ALLEGORICAL METHOD enabled writers to link the present with the past; it could bring any ritual or drama into line with current ethics. It UTTERLY IGNORED THE INTENTION OF THE WRITER of the original and obvious significance of a mystery ceremonial, AND REPLACED THESE BY THE READER'S OR OBSERVER'S OWN INTERPRETATION. It idealized what was said into what should have been intended. Abundant scope was offered to this prevalent allegorism by the symbolism of the mysteries." (pp. 49-50, S.Angus. The Mystery Religions. Dover Publications. [1925], 1975)Christianity's "success" in converting the peoples of the Roman Empire to the new religion was via the fusion of Hellenistic Greek metaphysics with earlier Judaic concepts. Re-packaged in Hellenistic garb (the Messiah as LOGOS), the new religion eventually eclipsed the more conservative Rabbinic Judaism, which was less Hellenized. "
You may say in your heart, 'How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken, the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him
(The NAS Bible). Now we come to the heart of the matter. Firstly, the OT as we know it is CHOCK full of prophesies that never occurred. (Isaiah and Ezekiel are the two that spring to mind).
From http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/prophecies.html#isaiah;
Isaiah's Failed Prophecies
The prophet Isaiah, for instance, foretold the drying up of all the waters of the Egypt, and the destruction of all land used for plantation due to this drying up of the River Nile.

Isaiah 19:5-7:
"And the waters of the Nile will be dried up, and the river will be parched and dry; and its canal will become foul, and the branches of Egypt's Nile will diminish and dry up, reeds and rushes will rot away. There will be bare places by the Nile, on the brink of the Nile, and all that is sown by the Nile will dry up, be driven away, and be no more.

This part of Isaiah, widely accepted by scholars to be written around the eighth century BC, is about 2750 years old. And in all this period of two and three quarters millennia, this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled! Moreover it is clear from the context that Isaiah prophecy was meant for the Egypt of his time. For it was with that Egypt that Isaiah and his people had a grievance against, and the prophecy was a warning to them. Obviously this is a clear example of an unfulfilled prophecy. In a similar vein, Isaiah predicted the complete and utter destruction of Damascus
Isaiah 17:1-2 An oracle concerning Damascus. See, Damascus will cease to be a city, and will become a heap of ruins. Her towns will be deserted forever... As we noted above, it is now almost three millennia since that prophecy and Damascus remains a vibrant city to this day. While Damascus had been overran many times in its past, it is still around. Thus the prophecy that says Damascus will cease to be a city forever is obviously false. Isaiah also spoke of a prophecy God made to Ahaz, the King of Judah that he would not be harmed by his enemies:

Isaiah 7:1-7
In the days of Ahaz...king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but they could not conquer it...And the Lord said to Isaiah "Go forth to meet Ahaz...and say to him, 'Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint...at the fierce anger of Rezin...and the son of Remaliah. Because Syria...and the son of Remaliah has devised evil against you saying "Let us go up against Judah and terrify it and let us conquer it for ourselves..." thus says the Lord God: "It shall not stand and it shall not come to pass..."
Yet according to II Chronicles, Syria and Pekah did conquer Judah!
II Chronicles 28:1, 5-6 Ahaz was 20 years old when he began his reign...

[T]he Lord God gave him into the hand of the king of Syria, who defeated him and took captive a great number of his people...He was also given into the hand of the king of Israel who defeated him with great slaughter. For Pekah the son of Remaliah slew a hundred and twenty thousand in Judah in one day...
Same source, http://www.geocities.com/paulntobin/prophecies.html#tyre

Ezekiel's Failed Prophecies on Tyre and Egypt
Ezekiel made a prophecy that, at the time he wrote, seems most likely to be fulfilled. The prophet was writing, in 587BC, at the time when Nebuchadnezzar was laying siege on Tyre. With such a powerful army like Nebuchadnezzar's, it was not surprising that Ezekiel prophesied the fall of Tyre to the Babylonian king.

Ezekiel 26:7-14
"For thus says the Lord: "Behold I will bring upon Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, and with horsemen and a hosts of many soldiers. He will slay with the sword your daughters on the mainland; he will set up a siege wall against you. He will direct the shock of his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers...With the hoofs of his horses he will trample all your streets; he will slay your people with the sword and your mighty pillar will fall to the ground...they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses... I will make you a bare rock... you shall never be rebuilt, for I have spoken," says the Lord God."
The whole passage clearly prophesied the sack and complete destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar. However, the vivid description of the sack and fall of Tyre never happened. After a siege of thirteen years, until 573BC, Nebuchadnezzar lifted his siege on Tyre and had to arrive at a compromised agreement. Thus Nebuchadnezzar did not destroy Tyre. Alexander the Great destroyed Tyre, 240 years later. And furthermore, despite the prophet, the city of Tyre was eventually rebuilt.

It's amazing that despite this disconfirming evidence some apologists actually try to salvage that prophecy. One example is Josh McDowell in his Evidence that Demands a Verdict. In it he claims that the prophecy was actually fulfilled. We will look at two of his specific arguments regarding the prophecy. First this is what McDowell writes about the "destruction of Tyre"

When Nebuchadnezzar broke the gates down he found the city almost empty. The majority of the people had moved by ship to an island about one half mile off the coast and fortified the city there. The mainland city was destroyed in 573, but the city of Tyre on the island remained a powerful city for several hundred years.

The implication of this paragraph is clear: that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed a major portion of Tyre. However McDowell got it wrong! Tyre's main city was always on the island. The part of the city on the mainland is nothing more than a suburb. In other words, Nebuchadnezzar could achieve no more than take over a relatively minor part of the city. Furthermore it is obvious from the passage in Ezekiel that the complete destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar was prophesied. McDowell tried to argue that the complete destruction by Alexander the great was the one actually prophesied here. This is a forced reading on the passage-nowhere in the passage was anyone else except Nebuchadnezzar mentioned. However the most powerful argument against McDowell's apologetics is that Ezekiel himself admitted that this prophecy was a mistake!

Ezekiel 29:17-20

...the Lord God came to me: "Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made his army labour hard against Tyre; every head was made bald and every shoulder was rubbed bare; yet neither he nor his army got anything from Tyre to pay for the labour that he had performed against it..."

McDowell tried to twist history to show that Tyre has never been rebuilt. His argument is that the modern city of Tyre is not the old city of Tyre since the former was not on the exact location of the latter. Suffice to say that no one agrees with such a twisted method to fulfill prophecy. Furthermore the prophecy says that Tyre shall never be rebuilt after the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar-which never happened-since he never destroyed the city. Even after the destruction by Alexander the Great, the city was still rebuilt. In fact the city of Tyre was even referred to, by that name, in the New Testament (Mark 7:24, Acts 12:20). Tyre exists to this day and has a population of about 12,000. Having failed in one prophecy did not make Ezekiel shy about making more:

Ezekiel 29:8-12

...thus says the Lord God. And the land of Egypt shall be desolation and a waste...no foot of man shall pass through it and no foot of beast shall past through it; it shall be uninhabited for forty years. And I will make the city of Egypt desolation in the midst of desolated countries; and her cities shall be desolated forty years... I will scatter Egyptian among the nations, and disperse them through the countries.

This passage must take the cake for the most prophecies proven wrong!
Egypt has never been desolate and wasted.
Men and people have always walked through it.
There has never been a single moment (let alone forty years) when Egypt was uninhabited.
Egypt has never been a desolated countries surrounded by more desolated countries.
Its cities has never been desolated for any period of time
And finally there was no Egyptian Diaspora.
Ezekiel tried his luck with another prophecy regarding Nebuchadnezzar:
Ezekiel 29:20 I
have given him [Nebuchadnezzar] the land of Egypt as his recompense for which he has labored, because they worked for me, says the Lord God.

Mr. Tobin is exacting in his analysis, but the question that puzzles me most, is that, according to the aforementioned Deut 18:21-22, both Ezekiel AND Isaiah should be excluded! Apologists proclaim the nonsense that it stipulates a select subsection of Egypt, and therefore it was fulfilled, but it holds no water. If read within the parameters of said chapter, it is obviously speaking of the entire nation, not a set of selected areas.

An apt example might be: archeologists a thousand years from now might claim that the lyrics "from sea to shining sea" only refer to the coastal lands of America, not the landlocked ones (this of course would be a matter of debate for the words 'from' and 'to', as the English language, if still extant in that millennia, would be as confusing as Aramaic is today, and the disputation of literal vs. figurative).
While Nebuchadnezzar (II) did indeed defeat Egypt, and rendered the Pharaoh's reigns inconsequential, the above listed details never came about. But these are examples of the sort we can expect from the OT. There are numerous mistakes in it, far too many to list here. There are the glaring contradictions about Saul's death for instance, from http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/apostles.html;

Multiple deaths - a biblical motif for making sure the bad guys get it REALLY bad!
The 4 very different deaths for King Saul;
1 Samuel (31:4) says that Saul "Took a sword, and fell upon it".
2 Samuel (1:2-10) says Saul, at his own request, was slain by an Amalekite.
Later in 2 Samuel (21:12) we read that the Philistines on Gilboa killed Saul.
But then in 1 Chronicles (10:13-14) we learn that Saul was slain by God!

In all fairness, the fourth quote was taken out of context, as 1 Chronicles 10:11 agrees w/2 Samuel (21:12) about the Philistines, God having worked indirectly through them (read the passage yourself).
Onwards to more failed prophecies:
From http://www.bibleorigins.net/FailedPropheciesDateTexts.html:

"Deut 30:7, RSV, "And the Lord your God will put all these curses upon your foes and enemies who persecuted you."

Nehemiah rebuilds Jerusalem's walls in fear of his enemies. In fear, he orders that the doors to the city not to be opened until late in the day, so as to avoid an ambush at the gates in the early morning hours and they are to be closed early in the day to avoid ambushes late in the evening (Neh 7:3-4)
Jeremiah portrays God stating that David will never lack a man to sit upon the throne of Israel, nor will the day ever come that a Levite priest shall fail to be in God's presence presenting burnt offerings. Yet, these prophecies were not fulfilled. David' descendants after the Exile (ca. 587-538 BCE) never were restored to the throne. In 70 CE the Romans destroyed the Temple. In 135 CE the Romans put down the Bar Kochba rebellion and this time destroyed Jerusalem carrying off into captivity her people. The Levitical priests who were to be in God's presence performing their duties, that is the feeding of God, "for ever," never again offered burnt sacrifices and meal offerings.
Jeremiah 33: 17-18, RSV,
"For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn cereal offerings, and to make sacrifices for ever. The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: "Thus says the Lord: If you can break my covenant with the night, so that day and night not come at their appointed time, then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers."
The Romans in 70 and 135 CE broke God's covenant with the Levitical priests; He hasn't had a meal in nearly 2000 years.
Jeremiah envisioned God as stating that the Exile would last 70 years, at the conclusion of these 70 years God would destroy Babylon and it would never be dwelt in again, because of what the Chaldeans had done to Jerusalem and their destruction of the Temple. The prophecy did not come about as envisioned.
The Exile began ca. 587 BCE and ended ca. 538 BCE, only 49 years were spent in Exile, not 70 years. Babylon was not destroyed by the Medes (Jer 51:11). Jeremiah wrote his prophecy around 587 BCE, shortly after the fall of Jerusalem. What he didn't know was that in 560 BCE Cyrus of Persia would defeat the Medes, and that it would be Persians who would set God's people free. Babylon peacefully surrendered to Cyrus the Persian who was welcomed into the city. Babylon would continue to exist with inhabitants until the 1st century CE. The city went into a long slow economic decline after the Hellenistic Greeks came to power, when Seleucus I moved the new capital to a Greek planned city named in his honor, some 60 miles away. The governing classes, followed by artisans, migrated to the new capital. Over the following centuries, more inhabitants abandoned Babylon, the city turned into farmlands, with only a few priests still offering sacrifices at the shrines. By the 1st century CE the city was deserted. So much then for the Lord's righteous fury in destroying Babylon and setting his people free with her collapse! I must conclude that Isaiah and Jeremiah spoke "presumptuously" when they declared God had spoken to them.
Jeremiah was quite specific about when Babylon would be destroyed and how and by whom. The Jews would serve the Babylonians as slaves for 70 years, then Babylon would be destroyed. It didn't happen.
Jer 25:11-13, RSV,

This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, says the Lord, making the land an everlasting waste. I will bring upon that land all the words which I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations."

Jer 29:10, RSV,
For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfil to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and a hope. Then you will call me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile."
Jer 51: 11, RSV,
"The Lord has stirred up the spirit of the Medes, because his purpose concerning Babylon is to destroy it, for that is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance for his temple."

Jeremiah has God declaring that He, God, will pardon the iniquity of Israel and Judah upon their restoration from the captivity with the fall of Babylon, and that no more will iniquity be found in the land. As noted earlier, Ezra and Nehemiah contradict Jeremiah's prophecy that no more will iniquity or sin be found in Israel or Judah upon the fall of Babylon and the restoration of his people to their land.
Jeremiah 50:18-20, RSV,

"Behold I am bringing punishment on the king of Babylon and his land, as I punished the king of Assyria. I will restore Israel to his pasture...In those days and in that time, says the Lord, iniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none; and sin in Judah, and none shall be found; for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant."

Evidently 'gawd' chose not to pardon his people ("the remnant" who returned from the Captivity) upon their restoration, for iniquity abounded in the land, with foreign women being married and the Sabbath not being observed (Neh 10:30-31).
Jeremiah also proclaimed that gawd intended to write his law upon his people's hearts, such that there would be no need for a man to teach his fellow man about learning gawd's way, because gawd will forgive his people's iniquity and remember no more their sins. Jerusalem would be rebuilt with its walls, never again to be uprooted or overthrown.
Jeremiah 31: 27-40, RSV,

"Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast...I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more...Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate...It shall not be uprooted or overthrown any more for ever."
Not only did god not write his law upon his restored people's hearts, Ezra found it necessary to teach his people 'Know the Lord,' (Ezra 10) in contradiction to Jeremiah's prophecy. As for Jerusalem, although it was rebuilt by Nehemiah ca. 445 BCE, the Romans in 135 CE destroyed it, and rebuilt it as a Roman city naming it after the emperor Hadrian; Jews were not allowed within the city on pain of death. So, Jerusalem was not only "overthrown" by the Romans, but its peoples were "uprooted" and carried off into slavery.
Isaiah thought Medes would destroy Babylon.
Isaiah 13:1-22, RSV,
"The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw...Behold I am stirring up the Medes against them, who have no regard for silver and do not delight in gold. Their bows will slaughter the young men; they will have no mercy on the fruit of the womb; their eyes will not pity children. And Babylon, the glory of the kingdoms, the splendor and pride of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them. It will never be inhabited or dwelt in for all generations...its time is close at hand and its days will not be prolonged."
Isaiah, writing all this ca. 704 BCE was not aware that in 550 BCE Cyrus the Persian would defeat the Medes and take over rule of their empire. Babylon would fall not to the Medes, but to the Persians. The city was not destroyed, it surrendered peacefully to Cyrus in 539 BCE, there was no great slaughter, no destruction of the city, no going into exile as slaves.
Olmstead noted that Babylon surrendered and was spared any destruction by Cyrus-

"Near the beginning of October, Cyrus fought another battle at Opis on the Tigris... on October 11 Sippar was taken without a battle...and on October 13, 539, Gobryas, governor of Gutium, and the troops of Cyrus entered Babylon without battle. Afterward, when Nabu-naid returned to Babylon, he was made prisoner. The last tablet dated by Nabu-naid is from October 14, the day after Gobyras captured Babylon, but it was written at Uruk, to which the welcome news had not yet penetrated.... Babylon was well treated by Cyrus...on October 29 Cyrus himself entered Babylon. Branches were spread in his path, and he proclaimed peace to everyone in the city."
(Pp.50-51, "Founder Cyrus," A. T. Olmstead. History of the Persian Empire. Chicago. The University of Chicago Press. Phoenix Books. 1948, reprint 1963)."
I feel that the following is crucial to understand how these 'fulfilled' prophecies are interpreted in this day and age. From http://www.bibleorigins.net/ChristOriginsMechanismsAllegory.html -
"Allegory was the application of philosophy to mythology, which sought in the myths, however crude, a hidden spiritual meaning. Allegory was probably developed earlier among the Greeks than among the Jews. The Stoics, deriving this method from the Cynics, brought it to perfection as a theological weapon; by means of which they were able to conserve the form of popular religion while transforming the content...How early the allegorical method was adopted by the Jews it is difficult to determine with certainty. It certainly would be in demand as early as the translation of the Septuagint in Egypt. Aristobulus used it freely in his exposition on the Pentateuch, and Schurer believes that allegoric exegesis was in vogue in Palestine a considerable time before the days of Philo, who applied it wholesale to the Hebrew scriptures. He was followed by Paul, through whom allegory entered upon its long career in Christian theology.

A little further on:
"It has been largely forgotten by Christian scholars and believers that the New Testament is NOT a direct heir of the religious and moral attitude of the Old Testament. Between the compilation of the Old Testament and time of Jesus, many centuries elapsed and the very nature of the Jewish approach to God and man had been transformed.
CHRISTIANITY AROSE ON THE BASIS OF THESE FRESH NEW JEWISH ACHIEVEMENTS...On the other hand, there seems to be a kind of inhibition in the mind of 'gentile' scholars who still hesitate to consider the results of studies about the origins of Christianity written by Jewish born human beings. Strangely enough this restraint in regards to Jewish scholarship can also often be observed even in the field of the research of Jewish sources. Seldom are the Jewish contributions in this area of scholarship utilized by Christian scholars. Often these works are not even known to them." (pp. xvii, xxviii, "Introduction." David Flusser. Judaism and the Origins of Christianity. Jerusalem. The Magnes Press. The Hebrew University. 1988. ISBN 965-233-627-6 )
And some more:
"What has been elaborated here is the history of perhaps the most powerful and enduring of the "strong misreadings" (to use Harold Bloom's term) that make up our cultural heritage...At any given moment, in any given interpretive community, a range of (mis-) readings of any text is possible...Allegorical interpretation, ancient, medieval, and modern, has a bad reputation in our time. We imagine the allegorists to have been guilty of willful deception in distorting the meaning of texts, imposing foreign ideas upon them, and then compounding their crimes by appealing to those texts as authority for the very ideas they have fraudulently attached to them." (pp.298-299. Robert Lamberton. Homer the Theologian. Berkeley. University of California Press. 1986, 1989)
Mr. Walter Reinhold Warttig Mattfeld y de la Torre, M.A. Ed. (author of this website) concludes this with:
"Conclusions: Christianity arose from Hellenized Judaism. It's re-interpretations of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, employed "Allegory," which allowed a different reading of the ancient texts, a reading that opposed earlier readings by main-stream Judaism as understood and defended by the Rabbis of the first and second centuries A.D.
Jesus as the Messiah or Christ was re-formatted as "The Logos" ("The Word" John 1:1-5) a Greek metaphysical concept UNKNOWN to the pre-Hellenistic writers of the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament.
Christianity's views on God's intent employed not only an allegorical re-reading of the ancient pre-Hellenistic texts, but also the selective turning of "a blind eye" to Old Testament verses that contradicted Christian teachings. For example, the Prophets all understood that God would bestow upon all his people (the Nation) in one fell swoop, his Holy Spirit, allowing them to keep his Torah (Laws), upon their return from exile in Babylon. The Christians did NOT cite these prophecies in their "New Testament," they proclaimed that (contra the Prophets), the Holy Spirit could be obtained ONLY by those individuals, on a case-by-case basis, who confessed Jesus was the Christ and who became baptized into his death (cf. my article on God's bestowal of his Holy Spirit in the Old Testament vs. the New Testament).
The following link is also advised: http://www.bibleorigins.net/HolySpiritMessiahOTvsNT.html.

We can extrapolate the following, as such: The Hellenistic concept of allegory was (wholly, or in part) borrowed by the 'apostles', and due to the obvious incompetence of the unknown authors, the tenets of modern-day Christianity are built on fraud. There are no (repeat, emphasis here, NO) validations of OT prophecies vis-à-vis Jesus (which will be dealt with in another essay). Indeed, the interpretations of rabbinic scholars say otherwise. The use of the term 'ot' is implicit in ALL of these prophecies (the term is directly applied as imminent fulfillments of said prophecies: and, as stated before, all of these directly relate to the aforementioned Deuteronomy clause.
How indeed, are prophets to be measured in terms of several hundred years? It defies the imagination that anyone could stay gullible for that long). We can therefore and safely dismiss the fabrications that say otherwise, clumsy as they are. A further web link for the interested reader is here: http://www.bibleorigins.net/Presuppositions.html. I personally find Mr. De La Torre a fascinating read. Of course, Hellenism played a semi-substantial role in ancient Israel (between its one-time reign as world empire, and the impact of Greek philosophy due to its demographic nearness). But we also need to remember that Hebraic society was very resistant to change, and extremely insular. Witness the wholesale genocide of opposing world-views in re: the Canaanites, as one example. Whenever they were in power, they put entire nations to the sword. The influence of Hellenism, it stands to reason, was very slow and gradual. It has been observed by men more learned than I, that there was a substantial shift in the first century in the Middle East in the view of community at large to the individual. Originally, the Greeks (like the Hebrews) focused on a community-based ideology (indeed, the general concept B.C.E was that, upon arrival of the Messiah, the entire nation would be lifted up into the arms of God en masse), but then, pending the impact of Platonism, the ideals of Socrates, etc. that the individual became the philosophical focus.

In summation, the OT comes apart at the seams in regards the concept of inerrantism. Divinely inspired? Sure, if 'god 'is infinite and perfect, then one would expect the alleged scriptures to be so as well (failing that, far more accurate, one would think). Note that I am not referring to the characters of the authors, pseudipigraphic or otherwise: it is in the glaring errors and stumbles that one discovers in the actual analysis of the selected Talmudic writings. We are all finite beings, to be sure, and no man is exempt from making mistakes. But the volume of errors, in texts that are reputed to be the 'Operator's Systems Manual' for the human race, defies credence, suspends belief, and contradicts the 'divine' message.