Pre-Tribulation Rapture

The concept of a pre-tribulation rapture is a modern interpretation of parts of the New Testament designed to assure believers that they will not have to endure any part of the tribulation written about in the book of “Revelation”  This viewpoint is espoused and promulgated mainly by TV evangelist types.  In addition, they have recently begun espousing the idea that “God” is warning America of judgment soon to come and that a great harvest time of souls will soon take place.  They put all of this together with no certain theological foundation for so doing.

That said, contrary to those who espouse this viewpoint, the pre-tribulation rapture actually makes no sense theologically and MUST be wrong for ONE main reason.  That reason is that there actually is no reason that we should know about the tribulation written about mainly in the Apocalypse of John, commonly known as “Revelation“, if we are not going to have any part in it (It’s really that easy to destroy this concept).  I say “we” because I include everyone, including Christians in this.

These TV evangelist types believe that CHRISTIANS will be taken out via rapture BEFORE the tribulation, leaving everyone else.  As practically everyone knows, I am a Pagan, not a Christian.  But I was theologically trained as a Christian and am very well able to speak to issues of biblical interpretation.  I, for one, would be profoundly happy if Christians (and other monotheists since the concept of the rapture is as old as the Zoroastrian religion of ancient times) were suddenly raptured out of this world, leaving the rest of us to work things out.  But, believe me, that is simply NOT going to happen.

If this isn’t enough, one has to ask the Christian who believes that they will be raptured out of this world just what it is that makes them think that the church is to escape suffering during the time of the tribulation since suffering in the name of their lord is a hallmark of the church in the first place.  Frankly, the rapture and the tribulation don’t even go together theologically.  They were differing viewpoints from different teachers in ancient times that modern Christians are trying to put together. And, as even Constantine I knew, if they are right then the entire book of “Revelation” is of no value for us today because it has all already happened.

The rapture makes no sense.  ALL must die!  How can Christians say that SOME somehow deserve to escape death by being raptured?  How can they claim that the church deserves to avoid a tribulation to come upon the whole earth when suffering is part of what the church is supposed to do?  All of it is complete nonsense!

Finally, it is clear that passages such as Matthew 24 and Luke 21 were written AFTER the book of “Revelation” was written and that the authors of these passages relied on this book for what they wrote in these passages.  Only blind pseudo-interpretation would lead anyone to conclude anything else.  As I make clear in my first book “Apocalypse and Armageddon. The Secret Origins of Christianity: The First Shall be Last and the Last Shall be First“, “Revelation” was written BEFORE the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE and the gospels were written AFTER the destruction.

The so-called “rapture” and the tribulation written about in “Revelation” and the passages cited in the New Testament are simply NOT going to take place at all.  We are going to have to learn to respect one another religiously and work together for the betterment of THIS world, not look forward to some future spiritual world that will never come into being.  That said, the pre-tribulation rapture viewpoint is especially dangerous because it allows the fanatics to continue to say that “God” is warning us of judgment and that we all must repent and fall in line to their way of thinking before the world comes to an end!  DON’T BELIEVE THEM!  If there are false prophets that are to be avoided, then these are the ones.

Shades of Constantine and Constantius

After Constantine I died, Eusebius of Caesarea wrote a history of the Christian Church and then his “Life of Constantine”, which, purported to show how Christianity was meant to be triumphant and which also, naturally, extolled his hero, Constantine. He basically wrote that everything had unfolded according to the will of god and that Constantine had been raised up as emperor by god to allow Christianity to triumph against Paganism. Again, Eusebius wrote several years AFTER the death of Constantine.

Today the Christian fanatics (not all are fanatics, so I make this distinction here) are so very proud of the fact (and, sadly, it is a fact) that evangelicals actually put Donald Trump into office as President of the US. Authors and so-called “prophets” are coming out of the woodwork all over the place and the White House itself is swarming with fundamentalist fanatics attempting to sway policy, ostensibly as prayer for the nation and for the President.

Did I mention authors? Oh, yes. Some have been writing a plethora of books aimed at explaining why Trump MUST be supported by everyone in the nation both because he was, they say, appointed by god and because, otherwise, judgment will come upon this nation. In the mean time, don’t mess with Israel because god will judge us for that too as demonstrated by all these calamities that are taking place, also signifying the end times.

The first book of this genre, I think, was Lance Wallanau’s “God’s Chaos Candidate”, which came out in September of 2016, followed by Mark Taylor’s “The Trump Prophecies” which didn’t come out until several months AFTER trump was elected as President. After these came Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s “The Paradigm”. And now a new book by Stephen E. Strang entitled “God and Donald Trump”. And there are several others that have already been written which are not mentioned here. These books are, at best, one sided, designed to explain why Trump is god’s man of the time and, at worst, sometimes poorly written and edited, according to some of the reviews.

The main point to be taken from the fact that such books are being written is that the authors are determined to write Trump’s “triumphant history” and tie him to the history of the church, just as Eusebius did with Constantine, EVEN BEFORE his time is finished. Well, I suppose some of these want to get in on the gravy train before it dries up, but it is worse than that. They are effectively advocating a theocracy under Trump and his successors, if any, like that under the Byzantine tyrants. A theocracy disguised as a republic, but a theocracy nevertheless because it will be (or even already is) god-ordained.

And Trump has already done SO much for the church, according to these fanatics! He got rid of the Johnson Amendment, they say, and he has appointed one conservative Supreme Court Justice who will help them to accomplish their most cherished goal; the overturning of Roe vs, Wade. Hardly do they recognize the fact that he has really done virtually NOTHING for them at all, so sure that what he has done is only the beginning of what he will do for them. And, sadly, they MAY be right about this. In the mean time they rationalize and distort reality in every way possible in order to cause others to believe, they hope, that they understand god’s plan and that Trump is integral to this plan.

In the mean time they simply cannot grasp the reasons that some former members of the Trump administration are being investigated for unethical ties to Russia as related to Russian meddling in the very election that Trump won. They cannot understand, apparently, that this is treasonous IF (because nothing has been proven as of yet) such connections and communications took place as are alleged. And it simply MUST be investigated.

After Constantine I came his son, Constantius II. He was a vile tyrant with obvious mental illness issues as I clearly showed in my second book “Killing Roma”. At a certain point, with Germanic invasions on the increase in the western part of the empire, Constantius appointed his cousin, Iulianus, to lead Roman forces in that area. Iulianus did such a fantastic job of it that it made Constantius wary that Iulianus might want to usurp him since he was growing very powerful. Constantius resolved to take care of Iulianus in a completely fiendish manner by writing to certain Germanic chieftains, stating that since they had already converted to Christianity the western empire was, by rights, theirs to take and to settle because those who still resided there had been rather slow to convert and, thus, the population there was still mostly Pagan. In this way Constantius hoped that the forces of Iulianus would be overrun by the barbarians and Iulianus killed, thus eliminating that threat to his rule. But that did not happen. Instead Iulianus soundly defeated the invaders and captured a chieftain who still had the letter from Constantius on his person. In this way Iulianus found out about Constantius’ treachery.

Constantius had reached out to Roma’s arch-enemy of the time, offering them the western empire, for all practical purposes, hoping that Iulianus would be killed as things unfolded. This because he, Constantius, really didn’t want to have to face Iulianus on the battlefield himself. But, as history turned out, both prepared to do battle anyway since Iulianus survived and was proclaimed emperor by his forces in the West. As the two armies were on their way to battle Constantius suddenly died of a fever. In his will, Constantius had actually named Iulianus as his successor! He knew, even in his mental state, that the empire simply could not be left to the squabbles that would have ensured if he had not named the most experienced person as his successor, ostensibly at the same time as he was preparing to defeat him on the battlefield. Perhaps he knew that Iulianus would win in any case. Following his ascension Iulianus came out as Pagan. Thus, history has labeled him “Julian the Apostate”. Sadly, his reign lasted only a couple of years and he was replaced by another Christian tyrant.

But, regardless of the method, treason is treason. What some in our modern age today MAY have done with reference to possibly encouraging Russia to meddle in our elections is EXACTLY on the same level as that which Constantius II did with reference to pitting the Germanic chieftains against his cousin Iulianus. History repeats itself, it might seem. But those who write favorably about Trump will certainly never let this dissuade them from still believing that he is god’s appointed man for this hour. Thus we essentially have another Constantine I – the one who will bring the church into prominence once again.

If the reader thinks that I may have overblown things just a bit, consider that today, October 31, 2017, on the Jim Bakker Show, author Stephen E. Strang mentioned that Hillary Clinton has recently written a book entitled “What Happened”. But Strang posed it as if it were a question (which it is not) and stated that he would tell us “what happened” – “God intervened.” Yes, it is really that simple for these people, many of whom could not have even earned an advanced degree of any kind and yet parade themselves around as TV evangelists and “prophets”. If we allow these types to overtake our government and our society, as they are determined to do, then we will of all nations be most miserable. Let’s not repeat history here. Let’s not go any further with this trajectory.

The Continued Strain on Credibility

On October 8, 2017 D. James Kennedy Ministries aired their regular program “Truths That Transform”. I watch this and other religious programs regularly in order to have exposure to what the general trends may be among TV evangelists and others so that I may better understand the current trajectory of Christianity. This particular program focused on the new Museum of the Bible, opening in Washington D.C. in November and on the history of the Bible itself and why it should be taken as the word of God.

The narrator, Frank Wright, Ph.D., toward the beginning openly stated that it was quite appropriate for this museum to be opened in our capital, providing no direct explanation for exactly why this was the appropriate place for it to have been built. But, as one watched the program, the tacit answer became clear – America is a Christian nation, founded upon the Bible (mainly the King James Version) and our mission as a nation is to bring Christ to the world. At least that is the way they see it.

Well, Ok, many people believe this and I do not wish to belabor the point here as to whether we are a Christian nation or not since this has already been done by many others already. Certainly, so-called “Judeo-Christian” values have indeed played a major role in our nation from the beginning, so I will forfeit that argument for the time being. That the Bible also, as Wright stated, “. . . shaped the entire western world” is a given. It has indeed influenced practically every aspect of western civilization since ancient, or at least medieval, times. Of course, in making such a blanket statement those who do so ignore, deliberately, all other factors from history, including influences from more ancient times.

The first guest on the program was Cary Summers, President of the Museum of the Bible. He stumbled a bit, in my opinion, as he explained that although the Protestant Reformation has been generally attributed to Martin Luther for its beginnings, it somehow should not be since “there were many forerunners of Luther who were almost saying the same thing as he was. . . .” Well, that is just not quite accurate. Any student of this period in history knows that there were a handful of forerunners prior to Luther, but that they had little overall impact. Luther is the one who actually made it happen! This would be an easy mistake for most, but for the President of such a museum, I should think that he should have his facts a little better in order. That said, this is not a terrible mistake; it’s just a mistake.

But the greater point here is that, for this program, they focused on the Protestant Reformation and the aftermath of that event. They completely ignore any previous history. Thus, he added that “As you got closer to Luther you had more distribution of the Bible”. That is certainly true as Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press made this possible. So, in so many words, the invention of the printing press allowed for the spread of the Bible all over Europe so that the folk were able to read it for the very first time, the Church having kept them in the dark up until that time. And that is true.

Wright later stated “But the key to the transformative power of the Bible is that we believe it. There are many good reasons to believe the Bible.” Really? The Bible’s transformative power resides in the fact that people believe it. Actually, I agree with that statement. It does not lie in the facts that the Bible presents nor in the historical accuracy of it nor in the truths that supposedly reside within its text. Its power resides in the fact that people simply BELIEVE it, regardless of the many mistakes, misrepresentations, and outright errors contained within it. Sadly, this is indeed true.

After this a clip was shown of Dr. James Kennedy explaining why the Bible should be believed; how he “knew” that the Bible is the “word of God”. In this clip Kennedy mainly stated that it should be believed because the men who wrote it repeatedly stated “thus sayeth the Lord” some 2,600 times. So he believed the Bible because the men who wrote it stated that God had told them to write it. Not a very convincing argument at all.

Adding statements he attributed to Charles Wesley, Kennedy added that Wesley had said that bad men would not write such a good book. Again, not very convincing.

Finally, Kennedy stated that in the Bible (no actual reference provided, but it is found in Deuteronomy 18:22) God provides the answer as to why one should believe the writers of the Bible. The passage reads (KJV) “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” In so many words, if prophecies from a so-called prophet don’t come true, then the prophet is false and not to be accepted.

Then Kennedy stated that “well over 2,000 specific prophecies . . . have been fulfilled”, without actually citing a single one specifically.

Then Wright takes over the narration again adding that Kennedy continued in this clip to state that “one of the proofs that the Bible is God’s word is its “ability to transform nations and people. This has proved (sic.) true in numerous areas of American life, including its influence on our constitutional government, the scientific enterprise, and perhaps above all, education”.

Well, if the ability to transform nations and peoples is any standard as a “proof” then the Quran would also have to be accepted as true in addition to the Bible since it has certainly transformed nations and peoples all over the world! In addition, attributing the concept of our constitutional government to the Bible is a clear logical fallacy since nothing in the Bible even hints at such a government other than the fact that the Apostles (Acts 1:26) are shown as utilizing the democratic process in selecting someone to replace Judas. But they didn’t get this idea from their scriptures! They got it from the Greco-Roman world which surrounded them! Otherwise, the only examples the Bible illustrates for us are kings and tyrants. I would like to know how we got our democratic/republican ideals from such examples as this! Short answer; we didn’t!

But this wasn’t even the worst. If it had only gone this far, I would not have felt the need to write this because it is, frankly, standard Christamerican gobbledygook. But then they had to air clips of various others making their absurd statements. The first to be shown was Vishal Mangalwadi, author of “The Book That Made Your World”. He stated that “The Bible created the rise of languages – oral dialects such as English, literature, universities, science, technology, music, western confidence in rationality, the idea that human beings have unique dignity and unique rights which are inalienable; rights which gave birth to moral democracy, free market economy – all of these things came from the Bible.”

Really? What history have you been reading, Mr. Mangalwadi? This statement is a blatant untruth at best! How do we know this? Because we have history outside of the Bible to consult. For one, the Bible did not “create the rise of languages” culminating in “dialects” such as English. The absurdity of this statement doesn’t even deserve rebuttal! The Bible did not “create literature”, it is part of a literary genre. Universities were NOT created because of the Bible! The very first university (the Academy) in known history was established by Platon (Plato) in ancient Greece, well before the Bible came into existence! And universities that were established during the Middle Ages were more the result of the Enlightenment in which ancient Greco-Roman literature was rediscovered than anything else. The Bible did not establish science, nor the scientific method. That was developed by ancient Greek philosophers. Technology? That’s not in the Bible either. Music? The absurdity of the idea that the Bible originated music is beyond my ability to even deal with! “Western confidence in rationality”? THAT also comes from ancient Greek and Roman philosophy with, really, no input from the Bible. In fact, the Bible is one of the most irrational books ever written! The unique dignity of the human being? Ever heard of “Humanism”? The fanatics claim to hate humanism exactly because they don’t understand this, again, ancient GREEK concept. The birth of moral democracy? Sorry, wrong again! That was developed by ancient Greeks who worshipped their many deities – Pagans whom the fanatics label as immoral! Free market economy? Well, at least this is more or less a modern invention, but it also did not come from the Bible.

Oh, but even this wasn’t the worst. They had to double-down! Dr. Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., continued by stating “Take the example of the modern scientific enterprise. Virtually every major branch of science was created by Christians at the end of the Middle Ages and in the wake of the Reformation.”

No, the various branches of science were not “created” by Christians, for the most part. Scientific enquiry started at least as far back as ancient Greece. Christians have certainly, perhaps, improved the enquiry, but that is really a result of the fact that Christianity had taken over the western world, not a result of the influence of the Bible. Newcombe’s absurd and biased statement is a deliberate effort to make it seem as if all of the contributions of the western world originated with Christians!

Sir Alan Cook added “Almost all early scientists were Christians”. Really? I guess it depends upon how one defines “early”, doesn’t it? Enough said here except that his statement is equally absurd.

Then (you could just see this coming all along) Katherine Dang, Educator, added “America is the result of Christ’s gospel liberty to permit him [man] to be free from the control of sin in him, have dominion over it and then to be self-governed by his word and to create a nation by that idea”. More gobbledygook! “America” is actually the result of those who sought freedom from tyrannical European governments which, by the way, happened to be based on Christianity and the concept of kingship! Absolute rule combined with monotheism, including Christianity, always results in tyranny and the curtailment of individual freedoms. Check the historical record. That is why our founders elected to create a governmental system modeled upon ancient Roma which at the same time excluded the use of religion as a governmental tool to control the masses. THAT is what produced our wonderful freedoms, not some blueprint found in the Bible!

Mangalwadi added “But if there is no God; but if God does not come to this earth to establish his kingdom, then being a pessimist, being a cynic, uh, resigning to fatalism, is a logical, uh, state of mind. You give up the Bible and the West loses its hope”. No, Mr. Mangdalwadi, resignation and fatalism are NOT logical if Jesus does not return to save us from our own ineptitude! Indeed, I submit that you are actually correct that if the Bible were taken away from the western world then many would lose hope because they have been provided no other foundation upon which to stand. But that is exactly the danger here. You cite “logic”, which is an ancient Greek philosophical system, yet fail to utilize it properly. The logical remedy is to provide the western world with something more than the Bible to rely on, not to descend into a puddle of hopelessness if “God” doesn’t establish his kingdom upon this earth!

Finally, Wright repeated that the Bible is true because it is “transformative”. . . . “But the fact remains; no one can consider themselves literate and certainly not learned without having some knowledge of the Bible. . . . D. James Kennedy Ministries is standing for truth and defending your freedom”. Really, Mr. Wright? You think that one is illiterate if they have read everything else but never read the Bible? That has to be the most absurd statements of the entire program!

The frank fact of the matter is that, although the Bible has indeed been a major factor in the development of present western society, it has by no means been the only factor. In fact, the influence of Greco-Roman culture, which preceded the Bible, still exacts great influence no matter how much effort you exert to bury that fact. You Christians seek to take credit for all that has been done – falsely. This is what you have done from the beginning. You have stolen all that was good from the ancient world and wrapped it in Christian guise.

The above was not written to counter DJK Ministries specifically or alone since much of that which is presented here is pretty common thought in Christian circles. The fact of the matter is that Christians, in general, really have no idea what the history of the Bible is and have no real idea how history went since ancient times. Those on this program lamented the lack of knowledge among Christians concerning the Bible and its history. I agree, there is indeed a serious lack of such knowledge and understanding. But this program was filled with so many inaccuracies

and misrepresentations that it hardly serves as a remedy for this problem. My greatest wish would have been to have enjoyed a program that actually told the TRUTH without the all too common historical distortions that always seem to follow. In a word – actually a question – why can’t you just tell the truth for a change? Just be honest about your history. It would make a great difference for someone like me, who already knows your history all too well.

 

On Nature and the Soul

Have you not observed nature? Everything in nature has its place; everything serves a purpose in the life-cycle. Humanity is the only thing that seems out of place with no obvious purpose in nature. So, then, what exactly is our purpose? Is it simply to dominate and destroy – something that we are obviously exceedingly good at? Are all other things here simply at our disposal and subject to whatever whim we may be engaged in at any given moment in time?

Some would say that our purpose must be to serve god. But for that to be the case would it not be reasonable to presume that god needs to be served; that god has a need to be served? If so, then one would also have to posit that god, if he were the creator (I speak as a monotheist would), created us because of his need to be served since there was no other creature or god around to serve that need.

So, in such a scenario, god created the angels first, but that wasn’t enough. So he created the earth, the animals, the plants, etc. But they weren’t enough either. So then god created humanity and has been trying, with limited success, to get us to worship him exclusively ever since. God couldn’t even get his first creation, the angels, to worship him exclusively and some rebelled! So, both the angels as well as humanity have been in rebellion ever since, with nature paying the price even though it cannot, by its own nature, rebel. Nature, after all, can only act according to instinct and the desire to survive.

But we must have some greater purpose than this since we are inherently capable of so many things that no other creature is capable of! It would seem, then, that it is reasonable to propose that our purpose must be found among those things which only we can do. But, does that mean that we should perform to the fullest all things that only we are capable of or, conversely, that we should select only certain goals to perform to the fullest? Indeed, as an example, if we are to choose both to create and to destroy to the fullest our purpose would ultimately be self-defeating in that we should fine ourselves to be necessarily constantly destroying all that we have previously created and then rebuilding it in endless, meaningless, succession. But this is what we are already doing, relegating ourselves to functioning not one whit above nature itself!

Thus, even though it is in the very nature of humanity to build, this scenario would be (and is) nothing short of pitiful! And, apparently, god doesn’t like building very much anyway since he struck down the tower of Babel. So building must be one of those innate qualities that only humans possess, but which does nothing to get us closer to god.

So, now, we have demonstrated that to do all possible things (even to do them all well) cannot be our purpose – that which we are here for – both because we would always be in conflict and because this would not get us any closer to the creator. Perhaps, then, we should seek the answer in determining that we should do “good” things only, rather than “evil” things; positive rather than negative things; creative rather than destructive things. Indeed (speaking as a polytheist here), is this not what the ancient Sacred Mysteries taught us?

But, one may ask, how can we know good from evil, positive from negative, creative from destructive? Well, did not Platon (Plato), in Meno 81-86, demonstrate that such understanding is innate within human kind and cannot be taught by another because the soul is immortal and uncreated and already knows all things? Thus, when we expect others (and even ourselves) to know good from evil, are we expecting too much of others (and of ourselves)? I submit that we are not and that, in fact, we are taught to perform evil or we generally would not do so. I have never yet encountered a person who, if given a choice, would

perform evil rather than good if they had not somehow been taught to perform the evil thing and often coerced into doing it by others.

The frank truth, then, is that no one is inherently evil, although I will admit that I have met some who would cause me to question this. Evil, frankly, does exist in the world (but not in nature), but it is a learned behavior, not something we are all born with – not some original sin curse! But if people are taught that evil is inherent within them, then they will believe it and sometimes act upon it.

In any case, it is actually quite easy for us to determine what is good and what is evil; what is beneficial and what is detrimental. But, then, why exactly is it that we already know good from evil? Why is this knowledge inherent within us? It is exactly because we possess soul in greater measure than any other “creature”, if you will, just as we possess greater abilities than any other “creature”. Yes, all animate beings possess soul, but we possess soul in greater measure than any other.

Does this mean that souls are not truly individual, but may be greater or lesser in each individual case, if you will? In a word, “Yes”. But how do we determine this and upon what premise or set of premises is such a conclusion logically based? It is logically and reasonably based on the very existence of Knowledge itself as an entity (something that scientists are beginning to discover as we speak). Knowledge is not simply an abstract concept, but a thing – an entity, if you will, that actually exists. And this entity which we call Knowledge can and should be equated with soul. Therefore, for animals it is instinct; for humans it is understanding. And once one understands a given concept, then one is enlightened upon that subject.

What is it, then, that we are supposed to understand – to be enlightened about? After all, one “learns” and comes to understand many things over the course of a given lifetime. What, then, could be that one true and good thing that we are expected to understand that will enlighten us as to our purpose in being and bring us to our best end, as the Existentialist would put it?

What?! Have you not understood even up til now!? That which we are all to strive for most earnestly of all is the very knowledge of self – self-knowledge or self-understanding! For if one understands oneself then one is fully capable of also understanding others and, indeed, all other things. If one is able to accomplish this then one is capable of understanding at once one’s own place in relation to all other things. If one “knows” oneself then one understands one’s integral part in all that take place.

Now, once one knows or understands oneself and also understands that one possesses an uncreated, indestructible soul (because it was not created and, therefore, cannot be destroyed), as Platon taught us, then one cannot fear death but must instead welcome it as a release from the school of the material world, which is itself good, not evil. For if it were evil then its lessons would all be evil also. Nature, by default, would also be evil. But since we have already established that nature is not evil, nor can it be, then it simply cannot be that the material world is inherently evil. Thus, there is no Demiurge who created evil matter. For such to even be true we would have to say that the Demiurge creator would also have to be evil; for good and perfection cannot create evil and imperfection. And since this creator would necessarily have to be soul/spirit, one would have to posit that this soul/entity was evil in and of itself. In so many words, one would have to posit that there are truly evil souls. In that case, to perform good acts and to know oneself would by no means get us any closer to the Demiurge creator. And why would we want that in any case unless we were taught to want it?

Sadly, it would seem that some are actually taught to desire exactly this. But, again, evil is a learned state. This is exactly because soul is inherently good. Why is it good? Because it possesses, i.e. is, Knowledge and enlightenment. Thus, the more knowledge/enlightenment of self, of our soul, that we possess, the closer we can come to understanding our own place in all that is and the easier it becomes for us to not fear death. For death is truly the ultimate end of all living things. It is, therefore, an integral part of the life-cycle every bit as much as birth is. To arrive at this understanding brings us to enlightenment and allows us to achieve our own best end in death. Each time we achieve our own best end we have a greater opportunity to exit the wheel of reincarnation. For once we have fully understood these things we no longer need the school of the material world.

Thus, as the soul cannot be destroyed, it stands to reason that it also cannot be harmed. But, I submit, it can be vexed! Still, that does not mean that it can endure some eternal torment because of the supposed sins of a body it is now separated from in death. But one may say “The creator will create an entirely new and perfect body, like the old one but also different, to be tormented along with the soul just as he will create new and perfect bodies for those who will dwell in eternal bliss (sadly, I have recently heard “theology” exactly like this)! Never mind that the old bodies have already become a part of nature, sometimes over and over again, as all things repeat themselves. The one who posits this, then, will state that the creator first created both body and soul at exactly the same time and put them together at either the point of conception or at the point of birth to endure whatever lifetime determined for that particular person (but, rather unfairly, not the same duration or status for all), and that, based upon this one lifetime alone it is determined (although some state that the creator either foreknew or even foreordained this) whether the individual soul (but not the body, just the resurrected, perfect, body) will go to eternal punishment or to eternal bliss! But the flesh, which actually perpetrated both good and evil acts, is never really punished because it is already gone to be a part of nature again. So the soul is housed within a new and perfect body so that it can endure torment for eternity! The entire scenario is theologically absurd!

But then this one may ask; “If the soul is not created at the time of conception or birth, then where does it come from?” Have you not understood anything from the very beginning here?! The soul cannot be eternal if it is created just as the soul must be eternal if it is not created! All things that come into being have an end, but that “end” is really only a new beginning. Thus, the cycle of life and the universe. Flesh is not eternal and, therefore, can be destroyed. Soul is eternal and, therefore, cannot be destroyed. Soul has no beginning and it will have no end!

The same, therefore, must be said for the universe itself. It has no beginning and, therefore, will have no end. If this were not so, then there certainly could never be any place of eternal bliss nor any place of eternal punishment as the monotheist proposes. The theology of the monotheist falls completely apart simply by proposing that the creator is eternal, but his creation is not, yet he can and has created eternal souls that will receive pleasure or torture for eternity based upon only one inconsistent lifetime housed inside of a body of corrupt flesh. And, for most, the determining factor in all of this is not deeds, but simple belief based upon childish faith. This is absurdity at its finest!

And the answer of the monotheist to the initial question – that as to what the actual purpose of each individual is – becomes that we are all to believe in a savior who died for us (but only his flesh died, of course) and be saved by this belief so that we can be with the creator after we die.

But since I have already demonstrated the absurdity of even positing the existence of a creator, I will take this scenario even further. I will now posit that nothing substantiates the understanding that evolution is the process of change that all animate things are going through than the very concept of soul itself. Indeed, without soul it would be absurd to even posit evolution as a theory at all! You see, the likelihood that biology would even presume to take a steadily improving trajectory on its own is just as absurd as positing that it was created by some perfect being. Neither can reasonably be possible.

As we observe from nature, plants generally don’t change – don’t evolve. The same basically goes for animals. We never see them evolve, although we can manipulate them and “create” different types and breeds. So, logically, one has to conclude that each plant and animal is already, for all practical purposes, virtually perfect and completely suited for its own natural purpose in the greater scheme of things. And this is indeed what we observe.

But the human is vastly different. The human already possesses many more abilities than any other animal, yet at the same time it is wholly unsuited to the very environment of the planet upon which it lives! Therefore, the human simply must wear clothing for any number of reasons, not least of all the fact that, otherwise, it will die! This is the case with no other entity. So it is simply a fact that humans, as they exist today, were never meant to be without clothes. If the program “Naked and Afraid” taught us anything, it is this! In addition, humans simply cannot survive long without shelter. Thus, our inherent need to build and create. Finally, humans have an inherent need to consume a much wider variety of foods than any other animal species.

Therefore, we are unlike any other animal or animate species on the planet. Because of our distinctive features and abilities, especially our ability to build and create, we have an inherent desire to picture a creator who is like us. We forget that we are actually soul housed within a fleshly body and, therefore, if there were to be a creator that creator would not “look” like us! And the creator would also have no inherent needs. Thus, the creator would not need for us to worship him. And the supposed self-sacrifice of a fleshly man-god would not bring us any closer to him!

Well, by now it should seem obvious that there simply is no external creator deity at all as those things which he supposedly crated are eternal, if they are not material, and, therefore, cannot have been created by any creator. But if one simply has to have a creator of some type, then we can refer to Platon one hast time here. For in Timaeus 30 he begins to expound upon this very question. Without much more elaboration on my part, I will simply provide some quotes from the relevant passages (found in Greek Philosophy: Thales to Aristotle, Second Edition, by Reginald E. Allen, pp. 270-73) which should suffice (Italics mine).

“This, then, is how we must say, according to the likely account, that this world came to be [for I do not propose that this earth is eternal], by the god’s providence, in very truth a living creature with soul and reason. This being premised, we have now to state what follows next: What was the living creature in whose likeness he framed the world? . . . For the god, wishing to make this world most nearly like that intelligible thing which is best and in every way complete, fashioned it as a single visible living creature, containing within itself all living things whose nature is of the same order. . . . And for shape he gave it that which is fitting and akin to its nature. For the living creature that was to embrace all living creatures within itself, the fitting shape would be the figure that comprehends in itself all the figures there are; accordingly, he turned its shape rounded and spherical, equidistant every way from centre to extremity-a figure the most perfect and uniform of all, for he judged uniformity to be immeasurably better than its opposite. . . . For he assigned to it the motion proper to its bodily form, namely that one of the seven [planets] which above all belongs to reason and intelligence, accordingly, he caused it to turn about uniformly in the same place and within its own limits and made it revolve round and round . . . . and so he established one world alone, round and revolving in a circle, solitary but able by reason of its excellence to bear itself company, needing no other acquaintance or friend but sufficient to itself.”

Life, death, decay – these are all integral parts of the life-cycle of all material things and beings. Unless living matter dies and begins to decay, it cannot and does not release its bound-up energy back into the world. This energy is that which is pent up inside of the living organism, which originally came from the sun. A living creature absorbs this energy in any number of ways, not least of which includes the ingesting of other plants and animals which contain this energy within. Stagnant, unchanging “perfection” can possess no such energy. Energy is that which allows all things to grow and is also that which is produced when a living creature dies. The release of energy is the salvation of the flesh as one observes it in the natural world. The release of the soul takes us further down our evolutionary path as knowledge is disseminated even more than before, over and over again into infinity.

If one wishes to, one can dispute the existence of god or the gods. But one cannot dispute the existence of the living Earth.

Waving the Flag

A trend that is disturbing to many of us, including myself, has been gaining traction among evangelical fundamentalist type Christians recently.  It is the insistence of some, perhaps many, that the United States of America is a “Christian” nation and always has been because it was meant to be.  While most would not be disturbed by this, it is worth noting why some of us are and should be.

Let me begin by stating that no one I know or ever have known actually disputes that Christianity was an integral part of the founding of this great nation.  Neither do I dispute this for, to do so, one would have to ignore much of American history.  So, basically, I have to emphasize at the outset that few, if any, are actually stating that America was not founded, in part, on Christian principles and that we should be guided, in part, by some of these principles.  But the key words here are “in part”.  The sad fact of the matter is that there are those who cannot accept even this limitation, for they want it ALL.

I am gratified to be able to state that even Hal Lindsey, in his encore presentation of “Does the Flag Still Wave?” from July 3, 2009, actually stated that America was “certainly never a Christian nation” but was a “Christian-guided nation”.  THAT is TRUE.

That having been said, after seeing more than one program on one or another religious channel over the weekend espousing the idea that America was indeed founded solely on Christianity, when Lindsey’s program aired last evening I was prepared for the worst from him also.  And even though he was right in the above statement, he was still incorrect in some of his observations, some of which were not only inconsistent but also illogical because he drew conclusions from statements made by certain founding fathers and others that did not logically follow from those statements.  The statements and quotes cited were statements of opinion and cannot logically be taken as fact.  In so many words, for those who have not studied logic, one cannot deduce a logical conclusion from a premise or set of premises that are merely statements of opinion.

Now, this was a flaw in Lindsey’s presentation while the others often reached back beyond the founding of this nation to statements made by some at times prior to the founding in order to justify their belief that America was founded as a Christian nation.  In one such instance (and Lindsey touched on this also) the Mayflower Compact was cited.  I am not going to get into this too much, but if there was ever a tyranny in America, it was among those who formulated this compact (although early Virginia was not far away from this in its own right).  I think that everyone has heard of the witch trials and burnings that happened among the Pilgrim settlers.  But few know that at least one, and I think maybe more, instances of this type also happened in old Virginia also while it was still a colony.  Is this the type of government that some wish for us to live under today?  I hope not!

Still, getting back to Lindsey, he talked about how by the early 1900s “all kinds of men’s ideas began to be read into the scripture” and that these ideas swept through the universities and seminaries, etc.  He is, in fact, partly right here also.  There indeed was a movement which initiated a “new” reading of the scriptures and other religious texts from that time period onward.  As he stated, it is called “Neo-Orthodoxy”.  On his program, Lindsey defined it as “denying the inerrancy and divine inspiration of the Bible” adding that it meant that the Bible was not “literally true” and that “‘revelation’ of scripture is based on one’s personal experience”.  Here Lindsey is a little mixed up.  The definition of Neo-Orthodoxy, as found on dictionary.com is “a movement in Protestant theology, beginning after World War I, stressing the absolute sovereignty of God and chiefly characterized by a reaction against liberal theology and a reaffirmation of certain doctrines of the Reformation”.  Quite the opposite of what Lindsey is saying here.  But, I that there was a movement countered by this Neo-Orthodoxy is obviously the point he was trying to make here.

Lindsey continued to lament that during the 1960s and 1970s professors would give students failing grades for expressing any Christian point of view.  Now, as shown in documentation, Lindsey is exaggerating here as many others have also done.  The fact of the matter is that students were (and are) not failed for expressing Christian viewpoints.  They have been and sometimes still are given lower grades if they are unable to back their viewpoints up with concrete evidence.  Stating that the Bible says it and it is the inerrant word of god simply no longer cuts it.

Lindsey further states that the founding fathers were “pro-God”.  OK, I will give him that to some degree, although most were Deists.  He quotes John Adams from 1798 to illustrate: “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It’s wholly inadequate for the government of any other”.  Lindsey adds that what Adams meant was that our government was founded with the assumption that the majority of the population would be Christian and have a Christian world-view.  Thus, they would naturally be moral (an assumption found to be incorrect time and time again, I might add).  Further, Lindsey stated that: “Great liberty could be given because they could be trusted to be moral”.

Lindsey goes on to state “One of the things that was most prominent in the minds of those who founded this country and wrote our constitution was that they had lived under governments and regimes where the government had absolute power.  And the thing that was repeated among them over and over again was ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely'”.  Well, here Lindsey is also a little mixed up because the quote was actually coined by John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton  (10 January 1834–19 June 1902), so Lindsey is placing a quote as much as at least a half a century before it could possibly have been uttered!  But perhaps the founders were thinking such a thing.  After all, they had indeed, in some instances, escaped from tyrannical regimes in Europe which, incidentally, happened to be Christian.

Lindsey proceeds: “And with their Christian point of view and their Christian thought they knew from the Bible that all mankind is born with a sin nature. . . .  Because of this they formed a government with “as little power as possible”.  Because they were seen as moral, according to Lindsey, they were entrusted with great freedom.

So, Lindsey posits that the founders trusted the population to be moral because they were mainly Christian and, therefore, created a weak government because of this trust.  That is a logical fallacy if I ever saw one!

Lindsey goes on to quote a handful of others, all of whom were also offering their opinions, which cannot be taken as facts.  But then he sets into Thomas Jefferson when he cites the comment of Jefferson that there was a wall between church and state, calling it a “falsehood”.  This is also an opinion, but the difference here is that Lindsey and others on the Christian right hate this opinion while endorsing the others.  Neither logical or consistent.  But immediately afterward he quoted Jefferson thus: “To the corruptions of Christianity (There was a book with this title “Corruptions of Christianity” in Jefferson’s day which he read and is referring to here) I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself.  I am a Christian in the only sense in which he wished anyone to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others”.

Lindsey added that “Jefferson was simply saying that government should not ordain any one religion as the only religion”.  That is true.  But Lindsey seems to have no idea what the “corruptions of Christianity” Jefferson refers to indicate here.

Lindsey ends with “The Founding Fathers always believed and assumed that the major religion in America would be Christianity” but  that they still allowed “freedom of worship”.  They “feared most . . . a state religion or a state denomination”.

Now, while much of this is reasonable, the inconsistencies and illogic in this framework are clearly evident.  I will only add that our government was modeled on the ancient Roman Pagan governmental system of the Republic (with a president added), not modeled on the despotic Christian kingdoms which many at that time believed to be “god-ordained” and “god-established”.  They made this choice exactly because these tyrannical systems simply did not work.

The Christamericans

Within the last couple of weeks the Christian fundamentalist types have really come out swinging, as it were, suddenly emboldened to do so since the political climate is beginning to favor them, it seems.  Please pardon me if I refer to some of these folk as “fanatics” on occasion.  It is difficult not to do so when you watch programs such as the “Jim Bakker Show” where they constantly emphasize that “something bad is coming” or that the end of the world and Christ’s return is at hand!  All the while they have developed a new gimmick (one would think that Bakker had learned about such gimmicks after going to prison, but perhaps not) in which he and his “ministry” are selling “Staying Alive” food based upon a supposed dream he had.  Yes, at one point I was literally laughing so hard I was crying as Jim Bakker was offering this “Staying Alive” food while his PTL singers were singing “Stay’in Alive!” (song and film produced and sung by the Bee Gees; song released 1978 and film released July 15, 1983).  You can’t make this stuff up!

Yes, Mr. Bakker is so emboldened that he literally flaunts the Johnson Amendment as something the he will not abide by, taking the lead, it would appear, in this regard.  Because of this, he has had one guest (sometimes several at a time) after another who were willing, as he prodded them, to make political statements, always pro-Trump and anti-“liberal” (and some even stating that there was some nefarious reason Bakker really went to prison because the government was after him).  But, really, this should come as no surprise to anyone.  Ever since the 1980s the fundamentalist fanatics have been trying to get someone whom they could call “our man” into the office of President of the United States.  Now they believe that they have succeeded.  Never mind that he is not perfect; “God” will use him anyway like Cyrus!  All the while he isn’t going to save America from whatever calamity may be on the way, so one simply MUST buy this food they are selling along with all of the fanatical books being hocked on almost every broadcast!  It seems to me that Trump is likely to turn out more like ole Akhenaten who was so busy with religious matters within his immediate realm that he allowed the outer realms of the Egyptian Empire to crumble around them all.  But, that is just my own opinion.  Unlike these Christian fanatics, I do not claim prophecy in this matter.

Now, I truly hope that no one before me has coined the term “Christamericans” and if they have, I ask forgiveness for using it here without giving credit.  But when the term came to my mind I knew that I would have to use it unless I found it used elsewhere.  In doing some internet research, I found it nowhere.  And the term is perfect for these people.  These are a different variety of Christian, the ones who really turn everyone off from Christianity by their actions and words.  You know the type; those who KNOW exactly the way to salvation and everyone who does not follow THEIR interpretation of it is going straight to hell!  Those who are sure that the end of the world is so close that you can taste it and who, in the mean time, do absolutely NOTHING to prevent catastrophe(environmentally, militarily, politically, or otherwise).  After all, global warming isn’t real and all of history is in “God’s” plan.

But worse than that, they are determined to put their own into political office in this nation so that everyone will have to abide by their “Judeo-Christian” laws!  Thus, they WANT American government and Christianity to be intertwined as if they were one and the same.  And they don’t care about any religious minorities in this nation, period.  That is, with the exception of the facts that (1) they want to convert all others and (2) they want tax money from non-Christians (sometimes even for the purpose of supporting or propping up Christianity).  The media routinely refers to them as “evangelicals (which they are).  But it seems to me that Christamericans is a much better term for them.  They simply MUST have it their way or “God” will punish us all!  But since disaster of some kind is coming anyway, according to those like Bakker, then they are prepared to store away food and when that time comes, to reap a harvest of souls for Christ as they give away food at the price of having to listen to the gospel (much like a local homeless shelter where I live)!  Bakker himself has stated that that time will be the “greatest soul-winning time” in all of history!

And part of the price that will have to be paid, according to these fanatics, will be the destruction of the state of Israel by her “enemies” because that must take place before Christ can return!  So Israel, so very much like America in many ways, including that they play American-style football there, is to be destroyed.  Another Holocaust!  I, personally, think that there ought to be a better way than this.  But for the fanatic it is all in the plan of “God”.

Yes, these pro-gun, severely conservative, severely capitalist, Obama (and Hillary and now Bernie Sanders) hating, mostly low-educated, Trump supporting, pro-Israel (no matter what), Muslim hating, liberal-bashing, suddenly pro-Russian, sometimes white supremacist oh, so perfect people are determined that you will be just like them in every way and support their churches too.  They will say that their god will coddle you through every step of your life as if you are a baby while at the same time consigning you to eternal hell if you don’t believe just right!

Anyone ever notice that the Roman Empire is by far the favorite punching bag for the fundamentalist Christian fanatic, especially when they want to at the same time demean Paganism?  Well, obviously, it was just a matter of time until Perry Stone, Jr. on the “Jim Bakker Show” started in on this trend, doing so in an effort to smear the “left” by comparison.  I won’t quote the whole thing. But, in part, Perry stated the following: “The Roman Empire was [he should have said “is” here] classified as a very tolerant empire because they let you worship any god or goddess you wanted to worship unrestrained [not quite] because every Roman city with Roman temples and priesthoods had tax revenue for the Roman Empire.  As long as those pagan temples prospered, the Roman government got income.  Christianity comes along – now remember Romans spos’d to be tolerant of everybody including Christians.  They’re spos’d to say, ‘hey, if you’re a Christian that’s your business.’  But here’s what happens; when Paul went into those cities to preach so many people got converted it shuts the temple down [false].  You know what happens when it shuts the temple down, don’t ya?  There’s no more offerings for the priest; no more sells (sic) at the market for the animals; there’s no more silver shrines to Dianna [actually Artemis] being made in the book of Acts and the man in Ephesus said we have to arrest them and get them out of town; our money is in jeopardy.”

Then Stone goes on to talk of certain people hating churches [obviously referring to Bernie Sanders who has become their new punching-bag, if you will.  Apparently they are done with Hillary Clinton for now except to refer to her as “Jezebel”] because of their tax exempt status.  He then further goes on to talk about how the Romans called the Caesars “king” and worshipped him and the Christians would not do so.  Then he uses the term he has been waiting to use by stating that the Romans called the Christians “intolerant”!  Never mind that this is one term that was NOT used against Christians in the Roman Empire so far as I have found.  But he is trying to make his point here because the “left” is always calling the “right” “intolerant”.  Now get this, not only has Mr. Sanders already been labeled as a “persecutor” of Christians on this program and others, but now it is being stated that he hates Christian churches because of their tax-exempt status; never mind that Jewish Synagogues are also tax-exempt in exactly the same way.  That nuance never enters the mind of Mr. Stone and, of course, he never tells his ignorant listeners either.

Then he goes on to state how “In the Roman Empire there was no day off” and continued to expound that because the Jews had a day off (each week), the Christians wanted one too and were therefore called “lazy” by the Romans.  Then he goes on toe expound about the Christian “love feasts” as being seen as possibly cannibalistic and orgiastic by the Romans, mainly because they were held in secret and outsiders were not allowed in.  He stated that this was a “misunderstanding” that was “propogated against the Christians” by the Romans.  Finally, he states that in “66 AD” Nero started “this horrible persecution of Christians”, finally emphasizing that it was because they were seen as “intolerant”.

The nice response to Mr. Stone here is that this is a completely misleading diatribe commonly perpetrated by Christians, most of whom don’t know any better.  And it is obvious that Stone has either misunderstood or deliberately misconstrued whatever history he has read, because he has certainly read something (sources I have also read, no doubt).  So here is the REAL TRUTH.  The Roman Empire (and the Western world in general) WAS tolerant of all religions (except enemy religions like Atenism and Zoroastrianism), for the most part.  They didn’t like Judaism, but it was tolerated also because it was seen as “old”.  But they did not easily tolerate “unrestrained” worship, so this word insertion is incorrect.  What Stone’s mind has in it when he mentions “Roman” temples in “Roman” cities is anyone’s guess, but the government did not collect tax revenues directly from any temples.  Not even the Jewish temple, as is commonly assumed.  In fact, if they had been there can be no doubt that Roman generals would not have destroyed so many temples of all kinds as they conquered or put down rebellions, etc. (not to mention the fact that there is absolutely no evidence for the assertion).  So this is simply false.

Mr. Stone asserts that the Romans were rather automatically intolerant of Christians from the beginning.  Not so. He paints this fanciful (and often repeated) picture of Paul’s preaching gaing multitudes of converts, including in Ephesos, so that there the temple had to be closed down.  NOT AT ALL SO!  This temple continued to function until later Christian emperors had it forcibly closed down not long after a Christian fanatic destroyed the very ancient statue of Artemis that had been inside of the temple in 400 CE.  However, the Christians who did exist there did tend to disrupt the local economies so that fewer sacrifices were made, etc.  But this had nothing whatsoever to do with revenue going to Roma!  And, yes, the Christians refused to call Caesar “king” or to worship him.  They disrupted everything they could, in fact, socially.

But they were not called “intolerant” for this.  They were called “Atheist”.  This was the term commonly used to describe Christians because it was felt that if they could not accept the deities of the Roman State then they must not really believe in any deity after all.  The term “intolerant” would have given them a status that they had not achieved at that point in time.  There simply were not very many Christians, so they could not afford to be “intolerant”.  Who were they to be intolerant of, the majority Pagans?  No, they didn’t become “intolerant” until the time of Constantine and afterward when they were in power!  THAT is when they became “intolerant”!  During this time-period the injunction “love thy neighbor” found in the gospels was transformed into “turn in thy neighbor” as everyone turned on his or her neighbor, directed to do so by the Byzantine tyrants in the name of Christianity!

Further, the bit about Christians wanting a weekly day off is just comical!  The truth is that Romans had plenty of days off.  They were called “holydays” when festivals took place.  But they did not take days off each week and it was not the Christians they called “lazy” for having a day off each week, it was the Jews.  The Christians got a weekly day off by default because they had been part of Judaism before splitting off from it.

Yes, the Romans did think that the Christians were doing nefarious things in their “love feasts” because they were secret and, in some documented cases, they WERE.  Christians would in later centuries turn this around and claim that the Pagans had been practicing nefarious things in their Sacred Mysteries (with no real evidence, I might add).

Finally, Nero did NOT start a “horrible persecution” of Christians in 66 CE.  He started putting down a revolt of the Jews (and Christians) emanating from Jerusalem in that year.  But they love to twist history around to their own liking, don’t they?  And none of it had anything with Christians being labeled as “intolerant”.  Again, they were labeled a lot of things (such as Atheist), but that was not one of them.

The bottom line here is that temples in the ancient world, including in the Roman Empire, were not money-generating machines for the empire, but were gods communication machines.  Those who state that the Romans collected taxes from these temples are sadly, and probably purposefully, mistaken.  They love to spout this piece of propaganda in order to make the Romans look bad.  I have seen it time and time again.  Frankly, if they had been collecting taxes from them they would have put most of them out of business (which is exactly why the churches and other religious organization need tax exempt status in the first place).  These are just facts.  But people like Stone don’t care about facts, they only care that they can get rich themselves off of other people’s gullibility!

But that’s not all.  On the same episode, if I may use that term, of the “Jim Bakker Show” Perry Stone, Jr. stated that the Christians had nothing to do with the revolt and subsequent fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE because they had all left and gone to Pella.  He stated that the reason (get this because it is important) that the early church in Jerusalem was selling everything and giving to the poor was so that the poor would be able to go to Pella when calamity came.  This, as far as I can tell, is a truly new twist on this event.  See, the book of Acts states that they were all together in one accord and everyone who had lands, property, etc. sold it and gave it to the church, which distributed it equally as anyone had need.  Thus, a socialistic social structure.  But that is anathema to these Christamericans (including the likes of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity) because the early church just could not have been “socialist”!  NO, capitalism is “God”-ordained to these folk!  So there must have been some other reason that they first operated in this manner and Mr. Stone has found it in the spurious account of the early Christians fleeing to Pella when the revolt began!  And that just makes it all better, doesn’t it?

Further, what he does not tell you is that the myth that Christians went to Pella was created by Eusebius of Caesarea, who, as scholars generally agree, was a consumate liar and fraud.  But “Christian” history has latched onto this when, as I showed in my first book “Apocalypse and Armageddon”, they would not have gone to Pella because it was just too close to Jerusalem itself (How in the world could they be safe from Roman forces there?!), but must instead have gone to Alexandria and intermingled with the largest Jewish population outside of Jerusalem at that time, where they could hide and be safe until things calmed down.  Even so, the idea that they had nothing to do with the revolt, etc. is false.  They helped start the whole thing and some of them stayed in Jerusalem and, no doubt, died there!

But Stone didn’t even stop here.  In the midst of all of this supposed history he addressed the “left”, asking “What are you afraid of?”  He makes everything the Christamericans do sound so inoffensive by stating that they are about protecting babies, protecting marriage, feeding people, clothing people, and building orphanages “with Christian money” (get this, it is important).  And while it is certainly true that Christianity has done, in most cases, a marvelous job of creating orphanages and tending to these other social issues, Stone launches into this attack upon Atheism here when he screams “Show me an Atheist that’s built an orphanage!  Show me an Atheist that’s ever done anything good for anybody but themselves!”  What he apparently didn’t know is all one has to do is Google “atheist orphanage” and you have your answer.  And he could just as well have been attacking Pagans in this way.  One should expect exactly this in the future when they are sue they can’t ignore us anymore.

Stone goes on to attack Bernie Sanders even further by asking “Mr. Bernie, what are you afraid of in having a man like that [Vought] that’s such a good man that has moral values?  What frightens you about him?  And you know what they’ll say.  ‘Well, he’s gonna force people to be Christians.’  You can’t force people in a belief system. . . .  Nobody’s telling them were gonna kill you if you don’t convert.  Isis does that; Christianity does not do that!”  Apparently Mr. Stone (like most Christians) has never read the history of the time period between 70 CE and the beginning of the Dark Ages, so I must simply recommend my second book “Killing Roma”, which is replete with examples of Christians forcing others to convert and destroying their holy places, etc.  Yes, it is the history of early Christian “intolerance”!  It is the section of history that the Christian fundamentalist type most does NOT want anyone to know about!

The rest of Stone’s ranting is really not worthy of rebuttal.  Still, even more proof that the Christian will say anything, falsehood after falsehood, to get their point across is the “episode” of “The Hal Lindsey Report”, aired on June 23, 2017.  This report speaks of a couple of legitimate concerns, surrounded by one falsehood after another, specially with reference to Bernie Sanders.  And here it becomes painfully obvious that Lindsey has done little or nothing beyond watching, you guessed it, the Jim Bakker Show along with, perhaps, a smattering of Fox News.

Lindsey begins by stating that the coward (my word) who shot Republican congressmen at a ball game was a “left-wing Bernie Sanders supporter.”  While it is true that he worked on Sander’s campaign, Lindsey’s apparent aim is to smear Sanders by comparison here.  Lindsey goes on to complain about Trump being compared to Hitler, stating that it is an invitation for violence.  No mention, however, of the multitude of comparisons of Obama with, yes, Hitler over the years, and even worse than that.  Oh, no, people like Lindsey have NEVER done anything like that!  Actually, not only did they, but the even created a picture of Sanders in Nazi uniform during the campaign, which circulated widely on the internet so afraid were they that he might actually get the nomination.  Lindsey goes on to cite the play “Julius Caesar” and how wrong such a play, with Trump in it as Caesar, is.  Without going into detail on this, I would simply like to state that I don’t condone depicting any American president or other politician as being assassinated, period.  Beyond that, however, I really don’t like Trump being compared to Caesar.  Caesar was a great man.  Trump is not (and, I think, never will be).

Finally, Lindsey laid into Bernie Sanders himself, stating that Sanders “declared government off limits to Christians” (false).  Lindsey stated of Sanders, “According to his vision of America, anyone who believes the Bible must not be allowed to hold a high government position. . . . Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper that Vought is free to hold any religious belief he wants, however, if he thinks Islam is a second-class religion he must not be allowed to hold a high position in government.”  Lindsey closed, partly, with these words “This is persecution. . . .”  So, Lindsey, in the eyes of his followers, has successfully labeled Sanders a persecutor of Christians by falsifying what Sanders has said on these matters.  This is what these Christamericans do, all the while pretending to tell the truth.

Sadly, in the midst of all of this a lone fanatic (not a Christian one in this case) drove his automobile into a monument of the Ten Commandments in Little Rock, Arkansas.  It seems obvious that he did this because he himself is anti-Bible, etc.  This is entirely wrong, no matter what the supposed reason. It only feeds into the Christian persecution complex! And I expect I will see this on the “Jim Bakker Show” and the “Hal Lindsey Report” in a few days as they continue to whine about “persecution” and intolerance”!  This type of even only feeds into their paranoia and makes the case FOR them!  And, unfortunately, this is not this man’s first offense of this type, so he clearly has not learned that violence and destruction are not the way.  It is exactly the same type of thing that the Christians of Constantine’s time and afterward perpetrated upon others (although they don’t like to admit this) and the exact type of thing that the Islamic State perpetrates upon others almost on a daily basis today.

Finally, a headline from USA Today entitled “Supreme Court imposes church tax”, subtitled “Reckless ruling blows a huge hole in the wall between church and state: Opposing view”, brings us to the real crux of the matter.  The article proposes that the separation of church and state has worked for generations and that it should, therefore, continue.  Otherwise, we will have non-church members having to prop up Christian churches with tax dollars – propping up something that they very well may not believe in.  It is exactly on the same level as the proposal in Tennessee to have “In God We Trust” placed on everyone’s license places; a measure that, thankfully, failed earlier this year.  Why should anyone, Christian or not, be FORCED to spend their own money, including money taken for taxes, to prop up or advertise a religious viewpoint that they may not themselves hold to?

Make no mistake. THIS is what the evangelical, conservative fanatical Christian types want – the end of church-state separation so that they can get tax payer money on top of the usual offerings.  Offerings are likely dwindling as we speak (I hear it in the way they beg for money on no less than fifteen religious channels (one actually going so far as to say “Don’t think about it; it’s not about reason.  Do it now!), all Christian-oriented, of course (even the program “The Jewish Jesus” is in no way about any Jewish Jesus, trust me), all the while Jim Bakker lamenting that “They have taken God off of TV!”), so they want all of us tax payers to prop them up!

So the actual intent of all of this is that they will destroy the church-state separation by ignoring the Johnson Amendment and preaching politics at every opportunity AND start receiving tax payer support for their churches and ministries.  So even if they lose their tax exempt status (and operate in a way consistent with what THEY incorrectly state temples in the Roman Empire did), they will still be getting financial support; frankly more of it than ever since people are getting tired of giving to those they know are charlatans.  Thus, the creation of the State Church of America filled with oh-so-holy and righteous and politically-correct Christamericans!  This will be the true downfall of the United States of America if their plan is allowed to come to fruition.

 

Yet Another Heinous Act

Today, via the news, we are confronted with yet another heinous act perpetrated in the name of religion.  This time, however, it was an attack on Muslims in London, presumably by a Christian.  I use the term “presumably” because it seems that no one is quite willing to actually name this person as a “Christian” (or even to be clear what religion this person may adhere to).  Therefore, I do not at this time claim to know what religion this person adhered to, if any.  But I do know two things: (1) According to reports Muslims were targeted because the perpetrator stated that they were “the problem” and (2) this act was wrong on all levels no matter who it targeted or the supposed reasons for it.

One should easily be able to see here that religion simply does not, generally, make people or societies better.  An individual will latch onto whatever part of their supposed religion that they want to in order to justify any action they seek to take.  The above is a perfect example of this and history is replete with exactly this type of thing.  And, if need be, an individual will convert to another religion if they do not see their present religion as providing that avenue.  So those who posit that any given religion, including Christianity, has made human society and the human existence better because it was superior to some other belief system are simply misguided.  The human condition remains the same.  For the Christian, I say “just read your Bible and you will see this”.  The historian and the theologian, if they are honest, already know this.

For the last three weekdays the Jim Bakker Show had as guest the author David Horowitz.  They were heavily advertising his new book about Trump (never mind the Johnson Amendment because Jim states openly that he has no intention of adhering to it).  Horowitz made several incoherent statements concerning government and religion on each telecast.  But the one thing that he did state that was correct was that slavery (and human trafficking) is probably more widespread than ever before in the history of the world.  Of course, that is a statement that I also made in my latest book “Killing Roma” in response to those who posit that Christianity has made the world better and even helped to eliminate slavery.  Laughable for those who have actually read their Bibles, but they still posit such!  So, where has Christianity, or any religion, for that matter, actually made the world better?

Of course, for the conservative Christian, it is only the Christians who are being persecuted.  No other religious group faces persecution, in their minds.  For them, this is true to such an extent that on a certain news network some time ago they repeatedly referred to the Yazidis as the “Christian Yazidis”!

But it goes even deeper than this.  Getting back to today’s (or yesterday’s) heinous act in London, why exactly do we not hear about this perpetrator’s religion?  Why don’t we hear about where he went to church and who his pastor was and what his religion’s core beliefs supposedly are?  Well, the reason is because (supposedly) he was a Christian.  It’s really that simple.  If a Muslim perpetrates such an act all of this is talked about incessantly and is brought right out into the open as soon as anything is found out!  Yes, the Muslim is rather automatically judged because of his supposed religious beliefs.  And if you are a Pagan or a Wiccan, really watch out!  Immediately you are labeled as a devil worshipper and some sort of weird creep!  Don’t think that they hesitate just because you are not Muslim here!  But if a Christian perpetrates such an act, no digging into his (or her) religious background takes place at all!  No question about denomination or  local church affiliation or who preaches at the particular church he may have attended or even what his belief system may have been.  Oh, no, Christianity can’t be the problem!  After all, Christians have never been guilty of perpetrating heinous acts against others in the name of religion…. (Skythoupolis, witch burnings, the Inquisition, all of which they want to continue to hide)  And this attitude prevails even as they howl that history is being rewritten.

In the ancient Roman world, when Pagans were being forced to give up their religions and to stop practicing according to their religious conscience, when droughts or bad crop years took place they began to complain that the Christians were causing it because the Pagans were not allowed to make proper interaction with the ancient deities who had always protected them.  The Christians would respond that, on the contrary, it was god’s wrath upon the empire because everyone had not yet converted to Christianity.  The final Pagan response: “Then why is your god punishing you along with us since the drought affects you just the same as it does us?”  The only answer that could have been made was that the Christians needed to do even more to force the Pagans to finally convert, and they proceeded with great zeal in this!  Eventually the whole Western world was plunged into the Dark Ages.  That we eventually crawled our way out of it should not be seen as some kind of sign of the success of Christianity, as some posit.

Force and religious intolerance are not the way.  If the world can be made worse by anything, it is obviously these two things.

Argument for the Sacred Mysteries

As the human body requires maintenance, so too does the body of the earth and even the universe itself. This is something that was recognized by our ancient ancestors universally, if you will, from the Egyptians to those who inhabited the Near East to Europe. This understanding is fundamental to all Sacred Mysteries.

Coupled with this understanding came the equally important understanding that it is the female who gives birth and that birth simply cannot take place without the feminine principle. The male simply cannot produce offspring by himself. Thus, the feminine principle is elevated to the status of most important in the greater scheme of things. This is why the earth herself was seen by the ancients as a goddess, especially by the ancient Minoans and Greeks. And, although the bull was seen as important to these ancient peoples in the West, so also was the cow (as in the Egyptian goddess Hathor) and there was no necessary connection to male dominance.

Thus, this Western (Euro-Mediterranean) understanding of the life cycle and the importance of the feminine stood in direct contrast to understandings developed in more Eastern areas of the world in which humanity would observe, for example, that an alpha-bull would procreate with multiple cows within the same herd, thus producing many offspring. This was seen as a sign of male strength and male dominance by these people. So, for them, the feminine was relegated to a subordinate status and the masculine was seen as dominant.

Along with these two foundational understandings came the third most important understanding that the entirety of the universe, as observed in nature itself, operates in a certain fundamental and inerrant way. The very cycle of life, as the ancients observed, repeats itself. Life flows from death. They observed this, as an example, in the life-cycle of the caterpillar which seemed to serve no particular purpose in and of itself, but which would later form a cocoon and appear to die, frozen in time and space, only to later emerge as a beautiful butterfly or moth. They also observed how the seed of grain and other plants appeared to be dead, but once it fell into or was planted into the ground (the womb of the earth herself) it would spring forth as a living plant that, in turn, also produced more seed and the cycle would be endlessly repeated.

Thus, the ancient Sacred Mysteries, with very few exceptions, were based upon goddesses rather than gods, female deities rather than male ones. For the initiate, this should have been an obvious point from the very beginning. But, if they happened to miss this point somehow, as they proceeded through the initiations they would be shown, in various ways, this exact concept until the end point at which, if they did not understand somehow when shown the “holy thing” by the hierophantes (hierophant), then they had not achieved enlightenment and were, therefore, not true Mystai. So it was indeed possible to go through all of these initiations and still miss the point entirely as, I submit, Clement of Alexandria must have done based upon his obvious misunderstanding of the Sacred Mysteries of Demeter.

Thus, people such as Clement failed to recognize the fundamental connection between the life cycle observed in nature as in the examples above to that of the human life-cycle. So obsessed was he and others of his ilk in the concept that time is linear and that there is some actual ending to it, culminating in eternal reward or punishment (as in Eastern thought) that he could not see the marvelous and very simple truth of it all. He could not see that the human soul recycled just as everything else in nature did and that it would endure repeated lifetimes upon this beautiful earth until, with increasing efforts toward a pure state in each lifetime, it would finally merge into the realm of the deities and be with them. He could not see that it was necessary for this natural cycle (for we and out souls are a part of nature) to continually repeat itself and, in turn, it was necessary for humanity to do its part to maintain it.

Our primordial and ancient ancestors did understand these basic concepts and incorporated that understanding into what we refer to today as “Mysteries” or “Mystery religions”. These Sacred Mysteries taught the initiate these fundamental principles, which are not only observed directly from nature but are also possible to deduce logically by way of rational analysis. For even Platon (Plato) produced a logical argument in favor of the belief in reincarnation in his Meno: 81-86 in which he shows that a certain boy could not possibly have answered questions put to him had he not experienced life in some pervious time. Thus, reincarnation.

The Zeal of the “Right”

Ronald Reagan stated that “[f]reedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. . . .”  He was right.  That is a sad truth of history.

It’s amazingly simple.  They have always sought to take your freedoms and religious liberties away from you in the very name of religious freedom, all the while crying “persecution” and the end of the world as their reasoning for it.  Thus, they will accept with open arms even some of the most vile people as their own as long as these persons accept and promote their conservative, religious, political agenda.  I dare say that they would even accept Pagans if they were in lock-step with this agenda.  And THAT is the actual danger for us who are Pagans.  We must NEVER allow ourselves to get caught up in the political nightmare that these people have created, for if we do, then we have truly lost.

A World Once Gone Mad!

It actually used to be asked within my own lifetime why the Roman Empire fell; what caused its fall.  I suspect that this question is still asked in some quarters even though the evidence that Christianity killed it is actually overwhelming and incontrovertible.  In any court of law the verdict would be “guilty”.  This may be difficult for some to accept, but it is nevertheless true.  A handful of main points can be made to support this conclusion:

(1) From the very beginning Christians worked to disrupt society, starting with Judaism as a religion (which the Christians were still a part of).  They did this mainly by allowing uncircumcised foreigners in and by stating that Jesus was a risen messiah.  They quickly began to claim the Old Testament writings as their own while rejecting the special status of the Jewish people as God’s chosen.  Ultimately they helped to cause the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple there in 70 CE.

Once they broke free from Judaism completely after the Parousia did not occur they moved on to disrupt the wider Roman world by emphasizing their rejection of divorce, showing little, if any, respect for Roman law or society, opposing sacrifices and refusing to take part in community activities or holidays, and being generally obnoxious and abhorrent in any number of ways.  That they had set fire to Roma in 64 CE and almost destroyed her was practically a given in the minds of the folk.  Yet they still expected to enjoy the same exemptions afforded to Judaism even after 70 CE and made a great issue of the fact that they were not.

In effect, they had worked to turn the Jews to Pagans and the Pagans to Jews by disrupting and altering their societal norms and standards.  Courts were often pestered with Christians wanting to be martyred and the economy suffered because the Christians did not purchase victims for sacrifices.  Still, these things by themselves really had little impact on the empire as a whole.  If this had been the extent of things then both Christianity and the empire might have evolved into something different together.

(2) But, more came once Constantine I came to power.  Although he was clearly not, at least completely, a Christian by the time he became emperor, he almost immediately began to take steps that would favor Christianity.  He began a systematic process of destroying Pagan sanctuaries and holy places while at the same time often having the clergy in these temples killed!  In addition, he robbed several temples of their treasures and in some cases caused parts of ancient temples to be reused to build Christian basilicas.   The same took place in some cases with reference to Jewish Synagogues, which were also robbed of treasures and demolished to be replaced by basilicas.  His successors, with the sole exception of Iulianus (Julian the Apostate) only intensified these efforts while also targeting Pagan books (in communal book burnings!) and libraries (several of which were ordered burnt to the ground!).  And they also moved to enact increasingly severe laws against any and all Pagan practices.  The wholesale destruction of the Pagan way came into full-force!  It was gradually replaced by the decrepit and dysfunctional Christian system.  The government seemed intent upon one thing only – the total destruction of anything Pagan, to the exclusion of practically anything else other than renewed efforts to attack and subjugate the Sassanid Empire to the East.

Moving the capital from Roma to Konstantinopolis (Constantinople) was truly the death-knell for the empire in the West although it lingered on for some time afterward.  And the wholesale destruction was less pronounced in the West than in the East mainly because it was more difficult to convert the populace in the West than in the East.  There were no roving mobs of Christian monks and other fanatics in the West such as were seen in the East, going around destroying everything they possibly could!

(3) So while the East was embroiled in rather constant religious and political turmoil punctuated by episodes of engagements with the Sassanids, the West crept along in general decrepitude.  But even they still might have survived much longer than they did if not for the near constant barbarian invasions which, in fairness, also assaulted the East, but to a generally lesser degree.  The one main exception being the uprising of the Visigoths which resulted in the near annihilation of Roman armies in the East!

And it MUST be understood here that EVERY SINGLE BARBARIAN TRIBE that invaded the empire had previously been converted to Christianity with only two exceptions; (a) the Franks who, once they were allowed to settle in Roman Gaul made little trouble and even made efforts to assimilate politically and religiously, adopting many Roman ways, and (b) the Huns who, although incredibly hostile and destructive, rather quickly fizzled out as a force to be reckoned with after the death of Attila, mainly thereafter becoming mercenaries within the Roman armies.

These Christian barbarians did something that barbarians of previous generations had never before done.  They invaded, destroyed, looted, and STAYED.  They didn’t leave because they had been already convinced that they as Christians were the inheritors of the Roman Empire since God was taking it away from the Pagans!  So they simply didn’t leave!  That, coupled with the sacking of Roma which was more of a shock than an actual event of destruction, was almost too much for the West.

(4) Add to all of this the rule of almost completely inept emperors coupled with a share of political and religious intrigue here also and you almost have it.  Still, one must add to this scenario that even in their own writings (those mainly of Augustine and Ambrose) the Christians stated emphatically that it was simply time for the empire to die because it had served its purpose according to the will of God in that it provided a world conducive for the advent of Christ.  In their minds there was nothing more for the empire to accomplish.  So even in the West the stage was deliberately set for the demise of the empire by Christian theologians.

(5) After the fall of the empire in the West Konstantinopolis tottered on in almost total decrepitude even as its monks preserved some semblance of the ancient world’s knowledge and literature.  The sole true exception to this decrepitude was the reign of Justinian I during which something like the old empire was recreated by dint of great effort and the cost of much blood!  But once he died most of his gains were quickly abandoned forever.

The city of Konstantinopolis had the fortune of being virtually impregnable, so when the Islamic forces invaded Byzantine territories, united by religion essentially the same way that the earlier Christian Germanic barbarians had been, the Byzantines could afford to lose territory (which they did) and still survive.  This Eastern empire had been weakened severely already in her final assault upon the Sassanid Empire in which both armies fought to almost complete destruction!  This is one thing that truly paved the way for the Islamic invasions that came soon thereafter.  Neither entity was really strong enough to fight them off anymore.  Thus, the downfall of the Sassanids was rather quick.  But Konstantinopolis still lingered on as a sick old man until the Islamic Ottoman Turks finally managed to breach its walls with the help of a new weapon – gunpowder.

 

The fact of the matter is that I remain quite astonished that the question was even still being asked within my own lifetime as to why the Roman Empire fell.  And when the question was asked, they meant the empire in the West, for there was no real question as to what happened in the East.  Even so, even to this day, those who may ask such a question hesitate to describe it as having anything whatsoever to do with religion directly.  But this is just the truth!

During the early Dark Ages one could be excused for not having a real answer to this question because one would naturally have to accept whatever church authorities stated on the subject.  And they certainly were not about to blame themselves!  No, the Pagan world was corrupt and debauched!  God decided that they must be destroyed for their wickedness and for their refusal to accept Christ!  This is what the folk would have been told had they asked such a question and since they were mostly illiterate they could not have read anything to the contrary even if it had been available to them.  Such knowledge only existed within the monasteries in the West or in the Vatican.  And it was rarely consulted even there.

But then a “miracle” took place in that the West became reintroduced to its literary heritage, or what was left of it, via an amazing and hard to believe set of circumstances, by which this literary knowledge was brought back by way of the Islamic world!  Almost instantly an insatiable appetite for more and more came into vogue and monasteries were searched for whatever they had, resulting in the Renaissance.  This went toward increasing literacy among the masses, generally culminating in the Enlightenment.  Thus, the Western world crawled back out of the Dark Ages, slowly, because of the reintroduction of ancient Greek and Roman literature!

In a few hundred years the new science of archaeology would be added to the mix, the result being that much of what was left of the ancient world would be dug up again and, in some instances, partially rebuilt.  This also resulted in the fortune of finding the Rosetta stone, thus eventually reviving knowledge of the ancient Egyptian language which had been extinct for about a thousand years!  The knowledge of the ancient world dramatically increased with this chance discovery.  Later the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and also the Nag Hammaddi Manuscripts brought long-buried knowledge back to light.  And since archaeological discoveries are still a fairly regular occurrence it seems that there must be more yet to find.

But such is the nature of humankind that we will often prefer to dwell in ignorance rather than upset our safe belief system.  We will ignore new evidence and even sometimes say it is “of the devil” just to have someway to rationalize things.  Sometimes a person’s determination to do so not only borders on, but often seems to actually embrace the medieval!

The truth is that much of what we have been taught through the centuries should and must be rejected or at least greatly modified in light of new factual evidence.  To do otherwise would be a travesty!  For if we don’t the ancient knowledge may yet still be destroyed because our precious beliefs may not allow it to exist for long.  And the medieval world had one thing that we seem to lack.  Because it had been held down for so long it had an insatiable desire for knowledge!  We today have the disadvantage of being literally inundated with “knowledge” so that we often think that we don’t need to know any more than we already do and, after all, we can look it up on the internet.  We don’t have to actually know anything!  So as the internet continues to evolve and we consult it more and more often to the exclusion of any other means of obtaining knowledge or information we will trust it more and more and not even notice any subtle changes that may be made in information provided.  Nor will we check or re-check anything.  Thus it will eventually become just OK for original texts or archaeological finds to be discarded, destroyed, or no longer consulted in any way.  Thus the docile know-nothing society that some have always wanted to create will be produced.

We must not ever forget the last Hierophant at Eleusis who, when he was confronted by Byzantine forces bent upon forcing him to forever close the sanctuary that had functioned there for thousands of years, exclaimed that the world had GONE MAD!  Don’t let the ancient knowledge be forgotten again!