Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Late Breaking News

BREAKING NEWS - Date line: March, 1827 BCE

Ur of Babylonia: It has been reported by one Abram of Ur, that he had a meeting with God where a covenant (a contract) was made naming him, Abram, to become the father of a great nation which would be known as “God’s chosen people.” This action is apparently the result of a disagreement between Abram and his father, Terach, an Idol Manufacturer and merchant, over the father’s business of selling powerless images of pagan deities. Details of this meeting and contract were not available when Abram, a Middle Eastern native, made this announcement at a recent news conference.

This news has not been received very well by the 30 million people who make up the rest of the world. It is being reported that nearly all of the nations of the world are claiming prior covenants with their Gods which granted them vast domains and designations as the “chosen people.” This is obviously unsettling to all of the people who make up the villages, tribes, clans, and nations of the rest of the world.

Late Breaking News: It has just been reported that Abram is moving his family and herds of livestock to a place called Canaan, with information that his God has promised this land to Abram as part of the contract made earlier. This means that the present inhabitants of Canaan, the Canaanites, will soon be displaced to wherever, in order to make room for the predicted new nation yet to be named. Unfortunately, there is some doubt that this nation will come to pass as Abram and his wife Sarai, now in advanced years, have not been able to produce any descendants.

The only source for any of these stories has been issued by Abram or his spokesmen. No other corroborating information has been made available.

BREAKING NEWS - Date line: June, 1742 BCE

CANAAN: An amendment to the original covenant made by God with Abram has been announced. Before Abram and Sarai may have a child in their advanced years, all males of the household, including Abram must be circumcised. This is certainly odd and strange news. After this revelation, three visitors came and announced to Abram and Sarai that they would be having a male child, and their names would be changed to Abraham and Sarah.

Rumors have also been circulating that these strange visitors to Abram and Sarai may have had something to do with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah which occurred at about the same time. It is not known at this time what circumstances may have occurred between Abraham and his displacement of the original Canaanites, as there have been no known threats between the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah against Abraham’s family claims.

Again, the only source for any of these stories has been issued by Abram or his spokesmen. No other corroborating information has been made available.

BREAKING NEWS - Date line: June, 1230 BCE

SIANI PENINSULA: It has been reported that a large group of Egyptian slaves has left Egypt after being enslaved for approximately 400 years, and are being lead by a recent former member of the Pharaoh’s household, Moses, who is reported to be a covert descendant of the slave’s ancestors. Although this report claims that all of the departing slaves are members of the Hebrew tribe, “God’s chosen people,” it is rumored that other nationalities may have also been included.

Details of this mass exodus are sketchy at this time due to poor communications, but reports have included that the group of slaves had been pursued by the entire Egyptian armies until they reached the Red Sea, where the pursuing army numbering in the thousands, drowned while trying to cross at the same point where the slaves had previously crossed on dry ground.

Again, the only source for any of these stories has been issued by Moses or his spokesmen. No other corroborating information has been made available.

BREAKING NEWS - Date line: June, 1191 BCE

CANAAN: Although the distance from Egypt to Jerusalem can be walked in 14 days, it has been reported that “God’s chosen people,” the Hebrews, have taken 40 years to reach the western border of Israel, and are now preparing to enter the land they claim God gave them in a covenant with a previous ancestor, Abraham. However the land has been occupied during the past 400 years by its present residents who were disputing any prior claims. Unfortunately, a large force of Hebrew warriors have ignored this dispute and entered Canaan and killed all of the current residents in order to reoccupy the land.

It has been reported that Moses was not among the Hebrews in this resettlement campaign. Although he died before reaching this Promised Land, and while wandering in the Sinai Desert for 40 years, he managed to write several books of rules, laws and rituals for the Hebrew people. The inspiration for his writings was reported to be given to him during personal conversations with God. Unfortunately, no one else was privileged to attend or witness any of these private conversations Moses had with God.

At one point in the Sinai experience, Moses descended from an alleged mountain top meeting with God carrying stone tablets engraved with 10 commandments which were reported to have been carved by God himself and given to Moses to bring to the people waiting for him at the foot of the mountain. These tablets and/or a written copy of the covenant which was reported to have been made between God and Moses for the Hebrew people were later sealed in a special made box to be carried before the Hebrew people as they wandered in the Sinai and later reentered the land which they claim had been promised to them. However, these artifacts have been lost or misplaced and are no longer available to corroborate this story.

Included in the books which have been allegedly written by Moses, are descriptions of how the world was created, who the first two people were and how they were evicted from a garden and told to reproduce and populate the world. Later in the stories, God became displeased with mankind and decided to erase this error in creation by causing a worldwide flood of magnanimous proportions and drown every living creature except one family who was commissioned to build an ark and collect a pair of every living creature. These would all be saved from drowning by being closed up in the huge boat. The story did not include details of how the whole earth was flooded, including the tallest mountains, and where the water receded to.

Although the information in the first 5 books of the Old Testament, the Torah, were supposed to have been handed down to Moses, they were not written in any final form and canonized by Jewish elders, until approximately 800 years after Moses died.

Again, the only source for any of these stories has been issued by Moses or his publicist. No other corroborating information has been made available.

BREAKING NEWS - Date line: April, 6 CE

Background Information: Samaria (Northern Israel) and Judah were once united under one ruler known as the nation of Israel, after the culture who occupied the lands. During the years after the exodus from Egyptian slavery and time spent wandering in the desert, Judges, selected from the elders of the tribe, became the ultimate authority in the land, making laws and officiating over disputes between people. However, almost all of the neighboring nations were ruled by Kings who commanded armies which continually threatened Israel. Eventually, the people of Israel demanded to be ruled by a King that might also command an army to defend and protect the nation of Israel. A man was selected to act as both Judge and the first King of Israel, Saul. Saul reigned from 1050 to 1010 BCE.

The person selected to succeed Saul was David, who at an early age was reported to have the skills of a warrior. David was able to organize a mighty army and not only defend Israel’s borders, but was able to expand the kingdom through triumphs in battle, and trade alliances with neighboring countries. The people of Israel prospered as never before under David’s reign. Although King David’s personal life was reported to be less than stellar, he was greatly loved and respected by all of Israel. David reigned from 1010 to 970 BCE, at which time his son, Solomon ascended the throne and continued a benevolent reign with great wisdom in the footsteps of his father, David.

During the reign of Solomon, the Hebrew Temple of Israel was built in Jerusalem, which at that time was the religious center of the Hebrew people. This was the crowning achievement of King Solomon’s reign which lasted from 970 to 930 BCE.

Upon Solomon's death, his son, Rehoboam, succeeded him as king. However, ten of the Tribes of Israel refused to accept him as king, causing the United Monarchy to split and form the northern Kingdom of Israel ruled by Jeroboam, while Rehoboam continued to reign in the southern Kingdom of Judah.

This not only split the original united nation of Israel, which had been ruled over by Saul, David, and Solomon, but also weakened it. After this division of the nation, The Kingdom of Judah continued with a succession of 20 Kings until the year 586 BCE, when they were invaded and sacked by Babylon and the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed. The Northern Kingdom of Israel had a succession of 19 Kings, until it was invaded and defeated by Assyria in 722 BCE. Each of the two kingdoms continued to suffer a succession of invaders and conquerors until 63 BCE when the Roman Empire invaded almost all of the Mediterranean countries and began an occupation of Israel which lasted for almost 700 years.

Most of the Kings who had reigned over both the Kingdom of Judah and the Northern Kingdom of Israel, were not responsive to the needs of the people. Their reigns were riddled with injustice, inequities, heavy taxes, and harsh treatment. The only king most revered and highly spoken of by the people was the legendary King David whose reign was for the most part, fair, benevolent, just, and powerful. Songs, ballads, and verse of King David continued to survive throughout the reigns of all other kings as well as the many oppressive conquerors. The people constantly prayed for a new King like David to come and save Judea and Israel from not only their own terrible Kings, but the harsh conquerors that have occupied the land and dictated the events of their daily lives. Moses had rescued them from slavery in Egypt, they now wanted a King to rescue them from oppression and restore the once idyllic Kingdom David had once provided their ancestors. Prophets over the years had predicted that one day a King would rise up to unite the kingdoms and save Israel. And for years the people waited for this event to come to pass.

Jerusalem: Rumors have been circulating of the birth of a new King of Israel. These rumors are making the Roman Empire nervous and the Roman armies have been placed on alert throughout Samaria and Judah. Although there had always been many minor insurrections directed toward the occupying Roman Empire, but none had included the news of a person who was destined to become King of the Jews, with the power and might of the legendary King David. This news had placed the Roman Empire on edge, as the possibility of another personality like David could unite the Jews into a revolt that might not only over through the occupying Roman Empire, but threaten an invasion of Rome itself.

As strange as it might be, the religious leaders of the Jews, the powerful and politically controlled Sanhedrin also became fearful of how this rumor might threaten their positions as the ultimate Jewish authority throughout the Roman Empire. This could easily upset their cushy positions and undermine their authority to rule over the Jews.

Although rumors have persisted for years, there has yet to be any evidence of their accuracy.

BREAKING NEWS - Date line: October, 37 CE

GALILEE: It has been reported that a local man has been traveling around the area speaking and collecting a group of followers. He is reported to be a native of Nazareth and had previously been engaged in carpentry. It is not known at this time what his intentions are, but it has been rumored that he possesses unusual knowledge. Some people who have met him have reported that he speaks like a teacher and a healer. His speech and his conduct have led some to speculate that he may be the one foretold by ancient prophets, to become King of Israel. As he travels the area more and more people seem to flocking to hear and see him. Many of these people have followed him from place to place as he speaks and have quickly become supporters of his message.  It almost appears as if he were recruiting people for another rebellion. Although many zealot groups have attempted to start a rebellion in the past, none have had the support of so many people, which is perhaps why they have all failed. This Nazarene resembles a magnet in that everywhere he goes he attracts the attention and curiosity of more and more people. These growing crowds have also been attracting the attention of the members of the Sanhedrin as well as the Roman occupation.

BREAKING NEWS - Date line: January, 38 CE

JERUSALEM: The Sanhedrin has begun an investigation of the Nazarene, by sending Lawyers with knowledge of Hebrew law and history to hear him speak. Early reports indicate that the Nazarene claims to be a descendant of King David, and somehow to be the son of a God. The claim to be the son of a God has often been made by many rulers from Rome to Egypt, to establish their supremacy and power over ordinary men. Although many people are circulating proclamations that he is the promised one, the next King of Israel, it has been met with great resistance by the Sanhedrin here in Jerusalem. It has also been rumored that the Nazarene is planning to come to Jerusalem sometime in the near future to begin his reign as King of the Hebrew nation.

BREAKING NEWS - Date line: April, 40 CE

JERUSALEM: The Sanhedrin has issued an arrest warrant for Jesus of Nazareth, and sent a squadron of guards to a County Park near Jerusalem to seize him. The terms of the warrant were listed as: Inciting the people, claiming to be a son of God, proclaiming himself to be King of the Jews, violating the Sabbath on numerous occasions, disrupting vendor booths in the Temple, etc. Apparently he was found guilty and condemned on all accounts by the Sanhedrin before he was arrested, and was immediately brought before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, for capital punishment. The Sanhedrin recommended that the man from Nazareth be crucified as an example to discourage further trouble making.

Only days later it was reported that the crucified Nazarene had been seen alive by several of his followers; a group of women outside the tomb where he had been interned; traveling on the road to Emmaus; and finally by several of the supporters who had followed him during the past three years.

Unfortunately, none of these reports could be verified or corroborated.

FAST FORWARD 1,967 YEARS - Date line: 2013 CE

PLANET EARTH: During the past 100,000 years, humanity has evolved in many directions. Cultures, societies, tribes, and customs have emerged to meet the superstitions and fears of every corner of the globe. Among these has been an ever present search for immortality fostered by the fear of death and the resistance to accept it as the natural course of events. Woven into this search has been numerous, perhaps innumerable, stories of deities offering rewards or punishment in a theoretical afterlife based upon an individual’s compliance with religious law during his or her mortal lifetime on this planet. To compound the confusion in a search for truth, there exists approximately 10,000 different religious sects, laws and stories claiming to be the true authority in the search for immortality.

The religious element of humanity has contributed in producing a polarizing and separating effect of dividing people into camps of opposing theologies which has resulted in more human abuse and wars than any other human trait. The religious philosophies of forbearance, charity, forgiveness, tolerance, empathy are frequently only hollow expressions which are drowned out by the much louder actions of selfishness, greed, dishonesty, hypocrisy, intolerance, and contempt as religions promote their own brand of truth and authority. Violence resulting from opposing religious philosophies is a greater threat to life on this planet than any possible natural disaster. Religious societies spend more time, energy, and resources in the manufacture and promotion of military might than on the elimination of disease, starvation, and peace between cultures.

This has not been a recent trend, it has been evolving for thousands of years, led by Shaman, Witchdoctors, Priests, Bishops, Preachers, Missionaries, Rabbis, clerics, the religious leaders of humanity expounding their version of “truth” to influence cultures and governments into their clamp. There is no deity in the heavens above or earth below who would have created or planed events or paths the human race has found itself treading through.


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Creationism vs. Evolution

     Creationism and Evolution are general terms used to describe how the universe arrived at its present state. The most notable difference between the two concepts is that one assumes the present state of the universe was planned and executed by a Deity, while the other studies the present state of the universe and discovers that there have been thousands of gradual steps to produce what we are today.

     The source for the concept of Western Creationism is the Hebrew texts found in the Old Testament, first written between 1000-900 BCE, and finalized between 400-300 BCE. The concepts of Western Creationism vary widely. Creationism beliefs exist on many different levels from the Flat Earth philosophy, to a belief known as Intelligent Design.

     One of the early theories was proposed by Bishop John Ussher (1581-1656) and established that the first day of creation was Sunday, 23 October, 4004 BC, and that Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise on Monday, 10 November, 4004 BC, and that Noah’s ark touched down on Mt Ararat on Wednesday, 5 May, 2348 BC.

     Another less radical Creationism concept called the Young Earth Creationists who believe the entire universal creation is no older than 10,000 years, and that the Creator purposefully aged everything to make it appear older than it is. The geology and topography of today’s planet earth is believed to be the result of a massive worldwide flood which occurred during the time of Noah.

     A more contemporary version of Creationism has developed a pseudoscientific hypothesis which is known as Intelligent Design. This concept accepts most of the current Scientific theories of the age of the universe and the solar system, but holds that a “supernatural force” (a Deity) planned and created the universe. After a period of time the “supernatural force” began creating each form of life that exists today, in its current state of development. It is believed that this Deity continues to manipulate not only the course of the universe but the lives of all creation on a daily basis. Intelligent Design Creationists do not believe that any current life forms have ever evolved from other species. All of Creationism believes that all human beings live in a perpetual state of Original Sin which is inherited at our birth from Adam and Eve. It also holds that the only relief from this inherited curse is to make atonement in some form of ritual dedicated to the Deity of creation; otherwise all un-atoned beings will suffer eternal damnation. Western Creationism is based on a Judeo/Christian dogma of ancient texts lacking reason, fact, or evidence.

     Although Western Creationism is more familiar in English speaking cultures, it is by far not the only Creation myth in existence. There are as many Creation myths and legends in the world today as there are cultures. Each Creation story is believed by its adherents with as much fervor and devotion as is the Western Creation myth by Western cultures. Since no one was present during any of the Creation events, they are all based on the limits of human imagination which does not include any evidence or facts.

     Evolution is also a broad general term which describes the processes of discovery, research and testing of events that have occurred since the beginning of time. These processes often involve many scientific disciplines working in concert to define and date archeological evidence of incidents and phases that have not only affected the universe and this planet, but the life forms that have developed here. Evolution’s premise is based on the concept that all life forms, both flora and fauna, share a common ancestry. Research has revealed the DNA of all life forms is essentially the same, the only difference in the various species is the segments of the DNA strand that are activated by the inherited chromosomes to reproduce a human, an elephant, a opossum, a snake,  a fish, or an oak tree, either as a male or a female. The single DNA strand found in all life forms is essentially an historic record of an evolutionary progression which results in what we are today.

     Early research involved in mapping genomes (DNA strands) theorized that man must have the largest number of genomes because we were the most complicated species at the top of the food chain. However, after genome mapping was conducted on many life forms, including mankind, it revealed that there are many species of flora and fauna that possess a much older and more complex genome map definition than mankind. Continuing research into DNA strand segments, identifiers and genome mapping have revealed an undeniable evidence of mutations that have caused new species to evolve from much older and simpler life forms. Survivability of all species is constantly tested for their ability to adapt and cope with the continuously changing environment. Mutations that cannot cope with these external changes, whether it is a complete species or an individual, become extinct.

     Although DNA molecules have continued to produce evolving mutations and varietal changes in all species, the building blocks which form the basic amino acids of the DNA strands has not changed. The Hydrogen, Carbon, Oxygen, etc. atoms which were created from energy in the initial Big Bang and the subsequent death of giant stars (Super Nova explosions) since the beginning of time, are the same today as they were when created. Their properties and physical configuration has not changed since the beginning of time. For all intents and purposes, they are the only immortal material in the universe. Atoms do not die or expire and are continually created in the death of stars. Everything in the universe, galaxies, solar systems, stars, planets, moons, and all of their life forms are composed of atoms and eventually die, their noble existence ceases, but the material they were made of (atoms) are recycled back into the universe and the environment to form new stars, new galaxies, new solar systems, and here on earth, new life forms.

     The many scientific disciplines that have contributed evidence to the theory of evolution have done so after many years of research with a developing technology. Mankind has accrued a knowledge bank of more information about our past, present, and future during the last 50 years than in all of the history of mankind. We do not yet know the force that initiated the Big Bang that has created the universe as it is today, but neither have we given up our pursuit for knowledge. There have been many theories expressed and tested concerning that which lies beyond the Big Bang. Some include the speculation that we are now in the middle of a 50 billion year cycle which will eventually bring the universe back to a central collapse and initiate another Big Bang to create a new universe. This theory includes the suggestion that this has been a repeated process and will continue to expand and collapse forever.

     Conclusion: Evolution does not have an answer for every question concerning the origin of our universe, but does believe it has sufficient physical evidence to prove the developmental process and creation of all life from a common ancestry. Its evidence is based on current knowledge, published research, and facts, while Creationism is based on ancient religious texts written by men who had no scientific knowledge or understanding of the universe in which they lived. Every culture that has ever existed has developed creation stories in an attempt to answer the most common question of all time, “how and where did everything come from.”

     So, when it comes to the education of today’s children, what would you have them learn and know about the past, present, and future of our universe? A philosophy based on experience, current knowledge, and facts; or a philosophy based on the superstitions of ancient texts whose only evidence is in the form of a statement that even though the ancient texts were written by uneducated men, “they were inspired by a Creator,”. . . . as was this essay.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Am Improbable Heritage

     100,000 years ago humans as well as the mighty herds of animals grazing on the endless savannahs of this planet were familiar with lightning. They grew up with it occurring around them all of their lives. Neither the humans nor the animals understood the cause or purpose of lightning. Today, the animals of the savannahs still do not understand the lightning; they just tolerate and bear it. Ancient humans, on the other hand, with no more knowledge of the cause or purpose of lightning than the animals around them developed a theory that lightning was a mysterious force caused by the will of the Gods.[1] Any destructive natural phenomena was probably regarded as an act of anger in retaliation of someone or something that has displeased the Gods, as they had witnessed the result of lightning strikes upon people, animals and trees.

     Today, we know what lightning is and how it is produced and how to avoid it. We have even seen it on some of our sister planets. We know how rain, hurricanes, tsunamis, tornados, earthquakes, etc., are produced. We know how to read and understand trends of weather patterns and how droughts or floods occur. Yet we still cling to ancient explanations for these natural phenomena as if it were the results of a manipulating Deity.

     An ancient text was read from the pulpit recently exhorting natural events as retribution by the hand of God for the iniquities of man (Psalm 107: 33-43), He (God) turned rivers into a desert, flowing springs into thirsty ground, and fruitful land into a salt waste, because of the wickedness of those who lived there. He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs; there he brought the hungry to live, and they founded a city where they could settle. They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest; he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased, and he did not let their herds diminish."

     We have a very mixed heritage that has been passed down to us by our ancestors. We have inherited minds capable of discerning, and an inquisitiveness to search for information and truth in the world around us. Yet we remain chained to ancient fears and superstitions that have no basis in fact or reason.

     The religions listed below by no means represent unified groups; Christianity alone has over 3500 different divisions and sects. Each of the other major religions today is also comprised of multiple divisions, sects, groups and beliefs, influenced primarily by their geographical location. Almost all religion are able to trace their origins to a single person, including Christianity. Exceptions are the Primal-Indigenous and the African Traditional & Diasporic religions which are practices and rituals of oral traditions without much if any written sources. Religions did not begin spontaneously. They were begun by someone with an idea, yet each religion claims to possess the truth of God and our universe.

Followers of Major Religions of Today:                              Approximate Date of Origin:
1.     Christianity: ................ 2.1 billion                1.  primal-indigenous                    5000 BCE
2.     Islam: ..........................1.5 billion                2. African Traditional & Diaspori 5000 BCE
3.     Agnostic/Atheist:          1.1 billion                3. Hinduism                         3228–3102 BCE
4.     Hinduism:....................900 million               4. Judaism                       2000–1850 BCE
5.     Chinese traditional: .... 394 million                5. Zoroastrianism                         1700 BCE
6.     Buddhism: ..................376 million                6. Chinese traditional religion   600–500 BCE
7.     primal-indigenous: .......300 million                7. Buddhism                                  563 BCE
8.     African Traditional  ..   100 million                 8. Jainism                                      550 BCE
9.     Sikhism: .......................23 million                  9. Christianity                    7 BCE–36 CE
10.  Juche: ..........................19 million                10. Islam                               570–632 CE
11.  Spiritism: ................... ..15 million                11. Shinto                                       712 CE
12.  Judaism: .......................14 million                12. Sikhism                          1469–1539 CE
13.  Baha'i: ............................7 million                13. Tenrikyo                        1801–1900 CE
14.  Jainism: ........................4.2 million               14. Baha'i                             1817–1892 CE
15.  Shinto: ............................4 million                15. Spiritism                                1856 CE
16.  Cao Dai: .........................4 million                16. Cao Dai                                1926 CE
17.  Zoroastrianism: .............2.6 million                17. Rastafarianism                      1933 CE
18.  Tenrikyo: .........................2 million                18. Scientology                           1952 CE
19.  Neo-Paganism: ................1 million                19. Juche                                    1955 CE
20.  Unitarian-Universalism: ..800 thousand           20. Unitarian-Universalism           1961 CE
21.  Rastafarianism: ...............600 thousand
22.  Scientology: ....................500 thousand
This adds up to roughly 6.97 billion of the world’s more than 7.1 billion people.

     Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have many common denominators, primarily stories on which their origins are based, as the Old Testament (with some variations) is held, in part, as a common origin by all three cultures. Two isolated story events, which have no corroborating evidence, is all it took to initiate the Jewish culture, and the birth of one supernatural person to begin Christianity. Stories that read more like fairy tales or legends than reality when measured against the yardstick of probability or fact. When compared to other major religions of the world, they possess no more integrity or validity than does any other religion.

     The malleable mind of man[2]  is capable of being shaped to believe and accept anything, especially when applied in weekly doses from church pulpits over a lifetime. Information based on ancient knowledge gained through fears and superstitions has been the only message repeated by almost all religions, whose success is often measured by the size and income of the church. By these standards, the more members and money you can collect, the truer the tenets of your religion.

1800 BCE[3]   (Estimated world population at the time was 30 million.)
According to Jewish tradition, Abraham was born under the name Abram in the city of Ur in Babylonia in the year 1948 from Creation. He was the son of Terach, an idol merchant, but from his early childhood, he questioned the faith of his father and sought the truth. He came to believe that the entire universe was the work of a single Creator, and he began to teach this belief to others. Eventually, the one true Creator that Abram had worshipped called to him, and made him an offer: if Abram would leave his home and his family, then God would make him a great nation and bless him. Abram accepted this offer, and the b'rit (covenant) between God and the Jewish people was established. 
     At a time when there were 30 million people living around the world, a middle eastern merchant’s son announces that he has had a meeting with God to receive a gift. God did not appear to anyone else to verify or make this announcement; only Abram makes the announcement public. No other people in the entire world were made aware of this special covenant. The common belief at this time in history was that only Shaman, Witch Doctors, Medicine Men, Priests, Kings, Rulers, etc., the pinnacle of elite, were capable of  personal communication with Deities of the day. The question is, “how credible can this story possibly be?”

1391--1271 BCE[4]  (Estimated world population at the time was 38 million.)
According to Jewish tradition, Moses is born during the Jewish enslavement in Egypt, during a terrible period when Pharaoh decrees that all male Hebrew infants are to be drowned at birth. His mother, Yocheved, desperate to prolong his life, floats him in a basket in the Nile. Hearing the crying child as she walks by, Pharaoh's daughter pities the crying infant and adopts. It surely is no coincidence that the Jews' future liberator is raised as an Egyptian prince. Had Moses grown up in slavery with his fellow Hebrews, he probably would not have developed the pride, vision, and courage to lead a revolt.
     The story of a Jewish boy born into slavery, is saved by a princess, raised as an Egyptian prince and lives in royalty, is banished from the kingdom after committing a crime against a royal guard, eventually returns to liberate the slaves and lead them to a land promised by God to Abraham and his descendants. Not only did Moses liberate the Jews from Egyptian slavery, he wrote the law and commandments describing how they must live. The story describes how Moses led the slaves for 40 years through the desert of the Arabian Peninsula, while the distance from Cairo to Jerusalem can be completed by a very slow donkey in 3 weeks. When they finally reach the “promised” land, an army of slave warriors is sent to slaughter the men, women, children and all their animals, currently inhabiting the land “promised” to people who claimed to be descendants of Abraham. Again, the question is, “how credible can this story possibly be?”

1000–900 BCE[5]  (Estimated world population at the time was 50 million.)
Solomon succeeds King David, builds Jerusalem temple. After Solomon's death, kingdom divided into Israel and Judah. Hebrew elders begin to write Old Testament books of Bible. Phoenicians colonize Spain with settlement at Cadiz.
     While in captivity in Babylon, Hebrew elders begin a written record of oral stories and traditions, 800 years after the Abraham event, and approximately 300 years after Moses and the Exodus legend. They included stories which describe the creation of the earth, an ark and a destructive flood, etc. The source of many of these stories came from much earlier periods and cultures during the Sumerian and Gilgamesh Epic. The intention of these writings was to establish credible roots of Jewish heritage by including stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses the Prince of the Egyptian Slaves and editor of Jewish law,  and feats of their most beloved king, David, all legends and heroes of the culture. Ancient, 800 year old, oral traditions have a way of embellishing themselves with each telling and retelling. After 300 to 800 years of aging, there is very little left of the original tale.

400–300 BCE[5]  (Estimated world population at the time was 100 million.)
Pentateuch—first five books of the Old Testament evolve in final form. Philip of Macedon, who believed himself to be a descendant of the Greek people, assassinated (336 BCE) after subduing the Greek city-states; succeeded by son, Alexander the Great (356–323 BCE), who destroys Thebes (335 BCE), conquers Tyre and Jerusalem (332 BCE), occupies Babylon (330 BCE), invades India, and dies in Babylon. His empire is divided among his generals; one of them, Seleucis I, establishes Middle East empire with capitals at Antioch (Syria) and Seleucia (in Iraq). Trial and execution of Greek philosopher Socrates (399 BCE). Dialogues recorded by his student, Plato (c. 427–348 or 347 BCE). Euclid's work on geometry (323 BCE). Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384–322 BCE). Demosthenes, Greek orator (384–322 BCE).Praxiteles, Greek sculptor (400–330 BCE).
     The final form of the Pentateuch has now aged 1,400 years since the Abrahamic story, and 600 years since Moses and the Exodus event. With a world population of approximately 100 million, and perhaps a hundred different religions with their own stories and legends, it is difficult to accept these stories with any more validity or integrity than any of the religions of the rest of the world.

1–49 CE[5]  (Estimated world population at the time was 200 million.)
Birth of Jesus Christ (variously given from 4 B.C. to A.D. 7). After Augustus, Tiberius becomes emperor (dies, A.D. 37), succeeded by Caligula (assassinated, A.D. 41), who is followed by Claudius. Crucifixion of Jesus (probably A.D. 30). Han dynasty in China founded by Emperor Kuang Wu Ti. Buddhism introduced to China.
     It has now been approximately 4.5 billion years since the formation of the world, and after 200,000 years of human existence, which now numbers a worldwide population of approximately 200 million people. Why would there suddenly be a need to provide a human sacrifice for the atonement of “sins,” to a small group of Jewish peasants in place as obscure as Nazareth? The Old Testament was a script to establish an exclusive race of people who claim to be the “chosen people of God.” Now begins a legend to form a new religion from the roots of Judaism; a new branch of the tree.

300–349 CE[5]  (Estimated world population at the time was 250 million.)
Constantine the Great (rules A.D. 312–337) reunites eastern and western Roman empires, with new capital (Constantinople) on site of Byzantium (A.D. 330); issues Edict of Milan legalizing Christianity (A.D. 313); becomes a Christian on his deathbed (A.D. 337). Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) defines orthodox Christian doctrine. First Gupta dynasty in India (c. A.D. 320).
     During the past 300 years, independent Christian sects of various kinds have proliferated throughout the Roman Empire. Each possesses its own written literature from dubious sources which they use to enlist and educate new converts into their sect. The friction between the various sects has grown and results in violent disputes over who possesses the true writings for Christianity. As these sects are independent from each other, there is no central agency to control or discipline their growing numbers. Most other sects of any kind tolerated in the Roman Empire, whether religious or secular, had a central agency to which they must answer; such as the Sanhedrin which rules over all Jewish activity in the Roman Empire.

     Constantine decides to convene a Council to organize all of the troublesome Christian sects under one central authority, which, to no one’s surprise, is located in Rome instead of Jerusalem. This new agency will become responsible for maintaining the peace among the various Christian sects, and is answerable to the Emperor of Rome, Constantine. This new Council collects copies of all of the written material used by the various churches and decides which ones will be retained for canonization to be used in all Christian churches, and which written materials will be destroyed.

     Since there is no way only one meeting of any Council can settle all disputes, a series of Council meetings is held over the next 400 years[6] to hone the tenets for all Christianity, as well as the undisputable authority of the Roman Church. [First Council of Nicaea (325); First Council of Constantinople (381); Council of Ephesus (431); Council of Chalcedon (451); Second Council of Constantinople (553); Third Council of Constantinople (680–681); Second Council of Nicaea (787)]

     A quasi religious empire within a political empire was created and is politically supported, sanctioned and enforced by the Emperor of the Roman Empire. The rest of the 250 million people in the world are left clueless and are not included in this alleged new Salvation.

     Meanwhile the world in search of a Deity, a religion, a unity with nature, etc. marches on, led by Shaman, Witchdoctors, Medicine Men, Priests, Preachers, Bishops, and Charlatans selling holy relics and indulgences while hawking the carrot of immortality in an afterlife. The religious tenets of obedience, chastity, charity, compassion, allegiance, etc., have not only been repeatedly broken by members of the various flocks, but by many of the Spiritual Leaders in gross dimensions.

     The common theme among all religions is, “Don’t ask questions, just believe what we tell you. We are your spiritual leaders. If you begin asking questions, you risk the loss of your soul on a slippery slope.” A fictitious descent from the side of an artificial hill religions have created.

     I believe in man’s creativity, curiosity and search for knowledge and truth. We have evolved into a unique species more by accident than design. And in this state, have gained a knowledge never before attained. During the last 50 years, we have learned more of our planet and universe than at any time during the past 200,000 years. We know what we are made of and how we will end. All life forms, not only of this planet, but on any planet in the universe, both flora and fauna, share not only a common ancestry, but a common assortment of elemental building blocks.

     Animals live from day to day and do not anticipate or fret over death. On the other hand, humans have been groomed to fear death as if it were a horrible sentence pronounced on us by a vengeful God. Yet, at the same time, also believe that if we are obedient to this God, we will pass through death into immortality with rewards of mansions, streets of gold, jeweled crowns,72 dark eyed virgins, to join our ancestors and continue to live in eternal bliss. This is sometimes known as the ancient practice of fear mongering to sell snake oil.

     Death is a natural event and comes to everything in the universe including suns, stars, planets, galaxies, vegetation, insects and humans. When death comes, the material of which we are all made is released to be used in the reconstruction of new suns, stars, planets, galaxies, vegetation, insects and humans. The only afterlife experience is the use of our elemental building blocks (atoms) in the growth and formation of new life forms. The ancient fears and superstitions of death by our ancestors was fed by spiritual leaders (Shaman, Witchdoctors, Medicine men, Priests, etc.) to justify tales of immortality. Unfortunately for mankind, current spiritual leaders continue to promote the same ancient fears and superstitions of death over the mounting knowledge discovered everyday by our continued search for the nature of our universe.

     The conflict we have in this new age is whether to continue to live under the fears and superstitions of our ancient ancestors, or accept these myths and legends of our past as stepping stones into our future. I see churches (not the religions) of today as social organizations of “like minds.” Where personal interaction exists to facilitate a desire to support each other and corporately provide outreach charities that are not easily accomplished on an individual basis. I see the stories of ancient texts as models of inspiration for a noble lifestyle and charitable behavior as opposed to superstitions of salvation into an immortal afterlife in order to avoid the damnation of a netherworld.

-- o  --

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Where Is God?

     The world's major religions developed during a period of transition between oral traditions of epic events and the development of written texts.

     Most, if not all, stories were embellished for purposes of persuasion and perpetuity. The duration of a story was dependent upon the memory and skills of the teller, as well as the interests of the hearer.

     By the time these stories were written into history, they had little resemblance to the original events and were shaped to meet the interests and understanding of the tellers and scribes who recorded them.

     Yet, religious adherents today easily approach the point of combat in defense of their understanding or belief in a particular theology.

     Today there are an estimated 38,000 Christian sects or denominations in the world. All of which base their "theological truth" on one or more versions of the same New Testament. Like wise, there are a number of varied interpretations and philosophies among adherents of Judaism or Islamic faiths based on their own common books of religious law.

     Most of these divisions in religious truths are attributable to geographical locations, whether it is by race, country, village, tribe, or part of town. A person raised in Alabama is more likely to be associated with a Western style Christianity; where as a person born in Iran will likely become an adherent of Islam. Their religious experiences are acquired by cultural influences, rather than conscious choices of truth.

      Today, millions of dollars and immeasurable energies are spent to evangelize or proselytize others to our beliefs. Multiple theologies that have been declared by the many sects and denominations as the "real" truth.
Eventually one has to ask, are these the results intended by a benevolent Creator? Or is this the result of human attempts to perpetuate a particular ideology?

     When you weigh the human desires for religious truths against the reality of our existence as a micro-dot in the space of billions of galaxies and even more planets, where is God? In the measure of time, our whole organic existence on this planet isn't even a tick's (or tock's) length or speck on the celestial clock.

     We and every living and non-living thing on and in this island planet is made of material produced by the death of stars. What and who we are has been shaped by the circumstances and events of this planet. This planet was not created to suit our life forms.

     As products of this planet, we possess the same basic physical traits and behavior as every other animal. Two eyes, 2 ears, 1 mouth, 4 limbs, oxygen dependent, experience hunger, seek safety, feel pain, procreated by male and female, mortality, etc. As humans, which are but one notch above the animals, we have developed additional philosophies that we have honed and perfected over hundreds of years; immortality in a reward based after life.

     In the time before there were any religions or gods, survival fears fostered superstitions to answer the unknown and uncontrolled events in our world and were attributed to mystical forces of good or evil. Today, although our well developed sciences have answered most questions about our past, present and future, there is still a significant element of our behavior that clings to many perpetuated superstitions.

Conclusion: God exists in the mind of man.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Search for Intelligence

     Mankind has been a herd animal the same as almost all other biological species on the planet since the beginning of time. They discovered that they lived longer, ate better, and found it easier to obtain a mate when they hung out with the tribal family. In the evolution of this social order, rules were developed quite naturally within the group - a pecking order that was enforced by the older and stronger members of the group. Seniority was a valuable asset to the group due to their longevity and memory. They knew where to find the best hunting, fishing, gathering, safety, etc. Strength was also a valuable asset in the defense from predators and enemies. The older and stronger members generally had an advantage among tribal members, in the first selection of food, shelter, mates, etc. as the pecking order developed.

     Leadership of the group eventually became divided into two patterns, an administrative leader surfaced as Chief, King, Ruler, etc., by virtue of their feats of bravery, skills in the use of weapons, and being a successful hunter. They usually served by mutual consent of the majority of the group. Occasionally there would be a challenge by others who felt more deserving of this leadership role and the dispute was usually settled by some sort of public combat, or by the mutinous murder of the reigning monarch.

     The second leadership position was created by cunning and magic to address the many superstitions that existed. This position interpreted past and present events into future consequences and relied heavily on illusions and an acquired knowledge of human behavior. Although this position did not usually compete with or threaten the ruling positions of the tribe, it did have a great influence over decisions made by the tribal rulers. This position became known as a Shaman, Witch Doctor, Medicine man, Wizard, Priest, etc. who wore costumes befitting their mystical powers.

     As human social cultures have advanced through thousands of years, these two positions have become more and more complex. Instead of a single individual occupying these positions, many societies now have numerous individuals functioning corporately, sharing the responsibilities of leadership. Some societies have incorporated these two positions into a single role, both as reigning administrative leader and religious cleric with total authority.

     Today, most societies which still maintain the two basic leadership positions use completely different sets of values for making decisions for the tribes. The administrative leaderships base their daily decisions primarily upon current facts regarding neighboring or world social conditions, using factual history and current knowledge as the measure to predict future results. Although this method of leadership has been in evolution for thousands of years, it still has not become perfectly suited to the ever changing needs of today’s tribes and cultures.

     The leadership of the religious side of the tribal equation has continued to base their rituals, philosophies and knowledge on thousand year old superstitions developed through ancient and mythological legends and theories which were used to control the obedience and continued support of tribal members. An irrefutable reward and punishment system in an afterlife was devised by Shaman of the tribe to control behavior and perpetuate their position and power which was claimed to be beneficial to the tribe. Today, these mystical rituals can be found in almost every religious sect on the planet.

     Although the method of selecting the leaders of our tribes has changed, its results have not improved. Administrative leaders continue to make decisions that benefit only a small and wealthy segment of the people. They obviously make decisions in favor of the power and money that has placed them in leadership positions and not for the welfare of the tribe for whom they were elected. They generally see the majority of tribal members as temporary tools to be used and discarded. Wars and dissention have existed between tribal units throughout history, and continue unabated today. The only historical difference in our battles is the ever increasing number of enemies we are able to destroy as we progress into the future of technological and modern warfare.

     The religious leaders operate in much the same manner as they have for thousands of years. They maintain ancient and mythological rituals in order to promote their version of spiritual philosophies and to justify or promote their existence. The dissension and violence between religions has also increased with time. The much expressed religious mission to save or convert the world’s population is paled in comparison to the resources spent on their religious buildings and schools, their frequent conferences, their comfortable pews, their numerous staff positions, and their more than adequate salaries for religious leadership, etc. 

     Churches and denominations have become social networks of like-minded tribal members where they are continually indoctrinated and stroked; where the care and nurturing of their young promotes continuation of the sect; places where newborns ritually become members of the tribal afterlife without their consent or understanding; where marital alliances are celebrated and made public; where phobic apprehensions of death and a mysterious afterlife are cultivated, and where the passing of a loved one is comforted only by words of hope for a desirable afterlife.

     Our search for intelligent life somewhere in the universe is an ultimate irony when you consider the condition of the intelligence and civility demonstrated by the humanity of this planet. Administrative positions of leadership have evolved out of necessity in the pursuit of civilized societies. Religions have continued for thousands of years out of superstitions and ignorance and continue based on ancient relics and myths. If there is another intelligent culture somewhere in the universe also seeking to communicate with other intelligence, I’m afraid they will surely pass us by -- or should.

Monday, June 3, 2013

An Age for Reason

     Once upon a time there were millions of rocks, asteroids, comets, meteorites, dust, and gas floating around in space. This debris scattered throughout the universe was the result of much older stars exploding at the end of their lives. Stars that had used up all the fuel they once had to produce light and heat. This space debris was composed of approximately 100 types of atoms created in the death throes of stars, some atoms more numerous than others.
     This debris was soon orbiting around a very large newly formed sun near the corner of a recently formed galaxy.  As this debris orbited around this new sun, unavoidable collisions began occurring. These collisions resulted in formation of larger and larger pieces of debris. The gravitational powers of these larger pieces became stronger as they became larger by the collection of more and more space debris.
     After many millions of years the larger sphere shaped pieces that had survived the constant collisions had pretty much swept up and collected all of the loose debris from the orbital paths they traveled around the new sun. Eventually, there were only 8 large ball shaped pieces of debris orbiting this common sun. Some were made up of very solid and dense material, while others were made up mostly of gas and dust.
     During these first years of the third planet from the sun, its physical condition was little more than a ball of hot molten lava, the result of heat generated by constant collisions and explosions. Most of the material collected by the molten sphere began to cluster in layers with some of the heaviest at the center of the planet and the lighter material nearer the surface. The planet seemed to be in the process of refining and separating the various materials it had collected.
     During much of this early formation, many of the comets and meteorites contained large amounts of frozen water - ice. When these collided with the molten planet, they immediately vaporized and joined the atmospheric gases that were collecting just above the molten surface. As this atmosphere of gas and water vapor grew thicker with succeeding collisions of ice containing debris, it began to cool the surface of the molten planet until a solid crust began to form on the surface of the fiery ball like planet.
     The initial formative years of this planet contained no biological forms. The planet was made up of atoms that had been formed into molecules of iron, granite, gold, silica, carbon, nitrogen, etc., by the dying stars from which they came. Some of this material became part of the thickening and cooling crust and atmosphere. This continued to be the case for millions of years while the surface continued to cool and stabilize. Asteroids and comets continued to bombard the planet with additional icebergs and special molecules that also had been formed in the death throes of dying stars. These special molecules are known as amino acids which had been embedded in rocks as they formed in the fiery death of stars. Asteroids that are recovered even today, when sliced open for examination, reveal scattered clusters of amino acids embedded inside the rock.
     Amino acids exist in many configurations and have many cousins. Several varieties of amino acids are necessary to form the much larger DNA molecule which is the key ingredient of all life forms, both plants and animals. Every form of life on this planet contains the power of replication which is contained in the blue prints of their DNA. However, succeeding generations require the DNA blueprints from two sources, the two sets of parent DNA chromosomes in order to reproduce a new strand of DNA and a new life.
     When things on this planet cooled enough for water to begin accumulating from the constant rains, it didn’t take long for life to find a way to begin. Its first forms were crude and primitive single cell bacteria. Eventually the DNA of this crude bacteria became more sophisticated as well exceedingly more complex through the process of evolution until today when we find millions of different biological species, both flora and fauna, scattered all over the planet. Two things have remained constant through millions of years of evolution; all life forms remain dependent upon water, and require the merging of two parental chromosomes in order to reproduce succeeding generations of the species.
     Today there are two types of molecular formations of atoms in this planet, the non-biological which do not reproduce and have remained virtually unchanged since their formation by the stars (granite, silica, gold, iron, carbon, nitrogen, etc.), and the biological formations which have evolved into flora and fauna species which are capable of reproduction but have limited life spans.
     As various biological species evolve, they have adapted behaviors that support their innate will to survive. Among these is the herd instinct. Grouping together provided a common defense from predators or enemies, location and acquisition of food sources, developing communication, and provided easier location of, and access to, available mates. Most biological species of this planet continue to live in groves, colonies, herds, pods, schools, hives, flocks, prides, clans, tribes, cities, etc. Although some species appear to live a solitary existence, they do live in a common geographical areas of their own species; i.e. tigers, bears, whales, etc., all live pretty much solitary lives, but they live in areas where there are many others of their own species.
     Rules of social etiquette developed by each specie vary with the requirements for basic survival and communication. Almost all species have developed some degree of deductive reasoning which has influenced their social behavior, some more than others. Experience has been the greatest influence in honing these deductive skills. While some deductive skills have been acquired by physical experience (birds learn that Monarch caterpillars are not good to eat) other deductive skills are acquired by observation and reason.
Humankind has been at the pinnacle of social development of all the biological species of this planet. 
     Although humans have developed a more complex mental diversity, we still exist in the basic format of all members of the animal kingdom. Anatomically, we have the same basic configuration; a central nervous system (brain), an epidermal organ, 2 eyes, 2 ears, 1 mouth, 4 extremities, a fairly common digestive and cardiovascular system, same requirements for reproduction, etc. We possess almost identical DNA with not only the animal kingdom, but the vegetation kingdom as well. Some vegetation even has a higher genome complex than do humans.
     Humans have long considered ourselves not only at the top of the animal kingdom, but a completely separate and unique life form of which there is no other throughout the universe. How we came up with this notion has been greatly influenced by our own ignorance and superstitions. It has been erroneously reasoned that since we have a superior nature when compared to the animal kingdom, that we possess special characteristics animals do not have. We have considered ourselves an image of a God, therefore we must have a God like spirit which is also eternal. Although we have a limited life expectancy, the same as all other flora and fauna of the planet, we have mistakenly assumed that we have a consciousness (spirit) that will continue forever. Even though there is nothing in the universe which lasts forever.
     100,000 years ago, early man was preoccupied with survival in the same manner as all other animals. He had to experience volcanoes, earthquakes, raging fires, thunder and lightning, floods, as well as many other natural phenomenon. He had no concept of how, why or what had caused them. His initial thoughts were that some unseen power was the cause of these events that threatened his existence, causing him to flee or hide. As he became more familiar with these seemingly disastrous events, he began to give them names. Eventually the name of the disastrous event became the name of the unseen power which was causing them. It was then only a few short steps before every unexplained event had a name of the unseen power that was the cause. These unseen powers were soon bestowed with a ranking, some more powerful or dangerous than others.
     Today, even though the cause of almost all natural disasters can be simply and easily explained to every human understanding, many people still considered them to be caused by, or the will of, a God. Human interpretations and descriptions of Gods today are almost as varied as there are natural disasters and mortalities. Although mankind has become more sophisticated in our understanding of the past, present, and future of the universe we live in, it still clings to the superstitions of mankind from the past 100,000 years.
     The metropolitan area of our community includes 413,000 residents. In this area there are 411 Yellow Page listings of religious groups. This does not include all religious groups, only religious groups with an address and a telephone number. These groups base their convictions of religious truth on information accrued in ancient writings by men with no knowledge of origins of the universe or natural phenomenon. The Old Testament was written between the years 587-BCE to 350-BCE; the New Testament was written between the years 70-AD and 150-AD. Without any corroborating evidence, these prevalent convictions have been the force behind most of man’s inhumanity to man and cultural chaos for centuries, and continues to do so even today; Sunnis vs Shiites, Muslims vs Jews, Muslims vs Christians, Muslims vs Muslims, Catholics vs Protestants, Serbs vs Croats, Spanish Inquisition vs anybody who does not confess, East vs West, etc.
     The variety of creation stories that have developed since the beginning of mankind by superstitious and primitive minds have been accepted as fact by today’s educated people of reason. Religions cling to ancient myths and legends, many of which conflict, as if they were indisputable facts.

Q:  How many Gods does it take to keep a light bulb burning for more than the 3500 religious sects on this planet?

A:  Depends upon where you were born and which religious sect you were indoctrinated in.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Reasonable Concepts: Nature vs. Scripture

     John Wesley’s Quadrilateral suggests the application of four elements for testing or formulating new material which could or should be included in a theology. Each of the four considerations are worthy of merit, but they are not always applied equally when considering new thoughts or ideas. They are given different priority weights depending upon the authority using this method to validate the subject under consideration. Very conservative orders tend apply a heavier weight of Scripture as the test for acceptance of any new material, whereas a very progressive order will apply the heavier weight of Reason as the main consideration of developing theology.




     During our life time, incredibly more strides have been made in the accumulation of knowledge about the universe we live in than during any time in the last 100,000 years. We have also learned more about the basic structure of organic and inorganic matter not only of this planet, but throughout the universe. Our developing scientific disciplines have begun answering questions about our past, present and future that our ancestors could not even imagine asking. These disciplines have amassed a universe of verifiable facts and evidence to continue building upon this ever growing mountain of knowledge. None of this evidence has been kept secret from anyone, but is made public for any and everyone to examine and evaluate for themselves. Neither does this scientific evidence and knowledge require a “Belief system of Faith” to understand or accept.

     I, like almost every one whose religious education was based on the Old and/or New Testament, has since the age of reasoning, harbored questions concerning almost every story and book in the Bible. Answers provided during our early years by our religious educators included the real fact that we may never know the answers, but were encouraged to continue to have Faith in the stories and Believe that they were either true or important to our lives. Eventually these answers ceased to satisfy our questions and curiosities and reason began to stifle blind Belief.

     One question which has solicited a variety of answers from church members is, “What is the origin of Sin?” Although this question will generally fill the room with definitions of what Sin is, the origin of Sin most commonly expressed is either the; (1) Tempting and Talking Snake; (2) the forbidden fruit; or, (3) the disobedience of Adam and Eve of eating fruit from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. These answers are given only by cultures whose religious education includes what we call “The Old Testament.” Many cultures that base their religious education on other sources of information, have a different set of answers about the origins of unacceptable human behavior. This obviously invokes the question, “where is the truth?”

     Questions can be, and are, endless when it comes to cultural practices. We will never know what the truth is when we base our truths on cultural differences. Scientific evidence, on the other hand, is not affected by culturalism. The study of, and accrued knowledge about our universe has no cultural borders, it is universal.

     The following are only a few more questions I have pondered and attempted to apply the Wesley Quadrilateral in search of answers.

      In the year 1800 BCE, the world’s population was estimated by credible anthropologists and archeologists to be approximately 35 million people scattered around the planet. These peoples lived in tribes, villages, dynasties, and had developed a variety of thriving cultures everywhere on the planet. (

2000–1500 BCE:
Hyksos invaders drive Egyptians from Lower Egypt (17th century BC). Amosis I frees Egypt from Hyksos (c. 1600 BC). Assyrians rise to power—cities of Ashur and Nineveh. Twenty-four-character alphabet in Egypt. Cuneiform inscriptions used by Hittites. Peak of Minoan culture on Isle of Crete—earliest form of written Greek. Hammurabi, king of Babylon, develops oldest existing code of laws (18th century BC). Abraham becomes patriarch of Jewish Nation (c. 1800 BCE).  The Chinese Shang Dynasty (c. 1700–1046 BC).(

     Question #1: Why is it reasonable to accept a story that the God who created the universe, the world, all of the people in it, and pronounced them, “good,” would reveal himself to a single Bedouin herder from a semi-nomadic tribe of the Mesopotamia area to announce that “he would become the father of a great nation of people more numerous than the stars in the sky, and become His chosen people?”

      The stories of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, etc., come to us from a long oral tradition before they were ever written in any form by unknown people who had no firsthand experience or witness of events they wrote about, the originals of which no longer exist. These stories and a lineage of oral stories, myths, and legends have come to form the basis of Christianity without any archeological or historical support from any other sources. The only authority of truth it purports to possess is the claim that because this story is included in the Bible which is the inspired, if not dictated, words of a God who should be feared without question. There is no other evidence to support this story.

1000–900 BCE:
Solomon succeeds King David, builds Jerusalem temple. After Solomon's death, kingdom divided into Israel and Judah.Hebrew elders begin to write Old Testament books of Bible. Phoenicians colonize Spain with settlement at Cadiz.(

400–300 BCE:
Pentateuch—first five books of the Old Testament evolve in final form. Philip of Macedon, who believed himself to be a descendant of the Greek people, assassinated (336 BC) after subduing the Greek city-states; succeeded by son, Alexander the Great (356–323 BC), who destroys Thebes(335 BC), conquers Tyre and Jerusalem (332 BC), occupies Babylon (330 BC), invades India, and dies in Babylon. His empire is divided among his generals; one of them, Seleucis I, establishes Middle East empire with capitals at Antioch (Syria) and Seleucia (in Iraq). Trial and execution of Greek philosopher Socrates (399 BC). Dialogues recorded by his student, Plato (c. 427–348 or 347 BC). Euclid's work on geometry (323 BC). Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384–322 BC).Demosthenes, Greek orator (384–322 BC). Praxiteles, Greek sculptor (400–330 BC).

      Pontius Pilate was the 5th Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, from AD 26–36. Rome occupied many Mediterranean countries and had learned the art of managing a foreign occupation. The secret was to allow the occupied cultures to continue to observe their own religious and social practices as long as they did not conflict with paying a monetary tribute to Rome or threaten Roman occupation. Under this practice, the Jewish Sanhedrin, with Roman approval of the appointment of the Chief Priest, was allowed to rule over Jewish practices. It was easier to maintain rule over conquered lands when some leniencies were allowed. It was a matter of convenience with a minimal force of occupying Roman soldiers.

      Constantine I was Roman Emperor from AD 306 to 337. Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed tolerance of all religions throughout the empire. Like the Roman rulers before him, he practiced a limited benevolent style of ruling occupied countries.

       Most of the religions and cultural groups living under the occupational rule of the Roman Empire had central authorities which were responsible to the Emperor for control of activities of their members. This made it easier for Rome to control large numbers of occupied people. However, Christian sects scattered throughout the Roman Empire had a very loose connection with each other and had no central authority. Frequently they were at odds with each other over the authenticity and authority of written texts each possessed for teaching and converting new members. When the threat of disputes among the Christian churches was brought to Constantine’s attention, he ordered a meeting of the various church leaders to settle their disputes and create a central authority before they became a domestic problem for Rome.

        This mandatory meeting of the church leaders in AD 325 was known as the first Council of Nicea and was the first ecumenical council of the catholic Church. This meeting was commissioned by Constantine to settle disputes between religious groups and come to an agreement not only on the materials submitted for consideration and inclusion into a common written authority, but to elect an order of Bishops that would preside over future Council meetings and subsequently over all Christian churches. This meeting, as well as later Council of Bishops meetings, would make decisions about; “Was Jesus a God or a Man,” “Powers of the Holy Spirit,” “Elements of the Trinity,” “the date to celebrate Easter,” etc.

      Not surprisingly, the largest delegations won not only positioning the Church of Rome as the central authority over all Christendom, but also ruled over the selection of written materials that would support this authority, hence the establishment of the Roman catholic Church. The selection of letters and texts were voted on by the Ruling Bishops and canonized as the final authority of God’s word for all of Christendom. This authority for ruling over all of the churches in the Christian world was backed up by the insistence and authority of the Roman Emperor and everyone attending the Council meetings knew it.

       The doctrine of Biblical inerrancy was developed by a group of quasi military Bishops who were more politically motivated toward establishing rule over a loosely organized and growing religious group, than establishing any truth of God. They used the power of the Roman Empire and the ancient stories handed down through Jewish traditions as leverage to their success.

     Although Constantine has been credited for assisting the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire, in reality he was just trying to avert an internal conflict between differing religious sects by the establishment of one central ruling agency he could more easily deal with directly and hold responsible for any anti-Roman activity.

      The story of Christianity began in Judea about a Jewish Nazarene who died in Jerusalem, but the story ended up in Rome as a document edited to support a claimed authority to rule over all Christendom in the Roman Empire.

Question #2: How can a Christian world, base any authority of truth on results of events such as these?
For too long, my God has been held hostage by the ancient myths and legends cloaked in unquestioning religious fervor which has blinded us to the marvels of creation all around us. Every single speck of this planet, flora, fauna, and terra firma is composed of common atoms that were created in the death of stars in a universe billions of years ago. These creation atoms are eternal, they never die or expire. Molecules, on the other hand, are composed of eternal atoms, and are used to create all biological life forms which are mortal. Our bodies, our minds, our intelligence, our thoughts are all ultimate products of the stars. This is a much more beautiful and enlightening understanding of the nature of God and the creation of our world than ancient stories of a man made from dust, a woman made from a rib, a talking snake presenting temptations, or a son of God produced by a young Jewish virgin. These may have been acceptable answers for the prevailing knowledge and intelligence of 8, 6, or 2 thousand years ago, but they are not answers for anything today.

     We have been conditioned by superstitions and fears for 200,000 years to wear blinders and never venture past our herd culture in search of truth. Ancient myths and legends have been the only acceptable and daily answers to everything we have been allowed to explore. The practices of today’s worship reflect only ancient perceptions of a knowledge of God, and none of the accumulated knowledge of the nature of God during the past 100 years.

Question #3: When are we going to break free from the dark ages and begin shedding the light of truth on our current knowledge of God and the world we live in today?