I just finished reading Jesus, Interrupted by Bart D Erhman. It was one of the easiest reads I’ve done in quite a while. Not because it was over-simplified or non-scholarly. It is quite the opposite really. I think it was so easy for me, because it’s a topic that I find great interest in and one that I was deeply immersed in from childhood through young adulthood. In this book, Erhman discusses the many inconsistencies and discrepancies within the New Testament. These inconsistencies are not only in the actual words within the various manuscripts that we have of the books, but also its major theological themes between the various writers of the books (many of which are anonymous, contrary to popular belief).
Erman discusses how this information is found through the historical-critical method of biblical study. This is what all seminary students are required to learn. He outlines how we have no original manuscripts of the gospel books. And the versions we do have were passed down via word-of-mouth for several decades after the supposed death of Jesus before they were written down by people who never even knew Jesus. He also discusses the evidence that shows that Paul didn’t actually write many of the books that are actually attributed to him.
While I already knew of a lot of the inconsistencies and the history of how the bible was put together, Erhman’s scholarly approach was very interesting. The information he presented in the book is widely accepted throughout the world, by biblical scholars, as legitimate.
Erhman is a self-proclaimed agnostic even though he was raised as a fundamentalist Christian. He maintains throughout the book that the historical-critical study of the bible did not lead to his loss of faith. The last chapter of the book is dedicated to a high-level explanation of what led him, ultimately, to disbelief.
What amazed me most from what I read in this book is what I mentioned in an earlier paragraph: That all seminary students are presented with the historical-critical perspective as a part of their religious education. Ehrman explains, most Christian parishioners that he has talked to over the years, have never heard this information from their pastors. Why is it that pastors chose a devotional/emotional approach from the pulpit rather than ever discussing the history that they’ve been taught? Are they afraid of losing some of their congregation due to the obvious questions that would result from finding out that the bible is not the inerrant word of God? Are they merely history deniers? I wonder what the reasons would be. I know that in all the many years that I spent in church, I never heard this information until I started digging for myself, and from my perspective this information just goes to further secure what I’ve already been questioning for many years.
Leviticus 25: (New International Version)
44 ” ‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.
2 “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. 3 If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.
5 “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6 then his master must take him before the judges. [a] He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.
7 “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. 8 If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, [b] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. 9 If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.
I found some apologists claiming that you can’t resolve our modern thoughts on slavery with the ‘world view’ that was in place in biblical times. I find this amazingly short sighted.
Thes laws came from ‘GOD’. The infallible, unchanging, all-knowing, omnipotent ‘GOD’. World view should have NOTHING to do with it. If God is unchanging and all-knowing, then those ‘LAWS’ still apply today in his eyes. And, as a result, I find ‘GOD’ amazingly immoral.
No-one! Not even ‘GOD’ (who I’m pretty convinced does not exist), has the right to take away the rights of another human being, and OWN them. There’s just no way for me to rationalize this in my head to find a way that this would be considered moral. All these Old Testament, biblical ‘laws’ sound to me like they were created by the people who considered themselves ‘elite’, in order to justify their elitism by claiming that ‘GOD said it is so’. In-sighting fear in the masses is a great way of controlling them.
This issue of slavery is just one of MANY topics in the bible that I find to be completely immoral. And to hear the claims of theist say that the bible or ‘word of god’ is our (human beings) only source of morallity is just beyond my capacity for credulity. If this is the book that our race bases it’s morality on, we are, indeed, in trouble.
As we approach the holidays this year, I find myself looking at the season in a completely new and different light. Literally and figuratively. Learning what I’ve learned this year has opened my eyes to what is the real truth behind all the pomp and circumstance of this time of year.
As is obvious from previous posts, I was brought up to believe that Christmas was the celebration of the birth of the Christian saviour, Jesus Christ. What I’ve been able to learn through study, research, and self examination is that Jesus is mearly the last of a long line of ‘solar dieties’…sun gods. Many dieties before him have the exact same attributes that Christians believe are only attributes of their christ. Horus, Mithra, Krishnu to name a few…all have stories that are very much the same as Christ. But were worshipped hundreds and in some cases, THOUSANDS of years prior to the advent of Christianity. It doesn’t take a monumental effort in research to find this information…but it does take looking.
The VERY short version is that on December 22nd, 23rd, and 24th in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun stops it’s decent towards the horizon which creates shorter and shorter days to that point. Then on December 25th, the sun begins to move back away from the horizon, welcoming the prospect of longer days and the warmer seasons. Also, on that day the three stars in the belt of Orion (called by the ancients…’The Three Kings’) align with the star Sirius (the ‘Star in the East’) and point the the location on the horizon where the Sun begins to rise again…or ‘The Birth of the SUN” (not Son). This ONLY happens on December 25th every year.
There are many, MANY more similarities and comparisons that can be made, but they just go to further support the fact that all of our major religions come from sun worship. and yeah, that includes christianity.
So, this year, when we bring our tree into the house and put a STAR on the top and usually a nativity below, I will understand and appreciate what the ancients saw on that great day every year when the Sun was reborn!
I believe that this whole pursuit of mine is really just my way of trying to find some inner peace. Some way to be happy and satisfied with the life I’ve been handed. From as far back as I can remember, I’ve never been at peace with myself. There’s always been inner turmoil, self-doubt, paranoia, and guilt. More than anything else…guilt.
The problems I’ve had I believe root in my upbringing. Christianity (and most other major religious) foster guilt. I have always had such a problem feeling guilty about things. Even things that I had absolutely NOTHING to do with. I think that a lot of that comes from being brought up in a church that says that basically everyone is a sinner and most everything that humans do is sin. I have a real problem with that. I can’t honestly believe that by our nature we are sinners that need saving. And anyone who doesn’t believe and follow that ideology is doomed to an eternity in a pit of fire.
The more I find out about the differing veiwpoints and beliefs throughout the world and history, the more I feel it’s ok to believe what I believe. It’s ok to not follow ‘the crowd’ and do what everyone else is doing just because that’s the way it’s always been done. I hope that this trend continues. I think i deserve some inner peace for a change.
Last week I read the book “Rosslyn : Guardian of the Secrets of the Holy Grail” by Tim Wallace-Murphy and Marilyn Hopkins. While it ended up not being what I thought it was going to be, it was an interesting read nonetheless, and I blew through it in about 3 days.
I expected that this would be another writing related to the theories of ‘Holy Blood, Holy Grail’ and the theoretical bloodline of Christ. I also expected to get a lot more information on the actual building of Rosslyn Chapel. While those topics were certainly touched on, the main focus of the book was very different.
What the book did cover is the history of a lot of the esoteric traditions. Including Druids, Essenes, etc. They did a LOT of slamming of the Catholic Church. Which is fine, but I can see how it wouldn’t be accepted easily by the people of that faith.
The main theory presented by the book, seems to be that there are 7 cathedrals built from Spain, through, France, and including Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, that were built on ancient sites deemed to align with planetary ‘hot-spots’ by the druids. And that these locations have special energy resulting from lay-lines within the Earth itself. They trace how ancient initiates would make a pilgrimage starting at the first Cathedral in Spain, and travel to each location. At each place they would ‘awaken’ a new ‘chakra’ within themselves and it would be completed at Rosslyn chapel. The journey was equated with the Milky Way and the way it arches across the sky.
At the end of the book, they quickly compared the layout of the locations to the positions of the equated heavenly bodies (mars, Saturn, the sun, Jupiter, the moon, etc), to come up with that they determined to be a prophecy of great change in the world. An ‘apocolypse’ if you will. The date (i don’t have the book in front of me) was sometime in 2020 I believe.
I realize these statements are a VAST generalization on the detail of the book, but I just wanted to present the highlights. I’m not sure I buy into all the of ‘chakra’, ‘laylines’, ‘end of times’ themes presented in this writing. But I am adding it to the rest of the pieces of the ‘puzzle’ that I’ve been working on. I hope that with each piece i find…I’m coming closer to finding what it is that I’m looking for.
It is RUMORED that, in the initiation rite of the 33rd degree of Freemasonry, a potential candidate is, at some point, asked to spit on the cross. For those that refuse, the leaders of the ceremony reply with a well done…that is the correct response…and welcome them in. However, it is said that for those that DO spit on the cross, they are told that they’ve made the right decision and only THOSE candidates are ushered into the ‘inner-sanctum’…the ‘elite’ if you will, of Freemasonry. Now grant you, I started this paragraph with the words ‘it is RUMORED’ for a reason. This is NOT verified information. However, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that it is.
With that begin said, there are books and theories that trace Freemasonry back to the Knights Templar. The protectors of the sacred ‘Holy Grail’. In many sources, the Holy Grail is NOT what most people believe it to be. It is not the ‘literal’ cup that was used during the last supper. The Grail is believed to be the sacred bloodlines of Jesus himself. Which obviously causes a great deal of problems for orthodox Christianity. If Jesus has a bloodline, he would have to have had children, and most likely a wife (many believe this to be Mary Magdalene). It is believed that the Templars (created originally by the Priory of Sion), had found proof of this bloodline and have been protecting that secret for centuries.
So, let’s say, for argument sake, that all of this is true. The Kights Templar DID, in fact, have PROOF of Jesus’ bloodline and humanity. Let’s also say that the theories are true that connect modern Freemasonry to that same group of Knights Templars. It would certainly make a lot of sense to have that final act of the 33rd degree be what it is rumored to be. Because, they would be ‘in the know’ of a secret that would render Christianity completely false.
A bold statement for sure. And one that I’m not committed to believing fully. But from reading Holy Blood, Holy Grail, and from many other sources on the Magdalene, it certainly bears consideration. And it certainly starts to make a lot of sense when you step back and look at the whole picture.
Not much to write here…just basically an update of recent readings…
I read the DaVinci Code in about 3 days. I believe that’s probably the fastest I’ve ever read of book of that size. The story was fantastic and I could not put the book down. It’s obviously a book of fiction. Of fictitious characters and story lines. However, the basic premise is based on a lot of theories brought forth from scholars and historians.
So, once finishing that book, I decided to purchase a copy of ‘Holy Blood, Holy Grail’. I’ve only just started reading this behemoth, but it’s extremely fascinating, and obviously where Dan Brown garnered a lot of his information for the DaVinci Code.
I’ve also had another intriguing book lent to me by a friend. It’s the Gospel of Thomas. This is one of the Gnostic Gospels that contains a bunch of quotes of Jesus that aren’t found in the biblical gospels. It’s supposedly written by one of the apostles, Thomas (‘Doubting’ Thomas).
Anyway…that’s all for now. I’ll probably have a lot more after I finish this book.
DaVinci Code : Dan Brown
Holy Blood, Holy Grail : Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, Henry Lincoln
The Gospel of Thomas