Thursday, July 31, 2014

What About My Kids?

I know this is a common question in the minds of those who know I now reject the bible as the word of God.

So, what about my kids?

I'll start by clearing up a false assumption on the part of many (I'm sure).  See, I know most people out there just pass on their religious beliefs to their children and bring them up in a way to not question anything they're told, and so when they're adults, they don't question things, and they continue the cycle of passing on their religious beliefs to their children and teaching them not to question.

Well....I'm not that way and never have been.  Surprise!  No, I've always taught my children to think and question.  I believe that's my job.  I don't believe it's my job to be a dictator and rule by force and program my children to obey authority no matter what.

Instead, I've led by example, apologized when I'm wrong or have done them wrong, and have taught them to think.  I ask them a lot of questions about things and make them use their brains. 

My firstborn is eleven, and I've told him repeatedly over the years, "When you're an adult, it's your responsibility to prove whether what we've taught you is right or wrong.  Don't go blindly believing any of it."  How many parents are being responsible by telling their children this?  How many parents even care whether their children grow up to be responsible individuals who care about truth and morality?  I think far too many just program their kids to "believe" rather than "think." 

Before I'd reached the point—after so much research and meditation and deprogramming—of rejecting the bible as the word of God, my firstborn had already judged his own morals to be higher than that of the bible.  He loves animals and has intensely studied them and realize they are also sentient beings, and he strongly believes it is wrong to kill them and eat their flesh.  Though I've struggled with this issue myself for around a decade, I still would eat hunted meat and "free range" and other meats that claimed to have been raised humane, until several months of his headstrong devotion, and it was his example that finally led to my no longer eating meat. It now repulses me greatly.

Though I don't condemn others for eating meat, my beloved son could very well end up being an animal rights activist, because he feels very strongly about the issue.  He went through a stage for awhile where he stated that it's "illegal" to kill and eat animals.  Back when I still believed the bible was the word of God I told him it was fine that he believed that way, but it "wasn't illegal, because God says it's ok."  He disagreed. 

My son was not afraid to believe the god(s) of the bible is wrong in saying you may murder animals for food.  It conflicted with his moral compass.  If some god required of him to slaughter a little lamb to eat it, he'd disobey.  He'd die before he'd kill the lamb.  I have no doubt of this, either.  He stands firm on his morals (and he's got an awfully high pain threshold to boot).

Now he doesn't even realize that not only do the Levitical laws allow people to eat certain animals, there are requirements of bloodshed on an enormous level.  He would never murder animals because he'd done something wrong.  And as for the Jesus story, he'd never murder anyone else for a wrong he'd done, either.

Once my firstborn found out I no longer believed the bible is the word of God, he said something like, "Well, I've never believed all those crazy stories, anyway."  Sounds like my son has more sense than the rest of us.  My kids have seen bible story videos over and over through the years.  I don't think they've viewed them as any different than all the other far-out cartoons that they've seen, like talking dogs and ponies and such.

As for my bible reading to them over the years?  It's mostly consisted of proverbs (sayings of wisdom) and portions of wise teachings of Jesus (or so it is claimed in the bible to be his teachings) and little things here and there that are good teachings.  In other words, the things that I've actually read to them on a regular basis from the bible are good wisdom and moral teachings that can also be taught from other books.

Showing my kids a pornography video or a violent movie ranks on the same level as reading most of the stuff from the Jewish bible to them, so I don't read those things to them.

Have you ever noticed on bible cartoons that they leave out a lot of things that the bible actually says?  The reason for that is because what the bible says is so grossly immoral, it's not suitable for children.

I've been criticized by different people over the years for being an intellectual, as if that's a bad thing.  Well my son is another intellectual, so I guess in the eyes of the bible-believers, he's not fit for paradise and is headed to the flames along with me and his father.  He is a thinker and enjoys conversations with adults.  He is always impressing someone with his knowledge, morality, helpfulness and kindness. 

When I was his age I only had encyclopedias, the books I bought when I went to the bookstores with my dad, and my dad's books that I borrowed.  My son, though, uses his iPad mini that he bought to research, and he does so often.  He also spends plenty of time in nature, observing, studying, learning.  He spends time building, inventing, creating.

He's of excellent reputation among people.  We constantly get compliments on what a hard worker he is, how intelligent he is, and how very kind and thoughtful he is.  He cares about people and helps when he sees a need.  He cares about animals and takes care of our chickens and saves what he can from the killer cats.  He cares about the environment and practices a lifestyle of environmental responsibility.  He even initiated recycling at the church we attended for a few months.  He'd go so far as to dig plastic bottles out of the trash when some didn't use the container he took.  He is always trying to refuse money for work done for us or others.  He's also fiscally responsible, practicing excellent discipline in saving his money until he can buy what he really wants.  He's also very giving.

All this, and he rejects a lot of what the bible teaches about morality, believing it to be immoral. 

I've guided my children in morality, no matter what, not in belief no matter what.  I believe truth and morality always trumps something we've just been programmed to believe.

Since I have been bringing my children up as thinkers, then no one ought to worry about my children.  When they're adults, they will go out on their own, and since I don't program them to believe, but to think, then they're free to read the bible and other books themselves and choose, if they want, to believe some book is the word of God.

To think that I'm somehow damning my children to flames is insane and only makes one question all the more why people would serve some god that would throw a person in flames because of what their parents did.

Finally, my son knows that there are two people who have treated me in a very immoral way, totally rejecting me as a friend, who based their friendship with me on a belief rather than character, and he has been totally loving and sympathetic toward me, as well as horrified that they have the audacity to consider themselves Godly, because he knows the God I've always believed in was a God of love and forgiveness, and acceptance.  He knows how I treat others, and he knows I would never treat my friends like that and that I don't base friendship solely on the belief that the bible is the word of God.  That disgusts him all the more that that is the fruit that the bible breeds.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nearly 500 Serious Contradictions in the Bible

To whom did Peter deny Jesus, when did Jesus ascend, at what time of day did Jesus die?  You decide, based on the horrendous contradictions in the bible, nearly five-hundred of which can be found at the Skeptic's Annotated Bible, and which you can, of course, check in your own bible.  Don't forget what Paul said, "Prove all things."  ;-)  Just a mere three examples below.
 


Did Abraham know God's name?
Yes No
Genesis 22:14
And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.
Exodus 6:3
And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
 
 

 
From what were the animals created?
Water Ground
Genesis 1:20
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
Genesis 2:19
And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air
 


 

 
How many languages were there before the Tower of Babel was built?
There was only one language. There were many languages.
Genesis 11:1
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
Genesis 11:6-9
And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language. (v.6) Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. (v.7)
Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth. (v.9)
Genesis 10:5-31
By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands, every one after his tongue. (v.5) These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues. (v.20)
These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their tongues. (v.31)





The Tree Story is Impossible: Part 2

Oh yes, that's right.  When using the brain with which I was supplied, I thought of two more reasons why the tree story is ridiculous, after I posted part one.

First:  Is death good or evil?  Adam and Eve obviously knew what it meant.  Notice when they were told by El/Elohim that they would surely die in the day the day they knew what good and evil was, they're not recorded as to having asked what "die" means.  But Eve repeated it to the serpent, saying Elohim said that they would die.  It all seems to imply she knew what dying meant.  So, clearly they already knew some evil before eating the fruit.

The simple revealing of what it means to die is some knowledge of good and evil.  I think Adam and Eve would likely think of their lives as good and that dying would be evil.

Second:  There was also the tree of life.  Why didn't they just eat from that tree first?  And what would that mean?  That they'd get spirit bodies to live forever?  Then they couldn't reproduce more flesh-bodied people so that their offspring could make their own choices whether to "know good and evil."

Did it mean they'd just stay alive as long as they continually ate from it?  But that wouldn't make sense, because it sounds as if they were going to live indefinitely in physical bodies, anyway, so long as they didn't eat from the Knowledge tree.  There was nothing saying, "You'll die eventually, anyway, so long as you don't eat from that tree."  From the post-eating words from the Elohim, it sounds as if they decided to guard the tree of life to prevent Adam and Eve from living forever.

So what if Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of life first and so would have lived forever?  Then what if they'd eaten from the knowledge tree afterward?  Or would that tree then be blocked off if they'd eaten from the tree of life first?   We already know that the Elohim said, after the garden couple had eaten from the knowledge tree, that they then were like the Elohim in that they knew good from evil.  So having the same knowledge of what is good and bad like the Elohim can't be tolerated, but living forever like the Elohim would have been tolerated, had they eaten from the tree of life first?

But if they'd have lived forever, then they'd eventually know good and evil, regardless of whether they'd eat from the knowledge tree, as I explained in my part one post.

And besides, later on in the bible the knowing what is good from evil is hailed as a good thing and that we should seek knowledge and choose the good and reject the evil.

It's making a lot of sense now why it's said a person needs to become like a little child in order to believe in all this nonsense.  A poor innocent child will usually just believe what their authority figures tell them, without question.

Of course, this is just the beginning of the breakdown of the absolute folly of the book people call the bible.  I am one of the many who bought into it all and now have gone into it fresh and unblinded, putting aside pre-indoctrination and can see it for what it is.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Tree Story is Impossible

So, I was just thinking to myself a bit ago about my own creation story, how I would have done things if I was a creator of a world and people.

I was thinking about helping people learn as they go in life, which is pretty much what we do for our own children now, no different; correcting gently as things go along, and then it hit me:

There is no way the tree of the knowledge of good and evil story can be true.

1. If no one had eaten from it, then life would go along, but eventually something would come up where there would be a conflict of some sort.  Maybe it would be a disagreement on property ownership or one man lusting after another's wife and causing jealousy, or whatever.  This is where people would know good and evil.  No tree necessary.

2. If they were inherently perfect, where nobody would ever possibly enter a conflict of any sort, then they were never really created with free will, as free moral agents.  And in that case, why would they have been created in flesh in the first place, if being spirit-bodied is supposedly the state of perfection?

Also, how would it be sin to realize—to "know"— there are bad consequences for some actions, which is what happens when we learn something is bad, as it's learned normally through our experience or observation of someone else's?  It's called learning.

It's only foolish or wrong if, after learning, the behavior is repeatedly practiced.  Again, it can't be a transgression to come to the knowledge of good and evil, because if it is:

1. Then the god of the bible (which is no creator of mine, I know now) is the ultimate transgressor, since he knows good and evil.

2. It was inevitable.  We know how we come to know good and evil.  It's when we learn from experience or from the experiences of others.  If someone eats a fruit off a certain plant, and it kills him or her, we know not to eat that fruit!  In other cases, if we've seen lots of people eat that fruit with no ill consequences, but then someone comes along, and he dies afterward, we know it was only evil for him and similar others (he was allergic).  So we were forced into "sin," anyway, since it was inevitable to learn what good and evil is without the tree!

3. El, the Canaanite bible god, supposedly told Adam and Eve to not eat the fruit from that tree, but why put the damned tree there in the first place, if they're inevitably going to learn what's good and evil on their own, anyway?!  And then he tempted them with it by telling them not to do it but leaving the serpent in the garden with them.  Whatever that serpent was, whether a snake with legs or the Satan or whatever, it obviously knew things and talked, and it didn't even lie as people claim, because exactly what he said would happen did indeed happen.  Their eyes were opened so that the knew good and evil like El.  They also didn't die.  As a matter of fact, they supposedly lived nearly a millennium!  We don't live that long today.  If it was the supposed "second death" that was referred to, then damn, that's sick.  I love my babies waaaaay too much, and they've done a whole lot worse than simply eating something I told them not to (they've done that, too), and it's not in my heart to bring them back from the dead only to kill them again in flames.  I'm too loving for that.  And too just for that.  Feel like I should throw that one in, too.

As a matter of fact, even though I wish they (and myself) were perfect, I would rather live eternally with my kids just the way they are (the good outweighs the bad by far) than to burn them to death.

So how's that?  I challenge anyone to answer me on this.

Perhaps someone out there can show just how evil he or she is and show the true nature of his or her heart by trying to argue this, but I don't know who would want to do so.

My eyes are indeed open to knowing good and evil, and there's a lot more evil in the "old testament" books than good.  So for my choosing the good, who wants me to burn?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Elisha a False Prophet and Yahweh a Lover of Human Sacrifice

I was putting together what I'm finding in the bible that the Israelite-Canaanite-Phoenician god Yahweh loves human sacrifice, so long as it's to him, when I came across the fact that not only is that suitable, but Elisha was a false prophet.

I'll write more about human sacrifice tomorrow, but real quickly here:

2 Kings 3:18 says that Elisha said that the Moabites would be delivered into the hands of Israel and Edom. 

Okay, read through, keep reading.  They are killing the Moabites, and then...

And interestingly enough these next two verses I have high-lighted in the color I used for my family studies for a section in the book I've been planning.  Ironic how I didn't see the bigger picture before.  Isn't that interesting how at certain times we just don't see things that we see at later times?  We may have our eyes open to some things, but then we remain blinded to others. 

Vs. 26-27 state that when the battle looked grim to the king of Moab, he grabbed his eldest son, his heir, and he offered him for a burnt offering upon the wall.  How absolutely awful.

Now the god of Moab was Chemosh, but it doesn't say there whether the king offered his son to Chemosh or to Yahweh.  Either way...

There was great wrath against Israel, so Israel fled.  Yep!  So Moab wasn't delivered into Israel's hands, as Elisha prophesied.  Israel ended up fleeing before they finished the job, and it was this "wrath" against Israel after the Moabite king sacrificed his firstborn.  Whether it was supposedly Chemosh's wrath or Yahweh's wrath, depending unto whom the Moabite king sacrificed, two things are evident:

1. Elisha is a false prophet.
2. Yahweh is either wicked for accepting Moab's sacrifice to him, or he allowed Chemosh to beat him.

End of story.

But more really horrific things tomorrow, as I'm sorting through the verses in my bible.  Just wait to see what it's in store.

Make sure if you are reading this and you want the truth yourself, check those scriptures and read it thoroughly for yourself. 

The "Key" to Understanding Prophecy Disproven by DNA

I was taken in many years ago by the belief of British-Israelism, which many in the churches of God proclaim is the "key" to understanding bible prophecy.  I read two books about it back in 2005, and it was very convincing.  Sadly I had not quite reached the stage of loving etymology at that time, and so I guess I never did prove out even the etymology "proofs" the authors gave.  Shame on me.

But in my recent research I realized there are many evidences against it, and the biggest one by far is the DNA evidence.  We live in an age where there is no excuse of not seeking out answers on things, because we've got information at our fingertips.

What this means is that we who have believed this have been lying to others.  I have been lying, because I believed lies!  And others have lied even greater.  I've never been big into studying bible prophecy, because quite honestly, it can be interpreted so many ways.  (I always liked to interpret law, because I've got a moral compass inside myself, but I don't have a magic ball).  I've seen many ways where interpretations make sense.  The reason is because there is nothing really plain-as-day, specific, and you'd think if it was God-directed, there would be no doubt about what is being said.  Otherwise, it's like he wants people in the dark (well, indeed, that's what the bible even claims, isn't it?), to disobey, so then he can unleash his wrath.  Sounds rather satanic.

Anyway...on to the proof:

DNA Evidence Refutes British-Israelism

More Evidence Debunking British-Israelism

The second one is on the Armstrong Delusion website, which is a great source for those who are stuck in Armstrong delusion. When I first started searching what I'd found in the bible to be different than what Protestant pastors were teaching, it didn't take me long to form an opinion of Herbert Armstrong.  This is another fine example of how the, "Oh, it's just Satan deceiving you.  Those things aren't true," line of thought can keep you stuck in a cult.

Perhaps after being shown scientific evidence, some will still refuse to believe, but to each his own.  Thankfully I've got the right not to believe it.  Thankfully we still have freedom of religion to a point in this nation, and I'm not facing an Inquisitor telling me to recant or die.

The Power of Fear

Fear.  It's the tactic of any good dictator.  The belief is that people cannot rule themselves, they're inherently bad, and so it's the duty of some individual to wield authority over the masses in a monarchical arrangement.  But who is so much better than any of the rest of us to think he is fit to rule?

I've always been of a republic mindset myself.  I believe in a free society.  I believe that when people work together using reason, there is freedom and happiness.  The helpless are helped, the unrelenting wicked are punished, and the people use the better part of their time to enjoy life with their fellow earthlings and work creatively to make the planet a better place.

And it really does work.  When people are free to search truth and to live their lives unrestricted, so long as they're not harming other persons or their properties, people live together in relative harmony.   It is in an environment like this that things like slavery are abolished.

But there are, unfortunately, people out there who think they need to rule.  They've got to come up with a plan to deceive people to follow them, though.  Oftentimes they bring God or gods into the equation or claim to be a god themselves.

Currently I think there likely is a God.  But wow, there are all sorts of ways we, as people, have boxed him up and labeled him.  And then we're all deluded as children, just as those before us were deluded as children, to believe in him this way or that way, whatever way your particular culture teaches it, and then, if that wasn't enough, it's got to be paired up with a teaching that it's heresy to prove it out for yourself, to your own satisfaction.  That means Muslims are forbidden to read the bible, Christians are forbidden to read the Qu'ran, and so on.  And all such peoples think they are right.  They know they're right.  How?  Why, because their holy book says so, that's why!  And how can it be wrong?  So then there's never and peace, because rather than using our Truth and Love Guide (and I don't mean some book that you've got to place blind faith in, since it was written by those who say they saw it and heard it) that resides in us, we rather listen to the little fear leech that tags along.

I've heard from two dear friends today, and fear was brought up in both conversations.

One friend is doing the noble thing by "proving all things," seeing whether what I've said holds any weight.  She, like I, has had questions that she's pushed back in her mind throughout the years, good questions that any sane and rational person ought to have.  She confided in me that she is not ready to say anything to anyone, yet, and she's still searching.  Well, that's wise.  I certainly didn't make my decision overnight.  No, I had to give my kids a lot of game time and such so that I could read, read, read, and meditate, investigate.  Day after day, and week after week.  And then add that to all the wise questions that I've had filed away in my mind over the years.  She may not ever tell some people, she said, because of judgement.  I can't say I blame her at all.   She also said, "I am realizing more and more about the fear religion puts into us.  It's mind boggling."

Yep.  I still have the fear leech saying, "What if you're wrong?"  It's because I've been programmed for soooo long.  But fear should never dominate over truth.

That brings me to the conversation I had with my other friend.  It seemed to me that she may have been ignoring me, rejecting me, over a couple things she disagreed with me about.  I didn't like how she said something, though now as I type this, perhaps even that was not taken exactly the right way, because you can't get an accurate emotional read with something written, which this was.  I did reason that maybe she was just busy (there was evidence available to me there that she was).  I voiced it several times to my Love.  I really was concerned.  I kept telling myself maybe she just didn't have time, and I should just wait longer.  But the fear leech within me said it was because she was pissed at me, and so what I should have done, I didn't do.  What I should have done is asked her directly (I did ask her something in an email about busyness with something, but it was vague) whether she was ignoring me, whether she was mad at me, or whether she was just busy.

The reason I did not directly ask her which it was is because I failed to work up the nerve to do so.  I was afraid of the answer I'd get!  I was afraid of what the truth might be! 

So what do I do, amidst my hurt yesterday, when out of the blue I'm getting all this messaging from her on my iPhone, basically saying she was upset (understandable) and that she couldn't be my friend until I repented?  I lashed out!  In the blog post I made up.  No, I didn't name who it was.  I haven't named anyone regarding anything.  But I nevertheless did what I told myself I would not do, which is accuse her of the assumption I had that was rooted in fear.  Of course, I apologized.  She then told me that I've always been good to be patient, that she's forgotten things before or didn't have time to talk for awhile, and she told me that I've never hated her for it. That's all true.  I've got a good track record of being very understanding when I don't get a fast response.  I'm plenty guilty of the same, and I don't expect anything greater out of others.  But this time, as weeks turned into months, which is quite a long time, and judging by the last things she'd said to me, I let the fear outweigh reason.

How many persons, I wonder, who reacted to me the way they did, truly read my entire blog post before reacting?  I'm personally struggling with how some could react the way they did if they truly read it all.  I think there's a good chance some did not read it all.  I know how the human mind works.  Sometimes when we start reading something that starts upsetting us, we stop reading. We then assume that we know the whole story, we reach our own conclusions quite quickly, and then go on the attack.  Yeah.  That's right.  You know how I know?  Because I've been guilty of it before.  Because I know for a fact that others have done so before.  So that's why I think there's a good chance some didn't read it all thoroughly before reacting.  It's also important not to react right away after reading something, but rather to go spend time meditating on it.  These are things that I've learned in my life, and I'm only 31.

That is also why I think my one friend that I haven't heard from (actually haven't checked my email today, yet) hasn't responded, yet, because she tends to go meditate on things for awhile before deciding how to respond.  I've observed that about her over the years.  And I value it.  She's not quick to get into debates, but I think she sorts wise judgements in her head.  She's a good example in many ways.

Now let's reason together...

It's fearful to think that we might be wrong about something, isn't it?  I can now better understand in a compassionate way how it's difficult for many to turn away from the big Christmas and Easter celebrations and their Sunday churches, etc., because it really is a big thing.  You get judged, some may reject you, you've got emotional attachments to various things, and so on.  People are afraid of the truth.  The fear leech keeps them entangled.

How is it, though, for those who actually did read the blog post, that they can search and find evidence that Christmas and Easter and such originate in terrible pagan customs, yet they won't investigate to see whether I'm telling the truth about the biblical holidays being rooted in bloody and superstitious pagan customs?  How come it's ok that the bible contains holidays accepted from Canaanite and Babylonian religions?  How come it's ok that all the tales are lies, because they're just stories borrowed from older cultures?  We know the Jews also, to this day, have the Babylonian calendar months.  They've got two new year days in a year, just like the Babylonians.  And they've got some of their holy days, as well as some Canaanite ones.

We should ask why so many who are bible scholars have left their faith once they see all the manuscripts.  That's an intelligent and wise question to ask.  Just in the new testament books, there are more inconsistencies and contradictions in all the manuscripts than there are words in the new testament!  And they're not all minor, either.

The oldest gospel manuscripts don't even teach that Jesus as divine.  Some of us have known for years that the last several verses of Mark aren't original and that the words in one of the epistles of John were added to the KJV to "prove" a trinity.  There are, in fact, lots of other big problems.  The story of the woman caught in adultery is not original.  It was added much, much later.   And on and on I could go.  There are major contradictions, not just things that can be reasoned as simple differences in point of view (like how many women were at Jesus' tomb), but much bigger things.  The fact is that there were lots of different "gospels" and such, and people just voted yea or nay at the Nicean Council in the fourth century.  Too bad they didn't pay close attention to the four gospels, because they're terribly contradictory, moreso than I realized before.

It's said that Luke authored Luke and Acts.  The gospel "according to" Luke claims Jesus ascended later the same day he was resurrected.  Read through it carefully.  He met with the disciples, walked with them to Bethany, and then he ascended.  In Acts it was forty days afterward.

Did he truly walk to Emmaus and then meet the disciples later that day in Jerusalem in a room, or did he rather meet them in Galilee?  With the distance in mind, it's impossible both happened.  Which was it?  Did he say they needed to meet him in Jerusalem or Galilee?  If one is true, the other is a lie.

How come history doesn't tell of the mass slaughter of babies by Herod?  Was John the Baptist outside of the region affected (perhaps so, I could argue this myself)?  Rome didn't send people to the towns of their fathers to register in a census, and could you imagine the chaotic mess it would be if that is how it was done?  It wasn't how it was done; you can look it up.  Also, it was a Judean census, so it would not have affected a Galilean.  And finally, the census was taken in 6 CE, when Qurinius was governor of Syria, whereas the other gospel account says it was during Herod the Great's reign, but he died in 4 B.C.  One of them is lying.  I've searched to try to see whether anyone can reconcile it, and no one can satisfactorily do so.

If there is a God, and if there is a judgement, will He judge us justly for using our reason and the evidence we have and by our hearts, by how we react to certain things (like the horrors in the old testament), or for having blind faith?

I know there are some who love using circular arguments, which pretty much states that the bible is true, because it says it's true, but I have never bought into that.  If there is nothing to test the bible's truthhood, then it would be wise to default to not believing it.  I've always made arguments with evidence outside of the bible to try to back the bible, and I've gotten a lot further with people that way than those who use circular reasoning who talked to the same people.  Circular reasoning is not reasoning at all.

No one should be afraid of searching.  If searching brings you fear, what is causing the fear?  It's not healthy.  Fear is not healthy.  We've got scientific evidence that it's not healthy for the mind, nor the body.  Fear is what evil beings use to control people.  Truth and love is what good beings use to free people.  Look around and observe it yourself.  Judge by the fruit you see.  Meditate on it. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Exodus in Genesis: The Beginning of a Dogma-Free Life

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. ~Arthur Schopenhauer~

I'm learning and realizing so much that it's hard to know where to begin in my writing, but I think a good place to start is with the mention of something quoted in a sermon given by a friend of mine, over a year and a half ago, entitled, "What is Truth?" 

He quoted someone, though I forget whom, saying something like, "Do we value truth above all? Above Christianity, above the bible?"  Of course, my immediate in-though response was, "Absolutely!"  Because that's true.  I do desire truth above all things, even love (which comes second), because there can be "love" in the absence of truth. 

At that time, however, I still believed the bible was true.  I knew it had some contradictions and some translational errors, but whereas I use my reason and logic pretty well in most areas of my life, I was letting some sort of attachment squash reason in regards to many things within the bible.  I do think that there are good lessons and some wise sayings in the bible, but I think the stories therein and of "Jesus" being the saving son of God, etc. are a big lie.  There are lots of other books with some good teachings, too, also with some lies.  I've read other books, though, that are overall much better than the bible when it comes to teaching morals.

There are so many places I can start with this continuance, which will begin to explain how I arrived at this, but I will start with an an incident that occurred just a few weeks prior to this writing. 

One to three nights prior to the day, my Love and I were once again discussing things with one another, when he questioned what it says in the book of Matthew about Jesus being named so and then claiming it was because it was prophesied he was to be named Immanuel.  I replied that I'd always thought it was just another name for him, like a middle name.  He kept objecting, saying that the text said he was to be called Jesus based on the prophecy that said he was to be called Immanuel.

Now to the day soon following that night:  The kids and I went outside, while my Love was away at a job.  I had the whole Jesus-Immanuel thing on my mind, so I grabbed a bible on my way out and proceeded to read the part in Matthew, then flipped back to Isaiah 7 to read.  I frowned.  Not only are the names Jesus and Immanuel different, with different meanings, but Isaiah was talking about someone entirely different!  He wasn't prophesying about any future-coming Messiah at all!  (And how did that escaped my notice before?? Blindness…)

I thought maybe if I ran back inside and grabbed the book one of my friends wrote on the prophets, I'd come to an understanding.  So I did just that.  I got back to my chair outside and flipped through the pages until I got to the commentary on Isaiah 7.  He said verse 14, the "Immanuel" verse was prophesying the Messiah.  Then I read on, and he started talking about about a prophetess' son.    What?!

So I read the whole thing before that, in my bible, and after it again, on into Isaiah 8.  The whole thing is talking about a sign to Ahaz concerning Syria, Ephraim, and Samaria and what would happen within an allotted time.  The sign was the maiden conceiving and bearing a son, and all that Isaiah said would happen would do so before the child was old enough to know good from evil.  So it has nothing to do with an anointed one to come hundreds of years afterward.  Not a very good sign to Ahaz that would be.  (Oh, and by the way, that child's name turned out not to be Immanuel, either.)  How in the world can a person take a snippet of a verse out of context and apply it to be a foretelling of a son of a god?  It's the same way that some people, after the twin towers of the World Trade Center came down in 2001, took a snippet from Nostradamus' prophecy about twins being destroyed in York.  And that's how all such "prophecy" works.  People make things to happen, just as it says in the gospels even, "So that this may be fulfilled…," and people take snippets of whatever to make them fit. 

My face must have been contorted in confusion and disgust.  I thought, "How do you get that from this???"  I slammed the book closed, closed the bible, and leaned back in my chair with a sigh, staring across the yard into nothing.  I'd had quite a bit of that for one day.  Some day, I thought, I'd like to finally look up all the supposed prophecies to compare them all…

Before fast-forwarding a few weeks, I'd like to go back up in the past a bit.  My Love, who, for those wondering, has been heavily researching on his own, especially video debates (so that he can hear different sides for things) for the last year.  Over a decade ago, when we were active in the Southern Baptist churches, he kept telling me there was more to just believing in Jesus to be saved.  I kept telling him it was that simple, we weren't saved by works (even though I personally had prayed the so-called "sinner's prayer" numerous times throughout my childhood, because it just didn't seem to work any magic for me).  He kept saying there had to be more to it.  It was during his persistence of that period when we both started getting serious about reading the bible.  I did so at home, while he did so in hotel rooms, as he worked out of state during the week.  Separately reading, we both came simultaneously to the same conclusions, that what we were reading was vastly different than what we'd been taught in the Protestant churches.  Then, long story short, we arrived at what I've lived out (and somewhat off and on so for my husband) for the last decade, rejecting the pagan Christianity doctrines of the trinity, ever-burning hell, heaven upon death, Christmas, Easter, Sunday, etc.  Now we both look back and wonder why we foolishly thought that since people didn't follow the book exactly, that still made the book the word of God.  But we both agree that it was still a stepping stone in our life's journey of learning, and I'm just so thankful I'm still young and have mostly young children.  I haven't invested my entire life in a lie as some have.  I always try to look on the positive side of things, so I am mostly feeling thankful, rather than feeling enraged at myself.

Now back to recently, fast-forwarding a few weeks from my little Jesus-Immanuel examination.  It was our rest day, and he texted me a link to an essay written by Thomas Paine (one of America's "Founding Fathers") on the prophecies of Jesus Christ (which I know now is actually part 3 of his Age of Reason). 

So outside I went, with him following to sit beside me to read his own thing, while our beloved children jumped in a water sprinkler that our eleven-year old son constructed himself.

Thomas Paine had gone through all the places in the gospels where there were claimed fulfilled prophecies that were to be fulfilled during Jesus' life, and he went back to where the supposed prophecies were, and he crushed each and every one in succession (I've since flipped through them all on my own, too), beginning with the one I'd seen on my own just weeks ago to be a farce.

I immediately fell in love with his writing style and thought process, which reminded me of my own.  I kept laughing aloud, and my Love said he was surprised to hear me laughing, that he hadn't expected that response (though he had hoped that that would be the thing that opened my eyes).  Ah, but that was what I'd wanted to see myself, and here someone else had done this already, and it just so happened that my Love had sent it to me.

It was a job well done, with perfectly appropriate comments throughout, proper for exposing such deception and expressing anger at such folly (and since then, I've started going through other books of the "new testament" and writing down how insane and dishonest other claims of fulfilled prophecy are).

I've since read a lot more of Thomas Paine's writings and other things written by a Deist point-of-view, which fits me so well, as nature has always spoken the loudest to me, over the bible or anything else.  It is the natural religion, opposed to "revealed religion," all coming from various men that we must trust rather than our Creator (if there is one) directly.

I've read many things over the years, including New Age and Greek myths in my teens, the book of Jasher (mentioned twice as a reference in the bible), some of Enoch, and many others.  Over the past two years I've read the Holy Vedas, the Buddhist Dhammapada, as well as others.  I still am reading a volume of collected "Buddhist Scriptures" (which I am mostly disliking quite a bit, though I liked the Dhammapada).

It was through my reading of the Muslim Qur'an, the Hindu Vedas, and the Buddhist Dhammapada over the past two years that I came to realize that men twist everything and add to everything.  The vast majority of content in those books was all very good and agreeable with the good parts of the bible.  The Qur'an claims it confirms Torah and gospels, though it doesn't fully, so it begs the question why Muslims aren't checking out the Torah and gospels to see what they say.  It also teaches some of the same pagan Christianity beliefs, like an ever-burning hell, except it at least explains how it's possible, namely that the wicked will constantly receive new skins as they burn off. 

I love the Vedas.  There's hardly anything in there that warrants flagging.  It's full of wonderful wisdom and sensible teaching and mostly refers to one Creator.  I realize there are other Hindu books that I haven't yet read in full, but there was nothing, really, in the Vedas that looked like the Hinduism religion.  The same can be said of the Qur'an and Islam.  Men add ideas to people's books and make religions.  Judaism was created with more than the bible's old testament.  Christianity was created with more than just the bible.

Now when I had revealed all this to my Love months ago, it had apparently sealed the deal for him (unbeknownst to me until much more recently).  He recently confided in me that the strength with which I argued things had kept him just unsure enough to keep fighting against his God-given reasoning, which eventually prevailed with the accumulation of information and evidence.

I'd read about an alternative creation story eight years or so ago, which still contained Adam and Eve.  Then my Love and I listened to an audio version of the Epic of Gilgamesh three or four years ago.  Until a few weeks ago those were the only alternative or parallel creation and/or flood accounts I'd explored.  This was before the prophecy incident.  One of the biggest things my Love has talked about the past year is the biblical flood story, and so I just decided to read other accounts several weeks ago.  I guess I thought maybe by doing so I was going to give more credence to the bible story, but the opposite happened, in fact, as I meditated on it all for the days and weeks following my reading of them.  For the last few years I have believed in the not-so-popular belief that the flood was regional, because I am a reasoning, logical, scientific person, and scientifically the regional flood is the only one that even had a chance of passing the possibility test.  After reading the flood accounts, though, and reading the biblical text over and over again, there's no denying that it's meant to be believed as a planet-wide flood that covered all the mountains, which most certainly did not take place.

Among the many flood accounts that have survived there are a few parallel to the bible.  They are obviously about the same main character, because the names are all similar or the same to Noah.  He built a boat, various birds are let loose, and the boat lands on a mountain.  But in the Near East versions the boat lands there, in the Australian version, the boat lands on a mountain in Australia, and in the Hawaii version the boat lands in Hawaii.  Birds differ a bit, and the sacrifices differ.  In Hawaii, for example, "Nua" offered coconuts and such.

There were also a few flood accounts that talked more of a log or bottle or barrel-type vessel that kids were sealed up in, with a sooty plug in a hole.  The one who unplugged it became black from the soot, and so he became the father of the black peoples (yeah, go figure).  Remind you of an alternative story in the bible about Noah's son Ham?  It at least didn't involve soot, but…

I soon thereafter read more creation accounts.  There had been a flood story that interlaced a creation account, because it was clearly an alternative to the two trees story.  It didn't involve trees but rather a fish that wasn't supposed to be eaten.

As I said already, I'd read all those things before the prophecies incident, and I reasoned initially that the numerous tales gave more credit, perhaps, to the bible.

But then even more recently I let my children watch a movie called Tangled (Disney).  It's based on the Rapunzel tale.  A wicked woman stole a princess baby, because the child had magic hair that would glow when she sang.  It kept the wicked woman young and supposedly beautiful, because the hair contained healing properties.  The catch, though, was that if her long golden hair was cut, it would turn brown and lose its power.

Hmmm…that reminded me of the Samson and Delilah story and so inspired me to see whether there were other parallel stories. 

I can't say I was really surprised to find that there were.  Hercules/Apollo apparently would lose his power if his hair was cut, and he also killed a lion with his hands (or with a club and finished it with his hands, depending on which version) and ate honey from it.  It predates Samson by at least several decades to a century.  I looked up the dates for both. 

So then I started searching other fanciful tales from bible lore, and sure enough, all of them are found in other nations' mythology, predating the biblical accounts, some by many centuries. 

Cain and Abel, Jonah and the fish, Samson and Delilah, talking animals, killing a giant…it all can be found predating when the bible events supposedly took place.  The Jews copied things from from other cultures and wrote out a fancy-sounding history for themselves. 

None of the bible (saving for Job, perhaps, which is likely the story of a "gentile") was even written until the time of Israelite and Judahite monarchies, and a great deal wasn't made up and written until the Babylonian captivity of the Jews.  Initially I was skeptical of this when my Love and I watched a bible archaeology documentary.   Israel Finkelstein is a Jew himself, and he's one of the ones who worked on the project.  I think the documentary is The Bible Unearthed.  The men were honestly trying to see whether the bible was historically accurate. They explored both archaeological and historical evidence.  Both types of evidence testified against the bible.  When I watched, though, I wasn't very convinced about their claim that Deueteronomy wasn't written until the reign of Josiah and that most things weren't written until during the Jews' Babylonian captivity.  I didn't see how they were coming up with that.  Either it wasn't detailed enough to satisfy me, or I missed something.

A short time later, all this still before being introduced to Thomas Paine's shattering of the Messianic prophecies, I read that the two creation accounts in the opening chapters of Genesis were written by two different authors and at two different times (the latter of the the two during the Babylonian captivity but which appears first in Genesis).  Well, that certainly explains why there are contradictions in the two accounts.

I guess I still wasn't fully convinced.  However, when I more recently read Paine's Age of Reason (it's addressed in part 2), he used only the bible to prove the books weren't written until the captivity, or at the very least, until after there were ruling monarchies in Judah.  He pointed at numerous proofs in the bible itself.  I could no longer ignore the facts at that point.  Outside historical evidence, archaeological evidence, and the bible's own revelations within all prove, without a doubt, that the so-called "books of Moses" weren't written until several hundred years after Moses supposedly lived.

Then there are prophecies that were made and recorded to have failed, and a busting-at-the-seams plethora of contradictions throughout both the "old testament" and "new testament."

Perhaps most importantly there are the numerous evidences that the Israelite tribal god Yahweh is evil when we use our God-given reason and built-in morality, but those of us brought up to believe in the bible push our reason away and instead justify (or ignore as some people do) it all for Yahweh/Jehovah. 

Still, there were two things that I still wanted to check into, namely the biblical feasts/holidays and the validity of the book of Revelation. 

I didn't look into the weekly sabbath, because during my recent search into the origin of the 7-day week—an unrelated search—I found information on the Babylonian lunar sabbath, of which there are four a month, and that also explained to me why there are some Christians who teach the lunar sabbath doctrine (which someone asked me about a few years ago, and I'd said the sabbath was a weekly ordinance, not an ordinance related to the lunar cycle). 

Passover, I figured was easy, because it deals with firstborn human sacrifice and/or animal sacrifice.  I researched it, anyway, and found evidence that such a practice by the polytheistic cultures (Canaanite and Amorite) before the supposed (but likely made-up, at least the way it is written in the bible) biblical exodus from Egypt.  The Zukru festival was very much like Passover and Unleavened Bread.  Instead of brushing a doorpost with blood to protect the inside inhabitants, the lamb sacrifices were done outside, and blood was brushed on everyone's foreheads.  Two kinds of bread were made to eat by the people and the gods, barley bread and mashed bread, and they ate them with wine.

Rosh Hashanah (Trumpets) is rooted in the Babylonian Akitu harvest festival, which like the Jews' holiday, is also a new year's celebration, as the Babylonians also had their year divided into two parts with two new years. 

Day of Atonement/Yom Kippur has its origins in the Babylonian and Assyrian Kuppuru atoning ceremony.  

The Feast of Booths or Feast of Ingathering (Sukkot) came from the Canaanites' autumn harvest festival, during which they'd stay in temporary shelters in the fields until they harvested their crops. 

The final editors of the bible, the priests, while in Babylon, added in the new themes they wanted these feasts to apply to, like staying in booths to remember the wilderness exodus, for example.  It's no different than what the Roman Catholic Church has done with other pagan holidays and the traditions and symbols that go along with them, applying them to Jesus (like saying Christmas is his birthday, that Easter celebrates the resurrection and that the eggs symbolize new life in him, etc.).

El was a Canaanite god, his consort being Asherah, their children including Baal and Anat (Astarte/Ashtoreth).  El was the head of a pantheon of gods and was a creator god with a loving nature.  Yahweh was a god of war and storms and such.  P's manuscripts (the ones written by the priests in Babylon) and J's manuscripts ("Jah," for Yahweh, which refers to another author who only wrote about Yahweh) contradict each other so that it's unclear whether Abraham knew El as Yahweh, too, or not, as it is later said to Moses that his fathers did not know him as Yahweh but only El.  Either way, the gods are blended by the time of the final editing of the books. 

It may be that the book of Revelation was written with ideas borrowed from the Sibylline books (not to be confused with the Sibylline chronicles) which were written BCE by an oracle.  Other books have borrowed from these, too.  We cannot know for sure, because there are no known copies of the Sibylline books now in existence.  The Kalki Purana, which wasn't written until probably the third or fourth century CE, may have been written after Revelation (if Revelation was indeed written in the first century) but probably borrowed from the Sibylline books, since there is evidence so many prophets from various cultures borrowed from those books.  In the Kalki Purana a future avatar of Vishnu, known as Kalki, is prophesied to come on a white horse, flashing his scimitar and to conquer the wicked, before setting up the peaceful paradise Shambala. 

You know, I've walked around for a few years now, feeling guilt about a couple different things I wrote about in my Ten Commandments book, because as a moral person, I felt they were wrong, but I stayed true to the bible teaching and defended Yahweh, justifying for this non-existent war god his horribly wicked commands. 

I also have planned on writing another book, which has been in the works for a few years now, and one of the topics was going to be about the technology of God, man, and animals.  I was going to systematically show how modern-day scientific knowledge and technology proves how all those far-out stories in the bible can be true and scientifically explained.  Now I know that all those stories originated with older cultures, and the Jews just copied and then made themselves out to be better than everyone else, a special race.  I will still write a book, and a lot of the information that I've obtained from sources over the last few years, as well as my exhaustive notes, will still be used.  It was not all for naught.  I just certainly will not be praising the bible as the "word of God."  

There's so much more I'd love to write about and will, in time, but this will suffice for now.

I'm free.  I no longer have to defend an evil god that doesn't even exist.  I can trust my God-given reason and stop defending the bible as the word of God when it doesn't deserve it and is a disgrace to the real God, if there is one.  I can all the more easily reject any "revealed religion" that comes from men.  If it's not revealed to me, I shouldn't have to believe it, because to do so isn't trusting God, but rather the man/men who claimed it was revealed to him/them. 

I still haven't come down completely from the outrage that so many, even the UCG that I thought was so mild, cling to Herbert Armstrong.  But it just goes to show that when we're guilty of not doing our research, we enslave ourselves to men.  That's what those people choose to do when they honor that man (which is unbelievable to those of us who have done our research on him).  But I have been guilty of following the bible, which is following many lying men and men of wicked imaginations.  I now renounce it,  and I encourage you to do your own research and see what conclusions you draw.