Richard’s Selected Correspondence
On Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene Christ was a Flat-Earth-God
RESPONDENT: Why do you think that he knows better then everyone else what a ‘generation’ is? I don’t understand all the English language subtleties :).
RICHARD: Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene, if such a person ever existed, specifically said that he would return before the current generation died ... as many, many generations have died since then it yet another piece of biblical evidence that it is all the stuff of fantasies.
Other religions have their version of the Parousia: Buddhism has their Maitreya; Islam has their Mahdi; Hinduism has their Kalki; Judaism has their Messiah; Taoism has their Kilin and so on. The Christian myth is of particular poignancy because their god was to have came back on a cloud blowing his trumpet and putting everything to rights nigh on one thousand nine hundred and thirty odd years ago ... ‘before this generation passeth away’ spake he sagely as he decamped for his abba’s mansion above the clouds.
The moral of the story? All you get by waiting is more waiting.
RESPONDENT: Capitalism in my view is a more fortunate mixture between Christianity and instinctive drives.
RICHARD: The primary distinction between capitalism and communism, as currently and previously practised, is the private ownership of property/ means of production (privatisation) versus the public ownership of property/ means of production (nationalisation); the secondary distinction is a representative democracy (regular competitive elections for governance) versus a non-representative autocracy (non-competitive elections or imposition of governance); the other distinctions lie in the areas of accountable jurisprudence versus unaccountable jurisprudence, freedom of speech (uncensored media) versus restricted speech (censored media), freedom of association/ assembly versus restricted association/ assembly, freedom of contract versus restriction of contract, and freedom of religion versus restriction of religion (all of which involve issues of public policing versus secret policing) ... apart from the freedom/ restriction of religion issue where is Christianity part of the mixture?
The Christian god not only owns everything, but is totally autocratic, arbitrarily imposes judgement, despotically punishes dissention, condemns proscribed association/ assembly, has an authoritarian insistence on an exclusive contract ... and secretly spies on everyone (all of which makes the most notorious dictator but a rank amateur by comparison).
RESPONDENT: I don’t even buy your pitch about the world being globular with your fancy satellite imagery and all.
RICHARD: Of course you would not. It is well-known that Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene was a flat-earth god ... even though his ‘Father Who Art In Heaven’ was omniscient and all that. Space exploration has poked a rather large hole in the veracity of ‘God’s Word’. You display an amazing propensity for persisting in defending the indefensible.
RESPONDENT: I’m sorry I haven’t been watching much about this conversation because I have two interesting avocations, one is the study of the history of astronomy and I am also working on a translation of the Bible. There seems to be a fair amount of confusion about a number of things here and perhaps I can help shed some light on the situation. Galileo made a great discovery but it had nothing to do with the shape of the earth. Galileo’s discovery was of the moons of Jupiter which showed orbiting bodies that displayed no retrograde motion, thus providing hard evidence (previously lacking) to confirm, in part, the Copernican model of the solar system in which the Earth was not the centre. So the motion of the earth in question was not it’s rotation about its axis but its revolution about the sun.
RICHARD: I am not too sure just what confusion you are speaking of. I have been reading every post that comes onto this List and I am the only person to mention the name of Mr. Galileo Galilei ... and I have not written anywhere that his ‘great discovery’ had anything to do with ‘the shape of the earth’ at all. For your edification, I am happy to post a relevant paragraph of what I wrote: ‘It’s not surprising that flat-earthism has been associated with Christianity since the beginning. Many of the Fathers of the Church were flat-earthers, and they developed a system with which to oppose the Greek astronomy then becoming popular. As late as 548 A.D., the Egyptian monk Mr. Cosmas Indicopleustes was vigorously defending the flat earth in his book Christian Topography. But he was fighting a losing battle, and the Ptolemaic system, based on a spherical earth, rapidly took over. By the twelfth century the flat-earth concept was essentially a dead letter in the West. ‘The Bible’ repeatedly says in plain Hebrew that the earth is immovable. Thus, while churchmen found it easy to ignore its flat implications and adopt the spherical system of Mr. Claudius Ptolemy, they were rudely shaken by Mr. Nicolaus Copernicus and Mr. Galileo Galilei. The Catholic Church’s reaction to Mr. Galileo Galilei is well known. It’s less well known that most of the reformers – Mr. Martin Luther, Mr. John Calvin, Mr. John Wesley – also rejected the Copernican system on Scriptural grounds. A few Protestant Bible-Scientists have been fighting a rearguard action against heliocentricity ever since’.
Do you see that I was talking about ‘heliocentricity’, when bringing Mr. Nicolaus Copernicus and Mr. Galileo Galilei into the story and not the ‘flat earth’, as you seem to have assumed I was? I have always found that it pays to read what others have to say before jumping in and airing my wisdom about something that totally disregards what the other was saying ... do you not agree?
RESPONDENT: Actually, the final proof for the revolution of the Earth required the discovery of parallax of stars which did not occur until the 1700’s. Furthermore, the model of the universe that was accepted by the church, which Galileo made his point in debunking was the Ptolemaic model, based on Aristotle’s conclusions.
RICHARD: Yes indeed ... as you will see, this connection of Mr. Nicolaus Copernicus and Mr. Galileo Galilei with Mr. Claudius Ptolemy was already briefly mentioned in my original article. Of course, you would know that Mr. Claudius Ptolemy had a geocentric system and not heliocentric, wouldn’t you? In doing so, Mr. Claudius Ptolemy rejected the heliocentric view as espoused by Mr. Archimedes, Mr. Aristarchus, Mr. Seleucus ... and even Mr. Hipparchus. Perhaps he was awed by reverence to Mr. Aristotle’s logic and ignored sensibility ... but that is only me speculating, of course. Mr. Aristotle built on the work of Mr. Callipus ... who of course was a student of Mr. Uedoxus. Now it is well-known that Mr. Uedoxus was responding to Mr. Plato’s metaphysical assumptions. (Mr. Plato is reported to have instructed astronomers to ‘save the phenomena’ in terms of uniform circular motion. That is to say, he urged them to develop predictively accurate theories using only combinations of uniform circular motion. As a result, Greek astronomers never regarded their geometric models as true or as being physical descriptions of the machinery of the heavens. They regarded them simply as tools for predicting planetary positions.) All of which only goes to show that holding fervently to pre-conceived ideas can – and does – often prevent direct observation and understanding ... which is why I was writing to this thread in the first place.
RESPONDENT: Let’s examine this. You claim that they had no way of knowing otherwise that the earth was flat because they lived before modern technology. (paraphrased) Method’s of knowing otherwise: Method 1: (Aristotelian) Observe that the sails of ships precede the bodies as they return to port. Method 2: (Aristotelian) Observe that the stars change at different latitudes, and specifically the angle of the Northern point is the latitude. Method 3: (Aristotelian) Observe that the shape of the shadow cast on the moon during a lunar eclipse that is curved as a circle. Method 4: (Sumerian and Babylonian) Observe the nemesis effect. For each star or meridian, there is a nemesis star or meridian which is never visible at the same time, like Clark Kent and Superman, and that the angles of right ascension of stars is constant so that as one star rises another sets. Method 5: Observe the longitudinal libration of the moon. In the early evening of a full moon, the moon’s face is slightly turned one way exposing more of one side and by morning it has turned slightly to the other side hiding some of the earlier features and exposing new ones. Think of this one as showing one ‘ear’ and then the other ‘ear’. (The observable features of the moon are about 55% and the unobservable ‘dark side’ about 45%, although at any given instant the maximum visible is 50% by definition).
RICHARD: Aye ... these observations certainly did lead different people at different places to posit the notion that the earth was not flat. That is clear ... but positing a theory is not knowing it as a fact, now, is it? Also ‘Genesis’ was written down – from oral tradition stretching way back into mythical times – somewhere around 900 BC and Mr. Aristotle was flexing his brain cells around 300 BC ... 600 years later. The Babylonians and Sumerians did not get their act together until the fourth century BC either. And it is handy to reflect upon the fact that life then is not as it is now with instant communication and vast libraries and compulsory schooling for all children and so on. Ideas travelled slowly and superstition had a far stronger grip on people’s minds (though there are some that would give lie to this) and heaps of other differences in world-views and mind-sets. All this is worth bearing in mind as you are doing your scholarly research and applying your modern-day thesis to the past with the added clarity of hind-sight.
Apart from that, what you are doing is somewhat akin to arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. In other words: what does it matter? The writers of ‘The Bible’ believed the earth to be flat ... and believers will not listen to reason. You may re-visit and re-write history on unto your old age ... but your re-write will not alter what actually happened in the minds of the people back then one little bit. Why, it is even so today ... No. 23 will not accept satellite photographs.
RESPONDENT: How a telescope helps: Method 1: The features of Mars show a rotational cycle, hence mars is round. (More dramatic than the moons puny longitudinal libration) Method 2: Observe that the planets have ‘phases’ like the moon. Method 3: Observe the red spot of Saturn (well, for the past 300 years, that is).
RICHARD: Yes ... look, shall we clarify all this with a bit of history? In 1610 Mr. Galileo Galilei announced a series of astronomical discoveries. He found that the surface of the Moon was irregular and not smooth, as had been supposed; he observed that the Milky Way system was composed of a collection of stars; he discovered the satellites of Jupiter; he observed Saturn, spots on the Sun, and the phases of Venus.
In 1611 he visited Rome and demonstrated his telescope to the most eminent personages at the pontifical court. Encouraged by the flattering reception accorded to him, he ventured, in three letters on the sunspots printed at Rome in 1613, to take up a more definite position on the Copernican theory. Movement of the spots across the face of the Sun, he maintained, proved Mr. Nicolaus Copernicus was right and Mr. Claudius Ptolemy was wrong. The Aristotelian professors, seeing their vested interests threatened, united against him. They strove to cast suspicion upon him in the eyes of ecclesiastical authorities because of contradictions between the Copernican theory and the Holy Scriptures. They obtained the cooperation of the Dominican preachers, who fulminated from the pulpit against the new impiety of ‘mathematicians’ and secretly denounced Mr. Galileo Galilei to the Inquisition for blasphemous utterances, which, they said, he had freely invented. And thus he was later forced to recant.
Perhaps the most far-reaching of his achievements was his reestablishment of mathematical rationalism against Mr. Aristotle’s logico-verbal approach
As for the early astronomers ... it is known that modern astronomy had its origins in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Egyptian astronomy, which was neither a very well-developed nor an influential study, was largely concerned with time reckoning. Its main lasting contribution was the civil calendar of 365 days, consisting of 12 months of 30 days each and five additional festival days at the end of each year. This calendar played an important role in the history of astronomy, allowing astronomers to calculate the number of days between any two sets of observations.
Babylonian astronomy, dating back to about 1800 BC, constitutes one of the earliest systematic, scientific treatments of the physical world. In contrast to the Egyptians, the Babylonians were interested in the accurate prediction of astronomical phenomena, especially the first appearance of the New Moon. Using the zodiac as a reference, by the fourth century BC, they developed a complex system of arithmetic progressions and methods of approximation by which they were able to predict first appearances. At no point in the Babylonian astronomical literature is there the least evidence of the use of geometric models. The mass of observations they collected and their mathematical methods were important contributions to the later flowering of astronomy among the Greeks.
The Pythagoreans (fifth century BC) were responsible for one of the first Greek astronomical theories. Believing that the order of the cosmos is fundamentally mathematical, they held that it is possible to discover the harmonies of the universe by contemplating the regular motions of the heavens. Postulating a central fire about which all the heavenly bodies including the Earth and Sun revolve, they constructed the first physical model of the solar system. Subsequent Greek astronomy derived its character from a comment ascribed to Mr. Plato (fourth century BC) who is reported to have instructed the astronomers to ‘save the phenomena’ in terms of uniform circular motion. That is to say, he urged them to develop predictively accurate theories using only combinations of uniform circular motion. As a result, Greek astronomers never regarded their geometric models as true or as being physical descriptions of the machinery of the heavens. They regarded them simply as tools for predicting planetary positions.
Mr. Eudoxus (fourth century BC) was the first of the Greek astronomers to rise to Mr. Plato’s challenge. He developed a theory of homocentric spheres, a model that represented the universe by sets of nesting concentric spheres the motions of which combined to produce the planetary and other celestial motions. Using only uniform circular motions, Mr. Eudoxus was able to ‘save’ the rather complex planetary motions with some success. His theory required four homocentric spheres for each planet and three each for the Sun and Moon. The system was modified by Mr. Callippus, a student of Mr. Eudoxus, who added spheres to improve the theory, especially for Mercury and Venus. Aristotle, in formulating his cosmology, adopted Mr. Eudoxus’ homocentric spheres as the actual machinery of the heavens. The Aristotelian cosmos was like an onion consisting of a series of some 55 spheres nested about the Earth, which was fixed at the centre. In order to unify the system, Mr. Aristotle added spheres in order to ‘unroll’ the motions of a given planet so that they would not be transmitted to the next inner planet.
The theory of homocentric spheres failed to account for two sets of observations: (1) brightness changes suggesting that planets are not always the same distance from the Earth, and (2) bounded elongations (that is, Venus is never observed to be more than about 48 and Mercury never more than about 24 from the Sun). Mr. Heracleides (fourth century BC) attempted to solve these problems by having Venus and Mercury revolve about the Sun, rather than the Earth, and having the Sun and other planets revolve in turn about the Earth, which he placed at the centre. In addition, to account for the daily motions of the heavens, he held that the Earth rotates on its axis. Mr. Heracleides’ theory had little impact in antiquity except perhaps on Mr. Aristarchus (third century BC), who apparently put forth a heliocentric hypothesis similar to the one Mr. Nicolaus Copernicus was to propound in the sixteenth century.
Mr. Hipparchus (130 BC) made extensive contributions to both theoretical and observational astronomy. Basing his theories on an impressive mass of observations, he was able to work out theories of the Sun and Moon that were more successful than those of any of his predecessors. His primary conceptual tool was the eccentric circle, a circle in which the Earth is at some point eccentric to the geometric centre. He used this device to account for various irregularities and inequalities observed in the motions of the Sun and Moon. He also proved that the eccentric circle is mathematically equivalent to a geometric figure called an epicycle-deferent system, a proof probably first made by Mr. Apollonius a century earlier.
Among Mr. Hipparchus’ observations, one of the most significant was that of the precession of the equinoxes, that is, a gradual apparent increase in longitude between any fixed star and the equinoctial point (either of two points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator crosses the ecliptic). Thus the north celestial pole, the point on the celestial sphere defined as the apparent centre of rotation of the stars, moves relative to the stars in its vicinity. In the heliocentric theory, this effect is ascribed to a change in the Earth’s rotational axis, which traces out a conical path around the axis of the orbital plane.
Mr. Claudius Ptolemy (AD 140) applied the theory of epicycles to compile a systematic account of Greek astronomy. He elaborated theories for each of the planets, as well as for the Sun and Moon. His theory generally fitted the data available to him with a good degree of accuracy, and his book, ‘The Almagest’, became the vehicle by which Greek astronomy was transmitted to astronomers of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. It essentially moulded astronomy for the next millennium and a half.
In view of all this theorising and conflicting ideas, it is no wonder that many of the Fathers of the Christian Church were flat-earthers ... after all, they believed in ‘God’s Word’ as written in Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament. (Its name derives from the opening words: ‘In the beginning’). Genesis narrates the primeval history of the world (chapters 1-11) and the patriarchal history of the Israelite people (chapters 12-50). The primeval history includes the familiar stories of the Creation, the Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, Noah and the Flood, and the Tower of Babel. The patriarchal history begins with the divine promise to Abraham that ‘I will make of you a great nation’ (12:2) and tells the stories of Abraham (chapters 12-25) and his descendants: Isaac and his twin sons Jacob and Esau (chapters 26-36) and Jacob’s family, the principal figure being Joseph (chapters 37-50), whose story tells how the Israelites came to be in Egypt. Their deliverance is narrated in the following book of Exodus. Genesis must thus be seen as a part of a larger unit of material traditionally understood to comprise the first five books of the Bible, called the Torah, or Pentateuch.
Scholars have identified three literary traditions in Genesis, as in Deuteronomy, usually identified as the Yahwist, Elohist, and Priestly strains. The Yahwist strain, so called because it used the name Yahweh (Jehovah) for God, is a Judaean rendition of the sacred story, perhaps written as early as 950 BC. The Elohist strain, which designates God as Elohim, is traceable to the northern kingdom of Israel and was written 900-700 BC. The Priestly strain, so called because of its cultic interests and regulations for priests, is usually dated in the fifth century BC and is regarded as the law upon which Ezra and Nehemiah based their reform. Because each of these strains preserves materials much older than the time of their incorporation into a written work, Genesis contains extremely old oral and written traditions.
With this overwhelming ‘evidence’ of ‘God’s Word’ it is easy to see why the Christian Fathers of the Church developed a system, with which to oppose the Greek astronomy then becoming popular, when the New Testament writings were collated into a coherent whole with the Old Testament. As late as 548 A.D., the Egyptian monk Mr. Cosmas Indicopleustes was vigorously defending the flat earth in his book ‘Christian Topography’. But he was fighting a losing battle, and the Ptolemaic system, based on a spherical earth, rapidly took over. By the twelfth century the flat-earth concept was essentially a dead letter in the West.
RESPONDENT: There is a place in the bible where the world is described as a globe. If I find it, I will post it. Maybe someone knows it. I believe it is in Isaiah if I remember correctly. It is definitely in there (...) Here it is, written between 745 and 680 B. C. Isaiah 40:22: ‘It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in’.
RICHARD: Hmm ... a circle is hardly a globe, now is it?
While the Bible nowhere states categorically that the earth is flat, numerous Old Testament verses clearly show that the ancient Hebrews were flat-earthers. The Genesis creation story says the earth is covered by a vault (firmament) and that the celestial bodies move inside the vault. This makes no sense unless one assumes that the earth is essentially flat. Isaiah wrote that ‘God sits throned on the vaulted roof of earth, whose inhabitants are like grasshoppers’. In the book of Job, Eliphaz the Temanite says God ‘walks to and fro on the vault of heaven’. That the earth was considered essentially flat is clear from Daniel, who said, ‘I saw a tree of great height at the centre of the earth; the tree grew and became strong, reaching with its top to the sky and visible to the earth’s farthest bounds’. This statement makes no sense for spherical earth.
The New Testament also implies a flat earth. For instance, Matthew wrote that ‘The devil took him (Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene) to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their glory’. From a sufficiently high mountain, one could see all the kingdoms of the world ... if the earth were flat. Finally, Revelation refers to ‘the four corners of the earth’, and corners are not generally associated with spheres.
From the foregoing, It’s not surprising that flat-earthism has been associated with Christianity since the beginning. Many of the Fathers of the Church were flat-earthers, and they developed a system with which to oppose the Greek astronomy then becoming popular. As late as 548 A.D. the Egyptian monk Mr. Cosmas Indicopleustes was vigorously defending the flat earth in his book Christian Topography. But he was fighting a losing battle, and the Ptolemaic system, based on a spherical earth, rapidly took over. By the twelveth century the flat-earth concept was essentially a dead letter in the West.
‘The Bible’ repeatedly says in plain Hebrew that the earth is immovable. Thus, while churchmen found it easy to ignore its flat implications and adopt the spherical system of Mr. Claudius Ptolemy, they were rudely shaken by Mr. Nicolaus Copernicus and Mr. Galileo Galilei. The Catholic Church’s reaction to Mr. Galileo Galilei is well known. It’s less well known that most of the reformers – Mr. Martin Luther, Mr. John Calvin, Mr. John Wesley – also rejected the Copernican system on Scriptural grounds. A few Protestant Bible-Scientists have been fighting a rearguard action against heliocentricity ever since.
RICHARD: While the Bible nowhere states categorically that the earth is flat, numerous Old Testament verses clearly show that the ancient Hebrews were flat-earthers. The Genesis creation story says the earth is covered by a vault (firmament) and that the celestial bodies move inside the vault. This makes no sense unless one assumes that the earth is essentially flat.
RESPONDENT: That is not clear to me at all. I have no idea what it means.
RICHARD: Well, it is as clear as crystal for those who want to see a fact. For most people, though, seeing a fact means betraying their belief ... thus they are rendered incapable of seeing it.
The fact is that the earth is not ‘covered by a vault (firmament)’ ... it floats in infinite space (which they say is the ‘firmament’ itself). Perhaps it is somewhat clearer if you look at the quote you posted: ‘the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in’. Now, the imagery presented is of a physical tent ... which sits on flat ground.
RICHARD: Isaiah wrote that ‘God sits throned on the vaulted roof of earth, whose inhabitants are like grasshoppers’. In the book of Job, Eliphaz the Temanite says God ‘walks to and fro on the vault of heaven’. That the earth was considered essentially flat is clear from Daniel, who said, ‘I saw a tree of great height at the centre of the earth; the tree grew and became strong, reaching with its top to the sky and visible to the earth’s farthest bounds’. This statement makes no sense for spherical earth.
RESPONDENT: Another unclear example.
RICHARD: Only unclear for those who believe otherwise and cannot afford to see a fact. Okay ... no matter how tall a tree grew here in Australia you could not see it unless the earth was flat. It is that simple ... why the difficulty, eh?
RESPONDENT: Figurative speaking cannot be taken as science.
RICHARD: But the ‘Holy Bible’ is literally true ... it is ‘God’s Word’ when all is said and done. Thus it is not ‘figuratively speaking’ at all. And also, you decry following science later in this post ... let me copy and paste it here for you: [Respondent]: ‘They most likely believed whatever their ‘scientists’ told them as we do now’. So why support it now?
RICHARD: The New Testament also implies a flat earth. For instance, Matthew wrote that ‘The devil took him (Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene) to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their glory’. From a sufficiently high mountain, one could see all the kingdoms of the world ... if the earth were flat. Finally, Revelation refers to ‘the four corners of the earth’, and corners are not generally associated with spheres.
RESPONDENT: That is way out there for an example of ‘flat earth’ thinking. It was not stated as a material fact but was just another attempt to describe something figuratively. It does not mean anything in regards to the earth.
RICHARD: Okay, then let us run with this ‘figuratively speaking’ notion for a while. This means that Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene is not literally ‘God’s Son’ but just another attempt to describe something figuratively. This means there was no ‘Virgin Birth’ ... just another attempt to describe something figuratively. This means there was never a crucifixion ... just another attempt to describe something figuratively. This means there never was a resurrection ... just another attempt to describe something figuratively. This means there never was any ‘Original Sin’ ... just another attempt to describe something figuratively. This means there is no need for redemption ... just another attempt to describe something figuratively. This means there is no need for a Redeemer ... just another attempt to describe something figuratively. This means there never was a Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene on earth at all ... just another attempt to describe something figuratively. In fact, there never was a Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene at all. End of story.
You must have a real job sorting out what is ‘material fact’ and what is ‘figurative speaking’ whenever you read ‘God’s Word’.
RICHARD: From the foregoing, It’s not surprising that flat-earthism has been associated with Christianity since the beginning. Many of the Fathers of the Church were flat-earthers, and they developed a system with which to oppose the Greek astronomy then becoming popular. As late as 548 A.D., the Egyptian monk Mr. Cosmas Indicopleustes was vigorously defending the flat earth in his book Christian Topography. But he was fighting a losing battle, and the Ptolemaic system, based on a spherical earth, rapidly took over. By the twelveth century the flat-earth concept was essentially a dead letter in the West. ‘The Bible’ repeatedly says in plain Hebrew that the earth is immovable. Thus, while churchmen found it easy to ignore its flat implications and adopt the spherical system of Mr. Claudius Ptolemy, they were rudely shaken by Mr. Nicolaus Copernicus and Mr. Galileo Galilei. The Catholic Church’s reaction to Mr. Galileo Galilei is well known. It’s less well known that most of the reformers – Mr. Martin Luther, Mr. John Calvin, Mr. John Wesley – also rejected the Copernican system on Scriptural grounds. A few Protestant Bible-Scientists have been fighting a rearguard action against heliocentricity ever since.
RESPONDENT: What you have given has nothing to do with the bible.
RICHARD: It has indeed ... what do you think I was quoting from? Grimm’s Fairy Tales?
RESPONDENT: I am not defending the veracity or inerrancy of the bible.
RICHARD: If you say so ... I sincerely doubt that though. Otherwise, why were you so quick to jump in with a quote from Isaiah ... which you originally thought said globular but later found it to say circular. When someone starts quoting an ‘authority’ to prove their point they leave themselves wide open for correction ... you cannot wriggle out now with a weak ‘I am not defending the veracity or inerrancy of the bible’ statement. I did ask you in the last post: ‘Do you really want to get into a discussion about the veracity of ‘God’s Word’? I asked that for it is such a futile effort as ‘The Bible’ is full of blatant discrepancies and downright untruths.
RESPONDENT: The fact is that it says practically nothing at all on the subject of whether the earth was round or flat.
RICHARD: Yes, I know ... I clearly stated that (above) in my post to you. Let me copy and paste what I wrote for you: [Richard]: ‘While the Bible nowhere states categorically that the earth is flat, numerous Old Testament verses clearly show that the ancient Hebrews were flat-earthers’. Also you found it important to quote Isaiah to me to show that the ‘The Bible’ did say so. Let me copy and paste what you wrote for you: [Respondent]: ‘There is a place in the bible where the world is described as a globe’ .
RESPONDENT: You are creating something out of your own conjecture that is not there.
RICHARD: Not so ... I have not conjectured anything at all that was not there already. It was all those pesky Christians that believed for centuries that the earth was flat ... that was what this thread was originally about, remember? No. 23 said that he did not ‘buy Richard’s pitch about the world being globular with his fancy satellite imagery and all’ ... to which I replied: ‘Of course you would not. It is well-known that Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene was a flat-earth god ... even though his ‘Father Who Art In Heaven’ was omniscient and all that. Space exploration has poked a rather large hole in the veracity of ‘God’s Word’. I am simply going by what they believed and having fun with it.
RESPONDENT: What ‘Christians’ have said or believed is irrelevant to the subject.
RICHARD: Oh, really ... thus spake Respondent!
What the Christians believed and said is central to this subject ... centuries and centuries of superstitious ignorance ruled the West. It took years of matter-of-fact science to release humans from the Christian yoke. (Although it may have all been in vain ... Western civilisation, which has struggled to get out of superstition and medieval ignorance, is in danger of slipping back into the supernatural ... as the Eastern mystical thought that is beginning to have its strangle-hold upon otherwise intelligent people is becoming more and more widespread.)
RESPONDENT: They most likely believed whatever their ‘scientists’ told them as we do now.
RICHARD: Not so ... they believed ‘God’s Word’ ... literally.
RICHARD: I am sure Mr. Galilei Galileo thought ‘The Truth’ to be some ‘silly kind of warped thinking’ , when he had to face the Inquisition in Rome because of what ‘The Bible’ had to say compared to what he saw through his telescope.
He had to spend the last eight years of his life under house arrest for pointing out a fact.
RESPONDENT: Men are not prone to having much wisdom.
RICHARD: Neither are women ... it works out about 50/50, actually.
RESPONDENT: They will accuse the bible of calling the earth flat.
RICHARD: Not ‘accuse’ ... it is a fact that the writers of ‘The Bible’ thought that the earth was flat. They lived before modern technology – like telescopes and satellite photographs and so on – so they had no way of knowing otherwise. My point about Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene being a ‘Flat-Earth God’ – which means that he was born in an era wherein the earth was thought to be flat – was that if indeed he was omniscient he would have been able to correct humankind’s mistake ... and he did not. In case you over-looked the point that I was making, I will copy and paste it: [Richard]: ‘If Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene could take the time to do such a trivial thing as turning water into wine at a wedding, do you not think that he might mention in passing – say around the campfire at night – something to the effect of: ‘Hey guys ... just by the way and while I think of it ... the earth is round, not flat, and you can sail from Europe to the Americas without falling off the edge. Just thought I’d mention it’. He could then go back to the oh-so-serious business of curing a few people’s blindness with spittle and mud. It would not have taken him long to correct humanity’s mistake about the earth being flat, now would it?’
RESPONDENT: Why pick the earth being flat? He did not present any scientific information about anything.
RICHARD: Yea verily ... that is my whole point. And why not? Because he was a Flat-Earth God, that is why ... and did not know otherwise
RESPONDENT: You would say why didn’t He do this or whatever you want to. He could have given us information about antibiotics, automotive technology, or anything else in the universe.
RICHARD: Not so ... antibiotics and automotive technology were not invented then. Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene – if such a person ever lived at all – was a human being like pretty well any other Eastern Mystic centuries ago. And what they knew about antibiotics and automotive technology was the same ... zilch.
RESPONDENT: All He did was give out words and miracles.
RICHARD: The words were re-hashes of scriptural injunctions plus some folk-lore homilies. The miracles – for those that believe such things – were puny things like turning water into wine at a family wedding (anyone outside the family has to buy wine) and giving a crowd one meal (never mind the starving millions) and curing a few local people’s blindness (not every blind person in the world) ... and so on and so on. Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene never eradicated sorrow and malice from a single person ... which is the real issue confronting human beings. Hundreds of millions of people have been killed in wars ... and your hero walks across a lake to help his pals out on a fishing boat. Big deal, eh?
RESPONDENT: He did not choose to do it and I don’t care.
RICHARD: If you indeed don’t care then why are you so busy writing to me all hot and bothered about it? I was happily having a dialogue with No. 23.
RESPONDENT: When He returns, ask Him about it.
RICHARD: Yeah, sure ... but I will not hold my breath while I am waiting. His idea of a generation is vastly different to everybody else’s. And while I think of it: Batman and Robin are calling around on the weekend for a barbecue in my back garden ... is there anything you would like me to ask them?
RESPONDENT: I just think it was not His topic. Wouldn’t that be enough? Why doesn’t go anywhere.
RICHARD: What you think is neither here nor there ... it is just speculation. I am only interested in facts.
RESPONDENT: When it is actually their head that is flat, and their brain like a flat tire.
RICHARD: Perhaps a modern example may help to clarify the issue. Mr. Sathyanarayana Raju (aka Sai Baba) is a currently living example of being considered a god-on-earth by tens of thousands of people. If he had lived two thousand years ago he too would be a ‘Flat Earth God’ ... but because of technological advances in knowledge he could be categorised as a ‘Round Earth God’. It is all to do with the knowledge of this physical world and the material universe extant in the era one is born in and has nothing to do with primitive notions of ‘omniscience’ at all. Nobody but nobody is omniscient ... it is this simple. Mr. Sathyanarayana Raju – this modern-day counter-part to Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene – required the head of one of his ashrams in the USA to submit daily reports of all that went on. This man – a devout follower – sincerely wondered why this was necessary ... seeing that Mr. Sathyanarayana Raju was omniscient and would already know every detail of what occurred in the ashram. So he wrote a letter humbly asking clarification ... Mr. Sathyanarayana Raju replied that he was checking on the disciple’s ability to record the events accurately. Mr. Mervin Irani (aka Meher Baba) – another god-on-earth for many people – was asked by a puzzled devotee one day as to why he was reading a newspaper. Another – more wily disciple – went and listened to the overseas weather report and came back to the feet of the master and asked him whether it was raining in New York. If only there had been tape recorders in Galilee a couple of thousand years ago, eh?
RESPONDENT: The bible is not a about the shape of the earth. It is more about man’s stupid nature.
RICHARD: Yes indeed ... seeing that it was written by men it epitomises men’s stupidity explicitly. And if it were written by women it would exemplify women’s stupidity equally definitively. Yet there is still a chance that some people may live up to the title ‘Mature Adults’ ... some day.
RESPONDENT: If you saw a man heal the sick and crippled, give eyesight to the blind and raise the dead, would you say to him, ‘why don’t you give us some scientific information you phoney’.
RICHARD: No, I would ask such a person to please eradicate the malice and sorrow in every human bosom ... then there would be global peace-on-earth. Then people could sort out the scientific stuff at their leisure.
RESPONDENT: He did not tell us the earth was round. I could care less.
RESPONDENT: I did not know that there was a myth about the flat earth thing.
RICHARD: Is it not great to learn something new? Especially when it is about the book that you depend upon for knowing the truth about life, the universe and what it is to be a human being.
RESPONDENT: You assume a lot. I have not been much of a bible reader at all until the last few years .
RICHARD: Oh, I only know what you post in to this List ... I do not know you personally. Your posts do rather convey that you will not do anything that is not biblically directed ... and you tell others – like in your posts to me a little while back – that they should do like-wise. Silly me did sort of assume that you depended upon ‘God’s Word’ as specified in ‘The Bible’. So I gather that you do not, then? You can think for yourself, now?
RESPONDENT: Richard gave some strange backup for that idea.
RICHARD: Why was the back-up ‘strange’ for you? They were quotes from ‘The Bible’ ... I would have considered you to be familiar with them already.
RESPONDENT: It was your interpretations of their meaning that was weird.
RICHARD: Okay, so you say that my interpretations are weird ... let us accept that for now. But I only do so because I take it that you know what interpretations are not weird, then? As you know better than me, perhaps you could help me out in interpreting something that is bothering me. You see, I have seen the error of my ways – you have convinced me – and I wish to become a disciple of Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene. However, I am having difficulty in hating my mother and father and wife and children and brothers and sisters and myself. What should I do?
RESPONDENT: Based on some figurative descriptions that had nothing to do with it.
RICHARD: It is you who has decided they are ‘figurative’. ‘The Bible’ is purportedly God’s Word ... to be taken literally.
RESPONDENT: Who said every word was to be taken literally? It seems that person was you.
RICHARD: Well now ... this is an eye-opener for me. So ‘The Bible’ is not God’s Word, eh? Well, well, well. Who wrote it all then? And why should anyone live according to what is any old person’s word ... anyone who felt like writing something? And that of course means that no one has to take the slightest bit of notice of this wisdom you posted recently:
RICHARD: And the quotes had plenty to do with it ... they are the one’s that have been quoted for many, many years by people trying to demonstrate to zealous bibliolaters that God’s Word was not worth the parchment that it was initially scribed upon. I did not spend countless hours scouring ‘The Bible’ for those quotes ... there are other people over the last couple of hundred years who have taken it upon themselves to do that and I merely checked the chapter and verse numbers of a few to make sure that it was not an elaborate hoax. I have far better things to do with my time than pore over all the pages of all the revered scriptures of all the world’s many different religions.
RESPONDENT: You are reading what a bunch of extreme intellectual deadheads with no common sense of any kind had to say about it.
RICHARD: Oh, I do not know about that ... try this for size:
Even you must acknowledge that it is not too bad an effort for ‘an extreme intellectual deadhead with no common sense of any kind’ , eh?
RESPONDENT: It just seems like some silly kind of warped thinking.
RICHARD: I am sure Mr. Galileo Galilei thought ‘The Truth’ to be some ‘silly kind of warped thinking’, when he had to face the Inquisition in Rome because of what ‘The Bible’ had to say compared to what he saw through his telescope. He had to spend the last eight years of his life under house arrest for pointing out a fact.
RESPONDENT: As I stated before, what men did with the bible in regards to misusing it, has nothing at all to do with the issue.
RICHARD: And not only men ... women too. But by now you just might be beginning to understand why people have been ‘misusing’ it ... it is too contradictory and shot full of blatant untruths to be used properly.
RESPONDENT: Men almost always do the wrong thing with any philosophy.
RICHARD: Oh really? ... are you saying that women do not? Anyway, what is the right thing ... according to you?
RESPONDENT: You are doing the same.
RICHARD: Am I? How do you know that? Is this another one of your infallible ‘interpretations’ ? You see, the way that I operate is like this: when I start to read a philosophy – or listen to someone expound one – I quickly ascertain whether the ultimate point of it is whether one can find ‘The Truth’. If this is the case, I drop it in the waste-bin where it belongs. Eighteen years ago I discovered – and have had it affirmed again and again in the following years – that ‘The Truth’ is but a philosophical nom de guerre for god. And there have been over 1200 gods down through the millenniums ... and that is not counting the Hindu collection. Apart from those gods resurrected by the ‘New Age’ people, where are most of them now? Is it not fascinating to realise that when the last person stops believing in a particular god – no matter how popular and therefore powerful at the time – that this god then disappears and thus stops meddling in human affairs?
RESPONDENT: Unfortunately the world as a whole is not peaceful and never will be while we have the political systems that are prevalent today.
RICHARD: It does depend upon what you mean by ‘world’ ... this actual world that I live in is utterly peaceful and always has been so and always will be.
Peace-on-earth is already always here for each and every person to access for themselves. When there are 6.0 billion outbreaks of individual peace-on-earth there will be global peace-on-earth. It is common-place to blame the politicians, the teachers, the clergy, the parents and so on, for the troubles that beset the community and the citizen alike. It is to no avail to blame the politician, for example, for the antics they get up to, because underneath the politician – under the role and the image – lies a ‘human’ heart. The politician is making the best job of it that he or she can do, considering the burden that they carry ... which is the burden of being ‘human’. They have, like any other ‘human’, an ego and/or a soul nestled uncomfortably within them. They have an identity, a psychological and/or psychic entity that exists inside of their bodies. How many times is it heard said that ‘I’m only ‘human’’, or: ‘So I’ve made a mistake, nobody’s perfect’, or: ‘In an ideal world this wouldn’t happen’? These excuses for misdemeanours are readily forthcoming whenever someone’s integrity and probity are questioned. It is generally accepted that all humans have an inherent fault, a ‘dark side’ to their nature. Consequently they say: ‘you just have to accept people as they are’. I am at peace and in harmony with myself, for I have never accepted that I am condemned to remain as I was. I have enquired into myself and into the human condition, with gratifying results.
Hence I do not ‘just have to accept people as they are’ because I know, from personal experience, that it is possible to change ... and change radically, fundamentally, completely and utterly. I have been without an identity for many years now. So I know what I talk of: it is not theoretical idealism ... an actual freedom is no ‘pie in the sky’. It is possible for one human being to state, honestly and factually, that perfection is not only highly desirable but it is essential. I am not ‘only human’, I am the perfection of the stillness of infinitude personified as a sensate reflective human being.
The human condition is an affliction, not a curse. Human life is not a punishment for some metaphysical misdeed. Nor is it a random, chance-event in an empty universe. This universe – the only one there is – is eminently successful in producing a life-form that can sense, think and reflect upon its situation. I am the universe experiencing itself as a human being ... a truly remarkable state of affairs. As me, the universe is intelligent; I am the universe’s potential made manifest. After aeons of evolution the universe has succeeded in producing what it has proved itself to be capable of: an ability to know itself as-it-is intelligently. And what-it-is is a superb, unbeatable clean and clear and pure perfection.
The way is now unambiguously evident for humankind to surpass itself.
RESPONDENT: Because the whole world is in the power of the wicked one – The Devil. By telling Eve that God had lied and she would not die if she ate from the forbidden tree, Satan was actually challenging God’s right to rule. As God is the creator he was quite capable of ridding the world of Adam, Eve and Satan.
RICHARD: Yet is it not fascinating that nobody has ever been successfully able to explain why their Creator God created evil in the first place?
RESPONDENT: However all the other angels were witnesses of the challenge and had Jehovah just gone ‘Blip you’re History’ they would forever wonder if Satan was right and God wasn’t ruling as he should. In order to answer the challenge Jehovah has allowed Satan ‘enough rope to hang himself’ so to speak. Therefore Jehovah will step in and FIX things once and for all.
RICHARD: But what will the angels say now? Are they finally satisfied that your devil is the ‘bad guy’ and that your god is the ‘good guy’? Are you saying that it is these pesky angels and their opinions that are the cause of all the continued wars and rapes and murders and tortures and domestic violence and child abuse and sadness and loneliness and grief and depression and suicides? And why does your god allow 6.0 billion living peoples – plus maybe 4. 0 billion once living but now dead – to suffer just because he is concerned with ‘what the neighbours (the angels) might think’?
RESPONDENT: I believe that it will not be long before he does. We, the whole Christian world, have been praying for it since Jesus taught us to pray, ‘Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.
RICHARD: Hmm ... a somewhat dicey subject to touch upon ... do you not think? The history of Christianity is littered with false predictions of an imminent apocalypse ... and your group in particular.
RESPONDENT: Long before Jesus though Isaiah foretold ‘They will have to beat their swords into plough shears’. The book of Revelation says ‘They will not learn war any more and that sickness and dying will be done away with’. I am going to send you a book which explains the Book of Revelation verse by verse. I hope you read it. Send me your thoughts on it OK.
RICHARD: Yes, please do ... I will certainly read it. I am only too happy to send my observations as I have a vital interest in these matters. A local member of your group visits my home regularly – she brings someone different with her each time – and we always enjoy an excellent conversation about life, the universe and what it is to be a human being living in the world as it is with people as they are. She has been coming for over a year now ... I am somewhat conversant with various factors of your group’s belief system.
RESPONDENT: You say humans have an ego and/or a soul within them: In the Bible ‘soul’ is translated from the Hebrew ‘ne’phesh’ and the Greek ‘psy-khe’. Bible usage shows the soul to BE a person or animal or the life that a person or an animal enjoys. Many people think that ‘soul’ means the immaterial or spirit part of a human being that survives the death of the physical body. Others think it is the principle of life. But these latter two are not Biblical. Gen 2:7 says ‘Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of the dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul’.(Notice that this does not say the man was given a soul but that he BECAME a soul or a living person).
RICHARD: Yes, I am well aware that your group does not believe in an immaterial soul ... that is why I wrote ‘an ego and/or a soul’. And if the word ‘ego’ does not mean anything to you according to your scriptures, substitute the word ‘self’ or ‘identity’ or ‘psychological and/or psychic entity’ instead ... after all, I did write: [quote]: ‘They have an identity, a psychological and/or psychic entity that exists inside of their bodies’. [endquote]. You see, I know, from personal experience, that it is possible to change ... and change radically, fundamentally, completely and utterly. Being an identity is because the only way into this world of people, things and events is via the human spermatozoa fertilising the human ova ... thus every human being is endowed, by blind nature, with the basic instinctual passions of fear and aggression and nurture and desire. These passions are the very energy source of the rudimentary animal self ... the base consciousness of ‘self’ and ‘other’ that all sentient beings have. The human animal – with its unique ability to think and reflect upon its own death – transforms this ‘reptilian brain’ rudimentary ‘self’ into being a feeling ‘me’ (as soul in the heart) and from this core of ‘being’ the ‘feeler’ then infiltrates into thought to become the ‘thinker’ ... a thinking ‘I’ (as ego in the head). No other animal can do this. This process is aided and abetted by the human beings who were already on this planet when one was born ... which is conditioning and programming.
However, I have been without an identity for many years now. So I know what I talk of: it is not theoretical idealism ... an actual freedom is no ‘pie in the sky’. It is possible for one human being to state, honestly and factually, that perfection is not only highly desirable but it is essential. The human condition is an affliction, not a curse. Human life is not a punishment for some metaphysical misdeed. Nor is it a random, chance-event in an empty universe. This universe – the only one there is – is eminently successful in producing a life-form that can sense, think and reflect upon its situation. I am the universe experiencing itself as a human being ... a truly remarkable state of affairs. As me, the universe is intelligent; I am the universe’s potential made manifest. After aeons of evolution the universe has succeeded in producing what it has proved itself to be capable of: an ability to know itself as-it-is intelligently. And what-it-is is a superb, unbeatable clean and clear and pure perfection. I have no evil in me whatsoever – I am unable to sin – as I am the perfection of the stillness of infinitude personified as a sensate reflective human being.
The way is now unambiguously evident for humankind to surpass itself.
RESPONDENT: Further on you say Humans have an inherent fault: This is because the genes of Adam and Eve were passed on to their children only after they had sinned and were no longer perfect. A similarity can be likened to a computer which has a virus. The original programs would have been ‘perfect’ however after the virus arrived all programs from then on would be effected by that virus. Unless a cleansing was done i.e. Jesus Ransom sacrifice. From that it is easy to see we are not being punished for a sin in a previous life (reincarnation) merely having imperfect genes passed to us by our forefathers.
RICHARD: Hmm ... that is the theory that was passed down by oral tradition for who knows how many years and first written down circa 1800 BCE by either Mr. Abraham or people associated with him (known as the patriarchs). Then nothing more was written down until circa 1300 by Mr. Moses or people associated with him. Mr. Abraham came out of the city of Ur, whose people worshipped the god ‘Nanna’ (which the Sumerian name for the moon god known by the Akkadian name ‘Su-en’, later contracted to ‘Sin’). ‘Nanna’ was the father of the sun god, ‘Utu’ (Akkadian ‘Shamash’), and, in some myths, of ‘Inanna’ (Akkadian ‘Ishtar’) goddess of Venus, and with them formed an astral triad of deities (a trinity). ‘Nanna’ and/or ‘Sin’ was represented as an old man with a flowing beard – a wise and unfathomable god – wearing a headdress of four horns surmounted by a crescent moon.
Now, Israelite oral tradition identified ‘YHWH’, the God of Israel, with the Creator God – the creator of the world – who had been known and worshipped since time immemorial. Mr. Abraham did not discover this god, but entered into a new covenant relation with him, in which he was promised the land of Canaan and a numerous progeny. This god fulfilled that promise through the actions of Mr. Moses: he liberated the people of Israel from Egypt, imposed Covenant obligations on them at Mt. Sinai, and brought them to the promised land. There is no evidence as to the continuity of ‘YHWH’ worship from Mr. Adam (the biblical first man) to Mr. Moses ... and the Hebrew tradition itself, moreover, does not unanimously support the claim of the continuity of ‘YHWH’ worship from Mr. Abraham to Mr. Moses. There is a statement in chapter 6, verse 3, of Exodus that the biblical god revealed himself to the patriarchs not as ‘YHWH’ but as ‘El Shaddai’ – an epithet (of unknown meaning) the distribution of which in patriarchal narratives (and Job and other poetical works) confirms its archaic and non-specific Israelite character.
Comparable is the distribution of the epithet ‘El Elyon’ (God Most High). Neither of these epithets appears in post-patriarchal narratives (excepting the Book of Ruth). Other compounds with ‘El’ are unique to Genesis: ‘El Olam’ (God the Everlasting One), ‘El Bethel’ (God Bethel), and ‘El Roi’ (God of Vision). An additional peculiarity of the patriarchal stories is their use of the phrase ‘God of my (your, his) father’. All of these epithets are evidence that patriarchal religion differed from the worship of ‘YHWH’ that began with Mr. Moses. A relation to a patron god was defined by revelations starting with Mr. Abraham (who never refers to the God of his father) and continuing with a succession of ‘founders’ of his worship. Attached to the founder and his family, as befits the patron of wanderers, this unnamed deity (if indeed he was one only) acquired various Canaanite epithets (‘El’, ‘Elyon’, ‘Olam’, ‘Bethel’ and ‘Qone Eretz’ (possessor of the Land) only after their immigration into Canaan. Whether the name of ‘YHWH’ was known to the patriarchs is doubtful to say the least ... it is significant that while the epithets ‘Shaddai’ and ‘El’ occur frequently in pre-Mosaic and Mosaic-age names, ‘YHWH’ appears as an element only in the names of ‘Yehoshua’ (Joshua) and perhaps of ‘Jochebed’ who were persons closely associated with Mr. Moses. The god known as ‘El’ (the Semitic word for ‘God’) was the chief deity of the West Semites. In the ancient texts from Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit) in Syria, ‘El’ (El the Bull) was described as the titular head of the pantheon, husband of ‘Asherah’, and father of all the other gods (except for ‘Baal’). Although a venerable deity, he was not active in the myths, which primarily concerned his daughters and sons. He was usually visually portrayed as an old man with a long beard and, often, two wings. He was the equivalent of the Hurrian god ‘Kumarbi’ and the Greek god ‘Cronus’. Writers of the Old Testament used the word ‘El’ both as a general term for ‘deity’ and as a synonym for ‘YHWH’. Many texts discovered at Ugarit, including the ‘Legend of Keret’, the ‘Aghat Epic’ (or ‘Legend of Danel’), the ‘Myth of Baal-Aliyan’, and the ‘Death of Baal’, reveal an Old Canaanite mythology. A tablet names the Ugaritic pantheon with Babylonian equivalents; ‘El’, ‘Asherah of the Sea’ and ‘Baal’ were the main deities. These texts not only constitute a literature of high standing and great originality but also have an important bearing on Old Testament studies. It is now evident that the patriarchal stories in the Old Testament were of Canaanite origin, the discovery of which at Ugarit has led to a new appraisal of the Old Testament.
Thus there is much conjecture and speculation about the origins of what is written in the ‘Holy Bible’ ... whereas what I wrote is not theory but is an observable fact: [quote]: It is generally accepted that all humans have an inherent fault, a ‘dark side’ to their nature’. [endquote]. This is called ‘The Human Condition’ and it is a well-established philosophical term that refers to the situation that all human beings find themselves in when they emerge here as babies. Every human being is endowed, by blind nature, with the basic survival instincts like fear and aggression and nurture and desire (all sentient beings have – more or less – these basic survival instincts and animals, being unable to think and reflect upon their mortality, have not converted savagery and tenderness into ‘good’ and ‘evil’ ... they do not have values). Thus the term ‘Human Condition’ refers to the contrary and perverse nature of all peoples of all races and all cultures. There is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in everyone ... all humans have a ‘dark side’ to their nature and a ‘light side’. The battle betwixt ‘Good and Evil’ has raged down through the centuries and it requires constant vigilance lest evil gets the upper hand. Morals and ethics seek to control the wayward self that lurks deep within the human breast ... and some semblance of what is called ‘peace’ prevails for the main. Where morality and ethicality fails to curb the ‘savage beast’, law and order is maintained ... at the point of a gun.
Peace-on-earth is possible only when there is freedom from the Human Condition. Freedom from the Human Condition is the ending of the ‘self’. The elimination of the ‘self’ is simultaneously the demise of both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ within oneself. Then ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ vanish forever along with the dissolution of the psyche itself ... which is the only place they can live in. Because there is no good or evil in the actual world of sensual delight – where I live as this flesh and blood body – one then lives freely in the magical paradise that this verdant earth floating in the infinitude that the universe actually is. Being here at this moment in time and this place in space is to be living in a fairy-tale-like ambience that is never-ending.
I can heartily recommend committing both psychological and psychic suicide.
RESPONDENT: Why did our Creator God create evil?
RICHARD: By your use of ‘our’ in ‘our Creator God’ I am presuming that you mean ‘our’ as in ‘your group’ and not ‘our’ as in you and me ... I have no god whatsoever. Just to make sure that this point is clear: I am asking why your creator god created evil (there is no evil here in this actual world where I live).
RESPONDENT: Well, the answer to that is He didn’t.
RICHARD: Yet the Christian scriptures say ‘I form the light, and create darkness, I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord that do all these things’ in their official translation (I decline to argue the pros and cons of various translations). As I remarked in my previous E-Mail: is it not fascinating that nobody has ever been successfully able to explain why their Creator God created evil in the first place? This is true for anyone who holds a religious view that affirms the following three propositions:
As evil exists (no matter who created it), then either your god wants to obliterate evil and is not able to – thus he is not (1) almighty – or that your god is able to obliterate evil but does not choose to ... and thus he is not (2) perfectly good. The Hindus, for example, solve this dilemma by denying that (3) evil exists whereas you attempt to side-step the issue by denying that your creator god created evil ... thus he is not (1) almighty. Howsoever you deal with this hoary issue, could you please quote the text and chapter and verse number in your scriptures where it says that your Creator God did not create evil?
RESPONDENT: He created all things angels and humans perfect, with the freedom of choice.
RICHARD: Did your god create the choices available? If not, who created the choices? A perfect angel? And why (given that one of the choices is to be evil) would a perfect angel create evil? Also, did this perfect angel create evil ‘ex nihilo’? What is your definition of perfect? For me, the word ‘perfect’ precludes the ability to create or choose evil ... I could not be evil if my life depended upon it. I do not have the ability or capacity to sin ... let alone having the desire to do so. The freedom of choice that I experience does not include the choice to be anything other than happy and harmless ... this actual freedom is perfection personified.
RESPONDENT: One of the Angels used that freedom of choice to desire to become like God and be worshipped.
RICHARD: Is this desire not the result of envy? Are you saying that a perfect angel is subject to envy? Who created desire and/or envy if your god only created perfect angels? And why? Speaking personally, since the dissolution of any identity whatsoever in this body, I am unable to ever feel envious ... or any other invidious desire.
RESPONDENT: He then tricked Eve into thinking that she also would become like God if she ate the forbidden fruit.
RICHARD: What chemical was contained in the fruit? Who created what was contained in the fruit? Why was the fruit forbidden to perfect humans?
RESPONDENT: She in turn took the fruit to Adam and he knowing it was wrong chose to disobey God with his wife.
RICHARD: Why was it wrong? Who said that it was wrong? With the use of the word ‘wife’ are you suggesting that perfect humans had to have a marriage contract?
RESPONDENT: Job 1: 6-12 and Job 2:1-7 tell about conversations between Satan and Jehovah.
RICHARD: It is no use to just quote scriptural chapters and verse numbers to me ... please quote the text as well (there are so many interpretations of different religion’s scriptures and I do not have a ‘holy bible’ ... and as I correspond with Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, Jews and devotees of many other minor religions, sects and creeds and I would have to have The Upanishad, The Vedanta, The Bhagavad-Gita, The Buddhist Sutras, The Koran, The Book Of Mormon and so on and so on).
RESPONDENT: The book of Job goes on to tell how Satan accused people of only worshipping Jehovah for what he gave them!
RICHARD: You have me puzzled here ... why else would someone worship a deity? For what he/she deprived them of?
RESPONDENT: However Job also confirms that faithful persons will not abandon Jehovah just because things are not going their way.
RICHARD: But is this not because they live in the anticipation (the hope) that their creator god will eventually be coming through with the goods? Things like peace-on-earth, for example, an end to all the wars and rapes and murders and tortures and domestic violence and child abuse and sadness and loneliness and grief and depression and suicides? Which would mean, of course, worshipping Mr. Jehovah for what he will give them!
RESPONDENT: And as for God allowing suffering just because he is concerned with what the Angels will think. The Bible again tells us that a year to Jehovah is like a day to us. Because he is eternal the time from Creation to now is not long in comparison.
RICHARD: Yet what has this answer got to do with what I asked? Even if 6,000 (or whatever) years is but a blink of an eye for your creator god (or six days) it still does not answer why he was concerned about what the neighbours (the angels) think of him for that six days, eh? And seeing that he created time, then he must be well aware that six days for him is not six days for humans ... and humans have been suffering for 6,000 (or 50,000) years. Has your creator god no comprehension of what it is like to be a human being? Is your creator god an aloof god?
Is he indifferent to human suffering?
RESPONDENT: Regarding the Dates yes various persons have over the years speculated on when the end will come.
RICHARD: Indeed, and these ‘various persons’ are from the governing body of your group’s organisation, are they not? Those who are the mouthpiece of the ‘faithful and discreet slaves’?
RESPONDENT: However if they had understood the Bible more clearly they would not have done so, because the Bible says ‘As to the time of these events no one knows when they will occur not even the son but only the Father’.
RICHARD: Yet the ‘faithful and discreet slaves’ still have not learnt their lesson: Vis.:
Here the start of Armageddon is tied to the lifetime of ‘present-day ridiculers’. This is simply an upside-down return of the old ‘this generation’ viewpoint that usually presented ‘Armageddon’ within the lifetime of the present day faithful. Note, also, that this prophecy clearly states that ‘if they do not die from other causes in the meantime, the fear-inspiring day of Jehovah will definitely overtake them’ ... which unambiguously means that your creator god will be putting the wicked through the grape-press in your present life-time.
RESPONDENT: It also says ‘Just as in the Days of Noah people were eating, getting married when suddenly it was upon them’.
RICHARD: Yea verily ... and the your group’s organisation makes it crystal-clear that they know when (in ‘only one age – our own’). Vis.:
Oh, well ... I guess that some ‘spirit-anointed’ people never learn, eh?
RESPONDENT: So we are ‘To keep on the watch and remain alert all the time’ Because Jehovah cannot lie and he has said it will come so it will come.
RICHARD: Aye ... and the two thousand years since your saviour’s birth passed by uneventfully at least three years ago. Therefore, another thousand years – or more – could easily pass without anything happening, eh? His notion of a generation is vastly different to anyone else’s ... two thousand years and still counting down. Yet even you said in your previous E-Mail:
Which all goes to demonstrate yet again that some ‘spirit-anointed’ people never learn, eh?
RESPONDENT: As for the book I want to send I think you may have already read it. Revelation – Its great Climax is at Hand.
RICHARD: No, I have not read it ... but I am aware of the general thrust of the argument.
RESPONDENT: Also since the publication of the Proclaimers book which was studied at the Ministry School Meetings last year All of us understand that dates and thinking have been clarified as we gained more knowledge and understanding.
RICHARD: Are you so sure that they have gained more knowledge and understanding? It would appear to me that they are still making predictions. For example:
RESPONDENT: The Bible says that the Faithful and Discreet Slave would give the spiritual food at the proper time. Man was not born understanding electricity he had to learn it when the time was right.
RICHARD: Yet all the ‘faithful and discreet slaves’ have been atrociously wrong ... and are still making the same-same mistakes.
RESPONDENT: The Bible also tells in Acts how when the question of non-Jews needing to become circumcised to become Christians. The apostles sent the question to the Central Governing Body of Disciples in Jerusalem. This is the same roll that the organisation play today.
RICHARD: You may have gathered by now that I am not impressed by the governing body of your group. They have been – and still are – wrong, incorrect and in error.
RESPONDENT: Yes there has been much speculation of the term Generation but reading the Bible has clarified the usage as not a literal 70 year period but as a general term. Just as Jesus Generation was not the literal 33 years he lived.
RICHARD: Could you please quote the text and chapter and verse where you have read that the term ‘generation’ does not mean 70 years but means 2,000 plus many, many more years? I would be very interested to know the exact source of your reading of your ‘holy bible’ that has clarified it all for you.
I wonder if you realise that I experience everything as all so simple, here in this actual world; no effort is needed to meet the requisite morality of society. I have no ‘dark nature’, no unconscious impulses to curb, to control, to restrain. It is all so easy, in this actual world. The ‘dark nature’ was extinguished along with the extinction of identity ... and so too went its opposite ‘light nature’. The ‘Good’ is a psychic force that exist solely to combat the ‘Bad’. Thus a ‘God’ needs a ‘Devil’; ‘Love’ needs ‘Hate’; ‘Compassion’ needs ‘Sorrow’; ‘Beauty’ needs ‘Ugly’; ‘Truth’ needs ‘False’... and so on. There are no opposites here in actuality. I can take no credit for my apparently virtuous behaviour because an actual freedom automatically provides beneficial thoughts and deeds. It is all so spontaneous, here in this actual world; I do not do it ... it does itself. Vanity, egoism, selfishness ... all self-centred activity has ceased to operate when ‘I’ (identity and/or ego and/or soul and/or self and/or whatever name) ceased to be. And it is all so peaceful, here in this actual world; it is only because of actualism that human beings can have peace-on-earth without toiling fruitlessly to be ‘good’. All this is factual ... not speculative theory like this example written 2,000 years ago:
RESPONDENT: Ha … if it’s not personal, so much for it indeed ... but it is personal (everyone is a child).
RICHARD: The three references provided as a footnote unambiguously refer to juveniles ... specifically described as (1) young children ... and (2) little children ... and (3) infants. Vis.:
As for your parenthesised ‘everyone is a child’ comment I see you have expanded on this theme elsewhere:
Just for starters I am not presumptively rejecting everything spiritual (let alone emotionally) ... I experientially explored same, night and day, for eleven years and there was nothing sensible to be found anywhere.
When saying ‘suffer the little children to come unto me’ Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene is not referring to an inner child (and there is no such problematic entity existing in this flesh and blood body anyway) as the accompanying text clearly shows.
The properties of what is known in a certain school of psychology as an ‘inner child’ are (not surprisingly) psychological ... of, affecting, or pertaining to the mental and emotional state of a person.
The word ‘suffer’, in the context of ‘suffer the little children to come unto me’, means allow, permit, and so on. Vis.:
The expression ‘to come unto me’, in the given context, simply means ‘to come to me’ (just as it is in Mr. Mark’s rendition ‘and they brought young children to him’ further above) ... for example:
In regards to taking only the literal meaning out of those spiritual texts instead of the intended metaphorical meaning ... the psychological concept known as ‘inner child’ not only did not exist prior to the twentieth century no first century equivalent was even implied (let alone intended). Vis.:
If you wish to read into ‘as a little child’ (aka being childlike) something other than what is conveyed – as in your ‘inner child’ psychological concept – only to criticise others for not taking what you see as [quote] ‘the intended metaphorical meaning’ [endquote] then that is your business.
Incidentally, Mr. Mathew makes no mention (further above) of Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene’ homily and reports only that he laid his hands on those children and departed from that place.
RESPONDENT: What being childlike (‘as a little child’) means to you ...
RICHARD: In the context under discussion ... being meek, submissive, dutiful, obedient (as to an earthly father in that era).
RESPONDENT: ... and what do you think meant to Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene Christ?
RICHARD: There is no need to think anything ... here it is (straight from the horse’s mouth as it were):
RESPONDENT: Don’t you think that a psychic archetype termed ‘child’ exists in the human psyche in the same way as the anima/ animus or the wise man or the hero are?
RICHARD: It makes no difference either way what one thinks: the fact remains that Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene, all the while insisting that infants/ little children/ young children be allowed to come to him for a ritual laying-on of hands and an other-worldly blessing, was actively working his will in such a way as to ensure all future babies would be born with bully boys and feisty femmes as parents ... and with no alternate care-giver/ role-model anywhere to be found.
The Third Alternative
(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)
Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.
Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.