Beyond Religion

An Aside, a Dedication: 
              With the passing of John Lewis we are reminded again of the power of humility. 

It is said: The Ocean is the most powerful of all because it is the lowest of all. All streams run to the Ocean. 
Its great strength comes from its great 
Jesus taught this lesson, Tolstoy repeated it in “The Kingdom of God is Within You,” where Gandhi saw it, then MLKjr passed the lesson to John Lewis.
John passed the torch to us. Do we have the courage to pick it up?


Beyond Religion: Time for A Dose of Truth:

Churches are made of people like us. that’s why we enjoy being with them, sharing beautiful churches and cathedrals, inspiring music, sometimes meaningful thoughts.

But religions are institutions of society,  usually created for the benefit of the wealthy. Humans have created thousands of religions and gods. Most of us are familiar with the Greek gods - Zeus, Apollo, Mercury, etc. or the Norse gods Odin and Thor, and some of us know of Mesopotamian gods like Marduk, Tiamat, Inanna, etc. or other Canaanite gods such as El, Asherah, and eventually Yahweh the Hebrew God. My personal favorite god is Tlaloc, the Aztec rain god - therein lies a tale.

Passing through Christianity like many of you, I will try to share some of my findings about Christianity in particular, given my seminary education and other investigations from biblical studies and archaeology.  Warning: These findings are at odds with what society teaches!! :

The Hebrew god derived from the other Canaanite gods of the middle eastern region. The primary god there was El and there were also many others. Early  Hebrews like other Canaanites, were polytheistic and their gods were somewhat portable and interchangeable. They also practiced human sacrifice in the era before their Babylonian exile, probably in a valley called Hinnom, connecting ultimately to the concept of the fires of hell, story of the sacrifce of Isaac, etc. Relics of this history are still found ithroughout the Bible.

The Bible, New as well as Old, is a political document, assembled from pieces writen at different times with different motives and agendas. Its assembly began as the Jewish elite returned from Babylon, thanks to Cyrus who liberated them and was given the title of messiah, to establish themselves at Jerusalem. Their big issue was identity. Who were they? Where did they come from? The Hebrews lived in the crossroads of the world. They were often run over or conquered by Egypt to the South, the Assyrians to the North, Hitites, Persians and Babylonianes to the East.

Trying to differentiate themseleves from other Canaanites, the Hebrews focused on becoming monotheistic and claiming special favor from their chosen god Yahweh, whom they insisted had precedence over the other gods. They constructed many origin stories - some general: Adam and Eve and Noah, - Others tribal: Abraham, Moses and the Exodus from Egypt and Joshua and the conquering of Canaan such as Jericho, etc. Warning: None of these stories are true. Research shows there was no sojourn in Egypt or Exodus. There was no conquering of Jericho, not even any Moses! These stories were created to give origins and credentials and have no basis in fact.

About 2,000 years ago, the Romans took over, leading to the Era of Jesus. There was almost certainly a man named Jesus, an itinerant preacher, but many of the wild stories and miracles come from other religions in the regions at the time: miracles, signs in the sky, resurrections, ascending into the clouds, etc.

Jesus criticized society and religion, making him unpopular with the authorities of the time: religious, military, etc. He traveled about preaching for one to three years [the NT has conflicting accounts], until the Romans crucified him. Crucifixion usually took several days to kill you, but Jesus friends got him off the cross in a few hours. Later he was anointed with aloe, placed in a tomb and disappeared. The earliest gospel, Mark, ends here. Later stories conflict, but some had him ascending immediately, or 40 days later, etc. As you can see, the NT is no more reliable than the OT and over time grew even worse. There are also other stories about a grave in Kashmir attributed to him. So maybe he escaped.

When the Romans destroyed Jerusalem about the year 70, many changes began.   

 . . . more to come 2020-07-20  12:23 MT . . .

© Gareth Harris 2019                                      Email:                  See also: