Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Curing the Hell-Belief Psychosis

Locating the centers for Hell-Belief Psycho-Pathology in the human brain.

Amongst the most degenerate and evil concepts ever spawned by the human brain is the Hell Myth. This despicable psychic embolism has not only severely delimited lives of millions of humans (out of sheer fear) but it has also allowed degenerate “Satanic” religions to control masses of minds even as others are driven into delirium and psychosis.

Ironically, the colorful, artistic renditions of this abode (obviously, since there is no empirical proof at all it exists) didn’t commence until after Dante Alleghieri’s Divine Comedy and ‘Inferno’. Prior to the imaginative Dante, Christian writers only rarely depicted Hell, though writers and artists depicted Purgatory almost ubiquitously.

As the fables of Hell and its denizens metastasized, it became ever more obvious that Christians (like the Zoroastrians and Manicheans et al before them) required these nasties to help instill fear in their minions and sustain mind control. What use is a religion if it can’t hang on to its flock? And the best way to do this is threaten them with the worst torments imaginable if they leave (or to outsiders, if they never embrace their beliefs!)

In his book, ‘The History of the Devil’, Dr. Paul Carus observes that “demoniality, or Devil-worship, is the first page in the evolution of religion”

Now, religions and especially their assorted fundie believers, won’t relish being called “Satanists” or “Devil worshippers” but that’s exactly what they are if they uphold belief in Satan and Hell. And though they can insist their (corrupted-KJV) bible scriptures lend credence to their beliefs, in the end those text references are fraudulent later additions, exploited to enhance control via the use of an alleged “authority”. But make no mistake this “authority” is useless, especially the KJV which is descended from a corrupted and mistranslated miasma due to a flawed 12th century text copied by Erasmus.

Why are Hell-believing religions Satanist? As Lauran Paine has noted (‘The Hierarchy of Hell’, Barnes & Noble, 1972, p. 140), the erosion of Church power almost exactly paralleled the demise of the long –enduring “orders and hierarchies” of Hell. These had been put together by clerics and Church authorities from the time of Aquinas- and made use of dozens of Satanic entities including: Asmodeus, Belial, Asiel, Gaap, Raum, Sitri, Focalor and dozens of others – each presiding over an order or level of Hell. The Satanic belief system with its ordered hierarchies was so entrenched by 1484 (when the Malleus Maleficarum was written), that indeed – one was regarded as a heretic or atheist if one didn’t accept it! Hence, the belief in Hell and its denizens amounted to Satanism.

The generic standard belief (ibid.) was that “there was God and there was Satan”, the latter had dominion over the Earth and the former over everything else.

The tragedy is that few rationalist Christians could see the contradiction here. For while they insisted God was “omnipotent” or all-powerful, they allowed that an evil entity (“Satan”) could drive this Being from control of one planet! But obviously, if It could be weakened on one planet or its power curtailed there – even on a little one like Earth- it couldn’t be all-powerful by definition! In addition, if it allowed a “Hell” to be manufactured (and one wonders by whom) then it could no longer be OMNIPRESENT. The very attribute of omnipresence would mean that IF a Hell existed, it could only do so as part of God. If, on the other hand, Hell existed separately – then this marked a place or condition where God wasn’t, and hence God was therefore limited, no longer omnipresent!

The trouble is that none of this rational argument works on a brain that is seized and diseased by core Hell belief. The reason is that the disease affects those regions of the brain (see diagram) based largely in the limbic system and reticular formation and hence least susceptible to logic or rational argument.

To fix ideas, in the summer of 1973 in Barbados, two late teen girls – who I will call “Myra” and “Maura”- were hospitalized in the island’s Jenkins Asylum in Black Rock. Both had been days in a state of catatonic fear – unable to even feed and clothe themselves. As further investigation proceeded, it was revealed that their one commonality was having both attended a hellfire sermon (based on quotes in the KJV) from a Sunday night service at the Berean Bible Church.

According to the psychotherapist (Dr. Pat Bannister) who worked with both girls, they had been terrified out of their minds by the fear of Hell. They both had become so pathologically frightened of ending up there- despite being good Christian teens, that they had effectively retreated from life and sealed themselves into a hermetic other world.

Psychotropic drugs like largatyl only brought them out part of the way, and as it turned out prolonged electro-convulsive therapy – administered at least once a week- had to be used. Myra finally climbed back to reality after almost a year of treatments, Maura took nearly a whole extra year to re-acquire some semblance of mental health.

While these are admittedly extreme cases, they highlight the depths to which the corrosive and cancerous Hell belief can wreak havoc in minds – especially young ones. According to Bannister, some of her preliminary studies actually showed most young Hell believers were more prone to schizoid personality disorder, as well as schizophrenia. (Of course, some authorities have juxtaposed this and maintained the schizophrenia was already there and paved the way for hyper-Hell belief).

Bannister’s primary conclusion, however the etiology of the psychopathy developed, was that Hell belief was pathological for a human brain. Holding such a destructive belief over time, even if the person sincerely believes his “scriptures” validated it, was toxic for a brain. She also was convinced that early dementia could be one offshoot- if it wasn’t brought under control.

Bannister’s later work (she died before it could be completed) separated the victims of Hell belief from the perpetrators of it. While “Myra” and Maura” were its victims, it was the Minister who delivered the scorching Elmer Gantry –like sermon who was the infectious agent. Thus, Hell belief is like a viral meme or mind virus that had to disseminate from one highly infected source.(Much like the God meme is disseminated from one infected brain to another, as Persinger showed in his ‘Neuropsychological Bases of God Belief’)

What nature of source might this be? According to Harvey A. Hornstein in his terrific book Cruelty and Kindness: A New Look at Aggression and Altruism (Prentice-Hall, 1976, 'We and They', p.13.), the dogmatic belief mindset is germinated in the authoritarian personality type. This personality is pathologically rigid, absolutist and displays little or no flexibility. In the words of some, “It’s my way or the highway”.

The seed of this germination probably inheres in one or more incidents in the early life especially if the person was dominated by an authority figure, perhaps paddled by a teacher or threatened in some way. The experience then buries itself in the subconscious and though this person may spend most of his adult life exorcising his demons in alcoholism, gambling or whatnot, he eventually will come back to the "equilibrium" of the authoritarian mindset that originally dominated him and adopt that as his model or experiential template.

Not surprisingly, as Hornstein notes, many of these authoritarians become either military commanders, cult leaders (like Jim Jones and David Koresh) or ministers in extreme fundamentalist religions. They find that in these venues their exercise of control is maximized to the hilt and there are few people with the moxie to challenge them. Further, they try to amplify their authority by basing its exercise on an independent external authority in which they invest absolutely. For the military commander it may be the Joint Chiefs, and for the minister – his KJV. Never mind either might be corrupted at the core, their word is “gospel” and more than enough for the authoritarian to spread his noxious material.

From reading Hornstein’s chapter on the nature of the authoritarian personality it isn’t likely that any of the usual treatments reserved for Hell-belief victims (such as ECT or psychotropic medications) would do a thing to alleviate the “religious dictator” Hell-pushing syndrome. Obviously, reason also has limited use, since the authoritarian simply dismisses all appeals to reason or logic and falls back on his corrupt bible- spewing out deformed quote after quote to convince himself he is in the right. Asking daft questions such as: “And what will you do, Mr. atheist, when you find yourself in Hell?” Well, obviously nothing since there IS Nothing! Since there is no Hell other than in this character’s febrile imagination and his defective scriptures. What HE will learn, is that when he’s dead, he’s dead. There won’t be so much as a wayward fairy to sniff at his "soul".

To me, therefore, the only way to remove the insidious Hell virus is to implant quantum dot electrodes in the authoritarian’s brain – probably in both the temporal lobes and the reticular formation (near the amygdala). Quantum dot scales are now such that these could easily fit in numerous places, and if done correctly, act as a supplemental neural network to regulate thoughts.

Given quantum dot neural control systems in maybe five years, we may finally be able to cure the Hell-bender megalomaniacs and get them back to reality. To solve real world problems, as opposed to fabricating the pseudo-problem of “Hell”.

17 comments:

tena said...

and to think the bible tells us specifically that the will indeed turn to fables, instead of following sound doctrine. this is so true and obvious today,christians preach their hellfire and brimstone as a way to instill fear and control,it just makes me sick,i cannot stand these people! brother mike

Cliff said...

I have a sister who has schiophrenia, and I believe it is because of her religious upbringing. I had the same upbringing, but I had the sense to figure out that Christian Universalism is the truth and the original Gospel. So you don't have to be a non-believer in Christ to recognize the schizophrenic nature of a "two-headed god", who is defined as Love, commands you to forgive your enemies, yet then throws his own enemies into eternal hellfire. I also figured out that people eventually become like the "god" they worship. Thus, my sister has schizophrenia, like the god she worships. If these Bible mistranslations were corrected, I think a LOT of mental illness could be prevented and cured. But you don't have to throw the baby Jesus out with the bathwater, so to speak.

Copernicus said...

Cliff wrote:

"If these Bible mistranslations were corrected, I think a LOT of mental illness could be prevented and cured. But you don't have to throw the baby Jesus out with the bathwater, so to speak"

First, it isn't merely a matter of "mistranslations" but often deliberate additions used as PR or propaganda to "convert unbelievers". (See also Bart D. Ehrman's excellent book, 'Misquoting Jesus').

In addition, one must reckon in the lack of historical basis to much of the content- please access the Yale lecture link for Prof. Dale B. Martin's lecture:


http://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/introduction-to-new-testament/content/sessions/lecture13.html

This is one of the best lectures avalable free on the net.

Re: "tossing ot Jesus (baby or other) with the bathwater", no one says anyone must do that. We only ask, in light of Prof. Martin's historical lecture, and the work done that discloses syncretic later additions (as well as copyist errors) that we isolate the iconic Jesus from the actual historical person- who, alas, was not a "god Man".

Cliff said...

"we isolate the iconic Jesus from the actual historical person- who, alas, was not a "god Man"."

I read through the lecture, and I like the Professor's honesty. But I think you, the Professor, and virtually everyone else since Jesus' time and even before (see "Pharisees") are making the mistake of trying to apply only earthly logic & reasoning to spiritual matters. The letter kills, but the spirit gives life. Logic & reason do have their place, for even God said "Come, let us reason together", but I think very few even in Jesus' time truly understood what was actually occurring - the reconciliation of ALL of God's creation to God. "It is finished" is what Jesus said on the Cross, and I think He meant what he said. I really believe the New Testament wasn't written for you and I, but the people who lived at the time. I'm not a Corinthian, an Ephesian, a Collosian, etc., and if the things written in those letters weren't fulfilled during those people's lifetimes, then it's all a crock. But one day we ALL will truly understand, this time in spirit. That's the important point, because the things of this world are all in the process of passing away. I've used logic & reason to become a "Preterist Christian Universalist", which is the only way I can get my mind around God and the Bible. But, I'm a flawed human being, I could be wrong. That's ultimately what one admits to themselves when they say they believe in Jesus' divinity - I could be wrong, and I know I need forgiveness. I have faith that God will handle the rest.

Copernicus said...

"I read through the lecture, and I like the Professor's honesty. But I think you, the Professor, and virtually everyone else since Jesus' time and even before (see "Pharisees") are making the mistake of trying to apply only earthly logic & reasoning to spiritual matters. The letter kills, but the spirit gives life"

I dispute that, though I do think there is a place to read a work like the Bible in the *spirit* with which it is written, as opposed to taking every word literally.

But my point, and the professor's (and I do hope you actually watched the video lecture - not just read it) is that there is an inescapable historical interdiction which shows that one cannot place the bible in any historical context. There are way too many ambiguities, inconsistencies, as well as whole tracts that appear in some books but not others (like whole details of the trial before Pilate in John, but scarcely mentioned in the other quadriforms).

So, yes, logic and textual-historicalanalysis DO matter, as far as scriptural realism goes. However, merely because there is a deficiency of realism doesn't mean one can't read the bible to good effect and derive inspiration!

I believe biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan, in his Epilog to 'The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant' put it best:

""Is an understanding of the historical Jesus of any permanent relevance to Christianity itself? I propose that at the heart of any Christianity there is always, covertly or overtly, a dialectic between a historically read Jesus and a theologically read Christ. Christianity is always, in other words, a Jesus/Christ/ianity."

and finally (ibid.)

"This book challenges the reader on the level of formal method, material investment, and historical interpretation. It presumes there will always be divergent historical Jesuses, that there will always be divergent Christs built upon them, but above all, it argues that the structure of a Christianity will always be: *this is how we see Jesus as Christ now*."


The central problem for the conventional Christian believer inevitably arises: how to reconcile his/her faith in a 'God-Man/Savior' Jesus, with the actual historical person.

I think if one is not committed to a strict literalist straight jacket, this ought not be a problem.

From my understanding of Universalists (who are similar in many respects to Science of mind folks) this ought to be a piece of cake.

Copernicus said...

"I read through the lecture, and I like the Professor's honesty. But I think you, the Professor, and virtually everyone else since Jesus' time and even before (see "Pharisees") are making the mistake of trying to apply only earthly logic & reasoning to spiritual matters. The letter kills, but the spirit gives life"

I dispute that, though I do think there is a place to read a work like the Bible in the *spirit* with which it is written, as opposed to taking every word literally.

But my point, and the professor's (and I do hope you actually watched the video lecture - not just read it) is that there is an inescapable historical interdiction which shows that one cannot place the bible in any historical context. There are way too many ambiguities, inconsistencies, as well as whole tracts that appear in some books but not others (like whole details of the trial before Pilate in John, but scarcely mentioned in the other quadriforms).

So, yes, logic and textual-historicalanalysis DO matter, as far as scriptural realism goes. However, merely because there is a deficiency of realism doesn't mean one can't read the bible to good effect and derive inspiration!

I believe biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan, in his Epilog to 'The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant' put it best:

""Is an understanding of the historical Jesus of any permanent relevance to Christianity itself? I propose that at the heart of any Christianity there is always, covertly or overtly, a dialectic between a historically read Jesus and a theologically read Christ. Christianity is always, in other words, a Jesus/Christ/ianity."

and finally (ibid.)

"This book challenges the reader on the level of formal method, material investment, and historical interpretation. It presumes there will always be divergent historical Jesuses, that there will always be divergent Christs built upon them, but above all, it argues that the structure of a Christianity will always be: *this is how we see Jesus as Christ now*."


The central problem for the conventional Christian believer inevitably arises: how to reconcile his/her faith in a 'God-Man/Savior' Jesus, with the actual historical person.

I think if one is not committed to a strict literalist straight jacket, this ought not be a problem.

From my understanding of Universalists (who are similar in many respects to Science of mind folks) this ought to be a piece of cake.

Copernicus said...

"I read through the lecture, and I like the Professor's honesty. But I think you, the Professor, and virtually everyone else since Jesus' time and even before (see "Pharisees") are making the mistake of trying to apply only earthly logic & reasoning to spiritual matters. The letter kills, but the spirit gives life"

I dispute that, though I do think there is a place to read a work like the Bible in the *spirit* with which it is written, as opposed to taking every word literally.

But my point, and the professor's (and I do hope you actually watched the video lecture - not just read it) is that there is an inescapable historical interdiction which shows that one cannot place the bible in any historical context. There are way too many ambiguities, inconsistencies, as well as whole tracts that appear in some books but not others (like whole details of the trial before Pilate in John, but scarcely mentioned in the other quadriforms).

So, yes, logic and textual-historicalanalysis DO matter, as far as scriptural realism goes. However, merely because there is a deficiency of realism doesn't mean one can't read the bible to good effect and derive inspiration!

I believe biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan, in his Epilog to 'The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant' put it best:

""Is an understanding of the historical Jesus of any permanent relevance to Christianity itself? I propose that at the heart of any Christianity there is always, covertly or overtly, a dialectic between a historically read Jesus and a theologically read Christ. Christianity is always, in other words, a Jesus/Christ/ianity."

and finally (ibid.)

"This book challenges the reader on the level of formal method, material investment, and historical interpretation. It presumes there will always be divergent historical Jesuses, that there will always be divergent Christs built upon them, but above all, it argues that the structure of a Christianity will always be: *this is how we see Jesus as Christ now*."


The central problem for the conventional Christian believer inevitably arises: how to reconcile his/her faith in a 'God-Man/Savior' Jesus, with the actual historical person.

I think if one is not committed to a strict literalist straight jacket, this ought not be a problem.

From my understanding of Universalists (who are similar in many respects to Science of mind folks) this ought to be a piece of cake.

Cliff said...

I may not a Universalist in the conventional "Unitarian Universalist" mode that is prevalent now. I believe in the ultimate reconciliation of all people to God, due to Christ's sacrifice on the cross, and only because He is the son of God. To reject His divinity is to reject His purpose and make Him a liar. My only concession is that His divinity WILL be recognized by everybody eventually, as is stated many places in the Bible. I believe He is the first entity encountered after we die, and that encounter will "clear things up" for everyone. So that is the only place I disagree with you, Jesus' divinity. I personally think some discrepancies in the history make the story more authentic. But ultimately, it's all a matter of faith. I appreciate the link to the lecture, and I will go back and listen to it and also look into the Science of Mind. Always looking for more ways of looking at things, but I will never reject the divinity of Christ. This knowledge was written on my heart, and wasn't derived from anything I've read or heard. That will make absolutely no sense to anyone who hasn't experienced it. To those who have, it will make perfect sense. I say that without any judgment or pride. It wasn't of my doing.

Copernicus said...

"To reject His divinity is to reject His purpose and make Him a liar. "


I totally disagree with that take. This, of course, brings up the question HOW he can be a "liar" when he never ever made a claim to being divine. The only sayings we can actually verify using textual analysis are the "Son of Man' sayings as Oxford scholar Geza Vermes has noted ('The Authentic Gospel of Jesus').

In Vermes’ conclusion, with which I totally concur(having taken textual analysis and biblical exegesis while at a Catholic Univeristy - Loyola, in 1964-65), Yeshua’s mission was all about the **Jews**, not Gentiles.

As he notes (op. cit, p. 415):

“The religion revealed by the authentic message of Jesus is straightforward, without complex dogmas, mythical images or self-centered mystical speculation. It resembles a race consisting only of the final ‘straight’ – demanding from the runners their last ounce of energy and with a winners’ medal prepared for all the JEWISH participants who cross the finishing line.

At this juncture, one may wonder how a religious genius of the caliber of Jesus could have been such a narrow-minded chauvinist. But the Jewish eschatology of that age was exclusive, and maybe Jesus was simply a child of his time. On the other hand, he may have embraced the prophetic idea manifest in the second half of the Book of Isaiah according to which entry of the Jews into God’s Kingdom would persuade the Gentiles to join them. If so, Jesus could easily imagine that on completion of his exclusively JEWISH mission, God would step in and take care of the rest of mankind.

Compared with the dynamic religion of Jesus, Christianity seems to belong to another world. With its mixture of high philosophical speculation on the triune God, its Johannine Logos mysticism, and Pauline Redeemer myth of a dying and risen Son of God, with its sacramental symbolism and ecclesiastical discipline substituted for the extinct eschatological passion- with its cosmopolitan openness combined with a built-in anti-Judaism- it is hard to imagine how the two could have come from the same source.”

It was in fact, PAUL - who spread the doctrine of Yeshua's divinity (and beyond the Jews) which is why we often refer to that as the basis for PAULINE Christianity (which has since been turned into a fetish by the evangelical Christians who now insist one's afterlife salvation hangs on believing such. No it doesn't)

Try to get hold of Vermes' book as well if you're seriously interested, as it is a very accessible one on textual analysis. He shows, identifies, where all the genuine "Son of Man" quotes, sayings occur - and where all the synthetic additions are.

Well, worth your while.

In the end, what we know - from both historical and textual analysis, is that Yeshua wasn;t divine. The myth of a God man was copied largely fro pre-existing Mithraic cult tracts, for their God man Mithras. That included, being born of a virgin (Anahita), working miracles (including multiplying loaves and fish, changing water to wine and raising the dead) - being crucified and rising again.

Anyway, I do hope you watch not only the lecture 13 but also attend to the entire lecture series given by Prof. Martin. It will really highlight how and why we dispute the divinity.

Jesus was no liar. He was a great teacher and humanitarian and merits having his message followed just on that basis.

Copernicus said...

"To reject His divinity is to reject His purpose and make Him a liar. "


I totally disagree with that take. This, of course, brings up the question HOW he can be a "liar" when he never ever made a claim to being divine. The only sayings we can actually verify using textual analysis are the "Son of Man' sayings as Oxford scholar Geza Vermes has noted ('The Authentic Gospel of Jesus').

In Vermes’ conclusion, with which I totally concur(having taken textual analysis and biblical exegesis while at a Catholic Univeristy - Loyola, in 1964-65), Yeshua’s mission was all about the **Jews**, not Gentiles.

As he notes (op. cit, p. 415):

“The religion revealed by the authentic message of Jesus is straightforward, without complex dogmas, mythical images or self-centered mystical speculation. It resembles a race consisting only of the final ‘straight’ – demanding from the runners their last ounce of energy and with a winners’ medal prepared for all the JEWISH participants who cross the finishing line.

At this juncture, one may wonder how a religious genius of the caliber of Jesus could have been such a narrow-minded chauvinist. But the Jewish eschatology of that age was exclusive, and maybe Jesus was simply a child of his time. On the other hand, he may have embraced the prophetic idea manifest in the second half of the Book of Isaiah according to which entry of the Jews into God’s Kingdom would persuade the Gentiles to join them. If so, Jesus could easily imagine that on completion of his exclusively JEWISH mission, God would step in and take care of the rest of mankind.

Compared with the dynamic religion of Jesus, Christianity seems to belong to another world. With its mixture of high philosophical speculation on the triune God, its Johannine Logos mysticism, and Pauline Redeemer myth of a dying and risen Son of God, with its sacramental symbolism and ecclesiastical discipline substituted for the extinct eschatological passion- with its cosmopolitan openness combined with a built-in anti-Judaism- it is hard to imagine how the two could have come from the same source.”

It was in fact, PAUL - who spread the doctrine of Yeshua's divinity (and beyond the Jews) which is why we often refer to that as the basis for PAULINE Christianity (which has since been turned into a fetish by the evangelical Christians who now insist one's afterlife salvation hangs on believing such. No it doesn't)

Try to get hold of Vermes' book as well if you're seriously interested, as it is a very accessible one on textual analysis. He shows, identifies, where all the genuine "Son of Man" quotes, sayings occur - and where all the synthetic additions are.

Well, worth your while.

In the end, what we know - from both historical and textual analysis, is that Yeshua wasn;t divine. The myth of a God man was copied largely fro pre-existing Mithraic cult tracts, for their God man Mithras. That included, being born of a virgin (Anahita), working miracles (including multiplying loaves and fish, changing water to wine and raising the dead) - being crucified and rising again.

Anyway, I do hope you watch not only the lecture 13 but also attend to the entire lecture series given by Prof. Martin. It will really highlight how and why we dispute the divinity.

Jesus was no liar. He was a great teacher and humanitarian and merits having his message followed just on that basis.

Copernicus said...

"To reject His divinity is to reject His purpose and make Him a liar. "


I totally disagree with that take. This, of course, brings up the question HOW he can be a "liar" when he never ever made a claim to being divine. The only sayings we can actually verify using textual analysis are the "Son of Man' sayings as Oxford scholar Geza Vermes has noted ('The Authentic Gospel of Jesus').

In Vermes’ conclusion, with which I totally concur(having taken textual analysis and biblical exegesis while at a Catholic Univeristy - Loyola, in 1964-65), Yeshua’s mission was all about the **Jews**, not Gentiles.

As he notes (op. cit, p. 415):

“The religion revealed by the authentic message of Jesus is straightforward, without complex dogmas, mythical images or self-centered mystical speculation. It resembles a race consisting only of the final ‘straight’ – demanding from the runners their last ounce of energy and with a winners’ medal prepared for all the JEWISH participants who cross the finishing line.

At this juncture, one may wonder how a religious genius of the caliber of Jesus could have been such a narrow-minded chauvinist. But the Jewish eschatology of that age was exclusive, and maybe Jesus was simply a child of his time. On the other hand, he may have embraced the prophetic idea manifest in the second half of the Book of Isaiah according to which entry of the Jews into God’s Kingdom would persuade the Gentiles to join them. If so, Jesus could easily imagine that on completion of his exclusively JEWISH mission, God would step in and take care of the rest of mankind.

Compared with the dynamic religion of Jesus, Christianity seems to belong to another world. With its mixture of high philosophical speculation on the triune God, its Johannine Logos mysticism, and Pauline Redeemer myth of a dying and risen Son of God, with its sacramental symbolism and ecclesiastical discipline substituted for the extinct eschatological passion- with its cosmopolitan openness combined with a built-in anti-Judaism- it is hard to imagine how the two could have come from the same source.”

It was in fact, PAUL - who spread the doctrine of Yeshua's divinity (and beyond the Jews) which is why we often refer to that as the basis for PAULINE Christianity (which has since been turned into a fetish by the evangelical Christians who now insist one's afterlife salvation hangs on believing such. No it doesn't)

Try to get hold of Vermes' book as well if you're seriously interested, as it is a very accessible one on textual analysis. He shows, identifies, where all the genuine "Son of Man" quotes, sayings occur - and where all the synthetic additions are.

Well, worth your while.

In the end, what we know - from both historical and textual analysis, is that Yeshua wasn;t divine. The myth of a God man was copied largely fro pre-existing Mithraic cult tracts, for their God man Mithras. That included, being born of a virgin (Anahita), working miracles (including multiplying loaves and fish, changing water to wine and raising the dead) - being crucified and rising again.

Anyway, I do hope you watch not only the lecture 13 but also attend to the entire lecture series given by Prof. Martin. It will really highlight how and why we dispute the divinity.

Jesus was no liar. He was a great teacher and humanitarian and merits having his message followed just on that basis.

Cliff said...

I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree on Jesus' divinity. I actually do agree that Jesus, during his time on earth, was primarily interested in the Jews, as He was the Jewish Messiah. Paul's job was to spread the good news of the salvation of man to the Gentiles. If you read Paul's letters carefully, you will see that he preached that Jesus is the salvation of ALL mankind, and especially for believers (1 Tim. 4:10).

Like I said, it's a matter of faith, though I can't understand why one would not believe Paul's writings on the subject, but believe others who have written on it and weren't there. What you're saying requires quite a bit of faith as well, if you will admit it. Faith that people who weren't there can truly say exactly what went on. I can't believe that Paul just made it all up, and a careful reading of Paul's writings reveals that he preached universal salvation due to Christ's sacrifice. He paid a terrible price for spreading the Gospel, as did all of Jesus' disciples. I will concede that modern mainstream Christianity's take on what Paul wrote is a crock, and I don't blame anybody for rejecting it. Part of the problem of "reading other people's mail". The doctrine of punishment in eternal hell has had horrible ramifications for a LOT of people. But like I said before, my opinion is that you're "throwing the baby out with the bathwater". Paul didn't have any choice in what he believed, it was presented to him in a fashion that precluded denial. I have faith that we will all be given that chance.

Copernicus said...

Cliff wrote:

"Paul's job was to spread the good news of the salvation of man to the Gentiles."

THAT was not "Paul's job" at all, i.e. assigned to him by any external person or authority, including Yeshua. HE took that on himself. See also Religious Scholar Elaine Pagels' excellent book, 'The Gnostic Gospels'.


"If you read Paul's letters carefully, you will see that he preached that Jesus is the salvation of ALL mankind, and especially for believers (1 Tim. 4:10)."

Of course he did! As Paul's own propaganda! Here's the bottom line of how it fits, as Oxford biblical authority Geza Vermes has noted ('The Authentic Gospel of Jesus'): Paulines recognized that any indefinitely long period without the manifestation of the Parousia would have inimical effects for the budding faith. It therefore made sense to not only reinforce the divinity teachings (which btw, were regarded as blasphemy by the Gnostics of the era) and then also add on the notion of a future coming - e.g. a second coming. In this way the Parousia would always be future dated so no living generation would ever experience it but the HOPE that a new one might, would survive. We have found this to be exactly the case!




"Like I said, it's a matter of faith, though I can't understand why one would not believe Paul's writings on the subject, but believe others who have written on it and weren't there. "

Please. Paul had his own agenda, as I noted. Likely Yeshua would have been appalled at it, since he intended his teachings to be confined to Jews only. As for being there, we know the earliest tracts of the gospels weren't written until a good 40 years after the actual events. A lot of time for a lot of exaggeration and nonsense to be inserted - as word was passed orally for all those decades until finally committed to some more or less permanent form.

We also know that one can actually use textual analysis to parse the idioms from the different languages used (Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Latin Vulgate) and show how the translations radically differ. So we don't have "to be there" any more than someone needs to "be there" for the last Ice Age when we have the radio-isotope record in treee rings and the ratio of C12/C14.

In addition, the historical analysis discloses the jarring inconsistency of event detail and that indeed, some of the events simply could not have transpired have described. (This is examined in Prof. Dale Martin's Yale lectures on the historiciy of the NT and again I invite you to watch ALL his lecture videas before you preamturely judge that we can't extrapolate to ascertian that at least 85% of the event described were not historic or biographical accounts.)

Until you avail yourself of those lectures, as well as the key texts I've already cited, you simply won't see where I (and others) are coming from.

Copernicus said...

Cliff wrote:

"Paul's job was to spread the good news of the salvation of man to the Gentiles."

THAT was not "Paul's job" at all, i.e. assigned to him by any external person or authority, including Yeshua. HE took that on himself. See also Religious Scholar Elaine Pagels' excellent book, 'The Gnostic Gospels'.


"If you read Paul's letters carefully, you will see that he preached that Jesus is the salvation of ALL mankind, and especially for believers (1 Tim. 4:10)."

Of course he did! As Paul's own propaganda! Here's the bottom line of how it fits, as Oxford biblical authority Geza Vermes has noted ('The Authentic Gospel of Jesus'): Paulines recognized that any indefinitely long period without the manifestation of the Parousia would have inimical effects for the budding faith. It therefore made sense to not only reinforce the divinity teachings (which btw, were regarded as blasphemy by the Gnostics of the era) and then also add on the notion of a future coming - e.g. a second coming. In this way the Parousia would always be future dated so no living generation would ever experience it but the HOPE that a new one might, would survive. We have found this to be exactly the case!




"Like I said, it's a matter of faith, though I can't understand why one would not believe Paul's writings on the subject, but believe others who have written on it and weren't there. "

Please. Paul had his own agenda, as I noted. Likely Yeshua would have been appalled at it, since he intended his teachings to be confined to Jews only. As for being there, we know the earliest tracts of the gospels weren't written until a good 40 years after the actual events. A lot of time for a lot of exaggeration and nonsense to be inserted - as word was passed orally for all those decades until finally committed to some more or less permanent form.

We also know that one can actually use textual analysis to parse the idioms from the different languages used (Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Latin Vulgate) and show how the translations radically differ. So we don't have "to be there" any more than someone needs to "be there" for the last Ice Age when we have the radio-isotope record in treee rings and the ratio of C12/C14.

In addition, the historical analysis discloses the jarring inconsistency of event detail and that indeed, some of the events simply could not have transpired have described. (This is examined in Prof. Dale Martin's Yale lectures on the historiciy of the NT and again I invite you to watch ALL his lecture videas before you preamturely judge that we can't extrapolate to ascertian that at least 85% of the event described were not historic or biographical accounts.)

Until you avail yourself of those lectures, as well as the key texts I've already cited, you simply won't see where I (and others) are coming from.

Copernicus said...

Cliff wrote:

"Paul's job was to spread the good news of the salvation of man to the Gentiles."

THAT was not "Paul's job" at all, i.e. assigned to him by any external person or authority, including Yeshua. HE took that on himself. See also Religious Scholar Elaine Pagels' excellent book, 'The Gnostic Gospels'.


"If you read Paul's letters carefully, you will see that he preached that Jesus is the salvation of ALL mankind, and especially for believers (1 Tim. 4:10)."

Of course he did! As Paul's own propaganda! Here's the bottom line of how it fits, as Oxford biblical authority Geza Vermes has noted ('The Authentic Gospel of Jesus'): Paulines recognized that any indefinitely long period without the manifestation of the Parousia would have inimical effects for the budding faith. It therefore made sense to not only reinforce the divinity teachings (which btw, were regarded as blasphemy by the Gnostics of the era) and then also add on the notion of a future coming - e.g. a second coming. In this way the Parousia would always be future dated so no living generation would ever experience it but the HOPE that a new one might, would survive. We have found this to be exactly the case!




"Like I said, it's a matter of faith, though I can't understand why one would not believe Paul's writings on the subject, but believe others who have written on it and weren't there. "

Please. Paul had his own agenda, as I noted. Likely Yeshua would have been appalled at it, since he intended his teachings to be confined to Jews only. As for being there, we know the earliest tracts of the gospels weren't written until a good 40 years after the actual events. A lot of time for a lot of exaggeration and nonsense to be inserted - as word was passed orally for all those decades until finally committed to some more or less permanent form.

We also know that one can actually use textual analysis to parse the idioms from the different languages used (Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Latin Vulgate) and show how the translations radically differ. So we don't have "to be there" any more than someone needs to "be there" for the last Ice Age when we have the radio-isotope record in treee rings and the ratio of C12/C14.

In addition, the historical analysis discloses the jarring inconsistency of event detail and that indeed, some of the events simply could not have transpired have described. (This is examined in Prof. Dale Martin's Yale lectures on the historiciy of the NT and again I invite you to watch ALL his lecture videas before you preamturely judge that we can't extrapolate to ascertian that at least 85% of the event described were not historic or biographical accounts.)

Until you avail yourself of those lectures, as well as the key texts I've already cited, you simply won't see where I (and others) are coming from.

Copernicus said...

Continued:

Cliff wrote:


"What you're saying requires quite a bit of faith as well, if you will admit it. Faith that people who weren't there can truly say exactly what went on"

Nope, not "faith" at all! Only dedication and application to the scientific method in terms of historical and textual analysis. Heck, we already know from this that the town of Nazareth as described in the NT didn't even exist before the 4th century AD.

Forget for the moment that the name borne by the earliest followers of Yeshua was “Nazoreans’, NOT “Christians”. Meanwhile, Yeshua was known as “the Nazorean”. This is a sectarian term of which the Hebrew is ‘Notsrim’ and is NOT connected directly with a place called “Nazareth” or with the messianic “Nezer” branch from the roots of Jesse.


Nazoreans’ members proclaimed themselves the “preservers of the true faith of Israel”- but this claim was also made by the Samaritans, inhabiting Samaria (Shomron) who represented themselves as the ‘Shamerine’ – the custodians or keepers of the original ISRAELITE religion, as opposed to the Judeans (Jews)

Nazareth” is not mentioned once in the entire Old Testament, nor do any ancient historians or geographers mention it before the beginning of the 4th century. The Talmud, though it names 63 Galilean towns, knows nothing of Nazareth. Joesphus, who wrote extensively about Galilee (a region roughly the size of Rhode Island) ….mentions Nazareth not even once – although he does mention by name 45 other cities and villages of Galilee. This is even more telling when one discovers that Josephus does mention Japha, a village which is just over a mile from present-day Nazareth.

Beyond all this, much of the "biographic material" of the New Testament is, indeed, merely a reworking of material taken from the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint. If you take a textual analysis course, as I have, you will discover this.

In addition, we have the evidence from ancient tracts that nearly all the Xtian Godhood template was lifted lock, stock and barrel from Mithraism. Even the early Christian Fathers such as Tertullian and Justin Firmicus were clearly aware of this. It's right there in their early writings referencing the Mithraists' "anticipatory knowledge". That rationalization is the only way they could come to terms with the Mithraists inventing a god-Man before they did!

Thus, the argument Paul didn't have any choice, just doesn't hold water. Well, okay I will allow his beliefs were probably beyond his choice in the sense he believed what he believed (as you do) and no one was going to alter his mind. However, he did have the choice not to try to spread a message intended only for Jews to the Gentiles. That is where he fell down (after he was thrown from his metaphorical horse).

On that note, I think we have to leave things as they are, and no further comments will be posted on this topic. I suggest you watch those Yale videos and try to do so with an open mind, as well as get hold of Vermes' book, and also Bart Ehrman's 'Misquoting Jesus'.

Copernicus said...

Continued:

Cliff wrote:


"What you're saying requires quite a bit of faith as well, if you will admit it. Faith that people who weren't there can truly say exactly what went on"

Nope, not "faith" at all! Only dedication and application to the scientific method in terms of historical and textual analysis. Heck, we already know from this that the town of Nazareth as described in the NT didn't even exist before the 4th century AD.

Forget for the moment that the name borne by the earliest followers of Yeshua was “Nazoreans’, NOT “Christians”. Meanwhile, Yeshua was known as “the Nazorean”. This is a sectarian term of which the Hebrew is ‘Notsrim’ and is NOT connected directly with a place called “Nazareth” or with the messianic “Nezer” branch from the roots of Jesse.


Nazoreans’ members proclaimed themselves the “preservers of the true faith of Israel”- but this claim was also made by the Samaritans, inhabiting Samaria (Shomron) who represented themselves as the ‘Shamerine’ – the custodians or keepers of the original ISRAELITE religion, as opposed to the Judeans (Jews)

Nazareth” is not mentioned once in the entire Old Testament, nor do any ancient historians or geographers mention it before the beginning of the 4th century. The Talmud, though it names 63 Galilean towns, knows nothing of Nazareth. Joesphus, who wrote extensively about Galilee (a region roughly the size of Rhode Island) ….mentions Nazareth not even once – although he does mention by name 45 other cities and villages of Galilee. This is even more telling when one discovers that Josephus does mention Japha, a village which is just over a mile from present-day Nazareth.

Beyond all this, much of the "biographic material" of the New Testament is, indeed, merely a reworking of material taken from the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint. If you take a textual analysis course, as I have, you will discover this.

In addition, we have the evidence from ancient tracts that nearly all the Xtian Godhood template was lifted lock, stock and barrel from Mithraism. Even the early Christian Fathers such as Tertullian and Justin Firmicus were clearly aware of this. It's right there in their early writings referencing the Mithraists' "anticipatory knowledge". That rationalization is the only way they could come to terms with the Mithraists inventing a god-Man before they did!

Thus, the argument Paul didn't have any choice, just doesn't hold water. Well, okay I will allow his beliefs were probably beyond his choice in the sense he believed what he believed (as you do) and no one was going to alter his mind. However, he did have the choice not to try to spread a message intended only for Jews to the Gentiles. That is where he fell down (after he was thrown from his metaphorical horse).

On that note, I think we have to leave things as they are, and no further comments will be posted on this topic. I suggest you watch those Yale videos and try to do so with an open mind, as well as get hold of Vermes' book, and also Bart Ehrman's 'Misquoting Jesus'.