April 3, 2015

Church History: part 3 – The Reign of Religion

Posted in Catholicism, The Church tagged , , , at 9:50 PM by E. M.

Keys to the kingdomIn the last post, we began looking at the history of the Church in the 6th Dispensation from the perspective of the seven letters Jesus dictated to seven churches in Asia Minor. When examined in the order presented, I believe the letters outline the history of the Church in advance.

The first two letters documented the growth of the early church from the age of the Apostles immediately after Jesus’ resurrection, through the 3rd century. We also saw Satan’s early attempts to destroy the Church. In the last post, we saw that what Satan couldn’t do through corruption and persecution, he accomplished by “marrying” the church to the world when church leaders compromised with the Mystics.

In this post we will examine the fourth letter that was sent to the church in Thyatira and see how the Mystics consolidated their power over the church to grow it into a monstrous and grotesque perversion of the humble collection of believers that Jesus intended it to be.

The church report card

The letter seemingly starts off well enough with Jesus commending the church for their good works and charity (the effort of which increases over time). However the problem is that they allowed a woman named “Jezebel” to corrupt the Church with pagan ideas and practices.

So who was this Jezebel person? In the denotative sense she probably was an actual pagan priestess who seduced the 1st century congregation in Thyatira with her mysticism. But in the historic sense, I believe she represents something more.

In some translations, “that woman Jezebel” is rendered “your wife Jezebel”. This rendering would fit with the marriage concept from Pergamos. It would also frame “Jezebel” as a metaphor as well as an actual person. This letter represents the age when the church fully embraced the doctrines and practices of the Mystics – the time when Roman Catholicism was the dominant force in the world, from about 800AD to about 1800AD.

Hostile takeover

As we saw in the last post, once Christianity gained a position of power in the fading Roman Empire, the Mystics slithered their way into the sphere of influence by convincing the church leaders to merge Christianity with their pagan mysticism under the guise of reforming the pagans. But any compromise between water and poison can only result in a victory for the poison.

Predictably, the Mystics quickly gained control of church leadership and became the dominate doctrinal authorities during this time period. The declining imperial rule of the Roman Caesars was transformed into the theocratic rule of the Roman Papacy. Where once the world was ruled by armies, it would now be ruled by an arguably more powerful force – religion!

The power of religion

As I’ve written before, Mystics gain, consolidate, and grow their power over the masses through an elaborate con game wherein they dupe people into surrendering their wills to them by making them believe that the Mystics are more powerful than they really are –and religion has traditionally been the perfect tool to accomplish this.

Religion takes man’s innate knowledge and awe of the spiritual, and combines it with his natural tendency to think comparatively. This powerful combination makes religion the most effective way to enslave men’s minds, because it’s self-directed! People WANT to be religious! Religion promises to relive our pervasive guilt while still allowing us to feel like we’re in control. It’s an extremely seductive proposition that leads to a death spiral.

Racketeering in the name of Jesus

The “Christian” Mystics decreed that they we’re the unquestioned leaders of the Church and that God made them His exclusive emissaries on earth.

They used their fraudulent authority to set themselves up as the final arbiters of God’s word, His official spokes persons, and the gatekeepers of the afterlife. It was actually a great racket.  If you can convince people that you are Heaven’s official bouncers and that God has given you power of attorney on earth, you can basically get away with anything – and they pretty much did!

They pilfered untold riches from the people “in the name of God”, they built spectacularly ornate and gaudy edifices (under the guise of honoring the humble carpenter from Nazareth who eschewed the luxuries of this world). They practiced all manner of sexual and lascivious debauchery, and obscene abuses of power.

They twisted the message of salvation so that it was no longer just by believing and accepting Christ’s finished work on the cross, but that you had to EARN it by “appeasing God” though you own efforts and “good works” as well as any number of quasi-Biblical (or outright pagan) rituals that had been “Christianized” by the Mystics.

If anyone dared resist, they were labeled a heretic and condemned to Hell.

But its gets worse

With this religious structure in place, the power of the Mystics grew exponentially until they literally had armies of devoted followers. This allowed the Mystics of Spirit to co-opt and assume the methods of their historic partners, the Mystics of Force. Emperors became “Popes”, Senators became “Cardinals”, territories became diocese, governors became “Bishops”, and warriors become “holy”.

Now those people in their geographic areas of influence who tried to resist the power of the Mystics and could not be converted through religious persuasion, could be dealt with by force!

The Popes promised, blessings, indulgences and heavenly bounties to those kings and soldiers willing to kill, conquer, and die for “the Church” – They enacted various inquisitions, persecuted and expelled jews who would not convert, and they killed anyone who dared accuse them of warping Christianity, or even disagreed with any part of their world views on anything!

Collateral damage

This leads to one of the most tragic outcomes of the rule of the Christina Mystics – they have convinced the public that they represent God, thus leading the world to believe that God is just as unjust and unrighteous, cruel, petty, irrational, bigoted, sexist, hypocritical, vain, elitist, aloof, unpredictable, untrustworthy, selfish, superstitious, greedy, and ultimately as impotent against evil as they are. I shudder to think how many people over the centuries have mistakenly walked away from God because they (understandably) wanted nothing to do with the evil mystics who claimed to represent Him.

Marginalizing the Bible

But how did the Mystics get away with all this? Couldn’t the people they tried to rule over just read the Bible and see the Mystics for charlatans that they were? Absolutely! And the Mystics knew it.

The biggest threat to Mystics is people losing their fear and gaining knowledge of the truth – that mystics are ruling them though nothing more than ecclesiastical smoke and mirrors.  As such, the LAST thing they wanted people to do was learn the truth of the Bible.

So in typical Mystic fashion, they decreed that only their priests were capable of understanding and “properly interpreting” scripture and forbade non-clergy to read the Bible.

(It didn’t help that they only allowed the Bible to be translated into Latin, an academic language only taught to clergy – did I mention that medieval mystics controlled higher education?)

But once the Bible was available to the masses, they had new problems. The people could now read for themselves and see that most of what the Mystics dogma was unbiblical! How do they get around the fact that the Bible BLATANTLY contradicts key Catholic doctrines?

They taught that the Bible is not the only source of Christian dogma! And that the various religious traditions that they invented should be considered dogma too (they call them “Sacred Traditions”, to make them sound cooler). They then decreed that their traditions superseded the Bible! So in any contradiction or conflict over doctrine, Mystic “tradition” overruled the Word of God!

Like I said, it was a great racket, perhaps the best one ever invented.

Working your way to Heaven

The commendation that Jesus gave to the church in Thyatira is a case study on why religion is so deceptive and destructive. Jesus commended them for their good works. Which on the surface seems positive, and on the surface it is! Good works and charity are great things in and of themselves. But good works are an EFFECT of Salvation and the Church, not a CAUSE! You aren’t saved because you do good works in God’s name, you do good works because you are saved!

Again, the doctrine of religious Mystics is that YOU have to do things to please God in order to be saved. And while that sounds great superficially, when you examine it, what it really means is that YOU are the reason you are saved, NOT God! True Biblical/Christian Salvation is based on the work that God has done for you, not the other way around!

When this perversion of salvation is believed, it is a great victory for Satan because it is based on comparative thinking and religion. Both of which lead you away from God!

So am I saying Catholics aren’t saved?

No. I’m not saying that at all. I don’t have the ability, authority, or desire to say which specific people or groups are saved or not. What I DO know is the only way to salivation is the process outlined in the Bible. If you are trying to be saved by any other method, you can be pretty sure it won’t work.

Clue to the end-time church(es)?

Now before we go on to the next letter, I need to point out a subtle, but very provocative structural change Jesus made to the letter to Thyatira and the subsequent letters. All seven letter end with a promise to “he who overcomes”, and a salutation (“he who has an ear to hear, let him hear”).

In the first three letters, the promise to the overcomer comes after the salutation, almost as if it’s a postscript or an afterthought. However in the last four letters, the promise comes BEFORE the salutation, giving the impression that there is still time to actively achieve the promise.

It’s interesting to note that the promises to the overcomers in the last four churches ALL reference events that will occur AFTER the 6th dispensation. Some Bible commentators have taken this to indicate that these four final churches will exist be in existence in some form at the end of the dispensation.

That’s not great news for Thyatira, since those who do not reject the doctrine of the mystics are promised inclusion in the “great tribulation” – the apocalyptic era that occurs between the 6th and 7th Dispensations.

I can imagine that any Catholic readers are uncomfortable (if not outright offended) by the last two posts. But if it makes you feel any better, the next letter would have to chronologically fit the protestant church. And that letter is one of two of which Jesus has NOTHING positive to say. Fortunately for all of us, the letter after that is addressed to one of the two Churches of which Jesus has nothing negative to say. We’ll look at both churches next time.

 

 

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February 23, 2015

Church History – Part 2: How the Mystics Stole Christmas

Posted in Catholicism, Organized Religion, Religion, The Church tagged , , , , at 11:55 AM by E. M.

I'M SURE ITS JUST A COINCIDENCE

I’M SURE ITS JUST A COINCIDENCE

In the last post, we began looking at the history of the Church in the 6th Dispensation from the perspective of the seven letters Jesus dictated to seven churches in Asia Minor.

Generally, in each letter, Jesus gives the church a commendation and an area for improvement. He tells them how they will be judged if they don’t improve, and ends the letter with a promise of reward to the “overcomers”. When examined in the order presented, I believe the letters outline the history of the Church in advance.

We looked at the first two letters last time, and noted how Satan unsuccessfully attempted to destroy Christianity through intimidation, false doctrine, and physical persecution. These two letters conform with the first 300 years of Christianity – from the time of Jesus’ Resurrection, through the 3rd century A.D. In this post, we will examine the third letter that was sent to the church in Pergamos and see how Satan used the next weapon in his arsenal – the Mystics.

In the letter, Jesus commended the church for “holding fast to His name” even though they were in close proximity to Satan’s earthly seat of power. However, he noted that some of them embraced the “doctrine of Balaam”. Balaam was a prophet during the time of the Law who betrayed God and compromised with the world for money and power.

Jesus also accused them of holding the doctrine of the Nicolaitans (who we identified in the last post as Mystics). It looks like the false prophets that were rejected by the Ephesian church in the first letter were embraced by Pergamos.

So it would seem that the problem Pergamos had was compromise with Mystics. Interestingly, the name Pergamos is translated as “undesirable marriage”. Pergamos is the church that “married” the world. Historically, Pergamos corresponds with the “Medieval Church” – from the 4th century through the 9th century A.D.

How did the Church go from being the object of persecution by the world to being its partner? It all started with and very interesting Roman Emperor named Constantine.

The Roman Empire reached its zenith during the second century, after which it began to decline due to internal corruption, a lack of national cohesion due to an influx of disparate cultures, an unsustainable economy, over taxation, bloated government bureaucracy, and external threats from barbaric zealots in other countries who despised the Romans for their lavish lifestyle. All the while, the Roman citizens were too intoxicated by their largess, entertainment, and perceived invincibility to care. (Sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it?)

In 312 AD, before the Battle of Milvian Bridge where Constantine would stage his final campaign against a rival emperor, Constantine claimed the he saw the sign of the Cross and the words “in this sign conquer”. He won the battle, united the empire, and consolidated his power.

This event allegedly led to Constantine becoming a Christian. As such, he enacted several unprecedented reforms. He legalized Christianity and ended the persecutions. He favored Christians at court, gave Christian leaders prominent positions in the government, and convened the Council of Nicaea. He also forbade work on Sundays (which was a big deal for the many slaves in the empire,) and had many significant church edifices built – including the “Church of the Holy Sepulcher” at the purported site of Jesus’ tomb.

Additionally (and significantly) Constantine named himself the head of the Church as its chief pontiff (priest) or “Pontifex Maximus” (emperors are not generally known for their humility).

The reign of Constantine definitely brought a great deal of relief to the early Church and drastically improved their lives, but there are valid reasons to question the veracity of his conversion.

Constantine didn’t just legalize Christianity; he legalized ALL the religions of the various cultures in Rome. Also, the title of Pontifex Maximus was claimed by previous Roman Emperors not only as the head of the pagan priesthood, but as a “god” above all the other gods!

Many historians (Christian and secular) believe that Constantine was a very savvy politician who saw religious tolerance as a way to ease the tensions and bring unity to the fractured empire. He likely found Christianity to be the most tolerable and least offensive faith to openly embrace due to the piety and humility of its followers – and the fact that the population of Christians in the empire was growing rapidly.

Whatever his reasons, Constantine’s rule allowed Christians to come out of the catacombs and enjoy a heretofore unprecedented level of social acceptance. Unfortunately, the seeds of compromise had been sowed and would quickly grow into corruption.

In the letter to Pergamos, Jesus said they dwelled where “Satan’s throne” was. As we’ve seen before, Satan and his minions are the spiritual force behind the world’s governments, and Pergamos was briefly the Roman capital in Asia Minor. And wherever Satan’s seat of power happens to be (or any seat of power for that matter), you can be sure to find the Mystics.

Mystics always follow the power. Semaramis first cultivated the mystics when Nimrod ruled the world in the 3rd Dispensation. They created the original pagan pantheon of “gods” – Nimrod, Semaramis, and their son Tammuz.

When the power moved to the Egyptian Empire, so did the Mystics, and the pantheon was renamed Osiris, Isis, and Horus to fit the culture. When Assyria, Babylon, and Persia took power, the Mystics went there and the pantheon took on the names Dagon, Baal, Molech, Astarte, Ishtar, Zororaster, etc. With the Greek empire, the migrating Mystics changed the pantheon to Zeus, Aphrodite, Dionysus, and others. When the Mystics followed the power to Rome, the gods became Jupiter, Venus, and the Roman pantheon.

In each case, the Mystics would absorb some of the native mythology and culture into their dogma, but they would always keep and promote some version of the king/father (Nimrod), the queen/mother-goddess (Semaramis), and their divine offspring (Tammuz) as a key part of their doctrine.

After Constantine died, his immediate successors went back and forth between embracing his edicts on Christianity and trying to overturn them. But it was his fourth successor Theodosius who made the marriage between the Church and the world complete.

In 380 AD, Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of Rome and outlawed all pagan worship as heretical. This presented the Church leaders with opportunities and problems. After centuries of being persecuted outcasts, the church now had the power of the Roman throne behind them!

However Theodosius’ decrees resulted in church buildings being flooded with throngs of unrepentant pagans and mystics who were forced to tacitly accept Christianity under penalty of law.

How would church leaders deal with their new “members”, many of whom were openly hostile to Christianity and had no desire to give up paganism? As expected, the Mystics used this situation as a means to ingratiate themselves with the new, powerful Church through religious compromise.

The Mystics advised the church leaders to simply adopt their operational method of assimilation – nominally merging Christianity with paganism by clothing the pagan gods and practices in Christian trappings!

The idea was that this would make the transition to Christianity easier for the pagans. And eventually, as they became true converts and fully adopted Christianity, the pagan elements could be eliminated.

Thus Nimrod, Semaramis, and Tammuz became the primary “Christian” pantheon of “God the father”, “The Virgin Mary” (the holy mother), and “Jesus” the divine son!

The various and sundry pagan gods of harvest, luck, strength, love, protection, and whatnot, became “saints”, such as Peter, Paul, John, Thomas, and whoever else the Mystics decided to throw in.

The various pagan ceremonies and festivals were also “Christianized”. One such festival that exemplifies this merger is the celebration we call Christmas, which is a Christianized version of the popular pagan holiday centered on the sun god who was contemporarily known as “Sol Invictus” (basically Nimrod again).

At the time of the winter solstice (December 21st) the Sun was at its lowest point in the daytime sky. It would stay at this low level for three more days, and then began to rise gradually until it reached it highest point at the summer solstice. The pagan tradition is that the sun “died” on the 21st, stayed dead for three days, then “god’s sun” was reborn on December 25th.

Its pretty easy to see how this was adopted by the church by replacing “Sun” with “Son”.  And the celebration became a mass for Christ (or Christ-mass). One popular pagan tradition from this celebration was to take a large log called the Yule (the ancient Chaldean word for “child”) and burn it in a fireplace on December 21st, let the ashes lay there for three days, and then replace the log with an evergreen tree decked with gold and silver to celebrate life (sound familiar?). Here’s what God thinks of that practice. And as expected, many of our other Christmas traditions such as mistletoe, wreaths, gift exchanges, etc. are also from paganism.

Never mind that Christians were never told to commemorate Jesus’ birth, and He clearly was not born in December (He would have frozen to death in a barn in the middle of winter in Judea).

For some festivals, they didn’t even bother changing the name. The spring sex and fertility rites of Ishtar (Semaramis), complete with the fertility symbols of rabbits and eggs, were grafted in to the commemoration of Christ’s resurrection. Easter is the slightly transliterated name of Ishtar.

But why would the church leaders voluntarily go along with such a blatant corruption of their faith? They became comfortable with their new position!

They enjoyed not being persecuted (who wouldn’t), but more pertinently, they began to love and covet their newly gained power and were willing to compromise themselves to avoid losing it!

The reason that the church grew and flourished during the persecutions is because they were forced by circumstance to rely completely on God for their day to day survival and sustenance. They didn’t cling to their earthly lives, because there was nothing appealing about it. So they focused on God and the true Meaning of Life.   However as they gained status in the empire, they no longer needed God’s constant protection and provision, and their earthly lives became pleasurable.

Man’s nature and tendency toward comparative thinking eventually led the Church away from God and into the waiting arms of the Mystics. The Mystics enthralled the Church leaders into playing a game in which they were thoroughly outmatched. Over the centuries, the Mystics had perfected the art and strategy of conquest through infiltration. The church leaders didn’t stand a chance.

There is no compromise with evil that can result in good. The Mystics knew this. The Christians didn’t. The Mystics knew that once introduced, the corruption wouldn’t be eliminated; just the opposite – it would fester and grow until it infected the very fabric of Church doctrine and became entrenched in church tradition (raise your hand if you put up a Christmas tree last year).

As is their method, once the Mystics gained a foothold in the Church, they began to dominate it. The pagan mystics of Rome became the priests, bishops, and cardinals of the church. Sure they replaced some of their pagan symbols with crosses, nominal invoked the name of Jesus in their rituals, and put halos and angel’s wings on their idols, but for all intents and purposes they essentially continued practicing the mysticism of ancient Babel as they had done since the days of Nimrod and Semaramis.

And thus “Christianity” became a religion. In case it hasn’t become clear, the religion I am referring to is what became known as Roman Catholicism.

Catholicism is the blend of Christian doctrine and pagan practices that began with Constantine and endures to this day. The religion of Catholicism pretty much epitomizes everything I’ve written about Religion and Mystics in this blog (I told you this post would be controversial!)

The Church at Pergamos was commended for holding on to Christ in spite of their proximity to Satan’s throne. But the corruption that had taken hold in the Church grew exponentially until it became the gargantuan, mystic-driven, pseudo-Christian theocracy that would come to dominate most of the world for over a millennium.

In the next post, we will look at the fourth letter from Jesus written to the Church at Thyatira, which chronicles the rule of the “Christian Mystics”. We will explore the far reaching impact on the world and the Church, and why this organization will endure through the end of the 6th Dispensation… and is promised a terrible fate. Next time.

 

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September 19, 2014

The Jesus Myth – part 2: Holy Idoltary

Posted in How to be Right, Jesus, Religion, Salvation tagged , , , , , at 1:10 PM by E. M.

Holy IdolIn the last two posts, we looked at some of the myths surrounding the resurrection of Jesus. The final resurrection myth was actually the one accepted by most Christians – the idea that Jesus rose from the dead looking the same (if not better) as He did before His death; bearing relatively minor evidence of the traumatic torture He endured (namely the nail and spear marks).

On the surface, this may not seem like a big deal. After all, the Bible doesn’t dwell much on Jesus physical appearance before or after His death. So why should we?

The truth is we shouldn’t. But the problem is that we do!

It’s in our nature to want to “humanize” God. Making God into the epitome of the human ideal makes us more comfortable with Him. However anything that does not conform to reality can ultimately lead to deception. This post will explore the implications of this.

Believe it or not, many Christians today are guilty of worshiping an idol. What’s even more shocking is that the worship of this idol is not done in secret or behind closed doors; no, this idol is openly and brazenly worshiped in Christian churches! His likeness is painted on the walls, and his image takes a prominent place in our minds. We sing songs to this idol and pray in his name. Church leaders tell us we should strive to be more like the idol in our everyday lives.

We call this idol “Jesus”, but the Jesus that has been popularized by contemporary culture (and much of the contemporary church) is not necessarily the Jesus of the Bible.

When you close your eyes and imagine Jesus. What do you see? If you are like most Christians, you see a tall, thin, handsome Caucasian man with a beard and long brown hair dressed in a white robe and sandals. Guess what? You’ve just pictured the false idol!

Why do I make this claim? Well, while we do not know exactly what Jesus looked like when He was on earth, we can be sure that He looked nothing like the image derived from European medieval and renaissance art.

Jesus was obviously not Caucasian. He was a middle-eastern Jew and would thus have had the skin tone and ethnic features of a middle-eastern Jew. We have no information about His height, but it is very doubtful that He was thin. Jesus was a carpenter by trade. He probably spent the better pat of 25 years working with His legal father Joseph learning his craft; which included cutting and lifting heavy planks of wood and stone. That kind of life does not lead to a slight build. Long hair on a male was not acceptable in that culture , and we know from the Bible that Jesus was not handsome.

Imagine instead, a stout, fairly muscular middle-eastern man with average to below-average looks, short think black hair and a beard. Now put him side by side with the “Jesus” you previously imagined. What a contrast! But as I said before, His physical appearance is only a minor and superficial aspect of the idolatry. The more damaging aspect is what many imagine the nature of Jesus to be.

The “Jesus” that is usually worshiped in church is warm and fuzzy magic human teddy-bear. He is gentle, harmless, and kind. He is cajoling, forgiving, and accepting. He is mild-mannered, passionless, and bland. He is weak, abused, and impotent. Isn’t this what we are told He is; “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild”?

Yet in the scriptures we see a Man who commands the respect of rough-hewed fishermen; whose very presence leads them to give up their lives and follow Him . We see a Man who boldly walked into holy buildings and claimed He was ushering in the Kingdom of God . He viciously insulted religious leaders , and claimed He knew their doctrine better than they did .

He taught many with the authority of God , but deliberately denied others access to key knowledge . We see a Man who physically assaulted thieves in the temple, threatened to drown anyone who harms a child, and knocked down soldiers with the force of His voice.

We see a Man who loses His patience, gets exasperated with His friends. He insults a woman who has a sick daughter and she has to ask repeatedly before He will heal her. He lets a good friend die to prove  point . He tells us that His presence will cause division in our lives; that following Him will make you hated and despised. He promises  suffering and tells followers they may be killed for serving Him.  He taught about Hell and punishment twice as much as He taught about Heaven. He is a Man who loved tough, fought fiercely, cared deeply, and died passionately.

This is the real Jesus. He is complex. He is hard to deal with. He sometimes makes us uncomfortable. He’s a little scary. He’s rarely seen in modern churches, and most Christians scarcely know who He is.

How did this happen? Why has the Jesus presented in the scriptures been sanitized, sterilized, neutered, de-clawed, and emasculated?

Religion!

Many Christians have made the same mistake the Pharisees made. They’ve embraced the aspects of Jesus that they liked (love, peace, compassion, kindness), and ignored the parts that make them uncomfortable (passion, judgment, holiness, exclusivity, wrath, accountability).

All that is left is an artificially sweetened shell of the real thing; the milquetoast hippie served up to many Christians on Sunday morning.

But why is it so important that Christians see Jesus as He really was?  If one accepts the death and resurrection that leads to salvation, does it really matter how accurate our view of Jesus time on earth is?

Absolutely! The spiritual landscape post-resurrection is not a passive one. The Great Invasion may have ended with Jesus being ultimately victorious; But Satan has not stopped fighting! Although there is nothing he can do change the outcome of Jesus’ work, as we saw in the previous two posts, he can still do damage by preventing as many people as possible from receiving salvation and being discipled as Jesus commanded. And deception about Jesus is an effective way to do it.

The reason is that a false idol leads to a false world view, and when the harsh reality of the real world meets the false expectations of that imitation worldview, can result in a failure of faith.

As Jesus promised, the Christian life is not easy. Christians will have to endure all manner of despair, frustrations, ordeals and calamities.

If a person is led to believe that salvation leads to a life filled with nothing but sweetness and joy, what will happen when a conflict arises that tries their faith? Their world will shatter! They will feel helpless and lost.

Satan can step in and lead them to doubt God. He asks them “if Christians are wrong about God’s “goodness”, what else they are wrong about? Is there even a God at all?  Satan can take up residence in those doubts and lead them down the road to ultimate rejection of God and His plan.

On the other hand if we are willing to accept the reality that Jesus said that life would be difficult, then when those difficulties actually arise, there will be no crisis of faith because expectations match reality!

Most importantly, Jesus holds Christians accountable to know Him as He really is! The bible is clear that when all is said and done, only those who have a relationship with the real Jesus will take part in the meaning of life. Those who intentionally followed a false Christ will be left out.

In the next two posts we will take a contrastive look at the real mission and message of Jesus versus the version that is popularized by the secular and “spiritual” world

 

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August 7, 2013

The Law Myth – part 1: Generous Oppression

Posted in Religion, Terminology, The Dispensations, The Law tagged , , , , , , , at 12:24 PM by E. M.

A mild over-reaction to the Law

A mild over-reaction to the Law

In the 5th Dispensation, God gave His nation, Israel a volume of commands and instructions collectively called the Law.  The particulars of the Law are very detailed and specific, and Israel’s compliance with them was non-negotiable (they were commands after all).  The Israelites were promised great blessings and prosperity if they obeyed the Law, and severe punishment if they disobeyed.

In the last post we saw that one of the purposes of the Law was to help men understand God’s standards of righteousness and what constitutes sin.  And while there is much in the Law regarding morality, there are also detailed rules on things like personal conduct, property rights, ceremonial procedures, worship instructions, food safely, litigation, hygiene, and medicine.

Many of the commandments of the Law can sound pretty strange and overly restrictive to modern ears, and when filtered through contemporary agnostic perspectives, can lead to misunderstandings about the nature and purpose of the Law.  In this post, I want to address some of the myths that arise from these misunderstandings.

A few years ago, I was having a discussion with an atheist friend about God and the Bible (its funny how atheists claim they don’t believe in God, yet they always want to talk about Him.  I don’t believe in Santa Claus yet I almost never bring him up in casual conversation).

Anyway, as with most discussions I have with atheists, her point was not to gain knowledge, but rather to point out something so illogical or abhorrent about God that it would justify her decision not to believe in Him.  In this case, the discussion veered toward the Law and how “oppressive” it was to women and how it advocated slavery (therefore I must be crazy to believe in God because He’s such an a-hole).

At best, this argument showed that like most atheists, she had barely more than a superficial understanding of the Bible, and was so quick to let her shallow perceptions color her beliefs that she failed to do the due diligence required to truly understand the subject matter (sadly, this is a trait that many Christians share, which is why they have trouble handling these arguments).

Although the Law does have commandments that specifically address women, they are hardly oppressive.  In fact, the Law was revolutionary in the fact that it guaranteed women certain rights that were unheard of in that part of the world during that time.  The Law gave women rights in a divorce, it mandated special care for widows, and allowed women to own land, and it gave women the right to inherit land and property (all without any input from Gloria Steinem).

As for “slavery”, the issue is a matter of contemporary nomenclature.  The slavery mentioned in the Law is not chattel slavery as we think of it today, rather its more like indentured servitude.  For example, if you owed a man a debt that you couldn’t pay, under the Law, you would work for that man and your wages would incrementally relieve the debt.  Once the debt was paid, you’d go free (incidentally, this is the same arrangement you have with your credit card company).

There are many other so called “oppressive” aspects of the Law which, while unprecedented during the era, would be simply considered common sense today.  Under the Law, certain animals are considered “clean” and “unclean”.  This is based on which animals are most likely to carry and cause disease.  God was trying to keep the Israelites healthy, not be a diet Nazi.

People with certain diseases like leprosy or open wounds were considered “unclean”.  The Law requires that they be separated from heath society and sanitized – things that are considered standard procedure for quarantine of communicable diseases and infection treatment to this day.  So if the Law is oppressive, then so is your doctor!

Of course this is all well and good, but all this still begs the question, why did God give the Israelites all these rules as a part of the 5th Dispensation?  If the purpose of the 5th Dispensation is to usher in the advent of the Redeemer, what does Israel get for all their troubles?

Rewards!  If they follow the commandments of the Law, Israel was promised fantastic material prosperity!  Prosperity that would make them the envy of all the other nations in the world.

But again, what does this have to do with the purpose of the 5th Dispensation.  It’s all about Israel’s intended role as God’s ambassador nation.

Here how it was to work, God gave Israel the Law, which gave them the standards to follow that would make them a healthy, equitable, and civilized society.  The Law also gave them ceremonial rules that would memorialize the advent of the Redeemer in advance (more on that in the next post).  As Israel obeyed the Law, they would become wealthy and prosperous.

Other neighboring nations would see their prosperity and say, “hey, how’d you guys manage to get all that stuff?”  This would give Israel the opportunity to tell them about God, the Law, and the Redeemer.

If the neighboring nations submitted to the Law, they too would become prosperous, leading their neighbors to ask about their wealth.  Submission to God’s Law would grow exponentially, and by the time of the advent of the Redeemer, the entire world would be ready for Him, and God could quickly implement His plan.

But there was also a flip side.  You see, God had to set things up so that if Israel disobeyed God’s Law and acted unrighteous and unjustly, they would be cursed as spectacularly as they would have been blessed for obedience.

The reason for the harshness of the curse is they same as the reasoning for the great blessing – They were God’s acknowledged representatives on earth.

If other nations saw Israel acting immorally without any consequence, they would assume that God was ok with their evil behavior.  So God had to punish disobedience severely so that the nations would know that evil was not acceptable to Him.

Sadly, Israel chose the path of disobedience to the Law more often than not.  Thus much of the details of the 5th Dispensation in the Old Testament consists of the sad narrative pattern of Israel screwing up, God punishing them, Israel repenting, God restoring them, and then Israel going right back to screwing up.  Ultimately resulting in the tragic screw-up where they failed to acknowledge the Redeemer and failed the dispensation.

I mentioned before that in addition to the rules regarding health and conduct, the Law contained many commandments that were sacramental in nature – dealing with blood sacrifices, the priesthood, etc.  These rules are often confused for religion, because frankly, they look like religion.  But they actually served a very practical purpose in preparing people for the advent of the Redeemer.  More on this next time.

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August 12, 2011

Organized Religion part 3 – The Mystic Behind the Curtain

Posted in Organized Religion tagged , , , , , , at 12:13 PM by E. M.

MYSTIC LOGIC

The reason that the various world religions seem so similar is because they are all corruptions of the same source material – Gods plan for redemption. We saw in the last post that this corruption, (organized religion) began at Babel. When the people of the third dispensation were divided by their languages, they carried the religious traditions with them and they evolved over time. While these traditions bear some basic similarities, they also have some very distinct differences.

But if they are all from the religion of Babel, what caused the stark differences? These changes were the work of Semiramis’ spiritual heirs – the mystics.

After the third dispensation the single kingdom of Babel became many nations.  The confusion and turmoil of the dispersion would have provided ambitious persons the opportunity to fill the power vacuum of the leaderless fledgling nations – and religion would provide the method.

The people were already brain damaged by religion and conditioned to pay homage to anyone with a connection to the divine. This position of “divine leader” could easily be seized by any of Semiramis former priests, or anyone else with enough knowledge, intelligence, and guile.   The people of the new nations were ripe with opportunity for charismatic con-men to come in and give them guidance and comfort from the “gods” they worshiped back home.

These mystics did not need to be “gods” themselves, they only needed to claim the knowledge of the gods and a favored position with them.  They claimed that they could commune with the gods, that they knew their secrets, that they knew how to appease them, and that they could intercede with the gods on behalf of the people… for a price of course.  And that price was “power”.  Specifically power over men – their loyalty, their devotion, their allegiance, their livelihood, their minds . . . their lives.

The mystics invented new “divine revelations” from the “gods”, and added them to the traditions of Babel.  We saw in the last post that Nimrod, Semiramis, and Tammuz were present in the other ancient cultures by different names.  Mystics expanded their roles, powers, personalities and narratives.  They added entire pantheons of “gods” to their mythology who controlled the environment, crops, livestock, death, knowledge, philosophy, etc.  They invented and added various festivals, ceremonies and rites to “appease the gods”.  So if the people wanted to ensure a good harvest, get rain, stave off disaster, or get a good spot in the afterlife, they had to go through the mystics.  It was and is a great racket.  The oldest and greatest racket ever invented!  If Babel is the Mother of Harlots, the mystics are her spiritual children.

But the mystics had a problem. The only power that they truly had over the people was the “divine knowledge” they claimed to have. Mystics knew that the only thing propping up their elaborate house of cards was the willingness of the people to accept the fraud.

If the layman were to ever figure out that their local mystics were charlatans, then their mystique would vanish, as would their power (not to mention their lives).  So the mystics developed the tradition of guarding their knowledge in exclusive sects and “priesthoods”.

The greatest enemy of mystics and the organized religion they promote is contrastive thought.  Religion and its priests cannot survive it. As soon as someone begins to ask “is this wrong?” “Does this make sense?” “Does it conform to the rules of logic and reason?”,  the mystics begin to lose power and are in danger of being seen as the frauds that they are.  So independent thought and contrastive thinking had to be discouraged and vilified, while irrational faith and emotionalism was promoted.

Any knowledge that contradicted theirs was considered blasphemy.  Anyone who defied the mystics was seen as “defying the gods” and merited the wrath of the true believers.  Such has been the fate of “infidels and heretics” through the ages (and it even happens with the “religions” of today.  If any scientist wants to get excommunicated from academia, all he has to do to is express doubt about evolution or global warming.  He’ll be relegated to teaching hygiene classes at the local YMCA within a month).

Unfortunately mystics were not just confined to pagan religions.  Mystics by their nature go where the power is.  And when Christianity began to gain significant social influence in the first few centuries after Christ, the mystics infiltrated the leadership and applied their methodology.  They began creating and adding new “divine revelations” to the Bible and the plan of redemption.

But the mystics’ methodology is antithetical to God’s.  God wants everyone to know Him and his plan for humanity.  He has spoken to men directly. He put his plan in the stars for all to see. He revealed knowledge to His prophets with orders to proclaim it and write it down (which is how we got the Bible).  In the Sixth Dispensation, He even offers to have His Spirit live in us and give us personal guidance! The story of history is the story of God revealing himself to man in different ways so that we CAN know His plan.  It would be contradictory to give it to a few people and order them to hold it hostage and use it for their personal gain.

So how do “Christian” mystics justify their existence?  They claim that the information God has revealed to man is incomplete!  There is a secret treasure trove of juicy knowledge that God has only given to his super special elite followers.  And of course, God made them the holy, anointed guardians of this knowledge.  So if you want to know the real, honest-to-goodness, full and complete truth of God, you must submit to their authority and only believe what they say about God.

“Christian” mystics do not want anyone to know God’s nature.  They don’t want anyone to even know that God HAS a definitive nature – for obvious reasons.  If God has a set nature, then it can be KNOWN. And if people know God’s nature, then they will know that the mystics are frauds when they do and say unjust and unrighteous things “in God’s name”.

So they claim that God’s nature CAN’T be known or understood!  Or even more incredibly, that He doesn’t WANT to be known!  They present God as arbitrary, “mysterious”, and capricious in order to justify the religious dogmas they invent that blatantly contradict the Bible and God’s revealed plan.

And if anyone dares to ask how a Holy God could condone, approve, or demand the unjust and un-Biblical acts that the mystics prescribe, they (and their brain damaged followers) try to make you feel guilty!  By doubting these self-appointed “men of God”, you are accused of doubting God Himself!  Or they make the insidious “God can do anything” excuse – which sounds like reverence but is actually a statement of unbelief.  By “anything” they mean that God has the ability to contradict Himself or act outside of His nature.  But since contradictions cannot exist, and God would not be “God” if He was not always and completely right and just, saying that “God can do anything” is the equivalent of saying “God does not exist”!

Among the most damaging things about “Christian” mystics is that they lead people to believe that they represent God, and therefore God must be as unrighteous and unjust as they are.  The mistaken belief that these mystics represent God has undoubtedly led many people to choose to become atheists.

Run as far and as fast as you can from any so called Christian leader or organization who tells you that God is unknowable, or that only they can tell you what the Bible “really means”, or that you cannot question their authority, or that they get special, private revelations from God that contradict the Bible (and justify the contradictions by saying that “God can do anything”).  Those are the words of mystics, and mystics by their nature and agenda can only lead you away from God’s plan.

Despite the precarious nature of their existence, mystics have held great sway over the masses throughout history because they have always had a powerful ally – the masses themselves!  People desire to be justified, and prefer the most comfortable method of justification possible.  Religion fits the bill.  The only thing more comfortable than a form of justification that allows you to feel good about yourself while remaining comparative, is one where someone else  has done all the mental heavy lifting for you by providing a pre-packaged religious system.  All you have to do is “check your (damaged) brain at the door”, suspend your critical thought processes and submit to the “religious authorities”.  And that’s just fine with the mystics!

The religious mystics are the heirs of Semiramis, but they are only one half Babel’s progeny.  The heirs of Nimrod are the other half.  The “mystics of spirit” seek to rule men’s minds, while their brothers, the “mystics of force” want to rule their bodies.   What the mystics of spirit couldn’t conquer with words, the mystics of force conquered with the sword. If the mystics of spirit are the “church”, then the mystics of force are “the state”.   And although their methods differ, their goals are the same. They are both partners and rivals in the effort to recreate Eden without God. We’ll take a look at their relationship next time.

July 25, 2011

Organized Religion part 2: The Queen of Clubs

Posted in Organized Religion tagged , , , at 1:11 PM by E. M.

Invented 4000 years too late to stop the spread of religion

Among other things, the Third Dispensation saw the introduction of organized religion (formalized, systematic alternatives to God’s plan).  In the last post, we saw that the details of God’s plan were well known long before the Bible was written, so any such alternatives were intentional corruptions of the original.  How and why did these corruptions begin?  It all started with Noah’s great grandson Nimrod:

Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth.  He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.”  And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (that is the principal city). Genesis 10:8-12

The name “Nimrod” means “we will rebel” (names in the Bible are often prophetic).  Nimrod built the first world-empire and became the world’s first monarch.  The verse above shows that Nimrod had achieved legendary status by the time Genesis was written.

How was he able to get men to follow him and be ruled by him?  The verse says that he was a great hunter.  In that society, prowess in obtaining food would certainly have  resulted in admiration and renown (as anyone who has ever brought the pizza to a party can attest).

The interesting thing is that it says he was a great hunter “before the Lord”.  We know from his name and actions that he was not on God’s side.  Actually a better translation would be that Nimrod was a great hunter “in the face of the Lord”, or “in defiance of the Lord”.

There is also speculation that Nimrod was a Nephilim.  We know from Genesis 6:4 that the weird angel/human hybrid stuff also occurred after the Second Dispensation (Goliath of “David and Goliath” fame was a Nephilim, and Nephilim occupied that Promised Land that God intended for Israel after the Exodus from Egypt).  Nimrod is called a “mighty one” which also harkens back to Genesis 6:4.

If  Nimrod was a Nephilim, it provides another reason why people would subjugate themselves to him, as those hybrids were known to be physically very intimidating.

But Nimrod did not rule alone.  His wife (the world’s first queen) was named Semiramis.  She is not directly mentioned in the Babel narrative, but she is mentioned by her other names elsewhere, and her presence and influence is felt throughout the Bible.  Most of what we know about her comes from various ancient historical texts, and to say she has a colorful story would be an understatement.

Semiramis was apparently the wife of Nimrod’s father Cush previously, meaning not only was she Nimrod’s wife, she was also his mother! (I know, ewwww!) And if the Nephilim speculation is true, then she cheated on Cush with…an angel.  (I realize that this is getting into Jerry Springer territory, but this sordid mess actually ties in to the next couple of posts).

Semiramis shared the throne with Nimrod, but as we’ll see, her impact on history was much greater than his.

During their rule, Nimrod and Semiramis had no problem with the idea of mixing church and state (they would not have been very popular with the ACLU).  Under their leadership the Tower of Babel was constructed, and as we saw in the last post, the tower was likely a religious edifice dedicated to worshiping the Mazzeroth.

Its is entirely possible (and probable) that Nimrod and Semiramis promoted themselves as gods on earth while Nimrod was alive.  However their “divinity” was firmly and indelibly established after his death – partly as a power grab by Semiramis, and partly as a means of self-preservation.

At some point during their reign, Nimrod was killed (historians believe that Semiramis was involved).  A short time later, our intrepid queen became pregnant.  Given the timeline (and the futility of necrophilia from a reproductive standpoint) we can assume that the kid was not Nimrod’s, meaning someone else got busy with the queen.

Rather than admit that she got her groove back during what should have been a period of mourning, Semiramis took advantage of her knowledge of the Mazzeroth to cook up the first and most far reaching religious fraud in history by plopping her erstwhile family into the plan of redemption!

Knowing that the redeemer would be the Son of God and God in flesh as well as the progeny of a miraculous conception, Semiramis claimed that instead of dying, Nimrod’s spirit ascended into the Sun and he achieved full godhood.  He then miraculously impregnated her spiritually (like say, a virgin birth?), and her new son Tammuz was the reincarnation of Nimrod in the flesh.

So now you have this counterfeit trinity being worshiped by the population.  You have Nimrod the “father” – the great ruler, organizer, and “creator”, and Tammuz the “son of god”, and god himself (through reincarnation), but instead of the Holy Spirit as the third member, Semiramis  inserted herself!  As the wife of the “Sun god”, she was worshiped as the “Queen of Heaven” and the goddess of nature.  As the matronly vessel of his reincarnated body, she was also the “Mother of God” and the goddess of fertility.

Of course 10 minutes of contrastive thinking would have shown the lunacy of Semiramis’ story, yet her subjects bought it.  Why?  Because they wanted to!  They had already taken the comparative step of rejecting God and glorifying man via the Tower of Babel.  This was the next progressive step.

Instead of reacting to Semiramis’ compounded sacrilege with contrastive thinking, the people of the Third Dispensation became more religious, and thus more brain damaged.

When God Judged and dispersed the people of the third Dispensation by confusing their language, the first organized religion spread and evolved as each language group and culture modified the names and stories into variants to fit their society.

Nimrod became known as Osiris, Baal, Bel, Molech,  Marduk, Chronus, Janus, Abir, Zeus, and others depending on the culture.  Among others names, Semiramis became Isis, Astarte, Ashtoreth, Ishtar (Easter in English), Cybele, Allilah, Venus, Aphrodite, Europa, Artemis and Devaki.  For Tammuz, it was Horus, Dagon, Krishna, Bacchus, Ninus, Zoroaster (son of Ishtar), Cupid, Dyonisses, etc.

Some of the religious concepts Semiramis introduced include reincarnation, “mother/child” cults, celestial worship, nature worship, fertility rites, and incestuous “royal bloodlines” (she married Tammuz as well).

As the inspiration for all these false religions and practices, Semiramis and the cult of Babel is truly the “Mother of Harlots“.

Yet and still, Semiramis was only one person and could only be in one place at a time.  How could her religion spread and flourish through the years and various cultures in her absence?

Those who knew the religion the best filled the vacuum of power.  They used their knowledge, secrets, and alleged connection to the divine to their great advantage.  Through it, they have retained positions of great influence and power in every culture.  Their methodology of creating, controlling, hoarding, and guarding “sacred” information has been used throughput the centuries (and even to this day) by power brokers of all ilk’s.  They were called priests, shamans, advisors, orders, brotherhoods, guilds, and other assorted mystics.  How did it start and what is the impact on the Dispensations?  Next time…

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June 25, 2011

Dispensation 3 – A Stairway to Heaven

Posted in The Dispensations tagged , , , , , at 3:40 PM by E. M.

TOGETHER, WE CAN SCREW UP IN FAR MORE SPECTACULAR WAYS THAN WE EVER COULD APART

The Dispensations are God’s contrastive way of proving that His plan for humanity is right.  Each dispensation allows man the opportunity to choose righteousness (God) on his own; outside of God’s plan.

In the First Dispensation, innocence did not lead to man choosing God.  In the Second Dispensation, an abundance of knowledge and experience gained through extremely long lives did not lead to man choosing God.

The people in the second dispensation lacked a sense of urgency.  They were used to living a long time and relying on the knowledge they amassed to answer “What’s the point?”

What if man’s lifespan was significantly reduced?  Would their impending mortality and increased sense of urgency lead them to seek God?  These were the contrastive questions asked in the Third Dispensation.

How did God curtail lifespans? I supposed He could have just decreed it (He’s God after all), and the actions of the people in the Second Dispensation justified it.

Some creation scientists who’ve studied this period speculate that the pre-flood earth was covered by a “vapor canopy” (based on Genesis 1: 6-8), which would have produced an ecosystem conducive to extended longevity by blocking UV radiation and increasing air pressure and oxygen content.  It would also have been one of the sources of water for the Great Flood. Once the canopy was destroyed, the new climate would make repair more difficult and cells would age at a much faster rate. However there are many problems with this theory and it has become progressively less popular

Its also possible that the limited post-flood gene pool anteceded from Noah’s three son’s magnified genetic deficiencies, and increased susceptibility to disease and cellular degeneration, resulting in shortened lifespans. To be honest, I haven’t yet found an explanation that I’m fully satisfied with. Of course that doesn’t mean there isn’t a comprehensive explanation, just that I haven’t found one yet.

Whatever the process, the Bible shows that after the flood, lifespans gradually decreased to about 120 years as promised.  What was the result?  Did impending mortality motivate the people of the Third Dispensation to become more focused and purposeful in their pursuit of the answer to “What’s the Point?”

Actually, yes!  Once the flood waters subsided, Noah’s sons and their wives started cranking out kids and grandkids. Within a few generations, there was a pretty significant population building.  But these folks didn’t idly pursue knowledge and debauchery like their forefathers; they were organized, focused, and active.  They had a singleness of purpose and communication, and a common mindset.

And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there…And they said, Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make a name for ourselves; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And Jehovah came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. And Jehovah said, Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do: and now nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose to do. Genesis 11:1-2, 4-6

God Himself stated that under these conditions, man can do anything he set his mind to.  If the Second Dispensation was like the Age of Enlightenment, the Third Dispensation was the Dot Com boom.

A community with a singular focus had the ability to rule over creation.  They had found a way to reclaim what Adam lost!  The interesting thing is that this kind of community represents what God ultimately wants for humanity (to rule over creation), but not how or why He wants man to rule.  God’s plan is for man to be co-rulers with Him, in a community that continually grows, repairs, and lives forever, (we’ve already seen that eternal life is the ability to constantly repair) and this can only be done by a community that thinks contrastively.

Did the People of the Third Dispensation think contrastively? Did they use their extraordinary productiveness to focus on God and His plan for righteousness? Nope, they started jonesing for Eden! When they saw what their collectivist community was capable of, they began to think comparatively.  If nothing they set their minds to do was impossible for them, what did they need God for? So they focused on re-creating Eden without God.  Actually, they attempted to create a facsimile of the meaning of life, complete with their own version of God’s plan! (More on this in the next post).

The whole population gathered together in an area called Shinar (present day southern Iraq) and built a city called Babylon and a tower to the heavens called “Babel” (which means “Gate of God”).

But what’s so inherently bad about building a city and a tower?  Does God hate skyscrapers?

Like the section of Genesis 6 we examined in the last post, there is a lot of subtext in Gen 11 that requires a deeper examination.  The implications of what this tower was and why building it was “bad” is not made denotatively clear in the short passage.  The full story and the implications are only gleaned when looking at later commentary on Babylon.

In the book of Revelation, Babylon is called the “Mother of Harlots”, and the nations and kings of the earth are accused of “fornication” with her. The references to harlotry and fornication do not literally mean that the Babylon was the Mesopotamian version of Reno.  The passage is speaking of spiritual fornication and prostitution – being intimate with a spirituality that is not of God (and sacrificing something of yourself for the pleasure). Babel was where systematic alternatives to God’s plan (false religion) began. Babylon is used throughout the Bible as an idiom for idolatry and false religions.

With this knowledge of what Babylon was, we can better understand the key phrases of the passage:

Come (organization). Let us build a city (kingdom).  And tower to the heavens (religion).  Let us make a name for ourselves (an identity independent of God).  Lest we be scattered throughout the earth (in defiance of God’s command to replenish the earth).

In essence – “Let’s unite and build a kingdom and a religion on our terms, not God’s”

It’s possible that the Tower may have began as a monument to God, (which God never asked for), but as the people began to take pride in its construction, it became a monument to man.

It’s interesting that God stated that He had to “come down” to see the tower.  It may be an derisive play on words to convey the idea that this “great” monument of man is so comparative miniscule from the perspective of God’s glory, that He had to intentionally “lower Himself” to take notice of it.The people of the Third Dispensation were of one mind, and they made a collective choice.  They chose to try to create the Kingdom of God, without God.  They chose to pledge their devotion to a religion of their own creation instead of God.  So this dispensation ended the way the first two ended – in justified judgment:

Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So Jehovah scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off building the city. Genesis 11:7-8

Because the people took pride in their unity and collectivism in defiance of God, He confused their languages.  Without the ability to universally communicate, the community dispersed.  Those groups who spoke the same language banded together and went on to form new societies, and nations – with ethnic and national enmity replacing the unity of Babylon.

Even though they were no longer united, the societies and nations that formed in the aftermath of the Third Dispensation still took much of the form and spirit of Babel with them – and what began at Babylon is quite significant.

Babel was the root of organized religion, human government, idol worship, priesthoods, totalitarianism, hereditary monarchies, imperialism, secret societies, political intrigue, global conspiracy theories, and social engineering – all the things that make our world the fun filled place that it is.

It all started with Noah’s ambitious grandson Nimrod, Nimrod’s equally ambitious (and skanky) wife Semiramis, their “son” Tammuz . . . and the Zodiac.  Seriously.  We’ll begin examining all this in the next post.

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January 10, 2011

Faith part 1: Reason to Believe

Posted in Faith tagged , , , , , , , at 11:33 AM by E. M.

I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH TO WATCH THIS

In the second dispensation, humanity was given time to amass an abundance of knowledge in order to determine if knowledge alone would lead them to choose God.

The dispensation failed because while men had knowledge of God, they did not believe in God.  They lacked faith.  Faith is the mechanism through which we believe.

Faith is a necessary part of our cognitive experience to varying degrees because no one knows everything (not even lawyers, despite the impression they give).  Since none of us have all the knowledge in existence, we are consistently faced with situations where we have to make definitive decisions based on knowledge that we may not completely have or fully understand.  These decisions are based on some measure of faith.

Faith seems to be the willingness to rely on something that we do not have full knowledge of.

Faith is obviously a major tenet of any belief system.  Whether it’s a belief in a God we cannot see, or the belief that no such God exists – unless one can claim complete knowledge, both beliefs require faith.

Yet despite the fact that it takes just as much (if not more) faith to believe God doesn’t exist as it does to believe in Him, atheists generally speak of the concept of faith pejoratively. They often contend that their worldview is superior because they claim it is not based on faith.

Of course that claim is untrue because even those individuals who profess to abhor the concept of faith in any form contradict their stance in their everyday life. An interesting example of this is in an old video I recently watched of an interview with famous writer and philosopher Ayn Rand, author of the book Atlas Shrugged (which happens to be my favorite novel).

A major tenet of Ms. Rand’s philosophy is that individuals should choose their values and actions based on logic and reason.  She held contempt for anything that she considered irrational.  Because she also held that faith was antithetical to reason, Ms. Rand vigorously opposed religion.

While I agree with her about religion, her ideas about faith are an example of throwing the baby out with the bath water.  All faith is not created equal.  Nor is faith necessarily antithetical to logic and reason (this blog would be ill named if it were).

In spite of herself, Ms. Rand gave a succinct example of this during the interview I saw.  When she was introduced, her first action after she walked onto the stage was completely faith-based – she sat down in a chair next to the interviewer.  She did not examine the structural soundness of the chair before she sat in it.  She had no empirical evidence that it would adequately support her.  Yet she sat in it with no hesitation.

It could (and should) be argued that it was reasonable for her to expect that the chair would be sound, based on knowledge and experience.  Ms. Rand had knowledge that the purpose of a chair is to support a seated person, and she knew that it would be in the best interests of the interviewer to provide her with a functioning chair. She also, no doubt, had extensive experience with chairs during her life; the vast majority of which probably served their purpose adequately.  Thus, while sitting in the chair was an act of faith on her part, it was “reasonable faith” based on knowledge and experience.

Like other cognitive processes, faith can be rational, or irrational based on the soundness and reliability of the information or object that is the focus of the cognitive process.

Thus the reasonability of one’s objective faith is based on the knowledge and experience one has with the object of one’s faith.  Ms. Rand’s faith in the chair is a good example of rational faith

An example of irrational faith would be watching a banal romantic comedy movie and believing that the plot and storyline will be even incrementally different than the plot and storyline of every other banal romantic comedy.  There is simply no evidence in existence upon which to base this belief.

However no mater the reasonableness or irrationality of the object, the act of having faith in it is still a choice.  Moreover, having faith is a risk.  No matter how much information or evidence you have, when you choose to have faith in something you are relying on the unknown to some degree.

One would think that the architect of the universe would be a reasonable object of faith, yet the people in the second dispensation did not have faith in Him.  Why?

Choosing to have faith in God is uncomfortable.  Relying on someone else when you lack all the information about a situation requires humility.  The people of the second dispensation relied only on the knowledge they had, so they chose not believe in anything they did not know.  Although they had an abundance of information about God, they did not have complete knowledge in Him.

They were comparative in their knowledge.  If they were willing to be contrastive, they would have focused on what they didn’t know, as opposed to relying solely on the knowledge they had.  This mindset resulted in the people of the second dispensation becoming irredeemable corrupt.   So it seems that attempting to live without faith and relying solely on your own knowledge will not only prevent you from choosing God, it will actually lead you further away from Him in the long-term.

We understand now that faith can be reasonable or irrational.  So does faith in God qualify as reasonable faith?  How does the Bible define faith?  Does God ask us to believe in Him blindly or based on evidence?  And perhaps most importantly, why is our faith so important to God?  We’ll look at these questions next time.

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August 10, 2010

Religion – First Blood

Posted in Religion tagged , , , , , at 7:33 PM by E. M.

WARNING - Application of religion may result in chaffing

When we do wrong, we need some kind of justification to address our guilt-debt.  Thinking contrastively about our wrongdoings can lead to righteousness.  If instead we are comparative in our thinking, then we rationalize our wrongs or do something in order to justify ourselves.  I call this Justification of Man.  The actions we do to justify ourselves are a subset of Justification of Man called religion.

Adam and Eve actually committed the first religious act immediately after they ate the forbidden fruit. They took actions to cover the shame of their newly discovered nakedness. Instead of contrastively addressing the ramifications of their wrongs, they decided to take a few fig leaves and start the world’s first natural clothing outlet.

Since they were not willing to be contrastive and rejected righteousness, God had no other just alternative but to judge them and evict them from the Garden.  They lost paradise and probably gained leaf-rash.  All would be lost for the First Couple unless they could find some form of atonement for their wrongs.

To atone for an offense is to pay the prescribed penalty for it.  Then the scales are balanced and justice has been satisfied.  The offended party justly defines the penalty.  As we saw in first post on religion, the offended party is God, and in the Eden narrative, God was pretty clear about the penalty – He said that eating the fruit would lead to death (Genesis 2:17).

To atone for Original Sin, someone had to die – justly, the person(s) who did the wrong.  Of course, death is a rather permanent way to pay the penalty, and it kind of puts a crimp in the whole “meaning of life” scenario”.  Heaven’s not going to be much fun if everybody there is dead.

But God gave the hint of a way around this – a loophole in the “death as payment” scenario.

Justice demands a life as the penalty for Original Sin, but what if the life taken was not that of the perpetrator?  What if a different life was sacrificed for the sake of the wrongdoer?  What if an innocent (debt-free) person – a “Second Adam” if you will – volunteered to pay the penalty for the perpetrator?

Technically, the penalty would be paid, atonement would be accomplished, and best of all, the perpetrator could live!  Everybody wins!   Well, except for the innocent person who sacrificed himself . . .unless BY sacrificing himself, the innocent person gets something HE wants . . . (this sounds like something we will need to revisit in the future).

But how does this atonement factor into the discussion of religion?  Let’s go back to the Eden narrative.

The fig-leaf covering (the first religious act) would not cut it as atonement in the eyes of a just God.  So after God confronted and judged Adam and Eve, He made for them acceptable coverings out of animal skins (Genesis 3:21).  How?  Well, He killed an animal of course.

It was the first time in history that blood was shed; that a life was taken – and only by the shedding of blood and a sacrifice of a life, could Adam and Eves’ transgressions be “covered”.

Now this covering was not adequate in and of itself because the life of an animal, while “innocent”, was not the equivalent of a human life, and only an innocent human life would be a truly atoning sacrifice.

The animal skin/sacrifice served as a symbol of a future atonement that would become available to man.  At some point subsequent to Original Sin, God will accept the sacrifice of an innocent human life on behalf of fallen man just as He did with the animal.  But instead of just covering man’s shame, this future sacrifice will completely atone for it.  The scales will be completely balanced and the debt will be paid.

Until then, God ordained certain rituals and activities that served as symbols of the coming atonement.  These rituals make up a significant portion of the Levitical Laws in the Bible that we will discuss more when we look at the Fifth Dispensation.

These activities are NOT religion!  God never said or implied that Levitical rituals alone would ever justify anyone.

This is an extremely important distinction. Not understanding this distinction is the reason that people who claim belief in God confuse ritual with religion – they see the ritual as a form of atonement instead of a symbol, memorial, or commemoration of atonement. As I wrote before, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with performing rituals; it’s the motivation behind the performance that separates ritual from religion.

Unfortunately certain men decided of their own volition (and convinced countless others) that rituals alone could provide justification and atonement, and they warped them into religious acts.  But this was NEVER God’s intention.

As I wrote last week, the men who perverted Levitical rituals into religion are the ones whose actions led to the death of Christ.  Their religion blinded them to the advent of the very person the rituals were put in place to make them aware of!  See what I mean when I say religion causes brain damage?

Atonement is an absolutely vital key to understanding Christian philosophy and Biblical doctrine.  But in order to understand it better, we need to examine a couple more terms introduced in the Eden narrative.  Next time we will discuss “Life” and “Death.”

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July 26, 2010

Religion – Holy Brain Damage

Posted in Religion tagged , , , , at 6:49 PM by E. M.

Not only is Steve not contrastive, he’s a lousy parent

As an interlude to our examination of the first dispensation we’ve been looking at some of the terms that the Eden narrative introduced – the first being justification and in the last couple posts, the specific form known as “religion”.

Religion consists of actions we engage in to justify our wrongs and/or pay our guilt debt.  In last week’s abbreviated post, I showed how religion gains galvanizing strength by being a communal worldview as well as a personal justification.

Like all comparative thinking, religion is easier and more comfortable than the alternative.  Religion does not require objective, critical thought. In fact it discourages it. There is no need for independent thought when you have established dogma to guide your actions, and a high priest directing your mentality (and by high priest, I don’t just mean guys in ceremonial clothing.  Al Gore, Karl Marx, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, and Oprah count as the high priests of their particular sects)

It’s easier and more comfortable to keep following the rituals you grew up with and may have been in your family and/or culture for generations than to break with entrenched tradition

It’s easier to embrace a system that makes you feel good and superficially addresses your inherent knowledge that you are less than perfect, than deal with the idea that you can do nothing to be perfectly righteous on your own.

It’s easier to believe that this world is all there is and that you can perfect it (and yourself) by “saving” it via environmentalism or activism, than it is to see the world as fleeting and transitory.

It’s easier to believe that there is no God, and that Right and Just are effects of the universe instead of it’s cause, than to accept the idea that the existence of absolute Righteousness would require that we be accountable for our actions.

Because religion is a socially acceptable form of mass comparative thinking, it is readily and easily embraced.  Because it does such a good job imitating contrastive thinking, it is extremely effective at discouraging the pursuit of true righteousness. And because it encourages the vain comfort of self-righteousness (perhaps the most toxic form of comparative thinking) it is extraordinarily difficult to let go of.

But for the remainder of this post, I want to specifically focus on the damage caused by religion done “in the name of God”.  Performing works to justify yourself and slapping God’s name on it does not make it righteous.  In fact, its self-delusion because God specifically says that our works are unacceptable in relation to true righteousness.

So why do we do it?  Pride.  It is easier to take some credit for our righteousness than to accept our relative inadequacy before a perfectly righteous God.  If we feel that we have “partnered” with God for our righteousness, it makes us feel a little better about ourselves.  It gives us a little self-esteem and self-worth.  But a little pride is still pride.

The reason that religion is so damaging is that it associates itself with God while being in diametric opposition to God’s way to gaining righteousness! When non-religious people are exposed to religious adherents, their subconscious recognizes that religion is just another man-centered form of justification that damages the brain and really does nothing to alleviate guilt.  However, since religion clothes itself in divinity and falsely associates itself with God, people come to believe that God Himself must be as illogical, self-contradictory, hypocritical, comparative, oppressive and futile as the people who practice religion.  So they throw the baby out with the bathwater and completely reject all things called “God”.  Thus, they put themselves in danger of missing the meaning of life.

But it’s even worse for the religious adherents themselves.  At least those who use non-religious Justification of Man to deal with their guilt subconsciously know that they are merely rationalizing their wrongs.  They are under no theological delusions regarding the source of their justification.  The lack of guilt-satisfaction they get leaves them open to the possibility of being contrastive at some point.

But religious adherents are convinced (or have been convinced) that their religious efforts are required, needed, and/or appealing to God.  So when their Acts of Justification do not alleviate their subconscious guilt, religious adherents don’t get contrastive (because they think their actions are divinely inspired), instead they figure that they are not being religious enough!  So they get more religious!  They intensify their acts of justification.  They get more comparative!  It’s a vicious circle that escalates the more it’s practiced.

If the contradictory irrationality of Justification of Man causes brain damage, then religion is brain damage to the Nth degree!  This is how religious people can rationalize and justify suicide bombings, inquisitions, holy wars, holocausts, ethnic cleansing, etc.  This is how certain religious Jews in the first century justified the torture and killing of the Son of the God they claimed to worship.

But isn’t the Bible full of rules and rituals that people were instructed to follow in order to please God?  Next time we’ll wrap up our discussion of religion by looking at man’s first religious act, exploring why Biblical doctrine is often confused with religion, and finally, we’ll begin to see where atonement comes in.  Stay tuned.

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