Turkey Dinner

My God is better than Yours!

Can you explain why you believe the things you do? Many of our beliefs come with our culture or our age group as a job lot. It takes a lot of courage to analyse your own beliefs. It can be frightening. It is much easier to buy our beliefs off the shelf.

Ready Meals and Religion

Here in the mountains of Spain, the Spanish women shop every day. They buy fresh produce and cook traditional meals. Roast Turkey DinnerOn the coast there are supermarkets that cater for the holidaymakers. They sell bright expensive packets that contain entire meals. It doesn’t take much effort to prepare these packets. You put them in the microwave and in minutes you have a whole dinner for one.

I’ve noticed that people like to shop for their beliefs in the same way. “Last week I was a Christian but this week I’m a Jew.” “Last week I was a Buddhist and now I’m a Muslim.” They have to cook the whole packet and even eat the meat, even though they are not sure what the hell it is. There is no room for self-expression, only consumption. This religion is for ME! I am right and everyone else is wrong!

We are limited by the nature of our being. We live in boxes made of flesh and look out at the world through five small windows. We filter the world through the prism of our past, so our understanding will always be subjective and limited until we die. Surely, we can see that what we understood before is not what we understand today; therefore, it is fair to suppose that, the way we think tomorrow will not be the same as the way we do now.

How dare you!

According to a Gallup poll in 2015 the world population is now primarily atheist. When Stephen Fry, the famous actor and author, was asked what, as an atheist, he would say to God, he said, “How dare you? How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault. It’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain. That’s what I would say to God.

Why would such an educated and kind man as Stephen Fry want to be so rude to God? To be fair to Mr Fry, if anyone of an average intelligence reads the books of Moses he could reasonably conclude that either God is a paranoid schizophrenic or there is more than one vision of God described in these documents.

Moses

The Torah (Old Testament) is either the word of God directly dictated to Moses or a collection of different stories, which were written by different people at different times for vastly different reasons. How you see these stories will depend on which packet you’ve bought off the shelf.

In the ‘Yahwist’ sources, God is described anthropomorphically (as a man). For example, physically walking in the Garden of Eden looking for Adam and Eve or, as we will see, having small boy’s foreskins thrown at his feet.

Whereas, the Elohist sources describe God as inanimate and beyond the comprehension of man. Whilst we live, he cannot be seen. Angels are often used as intermediaries between us and God. The Elohist story of Jacob’s Ladder in which a ladder begins in the clouds and has angels climbing first up and then down is a classic example of an Israeli Elohist vision of God.

Exodus chapter 3 describes a conversation between Moses and God. In Hebrew, God is described as Elohim and is experienced on a mountain within fire but is not directly seen. Later in chapter 4, God indirectly gives Moses the serpent staff that will help him defeat the Pharaoh. Moses is then ordered to go back to Egypt.

Missed Medication

MedicationHowever, on the way to Egypt, God has obviously forgotten to take his meds and, for no explicable reason, decides to kill Moses before he even gets to Egypt to do what God had just asked Moses to do. Faced with an angry homicidal God outside of an inn, Zipporah, the wife of Moses, takes a stone and cuts off her sons foreskin and throws it at the ‘feet of God’. (Which is obviously what anyone would have done in such a situation.)

The German Orientalist, Walter Beltz, suggested that the original myth behind this story was about the right of Yahweh (as an ancient fertility God) to receive the sacrifice of the first born son. It is important to note that in the Torah, ‘uncovering the feet’ is an euphemism for ‘uncovering the penis’. When Zipporah lays her sons foreskin on the penis of God and says “Surely a bridegroom of blood art thou to me,” what would otherwise not make any sense and is now easy to see as a Yahwist story inserted into the text. Thus we can surmise where the Hebrew custom of genital mutilation of all male children came from. It is a way to placate the Fertility God’s hunger for blood and avoid the death of the child.

A Sorcerer named Balaam

Balaam is another good example of an enlightening Elohist story with a Yahwist tale shoehorned into the middle, which inevitably makes a nonsense of the story. In the book of Numbers 22, the Hebrews have just wiped the Amorites off the face of the earth on the instructions of God (Yahweh seems to like racial genocide). The victorious Hebrews are now camped on the plains of Moab and Balak, the King of Moab, is getting understandably nervous. He goes to the neighbouring Kingdom of Midian and asks for a defensive alliance. The elders hit on the idea of hiring a famous sorcerer to curse the Jews and ensure their defeat in battle.

They offer the Midianite sorcerer named Balaam gold and power to curse the Jews. Balaam says that he will have to ask God. God says “No!” so Balaam tells them “Sorry but you’re going to have to leave – the boss says no.”

After much toing and froing, eventually Balaam says that the Jews are great and he can’t curse them because they are blessed by God. The Elohist story tells us that God is available to all and the righteousness of God will protect us (non-nationalistic).

The talking donkey

The palsied hand of a spittle flecked Judean scribe inserted a Yahwist addendum into the middle of this uplifting Elohist story. The talking donkeyGod wakes Balaam up in the night and tells him to go, in the morning, with the emissaries of Midian. Dutifully, Balaam gets up to go with them as ordered. He mounts his trusty Ass (why does everyone ride ASSES? There were horses all over Palestine! Have you ever ridden an Ass? It’s embarrassing!) Yahweh has obviously missed his meds again and decides to have some fun with Balaam. He sends an angel to sod Balaam around for an hour until, in total frustration and embarrassment; the poor man starts beating up his Ass. Obviously weak from laughter, the angel usefully gives the Ass the power to talk, as he hasn’t the breath to explain what is going on. (Numbers 22:30)

Ever open to reason, Balaam sees what he has done to his trusty talking Ass and feels dreadful. The result of all this arsing around is exactly the square root of nothing. They continue on their way and Balaam is now allowed to finish the Elohist story. He says (from the Hebrew) that “EL is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent; when He hath said, will He not do it? Or, when He hath spoken, will He not make it good?” Balaam won’t curse the Jews – THE END. The Yahwist source addendum obviously has a nationalistic agenda and is derogatory to a Midianite. It is extremely unlikely that this is an original part of the story as the wife of Moses was herself a Midianite. (Exodus 2:21.)

Later the Jews are ordered to kill the midianites including all the children. The little virgin girls are kept as slaves. Balaam is used as a scapegoat for all of the failings of the Jewish people. This is a fiercely nationalistic story and most scholars agree that this was added after the Babylonian Exile.

The fall of the Second Temple

In the first century, this dichotomy between the southern Yahwist nationalistic cult of animal sacrifice and the northern Elohist, non-nationalistic vision of peace came to a head. Josephus records that it was the death of the brother of Jesus, James the Just (Ya’akob), that may have triggered the uprising against the Roman appointed cabal of priests that controlled the Temple. This revolution caused the expulsion of the Romans from Judah and inevitably the fall of the Second Temple.

In my opinion, the Nazarene movement, John the Baptist, Jesus and then James represented the philosophy we now call Kabbalah, which inculcates a purely Elohist vision of God. The death of James the Just prevented, in my opinion, the reformation of the Jewish vision of God and the resolution of this Israeli/Judean debate.

Texts

Due to the exile of the Jewish people from their homeland, the Pharisees had no choice but to create a philosophy that would unite the people and prevent the dissolution of the nation. What else could they do? The Jewish people, ever resourceful, managed to deal with the paradox of their own texts by the simple expedient of saying, “The texts don’t mean what they say they mean! They mean what we say they mean.”

The problem with this approach is that the Christians, when they stole their religion from the Jews, totally misunderstood their teachings. When the Prophet Muhammad read the Torah, he must have thought all his Christmases had come at once! The Torah clearly justifies a blood soaked theocracy and lends unlimited power to the priests.

Is it not ironic that the forging of the books of Moses has justified such suffering and twisted thinking in the world and indeed eventually the holocaust itself. It’s almost like the universe seeks balance?

Off-the-shelf

From Richard Dawkins and his cult of Evolution, Climate Change and Black Lives Matter, Calvin and Salvation, we all try to express our internal reality and try to find vindication by ridiculing others or forcing them to agree with us.

As nice as microwave dinners look on the packet, they never taste like we hope they will. We may choose our religion off-the-shelf but they are always someone else’s vision, someone else took the photo of someone else’s dinner – not yours!

To be honest, I suspect that you are better off cooking for yourself. It’s much more fun sharing food with friends and family and at least you know what you are eating!

If you enjoyed this Blog, then you might like to read – Islam and the Jesus of History, Five Similarities

Watch the Video – What the Jews for Jesus won’t tell you

Watch the Video – Biblical Corruption and Judean Supremacy (Balaam and the talking donkey)

The True Sayings of Jesus: The Jesus of History Vs. The Christ Myth

The True Sayings of Jesus

Road Map

Map or Instruction Manual

Both the advocates for religion, people like the late Ravi Zacharias, and those against it, people like Richard Dawkins, tend to focus exclusively on the scriptures. This has always struck me as somewhat strange, as though the written words themselves actually prove anything. I’ve always wondered what people are expecting to find in the written word? Just saying ‘it is written’ is meaningless. Ancient graffiti is ample evidence that for the last three thousand years most people have had access to literacy.

What are you looking For?

TomTom

So this begs the question, ‘what are you hoping to find in scriptures? Are you looking for a map or an instruction manual?’

What do I mean by that?

Whose Journey?

Recently, I’ve noticed that long car journeys are a little like life. There are two kinds of drivers, some love the freedom and love to explore. They will take the time to look around and will be able to tell you about the journey and the things they have seen. They take a map but only use it to inform their own journey – it is their own journey that they are interested in.

GPSThe other kind of driver just wants to be told what to do; they listen to their GPS navigation system and when it says turn right, by crikey they are going to turn right – sometimes with disastrous results.

Living life from an instruction manual often means that, by the time you arrive at your destination, you have learnt very little from your journey. For this kind of traveller, only the destination is important.

For example, when I was a boy driving in cities terrified me. Finding my way and trying to make sense of a map was hard but over the years I got to know the city very well. A few years go I abdicated responsibility and started to use the GPS navigation system. Now I have no fear. I have driven through the heart of Barcelona for years. The price of this confidence and absence of fear is ignorance. If you asked me how to get to the Rambla, I would not be able to tell you. This observation has to beg the question, which is more important, the journey or the destination?

It is evident that many religious people look to their scriptures to be somewhat like a GPS system – they want to be told what to do. They want to be in the right lane, they want to be saved. If you asked them why they felt justified to kill or sacrifice an animal they just look at you blankly and quote a passage of scripture. They mistake the map for the terrain; they look to abdicate spiritual responsibility for their own life to the words of a book.

Throw Away The Bible?

Modern archaeology has proven that Jewish history is so much more complicated and beautiful than the Bible would suggest (Finkelstein). The Jesus family tomb would seem to cast doubt on the whole resurrection idea (Talpiot). Why shouldn’t we just throw the Bible away? I would posit that it depends on whether you are looking for a map or an instruction manual. If the Torah and the Tanakh are maps and clues from our past, as most Jews believe, then we are not looking for them to be a substitute for our own journey. We do not, as Dale Allen Hoffman so eloquently said, ‘mistake the map for the actual terrain’.

So what is more important to you, the journey or the destination? Judaism believes the journey is the most important thing, as did the historical Jesus (Burton Mack: Q-Source). Buddhism is thinking two destinations ahead and desperately trying to escape this world and Christianity is busy selling tickets to the tunnel. So which is the right way for you? I guess it depends on whether you are looking for a Map or an Instruction Manual. Come to that, can you tell the difference between the map and the terrain?

My God is better!

Some people follow a religion all their lives, or one after another, and tell themselves and everyone else who will listen that they are ‘saved’. Often the people who know them best will tell you that they have not grown spiritually or emotionally one millimetre in their entire lifetime. People insist that ‘their God is better than yours’ – they are convinced that they are in the right lane because their sacred text, or more accurately, their interpretation of it, tells them so. They use this certainty of their destination as an excuse to pay absolutely no attention to how they live their lives.

Oh! By the way, if it’s of any use to you, a rule of thumb that I’ve learnt to apply to any scripture is simply this; do these texts increase the division between me and the world or is it the opposite? My own feeling is that if God is the life and animator of all things then if I am going in the right direction the divisions between (me) and (other) should be dissolving. If on the other hand my sense of self is hardening, I know that I’m going in the wrong direction.

A litmus test you can have fun with is a simple question that is common to most religions. Ask yourself, ‘is it now and has it ever been spiritually legitimate to sacrifice an innocent living being’? If you have to refer to the instruction manual to answer that question then you may be more lost than you think – turn off the GPS and look where you’re bloody going!

Read the Research Paper – The Jesus of History: Did He Really Exist – The Jesus Family Tomb

Read the Book – The True Sayings of Jesus: The Jesus of History Vs. The Christ Myth Paperback

The True Sayings of Jesus

Holy Frauds

Holy Frauds

Written Word

Christianity has been a major part of Western culture for the last two thousand years and as a textual based religion it has programmed people to think of the written word as their spiritual datum. For two thousand years, people have been discouraged from filtering their beliefs through the lens of their own life experiences and common sense.

The very popularity of Christianity, until very recently, demonstrates that most people were quite comfortable believing two statements at the same time, both of which were mutually contradictory. For instance, Jesus said he was the son of god but also said that he was not.

Experiential Divinity

The result of these limitations, imposed on literary comprehension, is that people find it very hard to tell the difference between fact or fiction. Neither is it generally possible for people to comprehend statements that express Experiential Divinity, certainly as spoken by the Jesus of History.

Holy Frauds

Inevitably therefore, when Christians found that they couldn’t understand the teachings of Christ, they felt far more comfortable making up their own words and putting them in the mouth of Jesus. To be fair, these 19th century fraudsters were not the first people to presume to speak for Christ! All of the gospels are examples of pseudepigrapha (falsely attributed work – AKA: Fraudulent). These ‘holy’ frauds became very popular as soon as ordinary people were allowed to read the Bible in their own language.

Urantia Papers

From the point of view of the Jesus of History project, the ‘Unholy’ Fraud that we are most asked to comment on is the ubiquitous ‘Urantia Papers’. Having waded through the book twenty years ago, we had largely dismissed it as not being worthy of a mention but due to popular demand we will try to give the curious reader enough information to form a reasoned opinion.

For those of you who don’t know, William S. Sadler was an American doctor in the late 19th and early 20th century. He was a avid member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which famously had a frightening habit of repeatedly predicting the end of the world. That in itself brings into question Sadler’s common sense if not his sanity. He was the man behind the book but claimed it was dictated to him by a sleeping man. If you can brace yourself enough to read the book and have ever writen anything more substantial than a shopping list, you will know that he is a liar.

Cereals

Sadler married the niece of John Harvey Kellogg (obviously not that stupid). You may remember Kellogg as the guy who made your breakfast cereal. Both Kellogg and Sadler were committed to the Eugenics movement and to the purity of the white race. The wealth of the Kellogg fortune may have something to do with the fact that this ridiculous book just won’t die.

The Urantia book contains exactly what you would expect a well educated, but none too bright American of the 1920s, to say in order to sound intelligent.

Evolution from a common ancestor via natural selection is assumed to be a fact.

Astronomic scientific theories of the time are presented as reality.

The superiority of the Northern European race is assumed to be self evident.

Its account of early human history is beyond ridicule.

Pseudo Science

Putting aside the ridiculous pseudo science we can turn our attention to the theology. In actual fact the Urantia papers, like all of the other ‘Unholy’ frauds, regurgitates a version of Calvinist Christianity and can be dismissed with the same datum by which we dismiss Christianity.

Chapter 53 tells us all about Lucifer’s rebellion despite the fact that the whole idea of ‘Lucifer’ is based on a mistranslation of Isaiah 14:12

Howl, son of the dawn! You have been hacked down to the earth, defeater over all nations”

The line ben Shchar is Hebrew poetry and is a reference to the son of the Babylonian King as morning star to his father (being the dawn). Christian Bibles helpfully maintain the fraud by keeping the Latin term Lucifer and insert their own theology into the text.

Chapters 40, 44 – 47 inculcate a Trinitarian polytheistic theology, which is entirely Greco-Roman in view and has nothing to do with the Jesus of History.

The entire part IV – entitled ‘The Life and Teaching of Jesus’ can be dismissed as a seemingly endless wall of words that adds nothing to the actual four gospels. Obviously, the book was written by someone who knew nothing of Hebrew or Greek. He also knew nothing of the forgery at the end of the Gospel of Mark.

Urantia Summary

As a summary, the book of Urantia is no more ridiculous than the narrative stories in the gospels. It’s view of God would have been no more or less offensive to the Jesus of History than other Christian documents. It certainly offers the reader nothing of any real use.

Reverend OuseleyTalking of fraud, the Reverend G. J. R. Ouseley, who created the Gospel of the Holy Twelve, solved the problem of trying to understand the teachings of the Jesus of History by simply writing his own gospel.

Reverend Ouseley published his gospel in 1898, over a period of three years. He said that he’d translated it from the original Aramaic, which is a language that the old rogue couldn’t speak. He said that the ‘document’ was taken to Tibet and saved by the Buddhist monks, which would have been a miracle as Tibet wasn’t a Buddhist country until the 7th century. So that would have been quite a wait for the Essenes.

Eventually he admitted, in private, that he had ‘received’ (in a dream) the text from Anna Kingsford and Emanuel Swedenborg. The problem was that neither of them, while they lived, spoke Aramaic. The truth is that Reverend Ouseley was greatly influenced by the Theosophical Society (a creation of another great fraudster: Madame Helena Blavatsky) and Dr Anna Kingsford who had published her own secret Jesus tradition in her tedious lectures entitled ‘The Perfect Way’.

Levi H DowlingA few years later, in 1908, Levi H. Dowling gave us his Aquarian Gospel of Jesus, the Christ. Dowling continued with the Victorian fascination with all things ‘Tibet’ and in his ‘gospel’ has the young Mr Christ travelling to Tibet and then through the Middle-East to Egypt. All to ‘prove’ that he is God.

Living God

Obviously, this begs the question, what was the point? If not even Christ’s own students (except Paul) thought that he was a living God, why did Jesus go backpacking around the world to prove the fact to the wisest men of his day, and why didn’t any of them think to record the meeting with a living god in their own writings?

Again, like Rev Ouseley, these narcissists can’t help but reveal the impressive profundity of their ignorance. Dowling opens his gospel with the quote:

“Augustus Caesar reigned and Herod Antipas was ruler in Jerusalem.”

Gap Year

Unfortunately, most people, who are vaguely aware of history, know that Herod Antipas never ruled in Jerusalem. Not exactly a confidence building opening statement! On Jesus’ gap year in India, Dowling had him visit the city of Lahore. Unfortunately, that city didn’t exist in the 1st century CE.

Like most of the spiritual nonsense published today, Dowling claimed that he ‘downloaded’ (in a dream) the Aquarian Gospel from the ‘Akashic Records’. (A made-up term coined by the master fraudster herself, Helena Blavatsky, to refer to information only available to her when she was in contact with her ‘spirit’ guides.)

Both Ouseley and Dowling were successors to Emanuel Swedenborg, the famous Christian Mystic.

Emanuel Swedenborg

Calvinist

Emanuel Swedenborg impressed the ruling elite during the seventeenth and eighteenth century with his esoteric version of Calvinist Christianity.

Swedenborg was a fascinating man but like Blavatsky, he claimed to download all his information from the ‘spirit world’. Despite being able to plug into the world of angels directly he never managed to get free of Calvinist dogma of original sin and vicarious sacrifice.

All of these people have one thing in common, they felt entitled to put their own words and their own philosophical agenda into the mouth of the Jesus of History. They are not alone in this conceit; the lies of Saint Paul robbed the Jesus of History of his teaching, his family and his humanity.

Another, very recent, intellectual confection is an attempt to make the Jesus of History into a failed version of the Prophet Muhammad. Portraying Jesus as a Mujahidi does, at least, return him to his Jewish roots but it ignores everything that the Jesus of History ever said and everything he ever taught. It also fails to account for the fact that it was not the Romans that the Jesus of History attacked but the Judeans.

I’m Old

To be honest, Rev Ouseley’s work is no crazier than much of the rubbish published today as ‘Conversations with God’. Here’s an example of a modern fraud:

“The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself, but creating yourself anew. Seek therefore, not to find out Who You Are, but seek to determine Who You Want to Be.” Neale Donald Walsch

Neale WalschMr Neale Donald Walsch is a failed actor who tells everyone, who will pay to hear, that he hears the voice of god. Strangely enough, according to Mr Walsch, god sounds very much like Mr Walsch. As you can see from the random quote, Mr Walsch has created his gospel for the church of the ‘Latter-day Narcissists’ by regurgitating ‘Beat Zen’ for libertarian Christians of a certain age.

Apparently god is not entirely happy with his direct connection to Mr Walsch and, in response to a question from Mr Walsch, retorts: “What do you want? I’m old!

The good news is that Walsch contends that “God” told him that “there’s no distinction between right and wrong.” Rather, “good and evil are mere illusions.”

Only someone who has never seen evil could pretend to believe that it doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, not believing in the truck that hits you doesn’t save your life.

This blog is taken from the book – ‘The True Sayings of Jesus: The Jesus of History vs The Christ Myth

The True Sayings of Jesus

Do Atheist Really Exist

Do Atheists Really Exist?

The question is, ‘Do Atheists Really Exist?’ It’s true that many people say that they don’t believe in God but that’s not the same thing.

Over 20% of the population call themselves atheists, but are they?

There are a lot of people in the world who love nothing more than to tell anyone who will listen that they hate, even the idea of, God but that is not the same thing as a being an atheist. The surprising truth is that there is no such thing as an atheist – they are an urban myth. Let me explain why!

CROWD FROM ABOVEI Know Best

Everyone believes that their stories are unique but the truth is, like a shoal of fish or like starlings flying together as the sun goes down, those collective stories form a predictable pattern.

For most of my life, I thought of myself as something of a professional atheist so I can tell you, with confidence, those millions of reasons why people think of themselves as atheists can be distilled down to only four categories:

  1. They don’t need God to tell them right from wrong
  2. Human suffering disproves the existence of God
  3. God, as he is described in religious texts, is a monster
  4. God doesn’t exist

If you look at that list, you will see an underlying pattern:

  • People don’t need a god to tell them what’s right from wrong because they believe they know best.
  • They feel confident that if they had made the world there would be no such thing as suffering.
  • They live with the total confidence that, if they were god, nobody would ever describe them as a monster because they are truly good people.
  • They refuse to believe in God simply because they have not been presented with evidence of God’s existence that would satisfy them.

I Believe in Me

On investigation, we would have to say that atheists do believe in god – the god that they believe in is their ‘self’.

But that is also true of those who say they believe in God. In the modern world, unless you actively work to avoid it, everyone worships in the Cult of the Self.

Just like Christianity, the Cult of the Self, has its apostles, its creation myths and its doctrines. Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry are worshipped as saints and their words studied like holy script, despite the fact that much of what they’ve said about God was largely rubbish. Gender fluidity, the theory of Evolution and Global Warming are its doctrines, despite the fact that the evidence clearly shows that they too are myths. Like all holy scripture only the suicidal or the very brave would ever question the myths of the Cult of the self.

Today in the Modern World

As a result, Western civilisation is dying. Perhaps two world wars wounded it beyond hope of healing? Maybe this plague from China will finish us all off – I don’t know! What I do know is that we are in trouble.

In our modern world women don’t want to be women anymore; but, for some strange reason, many men want to be women.

Sex with anyone, or anything, is good but mothers fight for the right to murder their babies and celebrate when they do.

Families are bad because we are told that we are overpopulated, but the West has to import people from the Third World because the State tells us we need to increase the population.

I Could Run The Universe

It is evident that we are sleepwalking into hell. This begs the question, ‘If God was our problem, why has everything gotten so much worse now he’s dead?’ So what made people abandon God? Why would people think that they could do a better job of running the universe than God?

Just like sneezing is a symptom of a cold, atheism is a symptom of, and a response to, Textual Divinity. When people think they can find god in the written word they can’t help but create monsters. When the Judeans created their anthropomorphic blood god, they condemned us all to the future we now live in.

Rav KookAbraham Isaac Kook, who was the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of the British Mandate of Palestine, said the following just before the Second World War:

“The tendency of unrefined people to see the divine essence as embodied in the words and in the letters alone is a source of embarrassment to humanity, and atheism arises as a pained outcry to liberate man from this narrow and alien pit, to raise him from the darkness of focusing on letters and expressions, to the light of thought and feeling, finally to place his primary focus on the realm of morals. Atheism has a temporary legitimacy, for it is needed to purge away the aberrations that attached themselves to religious faith because of a deficiency in perception and in the divine service. This is its sole function in existence…”

Pangs of Cleanings

I am an engineer. It’s my job to build complex structures and keep them working, and I can tell you, if you try to make any kind of structure and make a mistake on your datum – your point of reference – you are destined to fail. The reference point, the place from which you take all measurements is the most important thing for an engineer.

Western civilisation was like a great tower whose foundations went all the way down to our shared Judeo-Christian culture, but our datum was false. The problem was that the anthropomorphic Judean blood god wasn’t real. Our datum was based on a sick fantasy. When that datum failed, the structure of Western civilisation began to collapse.

But, neither does the Cult of the Self offer us a true datum, because the ‘Self’ doesn’t really exist in the way we think it does. Our ‘Idea’ of our ‘self’ consists of three transient things:

  1. The Sum of our past
  2. How we feel about that past
  3. Our expectations for the future

The illusion of the ‘Self of Now’ is a window through which we view the world and it makes us react automatically to the events in life. The ‘Self of Now’ is the source of our anger, of our lusts and our addictions. It creates our reality and it limits our perceptions. It is the ‘Cult of Self’ that has destroyed our civilisation and enslaved us all to power of the globalists – not God!

Taken from the book – ‘Quantum Mechanics For Your Soul: How to Save the World and Repair Yourself at the Same Time’

Quantum Mechanics For Your Soul

Yahweh Image

The Evolution of God in the Hebrew Bible

The God in the Bible is a monster is such a common criticism, it’s almost a cliche? The Bible consists of sixty-six books written between the 5th century BCE and 2nd century CE. All of the books were written by different authors for different audiences and for vastly different reasons. The sixty-six books of the Bible are made up of hundreds and hundreds of stories, parables and prayers, all of which have been aggressively edited and redacted by different scribes at different times and for vastly different reasons. All of the original authors intended for their voice to be heard on its own, in its own context, and never intended for their work to be shoehorned into an anthology. These are the facts on which most independent Biblical Scholars agree.

That the Bible was not physically written by God is therefore evident but that doesn’t mean that God is not in the Bible. If the Bible is anything, it is the record of the evolution of God within the minds of the Hebrew people through seven hundred years.

Despite what the word ‘God’ might mean to you or me, the God in the Bible is, before anything else, a literary character. Many people forget this important point and cannot understand why other people’s vision of God doesn’t agree with theirs. Jews are confounded by the fact that Christians find a trinity of gods in a book about the world’s first monotheistic religion. While Christians cannot understand how Jews could worship a God who has spent most of the last four thousand years punishing them. The inevitable contradictions in the Bible have led most people in the West to abandon God altogether. Today, in the year 2021, many of us are beginning to realise how this literary confusion has led to the fall of Western civilisation.

With that in mind, it is important to note that when the Jesus of History spoke of a God he would often use the word ‘Light’ as a metaphor. His vision of God was of a metaphysical, transcendental and yet immanent God of pure goodness. Unfortunately for the Jesus of History, for every verse in the Bible that agrees with him, there are five others that describe a god of war and genocide. I do not have space here to explain the different sources that make up the Tanakh (the Old Testament) but would refer the interested reader to Dr Steven DiMattei’s website and his work on the Priestly, Elohist, Yahwist and Deuteronomist Sources. You can also refer to my own book, “How History Created the Bible.”

This article, however, will discuss the different gods in the bible, their evolution and how science might be finally catching up with the Jesus of History.

How any of us may interpret a religious text depends largely on what already exists within us. Just as some people will hear Rap music and want to kill themselves, other people will love it. Conversely, some people listen to Jazz and enjoy its complexity while other people just hear a nonsensical jumble of sound. In the same way, how we see God (or not), says more about who we are as people than about the reality of any objective divine being.

The Hebrew people, their cultural and spiritual evolution is a litmus of how all of us have evolved over the last three thousand years.

Map of Israel

We know from the archaeology that in the 12 century BCE Israel was a large Kingdom in the north of the Southern Levant centred around the lush Jezreel Valley and the Galilee. At the same time, Judah was a sparsely populated hill country and Jerusalem was nothing more than an unfortified village covering only four hectares. Contrary to popular belief, the Hebrew people are indigenous to the Southern Levant and at some time in the Second Millennium BCE separated themselves from the larger Canaanite communities.  It is inevitable that the first God of the Hebrew people was ‘El’, a Canaanite God, who gave them the name ‘Isra’El’.

“And God said unto him, Thy name [is] Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Isra’el shall be thy name: and he called his name Isra’el.”

Genesis 35:10

The Canaanite God ‘El’ was originally part of a pantheon of Gods and was the father figure in much the same way as Zeus in the Greek Pantheon. El had a wife called Asherah, his children included Baal. He was often represented with a crown of horns and represented by a calf.

The texts of the Torah tell us that the Hebrew people were violently opposed to the use of human sacrifice, in particular child sacrifice. We know from contemporary sources that the Canaanite people, which included the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians, practiced child sacrifice and child prostitution in their temples. There are good reasons to assume that the Israeli Hebrew people separated themselves from the Canaanites over this one issue. It is very likely that the Hebrew custom of circumcision was offered to the people as an alternative to sacrificing their first-born sons.

Image of the Ugarit God ElIt would be inevitable that the Hebrew version of the Canaanite God El would evolve to reflect this growing empathy within the Hebrew people. It is clear in the texts of the Old Testament and modern archaeology that the worship of El and Asherah (his feminine aspect) was popular throughout the 1st millennium BCE.

“And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?”

Jeremiah 44:19

As you can see in the quote above and contrary to popular myth, the worship of El and Asherah did not involve child sacrifice. In fact, there is significant evidence that the Israeli Hebrews from the Galilee did not normally indulge in animal or human sacrifice but rather burnt incense and offered cakes, wine, music and olive oil to their gods.

“And he (Hezekiah) did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it…”

2 Kings 18:4

At much the same time as Kings was written, the Priestly source wrote the Book of Exodus in which God has a new name. In Exodus 3:14, when Moses asks God what his name is he replies, אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה‎, ’ehyeh ’ăšer ’ehyeh. This is generally translated as “I am being, which I shall be” but most Hebrew speakers understand the text to say “All that Was, is and Will be”. Exodus is based on a much older oral tradition and has many aspects of the Elohist source. Within this conversation Moses is referring to God as El’Shaddai (God of the Mountain) so we could speculate that the name “I-Am” is an evolution of the God “El”.

It is important to note at this point that the Indian sacred Vedic text, ‘The Bhagavad Gita’ also speaks of God as “I-Am” and can be internally dated to between the third and fourth millennium BCE. It is evident then that “I-Am” or Ehyeh was the name for God from at least the 1st Millennium BCE in the Southern Levant.

All of the Elohist texts describe God as communicating with humans via messengers (Malakh – called Angels by Christians). He is not anthropomorphic.

With the fall of Israel to the Assyrians, Judah becomes ascendant and Jerusalem finally becomes a city and a client Kingdom to the Assyrians. The Judeans worshiped a God called YHWH (Yahweh) from the Negev Desert.

Yahweh from the NegvThe Judean god, Yahweh, was in many ways the same as the Babylonian god called Marduk. Yahweh, like Marduk, was morally ambivalent and could be ‘Good’ one day but destroy people on a whim the next day.

“And the people spoke against God, and against Moses, ‘Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For [there is] no bread, neither [is there any] water; and our soul hates this light bread’. And Yahweh sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.”

Numbers 21:6

This Judean blood god had all the aspects of Marduk, the god of the Babylonians.

 

Babylonian: “Word of him (Marduk) shall endure, not to be forgotten.”

Enuma Elish Tablet V11:31-2

Hebrew: “The word of our God shall stand forever.”

Isaiah 40:8

 

Babylonian: “Command destruction or creation, they shall take place: each at your (Marduk) word.”

Enuma Elish Tablet IV: 20

Hebrew: “I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace and I create evil: I am the Lord and doeth all these things.”

Isaiah 45:7

***

Babylonian: “Oh Marduk, you are Lord of all Gods.”

Enuma Elish IV: 5

Hebrew: “Our God is above all gods…God of gods.”

Psalm 135:5/136:2

The God MushusuMarduk was mirrored by an avatar called Mushussu, which appeared in the form of a ‘Dragon’. Mushussu had four legs and the body of a serpent. Genesis 3 is a Yahwehist text and describes how the serpent corrupts Eve in the Garden of Eden. As a punishment, Yahweh/Marduk punishes Mushussu and his descendants to live without limbs – condemned to travel the world on his belly.

It was the Judean elite and their scribes who controlled the narrative and it was their understanding that God was all powerful and if a person or a people were suffering it must be because they have offended God. It was logical then for them to tell the Hebrew people that Israel had been destroyed for the crime of disobeying the Judean God Yahweh. For this reason, worship of El and Asherah was persecuted by the Judean elites. The Bible narrative is propaganda for the new cult of Yahweh. The worship of El and Asherah is dismissed as ‘Idolatry’ but we now know that this was a lie.

For example, it could be said that Rabbinical Jews worship the Torah as a God or that the items of their worship are a form of idolatry or perhaps that Muslims worship the Kaaba but of course this is not true. In the same way, there is no evidence that the figurines of El and Asherah or Moses’ Serpent staff were anything more than merely religious metaphors designed to help focus the mind of the people. Contemporary scholars of Hebrew history are coming to see that the worship of El and  Asherah was the preferred religion of the Hebrew people for most of their history and had nothing to do with idolatry. It was the Judean cult of animal sacrifice and their war God Yahweh that was historically abnormal.

Over the last two thousand years, Yahweh has subsumed all of the aspects of El and Asherah. Today, Rabbinical Jews refer to the Shekinah as the feminine aspect of God and understand their God much as the Israelis understood El.

From the texts, it is obvious that the Jesus of History, when he said the word ‘God’, was referring to the Israeli (Galilean) understanding of El as the one transcendent and yet immanent God of all.

“Why call me good? There is none good but one, God!”

Luke 18:19

“The most important precept you will hear is ‘Listen Israel, the Lord, our God, is one’.”

Mark 12:29

From the Q-Source sayings (earliest sayings) it is obvious that the Jesus of History does not see himself as God or in any way divine. However, there is a strange saying in the Gospel of Thomas that doesn’t make any sense unless you realise that the saying is a Greek misunderstanding of the Hebrew concept of the Ain-Sof and reference to the Ayer Asher Ayer divine name. When you transliterate the saying in terms of Exodus 3:14 (I-Am) the words of the Jesus of History makes perfect sense.

“Jesus said, ‘(I-Am) is the light above them all. (I-Am) is the All. All come forth from (I-Am) and all is attained through (I-Am). Split wood, and he is there. Lift up a stone and there you will find (I-Am)’.”

Gospel of Thomas 77

It is interesting to note that, in many ways, Thomas 77, and its reference to split wood and stone, is a narrative description of a sub-atomic reality that science is only recently beginning to confirm.

In summary, it is evident that the Jesus of History represented a uniquely Galilean vision of a transcendent deity, which was based on the original God of Israel ‘El’. With the death of James the Just, the brother of the Jesus of History, Galilean spirituality lost its central authority. The Nazarene school disappeared by the 6th century CE. Judaism had lost its mystical root.

We can see that Rabbinical Judaism is fundamentally based on an anthropomorphic God of storms and war. Originally interaction with the deity, for ordinary people, was via the priesthood and the medium of animal sacrifice. Today, many Jewish people (particularly secular Jews) leave Rabbinical Judaism due to a lack, in their words, of an internal connection to God.

However, there was rebirth of Hebrew mysticism in the 13th century CE called the Kabbalah. With the publication of the Sepher Bahir and Sepher Zohar a transcendental view of God was again possible.  However, it is almost impossible to justify that view in the context of the Old Testament.

Islam on the other hand, agrees with the Jesus of History in its view of one transcendental God. These quotes from the Holy Quran demonstrates the similarities between the Nazarene school of Judaism and Islam.

“There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer”  (42:11).

“No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision”  (6:103).

 “Praise be to Allah. He is such that senses cannot perceive Him, place cannot contain Him, eyes cannot see Him”  (Nahjul Balagha: Sermon 185)

The Arabic name for God is Allah and is based on the Aramaic version of the God ‘El’.

We can see that a great injustice has been done to the Jesus of History and his legacy. It is ironic that Rabbinical Judaism and Christians dismiss the original religion of the Hebrew people as somehow pagan for burning incense while sacrificing animals is somehow to be considered ‘civilised’.

If you would like to know more about the evolution of God in the Bible you can get a copy of my book ‘The True Sayings of Jesus: The Jesus of History Versus the Christ Myth‘.

Jewish man praying

Islam and the Jesus of History: five similarities

Muslims are often more interested in the Jesus of History than Christians. If the Jesus of History returned tomorrow, if he was forced to make a choice, he would probably be a Muslim and why shouldn’t he be? Christianity tends to assume that Christianity owns the copyright on Jesus but it does not.

Forensic analysis of the historical texts based on philosophical coherence reveals a truth that Christians would prefer to ignore. That’s why that in any debate Christians try to determine which historical documents are kosher and which are not but that is not how history is done. Facts are facts! You ignore them at your peril.

Biblical Scholars have known for the last two hundred years that, hidden within the words of Christ, there are a collection of sayings that can be reliably attributed to the Jesus of History and have obviously been copied from a common source.

Incredibly, that knowledge has been kept from the paying public. When considered as a whole, those sayings reveal a spiritually unique and entirely complete philosophical paradigm. The teachings of the Jesus of History are entirely Hebrew but, at the same time, distinctly not Judean. In five important ways the teachings of the Jesus of History are more Islamic than Christian.

Number One: God

Unlike the Pharisees, the Jesus of History didn’t see God as a man in the sky. For him (and much later for Kabbalah), God was the soul of souls. For the Jesus of History there is nothing that is not God. He often used the word ‘Light’ as a metaphor for the proximity of God.

“There is a light within a person of light and he will be a light to the world but if he does not find that light, there will be darkness and he is that darkness.”

Luke 11:33 and Thomas 24

The Jesus of History taught that God must first be found within and then He will be seen everywhere.

“The Kingdom of God will not come through observation; neither will they say, ‘It is here’ or ‘It is there’ for understand, the Kingdom of God is within you!”

Luke 17:21 and Thomas 70

On the other hand, both the majority of Judeans and all Greeks thought of divinity in the form of a man. The Greeks had many Gods and after 300 years turned Christ into one of three Gods but that is not what the Jesus of History taught.

“Why call me good? There is none good but one, God!”

Luke 18:19

“The most important precept you will hear is ‘Listen Israel, the Lord, our God, is one’.”

Mark 12:29

Both of these sayings are from the oldest common source document. That core of sayings use Hebrew syntax, transliteration and humour. They were used by the Gospel writers to give a Hebrew flavour to their Greek cult.

When the Jesus of History said the word ‘God’ he used the Hebrew word ‘El’. The Hebrew El in Aramaic is Elah. When Elah is pronounced out loud it sounds like Allah. When the Prophet Muhammad said the word ‘Allah’ he saw God in the same way as the Jesus of History. God is one (not three) and he is everything.

“There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer”

Quran 42:11

“No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision”

Quran 6:103

 “Praise be to Allah. He is such that senses cannot perceive Him, place cannot contain Him, eyes cannot see Him”

Nahjul Balagha: Sermon 185

Number Two: Ritual Purity

Archaeology in the Southern Levant reveals how important ritual purity was to the Hebrew people. Like many religions based on the mystical experience, Hebrew spirituality understood evil to be something that contaminates us like a virus. Most homes in Israel and Judah had access to a pool of water called a Mikveh in which a person could totally immerse themselves in order to wash away spiritual contamination.

We know from The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, an extra biblical source, that in the 4th century, the Nazarenes were still using the Mikveh daily as part of the tradition handed down from the Jesus of History.

Rabbinical Judaism, on the other hand, abandoned daily full immersion but still wash hands before prayer.

Unfortunately for Christians, Saint Paul turned ritual purity into a once in a lifetime Greek initiation ceremony they call Baptism, in which the magical power of the Holy Ghost is given to the initiate. It was Paul who came up with the idea of Baptism in water in the name Christ:

“One Lord, one faith, one baptism”

Paul Ephesians 4:5

“Or are you ignorant that whoever are baptized into Christ Jesus, are baptized into His death?”

Romans 6:3

Islam has successfully preserved the tradition of ritual purity and it still forms a big part of every Muslims daily prayer life.

“O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favor upon you that you may be grateful.”

Al-Ma’ida, Sura 5, Ayah 6 [10]

“For God loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.”

Quran Sura 2 Verse 222

Number Three: Fasting

Ritual fasting had been a part of the religious experience for many Mediterranean cultures in the early first century. The Tanakh (Old Testament) has many references to the Hebrew people using fasting as a normal part of their spirituality.

“Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, “Say to all the people of the land and to the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months these seventy years, was it actually for Me that you fasted? When you eat and drink, do you not eat for yourselves and do you not drink for yourselves”

Zechariah 7:4-7

Many of the sayings and narrative stories in the New Testament presuppose that fasting was a part of Pharisee and Nazarene Practice.

“And the disciples of John and the Pharisees were fasting, and they are coming and saying to Him (Jesus), “Wherefore are the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fasting, yet your disciples are not fasting?”

Mark 2:18

Having set the stage, the gospel writers are keen to explain that their Christ disregarded the Sabbath. Unfortunately for Christian propaganda, their main point is refuted by the earliest sayings of the Jesus of History contained within the common source (Q-Source).

“Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you; for what reward is there for you if you only love those who love you? Do not even Gentiles the same? But love those who hate you, and you shall not have an enemy.”

Didache 1:3, Matthew 5:44 and Luke 6:28

“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Matthew 6:16-18

It makes no sense for someone to give detailed practical advice on fasting but not practice it himself. Perhaps because of this confusion Christians eventually abandoned the practice of fasting and so has Rabbinical Judaism.

However, in Islam fasting is still a major part of their religion.

“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may develop God-consciousness.”

Quran 2:183

“Fasting is a shield from the Hellfire just like the shield of any of you in battle.”

Sunan Ibn Mājah 1639, Grade: Sahih

“When one of you awakes in the morning for fasting, then he should not use obscene language or behave ignorantly. If anyone slanders him or tries to argue with him, he should say: Indeed, I am fasting. Indeed, I am fasting.”

Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1151, Grade: Sahih

Non-Biblical historical texts like the Didache and the Panarion suggest that the Jesus of History fasted for two days each week and used it as a way to ‘Enter the Narrow Gate’ – self-control.

Number Four: Prayer

Prayer was of central importance to the Jesus of History. He prayed in solitude, ideally at a high place and often. When he did pray, it is clear from the text that he knelt and put his forehead to the floor.

“And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed”

Matthew 26:39

“After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.”

Matthew 14:23

This form of prayer was common to the Hebrew people until well into the middle of the first millennium. Coptic Christians in Egypt still pray in the original Nazarene way.

“Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying…”

Genesis 17:3

When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God.”

1 Kings 18:39

Unfortunately, with the rise of Islam and Christianity, Rabbinical Judaism was in a difficult position. The Rabbis largely abandoned kneeling and prostration in order to differentiate themselves from Muslims. Movement from the waist replaced quiet bowing.

In the Talmud, Berakhot 34b, it explains that the term ‘Kidda’ means to bow upon one’s face with the face toward the ground from 1 Kings 1:31. The term ‘Keria’ means to bow upon one’s knees.

Formal Nazarene Prayer, like Judean prayer, is understood to have taken place three times a day, although the Jesus of History may have prayed more often. It was said that Yacob (James) the brother of the Jesus of History prayed so much his knees were like those of a camel.

Islam has kept to five daily prayer times and it is interesting to note that the names of the ritual prayers are related to the times of the day: Fajr or Subuh (dawn), Zuhr (afternoon), Asr (late afternoon), Maghrib (just after sunset) and Isha (night).

“Indeed, the hypocrites [think to] deceive Allah, but He is deceiving them. And when they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, showing [themselves to] the people and not remembering Allah except a little, Wavering between them, [belonging] neither to the believers nor to the disbelievers. And whoever Allah leaves astray – never will you find for him a way.”

Quran 4:142-143

Number Five: Sabbath

The Hebrew word ‘Shabbat’ comes from the root Shin-Bet-Tav, meaning to cease, to end, or to rest. Many Rabbis have likened the practice of Shabbat to a mountain suspended from a string. Very little guidance exists in the Tanakh (the Old Testament) although volumes have been written about it.

The Israeli Elohist source understood the keeping of Shabbat as a way of ‘Cleaving’ to God through imitation:

“And Elohim blessed the seventh day and |hallowed it, for in it He ceased from all His work that Elohim had created by making it.”

Genesis 2:3

The Gospel writers suggest that the Jesus of History rejected the Sabbath (Shabbat) but most of their narrative text assumes that he actually kept it.

“And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.”

Luke 13:10-17

“It happened that when He went into the house of one of the leaders of the Pharisees on the Sabbath to eat bread, they were watching Him closely.”

Luke 14:1-6

“And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.”

Luke 4:16

The Gospel writers make their Christ make a big show of healing on the Sabbath in apparent contradiction of Pharisee law. In other sayings where the Shabbat is mentioned only in passing, the Gospel writers don’t seem to notice the contradiction and admit that the Jesus of History kept Shabbat strictly.

It is somewhat suspicious, given how the Gospel writers were so fond of cut and paste history, that many of the arguments they put in the mouth of their Christ are derived from arguments used by Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Ishmael who used the term ‘Pikuach nefesh’ to describe any action that saved life at the expense of Jewish law later in the first century.

It may be that the Jesus of History did not apply literalism to his understanding of Shabbat as the Judeans obviously did. It may be that Muslims, on the instructions of the Prophet Muhammad, keep the Shabbat much, as did the Jesus of History.

“The best day that the sun has risen upon is Friday. On it Adam was created, on it he entered Paradise, and on it he was expelled from it. And the Hour will not be established except on Friday.”

Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 854

“He asked us to stop and take time for Jummah prayer and then afterward, go back to work, home, or whatever we were doing better. And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed.”

Quran 62:10, Sahih International Translation

Islamic law suggests that you must turn your mind to God but if you have to work, you may leave it for prayer and then return to what you had to do. It seems the Prophet Muhammad had a more internal understanding of Shabbat as did the Jesus of History may have done.

Summary

It is a little ironic that over the last ten years several notable Christian apologists have abandoned actually debating Christianity and, instead, devote most of their time to pointing out problems with Islam (both real and imagined). Due to the rise of YouTube, their cognitive dissonance in reading the Hebrew texts have become apparent to all.

In their determination to score points against their perceived enemy they fail to notice that they are making their very lives a contradiction of the words and teachings of the Jesus of History.

Of course there are fundamental differences between Nazarene Judaism and the Islamic faith but not so many that we cannot regard each other as children of the same God, under the same sky.

 

Humpty Dumpty

Was the Jesus of History a God?

Was Jesus a God?

In fact, more importantly, did the Jesus of History believe he was God?

If you don’t understand Greek and Hebrew culture and history it is very hard to make sense of the Gospels. Terms like ‘The Son of Man’ and ‘Son of God’ are tossed around like confetti. Most people are just beaten into submission by the beauty of the language. In many ways, the Gospel writers would have agreed with Humpty Dumpty in the book Alice in Wonderland:

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less.”

Saint Paul:

Saint Paul, like Humpty Dumpty took a Hebrew word ‘Mashiach’ and made it mean what he wanted it to mean. He took the military idea of the ‘Messiah’ (Mashiach) and turned it into another name for the ‘Son of God’.

To understand the term ‘Messiah’, as it was used in the first century CE, let me give you an example:

Winston Churchill:

Winston Churchill could be called the Mashiach of the British people in the Second World War or perhaps the Spanish might have called Lord Wellington their Mashiach when he helped save them from the French occupation.

The term ‘Messiah’, prior to Saint Paul, did not mean ‘God’ or ‘saviour’ in the spiritual sense.

The term ‘Ben Elohim’  (Son of God) was originally an ‘Elohist’ term to describe the angels. However, like most things ‘Biblical’ the term evolved. It later came to be used to describe the prophets and those directly touched by God but never as ‘gods’ in their own right.

The fundamental principle of the Hebrew religion was, and is, that God is one. It is therefore impossible to think of God, in the first century CE, having a son in the binary sense.

Paul took the Hebrew term ‘Ben Elohim’ and turned it into a literal reference to the ‘Son’ of God in the Greek sense of two independent gods.

Christian texts originally portrayed Christ as a prophet, then as an adopted god and then at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE he was declared fully god and equal to Yahweh.

The Gospel Writers:

The gospel writers, through their ‘Christ’, use the term ‘Son of Man’ (Ben A’dam) eighty times as a kind of ‘codeword’ for himself as a ‘Son of God’ – in fact, he uses the term, ‘Son of Man’, almost interchangeably with ‘Son of God’ and ‘Messiah’ – which is linguistically, culturally and historically absurd.

Until Paul, the Hebrew term ‘Ben A’dam’ (Son of Man) had always meant ‘Human being’. Then as now, ‘human’ was not a term for ‘God’.

To be honest, I could have written a complete chapter, if not a book, on how the Jesus of History became God but it would have been a distraction. I feel that it will be more useful to the reader to find out what the Jesus of History was, rather than what he wasn’t.

For the interested reader, I would recommend Professor Bart D. Ehrman and his book

How Jesus became God