Jesus was real. I feel it surely and my authority on this is no less than any others. Truly, there is no historical proof of Jesus worth the candle. My experience is that He is not necessary to a deep personal relationship with God. Affirming that particular doctrine is essentially political and reinforces the conceit of some Christian congregation or other in redefining our spiritual identities as part-personal, part-organizational. There was not a political bone in His body, I feel sure. He spoke of every person being a child of God – His many brothers and sisters on the Earth. He was probably not an only child, in fact. Nevertheless, the social concept of Trinity contains something powerfully spirited to be dwelt upon if only as an advanced exercise in supposed causality and the mystery of time having no return paths in the macrocosm. Pity those prelates who may never fully consider so much and are self-precluded from Inner Enlightenment by their attachment to Outer Organizations. Whenever two or three are gathered together to enjoy an idea then the organization that develops has always corrupted that idea to preserve it’s organizational existence, comforting only persons who dispel self-focus by honoring the pack better than themselves. Religion – fear displaced by worshipping sacred fire, water, earth-sciences or subterranea – is the most unifying force devized so far by humanity. The centuries-long school of Confucius (in Chinese, Kung Fu) said “Whoever truly understands ritual may control the world.” Jesus followed no rituals. The Last Supper was an example of Jesus behaving outrageously in the face of the severest of social conventions, superpositioning the roleplay of the served and the servants in a way that would likely have unhinged his superior host for that evening had he been upstairs to witness it.
Today, Christianity is spun eccentrically by the widespread yet alien acceptance of the soul as individual and separate from the body. Unpolluted Christianity had ever held the soul to be trapped inside the physical. After death the body-soul enters a void-cum-detention-center and ceases being until the Judgement Day when they resurrect together for a self-presentation in Class and their end of term report from the Head. Linked to this Judaic finality-with-a-twist is a strong sense of ‘supreme governance’ that is inappropriate to the future of the human race. No, we will not move into being one global state with one totalitarian political leadership. An alternative is up ahead for free. No non-democratic Department of ID dependency for us. No soul that is not free. No good times for the elite at the expense of a diminished majority. No notion of land garnership by ‘government’. No governance by alpha-dominants, even passing off as public servants. Who then will provide everybody with everything? God. As Jesus told them all over and over again with absolutely no mention of the words ‘religion’, ‘church’, ‘temple’, ‘Christ’ or ‘treasure your rewards for work from the unbalanced rich’, in fact the obverse.
I once had a friend who could not say “Jesus” without invariably adding “Christ” to make “Jesus Christ” but would often say “Christ” without adding “Jesus”. Let me look briefly at that Christ-word. Well, etymology is full of under-flagged trapdoors. Certainly Christ is a Greek word that probably went unheard in Nazarene country. It has some link to the word “crystal” including the sense “as clear as crystal”. It’s used to translate loosely the Hebraic title ‘Messiah’. It seems two messiahs could have been expected by the Palestine Judaens, one priestly and the other princely. One out-of-this-world and the other worldly-to-very-worldly. They were stressed out, of course, by their Roman invaders. Israel and Judah had first been two small and adjacent hillsites that grew over centuries and took each other on or else united periodically. Their existence then had been totally dependent on the mighty Egypt that could have swiped them at any time. Their history books were among the first in the world and so without ethical systematization or any tradition of historianship behind them. They were mainly social-conditioning, tradition-building, national character-forming diversions that contained excessive invention. It seems as likely that David or Solomon never existed as that they may have done. Highlights of this ‘history’ are the parallels to true events involving famous Egyptians, similarly named, who actually did rule over the lands that Judah and Israel were claimed by errancy-inclined scribes to have acquired by some glorious god-given force. The Captivity may well have occurred (Jewish writings survived from this event) and it is indisputable that all the twelve tribes definitely did not later return from Babylonia, only the Judahites and some of the Benjamites and a few stragglers returning in a rather bewildered state. The great majority of tribespeoples were assimilated into a string of lands and their tribal names and ways left the great stage of world history. During their Babylonian period, peoples of Israel and Judah were more intermingled than before and this is where further contradiction, compromise and confusion in the Bible(s) is believed to have come from. They formed a repeatedly defeated and humiliated small people who had always been told that their local god whose name must never be spoken (in the same way that some hunting tribes would not speak the name of their prey lest it suddenly turned to hunt them) was the envy and scourge of every nation, that victory was natural and inevitable ‘with g-d on our side’. Faced with the truth they took a quirky turn. Rather than dismiss this god, later also named for the Christian God, for failing them in the fight, they re-nominated Him as the Universal God and found a way to blame themselves that would further glorify Him and guarantee their place on top of the world at some future date. The scene was set, the greatest deity then became the One God who was on their side nationalistically and somehow fully against the rest of the world. They must reinforce their Jewish ways (their religious laws being ideally their social ways) and this will enthuse God to give them a bloody victory in wars against the whole world, which is what God wants as He wants the globe to be living only the Jewish way. (Unlucky for most and devastating for any spirits inhabiting animals, vegetables or minerals.) The three Abrahamic religions have this confidence in common. They believe in spreading their word (originally in imitation of Asia’s Buddhism) including by the severances of the double-edged sword once their stock of sacred words has failed. (Thanks to Arab academic influence upon Europe during its ‘Dark Ages’ the Western Christians were to abandon Crusades in favour of an Alexandrian imperialism after falling under the returned, and only partly pacific, spell of Plato and Aristotle.) So, ‘the Messiah’ was a dual rallying point for both drilled desert armies and descended angelic regiments who would take on the Romans and evict them. However, they had no true messiahs in their hypocritically materialistic system and inevitably provoked the opposite outcome.
The time of Jesus of Nazareth was littered with magicians – “Re-run the Burning Bush visitation? Kindling now!” – and wannabee Messiahs who were customarily run down and captured/slaughtered by the Roman cavalry whenever they took crowds of folk out on trips to woods, hills or rivers for some spiritual regeneration. (The tiny minority of Essenes were left undisturbed in isolated camps as if they were more of a curiosity than a threat.) Miracle workers a-plenty covered the country areas such as Gallilee. Raising from the dead and driving out demons were folk practices semi-normalized in the country mindset. Only cosmopolitan Jerusalem housed sophisticated citizens and even they had been educated to believe in the Temple priests and their social rights over religious rites. The Roman perspective held all of them to be pagans, of course, especially when dreadfully disruptive Christians, who later would upset Rome so much that they were thrown out, first emerged from the unsettled synagogues. The Gospels did not record miracles as such. The original words used mean either “sign” or “show”. But we can understand that Jesus worked miracles. This is a difficult philosophical concept, whether God is present with us or merely ‘in retirement’. Why should miracles occur at all in a perfectly designed world? According to the Bible, Jesus seems almost effortless at removing demons, giving eyesight to the blind, raising from the dead and other miracle works. This seeming ease is the sign of a true expert or a high athlete. Furthermore, Jesus instructed others – including us today – in the working of miracles, i.e. sidestepping the iron rule of causality. Was this why the Olympic Champion Miracle Worker had to die unnaturally young? Was He giving the game away?
Is our Story of Jesus one version of a universal experience that has been repeated constantly throughout human history? What historical characters can be discerned as built-in to our portrayals of Jesus as Christ? Arguably, all of the following legends could make for a composite Christ creation and some syncretic Church dogmas/theological conflations: –
Appolonius of Tyana (Cappadocia)
Branchus, prophesying son of a god
Buddha/Budha Sakia (Sri Lanka/Hindustan)
Dagon Janus, the fishman swimming two ways
Heracles (Hercules, Alcides, Eliades) son of Zeus
Horus (Egypt) 3000BC
Krishna (Hindustan) 1000BC
Mithras (Emperor Constantine was the last be-mitred Pontiff)
Incarnate god Quexalcote, Meso-America, c.300 B.C.
Socrates, teacher of Plato, who notably suggested ‘love thine enemy’ (but the Babylonians advised “be gentle to your enemy” and Proverbs had “do not gloat when your enemy falls”)
All of the above ‘B.C.’ candidates may be Google’d. Anno Domino has the Propator-Nous, Father-Son, Jesus-God of the ‘heretic’ Valentinians, the Saviour (but not the Lord: Baal meaning Lord) living on Earth exactly 30 years without labours and with mystical parables, paraclete, virgin birth, Pleroma Trinity. (Ireneaus complained that they were plucking bits of Scriptures to interpret emphatically as they pleased – but then so were the belated ‘Fathers’ from disparate text selections with editorial interpolations.)
This list is based on the general and particular opinions offered by several sources. It is not exhaustive and some claims seem apparent nonsense. All ‘Jesus Story’ routines have been and are being demolished by Christian apologists, usually on the basis of insufficient historic proof, i.e. accredited indisputable documentation without post-editing, etc. In other words, the same lack as exists in both Biblical and non-Biblical evidence for Christ Jesus. There are similar birth legends to the Gospel of Matthew’s found all around the world, including for the birth of Confucius in China. None have any evidence. Of course, they never ring true to those who do not hold that person up high in their adoration despite that they may predate Jesus and cover some of the same good ground. Yet we cannot be sure even of our dating for His birth and death.
Christian theology is mostly in-growing but the more disengaged historians allow distinct parallels with accounts of Jesus. Krishna’s life story does not, though, contain the particularly numerous equivalences claimed for it by some enthusiasts. Yet Thulis of Egypt was crucified, apparently, as the sunlit sky grew dark as night. The mention of Christ-competing crucifixions is sometimes surprising, chronologically and geographically, as this unnecessarily vicious punishment was probably a rather late Roman invention. As a legend, being born of a virgin after an immaculate conception was rather more commonplace. Appolonius of Tyana and biblical Simon Magus were living contemporaries of Jesus that were represented as both white and black magii by their competing legends. Their stories cover rising up in the air unaided, casting out devils and calming storms and cannot help but make us ‘think twice’ about the sanctified accounts of Jesus. I suppose it is rather like how I felt when I first read the ‘Gnostic Gospels’ and laughed aloud at the constant appearances of angels. Ludicrous! The same convenient apparitions are not funny at all when read from the Canonical Bible with all its hallowed overtones and those sober adult confirmations stretching back to my earliest Bible-reading experiences.
An anti-Catholic tract holds the following to be the overarching source of all the divine-pair myths:
Semiramis (in Aramaic, Shamiram) was the model for female cult figures after 4000 BC up to modern times, including Venus and the Queen of Heaven. Sumeria bears her name. Nimrod of Ethiopia, Emperor of Seven Gulf Cities, married her whilst away at war despite her harlotry. She was introduced to Babylon as a virgin delivered up to him by the sea. She was too cunningly murderous even for arch-strategist Nimrod, eventually dooming herself with intrigue. She reconstructed an Noahic ‘Heavenly Science’ that credited constellations as depicting the falls of Lucifer and Adam, the arrival of a Saviour etc. Her version was put forward as the hidden meanings of these, the esoteric occulted knowledge, and blames a usurpation of the great dragon-serpent for the condition of Man. A child will be born of a holy mother who will cast out the usurper god, becoming a god hisself and delivering the world back to the gliding reptilian. Incorporating Imperial Divinity, this solidified the ruler’s position. This Mystery religion was for initiates only, leaving the original constellation stories for the vulgar-profane to enthuse over. It had a hierarchy of priests/priestesses and revelatory degrees to pass through.
Nimrod and his wife had a falling out over her baby son’s true lineage. Dethronement and denouement threatened. She controlled the Empire’s religion. By manipulation of people and priesthood, Dumu-zid (the true son or blood) later called Dammuz and transliterating as Hebrew’s Tammuz, was plotted to be child-king with herself as Regent Absolute. At a New Year Feast for Emperor and Empress and highest priests there was a secret ceremony entailing the tearing apart limb-by-limb of a living ram (eating its raw body) and a new-born lamb put in its place to be the ram for the following New Year. Intoxicant, mind-altering substances were involved. Divine protocol got changed and Emperor Nimrod found himself unexpectedly substituted for the ram. The baby Dammuz became the lamb. This subsequently endangered Dammuz so Semiramis started an annual contest, the prize being honour of execution as Dammuz’s substitute guaranteeing ascension into Heaven as an equal god. Voluntary sacrifice. The baby Dammuz. Blood. Exalted lamb. Contradistinct fathers. Holy Virgin Shamiram. Body torn to death. Ecstatic consumption of body with stimulant.
Notwithstanding this concoction, bread-with-wine is Genesis symbolism also. “Melchizedek King of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the Priest of God”.
Further Christ-types could include Hitler (“Germany has been transformed into a great house of the Lord where the Fuhrer as our mediator stands before the throne of God”, intoned Goebbels) the ‘Sinful Messiah’ David Koresh, Osiris the global patriarch of all Sun-seeking cults, Pahana the Hopi’s true white brother from the East, an unnamed spiritual king coming to Indonesia from the West, Maitreya a god-man as described by the Buddha or else Mahayanan Buddhism’s Amida, Adonai-messenger-of-Yahweh who awaits the new Temple at Jerusalem to erect as his cue to appear, Kalki Javada final avatar of Hinduism’s Yuga Cycle, the Twelfth Imam of Shiite Islam who never died, al-Khidr the Archetypal Green One, an “olive-skinned prophet with long white beard”, Saoshyant the Final Renervator of Zoroastrianism.
Despite the exciting academic clamour for and against Jesus being a real person, I’m almost immovably convinced. During a time when truth became startlingly apparent to me I read the Gospels for their Jesus quotations. I was not being a good Christian nor endorsing religion – on balance, sadly, I’m pretty agin’it – but looking for clues from someone I had no doubt reached the fullest enlightenment some time before His ministry began. Confirmation of the right way to move forward. To my surprise, a high proportion of the direct quotations shone with sheer true-ness. I say surprise because I am aware of the realities of journalism and news editing. Gathering-up views leads unavoidably to eyewitness contradictions. Some curiously difficult things are then omitted altogether for fear of ‘losing the reader’ and the balance gets rewritten. Other ideas collapse in translation or become precis’d or else expanded beyond the conveyance of their original meaning. The whole is fashioned into ‘a story’, preferably with a beginning, a middle and an end. And I don’t mean only that the quotes shone with Universal Truth. I mean they were the actual gist, as spoken. I could see this with my newly-commissioned, highly-sensitized antennae, so to speak. As for the remainder, they seemed ‘small p’ political insertions of sorts, deliberate misinformations. If you believe your God guarantees to you the verity of your Bible then it was Jesus that was faulty but If you believe that He would never lie then the authors or their sources were telling tales. If you believe that the originals were honest, then subsequent editors were not so scrupulous. And there was a huge amount of subsequent editing as well as precious source materials omitted. It seemed to me to be a miracle that so much has beeen preserved apparently exactly as it was originally meant. After all, the game of Chinese Whispers can deconstruct a sentence in a single minute. To me this is the hand of God, not the equivocating persuasions of a Matthew nor the educated, second-hand nature of a Luke (a disciple of Paul who never met Jesus, who also wrote Acts) nor the numeric exaggerations and staged asides by the leading character nor the curiously moving mysticisms of the Grecophile John.
According to Mark, Christ was baptized by John the Baptist – a man even more revered than Jesus was in His lifetime – and the public words of Jesus often seem chosen to promote a difference between them. The virgin birth is nowhere mentioned by Mark. It was introduced by Matthew, we should guess, and Luke likely borrowed it.
Jesus began his ministry by gathering disciples and preaching at synagogues in Capernaum, a Gentile place. He went on to notoriety in Herod’s Galilee before twice embracing Jerusalem. Mark attacks legalistic tendencies in the Pentateuch as “nullifying the Prophets”. It was prophetic Jeremiah who disparaged blind following of the narrative Torah as if it were the word of God. (“How can you say, ‘we are wise, for we have the laws of God’, when, behold, the lying pen of the scribes has worked falsely.”) Indeed would God ever use words, the province of scribes and orators? Matthew affirms an indiscriminate belief in the Torah as the basis for what was to become the doctrine of Bible inerrancy. Jesus, of course, expressed no doctrines. There’s no doubt in my heart that Jesus was overthrowing religious rulings and never intended to found a religion. His humanity-first, legalism second, context was what was new hence “No one pours new wine into old wine skins’‘.
Jesus was a surprising libertarian in many ways, if only by broaching the fastdays and sabbaths and favouring mixed company. As well as not practicing ritual cleanliness. (No, nothing to do with hygiene habits). He also took away revenues from the Temple monopoly by offering free forgiveness of sins in outrageous economic competition. Yet He was neither unfettered in personal morality nor competitively Mars-like as a man. He was not such a cartoon of a persona as the USA promotes in its warped and reactive anti-heroes. He was His own authority – yet looking personally to God for direct guidance – as we must all be.
Jesus was not a farmer. He did not store up surplus wealth for another season. Nor did He savour the mean savings to be gleaned from paying per hour rather than per day. Basically, He was a poor show as an entrepreneur. In fact, He was sure that all He need do is accept the protection, maintenance and nurturing of God. Many things are misunderstood about Jesus and moneys. He did not advocate either thrift or financial prudence. He was not one of the suffering poor even though He owned little. For through the Great God He owned the world. And the world naturally supported Him by divers subtle automations. “My burden is light.” He was never short of money. His followers abandoned their occupations and incomes (and familial support) and yet went without nothing that was necessary to the day. It was Paul who said that every soul must have a paid occupation. Jesus preferred to observe the lilies that neither toil nor spin and yet their raiment surpasses Solomon’s and queried why, if your heavenly Father does so for them, do you fear that He will not do as much for you? Have no doubt that food, clothes and shelter are yours without more effort than is necessary to maintain a superficial gloss of causality. All you need do is fulfill your solitary path through the narrow gate of spiritual enlightenment. Can anyone order you over that path and dictate how to manage yourself? No. There are some hints, for instance discriminate ever against deceitful words of organizational representatives and observe the true words of Jesus and others who travelled the solitary path before you. (As probably we all have done before, though now we forget.) Once you are ‘in God’ then will you stay, as it were, on high? No. What is full is emptied, what is empty will become filled. I understand Jesus better if I see a man on His way ‘down’ and stumbling a little rather than ‘up’ and glorious. Possibly He got pushed to the front by that crew who wish to say they follow and yet would lead from the rear. Are there roadmaps for the ‘coming back down’ into ordinary existence? Not one. Meher Baba described a similar return that took him years before resuming daily life, during which time he dislodged all his teeth by banging his head on a wall to relieve his spiritual pain. Here’s a further clue: some who reach the goal will deny that there is any real ‘up’ or ‘down’ involved, rather like there being no real ‘good’ or ‘bad’ except as the standard, cross-sectional perspective. How do we first get onto this ‘up and down’ path? Seems we are all on it always: as the reason for us being at all, we might suppose. Should we take to the ‘good’ or the ‘bad’ side? Only the good way is the right way that will climb out of the regular human illusions. Why? Who can say why? There it is and incidentally that ‘feels right’ for almost everybody.
Was historic Jesus the forerunner of a future religion? Do these dormitory in Heaven while waiting for their Earthly turn to appear? Religions are man-made. They are born here on Earth, they live and die here on Earth. They are always very material, in fact highly financially advantaged. Why are they here? To divert some good-hearted people. What benefits do they bring? Congregation members often have an enhanced feeling of well-being that comes from membership of a band. They are often able to overcome physical afflictions more readily somehow because of deep-rooted beliefs they reinforce by sharing them with others. Religions are traditionally emphatic on the subject of belief and doctrinally will deny any possibility of real knowing other than “I know because somebody else told me so”. Only belief is acceptable. Real knowing by real experience is routinely condemned as demonic possession, wrongful association with ‘the Devil’ or else plain madness. In the case of Jesus, it was madness that His own family accused Him of, says Mark, and tried to put Him away. Equally, Mark has Him reject his physical family in favour of a new spiritual definition of His family – those who follow God uncompromisingly. (Not the same as those who conform to local and temporal legalistic interpretations of right and wrong, seeking social recognition whilst wilfully refusing to trust God alone to support their physical existence, well-being and wealth-health for them.)
The concepts of familial and tribal responsibility are closely linked. They grow from the monkey ancestry of Mankind. Jesus told us to refute such liabilities in favour of obedience to God’s guardianship of us. This was especially difficult for Jews who carried a bitter ‘collective memory’ of a genocidal massacre by the Greeks on the Sabbath (approximately 165BC) when they were forbidden by their own sacred social rules to resist. According to Mark alone, the family of Jesus were unrepentant and persistent disbelievers in the spiritual elevation of Jesus. Well, wouldn’t your family be, about you, if there were nothing in it for them save losing face and social disgrace? After all, even the Priests denied Him – yes, and they would today wouldn’t they?
Most things are the product of their social history. All the confusions that had crept into the bibles of Babylon were there in Early Christianity. All the contradistinctions bedevelling conservative and radical, cruel and kind aspects of personalities. But Jesus was telling Truth and Truth is independent of history. Truth has no history. The enlightened soul has also broken free from personal history. Enlightenment has no history. It is beyond words to discuss Truth or Enlightenment. They are not definable in epistomology: like our very first attempts at language they are felt meaningfully yet are conveyable only fitfully and elusively.
The Rule of Law is a masterpiece of domination by an elite. It does not exist without rivalry in the East and yet monetary grants pleasurable to governments have always depended upon an enactment of alien laws by the recipient country, with a prize as great as WTO membership often dependent upon some sort of attempt at law enforcement of the alien regulations that preceded it.
So we have the West with its established pro-capitalist legalism and the East with its older emphasis that Custom Rules the Law, although globalization is slowly eroding this latter principle. The fact is that the current fatcats benefit most from strict observance of law and some law-wise deceivers may thrive on the ridiculous lack of margins in Western contract law. An Eastern contract wording may be more about promising to maintain the warm relationship between the parties in the event of some unexpected rift than setting smart traps for a future opponent.
Without doubt it was capitalist industrialization, collapse of the extended family and the consequent social de-cohesion exemplified by the USA that brought social issues and the rule of law in line with each other. Years ago it was unthinkable that society could override a family and remove children from them ‘into care’. In return, Government was allowed a freer hand generally than today by the inward-facing heads of families and families were effectively their own courts of family law (and also ran their own interest-free lending systems) safe from outside intrusion. Many family laws of today simply did not exist then. Why would they if they then get rendered unenforceable by social convention? To be excluded by your first family was much worse a threat than some social disgrace that the State might engineer. Most actions of the State would not, of themselves, have led to social disgrace before the eventual erosion by laws of our customs.
This seems natural and familiar to us and was to our ancestors because of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. In practice, Jews were not nearly as dominated by legalism as the Bible makes out. Their Bible was often a form of social coercion towards a way of life that a minority wanted to promote amongst the wayward majority. Somehow, we have today taken it all very seriously as the desirable reality and Rule of Law is imposing itself everywhere by degrees. Shylock-like impersonations have become commonplace as faceless persons occult behind corporate bodies and business firms, heartlessly pursuing the poor-in-spirit to relieve them of their last remaining rights and profitably levering cut-and-dried laws against them, regardless of any higher public feeling.
What the Torah/Pentateuch/Hebrew Bible was striving for was perfect obedience to Mosaic Laws. Moses (the murderer of a foreigner) introduced these laws and Yahweh (the relentless inciter to slaying of foreigners) were portrayed as interchangeable in this respect. The New Testament is divided on many issues. Paul in particular portrayed Jesus the Christ as the perfect example of obedience to Moses. The Christ was the perfect sacrifice. We are told that the lamb had something of the man, Jesus, and yet to be washed in the blood of the lamb was a Mosaic, pre-Christian ethic somehow exemplified now by Jesus Christ. From this position we deduce that Jesus as Christ died by a specifically Roman method in order to make a complete sacrificial offering against our future sins, these sins being transgressions of religio-social requirements given to a minor nation by a man claiming to be handed them by a local war-god that he said he once saw, although only from behind. Paul was as convinced a Christian as could be, more than some who knew Jesus well, and seems to have tried to encapsulate the words of the renegade Prophets (who customarily railed against the iron-clad legality of the Torah as much as Jesus did) at least by his summaries.
“For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers .. ” (Romans 2:13)
Paul was a “tentmaker” and concept-builder. The word from which we translate ‘tent’ could, by extension, mean an erected house of worship, a ‘church’.
On one hand, Jeremiah and Isaiah had reminded Israel that “Yahweh of hosts” found sacrificial offerings to be punishable abominations. According to Jeremiah, quoting in the first person holy, “For I spoke not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings or sacrifices”. And according to Isaiah, “…he will become a sanctuary, and a stone of offense, and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.”
On the othe hand, triumph of legal justice over customary mercy was in effect a contra-theme woven into Matthew’s Gospel, just as ‘the Law’ and ‘the Prophets’ need some fiddling to make them coincident.
“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets … but to fulfill them” says Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. He does not say the one or the other. What should we think?
The centuries-old Torah is positively embraced by the author Matthew. He leads us into believing in Jesus’s mercy as having transposed into God’s mercy. This was exercised at God’s discretion and expense to ensure God’s justice by mercifully executing His Own. By the Trinity doctrine, Christians surely now mean executing Himself and His Son and the Holy Spirit to boot being the indivisible elements of doctrine giving surrender to the Roman Emperor upon a specifically Roman-contrived triangular gibbet, which seems a risibly prepostrous proposition if geometrically rigorous. (In truth, Jesus identified Himself as feeling bewilderingly separated from God at the maxed-out birthing of despair by His agonized cry “Father, why have you foresaken me?”)
Whereas we could have had a Jesus-inspired redefinition of faith, one meaning that we must rely on completely and trust wholeheartedly and know by experience the assuredly trustworthy nature of God, we then came to falling back on faith as meaning a form of belief enchained to a religion and so not the first-hand knowing of God at all. The gap between the two may be explored from considering the simplicity of, say, Buddhism (at heart a non-religion) and some personal spiritual knowing.
Something deduced: The essence of the Buddha teaching, the path to Nirvana, is that extreme measures are not so necessary in the light of consecutive incarnations. All that is necessary is ‘do more good than harm in each lifetime’ and the space between these poles must become shrunk at the beginning of each lifetime, eventually disappearing altogether – bringing enlightenment. This is not to say that spiritual enlightenment may not come suddenly to some. This is basically a teaching methodology that incites the greatest number of students to achieve graduation, given plentiful time. In principle it involves the least teaching of rules or handling of knowledge. ‘Do good’ is all you need to know and ‘do it as often as possible’ will speed matters up considerably over the long run. Doing what is especially ‘good’ then becomes the gear on incarnation’s wheel that drives two opposing lines into future singularity.
Something I know: Within every mechanically defined thing is a spiritual factor also (and vice versa). As much as persons pushed into the socially-revered roleplays commonly transfigure into those imposing charicatures in lofty categories to which they have become cartooned, to their spiritual detriment, a person low in self-development such as a captain of industry or master of war may find that a strengthening act such as personally spending time and money on a leprous beggar or befriending an aggressive prisoner will gradually change them into that higher personality who loves to do these things. And this is regardless of how much they may had to overcome an inner resistance to get started on their righteously strengthening path. The spirit can inspire strength in the act. The good act can inspire strength in the spirit and may well kickstart, as it were, ‘spiritual growth’.
Something deduced directly from what I know: Jesus knew that the world was a shocking place and that we embrace it joyfully as if intoxicated out of our reason. The intoxicant is identifiable as full moments of joy. A non-depressed person gets shots of this joy on most days. It makes life seem worth living. The path He is pointing us toward, the narrow-gated path, is one on which we can fully realize that the world is basically bad, misrepresents the mad, suffers the sad and yet we still feel joy because these aspects then steer themselves away from us. We are not their target. It is the blameless condition, innocent as early childhood, that is as available to us as it was to Him. Like Buddhism it is simple as a method but tough going. It could work itself through at the end of this current lifetime or bring enlightenment now if we are determinedly deliberate yet spiritually ungrasping.
In the West we speak of ‘the great and the good’ as if synonymous. Ancient Chinese wisdom holds that only the truly good can be truly great and the rest is deception. The source book for this wisdom has been periodically banned by governments.
Jesus taught that if we hold up without doubt (modern ‘belief’ would necessarily imply option, debate, educated doubt) that the mountain will move then the mountain has moved or must move. (There is something for the grave cosmologists here.) He said we can all do it. Unfortunately for our aspirations, He was as advanced a master of miracles as could ever be: to sustain complete lack of doubt is beyond the personal point along the out-and-back spiritual path that many people have attained after several lifetimes. It is, perhaps, hovering quite near to the turnaround, the cusp before ‘coming back down’. When the right time has come the ‘upward’ transition to enlightenment is a relatively brief period between concentrating on the good (whilst meditating to zero) and arriving at (even declining) an otherworldly kind of empowerment.
Worldly power, sexual pandering and wealth acquisition are the elephant traps of spritual development.
So here we are in our Westernized socio-religious system that rates judgement in the exercise of partial knowledge and the acquisition of that knowledge by feats of recall more highly than the soul who actually knows in the here-and-now. And they, intimidating each other to the extent of their society’s margin of mercy and arguing for their home-grown limitations, then wonder where on Earth each catastrophy is coming from?
At least Early Christians did not pretend that entire books were not at all fallible or that unorthodoxy was ‘heretical’ or that ‘blasphemy’ was a crime to be punished by execution. Just the reverse.
For the sake of balance, or whatever, let the expert juggler Matthew supply the last vibrant words:
“Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.”
“I call Hebrew literature the most extensive and reliable source; and, in truth, it is this in every respect; and whoever cannot draw his information out of it in his investigations, must remain unacquainted with much, even the most interesting matter, and will therefore fail in his discoveries.” Rabbi Joseph Shwarz, 1850, on writing about the history of Palestine through the ages and rubbishing gentile accounts of this commonly-held Holy Land.
The notion of Jesus having been a part-Samaritan or part-Roman gets some historian support as He was somewhat unrooted socially. He pursued His mission in Gentile territory, gathering crowds in Syria and Phoenicia as well as around the Galilee with interested strangers travelling up from Judea and even Jerusalem – whence came Jewish theocracy activists spreading the notion that He was in with the Devil. One of Jesus’s physical ploys whilst working miracles, actually spitting, may have offended Christians retrospectively and the spittle-based miracles do not all appear in Matthew/Luke.
Mark, though, is full-accounted even to the extent that Jesus had to make two different passes to get the full effects of eyesight restored to the blind man in Bethsaida. (One try for each eye?) Judaism was fundamentally materialistic and the Temple priests in Jerusalem were deemed a superior class being well-dressed, well-educated and the socially-qualified Agents of God. Perhaps it was unconvincing or an embrassment to portray them as lesser than a country miracle healer spitting out His cures to the ragged and dispossessed in rather naturalistic and unsophisticated surroundings. How horrible!
His daddy, Joseph, is mentioned by Matthew as being a descendant of Ruth; therefore he was a Moabite and so outcast by command of the Torah and lumped together with subsequent Davidians in the persisting Jewish reflex of anti-monarchism. Despite our indiscriminate references to ‘the twelve tribes of Israel’ only two provinces, Judah and Benjamin, had remained with the Moabite dynasty whilst the other ten provinces of the country considered themselves to be the nicer nation of Israel. In Matthew, a Biblical stress upon the Royal line of Jesus is expressed rather as Joseph being one of the Judaic majority around the time of Jesus, those who were to become fundamental to our modern notions of rabbinicism and Jewishness. A nod to the prophet Isaiah in the Gospel of Matthew’s virgin birth passage actually points to one Immanuel the son of Isaiah whose existence was supposedly foretold to Isaiah by God and whose mom was a ‘young woman’. The Gospel of Mary even mentions that Mary’s mother and not Mary had experienced virgin birth, as I recall, but that is not important to us here and now, is it?
It would seem that we may use the term ‘prophet’ to mean someone pointing to a new direction and not a reinforcer of the religious status quo. Most often this is a cry to be less legalistic in daily life and more comitted to the Will of God, pointed up as those generalizations occupying the very core of the religion. What can we find in, say, Deuteronomy, Numbers or Proverbs that is a corrupt reflection of the core generalizations germane to YHVVH?
“Devour the nations the lord your god delivers over to you. Show them no pity … until those who are left and hide themselves from you are destroyed.” Deuteronomy
“Kill every woman who has had sexual intercourse with a man and kill every male among the little ones, but keep the virgins for yourselves … ” Numbers
What about this for outright pig-headed bigotry? Apologies, pigheads…
“Under three things the earth shakes, four things it cannot bear: a slave becoming king, a fool gorging himself, a hateful woman dressing for a wedding, and a slave overthrowing his master.” Proverbs
As my mother – an Edwardian lady from a rather Victorian three-times-to-church-on-Sundays background – used to say, “You can justify anything from some passage or other in the Bible”.
Historical researchers as far back as the Eighteenth Century have been saying that the earliest Christian advocates were radicals with contempt for marriage and family and not at all like the Western clergy we know and, perhaps foolishly, respect. They may have seemed disruptive in a ridiculous way, contemptibly uncivilized and contemptuously anarchical. Certainly they were not doges dozing-off before their dogmatic documents. The common psyche of that time and place had not yet begun to absorb the Jesus Story and later claims that He had determinedly launched the Church and its Sacraments are improbable at the very least, possibly founded upon editorial interpolations. No belief in Biblical inerrancy was to emerge for a very long time and Papal infallibility was eighteen centuries ahead. (As were the British and French Empire’s outpourings of evangelizing misionaries ‘to all four corners’.) Nevertheless, these few ‘Christians’ (strictly-speaking this title was yet to emerge, these were disruptive synagogue attenders) shared their belief in a personal god with Judeans. By contrast the old Hindu belief was in an impersonal god that could incarnate if necessary and the soul that was of a similar sort. The Hindu aim was to ‘return to the source’. Jews, and initially Christians, held that dead was dead and dismissed any claims of spiritism – conversing with some lively yet dead personality – as impossible. To be resurrected in the body was a requisite to being resuscitated in the spirit. This was envisaged as a future group regeneration, with individual moral recriminations, upon some special day ahead. The Hindu, Jewish and Christian religions experienced recognizable growth stages (modern Islam perhaps resembles the Western Christianity of seven centuries ago) including periods of severe protestations. Buddhism got started after protestations of Hinduism’s textual rituals. Jainism and Confucianism first rooted around this time, also the time of the text-protesting Bible Prophets.
Religions begin with individual, otherworldly, spiritual experiences that are recounted to telling effect on those who resonate well with them. Like the demands of scholastic grammar, its professors set out the rules only after people have been communicating successfully about this without any commandeering guidance for many years indeed. Most religions contain ‘selfish behaviour denied’ in order to ‘obtain life by denying life’ and taken beyond the initiallizing adepts this means self-denial within the religio-social pressures obtaining. Soul is variously done and is also flipped by philosopher’s of influence such as Plato and Aristotle, who have turned us around on the subject and left us refocused. The human mind is often modelled for the universal spirit – a kind of thinking totality of great majesty and mystery, being both the imposing legislator and the enforcer of Nature’s obedience. All this formalizes profitably as the professionals then make-over a likely growth organization. Religion thrives on believing but crumbles upon knowing. Jesus knew all. He died at the request of a religion. It could happen again. Religion becomes vitally important to believers and brings them many benefits and confidence in the social structure of their lives. For most members of the great congregations there would be a kind of terror on finding the religious foundation of life crumbling beneath their feet. Ironically, each religion’s prostheletyzing closely resembles Marketing’s trick of product-positioning in the consumer’s or end-user’s mind. Given a thoughtful chain of distribution, secular philosophies such as Scientific Method can also play that mental game. Certainly Christians have strayed into Platonism by confirming the immortal soul as separate from the body in contradiction to the early Faith. Religions, though, need to expand like any other feeding-frenzy organization. They can send out some very committed salespeople with a range of options to deal, their contradictions concealed within a dedicated array of targeted products. Judaism sent out its management missions before Christianity did. The Celtic Druids, Greek and Roman Jupiterians or Sun-Worshippers, though, never attempted this. It changes a religion at the heart. The Religion no longer underpins one’s own culture specifically as the superior or only way to live or the thing that sets us apart from the others. Local divinity and a peculiar social morality must be assumed to be global bedfellows. (Bad luck for some freewheeling hunter-gatherers in Africa who were compelled to stockade themselves by Christian missionaries.) Ironically, God becomes less of a communal king (less a Divine Right of some worldly King) and so becomes internalized, working for the individual, and intellectually exposed to that ‘magical’ ingredient lurking in every human’s inner perception of everything; the wellspring of our spiritual understanding. The European Church Reformation was a bloody clash between interests vested in communal obedience and those others who demanded to stand before God on their own terms – but were then compromised by joining new organizations offering communal progress.
The Eastern Church was half of European Christianity. Constantine’s Rome would become Constantinople. From the start, this establishment looked down on its other wing. After all, the Greeks had the books and the learning. Purifying your soul to have a next life better than the present one goes back at least to the times of Pythagoras. Pre-Socratics teemed with ideas. Linking the future of your soul with moral integrity probably entered around 500BC, a busy era for spiritual matters. Socrates introduced a wholly radical moral stance, equivalent to the transcendent response to encounters that was to be advocated by Jesus of Nazareth. He suggested a personal moral response independent of the expected social reactions and leading to the soul being strengthened by exercising a new kind of personal responsibility. His student Plato, though, immortalized an eternal rational soul, part of a soul-trinity that includes lower-order soul-sections. “The true self is Reason.” Plato’s student Aristotle, a logician, a believer in absolute positives and absolute negatives, rendered soul the basic ground of life though not necessarily rational life. Neo-Platonists blew around the subject of the soul. On balance, they thought humans probably do have individual intellects although later even this was confounded by the Arab, Averrois, who stated that humanity is but one intellect. During the Renaissance all these ideas reappeared to haunt Western Europeans as strongly as their general need to obey Roman Church dogma, creating personal crisis.
Long before and after Renaissance came the usual crop of religions, including new-styled Christian religions, claiming that their very modernity gave them a dominant advantage over their tired old rivals – as endorsed by their particular ‘take’ on God. Such is Islam. Jesus appears fearfully in the Moslem End Time scenario with far-reaching breath that destroys like a widespread flamethrower. It seems to be a negative variation of Holy Breath. The idea that the soul is breathed into matter by God was an ancient one. (The very word ‘soul’ is breathey.) Abrahamic religions all see the world as a place to learn and be tested in but have equivocated badly over the role of soul whilst enthusiatically nominating certain types of death as rather good for the next life, whenever that comes. The Rig Vader of India is a senior spiritual system based on reincarnation, both up the ladders and down the snakes. Zoroastrianism is possibly the most senior and once vastly influential, now much changed but still alive at places around the world. In fact, there are 1 million religions active today. These are the indigenous religious traditions that have evolved to grasp within themselves any alternative beliefs adorning the passing centuries. Socio-spiritual leadership has changed hands as natural and man-made calamities have partially or wholly diminished faiths. The reappraisal of the soul has often proved a bloody process, with religions as both winners and losers.
The Age of Enlightenment/Age of Reason allowed Darwin and Descartes to enter the fray. The notion of ‘I’ became strengthened by this. Logical thought is leading some to turn to Science for survival of the ‘I’ beyond reasonable, i.e. techno-immortality. Disregarding for a moment that several great minds have held that there is actually a constant succession of different I’s within us, it is only logical to seek survival of the self. But we shouldn’t ignore the difference between self and Self. Undoubtedly the Higher Self is with us from the start and a lower self also clings that accretes our reactions to life’s arbitrary events. The natural Self and the nurtured self. Our primary task is to get back to who we really are so that we may make individual spiritual advance – to strip ourselves of all acquisitiveness, depend upon good actions and discover a way to achieve a personal depth of meditation. What will happen anyway, whether we bother or not, is that the ‘flame’ we die with in our hearts is going to be greater or smaller than the ‘flame’ we birthed with. There is a clear moral dimension to this that is unrecognizable to some and may be surprisingly otherwise to the morality learned from our society, family and friends. I feel it possible for a person to extinguish their inner flame altogether before death although I wouldn’t know how to recognize this. (Like recognizing that bags under the eyes can suggest sexual corruption: Frankenstein’s monster was ringing a psychological bell that perversely weds tell-tale body parts to inappropriate soul-natures.)
Modern Science has as much nonsensical baloney in its bonemarrow as the religions have ever had. Its avenues are lined with fruiting assumptions and blossoming presumptions. It has impenetrable language for adherents only and most people must believe what it says on trust alone. Certainty in the cant of clergy is replaced by certainty in the say-so of scientists. A danger of this scientific age is that neither Judge, Jury nor the Gallery understand the technical distinctions. One recent nonsense was that unusual surnames should be taken-up in analysis of name-sets of DNA records rather than relying on an individual’s DNA results as the expert evidence for the Prosecution. This is perilously close to the justice of the ducking stool!
We are possibly monkey-brained tribalists with expansive minds all shot through, for better or worse, by illuminations of truth from the godhead at our heart. Egotism and guilt are the twin enthusiasms that keep us returning to the scenes of our crimes. I understand that, according to the Sigmund Freudians, we needs must possess a series of linking beliefs otherwise we’d be crushed under the devilish detail of the Universe. Yet the intellectual explorer who enters inner space still encounters both perceived cosmological reality and a perceived spiritual reality and still needs an encompassing structure to maintain a semblance of personal sanity. People are endowed with ridiculous optimism and this is normal. We find joy where there would be none using cold logic. Occasional bouts of depression are normal. Continuous depression is abnormal, a so-called clinical depression. And yet all the negatives such as certain death, pangs of disappointment after unconditional giving, underacknowledgement, territorial encroachments, infidelity, serial lying, are with us always if only in our fears. In this life, no future can be ruled out. Is the depressed person being irrational or the joyous one? The words of Jesus help a lot along the innermost spiritual path. And the good way is the right way, Jesus or no Jesus. The urgent power, sex and accumulating lusts must become sidelined. Precursive personal conscience takes precedence over retroactive guilt. That means defeating any guilt-based religiosity. Strength and spiritual fitness flow from zero-minded meditations defeating the chattering brain, possibly the greatest challenge the will ever encounter. The potential ability to wring miracles can follow effortlessly but can be voided for lack of any accompanying God-like wisdom. It’s easy to ignore the sentimentality of sympathy. “I wouldn’t like that to happen to me!” It is not possible to avoid the sheer and unexpected pain of almighty Compassion. “I won’t allow that to happen to you!”
For the modern Christian raised in an industrialized nation, it is possible to fail to understand – or even worse, to believe wrongly that something seemingly familiar is understood – tales of olden days when peasant ways and agrarian needs dominated each person’s thought processing. Primarily the family was different from today. Rich and poor families lived mostly side by side. Each family was its own powerhouse, regardless of overall wealth. It’s own Bank. It’s own Court of Law. Family Council decisions were made about all aspects of every member’s life and all was freely discussed. No hiding place. The transfer from first family comittments to second family duties was gradual and never complete. The head of the family was the father, shifting to the mother as she widowed. The word of the family head was final. All people understood this. A family-owned house was a normal possession. Renting a living space was the province of travellers, workers, students. Theoretically, everybody had a house somewhere they could ‘call their own’. A destitute who subsisted by private hand-outs on the streets was probably without family, deeply unfortunate, but possibly enviable. The extended family required several branches and generations of that family to live under one roof. The more working hands the better. Not only siblings but also servants, hirees, lodgers, children taken-in from impoverished relatives elsewhere, indeed everybody therein would customarily treat each other as if they were all blood brothers and sisters. Public nudity did not happen. Sex was treated as if did not exist and its potentialities were not even taken into account in making sleeping arrangements. There were few dirty jokes. Socially, male and female embraced their own sex only in the open and sat apart in groups at parties. The relationship between husband and wife was assumed to be mostly chaste. In public places, though, a woman might sit between her daughter and son with a man on the outside. Often a female would be called to act as a chaperone. Lack of social acknowledgement of sexual matters led to much apparent innocence, no sexual etiquette, no real knowledge of medical sexual problems, only a hazy idea of what virginity actually means despite its enormous social importance, and extensive prostitution that evidenced itself by night alone and prompted female curfews. Notions of sex in the family house, incest, bestiality, would properly be allocated to foreigners. Foreigners were vile and did everything that the native never would. (This may have prompted rather curious native-dwellers to travel abroad.) Sexual problems in the family at home were probably quite widespread in reality but never, ever acknowledged. The father was the fount of the family well-being. If he were a good man, the family was good. His word rivalled any law enforcer or priest in its power within his family and without as well should anything exterior threaten the principle of his kingly rule over family. This was understood by government who never intervened in family matters. The family was the actual building-brick of the society. Government or royalty was not there to prosper society but to take advantages from it. Making money was of primary importance and the family would combine their wealth. Tiny profit margins were normal. Introducer’s commissions on sales, built-in to the asking price, were a social norm. Social breaches whilst pursuing monetary gain were forgivable. Education was sought primarily for its monetary benefits. Priests were educated and mostly excused labour. Family connections and friendships determined job prospects. In peasant agrarian societies, the forebears, though dead, continued to be feared for their incompetent or malign influences over the family’s future from out on some mysterious plane. Judaism coped with this by stating that once you’re dead you’re dead and have no existence or influence until the mass resurrection on ‘Judgement Day’. No ghosts, neither at home nor along the byways.
In the society of Jesus’s birth, strangers could be shunned in public (save for an ordinance that travellers must be given truthful directions should they ask) but were often happily welcomed in private. The Judeans were the the main socio-religious group – separated from other groups/Pharisees by different cleansing rituals after social contact such as shaking hands – and would avert their eyes from the gaze of approaching foreigners. A visible rejection.
Palestine was not a full province of Rome, it came under the governance of neighbouring Roman Syria. Pontius Pilate had a direct superior at Syria. (Herod played on this and wrote letters informing on Procurates like Pilate directly to Rome.) Many Roman soldiers in Palestine were Syrians, rough and ready men who liked to laugh bawdily and despised Jews for their notion of natural superiority. The Jewish Revolt and its severe punishments, as prophesied by Jesus, was to be provoked by a soldier exposing himself on Temple battlements out of contempt for Jewish prudery. (And in this millennium as the world’s TV channels showed the toppling statue of Saddam Hussein, American soldiers were handing out Playboy magazines in downtown Baghdad, provoking mini-revolts even at their arrival. History chimes.)
Palestine was a Jewish theocracy, the native government and the people were organized by myriad religious laws, some improvised orally by Pharisees to meet new situations. Every citizen paid temple tax. Jerusalem had first developed virtually independently of Judah/Israel and was ever coveted by allcomers. Jews living and working abroad, a fair number, would visit Jerusalem every year for the major religious festival. The fabulously great Temples at Jerusalem, First and Second, had been the talk of the Mediterranean world. The Third still is, by interpretation, for it’s construction may herald the beginning of the End Times according to the Bible.
The story in Matthew of a cull of first-born’s is hugely improbable, no state nor king could emerge unopposed from entering upon peasant families in that way in that age. Further, it is not recorded anywhere outside of Matthew. Jesus joking at the father who roared like thunder when his sons were suddenly drawn away was not laughing at the father’s personal expense but making rye observation upon the all-powerful nature of fatherhood at that time. The fact is that in agrarian social systems many social ills stemmed initially from self-indulging fathers or stepfathers who could not be contradirected. The story of Martha and Mary certainly contains a deep wisdom – the busy body is less important than the stilled spirit – but also points up that a man, Jesus, could not have been speaking alone with any ‘good’ woman. When Jesus disparaged the woman who directly approached Him alone at the well, was that a Jewish social reflex that He subsequently corrected or the telling denial of any global ministry?
Roman Catholics now demand that the Biblical “brothers and sisters of Jesus” were actually not blood relatives. Possibly though not probably. Some of the many legendary virgin birth stories were told as if the mother then never experienced sex in her whole life, and some weren’t. In real life, a girl with a husband in residence who never has sex seems extremely unlikely accept in the case of permanent sexual incompatibility or a staying together for the sake of the children after sexual infidelity, with secondary relationships taking up the slack. The charming feature of the Krishna stories as now told is the way that adherents freely admit that they don’t know whether they are accounts from true life or merely a tale framing an aspect of truth, as they happened so very long ago. And they happily portray Krishna, God incarnate, as youthfully playful.
The NT is not delivered ‘straight’ to us. Not only are a multitude of expert sleuths, especially the gifted amateurs today, satisfied that biased editing made a bulky contribution to the text, but also it was distributed by the Roman Emperor with the full backing of the law and military to subservient nations who hardly knew the language it was written in. As a matter of fact, the Imperial Church later went so far as to make personal private reading of the whole Bible illegal. To this day, most Europeans will still wait for Bible passages to be read and interpreted to them by professionals and wouldn’t fret about not first reading it for themselves. An embarassing number of English folk believe the worthy line “neither a borrower nor a lender be” is Biblical. A wealth of assumptions have accumulated within the social weave, such as that Jesus liked to relax by discussing methods of constructing furniture. Even in forest-covered England, furniture did not popularize greatly before Tudor times. Joseph was a carpenter, say the gospels. Hardwood was rare in Palestine and good stuff expensive to import. Their flat-roofed houses were made of mud or limestone as a result. Even small bridges used stone for preference. Country caves on hillsides were a not uncommon form of habitation and employed a large stone rolled across slightly forward of the entrance, sometimes on rails of sorts for ease at rolling away the stone. The wood in a house would be mainly high beams morticed as a rectangular frame below the solid roof. This would have been the main woodworking done by artisans. When Jesus said “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” in Matthew 7, this was no mistake. The beam is a roof beam. The mote is a particle that has fallen into the eye as the lofty beams are being fitted. A mortice and tenon joint causes the actual bonding piece of the beams to disappear from sight, leaving the apparition of a neat cross-incidence. This deceptive and strong joinery conceals both its purpose and its method. A mote is a slightly dangerous irritation that should not be there and can be rinsed away in accordance with good advice. But this advisor has an invisible join within his own eye, a secret tie, that has corrupted the purity of his vision. It has been done and so could be undone, with effort, but that person prefers to live with his hidden corruption for so long as it does not show. It serves him well and he may support his tampered identity, his changed nature, by it. How then can he hypocritically attend to another with such assumed righteousness whilst allowing his own hidden construct to prevail? “Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?” Can God see all through our eyes and through the soul also? Peak viewing time?
The garden scene on the eve of His trial opens with a naked young man making his escape under darkness from the hostile Roman military. Who was he? In keeping with the depraved age we live in, the newest theme is that Jesus was sexually active. (We see sex everywhere once we habituate to seeking it.) Mention of nudity reinforces this view and hints of unholy sexuality have emerged. Indeed, the naked body was shameful to the Jews. Despite their two-seasoned, sub-tropical climate they covered-up at all times. It is thought that Babylonian Mystery initiations involve nakedness of the male candidate and temptation by a sexually provocative female (as a test of who?) so here we have another bizarre possibility. I suggest that nakedness was employed in some sort of process but as a demonstration of sheer innocence, a recapturing of the sexless state. I would be extremely surprized if there were any component of sexual arousal or curiosity in it.
Despite or perhaps because of Palestine being fertile ground to touring miracle workers and the renowned Egyptian magicians, the Gospels do not ever use the explicit word for ‘miracle’. Even so, the miracles of Jesus were toted for a long age as the proof of His divinity. However, I heard in a BBC religious broadcast a science-admiring prelate deny that the miracles ever happened and that they were not what matters most, anyway. I simply can’t agree. I admire much in science but that does not stop me telling the scientists and mathematicians that they are fundamentally wrong to exclude God from their Universe. Exclude religions, yes, but God never. How wrongheaded can intelligent people get? Well, how are we – us human beings who depend entirely on clever reshuffling of what somebody else tells us, who value elaborated knowledge more highly than surnaturel knowing and who have never birthed one truly original thought, not one in the entire history of the race – to know?
Nazareth in Jesus’s lifetime was a nowhere place. Nazareth today is a partly Arab, relatively low-tech (but pro-science, as Semites often are) small business and farming area to the North of modern Israel. It’s known that the indigenous Arabs in Israel are a faster-growing group than the Jews, half of whom are immigrants from the West and so characteristically limit their numbers of children to the nuclear model (apart from the ultra-orthodox). The ultra-orthodox Jewish men in Nazareth are well-educated and study the Scriptures full-time, well into their 30’s, often making the support of their young families a matter that is out of their hands.
“In two and thirty paths of most occult and wonderful wisdom did JAH the Lord of Hosts engrave his name: God of the armies of Israel, ever-living God, merciful and gracious, sublime, dwelling on high, who inhabiteth eternity. He created this universe by the three Sepharim, Number, Writing, and Speech.” So saith the Hebrew holy book/fundamental program called Sepher Yetzirah.
Science, like Religion, typically oversimplifies Nature. Most scientists maintain very basic pictures in their heads in order to progress their understandings, much simpler than the deep implications to be found on studying Wordsworth. And despite the fact that the ‘solar system’ portrayal of the atom was actually dismissed in Europe by scientists in the Nineteenth Century, science educationalists are still feeding this fantasy structure into the minds of schoolchildren today because they can neither access nor convey the practicalities of Quantum Theory. Science, as usual, runs behind Nature, sweeping up droppings and stumbling occasionally over broken broomhandles.
Science’s emphasis on factuality presently omits the operative factors of the human mind that first open up investigation. The ‘mental margins of coherent consistency’ for a simple example (although the potentially discoverable facts could have a complexity or character that is quite unlike that of our accepted bio-chemistry). The Science of Reason should metamorph, perhaps, into the investigation of human logic interfering upon Nature, the weightings introduced by our socio-psychological thought channeling, as much as the rigors that make up Cognitive Science. What exactly counts as evidence or as argument, the orbits of greater comprehension floated by religious or humane moralistic approaches?
“There’s no logical path to these laws but only intuition … experience … ” Albert Einstein, placing Personal Knowing above Common Knowledge.
Following Bronowski, mysticism implies the ability to control nature; religion to persuade adherents of the ability to conjure miracles collectively; whilst Science attempts to overview nature and its limitations with a common-sense understanding. This latent true/false view of the world has given us verbal contrasts like Black Magic, White Divinity. Should we then speak about Black Technology, White Science? Seems the vested interests of parties will always lead to the routine labelling of competitors as ‘black’. They reject any recombining as ‘muddying the water’. A shared assumption of Religion and Science is that opposites are discrete. The inevitable extension of this is that there must be two gods, one good and one bad (better call that The Devil) and two energies, one positive, one negative. What we actually experience is a wholeness and harmony in Nature (with our laughter decreasing our tension after mental agility at dividing-out the whole has repositioned something incongruously) and all opposites truly containing each other so placing cause-and-effect, the very template of understanding, under pressure for further investigation.
Gospels and Acts most likely absorbed statements/inferences from a non-Biblical writing (in AD68, forecasting imminent Jewish catastrophe) including ‘this generation shall not pass away…’
Mark (xiii) Matthew (xxiv) Luke (xxi) apocalypticized Jesus’s Return as punctual to stated disasters and Jerusalem’s fall. Yet Jesus spoke “neither the Son, but the Father” can know the time.
Textual enthusiasts have noted a gentler, less imperative Jesus in the Syriac Aramaic Bible grammar than in the canonical Greek. Soft Aramaic was likely the native tongue of Jesus. The Udi/Alban/Azerbaijan Bible (in language somewhat like Chechen) is also amongst the earliest but is long lost. We hope it may be recovered.
The oldest Christian church inscription, in 318, declares “The Lord and Saviour Jesus the Good”. The word used by Marcionite worshippers for Good was Chrestos. This was a familiar name of the period, accorded to renamed slaves in its secondary sense of “biddable good servant”. As indeed Jesus was when He trashed Jewish protocol and washed feet at the last supper. One thing Marcionites would not have done is confuse it with the Greek ‘Christos’, transliterated from the Jewish ‘Messiah’, used by worshippers of a coming world dictatorship.
Afterthought on Philosophy and Religion
Mircea Eliade, author of Yoga, Immortality, and Freedom, never ceased being a philosopher first, an observer of the religious second. (Systematic appraisals that interfere upon each other, preventing closure in either. Was that the message?) Certainly Eliade was pursuing the core authenticity – ‘traire’ – within life experiences. What emerged was a studied ambiguity.
Religion was seen by Eliade as the apprehension of degrees of value conferred by viewing, through the lense of non-historical verities, the abstracted idealized personalities revealed or confirmed to us by recorded phenomena. What is ‘sacred’? He rejected historicism, understanding religion to be a shelter from the terrors of historical data and existential angst. The secular occupies linear, homogenous, punctual time that is irredeemable. ‘Sacred’ creates another view of time. He recognized this heterogeneous percept as being much the more common. Rituals and surrounding myths give access to Sacred Time. (Homo religiosus cyclicus?) ‘Sacred’ he identified as a ‘source of significance’ in appearances of the ‘holy’, ‘empowering’ or ‘being’. The ambiguity inherent in phenomenal appearances is a reflection of the ambiguity in the sacred itself, said Eliade, in that entities both expose and occult the nature of their being. It is possible to view any entity or phenomena as hierophany (appearance of the holy) claimed Eliade who preferred that term over theophany (appearance of a god). He thought religions thrived on making the distinction between the sacred and the profane, that mythology was about a breakthrough suggesting ideal models or supernatural ontology. Without these the world is light of any universal values, direction or purpose. Mankind traditionally holds that participation in the transcendent verities reveals true identity (and the more advanced this participation, the further that can go).
We need to create ‘mental space’ for heartfelt inner truths that go beyond the religious. Karl Marx inspired many not by his impenetrable books but by seizing the ideas he had of sacred history that purposed Jewish life, replacing that dialectic into a newer materialism based upon common living values. Using the revolutionary act (akin to pouring new wine into old wineskins or else placing strong patches upon areas of weakness) the new merely stressed-out the old detrimentally. There was no secular equivalent to the transcendental truths but the renewed mental space could be joyfully accessed by communism’s myths, rituals and idealisms. Now in comes American ‘Empiropoly’ (self-regarding neocapitalism blowing up and gorging on bubbles, self-elevations by the politicized classes, self-regarding oligarchic ‘consumptions’ of despised and sacrificed minorities, self-referentialism, secret elitism, self-reverential institutions spinning out their ‘Big Lie’ for maximum milching) as introduced worldwide from Washington DC.
Mircea Eliade, essentially an Eastern Orthodox ‘bun Romanian’ academic, regarded mainstream Europe as anti-spiritual, effectively an abstract apology for Mankind. This millennium’s worldview of America, so far, is indifferent.
NIGELRAYMONDOFFORD © 2015 (written 2005)