Each one of them hides from the ultimate test of its validity and truth
"And, above all, all three persevere in making a claim which cannot possibly be valid and true: that they are, each single one, the true religion.
Each one of them, however, hides from the ultimate test of its validity and truth behind a wall of unknowing and expectation. All three chorus that only on the 'Last Day,' when the 'End' comes, when 'God' decides, will it be clear that the 'other two' and all others besides were false, and it (the claimant) was all along the true community of the one 'God.' "- Malachi Martin
"For almost two thousand years, three major religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, have enjoyed a popularity and exercised a profound influence on millions of human beings. Each, from the very beginning of its existence, claimed to have the ultimate answers to the supreme questions that confront man in every age. Each claimed, on the basis of absolute exclusivity, to be a chosen people. Each claimed to be able to provide its adherents with the truth about man, his origin and his destiny, and further to provide him with a world outlook according to which he could explain everything in human life.
As Dr. Martin shows in The Encounter, each of the three religions at one early moment in its history made a choice according to which all its later history was determined. Christianity restricted itself essentially to the West; it attempted, with minimal success, to convert the peoples of Africa and Asia; it set up from its beginnings an official opposition and hate for Judaism; at one time it dreamed of supervising and controlling the secular and political life of man. Judaism set itself in opposition to Christianity; it became, for almost 1,800 years, the professional underdog of the West; in modern times, it has been polarized beyond repair. Islam tied its fortunes to certain geographical areas, to one concept of civil government, to a way of life totally incompatible with that of mankind generally today, and to an irredentism unacceptable to modern man.
Each of these religions had a limited success over a certain period of human history. That period is now over. It is Dr. Martin's thesis that, as a result, all religions are in a state of crisis. They are not able to provide modern man with answers to his ethical problems. They cannot unite man today. Their very formulations of doctrine and solutions to human problems are unintelligible today. In short, they have failed modern man." (summary on jacket cover)
"The Jews says:
I believe that there is but one God, YHWH, Eternal, Immutable, All-Perfect, who dwells in Paradise; that He created the skies, the earth, and all things visible and invisible; that He created the angels and spirits, among which is Satan, the Evil One, who was originally an angel, but who fell from favour by disobedience;
● that He created Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, each with a body and immortal soul; that they sinned against Him, and were expelled from Paradise; that He later revealed the true religion to Abraham who thus is the father of all true believers;
● that after Abraham's death Moses was the chief of these and that he led the Israelites out of Egypt at the Exodus to the Land of Promise; that he founded the law by which the true Community of Believers might be saved and so be YHWH's Chosen People living according to His Spirit and awaiting His Messiah; that the Christians corrupted the original teachings of Moses by following the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth; that the Muslims corrupted the true belief of Abraham and Moses further by following the teachings of Mohammad;
● that Jerusalem is the holy center of the world; that YHWH's revelation is only contained in the Jewish Bible; that henceforth men are divided into the Chosen People and the Gentiles; that YHWH's salvation is only with the Jewish People;
● that there will be a Last Day in the history of the world; that all men of the past will rise from the dead for a Last Judgment by God; that only the Jews can receive the final reward of Paradise; that on that day YHWH will admit the Chosen People to eternals in Paradise, and severely judge the others; that the sinful and the unbelieving will be punished forever in Hell.
The Christians says:
● that there is but one God, Eternal, Immutable, All-Perfect, who dwells in Paradise; that He created the skies, the earth, and all things visible and invisible; that He created the angels and spirits, among which is Devil, the Evil One, who was originally an angel, but who fell from favour by disobedience;
● that He created Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, each with a body and immortal soul; that they sinned against Him, and were expelled from Paradise; that He later revealed the true religion to Abraham who thus is the father of all true believers; that after Abraham's death, He sent a number of prophets to revive the true religion of Abraham;
● that Moses was the chief of these, and that he founded the law by which the true community of Believers might be saved; that the Jews corrupted the Law; that finally God sent Jesus of Nazareth, His Son, to be the Messiah; that Jesus taught men the true doctrine and founded the Church to perpetuate these beliefs so that all Christians could live according to His Spirit; that Jesus saved all men from sin by His death on the Cross and resurrection; that Mohammad and the Muslims corrupted both Jewish and the Faith of Jesus;
● that Jerusalem used to be the holy center of the world, then alter it was Rome, then still later various places in the world; that God's revelation is only contained in the Christian Bible; that henceforth men are divided into the Church of believers and the non-believers; that God's salvation is only to be found in the Church;
● that there will be a Last Day in the history of the world; that all men of the past will rise from the dead for a Last Judgment by God; that only the Christians can receive the final reward of Paradise; that on that day God will admit Christians to eternal in Paradise, and severely judge the others; that the sinful and the unbelieving will be punished forever in Hell.
The Muslims says:
● that there is but one God, Allah, Eternal, Immutable, All-Perfect, who dwells in Paradise; that He created the skies, the earth, and all things visible and invisible; that He created the angels and spirits, among which is Iblis, the Evil One, who was originally an angel, but who fell from favour by disobedience;
● that He created Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, each with a body and immortal soul; that they sinned against Him, and were expelled from Paradise; that He later revealed the true religion to Abraham who thus is the father of all true believers;
● that after Abraham's death, He sent a number of prophets to revive the true religion of Abraham;
● that Moses was the chief of these and that he founded the law by which the true community of believers might be saved; that the Christians corrupted his Gospel; that Allah finally sent Mohammad who left all he possessed at the Hegira in order to establish successfully the true Community of Muslims who could live according to His Spirit;
● that Mecca is the holy center of the world; that Allah's revelation is contained only in the Koran; that henceforth men are divided into Muslims and unbelievers; that Allah's salvation is only with the Muslims;
● that there will be a Last Day in the history of the world; that all men of the past will rise from the dead for a Last Judgment by Allah; that only Muslims can receive the final reward of Paradise; that on that day Allah will admit the Muslims to eternal rewards in Paradise, and severely judge the others; that the sinful and the unbelieving will be punished forever in Gehenna."
Malachi Martin, The Encounter,
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1970, p. 182-85.
"It is certain that exclusivity is an essential note of these religions. If tomorrow, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam conceded that any one of the others was as good as or better than itself, they would fall apart as we know them. Their entire history would be negated."
"Is the dominance-trait an essential characteristic or basic element of these religions? If they lacked or got rid of it, would they be identically the same in their essence as they are now? Are they viable as religions without the dominance trait? Is the dominance-trait non-essential, a historical accretion due to mere historical development or, at least, is it an element due to human limitations and not issuing necessarily from the religions themselves? After all, these religions claim to be divine in origin, to be messages of salvation received by fallible men from a god who is deemed to be illimitable, eternal, faultless, perfection itself. Perhaps the message itself is free from the dominance-trait; only the recipients suffer from this limitation? Perhaps all three religions adopted physical modes at the priceless moments of their history, and these modes imply a purely human dominance-trait?
This question has a burning importance today when a deep crisis appears to be shaking these religions at their very foundations: one of the aspects of all three religions that seems incompatible with the mind of modern man is this dominance-trait of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Certainly the prejudice, bigotry, cruelty, the massacres and progroms and persecutions, the suffering and the oppression to which this dominance-trait has given rise, have shaken modern man's belief in the authenticity of their absolutist claims.
It is certain that exclusivity is an essential note of these religions. If tomorrow, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam conceded that any one of the others was as good as or better than itself, they would fall apart as we know them. Their entire history would be negated. The Jews would cease to be the Chosen People. Jesus would cease to be God and Savior. Mohammad and his Koran could be pushed aside as historical accidents. Each of the three must singly and for itself claim to have exclusive possession of the one and absolute truth, to exclude the other two and all others besides. The most any one of them could concede is that the others have a fragment or a portion of the truth, that in virtue of good faith and good works, Yahweh (or God or Allah) will have mercy on them.
The pathos of their locked position is sharply focused by their professed belief in one god. There can only be one god, all three maintain obstinately. And this one god can have only one truth. Embedded in each religion, however, are mutually exclusive proportions about that one god: Jews and Muslims reject the divinity of Jesus; Christians and Jews reject the supremacy and final authority of the Koran as the last words of this one god to men; Christians and Muslims reject the Jewish Torah as the ultimate word of this one god; Christians and Muslims believe in the virginity of Mary which the Jews reject; Jews and Muslims reject the idea that the blood of Jesus wiped out all men's sins. The list is endless." (pp. 217-8)
Christianity within its own borders has specialized in self-crucifixion, at first to quite a minor degree during the first 1500 years of its life, when heretics and dissidents and accused witches and sorcerers were put to death, as Jesus was. Then, with the breakup of its unity in the 16th century, Christians devised for each other one Hell more horrendous and tortuous than another, indulging in a 300-year round of mutual recrimination, accusation, denigration, and relegation by bell, book, and candle, to the filthiest categories of human life. No branch of Christianity can be excused from this, because all Christians have indulged in it.
No body of Christians ever answered the insults of other Christians with Christ's answer: 'Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do?' They all developed special vocabularies replete with violent words such as 'heresy,' 'heretic,' 'extirpation,' 'condemnation,' 'excommunication,' 'outcasts,' 'unclean believers,' 'vice-mongers.' Each one devised its special defenses against the other: social ostracism, civil war, discrimination, calumny, legal non-existence. Rome was the Red Lady of the South. Luther was the Pig of Germany. Protestants were the sons of vipers. Jews were the 'race of the devil.' Muslims were 'benighted and error-ridden barbarians.' No body of Christians ever tried to conquer the world with humility and patience and love, and no body of believers ever tried to fan the flames of faith, in the heart of man by being authentically believers.
The Jews, in retaliation for their pain and their sustained exile, contributed to the sea of hate, distrust and, in some cases, deformation of truth. They invented multiform expressions of contempt, condemnation, loathing, and utter rejection of Christians. They even modified some of their traditional beliefs because the Christians had borrowed them in their original form and, in their repugnance from all things Christian, they wanted no resemblance to subsist between their faith and that of the Christians. They returned hate with hate. They, also, cannot be excused and considered totally guiltless. They preached truth and justice, yet they violated both in order to maintain their religion and their Jewishness. Christians preached love but practised officially sanctioned hate, intermingling their loveliest psalms of compassion for their dying Savior with the expressions of extreme disgust for the Jews...
Muslims preached mercy and compassion, but they practised none or very little, assigning both Christians and Jews to the lowest rung in Allah's consideration, and historically meting out to both a treatment which rivals any cruelties of man in known history. Down through the ages, this procession of the crucified one has come: formed, maintained, and augmented by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Each one has prayed with its armies to its god that the armies of the opponents be destroyed. There is no palliating or explaining away the sin of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The three religions failed in another significant way. None of them attacked slavery or race prejudice or other flagrant inhumanities of man to man from the very beginning of their existence. The Arabs of today sanction slavery as spontaneously as the Popes of the 19th century sanctioned the creation of castrati choirs for Papal masses, as readily and blindly as the Protestant ethic of the white American sanctioned the serfdom and degradation of the Negro race until the second half of the 20th century. Each religion has practiced the art of climbing on the bandwagon: only when lay and secular reformers, sometimes lacking any formal religion whatever, raised such a hue and cry that men's consciences were stirred, did the religions begin to turn their huge resources toward reform. The Catholic Church in Germany and Italy acquiesced in Nazism and Fascism at least in the earlier stages of the ideologies. Russian Orthodoxy acquiesced in the despotism and sadism of Czarist times. Greek Orthodoxy sanctioned the corruption of the Byzantine court and is today bitterly nationalist in Greece's disputes with Turkey. No Protestant Church and no Jewish Synagogue ever officially condemned and attacked the Ku Klux Klan before 1945 in America, though individuals did. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have practiced the double standard in this matter...
Thus the three religions have not been witnesses to the truth. All, it is true, have developed an exalted vocabulary, and a very impressive manner of announcing their own grandiose claims. All three have excelled and excel in words, as distinct from actions. All three have an impressive ritual and have refined psychological approaches to man. Yet the witness of words, mere words, has never changed men's minds, nor has mere theological subtlety helped men to be better men. The witness of the three religions have been faulty, at times perniciously false and erroneous. The three of them have witnessed to the uses of hate for the love of a god. And all three have disposed of the lives and happiness of millions of human beings without any real feeling for human suffering or any genuine concern for the concrete realities of life.
It is clear, first of all, that today all three religions lack any authoritative note for man. They have, as yet, each one of them, sufficient number of adherents to give the impression of continuing strength, and this glosses over for them and for the outside world at times their terrible weakness. For each of them, when scrutinized closely, is blackened with sufficient failures to prevent any thinking man from believing in them. And, above all, all three persevere in making a claim which cannot possibly be valid and true: that they are, each single one, the true religion.
Each one of them, however, hides from the ultimate test of its validity and truth behind a wall of unknowing and expectation. All three chorus that only on the 'Last Day,' when the 'End' comes, when 'God' decides, will it be clear that the 'other two' and all others besides were false, and it (the claimant) was all along the true community of the one 'God.' "
Malachi Martin, The Encounter,
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1970) pp. 329-32.
"A Thought Experiment
Imagine this scenario: You have a serious conversation with a deeply Christian friend. Your friend is intelligent, well educated and knowledgeable. You agree to record the session. The topic is Islam. During the session, you discuss that Mohammed was a self-appointed prophet and that he claimed he talked to Allah and angels. He wrote a book that he claimed is infallible, and he flew from Jerusalem to heaven on a horse.
During the conversation, you agree that Mohammed was probably delusional to think he could talk to god. You agree that the Koran was clearly written by Mohammed and not by Allah. It is ludicrous for him to claim that he is the last prophet and that all others are false. Neither you nor your friend can believe that he flew to heaven, let alone on a horse. It all sounds too crazy, and you both agree it is difficult to see how someone could believe such a religion. At the end of the conversation, you say that Muslims did not choose their religion; they were born into it. Anyone who was exposed to both Christianity and Islam would see that Christianity is the true religion.
Over the next few days, you transcribe the recording onto paper. Then you change all references to Mohammed and make them Jesus. Now the document reads something like this:
During the conversation, you both agree that Jesus was probably delusional to think he could talk to Jehovah. The Bible was clearly written by men and not by Jehovah. You both agree it is ludicrous for Jesus to claim that he is the last prophet and that all later ones are false. Neither of you can believe that he rose from the dead, nor flew to heaven. It all sounds too crazy, and it is difficult to see how someone could believe such a religion. At the end of the conversation, you both agree that Christians did not choose their religion; they were born into it. Anyone who was exposed to both Christianity and Islam would see that Islam is the true religion.
Now, tell your friend, 'I made a transcript of our conversation about Islam and would like to go over it with you.' As you read it, watch her reaction. How does she respond to each statement?
How soon does she get defensive? How quickly does she start making elaborate arguments that have no more factual basis than the first conversation? If you persist in this line of parallel reasoning, how long before she gets angry or breaks off the conversation? Could this conversation damage your friendship?
You can do the same experiment with other prophetic religions. For example, substitute Joseph Smith for Mormonism or Moses for Judaism. This experiment illustrates the god virus at work. It infects the brain and alters critical thinking skills. It leaves the skill intact for other religions but disables critical thinking about one's own religion. Keep this thought experiment in mind as we explore the virus-like behavior of religion in individuals and in society."
Darrel Ray, The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture
IPC Press; First edition (December 5, 2009) pp. 17-18
“Rewriting Religious History
The ancient God of Israel is harsh and relentless ...
Israel should bring forth a God whose heart is not a jealous heart,
and whose memory of their shortcomings is brief:
one who would not avenge Himself upon them even to the third and fourth generation.
KAHLIL GIBRAN, JESUS THE SON OF MAN
I had no idea what the other women might study, but for me, since my roots lay in Christianity, I decided to try to find out more about how the Goddess had gotten lost in my religion. Yes, of course I knew about Mary, the Holy Mother, and the badly judged Mary Magdalene, but I couldn’t figure out how or why the Jews had become so patriarchal, especially since there were so many wonderful Jewish people living in the world today, and so many thriving, balanced cultures in the Mediterranean at the time the Hebrews settled there. But since Judaism was the culture that Jesus had been born into, and his apostles were largely Jewish, I knew that Judaism had heavily influenced the version of Christianity that has been transmitted to us today.
I figured one of the best places to start was an objective review of Jewish monotheism. After all, its stories were in the Old Testament and make up over half the Bible. Today with the contributions of many highly trained archaeologists, linguists, historians, and scholars, much has been uncovered about the origins of Jewish history that contradicts the events recorded in the Old Testament. So in this chapter, we want to first take a look at who wrote the Old Testament, then begin to examine the historical evidence for its claims.
THE TIME LINE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT WRITINGS
First, biblical scholars now know that most of the books of the Old Testament were not compiled for at least five hundred to seven hundred years after the Exodus took place, circa 1250 or 1300 BCE. This dating is based on an analysis of linguistic dialects of Hebrew used in the various centuries, the dates of events in the passages, and a comparative review of historical events happening in the area at the time. According to biblical scholars, the Old Testament stories were continually edited until about 100 BCE, when the Jewish canon finally settled into a more stable set of beliefs, stories, and religious practices. This was a huge surprise to me. I had always thought that the Old Testament had been written a thousand years earlier.
While there are a host of archaeologists and historians who weigh in on this subject, the consensus is that the first possible period when these books could have been written was just before, or just after the Jewish exile in 586 BCE. Some historians, such as Morton Smith, place the bulk of the Old Testament writings as late as 500 BCE, while others, such as William Albright, assign very late dates to many of these writings, placing Chronicles as late as 400 BCE, Ecclesiastes in the 200s BCE, and the writing of books such as Proverbs, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Habakkuk, Song of Songs, Jubilees, and parts of Daniel between 600 and 200 BCE.2 Traditional history tells us that northern Israel, whose capital was Samaria, fell to the Assyrians in 722 BCE, while southern Judea, the location of King Solomon’s Temple, fell to the Babylonians in 586 BCE. This means that most of the Old Testament books were created sometime between 750 and 200 BCE. So the early accounts of Genesis, Exodus, and the Jewish settlements in the land of Canaan would have been written some five hundred to nine hundred years after the actual events they chronicle took place!
Like so many other people across the world, I had always assumed that the first five books of the Bible were written by Moses at the time of the Exodus. After all, they are called the Five Books of Moses, implying that they were written by Moses himself during his forty years of wandering in the desert. But this is not true. These first five books of the Old Testament—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy—were written in various stages and political climates over a period of about seven hundred years after the events they relate. Together these five books are called the Pentateuch, and they also compose the Jewish Torah, covering key events like the creation of Adam and Eve, the story of the Great Flood, the genealogy of Abraham, Joseph in Egypt, and, of course, the famous Exodus from Egypt. But as the majority of biblical scholars now acknowledge, the Pentateuch was not written by Moses at all and is now believed to have been created at least four to five centuries after Moses lived. Hebrew scholar and biblical historian Richard Friedman gives us a glimpse into how scholars arrived at their understanding of the dates of the Bible’s composition through linguistic methods.
The method that produced this picture has come to be known as Higher Criticism and the picture itself has come to be known as the Documentary Hypothesis. Its root idea is that the Torah was not written by one person, Moses, but was a product of several source works that were combined by editors to form the Five Books of Moses. The four largest of these source works are known classically by the symbols J, E, D, and P. The works that are known as J and E have been regarded as the earliest, written in the tenth to eighth century B.C.E.; D comes next in the late seventh century; and P has been regarded as the latest, from the sixth or fifth century.
This model is now being taught at universities and seminaries, and many priests, rabbis, and ministers are familiar with it. Scholarly analysis of the Pentateuch has revealed that about 60 percent of it was written by two separate authors whom researchers now refer to as J and E. The J material uses Jehovah or Yahweh as the name for God, while the E material uses the term Elohim. The term El means “Shining One, while Elohim, the plural form, is literally translated as “the Shining Ones, or the gods." El is a suffix that can be found in the names of angels such as Gabri-el, Rapha-el, Micha-el and Uri-el, revealing that all these heavenly messengers were part of a band of “Shining Ones," large beings with a radiant countenance who appeared as messengers of the gods.
The Hebrew names Jehovah and Yahweh are both derived from the same four-consonant tetragrammaton, IHVH or YHWH, depending on which reference book one reads, which is Jehovah’s name without the vowels (I or Y is used here instead of J since there was no J in the Hebrew language at that time). By placing various vowels between these consonants, we transform the tetragrammaton into both Yahweh and Jehovah.6 Hebrew mystics tell us that these four letters represent the four directions, the four elements, the four races, and the four corners of the world. They are also abbreviated symbols for the four divine elements, which the Kabbalah, the mystical writings of the Jews, tell us are an intrinsic part of the deity. These four elements are Hokhma (Wisdom), Binah (Understanding), Tiferet (Beauty), and Malkhut (Kingship). Wisdom is identified with the Father, Understanding with the Mother, Beauty with the Son, and Kingship with the Daughter. These four divine attributes form the Kabbalistic tetrad.7
Biblical historian Richard Friedman, professor of Hebrew at the University of California in San Diego, tells us that most scholars believe that the author of the J (Jehovah) books came from the Southern Kingdom of Judea sometime between 848 and 722 BCE. This means they were written over five hundred years after Moses lived. The author of the E (Elohim) books is believed to be a displaced Levite from the Northern Kingdom of Israel, who wrote between 922 and 722 BCE, which would mean these books were composed between three hundred and five hundred years after Moses. When combined, these two books form about 60 percent of the Pentateuch, which biblical scholars now refer to as the JE material. This compilation of J and E materials did not occur, most scholars believe, until just before Israel fell to the Assyrian invasion in 722 BCE, some five hundred years after the Exodus.8 Yet the final editing of the Pentateuch did not take place until two or three centuries later, when the Jews had left their exile in Babylon in 518 BCE and returned to their lands to build the Second Temple in Jerusalem under the supervision of the Persian empire.*7 This is when the stories of the Garden of Eden and the Great Flood were added, as well as the other 40 percent of these religiously worshipped books. These stories of the Garden of Eden and the Great Flood were taken by the priests of Yahweh from much earlier Babylonian tales acquired by the Jews during their time of captivity in Babylon. The priests of Yahweh then adapted them, creating their own versions with a patriarchal slant, and inserted them into the earlier Hebrew histories to create the illusion of a historically linear time line.
These revelations derived from biblical research were a profound shock to me; after all, I had been taught from an early age to revere the Bible as a book of complete and utter truth. But it also made me realize that great literary license had been taken in the retelling of history and events in our distant past, not to mention God’s Holy Word.
As I began to examine the Old Testament more closely, I also noticed that there were two versions of some of these stories. For example, there are two versions of the creation of the world and its life-forms in Genesis, the story of Noah and the ark, the covenant between God and Abraham, the naming of Abraham’s son Isaac, Isaac’s journey to Mesopotamia, and many others. How could this happen? According to Professor Friedman, it’s because at one time there were two completely separate Jewish states—Judah and Israel. They had two different kings, two different temples, and two different sets of high priests. This lasted for about two hundred years (920–722 BCE). When the northern and southern states were reunited under one king, there was an obvious difference in their stories, due to the biases of the different priests. For over two hundred years the cultures had progressed down separate paths, and since neither side wanted to compromise, both versions of the stories were placed side by side in the Old Testament without any explanation. In other places the different stories were woven together as if they were one. So for millennia we have been left with holy scriptures that have glaring inconsistencies and contradictions based on the politics and beliefs at the time they were written.
This illuminates two different forms of Judaism that developed during this period of separation. Professor Friedman explains, "One culture, those who referred to God as Elohim, maintained their belief that there were numerous gods of which their god was one. The other culture had elevated their one god to a higher status and the other gods to minor players with little power. These they referred to as angels. In time, this is the view that prevailed and became the ‘orthodox’ belief system."
So what about the rest of the Old Testament? I wondered. Who wrote those books, and when were they written? Today scholars have divided most of its creation into two additional designations, D and P. D stands for Deuteronomists, the traditional members of the Jehovah-worshipping sect who wrote the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. Joe Lewels, author of Rulers of the Earth, states, "These writings present a rather bulky history that goes back to the time of Moses and reinterprets events from their perspective." Historian Morton Smith says that these books are compilations of a single system of laws, customs, prophecies, and histories that basically demanded the worship of Yahweh alone. These books banned intermarriage with other tribes, required the recitation of Hebrew law, suppressed the worship of all other divinities except Yahweh, and promoted different customs from those followed by the Jews in earlier centuries. Archaeologist William Dever writes that the Deuteronomists’ writings are "largely propaganda" designed to give "theological legitimacy to a party of nationalist ultra-orthodox reformers known as the Yahweh-alone party." Professor Friedman speculates that the D books were all written by one person, or by a school of scribes with one overriding objective—to promote the singular worship of Yahweh alone, essentially suppressing the existence of all other gods and goddesses as if they had never existed.
Finally, we arrive at the P section, which was developed after the Jews were released from their exile in Babylon. Much of this material was rewritten from earlier Babylonian or Assyrian sources to substantiate the theme of God’s punishment of humanity and the supremacy of the singular cult of Yahweh. These stories are part of what historians now call the P material for "priestly" because they were added by the priests of Jehovah around 500 or 400 BCE, again after the Babylonian exile. These writings include the stories of Abraham, Jacob, the Exodus, the Flood, and Adam and Eve, as well as the other material previously mentioned in the Pentateuch. Interestingly enough, these "made up" or readapted stories compose nearly half of the Pentateuch, including eleven chapters out of the fifty in Genesis, nineteen of the forty chapters in Exodus, twenty-eight out of the thirty-six chapters in Numbers, and the whole Book of Leviticus!
This means that the Hebrew stories of creation and the Exodus were not even composed until nearly eight hundred years after the Exodus. And as we shall see, there is strong evidence that these books were created with the specific agenda of suppressing all other sects except their own. Professor Richard Friedman tells us the Redactor was able to cut and interweave the text in the books "intricately," making them appear to be one long narrative.
The rest of the P material focuses on rules and regulations about how to make the proper sacrifices to Jehovah, while rejecting any mystical communication with God via dreams or with angels or talking animals. Since the writing style of the P literature follows the same approach as the JE materials, scholars now believe that the writers of these books had a copy of the JE material on hand to emulate. All this explains why, despite the attempts to give an impression of unity to the Old Testament, there are so many internal inconsistencies.
TO RETHINK A WORLD
So why does any of this matter to us today? Because most of us who have been raised in the Christian, Jewish, or Muslim faiths, collectively known as the Abrahamic faiths because of their common ancestor, Abraham, have been taught that the Bible represents the holy "Word of God." In other words, it is not only true but it is a mandate from God himself. If biblical research reveals that these books are, in fact, the social or political creations of the priests of Yahweh, who took great literary license with history to advance a particular political agenda, then perhaps we should take a step back and rethink our worldview.
The events in the Bible, and the moral lessons they impart, have been used for centuries to legitimize the supremacy of these respective religions. But any objective analysis of these lessons reveals that they teach aggression, intolerance, and the destruction of any other philosophies except their own, all at the behest of Yahweh. Consequently, these judgmental attitudes have been adopted by the Jews, the Muslims, and the Christians, resulting in millions of deaths in "holy wars." Without realizing it, most of us have unconsciously accepted the attitudes and mandates put forth by these dualistic religions, since, for centuries, the Bible has been presented to us as verifiable fact. However, in recent decades, much evidence has emerged that suggests that some of these Old Testament accounts cannot be true. Many of these stories have been highly embellished or were totally manufactured as instruments of social and religious control, with the Jewish people themselves being the first victims of this subterfuge. While it is certainly possible that some of these events did take place, with such a large gap of time between the actual events and the written accounts, some major discrepancies are bound to have occurred.
Archaeologist William Dever writes in his book Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?: "The biblical writers and editors had some genuine sources, but they did not hesitate to manipulate them. They did this not only with exaggerations and embellishments, but also with additions and even outright inventions, in order to make the stories serve their own ideological agenda . . . This may be called ‘historicized myth’ and that is how modern, liberal, critical scholarship regards the Hebrew Bible . . ."
MOSES AND THE HYKSOS KINGS
So let's examine just a couple of examples of how ancient history and modern-day archaeology do not match up with these Old Testament accounts. The first is the case of Moses, a deeply venerated figure in Jewish ....
Return of the Divine Sophia: Healing the Earth through the Lost Wisdom Teachings of Jesus, Isis, and Mary Magdalene
Tricia McCannon (March 6, 2015) Location 1381-1509
THE WOMAN AS THE SOURCE OF EVIL
When a woman wishes to serve Christ more than the world, then she will cease to be a woman and will be called man. St. Jerome
The ancient Hebrew myths with which the book of Genesis opens describe the biblical understanding of many things. Their purpose was to explain what is. It was men who undoubtedly framed these legends and eventually recorded them, since women in that society had no access to the power that explained God or to the ability to write. Furthermore, women were assumed to have no interest in, or understanding of, the realities of human life. Women thus neither influenced cultural assumptions directly nor shaped primal decisions about the nature of anything, nor were they engaged in any decision-making processes. So it should come as no surprise that when this male-written and male-shaped biblical narrative seeks to explain how evil entered into God's good creation, it does so by declaring it to be the fault of that subhuman creature created by God to be the man's helpmeet. Her name was Eve." (continue ....)
John Selby Spong, The Sins of Scripture
HarperOne (October 13, 2009) pp. 86-92
The Book That Changed Reza Aslan's Mind About Jesus
The religious scholar from the viral Fox News interview explains how Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov taught him the difference between faith and religion.
JOE FASSLERAUG 6 2013, 2:08 PM ET
Reza Aslan: When I was 16 years old, I read the book that has probably had the greatest influence on me—The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. This book was pivotal in making me realize what I wanted to do with my life: that I wanted to write for a living, that I wanted to write about religious topics, that I wanted to help others explore the same issues I could feel Dostoevsky making me grapple with, even that young age. Really, truly, this book is the impetus for who I am.
The passage I want to discuss is one a lot of people know. It's from the section in the book that's sometimes referred to as 'The Grand Inquisitor.' Ivan, the atheist brother, tells Alyosha, the believer, a story about Jesus coming back to earth during the time of the Inquisition. Jesus begins performing miracles, and people recognize him for who he is—and he's arrested, of course, by the Inquisitors, who sentence him to be burned to death.
The night before his sentence, the Grand Inquisitor visits Jesus in his cell. Jesus doesn't speak, but the Grand Inquisitor speaks to him at length about how the church doesn't really need Jesus anymore. And that, frankly, his return at this point is just disruptive to the overall meaning of the church. In other words, the Grand Inquisitor says that the church's mission in preaching Jesus has become more important than Jesus himself. And the great line, the quote that I really gravitated towards is this one here:
'Anyone who can appease a man's conscience can take his freedom away from him.'
What I love about the story is that it's become a kind of atheist manifesto, if you will. Many non-believers cite this passage as the reason why they do not believe—forgetting, by the way, that Dostoevsky himself was quite a fervent believer. But they also forget the end of the story: what happens after the Grand Inquisitor makes this huge statement, and lambastes Jesus for not speaking up for himself. Jesus simply stands up, walks up to the Grand Inquisitor, and gives him a kiss.
I think Dostoevsky is saying that we must never confuse faith with religion. We must never confuse the institutions that have arisen, these man-made institutions—and I mean that quite literally, because they're all run by men—who have created languages to help people understand faith, with faith itself. I, as a person of faith, read the same story and did not see it as a repudiation of faith the way a lot of atheists do. I saw it as a challenge to always remember that those who claim to speak for Jesus are precisely the kind of people that Jesus fought against. What I love about the Grand Inquisitor parable—and a parable is truly what it is—is this notion that if Jesus showed up, all of a sudden, today, he would not only bear very little resemblance to who the Church says he is, his primary focus would be on challenging the very religious institutions who claim to speak for him.
I first read this book when I was a Christian: a firm, devout follower of Jesus. Someone whose impression of Jesus was wholly a result of what the church told me he was. When I read The Brothers Karamazov, and particularly this section, my eyes were opened to the notion that the Church's conception of Jesus is inextricable from the Church's political, religious, and economic interests—that their Jesus may not be who Jesus actually was. This rocked my world, even back then. I could sense that I was never going to be the same.
This realization instilled in me, first and foremost, a deep sense of anti-institutionalism. I have always been distrustful of institutions—particularly religious institutions, but also political institutions. Essentially, anyone who presents themselves as a gatekeeper to truth, or a gatekeeper to salvation, I am distrustful of by definition—regardless of anything that they are saying or doing. In a sense, that's the impression I have of the historical Jesus as well—I see him as a man who challenged political authorities for no other reason except that they had set themselves up as authorities, over and above anything good or bad that they were doing. Just the notion that they were in this position of power was enough for them to be challenged, to be questioned.
This is one reason why I am not interested in any church, mosque, synagogue—any kind of organization. Because I have no interest in subsuming my beliefs and practices into what a group of men somewhere have decided I'm supposed to believe. The great Christian mystic Meister Eckhart once said 'if you focus too narrowly on a single path to God, all you will ever find is the path.' I take that to heart.
I also feel that the mistakes of institutions have no bearing on the value of the faith. To me, the most unsophisticated attack on religious faith is to say that religion has been responsible for great evil in the world. Well, of course it has. It's a man-made thing, and human beings are prone to evil acts. But to blame religion for bad things done in the name of religion is akin to blaming nationalism for fascism. Any ideology is prone to be used for good and bad, and rather than focusing on judging the actions of those performing these deeds in the name of the ideology—we, in a knee-jerk way, focus on the ideology itself.
But for me, it's not even about the beliefs versus the institutions. It's about the metaphors offered by a faith—the symbols with which religions speak about God. You know, you're either a person of faith, or you're not. You either believe that there's something beyond the material world that you can commune with, or you don't. If you do believe it, then it helps to have a language to help you express that ineffable experience—to yourself, and to other people. And that is all that religion is—that language.
I'm a Muslim not because I believe Islam is more correct than other religions, or that it's more 'true.' On the contrary! I'm a Muslim because the symbols and metaphors that Islam uses to talk about God and humanity, the relationship between creator and creation, are the symbols and metaphors that work best for me. That makes sense to me. They are not more valid, or more true, than the symbols of Judaism, or Christianity, say, but they just make more sense to me.
For example: There are important differences between Islam and Christianity in the metaphor for God. In Christianity, it's the trinity. God in three forms: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The metaphor for God in Islam is tawhid, which means divine unity. The notion is that God is fundamentally indivisible. That God is, by definition, oneness. Form and substance: oneness. And as a result of that, God must be understood as inseparable from his creation. Meaning that there is no difference, there is no distance. In a sense, everything that exists only exists because it shares in the existence of God. That makes more sense to me than the metaphor of the triune God.
One of the things that's fascinating about Jesus is that he refused to recognize the power of the Jewish authorities to define the Jewish religion for him. In this time, the priests had a monopoly on the Jewish cult. They decided who can enter the presence of God, and who could not. Which means of course that the lame, the sick, the marginalized, the outcasts, the 'sinners,' were divorced from communing with God. And Jesus' ministry was founded upon not just rejecting that idea, but claiming the absolute reverse: That the kingdom of god that he envisions is one in which the priests, the aristocracy, the wealthy, the powerful, would be removed. And in their place would be the weak, the powerless, the marginalized, and the dispossessed. This was a reversal of the social order. In other words, it's not just about the meek inheriting the earth. It's about the powerful disinheriting the earth.
I think that, obviously, is an enormous threat to the power-holders whose authority came from—precisely as Dostoevsky says—from their ability to appease a man's conscience. Pay us your dues, your tithes, bring us your sacrifices, submit to our authority, and in return, we will give you salvation. And Jesus' challenge to that idea was based on the notion that the power for salvation does not rest in any outsider's hand: that it rests within the individual. I think that's an idea that a lot of Christians need to remember. Those who state that salvation comes solely through the Church or belief in a set of doctrines that a bunch of men wrote many years ago are forgetting what Jesus himself said: that salvation is purely an internal matter. That you are the only one qualified to define what God is for you. No one else is qualified to make that decision for you."
Web (October 18, 2013)
was Christian by birth, Hindu by
marriage, and Paraclete by duty.
The Paraclete Shri Mataji from May 5, 1970
onwards commenced the Resurrection that
fulfills the Savior's 2000-year-old promise of
life eternal in the Kingdom of God. However,
thousands of Her disciples—led by leaders
having no faith or conviction—have refused
to declare the Good News (This Gospel of the
Kingdom shall be preached in the entire world
for a witness unto all nations. Matthew 24:1)
and Al-Naba, (The Great Announcement of
Al-Qiyamah [The Resurrection] surah 78:1-5)
to humanity since. And May 5, 2020 will mark
five decades of an unprecedented collective
rejection of the Good News by Her disciples
(Sahaja Yogis), a blasphemy that Jesus clearly
warned 2000-years ago: "And whoever speaks
a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven,
but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will
not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age
to come." (Matthew 12:32)."
When you start hating others, then it reacts in you as horrible poison which eats up all that is beautiful with in you. Hating any one is the worst thing that human beings can do, but they can do it. They can do whatever they like.
Animals do not hate any one. Can you imagine? They do not know how to hate, they bite some one because that is their nature, they cut some one because that's their nature.
They never hate some one. They may not like some one but this hatred, which is a poison, is a speciality of human conception and human absorption. Only human beings can hate; and this horrible thing hatred was settled between even the Muslims."
THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Shri Fatima Puja, St Georges, Switzerland—14 August 1988
"It's an individual journey towards God when you meditate, and when you reach there then you become collective. Before that, it's an absolute individual journey within, absolutely individual journey. You should be able to see this. You are in this journey nobody is your relation, nobody is your brother, nobody is your friend, you're absolutely alone, absolutely alone. You have to move alone within yourself. Don't hate anyone, don't be responsible, but in meditative mood you're alone. No one exists there, you alone, and once you enter into that ocean then the whole world becomes your family. The whole world is your own manifestation. All the children become your children and you treat all people with equal understanding. The whole expansion takes place when you enter inside your Spirit and see, starting through the eyes of the Spirit. Such calm, such peace, such bliss exists within you. You have to be ready for that journey."
THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Devi Puja, Sydney, Australia—14 March 1983
"The doctrine of bodily resurrection, linked closely to the soul's nature and destiny, suffers like a fate. The ancients knew little or nothing about the human organism — its chemical constituents, its functioning parts, its psychology — and even less about the nature of death."
"The doctrine of bodily resurrection, linked closely to the soul's nature and destiny, suffers like a fate. The ancients knew little or nothing about the human organism — its chemical constituents, its functioning parts, its psychology — and even less about the nature of death. Modern man has measured corruption, can detail the chemical changes that take place when bodily life ceases, has a clear idea of what precisely corruption and decay of the human frame connote, and defines human death precisely by the cessation of the observable functions of the body. The three religions define death as the moment when the soul leaves the body.
On the other hand, the scientist cannot accept the 'outside' explanation: that a god will 'resurrect' the corrupted body. He knows that in a living body today the actual molecules which compose it were not part of it some time ago. In another decade it will be made up of molecules which at present are elsewhere: in African lions, in passion-flowers of the Amazon, in Maine lobsters, in earth in Patagonia, and in the fur of a Polar bear. For the scientist, the body as such has truly ceased to exist. No 'shade' or reduced form of the body exists in an 'underworld' or in Elysian fields. The body has ceased to exist. He therefore finds the resurrection of the body unintelligible."
Malachi Martin, The Encounter,
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (1970) p. 286.
The Paraclete Shri Mataji "Of course there are some absurd things which grew with misinterpretation and interference from unholy people, which are common in these religions. For example, Jews, Christian and Muslims believe that when they die their bodies will come out of their graves and they will all be resurrected at the Time of Resurrection, at the Time of Last Judgment, at the Time of Qiyamah. It is illogical to think what will remain inside those graves after five hundred years. Nobody wants to think and understand that it is not the body but the soul that will come out of these bodies, be born again as human beings and be saved through Qiyamah and Resurrection.
Who will tell them? No one can talk to them. As soon as one wants to talk one can be killed. This is the only way they know - how to kill."
THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
"But these are special time, the Blossom Time. They call it the Last Judgment, you can call it the Resurrection Time, you can call it the Qiyamah, they call it in Koran. It is said that people will come out of their graves and will get their Resurrection. I mean what is left to the graves is nothing but a few stones and a few bones. No. All these souls which are dead will take their birth, take human body and take their Realization in these special times. This is a sensible thing to say and is also happening."
THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi Moscow, Russia—12 November 1993
The Paraclete "We are now in the Blossom Time, as I call it, because many flowers are born and they are to become the fruits. This is the Resurrection Time, which is described in all the scriptures. But it's not like this, the way they had described us. Something wrong with them that all the dead bodies who are in the graves will come out of the graves. I mean, how much is left out of them, God knows. Must be some bones or maybe some skulls there. So they'll come out of the graves and they will get their Resurrection!!!? This is a very wrong idea.
Once I happened to meet a fellow, a Muslim from Bosnia and he told Me, 'I want to die for my religion, for God's sake.' I said, 'But why? Who told you to die?' He said, 'Now, if I die in the name of God, I'll be resurrected.' I said, 'It's all wrong. That's not the way it is going to work out. Resurrection is going to work out this way that at this time, all these souls will take their birth. All these souls will take their birth and they will be resurrected. As human beings they'll have to come.'
That's why we find all kinds of funny people these days, all kinds of cruel, criminal, all kinds of idiotic, stupid, I mean very queer, weird, funny ideas which find such, such a variety of people and such a tremendous population that we should understand they have to have their chance of Resurrection. But how many will come? That's the point. How many are going to come?"
THE MOTHER: Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi Philadelphia, USA—October 15, 1993