Welcome to this week’s “zine.”
by Mark M
“Wasn’t Even Born as a Matter of Fact”
Roodi, an alien, had come down to earth. (Earth is located “down” in space.)
He had skipped breakfast. On his home planet, the way they ate — even tho they had mouths — was to strip naked and immerse themselves into a vat of nutrients. They took in said nutrients thru their skin.
(How they took baths is quite another matter possibly to be considered at a later date, but not rite now. (OK?))
Roodi landed his craft in a field where some children where, I mean, were. They were bag-lunching it out there and planned to play high-stakes poker for dessert.
Roodi observed them and then approached.
Being innocent in all matters except high-stakes poker, they were quite unafraid.
“Good,” thought Roodi. “Maybe I can get something to eat — I never had breakfast you know…”
“I say!” called out Roodi. “Have you anything extra te ot thi u ka spyr?”
The children looked at him perplexed. Rood’ realized that his autotranslator had temporarily malfunctioned.
“Cheap piece of shit!” he tho’t to himself.
He tryed again.
“I say, little humans, have you anything extra to eat that you can spare?”
One of the children held out half a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. Roodie took it, thanked the child, and decided to eat like they did; i.e., with his mouth. (“When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” he thought to hisself even tho he warn’t anywhere near Rome.)
He choked and gagged almost immediately. He spat out the sandwich. The children looked at him.
“I’m sorry,” Roodysed. “It tasted fine & everything. I guess I just wasn’t born to swallow…”
At that he left ’em, hungry as ever. But not for any poker.
“I don’t want anything to do w/that poker business,” Rudesed crossing himseph. “Not after I lost the top half of my spacesuit on the fourth planet from Beta Cacciatore.”
Above was adapted from the April (May too) 1989 issue of The (something).
UFO sighting of mine — maybe — the first time that I can recall seeing something not readily explainable in the sky:
8:45 pm, Saturday, August 6, 2022, beginning of dusk.
Two glowing orange (like the color of fire, but not flickering and no discernible smoke) ballish objects silently fly from SW to NE over the neighborhood.
One followed the other. Flight path was essentially a straight line.
No small flashing lights such as aircraft have.
My neighbor and her sister also saw them.
We watched them until they disappeared into the distance.
If they were “Chinese lanterns,” they weren’t buffeted at all by any winds or breezes. Again, one followed the other.
Estimated altitude ~1000 feet.
Sighting duration was about 4-5 minutes.
MUFON case number: 124039.
One can report sightings here. Under “Track UFO’s” tab, select “REPORT A UFO.”
June 25, 2021: The US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has issued its long-awaited assessment of the unidentified aerial phenomena threat in two versions, one classified and the other for public distribution [what’s with that? –Mark]. While the public report does not contain any specific statement that any or all of the objects that have been detected by US military forces are of nonhuman or non-earth origin, it does say that “most of the UAP reported probably do represent physical objects given that a majority of UAP were registered across multiple sensors, to include radar, infrared, electro-optical, weapons seekers, and visual observation.”
What’s the big deal? The Pentagon admitted UFOs were “not of this world” over 74 years ago:
In 1947, General Nathan Twining circulated a classified memo (later released under the Freedom of Information Act) stating that “the phenomenon reported is something real and not visionary or fictitious.” He went on to describe “extreme rates of climb” and other characteristics that precisely match the recorded capabilities of the objects in the released Naval footage. So, if an earthly foreign power has such craft now, then they also had them in 1947.
(For a taste of Jane Roberts/Seth on the topic, believe-it-or-not style, go here and skip the lengthy parenthetical intro material.)
The Bible is perhaps the foundational text for our Judeo-Christian society — and it’s easy to see why.
(NOTE: The opinions that follow are not necessarily at all the views of ArtRoot, the Racine Literacy Council, nor the generous grant funders, the Osborne & Scekic Family Foundation, but are instead entirely my own. And I here wish to acknowledge that religious freedom is part of what this nation is supposed to be about. I realize at least some of my own beliefs to, say, a scientific materialist would seem pretty irrational. So believe entirely as you wish, as long as nobody gets hurt!)
I wrote of many of the following points in my 4-volume Mark M’s Guide to the Bible (2002) chapbook set.
I remember my sister, years ago, and then rather more fundamentalist than nowadays, once chiding my parents for never reading the Bible. As for me, I was, for at least several years by then, a lost soul.
But, as far as I was concerned, who could blame them? A lot of the Bible strikes me as pretty damn — heh — boring. A lot of obscure people, like Elhanan (who shouldn’t be obscure, see below) and Hadadezer, and a lot of begats complete with differing genealogies of Christ in Matthew and Luke (they diverge as soon as naming the father of Joseph, Mary’s husband).
However, some regard the Bible as the Word of God or as divinely inspired.
But if it’s the Word of God, God wasn’t much for document control, something a well-run company of nowadays is fully expected to maintain in the interests of good quality control: we have no original manuscripts of any of it. The oldest manuscripts we have are copies of copies of copies where mistakes crept in as translating scholars notice when comparing ancient manuscripts.
Rylands 𝔓52 is generally accepted as the earliest extant record of a canonical New Testament text. Here is all that remains of it:
Why would God let “His” Word crumble into dust?
If the stakes are really as high as heaven vs. eternal damnation, it’s not very fair to mere mortals to have to rely on something so very lacking in this regard. God as “slob”?
One glaring example of manuscript difference: the oldest manuscripts of the Gospel of John do not have the great story of the woman taken in adultery (let he who is w/o sin chuck the first stone).
An honest Bible will footnote the passage along the lines of what the New Revised Standard Version does:
“The most ancient authorities lack 7.53–8.11; other authorities add the passage here or after 7.36 or after 21.25 or after Luke 21.38, with variations of text; some mark the passage as doubtful.”
How did this happen? Someone tried to sneak something in!
Why would the earlier manuscripts leave out such a great story? Seems the sensible answer is, they didn’t.
The oldest manuscripts of Mark end thusly:
16: 8 So they went out and fled from the tomb [on Easter morning], for terror and amazement had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
(Which begs the question, how did Mark then know to write it down since the women said nothing to anyone?)
This abrupt ending was elaborated on in subsequent manuscripts and honest Bibles then present:
“The Intermediate Ending of Mark” and “The Long Ending of Mark” where Jesus appearances are alleged. (“The Longer Ending of Mark” contains the passage — “they will [safely] pick up snakes in their hands” — that gave rise to Christian snake-handing cults.)
If divinely inspired, why would the individual gospel writers end up contradicting one another?
For instance, you know that Shroud of Turin relic? If we take the testimony of what is seen as the last-written gospel, that of John (Mark is thought to be the first), the shroud’s a fake because, unlike the other gospels which say Jesus was buried in a shroud, John says, instead, he was buried wrapped in “strips of cloth” as per the Scholars Version and the Revised English Bible.
(As English speakers, we can pick and choose from approximately 60 different Bible translations. Speakers of, say, Navajo, likely only have one translation to use.)
Take the over-the-top occurrences Matthew writes of when Jesus breathed his last:
27:50 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last.51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53 After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many.
Why don’t the other gospels, nor Roman records, record these astonishing events?
And asserting them is rather absurd, for who witnessing, say, the curtain tearing would necessarily think to ascribe it to the death of one of the three being crucified that day?
Thomas Jefferson, for all his severe faults, had a novel idea: he cut and pasted with a razor and glue numerous sections from the New Testament as extractions of the doctrine of Jesus.
This inspired in 1949, Gospel Parallels which presents Matthew, Mark, and Luke printed in side-by-side columns for easy and enlightening comparative study.
Luke, in his opening, alludes to perhaps preceding Mark and “Q,” a lost hypothetical written collection of primarily Jesus‘ sayings that are common to his and Matthew’s gospels but not in Mark’s (the first three gospels share a lot of Jesus “data” and are called the synoptic gospels, Matthew and Luke drawing upon Mark; John, seen by scholars as the last-written, is the outlier of the four):
1 Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 I, too, decided, as one having a grasp of everything from the start, to write a well-ordered account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may have a firm grasp of the words in which you have been instructed.
Acts of the Apostles also addresses Theophilus (God-lover) in its opening, so it is thought to also be written by Luke:
1 In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen….
Incidentally, I once read a book that argued that Luke was actually a woman. I don’t recall the book’s title (it probably had “Luke” in it!), but the author was saying that, compared to the other gospels, women figure more prominently in Luke.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Mark (seen as the first-written Gospel) reports Jesus as being rather scared of his fate:
36 He said, “Abba,[i] Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me, yet not what I want but what you want.”
But, by the time John, seen as the last-written Gospel of the four, Jesus’ attitude amounts to “bring it on”:
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11 Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
When people think of “the Jesus story,” they tend to combine the gospel accounts, but, for instance, only Matthew writes of the three wise men and a star at Jesus’ birth, only Luke has angels at Jesus birth, only John has a Beloved Disciple, and so forth.
Mark has no divine birth narrative, starting his story with Jesus being baptized, and early on Jesus’ sanity is questioned:
3:21 When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.”
whereas Matthew and Luke have his birth celebrated as divine, rather at odds with the idea of people saying, “You’re nuts!”
Speaking of differing accounts, examining the Old Testament (hey, the New Testament isn’t really new any more; it’s the not-as-old testament), everyone knows that Noah marched into his ark simple pairs of animals, right?
Not if you go to a differing account here:
Genesis 7:1 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; 3 and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth.
Or, everyone knows David killed Goliath, right?
But not according to this passage:
2 Samuel 21:19
Then there was another battle with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan son of Jaare-oregim the Bethlehemite killed Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam.
If a person changes h/her story, which story, if either, do you trust, for God’s sake?
God asks a divinely dumb question:
Genesis 3:9: “Then the LORD God called to the man [Adam], and said to him, ‘Where are you?’”
Speaking of UFOs, some people interpret this passage as referring to alien men:
Genesis 6: When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that they were fair, and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide[a] in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.
(In that same Seth session again linked here, he makes a few remarks along these lines and gives his take on the real reason for the Flood.)
God concepts are actually aspirational for the humans that hold them.
Jesus valiantly sought to make a desperately-needed God-is-love “course correction” to the Yahweh concept, that Old Testament God concept illustrated by such bloodthirsty passages as:
7 They did battle against Midian, as the Lord had commanded Moses, and killed every male. 8 They killed the kings of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian, in addition to others who were slain by them, and they also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. 9 The Israelites took the women of Midian and their little ones captive, and they plundered all their cattle, their flocks, and all their goods. 10 All their towns where they had settled, and all their encampments, they burned, 11 but they took all the spoil and all the plunder, both people and animals. 12 Then they brought the captives and the plunder and the spoil to Moses, to Eleazar the priest, and to the congregation of the Israelites, at the camp on the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho.
13 Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the congregation went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses became angry with the officers of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, who had come from service in the war. 15 Moses said to them, “Have you allowed all the women to live? 16 These women here, on Balaam’s advice, made the Israelites act treacherously against the Lord in the affair of Peor, so that the plague came among the congregation of the Lord. 17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man by sleeping with him. 18 But all the young girls who have not known a man by sleeping with him, keep alive for yourselves.
7 “When the Lord your God brings you into the land that you are about to enter and occupy and he clears away many nations before you — the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and mightier than you — 2 and when the Lord your God gives them over to you and you defeat them, then you must utterly destroy them. Make no covenant with them and show them no mercy. 3 Do not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, 4 for that would turn away your children from following me, to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you, and he would destroy you quickly. 5 But this is how you must deal with them: break down their altars, smash their pillars, cut down their sacred poles,[a] and burn their idols with fire. 6 For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
YHWH creates the heavens…
and the earth and then proceeds to intensely focus on a small fraction of humanity (the Hebrews) in a small portion of the globe:
Instead of creating a vacant, promised land for them, “He” encourages military conquest of already-inhabited land.
The Jews — the Chosen People — it’s called ethnocentrism.
In the controversial 1981 novella, The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H. by Jewish author George Steiner, Jewish Nazi hunters find a fictional Adolf Hitler (A.H.) alive in the Amazon jungle thirty years after the end of World War II. Hitler defends himself, referring to the Chosen People idea, “I didn’t invent the idea of a master race, you did. I learned. From you. To set a race apart. To keep it from defilement….”
Sadly, ethnocentrism seems to be human nature. In comparison, here are the meanings of the names of some North American tribes, name translations I found in Appendix II of God is Red by Vine Deloria, Jr., 1994:
The tribe known to whites/The people called themselves/The name meant
Delaware (New Jersey)/Lenni Lenape/true men
Biloxi (Mississippi)/taneks aya/first people
Cherokee (Georgia)/ani yun wiya/real people
Winnebago (Wisconsin)/Hotcangara/people of the real speech
Kiowa (Oklahoma)/Kiowa/principal people
“God” gives us a bad value for π (1 Kings 7:23, ca. 550 B.C.E.). “God” thinx π = 3, but the heathen Babylonians and the Egyptians used more accurate values (3 1/8 and 256/81 = 3.1605) some 1500 years earlier. (The value of π = 3.1415926358979323846264338…; it is an irrational (cannot be exactly expressed as a ratio of two integers), “transcendent” number.
The Book of Daniel is a 2nd-century BC biblical apocalypse with a 6th century BC setting.
The following texts, which are entirely lost to us, are name-dropped in the Old Testament:
The Book of Jasher
The Book of the Wars of the Lord
The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel and Chronicles of the Kings of Judah
The Book of Shemaiah the Prophet and Visions of Iddo the Seer
The Manner of the Kingdom
The Acts of Solomon
The Annals of King David
The Book of Samuel the Seer
The Book of Nathan the Prophet
The Book of Gad the Seer
The Prophecy of Ahijah
The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel
The Book of Jehu
The Story of the Book of Kings
The Acts of Uziah
The Vision of Isaiah
The Acts of the Kings of Israel; also called The Acts and Prayers of Manasseh
The Sayings of the Seers
The Laments for Josiah
The Chronicles of King Ahasuerus
See here for where in the Old Testament these books get referenced. And here for non-canonical books referenced in the New Testament.
The earliest New Testament writings are actually Paul’s epistles, not the Gospels. In a fashion, Paul scooped the gospel writers, though he actually said comparatively very little about Jesus and, in fact, never met the guy. But neither did the anonymous gospel writers. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are names assigned to the Gospels by tradition.
Speaking of Paul, only seven of letters (with consensus dates) are considered genuine by most scholars:
Galatians (c. 48 AD)
First Thessalonians (c. 49–51)
First Corinthians (c. 53–54)
Second Corinthians (c. 55–56)
Romans (c. 55–57)
Philippians (c. 57–59 or c. 62)
Philemon (c. 57–59 or c. 62)
The three letters on which scholars are about evenly divided: If these letters are inauthentic, then the consensus dates are likely incorrect.
Second Thessalonians (c. 51–52)
Colossians (c. 57–59 or c. 62)
Ephesians (c. 62)
The letters thought to be pseudepigraphic (a fancy word for forged, see Bart Ehrman’s Forged: Writing in the Name of God; via his website, he is a very available scholar to ask questions of on his forum) by many scholars (traditional dating given): The content of these letters strongly suggest they were written a decade or more later than the traditional dates.
First Timothy (c. 62–64)
Second Timothy (c. 62–65)
Titus (c. 66–67)
For what it’s worth, Jane Roberts’ Seth asserts that in the time of Jesus, there were about a score of men all playing the holy man role and that the gospel accounts, all written at least 30 years after Jesus*, mistakenly get some of these individuals mixed up with Jesus, that, for instance, the Christ who cursed the fig tree was not the same individual that gave he sermon on the Mount.
“There were, indeed, several ‘Christs,’ several people whose preaching and exploits merged to form the composite figure historically known as Christ. There are all kinds of contradictions in the Bible, and in Christ’s own attitudes as depicted, because there were more Christs than one….
“The same kind of following–the same kind of followers–that Christ had also found many other men, and all of the followers hoped that their messiah would be the Messiah….
“The Sermon on the Mount is probably the closest interpretation of the best Christianity had to offer–but the tenets of that Christ, who gave the Sermon on the Mount, did not suit some of the people involved who looked for an earthly king. ‘Blessed are the meek’ did not fit them or their idea of political power. The Christ who gave the Sermon on the Mount also said that the kingdom of heaven was within–and that dictum did not fit in either with those who wanted a politically effective Sire.”
“Another Christ was the one who cursed the fig tree.”
–Seth, from The God of Jane by Jane Roberts (1981)
*Buddhism is even worse when it comes to the gap between the life of the Buddha and the earliest written texts:
The Tipitaka that was transmitted to Sri Lanka during the reign of King Asoka were initially preserved orally and were later written down on palm leaves during the Fourth Buddhist Council in 29 BCE, approximately 454 years after the death of Gautama Buddha.
The following books only concern Roman Catholics since Protestants contrarily don’t think they are the Word of God (since God doesn’t exactly make such judgements obvious):
The Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books
Additions to the Book of Esther
Wisdom of Solomon
Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach
The Letter of Jeremiah
The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Jews
Bel and the Dragon
Prayer of Manasseh
Roman Catholics need 2 Maccabees because of needed scriptural support for the idea of purgatory which it barely supplies:
“But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.” (12:45-46).
Martin Luther thought Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation shouldn’t be in the Bible. He saw them as inauthentic, not the Word of God.
Revelation — now there’s a book easy to understand — hah! What’s God’s point in being so obscure?
According to Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter, Charles Manson thought this Rev 9 passage was about the Beatles:
“On their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, 8 their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth; 9 they had scales like iron breastplates, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle.”
(According to the book, CHAOS, Vincent Bugliosi was quite an evil fellow himself.)
Speaking of the two testaments of the Bible, the old and the not-as-old, Phil Schultz, who was my first “guest” in my first post, argues that, by now, there should be a third testament.
But, arguably, this has taken place with the Koran or the Book of Mormon, for instance.
The not-as-old testament was the scripture of the then-new religion that came to be called Christianity which arose out of Judaism, and the Koran was the scripture of the then-new Islamic faith which recognized Jesus and the Old Testament prophets; the Book of Mormon was the scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a Christian Restorationist movement founded by Joseph Smith in the late 1820s.
Never use the old, old King James version of the Bible. It is long past its freshness date. It is almost as bad as Shakespeare:
The preface to the Revised Standard Version (2nd ed., 1971) comments on the KJV thusly:
…Yet the King James Version has grave defects. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the development of Biblical studies and the discovery of many manuscripts more ancient than those upon which the King James Version was based, made it manifest that these defects are so many and so serious as to call for revision of the English translation….
…A major reason for revision of the King James Version, which is valid for both the Old Testament and the New Testament, is the change since 1611 in English usage. Many forms of expression have become archaic, while still generally intelligible — the use of thou, thee, thy, thine and the verb endings -est and -edst, the verb endings -eth and -th, it came to pass that, whosoever, whatsoever, insomuch that, because that, for that, unto, howbeit, peradventure, holden, aforetime, must needs, would fain, behooved, to you-ward, etc. Other words are obsolete and no longer understood by the common reader. The greatest problem, however, is presented by the English words which are still in constant use but now convey a different meaning from that which they had in 1611 and in the King James Version. These words were once accurate translations of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures; but now, having changed in meaning, they have become misleading. They no longer say what the King James translators meant them to say.
Thus, the King James Version uses the word “let” in the sense of “hinder,” “prevent” to mean “precede,” “allow” in the sense of “approve,” “communicate” for “share,” “conversation” for “conduct,” “comprehend” for “overcome,” “ghost” for “spirit,” “wealth” for “well-being,” “allege” for “prove,” “demand” for “ask,” “take no thought” for “be not anxious,” etc….
Hinder there be light!
Such is the misplaced influence of the obsolete 1611 language of the KJV, that people think it’s more spiritual or holy-scriptural to write that way.
For instance, here is a translated passage from Baháʼí founder Baháʼu’lláh (1988) . Epistle to the Son of the Wolf:
“PRAISE be to God, the Eternal that perisheth not, the Everlasting that declineth not, the Self-Subsisting that altereth not. He it is Who is transcendent in His sovereignty, Who is manifest through His signs, and is hidden through His mysteries. He it is at Whose bidding the standard of the Most Exalted Word hath been lifted up in the world of creation, and the banner of “He doeth whatsoever He willeth” raised amidst all peoples. He it is Who hath revealed His Cause for the guidance of His creatures…”
The Jesus Seminar scholars, on the other hand, in their Scholars Version of the gospels try to be totally up to date, language-wise. (By the way, they thought only 20% of the sayings ascribed to Jesus were genuine.)
Instead of “Kingdom of God,” they render it as “God’s Imperial Rule.” Instead of “Woe to you,” they render that as “Damn you.” Instead of “Blessed are,” they render that as “Congratulations.”
A note on the concept of Hell.
I grew up as a Lutheran, Missouri Synod-style (conservative!) and swallowed, as a child, hook, line, and sinker, all the Bible stories trotted out to us and the idea that people who did not believe in Jesus as their savior were going to hell.
I remember, in 10th grade, therefore about age 16, telling a Jewish high school friend, without a lot of fire and brimstone, that is, calmly, that he was going to hell. He sensibly begged to differ.
It embarrasses me to think that less than two years later, I no longer believed in what I was taught, let alone the idea of telling someone they’re going to hell.
Hell is the all-time scare tactic. After “losing my faith,” I was at times haunted by the thought that what if what I was taught and rejected was indeed correct after all, then I was going to go to hell for no longer believing it.
But unless God is some total (and irrational) tyrant, kind of like Billy Mumy‘s character in the old Rod Serling Twilight Zone where, as a child with unlimited powers, he terrified the adults that he might show them no mercy, then the idea of eternal punishment (for a finite earth life!) goes out the window with the thought that what human parent, no matter how angry, would, if s/he could, eternally punish one of their children?
I admit I’ve read very many books critical of the Bible. For one thing, I wanted to be able to hold my own when a well-meaning Christian is trying to save my soul. (If they say, “I’ll pray for you,” I tell them I’ll pray for them too. Some of them seem to get uncomfortable at that thought.)
I remember being about 7 years old and thinking, “When I grow up, I’m gonna add (my writing) to the Bible!” And then it occurred to me that that was off limits, the Bible wasn’t to be added to. Which is kind of curious: God is quite active with humanity, but then for 2000 years gives humanity the silent treatment.
But surely there must be a baby somewhere in all this bathwater.
Yes, I will grant the Bible the occasional gem such as “God is love,” “The truth will make you free“(appropriated by the US agency of state crime, the CIA), the woman taken in adultery story discussed above, and so forth.
Since a lot of, shall we say, “standard” Christian thought sees things in dualistic, good-evil terms, I’ll close by including a pitcher eye tuk, right in Racine and near to a public school to boot:
The flag says, “The Satanic Temple.”
I bike past that house most every weekday and have never seen anyone out in the yard. Maybe they only come out at night.
Although the flag’s subject matter is not exactly my cuppa tea, I have to admire the bravery of whoever is so blatantly exercising their freedom of religion, here in the US(A).
In Christian thought, Satan is almost like the god of evil, having at least apparently something like the power of persuasion. But check out what the name Lucifer means:
“Morning star” or “shining one” or “the planet Venus”, or, as an adjective, “light-bringing.” That’s cos, per Wikipedia:
Lucifer is one of various figures in folklore associated with the planet Venus. The entity’s name was subsequently absorbed into Christianity as a name for the devil.
I think this from Wikipedia is humorous:
‘In 1980 the FBI interviewed Anton LaVey in connection with an alleged plot to murder Ted Kennedy. LaVey told the agents that most of the Church of Satan‘s followers were “fanatics, cultists, and weirdos.” The agents reported that LaVey’s “interest in the Church of Satan is strictly from a monetary point of view,” [the love of money!] and that he spent “most of his time furnishing interviews, writing material, and lately has become interested in photography.”‘
Next week (subject to change): “Astonishment Theory,” Choice Theory, Early Dion’s “Theory,” The Four Agreements, Flag Grammar
Boilerplate: As part of my community project as Racine Writer in Residence, I hereby invite Racine-area people to send me prose or poems of 250 words or less for me to consider for inclusion in my posts as a “guest appearance.” So far, there have been no responses(!). So, former Racine Writers in Residence, I want to explicitly include you in this invitation. If you want, also send a photo and a very short “bio.” You will retain the copyright for the material you submit. Send to m.mk at att.net with “Racine WiR” in the subject line. Thank you.
Don’t hide your light under a bushel-sized basket; it is recommended that you let it illuminate stuff.