How Religious Insanity Begins
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04-03-2012, 12:07 PM
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
(03-03-2012 11:27 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  We know how Judaism got here. An 11th century ex-Canaanite warlord named David banded together a bunch of ragtag settlements, then made up a history of "Israel" to control the population and make them think this warlord had a covenant with the local tyrant god, who couldn't even keep his side of the covenant for more than 2 generations.

Actually I think the minimalists are closer to the truth ... that the Torah was composed about three or four centuries after the time that people popularly imagine it to have been written. The priests "imagineered" a glorious past starring Moses, David, Abraham, et al., to inspire themselves and the people in reaction to the not-so-glorious present as a vassal state of Assyria and Babylon. A lot of the myths have clear precedents in earlier Mesopotamian religion & folklore.

(03-03-2012 11:27 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  We know how Christianity got here. A disenfranchised Pharisee named Paul heard rumors about one of many so-called messiahs who had lived about 30 years earlier, and he made up a new religion to replace the Jewish one he had been forced to follow by his parents. He didn't know anything about the physical life of some dude named Joshua (how the hell do we get Jesus from Joshua?), but he made up an entire religion about him and bow beat women and slaves to go along with him.

We don't know anything about the real origins of Christianity. There may have been a Saul/Paul, but considering that he doesn't know jack shit about Judaism, he either wasn't a Pharisee, or was an "F" student who was kicked out after one semester.

I think that Christianity probably started either as a Hellenistic mystery religion, or a type of Gnosticism. Later, in order to distinguish themselves from similar groups, it was necessary to invent the mythology of a "Jerusalem council" and pretend that their early members like Paul had been "Hebrews" (Paul never identifies himself as a Jew; neither does Jesus) who had "seen the light" in some sort of bizarre bid for an authenticity that was lacking with the Gnostics. The Jewish War of 66-73 helped spread the new religion because the Christians could use that disaster as "proof" that Yahweh had once and for all forsaken the Jews, and a "New Covenant" could be forged with non-Jews using the Jewish religion. It was all very sleazy and opportunistic.
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04-03-2012, 04:02 PM
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
(04-03-2012 02:04 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  Such an excellent documentary.

I like this version because the presenter is a hawt smart chick with a British accent!

Thanks. I hadn't seen that, and I like hawt smart chicks.

My girlfriend is mad at me. Perhaps I shouldn't have tried cooking a stick in her non-stick pan.
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04-03-2012, 05:51 PM
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
(04-03-2012 04:02 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  
(04-03-2012 02:04 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  Such an excellent documentary.

I like this version because the presenter is a hawt smart chick with a British accent!

Thanks. I hadn't seen that, and I like hawt smart chicks.

Don't forget the accent! Big Grin

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
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05-03-2012, 08:52 AM (This post was last modified: 06-03-2012 02:11 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
(04-03-2012 12:07 PM)Blood Wrote:  
(03-03-2012 11:27 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  We know how Judaism got here. An 11th century ex-Canaanite warlord named David banded together a bunch of ragtag settlements, then made up a history of "Israel" to control the population and make them think this warlord had a covenant with the local tyrant god, who couldn't even keep his side of the covenant for more than 2 generations.

Actually I think the minimalists are closer to the truth ... that the Torah was composed about three or four centuries after the time that people popularly imagine it to have been written. The priests "imagineered" a glorious past starring Moses, David, Abraham, et al., to inspire themselves and the people in reaction to the not-so-glorious present as a vassal state of Assyria and Babylon. A lot of the myths have clear precedents in earlier Mesopotamian religion & folklore.

(03-03-2012 11:27 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  We know how Christianity got here. A disenfranchised Pharisee named Paul heard rumors about one of many so-called messiahs who had lived about 30 years earlier, and he made up a new religion to replace the Jewish one he had been forced to follow by his parents. He didn't know anything about the physical life of some dude named Joshua (how the hell do we get Jesus from Joshua?), but he made up an entire religion about him and bow beat women and slaves to go along with him.

We don't know anything about the real origins of Christianity. There may have been a Saul/Paul, but considering that he doesn't know jack shit about Judaism, he either wasn't a Pharisee, or was an "F" student who was kicked out after one semester.

I think that Christianity probably started either as a Hellenistic mystery religion, or a type of Gnosticism. Later, in order to distinguish themselves from similar groups, it was necessary to invent the mythology of a "Jerusalem council" and pretend that their early members like Paul had been "Hebrews" (Paul never identifies himself as a Jew; neither does Jesus) who had "seen the light" in some sort of bizarre bid for an authenticity that was lacking with the Gnostics. The Jewish War of 66-73 helped spread the new religion because the Christians could use that disaster as "proof" that Yahweh had once and for all forsaken the Jews, and a "New Covenant" could be forged with non-Jews using the Jewish religion. It was all very sleazy and opportunistic.

Hi....I recently read a book about the origin of the gospels that I found fascinating. The following is my summary of it...a bit long, but well worth considering...

There is an alternative and fascinating theory as to the origins of the gospels. Using religion for the good of the state was a well-established practice in ancient Rome. The contemporary writer Joseph Atwell, who spent ten years studying the gospels, the Dead Sea scrolls and the works of Josephus, has an intriguing theory that the gospels were all written by intellectuals working for the government during the Flavian dynasty (69-96 CE). He writes in his 2005 book “Caesar’s Messiah” (http://www.amazon.com/Caes+ars-Messiah-R...ks&ie=UTF) of a connection between certain events from the ministry of Jesus that closely parallel the military campaign of the Emperor Titus in the first Jewish war. He believes that sometime during the Flavian dynasty, when Vespasian, then Titus and then Domitian were emperors, intellectuals under their direction created the gospels, and incorporated a skillful satire of the Jews that becomes apparent on reading Josephus’ “Wars of the Jews” and his “The Life of Flavius Josephus.”

Mr Atwell believes the existence of a real Jesus may have been a fact, yet that doesn’t mean that anything that character may have said is faithfully recorded in the gospels.
He believes that Titus had the gospels invented for two reasons; firstly to act as a theological barrier against the spread of messianic Judaism, and secondly because if he could get Jews to worship “Jesus,” it would mean they accepted Roman authority. Titus had decimated militant Judaism, but he couldn’t get the Jewish prisoners to worship him as Lord. The revolt may have been crushed, but the religion that inspired it wasn’t. It became obvious that Jews were still dreaming about their messiah, so he transformed himself into the embodiment of their dreams. He had a derivative of Judaism created that worshipped him (as Jesus) without its followers knowing it. He became the Son of God, sent by his father (Vespasian), who had already been deified by the Roman Senate. The agenda was to tame Judaism by transforming it into a cooperative, government friendly religion.

If this is why the gospels were created, the cruel joke of Christianity is that it was done to subdue stubborn Jews and to get them to worship the Roman Caesar as Lord without knowing it. The Flavians wanted Christianity to flourish before the Gospels’ satirical level became widely known. The gospels were designed to become apparent as satire only to the more educated classes who had access to Josephus’ works. They were, as originally written, a black comedy.

Josephus was an adopted member of the Imperial family. He lived in the imperial palace, and was their official historian. Titus ordered the publication of his “Wars of the Jews.” Josephus would have considered Vespasian and Titus divine, or at least would have been only too happy to help propagate the myth. Titus became emperor in 79 CE, and was deified shortly after his death in 81 CE.

The historian Seutonius says of Titus
“I have likewise been informed by many persons, that he was remarkably quick in writing short-hand, would in merriment and jest engage with his secretaries in the imitation of any hand-writing he saw, and often say, ‘that he was admirably qualified for forgery.’" (The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, section 466). Titus had his writers backdate Jesus’ ministry to c.30 CE, thereby enabling “Jesus” to foresee events in the future war.

As part of the scheme, Josephus shaped his history of the war so it appeared that the messiah fulfilled predictions from the book of Daniel.

There were plenty of people in the Flavian household who knew Judaism well enough to create Christianity. Titus’ mistress Bernice was a Jew of Maccabean descent. Tiberias Alexander was a Jew in Titus’ circle; he was a nephew of Philo the well-known Jewish philosopher, and he was chief of staff to Titus during the siege of Jerusalem. Josephus himself was a Jew. There were also thousands of Jews living in Rome. John of Gischala, one of the main leaders of the Jewish revolt, had been transported as a prisoner back to Rome, but not executed. Atwell believes he too was used by the Flavians to help create the literature in the gospels.

Titus Flavius, and he alone, fulfilled in real life all of “Jesus’” doomsday prophesies, forty years (within one generation) after “Jesus” allegedly spoke them. Titus was in his late 20’s, just like Jesus. He “laid low” many Galilean towns, circled Jerusalem with a wall of soldiers, annihilated a “wicked generation,” and wrecked the temple, all as predicted by “Jesus.” He is obviously the “son of man” who Jesus predicts will do these things within the given time frame of one generation. There are numerous other examples of analogies between Jesus and Titus that Atwell expertly describes; I will recount only a few more.

Both Titus and Jesus began their three-year campaigns in Galilee and finished them in Jerusalem.

Mark’s gospel says:
“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mark 4:18-19 KJV). That sounds like a nice story, but takes on a more macabre meaning if read in conjunction with Josephus’ Wars of the Jews in which he relates the story of a battle between Jews and Titus’ troops on the same sea of Galilee:
“Sometimes the Romans leapt into their ships, with swords in their hands, and slew them; but when some of them met the vessels, the Romans caught them by the middle, and destroyed at once their ships and themselves who were taken in them. And for such as were drowning in the sea, if they lifted their heads up above the water, they were either killed by darts, or caught by the vessels; but if, in the desperate case they were in, they attempted to swim to their enemies, the Romans cut off their heads or their hands…” Hence Titus’ troops followed him on to the sea of Galilee where they became “fishers of men.”

Jesus and Titus both preached the “good news,” and were sent on a mission from God, their father:
“And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep him from leaving them; but He said to them ‘I must preach the good news (“euaggelion”) of the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent’” (Luke 4:42-43).
“Hereupon Titus sent one of his horseman to his father, and let him know the good news (“euaggelion”) of what he had done.” (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 3, 10, 503).

How then, does Atwell explain the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus? The parallel is in Josephus’ autobiography “The Life of Flavius Josephus”
“Moreover, when the city Jerusalem was taken by force…I was sent by Titus Caesar…to a certain village called Thecoa, in order to know whether it were a place fit for a camp; as I came back, I saw many captives crucified, and remembered three of them as my former acquaintance. I was very sorry at this in my mind, and went with tears in my eyes to Titus, and told him of them; so he immediately commanded them to be taken down, and to have the greatest care taken of them, in order to their recovery; yet two of them died under the physician’s hands, while the third recovered. (75, 417, 420-421). So three men were crucified, and one survived. The person who begged the Roman commander to take the survivor down from the cross is Josephus himself, whose Jewish name was Joseph Bar Matthias, from which the gospels get Joseph “of Arimathea.”

When Rome went to war it had a long tradition of absorbing the religions of its opponents. It was easier and more cost effective than fighting against them. This was another example, yet with its own clever twist. The authors were hoping to convince Hebrews that Jesus was the messiah they had been waiting for and therefore strip them of their inspiration to spawn future insurrections.

Christianity was, in fact, a very clever product of the broader struggle that had been going on since Alexander the great in 333 BCE, the one between Hellenism with its polytheism and rationalism, and Judaism’s monotheism and faith.

This neatly explains how Christianity, a pro-Roman religion based on the gospels and said to promote pacifism and obedience, allegedly emerged from a Judean cult in a nation that had over a one hundred year history of a militant struggle against Rome. It is why a pacifist preacher was created out of the story of an unsuccessful nationalist. It is why the true identities of all the four gospel authors are unknown. It is why “Jesus” referred to a “wicked generation,” Jews who rebelled against Rome. It is why the “second coming” of Jesus never happened; it was Titus who came instead. It is probably why the gospels are so often anti Semitic. It nicely explains why “Jesus” would say
“when anyone conscripts you for one mile, go along two” about Roman soldiers conscripting people to carry their packs. It is also one explanation why “Jesus” was able to predict the future; the credulous (or dishonest) Eusebius wrote
“If anyone compares the words of our savior with the other accounts of the historian (Josephus) concerning the whole war, how can one fail to wonder, and to admit that the foreknowledge and the prophecy of our Saviour were truly divine and marvelously strange.” Eusebius failed to realize, or admit, that the gospels’ authors were using Josephus to create Jesus. It explains why the gospels were first written in Greek. It also explains how Christianity’s structures of authority, namely churches and the college of bishops, were based on Roman, not Judaic, traditions. It also explains why so many members of the Roman imperial family were said to be promoting Christianity, for example Flavius Clemens, said to be the fourth pope, Bernice, Titus’ mistress, and Flavia Domitilla, Vespasian’s granddaughter. If these people were “Christians,” they were so in name only, as they couldn’t have believed in their own spoof.

Atwell thinks the Flavians did not intend sophisticated, educated people similar to themselves to read their invention as serious literature or history. It was intended for militant Jews and the hoi polloi, people Josephus referred to as “slaves” and “scum.”

If Atwell’s theory is correct, Christians have been unwittingly worshipping Titus Flavius for nearly 2000 years. Jesus’ injunctions to love your enemies, aspire to poverty, and pay your taxes take on a whole new sinister meaning; that the religion said to be the basis of western morality was invented for the control and pacification of peasants and slaves. Titus' invented religion took hold because common people didn't have the intellectual armor to guard against it, and it succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of the Flavians. Titus, lying in his grave, has had an embarrassed grin on his face for the last two millennia. He was responsible for the most monumental fraud ever inflicted on mankind.
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05-03-2012, 09:54 AM
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
What a fascinating theory. Made all the more interesting that the idea back-fired and brought down the empire a few centuries later.

But while it interests me, I'm not sure how the worship of an imaginary Jesus could stand for worship of the emperor. I'm behind the idea of a government conspiracy, but can't make the logical leap that it could be translated to emperor worship. [/font]

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
~Izel
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05-03-2012, 10:40 AM
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
Holy shit Mark Fulton.
Didn't know you were still alive man.
How's the book coming along?

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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05-03-2012, 10:42 AM
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
(04-03-2012 02:04 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  Such an excellent documentary.

Yes! Thank You for posting it.

It's all in your head, because there is no other place it could be.
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06-03-2012, 02:00 AM (This post was last modified: 06-03-2012 02:03 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
(05-03-2012 09:54 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  What a fascinating theory. Made all the more interesting that the idea back-fired and brought down the empire a few centuries later.

But while it interests me, I'm not sure how the worship of an imaginary Jesus could stand for worship of the emperor. I'm behind the idea of a government conspiracy, but can't make the logical leap that it could be translated to emperor worship. [/font]

Hi Erxomai. Yeah....I was "blown away" when I read this. I am a bit slow..had to read his book 3x before I got my head around it.

Re the emperor worship idea.....the point is that if you were a "dyed in the wool" Jew, you believed that the messiah would arise soon to defeat the Romans and place the Jews where they thought they belonged....at the top of the world's pecking order (where, in fact, the Romans in real life were). Christianity claimed the messiah had already been and gone, and he wasn't a military leader but a spiritual guru who preached pacifism, so there was no longer a point in dreaming about another war. Titus and the other people in government didn't mind too much that Titus himself wasn't worshipped by Jews....as long as the Jews stopped causing trouble and obeyed the government. They had a laugh amongst themselves by creating "Jesus" as a caricature of Titus.

(05-03-2012 10:40 AM)lucradis Wrote:  Holy shit Mark Fulton.
Didn't know you were still alive man.
How's the book coming along?

Gooday mate! How are you? Thanks for asking. The book just keeps getting re-edited by myself and others. Its bloody hard! Almost done though!
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06-03-2012, 02:14 AM (This post was last modified: 06-03-2012 02:17 AM by Erxomai.)
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
(06-03-2012 02:00 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(05-03-2012 09:54 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  What a fascinating theory. Made all the more interesting that the idea back-fired and brought down the empire a few centuries later.

But while it interests me, I'm not sure how the worship of an imaginary Jesus could stand for worship of the emperor. I'm behind the idea of a government conspiracy, but can't make the logical leap that it could be translated to emperor worship. [/font]

Hi Erxomai. Yeah....I was "blown away" when I read this. I am a bit slow..had to read his book 3x before I got my head around it.

Re the emperor worship idea.....the point is that if you were a "dyed in the wool" Jew, you believed that the messiah would arise soon to defeat the Romans and place the Jews where they thought they belonged....at the top of the world's pecking order (where, in fact, the Romans in real life were). Christianity claimed the messiah had already been and gone, and he wasn't a military leader but a spiritual guru who preached pacifism, so there was no longer a point in dreaming about another war. Titus and the other people in government didn't mind too much that Titus himself wasn't worshipped by Jews....as long as the Jews stopped causing trouble and obeyed the government. They had a laugh amongst themselves by creating "Jesus" as a caricature of Titus.

(05-03-2012 10:40 AM)lucradis Wrote:  Holy shit Mark Fulton.
Didn't know you were still alive man.
How's the book coming along?

Gooday mate! How are you? Thanks for asking. The book just keeps getting re-edited by myself and others. Its bloody hard! Almost done though!

Ah, ok, thank you, Mark. I guess I wasn't thinking it through enough before I responded. It's much clearer now. It could be related to a CIA psy-ops mission to trick the enemy. Actually a pretty damn good idea.

The thought I have that might refute the theory is I would think there would be some sort of Imperial Record that subsequent emperors might have had access to and the idea could have been exposed by later emperors once they saw Christianity becoming a viable threat. But I suppose a case could be made that Constantine, for instance, knew it was a make believe religion, but it was politically expedient to use it to unify his empire.

It also lends credence to all the echoes of previous religions and gods with Jesus powers like Mithras and Horus, etc. If you're going to invent a religion, what better way to do it than to use previous material.

I would imagine there's just not enough evidence, but it is a pretty cool theory to consider.

It was just a fucking apple man, we're sorry okay? Please stop the madness Laugh out load
~Izel
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06-03-2012, 06:59 AM
RE: How Religious Insanity Begins
This is an interesting article that shows links between an older religion (Mithraism) and Christianity.

http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/mithraism.html

Any thoughts on this?

Ann
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