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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Arab World Outraged by Egypt Explosions

Perhaps public outrage is the only way we will ever be able to stem the tide of religious terrorism. It certainly worked in Europe against the Inquisition and the Catholic Church. There has been much debate on how to deal with these deranged fanatics, but unless the Muslim world itself declares that it will no longer tolerate this psychotic behavior in the name of Islam and Allah, nothing will change. It is far too early to predict anything positive, however, in consideration of the crazed Danish cartoon frenzy, which took its own toll on human life. Few Muslims stood up to state that there was anything wrong with that medieval hysteria. We can only hope that more people become enlightened to an increasingly humane perspective of life.

As a side note, the real "war on Islam" could be viewed as the product of Muslim terrorists bent on making Islam a violent, human-hating ideology that the rest of the world despises. In other words, if anyone is giving Islam a black eye, it's the Muslim fanatics themselves.
Arab World Outraged by Egypt Explosions

CAIRO, Egypt - The Arab world reacted in horror and outrage Tuesday at the bombings of an Egyptian resort — and a rift opened between hardline al-Qaida sympathizers and other radical Muslim groups who say the latest attacks have gone too far.

Three bombs ripped through a promenade in Egypt's Dahab resort at dusk Monday, killing at least 24 — most of them Egyptians on a holiday marking the first day of spring.

The attack, the third on Sinai in less than two years, came a day after Osama bin Laden issued a call to arms to Muslims to support al-Qaida in what he calls a war against Islam. Bin Laden specifically tried to justify attacks against civilians, and tried to align his group with the radical Hamas, which now runs the Palestinian government.

But Hamas and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood were as quick to condemn the Dahab attacks as they were when terrorists carried out a triple bombing Nov. 9 at Amman, Jordan hotels, that killed 63 people. Those attacks provoked howls of outrage against al-Qaida in Iraq, which claimed responsibility.

'The attack on Egypt brings back bad memories,' said Muhannad Abul-Ghanam, a 37-year-old Jordanian businessman. 'The result is the same — mainly Muslim Arabs died and there's more public hatred toward these militants.'

Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for the Hamas-run Palestinian Cabinet, called the Dahab bombings a 'criminal attack which is against all human values.'

Radical Muslim groups — like Hamas and the Brotherhood — have in recent months joined a regional chorus denouncing al-Qaida and its sympathizers for targeting Arab and Muslim civilians.

'These groups, in the name of religion, justify such acts in which innocent people are killed,' said Hassan Naboulsi, a 32-year-old supporter of the militant Lebanese Hezbollah faction in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon.

Arab-on-Arab violence appears to be spreading.

Nearly 100 people had previously died at the hands of terrorists on the Sinai peninsula in less than two years.

Egyptian officials have said that local people were behind previous bombings in Sinai, including a deadly attack at Sharm el-Sheikh last summer, and have rounded up hundreds of Sinai citizens.

But outside security experts said the hardline extremists operating in Sinai seemed either linked to al-Qaida, or at least aligned with its views.

And the latest attack — hitting both Coptic Christian Egyptians celebrating at holiday and Muslim Egyptians, along with Israelis and foreign tourists — seemed consistent with the philosophy of hardline al-Qaida sympathizers, often called Salafists.

But groups like Hamas have been careful to say that their attacks are aimed only against Israel — and are not part of a worldwide Islamic jihad.

Frustrated by news of Arab victims of Arab terrorists, Kuwaiti kindergarten teacher Elham Ali, 37, said she has decided not to watch TV or read newspapers anymore.

'When terrorism starts it will not stop,' she said. 'The 24 people who died have families of their own or parents ... this is a lot of sorrow.'"

Monday, April 24, 2006

'Satanic Verses' author warns of religion's dangers

Here's yet another example of how soon we forget. For those who have been lulled into the "religion of peace" hypnosis, Salman Rushdie's decades-long ordeal should serve as an illustration that religious fanaticism and tyranny are anything but "peaceful." Religious tyranny or terrorism is a menace that all sensate individuals should be on guard against. Religious terrorism is not something that will go away by ignoring it; like cancer, it will only get worse when not given appropriate attention. What is that attention? What is the best way to remove sickness? Prevention is highly important - we must not raise our children with these deleterious memes or mental programmings. Containment is also important - we must not let these memes spread freely and contagiously. We must also substitute healthful memes in their place, such as the following, from Charles Haanel's The Master Key System:
"The trained mind knows that every transaction must benefit every person who is in any way connected with the transaction, and any attempt to profit by the weakness, ignorance, or necessity of another will inevitably operate to his disadvantage.

"This is because the individual is part of the Universal. A part cannot antagonize any other part, but, on the contrary, the welfare of each part depends upon a recognition of the interest of the whole."
In other words, we live on one world, and if there is profound sickness somewhere, it will affect us elsewhere. We simply cannot afford to ignore it.
'Satanic Verses' author warns of religion's dangers
"Monday, April 24, 2006
By Ted Roelofs

Death threat or not, controversial author Salman Rushdie is not about to yield ground about the place of religion in his fiction.

'What you're dealing with here is a dreadful old atheist,' said Rushdie, 58, speaking Friday before a crowd about 2,000 at the Calvin College Fieldhouse as part of the Festival of Faith & Writing.

The Indian-born author of 'The Satanic Verses' was forced into years of hiding after the religious leader of Iran issued a 1989 order he be killed for insulting Islam."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Aliens Among Us

For years, net harpies have been hooting and hollering about one slim article about "aliens" and "UFOs" on my website, frantically waving it around as "great proof" of something or another about my character. These harpies have usually been either fervent believers or disbelievers; hence, I have managed to unite these two factions - against me!

Based on numerous requests from a wide variety of people, several years ago I wrote one article entitled "Are UFOs and Aliens Real?" This short essay constitutes only one out of hundreds that I have written and only two pages out of thousands on my website. Yet, it invariably wrankles those who are bent on debunking me by whatever means necessary. In the first place, nowhere on my website or anywhere else have I ever said that I believe in aliens. The reality is that I am reporting on a phenomenon, whether or not it is real. In this article, I include many cautions and doubts about the ideas surrounding the alien phenomenon. Nevertheless, because I have the audacity - or, rather, the interest - to report on this issue, I am to be ridiculed and vilified. If such is the case, the harpies - who, again, are from both the believing and skeptical camps - have a whole lotta ridiculing to do, including of many political leaders as well as numerous established and well-respected publishing houses. How dare they report or speak on such an issue!

For example, in November 2005 the Associated Press reported that a Canadian ex-Minister of Defence, Paul Hellyer, had made a request to the Canadian Parliament to open public hearings about the presence of aliens. So much for Associated Press. Let's never read anything they report again! I have heard much cackling and snickering about my publisher putting out books on such subjects, but what about Harper's (e.g., Alien Agenda and Alien Base), William Morrow (e.g., Above Top Secret: The Worldwide UFO Cover-up) or - gasp! - Prometheus, that bastion of skepticism (The UFO Invasion and Alien Abductions, et al.)?? Well, how dare they report on this phenomenon! Let us dismiss everything else that comes out of these publishing houses!

The fact is that people are very interested in the subject of aliens - my article ranks number one when "are aliens real" is googled, and it gets quite a bit of daily traffic. I too am interested in this subject. Yet, I have spent very little time on it, while my detractors seem to be obsessed with it. That being said, I do find it one of the most fascinating and important issues that confront the human species - should we stick our heads in the sand about it? Let's ignore it, even though it is so fascinating and important, because even to acknowledge that people are interested in it will open us up to criticism and being dismissed in whatever other endeavors we may choose to pursue! Frankly, I think those who wish to ignore such engrossing subjects are the real aliens, as they seem to be alienated from the world around them.

The truth is that I did not set out to be a debunker and skeptic. I have been interested in the mysteries of the world since I was a small child, which is why I studied archaeology. Along the way in my studies of numerous issues, I encountered the thesis that Jesus Christ and numerous other "godmen" who were believed to have been "real people" and to have "walked the earth" were in fact mythical characters. Because I had decided that my purpose was to tell the truth wherever I encountered it and to the best of my ability, I took it upon myself to explore and pass along such information. In this matter, I suppose, I am to be considered a "skeptic," although if I had encountered information that demonstrated otherwise, I would have promulgated it instead. I do not subscribe to either the hardcore believing or disbelieving agendas. I am interested in what is true, and I will continue to explore all sorts of concepts that do not fit neatly into any box but that represent truly fascinating enigmas which make life exciting. If I am to be ridiculed and dismissed because of such a passion for life, so be it.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Christian Terrorism and the Atheist Inquisition: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Fanaticism is fanaticism, whether it emanates from theists or atheists. For over a decade, I have had a presence on the internet, and I have been pilloried by rabid proselytizers of both camps. The Christians have actually been more welcoming than the atheists, as at least they will invite me to "play," albeit in a nasty and vicious manner, whereas the atheists will attack me behind my back and recommend that I be shunned at all costs. Both groups demonize and vilify me, reducing me to a cartoon character who should be marginalized and making me into a "less than" who not only does not deserve respect but actually merits disrespect. Rabid theists and atheists are two sides of the same coin of intolerance and prejudice. I know I am not alone in my experience of this phenomenon. (And please note that I did not say "all theists and atheists" but "rabid theists and atheists.")

Although my work and I are given a "place of honor" in the "Rogues Gallery" by Christian terrorists, the Atheist inquisitors have deliberately snubbed me, calling me "an embarassment" and "a poor reflection on nonbelievers." (I call them "terrorists" not because they wield bombs but because they menace with sinister insults and threats.) First of all, I am not a hardcore atheist, so I don't belong to that cult anyway and am therefore not a representative of it. My stance has been and shall remain that it is up to the individual to do with his or her thoughts what he or she wants to within the privacy of his or her own head. I am not interested in mind control, while the fervent proselytizers of both theism and atheism evidently are, since, if by both of their standards you don't fit in mentally, you will be ostracized. To me, if you believe in God, fine; if you don't, fine. It's your mind. I am only interested in establishing what has happened or is happening on the third dimension, within the framework of history. I cannot prove or disprove any metaphysical, esoteric, mystical or supernatural experience, nor do I want to. In other words, you can "love Jesus with all your heart," but don't tell me it's a proven fact that he "walked the earth."

I have no interest in making anyone feel guilty or dirty because of any fantasy or non-fantasy they want to believe in. While the disparagement of me and my work is to be expected from the likes of Christian terrorists, I am frankly sick, tired and disgusted by the Atheist inquisitors' nasty behavior towards me because I am not rigid enough in certain of my views. Because of this fact, to these rabid detractors - who consider themselves so superior in logic and rationality to the believing faction of humanity - my entire body of work should be ignored, dismissed or assailed. In short, their minds are as narrow, bigoted and irrational as those they would like to replace.

The old adage of being careful about replacing an intolerant and tyrannical system with another is clearly pertinent here. I for one am not interested in replacing Christian Terrorism with the Atheist Inquisition. One of my major goals in life is to create greater tolerance for everyone's harmless pecadilloes, which includes what they do with their minds within the privacy of their own heads - or even in public, so long as they understand that others may not believe or disbelieve in the same way. In other words, can't we all just get along?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

What am I doing here?

I was born into a Christian family, albeit a mild one, of Congregational Protestants. My mother was born a Baptist in the Northeast but had become a Congregationalist and remained so for several decades, before joining a Universalist church shortly before her death in 2004. My mother was a descendant of some of the original settlers of New England, who arrived in America in 1630 aboard the Arbella, which was part of the Winthrop Fleet out of England. Unlike our Puritan ancestors, we were not subjected to a strict upbringing, full of Christian hellfire and brimstone. On the contrary, ours was fairly easy-going, and I do not recall much if anything of the Bible, God, Christ or Christianity being incorporated into our daily lives. We went to church every Sunday and on holidays until I was 12, at which age I declared myself sovereign in the matters of religion. I remember telling my mother when I was seven that I would quit church as 12, because I couldn't stand it, and I figured that at that age I would have the ability to begin to determine my own path. I can't speak for my siblings or my father, the latter also now deceased, but it seemed as if my mother was the only person in my family who enjoyed church, other than the Christmas service when we lit white candles and dutifully carried them all the way home, to light other candles there. To my recollection, we all very much liked that ritual, as it was a warm and true family and community event.

One thing about Sunday school sticks out as being pleasant to my youthful mind: The story in Luke about the short man who climbs a tree in order to see Jesus. This story was something that I could relate to, as a small child who was constantly trying to peer over things such as the counter at the bank. Much of the rest of Sunday school and church seemed to be sheer torture, even though the people involved, including the kindly minister, were perfectly lovely and respectable individuals. I also vividly recall one Sunday school class in which we were shown a hideous photo of a small child in Africa trailing behind him across the mud the remains of his baby brother, tied to a ribbon as the boy walked towards a river to toss the baby in. I can't recall who discovered and was displaying the horrid image, if it was the teacher or another child, but it haunted me for many years. I was always a highly sensitive child - so much so that I was known to become physically ill at scenes of violence, especially those perpetrated by humans against each other.

It is precisely this sensitivity that has propelled me to explore the ideologies that most profoundly affect (or infect) the human mind: To wit, religions. I began studying mythology as a small child, after becoming fascinated by the Greek myths. This fascination led me to major in Classics, Greek Civilization, at Franklin & Marshall College, and to travel to Greece four times, including once as a junior with a Lake Forest College exchange program. I had become extremely interested in Greece during a family trip there when I was 14. Subsequent to college, I became a member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, spending almost a year there and traveling to dozens of sites throughout Greece. Although I had contemplated religion in college, I had little interest in it, and I did not attend any church, other than at Christmas on a couple of occasions to sing in the choir with my mother, who was the choir director. The only "religious" thing I remember about college was when I asked a roommate what he thought defined a Christian. He responded, "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?" I said I guess I did, to which he replied, "Then you're a Christian."

While in Greece, I became revolted by orthodox Christianity, as I travelled from church to church and monastery to monastery all over the country with my fellow students. On the walls of some of the monasteries were ghastly images of "martyrs" being tortured in the most heinous manner, including being boiled in vats, cut into pieces and flayed alive. In fact, it was in these orthodox Christian monasteries that I first became acutely aware of the meaning of the word "flay," a concept that horrified me. Considering my past, I am surprised I didn't vomit at these Bosch-esque scenes, but they did leave a very bad impression of Christianity in my mind. I could not fathom that this vile scenario of human torment was the best that the all-powerful God could come up with. These horrendous images of humans being hideously tortured were what the fervent followers of Christianity were supposed to contemplate and be surrounded by on a daily basis. It was simply atrocious, and the fact was that most of the monks we encountered appeared to be quite demented.

Much of Christianity is based on suffering, whether it's yours or Jesus's. In reality, the faith revolves around Jesus being tortured to death "for our sins." Within Christianity, humans are depicted as born-in-sin pieces of garbage, while God, His Son and the Holy Ghost are glorious and perfect. In Catholicism, there are a few others who deserve honor and reverence, such as the Virgin Mary, Joseph and many saints. Other than that, you are out of luck in trying to garner respect for yourself.

It slowly but surely struck me over a period of some years, which included my "conversion" to born-again Christianity in my mid twenties while I was living in Manhattan, that Christianity was not a very pleasant ideology or experience. There was the constant guilt for just being a human - I got a big dose of this torment during my brief wearing of the born-again hairshirt. During that time, which only lasted a couple of months until I was blasted into a decades-long passionate examination of all religious ideologies and concepts that came my way, I found myself becoming insane from reading the New Testament. Ingersoll was correct when he said, "If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he would be insane." To this day whenever I read the New Testament, I begin to feel ill. I am certain that the book has the same effect on others, as this madness is manifested all around us on a daily basis.

Within Christianity and other monotheistic religions, it is widely believed that it is humankind's purpose to serve and worship God. This purported purpose is what many Christians live their lives for. But, what does such a purpose say about God? Why would God, who is supposedly omnipotent and therefore self-contained, need or want creatures to serve and worship "him?" It seems like a very egotistical act to create such creatures. I found this incredibly egostical God to be repulsive; nor did I care for the inherent sexism within the various modern religions that depict God as a "he." There can be no question that God exclusively as "Father" is a sexist depiction and that women are considered second-class citizens - the Adam and Eve story set that bigotry in motion. In my studies of religion and mythology, I had encountered many cultures that had incorporated a goddess or female aspect of the divine. Such an inclusion is the only sensible one if God is omnipresent, as portrayed in monotheistic religions.

Needless to say, many other aspects, concepts and experiences led me to step outside of Christianity and to critique what I feel is a deleterious ideology that is keeping humanity from realizing its potential. Not the least of these experiences is the constant ad hominem abuse by Christianity's most fervent followers, who essentially represent what can only be termed "Christian terrorism." Instead of refuting sound arguments that challenge their beliefs, which we have seen are illogical and harmful, the fanatics continuously make personal attacks on the individuals who put forth such arguments. This terrorism is no less a derangement than any other mindless persecution, and it needs to be addressed as an illness that has the potential of destroying humankind. With this fact in mind, it is perhaps as an "innoculation" that I am here, both on this blog and planet Earth.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Truth - Satan Rules!

Phew! I'm so glad that someone finally told me about Satan, because I'd never heard about him before! Poor God! How can He exercise His omnipotence with that Satan guy in the way?!!!!!
From: PC
Date: Mon Apr 10, 2006
To: Acharya S
Subject: Truth

For you,

Sinners, confronted with their need of salvation, frequently stumble over the simplicity of the salvation which God offers. Since Satan cannot take away anything from the conditions of salvation or the plan of salvation - for God has already reduced it to an irreducible minimum - if Satan is to confound the minds of the sinners he must do so by addition, not subtraction. If conditions were placed by God to salvation, Satan might take away those conditions so that men would not be saved. But since there are no conditions, and salvation is a simple fact to be believed, Satan's method of deceiving men has been to add to the simplicity of the gospel. That is why some will teach that salvation is by faith and good works; or, salvation is by faith and baptism; or, salvation is by faith plus church membership; or, salvation is by faith plus repentance. These are all attempts to darken the mind of the man who needs to be saved concerning the central issue and the basic plan of salvation.

There is only one word that represents all a sinner can do and must do to be saved and that word is believe.

Repentance is not the means by which we acquire eternal life. Luke’s testimony on this point is crystal clear.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Easter: Christian or Pagan?

What is the meaning of Easter? Is it the time when Christ was crucified and resurrected? Or is it an ancient Pagan holiday?


Contrary to popular belief, Easter does not represent the "historical" crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In reality, the gospel tale reflects the annual "crossification" of the sun through the vernal equinox (Spring), at which time the sun is "resurrected," as the day begins to become longer than the night.

Rather than being a "Christian" holiday, Easter celebrations date back into remotest antiquity and are found around the world, as the blossoming of spring did not escape the notice of the ancients, who revered this life-renewing time of the year, when winter had passed and the sun was "born again." The "Pagan" Easter is also the Passover, and Jesus Christ represents not only the sun but also the Passover Lamb ritually sacrificed every year by a number of cultures, including the Egyptians, possibly as early as 4,000 years ago and continuing to this day in some places.

Easter is "Pessach" in Hebrew, "Pascha" in Greek, "Pachons" in Latin and "Pa-Khonsu" in Egyptian, "Khonsu" being an epithet for the sun god Horus. In Anglo-Saxon, Easter or Eostre is goddess of the dawn, corresponding to Ishtar, Astarte, Astoreth and Isis. The word "Easter" shares the same root with "east" and "eastern," the direction of the rising sun.

The principal Mexican solar festival was held at the vernal equinox, i.e., Easter, when sacrifices were made to sustain the sun. In India, the vernal equinox festival is called "Holi" and is especially sacred to the god Krishna. The Syrian sun and fertility god Attis was annually hung on a tree, dying and rising on March 24th and 25th, an "Easter celebration" that occurred at Rome as well. The March dates were later applied to the Passion and Resurrection of Christ: "Thus," says Sir Frazer, "the tradition which placed the death of Christ on the twenty-fifth of March was ancient and deeply rooted. It is all the more remarkable because astronomical considerations prove that it can have had no historical foundation…." This "coincidence" between the deaths and resurrections of Christ and the older Attis was not lost on early Christians, whom it distressed and caused to use the "devil got there first" excuse for the motif's presence in pre-Christian paganism.

The rites of the "crucified Adonis," another dying and rising savior god, were also celebrated in Syria at Easter time. As Frazer states:

"When we reflect how often the Church has skillfully contrived to plant the seeds of the new faith on the old stock of paganism, we may surmise that the Easter celebration of the dead and risen Christ was grafted upon a similar celebration of the dead and risen Adonis, which, as we have seen reason to believe, was celebrated in Syria at the same season."

The salvific death and resurrection at Easter of the god, the initiation as remover of sin, and the notion of becoming "born again," are all ages-old Pagan motifs or mysteries rehashed in the later Christianity.

More "Easter: Christian or Pagan?"

Friday, April 07, 2006

"Gospel of Judas" gives new view of Jesus' betrayer?

The existence of the "Gospel of Judas" has been known since at least 180 CE, when church father Irenaeus wrote the following:
"[The Cainites] declare that Judas the traitor was thoroughly acquainted with these things, and that he alone, knowing the truth as no others did, accomplished the mystery of the betrayal; by him all things, both earthly and heavenly, were thus thrown into confusion. They produce a fictitious history of this kind, which they style the Gospel of Judas."
The Cainites were a "heretical" Gnostic Christian sect who claimed to descend from the vilified biblical character Cain. "These things" that Judas knew about were ostensibly their "mysteries," which apparently centered around a group of people who are deliberately created to be "God's foil," so to speak, in carrying out his more unpopular missions. This thinking is quite sensible, since God is depicted as the creator and master of all creation - if he is all-powerful, then he must have created Cain and Judas for a reason.

In the gospel tale, Judas serves an important role, a fact that these ancient Christians recognized. As Judas's master, Jesus charges his disciple to betray him, so that Christ can be served up as a salvific or expiatory sacrifice - a fate that Jesus, as God, is fully aware has been divinely ordained. The entire perspective of Christianity as a faith depends on Jesus's sacrifice being expiatory, not punitive. In other words, for Christianity to be a religion, Jesus has to be killed in a sacrificial ritual as a representative or proxy of God, not as a punishment for being a political rebel, a commonly held viewpoint. In this regard, Judas is no "betrayer" but a crucial agent of God's will. This fact the Cainites apparently recognized, as they thus portrayed Judas as an agent of the Almighty, rather than a heinous criminal who betrayed the gentle Jesus.

The existence of the Gospel of Judas, which was surely not written by Judas, as well as numerous other gospels that were excluded from the canon but that were held sacred by a wide variety of groups throughout the Mediterranean, demonstrates that there was no one gospel story or perspective set in stone, and contributes heavily to the rational notion that the tale is fictional. There is no contemporary record of Jesus Christ or any of his disciples, not even of Paul, who is depicted as a notorious rabblerouser guilty of mass murder but who oddly nevers makes it into the history books. Judas appears to have been a literary device, much as Jesus Christ himself, as part of ancient, pre-Christian mysteries, in which a sacred king destined for a ritual scapegoat sacrifice is betrayed to the authorities in order to carry out God's will. In other words, the Passion Play really is a play, not a historical event, and it occurred thousands of times prior to the Christian era, with numerous people involved, not just once with the only begotten Son of God. In this drama, Judas plays a pivotal role, which is how he is portrayed in the Gospel of Judas.

The details of the Gospel of Judas reveal the peculiar "anti-matter" bent of the Gnostics, whose defining characteristic was that they abhorred "the flesh" and wanted to be released from this base, lower world. So much did these Gnostics despise the flesh, in fact, that they vehemently disagreed that the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had ever appeared on Earth as a man. In other words, the Gnostics denied that Jesus Christ as a historical person ever existed.

At this point in time, with a significant amount of profound and important scholarship produced over the past three centuries that roundly demonstrates just such a thesis - that Jesus Christ was not a real person but a mythical character - it seems erroneous to label anyone an "expert in Christianity" who does not at least entertain that possibility/probability.
"Gospel of Judas" gives new view of Jesus' betrayer

By Deborah Zabarenko

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Judas Iscariot, vilified as Christ's betrayer, acted at Jesus' request in turning him over to the authorities who crucified him, according to a 1,700-year-old copy of the "Gospel of Judas" unveiled on Thursday.

In an alternative view to traditional Christian teaching, the Judas gospel shows the reviled disciple as the only one in Jesus' inner circle who understood his desire to shed his earthly body.

"He's the good guy in this portrayal," said Bart Ehrman, a religion professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "He's the only apostle who understands Jesus."

The Judas gospel's introduction says it is "the secret account of the revelation that Jesus spoke in conversation with Judas Iscariot." Later, it quotes Jesus as saying to Judas, "You will exceed all of them (the other disciples) for you will sacrifice the man who clothes me."

"The idea in this gospel is that Jesus, like all of us, is a trapped spirit, who is trapped in a material body," Ehrman said. "And salvation comes when we escape the materiality of our existence, and Judas is the one who makes it possible for him to escape by allowing for his body to be killed."

Rev. Donald Senior, president of Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, said the document revealed the diversity and vitality in early Christianity.

"The question becomes ... does this tradition, this alternative story, if you like, in the gospel of Judas have a claim that in some sense is equal to the rival claim of the gospel tradition?" Senior said.

It is not known who wrote the Judas gospel. The copy unveiled on Thursday is of a document mentioned critically in the year 180 in a treatise called "Against Heresies," written by Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon in what was then Roman Gaul. It spoke out against those whose views about Jesus differed from those of the mainstream Christian Church.

In the Bible's New Testament, Judas is portrayed as the quintessential traitor, accepting 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus by identifying him to Roman soldiers. The biblical Gospel of St. Matthew says Judas quickly regretted his treachery, returned the silver and hanged himself.

The New Testament contains four Gospels -- of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -- but many more so-called apocryphal gospels were written in the first centuries after Christ's death, attributed to such disciples as Thomas and Philip and to his female follower Mary Magdalene.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Did Jesus walk on water - or ice?

One wonders if it has occurred to these scientists that this story might be fictional? Or that these stories have been rife in India and other places for centuries? Disciples of the Buddha, who is alleged to have lived six centuries prior to Christ, were claimed to have walked on water:
When the world-honored Buddha had left Savatthi Sariputta felt a desire to see the Lord and to hear him preach. Coming to the river where the water was deep and the current strong, he said to himself: "This stream shall not prevent me. I shall go and see the Blessed One, and he stepped upon the water which was as firm under his feet as a slab of granite. When he arrived at a place in the middle of the stream where the waves were high, Sariputta's heart gave way, and he began to sink. But rousing his faith and renewing his mental effort, he proceeded as before and reached the other bank.
Walking on a water has been a motif in several myths as well as in Indian folklore concerning numerous yogis. Within the solar mythos, it was said that the sun god walked on water when "his" reflection shone on the surface.

When it comes to religion and mythology, common sense seems to not be common at all. Do we believe that Hercules really and truly slew the hydra? Probably the scientists of the day found some sort of "logical" evidence that he did. As an archaeology student many years ago, I visited the site of Lerna in Greece, where Hercules traditionally slew the hydra. The scientific explanation for that myth is that there is a swamp there with many springs emptying into it; hence, a swamp monster - the hydra, from the Greek word for "water." There is even a spot at Lerna were this "water-snake" that Hercules killed is supposedly buried. Do these facts mean that Hercules was a real person and that he was truly at Lerna?
Did Jesus walk on water - or ice?
The Sea of Galilee - subject to a cold snap at the time?
Jesus may not have walked on water as the Bible claims but rather skated on ice formed through a freak cold spell, a scientific study has found.

Rare atmospheric and water conditions could have caused ice to form on the freshwater Sea of Galilee.

The research shows a period of cooler weather swept what is now northern Israel from 1,500 to 2,600 years ago.

Sub-zero temperatures could have caused the formation of ice thick enough to support the weight of a man.

'Springs ice'

The story of Jesus walking on water is recorded in three of the four Gospels, but Professor Doron Nof, an oceanographer from Florida State University insists his research points to a scientific rather than miraculous explanation.

'If you ask me if I believe someone walked on water, no, I don't,' Prof Nof told Reuters. 'I believe something natural was there that explains it.'

A person standing or walking on it would appear to a distant observer to be 'walking on water'
Prof Doron Nof, Florida University

The research involved a study of the surface temperatures of the Sea of Galilee along with air temperature and wind records.

Partially submerged in water, the ice patches, known as 'springs ice', may not have been noticed by observers standing at a distance.

'Because the size of the springs ice, a person standing or walking on it would appear to a distant observer to be 'walking on water',' Prof Nof wrote in the report's conclusion.

'Our springs ice calculation may or may not be related to the origin of the account of Christ walking on water,' he concluded.

'It is hoped, however, that archaeologists, religious scholars, anthropologists and believers will examine such implications in detail.' "

Monday, April 03, 2006

Muslim fanatics bent on destroying Egypt?

It seems now that prominent purveyors of the "religion of peace" are inciting people to destroy the ancient Egyptian legacy, much as the Taliban blew up the Buddha statues in Bamiyan. That crime was bad enough, but this one would be absolutely outrageous. We could only hope that any such behavior would be the straw that breaks the camel's back and causes a massive outcry demonstrating that the world will not submit to the "religion of submission." The destruction and prohibition of art, the wanton suppression of human rights, the flagrant torment of women - is this the best ideology the human mind could come up with? Is there really a "good" God in charge of such an ideology?
Aljazeera.Net - Statue fatwa riles artists: "A fatwa issued by Egypt's religious authority forbidding the display of statues has raised fears that it could be used as an excuse to destroy the country's historical heritage.

Shaikh Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt and the country's most senior Islamic jurist, issued the religious edict last week.

He ruled that the exhibition of statues in homes is prohibited and based his opinion on the hadith (the sayings of Prophet Muhammad).

Intellectuals and artists argue that the decree represents a setback for art - a mainstay of the multi-billion-dollar tourist industry - and would damage the country's fledgling sculpture industry.

Gomaa did not mention statues in museums or public places, but he condemned sculptors and their work.

Still, some fear that the edict could encourage people to attack the thousands of ancient and pharaonic statues at tourist sites across Egypt.

Gamal al-Ghitani, editor of the literary magazine Akhbar al-Adab, said: 'We don't rule out that someone will enter the Karnak temple in Luxor or any other pharaonic temple and blow it up on the basis of the fatwa.'"

Saturday, April 01, 2006

To Rape an Unveiled Woman

Although it may seem like a chicken or the egg question, it appears clear that the Muslim ideology is a deliberate contrivance to justify sadistic, violent behavior as somehow emanating from the Almighty God. Obviously, this disgraceful concept is not limited to Islam, as it has also spewed forth from Judaism and Christianity, as well as Hinduism and Buddhism to a lesser extent. The fact will remain that no good God could possibly be behind such vile and despicable behavior and that no such ideology, hiding behind the term "religion," should be respected in any way, shape or form. To do so is to spell the doom of liberty, peace and happiness worldwide. It is beyond immoral for someone to believe in a "divine creator" yet so wantonly abuse "his" creation. In any sane society, such behavior could only be considered evil, as it is in much of the world today. In places where such violent and sadistic attitude and behavior are not considered evil could only be deemed insane asylums full of Freddie Krueger wannabes.
To Rape an Unveiled Woman by Jamie Glazov: "The war character of this behaviour may become clearer from its archaic punishment perspective that has come out of use generally but survived in Islam until present times. During the Algerian independence war the freedom fighters used to publicly sodomize French officers in order to achieve the enemy's maximum degradation. The same applies to the woman as a possible internal enemy containing even a double danger: her alleged disobedience is a bio-political security risk for the Islamic entirety and her independent 'devilish' sexuality represents a religious blasphemy, contaminating male purity. Both have to be dealt with accordingly: beating, raping, torturing, stoning, and killing."

More Murder in the Name of God

It is quite apparent - and has been for centuries - that the most prominent purveyors of the "religion of peace" are anything but peaceful. They seem to thrive off hatred, violence, torture and murder, and they simply cannot stop themselves from abusing anyone they can find who will not or seems not to conform to their narrow, sadistic and anti-human interpretation of life.

What kind of god wants foaming-at-the-mouth followers who get their thrills by torturing and murdering his other creatures?
'Only a fraction of Teheran's brutality has come to light'

"She is the female figurehead of what she hopes will become a new Iranian revolution. Now, after almost 25 years in exile, the world is beginning to beat a path to her door.
Maryam Rajavi wants those who visit her near Paris to know what sort of regime Iran's mullahs are running.
As the leader of the largest exiled Iranian opposition group, she talks angrily of the 15-year-old boy flogged to death for eating during Ramadan, and the girl of 13 buried up to her neck and stoned for a similarly trivial 'crime'.

When she describes the punishments meted out by Iran's rulers, a picture of the limp bodies of two hanged men suspended from a crane is projected onto a screen.

She waves a large bound book that, she says, contains the names of 21,676 people who have died resisting the clerical regime. Another 120,000 people have been executed since the mullahs took power in 1979, she claims. Now Iran's rulers are trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

'We have always said that a viper cannot give birth to a dove, but nobody believed us,' she told the Sunday Telegraph. 'Only a fraction of the true nature of this regime, which is a brutal dictatorship of religious fanaticism, has come to public attention.'"