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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Buffetting the Gates of Humanity? Or Opening the Gates to the Buffet?

The union of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, which places over $70 billion in the hands of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is astounding and should be fascinating to watch over the next decades. It is indeed an interesting time to be alive, as these two Wall Street wizards and warlords have more firepower than practically any other individuals on the planet - and they mean to use it, in an apparently beneficent and beneficial manner.

This mega-merger has some factions up in arms, particularly "pro-lifers," who are howling that the alliance "may spell doom for the families of the developing world" - a remark that shows exactly what power the Buffett-Gates folks wield. Some of the money made by Buffett and Gates, you see, has been used to promote family planning as one plank of a multi-planked platform attempting to better life on Earth. Such a remark, however, appears libelous, as it is well known that the Gateses are extremely conscientious about the Third World and its problems of poverty and mortality. The fact that so much money is in the Gateses' hands can only benefit the poorest segment of the world's population, not hurt it. The same Catholic spokesperson who made that "doom" remark also compared Warren Buffett to the heinous Nazi scientist Josef Mengele, because of the former's family planning activities. Such hyperbole seems completely uncalled for but is typical of the self-righteous.

Indeed, what about the Catholic Church's insidious deeds worldwide for centuries? It is always mystifying how those who mindlessly follow and, therefore, support the structure of the Catholic Church can suppose themselves "holier than thou." It was not all that long ago that Catholic armies and inquisitors were rampaging around the globe, slaughtering at will and with the blessing of the Church's representatives. Past history, you say? Do murderers go free because they claim their crimes are "past history?" Is it only organizations or national leaders that are absolved of such sins? Should the Nazi Party, for example, be forgiven, because its crimes are "past history?" Or Cambodia's Pol Pot? Why does the Catholic Church get let off the hook so easily? Because it is ostensibly a religious institution? So, as long as we invoke religion, can we murder and pillage as we like? What kind of religion is this? Mankind's religion, obviously, as such violent and self-serving behavior "in the name of God" has been rampant around the globe for millennia.

Another so-called pro-lifer ("pro-lifers" tend to favor the death penalty - go figure) makes the following remarks regarding Buffett-Gates: "Some of the wealthiest men in the world descend like avenging angels on the populations of the developing world... They seek to decimate their numbers, to foist upon vulnerable people abortion, sterilization and contraception."

If things go as planned, Warren Buffett's billions will be largely in the hands of Bill and Melinda Gates. If there's evidence that the Gateses are out to destroy humanity, I would like to see it before passing such a harsh judgment on them. Despite all the complaining of the past about Bill Gates, the fact is that his business endeavors have significantly improved the lives of most people I know, including me. I would in all probability not be sitting here typing this blog if it weren't for Bill Gates, and you in all probability would not be reading it.

While we listen to the heated rhetoric from evident hypocrites, the Gateses strike me as very genuine in their desires to improve life in general on planet Earth. Power to them, as they - and we - have our work cut out for us.
Pro-lifers against Buffett-Gates alliance

Warren Buffett's new philanthropic alliance with fellow billionaire Bill Gates won widespread praise this week, but anti-abortion activists did not join in, instead assailing the two donors for their longtime support of Planned Parenthood and international birth-control programs.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to which Buffett has pledged the bulk of his $44-billion fortune, devotes the vast majority of its funding to combating disease and poverty in developing countries. Less than 1 percent has gone to Planned Parenthood over the years.

"'The merger of Gates and Buffett may spell doom for the families of the developing world,' said the Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, a Roman Catholic priest who is president of Human Life International.

Referring to Josef Mengele, the infamous Nazi death camp doctor, Euteneuer said Buffett 'will be known as the Dr. Mengele of philanthropy unless he repents.'"

Monday, June 19, 2006

This Stinkin' Earth

From as early as I can recall, I have always had a love for the Earth. The trees and animals, and nature in general, have often brought me great joy and comfort. Possibly the first and foremost of causes in my life has been the environment. My family was recycling back in the 60's; my mother also used biodegradable laundry products "way back then." I was raised to believe this type of responsibility was normal and common. I was shocked, therefore, to discover that the largest city in the world, New York, where I lived for three years in my young adulthood, had no organized recycling programs and that very few people other than dumpster-divers looking for bottles and cans recycled anything at all.

One of the pivotal moments in my environmental "career" came when I was working in a law firm in the early 1990's. While in the copy room in this office, I got involved in a fracas with a large and aggressive male who had overheard me making comments about the lack of recycling of the tons of paper being tossed out in such firms. When he heard my comment about "Mother Earth," he flew into a rage, declaring himself a Christian and saying, "I'm not born of this stinkin' Earth." Needless to say, I was taken aback, but this moment seared itself in my memory, and I began to closely analyze the connection between the degradation of the planet and fanatic religious belief.

It became clear to me that any ideology which teaches that it is proper and righteous to spit on one's own home is false, erroneous, mean, rotten and dangerous. And, believe me, at that point in history such an attrocious attitude defined religion and, in the U.S., Christianity in particular. In the past few years a relative handful of conscientious people who label themselves Christian has arisen to express concern about the planet we all live on, but many still remain in the "Rapture" frame of mind that not only cares not a fig for the earth but that actually practices studied contempt for our world.

Let me provide yet another example that many of you may have also experienced. A friend has written a message entitled "Global Warming & the Bible," in which he relates the following experience:
About a half dozen family members met yesterday for 'fathers day' dinner. I asked my uncle (a great sportsman & country singer) about the recent Al Gore movie "An Inconvenient Truth" & asked him if he noticed anything different about the environment that he fishes & hunts in on this topic. None of us have seen to movie yet because it isn't playing near us.

Anyway my uncle has never researched this topic & is trying to tell me this is all a fraud. My uncle said last night that a vulcano pumps out more CO2 than all of our vehicles put together. "So what's the problem?" he says. He claims, "there's nothing we can do about it & anything we do try to do won't make the slightest difference.
Vehicles are not the cause of it". He continues, "the end is in the bible anyway, it's time for the lord to come & you better be ready. Are you ready" he says to me.

"READY?" I replied, "Oh yeah, I'm ready & wish he'd get some fire under his feet & hurry up" (probably not even realizing that I am now an ATHEIST!!!)

My uncle recently recovered from cancer just 2-3 months ago. Obviously, it was a miracle & Jesus did it. He knows this, so it is a fact. Well, anyway it sounds like he's getting his [environmental] information from church, doesn't it? He has become a bible thumper for sure.

I am uncomfortable taking issue with my uncle under his recent circumstances & the fact that we've lost about half a dozen family members in the last 2 years including my own father, with a few more probably not far off now.
I too have encountered this destructive and self-serving attitude in "elders" who, facing their own impending death, evidently find comfort in the impending destruction of all life as we know it as well. In most cases, it is likely not very useful for those of us concerned to create discord within our families by openly challenging or contradicting such an attitude. We may "go along to get along," and such polite behavior may set an example.

Nevertheless, it may also be helpful to voice gently but firmly one's own opinion of self- and earth-preservation, based on common decency if nothing else, as the younger generation undoubtedly would appreciate it. In my own experience, while the older generation in general has gotten its feathers ruffled by my opinions, the younger people have thanked me in private and years later for stating my case. I strongly believe that the young ones are vastly relieved to hear a difference of opinion as to whether or not the earth is expendable in "God's eyes" or in our own. After all, these youngters will be living here when their self-defeating elders are long gone, and they are also doubtlessly looking forward to families of their own who will likewise appreciate any and all efforts at preserving and improving life on Earth. When one of my cousins, for example, became an adult, he thanked me for including him as an 11-year-old in my "adult" conversations. Moreover, some of the older people may also be relieved by your gently-but-firmly voiced opinions as to responsible care of the planet. As an aside but an example of how it is wise to give the benefit of doubt to older people, one of my most cherished memories is from an elderly couple who, after reading my book The Christ Conspiracy, thanked me profusely for helping them from themselves from the shame and guilt associated with religious beliefs, such that they could now die in peace.

Think about it. This planet is not "this stinkin' Earth." It's our beloved one and only home. And, despite fervent and sincere hopes that we may be able one day to inhabit other planets, "one day" remains very far off, and this hope does not in any event justify the wanton and uncaring destruction of our beautiful home. We must, therefore, find a way not only to "get along" but also to thrive and prosper. Our children depend on it.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

What is the Secret?

"I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy."

An affirmation to be said daily.

"Not only did I affirm it for myself, but for others that I knew needed it. I want to emphasize this point. Whatever you desire, affirm it for others and it will help you both. We reap what we sow. If we send thoughts of love and health, they return to us like bread cast upon the waters; but if we send out thoughts of fear, worry, jealousy, anger, hate, etc., we will reap the results in our own lives."

"I am whole, perfect, strong, powerful, loving, harmonious and happy."

Say it. Believe it. Pass it along.

Excerpts from The Master Key System by Charles Haanel, the apparent basis for the TV show "What is the Secret?"

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Rise of the Conservative Liberal

Because I focus mainly on religion, it may appear that I do not often delve into the world of politics. However, I have for a long time been politically aware, and I do not see a sharp divide between religion and politics, as in the past the rulers of countries have frequently been both priests and kings. I come from a rather politically active background, in fact, as my blessed mother was for many years a town selectman and then a state legislator, while my father was the chairman of our town's board of education and taught psychology at a university. We were raised on causes, most of which I share with my mother, who was widely respected by people of all stripes and political parties, as she was extraordinarily fair and balanced on a wide variety of issues. On some issues she butted heads with fervent religionists, which may have been a seed from which my own fervor has sprung.

In any event, while my mother was an old-fashioned Republican - in other words, the classy kind of yesteryear, as opposed to the creepy kind of today - I first registered as an Independent, then a Republican and finally a Green. When I left our state, I was shocked to discover what "Republican" meant elsewhere. I won't even go into describing my early take on the major political parties, lest I be deemed an "elitist." I do not live like an elitist, nor was I raised in wealth. My comfort zone is solidly middle class, although that referred not to our family income but to the way we presented ourselves. We didn't hire people to make sure our homes appeared middle class; we did the work ourselves, and from a young age I spent many hours painting, wallpapering, sanding, stuccoing, shingling, refinishing furniture and so on. We did all this work on a shoestring budget over a period of many years until we lived in what seems to me in retrospect to be mansions. Obviously, my homes were not mansions, but they were really beautiful. The last one I lived in with my family was a Colonial begun in the early 18th century with four acres of rolling hills and woods, and several large barns that entertained us for years. We were surrounded by gorgeous, healthy nature, including numerous pets such as dogs, cats, chickens, goats, horses, squirrels, wild birds, hamsters, turtles and fish. Our house and yard were always filled with critters of some sort of another.

Anyway, I digress, but you get some idea of my childhood. It was not completely ideal, and there were some serious troubles, but in comparison to the horrors that pass for life all over this planet, it was pretty good. Like my mother, who had such a strong sense of civic duty, at times I attempted to improve life around me. At other times, I was a mess and a scalliwag. But I did receive strong political impetus, most of which could be termed "bleeding heart liberal," although it would also seem paradoxical. For example, my mother held human life as essentially sacred and was the founder of a couple of non-profit organizations designed to assist people who were "retarded and handicapped," as we called them back then, by providing them with skills training and other assistance. My mother also found merit in the concept of "good death" or euthanasia, per the dictionary definition of "a quiet, painless death." This position seems to be a paradox but is not when considered in depth. Naturally, even though such "death with dignity" is a longstanding tradition around the world, mom took heat for her stance, which was based in part at least on her long and close observation of suffering.

I too constantly find myself in a seemingly paradoxical position, which caused me to coin the term "Conservative Liberal," with tongue planted firmly in cheek. I am fervently pro-environment and even helped get the Green Party ballot status in California back in 1992. Yet, I am also against gun control for the most part. Not that I would encourage anyone to run around with a gun, and I don't believe that automatic weapons should be made readily available to the public. But I also know too well the history of the world, including the neverending tendency toward tyranny. I suppose if I were to consider myself politically aligned, it would be with the American "Founding Fathers," the original minutemen and militias, the heroes of the American Revolution, et al. I do not concur with them in everything, obviously, as we are nonetheless over two centuries apart. But, as a youth I concluded that the Founding Fathers - as I understood them from my schooling - were classy and highly respected individuals, and I wanted to emulate them, such that I did in fact go on to major in Classics, Greek Civilization, because many of them were thus educated. Indeed, that type of education was considered de rigeur back then. I am not otherwise particularly knowledgeable about the Founding Fathers, but my impression of Thomas Jefferson, for instance, is that he and I would likely see eye to eye on many subjects. The issue of slavery is, of course, a sticking point that doubtlessly would have made me nauseated as it does today, and it is certainly not my place to make any apologies for the FF's for that bizarre aberration, anymore than I can explain its presence in my beloved ancient Greece.

I am also pro-choice, with reservations, but I am not against capital punishment in clear-cut cases in which innocents have been murdered. I generally have no problem with a life sentence, but I can understand the rage and indignation that would find the death penalty satisfying. It is highly tempting to simply fry the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, et al, ad nauseam. I frankly find the stance of "Compassionate Conservatives" who fret about "the unborn" but who have no problem "pulling the switch" to be paradoxical if not hypocritical. So, it's okay to compel an unwanted and unloved person into this world, and when they grow up and commit crimes, then it's okay to kill them? Obviously, not everyone who is unloved or unwanted is going to become a criminal warranting the death penalty, but children who are loved and wanted generally do not grow up to become torturers and killers.

In any case, I do not in reality wear any label when it comes to politics, as I analyze one issue at a time. I attempt to weigh everything that comes into my scope. For instance, whereas once I may have thought that the idea of an "illegal alien" was preposterous, as no human being is "illegal," after many years witnessing the effects of what is clearly bad behavior, as opposed to desperation, in too many instances, I have moderated that position. Of course, no human being is illegal, but there must be social mores and common sense and decency. Anarchy may sound like fun to the youngsters but would we be able to function if everyone decided that they just didn't want to, say, stop at red lights? I've thought about that phenomenon. For all the scofflaws and criminals on this planet, few are ready to recklessly run red lights. Now, why is that? For self-preservation? Most of us do it, I would assume, because it's the right thing to do. Obeying traffic lights could serve as a metaphor for society as a whole.

I do not believe all laws are just and should be followed; for example, the draconian drug laws are frankly immoral. There are clearly victimless crimes that do not warrant a person's life being destroyed by being locked away in prison. In the case of immigration, however, I do believe that a legal process of entry is merited. I would love for the entire world to be so desirable as is the U.S., such that people didn't need to be flocking here for an improvement in their lives. So, perhaps instead of expecting the beautiful Lady Liberty to throw open her, ahem, arms, how about everybody attempting to improve the rest of the world?

There are many other planks in the Conservative Liberal platform.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

"Illegal Immigration?"

Although I was already a supporter of less porous borders and greater enforcement of immigration laws, the logic of the following argument struck me enough to warrant posting it here. Obviously, as a longtime student and scholar of history, anthropology and archaeology, I am well aware of the "who got here first" argument, and naturally I find the patent genocide of "Indians" in America to be horrific. But the point could be argued endlessly along those lines: Are we sure the "Indians" were in America first? What about Kennewick man and other apparently very ancient non-Indian remains found in American soil? This displacement has happened the world over for many thousands of years. The Greeks, for example, have long occupied land that did not originally belong to them - does that mean that we can all go and illegally occupy Greece? Cool! I love Greece! No, we obviously cannot do that, unless we want to run afoul of the Greek legal system. Heck, weren't the Neanderthals in Europe first? I'm sure there are still some around - let's give it back to them!

So, is it only a question of how long people have occupied the land? As I say, this leads to an endless debate. We need to discuss this issue in context. If someone occupied your house before you, does that mean others still have the right to move in on you in the manner described below? The fact is that we have laws that allow for legal immigration. This is a very important issue, as the cost of illegal occupation in this country is staggering. Billions of dollars are siphoned out of our economy each year to be sent "back home," while billions more are spent on medical, welfare and schooling for illegal occupants. If you feel the same way, I encourage you to take action, such as passing these thoughts along to your political representatives.
Recently large demonstrations have taken place across the country protesting the fact that Congress is finally addressing the issue of "illegal immigration." This is an oxymoron. I hope none of you use it!

Certain people are angry that the U.S. might protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, to stay indefinitely. Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests.

Let's say I break into your house. Let's say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave. But I say, "I've made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors; I've done all the things you don't like to do. I'm hard-working and honest (except for when I broke into your house)."

According to the protesters, not only must you let me stay, you must add me to your family’s insurance plan and provide other benefits to me and to my family (my husband will do your yard work because he is also hard-working and honest, except for that "breaking in" part).

If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my right to be there.

It is only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I’m just trying to better myself. I'm hard-working and honest…um, except for…well, you know.

And what a deal it is for me!! I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of selfishness, prejudice and being "anti-housebreaker."

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Coffee, Gnosticism and Me!

On Sunday, June 11, 2006 at 3PM PST/5MP CST/6PM EST, my interview with Miguel Connor debuted on This is the first part of a two-part interview, the second part of which to air on June 18, 2006. Miguel has posted a clip of the interview on his Freethoughtmedia page.

This interview is more in depth than most of the past ones, because Miguel has a great deal of knowledge of the subject matter, so I was able to "cut loose," so to speak. (As much as one can "cut loose" with the subject matter, which encompasses numerous aspects of religion, mythology and Gnosticism. The entire interview may be heard at The Sun of All Fears. Please tune in!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Praise the Lord! Pass the Ammo!

this is an audio post - click to play

What place for God in Europe?

Europe has been seeing a steady decline of church-going for much longer than is acknowledged. In my opinion, the easiest solution for the churches of Europe and the rest of the world would be to start teaching astrotheology, which, I maintain, is closer to the truth behind many religious concepts than what is being taught today in the so-called houses of worship. It is apparent that people would like to hear something different, beyond the tired nonsense about a man of a particular ethnicity being the God of the cosmos and dying for our sins 2,000 years ago. It seems that many Europeans have become too sophisticated for this patent malarkey. Perhaps they are currently accepting the Da Vinci code premise of Jesus being "a cool guy" who married Mary Magdalene and hung out in France living "La Vie Folle."

Not a bad start, but, again, enlightening the masses to the widespread veneration of natural forces such as the sun, moon, earth, planets, stars and constellations may just ignite their fervor for learning and life. In doing so, there is no need to insist that anyone share in this veneration or awe, but it would be beneficial for humankind to be aware of these ages-old astrotheological myths and rituals designed to impart knowledge about our world from one generation to another. As may be obvious, I find this profound apprehension of the world and cosmos to be fascinating and inspiring. In fact, the knowledge of the world's most extensive and longest-lived religious concepts is a major source of my own joie de vivre, and I do believe that many others would benefit mentally, emotionally and spiritually from being illuminated as to the significance of astrotheology. For those of us who find abhorrent the biased concepts of organized religion and therefore who do not attend any church, temple or synagogue, we may at last find community in just such an "International Church of Astrotheology."
What place for God in Europe?
By Peter Ford
Across Europe,the conflicting currents of secularism, Christianity, and Islam are compelling Europeans to wrestle with their values as never before. In this first installment of a three-part series, the Monitor examines the forces that are shaping European identity - and explores why the Continent is debating what role, if any, religion should play in public life...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Christ Code: Stolen!

In my book Suns of God, which explores the ancient nature-worshipping and astrotheological roots of religion, I discuss the Greek religion and gods in detail, focusing on the religion and mysteries of Orpheus. The religion of Orphism was widespread throughout the Mediterranean for many centuries prior to the Christian era and was doubtlessly a very significant influence on Christianity, as verified by the important discovery in the news item below.

Orphism included wandering, proselytizing adherents who acted out plays that contained religious themes. Much of the Orphic religion and mysteries revolved around the Greek savior Dionysus, the son of God born of a virgin mother on December 25th long before the purported advent of Jesus Christ. Centuries prior to the Christian era, Dionysus's religion was spread by a group of missionaries in the very same area recorded in the New Testament as having been proselytized by Paul. One of Dionysus's epithets was "IES," which, with the Latin terminus "-us," becomes Iesus or Jesus. Thus, hundreds of years before the existence of Christianity and the alleged savior Jesus Christ, missionaries were traveling around the Mediterranean, spreading the "good news " of IES, the savior son of God born of a virgin on December 25th.

In The Paganism in Our Christianity, Christian apologist Sir Arthur Weigall describes the Dionysus myth:

"Dionysos, whose father, as in the Christian story, was 'God' but whose mother was a mortal woman [Semele], was represented in the East as a bearded young man of dignified appearance, who had not only taught mankind the use of the vine, but had also been a law-giver, promoting the arts of civilisation, preaching happiness, and encouraging peace. He, like Jesus, had suffered a violent death, and had descended into hell, but his resurrection and ascension then followed; and these were commemorated in his sacred rites. According to one legend, he had turned himself into a bull, and in this guise had been cut to pieces by his enemies; and according to another he had been transformed into a ram. His worshippers were wont to tear a bull or a goat to pieces and to devour the meat raw, thereby eating the flesh and drinking the blood of their god in a frenzied eucharist. Various animals were sacred to him, amongst which were the ram and the ass; and in regard to the latter there was a story that he had once ridden upon two asses and had afterwards caused them to become celestial constellations, in which legend we may perhaps see him as a solar god and may connect him with the zodiacal sign of Cancer, which, in the Babylonian zodiac, was the Ass and Foal, and which marked the zenith of the sun’s power and the beginning of its decline towards winter.

"...the connection of Jesus with Dionysos in men's minds is shown by the introduction into the Gospel story of the incident of the turning of water into wine at the marriage-feast of Cana..."

As Weigall outlines, the similarities between the Dionysus and Jesus myths include not only the torturous death and the resurrection but also the water-to-wine miracle, the Christian myth even keeping the same Pagan date for its celebration, January 6th. That this "miracle" predates Christianity is proved by the ruins of the water-to-wine sluice used by Greek priests at Corinth at least four centuries before the common era. Indeed, correspondences between the Dionysian and Christian cults can be found in Paul's epistles to the Corinthians, which is appropriate since Corinth in specific was a locus for the Dionysian mysteries.

A relatively recent and exciting find of Europe's oldest "book," dating to the 4th century BCE, provides us with yet more concrete evidence of the fact that the "Christ Code," i.e., the gospel tale, is not an original, true story but was taken from older myths and rituals.

Ancient scroll may yield religious secrets

By NICHOLAS PAPHITIS, Associated Press Writer

ATHENS, Greece - A collection of charred scraps kept in a Greek museum's storerooms are all that remains of what archaeologists say is Europe's oldest surviving book — which may hold a key to understanding early monotheistic beliefs....

The scroll contains a philosophical treatise on a lost poem describing the birth of the gods and other beliefs focusing on Orpheus, the mythical musician who visited the underworld to reclaim his dead love and enjoyed a strong cult following in the ancient world.

The Orpheus cult raised the notion of a single creator god — as opposed to the multitude of deities the ancient Greeks believed in — and influenced later monotheistic faiths.

"In a way, it was a precursor of Christianity," Pierris said. "Orphism believed that man's salvation depended on his knowledge of the truth."

Veleni said the manuscript "will help show the influence of Orphism on later monotheistic religions."...