I’ve been reading some fascinating material to research my upcoming novel. I was already aware of the similarities between the Native American “trickster” god (sometimes called Coyote or Raven). But I was unaware that he also has some incredible similarities to Yahweh of the Old Testament. Basically, Kwatee seems to be a pre-Christian protecting deity, helping humanity deal with the harsh, angry gods of the skies (weather, etc.) He’s a bringer of technology, of fire, that helps humans survive – just like Prometheus and other pre-Christian gods that defied the “sky gods” for humanity’s benefit.
I was surprised to learn, however, that Kwatee is also considered the creator of humanity (he made them from the dirt and sweat of his own body – basically the same as Yahweh’s act in Genesis). Kwatee also warned humans of the flood, and helped them hide underground. In Sumeria it was Enki, against the sky God Enlil.
In the Christian paradigm, God comes down from the sky and is BOTH the harsh tormentor, the weather and seasons, the creator (Yahweh) and ALSO the sympathetic, the helpful, the saving one (Jesus). In this view, an anti-heaven rebellion figure must be seen as “evil” – hence Prometheus was turned from hero … Read More »
Scenario ONE: A technologically advanced alien race attacks the earth. It wants to brand and kidnap humans to be used as slaves on their home planet. Anyone who refuses is destroyed. The aliens are very powerful and ruthless. Rather than simply kill those who rebel, they punish them by inflicting torturous pain, loss and suffering. However for those that agree to become slaves, the aliens’ technology can extend your life for a very long time.
Your options: You can either give in and possibly live out your life bowing and scraping to the alien leaders and doing humiliating service, or you can rebel and face the consequences. There is no “right” choice. However, if you’ve seen ANY alien invasion scenario movies EVER MADE, you’ll note that the heroes refuse to be dominated and find a way to destroy the attacking alien hoard. They are courageous, and say things like “for humanity and freedom!”
Scenario TWO: God is coming down to gather his faithful, who will be required to sing his praises day and night forever. If you were raised in a Christian family you’re probably safe. Everyone else must deny their culture, family, faith and upbringing and accept God and Jesus as … Read More »
Ayahuasca is a Peruvian vine that has traditionally been used to send visionaries into “the world beyond” for shamanic and spiritual rituals. Although I was in Peru this summer, I didn’t have the opportunity to join a ceremony. Imagine my surprise when I returned to my semi-permanent home in Taiwan and found a couple of different organizations that practice Ayahuasca use.
First off, let me be clear that Ayahuasca is not a “recreational drug.” The purely natural ingredients are relatively common and easy to get. The experience – which nearly everyone agrees is profound, momentous, and possibly life-changing, and can only be described as “spiritual” – is at the same time usually pretty miserable and involves vomiting, diarrhea and feeling like death (hence one of its nick-names, “vine of death”).
Despite all this, there have been no fatalities and few serious incidents involving Ayahuasca, and it is generally seen as a “wise teacher” or “emotional/physical healer”. It has increasingly grown in visibility and popularity in the west as a kind of last resort “cure all”. In 2011 there was even a documentary made about it.
A few years ago, Benny Shanon, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, made news for claiming … Read More »
There was an interesting article awhile ago by Stephanie Pappas at LiveScience.com about a study done at Harvard university on how/why people believe. They concluded that more religious people – those more likely to go to Church – are more intuitive thinkers, and more likely to trust their “gut” rather than stop and think about the questions. ResearcherAmitai Shenhav said in a statement,
“Some say we believe in God because our intuitions about how and why things happen lead us to see a divine purpose behind ordinary events that don’t have obvious human causes. This led us to ask whether the strength of an individual’s beliefs is influenced by how much they trust their natural intuitions versus stopping to reflect on those first instincts.”
Interestingly, the way they tested these individuals was to give them math problems with unintuitive answers, such as “A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?” The intuitive answer to that question is 10 cents, since most people’s first impulse is to knock $1 off the total. But people who use “reflective” reasoning to question their first impulse are more likely to get the correct answer: … Read More »
Recently scholars identified what appears to be the world’s earliest Christian inscription, dating to the second century. It is in the collection of the Capitoline Museums in Rome. Orthodox or mainstream Christians argue that Jesus, the historical man came first and that Gnosticism was a later, paganized offshoot of “real” Christianity – if this were true, we would expect the earliest records of Jesus Christ to be more down to earth; however this is the opposite of what we really find.
Every piece of evidence available to us, including this new inscriptions depicts a Gnostic or Pagan worldview. Specifically, the inscription talks about “the Bridal Chamber”, which was an initiation ritual common in Pagan mysteries and also in Gnostic Christianity:
To my bath, the brothers of the bridal chamber carry the torches,[here] in our halls, they hunger for the [true] banquets,
even while praising the Father and glorifying the Son.
There [with the Father and the Son] is the only spring and source of truth.
The Gospel of Philip, one of the Gnostic Gospels found at Naq Hammadi (Egypt) in 1945 which are generally considered to be later than the canonical gospels, is very similar to this “earliest inscription”:
The mysteries of truth are revealed, though … Read More »
A common response to atheism and defense of Christianity is “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.” In other words, looking at the beauty and order of the universe, it seems mind-boggling and impossible that everything just “happened” to come together in the precise perfect combination to produce the astounding variety of life on this planet.
There must be a creator, and that creator is God. This is often called the intelligent design argument, or creationism.
Keith Gilmour, however, has created a website/forum to point out examples of “un-intelligent design.” If a believer can point to the complexity of a flower, the way pollination works, or how certain species of animals depend off each other, or the amazingness of the human eye as “proof” that these things must have been created by an intelligent being, then why can’t examples of nature gone wrong conversely be used to question such a creator?
The Center for Un-Intelligent Design brings up the horrendous star-nosed mole (pictured above), all kinds of diseases, birth defects and accidents of nature or evolutionary mishaps to point out that, if there were an intelligent creator which was not bound by natural or evolutionary laws, He would probably have done better. … Read More »
In Taiwan, teacher’s day was last week on September 28th; but “World Teacher’s Day” is on October 5th. In between the two (today, September 30th, 2011) is “Blasphemy Day International.”
A good teacher, like a good blasphemer, is willing to question assumed notions, admit he doesn’t have all the answers, challenge authorities and received knowledge, and teach his students to do the same.
sponge bob crucified for teacher’s day
What is Blasphemy Day International?
(From the Facebook page) “Free speech is the foundation on which all other liberties rest. Without having the right to express our opinions, however unpopular, those willing to use political clout, violence, and threats will stifle dissent, and we must all suffer the consequences of this. As George Bernard Shaw quipped, “Every great truth begins as a blasphemy.”
The UN, rather than standing up for free speech, has given in to pressure from Islamic nations and has proposed a resolution to essentially ban criticism of religion. In its pursuit of “tolerance” for religion, this resolution wants to strip everyone, everywhere, of their freedom, even their obligation, to criticize what they oppose. Unlike one’s political affiliation or favorite sports team, religion demands – and has been granted – unique immunity from criticism … Read More »