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Archive for April 30th, 2008

“Apocalypse”: A “Biblical,” or a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Posted by msrb on April 30, 2008

Should we surrender our fate to a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (War, Famine, Pestilence and Death), by Viktor Vasnetsov (1887).

The Old Testament: Fiction, Farce, Fallacy or Forgery?

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel [note that there was no such entity as Israel at the time when this is supposed to have happened,] how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” (I Samuel 15:2-3)

Ox and sheep, camel and ass? What have they done, Lord? Can we shoot their moose, polar bear, and poison their water supply, too?

[FYI, the LORD of hosts has since denied any connection with I Samuel 15:2-3. He said in a concerned voice: “I have nothing to do with the Book of Exodus and all other fiction in that series, and have never advocated the slaying of anything, especially not “man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” ]

(Source) The Exodus as described in the Book of Exodus, is the departure and emancipation of the Israelite slaves in Egypt. Led by Moses and Aaron, the Hebrew slaves …

The Hebrews moved from Canaan into Egypt when Joseph was vizier of Egypt. …] Hebrews spent another four hundred years growing and multiplying. At the end of these 400 years, a new king rose in Egypt who didn’t know of Joseph. He enslaved the Hebrews and compelled them to perform much manual labor intensive work [Note: Historically, there absolutely no evidence of this claim.] … Moses, in exile from Egypt for murdering an Egyptian while defending a Hebrew slave [note that Moses was merely exiled, even though he, a “Hebrew slave,” had murdered an Egyptian “master”] received a call from God [last week a friend of the author also received a call from God, who said that HE never contacted Moses, and had no idea who he was] to free the Hebrew people … Moses attempted to negotiate with Pharaoh, who was not receptive… Moses, under God’s instruction, called forth a series of ten plagues [God categorically denied any knowledge of this claim, too, and said HE was a committed pacifist and hated biological warfare.]  The Pharaoh, enduring most of the plagues, would not let the Hebrews go, however the final plague, in which the firstborn sons of the Egyptians were taken, made the Pharaoh agree to free the Hebrews …

“And it came to pass at the end of four hundred and thirty years, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the Land of Egypt.”

However, the Pharaoh changed his mind soon after they undertook their journey and sent soldiers after the Hebrews. They escaped however, after Moses’ famed miraculous parting of the Red Sea [God said: “If you believe the total nonsense… you deserve Hollywood!”] Once they had crossed the sea, the water returned and caught the following Egyptians as they tried to turn back. … Significant events occurred at these early locations or ‘stations’, including the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, along with the remainder of Mosaic law. [Psychoactive hallucinogenic stuff brewed from Acacia tree and the bush Peganum harmala ?]

Exodus

Exodus 12:37 refers to 600,000 adult Hebrew men leaving Egypt with Moses, plus an unspecified but apparently large number of non-Hebrews (“A mixed multitude also went up with them” – Exodus 12:38); allowing for women and children, the total number involved may have been two million or more. Egypt at the time might have supported a total population of around 3-4 million, maybe even up to 6 million; in any event, the numbers given in Exodus 12:37 seem to represent something between half and almost the entire probable population of Egypt.


[Why is] Moses smashing the Tables of the Law? A painting by Rembrandt van Rijn

The logistics of the Exodus also present problems. Recent archaeological research has found no evidence that the Sinai desert ever hosted millions of people, nor of a massive population increase in Canaan, estimated to have had a population of between 50,000 and 100,000, at the end of the march.

Non-historical theories

Many archaeologists, including Israel Finkelstein and William G. Dever, regard the Exodus as non-historical. … In his book, The Bible Unearthed, Finkelstein points to the appearance of settlements in the central hill country around 1200 BCE, recognized by most archaeologists as the earliest settlements of the Israelites.

Biblical minimalists, such as Philip Davies, Niels Peter Lemche and Thomas L. Thompson, regard the Exodus as ahistorical.

The findings of modern archaeologists may present a challenge for Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Christians. The Exodus and the subsequent Conquest of Canaan that the chronologies of the archaeologists seem to plainly diverge from those that may be derived from known versions of the Bible …

The strong negative reaction to leading Conservative Rabbi David Wolpe’s 2001 Passover speech, where he plainly stated that the Exodus did not happen … (Source)

But when you capture cities in the land that the Lord your God is giving you, kill everyone. Completely destroy all the people: the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, as the Lord ordered you to do. (Today’s English Version: Deuteronomy 20:16-17)

A Letter From A. Einstein to Eric Gutkind

An abridgment of the letter from Albert Einstein to Eric Gutkind from Princeton in January 1954, translated from German by Joan Stambaugh.

… I read a great deal in the last days of your book, and thank you very much for sending it to me. What especially struck me about it was this. With regard to the factual attitude to life and to the human community we have a great deal in common.

… The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.

In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew the priviliege of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision, probably as the first one. And the animistic interpretations of the religions of nature are in principle not annulled by monopolisation. With such walls we can only attain a certain self-deception, but our moral efforts are not furthered by them. On the contrary.

Now that I have quite openly stated our differences in intellectual convictions it is still clear to me that we are quite close to each other in essential things, ie in our evalutations of human behaviour. What separates us are only intellectual ‘props’ and ‘rationalisation’ in Freud’s language. Therefore I think that we would understand each other quite well if we talked about concrete things. With friendly thanks and best wishes

Yours, A. Einstein (Source)

Why Must Otherwise Intelligent Humans Surrender their Fate to a Farcical, Fallacious, Forged, Fictitious and Violent Storybook?

Related Reading:

Moses high on Mt Sinai: Israeli study
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/03/04/2179961.htm

Did the Red Sea Part? No Evidence, Archaeologists Say! http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/03/world/africa/03exodus.html

Who Built the Pyramids? Not slaves.
http://harvardmagazine.com/2003/07/who-built-the-pyramids.html

Strictly speaking, there has never been any clear evidence discovered in Egypt, or elsewhere, to support the Israelite Exodus from Egypt!
http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/egyptexodus.htm

Those Amazing Biblical Numbers: Taking Stock of the Armies of Ancient Israel by William Sierichs, Jr.
http://www.theskepticalreview.com/tsrmag/1num95.html

[T]here is clear and definitive evidence that a group of Semitic foreigners lived in Egypt for a considerable period – however, they were there not as slaves, but as rulers. http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/otarch2.html

The Dark Bible

http://www.nobeliefs.com/DarkBible/darkbible3.htm

Evil Bible
http://www.evilbible.com/

Is God real, or is he imaginary?

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

More About the Bible

Related Posts:
coming soon!


Related Links:

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“Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved . . .”

Posted by msrb on April 30, 2008

Who is thinking, if we all think alike?

By Harry Saloor, Founder, Creating A Sustainable Future
April 21, 2008

In The Death of Homo Sapiens Sapiens (Part 1) I quoted E. F. Schumacher who, in Small is Beautiful, described what he called the six leading ideas, a toolbox of ideas stemming from the nineteenth century by which the civilization interprets the world:

- Systemic application of the theory of evolution;
– Natural selection, which insures the survival of the fittest through competition;
– Suppression of spirituality, religion, philosophy, art and culture in favor of economic gains;
– Relativism, which denies all absolutes and negates the idea of truth in pragmatism;
– Positivism, which states that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge and such knowledge can only come through empirical sciences (i.e., positive affirmation of scientific theories via exact scientific observations);
– Freud’s theory of unconscious mind, unconscious desire and repression.

Freud said, “Against the dreaded external world one can only defend oneself by some kind of turning away from it, if one intends to solve the task by oneself. There is, indeed, another and a better path: that of becoming a member of human community, and, with the help of a technique guided by science, going over to attack against nature and subjecting her to human will. [And if the technique guided by science fail to reverse the ‘marsification’ of Earth that it started in the first place, you can always hide behind more abstractions!]”

Freud’s theory of unconscious mind, unconscious desire and repression forms the backdrop for a powerful myth that, coupled with a discourse based on [fatal] traditions [narrative enforced through social proof] and religious dogma [pluralistic ignorance], are driving human race toward extinction.

Social Proof and our response to the Collapsing world

How could we be ignoring the signs of the looming environmental catastrophes, and what has that got to do with social proof? Robert Cialdini, the famed psychologist, says: “Experiments have found that the use of canned merriment causes an audience to laugh longer and more often humorous material is presented and to rate the material as a funnier. In addition, some evidence indicates that canned laughter is most effective for poor jokes.”

But why is canned laughter so effective, especially when we know it to be “mechanically fabricated” and so blatantly false? To understand this, Cialdini says, we first need to understand the nature of the principle of social proof, a potent weapon of influence. “It states that one means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct. The principle applies especially to the way we decide what constitutes correct behavior.”

On those conditions under which social proof operates optimally, Cialdini adds, “when we are unsure of ourselves, when the situation is unclear or ambiguous, when uncertainty reigns, we are most likely to look to and accept the actions of others as correct.”

Pluralistic Ignorance

The main danger of acting under social proof is “the reaction of other people to resolve uncertainty,” Cialdini says, because the others “examining the social evidence, too. Especially in ambiguous situation, the tendency for everyone to be looking to see what everyone else is doing can lead to a fascinating phenomenon called ‘pluralistic ignorance.’ A thorough understanding of the pluralistic ignorance phenomenon helps immeasurably to explain a regular occurrence in our country that has been termed both a riddle and a national disgrace: the failure of entire groups of bystanders to aid victims in agonizing need of help.”

Cialdini cites the classic example of “bystander inaction” that has been the subject of much debate in political, scientific and journalistic circles. The case is about the murder of Catherine Genovese in Queens, New York City. The murderer, the NYC police revealed inadvertently, had stalked and attacked his victim for thirty five minutes in three separate attacks before finally stabbing her to death. At least thirty-eight of the victim’s neighbors witnessed parts of the attack “from the safety of their apartment windows without so much as lifting a finger to call the police.” Why?

[Note: The accuracy of some details of the The New York Times report of Catherine Genovese’s murder written by Martin Gansberg has since been challenged, but extensive research into other similar cases, as well as an impressive program of research performed by two New York based psychology professors, John Darley and Bibb Latané, their colleagues and students, has produced unambiguous results that verify the characteristics of “bystander inaction” as described by Cialdini.]

Why did so many “good folks” fail to call the police even anonymously?

Did those folks hated the victim and wanted to see her dead? Were they all cold-hearted bastards who were hardened by the sheer volumes of violent crime in NYC? Were they afraid of the murderer? Was it the “depersonalization” associated with urban life?

Cialdini knows why: “The psychologists speculated that, for at least two reasons, a bystander to an emergency would be unlikely to help when there are a number of other bystanders present. The first reason is fairly straightforward. With several potential helpers around, the personal responsibility of the each individual is reduced: ‘Perhaps someone else will give or call for aid, perhaps someone else already has.’ So with everyone thinking that someone else will help or has helped, no one does.”

“The second reason is the more psychologically intriguing one; it is founded on the principle of social proof and involves the pluralistic ignorance affect. Very often an emergency is not obviously an emergency. Is the man lying in the alley a heart-attack victim or a drunk sleeping one off? Are the sharp sounds from the street gunshots or truck backfires? Is the commotion next door an assault requiring the police or an specially loud marital spat where intervention would be inappropriate and unwelcome? What is going on? In times of such uncertainty, the natural tendency is to look around at the actions of others for clues. We can learn, from the way the other witnesses are reacting, whether the event is or is not an emergency.”

What are we doing as the global catastrophe unfolds?


The Last Judgement – Fresco in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo.

Each day, we are faced with the facts about collapsing ecosystems, droughts, floods, declining fisheries, wild food, fiber, timber and wood fuel resources, deteriorating supplies of freshwater, eroding croplands, deteriorating air quality and climate regulation systems, failing mechanisms for disease and pest control, loss of pollinators, loss of natural hazards regulation, mounting toxic pollution in the environment . . . each case being tantamount to a premeditated murder. Every time we watch the news on the TV (or computer screen) from the comfort of our livingroom couches we witness yet another ecological disaster in the making. More species are becoming extinct, sea-levels are rising, ice is melting faster, extreme climatic events claiming more victims each day . . . every disaster a separate instance of “attack” on “Catherine Genovese,” over and over again, as we look on until she is finally murdered right in front of our eyes without our so much as lifting a finger to dial the “police.”

Cialdini says: “What is easy to forget, though, is that everybody else observing the event is likely to be looking for social evidence, too. And because we all prefer to appear poised and unflustered among others, were likely to search for that evidence placidly, with brief, camouflaged glances and those around us. Therefore everyone is likely to see everyone else looking unruffled and failing to act. As a result, and by the principle of social proof, the event will be wrongly interpreted as nonemergency. This, according to Latané and Darley, is the state of pluralistic ignorance ‘in which each person decides that since nobody is concerned, nothing is wrong. Meanwhile, the danger may be mounting to the point where a single individual, uninfluenced by the seeming calm of others, would react.”

Where does the religious dogma come in?

The problem becomes compounded when some people, prejudiced by the same powerful methods of influence of social proof, believe everything is meant this way and that “the beginning of the time of salvation would be marked by an important and undeniable event, usually the cataclysmic end of the world.”

Among the examples cited are: The Montanists of Turkey (second century CE); the Anabaptist in Holland (16th century); The Sabbataists of Izmir (17th century) and the Millerites of the US (19th century).


Posters like this were placed in public locations around the New England area in 1992. (Image maybe subject to copyright). See MSRB Fair Use Notice.

There we have it. The “almighty” took the good part of 4.54 billion years to create and perfect the Earth (not counting the preparatory time of 9 or so billion years that he previously spent to “create” the universe) so that it could be destroyed by a cataclysmic event, at least according to Christian eschatology (study of the religious beliefs concerning final events, or End Times).

With the heaven and angels (“they were created before God created the Earth”) awaiting our arrival, do we need to decontaminate, restore and preserve this garbage-dump of a planet and keep it fit for life? Why must we bother, if our peers, the pluralistic ignorant inactive bystanders, who surely must know better because there are so many of them, invite us to have faith and join the believers instead?

For those who “believe,” “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved . . . ” latecomers may dial “R” for Rapture!

References:

- Cialdini, R.B. (1993). Influence: The psychology of persuasion, New York: Quill William Morrow

- Saloor, H.(2007, February). The Death of Homo Sapiens Sapiens (Part 1). Killed by Homo Economicus. Retrieved April 21, 2008, from http://www.restorative-business.org/empire_focus.htm [website no longer maintained.]

- Saloor, H.(2007, February). The Death of Homo Sapiens Sapiens (Part 5). Who Really Benefits from Cheap Oil. Retrieved April 21, 2008, from http://www.restorative-business.org/empire_focus.htm [website no longer maintained.]

- Saloor, H.(2007, February). Cosmic Scale Evil: Money Fetishism and the Looming Omnicide. Retrieved April 21, 2008, from http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-bin/blogs/voices.php/2007/08/08/p18766

Posted in 6th Great Extinction, Armageddon, basic needs, biocapacity, business, cabal, collapse, ecosystems, Energy, environment, Global Warming, government, money, politics, religion, war | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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