Report Back on Intelligent Design Experiment - March 26th, 2006
This discussion references the following pages, for the benefit of those who might not know what I am talking about. Intelligent Design Experiment and Update March 3rd, 2006.|
The photo above shows the 'before' and an 'after photo dated March 26th, 2006. The photograph shows what I have been noticing in the mirror during the month of March, which is a fading which has occurred generally on the right side of my nose, with the really bad area now retreating to a region further up the nose nearer the nostrils. There is some redness in the image that is also due to the flu bug and a runny nose.
Just as a point of interest here, over the past few weeks I have still not conquered those cigarettes, and while I make note of the fact that this is slowing down the process, nevertheless it continues to happen. Without those cigarettes in the way, I would probably be finished by now, since cigarettes slow down the healing processes of the body. I feel very guilty about it, since apparently I cannot even quit smoking even when the most important issue in the world is at stake. The closest I came was on Thursday, when I made it to 10 PM, and then after walking like the Hunch Back of Notre Dame all day, with dozens of red hot knives plunged into my chest, I caved in. Perhaps cold turkey is unreasonable, and I am starting to think that the patch might be the only viable solution. Or perhaps I could have myself put into a coma for a few days.
I have noticed unusual phenomena lately. One is related to diet. When I load up on fresh fruit and vegetables, after some time has passed I can feel this sensation all over the tip of my nose that feels like hordes of tiny ants marching over my nose. I have also noticed 'swelling' and a phenomena similar to bruising. These all occur on the bridge of my nose, which is the area which suffered the most sun damage earlier in my life.
The only other significant change I have noticed is that I am growing hair. On my nose the pattern was asymmetrical, first on the left and then on the right, and I have seen that same pattern on my head. I have more hair growing on the right side of my head than the left. This is clearly visible in the mirror and I can also feel it with my hands.
A bridge headAnother strange phenomena I have noticed lately is that I appear to have established some sort of 'bridge head' within the Christian church. I don't want to make to much of this. Consider the churches of the world to be Europe and Russia together. Well, based on what I have picked up on, I appear to be holding a small patch of beach along the shores of Normandy. Its not much, but its a start.
As I have considered this unusual development, I have become more and more agitated, and my agitation drives me to pick up a keyboard. It is for this reason that I write, not to report on that experiment, since that could wait for Easter, or some weeks after Easter, just depending on how it all works out, but I cannot wait that long.
SinI am concerned about the 'dichotomy' that exists between the doctrine of 'sin' and the doctrine of 'enlightenment'. When is it appropriate to talk about 'sin'? I feel that it is appropriate to talk about sin when people appear to be unaware that they have any when actually they do. It would be typical in that case that not only do they have 'sin', while believing themselves to be 'righteous', but it often turns out that the 'sin' that they have, which they always consider a righteous act on their part, is actually a really bad sin, and not some mere small trifling matter. In this instance I choose what I will call 'shock therapy', which is a confrontational approach which is intended to destroy harmful delusions, and the purpose of such shock therapy is not to justify some doctrine of 'sin', but rather to clear out a path for 'enlightenment'. It would seem to me that most of the 'sin' that I encounter comes from two sources...it is either the result of a lack of enlightenment, or it is a conditioned response to the environment.
'Original' SinThe doctrine of 'original' sin I reject as an unhistorical nonevent, a biological falsehood, and worst of all, a diversionary snare. To speak of 'born sinners' who are then 'damned for being born with inherited sin' is to trample the principle of justice underfoot. You do not damn an ant eater for eating ants, and neither do you condemn sinners for sinning. That would be what they do, and obviously the only one to be damned for that would the manufacturer of such shoddy merchandise. If we understand that people are born human, and not born sinners, then we can understand clearly that the problems with the world lie not within genitals or are related somehow to our 'sinful flesh' but rather that the source of the 'sin' that concerns people so, is society. Somehow between the time an innocent baby is born and a later time when that baby is deep into some 'sin', some process took place which produced these results. Focusing on some theologically contradictory doctrine such as 'original sin' only obscures understanding of this process of environmental conditioning, and thus fosters the spread of such sin by fostering the type of unenlightened ignorance that is the required growth medium of such a social fungus as 'sin'.
It becomes obvious that people were not created sinners when you notice how few 'sinners' there are in the world, since most people have perfectly good and righteous reasons for doing what they are doing, and in the case of religion, the religious types do atrocious sins without even knowing that they are sins. You will also notice how damned hard it is to get people to admit that a thing was wrong or that they made a mistake and thus did a 'sin', since no one is ever wrong. The problem is compounded when someone accepted Jesus fifty years ago, and now must admit that they sinned in various ways for fifty years. It is more probable that they will just drop dead doing that same sin, since you see, no one here is a sinner. People were not created to sin, as you can tell by how little they like the idea, especially when it comes time to repent.
People are not 'born sinners', but rather they are born righteous, which is why it becomes so ruinously destructive for them to sin, since they must then admit to being a 'sinner', which is a fate worse than death, thus turning 'sin' for them into a deadly snare. If that peculiar stubbornness affected only individuals in their personal lives, it would not be so bad, but unfortunately it also destroys entire planets, since apparently entire planets can be destroyed and still we find that people are righteous, and that they did no sin, but were in fact right the entire time they were doing whatever it was that they were doing that wound up at the end of it all to be destroying the planet.
EnlightenmentThe only purpose I can see in employing that doctrine of sin is as a form of shock therapy, in those cases when you have, as one example, a big mob of religious people sinning up a storm, while of course being convinced in their own minds that they were the righteous of Jesus while doing so. It is my judgment that if you are going to shock them, then you should aim to level them right to the ground, pull no punches, and do a thorough job of it, and about the only problem I have ever had with this shock therapy myself is that perhaps I showed to much restraint and left a brick standing in that wall. If something is worth doing it is worth doing well.
It would seem to me that after taking the confrontational approach, and making people really angry and very stubborn by confronting them with their 'sin', the best approach might be to change tactics and toss that doctrine of sin aside and start focusing on the doctrine of enlightenment, since in the case of those religious sinners, their biggest problem is that they are so ignorant and consequently so unenlightened.
If it turns out that people have as much trouble admitting to being ignorant as they do when it comes to admitting to having done a 'sin', then we really are in trouble. However it couldn't possibly be any harder or any more difficult to achieve.
ProvocationI thought it worth noting here that there is this mythological belief that always makes the rounds that 'Jesus was always a warm loving individual'. Time for a group hug.
That isn't true, as far as we can tell by a critical reading of those materials we have on hand. As just one example, breaking the Ten Commandments by harvesting on the Sabbath was a deliberate provocation, just one of so many ways that Jesus went out of his way to provoke and anger religious people.
All those feuds between religious people and Jesus, which are one of the main themes of our manuscripts, were started by the deliberate provocations of Jesus, who partied and drank instead of doing Lent, always making sure to invite the 'worst sinners in town', who questioned the authority of the Bible, insisting it was full of human cultural traditions, constantly poked holes in the thin hides of religious people, and was just generally not ecumenical.
Now there are six perfectly good days to do your work, but not on the Sabbath, as the commandment dictates, and as the religious people of the time felt it necessary to remind Jesus, which makes us wonder why Jesus would find it necessary to harvest on the Sabbath, in particular when you consider how much hot water he was always in with those religious people, for he just never would stop provoking those people. It was his strategy.
Apparently he didn't want to live to long, for as we know, some of the most notorious murderers in history have been outraged mobs of religious people, and most people would probably want to keep a low profile and keep their heads down, thus making sure not to break any of those taboos.
Therefore we can discern that one of the big issues for Jesus was freedom from religion, which is ironic, when you consider how much religion has accreted over the years, and how many people have been bumped off for behaving like Jesus, by breaking the rules and provoking religious people to a fury.
The psychological origins of religious dogmatismOne of the lessons to be learned from the Easter Narrative is that one of the principle functions of religion has been to drive God off the face of the planet. This is religion we are talking about here, so it would then follow that religion was driving God off the planet in order to save the planet for religion, which was threatened by God, so that religion could then save the planet for God. Such is the confused mind of religion, and that is probably the best reason for anyone to be going about the business of provoking religious people all the time, which then would explain why Jesus was found to be so provocative. As he was said to have told his disciples, 'they are going to kill us and they will think they are doing God a favor by doing so.'
It is here that we can begin to discern the psychological drives that empower religion, in that religion, and its dogmatism, which lead to the crucifixion and the Easter narrative, nevertheless are clung to by religious people in the same way that a drowning man might cling to a life raft. Now having driven God off the face of the planet, they will need a life raft, which then explains why it would follow that they would crucify anyone who tried to let the air out of their raft.
Religion we can then begin to recognize as a type of deadly snare. It is a circular maze, with no exit.
The social and political origins of religionThis leads us to then wonder from where did religion originate? The answer is found in a particular set of social and political circumstances. What then follows is this ruinously destructive process of having such customs become traditions, in which case they become dogmas, and then last for thousands of years, and their true origins are usually forgotten and disappear into the mists of time.
As one example of this, we know that it was the custom of ancient Israel that one tribe, the Levites, were to be priests forever. Eventually this became a social problem, since there were to many Levites and no need for that many priests. To solve the problem the priests moved into the livestock business. They also invented a hierarchical reorganization of the priesthood, wherein only the 'sons of Aaron' were to be practicing priests. The rest of the Levites were to assigned jobs in the livestock business, running slaughter houses, shoveling manure and managing ancient feed lots. Jeremiah tells us that the priests forged documents such as Leviticus, and its detailed descriptions of that livestock operation, and it is understandable that they did, since they needed to find jobs for Levites, and by establishing a monopoly position in the livestock industry they created work, while they used the equally fictional doctrine of 'the Aaronite priesthood' to justify the fact that there would always be a few priests doing the job of a priest instead of the job at the slaughterhouse..
Time passed, and the slaughterhouse mythology became divine. It became a religious tradition. It became a dogma. It eventually became fused with Christian mythology, in that the divine cow slaughterhouse was actually an 'archetype of Christ', in that just as cows were made to bleed for the sins of the people in the divine ritual brought down by Moses, so Christ took the place of the animals in the slaughterhouse to bleed for our sins, 'once and for all'.
Classic Christian doctrines that have become established dogmas can also be traced back to specific political and social situations. For example, we will hear a Christian saying, 'Jesus took my place on the cross. He paid the penalty for me.' This is the doctrine of justification of torture, in that in saying this, a convert is confessing that torture is normal, and that even a brutal practice like crucifixion is normative. Therefore Caesar is not guilty, and far from it, when Caesar uses ruthless authority, he does so based upon 'the divine right of Kings', and is actually acting as the right hand of God. Therefore Caesar can continue to brutally oppress slaves, who are 'just getting what they deserve.'
Such a doctrine was born during a time of right wing reaction, and since it is impossible to maintain a slave driving economy without using sufficient terror and force against slaves, we can see that the main motivation for the development of such doctrine was the justification of crucifixion and torture in general, thus saving the Roman status quo, and preserving the economy.
But time has passed, and just as the cow slaughterhouse became divine, so too, did the torture doctrines of Christianity become sacred and divine. They are dogma. It is orthodox. It is now the one true faith, and the only path to salvation. The end result is the creation of a church which is constantly pulled towards the extreme right, since doctrines of torture and genocide are doctrines of the reactionary right. This fact then explains why churches provided the solid voter base for Adolph Hitler, a dirty little secret of the church, but an established fact of history. You see those two ideologies have a lot in common, and this explains that strange convergence.
The psychological origins of doctrineA study of doctrine reveals that not only social and political factors contribute to the development of a religious system of dogmas. Dogmas are also attractive because they actually encapsulate elements of human psychology.
Much of what passes today as 'Christian doctrine' actually has its origins in the philosophy of the Greek Stoics. As an example, much in the first three chapters of the Gospel of John is just repetition of the philosophy of Hericlitus, including direct quotes. Hericlitus was grandfather of the school of Greek metaphysics, and later we encounter Plato, who denigrated the physical world as imperfect as compared to what he imagined to be a perfect world which existed in some type of spiritual metaphysical realm. According to Plato, he could imagine a perfect rose, which then proved that the abstract idea of a perfect rose did exist, although in the imperfect and tainted physical world such a perfect rose was never to be found.
Greek stoics denigrated the material world as evil, and exalted the 'spiritual realm', and this type of thinking would later permeate Christian theology, including such ideas as having a ghost leave the body and go up to heaven when you died, finally free of the sinful flesh and thus able to achieve spiritual perfection in heaven. Such ideology is a psychological manifestation of Plato's reactionary response to the aging and deterioration of his own body. You can hear the same deep disappointment in the writings of Paul, which consistently attack the body and exalt the spirit world, and where he writes, 'I know that there is nothing but evil in my body.'
This psychological reaction to the aging process then leads to doctrines which denigrate sex, and the body in general. I recall listening to one elderly Christian matron, listening to another one of those sermons attacking sex and sin, and crying out repeatedly, 'Shame! Shame!' What we see here is a manifestation of that form of psychological justification where we say, 'I can't have that, but it is okay, because I did not want that filthy thing.' Christian sexual morality is therefore the bitter attacks of the aged against the young. It is the irrational attack on the human body as 'filthy' and thus in need of covering with a fig leaf, for the aged are disappointed and thus feel the need for a fig leaf, and therefore they wish to cover the world with the same fig leaf. They need to justify their disappointment, by crying out 'Shame!', and they need to pronounce judgment on things filthy which they claim they do not desire, for like the grass they have withered, and their flower has faded.
A commentary on the intelligent design experimentPeople cling to doctrines, and are resistant to reason, because the doctrine is actually a manifestation of their own psychological drives. Not all people respond to the same stimuli in the same way, and because there will always be some people who respond to deterioration of their bodies by attacking the human body and sexuality in general as 'filthy' and therefore in need of a fig leaf covering, there will always be found to be a market for such religious doctrine, unless the psychological underpinnings of such doctrines is itself undermined.
To illustrate the point I thought I would reverse one of my least favorite parables in the Bible, the story of the 'Prodigal Son', found in the gospel of Luke. In this story the Garden of Eden is compared to a filthy pig pen, and those who long to dwell in Eden are compared to a herd of swine. Those who practice Greek Stoicism, and wear fig leaves, and devote themselves to religious works, are compared to a hard working and noble 'elder brother' while those who long in their hearts for the Garden are compared to the dissolute who sacrifice their inheritance in exchange for a wallow in the pig pens of Eden.
Now I will illustrate a point here. It is okay to call some people pigs in a filthy pig pen, provided that it is not you. I can prove the point by reversing the parable, in which case we will call religion a filthy pig pen, and everyone who 'accepts Jesus' we will compare to the bad elder son who ruins his inheritance by going for a good wallow in the pig pen of filthy religion. Now keep in mind here, that this will enrage religious people, who have no problem constantly telling this parable, and thus comparing other human beings to pigs, but will have a problem when the tables are turned and it is their turn to play the pig role themselves. However, since religious people will not stop calling other people swine and pigs, it seems good to me to use a little shock therapy here, and reverse the roles. After all, some religion which is nothing more than a justification for torture and genocide can be deservedly compared to a wallow in an ideological pig pen, so I feel the comparison is justified.
The parable of the prodigal son - revised versionOnce there was an elder brother who went to his father and said, 'Father give me my inheritance.' His father responded by dividing up the estate and gave the elder brother a great inheritance, and the elder brother promptly deserted the farm, and spent the whole fortune on the purchase of dirty pig pen which he then proceeded to fill with every pig he could get his hands on.
As time went on, and the elder son became flat broke, the thought entered his mind that perhaps he might want to revive his relationship with his long estranged father, whom he was certain would be just thrilled to find that every dime of that big fortune had been spent on raising pigs.
So the elder brother set off to find his father's farm. Well, when he was still some distance away, his younger brother saw him coming from a long way off, and being the provocative little shit that he was, he immediately devised a plan in his mind. He waited until he knew for sure that his elder brother could see him, and then he stripped stark naked and went for a naked romp through the garden. Of course the elder brother was enraged, and thought to himself, 'that filthy little faggot.'
Well, if that naked romp in the garden had provoked that elder brother (who had wasted the family fortune buying food for pigs), his anger only increased when he saw what happened next. For word of the younger brothers naked romp in the garden got back to his father, and contrary to the expectations his elder brother, who was a strange prude of some sort, the father cried out for his servants in joy. 'Bring out the finest robes and place them upon this young man, and kill the specially fattened calf, which we have been saving for such a special time as this, for he is my son, in whom I am well pleased. '
Well it turned out that the younger son had to wait awhile for his party, since his father had hired a slow working tailor to prepare his fancy robes for the big party, and this gave his elder brother plenty of time to brood. We'll assume he eventually came to his senses, and thought to himself, 'here I am raising pigs, when I could be living in my father's mansion...I will go to my father and confess that I have spent the family fortune on a pig barn, and ask my father to take me back as a hired servant.'
Just for the sake of continuity, we'll say that when the father took the elder son back into the house, the younger brother was hopping mad, and went to his father and said, 'are you taking back that older brother of mine after he went and wasted your fortune on a pig barn.' And the father answered saying, 'son,. You are always with me in the Garden of Eden, but your older brother found religion, and he became dead, but now he is returning to life again. He was lost, but now he has been found. It was only right that I take him back in.'
As I was saying, I don't think this new version of that parable will prove to be to popular with religious folk, but as I said, turn about is fair play, and perhaps if they are offended enough by this new version of the parable, perhaps they might stop referring to other human beings as pigs, and just stop repeating that disgusting parable, which seems to be one of the perennial favorites, because it allows religious people to feel superior while at the same time pretending that they don't like the Garden of Eden, since the place is a pig pen.
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