The Bible Unmasked

Karen

A Disturbance in the Force
The initial collection of immoral events in the Bible is not surprising. There was no avoiding the entirety of the Bible growing up within a mission group charged with translating it into less-known languages, so perhaps I was more exposed than most. (As teens we used to joke among ourselves at the irony of being allowed to read these themes in the Bible while they were condemned in other books.)

I'm often surprised at how little of the Bible actually is taught by the various denominations since I graduated from the mission and moved into US culture. Everyone tends to gloss over the disturbing parts. I distinctly remember many sermons declaring that the actions so clearly outlined in The Bible Unmasked only prove that God can use even the most destructive and evil people in order to accomplish his ultimate purposes. (Therefore our sin does not prevent his work. How powerfully forgiving of him.) Also it was said that God is not above the destruction of innocents for the furtherance and protection of his plans, which always bothered me, though I was unwilling to challenge authority enough to ask for clarification or consider why this seemed wrong.

The awful stories were used as threats, the positives as lures, and most of us meekly went along, hoping not to endanger our relationships with a god of wrath by loving him so he would love us, while saying he loved us first so we could love him. It was a useful control structure for maintaining demonstrable conformity within a worldwide group. The basic pattern was at least outwardly accepted by those who wished to use the system for their work, though private conversations reflected a large variety of opinions on the matter. If I couldn't fit such judgment and love into the same character, I assumed that this sharp contrast was due to the cultural climate of interpretation at the time, and not necessarily reflective of the higher intention or perspective behind events.

That I didn't understand how these things could be didn't mean there wasn't an explanation somewhere, so even as a child I set about paying attention to see if I could learn what it might be. It's been a long journey, and I lost years to a black hole of depression before being jolted out of that deathlike state about ten years ago.

This year I was excommunicated from my church for refusing to accept their authoritative demand that I stay with my abusive, cheating husband and save him from himself. Apparently, this search for truth has led me into dangerous territory as far as their authority is concerned, since they demanded I stop "fellowshipping" with their members even in casual situations. It was painful, but also surprising to discover the strength these years of study and struggle have developed. Who knew I could stand against people I deeply cared about, and find confidence that I was right to live out the truth of my inner being instead of conforming outwardly and attempting to deceive them...

Reading through The Wave and various other threads and searches here, I've realized that in agreeing that God must encompass both evil and good (STS and STO?) in order for free will to exist, then it isn't so startling that the biblical stories convey both evil and good as "from God" since both are part of moving the story forward, however the religious twist the interpretation of motives for their own purposes. You really can support anything you want with the Bible the way it has been written, and many chose to do so. However, the twisting of the story doesn't remove the element of truth woven throughout, though it is disguised. The whole wouldn't be so convincing without the truth, which is probably why the truth remains despite its contradiction of the established perspective.

Also, Laura's further collection of mythic parallels in this thread reinforces a smaller glimpse I've had of a similar phenomena. The prevalence of flood myth among remote groups is often triumphantly proclaimed among missionaries as another evidence that the Bible is true.

Even as well-known myths clearly demonstrate that these powerful beings were known by the larger cultures of history, I have long been certain that "aliens" are still known among (all?) the primitive/remote cultures. My family and friends around the world have related stories in so many forms, clearly linked by this theme. It was easy to see that these beings still influence daily lives, often consuming people (or parts of them) or terrorizing them with curses, creating the need for sacrifice or ritualized protection. I have a whole folder of the mythic roots of the group with whom my parents worked, and some of the stories and experiences related to them by their local friends are clearly indicative of alien abduction.

"Angelic and demonic" manifestations are so evidently historical that the study of alien/dimensional/density interaction seems a natural progression of biblical, historic, and scientific study. After years of interest, starting with a book on aliens in the Bible at some point in my childhood, I'm thankful to have come upon this collection of knowledge now that I finally have the freedom to invest time in serious thought to discover how it alters my perspective.

It's all fascinating. Apparently I have trouble saying so in a concise manner, though it's difficult to know what to eliminate. Let me know if I've meandered too much (and where) so I can refine the process and communicate well within the group dynamic.
 

Laura

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You might like to read Bart Ehrman's books plus the work of Thomas L. Thompson, Keith Whitelam, Philip Davies, Burton Mack, John Van Seters, Russell Gmirkin, Bruce Louden. All of them come at the problem from slightly different directions and I can only suggest that you check their titles on amazon and pick what appeals to you to start with. For me, Russell Gmirkin was like a revelation, but I don't know if it would have been so key if I hadn't done all the other reading first. Another pair of writers who have produced very interesting material are Freke & Gandy.

Added: Not to forget, MOST important: Clube & Napier "The Cosmic Serpent."
 

JAFaura

The Force is Strong With This One
The general tone of the piece is well founded, but it's practical relevance is based on what I would consider to be a fundamental fallacy for it is based on the assumption that man's natural state is the everlasting search for universal truth and all-encompassing knowledge. It is a natural inclination by those who have reached even a modest level of enlightenment to assume that all those that have not reached such a state must be engaged in its search. The truth, however, is that most of those who take the Bible to be the ultimate word on virtue, the only true guide to enlightenment are simply allowing spiritual and intellectual laziness to shape their course. The experience of witnessing an otherwise intelligent, well-rounded individual allowing a book that they most likely know to be an arbitrary and unfounded statement of religious precepts to guide their behavior, has served to confirm for me the fact that it is either a lazy intellect or a want of intellect that affords the Bible its power.

I have had the opportunity to chat with a good number of these individuals and to hear from them the rationalization of their 'faith'. Even after acknowledging that the Bible is nothing but the randomly selected works of a few men, that there were in fact thousands of other 'submissions' that were ignored through an arbitrary and subjective process, that there are significant elements that are in direct contradiction to what is the supposed foundation of the moral authority to the book, even after such acknowledgments the ultimate statement is a simple rationalization for their intellectual and spiritual laziness. 'We are not supposed to understand, we are supposed to have faith' or 'These are simply metaphors for us to apply according to the situation we are facing' are the traditional far of the lazy mind. And it isn't only those of a high enough intellect who choose to forfeit their intellect, perhaps less guilty are those who simply lack the intellectual fortitude and spiritual courage to subject the book to any sort of objective scrutiny. These individuals are all too happy to have something that will guide their judgement and complement their intellect. Their self-doubt can therefore be washed over as they can justify poor judgment by simply pointing to their straying from the Word. It is far more comforting for someone afraid of true and deep self-analysis to simply be able to assign spiritual and intellectual shortcoming to their violations of the 'laws of God'. Such cause and effect analysis allows them to enjoy the 'certainty' that once they once again adhere to the established precepts they will once again be on the side of 'right' once again in the 'arms of God' and therefore in alignment with the universe. The Bible has lasted through the ages not because it is a document based on the word of God or anything like it, it has lasted because human intellect when not nurtured or when lacking searches for the easiest path to emotional and spiritual peace, not through an application of ingenuity or curiosity, but by announcing an allegiance to the established precepts of a religion. Their life, their contribution to the universe is thus judged not by an objective analysis of their actions, but by a simple regression analysis between what they do and how it does or does not reflect their stated faith.

This is particularly true of those who understand what the Bible is and how it has been used over generations. Those that possess such understanding and who have noble and true intentions will always look to link their true and noble acts to a particular passage or even book within the Bible. It is here that the Bible has acquired its mystical power as a volume of the word of God. Not in the words contained within it, but in the actions that have over the ages been attributed to those words by the actors. It is far more troubling and far more chilling when those who indeed understand the Bible's true role in the shaping of an ordered society use that understanding to further what would otherwise be considered to be counter to natural and universal law. So those who might possess that understanding and who also have an intuitive grasp of what is universal truth might look to passages where tolerance, kindness and openness of mind are reflected when they pass judgment on same sex relationships. And those who have an internal fear or who perhaps harbor secret feelings of their own will look to passages that condemn and castigate such behavior in order to further their own agenda. This simple, but practical example presents the clearest and most objective look at how the Bible, in the end, is simply a tool whose power lies not in the words contain within, but on the use it's proponents choose to give it.

It is completely baffling to me that those who will use their study of the Bible and their self-proclaimed understanding of it to explain to all those who are willing to listen just how powerful, how all-knowing and how beyond human understanding God is will in the same breath expound on how the Bible is the true reflection of God's intent. A more basic contradiction of the fundamental basis for religion would be difficult to find. I am certain that those of even the most average intellect are quite aware of this contradiction, but I am equally certain that their awareness never goes past a fleeting question in their mind, a question that they are more than willing to have unanswered.
 

anart

The Living Force
JAFaura said:
The general tone of the piece is well founded, but it's practical relevance is based on what I would consider to be a fundamental fallacy for it is based on the assumption that man's natural state is the everlasting search for universal truth and all-encompassing knowledge. It is a natural inclination by those who have reached even a modest level of enlightenment to assume that all those that have not reached such a state must be engaged in its search. The truth, however, ...
A more basic contradiction of the fundamental basis for religion would be difficult to find. I am certain that those of even the most average intellect are quite aware of this contradiction, but I am equally certain that their awareness never goes past a fleeting question in their mind, a question that they are more than willing to have unanswered.
Hi JAFaura, are you at all familiar with the work of G.I. Gurdjieff? His work is, in part, the basis of the discussion and work that takes place on this forum and can go a long way toward explaining what you've observed about "human nature", which is really just the mechanical state of man.
 

JAFaura

The Force is Strong With This One
Anart- Thank you for the reference to the book, I'll be sure to check it out. I must confess, though, that my interest in the forum is to get folks' originally developed perspectives and insight. While I am certain that the works that both you and LAURA make reference to are enlightening and full of insight as it relates to the topic, it is the forum's participants' thoughts and perspectives that truly interest me because I can engage in a learned discussions with the authors of what have thus far been very rich perspectives. Please don't get me wrong, I find incredible value in having a group of articulate and intelligent individuals comment on interesting works by brilliant authors, but I have been a part of other forums where that is the principal driver of comments or insights posted on them, which is great for those who have read the works mentioned, but somewhat more difficult to comment upon for those who have not.

So, if I write a comment on a post or if I write a post myself I find it far more valuable to hear the points of view of the people that read my post or wrote the post I commented on rather than simply being referred to a book. I would love to be able to read everything suggested, especially by a group like this one, but alas I only have so many hours in the day that I can dedicate to the purely intellectual and spiritual feeding of my mind.

I'm a newbie in this forum and perhaps that is the accepted and stated structure of posts and comments on posts and if that's the case, I will try to limit my comments to instances where I am familiar with or have read the book(s) mentioned. I haven't been a part of the forum very long and therefore do not yet know the various 'formats' that its members use to share their thoughts. I have never, for example, been a part of a forum where the author of a post shares entire and complex passages of a work through various replies to the original post. That is new to me and I most confess that it is daunting to see the amount of quoted material in a post like this one. I am certain all of it is relevant to some if not all of the elements of the originally posited idea, but the prospect of going through all of it in order to comment intelligently upon it is one that I will unfortunately not be able to master given the time at my disposal. Still, it is a new way to learn new things and that can never be a bad thing so I will do my best to absorb as much of the quoted and shared material as I can. Perhaps it is my background in law that has established in me the need to swiftly go through the material, spot the key issues at hand and provide an analysis and conclusion in the end.

All that said, whyisitso is the perfect example of what I mentioned relative to intellectual and spiritual laziness. Whether it is borne out of a lack of intellect, which I doubt given his/her elocution, or simply a desire to offload responsibility for what others may consider to be an offensive and far from enlightened perspective, it is clear that wits drank the Kool aid and is most happy relying on that to support what I suspect he knows to be unsupportable and baseless ideas. The overall sense I got from their reply relative to the original post is that he believes there to be an 'objective' right, that those who do what they do in observance of that 'rightness' are therefore more likely to impose their thoughts and ideas on those who are in the pursuit of some unknown 'subjective' right and that hierarchy, natural hierarchy is ultimately determined according to the level of understanding of that 'objective' right, so that those who understand it and adhere to it more are therefore above those who don't. As I understand his comments, those who show such understanding and who are therefore higher in the hierarchy happent to be men, which therefore means that, if we're to take a purely statistical approach, men are higher in the objective hierarchy. To me this runs counter to what I consider to be the natural and universal law that the only 'objective' right comes from the general acceptance of those that it governs not based on something as banal as gender, but purely intellectual merit. So those who choose to afford anyone, man or woman, with a position of authority or a position higher on the 'objective' hierarchy do so based on the intellectual merit of the individual's ideas, a merit based on practical application relative to those it encompasses, unbiased analysis of risk/reward, demonstrated understanding of factors affecting those that are granting the authority, etc. Simply yielding to the gender-based governance because it is so 'ordained' in the book is, once again, simple intellectual and spiritual laziness.

Whether LAURA has a bias or not is not for anybody to comment upon, unless the post itself is about gender bias, which it was not. It only became so once that opinion was put forth. I was disappointed to see the thread veer off the original topic and idea to pursue wits's sad judgment relative to his comments. I'm not saying he should not have been put in place, but far too much time and energy was spent on it. It gives a newcomer the sense that perhaps wits's comment hit a raw nerve with the populace of the forum, something I know is not the case. Just a thought from someone who's new and feeling their way around. As always thank you for your insights.
 

anart

The Living Force
JAFaura said:
Anart- Thank you for the reference to the book, I'll be sure to check it out. I must confess, though, that my interest in the forum is to get folks' originally developed perspectives and insight. While I am certain that the works that both you and LAURA make reference to are enlightening and full of insight as it relates to the topic, it is the forum's participants' thoughts and perspectives that truly interest me because I can engage in a learned discussions with the authors of what have thus far been very rich perspectives.
But if you haven't read the background material, then you're forcing others to try to explain elementary things to you rather than you just making the effort yourself to get up to speed. It's rather inconsiderate of you, especially considering the purpose and spirit of this forum. You did read and understand the forum guidelines, correct?
 

Laura

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JAFaura said:
Anart- Thank you for the reference to the book, I'll be sure to check it out. I must confess, though, that my interest in the forum is to get folks' originally developed perspectives and insight. While I am certain that the works that both you and LAURA make reference to are enlightening and full of insight as it relates to the topic, it is the forum's participants' thoughts and perspectives that truly interest me because I can engage in a learned discussions with the authors of what have thus far been very rich perspectives.
You might want to re-read the forum guidelines then.
 

Atuya

Padawan Learner
JAFaura said:
I haven't been a part of the forum very long and therefore do not yet know the various 'formats' that its members use to share their thoughts.
JAFaura, I appreciate what you have been writing over the last few days, and the way in which you express yourself. However, as you mentioned, there are only so many hours in a day; and it takes me a relatively long time to read your posts because of the long paragraphs.

Most members of this forum share their thoughts concisely and precisely with a nice beautiful space between them. You might like to try out this type of formatting. Shorter paragraphs are easier and quicker to read.

Reading on the forum isn't like reading a book, or a printed page, or even an online article. Why? Dunno...

This is probably not what you intended when you wrote about 'formats' above, but :cool2:.

JAFaura said:
the points of view of the people that read my post or wrote the post I commented on rather than simply being referred to a book
I read your original post. It doesn't invite me to respond in any way. There are some really talented critics on this forum who could go through that post and give you some serious insight. But that insight must start as a critique of what you wrote, because given the work of Gurdjieff, there isn't much there to actually respond to.

Most people here are intimately familiar with that work, and so to help you be more 'with it' and :grad:, the previous responses were subtly saying, 'Hey buddy, look again. That square is a cube.'

There was rich perspective offered by anart in her first response: "human nature" is merely the mechanical state of man. And if that doesn't make sense or have value as a response to your post, the works of Gurdjieff are highly esteemed and frequently referenced by this community. You can find his writings in any number of places.

And that's my 'point of view'.
 

JAFaura

The Force is Strong With This One
Thank you for the tips. As I said, I'm certain that all the works referenced are very insightful, but honestly I am interested in the thoughts of someone I can engage with. Google, and various other search engines are more than adequate a providing relevant works by others about any topic one could imagine, what I'm looking for is intelligent people's perspectives on those works and on the topics defined in the forum.

I'm sure all the authors that forum participants follow closely are absolutely brilliant, but I'm interested in how those authors have helped to shape the forum participants' perspectives. None of the people I spoke with about the topic, professors at Yale, UC Irvine, Dartmouth and Princeton, detectives, prosecutors and defense attorneys mentioned Grudjieff nor any of the other works referenced or the concept of ponerology, does that mean that their insights and findings should not be shared in this forum? If it does I apologize and I will not share perpectives that do not adhere to the 'approved' authors.

LAURA and Anart, your responses are a bit off-putting to be quite frank. YES I have read the guidelines. Perhaps it would more simple to say that even if I had read each and every book I would still be more interested in people's original take on a subject, whether it agrees with my take or not. If the authors you refer to are forum participants then all the better. You both make it sound like anyone who dares to comment on the forum who has not read the referenced material is 'inconsiderate' because they haven't read the authors you mention. Seriously?? I posted what I posted after being given directions by STT editors on how to do so. I'm sorry, but I don't recall them telling me reading referenced material is a prerequisite to posting.

Anart- The post was meant to share insights gained over many months of conversations with a number of experts, scientists and researchers. I have looked through the fundamental premise of the works referenced and while I can see where they are related to what I shared, they are very different perspectives from what I shared and from what I heard from the experts I spoke with. Even if that had not been the case, I fail to see how sharing an idea is inconsiderate. If your reaction to the post is 'someone already wrote that somewhere else' just don't read it, simple. If your own perspective is completely founded in a specific work then simply say 'I agree with what so and so says in their book', then the onus is on me to either read so and so or not.

Anart- You make the statement that human nature is the mechanical state of man as if that was the only universally accepted perspective. I'm sorry, but I don't agree with it. The work done at Yale with infants and 'human nature' preclude it from being a 'mechanical state' because the research subjects are not yet developed enough to HAVE a mechanical state. That's the point of the research. I'm happy to consider the statement as an opinion or POV, but not as fact.

Atuya your response is more what I am used to, thank you. I mentioned 'formats' in reference to posts where there is an original post and then, as replies, there are pages and pages of quoted material posted by the original author sometimes in response to a reply and sometimes not. I agree, posts should be short and sweet and I'll definitely break mine up better. Sifting through pages and pages of a book to finally get to original thinking was new to me. That's what I meant. :)
 

anart

The Living Force
JAFaura said:
LAURA and Anart, your responses are a bit off-putting to be quite frank. YES I have read the guidelines. Perhaps it would more simple to say that even if I had read each and every book I would still be more interested in people's original take on a subject, whether it agrees with my take or not.
Of course we are discussing our thoughts on all matters we discuss here - you seem to be taking a rather black and white stance on the topic - the point is that people's thoughts should, at the very least, be informed by the material we have referenced. That makes it possible for us all to communicate using an "adult dictionary" as they say. Your statements thus far indicate that you simply do not have the necessary background to understand the conversation here - that's okay and easily remedied IF you are sincere about it and are willing to do the necessary reading - it's fascinating 'stuff'. If a person is unwilling to even educate themselves on the background information before engaging in discussion it's rather like someone entering a chess club meeting and demanding that everyone there switch to checkers since he wants to play checkers and doesn't know anything about chess. It's really rather simple. This forum serves a very specific purpose. If you are interested in sincerely participating, then please at least put as much effort in as it takes to read the relevant material.

It would also be great if you could work on being more concise in your posts - brevity is very important. :)
 

Gimpy

The Living Force
LAURA and Anart, your responses are a bit off-putting to be quite frank.
Hello JaFaura,

Let me return 'frankness': Please do not put Laura's name in caps. That is shouting, and its rude.

Thanks. :flowers:

You both make it sound like anyone who dares to comment on the forum who has not read the referenced material is 'inconsiderate' because they haven't read the authors you mention. Seriously??
If you really read the guidelines, you'd not write the above. Seriously.

Relax JaFaura, read and think things through a while. :flowers:
 

Laura

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The main idea conveyed in the guidelines is that there are certain works that are the main lines of force in the discourse here and having those things under your belt enable you to enter the discourse utilizing the same language as the other forum members. Otherwise, people have to take a lot of time to back up and bring you up to speed and that is something you can actually do on your own as an act of external considering.
 

JAFaura

The Force is Strong With This One
Any time I can learn something new is a good time, so I try to read as much as I can of what I consider to be good work and I have no doubt that the works referenced and commented on are intelligent and influential. I took exception to the word 'inconsiderate' because it was not and is not my expectation that anyone would need to backtrack or go back to explain one of the referenced works.

My understanding of a forum is a place where people share ideas respectfully and honestly. If a comment or reply demonstrates a lack of understanding of a referenced work then it can simply be ignored or not be considered at all, simple. I am completely fine with people ignoring what I write if they do not find it meets with the standards of the forum, but I really don't understand the label of inconsiderate when I have not asked nor expected for anyone to bring me along or explain things to me, that's all.

If there is an implied expectation that those who know more or are better versed in a referenced work have to bring those that aren't along or that they have to go back and explain the basis for the referenced work, then I understand the label of 'inconsiderate' and apologize for missing that implied expectation in the guidelines and I'll refrain from commenting unless I am well-versed in the work.

I apologize for capitalizing Laura, it was definitely not my intention to SHOUT. ;-)
 

anart

The Living Force
JAFaura said:
Any time I can learn something new is a good time, so I try to read as much as I can of what I consider to be good work and I have no doubt that the works referenced and commented on are intelligent and influential. I took exception to the word 'inconsiderate' because it was not and is not my expectation that anyone would need to backtrack or go back to explain one of the referenced works.

My understanding of a forum is a place where people share ideas respectfully and honestly. If a comment or reply demonstrates a lack of understanding of a referenced work then it can simply be ignored or not be considered at all, simple. I am completely fine with people ignoring what I write if they do not find it meets with the standards of the forum, but I really don't understand the label of inconsiderate when I have not asked nor expected for anyone to bring me along or explain things to me, that's all.
Think of it this way: as long as you are paying more attention to your own needs and what you expect (demand) from this forum than you are the needs of the other members of this forum and how things are conducted here, you are being inconsiderate. It's really not that complicated. Thus far, your posts have been all about you, what you expect, what you understand, what you demand of the forum and others. If you want to start your own forum and run it the way you want to run it, then feel free. If you want to actually read and understand the guidelines of this forum and abide by the spirit and purpose of this forum, then you are welcome to do that, but please understand that having to explain that to you numerous times, as we have had to do, is just more proof that you're really not thinking of anyone other than yourself and your own needs/demands/expectations (thus being entirely inconsiderate).
 

JAFaura

The Force is Strong With This One
I can only offer what I own, which is the body of experience and understanding that my life has afforded me thus far and I can only ask for what you are willing to give. I would never be so presumptuous to offer up anyone else's experiences or understanding nor to assume what others might want or need. It is not that I think what I want or I understand or I feel is any more important or significant than what others want, understand, need or feel, it is simply that those are the only things I fully own and which I can fully offer.

The fact that I do not reference Gurdjieff or Castañeda or others does not mean I am not familiar with their work or its importance. My understanding of Beelzebub's Tales is still quite murky as is my essential understanding of All and Everything and even Meetings with Remarkable Men has failed to bring a clear understanding of their practical applications nor only in the context to the Work, but in a much broader more expansive and ever-changing search for the meaning of objective truth.

Yours, Laura's and others' perspectives on those and other works are of great value, but only if they are freely given. I regret that my lack of reference to these and other works have served to convey that I am unaware or unfamiliar with them, it was not my intent. We will simply have to disagree as to whether that lack of reference is inconsiderate. As I have made clear in every post and comment I have offered, I thank you and anyone else who affords me the consideration and time to comment or share, but I would never presume to impose on anyone to do so. That would indeed be inconsiderate.
 
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