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2022-07-21 Paper Jesuses

This is the an offshoot from the History conversation Rory and I are engaged in. Intertwined with the actual history of events I am curious as to what drives people.


In the history thread I proposed that humans are basically driven and governed by physicality, sentiency, cognition, ego, intelligence and purpose/meaning (why I do things/God) and legacy.


This thread is my musings on religion and purpose and why I define myself (finally) as agnostic. For a definition of agnostic, I am fine with Oxford's view. Looking at traits, I think I have high intelligence - that ability to learn, retain and solve information - and that I have high cognition - that is the ability to take seemingly unrelated things and find useful relationships of the exist. I think these two traits make me "question" all formal religion.

Look at the words that are similar to agnostic - Skeptical, doubting, cynical and unbelieving. I would say that's a religious person's twist on being agnostic - it's a little derogatory and implies being "wrong.". Why can't I change those with words like scientific, unsheeplike, individualistic, questioning, nondogmatic?


In a big real way we have no "real" history until we can record it. We can scratch pictures on on cave walls and we can carve totems and statues and as we developed language we started things like Egyptian Hieroglyphics and Chinese character sets, arabic and sanskrit. The Chinese character set has something like 8,000 characters. Compared to modern English with like 470,000 words we can discern that it is harder to "nuance" Chinese writing than English. Those 26 characters are pretty darn flexible...


So as we organized into bigger and bigger clans we started being able to write shit on the walls in Egypt, Greece and China, Asia and the Arab countries. It wasn't until like 100AD that paper sort of as we know it was invented and we start to record more voluminous records in certain parts of the world. Prior to that as early as 400bc papyrus was used but papyrus breaks down relatively quickly so most anything written "pre-Jesus" is lost or we may only have fragments. Concurrently and earlier we probably inked on animal skins. But clearly not the zillions of words a day that 7-8 billion folks are spewing into the internet every day - LOL...


So let's dial back to about 1,000 BC. Archeologically we can surmise that David has become the "King of the Jews," the Iron Age is starting, Latins are starting to move into Italy, Ancient Iranians are forming Persia, Assyrians are starting to attack neighboring people's and the known world population is about 50 million - Like 1/3 of the population of California - but we aren't really gonna be recording any of this shit in a real manner until about 100AD!


So Jesus dies at 33 or whatever and Mathew, Mark, Luke and John don't start writing about this shit (kinda like me) until they are like 70 or whatever and then it is believed these gospel take about 100 years to complete. It is a bit ludicrous to think that the gospel is a play by play actual account of things that happened. The 4 gospels are written by the same guys and there are inconsistencies (if you will) among them and completely different perspectives.


Now Muhhamed lived from 570-632. It was written between like 610 up until he died in 632. He didn't claim to be God but he was a prophet of God.


The Jews of course had Moses who was also a prophet, savior of Jews etc. and was around 1300 years before Jesus. But in Moses' day God parted the Red Sea, not Moses, God revealed the commandments at the burning bush, God saved Daniel in the lions den. God brought down the walls of Jericho etc. while Jesus apparently converted fishes and loaves, did miracle healing and for his grand finale rose from the dead as God on Earth.


Now the ten commandments may have been carved in tablets but the reality is these "stories" are really more like a collection of rules with some legends, folklore and stories passed down by word of mouth over 1,000 freakin' years! I think the reason there is a lot of accuracy is that if you lived in Jewish society you followed these rule, Don't kill, women don't go to market on their periods, etc. etc.


Now place yourself in Moses time. There's flood there's famine, the moon changes shape for some odd reason, the day is separated into day and night by a blackout curtain with holes in it but one big hole changes shape, getting smaller and smaller, then bigger and bigger until it is a big round hole. Sea broils at times, sparks fly from the sky and light bushes on fire from whence "God" talks to Moses. Depending on where you are volcanoes erupt, tornadoes happen. People fall ill for no reason and they die. So to explain all the unexplainable and to answer "purpose" we invent a God. He sets the rules and if you do as he says, you will generally die and join him in a really cool place that is darned easy to live. If you don't follow the rules, we'll add in a hell so we got both the carrot and stick covered.


Living is literal - That is wake up, hunt and pick, eat, sleep repeat. Organize into groups for protection, learn to farm, maybe save some food as a hedge against a bad harvest. But you're doing all that fine and dandy and then one year there is a drought and all the crops die. Hey, we pissed off God, we better do some shit to please him. Now not only an individual can piss off God but a whole people can fall afoul of God. This leads to punishing, banishing or killing individuals that might piss of God.


So what happened after Jesus? How come all the Jews didn't become Christians. Clearly a bunch of them said, "Nah. That's all bullshit I'm gonna keep being a Jew. I mean we were first and our testament is pretty much all we need.


The martyred Jesus and his marketing department Mathew, Mark Luke and John. Put all their eggs in the Jesus basket and start sustaining and growing the following. I mean, who doesn't want a God who's gonna do miracles and shit for "me" personally. That Jewish God hasn't intervened on our behalf in like 1,000 years. When the Roman's throw us into the arena, God doesn't save me like he did David!


Now 500 years later this Mohamed guy shows up. He writes his prophesies in real time, while he's alive. To be honest I have never read the Koran but given these three choices I'd give the Koran high marks for probably accuracy of what Muhammed said and did. I'd give Christianity the lowest marks on accuracy of what Jesus actually did here. I give Judaism, or more accurately the Ten Commandments the highest marks because, ya know, The ten commandments is a pretty good way to live your life. Besides there are a lot of really cool stories in the Old Testament. If I was lost on a desert Isle that would be a good book to have along with me.


When I say that the Ten Commandments are good the response is, "So you are a Christian?" - No. "Oh, so you are an unbeliever" (atheist)- No. Not that I care what anyone thinks.


Now imagine you are a Norseman, aside from all that other shit, you have Aurora Borealis, which if you've never seen it is some wickedly weird shit. Spread those 50 million folks out around the world and it's zero wonder they all invented different forms of "Goddery." Hundreds of them.


It's pretty reasonable to determine that the "Science" of the world or knowledge or "cognizance" of cause and effects developed at different rates. If you are in South America no one really show up till modern times but we find Aztecs. If you are in the Australian continent you have Aboriginal Spirituality and no one knows anything about it until like the 1700s. In North America you have native Indian beliefs with totems and so on and no one really starts messing with them until the 1600's. Don't forget the Polynesians and Pacific Islanders!


It would appear however, that knowledge grows faster in the middle east and China. Lot's of land that is connected "continentally" or by short ocean trips that are relatively easy to make. So around 750 BC the Israeli Empire is about to get wiped out by Assyrians, the Egyptians have a good run from about 3,000BC until about 400BC. The Greeks make a good showing from about 1200BC to about 300BC. Then, along comes the Romans. They had a really good run, arguably 1,000 years. I am not scholarly enough to debate it but I accept about 800BC, the founding of Rome, until about 500AD when the empire starts to come apart. One could argue you are only an Empire after you have conquered and subjugated a foreign country with one ruler (Emperor) but empires aren't born fully formed and don't end in a day end in a day. So you can slide it to around when Rome starts visiting Egypt about 100BC to 1450 When Constantinople falls if you want, I won't argue. Some like to think the Egyptians fell apart over Antony and Cleopatra, good stories, sexy movie but the Egyptians are pretty despotic and if it's the right word, lazy. They aren't paying attention to the stove as much as they did. "I mean by 100BC who can remember the last time we built a pyramid or a Sphinx?"


As I said in the history thread breaking history into manageable chunks can be defined by major events and major "stability" periods but it really is a continuous thread that makes a tapestry.


That Egypt, Israel, Greece and Rome were Empires is also defined by the evolution of buildings, art, construction, sciences and a whole bunch of stuff. We can see to this day what they left behind and can make good assessments of how they lived.


So back to the story in the middle ages. In Nazarene/Israel we are happily humming along with one God and a bunch of rules and stories from Moses. In Rome we are on board with Jesus, but like most empires before it, they previously worshiped a bunch of different Gods. As they travelled around they added and mixed things up. They liked a lot of the Greek Gods and had some of their own. Later all that would be called Barbarism, Paganism, Voodoo etc, etc. - If'n it ain't my God it's a false God! Therefore I can kill you and wipe you out as I conquer your lands.


The Romans had command and control issues. One thing the Old Testament had was a good set of rules, a God who will smite not only individuals but entire peoples for displeasing him. You couldn't be everywhere so as you empire bumps into China you hire Mongolian Mercenaries to enforce "law." Or you hire Franks or Arabs. But then you find out they are skimming taxes and really not everything Rome is supposed to be getting is being got!


Along comes Christianity and now we gotta God on earth, we got miracles, we got a guy on our side and in fact we still got a really good set of rules which get more severe as I develop the church and spread "standardization" via Archbishops, Bishops, Priests and so on - it's lke another entire army. So next we decide, if we convert all these conquered people to Christianity, even though we be of different skin and language, we have a common set of rules and they will be a lot like us! Hail Jesus and hail Caesar!


It's a lot more complicated than that but religiously you get the gist. The Romans actually went far and wide building places like Paris and Wessex and so on. Castle's and forts and the most important Roman export - Roads! Two horses butts wide which also defines a chariot or wagons width...


But we still aren't writing much shit down. In an episode of Viking's set around King Ecgberht (like 800AD) when the Viking's are attacking. One of the characters is a monk who was captured by Viking's at Lindesfarn, was sent back to kattegat was Ragnar's slave, lived with the Viking's for like 10 years and eventually is returned to England (as a Viking). Ecgberht gets a hold of this guy and after he has gained confidence takes him to "rooms in the palace" with Roman scrolls, statues carvings, and descriptions of Rome's pre-Christian Gods. Now the Romans were full on Christians around 500AD when they start pulling out of an on the ground presence across the empire. It's 300 years later this scene is happening and it's revealed like they are lost "lost scrolls" or whatever, because when Ecgberht is born all you knew was Jesus! No one is teaching that their forefathers were pagans - why the hell would we wanna do that? And sure as hell don't tell the peasants or the troops! We need to dehumanize Vikings as Pagans so we have clear obligation to wipe them out.


A little diversion to today. I had a buddy who was a "cradle Catholic," that is born and raised a Catholic. He had like 8 kids but he was a huge sinner according to their books. See the thing is they are fed all this malarky, isolated from other malarky on purpose but they end up being huge hypocrites and huge sinners but the good news is they are largely not zealots Why are Easter Masses and Christmas masses standing room only? Clearly a whole darned bunch of these folks are going to church "every" Sunday, right? Converted Catholics and Christians are a different story. The are crazy - they are true believers - they chose this shit. These are the assholes that think you can "pray away the gay" and are hugely self righteous.


Anyway, the implication of course is that if you lived at that time you would have to admit hat the Romans were Pagans just like Vikings! And here we were, taught it's all about the one God, Jesus. It's why I do "everything" for my king and Priests. That and not wanting to be stoned or crucified - LOL.


So you now have a pretty solid understanding of why I am agnostic. There are too many Paper Jesuses. I tried being a Catholic for my second wife. To much hooey and they hate too many people (too many types of sinners) - Jesus hung out with prostitutes, lepers and I am pretty sure may have run across a gay person or two along the way and he didn't hate any of them even though, he if any of them could have prayed the gay away.


I tried being Episcopalian (nee Church of England) and for this we give thanks to Henry the 8th who just wanted a different wife - divorce. Over time they love everyone (i.e. gays) and allow women priests, priestal marriage and so on. So "perversion" of Christianity manifests as splinter cells of people who don't' agree with everything.

Maybe the funniest Religion Joke ever and certainly the 44th funniest "OF ALL TIME." (according to GQ magazine - LOL) No wonder the Romans hitched up to Christianity. If you meet anyone with a different religion you are allowed, no, obligated to kill them or convert them! Yay Jesus!

But it gets messy. You want someone's shit so you get a priest to say, "God's on our side, no, It's God's desire, for us to go get it. For they are pagans and God doesn't care if we kill them and take thier shit but if they convert that'd be ok and in fact God wants us to actively go around converting people and it's still ok that we also take their shit." Thus the Crusades. But what happens when the other guys are Christian? "Never fear. God is on our side on this one cuz he loves us more!"


For a high intelligence, high cognizant who is honest the whole thing is absurd!


I read recently that aside from "wiping out" the Jews, Hitler actually banned Christianity and said basically, "There is no God. I am God and speak as God. And he is definitely on my side." But I definitely have a hard time believing that with a German in one trench and an American in another, the German isn't asking Hitler to save him and protect him - LOL...


But what of Kings and Emperors? I think in the context of the middle ages the "successful" ones are high intelligence, cognizance, physicality (kings still had to go to battle and smite their foes), super egos and legacy. Their purpose or faith had appearances of being high but really I think by the middle ages Religion was a tool. Maybe purpose is split between "legacy" and beliefs/faith/religion so maybe it isn't purpose, maybe the dimensions are legacy and morality.


This is nice because I can pretty much say that the ten commandments pretty much defines my morality and my morality is pretty high. My legacy is middlin' as well as my ego. I really want to make an impact on the world and leave stuff behind - legacy. My ego is middling as I am arrogant probably as a result of high intelligence and cognizance.


As I look back and look at emperors, kings, dictators, high level business people and (of course) movie stars. They all must have huge levels of ego. When they talk about faith, their ego is speaking for them - "The reason I am so successful is I am great and God loves me." Most of them have like zero empathy for others to the point of being sociopaths.


In my career I probably didn't have a high enough level of ego to overcome things like my morality for often a choice is among profit, achievement or "doing the right thing." I like to think I reached a level at which my traits were in balance. I would have liked to have gone higher but I am happy, contented and successful. For as long as the GE museum exists, my name is written 8 times on the "Best Customer Supporter of the Year." I wasn't inducted into the "hall of fame" so I won't be in any written annals of GE Aviation but my name is on some pretty big processes that will long survive my time at GE.


The second reason I am agnostic is simple. When asked what came before the big bang Stephen Hawking (a pretty smart guy) replied, "I don't know. Maybe God?"


So we know there was a bang and the universe expanded. This rock was flung the right distance from our sun, had the right chemistry and just enough bacteria to start developing carbon life forms at a certain temperature. If there is a sentient God, for whatever reason he created this, I cannot believe it is some master plan already decided and that he intervenes. I think it is more like an ant farm. Dump a bunch of ants in sand and see what happens - i.e. we have total free will. Except and however, aside from chemistry, there is definitely something that makes us unique among all the known species on the 3rd rock. Is that a soul, and if so does it "live on"? I don't think so. and there's only one way for an agnostic to find out and I'm not ready yet.


Maybe the Buddhists are right and this is just a level in the creator's game. If we do well maybe we advance to the next level where we are interstellar traveler beings. But I don't think, like the Buddhists, we come back here and play the same game as a different character.


So I conclude that any religion is just a "paper Jesus". Of man, by man and for man's purposes. And if you don't agree be warned my God wants me to find you and kill you...


And this whole pile of nonsense may be useful as I try to explain myself further in the History thread...

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Empire building allows the Emperor to siphon off resources while enjoying cheap labor or slavery. The Romans primarily conquered and occupied. There was little intermixing with the indigenous peoples.

2022-07-22 History Part II

I think a good jumping off point is around 1,000AD. I call this modern history. The Egyptians left us with some good stories and piles of rocks, the Greeks left us some pretty good science adn archit

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So much to unpack here and I have a son to pick up from school, so I will just leave you with some nerd shit. Real input to follow later I promise.


In that game CK2 one of the things that you can do if your religion allows it is declare a Holy War on a heretic, a heathen or someone who has been Excommunicated. Each religion is different of course - in general Christians get all of these but Christian sects without a formal head such as Nestorians and Coptic can't Excommunicate believers for example.


Anyway, the effect of declaring Holy War is to kick out the offending heretic/heathen/evil person and replace them with - you. At any tim…


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Dan Deutsch
Dan Deutsch
Jul 22, 2022
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Damn it - this software is a little buggy. I had a 1 hour response done and accidentally back buttoned and lost it - so take two.


Sorry for my giant posts - I have been waiting a long time to get this shit outta my head. I think I was at the keyboard like 9 hours yesterday - good to be retired - LOL...


Anyhoo - When you say, >> "that's what I have been taught since I was born" all the way through "this seems like the right thing" all the way up to "this is the absolute truth to the question of life, the Universe, and everything !". <<


I think you add, "This is all complete…


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