The Church of Daniel

I’m getting a lot of mileage out of this story with friends here in Seattle.  None of my friends have the intersection of religious zealots relatives and relatives living in California.  Of all the stories I shared of emails from the cousins, everyone stops me when I quote DebraJoy on society being 6000 years old.  All reasonable people see this 6000 year age of the Universe (which has zero proof in scripture) as utter nonsense.  Why would God create a universe which looks so much older than it actually is?  Dinosaurs, ice ages, stellar drift all have clear evidence of predating this made up arbitrary time frame.  Years ago I created the idea of the Church of Daniel to explain how silly this is.

daniellionThe doctrine of the Church of Daniel states the world and the heavens were created from nothingness on February 10, 1971.  The world was fully formed complete with modern civilization.  All the people who were created on this day were given implanted memories of their fake lives before the universe was created.  On the day that I die, the world and the universe will cease to exist.  All that was will disappear back into nothingness.

 

Of course this is a silly and narcissistic view of the world.  But the idea that God created all the billions of galaxies and made them look like they have all been here for 14,000,000,000 years just for the short history of mankind is just as silly and narcissistic.

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Daniel’s Second Protest

danielprotestOn Saturday I went to the big marriage equality protest here in Seattle. It was a coordinated effort with protests around the world. The largest was in Los Angeles. They had 40,000 protesters in downtown L.A. We had a smaller group than that but a much bigger than anticipated. Seattle PD estimated there were 7000 protesters. They expected about 1000. We marched from Volunteer Park on Capitol Hill down Broadway and then Pine to Westlake Center. The best speaker up at the park of County Supervisor Ron Simms. I haven’t like Ron Simms since he pushed forward with Qwest Field after we all voted not to fund it. His speech was amazing and very inspiring. I will now overlook the whole stadium thing. The crowd going down the hill toward downtown was quite amazing. There were so many signs. And so many clever signs. Everyone was trying to have the most clever sign like the way people at pride try to have the most clever T-Shirt. The weather was just amazing for November. The sun was out most of the time and it wasn’t nearly as cold as Friday or Sunday. It was just the perfect day.

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How the writer’s strike destroyed the bible

About a year ago, the writer’s guild of America voted to go on strike against the major studios and networks.  As production ground to a halt, fewer new episodes aired in the winter and spring than normal.  Since I couldn’t watch The Daily Show and the Colbert Report in the morning which getting ready for work like I normally do, I turned to The History Channel International.  It seemed like most of the shows were about World War II or Biblical history.  Here’s some things they don’t teach you in Sunday School that I learned from the History Channel International.

Abraham as the father of monotheism.  Before him there is no reliable historical or archaeological evidence of anything but polytheistic cultures.  If monotheism began with Adam, Eve, Cain, and Able, how did their descendants loose all oral history of it until Abraham spoke to God?  Since he lived only about 4000 years ago that means that Christianity has been around about half the time of monotheism.

Early pre-Christian monotheism was radically different than modern monotheism.  Many ancient societies worshipped just one deity but believed there were other gods who looked over the neighboring tribes and nations.  It was believed that gods protected people living in a certain geographic region, like the realm of the gods overlayed directly to the land.  The tipping point came when the Egyptians came and enslaved the Israelites and took them out of range of their god’s area code.  When the Israelites continued to pray to their god and their prayers were answered in the form to their release from bondage, their personal god suddenly became big G God.  And when this shift took place is the time the first five books of the Bible were written.  Additional evidence is found in Exodus itself.  While waiting for Moses, they built a golden calf to hedge their bets with the local god, which was for Ba’al I think.  Moses put a stop to that when can came down with the ten commandments proving that their God could hear prayers in Israel, Egypt, and Mt. Sinai.  This was a major paradigm shift.

There is no archaeological evidence that a person named Jesus of Nazareth ever existed.  There is one tomb that was found saying it belonged to the brother of Jesus, but this is considered by most to be a recent forgery.  The first century historian Josephus made a brief mention of Jesus but the style of writing is radically different from anything else he wrote.  This is considered by most to be an insertion by the church.  But without this insertion, the church probably would have dropped his writings down the memory hole.

Modern Christianity was created by Paul, not Jesus.  Paul, who converted to the zombie cult after some bizarre vision given to him by God.  Today we call that crazy.  Paul realized that the numerous rules and rituals of the Jewish followers of Jesus would prohibit the conversion of the polytheistic pagans of the Roman Empire so he cut most of them away.  Most importantly he dropped the requirement to be circumcised.  After a few generations there were two very different Jesus camps: the Pauline camp that flourished in modern day Turkey, Greece, and Italy; and the original Jews for Jesus that continued in the middle East.  In time the second group assimilated into either the new Pauline culture or back into the Jewish group and faded into history.

52 Imperial Faberge Eggs were presented to the Russian Czars.  Only 44 are still known to exist.  The single largest collector is a Russian business man who bought the Malcolm Forbes collection in 2004.  Their value is measured in the rarity and artist value rather than their use of precious metals and jewels.  OK, this has absolutely nothing to do with the bible but the Faberge documentary is one of my favorites on the History Channel International.  I’ve watched it three times already. 

Authors in ancient times didn’t use their own names.  It was a very common practice for writers to write as if they were a historical figure.  It’s as if I decided to write a fan-fic story about Harry Potter and said it was actually written by J.K Rowling.  There weren’t any intellectual property laws back then, nor was there the concept of intellectual property.  This explains why the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation (aka the Revelation to John) are attributed to the same dude when the writing styles are so radically different. 

The bible was put together out of hundreds of biblical books at the Nicene Creed.  Many popular books were banned from the bible and ordered destroyed.  Many survived because the readers loved them so.  These include the Gospels of Mary, Thomas, and James as well as the Apocalypse of Peter. This was dropped because it suggested that hell was just a limited time offer of suffering and that sinners could eventually be let into heaven if the other angels convince God to forgive the sinner. The church couldn’t allow people to think there was anything other than eternal damnation for all non believers and sinners. 

I’d like to finish with the realization that one must conclude.  The bible is just a bunch of stories written by numerous people over a 2000 year period.  Nothing in the text says it is the one and only true word of God so stop believing it to be so.  Thanks writer’s guild and History Channel International!  If you don’t get HCI, call your local cable operator.

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Marriage = One Man + One Woman

defendequalityThe bigots who oppose marriage equality for me and other gays and lesbians love to say that God intended marriage to be one man and one women.  Besides the blasphemous implication that one knows what GOD wants, this is just plain wrong.  My cousin DebraJoy said:

When I voted for Prop 8…I was voting my conscience, which tells me that the definition of marriage for the last 6,000 years has been union between male and female.  This has been true in virtually all societies.  

First off that’s wrong in the current context of our global make-up.  Islam allows it’s followers to have one man and many women.  They make-up about 12% of the global population.  88% is far from virtually all.  Also, six countries and two states recognize gay marriage.  That’s not many so the others would likely make up a “virtually all” majority.  But if you look at just the Christian and pre-Christian Biblical world, there is a much longer history of polygamy than not.  King Solomon was said to have 700 wives and 300 concubines.  And until relatively recently it wasn’t one man and one woman, it was one man and his wife as property.  Luckily women are no longer viewed as property.  But the idea of gay marriage redefining marriage is just a lie.  Marriage has been continuously redefined, whether by Augustine who sought to eliminate polygamy among Christians in the 5th century or the Mormons who brought it back in the 19th.  If marriage is going to be defined by the government than it should be available to all adult citizens equally.  Marriage equality now!

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There is no hell

Or maybe there is.  I’ll explain why it might later.  But first let’s examine the traditional idea of heaven.  I’m not going to go into the crazy Zombie Aunt Jackie heaven image that Alan put into my head in September.  But the traditional idea of heaven is a bright place in the clouds with God and Jesus and all your dead friends and family and pets.  Everyone has wings and a harp and there’s no more pain and no more death.  But what does one do there?  Do the departed just sit around plucking their harps for all eternity?  That’s sound like a version of hell to me.

The concept of hell is very powerful for keeping people in fear.  If people are in fear, they will follow what you say.  I was terrified of hell as a small child.  As a teen I was confident that my love for the zombie god would bring me eternal life.  As an adult, I realized that hell is a necessary for people, but certainly does not exist.  We need hell to wish our enemies away to.  The 9/11 hijackers are certaining burning in hell. It makes us feel good that bad people will get punished when it is highly likely they won’t.

If there is anything after we die, and I’m not saying there is, there is very likely not the same level of consciousness we have in life.  Most people think it is a higher level of consciousness.  But logically it is probably a lower level.  In the second Harry Potter book, Ginny was warned to never trust anything unless you can see it’s brain.  Our brain is the creator of our life awareness.  Without it, there is no more life.  I’ll use a computer analogy. While living we are a CPU and harddrive.  We continually add experiences and memories.  After death, we become a read-only DVD ROM.  Our soul still exists but no more data can be added to it as we are dead.  No brain = no more data input.

I’m not saying this is the answer.  Since there are so many version of who gets into heaven and what heaven is, it’s clear that God didn’t give us a direct answer and everything is just made up.  Whoever says they know what happens after death is either a lier, been lied to, delusion, or crazy.  Most people fall into the “been lied to” category but have believed it for so long there’s no room for discussion.  Someone made up the truppets and pearly gates version of heaven and over the generations it was taken as fact.  But if there is something, mine is certainly a more plausible answer than what most people believe.  Now if you have lived a rotten life, your DVD ROM will be filled with rotten memories.  One spends all of eternity with these regretable memories and that could be hell.  So if you don’t live a good a rightous life, your own memories could send you to hell.  I’m just sayin, be nice to people.  Don’t take their rights away.

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More on the funeral

After trying to explain why I thought Alan’s service to Aunt Jackie was crazy and offensive I started thinking more about the funeral and remembered there was something else that really bothered me.  During the chapel service many people came up to eulogize Aunt Jackie.  Except more than half of the time people were actually speaking about Milton, her late husband.  Milton dies over thirty years before Aunt Jackie and I have almost no memory of him.  Aunt Jackie was there all my life.  I didn’t take a day off of work and fly down from Seattle to hear stories of how great Aunt Jackie’s husband was.  I want to hear more great stories of Aunt Jackie, not lengthy story about the time first time Milton had a heart attack.  Luckily my cousin-in-law Dennis told a wonderful story about what giving hostess Aunt Jackie was.  He was her son-in-law. That was how I wanted to remember her.  I wish those people outside her family could have seen her as more than just Milton’s wife.  I was very offended and I should have said something.

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Compromise

My mother called me on Wednesday morning.  She was nearly in tears.  She didn’t understand why I was doing this.  My mother is 75 and doesn’t have Internet anymore.  Their last computer died from the most viruses possible.  My mother heard about it from her sister-in-law, who also doesn’t have Internet.  She heard about it from my cousin Sharon.  My mom started telling me to stop doing something she hadn’t read and only heard about third hand.  I told her I was very disappointed in her.  I still am disappointed.  I would think she would at least give me the benefit of the doubt before jumping to conclusions based on something she didn’t know what she was talking about.

She was most upset about my use of the photo of my aunt’s coffin on an earlier post.  I’d like to reiterate that she never saw this herself, but my whiny cousins complained about it.  I still think she be more upset about Alan turning our loving memory of Aunt Jackie into a zombie.  I think she’ll come around.  But I realized this was a conversation stopper.  None of the family will even listen to my words of reason.  So as a compromise, I took the photo off the site.  I still have my doubts that any of them will read this.  As I said in an earlier post, these people don’t like to have their faith exposed as inherently illogical and nutty.  I thought the photo was a good visual aid on the topic of how crazy the beliefs of the zombie worshippers are.  I was wrong and the photo is gone from this site.

Sharon said in an earlier comment “why do you feel a need to deficate [sic] all over our beliefs?”  At least you still have your beliefs and the freedom to marry.  You all made sure I do not have the freedom to marry.  Your actions are 100 times worse than my words.

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