The Proof that God is not a Jew/Christian/Moslem. For all People of The Book, it is the book which is worshiped. Holy Writ and Scripture is memorized, it is revered. Its decrees are applied in adjudications. And above all, its recitations are taken as Truths, and its “history” as History. Therefore, if the Scripture falls upon the sword of fact, it takes its revenant “religion” with it.
We are now in a position to examine the phenomenology of Scripture. The archeological, linguistic, and physical/chemical evidence is “in”. We are no longer in the realm of speculation or blind faith.
The Pentateuch-Torah/Bible/Quran can be traced back. Each of them is a compilation, and we find earlier traces in earlier languages and in civilizations which were strangers to Jehovah / Jahweh / God or Allah.
Judaic Texts. Entire passages of the Pentateuch are lifted from worshippers of Egyptian and Sumerian gods. The “Bible” as commandments, the Tribes as “chosen”, a jealous God punishing sins with Flood, Famine and Plague, the exact order of Creation, a forefather and mother created with mud and rib in a garden, fratricide, long begattings, a heroic figure found as a babe in a reed basket by a princess – all of these are traceable back to hieroglyphic and cuneiform stories only recently translated, but flourishing in Egypt and Sumer, and written well before there were Jews in Israel. Abraham, by the language of the text, was no monotheist, but worshipped a plurality–as everyone did in the absence of any better explanation for the phenomenon of existence–of gods, goddesses, angels, demons, ancestors, and “evil spirits”.
Jews developed a writing system and a devotional literature which has no equal for longevity. However, it is not continuous, was not in the same language, and it is not Mosaic. Priests began compiling tribal lore, canons, and inspirational speeches and songs. They did not invent the concept of “history” – they used stories to encourage and enfranchise the community and its leaders in a contested and mysterious world. There is no corroborative physical evidence of “twelve tribes”, an Ark of the Covenant, an Egyptian enslavement, a 40 year trek in the Sinai, commandments written by God on stone, or even a single “significant” King with a palace – like David or Solomon. No 800 concubines. No great Temple of gold altars. These were traders and shepherds telling shepherd stories shared with people from India to Africa.
Christian Gospels. We do not have a single “original” Gospel. The explanation for how the words of Jesus were stenographically recorded by a group of fishermen is not provided. Paul of Tarsus is a literature historical figure who never met Jesus and lived some 200 years after the period of time he believed the Christic Messiah was born. He clearly believed Jesus was the Messiah longed for since time immemorial. He clearly believed that Jesus’ return was imminent. That anticipation was the wheel and impetus of his teaching, and its falsity is the worm in the apple of his faith.
The Council of Nicea, not one of whose members is named, consolidated the compilation of “saint” stories circulating throughout the region into what is for Christians a New Testament. The Council omits as “Apocrypha” the plethora of teachings, often under discipled traditions (such as Thomas and Judas, and even Mary Magdalene) which were deemed heretical, and attempts to eradicate them. Not only did they fail to eradicate certain works, we find more “heresies” preserved than “Gospels”. Curiously, they failed to delete Arianism and Unitarianism from the Bible itself – apparently the anonymous scholars were more concerned about Constantine’s pleasure than religious consistency.
The Quoran. The modern “versions” are embarassingly abundant in spite of efforts to destroy “errant” work. The Quoran is remarkably short and is in two parts. The first part is basically a re-telling of the Judaic Pentateuch with the Torah clearly outlined, and updated with Christian stories directly taken from the pre-Nicinean Gospels. All of this material is drawn from Chaldean Christian teaching texts used for children. It is not in “Arabic” – the Arabs did not have a written language during Mohammad’s day. Children like Mohammad’s youngest wife, could not have taken dictation in Arabic.
The second part of the Quoran is the lore associated with the Prophet Mohammed, PBUH, a historical figure. He is jealously messianic, and tries to bring peace to warring people, essentially fulfilling Paul’s hopes from a few centuries earlier. For each battle described, each event in the life of this warrior, there are many versions.
The provenance of the Quoran is remarkably similar to the other Scriptures; it was compiled centuries after the facts purported to be narrated, and first appears in another language. The earliest Quoranic stories were not first written in Arabic because (1) Arabic was not a written language, and (2) Mohammad and all of his followers and wives were illiterate.
The Quoran makes much of its claims for a divine origin: The arc-angel Gabriel apparently “dictated” the book to Mohammad. All of Mohammad’s companions were warriors with no training or tradition of memorization or accurate recitation. None were scholars or educators or students, although their sincerity and devotion is without question. The fact that the battle lore portion of the Quoran does not appear until centuries after the death of all of the members of this peerage, is a sufficient proof of its secular provenance.
The anomaly of an apparently minor god, an arc-angel, dictating stories of Mohammad’s victories to Mohammad, is not compatible with monotheism. Nor is the requirement of an annual Pilgrimage to the Black Stone of Kaaba / Al-hajar Al-aswad. The structure was for centuries a place of worship by pagans with many dieties and pagan mysteries. The name is Jewish -- Qabbalah - the Tree of Life - Creation.
The shape of the famous cornerstone and the black cube of the building is identified throughout the region with female worship, symbolized with the crescent moon of the Female Diety. The Hajj traditions –purification, circling the stone, proclamation, kissing– are female rites which pre-date monotheism.
The Meccan guards of the “cornerstone” will not permit it to be examined scientifically, which is curious since such examination no longer requires removal.
The Cave Paintings and Archeology in Israel / Iraq. Other than the biographical lore about Mohammad, the Quoranic themes are drawn from the Bible, and the Bible themes are drawn from Egyptian and Sumerian/Gilgamesh literary traditions preserved in papyrus, stone and clay. But the rise of Religion precedes the appearance of Jehovah. Theologians have yet to explain why it is important to “worship god”, or proclaim “There is only One”, when in fact, most human history has been lived without this form of Religion widely practiced today.
In the floors, walls, and ceilings of the caves of Lascaux (20,000 - 12,000 bc) and Chauvet (30,000 - 15,000 bc), there is plenty of evidence of worship, of sanctification, of prayer. But there is no indication of an Old Testament, Mosaic, or Islamic God. In fact there is no “god” figure at all – there are few “human” figures, none appear dominating. Most of the figures and figurines are gravid females.
Some say that the existence of God cannot be proved or disproved. Historically, the question had practical importance – in matters of risk, it seems practical to take out “insurance” – consult the entrails or listen to an oracle.
Today, however, the existence of God is pure speculation. “Pure” in the sense of complete. We believe in stone and paint. There are tables of Elements. The “it” is chemistry and the wonders of physiology.
Of course, Religion remains. We are believers. Not for Jehovah/God/ Allah/ Spirit, but as a result of a thought-feeling that wants to listen and proclaim. I am grateful for existence and I pray every minute of the day. My genes perform a daily Hajj. I bow humbly to wonderful mysteries, links, images.
However, the images, graven or otherwise, never answer. Never. Ever. The message of most of our better angels and prophets seems to be that we are ourselves invested with a spark of divinity. THAT can be invoked.
As for a belief in a hereafter, I have none. There is earth, water, fire and air. There is Life struggling to reproduce itself. There is a visible interest in my inevitable and imminent death taken by condors, buzzards, meat flies, coyotes, and worms. There is no God – I do not feel the Love from above. Well, I did mention condors.
Unfortunately, the situation is even worse. Not content with merely NOT HAVING GOD/ALLAH, I have had to deal with Anger issues. Anger with God – as in, I really despise the son-of-a-#@%$$$. The colossal waste of time, the unforgivable disappearing act. To get over the anger, I finally had to just insist that I look forward to an Eternity in Hell. Ah, so much better...!
I join gently with C.S. Lewis, and with millions of Jack-Mormons, Apostate Catholics, and Loving Moslems to profess my aversion to any Heaven filled with hypocrites who lived only for selfish reasons. Let me never be trapped in any Heaven surrounded by those who were lured to paradise by tugs at their greed and after-life lusts! And that tugger? That “thing” which is most jealous, most vengeful, most damned of all! Give me the real Grace which will come from being as far away from such mind-sucking as is possible!
- Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable. I am filled with joy. It can't be helped.
Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired. Filled, just filled, with Joy.