There is growing debate about whether or not Jesus Christ was a real historical person as described in the gospels. The "Christ Myth Theory" suggests the Jesus story was invented, based on other deities around the Mediterranean, including many that were largely solar in nature. Here I, Robert Tulip, explain how observation of a visible movement of the stars known as the precession of the equinoxes could have been used to make Jesus the imaginary founder of the zodiacal Age of Pisces. In her books on Jesus mythicism, D.M. Murdock aka "Acharya S" has discussed this precession theory in some depth. There is much more to do to develop this cosmic vision as a persuasive scientific hypothesis for how the church got started.
What is precession of the equinoxes?
The word "equinox" means "equal night" and refers to the two times of the year when the days and nights are approximately the same length, generally March 20th and September 22nd. Precession of the equinoxes is explained by astronomy as due to the wobble of the axis of the earth. It is a very slow process, moving the equinoxes by just one degree of sky per human lifetime. Precession was measured by Greek scientists more than a century before the time of Jesus, and was probably known even earlier by astronomers in Egypt, Babylon, India and Central America.
In the last 2,000 years, the equinoxes have precessed against the zodiac stars by almost one sign. According to my calculations, in 21 AD/CE, around the alleged time of Jesus, the spring point - known as the "first point of Aries" - shifted out of the constellation of Aries and into the constellation of Pisces. This event exemplifies the precession of the equinoxes and is arguably the basis of the Christ myth, the cosmic observation subsequently "brought down to earth" in the fable of Jesus of Nazareth. (Editor's note: Other calculations place the starting date of Pisces at other times, such as during the first and second centuries BCE.)
Jesus as mythical milestone
Traditional astrology sees Aries as the first sign and Pisces as the last sign. From this system, the time of Jesus marked the end of a previous "Great Year" of 25,800 years and the start of a new Great Year, when the equinox shifted back from the sign of the "first" zodiac age, Aries, to the "last" zodiac age, Pisces. Do you see the resemblance with the Christ myth? Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the first and last (Rev 22:13), Aries and Pisces. He is the sacrificial Lamb of God (end of Age of Aries) and the Fisher of Men (dawn of the age of Pisces). His symbol is ICHTHYS or fish, and he calls to him "fishers of men" as his disciples. His communion food is designated as fish, when he asks for as much after his resurrection (Jn 21). His early Christian followers were called the "little fishes" and represented by two fishes - a symbol for Pisces.
[The Fish] almost always clearly represents Christ, though sometimes standing for the Christian, and its history can be traced from its appearance in the second century down to the fourth, when it begins gradually to disappear on Christian monuments....
All of this mythical symbolism indicates that Jesus Christ was invented to symbolize the movement of the sky at the dawn of the Age of Pisces.
"...Jesus Christ was invented to symbolize the movement of the sky at the dawn of the Age of Pisces."
There is much more in the Bible to build on this cosmic framework as a coherent and compelling story about the real meaning of Christianity. In order to arrive at the real origins of Christianity, we need to exclude everything supernatural, in order to provide a natural scientific explanation. That accomplishment is difficult to do since the conventional religious stories are based on magical ideas that have a strong cultural hold.
No 'historical' Jesus?
People often say the Jesus story is based on history. As part of the solar mythology and astrotheology incorporated into the gospel story, the precession framework shows why that claim is wrong, as the gospel authors evidently wanted to explain how the slow movement of time visible in the heavens was reflected on earth. As it says in the Lords Prayer: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," in this case interpretable as referring to the fictional story of Jesus modelled on what we can see in the sky. It is also said, "As above, so below."
There are many more miraculous and supernatural Bible stories that begin to make sense when we put them in the framework of precession. The loaves-and-fishes miracle in the gospel story (Mt 14:13-21; Mk 6:31-44; Lk 9:10-17; Jn 6:5-15) evidently represents the new abundance from the shifting equinox axis of Pisces and Virgo. The Book of Revelation is chock-full of accurate cosmic symbolism. Even the core theology of John and Paul, the shift from law to grace, apparently comes straight from a sky map of precession.
In this regard, D.M. Murdock/Acharya S is a pioneer in developing scientific explanations of Christianity, especially the continuity between Christian myths and older stories from Egypt and India. The ancients evidently used precession to construct the Christ myth, but this knowledge was lost due to the power of the church. The task now is to reconstruct the Christ story as a natural explanation of the connection between earth and the cosmos. The physical framework provided by precession of the equinoxes is central to this task of explaining what the Bible authors really meant by the myth of Christ, as the apparent "avatar" of the Age of Pisces.
works for the Australian government, has a Master's degree in philosophy from Macquarie University, and is a fervent student of astronomy as well as mythology, including and especially Jesus mythicism. More of his writing can be found on FreethoughtNation.com/forums and Booktalk.org.Robert may be reached at his website and Facebook page as well.
Great news here, as calm and cool reason has been winning out over violent and hateful superstition in certain quarters. Thanks to the rabid fanatics who have managed to alienate the better educated and more worldly youth! Such developments provide great hope for the future that we can be rid of our stark divisions and become increasingly united as a single human family.
Let's hope it continues, in the face of persecution of nonbelievers, especially in Egypt.
A growing generation of skeptics and atheists is increasingly coming to the fore.
By Mohamed Abdelfattah
What would prompt a former youth member of the Muslim Brotherhood to declare that he is putting his belief in Islam “on hold”? What would convert young people to become not only non-religious but extremely anti-theist following long periods of activism with Egypt’s ultra-conservative Wahhabi club, the Salafis?
What I said may be surprising for many, but not for others. The past several years have witnessed every single young man or woman with a shred of critical thinking to leave the Islamist movement. Starting with the Egyptian revolution and the Islamists’ shameful position against it, young middle class educated members have ever since continued to trickle out.
But this mere organisational friction is not the subject of this article. What I intend to expound on is more far-reaching. It’s about those often-silent people who decided to abandon faith completely as a result of their faithful experiences.
“I’ve decided to put Islam on hold as a religion,” wrote former Muslim Brotherhood activist Osama Dorra in his blog post. “For the conflict I’ve found between some of its details and what I think is sanity, justice, and logic has reached an inconceivable limit.”...
“Although the Islamist movement managed to reach power, it has been unprecedentedly dethroned from the hearts of many Egyptians,” so lamented Nageh Ibrahim the founder of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya in a recent article in Al-Masry Al-Youm. Several other preachers have said multiple times recently on TV that Al-Da’wa, or proselytising for Islam, has been losing a lot of credibility as a result of politics.
The issue of rising religious skepticism has been noticed by many. It has taken space in much of the local press and several opinion pieces. But it’s been petty stuff. Instead of defending someone’s right to disbelieve, it’s being treated as a problem that needs confrontation. Instead of presenting a seething critique of the most backward and reactionary ideologies, a self-styled intelligentsia is acquiescing to the Islamist framework in its weakest of times.
A growing generation of skeptics and atheists is increasingly coming to the fore. They are regarding religion, in practice, as at worst harmful and at best unnecessary....
Islamists rising to power has not yielded their much-awaited fantasised moment of everything-turning-Islamic. Instead, it’s contributing to an unprecedented wave of skepticism, social secularisation and atheism....
The Book No Pope Would Want You to Read is full of articles about crimes committed by the Catholic Church and by prominent Catholic authorities, including references to many news items of the past several decades. Some of these articles are written by credentialed experts such as doctors and lawyers, while others are by independent historians and mythologists.
We begin to hear of violence and other criminality within the Church almost from its inception, with a history of attacks on non-Christians such as Pagans and Jews, along with Catholic armies rampaging in various countries and engaging in crusades and inquisitions. These wars did not end in the Dark Ages but continued with Pope Pius XII's collusion with the Nazis during World War II.
The Book includes a discussion of Vatican finances and money laundering of ill-gotten wealth.
Also exposed is the near-genocide of native peoples, as their cultures were almost destroyed, including language and religion/mythology that dates back many thousands of years.
Included too is a discussion of "Women and the Church," and we can be assured that the picture isn't pretty.
Next we read about how the Church has stifled scientific thought and advances. We are treated likewise to an analysis of the Church's war on words, with numerous examples of how censorship has been applied to disallow speech and thought in opposition to Catholic doctrine. This censorship has extended, of course, to keeping a lid on the wanton pedophilia committed by countless priests against thousands of children globally over the past many centuries. In this regard, names are named and prominent churchmen outed, as editor Tim Leedom pulls no punches but comes out with guns blazing.
Child sex scandals
An activist for children's rights, Leedom has made a dog for himself in this fight, having spent many years trying to get to the bottom of Catholic child/sex abuse in his local area of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, California. In this regard, Tim is to be lauded for what appears to be success in his enduring battle - I've known him for 20 years, and he's been doing this work since before then - as the local cardinal, Roger Mahony, has finally been proved to have covered up a legion of crimes committed in the jurisdiction of his archdiocese:
Church personnel files have revealed that retired Cardinal Roger Mahony and other top Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles officials kept parishioners in the dark, maneuvering behind the scenes to shield molester priests.
The confidential records filed in a lawsuit against the archdiocese disclose how the church handled abuse allegations for decades.
The files also reveal dissent from a top Mahony aide who criticized his superiors for covering up allegations of abuse rather than protecting children.
The exposé in Leedom's book does not begin or end with California, however, as the notorious cases in Boston and elsewhere likewise are included.
The Book No Pope Would Want You to Read represents a horrendous litany of atrocities and abuses by people wielding seemingly unlimited power based on the false claim that they speak for, and operate on the orders of, the Almighty God of the universe.
From the "Preface":
The Vatican, the Church, the Holy See, and the Pope... a day doesn't go by that the Roman Catholic Church is not heard about in one form or another. For close to 2,000 years, the "Mother Church" has been a major factor in shaping the world's history. As we know, history is not always joyous and inspiring. Quite to the contrary, history has been dark with wars, greed, poverty, suppression and inequity. No one force or element can be blamed for all the evils, nor be credited with progress, light and humanity.
However, one institution, the Roman Catholic Church, more than any other historical influence has lead to more crime, corruption and pain throughout modern history. As Steve Allen, the consummate Renaissance man of the arts, comedy and literature, said in an interview with me in 1994, "the Catholic Church is organized crime...a proverbial crime wave throughout history."
"The Catholic Church is organized crime...a proverbial crime wave throughout history."
--Steve Allen, American TV personality and freethinker
This book is an all in one expose of the Catholic Church and their leaders who have lied, cheated their parishioners and the world for 2000 years... This expose names names and takes no prisoners...gets past the infallibility claims and public relation campaigns that still go on...for Catholics, ex-Catholics and the world. The mafia, the drugs, weapons, molestations are not the work of the holy...but the work of criminals.
They killed innocent men, women and children. They burned women alive. They condemned science and sent scientists to jail or to death. They used torture to get false confessions. They collaborated with Mussolini, Franco and Hitler. They assisted in the escape of Nazi war criminals. They embezzled gold from Jewish holocaust victims. They abducted, tortured and killed 50,000 children. They spent over $1 billion in payouts to cover up their unending child molestations.
(Hey Tim, this book needs to be in Kindle/Nook and searchable inside both on Amazon and on Google Books. ☺)
Adherents of most religions believe that God is all-pervasive, omniscient and omnipotent. Islam seems to specify that God exists only at one place, and that is in the Kaabah at Mecca. Perhaps that idea is why all Muslims are directed to face the direction of Mecca while praying, wherever they may be located. Even so, like Christianity and Judaism, Islam also preaches that God is omniscient and omnipotent.
Theists believe that there is a physical God who oversees everybody's actions, judges them and awards them points, both positive and negative. Earning positive points helps us to enjoy a better quality of life with comforts, luxuries and a place in heaven, while negative points put us in troubles and may push us into hell on our death. Theists also believe that God listens to prayers and responds to them.
Atheists believe that God does not even exist, leave alone award points or listen in on our prayers.
I was a theist from birth. But as I grew up and became an engineer, doubts cropped up in my mind. There are billions of people on earth and at least half of them would be praying and petitioning God for granting some favor or the other. How can one entity listen in to all those prayers and grant those petitions? Would he have assistants? Or does he have a closed loop mechanism to handle all those chores? Then I was interested in the theories of atheists.
Being a theist resolves so many issues. Why am I born to these parents? Why in this country? Why with this mother tongue? Why with these siblings? Why with my physical characteristics and limitations? Why with my mental capabilities and limitations? The explanation in my Hindu faith was simple: God made you thus because of your karma in the past life. How was the universe created? How was this earth formed? How was the perfect balance between the environment existing on earth and the life it supports, achieved? God created it - you know that he is omnipotent!
"The explanation in my Hindu faith was simple: God made you thus because of your karma in the past life."
How do atheists handle these questions? I discussed the topic with many atheists, and, as it happens, most of them are of scientific background. It looks like that when you are educated up to post-graduate level in sciences like chemistry or physics, atheism wells up in you.
The atheists to whom I spoke say that creation was all an accident of nature. What caused this accident? The energy that built up due to the contraction of the universe exploded the universe with a big bang, and, from then on, the universe is expanding, causing collisions between the fragments, releasing further energy that somehow gave rise to life. Life adapted and evolved itself by mutation and intercourse. Atheistic scientists contend that the life is still evolving and that we are not able to see it because it is too slow to be perceived in one lifetime.
Coming down to more mundane questions, such as the differences in individuals like more/less intelligent, more/less tall etc., the atheists I asked said they are due to genes. Why do genes differ? They say it is an accident but are confident to fix that by genetic engineering in the near future. How about luck? Some people garner better luck than the others. Atheists say that the people who put in better efforts garner better luck. Positive attitude begets luck and negative attitude begets ill luck.
God as Energy
Central to all this scientific explanation is the energy build-up that caused the "Big Bang" and started all this creation. From where energy did the energy come in? Science says that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Of course, it can be converted from one form to the other.
My question was and still is, can we not call this energy as God? Atheists seems allergic to the word "God," but let us look at the similarities.
God has no beginning and no end. So does energy: It was there at the time universe exploded and it continues to be there. One could argue that energy and God have been around since creation and will perhaps end with the world as we know it.
Energy is all pervasive, just as is God. There is no place in the universe where energy is absent. Energy may be of very high intensity, as in the case of stars like our sun. It may be of low intensity, as in the case of inert beings like rocks. Make no mistake, rocks have energy, but it is bottled up inside them, released when you break them. Energy is also very low in outer space. But it is all pervasive.
"Energy is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient, just like the God."
Energy is omnipotent, just like the God. If you know how to harness the energy, you can practically do anything. Airplanes are flying because of the energy. Cars are running because of the energy. We have electricity in our homes because of the energy. You name it, and energy runs it. Even human beings live and work because of energy. The moment energy goes out of our body, we are dead.
Energy is omniscient, just like God. It knows how to run a car; how to light a lamp, how to fly; how to make us run. In fact, there is nothing that the energy does not know. Only we do not know what energy knows. Scientists conduct research to learn what the energy is further capable of.
Energy cannot be seen, and so is God invisible! Both are never seen, and both can only be felt. Scientists have faith in energy, and theists have faith in God.
Why do we come with different capabilities? It is because of the different energy levels present in the sperm and the egg when they mated together to form the fetus.
You may be born a weakling, but you can become stronger by supplying your body with the right kind of energy in the form of food and exercise. You may be born with a weak intellect, but you can improve your intellect by feeding the right energy to it through study and learning.
We know how to convert energy from one form to another. We convert thermal energy into mechanical energy; we convert mechanical energy into electrical energy; we convert electrical energy into mechanical energy as well as thermal energy!
"All the energy that we use on earth comes from one single source: our sun."
All the energy that we use on earth comes from one single source: our sun. We are all living just because of that energy.
Now what is wrong in calling the energy as God?
Energy is God, and God is Energy!
Scientists are still learning about energy. The equation E = mc² (E is the Energy; m is the mass; and c is the constant, speed of the light in vacuum) appears to be magical, as does the Fibonacci number series. Understanding these concepts properly is not easy. As more work is carried out in the scientific field and the religious field, I think that energy and God will gradually fuse together.
What is the difference between saying that energy sustains us or God sustains us – just the taxonomy!
Lastly we know how to convert some energies into others like electrical energy into mechanical energy. What we really need to convert the energy of bad luck into that energy of good luck - right? How do we do that? Science is not focusing on that aspect but religion is!
Murali Chemuturi is a renowned software designer who lives in Hyderabad, India. Mr. Chemuturi speaks English, Hindi and Telugu, and has written several books on the subject of software development management. Murali's essays on Freethought Nation are popular, ranking no. 1 on Google in both America and India for Hinduism-related search terms. Murali brings a refreshing and upbeat view to Freethought Nation. Murali's website is chemuturi.com. You can reach his Facebook page here.
Blasphemy laws are the mark of a barbaric culture. No one should be imprisoned for questioning religious doctrine. The West has already been through its Inquisition - we will never go back.
Don't take your freedoms for granted - help someone else regain his and sign the petition. Whether you consider yourself an atheist, agnostic, freethinker, secularist or theist, we must make a stand to protect our individual freedoms, including the liberty to think and speak according to our conscience. Thank you.
Abdel Aziz Mohamed Albaz was arrested recently in Kuwait on charges of blasphemy. Whether you are an Atheist or a Muslim or a Christian, nobody deserves to be jailed or punished for having atheistic views. He did not hurt anybody. He did not steal, he did not assault anyone, he did not vandalize someone's property. He is simply a well articulated Egyptian Atheist who speaks his mind. He expressed himself in writing peacefuly a rather gentle articles. We need your help to pressure the Kuwaiti government to release him from this unjust imprisonment.
Please join us in DEFENSE of free speech and freedom of thought. Thank you!
"BenBaz asked us to pass on a heart felt BIG THANK YOU to all those supporting him! Thank YOU, Thank YOU, Thank YOU!"
Gee, I dunno. Maybe because the standard religious beliefs and practices globally are irrational, illogical, ineffective, intolerant, guilt-inducing, fear-promoting, bigoted, sexist, divisive, hateful, cruel and violent?
I have little doubt that this healthy and welcome move away from religious fanaticism is due significantly to the American Constitution and secular ideals of our freethinking Founding Fathers. These "American" ideals have allowed for freethought and free speech, giving rise to stark and frank criticism of religion, as we have seen abundantly in our media and on internet social networking now worldwide.
Note that I personally have been a "none" for some 40 years. But I don't hate all religion; on the contrary, I find it fascinating and study it constantly - that's what I do. I prune the rotten, dead and pathological roots and branches of the world's great religious tree, to expose a healthier tradition dating back many thousands of years. Included in this pruning is the removal of the fanatical belief in unfounded and unscientific religious ideas, as well as of the misapprehension of mythical figures as "real people."
One-fifth of Americans are religiously unaffiliated — higher than at any time in recent U.S. history — and those younger than 30 especially seem to be drifting from organized religion. A third of young Americans say they don't belong to any religion.
NPR Morning Edition co-host David Greene wanted to understand why, so he gathered a roundtable of young people at a synagogue in Washington, D.C. The Historic 6th & I Synagogue seemed like the right venue: It's both a holy and secular place that has everything from religious services to rock concerts. Greene speaks with six people — three young women and three young men — all struggling with the role of faith and religion in their lives.
Miriam Nissly, 29, was raised Jewish and considers herself Jewish with an "agnostic bent." She loves going to synagogue.
"I realize maybe there's a disconnect there — why are you doing it if you don't necessarily have a belief in God? But I think there's a cultural aspect, there's a spiritual aspect, I suppose. I find the practice of sitting and being quiet and being alone with your thoughts to be helpful, but I don't think I need to answer that question [about God] in order to participate in the traditions I was brought up with."
Yusuf Ahmad, 33, raised Muslim, is now an atheist. His doubts set in as a child with sacred stories he just didn't believe.
"Like the story of Abraham — his God tells him to sacrifice his son. Then he takes his son to sacrifice him, and he turns into a goat. I remember growing up, in like fifth [or] sixth grade I'd hear these stories and be like, 'That's crazy! Why would this guy do this? Just because he heard a voice in his head, he went to sacrifice his son and it turned into a goat?' There's no way that this happened. I wasn't buying it.
"Today if some guy told you that 'I need to sacrifice my son because God told me to do it,' he'd be locked up in a crazy institution."
Kyle Simpson, 27, raised Christian. He has a tattoo on the inside of his wrist that says "Salvation from the cross" in Latin.
"It's a little troublesome now when people ask me. I tell them and they go, 'Oh, you're a Christian,' and I try to skirt the issue now. They go, 'What does that mean?' and it's like, "It's Latin for 'I made a mistake when I was 18.'...
Lizz Reeves, 23, raised by a Jewish mother and a Christian father. She lost a brother to cancer.
"I wanted so badly to believe in God and in heaven, and that's where he was going. I wanted to have some sort of purpose and meaning associated with his passing. And ultimately the more time I spent thinking about it, I realized the purpose and meaning of his life had nothing to do with heaven, but it had to do with how I could make choices in my life that give his life meaning. And that had a lot more weight with me than any kind of faith in anything else."
The debate as to who speaks for Muslims in the West has festered among the minds of the western intelleigentsia and politicians since Islamists have capitalised on this question.
There are hundreds of Islamic organizations in North America and each one wants to take ownership of it. Is it all about ownership? It shouldn't be. Is it all about portraying a better image of Muslims? I doubt it. Is it all about challenging the self-created fear of Islamophobia? Perhaps.
What do I mean by "self-created fear of Islamophobia"? Do I dare to say that Islamophobia actually doesn't exist at all? Yep, it didn't exist but some of our Islamic centres created the term and spread it around through their actions.
What were those actions? By not denouncing armed Jihad against those Western societies where they are abode now, by not calling a spade a spade such as honour killings, Taliban's attack on Malala Yousafzai, AlQaeda's sectarian war against minorities in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Afghanistan, etc,.
However, the fact that over 90 per cent of Muslims are not associated with any Islamic organisation or mosque and visit it no more than once or twice a year. That alone should make America skeptical of Islamist groups like CAIR, ISNA, ICNA and MSA.
Ihsan Bagby, a professor and an imam at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. wrote after 9/11, "There are a large number of Muslims that hold on to their identity as Muslims, but choose not to practice, not to act out their beliefs in everyday life...a large portion of the American Muslim community are in this group."
The report by prof Bagby, "The Mosque in America: A National Portrait," revealed that of the six million Muslims in the United States, only about 350,000 on average attend the Friday midday prayers.
Thus the incessant drumbeat by Islamists and Muslim Brotherhood legacy groups in the U.S. about rising Islamophobia is reflecting the mindset of the mulla and his scant followers in America, not me or the 90 per cent who have little interest in praying behind misogynist and homophobic clerics.
Even if it were true that Islamophobia exists, the next question would be: What should we do now?
My answer is that all Islamic organizations should make a resolution for 2013 that they would preach to fellow Muslims to live a normal life instead of preaching the addiction of victimhood...
This African-American Muslim convert's remarks were made last year in response to the fracas over the "Ground Zero mosque," but they bear repeating, as this "loathsome term" continues to be used in the precise manner that he deplores. Here is what Abdur-Rahman Muhammad - a former imam of a mosque - says of the word "Islamophobia":
"This loathsome term is nothing more than a thought-terminating cliche conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics."
He also says the question of whether or not America is "Islamophobic" is "deeply offensive," explaining that America has allowed Muslims to live freely....
Another Canadian Muslim steps forward to tell the truth! Hasan Mahmud is the former sharia law expert for the Muslim Canadian Congress, to which also belong other Muslim truthtellers such as Mahfooz Kanwar and Tarek Fatah. Thankfully, along with the courageous ex-Muslim activists, such individuals may help lead us out of this dark hole created by Islamists, not by mindless bigots and "Islamophobes." Recall that another brave and honest Muslim - this time a convert and ex-imam - exposed the term "Islamophobia" as having been propagated by a "radical" Muslim thinktank for the express purpose of running down critics.
I am a Muslim. I believe that accepting our (Muslims') share in creating "Islamophobia" in the West will help eliminate it. Dr. John Esposito’s recent article in the Huffington Post, "Islamophobia: A threat to American Values?" puts the entire blame on Western "media commentators, hard-line Christian Zionists and politicians." He even neglects to mention the huge contribution Muslim societies have had on the issue. Esposito ignores that in our global village the West is regularly flooded by violence coming from Muslim societies; violence which is perpetrated in the name of Islam while citing Quranic verses and the Prophet’s examples. The list is long. Here are some examples:
1. A Sharia court stoned to death a gang-raped girl, who was a minor at the time. 2. A Sharia court flogged another girl to death for having an affair. 3. Punishing raped girls/women by Sharia courts is continuing. 4. Wife-beating is openly preached. 5. Child-marriage is openly preached. 6. "No rape in marriage" is openly preached. 7. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is supported by many clergics including some of Al Azhar University. 8. Women are instantly divorced – there is no maintenance in such cases. 9. A woman appealed to a Sharia court to order her husband to beat her not every day but once a week. 10. Sharia-police (Hisba) are invading people’s lives. 11. The persecution of Muslims with different ideas is reaching a frightening level. 12. Non-Muslims are arrested for carrying their holy books. 13. The persecution of non-Muslims is continuous and reaching a disturbing level. 14. Hate preaching against non-Muslims in media is common. 15. Indoctrination of children with such hate is open and alarming. 16. School syllabi are full of hatred directed at "The Other." 17. Non-Muslim places of worship are destroyed regularly. 18. Lying and deceiving are supported. 19. Civil rights are violently suppressed by "Islamic" governments — often by hanging.
With such phenomena and experience, what else does Dr. Esposito expect from the West except "Islamophobia"?...
Hallelujah! There is hope.
There is also my Muslim activist friend Dr. Tawfik Hamid, who graciously has provided several articles for Freethoughtnation. Any other honest and sociable Muslims want to be included in my Hall of Fame here?
(Sad news from FTN contributor Frank Zindler, passed along at his request.)
Ann Elizabeth Zindler, née Hunt, 77, of Columbus, succumbed to metastatic breast cancer at her Columbus home after a heroic battle of more than four years duration.
The daughter of the late Charles Gordon Hunt of Michigan and Ruth Elizabeth Prather Hunt of Florida, she was born on February 25, 1935 in Ann Arbor, MI. She is survived by her brother Lynn Gordon Hunt of Melbourne, FL; her husband of 48 years Frank R. Zindler; daughter Catherine E. Zindler; and grandchildren Michael A. Zindler, Steven C. Zindler, and Laura E. Zindler, all of Columbus.
Ann was a graduate of Roosevelt High School in Ypsilanti, MI, and studied art and biology at Eastern Michigan University. Before marriage in 1964 she managed a women’s dormitory at the University of Michigan. Upon moving to Johnstown, NY, in 1967 she became a stained glasswright and was well known on the East Coast for her acid-etched stained glass creations. Her hobbies included drawing, painting, miniaturing, sewing, cooking, snorkeling, breeding tropical fish and birds, and crafts of all kinds, most recently the creation of glass beads of fine artistry.
Coming to Columbus in 1983, she served as joint director of the Central Ohio Chapter of American Atheists, the organization founded in 1963 by Madalyn Murray O’Hair. After the murder of the Murray-O’Hair family in 1995, Ann became the principal artist and art and layout editor for American Atheist Press, designing and producing books, magazines, newsletters, and Atheism-associated ephemera such as clever solstice cards. Beyond her family, Ann devoted her life to the advancement of reason and the dispelling of superstition. Even in childhood she could not force herself to believe in religion and was by nature a skeptic.
For many years she served on the national Board of Directors of American Atheists, Inc. and labored with her husband to guard the wall of separation between state and church. She was a member of Planned Parenthood and NARAL, Zero Population Growth and, being an avid ornithologist, the Audubon Society.
A private memorial of reminiscence will be held in Columbus later in January and a memorial celebration of life will be held at the 50th-anniversary convention of American Atheists to be held in Austin, TX, March 28–31, 2013. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the American Atheists legal-defense fund at www.atheists.org.
Can't say I'm upset! Let the increasing "nones" have the day for a change. Other than a brief period when I became a born-again, I've been a "none" since I emancipated myself from church when I was 12. That's decades ago, so I guess I'm ahead of the curve, influenced at a young age by the secular American Founding Fathers such as Jefferson, Franklin and Paine (the "forgotten" FF).
As many have told me who have felt liberated after reading my work, there is nothing better mentally than being a freethinker, which means one is allowed to think freely, especially as concerns religious matters. My definition of "freethought":
"the liberty to question and doubt unscientific and uncritical beliefs, especially as concerns religion."
This ability to think freely, however, does not mean restricting oneself to atheistic views, as such restraint obviously would not represent freethought. In "true freethought," so to speak, it is no one else's business what one is thinking inside one's own head, so long as it doesn't spill out deleteriously onto others.
The number is hardly huge but it still marks quite the change from three decades ago. In the early 1980s, not a single member of Congress publicly said he or she didn’t belong to a particular religious affiliation or refused to disclose their religion. In the 113th Congress, that number has increased to 10, according to an analysis by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Even though around one-in-five U.S. adults describe themselves as atheist, agnostic of “nothing in particular,” only one member of the new Congress has publicly taken on that label. But 10 other members of the 113th Congress, or around 2 percent, “do not specify a religious affiliation,” marking an increase from six members from the previous Congress.
“The numbers here caught my eye,” writes Politico’s Charles Mahtesian, “not because of the disparity between non-believers in the general population and in Congress, but because I was surprised so many members actually admitted to it.” Religious affiliation for politicians without a religion is a very sensitive issue but the Pew poll seems to show that “the taboo about religious identification is being broken and members of Congress are increasingly comfortable admitting they don’t adhere to any particular faith,” writes Mahtesian.
Below is a video of the group I was with in the Yucatan, on the morning of the winter solstice, December 21, 2012. We are in the magical cenote Ik Kil near Chichen Itza, a fabulous sunken and naturally round water hole where we held a ceremony at around 5:00 AM or so.
I was the lucky recipient of the very intense sounds of a crystal bowl being played by Yantara Jiro right near my head - that's me in the blue sweatshirt in the video below. The experience was extraordinary, to say the least, as it felt like the bowl was blasting soundwaves through my brain and out into the cosmos, at that special opening into the Mayan underworld on that very auspicious day.
The excellent observation has been made that the cenotes serving as the peninsula's main source of water - and therefore life - created a strong focus on the underworld as the place of creation, because there are no significant rivers in the area to provide water (and myths) otherwise. (H/t John Halsey)
Wow! What a way to usher in the new sun.
Unbeknownst to us and coincidentally, Mesoamerican anthropologist Dr. John Hoopes was above at the time, taking the image of our gathering above right.
Thanks to Steven Rogers for the superb video record of this extraordinary event.
It's a pity the volume is so low on the video, because the beautiful bowl was very loud, echoing around that special cenote. Note that's Mayan elder Hunbatz Men giving instructions to Yantara and Gregg Braden at the bottom left. Gregg's short speech was very powerful and moving.
What people are saying about Acharya S/D.M. Murdock
"Your scholarship is relentless! ...the research conducted by D.M. Murdock concerning the myth of Jesus Christ is certainly both valuable and worthy of consideration." —Dr. Kenneth L. Feder, Professor of Archaeology, Central Connecticut State University, Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience In Archaeology
"I find myself in full agreement with Acharya S/D.M. Murdock... I find it undeniable that...many, many of the epic heroes and ancient patriarchs and matriarchs of the Old Testament were personified stars, planets, and constellations..."—Dr. Robert M. Price, The Pre-Nicene New Testament
"I can recommend your work whole-heartedly!"—Dr. Robert Eisenman, James the Brother of Jesus and The New Testament Code, RobertEisenman.com
"Well-referenced, with numerous quotations from renowned Egyptologists and classical scholars, Acharya's penetrating research clearly lays out the very ancient pre-Christian basis of modern Christianity. Those who espouse Christianity beware! After digesting the evidence, you will never again view your religion in the same light." —Dr. Robert M. Schoch, Professor of Natural Science College of General Studies at Boston University; Author, Pyramid Quest, Voyages of the Pyramid Builders and Voices of the Rocks
"Acharya S deserves to be recognized as a leading researcher and an expert in the field of comparative mythology, on a par with James Frazer or Robert Graves—indeed, superior to those forerunners in the frankness of her conclusions and the volume of her evidence." —Barbara Walker, The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets and Man Made God
"I've known people with triple Ph.D's who haven't come close to the scholarship in Who Was Jesus?" —Pastor David Bruce, M.Div, North Park Seminary, Chicago, HollywoodJesus.com
"Thirty years ago, when in divinity school, I might have had second thoughts about becoming an Episcopal priest if a book like D. M. Murdock's Who Was Jesus? had been available to me." —Bob Semes, Retired university professor of History and Religion, Founder and Executive Director of The Jefferson Center
"In addition to presenting in Suns of God the troubling history of religious wars in an easily followed narrative, Acharya goes a step further, explaining as only she can how a once-simplistic idea has been carried into our modern world with terrible and nearly unimaginable results." —Rev. Dr. W. Sumner Davis, Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society; Member, American Geophysical Union; Affiliate, New York Academy of Science
"Ms. Murdock is one of only a tiny number of scholars with the richly diverse academic background (and the necessary courage) to adequately address the question of whether Jesus Christ truly existed as a walking-talking figure in first-century Palestine." —David Mills, Atheist Universe
"Thank you, Acharya, for the important work you are doing. Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of the Christ just might be the best short introduction to Biblical scholarship yet." —David Bergland, 1984 Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate, Libertarianism In One Lesson
"...I have found her scholarship, research, knowledge of the original languages, and creative linkages to be breathtaking and highly stimulating." —Rev. Dr. Jon Burnham, Pastor, Presbyterian Church, Houston, TX
"Acharya S has done a superb job in bringing together the rich panoply of ancient world mythology and culture, and presenting it in a comprehensive and compelling fashion." —Earl Doherty, The Jesus Puzzle
"Acharya S is a shining light of truth in a sea of deceit."—Rob McConnell, X Zone Radio/TV, Ontario, Canada
"The Christ Conspiracy—very, very scholarly and wholly researched—is a book for today..." Rev. B. Strauss, ex-Catholic Priest, Chicago, IL
"Amidst the global chaos of George Bush's War on Terror, largely founded on religious intolerance and simplistic notions of good and evil, Acharya S is the voice of reason." —Joan D'Arc, Paranoia
"D.M. Murdock could well be the most brilliant, insightful and rigorous theologian writing today." —Robert Tulip
"Acharya S is the ranking religious philosopher of our era." —John K.
"Acharya S/Murdock deserves an award for her hard work and courage. She is the Galileo of our day!"—Charles Johnson
"Acharya S knows more about the ancient Mysteries than any living scholar." —Christopher Knowles
"Acharya S is an amazing researcher with a tremendous amount of energy and appetite for constant discovery of newer horizons. " —Dr. O.P. Sudrania
"Acharya Murdock's work is so important, so clear and so timely!" —Theresa Weiss, PowerPlaces.com
"I am Hindu, and I read the Bhaagavatham in which the life of Krishna is detailed. I also read your works, and I endorse you. Keep up the good work." —Murali Chemuturi