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Why The Nutbags Support Israel
George Monbiot writes in The Guardian about some of the irrational loonies running this country, and the real reason these fundamentalists are behind Israel:

In the United States, several million people have succumbed to an extraordinary delusion. In the 19th century, two immigrant preachers cobbled together a series of unrelated passages from the Bible to create what appears to be a consistent narrative: Jesus will return to Earth when certain preconditions have been met. The first of these was the establishment of a state of Israel. The next involves Israel's occupation of the rest of its "biblical lands" (most of the Middle East), and the rebuilding of the Third Temple on the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques. The legions of the antichrist will then be deployed against Israel, and their war will lead to a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. The Jews will either burn or convert to Christianity, and the Messiah will return to Earth.

What makes the story so appealing to Christian fundamentalists is that before the big battle begins, all "true believers" (ie those who believe what they believe) will be lifted out of their clothes and wafted up to heaven during an event called the Rapture. Not only do the worthy get to sit at the right hand of God, but they will be able to watch, from the best seats, their political and religious opponents being devoured by boils, sores, locusts and frogs, during the seven years of Tribulation which follow.

The true believers are now seeking to bring all this about. This means staging confrontations at the old temple site (in 2000, three US Christians were deported for trying to blow up the mosques there), sponsoring Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, demanding ever more US support for Israel, and seeking to provoke a final battle with the Muslim world/Axis of Evil/United Nations/ European Union/France or whoever the legions of the antichrist turn out to be.

Shouldn't people who think like this be strapped down and given medication, not seats of power in government?


**Monbiot invites you to click on raptureready.com to "discover how close you might be to flying out of your pyjamas."

Posted by aalkon at April 28, 2004 8:21 AM

Comments

Yes absolutely, i thought everybody knew that.
And since we are back on religion and christianity again, i thought i'd offer a few comments by others on this mythical godman named jesus. Obviously it's an important topic, so much of our worldview is derived from this.

The traditional history of Christianity is hopelessly inadequate
to the facts. From our research into ancient spirituality it has
become obvious that we must fundamentally revise our understanding of
Christian origins in the most shocking of ways. Our conclusion,
supported by a considerable body of evidence in our book, The Jesus
Mysteries, is that Christianity was not a new revelation. It was a
continuation of Paganism by another name. The gospel story of Jesus is
not the biography of an historical Messiah. It is a Jewish reworking
of ancient Pagan myths of the dying and resurrecting Godman
Osiris-Dionysus, which had been popular for centuries throughout the
ancient Mediterranean.

The stories told about Osiris-Dionysus will no doubt sound
familiar. He is the Son of God who is born to a virgin on the 25th of
December before three shepherds. He is a prophet who offers his
followers the chance to be born again through the rites of baptism.
He is a wonderworker who raises the dead and miraculously turns water
into wine at a marriage ceremony. He is God incarnate who dies at
Easter, sometimes through crucifixion, but who resurrects on the third
day. He is a savior who offers his followers redemption through
partaking in a meal of bread and wine, symbolic of his body and blood.
The Jesus story is a synthesis of the Jewish myth of the Messiah
Joshua (in Greek Jesus) with these Pagan myths of the dying and
resurrecting Godman.

It is hard for us today to imagine the Jesus story being
consciously created, but this is because we have misunderstood ancient
spirituality. Myths were not seen as untruths as they are now. They
were understood as allegories of spiritual initiation, which encoded
profound mystical teachings. Reworking old myths to create new ones
was a standard practice in the ancient world.

The conquests of Alexander the Great had turned the Mediterranean
world into one culture with a common language. This created an age of
eclecticism, much like our own, in which different spiritual
traditions met and synthesized. Jewish mystics of this period, such
as Philo Judeas, were obsessed with synthesizing Jewish and Pagan
mythology. In light of all this, it is actually no surprise that some
group of Jewish mystics should synthesize the great mythic hero of the
Jews, Joshua the Messiah, with the great mythic hero of the Pagans,
Osiris-Dionysus.

At the time, both Pagans and Christians were well aware that the
Jesus story was a myth. The early Christians, known as Gnostics,
understood the Jesus story as allegory, not history, and even called
Jesus by the names of the Pagan Godman. The Gnostics were brutally
eradicated by the Roman Church in the 4th and 5th centuries, and since
then we have believed the official propaganda that these Christians
were dangerous heretics who had gone Pagan.

Actually the evidence suggests the opposite is closer to the
truth. The Gnostics were the original Christians, just as they
themselves claimed. They had synthesized Jewish and Pagan mythology to
produce the Jesus story and many other extraordinary Christian myths
largely unknown today. The Roman Church was a later deviation, which
misunderstood the Jesus story as history. It was, as the Gnostics said
at the time, an imitation Church teaching a superficial Christianity
designed for the masses.

Roman Christianity, and all its subsequent offshoots, is based on
the idea that if you believe in the existence of an historical Jesus
you will go to heaven when you die. For the Gnostics, however, Jesus
is an everyman figure in an initiation allegory. They taught that if
you yourself go through the process of initiation symbolized by the
Jesus myth, you would die to your old self and resurrect in a new way.
The Greek word we translate as resurrect also means awaken.

For the Gnostics, Christianity was about dying -- the idea of
giving up your mortal body and awakening to your immortal essence as
the Christ within _- the One Consciousness of the Universe. This
mystical enlightenment was not something that happened after death,
but could happen here and now.

The historical figure of Jesus has been so central to Western
culture that it is hard to question his existence. As soon as we hear
his name we can see him in our mind's eye, in his flowing white robes,
with long hair and a beard. Yet this picture of Jesus was not created
until the 8th century. Early portrayals of Jesus show him
clean-shaven with short hair and wearing a Roman tunic. St Paul says
that long hair disgraces a man, so presumably his image of Jesus was
not the same as ours.

The fact is that everything we think we know about Jesus, like
this rom****c picture of the bearded savior, is a creation of the
human imagination. Actually there is barely a shred of evidence for
the existence of an historical Jesus and this dissolves on closer
inspection. Paul, the earliest Christian source, shows no knowledge of
an historical man, only a mystical Christ. The gospels have been
thoroughly discredited as eyewitness reports. Other bits of
traditional evidence, such as references to Jesus by the Jewish
historian Josephus, have been shown to be later forgeries. If solid
evidence had existed, there would have been no need to have created
such fabrications.

A little over a century ago most people believed the story of Adam
and Eve to be history. To most thinking people today its is obviously
a myth. We predict that within a generation a similar revolution will
have taken place in our understanding of the gospels. People will
look back at the beginning of the 21st century and be amazed that a
culture with the technology to travel to the moon could see the
fabulous story of Jesus as anything other than a myth. However, we do
not want to dismiss the Jesus story as nonsense. For us it is truly
the greatest story ever told, because it has been thousands of years
in the making. It is a perennial tale that has fascinated the human
soul since the dawn of time.
And not that you asked, but just a little more on Osiris and Mithra.

Osiriss son or renewed incarnation, Horus, shares the following in common with
Jesus:

--Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Merion December 25 in a cave/manger with his birth
being announced by a star in the East and attended by three wise men.
--His earthly father was named Seb (Joseph).
--He was of royal descent.
--At at 12, he was a child teacher in the Temple, and at 30, he was baptized having
disappeared for 18 years.
--Horus was baptized in the river Eridanus or Iarutana (Jordan) by Anup the Baptizer
(John the Baptist), who was decapitated.
--He had 12 desciples, two of who were his witnesses and were named Anup and
Aan (the two Johns).
--He performed miracles, exorcised demons and raised El-Azarus (El-Osiris), from the
dead.
--Horus walked on water.
--His personal epithet was Iusa, the ever-becoming son of Ptah, the Father. He
was thus called Holy Child.
--He delivered a Sermon on the Mount and his followers recounted the Sayings of
Iusa.
--Horus was transfigured on the Mount.
--He was crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, and resurrected.
--He was also the Way, the Truth, the Light, Messiah, Gods Anointed Son, the
Son of Man, the Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God, the Word made flesh, the
Word of Truth, etc.
--He was the Fisher and was associated with the Fish (Ichthys), Lamb and Lion.
--He came to fulfill the Law.
--Horus was called the KRST, or Anointed One.
--Like Jesus, Horus was supposed to reign one thousand years.

Furthermore, inscribed about 3,500 years ago [1500 years before Jesus alleged advent]
on the walls of the Temple at Luxor were images of the Annunciation, Immaculate
Conception, Birth and Adoration of Horus, with Thoth announcing to the Virgin Isis that
she will conceive Horus; with Kneph the Holy Ghost, impregnating the virgin; and with
the infant being attended bh three kings, or magi, bearing gifts. In addition, in the
catacombs at Rome are pictures of the baby Horus being held by the virgin mother
Isisthe original Madonna and Child. As Massey says:

It was the Gnostic art that reproduced the Hathor-Meri and Horus of Egypt as the Virgin
and child-Christ of Rome . . . You poor idiotai, said the Gnostics [to the early Christians],
you have mistaken the mysteries of old for modern history, and accepted literally all that
was only meant mystically

Mithra of Persia

--Mithra was born of a virgin on December 25 in a cave, and his birth was attended by
shepherds bearing gifts.
--He was considered a great traveling teacher and master.
--He had 12 companions or disciples.
--Mithras followers were promised immortality.
--He performed miracles.
--As the great bull of the Sun, Mithra sacrificed himself for world peace.
--He was buried in atomb and after three days rose again.
--His resurrection was celebrated every year.
--He was called the Good Shepherd and identified with both the Lamb and the Lion.
--He was considered the Way, the Truth and the Light, and the Logos, [Word]
Redeemer, Savior and Messiah.
--His sacred day was Sunday, the Lords Day, hundreds of years before the appearance
of Christ.
--Mithra had his principal festival on what was later to become Easter.
--His religion had a eucharist or Lords Supper, at which Mithra said, He who shall
nto eat of my body nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him,
shall not be saved.
--His annual sacrifice is the Passover of the Magi, a symbolical atonement of pledge of
moral and physical regeneration.

Furthermore, the Vatican itself is built upon the papacy of Mithra, and the Christian
hierarchy is nearly identical to the Mithraic version it replaced . . .
. . . Virtually all of the elements of the Catholic ritual, from miter to wafer to altar to
doxology, are directly taken from earlier Pagan mystery religions.
And for those that may wonder or care; Osiris was invented about 3,500 years ago;
Mithra about 2,600 years ago. Then Jesus, the current concoction about 2,000 years ago.
Jesus is a compilation of Osiris, Mithra, Dionysus and others. No more real than Osiris, or
Zeus or, say, his alleged daddy.

Posted by: chris at April 28, 2004 4:10 PM

chris...Tom Harpur recently published a book on this very subject. He writes about religious and spiritual matters for the Toronto Star, so I don't know how well known he is, but he elaborates on many of chris's points.

In other news, we discussed this in a History class of mine. I think the name of the belief described is "inerrancy," i.e. the "inerrancy" of the Book of Revelations. Of course, the Revelation is just one of dozens that were floating about at the time, probably penned to comfort Christians in their time of persecution. I don't know quite how the apocalyptic language would be comforting, but no doubt the gory descriptions of the infinite torment of the wicked would offer solace to a particular type of individual.

I recommend "The Battle For God," by Karen Armstrong, which discusses fundamentalist Muslim, Jewish, and Christian movements (the "big three" monotheistic religions). Awesome, awesome book, although I hope there's an updated version floating around. Her "A History of God" is worth reading as well.

In other news, Christian fundamentalists freak me the fuck out. Yeah.

Posted by: M at April 28, 2004 4:35 PM

The Guardian's relentless America-bashing is a collosal bore.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at April 28, 2004 5:03 PM

I suspect it is rather more desirable to be bored by The Grauniad than bombed by the Coalition.

Posted by: Phil Dobbin at April 28, 2004 5:27 PM

I suspect being bombed by the Coalition is altogether preferable to a holiday airplane adventure with Al Qaeda, but your muesli may vary.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at April 28, 2004 6:07 PM

The Grauniad (to be fair, there are fewer typos these days) doesnt bash America: it reports informatively and often critically on aspects of the current administrations policy, just as it did when Clinton was in the White House. As a widely read, intelligent publication it could never get away with presenting a single, narrow view of a diverse and complex nation. Leave that to the kind of people who coined the term freedom fries.

Posted by: Lydia Prior at April 29, 2004 1:19 AM

You're right, Lydia, the Guardian (spelling now first rate thanks to a computer) doesn't exactly "bash" America, it sneers.

Which is actually much worse.

Posted by: Richard Bennett at April 29, 2004 1:41 PM

Hey, I recognize this story! It pains me to confess that this is the very same religious dogma that I was raised to believe. And I did believe it, for the first 35 years or so of my life. Now in my early forties, it's hard to comprehend that I subscribed to such outrageous, oppressive bullshit for nearly my entire life.

Unfortunately, we are often the products of our environments. If you are told by your parents that this is the way life is, you tend to believe them, especially when you are young. Those of you raised to be freethinkers tend to be appalled by people with fundamentalist beliefs. Frankly, I'm appalled now too. But I have to remember where I came from. I can't change my past, but I can reflect on it and, hopefully, learn from it.

Those of you who were raised in fundamentalist Protestant christian homes will no doubt recognize this apocalyptic doctrine. Unfortunately, this is not the radical dogma of "several million" deluded Americans, but rather the core belief of tens of millions of traditional fundamentalist Protestant christians all across this country.

Scary, huh? And I used to be one of them. My reaction recently has been to be angry with them, as many of you probably are. I've been furious at times over the past few years at my parents (who are still 'religious addicts'), my relatives, the church and religion in general.

I've come to realize that resentment isn't getting me anywhere. I'm learning to be thankful that I at least was given the opportunity to grasp at a higher degree of enlightenment. Moving beyond the psychologically 'safe' confines of one's cultural religious upbringing is a step most of the world's 5+ billion people never take.

As vexing as the problem of religious fundamentalism is (both christian and islamic), you cannot 'give' someone enlightenment; they have to see it for themselves.

Posted by: Jeff R at April 29, 2004 11:32 PM