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Middle aged heterosexual, WASP male. Semi retired, semi-sane and semi-serious. And endangered species and I'm not going quietly!!!!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Church of Allan - The Plain Truth About God


A serialization of the book, The Plain Truth About God

Chapter 6. Let Me Tell You a Story

*”We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.”
”We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
•Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955)

Gilgamesh was the first actual person mentioned in recorded literature. (The Epic of Gilgamesh c. 2,000 BCE.)

The historical Gilgamesh lived even further back in the mists of time (3000 B.C.E.?) where such words as Babylon, Sumerian and Mesopotamia bring back images of the dawn of human history.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is the story of a famous King of ancient Mesopotamia.

It could be viewed as the forerunner and example for all other epics that came after, such as the “Iliad” by Homer, (which was not written until about 800 BCE,) and certainly parts of the Bible.

The storyline has little to do with actual events that happened during this period since the exotic plot is really about human relationships and the human condition.

It explores feelings of loneliness, love, loss, revenge, envy, regret, jealousy and most of all the fear of death. In other words, the seven deadly sins all rolled into one!

“The Epic of Gilgamesh” is considered the bases for many of the thoughts and beliefs of all early religions and fables for the people of what is now Europe and the Middle East.

This influenced Zarathustra and Zoroastrianism, as well as the cults of Mithra and Horus, who together formed the foundations of Judaism, and then Christianity and finally Islam.

Different parts of the story have been found on eleven clay tablets in the general region of the ancient city of Uruk.

Only about 70% of the epic has been recovered, and it seems there are three versions of the story. What is portrayed is not only grand and amazing in its sweep and majesty, but there are also uncanny parallels to later literary events including the great flood, the nature of good and evil, eternal life, Armageddon and much more, as told in the old testament of the Bible.

Plot Summary:

King Gilgamesh’s strength and lust left him with no rivals, so the gods prevailed on the goddess Aruru to make him a brother, which she did.
Enkidu was created and brought up in the wild, eating grass in the hills. He was the strongest man in the world and was discovered by a hill trapper who was so afraid of his strength that he sought advice from his father on what to do with the beast.
The trapper’s father instructed him to go to Gilgamesh and ask for his advice. Gilgamesh advised him to hire a harlot (second oldest profession -after priests!) and introduce her to Enkidu.
She persuaded him to accompany her to see Gilgamesh in the city of Uruk where Enkidu challenged Gilgamesh by preventing him from entering the house of a newly wedded bride. (According to the customs ordained by the gods of the time, the King was to be first in the house and the husband was to follow and be introduced by the King.)
Gilgamesh threw him aside, so Enkidu acknowledged Gilgamesh’s strength and they became friends.

2 - The Forest Journey.
Enkidu regretted that he was losing his powers and becoming weak, so Gilgamesh had the idea of making a name for himself by raising a monument of cedars to the gods.
The trouble was, as Enkidu knew all too well, the cedars were guarded by a fearsome giant called Humbaba, who was aroused and then eventually vanquished by the power of Gilgamesh and Enkidu.
The god Enlil was not happy about this, and vowed revenge on them both.

3 - Ishtar and Gilgamesh, and the Death of Enkidu.
Having returned from this adventure, Gilgamesh washed himself and put on his royal robes.
He looked very handsome and was noticed by Ishtar, the goddess of love. She asked him to marry her and promised all sorts of things.
Gilgamesh was not having any of this, and reminded Ishtar of how unfaithful she had been to a whole list of previous lovers.
Ishtar fell into a rage and went up to high heaven to ask her father, Anu, for the Bull of Heaven with which to avenge Gilgamesh.
The fearsome Bull of Heaven rampaged over the earth.
Early in the fight Enkidu was knocked down and injured, but got up immediately.
It was Gilgamesh who defeated the Bull and they cut out its heart and gave it to Shamash.
Ishtar came to the walls of Uruk and cursed Gilgamesh for killing the Bull of Heaven and said Enkidu would die of his injuries from the bull.
With tears in his eyes, Enkidu prayed to Shamash, cursing the trapper.
Shamash, however, reminded him of the good times he had had, and Enkidu repented for his harsh words.
At this point despite Gilgamesh’s prayers, his lingering illness worsened and he died.

4 - The Search for Everlasting Life:
Gilgamesh wept bitterly for his brother, whose demise reminded him of his greatest fear - death.
He decided to find Utnapishtim (known as the Faraway), who lived in the land of Dilmun, in the garden of the sun.
It was to him alone had the gods granted eternal life.
By the sea, he encountered Siduri and she told him that Utnapishtim lived across the ocean.
The boatman Urshanabi, to whom he introduces himself in much the same way as he did with Siduri, carried Gilgamesh across.
Utnapishtim reminded Gilgamesh that nothing on earth is permanent and concerning how he came to enter the company of gods and possess everlasting life, he would tell Gilgamesh a secret:

5 - The Story of the Flood
Utnapishtim told a story of a city called Shurrupak, on the banks of the Euphrates.
The gods considered the noises made by man in this city to be intolerable - so they agreed to exterminate humanity.
Enlil was the main protagonist, but Ea, god of waters, warned Utnapishtim of their plan in a dream; telling him to tear down his house and build a boat, giving precise measurements; and to take into it the seed of all living creatures.
The boat was built and loaded, and the rain came. (The Great Flood) The storm raged fiercely for six days and nights.
On the seventh day, the storm subsided and Utnapishtim opened the hatch and saw water all around. The boat was grounded on the mountain of Nisir. (Ararat)
When it had been becalmed for seven days, he released a dove, which found no resting place and returned.
A swallow was then released who found no perch and returned, and finally a raven, who did not return.
Utnapishtim made a sacrifice and poured out a libation on the mountain. The gods were pleased and took him, and made him kneel down, saying “In times past Utnapishtim was mortal; now he shall live forever.”

6 - The Return:
Utnapishtim told Gilgamesh to prevail against sleep for six days and seven nights if he wished to gain eternal life.
Gilgamesh, however, could not stay awake; and slept for seven days, waking up with his ever-present fear of death.
Utnapishtim promised Gilgamesh a memento of the trip - a plant, like a rose with a prickle like a thorn, found at the bottom of the sea. This would restore lost youth.
Gilgamesh dived into the water to obtain this plant. Then, having traveled another twenty leagues, Gilgamesh and Urshanabi were attacked by a serpent and lost the plant.
On returning to Uruk with Urshanabi, our hero was worn out. However, he was able to engrave the story of his adventures on a stone before dying.

7 - The Death of Gilgamesh:
Gilgamesh’s destiny, decreed by Enlil (the father of the gods), was now fulfilled.
The people of Uruk and his mother Ninsun mourned. The mourners weighed out their offerings to Ereshkigal, the Queen of Death, Namtar, the god of fate, and to all the gods of the dead.

Gilgamesh now lies in his tomb.

1. Adam (? B.C.E.)
2. Abraham (? B.C.E.)
3. Zoroaster, Zarathustra (varied dates -1800 or 750 B.C.E.?)
4. Moses (1456 B.C.E.)
5. Krishna (1249 B.C.E.)
6. Buddha (757 B.C.E.)
7. Jesus of Nazareth (4C.E.)
8. Muhammad (613 C.E.)

“Sh*t Happens” in various religions:
Taoism: Sh*t happens.
Confucianism: Confucius says: “Sh*t happens”.
Buddhism: If sh*t happens, it isn’t really sh*t.
Hinduism: This sh*t has happened before.
Protestantism: If sh*t happens, it happens to someone else.
Catholicism: If sh*t happens, you deserve it.
Judaism: Why does sh*t always happen to us?
Agnosticism: What is this sh*t?
Atheism: I don’t believe this sh*t.
Rastafarianism: Let’s smoke this sh*t.

Samuel Kamens

Allan W Janssen is the author of the book The Plain Truth About God (What the mainstream religions don't want you to know!) and is available at the web site http://www.god-101.com/

Visit the blog "Perspective" at http://God-101.blogspot.com

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