- PERSPECTIVE -

- EVERYONE SEEMS NORMAL UNTIL YOU GET TO KNOW THEM! -

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Middle aged hetrosexual, WASP male. Middle of the road, reasonably sane and  reasonably employed.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

HELP! I need your opinion on something.

Whenever we get a new loaf of bread I always take the little plastic tab off the neck, get two slices and then throw the tab away, hold the bag by the neck, give it a spin, tuck it under and put it back in the fridge. Easy, right?

We went to the store today and got a bag of bagels in one of those tube like plastic bags and I had the first two, threw the tab away, gave it a spin and put them back in the fridge. (Where they stay fresher than in the bread box.) Simple, right?

Some time later "The Missus Herself" went and got the tird bagel, looked for the plastic taba and when she couldn't find it............ tied the neck in a KNOT!. (And not just a loose knot, but one so tight that I wrestled with it for over two minutes trying to get it open before I just tore the bag apart and got my bagel.)

End of story? NOOOoooooo!

I went into the living room and said to the Missus, "Why would you tie that stupid bag in a knot when all you have to do is grab the bag by the neck, give it a twist, fold it under and put it back. I had to wrestle with the damn bag and finally had to tear it open because it was tied too tight!"

The answer I got was that; "There must be something wrong with me because I got upset about a silly little thing like that!"

Who's right, me or the Missus. Please leave a comment!

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 www.God-101.com

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

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The Front Fell Off!

Politicians are the same the world over. Don't believe me, watch this!


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 www.God-101.com

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

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WINNERS, LOSERS AND ASSHOLES!

Karzai urges more freedoms for women: Guest post by RAHIM FAIEZ, Associated Press Writer

KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan women need the freedom to pursue more education and should not be forced into marriage, President Hamid Karzai told an audience of women during an International Women's Day ceremony today.

Karzai called on men and religious leaders to promote education for females, saying Afghanistan needed more female nurses and doctors. He also called for fewer childhood marriages, a common practice in Afghanistan's countryside.

(This makes Karzai our "Winner of the Day!")

"I call on all religious leaders to advise all the people to stop violence against women, to stop child marriages and forced marriages as well," Karzai told several hundred women gathered in a high school auditorium in Kabul.

Karzai also urged Afghan families to stop using young women as currency. Family disputes in Afghanistan — particularly in the more conservative countryside — are sometimes solved by one family giving a daughter to another family.

He called for an end to child marriages.

"How can a father accept with his heart to marry his 15-year-old child with a 60 year-old-man?" Karzai said. "Again, I call on the people, they shouldn't give their daughters for money, they shouldn't give them to old men, and they shouldn't give them in forced marriages."

In the southern city of Kandahar, several hundred women — most wearing the all-encompassing burqa that most women in Afghanistan wear — met at the Kandahar Women's Association headquarters.

Unfortunately, Afghan women have a long way to go and are still "Losers of the Day!"

Rona Tarin, the organization's director, noted the hardships that Afghan women face.

"We want to give our message to all the Western women," she said. "Afghan women are facing a lot of problems. Women should have a right to education. We want to work shoulder to shoulder with men."

Under the Taliban's 1996-2001 rule, Afghan women could not leave the house without a male relative and were banned from going to school. Although millions of Afghan girls are now in class and women can again walk the streets by themselves, most women still wear a burqa and most do not enjoy the same rights as males.

This also make the misogynistic men of Afghanistan, especially the Taliban our "Assholes of the week," this week and every week until things change for the better!

Rovina Jan, a 35-year-old woman who participated in another Women's Day event in Kandahar, said she had to sneak out of the house to attend the program.

"A lot of women came down here without permission from their husbands, because we knew if we told the men why we wanted to leave the house, they wouldn't let us," she said.

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 www.God-101.com

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

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Saturday Morning Confusion. # 512

Has life got you down, beaten up and confused? Is that what's bothering you, bunky?

Do everyday events pile up and get stranger and quirkier and more ridiculous as time goes on? Do you need a break, or at least some advice?????

Well hang on to your hats kids, here are a couple of lessons to help you cope with life's little aggravations on a level playing field.

Lesson 1:

A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings. The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs.

When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor.

Before she says a word, Bob says, "I'll give you $800 to dropthat towel."

After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands in front of Bob. After a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.

The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs.

When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, "Who was that?"

"It was Bob the next door neighbor," she replies.

"Great," the husband says, "did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?"

Moral of the story:

If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

Lesson 2:

A priest offered a Nun a lift. She got in and crossed her legs, forcing her gown to reveal a leg.

The priest nearly had an accident. After controlling the car, he stealthily slid his hand up her leg.

The nun said, "Father, remember Psalm 129?" The priest removed his hand. But, changing gears, he let his hand slide up her leg again.

The nun once again said, "Father, remember Psalm 129?"

The priest apologized "Sorry sister but the flesh is weak."

Arriving at the convent, the nun sighed heavily and went on her way.

On his arrival at the church, the priest rushed to look up Psalm 129.

It said, "Go forth and seek, further up you will find glory."

Moral of the story:

If you are not well informed in your job, you might a great opportunity.

Lesson 3:

A sales rep, an administration clerk, and the manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp.

They rub it and a Genie comes out.

The Genie says, "I'll give each of you just one wish."

"Me first! Me first!" says the admin clerk. "I want to be in the Bahamas , driving a speedboat, without a care in the world."

Puff! She's gone.

"Me next! Me next!" says the sales rep. "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Pina Coladas and the love of my life."

Puff! He's gone.

"OK, you're up," the Genie says to the manager.

The manager says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."

Moral of the story:

Always let your boss have the first say.

Lesson 4

An eagle was sitting on a tree resting, doing nothing. A small rabbit saw the eagle and asked him, "Can I also sit like you and do nothing?"

The eagle answered: " Sure , why not."

So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the eagle and rested.

All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

Moral of the story:

To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up.

Lesson 5

A turkey was chatting with a bull. "I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree," sighed the turkey, "but I haven't got the energy."

"Well, why don't you nibble on some of my droppings?" replied the bull. "They're packed with nutrients."

The turkey pecked at a lump of dung, and found it actually gave him enough strength to reach the lowest branch of the tree.

The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch.

Finally after a fourth night, the turkey was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot him out of the tree.

Moral of the story:

BullShit might get you to the top, but it won't keep you there.

Lesson 6

A little bird was flying south for the Winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field.

While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him.

As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out!

He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.

A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.

Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Morals of the story:

(1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.

(2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.

(3) And when you're in deep shit, it's best to keep your mouth shut!

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 www.God-101.com

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

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The Chuch of Allan - The Plain Truth About God

A serialization of the book, The Plain Truth About God.

Chapter 10. - Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up!


With all the different views presented in the various Gospels and Sayings we have looked at so far it makes sense to try to find out how many in total actually came from Jesus.

We do not know exactly how the texts in the bible were chosen but we do know that whatever happened occurred principally in the middle of the second century up until 325 C.E. when the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea was convened by Emperor Constantine.

He established the Nicene Creed as the fundamental statement of Christian doctrine........................

In his book “The Silence of Jesus,” James Breech takes an in-depth and impartial view of the words that have been attributed to “Christ,” and compared these with the words that composed the core material said by the historical “Jesus.” (See previous chapter!)

According to Breech, all the thoughts attributed to Jesus, a collection of eight sayings and eleven parables, can definitely be followed back to (Q) and do not have the taint of something said by “Christ.”

Modern day scholars would agree that these sayings, at least, are authentic.

They are remarkably free of the language and concepts of the early Christian movement, and show a purity of thought and concept, that upon close examination, reveals a simplicity and universal message not constrained by time or culture.

To truly understand the sayings that were uttered by the historical Jesus, we must keep an open mind and not make assumptions, or at least keep them to a minimum.

To do otherwise would be to fall into the same trap that ensnared the early “Christians.”

They created a body of work that first collected, then glossed over and distorted the sayings of Jesus to provide a basis for their own teachings.

One of the most basic assumptions that Breech examines is the concept of Christian “love” that forms the basis of most of the teachings of Jesus.

Let me explain:

** The foundation of Christian ideology revolves around “Love” for one and another.

To understand this we need to define exactly how the term or meaning of “Love” is used when compared to (the small L) love!!

In the first instance, there is the true “Love,” which means it is rooted in the power of the kingdom of God.

This is the “Love” that the historical Jesus preached to his followers.

The second type of Christian “love” (small L) is defined solely as an ethical idea that was propagated by the spreading Christian faith in trying to define the words of Christ.

Nietzsche probably best defined this form of Christian ‘love’ as a masked feeling of pity or charity.

In other words, we feel sorry for others and from this superior moral ground, we lend a helping hand.

Nietzsche claims that Christian ‘pity’ (love) is a device used by those who are not themselves truly vital and alive to obtain a perverse elevation of their own position by undermining others.

In other words, “I can make myself feel better by thinking you or someone else is worse-off and deserving of love.”

We often confuse the feeling of Christian “love” for someone with:

1. Pity for them.

2. Humanitarianism-or a love of Mankind.

3. Altruism, or self denial, and:

4. Sentimentalism, or wanting to be with others.

** These concepts of “love” have been re-enforced over and over again through one story or another.

What Jesus actually said was something more basic and infinitely harder to achieve.

The historical Jesus did not urge us to love humankind or to feel pity for someone else. He did not tell us to deny ourselves for someone else’s sake, or flagellate ourselves, or even to enjoy another’s company!

What He did say was pure and simple and straight to the point, “Love one another!”

This sort of Love is not the altruistic love of humanity, nor the possessive love for our mate, but rather something that requires hard work, tenacity, and sacrifice.

It is easy to love your wife or husband, child or parent, but to Love your neighbor (or stranger) is a task that is never ending and always requires effort.

It is a Love that seems to have no immediate benefit and is therefore not practiced by many people.

However, in the end, this is what will make Humanity rise up to it is potential and approach what Jesus referred to as the “Kingdom of God.” (The Father)

This is not something that is to be expected in the near, or far, future. Rather, it was a state of being that is present at this time, and only has to be observed and followed in order to achieve a state of Grace.

One of the core sayings of Jesus was “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ For behold, that kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

Jesus tells us quite clearly that the “Kingdom of God” is not a coming kingdom, or a future kingdom, but rather something already in and amongst his disciples. It is not a place, but rather a state of mind!

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 www.God-101.com

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

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Friday, March 07, 2008

National Secretaries Day

National Secretaries Day is coming up soon and we here at "Perspective" would like to jump in early and thank all the girls in the office for the great job they have done over the past year!
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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STUFF!

Due to the worsening financial crunch in North Korea the armed forces went on strike for higher pay. Not having enough money to pay them more, Fearless Leader Kim Jong-ill instead chose to give all the officers promotions and medals instead.

That is all except this Major who refused to take part and wanted the money. He was quoted as saying; "Nobody's gonna pin no cheap medals on me!"
This was taken during the Munster's family reunion back during the Christmas holidays.
Lonely, eh?
Have a good look at this guys face. The only thing on his mind is getting the hell away from there.
That sivler space ship that landed in NYC last fall made a brief return on Wednesday.
Last Memeorial day these last three survivors of the war of 1812 took part in the parade in London, England









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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KANSAS


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 www.God-101.com

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

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French Mayor Bans Villagers From Dying

The mayor of a village in south west France has banned residents from dying.

Village graveyard is fullAnd Gerard Lalanne has threatened "severe" punishment for anyone who disobeys.

The mayor issued the unusual edict when it became clear that there was no room left in the overcrowded village graveyard in Sarpourenx in the Bordeaux region.

In an ordinance posted in the council offices, Mayor Lalanne told the 260 residents that "all persons not having a plot in the cemetery and wishing to be buried in Sarpourenx are forbidden from dying in the parish".

It added: "Offenders will be severely punished." (I don't make this stuff up folks!)

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 www.God-101.com

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

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The Chuch of Allan - The Plain Truth About God

A serialization of the book, The Plain Truth About God.

Chapter 10. - Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up!


This leads us to another question: “Does the Gospel of Thomas really reflect the views of Jesus?” ……………..Maybe!

There was once a “Q” gospel and a Mark gospel. These were revised and combined into a Matthew gospel and a Luke gospel. Therefore, four interrelated texts testify to a single view of Jesus.

That in turn leads us to the further question of what is “Q” and what does it have to do with Thomas since none of this material existed in a written, coherent, or universal form for several decades after the death of Jesus.

At some point, scholars believe that a written text of only the sayings and teachings of Jesus was in circulation. This was probably in an effort to standardize the proliferating teachings attributed to Jesus in the oral tradition.

If you realize that Matthew and Luke are revised versions of Mark you will see that an extended set of sayings are in Matthew and Luke that do not occur in Mark.

Both Matthew and Luke, it is generally agreed to in scholarship, took those sayings from a mid-first century document that consisted of a list of Jesus’ sayings. That document, called “Quelle,” has come to be known as Q.

It does not exist any longer, but it can be recovered by analysis of Matthew and Luke. Simply put, Q was the written list of sayings that we find common and not too apocalyptic in Mark, Matthew, and Luke.

In other words, things that have a high probability of being said by the historical Jesus, instead of the apocalyptic sayings of “The Christ” that we find in the Gospel of John.

** At the end of the first century C.E. The “Alexandrian School of Thought,” of which Origin and Clement of Alexandria were part, taught that there were three possible approaches to be taken to the scriptures.

(That there were already discussions of this magnitude and significance tells us a lot of the early Christian movement.)

The first approach was the literal translation, the second was symbolic, or allegorical, and the third was spiritual.

1. The first/ literal was described as simplistic and solely for the un-educated.

2. The second/symbolic was the use of parables to convey a deeper meaning.

3. The third/spiritual transcended the mortal plane and bought us closer to God.

Unfortunately at that time, as now, the un-washed masses cried out for a ready-made, simplistic, popular faith. A faith that can best be described as closer to a romance novel than any serious attempt at theology, history and philosophy.

This is also the reason that the “Resurrection” was proclaimed as the basis for Christianity.

This version of the “Faith,” when combined with the Roman gift of organization and brute force, led to the “Christianity” that has been handed down to us.

It seems to be the consensus among New Testament scholars that “Jesus” preached a message that teaches a way of behaving and living that applied to a first century reality.

However, the words of “Christ” are another matter.

If the sayings and parables of “Christ” are examined closely with the purpose of separating those words that were actually uttered by “Jesus” from those that were later attributed to him, we see a vast difference in the context, meaning, and purpose between the two.

The sayings of “Christ” display a metaphorical and allegorical context that suggest someone slightly removed from the everyday world.

The biblical words of “Jesus,” however, were indeed a direct reflection of their place and time. (Just as today, we are all products of our own time and age)

The actual sayings of the historical “Jesus,” which upon close examination shows only a handful of thoughts and parables, are so simple and basic, with such underlying truth, that they can be applied to the human condition of any age.

The origin of Thomas is a question hotly debated by scholars. Many scholars say that it was written at about the same time, or even somewhat before, the gospels in the bible.

Their argument is that most of the sayings in Thomas show no signs of having any dependence on, or knowledge of the Biblical gospels and so Thomas’ sayings derive from oral tradition and not from written Biblical texts.

This does not seem to have been possible after the end of the first century. This is when the Biblical texts began to be authoritative.

Other scholars find bits of evidence that indicate Thomas was indeed dependent in part, on Biblical texts. They surmise that the author of Thomas must have edited out almost all indications of the particular styles and ideas of the Biblical authors.

(Those scholars date Thomas in the mid second century C.E. and are suspect.)

However, the choices for a compilation were made at this time, it could well have been that Thomas was unknown to those who made them.

Alternatively, there might have been elements of Thomas that were distasteful to them.

On the other hand, given a preference for narrative biographical gospels, Thomas might have been thought dry and irrelevant.

We know hardly anything about the process of Canonical gospel choice except that biblical canon is not open for debate, it is a closed entity.

A church that adds Thomas to its collection of scriptures would move outside the margins of orthodox Christianity and no well-known denomination has the slightest intention of adding Thomas to its scriptures.

If you take the set of sayings that are in common in Thomas and either “Q” or the gospels of Mark or Matthew or Luke (no sayings in Thomas are repeated in John) then you have a pared down set that could have come from Jesus himself.

These we will list at the end of the chapter.

The only thing that is known about Thomas for sure is that it will never be included in the Bible.

There is even more conjecture about the lost years of Jesus, between the time when he was in his late teens until he began his ministry at about the age of thirty.

During this time, it must be assumed that he followed the normal Hebrew custom of learning a trade and getting married.

Yes, married! It would have been highly unusual - even suspect, for him to be in that society and not be married!

Mary Magdalene, by the way, was his wife.

She was only drastically reduced in her role much later by the church hierarchy.

They could not stand the thought of a woman with that much influence on the “Son of God” so they reduced her to the status of a whore!

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 www.God-101.com

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

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CONNECTIONS

Another in the riveting series about how and why things work the way they do!



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 www.God-101.com

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

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Racism

I was listening to a conversation today and a strange thought struck me.

Blacks aren't really very good at being racists!

No, really!

You get your average white guy and he will come up with terms like nigger and jungle bunny and all sorts of terms that really denigrate and degrade and insult blacks.

On the other hand, blacks just can't seem to cut it. I don't think it's genetic or cultural or anything like that. It's more a case of lack of practice.

We whites have come up with lynching blacks and slavery and the KKK and job discrimination and all sorts of stuff and the poor blacks.....................?

The best they can come up with is calling us "Honkey" and "Cracker!"

What sort of lame terms are they?

No, let's face it, if blacks want to hold their own they are going to have to apply themselves a lot more because after all, "practice makes perfect," so get in the game boys!

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 www.God-101.com

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

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Hey Jude!




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 www.God-101.com

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

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Short People

Scientists just did a study which seems to suggest that short women live longer than the taller members of their gender.

After an exhaustive study the "Perspective" research department has determined that short women don't really live any longer, they were just "overlooked" in the study!
(ha ha ha ha ha ha)

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 www.God-101.com

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

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My First Time!

I recall my first time with a condom, I was 16 or so. I went in to buy a packet of condoms at the pharmacy.

There was this beautiful woman assistant behind the counter, and she could see that I was new at it.

She handed me the package and asked if I knew how to wear one.

I honestly answered, "No, this is my first time."

So she unwrapped the package, took one out and slipped it over her thumb. She cautioned me to make sure it was on tight and secure.

I apparently still looked confused. So she looked all around the store to see if it was empty.

It was empty.

"Just a minute," she said, and walked to the door, and locked it.

Taking my hand, she led me into the back room, unbuttoned her blouse and removed it.

She unhooked her bra and laid it aside. "Do these excite you?" she asked. Well, I was so dumb-struck that all I could do was nod my head. She then said it was time to slip the condom on.

As I was slipping it on, she dropped her skirt, removed her panties and lay down on a desk. "Well, come on", she said, "We don't have much time."

So I climbed on her. It was so wonderful, that unfortunately, I could no longer hold back and KAPOW, I was done within a few minutes.

She looked at me with a bit of a frown. "Did you put that condom on?" she asked. I said, "I sure did," and held up my thumb to show her.

She fainted.

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 www.God-101.com

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

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The Chuch of Allan - The Plain Truth About God

A serialization of the book, The Plain Truth About God.

Chapter 10. - Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up!


The early Christian gospels are not historical biographies of Christ and do not really give us insight into the personal life of Jesus.

These gospels proclaim a message about Jesus and express a significance that the early Christians found in Jesus.

They are written in a way that appeals to historical truth, but they are not history in any actual sense.

The gospels expressed what people experienced about Jesus in the context of the first century Near East.

This experience was taken as a “revelation” of the Divine, and they tell us what the early Christians actually believed about Jesus!

Until the recent deciphering of the Gospel of Thomas and the discovery of the “Q” sayings, this knowledge of Christ was the only bases we had to explore the historical Jesus.

As a result, it was very difficult to differentiate between the actual words of Jesus and the words his followers (Christians) attribute to him.

It must be noted that “Q” (German for Quelle, or source) has only recently been deciphered from the first three gospels by comparing them side by side.

In this comparison, there were many divergent views and stories, but scholars also found a commonality within them that made no mention of the miracles of Christ.

Rather they pointed to the striped down sayings and parables that were probably the “authentic words of Jesus.”

Since the first gospel Mark, was not written until thirty-five or forty years or so after the death of Jesus, (Well over a generation later!) we have to remember that early Christian preachers told stories about Jesus in order to convey the significance they saw in him.

In explaining his parables and stories, it was necessary to paraphrase them and even add to them by way of clarification.

The early Christians did not distinguish between the actual Jesus and the Christ of their religion. They also did not distinguish between the sayings of the earthly Jesus and the explanations and interpretations of Christ’s sayings given by their leaders.

Here we have a case where the actual sayings of the earthly Jesus, (Q) were mixed with Christian interpretations of his words.

Then, various popular sayings and words of wisdom of the time, and the purported words of the risen “Christ” were all collected in a primary work which started out with the synoptic gospels of Mark, then Matthew and Luke.

After these three gospels, things took an even sharper turn and went in the direction of our modern version of Christianity with the apocalyptic works of John.

The authors of the gospels were actually anonymous, (Except for Paul) but for convenience sake, we use the traditional names of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John.

The first gospel -Mark, is loosely based on the first three or four decades of oral tradition plus “Q,” and the “Gospel of Thomas,” which was passed down to the author(s)

The first gospels were written largely in an attempt to provide some standard collection of the stories circulating about Jesus.

All, that is, with the exception of the Gospel of John, which is apocalyptic and more concerned with making a theological statement.

These gospels were not immediately recognized as authority.

As late as 96 A.D. Clement, the Bishop of Rome proclaimed the only authoritative texts of Christianity to be the Old Testament and the various sayings attributed to Jesus then in circulation.

The Gospels did not appear in purely Christian writings (as opposed to Jewish writings) until around 135 AD.

The same lack of authoritarian certification can be said of the Gospel of Thomas, which might well be the most informative discovery about Christian origins in modern history.

The Gospel was often mentioned in early Christian literature, but no copy was thought to have survived until the discovery of a Coptic manuscript in 1945 at Nag Hammadi in Egypt.

Portions of Greek versions of the Gospel of Thomas were found in Oxyrhynchus Egypt about one hundred years ago and these can be dated to about 140 C.E. or somewhat before.

A complete version in Coptic (the native Egyptian language written in an alphabet derived from the Greek alphabet) as we mentioned, was found in Nag Hammadi Egypt in 1945.

That version can be dated to about 340 C.E. This Coptic version was a translation of the Greek version.

Thus most, if not all, of the Gospel of Thomas was written well prior to 140 C.E.

Thomas is a pure sayings gospel; that is, it consists only of a collection of the sayings of Jesus without any extended narrative or explanation.

While Thomas is not Q, its discovery proves the theory that such collections existed in the early days of Christianity.

The discovery of Thomas as part of a Gnostic library has led many to believe it a Gnostic creation.

However, very little of it would have been considered unorthodox to the early church. What little questionable material can be found is probably a later addition.

Thomas does represent a Jewish “Wisdom” philosophy that was embraced by Jesus and the Gnostics. “That the kingdom of God is not something we must await for, but is in fact already here, if we can only become spiritual enough to see it.”

One of these documents found at Nag Hammadi begins with a note in the margin, “The Gospel According to Thomas.”

The first sentence of that document says, “These are the secret words which the living Jesus taught and which Judas Thomas Didymos wrote down.” Then they start over 110 sayings, each introduced with “and Jesus said.”

Now this is very reveling since some of those sayings have parallels with the gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke, -- and some not.

However, we can state that sayings or parables that are repeated two or more times in any of the early Gospels have a much higher chance of being an actual utterance by the historical Jesus.

These sayings may go back to a very early period of Christianity, and some of them may have been added later.

The document itself comes from the fourth century and as with all gospel text, we have to remember that these texts were fluid.

Remember, scribes could add, could leave things out, or could add comments and even their own interpretations.

They not only could, but also did!

We cannot reconstruct with certainty what the Gospel of Thomas looked like around the year 100 or earlier.

It is very likely that it existed at that time or before, and that a good deal of the material that’s now in that manuscript was already in a Greek manuscript that dates back to the first century.

Now what is typical about these sayings is that in each instance, they tell us that if you want to understand what Jesus said, you have to first recognize yourself.
You have to know yourself, know who you are.

It begins with a saying about the Kingdom of God, which is probably one of the most important, and reveling proclamations.

“If you seek the Kingdom of God in the sky then the birds will precede you, ad if you seek it in the sea, then the fish will precede you, but the Kingdom is in you, and if you know yourself, then you know the Kingdom of the Father.”

However, if you do not know yourself, you live in poverty, not knowledge! To know yourself is the knowledge of our Divine origin.

“The fact that we have come from the Kingdom of the Father.”

What does it mean really to know oneself?

To know is to have insight into one’s own ultimate Divine identity.

“Know yourself” is a very old Greek maxim... That is, you have to know that your own soul is Divine, and then you know that you are immortal.

Whereas, the body is the mortal part of human existence.

Now this is radicalized in the Gospel of Thomas into saying that everything that is experienced physically and through sense perception, everything in the world that you can perceive in this way is nothing.

It is, at best, chaos and, at worst, it does not even exist in reality.

The only thing that really exists is your Divine spirit or your Divine soul, which is identical in its quality with God.

This, in many ways, exactly reflects the philosophy of the Eastern Religions.

(There is even a lot of conjecture about the lost years of Jesus, between the time when he was in his late teens until he began his ministry at about the age of thirty. There are also unsubstantiated reports of his having visited a monastery in India and studying Eastern Philosophy!)

TOMORROW: The Gospel of Thomas and "Q"

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 www.God-101.com

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

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CONNECTIONS

Another in the riveting series about how and why things work the way they do!



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 www.God-101.com

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

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

THE UNIVERSE

ARE YOU READY?????







Now TRY to wrap your mind around this ... This is a Hubble Telescope Ultra Deep Field Infrared View of countless 'ENTIRE' Galaxies Billions of Light-Years Away.

A Dark Region......... Below is a close up of one of the darkest regions of the photo above.


And there's God, floating around out there, tinkering with all this... ... and he gets jealous if you worship from the wrong book???

Wake up !!!

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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The 100 Monkeys Phenomenon

I have been vaguely aware of this story for years but never really gave it much thought.

I had heard the theory a few times and sort of agreed but never got into it to the point where I could make an informed opinion and so remained ambivalent towards it.

Then yesterday, in the space of one (1) day I ran across this story four (4) times and figured that somebody, somewhere and somehow was trying to tell me something!

I will give you the story now!

The Japanese monkey, Macaca Fuscata, had been observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years.

In 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant.

An 18-month-old female named Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers too.

This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists. Between 1952 and 1958 all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable.

Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social improvement. Other adults kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes.

Then something startling took place. In the autumn of 1958, a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes -- the exact number is not known.

Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes. Let's further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes.

THEN IT HAPPENED!

By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them. The added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough!

But notice: A most surprising thing observed by these scientists was that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped over the sea...Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop of monkeys at Takasakiyama began washing their sweet potatoes.

Thus, when a certain critical number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind.

Although the exact number may vary, this Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of these people.

But there is a point at which if only a few more persons tune-in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone!
Call it "cosmic consciousness," or group psychology or the herd instinct or whatever you please, but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. And, the more I remember experiencing events like this myself.

There is also a good possibility that this is where fads come from. A few people start something and when it reaches a critical level.......... the next thing you know everyone and his brother is doing it!!!!!

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 www.God-101.com

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

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The Church of Allan - The Plain Truth About God

A serialization of the book, The Plain Truth About God.

Chapter 9. ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS .


There has been much debate on why there are no early records of the sayings of Jesus.

It would be natural to assume that they would be preserved and handed down to us, and this would normally be the case, but remember the early Christians felt no need for either a biography of Jesus or a collection of his sayings.

They believed that the “Christ” event in history was the immediate prelude to the end of the world and final judgment of humankind.

Paul, in his epistles, wrote that the present generation, his own, would see the apocalypse.

In the Synoptic gospels, Jesus of Nazareth also claimed that the people around him would still be alive for the “Last Days.”

Anticipating the immediate end of the world at any moment, the early Christians felt no obligation to record the life or sayings of Jesus.

There was, after all, no future anticipated for this material.

These early Christians were more concerned with preparing themselves for the expected apocalypse and for spreading the truth of Christianity to as many people as possible before the end of history.

As a result, the life and sayings of Jesus circulated in an oral form through Christian teachers and public speakers.

This oral material included stories and sayings attributed to Jesus, but they did not exist in any systematic, organized, or universal form.

Teachers and speakers alike would use these sayings and stories to emphasize the particular occasion or subject. In other words, a public speaker would use a saying attributed to Jesus as an occasion to lecture or discuss some aspect of Christianity or morality with his audience.

What the speaker talked about largely determined what the speaker chose to remember about the life and sayings of Jesus.

The very first thing that needed to be accounted for was the death and resurrection of Jesus. The history of Jesus’ death (The Passion) and the resurrection are probably the oldest of the stories surrounding Jesus.

The early Christians, however, needed more than the Passion and the Resurrection to legitimize Christ as having Divine status.

Therefore, the early Hebrew teachers of Christianity turned to the prophetic and messianic tradition of Judaism and began to develop proofs of Christ’s divinity by aligning events in Jesus’ life with older prophecies.

This process also included configuring the humbly born Jesus of Nazareth to a descendant of King David through his father, Joseph, since the messianic prophecies were clear that the Messiah would come from the line of David.

This legitimizing process continued when the religion entered the Greek world.

The Greeks associated divinity with miraculous stories and miraculous birth. From here came the idea that Jesus of Nazareth was born of a virgin…….. even though the virgin birth of Jesus contradicted the placement of Jesus as a descendant of David through Joseph.

We also, dare I say it, have a major problem with the physical resurrection of Jesus.

This we will discuss further when we have a look at St. Paul.

The Gospels, in spite of being a “product of their time,” and open to various revisions and alterations during their telling and eventual documentation, still came from a recognizable and firm historical reality.

This was a time of rebellion, political unrest, civil disobedience, and social discontent. It was also a time of religious questioning, and hopes and dreams for the arrival of a new King.

It was a time where the anticipation of the arrival of a new Messiah reaches a fever pitch verging on mass hysteria.

It was a time where the political freedoms of Judea were brutally extinguished by the two wars of A.D. 66-74 and again A.D. 132-135 that led to the destruction of Massada.

The Gospels were the first attempts in early Christianity to come up with a coherent picture of the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

During and after this time there was a wholesale destruction of written records and documents, including, no doubt, the first few gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and even John.

The earliest of these documents, Mark, seems to have been actually composed during the revolt of 66-74 or shortly after.

Although not one of Jesus’ original disciples, Mark (whoever he was) was a disciple of Paul and his Gospel bears an affinity to Pauline thought.

Mark is the shortest of the Gospels and shows the greatest familiarity with Jewish life and thought.

The later gospels, however, show increasingly less familiarity with the Jewish context of Jesus’ life and mission until we come to the last gospel whose author is totally uninterested in that context.

All of the authors of the gospels show some unfamiliarity with Palestinian geography which indicates that they were written by non-Palestinians, either Jewish or Greek.

Mark seemed to be a native of Jerusalem, and as Clement of Alexandria stated many years later, the document (as well as Paul’s epistles) was composed in Rome, and addressed to a Greek-Roman Audience.

Judea and Galilee had recently been in open revolt against Rome. Thousands of Jews were being crucified for their rebellion against the state, just as Jesus had.

If Mark wanted his Gospel to survive and impress a Roman Audience, he could not possibly present Jesus as being politically oriented, let alone anti-Roman!

In order to ensure the survival of his message, he would have to exonerate the Romans of all guilt for Jesus’ death and blame the “death of the Messiah” on certain Jews who were against his teachings because Jesus challenged the existing power structure.

This was the start of the myth that the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus.

About a decade later, the authors of Matthew expanded Mark’s gospel, this time also using “Q” and other traditional material.

Five to ten years after this, the author of Luke-Acts (a two-volume work produced by the same person) also published his own revised and expanded version of Mark, again using “Q” and even more traditions about Jesus.

As Christian teachers moved into different communities, it had a couple of results.
First, they would find need for different parts of the tradition for different circumstances.

Second, the long period of oral transmission and the decentralized way in which the stories and sayings were distributed indicate that many of these were distorted, or even made up whole-cloth, to suit particular needs.

This has led some scholars to assert that, even if there was a historical Jesus, his life and teachings are permanently lost to history.

In spite of this, there is a remarkable consistency to the teachings and actions of Jesus of Nazareth. (Except those contained in John)

This lends tremendous credence to the Christian belief that the fact of a historical Jesus is not only proven, but that he is the Jesus of the Gospels.

Therefore, it would be a fair bet to assume that Jesus was an actual historical figure who had great influence on his peers and times. As for his teachings, they have to be looked at not only by what he said, but also by what his actions portrayed.

There is much truth to the saying “Actions speak louder than words!”

The truth probably lies somewhere between the scholarly belief in the unreliability of the gospels and the Christian belief in them as an infallible, literal portrait of Jesus.

Most Christians would say that their religion is based on the teachings of Jesus, in words divinely inspired to men who wrote the New Testament.

But, the first books of the New Testament all came from one man, Paul of Tarsus.

The books were later rearranged to take some of the emphasis off Paul, but it is impossible to deny that he was the primary architect of what would become Christianity.

Paul of Tarsus, or Saint Paul, is the person most responsible for the spread of Christianity. Without Paul, Christianity may have well died as an obscure apocalyptic Jewish sect.

Paul wrote up to about half of the New Testament. His influence on the bible is hard to discount.

Many Christians will tell you that his words were God inspired, so it doesn’t matter who actually penned them, or when.

If that is true, it doesn’t explain the myriad contradictions between the ideas of Paul and the rest of the bible.

Paul knew little of the actual life and history of Jesus, and most likely never met him. What mattered to Paul was the resurrected Christ and his soon to be expected return.

Paul was very apocalyptic and believed the return of Christ to be imminent, and preached so.

In his letters and writings that became part of the Christian New Testament, Paul put forth much of the doctrine followed by Christians today.

Paul had very stern things to say when it came to matters of home life, including husband wife relationships and sexuality. He wrote that a woman “may not teach or have authority over a man” although Jesus never said that.

He also railed against homosexuality, another subject not mentioned by Christ.
Paul may well have been the first popular Christian homophobe!

One of the most important differences in the teachings of Paul, as they differed from what other Christians at the time were teaching and learning, was the doctrine of salvation through grace.

Essentially, Paul taught that the lost are forgiven through the grace of God, not through any works.

This has come to be an excuse where individual Christians and Churches separate themselves from the teachings of Jesus.

Instead of living a life that helps others, Christians were able to free themselves from the heavy responsibilities for their brothers that Jesus taught, and instead put all the responsibility on Christ’s resurrection.

But, however you come down on Paul himself and how he related (or manufactured) Christian doctrine, his influence throughout the Mediterranean and the Mid-East cannot be denied.

He dedicated a good portion of his life to traveling throughout the area, converting Gentiles to Christianity.

Churches that he started grew until Christianity overtook the Pagan traditions and eventually led to their demise.

In spite of Christianities triumph over the unbelievers, remember a very important fact!

Jesus never personally claimed to be conducting his ministry to “erase man’s sins,” just as he never claimed to be Divine himself.

Jesus constantly referred to himself as the “son of God,”—just as we all are!


TOMORROW: Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up!

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 www.God-101.com

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

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The Politics of Fear!

Back in the 1950's President Dwight Eisenhower gave a farewell speech in which he said' "Beware the Military Industrial Complex" and truer words were never spoken.

History has proven this warning as prophetic and all too accurate as we have seen over the last half century.

Companies such as Big Oil and Haliburton and all the defense contractors have called the shots in Washington and politicians have danced to their tune.

To give you an example of this............... why has no one in the current Presidential race questioned what the States is doing in Iraq in the first place?

Afghanistan is fairly cut and dried since that is the home of the Taliban and also al-Qaeda but we really have only two interests in Iraq. One is the "OIL" and the second was "W" getting even with Saddam Hussein for his father.

There really is no logical reason for America to be in Iraq and I can't for the life of me understand why nobody has said so!!!!

Sure I know the "politics of fear" goes a long way, but to ruin the economy to the tune of trillions of dollars, and thousands of lives, while the defense contractors make money hand over fist is NUTS kids.

But, who listens to me anyway!

Your "frustated" author;
Allan W Janssen

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 www.God-101.com

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

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High on Mt. Sinai

You might have heard about this by now but just in case I will repeat it here!

When Moses was high on Mt. Sinai receiving the "Ten Commandments" from God, he really was "high" on Mt. Sinai!

Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study published this week.

Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy.

"As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don't believe, or a legend, which I don't believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics," Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday.

Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the "burning bush," suggested Shanon, who said he himself has dabbled with such substances.

"The Bible says people see sounds, and that is a classic phenomenon," he said citing the example of religious ceremonies in the Amazon in which drugs are used that induce people to "see music."

He mentioned his own experience when he used ayahuasca, a powerful psychotropic plant, during a religious ceremony in Brazil's Amazon forest in 1991. "I experienced visions that had spiritual-religious connotations," Shanon said.

He said the psychedelic effects of ayahuasca were comparable to those produced by concoctions based on bark of the acacia tree, that is frequently mentioned in the Bible.

Now don't get the idea that I think God is a hallucination, far from it.

But, the story of the psychedelic drugs makes a lot of sense and as usual, whenever humans try and explain God or tell us what God wants they have to put it into "Earthly" terms and it naturally gets all screwed up. Just like mainstream religion!

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 www.God-101.com

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

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The Church of Allan - The Plain Truth About God

A serialization of the book, The Plain Truth About God.

Chapter 9. ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS .


**”So many gods, so many creeds;
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.”—Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)

We have to keep in mind, and never lose sight of the fact that the historical “Jesus” was culturally a product of the ancient Near East, and in an area under Roman sovereignty.

“Christ” was a product of the people and times that came after him, most notably Pauline thought, as well as a Greek influence.

The parables and stories of the historical Jesus were the product of a first century Jewish “rabbi-sage-cynic” from Galilee who had an enormous influence on a handful of people around him.

We will refer to the historical figure as “Jesus” from now on, and the person of mythology as being the “Christ” of our modern religion.

Christianity, in its simplest terms, is the result of previous centuries of Jewish and Greek myth and conjecture.

It’s all about the coming of a “Messiah,” and revolves around the Resurrection.

The teachings of Jesus were altered to fit the legend but definitely took a secondary role.

We all know that the gospels were composed many years after the death of not only Jesus, but even of most of the people who knew him directly.

Not only were these Gospels displaced in time, but were also displaced culturally, and since Greek speaking Christians composed them, even further meaning was lost in translation from the Aramaic.

There are now two main, and disparate, schools of thought about the origin of Christianity.

The first, and mistaken belief is that Jesus himself, as well as his teachings, was the founder.

The other is that the Christ or “Anointed One” of the Resurrection, (Shaped by Pauline thought) is the bases of this religion.

This may seem to be a small distinction upon first inspection, but in the end a very crucial one.

If it is based on the teachings, and more importantly, the example of Jesus, then his words take on enormous significance.

If, on the other hand, the “Resurrection” and “Pauline thought” is taken as the bases for Christianity, then it is based on the ideas and beliefs of the people who came after him!

The Problem with the Historical Jesus (as postulated by Dr. Burton Mack.)

1. The historical Jesus is to be distinguished from the gospel portraits of him.
2. Jesus taught his disciples orally. Jesus wrote nothing.
3. Traditions about Jesus were circulated by word of mouth for many years after Jesus' death. Oral tradition is fluid.
4. The oral mentality remembers, not the precise words, but the core of what was said.
5. Jesus' mother tongue was Aramaic; the gospels were written in Greek.
6. Jesus was itinerant: he moved around and adapted his sayings and parables to the occasion. Jesus' disciples were also oral and itinerant: they moved around and revised his sayings and parables as the situation demanded.
7. The oral tradition exhibits little interest in biographical data about Jesus.

Chronology

1. At least two decades separate the death of Jesus from the first written records.
2. Forty years elapsed after the death of Jesus before the first canonical gospel was composed.
3. Mark was the first of the canonical gospels to be written. (Mark was not an eyewitness of the events he reports.)
4. The synoptic gospels - Mark, Matthew, Luke - share a common view of Jesus in contrast to the gospel of John.
5. Between them Matthew and Luke incorporate nearly all of Mark into their gospels, often almost word for word, and they also make use of a sayings gospel, known as Q, often almost word-for-word. (Q is a collection of sayings without a narrative framework.)

Gospel of Thomas

1. The Gospel of Thomas has provided a new and important source for the Jesus tradition. It consists of 114 sayings without a narrative framework.
2. Thomas represents an earlier stage of the tradition than do the canonical gospels and represents an independent witness to the Jesus tradition.

Age of the written gospels: (Now agreed upon most scholars!)

1. Q and Thomas were composed during the period 50-60 C.E.
2. Mark was written about 70 C.E.
3. Matthew was composed about 85 C.E.
4. Luke-Acts was created around 90 C.E.
5. The signs gospel embedded in the Gospel of John was composed during the period 60-80 C.E.
6. The first edition of John appeared between 80 and 100 C.E.

Independent and derivative gospels:

1. The major independent sources of information about Jesus are Q, Thomas, Mark, and the signs gospel embedded in the Gospel of John. The earliest sources are “Q” and Thomas.

Assessment of written sources:

1. Only a small portion of the sayings attributed to Jesus in the gospels was actually spoken by him.
2. The greater part of the sayings tradition was created or borrowed from common lore by the transmitters of the oral tradition and the authors of the gospels.

Surviving copies of the gospels:

1. The original manuscripts of the gospels have disappeared.
2. The earliest small surviving fragments of any gospels date from about 125 C.E.
3. The earliest major surviving fragments of the gospels date from about 200 C.E.
4. The earliest complete copy of the gospels dates from about 300 C.E.
5. Prior to 1454 C.E. no two surviving copies of the same gospel are exactly alike.
6. In the copying process, copies of the gospels were "improved" and "corrupted."

Research Methods: Revolt against dogma:

1. The same methods of study should be applied to the Bible that are used in the study of other ancient texts.
2. Jesus should be studied like other historical persons
3. The Bible should be studied without being bound to theological claims made by the church, after all, Jesus was not a Christian. He was a Jew.

Oral Evidence

1. In the oral transmission of Jesus' words, his disciples remembered only the core or gist of his sayings and parables, not his precise words.
2. The bedrock of the sayings tradition is made up of single aphorisms and parables that once circulated independently.
3. The simpler forms of saying and parables are more likely to be original with Jesus. More complicated forms may mask earlier and simpler forms.
4. Words are frequently borrowed from the fund of common lore or from the Old Testament and put on the lips of Jesus.

TOMORROW; THE LAST DAYS!

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 www.God-101.com

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

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CONNECTIONS

Another in the riveting series about how and why things work the way they do!



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 www.God-101.com

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

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Perspective Culture


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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The Church of Allan - The Plain Truth About God

A serialization of the book, The Plain Truth About God.

Chapter 8. Let My People Go!


Of all the civilizations archaeologists have studied there seems to be a special interest in the ancient Babylonians and Assyrians.

This is probably because Babylon and Assyria had a close connection with the world that was depicted in the Old Testament of the Bible.

A great part of archaeology revolves around attempts by people to find records of this culture that lend support to their faith in the Bible.

So much so, that with the beginning of a critical study of the Bible, questions were posed as to the accuracy of many of the passages that had been considered historical fact instead of the metaphorical stories they were intended to be. (See forward: by Dr. Burton L. Mack)

It was this desire to find corroboration of the Biblical narrative that first started scholars on their search throughout the Babylonian and Assyrian area of the Middle East.

It was known from the Old Testament that there was a close relationship between the civilizations of the Hebrew and the Babylonian-Assyrian people.

Abraham himself had become a migrant to the west when he left the Babylonian city of Ur after the Assyrians and Babylonians became a political threat to the independence of the Hebrew people.

The ten northern tribes of the Hebrews were eventually dispersed by the Assyrians, while a small group continued in Babylonian captivity.

With the superior force of their enemies, the Hebrews were to begin their Exile, much as they had endured the Exodus about 600 years before.

The Babylonians, much like the Assyrians and the Egyptians had many writings that were in the nature of scripture but they never set aside a specific book that was described as having Divine origin.

It is without doubt that there was much borrowing between the Hebrews and Babylonians though, and from this “borrowing,” we have a remarkable similarity between Babylonian and Egyptian stories.

1. The creation and flood story
2. Hymns and prayers
3. Ritual texts
4. Their legal code and -
5. Omens, all of which find some correspondence in the Bible.

** Moses came down from the mountain carrying two stone tablets. Today he would have gotten the information over the Internet and on a CD disc! -A.W. J.

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Chaldeans and the Babylonian empire, started to deport most of the prominent citizens of Judah about 597 B.C.E., and by 586, B.C.E. Judah ceased to be an independent kingdom.

Although most of the professionals, priests, artisans and the wealthy were deported, the “people of the land” were allowed to stay and then gathered in a single place by Nebuchadnezzar.

These people called themselves the “Gola.” (Exiles) They forged a new national identity and a new religion that was a reworking of the cult of Yahweh.

These “exiles” lived in a time of despair and loneliness that was brought about by the realization that the ‘Exile’ itself was unexplainable.

Hebrew history had been built on the promise of Yahweh (God) protecting them and using them for his purposes throughout human history.

This defeat and the loss of land promised to them by Yahweh implied that their faith in him was somehow misplaced.

This crisis, when their view of reality and the fact of reality did not match, resulted in a most profound despair.

It eventually led to a reworking of the Hebrew “world-view” that had existed until then.

Biblical texts such as Lamentations, Job, and many of the Psalms were written at this time.

Job in particular, an upright deserving man, is made to suffer the worst series of calamities possible.

When he finally despairs and states that there is no cosmic justice, the only answer he receives is that humans should not question God’s will!

Out of shear necessity, the Jews of Babylon had to re-make themselves.

They grew to blame the disaster of the Exile on their own impurity and lack of direction in following the word of Yahweh.

They had betrayed God and allowed their laws and practices to become corrupt.
Their exile was the final proof of God’s displeasure.

It was during this period that the direction and emphasis of the Jewish faith changed from a religion of judgment to a theology of salvation.

In texts such as Isaiah and Ezekiel there was talk of a purified and renewed faith where the Israelites would be gathered together in a purified religion and just society.

They talked about the re-establishment of a Davidic kingdom.

It was also during this period of resurgence in Jewish tradition that the Torah started to take its final shape and became the central text of the Jewish faith, helped along by “Cyrus the Persian.”

When “Cyrus the Great” conquered Mesopotamia around 535 BCE, he set in motion a series of events that was to shape the Jewish people and faith for all time!

The Persian people before that time (1000-800 B.C.E.) were a rag-tag group of tribes living north of Mesopotamia and part of the widespread group of Indo-European families.

The Mesopotamians had considered them no better than animals and they were largely ignored.

All this changed about 750 BCE when the followers of the “prophet” Zarathustra, already well entrenched in other areas of the Middle East, came to the fore in this area as well.

They spread their religion of Zoroastrianism which stated that Cosmic history was simply the epic battle between the two Divine forces of good and evil.

At the end time, a climactic battle would decide, once and for all, which of the two forces would dominate the universe.

Human beings were part of this struggle, as well as all the gods and religions.

Cyrus the Great was a follower of Zarathustra and set out to conquer not only the Middle East, but also the entire world.

He did this out of a wish to guarantee his territorial safety by conquering potential enemies, but he also wanted the whole world united for religious reasons.

Cyrus believed that the final battle between good and evil (The End Time) was fast approaching and the legions of humanity had to be brought to the side of the good forces.

He sought to conquer the entire known world, much like Alexander the Great did some few hundred years later.

Cyrus was the greatest conqueror the world had ever seen up to that point and his empire reached a sized never before imagined by anyone.

He was wondering about the circumstances for the Armageddon to come and believed that the Hebrew God “Yahweh” was aligned on the side of good and visited him one night in a vision.

In this vision he was commanded to re-establish Yahweh worship in Jerusalem and rebuild the temple there.

After the temple was rebuilt, Cyrus ordered the Jews in Babylon to return to Jerusalem and worship Yahweh for the forgiveness of their sins.

At the same time during this Exile, the Jews had set about “purifying” their religion and were attempting to return to the laws and cultic practices of their Mosaic origins.

This newfound concern with cultic purity and the Mosaic laws, combined with the re-establishment of Judah as a theological state, produced a totally different society from what had gone on before.

The Jews had adapted many things from the Persians and included these elements into their religion as well. This attempt to purify their faith resulted in a belief in a dualistic universe.

In early history everything happened from two forces, Yahweh and human will.

Now, in an effort to make sense of the Exile, the Hebrews adapted the Persian idea that the universe is composed of two opposite forces, one good, and the other evil!

This development closely followed the Zoroastrian concept of duality, which was now the foundation of their faith. Therefore, after the Babylonian exile, the Hebrews talk of an evil force opposed to God, which became the “Devil” in Christianity.

Before the Exile, the Hebrews believed that the soul of a person lived on for a short time before fading completely from existence, thus making it a this-world religion.

The Persians, meanwhile, believed the souls of good people would re-unite with the forces of good in eternal bliss and the souls of evil people would reunite with the forces of darkness until the final defeat of Evil.

This view of the afterlife that was adapted by the Hebrews explained all the suffering of this life, such as the Exile, and made it apparent that cosmic justice was apparent only after one’s death rather than during their lifetime.

This laid the foundation of the Judaism we have today!

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 www.God-101.com

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

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CONNECTIONS

Another in the riveting series about how and why things work the way they do!



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 www.God-101.com

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

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Living goddess wanted in Nepal:

Religious leaders in a town near Nepal's capital are searching for a young girl to worship as a living goddess because the incumbent has just got married to a fruit, officials said Monday.

"We have started the process to find a new Kumari for Bhaktapur," Jaya Prasad Regmi, the head of the committee which manages the centuries-old Hindu tradition, told AFP.

"We are holding meetings with locals and people from (the) Shakya cast."

Three medieval towns in the Kathmandu valley worship pre-pubescent girls as the living embodiment of the goddess Taleju.

Eleven-year-old Sajani Shakya had served in the post for nine years in the town of Bhaktapur, but is now obliged to retire following her symbolic wedding.

Sajani's family caused controversy last year when they travelled with the girl to the United States to publicise a documentary that had been made about her role.

Traditionalists were angry that her family had not sought prior permission for the trip, arguing that a Kumari loses divine status by leaving the country.

Nhuchhe Shakya, Sajani's father, who also works for the committee in charge of finding a replacement for his daughter, said the trip had not caused her to retire early.

"In Bhaktapur, we have a tradition to get our girls married to a Bael (Aegle marmelos), a fruit dedicated to Lord Shiva, around the age of 10 or 11," Shakya said told AFP.

Sajani was symbolically married to the fruit last month and "there were no other specific reasons for her retirement," he said from the town 15 kilometres (nine miles) east of Kathmandu.

The best known of such goddesses is the "Royal Kumari" who blesses Nepal's king once a year and is confined to a crumbling, ornate palace in the historic heart of old Kathmandu.

Human rights groups say the practice abuses the rights of the young girl selected from the Newar Shakya ethnic caste.

But in Bhaktapur, the local Kumari lives with her family, goes to school and is paraded for worship just once a year during the festival of Dasain.

Sajani's father predicted his daughter would have no difficulty adjusting to life after serving as a living goddess.

"She knew that she was not going to remain a Kumari all her life, so she is mentally prepared. I think she will handle it well," said Shakya.

Meanwhile, bride and fruit are said to be doing well!

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 www.God-101.com

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

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