Sunday, July 13, 2014

Is Christianity The 'White Man's' Religion?

Yes, let's get down to the basics. But first let's deal with the obvious questions.  Why should it matter? Well, religion affects and controls our most deeply held beliefs, our loyalties, the way we see good, evil, right, wrong; it affects how we see sexuality, how we choose our spouses (we want to be 'equally yoked'), it affects our views of the earth, human nature, our individual identity, the way we feel and think, etc. So that's pretty important.

Now, what's wrong with white people? Nothing. What's wrong with white people controlling the way we think, believe, structure our families, choose our friends, see the world…? Well, there you go.

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
But those who put together Christianity are saying, "before you can get to Jesus you have to go through us. We order the thought, we have required beliefs you must follow when approaching Jesus."
So (if this is true), Christianity then, is set up as kind of a roadblock or a mental tollbooth one has to pass in order to get to Jesus or God.
Keep in mind that Jesus wasn't European and never set foot in Europe.
Now, let's look at Christianity and see what came from Jesus and what came from 'the Whiteman' or Europe.

1. The Doctrine of Original SinThe Christian concept of Original Sin was first alluded to in the 2nd century by Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (France) and was later developed by Augustine and John Cassian. Irenaeus believed that Adam's sin had grave consequences for humanity, that it is the source of human sinfulness, mortality and enslavement to sin, and that all human beings participate in his sin and share his guilt. Where he got this belief from is not clear, it was not a doctrine familiar to ancient Hebrews and Jesus certainly never taught it.

So the idea that all humanity was born into sin is…. European.

2. The Trinity 
The doctrine of the trinity is found no where in the bible. It was first mentioned in form by Ignatius of Antioch around 110 AD, exhorting obedience to "Christ, and to the Father, and to the Spirit". The term “trinity” was coined by Tertullian, the son of a Roman centurion, more than 200 years after Jesus left Jerusalem. Jesus never taught about a trinity and the only mentions of it in the Bible are in 1 John 5:7 and Matthew 28:19-20. Modern biblical scholars now admit both verses were fabricated and added into the texts by officials of the Church.  In 325, the Council of Nicaea, under Roman Emperor Constantine, adopted the Nicene Creed which described Jesus as "God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father". It became the hallmark of Christianity and would become law for the Church and the Christian empire. Those who didn't accept it would be punished by death.
But the doctrine came from... Europeans.

Mark 12:29 "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is One Lord" .

3. Hell In the 1611 King James version of the Old Testament, 'hell' is mentioned over 50 times. In most newer translations, the word once referred to as 'hell' is now more accurately translated as 'grave' from the Hebrew sheol (grave). So where did the word Hell come from? Hel derives from Proto-Germanic, and in English the word Hell is from the Old English forms hel and helle. The concept of an underworld location teeming with demons and presided over by a death god (Hades or the devil) comes from Norse (Northern European) mythology and the Greek concept of Hades. 
In the New testament, Gehenna (translated in the KJV as 'hell') is mentioned in parables not in literal context. Gehenna was the valley of Hinnom, literally the valley of the groans of the children. It was a deep, narrow gorge on the south side of Jerusalem

So there is no hell, as imagined, all these years - it comes directly from... Europe.

4. The symbol of the crossHow did the Cross come to be the symbol of Christianity? This comes from Constantine  (r. 306–337). Constantine reports having a vision of a sign either while sleeping or seen in the sky, that came to be identified with Christ. With the vision and dream he saw the words, In Hoc Signo Vinces, "In this sign conquer", and assured his victory over Maxentius. He placed the sign at the top of his standard and on the shields of his men and won the battle of Milvian Bridge outside of Rome in 312.  This victory made Constantine the emperor of the West. This sign, a Chi Rho, replaced the eagle as the military standard for the legions of the Roman Army.  Over time this sign was gradually replaced by the cross.

This one was definitely originated…in Europe.

5. Sunday Church - One of the most recognizable aspects of being Christian is going to Church on Sunday to worship and hear the word. It's often used as a test as to whether a person is a good Christian or not. People ask, "how often do you go to Church?" But did Jesus require us to go to Church? Or did Europeans...? Of course Jesus never mentioned Sunday service. Yet many Christians believe they are required to attend church and use the following verse as proof that this is biblically sound:
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Hebrews 10:25. This is simply saying to maintain community and encourage each other in faith, daily. Also Hebrews 3:13. But these are Paul's teachings not Jesus'. Paul never met Jesus and wasn't taught by him.

The sabbath day in Hebrew culture and in the Torah was Saturday. Sabbath is seven in Hebrew and indicated the seventh day of the week; the day of rest. When the Romans took over Christianity they outlawed the observance of the Sabbath and deemed it 'judaizing'. On 3 March 321, Constantine I decreed that 'Sunday (dies Solis called the Lord's day)  will be observed as the Roman day of rest' [CJ3.12.2]. Then observing the Sabbath was outlawed at the Council in Laodicea. “Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday, but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s Day they shall especially honor, and, as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ.”
Laodicea was a Roman province in Modern day Turkey, or...Europe.

6. The name Christ/Christian Christós is a Greek rendering of the hebrew 'Masaha' which meant to wipe with oil. This was an old hebrew rite where a new king or prophet was anointed or wiped with olive oil. Samuel was anointed as was David, Solomon, Jehu and Elisha [1Kings 19:16]. Messiah and Masaha, Məšîḥā (to annoint) are the same in his language of Syriac Aramaic. The word annoint simply means "to pour oil on or smear with ointment. (The word ointment itself is Old French for "smear".) So the term Christ, with all the additional meanings is Greek and would have been completely foreign to Jesus. Greek, along with the word Christ are both...European.

"Fred, you old heathen."

7. Heathens/Pagans People who aren't "Christians", are often called 'heathen'. But what does this word really mean? Originally, the English word “heathen” simply meant “the people out on the heath” (heath - a shrubland habitat).  It was a contemptuous word that town-people used for the poorer or rural people who lived outside the town walls. (The word “peasant”, which is of French origin, from pais, “district”, “country”, has the same [contemptuous] meaning. “Country people”, “rural people”.) In the New Testament, what some bible-translators have rendered as “heathen” (or “pagan” or “gentile”), is in the Greek text ethnos (“nation”), ethnoi (“nations”),ethnikos (“of the nations”) or ethnikôs (“after the manner of the nations”). In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word which some bible-translators have rendered as “heathen”, is gowy, plural goyim, meaning “nations”.

In other words, where the scriptures are simply referring to "other nations" they have been translated as heathen. This misunderstanding is particularly...English. 

8. Jesus' death as an atonement for the sins of mankind - This is the core of Christianity, yet looking for this doctrine in all of Jesus' teachings you will be hard pressed to find any mention of it.

Most were taught to believe the doctrine is based in Luke 22:19-21.
St. Anslem
Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.  But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table."

However, scholars now believe the passage italicized above was added by a scribe of the second century, some sixty or seventy years after the Gospel was first placed in circulation.

 The other possible support for this belief comes from Mark 10:45 -  "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." There are numerous conflicting interpretations of what this means. (If this quote is authentic) the natural interpretation is that Jesus knew the risks he took in teaching the truth and was willing to make that sacrifice in order to free people's minds and souls from ignorance and darkness. It's the same as saying "Martin Luther King, willingly laid down his life for his people." 

However, the prevailing view for over 1000 years in Europe was that - Adam and Eve sold humanity over to the Devil at the time of the Fall; hence, justice required that God pay the Devil a ransom to free us from the Devil's clutches. God, however, tricked the Devil into accepting Christ's death as a ransom, for the Devil did not realize that Christ could not be held in the bonds of death. Once the Devil accepted Christ's death as a ransom, this theory concluded, justice was satisfied and God was able to free us from Satan's grip.

“Archbishop Anselm, argued against the then-current version of ransom view, saying that Satan, being himself a rebel and outlaw, could never have a just claim against humans. Anselm came up with the satisfaction theory which teaches that Christ suffered as a substitute on behalf of humankind satisfying the demands of God's honor by his infinite merit.

Anselm regarded his satisfaction view of the atonement as a distinct improvement over the classic ransom theory of the atonement, which he saw as inadequate. Thomas Aquinas finally came up with and codified the substitution theory, where -  “Christ is a sacrifice by God on behalf of humanity, taking humanity’s debt for sin upon himself, and propitiating God’s wrath.”
Whether any of this is true is highly debatable. One thing is certain, Jesus never taught anything about this doctrine - it's development is ultimately...European.

9. God made man in his own image - Nope. The original Hebrew states in Genesis 1:27 "And the powerful one filled man with his shadow." The English mistranslation states, "So God created man in his own image."

The word used for 'created' is 'bara' which means filled or fattened in other places in the Torah. This implies placing divine qualities on the inside of man rather than saying we look like God, which caused illustrators and 'believers' to think God was anthromorphic or in other words that he was a man up in the sky, or 'the man upstairs'. But this was not the concept ancient Hebrews had of God. In Hebrew and Aramaic there is no equivalent for the pronoun "it". Objects are described as either 'he' or 'she', but in truth God would have no gender. So the whole notion of God looking like Zeus or an old bearded Italian man didn't come from Jesus but from...Europeans.

Ask your pastor about these doctrines.
And if you can't let them go, ask yourselves, is a Christian one who follows Jesus? Or one follows Christianity?

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Lakota Prayer

“Wakan Tanka teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing, the senses of my body, the blessings of my spirit.* Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my sacred space and love beyond my fear, and thus walk in beauty with the passing of each glorious sun.

According to the people of the First Nations, the Sacred Space is the space between exhalation and inhalation. To ‘walk in beauty’ is to have heaven (spirituality) and earth (physicality) in harmony.

*Wakan Tanka (Wakȟáŋ Tȟáŋka) is the term for "the sacred" or "the divine". This is usually translated as "The Great Spirit" or the "Great Mystery". It is typically understood as the power or the sacredness which resides in everything that exists.