Suggestion of a married Jesus—Ancient papyrus shows some early Christians believed he wed

Sep 19, 2012 by B. D. Colen And Alvin Powell
Harvard Professor Karen King with the previously unknown papyrus fragment that, when translated, contains “Jesus said to them, my wife.” “This new gospel doesn’t prove that Jesus was married, but it tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous debates about sexuality and marriage," said King. Credit: Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Four words on a previously unknown papyrus fragment provide the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus had been married, Harvard Professor Karen King told the 10th International Congress of Coptic Studies today.

, the Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, announced the existence of the ancient text at the congress' meeting, held every four years and hosted this year by the Vatican's Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum in Rome. The four words that appear on the fragment translate to " said to them, my wife." The words, written in Coptic, a language of Egyptian Christians, are on a fragment of about one and a half inches by three inches.


Related: Harvard claim of Jesus' Wife papyrus scrutinized
"Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was not married, even though no reliable historical evidence exists to support that claim," King said. "This new gospel doesn't prove that Jesus was married, but it tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous debates about sexuality and marriage. From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry, but it was over a century after Jesus' death before they began appealing to Jesus' marital status to support their positions."

Roger Bagnall, director of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World in New York City, believes the fragment to be authentic based on examination of the papyrus and the handwriting. Ariel Shisha-Halevy, a Coptic expert at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, considers it likely to be authentic on the basis of language and grammar, King said. Final judgment on the fragment, King said, depends on further examination by colleagues and further testing, especially of the of the ink.

One side of the fragment contains eight incomplete lines of handwriting, while the other side is badly damaged and the ink so faded that only three words and a few individual letters are still visible, even with infrared photography and computer photo enhancement. Despite its tiny size and poor condition, King said, the fragment provides tantalizing glimpses into issues about family, discipleship, and marriage that concerned ancient Christians.

King and colleague AnneMarie Luijendijk, an associate professor of religion at Princeton University, believe that the fragment is part of a newly discovered gospel. Their analysis of the fragment is scheduled for publication in the January issue of Harvard Theological Review, a peer-reviewed journal.

Suggestion of a married Jesus
Roger Bagnall, director of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World in New York City, believes the fragment to be authentic based on examination of the papyrus and the handwriting. Credit: Karen L. King

King has posted a preliminary draft of the paper, an extensive question-and-answer segment on the fragment and its meaning, and images of it, on a page on the Divinity School website.

The brownish-yellow, tattered fragment belongs to an anonymous private collector who contacted King to help translate and analyze it. The collector provided King with a letter from the early 1980s indicating that Professor Gerhard Fecht from the faculty of Egyptology at the Free University in Berlin believed it to be evidence for a possible marriage of Jesus.

King said that when the owner first contacted her about the papyrus, in 2010, "I didn't believe it was authentic, and told him I wasn't interested." But the owner was persistent, so in December 2011, King invited him to bring it to her at Harvard.  After examining it, in March King carried the fragment to New York and, together with Luijendijk, took it to Bagnall to be authenticated. When Bagnall's examination of the handwriting, ways that the ink had penetrated and interacted with the papyrus, and other factors confirmed its likely authenticity, work on the analysis and interpretation of the fragment began in earnest, King said.

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Four words on a previously unknown papyrus fragment provide the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus had been married, Harvard Professor Karen King told the 10th International Congress of Coptic Studies, September 18, 2012. Credit: Harvard University

Little is known about the discovery of the fragment, but it is believed to have come from Egypt because it is written in Coptic, the form of the Egyptian language used by Christians there during the Roman imperial period. Luijendijk suggested that "a fragment this damaged probably came from an ancient garbage heap like all of the earliest scraps of the New Testament." Because there is writing on both sides of the fragment, it clearly belongs to an ancient book, or codex, and not a scroll, she said.

The gospel of which the fragment is but a small part, which King and Luijendijk have named the Gospel of Jesus' Wife for reference purposes, was probably originally written in Greek, the two professors said, and only later translated into Coptic for use among congregations of Coptic-speaking Christians. King dated the time it was written to the second half of the second century because it shows close connections to other newly discovered gospels written at that time, especially the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, and the Gospel of Philip.

Like those gospels, it was probably ascribed to one or more of Jesus' closest followers, but the actual author would have remained unknown even if more of it had survived. As it stands, the remaining piece is too small to tell us anything more about who may have composed, read, or circulated the new gospel, King said.

The main topic of the dialogue between Jesus and his disciples is one that deeply concerned early Christians, who were asked to put loyalty to Jesus before their natal families, as the New Testament gospels show. Christians were talking about themselves as a family, with God the father, his son Jesus, and members as brothers and sisters. Twice in the tiny fragment, Jesus speaks of his mother and once of his wife—one of whom is identified as "Mary." The disciples discuss whether Mary is worthy, and Jesus states that "she can be my disciple." Although less clear, it may be that by portraying Jesus as married, the Gospel of Jesus' Wife conveys a positive theological message about marriage and sexuality, perhaps similar to the Gospel of Philip's view that pure marriage can be an image of divine unity and creativity.

From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether they should marry or be celibate. But, King notes, it was not until around 200 that there is the earliest extant claim that Jesus did not marry, recorded by Clement of Alexandria. He wrote of Christians who claimed that marriage is fornication instituted by the devil, and said that people should emulate Jesus in not marrying, King said. A decade or two later, she said, Tertullian of Carthage in North Africa declared that Jesus was "entirely unmarried," and Christians should aim for a similar condition. Yet Tertullian did not condemn sexual relations altogether, allowing for one marriage, although he denounced not only divorce, but even remarriage for widows and widowers as overindulgence. Nearly a century earlier, the New Testament letter of 1 Timothy had warned that people who forbid marriage are following the "doctrines of demons," although it didn't claim Jesus was married to support that point.

In the end, the view that dominated would claim celibacy as the highest form of Christian sexual virtue, while conceding marriage for the sake of reproduction alone. The Gospel of Jesus' Wife, if it was originally written in the late second century, suggests that the whole question of Jesus' marital status only came up over a century after Jesus died as part of vociferous debates about sexuality and marriage, King said. King noted that contemporary debates over celibate clergy, the roles of women, sexuality, and marriage demonstrate that the issues were far from resolved.

"The discovery of this new gospel," King said, "offers an occasion to rethink what we thought we knew by asking what role claims about Jesus' marital status played historically in early Christian controversies over marriage, celibacy, and family. Christian tradition preserved only those voices that claimed Jesus never married. The Gospel of Jesus' Wife now shows that some Christians thought otherwise."

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verkle
1.3 / 5 (14) Sep 19, 2012
And a thousand years from now someone might point to a writing in the 20th century that suggests that Jesus was a homosexual. Does that make it plausible? Obviously not. Neither does this discovery.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.2 / 5 (23) Sep 19, 2012
And a thousand years from now someone might point to a writing in the 20th century that suggests that Jesus was a homosexual. Does that make it plausible? Obviously not. Neither does this discovery.
Well... Let's see. Jesus the soft-spoken, long-haired love god traveled around with his all-male entourage and his mum. And a token harlot. And his mum was the only woman ever to give birth until quite recently without having been sullied by the touch of a man.

What persecuted minority of people might these 2 images appeal to? What minority of men and women would most be drawn to the isolation and comradary of monasteries and nunneries, and would be willing to safeguard their safe havens and their secrets most vigorously?

In religious cultures most eager to outreproduce the enemy, any alternatives to procreative sex are vilified. Giving gays productive positions in society is a proactive solution.

Xians did not invent this. The tradition had already been around for ages.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.1 / 5 (21) Sep 19, 2012
But really, what about the Jesus we are familiar with can be considered authentic? Disregarding the water-walking and the fig tree-killing and the resurrecting for the moment, we know that Jesus was not the wavy brown-haired Anglo in all the pictures. He was a levantine Jew with a fro and a full black beard and an olive complexion.

Jews back then were married or faced chastisement of various degrees. And so right away we know there are primary things about the icon that are contrived to suit certain agendas.
antialias_physorg
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 19, 2012
And what would be the problem if Jesus was married? I can see a lot of problems with christianity, but the marital status of Jesus doesn't strike me as particularly troublesome one way or the other.
barakn
3.5 / 5 (8) Sep 19, 2012
I agree with Verkle. For all we know, Jesus didn't exist at all.
kochevnik
2.1 / 5 (7) Sep 19, 2012
LOL the writing comes from EGYPT, where AMUN-RA became the first monotheistic god due to a nineteen year-old emporer having religious delerium due his epilepsy when he looked at the sun and decided Atun, a minor sun god was the father of AMUN-RA and the creator of the universe by masturbating it into existence. Thus fertility and the worship of the penis became the formation of penis-christ. You see xtians making the penis gesture which is also the symbol for xtian divinity and grace!

I agree with Verkle. For all we know, Jesus didn't exist at all.
A new penis christ is created every 2000 years, in abeyance to the precession of the earth around the zodiac. The jesus character used the fish symbol of pisces. Before him was AMUN-RA the RAM with horns the symbol of virility and fertility.
johnx
1.6 / 5 (13) Sep 19, 2012
The act of marrying is relative to ones own culture. Each religion does it their own way and is blessed by a religious person. In my opinion, real marriage is one blessed by God only!
kochevnik
3.5 / 5 (11) Sep 19, 2012
In my opinion, real marriage is one blessed by God only!
Which one?
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (11) Sep 19, 2012
The act of marrying is relative to ones own culture.

and
In my opinion, real marriage is one blessed by God only!

Aren't you contradicting yourself rather heavily in the space of three sentences?

Just saying.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.9 / 5 (18) Sep 19, 2012
The act of marrying is relative to ones own culture. Each religion does it their own way and is blessed by a religious person. In my opinion, real marriage is one blessed by God only!
-So then Jesus would have had no problem would he? Muhammad got to exceed the bounds of common decency with his child bride didn't he?

Heck even Jehovah was married.
http://www.atheis...3A639946

VendicarD
3.5 / 5 (8) Sep 19, 2012
Isn't Christ part of the holy trinity and thefore 1/3rd his own father?

That would make his mother his wife, or his concubine.
Feldagast
4 / 5 (4) Sep 19, 2012
VendicarD, Careful you will start riots and killing and car bombings if you talk about religious dieties. Or is that only the muslims that go nuts when you talk about their faith?
antonima
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 19, 2012
Feldagast, there are some people simply need an excuse to commit atrocities. Its a good point, would black people start killing whites if some random white person made a video that offended their race? I haven't seen the video, but if it was intentionally and boldly offensive, the makers should risk jail time for sure.
IronhorseA
3 / 5 (6) Sep 19, 2012
Isn't Christ part of the holy trinity and thefore 1/3rd his own father?

That would make his mother his wife, or his concubine.

The Trinity is a fiction created by a committee of bishops to get around the problem of people worshiping Jesus, therefore violating the first commandment "thou shalt have no other gods before me". Making him and the Holy Ghost different forms of God avoids violating the commandment while letting the congregation focus on Jesus.
VendicarD
4 / 5 (4) Sep 19, 2012
To do that, those Bishops must certainly have believed that the Christian Mythos is nothing but a scam designed to govern their followers.

"The Trinity is a fiction created by a committee of bishops" - IronHorse
NOM
1 / 5 (2) Sep 19, 2012
previously unknown papyrus fragment that, when translated, contains "Jesus said to them, my wife."


A new translation proves the theory that Jesus and his merry band of followers were in fact a travelling commedy show.
What the scroll actually says is:
"Jesus said to them, take my wife, please."
PinkElephant
3.8 / 5 (5) Sep 19, 2012
VendicarD, Careful you will start riots and killing and car bombings if you talk about religious dieties. Or is that only the muslims that go nuts when you talk about their faith?
Islam is 600 years younger than Christianity. What do you think would have been the typical Christian response to any criticism or ridicule back in the year 1412? Just sayin'....

That notwithstanding, the fact that so many people in the Middle East and Asia are still stuck in the Middle Ages, has less to do with their religion than their lousy socioeconomic conditions and lack of literacy and decent education in general.
defactoseven
1.8 / 5 (4) Sep 20, 2012
That notwithstanding, the fact that so many people in the Middle East and Asia are still stuck in the Middle Ages, has less to do with their religion than their lousy socioeconomic conditions and lack of literacy and decent education in general.


I disagree. It is religion that causes their lousy socio-economic conditions and lack of literacy and decent education in general.
kochevnik
4 / 5 (4) Sep 20, 2012
To do that, those Bishops must certainly have believed that the Christian Mythos is nothing but a scam designed to govern their followers.
If you linger around the Vatican for any time you will learn that attitude is policy there. For example, Peter's skull at St. Peter's cathedral isn't Peter's etc. To them it doesn't matter so long as the relics "inspire people to embrace god."
PinkElephant
2.8 / 5 (4) Sep 20, 2012
I disagree. It is religion that causes their lousy socio-economic conditions and lack of literacy and decent education in general.
Don't get me wrong, religion certainly doesn't help any.

However, fact is that religion has always been the domain of the ignorant and the miserable. It is easy to foist upon the ignorant, and it is happily embraced by the miserable as a kind of psychological palliative.

The West didn't advance through Renaissance, Enlightenment, and through the Industrial era into the Modern age because it abandoned religion. That trajectory was entered and followed while the West was still overwhelmingly, dogmatically religious. But, it is the creeping advancement of living standards and educational norms that eventually caused the West to trend more secular (eventually giving rise to notions like freedom of religion and speech, and governance by social compact.)

The issue today is not Islam per se; rather it is the tyrannical regimes in those regions.
Birger
5 / 5 (2) Sep 20, 2012
"The issue today is not Islam per se; rather it is the tyrannical regimes in those regions."

The issue is complex, because tyrannical regimes usually lean on the most reactionary interpretation of the local religion for legitimacy.

For instance, the Russian Orthodox church has lived -and lives-in a symbiotic relationship with despots. They oppose any development of theology to adapt to new circumstances, and instead follow a sterile "tradition for tradition's sake" that has an uncanny similarity with the more reactionary brands of islam.
PinkElephant
3 / 5 (4) Sep 20, 2012
The issue is complex, because tyrannical regimes usually lean on the most reactionary interpretation of the local religion for legitimacy.
True enough.

But note that history itself records a period when Christian Europe was in the throes of the Dark Ages at the same time as the Islamic Middle East was undergoing a cultural renaissance. Indeed, the European Renaissance may not have been possible if not for that Islamic Golden Age.

What subsequently changed, in both Europe and the Middle East (unfortunately, in diametrically opposite directions), was not the prevailing religions but the governing regimes and policies of governance.

So yes, religion serves as a backdrop and can be leveraged by both despots and liberators alike, but in the end it is more of a symptom than a disease in its own right.

The anger we see displayed in response to stupid YouTube videos and magazine cartoons, is not religious at its core; it is a fomented and misdirected anger rooted in circumstances.
Mike_Massen
1.9 / 5 (9) Sep 20, 2012
@verkle & anyone who thinks any claimed deity is real:-

- all religions come from the mind of males
- only the key male gets information by "Voices in the Head"
(which happens to enhance their ego & self esteem)
- claimed deity only knew of the culture of the time
- claimed deity didnt replicate 'teachings' for other cultures
- only humans can communicate 'teachings' by other humans
- never been any independent evidence of any deity
- claimed powerful deity cant make an indestructible bible
- claimed powerful deity cant stop children dying anywhere
- claimed powerful deity cant communicate about 'heaven'
- no feedback from any deity other than claimed 'thoughts'.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (2) Sep 20, 2012
I'm just counting the minutes until this new discovery will cause a schizm in one or another of the 700 christian denominations around.

Bets are still being taken on what they'll be called.
"First church of the scrap of paper"
"Married people for married Jesus"
or
"All nuns are adultresses"

Hand me the pocorn.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) Sep 20, 2012
@Mike_Massen,
- all religions come from the mind of males
Not quite. The modern Abrahamic religions certainly do, but there have been plenty of Goddess-centric and female-worshipping religions around the world.
- only the key male gets information by "Voices in the Head" (which happens to enhance their ego & self esteem)
Not quite. Lots of "spirit quests" and "visions" result from hallucinations induced by food poisoning, consumption of hallucinogenics, mental illness or brain trauma, or in the course of meditation, sleep deprivation, deliberate physical exhaustion, and other such ritualistic practices. Long before there were organized religions with priestly hierarchies, there were shaman/medicine men/wise women all over the place doing their hinky things and spreading the wisdom of the spirits. It goes all the way back to the paleolithic age, and possibly all the way back to the first Homo Sapiens to ever walk the Earth.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (2) Sep 20, 2012
ctd.
- no feedback from any deity other than claimed 'thoughts'
Not quite. Deities were supposed to send visions, cure diseases, help defeat enemies, grant good harvests, eclipse the Sun and/or the Moon, cause volcanoes to erupt or stop erupting, etc. and so on. Whenever it happened, whatever "it" was, it was because the deities made it so. Therefore, lots of feedback, all the time, everywhere you look. ;-)

Never underestimate the power of synchronicity and coincidence to create illusions and reinforce delusions.

Besides, what are dreams if not excursions into mysterious spirit-worlds, revealing deep mysteries about actual existence? ;-)

Plus, how do you explain things like life and death, consciousness, existence, and mysterious/powerful natural phenomena, without evoking gods and spirits?

Never underestimate the power of ignorance and superstition to breed and feed religious thought.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 20, 2012
Therefore, lots of feedback, all the time, everywhere you look

If you go by the bible then god was talking to his prophets every thursday, regular. In a clear voice (not just metaphorically through symbols/signs).

OK...sometimes out of burning shrubbery...but in a clear voice nonetheless.

It seems that these days he's limiting himself to having mugshots of himself on cheese toast.
JGHunter
4.5 / 5 (8) Sep 20, 2012
If any of you had read the Old Testament, you'd see that the Hebrew God was not "invented to inflate their egos".

Quite the opposite, both the Old Testament and New Testament show episodes of how humiliatingly pathetic mankind is. Moses was a coward, King David was a philanderer, Abraham lied about having a wife, more than once, Jonah was prideful and felt he knew better than the deity he called God. Jesus got baptised (which confuses the purpose of baptism), two of his disciples were constantly arguing and aggressive (hence their nickname, the sons of thunder), Thomas was a doubter, Nathanael was easily amused and Peter denied Jesus despite being so adamant before, Judas was a traitor, one of his best friends was an ex prostitute and one of his most famous apostles was a Christian killer.

To me, this doesn't spell a religion created to puff up the awesomeness of men. It shows them to be a pretty poor bunch.

Also, Jesus didn't have long hair, he was a Nazarene not a Nazarite.
antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (9) Sep 20, 2012
It shows them to be a pretty poor bunch.

I'm thinking that's the point of holy scripture.

Religion is a control instrument - the greatest con ever perpetrated (hey, where else can you say "I have authority over you" and need show NOTHING to prove it? Even governments need votes - or at the very least a military - to stay in power )

Making the underlings believe they are great (in this life) would be counter productive. You have to keep them ashamed of themselves (sexuality, sin) so that they don't go "wait a minute. I'm great - so why should I take orders from this guy in the fancy dress?".

Whips are effective. However the MOST effective whip is the one you can plant in the mind of others to make them whip themselves.

...of course every religion tells their caspers that they'll all be great in the next life and believers in all other religions will not (suckers). Promising a payday you never have to deliver yourself? It doesn't get better than that.
JGHunter
4.3 / 5 (11) Sep 20, 2012
also, considering the ambiguity surrounding the historicity of Jesus (he as a man likely existed, most historians accept that from what I have read, I refer to the religious element) I wonder why this article is on phys.org at all, other than to stoke a flame war or bitchfest?

antialias, the issue you seem be ignoring is that people don't HAVE to be under the authority of religion if they don't want to. Well, alright in Islamic countries they do, but not under Christianity.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 20, 2012
I don't think it's as easy as that. Not all people are smart. Many need (or at least crave) gudiance (as can be seen when you look at the ease dictators come into power sometimes).

They want absolutes, because that is so much easier than coping with a dynamic - and sometimes random - universe. Remember: religious thinking is lazy thinking. The answers are already there. No need to think for yourself.

They want that human urge for fairness (which we need to be social animals) to be reflected in the universe at large.

Those are pretty strong urges. Being indoctrinated as a child doesn't help, either. You tend to believe what your parents tell you (it usually IS really for your best) - so it's hard to filter out the lies. Especially if it's lies that the parents don't even believe are lies.

Dumb, lazy and young: If you're that it's hard to escape from something crafted so expertly and refined over thousands of years like religious dogma.
JGHunter
4.3 / 5 (11) Sep 20, 2012
Disregarding false deviations (such as how the church treated science or the idea that people should read bibles for themselves) what guidance of Jesus is actually dangerous? What does Jesus teach that you find actually harms society? Obedience to a God you don't believe in is irrelevant, he was talking to believing Jews at the time. If people didn't want to hear, he left the town, so clearly he is not into forcing obedience on people who do not want it. Which of Jesus' teachings actively hurt or damage people?

If they want absolutes, then surely that is up to them? Why is religious thinking lazy thinking? Not all the answers are "there" though.

You believe urges for fairness should be suppressed then? After all, Paul said Christians are not to judge outsiders (non believers) but are to judge each other - you don't have to be a part of it if you believe it a lie.
Mike_Massen
2 / 5 (8) Sep 20, 2012
JGHunter blundered with ignorant claim
.. people don't HAVE to be under the authority of religion if they don't want to. Well, alright in Islamic countries they do, but not under Christianity.
This is only a recent phenomena of ~last 100 yrs but, still today you'll be persecuted by so called christians if you deign to avoid worship in some countries incl 1st world...

So re "inflated ego" where did this quote come from please ?

Are you claiming Moses didnt get any self-esteem boost by writing himself into the story and commanding god not to kill etc ?

Issues re pathetic conduct are relative, in any case makes it more believable, people have been creative writers long before and will continue to be long after any religion... Dreams help, my own experience in lucid dreaming has been most interesting :-)

@PinkElephant
Quite right of course, I meant the mainstream religions, incl Hinduism, Buddhism etc
Dont need deities to explain life all components & circumstances ubiquitous.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 20, 2012
what guidance of Jesus is actually dangerous

None at all. There's pretty sensible stuff in there. On the other hand: none of what he said is all that revolutionary (or worthy of forming a cult).
It's what you get when you sit down for 5 minutes and think: "how would I need to behave to live in a society: not steal, not kill, not lie, occasionally show leniency, not fuck around with sonmeone behind their partner's back" - seems pretty straight forward to me.

(The rest of what Jesus said, while not directly harmful, is pretty superfluous.)

But some people need even such simple things told to them - and if they're that dumb they don't know how to distinguish the superfluous from the rest. Look at how they even need threats and rewards to stick to it. What do you expect from people who require threats (and lures like everlasting life and other goodies) not to kill/steal/lie? Who need it spelled out?

I wouldn't exepct them to find their own behind with a map.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Sep 20, 2012
Why is religious thinking lazy thinking?

Imagine being a school teacher and a pupil writes "god did it" to all answers on any test (be it math, biology, literature or whatever). Perfectly acceptable (and correct) from a religious point of view.
I'd call it lazy. Wouldn't you?

If you don't believe me then go to Genesis
Why does the universe/the Earth/life exist? God did it.
That strike you as fostering an inquiring mind?

You believe urges for fairness should be suppressed then?

No. I think it's one of our best urges (and THE essential urge for us to form stable societies). Religions just abuse that urge by applying it to something where it doesn't apply (the universe)

Much like nations - and organized religions - abuse the urge to be cautious towards the unknown. Caution/scepticism is a very useful urge. But they have perverted it into 'fear/urge to eradicate the unknown' which is not so great.

Mike_Massen
2.7 / 5 (7) Sep 20, 2012
JGHunter opened pandora's box
what guidance of Jesus is actually dangerous?
HUGE lack of education in how to interpret what is claimed to have been said Eg."Do unto others.."
In the dark ages (lasted a long time); deformed, ill, etc were treated badly because 'obviously' god had to punish them for the sins they are yet to commit. Many followed that to also ingratiate themselves before god & thus treated them badly too.

UNDERSTAND, its not what Moses, Jesus, Buddha & others said. Its immense lack of education that went with it, nil dialectic, massive lack of psychology, allowing it to be manipulated by anyone to suit.

The thing is once you expect others to go to a 'theme park' upon death, then one doesnt really care that much for their suffering now & if they do suffer, its almost expected as a right of passage because 'god will make it alright in the end'.

That is the worst cop out ever, until ~200 yrs ago that has held back many technical ways to really alleviate suffering !
Mike_Massen
2.7 / 5 (7) Sep 20, 2012
For JGHunter & verkle etc

The danger in all religions is unitary idolatry with desire to gain favour from the deity. When there is focus on a personal source, a form of ingratiating hypnosis sets in, doesn't matter what religion or politics or any grouping - its a common human frailty of the highest order.

History is full of examples from all cultures sadly, Islam is our most current example, ie Fanaticism re suicide bombers the promise of a 'theme park' for the cause.

BTW: "Do unto others..." is often observed in the young to varying degrees as an automatic friendly behaviour to gain acceptance whether they have been exposed to religion or not. Unfortunately clueless adults seek to control uncertain behaviour in children as it suggests a lack of their control may occur.

It is also exercised by Bonobo monkeys, cats, crows and recent video evidence includes buffaloes, acting as a coordinated group & with great courage, rescuing their fallen comrade from lions.

To observe and learn.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (13) Sep 20, 2012
If you linger around the Vatican for any time you will learn that attitude is policy there. For example, Peter's skull at St. Peter's cathedral isn't Peter's etc.
Well actually the heads of Peter and Paul both rest above the altar in the popes basilica, st John Lateran. St peters headless body is in st peters.
Are you claiming Moses didnt get any self-esteem boost by writing himself into the story and commanding god not to kill etc ?
And most works in both OT and NT were not written by their purported authors. As there were not 2M of anyone in goshen at the time, let alone Jews, and as the Sinai and the levant were securely occupied by Egyptian soldiers in fortified garrisons throughout, and as there is no evidence whatsoever for 2M people wandering about in the area for 40 years or waging a genocidal rampage throughout Canaan, then we can conclude that it all NEVER HAPPENED.
antialias_physorg
4.6 / 5 (7) Sep 20, 2012
If they want absolutes, then surely that is up to them? Why is religious thinking lazy thinking? Not all the answers are "there" though.

It just dawned to me that "seeking knowledge" (i.e. the opposite of 'lazy thinking') is actually THE greatest sin in christianity. It's the one that started the whole shebang off for Adam and Eve and all that followed (from the POV of christianity).

I'm all ears how you're going to explain that one away.

It's old testament, but even Jesus went around and said (metaphoricaly):"Don't worry your pretty little heads about this or that - god will take care of it (c.f. "Consider the birds in the air, they do not reap or sow ...", etc.). He certainly wasn't too hot on education beyond the political - and one might call that dangerous.
Uneducated people are easy to manipulate.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (14) Sep 20, 2012
It just dawned to me that "seeking knowledge" (i.e. the opposite of 'lazy thinking') is actually THE greatest sin in christianity. It's the one that started the whole shebang off for Adam and Eve and all that followed (from the POV of christianity).

I'm all ears how you're going to explain that one away.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." proverbs

"I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith" (Immanuel Kant)(quote lifted from a Xian website)
IronhorseA
2.6 / 5 (5) Sep 21, 2012
... and one of his most famous apostles was a Christian killer.

If the reference is to Paul (the writer of the epistles), he was not one of the apostles (only the 12 that were chosen by Jesus and followed him around count as apostles) he was a Syrian jew who as you point out stoned christians before his conversion.
DarkHorse66
1 / 5 (1) Sep 21, 2012
... and one of his most famous apostles was a Christian killer.

If the reference is to Paul (the writer of the epistles), he was not one of the apostles (only the 12 that were chosen by Jesus and followed him around count as apostles) he was a Syrian jew who as you point out stoned christians before his conversion.

I suspect that he means Judas, the apostle who allegedly betrayed Jesus to the Romans for thirty pieces of silver. Allegedly, that is what got Jesus killed... (I'm a Lapsed Catholic by the way, so I'm not talking as an outsider to this kind of "knowledge")
Cheers, DH66
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (11) Sep 21, 2012
I suspect that he means Judas, the apostle who allegedly betrayed Jesus to the Romans for thirty pieces of silver. Allegedly, that is what got Jesus killed... (I'm a Lapsed Catholic by the way, so I'm not talking as an outsider to this kind of "knowledge")
Well then you ought to know that Jesus was a Jew not a Xian.
Mike_Massen
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 21, 2012
TheGhostofOtto1923 correctly observed
Well then you ought to know that Jesus was a Jew not a Xian.
This brings up a huge problem in respect of the motivations & 'care' of any deity.

OT claimed a messiah would arise but, it took another 1700 years before this is supposed to have happened & what was the key message of Jesus that made him a messiah - that could not have been said from day one - ie. If the deity of Moses really cared.

The rationale behind this, which goes to prove the words come only from humans in the first place is the logic of foreknowledge.

If the original deity (god) of moses was all powerful then he MUST have known, long before it made any angels or adam/eve, was that the devil would come from a fallen angel & that eve/adam would fail a test & especially so when god pointed the tree out to them !

Clearly Moses never had experience of being a parent.

If genesis is true, even a little, then the deity is guilty of a really evil setup causing all suffering !
Skepticus
3 / 5 (4) Sep 22, 2012
Who cares if Jesus married or not, or Mohamed? What really counts are how good their teachings have improved man, and how you have benefit from them, how you applied them in your lives???. Judging from the incessant bickering and hair-splitting here, a lot are only paying lip service to the FORMS and nothing shit for the WISDOM.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (10) Sep 22, 2012
Who cares if Jesus married or not, or Mohamed? What really counts are how good their teachings have improved man... shit for the WISDOM.
They teach that one must believe in their god in order to be good and moral. 'No other gods before me' is always their first commandment.

As it can be demonstrated that their books are all full of lies then we have the right and the obligation to denounce them and their gods, and look elsewhere for instructions on morality.

For instance THIS is immoral:

"PESHAWAR (Reuters) - A Pakistani minister offered $100,000 on Saturday to anyone who kills the maker of an online video which insults Islam"

-but is in keeping with the edicts if ALL religions. Eliminating blasphemy improves man yes? Moslems consider Copts blasphemous, AND vice versa, according to the guy who made the film. Both are only striving to improve their lives by eliminating those whom their books tell them are making their lives worse.

Explain where is the WISDOM in this please.
defactoseven
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 23, 2012
"What does Jesus teach that you find actually harms society? "
I think one of the most devastating ideas that came from the so called teachings of Christ was the following verse (paraphrased), "Therefore be ye either hot or cold, but if you are lukewarm, I will spew you out of my mouth." This is the doctrine of the absolute. No middle ground. You are either a believer or not, of the chosen or the fallen, in or out. There is no room for compromise. War or peace. You are on Christ's side or Gehenna (judgement). I believe this one single verse has caused some of the most abominable acts in the history of mankind, and these words are from someone who never actually existed.
I have challenged the idea that Jesus ever existed and will stand by the lack of even the slightest evidence. "(he as a man likely existed, most historians accept that from what I have read..) Proves or even leans towards what? Most historians? No.
Skepticus
3.4 / 5 (5) Sep 23, 2012
Explain where is the WISDOM in this please.

Looks like they threw out of their minds all the good parts about peace, harmony, being reasonable, virtuous,..etc. Your generalizations in direction of "My God is #1, no questions allowed) being central to ALL religion is false. In Buddhism, there is no god,zip,nada, period. Buddhism first foundation guidelines (not commandment, take note)are 4: 1) No murder (killing animals for food enjoyment, not for survival, people for differences, etc). 2)No thieving(taking without permission or negotiation, market manipulations, tax and other loopholes,etc).3)No sexual misconducts (underage, not your married/defacto partner, sleeping around,etc).4)No false words(provocation,insinuations, etc). No murder is central. You are no longer considered a Buddhist, no matter what you say or appear to be. This view is in all sects of Buddhism, 2500 years and counting.
Skepticus
3 / 5 (4) Sep 23, 2012
(cont.) Therefore, you can read the news of "Buddhists" killing others for hate,etc, but once they do, they are no more Buddhists than other common murderers. Thus, there is no terrorists killing anyone IN THE NAME OF BUDDHISM, because such is an oxymoron.
defactoseven
1 / 5 (1) Sep 23, 2012
Paul a"Syrian jew". His actual name was Saul of Tarsus. He was a Roman/Jew (Roman from his mother) with political connections. Political issues arise with the Saul/Paul problem that are very interesting though speculation, which concerning Saul and the Roman empire's need to quell the masses. Paul's writings BTW never once mentioned Jesus as an earthly being. His Christian connection was with a sect that believed in the son of God being a "celestial" being. The idea of Jesus on earth didn't appear until needed in the 3rd century ACE. You may even read the common biblical Pauline writings and you would have to presuppose Christ was a physical man. My biggest problem with Christian discussions is that implanted presupposition that certain things are just taken for granted. That makes any discussion of religion, a faith discussion and faith cannot be reasoned period. You can't divide by zero, at least not in common arithmetic. Common arithmetic is all that's needed for conclusion
defactoseven
3 / 5 (4) Sep 23, 2012
Comparisons of interest:

Jesus says,"Be ye hot or cold, but if you are lukewarm I will spew you out of my mouth."

Gautama Buddha: Boatman teaching a student to play a musical instrument "If the string is to tight, it will break. But if it is too loose, it will not play." Thus, the middle path.

Quite conflicting philosophical positions.

Personally, I'd rather learn to play an instrument than be spit out of a non-existing deity.
defactoseven
3 / 5 (2) Sep 23, 2012
PinkElephant: The West didn't advance through Renaissance, Enlightenment, and through the Industrial era into the Modern age because it abandoned religion. ..... But, it is the creeping advancement of living standards and educational norms that eventually caused the West to trend more secular.
I agree this is historically true, but was "creeping" necessary is part of my point? Could it have flourished at a greater pace if the religious power structures of the DiMedici hadn't been undermined by religious fundamentals like Savonarola who struck fear into Lorenzo The Magnificent? The DiMedici Pope (LeoX) used religion to advance the renaissance but the corrupt processes of religious power shifts and we have Galileo forced to confess heresy some years later.
I could pen hours on the subject but I can't accept that it was a necessary "creeping" that made way for the West to move more secular. On the contrary, we would have moved exponentially faster w/o religions fictional medicines.
Mike_Massen
1 / 5 (2) Sep 23, 2012
@Skepticus
Buddhism is a philosophy of life, it doesnt actually say definitively there is no god, it says "all is buddha nature" which in effect is saying something to the effect of "There is only god"...

The essential truth we can discern from all the religions whether adhered to or not is that people will do what they want either under the guise of a religion or to resist a religion.

Chimpanzees greet newcomers to their tribe with aggression and threats.
Bonobo monkeys greet newcomers with gifts of food.

This illustrates there is no need for any religion or deity, as primates we are the same as others, there are cultural traditions in human affairs as there are with chimpanzees and bonobos.

I would recommend people read the main works of all mainstream religions with critical and comparative analysis and ask, did we ever really need an uncommunicative angry deity to tell us things which any moderately intelligent human could either observe in others or work out for themselves ?

TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (14) Sep 23, 2012
Chimpanzees greet newcomers to their tribe with aggression and threats.
Bonobo monkeys greet newcomers with gifts of food.
This sounds like wishful new wave pseudoscience crap; ie religionism. Prove me wrong and post a reference. Bonobos are animals and can be expected to act as such. Just like us.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.3 / 5 (14) Sep 23, 2012
"Chimps have been documented to kill and make war. Bonobos share food with total strangers, but chimps do not." cs monitor

-Our first clue, same article:

"Scientists have found that we are as close genetically to the peace-loving but LITTLE-KNOWN bonobo as we are to the more violent and better understood chimpanzee."

-But looking elsewhere:

"However, his team's observations now suggest that these violent behaviours may also exist in ape societies that are not dominated by males...The researchers made the discovery that the free-loving [bonobos] hunt and kill other primates..."

-And so it looks like science is well on it's way to discovering that bonobos, like any other species, will protect and sustain itself by employing all the traditional means including violence, and that blank slate behavioralism from the '70s is still alive and flitting about.

Perhaps they might want to study how differing environments dictate behavior. Less competition usually means less conflict.
JGHunter
1 / 5 (1) Sep 24, 2012
"The danger in all religions is unitary idolatry with desire to gain favour from the deity."


Then you are unaware of Christian theology, which says there is nothing we can do to gain God's favour. We can't earn it in any way.

Also, Paul was an apostle, just not one of the twelve.

Regarding the hot and cold, this was for Christians, not people in general. It's not saying "As soon as you have an idea of something, take sides", nor is it saying "have an opinion on everything, even if you don't know about it." it's saying "don't sit on the fence to please people who disagree with your silent beliefs". This is evidenced in the letters to the Corinthians, much of the epistle from Paul is reiterating faults in the Corinthian church for being nonchalant. Decisiveness is more important than being wishy washy, even if you are wrong, you can show you stand for something. If you're lukewarm, you send confusing and mixed messages about scripture.
peter09
not rated yet Sep 24, 2012
The major problems with all religions is that it allows people to take a 'them and us' stance on life. Those that follow 'us' and those that don't.

'Them and us' philosophies spawned the crusades, terrorism, and many wars.
Mike_Massen
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 24, 2012
TheGhostofOtto1923 proved my point
Prove me wrong and post a reference. Bonobos are animals and can be expected to act as such. Just like us.
As per your later post, not pseudo, observed behaviour & like all animals, ie humans there are bound to be variations, balance of probabilities however indicate Bonobos are on average gentler than chimps - you can factor where human primates figure :-)

@JGHunter
Many christians REQUIRE obedience to OT & believe strength of their belief garners favour eg Prayer !

Jesus didnt say anything we cant work out for ourselves except the messy translations guh !

eg. "Love your enemies" is culturally unsound and presupposes conflicts, makes more sense to learn psychology and avoid conflict, ie Education !

Note: old Aramaic word for love & respect are the same & contextual.

Makes MUCH more sense to respect the position of where an enemy is coming from re their argument/offence, a clear aspect of "Theory of Mind" which animals share too...
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Sep 24, 2012
balance of probabilities however indicate Bonobos are on average gentler than chimps
-And I say thats an unwarranted conclusion based on inadequate observation and weighted by wishful thinking. Aztecs were considered to be peaceful, hapless victims of western aggression until it was discovered how bloodthirsty they were.
you can factor where human primates figure :-)
-And also tainted with a more than a little human-hating. Chimps, bonobos or any other animal you wish to mention can be a expected to be peaceful or at least non-aggressive. But whenever their territories, their families, or their tribes are threatened, they can be expected to fight like hell. This includes humans.

Im sure further observation of bonobos will prove this out. Goodall spent a great deal of time in close contact with chimps.
Skepticus
1 / 5 (3) Sep 24, 2012
@Skepticus
Buddhism is a philosophy of life, it doesnt actually say definitively there is no god, it says "all is buddha nature"

This is the hardest concept to understand. Therefore I am not qualified to say you are correct or not, but I believe the statement is actually "all beings have Buddha nature" I am no well-learned bonafide Buddhist, just reading up here and there. My take of it going by Buddhism cosmology is: Every being is temporarily made from the elements, therefore the mind lifeforce awareness arising of such being is also non-eternal. When the body dies, this "soul" will be like a vibration in the cosmos, and modified when it intermix with the different vibration in a new life, by the different initial conditions for that new life. So you are reborn not exactly the same, nor quite different, still bearing the gene,so to speak. This is the ever-changing "false mind/you" in Buddhist's speak. Superimposed on that, however, is a fraction of pan-universe
Skepticus
1 / 5 (3) Sep 24, 2012
(cont.)
self-awareness, self-knowing/self manipulating quantity/quality arising from the totality of the cosmic all/true reality. (Buddhist cosmology posits that reality is eternal, has no describable beginning or end, and cyclical). This self-awareness/self knowing/self-manipulating capability is the "Buddha Nature". Thus,there is an eternal seed of the capability of perceiving the true reality in everyone, as well as to manipulate it, to go beyond the bounds of certain subsets of reality, such as the circle of being born,suffering, death, and become one with the eternal awareness/consciousness. That ultimate state is Buddhahood. In jest, I may just say that Buddha tell us that we humans really are part of the quantum foam at the basement of this reality. This foam is self-aware, self-knowing, self-manipulating. Therefore, to reach Buddhahood is to return to/reclaim/to be your true eternal selves, a hyper-mental evolution undertaking!
If it sounds too bullshit, Buddha won't mind.:-)
Skepticus
2.3 / 5 (6) Sep 24, 2012
I may be committing the fourth sin here, and I'd probably pay for it in the end..but, please, people, take a moment to look at yourselves, and try your best to make this shit hole of a planet more peaceful, rather than let your ego,your prejudices and dogmas to add to the body counts, heartaches, misery and construction bills???
Mike_Massen
2 / 5 (4) Sep 25, 2012
TheGhostofOtto1923 baulked
When I said
..balance of probabilities however indicate Bonobos are on average gentler than chimps
-And I say thats an unwarranted conclusion based on inadequate observation and weighted by wishful thinking.
No, not at all, its based not just on isolated incidents of response to external stimuli, its also based on the handling of local tensions within existing Bonobo groups, in that respect are significantly different than chimps & demonstrably so.

Clearly TheGhostofOtto1923, any conclusion is not a static, it's fully probabilistic & from my perspective is based on a wealth of journals & other sources.

It might change, as any group even ants will respond aggressively when they 'think' they are being significantly threatened. The interesting issue with Bonobos seems to be this aggressive hiatus is more likely to be placated by the group than it turning into a mob free-for-all as in chimps & the bulk of observed human societal 'protests'...
Mike_Massen
2.7 / 5 (7) Sep 25, 2012
@Skepticus
.. try your best to make this shit hole of a planet more peaceful, rather than let your ego,your prejudices and dogmas to add to the body counts, heartaches, misery and construction bills???
Really suggest you focus locally and positively on what you can do by being mindful in the present and not negative etc Be aware of how external stimuli seriously influence your mood and attend to that first as the correct food for your cognisance of 'all that is'.

Remember "all is buddha nature" that is the core message, the rest flows from there...

I have no affiliation with the Buddhist religion - LOL !
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Sep 25, 2012
No, not at all, its based not just on isolated incidents of response to external stimuli, its also based on the handling of local tensions within existing Bonobo groups, in that respect are significantly different than chimps & demonstrably so.
Well you can say whatever you want but you ought to back it up with legitimate references or people might dismiss it as crap.

It might still be crap like the one I dug up for you, but at least its a place to start.
self-awareness, self-knowing/self manipulating quantity/quality arising from the totality of the cosmic all/true reality. (Buddhist cosmology posits that reality is blah
Buddhists believe in gods, godmen, the soul, and the afterlife as well as wish-granting to differing degrees depending upon sect and location; ie, same crap different books.
http://en.wikiped...Buddhism

-Meanwhile buddhists are slaughtering and oppressing in thailand, sri lanka, myanmar, and elsewhere; ie, same crap different books.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Sep 25, 2012
Really suggest you focus locally and positively on what you can do by being mindful in the present and not negative etc Be aware of how external stimuli seriously influence your mood and attend to that first as the correct food for your cognisance of blah
-Or you can pick up a gun and start shooting tamil tigers. Either way, according to religion, you will feel better and will have a purpose in this world. And your soul will reside on a higher plane and siddhartha will smile down upon you etcetc.

Rubbing your lingam also helps I understand.
http://en.wikiped...i/Lingam
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (4) Sep 25, 2012
"Most Buddhist monks are known for their love of peace, harmony and a philosophical acceptance of fate - but as the bloody war that has ravaged Sri Lanka for 25 years enters a new and terrible phase, Mr Rathana and his fellow hard-line monks are urging the president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, to keep the promise upon which he came to power in late 2005: to crush the Tamil Tigers with military force."
http://www.telegr...war.html

-Monks will also engage in fistfights with opposing 'gangs'.

ALL religions claim to be the only true source of peace and harmony. Because their books explicitly state this. But when things get SERIOUS they are able to turn to those chapters and phrases which also state explicitly the lengths they are required to go, in order to preserve their faith.

The People who concocted these religions and wrote their books, would regard these chapters and phrases as the more important ones.
Skepticus
3 / 5 (6) Sep 26, 2012
@Ghost
Thank you for your wise guidance. I didn't know you can learn about and judge a religion/philosophy/event by reading the extremely qualified Wiki articles, which were absolutely written by the non-biased, sages and gurus who have spent years actually living and practicing in them, and now decided to share their enlightenment and truth with us. Nor did I know that 5 minutes news persons are also similarly qualified. Again, thank you.
Mike_Massen
2.7 / 5 (7) Sep 26, 2012
TheGhostofOtto1923 loves wikipedia but cant spend 9 seconds putting "Bonobo" into the site search
Well you can say whatever you want but you ought to back it up with legitimate references or people might dismiss it as crap.
You look like a hypocrite mate, you search wiki for gods and Buddhism but CANT find Bonobo in 9 seconds - LOL !

Dont rely on wikipedia for authoritative peer reviewed articles in the body, they are most often in the references, so advice to the hypocrite is peruse the many references on this link and especially so after reading the article which also confirms my "Claims":- http://en.wikiped...i/Bonobo

Re other matters.
I have no religious affiliation. I've informally & formally studied comparative religion for 28 plus years. Many claim Buddhists have gods, those are feeble bogan (ie. redneck) claimants.

Like all literature "Provenance of Truth", ie Read the source material yourself. If you do then Buddhism appears closest to a thoughtful atheism !
kochevnik
5 / 5 (1) Sep 26, 2012
Buddhism DOES have a bloody history. They simply were no match for rifles and xtian coldbloodness.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Sep 26, 2012
Thank you for your wise guidance. I didn't know you can learn about and judge a religion/philosophy/event by reading the extremely qualified Wiki articles, which were absolutely written by the non-biased, sages and gurus who have spent years actually living and practicing in them
So - you're saying what I've referenced is wrong just because it came from wiki? Inversely, I could claim that the religious crap you cite is nonsense just because you found it in a holy book. Or the opinion of a holy man. But I'd rather do the reading and comparing myself.

Dispute the facts and present refs of your own.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Sep 26, 2012
I've informally & formally studied comparative religion for 28 plus years.
I am not sure what that is supposed to mean.
Many claim Buddhists have gods, those are feeble bogan (ie. redneck) claimants.
Here is a list of Buddhist gods and goddesses who sit on altars and are worshipped by adherents who bring them offerings etc.
http://www.thedha..._who.htm

-Religious essence is not in what they say but in what they DO. the Buddhist schpiel is no different in content from any other religion; soul, afterlife, special dispensation, wish-granting, absolution of guilt. The vast majority of buddhists have no clue about esoteric teachings you may have been exposed to in your 'comparative studies'.

Most xians know little about the bible. They don't HAVE to. Priests and pundits have had generations and centuries to polish their act, weeding out sticking points and incorporating lessons learned.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (3) Sep 26, 2012
Buddhism DOES have a bloody history. They simply were no match for rifles and xtian coldbloodness.
People often forget that religious violence requires victims as well as perpetrators. Buddhists presented themselves and their families for killing by the millions in India, the birthplace of their religion. Martyrdom is every bit as violent and bloody as pogrom. This state is created BY religion.

The Japanese emperor was considered a god during the most violent period in it's history.

"Shinto and Japanese Buddhism are therefore best understood not as two completely separate and competing faiths, but rather as a single, rather complex religious system."

Skepticus
2.6 / 5 (5) Sep 26, 2012
@Ghost
[quote]I could claim that the religious crap you cite is nonsense just because you found it in a holy book.[/quote]
If you read my post carefully, you'd find my musings are my own theory, not some crap i found from a holy book. in exact words:"My take of it going by Buddhism cosmology is.."
Your refs from Wiki and news may not be flat wrong, but questionable as to the completeness of truth and facts without bias, that's what I was saying.
You have every right to blast away at religious teachings and actual practices. But consider the reality: Mortals are asked to reach for perfection or virtuosity by learning and practicing hard to understand and do concepts. Well-meaning words can be bent, or intentionally interpreted the wrong way while being passed down. Do you kicked your car, and cursed the manufacturer when you hot-up your car with questionable mods, and flogged the thing to death yourself? Anyway, spirituality is a personal matter, so I'd leave it at that.