Listening to Yes – Close to the Edge
On occasion, circumcision can be a good medical procedure, like an appendicitis. Standard circumcision of baby boys, however, as happens in hospitals in the USA or Jewish “feasts” (a party except for the baby involved), is a sick barbaric custom. It is used by a priesthood to separate their flock from others and emphasize an “us against them” mental frame.
Medical Doctors should explain parents that circumcision is not necessary and much cheaper in terms of medical bills. Rabbi’s should explain their Jewish flock that there is no need for circumcision but that donations are accepted for a nice speech. If rabbi’s have a hang-up against baptising a baby since this looks too Christian and if they really want to see blood, then they might consider making a cut in their own body.
Psychology tells that people tend to rationalise their condition. There is a mental need to accept your body and situation. Rich people think that they deserve their wealth while it may be a fluke of nature. Poor people may tend to accept their poverty since it may make them more miserable to think otherwise. Circumcised men will not demand severance pay from their parents but may start feeling proud of being part of a “great tradition” – and then circumcise their own boys. The “us against them” mental frame is very powerful and very stable.
Banning circumcision is no good idea. The custom and mental frame are too strong and believers will go underground, and the custom might even get the appeal of resistance against the nanny state. Matter of fact and common sense and fairness are the key words.
The “us against them” mental frame might contribute to a nuclear conflict in the Middle East. Potentially the real causes are land and water, or in a good German word Lebensraum. But such issues are generally solved by mere economics. When people can work in peace and trade the proceeds then prosperity multiplies. Such an outcome apparently is not in the interest of politicians, priests and the so-called “scientists” who advise these. The real problem is not Lebensraum but mental dishonesty. See the earlier discussion of the high priests of high treason.
Thinking about the nuclear war to eliminate circumcision causes me to look at four websites.
But let us first observe that the Bible is dangerous Literature.
The Bible is dangerous Literature
The logic is as follows:
The NT is dangerous Literature.
The NT is a summary of the OT.
Thus also the OT is dangerous Literature.
Let us consider the NT, and then Acts 5.30 in both CEV, KJV (that generally follows a Hebrew translation of the original Greek) and original Greek.
“You killed Jesus by nailing him to a cross. But the God our ancestors worshiped raised him to life” (Acts 5.30 CEV)
“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree“ (Acts 5.30 KJV)
“ὁ θεὸς τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν ἤγειρεν Ἰησοῦν ὃν ὑμεῖς διεχειρίσασθε κρεμάσαντες ἐπὶ ξύλου“ (Acts 5.30 NA28, German Bible Society)
The best interpretation of the situation is:
- Many translators agree that it should be “nailing to a cross”. They are embarrassed by the original Greek “hanged on a tree”, and repair the error – disinforming readers about what the true text is.
- The embarrassment is that – certainly in Acts, long after the event – it should be a mantra that Christ was nailed to a cross, so that “hanged on a tree” is incomprehensible.
- The embarrassment is that “hanged on a tree” is comprehensible as an earlier version of the story, taken from conventional myths about dying and rising (fertility) gods who are hung on trees (or trees themselves) – check for example the Roman Hilaria (Spring festival) – so that the original editors of the Acts apparently forgot this passage when they switched to using the cross to make it a Roman punishment.
- The verse illuminates that the NT is religious literature and no report about true events.
- The NT is not “The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” but dangerous literature. It is a deliberate composition of narrative, propaganda and theological argumentation. The NT follows the poetic rule “to tell lies to tell the truth” – but users should beware of the dangers of the passions that are invoked.
An alternative interpretation is that the editors (“Luke”) only recorded Simon Peter’s words from memory by eye-witnesses, and that some details got lost in transmission, or that Simon Peter really used poetic liberty to evade the tiresome mantra. People who believe this may also think that circumcision is a good idea because Christ was circumcised too.
I came upon Acts 5.30 from re-reading Lena Einhorn’s paper on the time shift hypothesis, in which she also discusses who Simon Peter might be. Check pages 21-24 for the story around Acts 5.30.
Stuart G. Waugh on the Kitos War and Marcion
In an earlier weblog text, we found that:
- The Einhorn (2006, 2012) and Eisenman (2006) time shift hypothesis holds that real events around 70 AD are projected onto fictitious “Biblical events” around 30 AD.
- Earlier there were Ralph Ellis (1998) and Hermann Detering (2000). The latter writes: “the only genuinely reliable point of reference is the fact that the Synoptic Gospels look back to the destruction of Jerusalem and consequently must have been written after the year 70.” (p162)
- Waugh wonders about the relevance of the Bar Kokhba Revolt in AD 132-136 but points more decisively to the Kitos War in AD 115-117 and the direct threat to Alexandria.
- We also see a Basic Passion Story of around 41-44 AD.
- The flexible time shift hypothesis is that there are layers of editing, so that indeed more time frames may be involved. The core would still be the (E & E) time shift hypothesis since the destruction of Jerusalem en Temple is such a dramatic event.
Waugh has also some observations on circumcision:
“The inescapable conclusion is that Historia Augusta is simply wrong. There was no ban, but a myth developed in Christian circles by the middle of the 4th century that Hadrian had imposed such an edict, perhaps from confusion his banning of castrating slaves combined with Antoninus’ ruling to allowing Jews to circumcise in the years after Bar Kokhba.  And no doubt this view derived from the Maccabees and the association of Hadrian’s policies with those of Antiochus; to the point of even claiming he thought himself the reincarnation of Antiochus. But this myth, or at least the confusion of the era, does appear in Paul’s letters.” (Stuart Waugh, July 15 2013)
Waugh refers to an eclips around AD 118 that might be relevant for Marcion’s Paul, with a youtube series by Michael Xoroaster.
“What is most interesting to me in the series was the use of NASA data to show the night sky on the night of the two eclipses, and the positions of the stars and planets. I must admit it completely changed my view of what is meant in the New Testament by the very word revelation. (…) Was Paul’s revelation an astrological one?” (Stuart Waugh, June 27 2013)
See more on the AD 118 eclipse.
Richard Edmondson on Marcion
Richard Edmondson describes himself as: “I am a novelist, poet, journalist, and peace activist. My latest book is The Memoirs of Saint John: No Greater Love, a novel about the life of Christ as told from the perspective of John the son of Zebedee, the youngest of the twelve disciples.” This kind of religious novel is confusing, since it introduces more noise into a subject that already is rather noisy.
More relevant is his work as a journalist / commentator. Whatever Edmondson’s political points of view and writing of religious fiction, I found his journalistic discussion of the role of Marcion on the creation of the NT and the abolition of the OT rather nice.
See his text “Chuck the Old Testament?“ (February 17 2014).
This discussion must be seen in the context of our earlier exposition that Simon Magus was a real heretic. The gnostic / docetic version of Christianity lost from the butchershop religion with a real suffering Jesus in the flesh. What drives history here is the logic of the theological argument.
In AD 100, Judaism did not accept this theological argument. They did not believe in the existence of Jesus anyway, so his supposed death had no value.
Perhaps now though, in 2015, Israelites might accept the argument that the OT is religious fiction, just like the NT is. You are chosen by fiction, great.
Edmondson referring to Robert Parry
Edmondson explains his weblog as follows:
“In this blog much of my focus is on the Middle East, particularly the occupation of Palestine and events as they are now playing out in Syria. While I am a Christian, I am not a Christian Zionist. The founding of Israel in 1948 was not the fulfillment of God’s prophecy Christian Zionists believe it to be (apartheid and endless occupation are not part of the divine plan), but if you read the second chapter of II Thessalonians you will notice Saint Paul foretelling the coming of a “powerful delusion”–and certainly Israel and its supporters in the mainstream media, to the extent that Paul’s prediction applies here, have practiced the art of deception to a rather stunning degree.” (Richard Edmondson, About, March 16 2015)
Edmondson holds that the USA isn’t critical enough on Israel, likely for fear of sounding anti-semitic. Here is an example of his protest against propaganda for a war with Russia.
There is a useful reference to this article by Robert Parry of March 11 2015 on such war propaganda.
“Robert Parry (born June 24, 1949) is an American investigative journalist best known for his role in covering the Iran-Contra affair for the Associated Press (AP) and Newsweek, including breaking the Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare (CIA manual provided to the Nicaraguan contras) and the CIA and Contras cocaine trafficking in the US scandal in 1985. He was awarded the George Polk Award for National Reporting in 1984. He has been the editor of Consortium News since 1995.” ( Wikipedia on Parry March 16 2015 – not as a source but as a portal)
The Christian Solution ?
Looking on the internet for this kind of view that struggles with propaganda and psychological framing e.g. about anti-semitism, we also find The Christian Solution. The nice element of this TCS website is that the author looks for constitutional reform, and suggests that the USA devolves into more power for the States. This is an issue that we can discuss in Political Economy.
However, the author holds that Christianity is more peaceful than Judaism or Islam. This is a dubious claim, both historically but also theologically since Jesus was both priest and warrior. The view neglects the information that the Bible is dangerous Literature. Who choses this position quickly falls in the “us against them” trap. The author claims – but the claim is actually rather defensive:
“Truth is that this website is neither anti-Semitic nor religiously fanatical. This website is merely reporting what is not being reporting. It is re-slanting, in the opposite direction, that which has already been slanted away from the Jews by the media-Scribe monopoly. (…) They can call me anti-Semitic. Fair enough. And, I will call most of their leaders Satanic Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians and media-Scribes. I will call them anti-Christian and Jesus-deniers.
You see, I think the average Jew is neither a Neo-con Jew nor an ultra-communist leftist Jew. I think they are just average people like anyone else. Same as not all black men are Louis Farrakhans and not all black women are Maya Angelous. And if you get my drift, not all Germans were like Hitler.” (website The Christian Solution)
Yes, we reach the point that Hitler is mentioned. The TCS term solution remains awkward in the context of the Endlösung. Check youtube on Fawlty Towers, Don’t Mention The War.
A concluding suggestion
My suggestion is to first deconstruct Christianity, and only later look at Judaism and Islam. Europe and the USA have democracies with professional education and a free press. They are also historically mostly Christian and should be able to overcome the religious disinformation from the past. A more enlightened and prosperous Western society should be a beacon for the rest of world.
The risk of a nuclear war in the Middle East rises. We might see it as a way to eliminate circumcision. It would be wiser to eliminate circumcision by better education and a free press, and thereby reduce the “us against them” mental frame that increases this risk of nuclear war.
For the relevance for education, see here.