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  • by Benjamin Abelow

    Amid heated debate about religion, a simple fact with profound implications has gone almost entirely unnoticed: that the myths underlying some of the most widespread religions portray themes […]

    • Currently, I am trying to work my brains out about the whole matter of Original Sin, Sacrifice, absolute authoritarianism, and Jesus Christ.

      My starting point goes like:

      Jesus Christ appeared at a point in time when major societies were
      questioning the practice of sacrifice (animal or human);
      Jesus Christ appeared at a point in time when figures of authority
      (fathers, rulers, etc.) were accepted as absolute (for example,
      fathers could sell or dispose of kids not to their liking);
      In the major religions of the day (Mithraism, etc.), there was the
      convergence of an idea about a man-divine being who would become the
      ultimate sacrifice and thus end the very practice of sacrifice
      (especially human)

      ::::So what if Jesus’ ministry was that movement to end the practice of sacrifice and kill the original sin formulation, while also initiating a more humane foundation to authoritarian relations (again: father/rulers as absolute figureheads), laying the foundation for our modern parenting, socialization practices—all within the context of religion?

      ::::That the ancients had a faint inkling that the idea of sacrifice to appease an angry god was at best based on an incomplete picture of the world, somehow anticipating our sciences and what we would say to these ancient formulations based on wrong worldview.

      ::::That when the ancient wise men came up with the original sin-sacrifice combo, the divine-man insertion to end it all was their way of calling out to their modern counterparts to formulate a better system to oversee all social interaction-relation dynamics—that is, to review and revise all those social systems based on all these old assumptions?

      Do all of these sound crazy or do any of these make for a case worth pursuing further?

    • Marget @#6

      The single greatest evil is that of parents giving up the raising of their children to a god.

      Aye, and in two of the main monotheistic religions it begins with ritualistic genital mutilation! And the UK still allows it! – ludicrous!!!

    • Jerome Santos #9
      Aug 15, 2016 at 7:33 am

      Currently, I am trying to work my brains out about the whole matter of Original Sin, Sacrifice, absolute authoritarianism, and Jesus Christ.

      . . . . .

      Do all of these sound crazy or do any of these make for a case worth pursuing further?

      The difficulties arise if you start with the Jesus sacrifice mythology!

      If you take the issues in chronological order:-

      There was no created Adam or Eve, they evolved down a long line of vertebrates from chordates, fish, amphibians , reptiles and mammals.

      There was no magic garden, talking snake, forbidden fruit or original sin!

      Therefore, there was no need for any sacrifice to atone for this imagined “sin” in the first place!

      So yes! The whole fairy-story is crazy!

      So what if Jesus’ ministry was that movement to end the practice of sacrifice and kill the original sin formulation, while also initiating a more humane foundation to authoritarian relations (again: father/rulers as absolute figureheads), laying the foundation for our modern parenting, socialization practices—all within the context of religion?

      The Roman Testament versions of Athanasius and Constantine, were very much into the traditions authoritarian father figures, which have persisted in the Roman Catholic Church.
      Some of the other early Xtian sects such as the followers of Mary Madeleine, put women in higher roles.

      Nothing in the New Testament (possibly apart from the letters of Paul), was written within decades or centuries of supposed events, so whatever properties or personalities were attributed to ANY of the N.T.characters, were attributed by the Xtian cults of the second, third, and fourth centuries, or later in further revisions or mistranslations, to suit their agendas at those times.

    • Alan4discussion #11

      The difficulties arise if you start with the Jesus sacrifice
      mythology!

      If you take the issues in chronological order:-

      There was no created Adam or Eve, they evolved down a long line of
      vertebrates from chordates, fish, amphibians , reptiles and mammals.

      There was no magic garden, talking snake, forbidden fruit or original
      sin!

      Therefore, there was no need for any sacrifice to atone for this
      imagined “sin” in the first place!

      So yes! The whole fairy-story is crazy!

      Thanks for the reply.

      Regarding the whole mythology aspect of these issues, I should have indicated clearly that except for the “accepted fact” of Jesus’ crucifixion, everything else is treated as mythology, including the assumption of angry gods out asking for appeasement from some perceived slight, up to the conception of Adam and Eve’s original sin and the birth of the practice of sacrifice as a solution.

      What I’d like to bring to attention is the possibility that Jesus and some movement made the most of the converging general sentiment that the cultural practice of sacrifice had to go, that a few embellishment of Jesus’ stature (proclaiming him divine) would fulfill many religions’ expectation of some divine-human ultimate sacrifice as the only qualified being to accomplish that.

      That, as a side effect, it gave humans a new platform to question other generally accepted social practices, namely that of the absolute authority of rulers or fathers within their spheres of authority. Specifically, it pertains to that moral precept based on pure obedience arising from the myth of original sin, that perhaps those old thinkers saw too much of the weakness of moral systems built around that myth.

      That many thinkers at this point have recognized that disobedience is a complex reaction that deserves more than cursory look and instant tagging as “sin” and instant prescription of punishment; that it smacks of lazy and irresponsible parenting in either familial or social context; that branding certain human actions [perceived as errors] as “sins” is not the best way to resolve issues arising out of those actions. A general sentiment reflecting these views must have accompanied those other converging ideas indicated earlier.