Thursday, May 20, 2010

Early Christianity and the Hazard of the Ptolemaic View

It was very fortunate for Christianity that it met a world of slaves.

- - - Michael Bakunin

In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan set out in his quest to reach the East Indes much in the same manner Christopher Columbus tried to do, and also to circumnavigate the earth (Magellan was killed during the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines and did not make it), which proved to everyone at the time that the earth was round, not flat on pillars under a sky dome. The Catholic Church however, still stuck to the flat earth theory for almost another 200 years, long having denied as contrary to Holy Scripture the Copernican view affirming the double revolution [motion] of the earth (about its axis and about the sun).

Pythagoras believed the planets revolved around the sun in the sixth century, and the ancient Greeks used trigonometry to get a very good estimate concerning the circumference on the earth; Jean Foucault (1819-1868) in 1851 used a pendulum that bears his name to show the earth moved about its axis. Galileo and his use of the telescope showed the planet Jupiter had moons. Many ancient people believed the earth was round, and this prevailed until the Church gained prominence.

To understand why, one has to see what early Christianity took from the Canon to construct the Ptolemaic [flat earth] theory. The story of Babel (Chaldean in origin) will make more sense. The early Church leaders merely combined various Biblical passages in the most logical fashion they could:

Genesis 1:6 - And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

Genesis 1:7 - And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

Genesis 1:8 - And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Genesis 1:16 - And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also.

Psalms 19:4 -Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath He set a tabernacle [tent] for the sun,

Psalms 19:5 - Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

Ecclesiastes 1:4 -One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth [lasts] for ever.

Joshua 10:12 - Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and He said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.

Joshua 10:13 - And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

Isaiah 38:8 - Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.

Job 9:1 -Then Job answered and said,

Job 9:2 - I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?

Job 9:3 - If he will contend with Him, he cannot answer Him one of a thousand.

Job 9:4 - He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against Him, and hath prospered?

Job 9:5 - Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in His anger.

Job 9:6 - Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.

Kindly see what the early Church minds managed, using only the Bible as their guide, as proper interpretations to what they literally took as the word of God. Given what they had, they did a rather explicit job:

From Genesis 1:6-8 the Church got the idea of the firmament [Heaven], implying fixed and immovable. The firmament is where God and the angels dwelled. Well, obviously.

From Genesis 1:16 the Church got the idea that the moon cast its own light, and was not reflecting light from the sun. This is worth nothing because if the earth, in double revolution, was in the path of sunlight to the moon, then the moon was reflecting sunlight back to earth.

From Psalms 19:4-5 the Church got the idea that the sun came out of a chamber and was sent forth on a set path in the sky from a tent. More on the notion of angels moving the lights in the firmament idea later.

From Ecclesiastes 1:4 the Church got the idea that the earth was also immovable as the firmament.

From Joshua 10:12-13 the Church got the idea that the sun, being able to be commanded to stand still and do so, was clearly the celestial body that moved, and not the earth; the earth was truly the center of the universe. On a side note, even Gibbon (Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire) noted that many events in the sky were recorded by many people, including comets and eclipses, but only the Israelites manage to capture in writing the most fantastic event ever to bear witness to man: the stillness of the sun. He implied it must not have happened as everyone else on the planet would have taken great note of this event.

From Isaiah 38:8 the Church got the notion that God can make the sun move backwards as easily as forwards, and it suffices to say that besides the writer(s) of this book, no one else on the planet noticed the sun moving west to east, a grand scale celestial event in reverse.

From the passages of Job we get the idea that God is powerful enough to make the earth tremble on its pillars; earth obviously had pillars to hold it up above hell.

One can now understand the story of Babel: if the earth is flat and the firmament is just above, one should be able to build a tower high enough to get to heaven, the glass dome in the sky (some theologians at the time disagreed whether the compostion was ice or crystal). From a Christian standpoint, Babel signifies the diversity of languages and thus the birth of different nations. However, many believe Babel was actually a place of centralized worship or commerce, so the people would have some common meeting point, and they were not interested in trying to reach up and meet God and the angels, but I digress.

But the Church, in its *wisdom,* did not stop there, and decided to augment the Ptolemaic view with a hierarchy of angels responsible for the movement of every star in the firmament along with the moon and the sun. This was not inspired by Scripture, and I will explain how they envisioned this to happen so that the astute reader can understand just how unimaginative the early Church leaders were. If someone is going to concoct a notion about angels moving lights, a child can fancy a more beautiful description than this, but the Church sought to imagine itself wherever they so chose:

- the Pope sat in the chair of Saint Peter, as did God sit in the central throne in Heaven

- the Pope was surrounded by the Bishops, Priests and Deacons, as was God surrounded by the three choirs [orders] of angels: Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones

- all subject to the Pope, as were all answerable to the LORD

- the order of each successive sphere, i.e., a series of invisible domes on top of others, all moving freely within themselves: the first, the moon; the second, Mercury; the third, Venus; the fourth, the sun; the fifth, Mars; the sixth, Jupiter; the seventh, Saturn; and the eight, the rest of the stars of the firmament; the ninth, the primum mobile; the tenth, the Empyrean where God dwelt, encopassing all other nine spheres (Dante's Inferno comes to mind)

- there were three hierarchies of the firmament; the Empyrean (i.e., a tenth sphere), the heavens (all other nine spheres), and earth (i.e., the zero sphere, so to speak, and was immovable)

- the first hierarchy of the angels in the Empyrean was divided into three: the Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones, all of whose glory was to incessantly chant in the divine; and the Thrones were charged with communicating God's will to the second hierarchy

- the second hierachy of angels was split into three (a pattern here on this number): the first is the order of the Dominions, who received from the Thrones the LOGOS [the word of God]; the second, the order of Powers, who moved the sun, the moon, and the stars, and opened and shut the 'windows of heaven' [precipitation]; and lastly the third, the order of the Empire, to guard the Dominions and the Powers against the fallen angels

- the last hierarchy of angels were for earth: the first order was the Principalities, which guarded nations and kingdoms; the second were the Archangels, which protected religion, bearing the name of the prayers of the saints (and useful in Sodam and Gomorrah, the killing of the first born in Egypt, and other *virtuous* deeds); and the third, the Angels, who looked after earthly affairs, so everyone had a guardian angel, and also useful for animals, trees, fish, etc.

Interesting. But not imaginative, since it reflected directly the Pope, igne atque ferre, and how he saw how he ruled the known world. It does get better: the pillars of earth held it above hell, populated by other angels in service to the fallen prince of the Seraphim, the most beautiful (so called) Prince of Light: Lucifer. The story about the rebellion led by him over hubris and then tossed out of heaven with a third of the other angels gave us this nonsense. Beneath the earth, they sometimes caused trouble with the other good angels of the firmament, and the Church believed disease, famine, and storms were responsible by these fallen angels (especially Lucifer). And, of course, responsible in tempting man to sin. Other theologians would say this was God's will, to punish those who needed it and testing the vigor of mankind. Nonsense begetting nonsense.

The Ptolemaic view is rather excessive story telling on part of the clergy to explain the movements of the sky as opposed to the simpler Copernican theory concerning the double revolution of the earth. But the Church, especially the Pope, with papal infallibility (i.e., a tautology: the belief the Pope could not err, because he was the Pope... he had this power because he, as the Pope, said he could not err) pressed this view on the laity and universities throughout Europe years after Galileo's death; the threat of being hauled before the Holy Office [Inquisition] did a great deal to stifle natural progress. Many universities were forbidden by the Church from teaching the Copernican view, and the Protestant Church [Lutheran] did the same. There is a rather long discourse on how Christianity finally submitted to the truth, and I will make no attempt to do so in this blog.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Early Christianity and the Hazard of Paleontology

The Spaniards inflicted upon us the worst superstition the world has ever known: the Catholic religion. For this alone they should all be shot.

- - - Francisco 'Pancho' Villa

Imagine: taking your family to the museum to see a dinosaur bone exhibit. You explain to your children, in the quest of education, that the word dinosaur is from two Greek words and means terrible lizard, and that all dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago. A little cultural wisdom never hurt anybody. As you go inside, perhaps pay admission, perhaps not, and above a huge skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex you see a sign: Proof of the Deluge. Since you taught your kids how to read, you hear: Mommy, daddy, what does 'Deluge' mean? And so this outing in the quest of science and discovery has turned into a theological conversation, and the meaning is clear... dinosaurs could not get on Noah's Ark and died, and left their bones behind as evidence of God's Deluge [Great Flood - God's genocide just became necessary] on a 6,000 year old planet that used to be flat.

No better time to teach your kids heresy, I suppose.

The above situation is fictitious, but quite analogous to the events when fossils were discovered and put in museums to be seen, and above them were signs concerning the truth of the Deluge. Tertullian (lived approximately from 160 A.D. to 250 A.D.) was one of the earliest Christian thinkers to assert that fossils were proof of the Deluge, and this theory remained unchanged for over a thousand years. Later Christian thinkers *proved* that fossils came from seeds, that stones had the ability to spontaneously create fossils, and later, stones could reproduce yielding fossils. How rocks could do this was unclear, and there are far less credible theories on fossils advanced by later Christina thinkers, both Catholic and Protestant. The prevailing idea was extremely simple: the Bible was the highest authority, and by its account nothing existed before the world was created, so fossils had to be less than 6,000 years old. Since there is no mention of them in the Canon, they existed obviously as a testament to the power of God, in either creating them or letting them be created by rocks or various other forces.

The Church, having learned in hindsight the cost of opposing the Copernican view in affirming the motion of the earth (especially with Galileo), did not mount as much opposition to any scientific investigation or theories regarding fossils as did the established Protestant sects. The prevailing book was Genesis, and it was regarded that Adam, having sinned with Eve for eating the forbidden fruit, brought death into this world, and this was a burden on all of mankind and the plant and animal kingdoms. The idea that creatures who lived and died before Creation was unacceptable. Ideas were also advanced that all creatures were benevolent, and did not prey on other creatures until the Fall of Man culminating with Adam and Eve being cast out of the Garden of Eden.

There were many theories, all discredited or abandoned at the sixteenth century in favor of the idea that fossils were from creatures who died because Noah did not take them on his Ark; the passage about giants walking the earth made this acceptable as many fossils were from huge dinosaurs. One interesting idea was the snake could walk and had an entirely different from until tempting Adam and Eve; this was roundly discredited when a ancient fossil of a snake was found. In the late 1700s people began to advance the idea that no universal flood took place 6,000 years ago, and if a flood did take place, it was localized to a certain area: this idea was gradually accepted by various Christina sects starting in the early 1800s.

The investigation of caves, fossils, and the strata of the ground soon proved that the earth was much older than 6,000 years that had been advanced by every Christian sect, and more disturbing was the fossils and artifacts of early humans: the newer artifacts were better made than the older ones deeper in the earth. It was also shown that most of the book of Genesis was stolen from other cultures the early Hebrews came into contact with, and therefore could not have been inspired by a God that Christianity labored for everyone to believe.

Despite overwhelming evidence, the idea that God brought everything into existence in six days was still supported, and certain Christian thinkers asserted that God also brought all the fossils and artifacts into existence in these six days also. This was not mentioned in Holy Scripture, nor was it ever explained why God would create fossils and embed them in the earth. Another equally absurd idea was put forth: the Devil and his minions were responsible for creating horrible creatures, and God, in Creation, destroyed them (resulting in fossils) and the chaos perpetrated by the Devil and gave us, in six days, the earth we see today. This explanation was also never mentioned in Holy Scripture for some reason.

The science of geology, along with what we now call archaeology, anthropology, and paleontology, was producing more proof in each and every year against the unsound principles of the book of Genesis, and more and more Christian sects were relenting. However, the last great *proof* of Genesis concerning fossils and rocks from the earth came from a Dr. Gladstone in 1885. He merely mixed passages from the Canon with select findings to conclude Genesis was the true account concerning Creation; this was expertly refuted by Professor Huxley of England with overwhelming evidence to the contrary and piercing logic.

So the discovery of fossils of early man and dinosaurs and later, carbon dating, destroyed the mythology of Genesis, a book that was proven to have been largely stolen and fabricated by the ancient Hebrews (the book of Exodus was also stolen and fabricated). Since the 1900s, no self-respecting church (especially Catholic) will state the earth is 6,000 years old, flat, and at the center of the universe, although some do. A Google search will yield websites designed by people of this persuasion, and the choice is whether to laugh or cry.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Early Christianity and the Hazard of Celestial Phenomenon

Many ancient cultures studied the sky at night and took notice of the movement of the planets, the moon, and the stars; this was natural since many of them (especially those that built pyramids) worshiped the invincible sun. The ancient Egyptians were very good at this: the three kings[the famous pyramids Cheops, Chepren, and Myrch] were built to copy Orion's belt, and their calendar was built around cycles of the star Sirius[useful to determine the flooding of the Nile]; they could even determine leap years based on its position. The Mayan calendar is legendary, and the Babylonians devised dividing a day into 24 hours with each hour subdivided into 60 minutes and each minute into 60 seconds - this was over 4000 years ago, and it has not changed since. The Greeks had their constellations, and the Druids had Stonehenge.

Every once in a while, a few anomalies arose in the heavens, and what is of particular interest is the reaction of a certain culture to them, based on their superstitions and religious beliefs.

1. Bright Stars / Meteors - generally, a sign of blessing. Note the bright star when Jesus was born, as well as reported when Moses and Abram[later, Abraham] were born. There was reported to be a bright star when these historical figures were born: in India, Krishna and Buddha; In China, Lao-tse and Yu [founder of the first Chinese dynasty], in Rome, various Caesers, and Hercules.

2. Eclipses - given how most ancient people felt about sun, this was a dire phenomenon. It also was thought to be a sign of death for some important hero or God, e.g.: Jesus (6th to 9th hour); Romulus (six hours of darkness); Alexander the Great, Aesculapius, and Hercules. The Chinese thought an invisible dragon was eating the sun and banged on drums and shot arrows in the air to scare it away. A Jewish legend states that when their sacred texts were translated in Greek, this desecration happened under three days of darkness. The knave Tertullian thought it was a sign of the wrath of the LORD for infidels and other people who did not believe.

I am uncertain as to whether this is true, but it is said Christopher Columbus was unable to get the uncooperative locals of Jamaica to give him supplies, so he consulted the charts of the sky and found an eclipse of the moon for a few days later. On that day he told the locals to load him up or the moon will disappear; it did, and he received everything he asked for and promised the locals he would return the moon to the sky.

3. Comets - the Chaldeans thought them a harmless, celestial curiosity, and the Greeks were investigating whether or not the patterns could be predicted after Seneca opined they had to move according to natural law. Virtually every other culture on earth was different: comets were also referred to as apparitions[ghosts of dead stars] to herald a time of famine, pestilence, war, or death(a comet is said to have appeared when Nero and Constantine died). The early Church maintained that an angry God was throwing a fiery star in the heavens as a sign against sin and unbelievers. Origen taught a comet meant the downfall of an empire or kingdom. Martin Luther said, at times, they were a sign of God's wrath, and at other times, the works of the devil, and gave comets a new name: Harlot Stars. I suppose this reflects more on Luther than on Protestantism.

The effect of extraordinary events in the sky on the laity was of great use to the clergy. When the early Christians, unable to read and write, poor and despondent, and lacking in education and knowledge, saw any of these celestial events (especially a comet), they took it to mean an imminent sign of God; unable to discern and unable to avert this coming tragedy, helplessness arose. The message in the heavens was serious indeed, and the people, in their inability to fathom a vengeful message of God, became fanatical and hysterical. The early Church leaders, both Catholic and Protestant, did the one thing, the only thing, in which they exceeded exceptionally... they capitalized on the power the masses afforded them as spiritual and religious leaders and used it thusly to control the flock with remarkably predictable success: the consecration of their leadership and advancement of their agendas.

The early Christians sects spent a great deal of effort to preserve the view that comets appeared before times of misfortune, and thus it was a sign from God. This thinking pervaded colleges and universities all over Europe, and as late as the seventeenth century astronomers had to take a vow not to teach anything differing from the theological view of comets, much in the same way they could not teach the Copernican view affirming the motion of the earth. The masses had to endure sermons about comets as instruments of God, both Catholic and Protestant. An interesting nursery rhyme for children of that period:

Eight things there be a Comet brings,
When it on high doth horrid range:
Wind, Famine, Plague, and Death to Kings,
War, Earthquakes, Floods, and Direful Change.

And so it is evident early Christianity's obsession with the supernatural that pervaded the masses from the bottom to the top, all earnestly taught from the lowliest sermons to the highest theological classroom settings in many European universities. There are far more detailed examples, and some theologians made *proofs* that comets were sign of God's vengeful right hand; many parts of sermons then compare to 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God' in as much as they are able.

In the late 1500s dissent to this view began to take form, and various minds, including those in various Christian sects, began to have doubts about the various theological explanations for comets. Some people used common sense, and explained that the Church once opposed 'antipodes'[the idea that there is a land mass with people on the opposite side of the earth; when it was known the earth was round, the church had to accept it] and therefore it was sensible that their comet ideas were without reason also.

Pierre Bayle, observing the comet in 1680, advanced the theory that comets were a natural phenomenon, and whether someone died or not during their appearance was coincidence. He also added that only a creature such as man would think his death as a king or prince was so significant that the entire universe should take notice. In 1681, a clergy man Samuel Doerfel had proofs that comets move about the sun in accordance with mathematics, and in 1686, Isaac Newton, using data gathered by observation, proved that comets moved in accordance with the same laws as the planets about the sun. Many other astronomers put forth similar claims. Halley studied diligently all the data he needed to conclude that the comet of 1682 appeared approximately every 75 years; Clairaut predicted exactly when his comet would make an appearance in the sky.

So both the Catholic and Protestant Churches had to submit to the facts on the accordance of the heavenly bodies with natural law as they had to submit to the fact the earth was round and moved about the sun. There were later theological theories trying to connect comets to the Deluge, or, that after a comet was seen, there was an increase in the temperature in the atmosphere (global warming). In 1829, a Dr. Forster published a book to convince readers that comets were associated with every natural disaster imaginable, including locusts. Since Halley, all theological theories were debunked. Even John Wesley [Methodist founder] used reason concerning *Harlot Stars* and accepted the scientific theory, although he became famous for stating: 'Giving up witchcraft is, in effect, giving up the Bible.'

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Early Christianity and the Hazard of Pestilence

The idea of indoor plumbing and a sanitation department is relatively new in the industrialized world. The proper disposal of trash and sewage on a daily basis does a great deal for our health. Consider that in parts of Europe in the Dark Ages, people did not have a toilet, but a pail [bucket] used for the collection of human waste. When the pail was full, someone in the house went outside and inverted the pail in the street, or, they opened a window and inverted it there. The accumulation of waste in the streets led to many plagues besides the infamous Black Death [Bubonic Plague]. Also bear in mind there was no centralized system for the disposal of trash. It was reported that as late as the eighteenth century, every so often, a plague or some other epidemic broke out taking numerous lives.

Pestilence abounded in the Dark Ages, and when comparing this period of time to other cultures, the most interesting feature is that this was rather unique. The early Church and various Protestant sects, perhaps inferring upon Psalm 127:1 [Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it. ], believed that since God was the way and sway of the world, they could not help their situation; any effort was futile and vain, and so no effort was made to investigate the causes of plagues, particularly in regard to disposal of all forms of waste.

The Church and the Protestant Church [Lutheran] also did not do a great deal to educated the masses, and so, the people kept ignorant, blamed every ill fortunate, from storm to famine to plague, upon Satan and his devils. The belief in the mis-translated Exodus 22:18 [Thou shalt not suffer a with to live - the actual translation should be: Thou shalt not suffer an assassin to live] kept the people extremely superstitious, and blamed their woes on what they believed to be primary agents of the devil: witches and Jews.

Consider what a typical situation in those days must have appeared to a superstitious, ignorant, uneducated people. A plague breaks out, and the leading religious authority in the area says it is God's work for a great sin committed by the people, or perhaps an agent of the devil is seeking to wreak havoc. The people also notice that the Jews are not experiencing any of the same problems with regards to whatever epidemic is sweeping the area. The collective minds, kept feeble and dumb, could not entertain the idea that Kosher laws and stricter rules concerning the handling and preparation of food might contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Nor could they fathom a far better system of waste disposal as opposed to dumping it in the streets, and they certainly could not understand the power of water mixed with soap on human skin.

Naturally, the masses assumed Satan was protecting the Jews, and there are numerous accounts throughout Europe where Jews were massacred in great numbers: for example, in Bavaria, at least 12,000 Jews were killed during the Black Death alone.

Jumping forward to today, every once in awhile we read a story on the Internet or see a broadcast on TV about how some person, in dire need of medical assistance, refuses admission for treatment on *religious grounds* and delegates their time to prayer; if God would just intervene, by the person's faith or by their works, they would have no need for *secular medicine* when all that was needed was a careful tending to the sixty-six books of the King James Bible. If the story has a followup, and some do, and the person expires, the interviews with the family and friends and members of their particular congregation are worth noting: they earnestly believed that God's hand was at play, and there really was nothing they could have done, and this did not diminish their faith - this increased it.

These things having been said, consider the worse alternative that transpired under the Church. It is an easy observation that the Church believed the world was given to them by God, and to administer it for Him under the laws of the Church originating, in some way, form the Canon. This led to the idea that any worldly problem can be solved directly from the clergy, and no problem was beyond their grasp. Given the rather unhealthy lifestyle of the early Christians, it is rather obvious they succumbed to various ailments and disease on a regular basis. And so the Church, having no need for *science* decided to dabble in the art of medicine with no regard to any of the medicinal texts before them from any other culture, people, or religion, regardless if they were proven or phony, or at the very least, to take into consideration as a possible answer.

While the Church sent out hunting for witches for practicing *witchcraft,* one has to marvel at the hypocrisy of the clergy when one considers the *potions* developed for the laity, and just what type of mind could believe in the magic necessary to justify ingesting them to cure anything:

Water that had been dipped in hair, bones, or other bodily parts of saints:

- Saint Remy's ring - cured fever

- Saint Gall- cured tumors

- Saint Valentine - epilepsy

- Saint Christopher - throat diseases

- Saint Ovid - deafness

- Saint Apollonia - toothache

and there are many, many, many more, as their were always patron Saints being produced in every century since Christianity was formed.

Another *great idea* was that a devil was the cause of a sickness or ailment, and the best way to expunge the devil was to pollute the body, so the devil would leave in disgust, thus producing a cured person. Perhaps a simple examination of the text concerning Jesus sending swine into the sea to rid them of the demons gave weight to this idea: Matthew 8:28-33, Mark 5:1-21, and Luke 8:26-40. This involved ingesting *medicine* made from toad livers, roots of plants, ointment made from discarded animal parts, and, of course, medicinal blood from rats and frogs. There were more wretched *cures.*

The Church and the Protestant Church long regarded science as heresy, and sought to exterminate it in the most violent fashions conceived to exert dominance over the masses. It is somewhat ironic that as more and more of the *heresy of science* was not persecuted, the flock of the converted, now using water and soap, did not need Christian magic potions, and people became healthier... especially when people decided witches no longer existed, the longevity of women and children increased.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Early Christianity and the Hazard of Soap

Greeks and Romans were known for public baths, and many other cultures on the planet also believed in being clean, and still do. However, the expression 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness' is nowhere to be found in the entire Christian Canon of Scripture, including the apocryphal / pseudo-epigraphical texts. There must be a reason for this.

To listen today to Christian proponents, one would think their religion brought civilization to the world, and they wish every person on the planet accept Jesus Christ as LORD and personal Savior, to advance mankind and call this progress. We are not where we are in America today because of religion, we are where we are today because of heresy against religious authority.

While researching various topics, I have not found a single Catholic or Protestant explanation for an interesting phenomenon exhibited by early Christians: they had a tendency not use water and soap, despite the fact every other people of every other religion, given the proper technological sophistication (ability to make fire to render fat in a pot or cauldron), did. Jungle tribes do the best they can without soap by using rivers to wash clothes and various items. Many early Christian *monks,* *saints,* and *nuns *did not even do that, and their vile practices were emulated by throngs of believers.

The early converts believed, for some reason, that the cleaner the body, the more polluted the soul; how this was interpretation of Scripture is unclear. And so we have account of nuns who did not wash their feet and never took a bath. Monks who starved themselves on purpose, never changed their clothes unless they fell apart, and others who endured chronic sickness as a testament to their *faith* due to dismally poor hygiene and nutrition habits. Many of the monks lived in caves, tombs, trees, and wells. They fasted, abstained from sex, and had little to no regard for material possessions. And they were exalted for all believers of Christ everywhere.

However, the most horrid tale is that of a certain Saint Simeon Stylites, who, to this day, is still idealized by a small few, and considering his *achievements,* the average person will wonder why:

- at 13 he became interested in Christianity, and before 16 joined a monastery

- he was observed to go through Lent neither drinking nor eating on at least 2 occasions

- he bound a rope around his body so tightly his skin putrefied and released a stench intolerable to anyone around him; from his skin worms dropped as he moved

- these *sacraments* had believers pestering him for *advice* and *prayers,* so he he built three pillars upon which he would stay exposed to the elements for 39 years (he stayed at the top of the highest pillar at sixty feet high where he died on September 2, 459 A.D.)

- he would not allow any women, including his own mother, to come near him on the pillar (when his mother died he, in a great display of *ascetic spirit,* asked for her remains to be brought so he could say goodbye)

- he had the habit of bowing in various positions to pray, and had an interesting one where, upright, he would bend his body almost to his feet... a famous tale is of a spectator trying to could how many times he did this: the spectator got tired of counting when he reached 1,244

- one leg was covered with hideous ulcers from which worms fell out, and his biographer Saint Anthony was instructed to pick the worms up, put them back in his body, and tell the worms: 'Eat what God has given you.'

- it was *said* when he died a star shone over his pillar, and over the next one hundred years, monks seeking to imitate his way of life were a common sight on pillars throughout the area

The only thing more *interesting* than this was that they somehow found uninitiated to convert, and to adopt practices of mindless self torture and useless, nonsensical habits, and then be revered as a true Christian.

With water and soap, I would have rather been a true Heretic.

Saturday, May 08, 2010



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