Author David Mathisen discusses his research on the hidden symbolic and metaphorical meanings of ancient texts. David and James examine the significance of this work for approaching and understanding modern propaganda and mind control techniques.
Mathisen was almost twenty years a “literalist,” reading the Old and New Testaments scriptures carefully and literally. Yet these texts remain some of the most exquisite crystallizations of esoteric teachings from ancient times.
Over a long course of research Mathisen began to identify the outlines of the vast system that underlies the scriptures and other ancient writings censored or excluded through literalist tradition.
“Some people might protest and say, ‘Wait a minute, I’m not a literalist. Why do you keep throwing this term around?'” Mathisen begins, “I’m using the term ‘literalism’ very broadly. I’m talking about the ancient, sacred texts of humanity–the ones that have been by far the most influential on Western civilization, and continue to be very influential here in the United States to this day. These are the texts that have found their way in to the Bible … What I mean by literally is to understand these texts as describing literal, historic figures, whether that’s Abraham, Moses, Jesus and the Twelve Disciples.”
Mathisen maintains that such figures are frequently symbolic and intended to explain a larger story of cosmic and human development. One must distinguish between “the literal and the allegorical. When I say taking the Bible literally, I believe the Bible has profound truths, but I think there’s so much evidence … that it is not intended to be literal. So, the term ‘literalism’ is a useful term to describe to the approach that says, ‘Don’t take away the historical, literal level.'”
While at first glance such research and analysis may seem divorced from the present historical moment, the rationales and methods behind propaganda and mind control have changed very little over at least the past few thousand years. Indeed, modern education and mass media seldom teach intellectual introspection or self defense. “There’s no doubt that religious belief can be used as a form of ‘mind control.'”
Nowhere was this more evident than in the Enlightenment era. “There was a famous essay by Immanual Kant, ‘An Answer to the Question, ‘What is Enlightenment?” This question was posed to various thinkers in the 1700s, and they were invited to give a response. Kant said that ‘enlightenment is waking up from out self-imposed immaturity.’ In other words, taking other people’s answers instead of examining life for ourselves … Kant actually talked about the scriptures and Bible–taking those uncritically is a form of self-imposed immaturity.”
If one reads great literature it’s usually anti-mind control, it usually subverts that [sentiment or message]. I think [Melville’s] Moby Dick subverts that. I think that Shakespeare can be seen as subverting that. A lot of time you have the fool who just doesn’t buy into the mind control, who just kind of saying what he thinks, and the king keeps him around for whatever reason. The fool has esoteric aspects as well. This idea of the person who doesn’t buy into the fictions created by language to bind us. A profitable definition of mind control is getting people to violate natural law.
Earlier this year MHB posted Mathisen’s essay, “Paging Dr. Zaius,” which examines the profound underlying theme of the film Planet of the Apes. “Was ancient history important in Planet of the Apes? You bet it was. It was hugely important. It’s a great metaphor because Dr. Zaius and all the leaders of the ape world had a vested interest in ancient history that the people, or the apes, believed. Zaius knew that ancient history was very different from what the ape scriptures said, and from what the apes believed.”
David Mathisen is the author of two books, The Mathisen Corollary: Connecting the Global Flood with the Mystery of Mankind’s Ancient Past (2011), and The Undying Stars: The Truth That Unites the World’s Ancient Wisdom and the Conspiracy to Keep it From You (2014).
Mathisen is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and holds a master’s degree in English literature from Texas A&M University. Additional information is available at mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/
26 thought on “Beneath a Universal Narrative”
Thanks again to Professor Tracy for creating this important platform where men and women from around the world can come together to examine and discuss events that effect all of us, and where hypotheses which have been placed “off limits” (or inside of the “Forbidden Zone” of Dr. Zaius and his colleagues) can be explored.
I have created a blog post with a series of handy links related to some of the topics that we touched on in our conversation on the Real Politik radio-podcast: http://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-undying-stars-on-james-tracys-real.html for those interested in examining them further.
who just kind of saying?
David, there is no way I can flesh out the question this interview raises for me in the space available, but I shall outline it, and perhaps you could address at least part of it.
I have had many dealings with preterists over the years, and find their perspective perplexing.
Preterism (for those who do not know) comes from a word meaning “past.” The idea is that all Biblical prophesies have already been fulfilled–which means symbolically in most cases. (Postmillennialists are partial-preterists, believing that most prophesies were fulfilled in AD70, but that Jesus will return after we have created the Millennial Kingdom to hand over to Him.)
While you are clearly not arguing preterism when you dismiss literalism, I believe some of the same treatment applies. I think preterism is preposterous; I often point out that the first half of Zechariah was fulfilled literally (Jesus even “forced” this to be true, by hiring an ass to ride into Jerusalem on), yet preterists hold that the second half is all pure symbology–however concrete it is in its earthy details.
I can acknowledge many points these people make, of course. Dual, even triple, fulfillment are fine with me; the metaphor acting as a down payment on the real thing. While I, in other words, can allow for both positions being true at the same time, preterits can’t.
Which brings me to you. Can you allow that both are true at the same time, when you argue that the concrete people and events the Bible describes are intact merely devices, literary conceits created to express esoteric realities? Can you allow for a literal Samson, for instance, even though the story of the bees is really and truly a reference to constellations in the sky?
I’m afraid you might be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Walt Brown’s Flood model–which you at least used to hold hi high regard–is the best interpretation of the physical evidence of the world around us. It explains the mid-oceanic ridge, which no one else does. It explains Niagara Falls, the origin of comets and asteroids, radioactivity and many other perplexing scientific challenges. It is the only way to explain the physical evidence of frozen mammoths with undigested food in their stomachs. Clearly, the creation narrative in Genesis is poetic and subject to many interpretations, yet using the specifics of it (and the Flood narrative) Dr. Brown applied the scientific method to the actual words, and discovered it really IS an accurate, scientific, account.
Combine that with Biblical archeology and the fulfillment of prophesy hundreds of times, most very specifically, across hundreds of years, it seems to me that these events and people have been proven to have been real. Cyrus really WAS the king who allowed the people to return to the land, and he really WAS named long before he was born.
I have, in other words, no objection to multiple layers of meaning–indeed, if an omniscient being devised it, it would insult Him to deny the likelihood of it.
One last thing. What might annoy me most about preterists is their unacknowledged lofty haughtiness. That is, for them, the only correct understanding of the Bible requires arcane, esoteric, knowledge. They are, in fact, gnostics. But what of the common man–people officially described as gnostics call the “profane”? My position is that if the plain meaning of the text, which the most humble reader can’t be faulted for taking literally, is in fact not true, God is a liar (He DID, after all, guide the assembly of the text). Everyone is not going to learn the arcana the preterits assume Bible understanding requires. Almost no one will learn that stuff, percentage-wise.
It strikes me you hold the same problematic position. Am I wrong?
Hi Patrick —
it appears you may have listened past the point in the interview at which I said that some who hold these stories to have literally happened might want to tune out!!
As I said, I don’t want to “step on” anyone’s personal beliefs. If you derive your identity from belief in the historicity of certain things related in some scriptures (any scriptures), that is certainly fine with me and I have no desire to change your mind on the subject. My main problem is the use of beliefs to excuse violations of natural law, or to cast a “veil of legitimacy” over violations of natural law — literalist Christianity has been used in the past and arguably continues to be used to this day for that end by some, and I object to that. But so have other ideologies (and I object to that also). So, if you can find a way to rationalize the celestial correspondence of nearly every single event in the Bible (and nearly every single myth from around the planet, and a good deal of the folk tales as well), I am happy for you (as long as you aren’t using it to rationalize violation of natural law, which I am sure you personally are not).
I will say that when I myself began to see these correspondences in the Biblical texts (I had already become quite familiar with the existence of these correspondences in the so-called “pagan” myths, such as those of ancient Greece, Bablyon, and Egypt), I initially tried to rationalize it using some of the same explanations you are using above — not the exact same ones, but similar “mental moves” to try to fit this new evidence in with the paradigm that I was using at the time. I have since found it necessary to alter my paradigm based on the abundance of the evidence and the specificity of the correspondences.
I think the “bigger issue” which pertains to all the readers of this website (who may or may not care what you or I personally believe) is this: is there evidence that literalist Christianity was specifically created by certain people who used it to take over the western Roman Empire and then to basically control western Europe down through the “Middle Ages,” and if so does that possibility have any pertinence to the geopolitical events of today? And any pertinence to the specific stories which Professor Tracy and others examine and analyze on the pages of this blog? I argue that the evidence rather strongly supports an affirmative answer in each case.
Now, to your points about gnosticism (broadly defined): it may well be that the reason there was so much antagonism to “gnosticism” in the early Christian writings which have survived is that the literalists who wrote those polemics were battling to stamp out the gnostics and take over, which they did (not too many gnostic texts survived, for the simple reason that the gnostics lost the battle). You argue that the gnostics were “haughty” in that they kept certain esoteric truths secret — but it is possible that they taught the esoteric truths after a certain point of progress was reached (explaining at that point that the literal meaning was only a “finger pointing a way to the moon” and that the stories were not actually to be taken literally), while the literalists took a different tack and kept everyone at the literal level for their entire lives, except for a chosen few at the top who were let in on the entire project. Now, which one of those two methodologies would you say was elitist?
This question of whether “the esoteric” was intended to “keep it secret from the masses” is one I address in several blog posts and in my book: I believe along with R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz that the esoteric is a way of conveying truth, not obscuring truth. It is similar to the Montessori method of teaching: a concrete “symbolic” teaching aid is introduced to the child first, then they are taught the more abstract concept that it represents slightly later (I discuss this in a blog post here: http://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2014/05/montessori-and-thinging.html). I believe that literalism is akin to never telling the child the “esoteric” truth, and leaving them at the material level. To use another metaphor, it is like Mr. Miyagi saying to Daniel-san, “Hey kid, I hate to tell you this, but it’s all about waxing the car — it’s not really about karate at all. There is no karate: just focus on waxing the car (the literal level).” Note that in several points in the gospels, Jesus is portrayed as saying words to this effect: that there is something else that all these stories point to, and that the real meaning has to be explained to you or you won’t actually get it. The texts themselves are telling us that they are esoteric, I believe. Samson himself, in the episode you mention above, puts the events of the Lion and the Beehive in the form of a RIDDLE and asks “can anyone figure this out?” That riddle is not just to his “thirty companions” — it is to us, as the reader or hearer of the story. And, by the way, each house of the zodiac is thirty degrees wide (if we divide the 360 degree circle up into 12 equal segments). So the bit about his “thirty companions” to whom he puts the riddle is actually just ANOTHER CLUE for the reader or hearer of the tale.
I could go further but I really do not want to do damage to your personal belief system. I am quite convinced that the evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that these texts are esoteric, but as I said, it does not hurt my feelings if you conclude differently.
I do not see that my position as articulated above damages the hydroplate theory in any way. I believe there is overwhelming geological evidence of a catastrophe in earth’s past — those who deny that (the broad camp of the “uniformitarians”) have historically done so for their own quasi-religious reason: they wanted to provide eons and eons of undisturbed time for evolutionary processes to take place. I do not think the evidence is on the side of the uniformitarians, although the exact shape of the catastrophe can be debated. I believe that Dr. Brown’s theory fits the evidence we see the best of all the catastrophic theories, but I am not dogmatically committed to rejecting other possibilities. I also believe the dating of the catastrophe could have been some thousands or several thousands of years earlier than Dr. Brown believes (even perhaps some millions), because I am not committed to scriptural literalism as I have been in the past. But please notice: the geological evidence can support a flood hypothesis without telling us that there was a family containing a man named Noah with sons Shem, Ham and Japheth (I do not believe any geological evidence has been offered of the existence of persons with those names, and Dr. Brown’s theory I believe can stand completely separate from the question of the existence of a Noah, a Shem, a Ham, and a Japheth). I have written in my blog about the very strong likelihood that Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth can be shown to be specific zodiac constellations.
Finally, I believe you are committing a logical fallacy when you say that “if the plain meaning of the text [by which I take you to mean the “literal meaning”] is not true, God is a liar.” I believe this point can be debated. But again, if you wish to take it literally, I honestly have absolutely no desire to change your mind. I am offering the evidence that I have found for consideration by those who want to consider it, or who are looking for that kind of information already, or who have perhaps been hurt by some literalist teachings which I believe to be gross misinterpretations of texts that were never intended to be taken literally (such as the threat of a literal hell, the teaching that their great-grandparents are burning in hell now because they grew up in some land where literalist missionaries had not yet reached or whatever other reason, the teaching that women are somehow responsible for the fall, and a host of others).
I am also offering this information because I believe that the Biblical scriptures have been used to falsely divide humanity, when in fact their celestial foundation can be shown to be the same as the celestial foundation in all the other myths and sacred traditions around the globe. And, once this information is accepted, it leads to the question of “All right, if it doesn’t mean what the literalists say it means, then what DOES it mean?” — and I believe the answer to that question is simply amazing, profound, meaningful, and positive for human freedom and individual consciousness (and it is also answered in most of the world’s other sacred traditions, and in much the same way, with superficial or cosmetic differences: literalist Christianity is the main dissenter from those, in all its subsequent permutations).
And, the reason I believe this information is pertinent to this forum is that I believe this information is actually very tied-in with the history of the Roman Empire and the history of western Europe from the fifth century to the present day — and western Europe just happened to colonize a lot of places (coincidence?) including one place that became the USA. There are a whole lot of other parts of the globe that have been impacted by the actions of the states that formed in western Europe in the centuries after the end of the western Empire — in fact, just about every point on the globe has and continues to be. So I think a whole lot of people would be interested in this story, and this hypothesis.
It’s not just a question about what you and I believe.
Peace and blessings.
Thanks, David, for your thoughtful reply. I will address a few of your remarks.
First, we should clear this one up: “So, if you can find a way to rationalize the celestial correspondence of nearly every single event in the Bible (and nearly every single myth from around the planet, and a good deal of the folk tales as well)…”. That is really easy to do. YHWH created the universe; there was a rebellion in Heaven; man, predictably, joined the rebellion; YHWH–being omniscient–saw it all in advance, and planted in the first human society a road-map of the future in a place that no one could erase or destroy, predicting all the events (and people) that would eventuate until He incarnated, and reversed the problem personally. That is, the Gospel was set in the stars, from the moment of the first man, and everyone could see it all through time. The Bible simply wraps it up, and all the real-live humans are proof that the ages-long promises are true.
Moving on: “I think the “bigger issue” which pertains to all the readers of this website (who may or may not care what you or I personally believe) is this: is there evidence that literalist Christianity was specifically created by certain people who used it to take over the western Roman Empire and then to basically control western Europe down through the “Middle Ages””
I think this is baldly a red herring argument. Prior to Gutenberg, the common man had no access to the Bible, so the question of how to interpret it was never an issue. Once the text was in the hands of the average person, the question becomes one of its trustworthiness. If it is the Word of God, does God require a high intellect, a seminary degree (i.e. time and money) to make Himself understood?
“You argue that the gnostics were “haughty” in that they kept certain esoteric truths secret ”
Not really. I was talking about the modern form of gnostic I have dealt with at some length. I also said they can’t detect their own haughtiness. It is not a case of KEEPING the secrets, it is of knowing the secrets that unlock them. Everyone else is misreading the book, and they are happy to reveal the arcane, esoteric, key, no problem–but the fools simply won’t listen. The plain text of the book says 200,000,000 soldiers of the “kings of the East will cross the dried up Euphrates to invade Israel. Anyone can understand these words. Yet you need to send away for Captain Boffo’s decoder ring to find out it’s not really true. Multiply this example by thousands, and you see the problem of the elitism of gnosticism.
“This question of whether “the esoteric” was intended to “keep it secret from the masses” is one I address in several blog posts and in my book: I believe along with R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz that the esoteric is a way of conveying truth, not obscuring truth.”
This dovetails with my previous point. If the Bible is for the common man, a message from the God that created the universe for even the little child to learn the essential truth from, then the plain meaning has to be true. If only the hidden meanings are important, as I say, then almost everyone who has ever read the thing, and almost everyone who will do in the future, are just a bunch of chumps. No way of escaping that conclusion.
“I believe that literalism is akin to never telling the child the “esoteric” truth, and leaving them at the material level.”
Well, again, almost no one will ever discover the stuff you have done. All are shit out of luck, I suppose.
” To use another metaphor, it is like Mr. Miyagi saying to Daniel-san, “Hey kid, I hate to tell you this, but it’s all about waxing the car — it’s not really about karate at all. There is no karate: just focus on waxing the car (the literal level).” ”
I think you’re making my point here, and you don’t know it–it’s both at the same time. It’s not JUST the secret stuff. It’s the whoop-ass, too. Most people will benefit from the plain meaning of martial arts; some will get the higher stuff.
“Note that in several points in the gospels, Jesus is portrayed as saying words to this effect: that there is something else that all these stories point to, and that the real meaning has to be explained to you or you won’t actually get it.”
Again, the surface level works, too. You seem to want to throw away everything the child-like human being is going to respond to.
“The texts themselves are telling us that they are esoteric, I believe. Samson himself, in the episode you mention above, puts the events of the Lion and the Beehive in the form of a RIDDLE and asks “can anyone figure this out?””
Yes, but this does not mean he didn’t really exist.
“I could go further but I really do not want to do damage to your personal belief system”
Little chance of that. I LIKE being challenged, an if your argument is good enough, I would change any belief I hold. But I have put aside plenty of foolishness, and it gets easier over time to know what not to dispense with.
” I also believe the dating of the catastrophe could have been some thousands or several thousands of years earlier than Dr. Brown believes (even perhaps some millions)”
I don’t wish to argue close timing, but the saltiness of the oceans and the length of the Niagara falls are a pretty inescapable time clock. There are others, obviously. I am very uncomfortable with the timing of the Great Pyramid (I’m completely on board with Chris Dunn’s Giza Power Plant work, for example), and how it can be reconciled with the geological evidence of the Flood that Walt Brown presents. I am always seeking the resolution to this problem.
“Finally, I believe you are committing a logical fallacy when you say that “if the plain meaning of the text [by which I take you to mean the “literal meaning”] is not true, God is a liar.” I believe this point can be debated. But again, if you wish to take it literally”
This, again, is not I, but the common man, who is in view. If it requires a stellar intellect, an enormous amount of money and time, and the sheer luck to stumble upon training in the arcana of esoteric interpretations of the plain words of the text, then the Bible is a complete bust. Almost everyone will have wasted their time by reading it, because they can’t possibly have the training to understand that it’s plain meaning is all only comprehensible by lofty swells they will never encounter in life.
“such as the threat of a literal hell”
We could talk for days about that one. What a ridiculous joke of a myth that one is.
““All right, if it doesn’t mean what the literalists say it means, then what DOES it mean?” — and I believe the answer to that question is simply amazing, profound, meaningful, and positive for human freedom and individual consciousness”
Good for you, David. Glad you found it out. But what about he peasants in a remote village who only have a copy of the Bible and no toplofty theorists on hand to explain to them why what the words say don’t really mean that?
Thanks for being a good sport.
Hey man, I’m not proving your point — you’re proving my point ; )
1) The point about which you seem most disturbed (to me) appears to be motivated by a genuine concern for what we might term “fairness for all” — what you call “the common man” at one point, and your concern that we do not need “a high intellect, a seminary degree.” No doubt this concern stems from a commendable aspect of your nature and personality. I don’t actually see it as having a bearing on the question of whether or not the hypothesis I offer fits the facts better than other possible hypotheses. I’m sure I could find a quotation from Sherlock Holmes somewhere which would suggest that we leave aside preconceptions based upon how we feel the universe should operate when trying to solve a mystery.
2) Your point assumes a certain framework, a certain “economy of salvation” — you ask “what about the peasants in a remote village who only have a copy of the Bible and no toplofty theorists on hand to explain to them why what the words say don’t really mean that?” In other words, I would suggest that you are assuming we get “one life to live” and that our “eternal salvation” depends upon our understanding something during it. What if those concepts, which I would argue come from a literalist Christian framework which is mistaken, are not the actual situation? For instance (and I’m not saying this is my belief here, just a “for instance”) it could be possible that we reincarnate multiple times and that the idea of an eternal judgement after death is one that is foreign even to the scriptures as originally written (I have a blog post on that possibility, here: http://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2014/05/does-bible-teach-reincarnation.html ). You may say “that hardly seems fair” but the universe might reply “how you feel about it hardly seems relevant.” But, now that I have stated that I believe your “feelings” or my “feelings” about it should not really be a factor in our “Sherlock Holmes investigation” of the evidence, let me say the next thing . . .
3) You are assuming a kind of “atomized” existence in which each individual is all alone in the howling wilderness with no culture to guide him or her. This could be argued to be a projection of an extreme and rather unhealthy situation that has arisen here in post-modern western civilization, in which the individual has been purposely (or not purposefully, it doesn’t matter) stripped of moorings, perhaps in order to cause him or her to be a more vulnerable unit to govern, or to cause him or her to be a more vulnerable unit to advertise to in an age of mass-advertisement, or through a variety of factors which are unique to a certain period of human history. You ask “what about the peasant in the remote village with only a copy of the Bible” but I would ask “what about the uncontacted man or woman in the tribe in the Amazon”? Do they require a Bible to be dropped on them by airplane, or missionaries to come preach the good word to them? Do they not have their own traditions? Do they not have their own shamans? Do they not have access to the infinite there, just as much as anyone else anywhere else — and perhaps more so? The world had traditional cultures to assist the individual, until western civilization — a product, I would argue, of a literalist Christianity which may have been created for purposes of empowering one group at the expense of others — began turning a firehose to them and absolutely stripping them away wherever in the world they could be found (first in Europe, then in Africa and then the Americas, and so on around the globe).
4) You concede that “the Bible was set in the stars, from the first man, and everyone could see it all through time.” This seems to alleviate the problem you are most concerned about. If, as I argue, all the world’s sacred traditions are built upon a common celestial foundation, then why do they need “your Bible” (the one you favor)? Why is that one “better” or “necessary” if they have their Norse myths, or Maya scriptures, or Lakota sacred tradition and teachers and wisdom, or Australian Aboriginal beliefs and knowledge? I would argue that actually they all are more in touch with what the original worldwide teaching really is, and that it is literalist Christianity which stands artificially divided from humanity, and which creates artificial divisions with its mistaken “we must save you — we have the right way” approach. Have you ever seen a shaman from a traditional culture running around trying to convert everyone in the world to what he or she has learned through direct access to the infinite? I do not see that as a phenomenon that is recorded anywhere in history.
5) Again, if the Bible is set in the stars, where’s your problem? All have access to it. They don’t need me, or any “seminary graduate” to mediate it for them. In fact, human beings seem to be constructed with the ability to contact the spirit world, or the unseen world, or the Dreamtime (as it is called by the Aboriginal peoples of Australia) directly, for themselves, and be taught by the unseen — unmediated. That is as “democratic” as you like — more democratic, in fact, than what I believe you are arguing. But I believe your frustration with me (if that is what I am sensing) stems from a democratic impulse, a desire that none be “left behind” — and I am interpreting that charitably as a stemming from a genuine concern for others, which I think is commendable.
I hope I have explained that in a good way. I think we are both saying “we are open to accepting whatever hypothesis seems to best explain the evidence.” I have offered a hypothesis. It is explained at much greater length in my book, with much more supporting evidence. I am open to criticism of my hypothesis and its fit for the evidence. I believe it fits the evidence rather well. I invite your criticism of it, but “I don’t feel it is fair” or “it does not fit with my predilections or conceptions of how things should be” does not really address whether or not my hypothesis (and it is not really “mine” — many writers in previous centuries and even as far back as the ancients have argued in generally this same way) fits the evidence well.
I admit that I may be way off. I have in fact had to change my entire paradigm in the past, which is evidence that I have been very wrong (at least, I believe I was quite wrong). I am offering evidence that I have encountered which I believe to be important, and a hypothesis which I believe to have merit and to explain that evidence, in hopes that it will help add a perspective to the conversation.
It appears that the reactions are directly correlated to how one perceives the term “literalist” or, as Patrick says, “preterist”. This is quite a big subject for a comment.
I feel compelled to say something, with the understanding that it would take a very long time indeed to fully explain myself. I am a Catholic christian by choice. I came to it later in life after having been raised Protestant. I spent quite a bit of time “exploring” non-Christian religions as well.
In this quest I devoted a lot of time to studying Biblical as well as historical texts. The significant of The Bible for Christians is very diverse. Some see it sort of like the Motor Vehicle Code and others see it as a paper “crystal ball”. Some actually believe that it came to be in a sort of vacuum with someone writing trancelike in full rapture.
I am convinced that none of that is true. Regardless of what one thinks of the Bible or its intended use, it is impossible to know what the author’s intent was without some understanding of the historical milieu in which he wrote or the religious understanding he had when he penned it.
It is all too common to have people interpret scripture from their modern experience and assume that the authors shared the same worldview. This is unfortunate.
Many of the situations in scripture take place in a sort of allegory. These conventions are derived from other, older wisdom literature and stories. It is against this backdrop that any moral or usable wisdom is imparted to the reader. Without knowledge of older, historical and philosophical schools of thought any interpretation is certain to fail.
I find it ironic that for fundamentalists, who have (IMO) a strange understanding of what scripture is and its intended use, there is a reluctance to understand the world that the authors existed in. It is as if they think that they were speaking to them, in the Twenty-First Century.
While wisdom can be timeless, one first has to understand what is being conveyed. That cannot be done in ignorance of all that went into the formation of a religion. It did not start, or end, with a book. If we want to know God’s will, we have to be willing to open our hearts and minds to what our ancestors are telling us. We do that both through authentic study and prayer. To understand what we study we ask the Spirit.
As always, lophatt, your words are wise and true. And as you observe, it’s too big a topic for this kind of venue. Still, it is the conversation before us.
I’d say this: if there is a God, the person the Bible describes, who created the universe, He gave us the Bible for a reason. What we believe about that reason is open for questioning.
I suspect that David no longer believes there is a YHWH, or the trinity, as the Biblical text indicates. Those of us who ARE trinitarians have to apply our conscious minds to the Biblical text, and honest probers come to differing conclusions. Catholics historically have given the text 50% authority, and 50% to tradition. “Fundamentalists” give the text 100%, but they split amongst themselves over interpretation constantly. The text is, in other words, open to interpretation: the question is, whose interpretation do we find convincing? Catholics have Aquinas and Augustine and all the Doctors of the Faith on their side. Protestants (some of them at least) have great thinkers as well–Luther and Calvin come to mind.
The point is that it’s one thing to accept the possibility that esoteric truths that predated the writing of the Bible were embedded in the text of the Bible, and altogether another to suggest that the Bible is just another ancient scripture transmitting the same message all the others have done. I really don’t care if David rejects the uniqueness of the Bible. That’s his affair. I’d just like to know it.
My preterist friends are horrified when I point out that their position is one of gnosticism. That’s anathema, because they also think of themselves as biblical literalists–even though they enthusiastically defend the idea that most of the book is all symbol and allegory that the average peasant in Bolivia or Romania will never, ever, learn about. I find this odd. The New Testament is very specific in its warnings against gnosticism, and these preterists all agree with that–yet they can’t make the connection.
This is all quite outside the usual ken of MHB, obviously, but the topic of David’s and James’ conversation certainly raises these questions.
What authority does the plain text of the Bible have? Many people, who claim to hold to biblical religions, say none at all; others say it is everything, and the whole range in-between has representatives, too. David seems to hold to a pseudo-catholicism, to coin a phrase, where the “tradition” element is not that of Aquinas and Augustine and the rest of those guys, but it is comprised of the ideas held in ancient Egypt and pre-Flood civilizations.
I’m curious about these things.
Patrick, I agree. There’s more, of course, much more, but its too much for this sort of venue. For what its worth, I know the difference between Christians and Gnostics. And, you are correct, they are not the same thing.
I notice lately that there is a strong push on TEE VEE in various documentaries to destroy thousands of years of prayerful study with “obvious” “discoveries” portrayed as new thought. I’ve yet to see one that I haven’t seen before, rigorously discussed.
The Bible is indeed a crown jewel. I just say that it isn’t always easy to understand the various author’s intent without some other knowledge. It is a book that speaks to people on different levels, sometimes in different ways depending on circumstance. It is inerrant in what it teaches about the nature of God even if we are sometimes too ignorant to get the message. There is nothing else like it.
One mistake those who would destroy Christianity make is that they believe that if they successfully attack an element of Scripture the whole thing falls apart. That is hardly the case. Whether Jesus was married or not doesn’t effect my faith, for example.
Various Gnostic writings are, indeed interesting. Some are examples of man’s search for truth. Those of us who believe that with Christ we have it, can relegate those to where I think they belong. After all, wasn’t that the very idea of The Incarnation? “No, no, not that way…., I’ll show you”.
In my youth “foreign ideas” were compelling for a while. I suspect that many people fall victim to this. Christians themselves are at least partly to blame for seekers falling away. When we sanitize and water down a great and mystical tradition for mass consumption, it loses a lot of its power. The power is still very much there, it is just hidden so as not to frighten the tepid.
Placing some ancient mystery religion on a par with YHWH is foolish indeed. Those are based on the belief that we can make “god” do tricks. The practitioners are primarily interested in attaining personal power. It is like the occult. People do this for their own self-interest.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t hurt to know about these things. In fact, seen for what they are, they are instructive.
Thanks both to Lophatt and Patrick for sharing your personal perspectives and thoughtful discussion.
While this may be a subject that is “outside the usual purview” I do think it is pertinent for at least two main reasons, the first being that literalist Christian religion can and has been used in the past to excuse gross violations of what Spooner called “natural law” — (examples: “slavery is OK because . . . ” or “we have to go on this Crusade to the Holy Land and we’re right to do it because . . . ” or “those tribes need to get out of the way of manifest destiny which I can justify because . . . “) and it is valuable to examine the degree to which it might also be used that way in the present, and the second being the possibility that the tyranny that most of those who visit this blog probably oppose may well sustain itself more through mental means than strictly physical (i.e. force of arms), and perhaps even through what we might categorize as “spiritual” means.
In any event, I certainly believe that waking up to violations of natural law, and waking up to deception in the many different areas that it might be employed for the purposes of popular “mind control” is at least as effective as anything else for preventing such violations of natural law.
I do NOT argue that there is no virtue in literalist Christianity of whatever stripe. To propose a metaphor, I do not argue that there is no virtue in military service either. I spent eleven years on active duty plus four years at West Point as a cadet. But, let’s just imagine that you have a good friend or relative in military service in the armed forces of the US, and you have become convinced that — at the top, let’s just say — deception is being perpetrated on the well-intentioned people who are being used for purposes that perhaps they do not fully know the history of. Perhaps you have come to some conclusions about events such as 9-11 and think that they should know more about the evidence that you know about — but whenever you present that evidence, they tell you about the wonderful virtues of those they serve with. They can be absolutely correct! But if they are so convinced of these virtues that they cannot listen to the evidence that you are offering, you might be very sad that their good intentions might be being used to serve purposes that you think may be not so well-intentioned.
I feel that this is similar to the situation we are running into in this particular thread of discussion — I am offering some evidence which I have found to be compelling, and you are explaining how much virtue you find in “being in the Army” and how important it is to your identity. That’s understandable and I want to be very careful about telling someone who perhaps served 20 years alongside very dedicated people, and poured an enormous amount of their own personal life-energy into that service, that perhaps all is not as it seems in that department. It is not easy to go through the experience of having to say, “Good gracious — I was completely wrong.” I have had to go through that experience personally, when it comes to what I believe.
As to the value of the scriptures themselves, I explain in this previous post that I believe they are very valuable: http://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-ancient-torch-that-was-lighted-for.html
I draw a distinction between the Biblical scriptures themselves and the interpretation they have been given for these past seventeen centuries.
But to answer Patrick’s question: no, I do not feel the scriptures in the Bible are “unique” or “superior” to the sacred traditions of any other culture on this planet. I feel that this position is quite objectionable, in fact. See some discussion here: http://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2014/11/literalists-against-shamanic.html
I do believe we all have a responsibility to examine the evidence supporting what we choose to follow and what we choose to support (ie, if we are in the armed services, for example). But I also believe that the leaders are more culpable than those who are being given false answers. I especially believe those are most culpable who actually know the answers and choose to teach falsehood, if that is what is going on.
I have a problem when it comes to the constellations. Without being told what they are, most people need a picture(visual aid) drawn around them to actually know what they represent. So, did someone use imagination when naming them, or were they given this knowledge, and by whom? (I think the Book of Enoch says that fallen angels passed the knowledge to man) Not to say they were not useful tool for mankind to determine his location on the earth, the seasons, and so on, but I have never been convinced of their spiritual connection.
Remember a scene in Battlestar Galactica when some characters were magically transported through space and time to earth and surrounded by stones depicting the constellations with each in the sky overhead. I always wanted to see where they would go with that, but as usual a writers strike destroyed the show and it went off into a spin. Most likely because the show started out with some religious connotations, and they used the word “God” a lot.
But really, I needed this to get the comments e-mailed to me, because the subject matter fascinates me,
Hi Rich — thanks for that “objection” — this is actually an extremely important point you raise, and one which I would argue to be a very powerful piece of evidence which supports the conclusion that ancient history is VERY different from what we have been taught by the conventional model.
It is, as I said in this interview, like the astronauts in the 1968 Planet of the Apes movie, showing up on a planet and finding that all the apes speak English! That fact should have caused them to say, “Wait a minute: something happened in the past on this planet! Was this planet visited by some other astronauts who spoke English at some point, or what?” When we find evidence that virtually ALL the sacred traditions on this planet share a common underlying system of celestial metaphor, we should say to ourselves, “Wait a minute: something happened in the past on this planet! How did this system get so widely dispersed that all the ancient mythologies are, in a sense, speaking the same (celestial) language?”
The fact that the constellations are not exactly “obvious” makes this common celestial system, running through mythologies as widely spread apart as Japan and Scandinavia, or Australia and Egypt, even more astonishing. It is a fact which (if proven to be true — and I think the evidence is overwhelming) calls the conventional paradigm of ancient history into question, to put it mildly.
Of course, in the Planet of the Apes, Dr. Zaius and his friends did NOT want their version of ancient history to be upended: their system of control relied upon their demonstrably incomplete version of ancient history.
This “Star Myth Index” contains links to examples from many different mythologies which are all using this common system of celestial metaphor: http://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2014/09/star-myth-index.html
You’re reply is much appreciated, and as a veteran of probably 20 viewings of Planet of the apes, I was pleased to read the “Paging Dr Zaius” article. The film is rife with meaning, and I enjoyed your analysis, and a chance to learn a few more things. Did you also notice that Taylor and his crew were gone for just about 2000 years?, returning to find the world upside down, humans in need of saving. Did he ever analyze the position of the constellations? It never seemed to be dark enough in ape city. Surely an astronaut would have known where he was immediately. Also, there was the scene in the museum with the stuffed humans in some kind of reverse evolution. All things to think about.
I would bet our “Taylor” moment is coming soon and it will shake the world just like old chuck did when he told those apes to get their stinking paws off him. Your interview was a pleasant departure from the usual here. Thanks for stopping by.
Thanks Rich — yes, there were some definite “loaded references” there in the first sequences, including the part you reference about “2000 years, give or take a decade,” and “thunder and lightning and no rain” and enough water for three days, and a few others.
That’s a good one about the constellations on the planet — maybe the apes had rules against allowing the humans to look up at them!
Well, I hope we can wake up before we see the Statue of Liberty so to speak — there are enough “clues” out there without having to wait all the way for “the end of the movie.”
As long as we are opening up the conversation, I hope I might just add my small piece.
First, as always, thanks to Professor Tracy for being the person who has undertaken to create this space where we can peacefully say, among other things, “There is no religion higher than Truth.” We are here to understand Truth in all its forms: spiritual, political, economic, instinctive, etc. As long as we are doing that with Truth as the object, I believe we won’t wander far off the pathless path.
Thanks also to David for being one of the fairly rare individuals who is thinking for himself, mining for Truth and sharing what he finds for our consideration. Others here who have commented on his observations, whether agreeing or disagreeing, are doing their part. Anyone familiar with Sufism knows that the teacher was likely to combine some very different personalities and perspectives in group work. Why? To challenge thinking, smooth rough edges, train us in how to function in this world. MHB is like a Sufi group in that respect. And why the world in its denial of truth at many levels is so dysfunctional, perhaps terminally so.
Here is the sum total of what I have acquired over many decades of study and thought. It may seem banal, revolutionary, illuminating, annoying…these are reflections of each of our place in understanding that Truth. The fact you may think it is illuminating doesn’t make it so, nor does the fact you think it is banal make it so. These reactions are mirrors. Who faults a mirror for reflecting what is presented to it?
We are anchored in our thinking to the literal because our experience in this world is one of manifested physicality. And yet our Christian belief tells us we existed before the world was brought into being. Add to that our Hellenic heritage in philosophical thought–at least the part that kept getting retold–insists things either are or are not. The Bible then must either be true or not true, we suppose.
We are trying mightily to grasp the Truth when in fact we ARE the Truth. Our perception of individuality colors all our thinking, so that we believe Truth is Out There and we are not so we must arrive somewhere else. When we get a small glimpse we begin to see there is only the process of Life, animated, guided, nourished and cherished by some Mystery that has been called many names but never described.
Whatever God is, I have no doubt IT does not resemble anything that has been described by theologians, religionists, the simple nor the educated. We spend our life trying to understand God in terms we can fathom when that is impossible. The intellect is not capable of plumbing that depth. What to do?
Here is a simple beginning. Get one of Coleman Barks’ translations of Rumi. Feel the words without understanding them. As Rumi says, Love is all. But of that Love, we must break out of the shell of our human measure of understanding to even touch its surface.
We are on the edge of a great mystery. Our arguments, no matter how well intentioned, will never resolve for us what our life means, or what the parade of life has to do with us. Intellective parsing will not get us closer, although it tells us it will…but it lies.
There is only experience of that Mystery. In 10,000 ways it is present all around us but we only in rare moments see it, feel it. Those moments feed the fire in us for more.
I don’t have much more time left. In that span, I hope I remember what I’ve written here and cleave to it. It will profit me to do so.
Thank you for adding this “small piece” — very powerful.
To comment on just one small part of what you said, “the intellect is not capable of plumbing that depth” — this encapsulates Schwaller de Lubicz’s argument regarding the need for the esoteric: the intellect will “choke” on truth that necessarily goes beyond the “true/false, either/or” which the intellect is good at doing. The intellect is necessary, dividing and making distinctions is a necessary skill, but like most things in this world, if it is optimized for one strength it will have a corresponding weakness which is related to that strength (a 1969 Mustang optimized for going fast straight forward off the line might not corner very well, for instance, or a surfboard designed to turn very easily will not be as fast as a big gun with long straight rails). So, the intellect’s strength causes it to choke on things which defy the either/or that it is best at, and also causes it to choke on things that require “do not think, only do” (or, “there is no try, there is only do”). This is why martial arts are almost always taught with an esoteric component (the original Karate Kid illustrates this quite memorably). Hence the purpose of the esoteric: it is like a “Trojan Horse” to get past the intellect’s limitations.
And this is why, I believe, the ancient scriptures of the world are framed in esoteric form.
There is much else you have said here that is worthy of much more discussion and comment, but then again discussion and comment is a function of the intellect and (as Hemingway said) can “talk it all away” — perhaps better to say that there is much you have said there which is worthy of deep contemplation and reflection.
Finally, just to comment on the valuable perspective you have brought regarding the Sufi path — I agree and believe that the common distinguishing feature of the ancient wisdom across the various cultures appears to involve direct contact with the beyond-material realm, direct experience of the infinite, unmediated or mystical experience, Gnosis or direct “knowing” (as opposed to believing or intellectual assent or acceptance of the teaching given by another or explained by another).
I am grateful to you for sharing this. Kia Ora.
Can the essence of the Teachings in the bible be understood through discussion by the mind — without looking inward at who I am at the moment?
David has referred to the bible as a “shamanic text” which I feel is the most accurate description of the Teachings yet.
Shamanism brings into question ones own “level of being”.
Having “knowledge” is not necessarily having “understanding”.
Yet what one begins to see as well is that there are many different levels of understanding which take me further inward…
This is symbolized in the use of the spiral in Native American culture.
To wax a car while being aware of my inner state with every movement of my hand would in fact be the door to understanding not only Karate … but the Bible and other sacred texts.
The only true door comes with the question; Who am I in the present moment?
And this is the point.
Shamanism is about inner and outer action.
For example, what is meant by the word “sleep” in the Bible?
The meaning of “sleep” is in itself filled with a myriad of different meanings — or levels of understanding — having to do with ones inner state.
People report that they are “waking up” when they discover that the political world outside of themselves is not what it appears to be.
But is this a true “awakening”?
Is this the awakening which Jesus refers to in the Bible?
Or is there yet another greater or deeper awakening which indigenous cultures, Eastern religions and the esoteric Judaic-Christian disciplines all point to?
Nothing is being hidden.
The veil lifts with every new understanding.
But the key is — it must be earned not through words alone but through the action of looking inward through self-observation — a work on self-importance.
How many are interested in doing that?
It is apparent that we have come to a precipice where the world will no longer withstand the aberrations we have condoned.
Wars will end when a renewed interest in who I am is born.
This new consciousness will come as a great and very difficult shock as we are forced to face ourselves during the unprecedented catastrophic events under way.
Hopefully this will naturally lead to a new found wonder at the Great Mystery we are in called Life — a sacred process.
This frames the big issues in question very well, I believe. One of the biggest being the question of “what do we do to address injustice when we see it?”, which your comments above definitely address. Obviously, there is our own internal work and spiral and awakening. There is the question of “waking others.” And there is the question of “stopping war” and by extension stopping the doing of violence to others.
What would have been the best path to stop the criminal violence that was perpetrated upon Native Americans and Native American cultures and peoples a century and more ago? They resisted with force (justifiably, in my opinion), sometimes very effectively, but ultimately that was not going to be a winning strategy against overwhelming force. I believe they showed the world that spiritual component is actually paramount — this is one of the primary messages in Black Elk Speaks, I believe. There is also the fact that the desire to prohibit the Ghost Dance shows that this ritual (involving inducing trance-conditions) was seen as very much a threat, even though contemporary accounts reveal that virtually no observers at the time saw the Ghost Dance as violent or a prelude to war. This shows that the spiritual path is perhaps the most important aspect. But I would argue that even that is not enough (was not enough) — what was necessary was the appeal to universal natural law, among the populace that was supporting the soldiers who were killing the Native Americans and their way of life: what was required was an awakening out of the mistaken support of criminal activity by the public at large, and a withdrawal of that support. What was required was outrage among the public at what was being done, enough to demand that it stop. Some may say, “impossible — that would not have happened back then,” but that is not at all a necessary conclusion. If the violation of natural law is revealed and the “mind control” that is cloaking the criminality of something is removed, people (I believe) will actually turn against violation of natural law. In fact, the abolitionist movement and the turning of the opinion of large numbers of people against the institution of slavery, just decades earlier, is an example of this (not a perfect example, to be sure, but an instructive example).
Thanks for sharing your comments and insights Leslie. I think we should all consider them carefully and apply them to other specific situations where relevant (which is probably most or all of them).
Thanks to all for this very instructive back and forth. Yes, I’m certain, at a gut level, that true history is (purposefully) shrouded from us. I’ve visited Mr. Mathisen’s site a couple of times. It honestly interested me but I also read things that, to me, didn’t really make sense. At some point, I think I’ll go back for another look.
In the end each human has only his/her own immortal soul, and before all else, each one of us is responsible for how well that soul is prepared to continue on past this material world.
Thanks StL, hope you’ll visit it again in the future. Well put.
You may enjoy this one: http://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-sacrifice-of-odin.html
David, this is in response to your gracious, thoughtful reply to me (breaking out of the last indentation prison).
You say “…it could be possible that we reincarnate multiple times and that the idea of an eternal judgement after death is one that is foreign even to the scriptures as originally written”. It could also be possible that, what Hebrews 9:27 says is true (“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”), and that the spirit world has infinitely more interesting than the conventional model postulates. The word “eternal” is a terribly misleading translation of “aeon,” the Greek word always used in these instances. It is properly translated “age,” as in a long, distinct, period of time. I hold the view that the ages to come mentioned in scripture are an exciting, never boring, adventure of spiritual growth–but it all takes place outside this dimension. Reincarnation is utterly unbiblical–but so is so-called “eternal punishment,” as CS Lewis intimated in The Great Divorce.
In your next item, you say: “… but I would ask “what about the uncontacted man or woman in the tribe in the Amazon”? Do they require a Bible to be dropped on them by airplane, or missionaries to come preach the good word to them? Do they not have their own traditions?” I answer this by pointing to what I said in the previous paragraph. Most people in human history had no opportunity to learn the Gospel via the Bible, although many (given many thousands of years, those “many” have been a tiny percentage of human beings who have lived) were privileged in discovering the Gospel through the avenues you describe. Fine with me. But the Bible claims to be the culmination of the aeons-long redemptive Plan of the Creator of the universe, which makes people who are persuaded by it’s message unique; while everyone, in the ages to come, will ultimately be saved through Christ, the Body of Christ is a strange new creation that “even the angels peer at in confusion and wonderment,” to paraphrase the famous verse. Tolkien, one of the greatest Christian scholars of recent centuries, held that even Gollum would be saved, on way or another. I agree. Won’t be pleasant for such as him, and it might take a lot of aeons, but God wants everyone to be saved, and He’ll get His way–the scenario just won’t play out here on Earth, if you take the plain meaning of the Bible’s words.
Moving along, once again, when you say: “If, as I argue, all the world’s sacred traditions are built upon a common celestial foundation, then why do they need “your Bible” (the one you favor)? Why is that one “better” or “necessary…””, I point you to my previous paragraph. As I wrote to someone in personal email who is observing this conversation:
“I’m fine with infinite layers of meaning in the Bible, if it is indeed a supernatural message system (Chuck Missler’s phrase) comprised of 66 books by 40 authors compiled across thousands of years, yet it tells a consistent story. God, after all is infinite. So why WOULDN’T God tie in all the messages in the stars He talks about in the creation account in Genesis? He TOLD us that’s what the stars were put there for….What I object to is what I called throwing the baby out with the bathwater: discovering that God put those messages in the Book and claiming that because it is universal across civilizations that’s the only part of the Book that counts, and everyone who believes the plain meaning is a fool….”
Redemption was a promise on the part of the Being who created the human race, placed in the stars from the start–which is why it was passed down from civilization to civilization. This isn’t really much of a discovery, obviously, on your part. What strikes me as special in your research is the insight that the Bible stories have encoded in them this universal promise, in the same way everyone else was expected to see it. It’s like Romans 1. And it is utterly unsurprising. Their are lots of layers, lots of codes, in the Bible. What I object to is the claim that only one of them is the REAL one.
In the same item, you conclude with this: “Have you ever seen a shaman from a traditional culture running around trying to convert everyone in the world to what he or she has learned through direct access to the infinite? I do not see that as a phenomenon that is recorded anywhere in history.”
Well, that’s because they weren’t told to do it by the incarnate Creator, who announced to them the culmination of Redemptive History. Fairly obvious, if you study the text itself.
In your next item, when you state: “…more democratic, in fact, than what I believe you are arguing”, I am arguing that the Bible is unique in that it is an invitation to become part of the Bride of Christ, which will have some special role in the aeons to come. At least, that’s what the Bible says.
You conclude the point with the words: “But I believe your frustration with me (if that is what I am sensing) stems from a democratic impulse, a desire that none be “left behind” — and I am interpreting that charitably as a stemming from a genuine concern for others, which I think is commendable.”
It is not frustration; I only wanted to clarify your view. You can believe anything you want. But I AM frustrated with the idea that only arcane, esoteric knowledge–gnosticism–can enable one to read and understand the Bible. As if the Holy Spirit, Who has interpreted it to millions of people over the centuries, is not good enough. And that the plain meaning, which practically everyone is apparently hoodwinked into believing because they trust the text with childlike faith, can’t be trusted. That’s the stuff cults are made of. I like to debunk cults.
See, if you offer this new Bible code as another layer of mystical power and understanding of God’s unique message system (the Bible), I love to learn it. If you claim that all the other codes in the Bible (prophetic fulfillment, for example) are not what the Bible was intended to present, I want to know it–which is what you seemed to be telling James Tracy. If you wish to reject all the other layers if powerful insight, fine with me. Of course, the reason you can’t allow all to be true at the same time is what now fascinates me. I like people, partly because they are endlessly surprising.
Thanks for the above comments — the back-and-forth is helpful to me, in causing me to have to consider new viewpoints (every unique human being offers new unique experiences and insights, and so the ones I have encountered here so far are different than those I’ve been asked before). Also, thanks to the most-recent additions from _What Would It Gain?_, Leslie Oliver, and _stlonginus_: big “like” button on all the things you’ve all said. Ultimately, I don’t expect any two people to ever agree 100% on all details of any subject, and especially not on the subject of matters spiritual. I think what’s most important here is that, regardless of our various spiritual (or a-spiritual) belief systems, just about all of us here agree that crimes, massive deceptions, assassinations, and other violations of the natural inherent rights of men and women must be exposed (and stopped), and that taking the time to analyze the evidence of events going on in the world around us is essential and not really optional. I’m happy to continue this conversation further (or not), but also just happy to have had some enjoyable discussion about the importance of the spiritual dimension of this wider subject: I believe that there is evidence that suggests the spiritual side is actually a very important factor in these geopolitical events, even in this modern enlightened age (add ironic quotations marks wherever necessary in that sentence). No matter where we come down individually on these matters, I hope we can all agree to get outside and look at the stars more often, if at all possible!! Thanks again for warmly welcoming me as a guest in this august forum!
Literalism becomes very questionable if you read The Gospel of Philip, one of the Gnostic texts found in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in 1945. Of course this was one of the texts left out of the Bible.
On page 63, Quote #59:
“Truth did not come into the world naked, but came in types and images. The world cannot receive it any other way.
It is truly necessary to be born again through the image.”
[Typology is the translation of words, meaning and root source]
[Images are symbols, visual representation, metaphor, anecdotal stories]
Page 15, Quote 9
“The rulers wished to deceive mankind, since they perceived that it was related to what was truly good. So they took the names of the good things and applied them to what is not good, to deceive humanity by the names and bind them to what is not good”
“They knew what they were doing, for they wanted to take the free man and make him a slave forever.”
[The Nag Hammadi text Hypostasis of the Archons or the Reality of the Rulers.]
I wonder if this Text had of been allowed in the Bible, if even reading in a literal sense, it would have made people really think about what Philip was claiming.
Hi again Bev and thanks for adding this to the discussion. I personally believe the Nag Hammadi discovery has important implications as evidence of the struggle between those advancing the literalist interpretation and the more esoteric and broadly gnostic (there are many technical distinctions among the specific Gnostics and Gnostic schools and teachers themselves, but I am using the word as an adjective for an “a-historical” or “esoteric” hermeneutic, in contrast to a literal-historical hermeneutic) interpretations. I agree that the Gospel of Philip contains many statements which reveal that it urges readers or listeners to take an esoteric and not a literal approach to what it is saying. I actually wrote just a little about a couple items in this Gospel of Philip here, for those interested in one celestial reference in that text and its possible implications: http://mathisencorollary.blogspot.com/2013/02/precession-in-nag-hammadi-gospel-of.html
Hi David, I tend to feel you are very correct in your decision that the Nag Hammadi discovery is evidence of a struggle between those who desired the literalist interpretation as opposed to the esoteric. In my contemplation on the texts or codices being ‘missing,’ I felt there had to be a reason and seeing The Gospel of Philip is extremely esoteric, I felt this was very suspicious in the sense that a decision must have been made to make the text disappear.
After my little brush with the Mithra image and witnessing that vision I did pick up the Bible, opened it and strangely enough I was not seeing the literal interpretation anymore, but I was seeing the translation of certain words. I was so shocked I actually dropped the Bible and it fell to the floor. Let me tell you that I had to have a few cups of coffee and pace around my living room in order to settle myself down….
So now I read the Bible through interpretation of words and translation of symbolic imagery.
Thanks for the link to your article. I find the ‘dying’ quote very intriguing and you make some very fine statements about that. Very interesting it seems to have a connection to the precessional constant and the condition of the soul.
This is an excellent statement you made here, “It may well also have something to do with the concept of “differentiation” and a return to “undifferentiated one-ness” or “unity.” And your use of the phrase, “process of purification.”
This process of purification has to do with Pat’s quote on “Hebrews 9:27 (“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”) I interpret this to be referencing a spiritual death, that is about the “dying” or the “process of purification” of the soul and related to the human soul’s condition.
As to the “judgement” well it takes a long journey through the word and its meaning as below:
pronounce judgment,” from iudicem (nominative iudex) “a judge,” a compound of ius “right, law” (see just (adj.)) + root of dicere “to say” (see diction).
just (adj.) Look up just at Dictionary.comlate 14c., “righteous in the eyes of God; upright, equitable, impartial; justifiable, reasonable,” from Old French juste “just, righteous; sincere” (12c.), from Latin iustus “upright, equitable,” from ius “right,” especially “legal right, law,” from Old Latin ious, perhaps literally “sacred formula,” a word peculiar to Latin (not general Italic) that originated in the religious cults, from PIE root *yewes- “law” (cognates: Avestan yaozda- “make ritually pure;” see jurist). The more mundane Latin law-word lex covered specific laws as opposed to the body of laws. The noun meaning “righteous person or persons” is from late 14c.
Purge>to rid someone of undesirable or harmful thingsOrigin>Latin purgare “purify”
So “judgement’ is about the dying and purging process that begins with ‘Know thyself’ or know thy inner being, thy nature, the condition of your human soul. The process begins with a ‘movement’ to introspection [your own precession] to be purged [correcting inertia] to receive the right law [God’s Law] to be tested if you can endure the process and become a righteous person who walks on this earth. The ‘dying’ is represented by the image of dyed robes because it is simply ‘the soul clothing itself with the spirit.’
I know my experience! The process may have been ritual purification in the ancient mystery cults involving initiation but now for us it is a possibility and potential because of the changing of the Age. God is merciful, we only have to do this spiritual death once. It is quite trying and is a process that lasts years, accomplished in little steps.
Thank you again David and the best of the day to you!
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