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Thirsting For Knowledge

26 May 2014, 07:41

All of us search for knowledge one way or another. We have different venues and methods of satisfying our innate desire to know. Human beings have a natural desire to explore, question, investigate, judge and know. The type of information that is fed us from our childhood to adulthood, coupled with the type of education and training we receive, determine the level of inquisitiveness and rational thought we display. Our social upbringing makes a chunk of what we know, because it includes views on culture, tradition, superstitions, norms and views on the concept of good and wrong.

Some of us look to our teachers and professors, parents, community leaders and traditional beliefs, and, some might add, supernatural beliefs, to quench our desire for knowledge. Others turn to religion. But religion, at 2000 years old, is, like other adopted man-made tenets of cultures and traditions, a fairly recent innovation. Religion is sadly confused with spirituality, and in some cases the two concepts are used interchangeably. Religion is preceded by spirituality. Spirituality is a natural instinct of awareness of man in relation to his beliefs and whatever superior powers that control the universe. Religion is taught. Spirituality comes with the package of life. Since modern man is dated to around 95 000 years in the bowels of southern Africa, logic dictates that the most oldest known in existence is the most credible. Not to mention what many influential and leading philosophers have commented about religion, right-thinking people find themselves having more and more unanswered questions concerning religion. There has always been unanswered questions since religion was invented - the difference now is that people are not banned, burned at the stake, ex-communicated, arrested, charged with blasphemy and jailed any more. This shows that this invention from the word go, went against the natural instinct of man because it sought to own man's mind. At least those gullible enough, and those who feared, and still fear, questioning the status quo.

Since religion is an intangible construct, I believe it will never bring us satisfactory answers because its basis is in the things you must believe, things you never saw, and therefore can never prove. And since you never saw them, and do not know for a fact that they were true, or that they existed, it doesn't make them any more truer than false. It doesn't make them any more real or tangible, and it certainly doesn't mean they are right. To illustrate a point, if you see me holding a bag of oranges, you don't need faith to believe that I am holding a bag of oranges. You don't need someone to tell you, or feed you the doctrine of the presence of oranges in my hand. In this case faith is unnecessary and therefore irrelevant. It is an indisputable fact - the oranges are in my hand. But if I am not in your field of vision, that is, you cannot see me at all, and someone comes along and tells you that I am holding a bag of oranges, you'd need lots of faith to believe that I am holding a bag of oranges. You cannot see the oranges in my hand, and it is not a fact that I am holding them. That much you know. You may choose to be hoodwinked into believing that statement, or you could choose to disbelieve it because you do not know for a fact that I am holding a bag of oranges. When you have fact, you do not need faith. When you attain knowledge, faith becomes obsolete. In contrast, science, mathematics, anthropology and a host of other disciplines thrive on evidence that is brought forth and can be disseminated, questioned, measured, criticised, recreated and analysed by peers. You cannot do all these things to faith, which is like an unrecorded, non-existent dream. While the energy with which the churches and missionaries go about indoctrinating people is fascinating, the process still falls short of answering keys questions relating to religion.

I have engaged many priests, theologians and church leaders in my quest for knowledge. So far, their responses have been finding ways to criticise my level of thought, and instead labelling me as disingenuous, peddling false allegations against Jesus and being an outright messenger of Satan. I am reproducing here some of the questions I tried to engage them in. I am calling for thinkers and scholars, laymen and preachers, and readers and lovers of truth in general, to help field some answers. I am calling for people who are not unsettled by debating publicly, where invaluable input of participants will serve to enlighten us and open our eyes. I dare say there was a time in the early 80s when I was considered saved. Many seminary institutions embarking on missionary work teach that in order to save someone, who first have to get them lost. Since I refused to be lost, and since I couldn't find answers to many questions posed by faith and biblical stories, I began searching elsewhere.

So let's get down to it.

  • I understand that Jesus Christ came down partly to right the wrongs and sins of Adam of original sin. How come throughout his life, and in his ministry, he never talked about Adam, or alluded to his mistakes, either specifically, or by even mentioning his name?

  • Why does Paul in the Bible say that Abraham is a myth and that people in the Scriptures should not be taken as real, or taken literally? The passages, at Galatians 4:22-24, have strained the credulity of the readers beyond what many people can bear, because if Abraham didn't exist, Isaac didn't exist, so did Ishmael and generations thereafter.

  • Jesus was a supposedly important, just man who performed miracles and raised the dead by God’s permission. He was worshipped by many. The people following him, and generations thereafter, loved him and never wanted to forget him. For a man so revered, why are there no 1st century monuments to commemorate his deeds, for instance where the miracles happened?

  • Of hundreds of people mentioned in the Bible, why can’t we find a grave of any single one of them. Not the usual guess of “It is believed that so-and-so was buried here.” Where are Matthew, Luke, Mark, John, Paul and all other's graves? In contrast, we can go back in time to Egypt and Ethiopia, (Been to Egypt twice) and point at graves of kings and queens who lived thousands of years before Christ.

  • Why does the Roman Catholic Bible has 73 books while the Protestant Bible contain 66 books? What is taught in the other churches that is not taught in the others? And why does the books called the Apocrypha, contain more sense than the books currently in the Roman Catholic bible and the Protestant bible?

  • If the Earth is supposedly approximately 6000-6500 years old, according to the chronology of the Scriptures, how should people like me respond to recent finds in Argentina of a number of 100 ton dinosaur species that roamed the Earth 95 million years ago?

  • How is the Christian trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost useful to divinity, as we find the trinity in all major ancient religions? All nations of antiquity possessed similar doctrines. The most popular of these, and the oldest, is the Egyptian trinity of Heru, Ausar and Aset, otherwise known by their Greek Hellenized names of Horus, Osiris and Isis. Then there is Amun, Ra and Ptah. Ancient Africans said: "All gods are three: Amun, Re and Ptah, whom none equals. He who hides his name as Amun, he appears to the face as Ra, his body is Ptah.Ra was the Sun God, the one who was there at the beginning. Amun, the father of life who later combined with Ra to become Amun-Ra the all important State God. And Ptah created the heavens and the Earth.

St Jerome, the early Catholic theologian, testifies unequivocally: “All the ancient nations believed in the Trinity.” So why should the Christian trinity, copied from ancient African spirituality, be incorporated into Christianity? Why has Christianity fail to acknowledge the source of much of its writings, instead of denouncing everything that comes out of Egypt in Africa as sinful, backward and pagan?

  • Concerning the coming back of Jesus at the end of time, if he really came back, or perhaps will never come back, what then is the purpose of continuing with the mission of evangelizing? The ancient Israelites believed that Jesus would come back in their lifetime, and the Scriptures attest to that. Jesus instructed his disciples to go preach the imminent arrival of his kingdom. In Matthew, when talking to his disciples about the new kingdom of God, he said they would be persecuted. And when they persecute them in one town, they must flee to the next town. Then he told those gathering there in Matthew 10:23: I tell you the truth, the Son of Man will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel. In another Scripture, Jesus gave people the signs of his imminent second coming and in Matthew 24:33 says that those standing there with him, the generation listening to him speak, will not perish and die before the Son of Man comes back. And in Mark 13:30 and Luke 21:32 he says the same. So now the problem is that those people he was preaching to, that generation that was listening to him, have all died off 2000 years ago... was Jesus a liar? Assuming that he was not a liar and he indeed came back for the Second Coming before those people listening to him passed away, so then what are we preaching? Why are we still waiting for him to come back? Are churches not lying to the masses? Or is there a Third Coming?

  • Why does Christians, Jews, Protestants and every manner of religious outfit, lie about the prophesy of Jesus in the Old Testament? The prophesy of a virgin girl giving birth to a son, by divine intervention, who shall be called Immanuel, is always deliberately falsely misapplied on all occasions. Only this particular one verse is read in church service, not verses preceding it, nor verses after it. For to understand this prophesy, congregations must be vigilant and read and apply their minds. Let's look at it. The Israelites have split into two groups, each with their own king, and were constantly at war with each other. The story, in Isiaiah 7:1 4, is that the kings of Syria and Israel jointly made war against Ahaz, king of Judah. They marched their armies towards Jerusalem. Ahaz was alarmed. Isaiah addresses king Ahaz, and tells him that these two kings will not succeed against him. To show that he tells the truth, he tells Ahaz to ask for a sign. Ahaz would never test God, so he declines. Isaiah continues anyway. He tells Ahaz that God will give a sign: a virgin shall conceive and bear a son. Verse 16 says: Before this child knows to refuse evil and choose good (an approximate period of 18 years for a child to reach maturity) the land thou abhorrest or dreadest (meaning the Syria and the Kingdom of Israel) shall be forsaken of both her kings. Here then was the sign, and the time limited for the assurance of the promise to turn true - namely, before this child shall know how to refuse evil and choose the good.

    In order to avoid being labelled a false prophet, Isaiah takes measures to make this sign happen. It's possible that he knew beforehand of a girl available. And in the next chapter, Ch 8:2, he says Uriah, the priest of Zechariah, the son of Jeberechiah, witnessed him make love to a prophetess (poet or singer, for in ancient times that's what prophet meant). He records that the girl became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy. It is likely that he raped the poor girl under the pretence of being used by God, which is no different to telling your followers to eat grass. This very foolish story of a child and virgin is the perverted basis of the book of Matthew, and priests and churches worldwide have since used this sordid tale to signify the person called Jesus, 700 years after the virgin girl was assaulted by Isaiah. What baffles the mind is that neither Jesus nor the prophetess' baby was called Immanuel. The girl's baby was called Maher-Shalal-hash-baz. Jesus was never ever addressed as Immanuel by either his family, his disciples, priests/scribes, nor the general public - no matter how remote a case of mistaken identity could be.

    Furthermore, Isaiah was indeed an imposter - a false prophet at best - because king Ahaz was defeated and destroyed. 120 000 of his people were slaughtered, and Jerusalem was plundered. 200 000 people were taken into captivity.

    The point here is that if church leaders and priests do not justify the Jesus prophesy so hard, a lot of people would not anchor their beliefs on false hope and information. What is the reason? Is it because if the congregations knew that Jesus was a 1st century phenomenon and never prophesied to exists, they'd begin to open their eyes and question the doctrine that has been forced down their throats? Was it also possible that Jesus was also himself a mere prophet and magician, and had nothing to do with any divine purpose?

    For, the story of immaculate conception is not new by a long shot. Nearly all ancient religions have the version of immaculate conception one way or another, and in Egypt, on the pyramid walls and tombs, it's still there, preserved in stone 4000 years before the latest Christ immaculate conception. Logic enjoins us that the most ancient and most preserved evidence, is the origin and everything else coming after that are copies of the original and therefore stolen property.

I am waiting for lively debate, analysis and insight, not to mention untested theories. Let's how advanced we are in addressing gnawing questions brought about by religion.

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