In a free country we still have the right to express our opinions. Neither a presentation containing 'some' facts, nor one containing big words, should ever sway us to swallow 'hook line and sinker' everything that a speaker says, and in the process, to abandon our own traditions. Now when it comes to ideological perspectives, it is only natural to seek to justify your own with 'proofs', and additionally to find weakness and fault in the opposing ideology. I often wonder why the God of Abraham did not set up a formalised religion in Abraham's day. Perhaps the answer can be found in the Pauline writings which state that God approves of those who live by faith (as opposed to those who live by theology). Unfortunately today, too many of us prefer our agendas to simple straighforward 'truth'. Needless to say, whatever the ancient rituals were behind the christianization of pagan rituals, today they are not pagan rituals.
I have been intrigued to read of late, the conflict of ideologies that can be seen in articles published at Magic City by Aboo Mohammad and Michael Devolin. I couldn't resist taking the opportunity to throw my own spanner in the works. My intention of course is not to denigrate Islam, Judaism or Christianity, but merely to perhaps provide a somewhat different perspective.
I read Mr. Devolin's recent article in response to one written last year by Aboo Mohammad entitled: Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, and I was intrigued. Having recently written an article about Primary Text Reading, I decided to check out Mr. Mohammad's article for myself to see exactly what it said.
I note that toward the end of the article he stated:
This article was not written to Mock Christianity, but to point out how much Paganism has infiltrated into Christianity.
Also It is to inform those who associate Christianity with the rituals of paganism, and often confuse them to be one of the same.
Buddhist Monks in Wuhan. The Young Boy is 15 and wants to be a Monk
I did not bother to check out all the assertions that he made, for I found it sufficient to having been already aware that some of the specific points were correct, and that generally, the article paints a reasonably accurate picture.
One cannot help but be aware that it is not only the Christian religion that has adopted much from paganism, but secular society as well, including names of months and days of the week.
While perhaps Mr. Mohammad did have a hidden agenda, one that perhaps says: Islam is more pure than Christianity, that does not change the truth that he presented. Unfortunately today, too many of us prefer our agendas to simple straighforward 'truth'. Needless to say, whatever the ancient rituals were behind the christianization of pagan rituals, today they are not pagan rituals.
Despite the possibility of his hidden agenda, my feeling is that Mr. Mohammad's article served a valid purpose. I did not feel that he was attacking Christianity, but I am not so sure of Mr. Devolin's purpose. Maybe it is just me, but I felt that he had an overt agenda relating to his dislike of Islam.
At any rate, it is a free country, and we still have the right to express our opinions. Neither a presentation containing 'some' facts, nor one containing big words, should ever sway us to swallow 'hook line and sinker' everything that a speaker says, and in the process, to abandon our own traditions.
My Kids getting ready for a Family Wedding
Aboo Mohammad in writing about Ramadan wrote:
So as we see, some of the attributes of GOD and if he did not have these attributes he would not be a GOD in any way, shape or form. He does not give birth and is the ever living. Never dies and died. The question to be asked also was that if man was GOD then did Jesus create the same roman soldiers that allegedly nailed him to the cross, so rather than be all powerful, almighty the one who defeated him shared those powers.
This statement is written from a Muslim perspective, a perspective that does not understand or accept the Christian theological explanation, and it seems that Mr. Devolin equally rejects the Muslim perspective. Mr. Devolin in refering to particular sources quotes that "the major teachings of Islam were deliberately borrowed from Judaism by Mohammed". He goes on to say that in former times, before Islam, "Allah was the name of a pagan deity" and concludes that
Allah is not the name of the G-D of the Jew nor of the Christian. Allah is, exclusively, the name of the god of the Muslim, regardless Aboo Mohammed's many impostures to the contrary.
Jewish Friends from Israel in Wuhan
Now when it comes to ideological perspectives, it is only natural to seek to justify your own with 'proofs', and additionally to find weakness and fault in the opposing ideology. When it comes to finding fault with Islam based upon such statements as "Allah was the name of a pagan deity", Mr. Devolin should have realised that the same accusation can be made about the Jewish names of God.
Moreover, Charles Marston (1935, pp.203-205) in his researches into a 15th Century Mosaic Exodus under the 18th Egyptian Dynasty, observed that Hatshepsut (Moses adopted Mother) was the patroness of the monotheistic, Midianite, Semitic, temple at Serabit, and pointed out that the whole form and regulation of worship instituted by Moses follows almost identically to that at Serebit. [Marston. C. 1935 The Bible is true: The lessons of the 1925-34 excavations in Bible lands summarized and explained. Australia. Angus and Robertson.]
Another Family Member getting Married in the Barasoain Church - Malalos Philippines.
What is interesting about the Serebit cult, is that it worshiped a goddess, not a Male God. Furthermore, when one examines the style and form of the original Mosaic Temple and service, it clearly reflects Egyptian religious practices of the day.
Now of course, Magic City Morning Star News is read by many evangelicals who undoubtedly will be just as unimpressed with this slur on Judaism as would Mr. Devolin. But as I see it, the problem with all three religions, is that there has always existed within them, a fundamentalist doctrine which says:
I am right and everyone else is wrong. Mine is the only true religion and Path to God If you don't accept my theology you are damned God only Blesses us because we possess the real truth.
There is a difference between those who hold to fundamental theology, and those who are fundamentalists. Fundamentalism as a social manifestation, is in the end a power trip, which seeks to dominate all others, and by force (or arms or argument) bring the ignorant and unenlightened to their knees to pay homage to fundamentalist ideology (theology).
Mr. Devolin states quite plainly that he rejects Islam outright. That is his right and privilege. We all have that right, even as we all have the right to explain our faith (religious, political and social) to those who are interested to listen.
But if Mr. Devolin finds Mr. Mohammad's statements objectionable because of historical situations, then how should we judge both Christianity and Judaism? Read the Old testament and see the violence and destruction. Read history and see the violence and destruction wrought by Christianity. For the fundamentalist, all such violence is justified because 'it is the will of my deity'.
Muslims from Xin Jiang selling Cakes in Hong Hu Hubei China
It is said that at the time of Jesus, only 10% of the world's population believed in the God of Abraham. Today, even if only nominally, more than 50% of the world believes in the God of Abraham. Each of the 3 great religions believes that 'they only' will be saved. And within each there are divisions which equally believe that only their 'brand of that religion', will be saved; the rest being deceived by the devil.
Chengdu in Sichuan China Taoist Monk
I often wonder why the God of Abraham did not set up a formalised religion in Abraham's day. Perhaps the answer can be found in the Pauline writings which state that God approves of those who live by faith (as opposed to those who live by theology). Perhaps God knew that without some formal structure to reinforce moral values, people would run amok.
As Christians of course know, salvation only comes through Jesus, but if that is the case, then why did the Jewish Jesus change the 'God instituted' religion? Well actually he never did. But he did oppose 'salvation by theology', and taught salvation through faith. Unfortunately today, many Christians seem to think that they 'own' Jesus by right of theology. (My Jesus - My Bible - My God.)
The book of Romans says that the effect of Jesus death and resurrection was super abundantly more effective than the result of Adam's sin. I find that a strange statement, for how can it be that everyone (without choice) was effected by Adam's sin but so few profit by Jesus work?
Traditional Chinese Ancestor Hommage at Spring Festival time.
Heng Ji, Wu Gou, Hong Hu City
Bangladesh Muslim at Wuhan University Wuhan Hubei China
Mr. Devolin states that he rejects Islam outright. Well guess what? So do I! But then again, I also reject Judaism and Christianity. Does this mean I reject the God of Abraham? No it does not! Does it mean that I reject Jesus? No I do not! If the Book of Romans is correct, and if Jesus' own words are to be trusted (if you don't believe in me then believe in the works that I do and in him who sent me), it does not matter if I believe (correctly) in him or not.
From my studies of various theologies, I have come to believe that if Jesus is who the book of Romans says he is, then God will either accept all the dearly departed, (including Hitler) in order to show in the coming ages his profound love and grace toward us, or he will destroy (as in cease to exist) all but a chosen few, and those few will be selected by virtue of their true faith in God and personal living standard in accordance with the character of God.
Another of Many Gods in Chengdu Sichuan China
This does not mean that I believe all religions are equal, but it does mean that I see all religions as a response to the culture of the day in which they were created. The purpose of the Jewish religion (which came first) is to provide a social and national framework within which people were to share a common belief and worship.
All the prophets of the old testament preached against the form of religion, when that form is followed for the purpose of private or public self righteousness. The prophet Micah said it well when he said: Tell me Oh Man what is good, and what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly and to love mercy and walk humbly with thy God.
Jesus of course said it better when he said: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and love your neighbour as yourself. Of course, Jesus stole those lines from ancient Judaic writings.
Chengdu Tibetan Monastery - Traditional Women
Catholic Priests and Foreigner in Chibi (PuQi) City Hubei Province
I once asked an evangelical Doctor of Theology, if Christian salvation was not ultimately a salvation by theology. He replied that having the right theology will not save you, but having the wrong one might send you to hell. As I see it, very few theologies indicate that I personally am going to heaven. Fortunately I prefer the warmer climates.
I am a strange person I suppose, because I am happy to worship with all those who believe in the God of Abraham, even if our theologies are not the same. And living as I have in Australia and as I do in China, in a multi-cultural environment, I believe everyone has the right to worship and follow the rules of their religion, provided that those rules and behaviours do not conflict with the social norms. For instance: No drinking beer in Saudi Arabia! No preaching Christianity in China! Western women must wear the Hijab in Mosques and Islamic countries! Men and women should be separated in Orthodox Islamic and Jewish religious services! and Righteous Men who wear dresses for a living shouldn't be running around condemning transvestites!
I don't believe in the liberal theological blessing : May your God go with you and bless you! So I shall conclude by saying:
"The Patriarchs' Route" in Gush Etzion also passes through an area known as Netzer, located between the Elazar and Alon Shvut communities. The Netzer area is built on terraces that assemble a spectacularly beautiful, green mosaic; green grapes twining alongside old olive trees in plots of varying shapes and sizes, and in the pre-Spring season the Netzer space looks like a Claude Monet masterpiece: the green background is spotted with the pink and white of the almond trees at the peak of their bloom. But this pastoral bubble bursts the moment we 'zoom-in' on the photo, then we discover a real battle for this land and the future of the country, with the innocent plants often standing like soldiers on the frontline.
A key portion of the meeting was White House Domestic Policy Council (DPC) Director Cecilia Munoz outlining President Obama's overall immigration reform proposal that includes creating a pathway to citizenship for up to 11-million illegal aliens. In my discussion with the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Safety and Border Security, I mentioned that a potential "State of State Emergency" might be unfolding, and deliberate steps might have to be taken by the State of Arizona to protect its' own sovereignty and welfare."
When we arrived, we noted that this place really was a resort centre. It had wave pools and other interesting things for people to enjoy, and even accommodated school tour groups with dormitory style accomodation. Opposite the breakfast room was a swimming complex, in the front of which was a very interesting sign. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to bring my .38 Smith and Wesson. When we went in for breakfast, we saw that the next room was set up for a wedding, and discovered that it was 'our' wedding reception. Taking a 'sticky beak', I noted that there were no knives on any of the tables. 'Ahah! Thank God I brought that solid clear plastic knife with me!'.. The whole time before and after the actual church service, the local beggars were inside the church hitting everyone for money. Oh the guilt of refusing a pittance for the poor in the house of God, but I was advised to give no one anything, for that would be more effective than the 'last trump' for the dead. All the beggars would arrive. Not that this mattered at all. Who was carrying money?
A Male Steward came off the plane and walked over to me and said: "It's alright! We aren't going to leave without you! Calm down! Catch your breath!" The 'So and So' was right. It was still another 30 minutes before we took off! I on the other hand was watching the driver through his rear view mirror. He seemed to be blinking an awful lot and his driving was a little erratic. Not that that is unusual in China, but when you are on the highway and you have 3 or 4 lanes to choose from and very little traffic, you would think that you could drive in at least one or two of those lanes for more than 500 meters at a time.
Anyway, I was not the kind of child that hung around and did nothing. I had to have my own adventures and make discoveries of this new place we were to call our home away from home. There was a huge Combined British Military Hospital and a Family Hospital attached to it. At first I avoided the Military Hospital, because the nurses and the orderlies who saw me loitering around might question me and then report this to my father who was the officer in charge.
Definition: King's Calendar Chronological Research
The Premise: Between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE (but continuing down to at least 104 BCE), Sectarian redactors transcribed the legitimate 'solar year' chronological records of Israel and Judah, into an artificial form, with listed years as each comprised of 12 months of 4 weeks of 7 days, or 336 days per year, thus creating a 13th artificial year where 12 solar years existed.
When the Synchronous Chronological Data provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles for the Divided Kingdom Period are measured in years of 336 days, the synchronisms actually align. [Refer to Appendix 5. to see how it synchronises the Divided Kingdom Period]
About the KingsCalendar Publisher
R.P.BenDedek is the owner and Editor of KingsCalendar.com which was originally set up to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran'.
Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah.
Academic Deception: History Lies: Challenging the Math that Biased (Anti-Biblical) Historians use to demonstrate the Length of King Nebuchadrezzar's Reign. Nothing in this article actually contradicts the Egyptian, Assyrian or Babylonian Records of events that transpired during the period from 609 BCE to 562 BCE. This article does not in any way dispute the Archaeological Evidence.
Assyria, Babylon, 7th Century BCE: Josiah: Nebuchadrezzar: Concealed within the Biblical Texts are difficulties that go unnoticed when one in ignorance accepts the word of historians, as to the timing of the actual event, for in fact, there is absolutely no evidence to support the historical contention that King Josiah died in 609 BCE in what historians insist was an incident related to The Battle for Haran, in the 17th year of Nabopolassar. A cursory reading of Thiele (1966, preface - p.10), and Wiseman (1985, p.33), will offer some understanding of the lengths to which academics go, (and to which they will disagree), in order to understand and solve complex issues involved.
LXX and MSS Bible Texts: Septuagint, Masorete, Bible Dates: Because the academic world cannot understand Biblical chronology, they assume that the fault lies with the record. If the Biblical information is no longer correct, then modern Academics demonstrate a highly unscientific approach to history, when they quote Scripture to support various archaeological and Historical propositions. When they do this, they are quite clearly 'manipulating' the public". The earliest, and best known, source for the story of the Septuagint is the Letter of Aristeas, a lengthy document that recalls how Ptolemy (Philadelphus II [285?47 BCE]), desiring to augment his library in Alexandria, Egypt, commissioned a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek.
Who were the Patriarchs of Israel? Adam to Noah to Abraham: Judges of Israel: Israel Timeline charts: Citations and References for students from over 100 Academic publications: The file contains chronological details as listed in the Septuagint, the Masorete, Josephus and Seder Olam Rabbah. It relates how long the Patriarchs lived and how old they were when their sons were born. It forms a footnote to Six different articles at King's Calendar.