The Genesis of Religion
Growing up as a child, I was taught to believe that there was one god and that the Bible was the word of God. It was all pretty simple, or so I thought. When I was in college, I served as a Sunday school teacher at my church and it forced me to actually read the Bible. That’s when confusion came to paradise, so to speak. You see, the Bible is replete with all kinds of talk about other gods. Jesus went so far as to say that everybody is a god (and would do greater things than him). So what’s up with that?
In the beginning, of course, there was The Garden of Eden story. According to that story, there was this guy (supposedly God) who was going around talking to himself – very strange behavior indeed. Among the words attributed to him were (1) “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness” (2) “Behold, then man is become as one of us, to know good and evil” and (3) “Let us go down, and there confound their language.” So exactly who was God talking to? The words “us” and “our” in these quotes make it quite clear that there were other people present and that those other people were, in fact, other gods. Even some of the Hebrew names for God (Adonai and Elohim) which were used in ancient manuscripts were the plural form of the word.
Then there was the famous pact between Abraham and Jehovah (a name later given for God) which is referred to as the Covenant. Being a covenant, both parties had a choice. The deal was that if Abraham (on behalf of the Hebrews) accepted Jehovah as his God, then Jehovah agreed to be their god. It’s interesting to note that apparently even Jehovah didn’t consider himself to be the prime creator since you either were the prime creator (of all people, including the Hebrews) or you weren’t. There really was no choice in the matter! In the Biblical story, however, Abraham, chose to accept Jehovah as the god of the Hebrews, and of course Jehovah then chose them. Thus, the Hebrews became known as The Chosen People.
While I happen to believe in a prime creator, I also believe that it is abundantly clear that the dude in the Bible doesn’t qualify for that role. Why you say? Well for starters, he lied to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden by saying that if they eat from the Tree of Knowledge they will surely die. Of course they never died, now did they? Worse yet, he repeatedly violates his own first commandment of “Thou shalt not kill” (including pregnant women, infants and animals). I don’t know about you, but if that’s really God then I want to pray to somebody else. Beyond that, there is the major issue of God interfering in the affairs of man and thereby violating the principle of free will (see my previous blog for a more detailed explanation).
So who exactly then was the god of the Bible and who created man?
Well, we may never know the exact answer to that question although there are a number of interesting theories which have been put forth by the likes of Zachariah Sitchin, a highly-respected biblical researcher, Madame Blavatsky, a controversial writer of the 19th century whose works discussed the ancient esoteric writings that preceded the Bible, and journalist and filmmaker Will Hart. Even more telling perhaps is the work of Dr. Francis Crick, a world famous molecular biologist who won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA. Crick was the first mainstream scientist to go on record as saying that human DNA had an extraterrestrial origin. Humans, then, did not evolve naturally on planet Earth.
So where does that leave us?
Religions, like Judaism, Christianity and Islam all require one thing in order to gain wide acceptance. They all require moral authority. As a result, Moses receiving the Ten Commandments and Mohammed’s vision had to be stories of epic proportion where God’s wishes were conveyed through an emissary to all of mankind. Likewise, when your minister starts his sermon with the words “last night God talked to me” you can be sure that it didn’t happen. By the way, isn’t it odd that God only appeared in biblical times – never before that and not in the 2,000 years since. What’s more, the Bible says that no man had ever seen God (John 1:18), even in biblical times.
So who needs religious dogma anyway? Why don’t we just accept Jesus at his word when he said that the kingdom of God is within? Now that’s what I call really easy to understand and to incorporate in one’s life. As for the Bible being the word of God, I believe that it would be more appropriate to state that the Bible is man’s word about God. You see, except for Paul’s letters, no one really knows who wrote the Bible. Therefore, I guess that we are forced to take it on blind faith that it was inspired by God. Ah, but who told you that you should take it on faith in the first place? I know. It was someone whose moral authority supposedly comes directly from God. Like I said, all religions require one thing – moral authority. That’s the genesis of religion.