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These are answers that curious98 has provided in Religion

tony052071 asked on 07/11/07 - ERNEST B. ROCKSTAD

I have been looking for books by Ernest B. Rockstad. I don't know what church he went to, but he preached on demons.'s books on him are out of print. Does anyone know if he is still alive. I have some cassette tapes he made in 1972. I think he was from Kansas.

curious98 answered on 07/11/07:


You can see that has, at least, one book where this Mr. Rockstad participates: From the snare of the fowler.

Other than that, I've copied this article for you:

"Identifying the Demonized: The Occult Subjection Syndrome
by K. Neill Foster, Ph. D.
How does one know if an individual is demonized or “demon possessed?” Careful reading of this brief essay is could be helpful–that at least is my intention.

Discernment is a significant--even necessary--part of the Christian life. By the word “discernment,” I am not referring to the gift of discerning of spirits but to the broad-based discernment that is both available and obligatory in the life of a mature Christian.

In this article am accenting the validity of the authority of the believer and urging that all believers should have familiarity with both supernatural and non-supernatural phenomena. Recognition of the symptoms of spirit-invasion is a vital aspect of discernment as is the gift of the discerning of spirits, the special charism of the Holy Spirit. I am also introducing a special term made up of three well-known words, “occult,” “subjection” and “syndrome.”

Occult Subjection Syndrome Defined
The term “occult subjection syndrome,” refers to symptoms of a condition (not a disease) which is affected by greater or lesser satanic intrusion into the life of an individual. Intrusion of this kind may characterized by such things as ancestral occult bondage, spiritism, overwhelming terror, fear, obsessive sexual practices or perversions, religious heresies, pseudo-glossolalia, psychic ability, mind alteration through drug dependence, enchantment with certain types of music, tendencies toward suicide or self-destruction, uncleanness, inexplicable physical infirmities, uncontrollable impulses, blasphemous thoughts, intellectual ideas that entrap the human mind in unbelief, etc.

This term reflects an occult penetration, superficial or massive, of dark powers into the life of a human being. Such demonization/subjection is as varied as the people involved.

Forbidden Practices
The Old Testament provides a catalog of forbidden practices known to lead to the occult subjection syndrome. They are as follows: sacrificing a son or daughter in fire, divination or sorcery, interpretation of omens, practice of witchcraft, casting of spells, mediumship/spiritism, consulting with the dead and false religious expressions (Deuteronomy 18:10, 22).

In the New Testament the Gadarene demoniac (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-8) was fully demonized and totally controlled by Satan. The various symptoms of his case may be used to assemble yet another catalog of the occult subjection syndrome: the demoniac was suicidal, had superhuman strength, cried out ferociously, cut himself with stones and posed a physical threat to others.

Indicators of Demonization
Many centuries ago the Roman Catholic Church set four criteria for this human condition: (1)

knowledge of a language previously unknown; (2) knowledge of hidden or secret things; (3) demonstration of superhuman strength; (4) an aversion to the things of God (Koch 1973:141).

Kurt Koch himself offers eight indications of possible occult subjection based on Luke 8:26-39: another personality seems resident; unusual strength; inner conflict; resistance/opposition to the things of God; clairvoyance; ability to speak with voices not one’s own; sudden deliverance possible; and finally, transference of demons to people or animals (1973:136-141).

Of the modern writers, Ernest B. Rockstad lists a somewhat larger catalog of symptoms: incapacity for normal living, violence and superhuman strength; personality and behavior problems; restlessness and insomnia; terrible inner anguish; self-inflicted injury; functional illness; reliance on prescription drugs; an abnormal sex life; defeat and failure in the Christian life; obsessive thinking; unbreakable habits; nameless fears (1985:22-30).

Mark Bubeck seems to be influenced both by Rockstad and his own counseling ministry. His list of symptoms is prefaced with this warning: “These are not meant to be conclusive evidence of demonic affliction but are merely indicative of the enemy’s work” (1975:144). His list of symptoms follows: a compulsive desire to curse God; a revulsion against the Bible; compulsive suicidal or murderous thoughts; deep feelings of bitterness and hatred; compulsive desires to tear other people down; terrifying feelings of guilt and worthlessness; physical symptoms which have no medical basis; deep depression and despondency; terrifying seizures of panic and abnormal fears; dreams and nightmares of a horrific recurring nature; sudden surges of violent rage and uncontrollable anger; and terrifying doubt of one’s salvation (1975:144-145).

Conrad Murrell’s list of demonization symptoms is similar, though at some points it could be condensed. It includes unnatural fear; deep depression; confusion of the mind; restlessness; obscenities and profanities; inexplicable sleepiness; uncontrollable and unreasonable rage; sudden suicidal and murderous urges; schizophrenia; recurring headaches, physical symptoms without apparent cause; urges to alcohol, tobacco, drugs, pornography, violence and bloodshed; inexplicable rebellion; sexual perversion; aversion to marital sex; clairvoyance; and uncontrollable urges (1973:60).

L. David Mitchell suggests that unsuspecting persons can open themselves to occult subjection by

inviting seemingly “good” but obviously strange spirit manifestations (2 Corinthians 11:14); being at the receiving end of a curse; practicing Eastern-style or New Age mediation; using drugs; playing spirit “games”; being involved in abortion or incest; having a dependency of any kind, including rock music (1988:8).

Psychologist Marguerite Schuster, with limited deliverance experience by her own admission, has likewise established an extensive list which describes demonization: a new personality; new intellectual power; extraordinary bodily strength; change of moral character; strange physical ailments; self-destructive impulses, poltergeist phenomena; animalistic possession; quick relief with exorcism; and a distinctive stench (1977:94-95).

Ten Symptoms of Demonization
Because these symptoms exhibit themselves in various ways in different people, and because the Christian counselor is called upon to effect useful ministry, I shall attempt to condense these summations into ten key criteria which refer to the Occult Subjection Syndrome (OSS):

1. Terrorizing fear

2. Unbelief, often associated with intellectual concepts, aversion to divine things

3. Obsessive sexual problems

4. Pseudo-charismata, heresies and other religious beliefs/aberrations

5. Compulsive behavior

6. Ancestral occult bondage

7. Inexplicable illness

8. Suicidal/murderous intent

9. Spiritism, clairvoyance and witchcraft

10. Inner voices

If these are the symptoms of occult invasion, how does one tell if the person exhibiting one or more of these phenomena is actually demonized?

Identifying the Occult Subjection Syndrome
In answering this question, we remind ourselves that some Christians who have developed general discernment as defined earlier may arrive at a decision regarding demonization through a process of diagnosis. However, those who are especially gifted with the discerning of spirits or other revelational gifts may be able to identify the spirit(s) intuitively and sometimes immediately, by name, without the diagnostic process.

In our counseling ministry, we have recognized that the OSS need not necessarily imply demonic invasion. Conceivably a person might exhibit all the symptoms of the OSS and not be truly demonized. There is always the possibility that the psyche/ego/self-life can and will imitate these symptoms. Sinful human beings are capable of such things alone.

There are also physical conditions which resemble demonization. Further, there are various degrees of invasion ranging from minimal to massive. When the invasion is massive, the demonization may become total dominance and possession. (A diagnosis of total demonization should be the alternative of last resort.)

The Authority of the Believer
When the counselor has sufficiently discerned the evident nature and extent of the bondage and the probability of its occult identity, the authority of the believer may then be brought to bear upon the manifestation i.e. verbally and directly addressing the spirit that is manifesting. The “trying of the spirits” may occur, and release from occult subjection may be expected following repetitious exit commands. Ultimately, true exorcism is the final proof of authentic demonization.

The occult subjection syndrome is exhibited in a person manifesting a list of symptoms which likely, but not necessarily, betray a condition of demonization. In many cases, providing the victim is a Christian believer and understands the basic principles of authority, he/she can, by audible verbal repudiations and renunciations in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, escape his or her occult subjection. Such deliverances utilize the faith and belief of the person that has been victimized and has been described by Neil Anderson as “auto-deliverance.”

In more extreme cases, where the OSS leads to a diagnosis of extensive demonization, the authoritative community involving other Christians will become necessary to effect the deliverance. Jesus sent the disciples out two by two to do this kind of ministry. This pattern of team ministry is ignored with peril. (For an elaboration on this material, and other related subjects as well, see warfare.)

Finally, let this incident be a warning.
Rev. Bill McLeod, well-known from Saskatoon (Caanada) revival days, was facing the concluding meeting of a multi-church ministry series when he was accosted on the final Sunday afternoon by a man purporting to be demon possessed. Since the man sought deliverance, McLeod and his song-leader attempted to help. At the end of a long and exhausting afternoon replete with spectacular manifestations and multiplied exit phenomena, the man suddenly stood up and said, “I sure fooled you, didn’t I?”

With that, he was gone. Two seasoned Christian workers had been deceived. Probably. the man was not demonized at all. Incidents such as these should produce great caution among discerning believers. There can be no substitute for the wisdom and insight of the Holy Spirit and the safety that comes from a multitude of counselors. To diagnose anyone as demonized is a decision that must be made with great caution.

Nevertheless, the occultly subjected are out there. The help they need is best delivered by discerning and mature Christian workers. Only discerning believers can really help them. The more experience these workers have in these matters, the better.

Anderson, Neil,The Bondage Breaker, 1993 Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers

Bubeck, Mark, The Adversary, 1975 Chicago: Moody Press

Koch, Kurt, Demonology, Past and Present, 1973 Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications

Mitchell, L. David, "Deliver Us from Evil", 1988 The Alliance Life, pp. 6-9

Murrell, Conrad, Practical Demonology, 1973 Pineville, LA: Sabre Publications

Rockstad, Ernest B, Papers on Speaking in Other Tongues, 1986 Andover, KS: Faith and Life Publications

Schuster, Marguerite, "Power, Pathology and Paradox", 1977 Ph.D. dissertation since published. Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA"

Personally, I'm not interested in this type of ñiterature and I do not have information as to the whereabouts of this writer.


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graeylin asked on 03/01/07 - What is monoethism? Is Hebrew/Christian belief monotheistic?

How do you define the belief in "One God"? And is the hebrew God, Christian God such a monotheistic faith?

I ask because in the bible, people believed in multiple gods, even the Hebrew writers acknowledged that other gods were believed in or existed (depending on your interpretation of the works). However, they believed that their God was above all others. In order to be "above all others", you must believe in others, correct? If you had the only painting of a train in the world, would you believe it was better than every other painting of a train? Or would you not even recognize that other paintings might exist to be compared against?

secondly, God is "quoted" in the bible speaking in plural, and speaking of other "gods". Does this imply pluralism? or simply God speaking of other beliefs, and raising them to a godhood level?

Your thoughts?

curious98 answered on 03/02/07:

According to the dictionary monotheism is the belief in the oneness of God. In our Western world, this concept is integrated by the Christianity, the Islam and the Judaism, i.e. the so-called Abrahamic religions.
Believing in the oneness of God means believing there is only a one and only God, creator of everything in the Universe, who has ever existed and will ever exist, for whom time and space has no meaning at all.

What you call the Hebrew God –Yahweh – is, of course, the same as the Christian God and the Islamic Allah (which only means God in Arabic).

Initially, some Jews did worship several pagan gods which belonged to previous Mesopotamian cultures. These gods were the consequence of long established myths and traditions, for man has always felt – from the very oldest civilizations - the need to explain who has created him. Some of these traditions were probably absorbed by the primitive writers of the Old Testament books.

But, believing there is only one God had to mean also that all other conceptions of gods had to be false, for if there is one God, this God –our creator- IS NOT only the creator of a given part of human beings but of the entire mankind, whether part of it does not even believe in this monotheism concept.

What I mean is that if we accept the concept of one single God – who else but an Almighty form of energy or “God” could be responsible of the creation of the Universe? - All other ideas of gods do not really matter.

They can –to a certain extent- be considered as minor gods, angels, or saints of some kind. Hence, the idea of "above all others"

To start talking about GOD –in capital letters- just forget about preconceived ideas of a long white bearded man sitting in a throne somewhere in Paradise, like the Greek Zeus, in the Mount Olympus.

This idea comes from the fact that human mind cannot conceive concepts like Almighty, Eternal, Omniscient, etc.

If the Universe –with its zillions of stars and worlds and its infinite size- is the end result of some sort creative Will (which we call GOD), it goes without saying we cannot start imagining the kind of power this Will or GOD, may have.

According to the Christian Bible God has appeared in the form of a bush in the desert, or in the Mount Sinai, or incarnated as a man, in the person of Jesus. But this is just the prove that GOD’s power is infinite, as everything else about GOD.

When Yahweh or, later on, Jesus refer to other gods, they are just referring to the pagan gods some worshipped at a given time, as I already mentioned.


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_JacquelineA asked on 02/23/07 - knowledge and sensation..

I propose that all knowledge is derived from sensory input; touch, smell, taste, sight and sound. Without sensation, there would be nothing.
To illustrate my point, understand that the qualities we describe of visible reality are also merely subjective; qualities such as color, taste, texture, sound and so on. These secondary qualities do not exist unless there is a point of reference into which is being received. A blind man will never witness color. A dead man will never experience sound. A dumb man will never grasp language, and so on likewise. Perception, a distinctly human quality, is the ability to rationalize the sensations we take into ourselves. The sensations of color and taste and so on, upon being recognized by the memory gland, are given qualities of sense. For example, I touch an orange basketball. The ball has all of the properties that I can sense; orange, an awkward texture, size, and its extension, the bouncing sound it makes, and so on. Now although a blind man can feel and sense the presence of the ball, his basketball will always differ from mine. He cannot experience the same ball, as it is not “orange”. A deaf man will feel and see the properties of the ball, but will never hear the reaction it makes upon striking the pavement. The qualities we attribute to certain objects are nothing more but our abilities to perceive them.
We can see how the attributes of the basketball change depending on the level of perception to which the individual is capable. The example of the basketball can be amplified to include daily life. Every individual person has unique perception, therefore exists in a completely separate reality as the next individual. The basketball will be described differently by every person who senses its properties. Life, in turn, will be perceived differently on an individual basis, varying based of sensory input. I conclude that there is no true world, only perceptions of a seemingly unconscious one

curious98 answered on 02/26/07:

You raise a very interesting point of debate although totally philosophical.

I do not agree, however, with the corollary.

As far as we are sitting on this world of ours, our perception of it may be subjective –depending on the person and its mood- but it can hardly be unconscious.

Although I do not know what you are driving at with your thought, just in case you are wondering about God, let me say that, even assuming that this world is not a true one but the perception of a seemingly unconscious one, there should be no doubt that you exist as a living human being, with feelings and senses and instincts, and you must have been created by your parents following a very natural process. But the very initial sign of life appearing on this “non-existing world” that lead to what we are now “theoretically” is the consequence of the Will of a Creator, some of us call GOD.


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Ethmer asked on 01/04/07 - WHY did God create that that is?

Assuming that you believe in a God that created everything, whether specifically or through evolution, my question is WHY did God create that that is?

Why so many stars?

Why animals and other creatures?

Why man?

curious98 answered on 01/07/07:

What you propose in your question is extremely pretentious, if you allow me to say so.

You are asking for nothing else but to determine GOD’s plans for Its Creation, which implies GOD’s plans are for us to discuss.

We are nothing but a combination of atoms, the smallest thing to be imagined in comparison to the size of the Universe, and we are not to question GOD’s purpose in creating our Universe as it did. We can only accept it as a Wonder Master Work and be grateful we are allowed to share it.


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maranel asked on 12/04/06 - ANTICHRIST


curious98 answered on 12/08/06:

You are, of course, entitled to your own version of St. Johns prophecies.
In the version I read (the New American Bible) chapter 13:3 reads:
I saw that one of its heads seemed to have been mortally wounded, but this mortal wound was healed. 3 Fascinated, the whole world followed after the beast.
And it is interpreted as follows:
[3] This may be a reference to the popular legend that Nero would come back to life and rule again after his death (which occurred in A.D. 68 from a self-inflicted stab wound in the throat); cf Rev 13:14; Rev 17:8. Domitian (A.D. 81-96) embodied all the cruelty and impiety of Nero. Cf Introduction.

18] The second beast is described in terms of the false prophets (cf Rev 16:13; 19:20; 20:10) who accompany the false messiahs (the first beast); cf Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22; 2 Thes 2:9; cf also Deut 13:2-4. Christians had either to worship the emperor and his image or to suffer martyrdom.
All throughout last centuries there have been many who have prophesied the end of the world, the coming of the antichrist and all kind of disasters for Mankind.
In my humble opinion, this is like prophesying that one of these days is going to rain. We can be almost assured that we will guess it right. For we are in winter. At least, we are, here, in the Northern Hemisphere.
On the other hand, in the present state of things in our world there is always a chance that some crazy decision of our politics may involve us in a nuclear war that destroys our civilization, as we know it.
But, as you say, this may happen now, 50 years from now, or 1000 years from now.
So, if I were you, I would not torment myself with this kind of nightmare of the antichrist.
In any case, whatever has to happen according to Gods plans for us, will happen anyhow, and neither your worrying about it nor anything else may contribute to change the.
So the only thing we all can do is to try to be always on the ready, should, after all, you turned out to be right and does start raining one of these days
Other than that, all the worries in the world will not prevent from happening what must happen. As the song goes what will be, will be


maranel asked on 12/01/06 - ASSYRIAN


curious98 answered on 12/02/06:

Dear Maranel,
No, it does not bother me if you use capital letters to write. Suit yourself.
I am afraid I am going to be a little disappointing in my answer.
You say you are studying the beast of Revelation and you assume he is right here now. You conclude that this antichrist should be a Jew.
Well. If the beast really exists, i.e. Satan, you can be assured that he has been with us all the time throughout history. We only have to look at how beastly man has behaved all along, through countless wars, massacres, murders, etc.
From the very beginning (the Ubaid period of Sumer, 5.500 BC, the oldest civilization we know of),
men have delighted in killing each other, because of greed, ambition, cruelty, sex, you name it
This is undoubtedly a consequence of Satans activities and professionalism by taking advantage of mans superb capacity to sin.
Consequently, we are no worse (no better either) than we use to be 7000 years ago. If anything, because of our improved technology, we have become more sophisticated and now, we can kill more people in less time.

So, if I were you, I would not be too much concerned about the beast and what he may be doing right now.
Men, throughout history, have been worried about the arrival of the Antichrist, and about the end of the world.

The actual truth is that nobody knows or can tell anything about the Antichrist of sorts. Just in my lifetime span, I have known at least 3 guys who could have easily been the antichrist, i.e. Stalin, Hitler and Mao Zedong. But, somehow, they were not bad enough.

Right now, though there are several world leaders that might eventually aim to the title of antichrist, I cannot see anyone of them having what it takes to deserve the name.

On the other hand, you should read the Scriptures with a grain of salt, i.e. bearing in mind that those who wrote it were, undoubtedly, underlining situations and events of their time meant to be read by people of their time.

If I were you I would concentrate on the Gospels which are Jesus true word and carry a clear message for all of us.

And forget about the Jews. If one day they get involved in a world conflict Im sure they will not be the first ones
to trigger it.

And Im not a Jew either, but a Spanish Roman Catholic


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fabian asked on 04/12/05 - what does this mean?

Choux asked on 03/03/05 - Harm or Good
Do you think that religion does more harm or more good? Give supportive opinions, if you will.

zimbob_88 answered on 03/19/05:

It does much more harm to people who are psychotic or with mental illness...Just look at them in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya, etc etc etc ........


Can someone tell me what the meaning is of an answer like this? The "expert" humors the person asking the question. The person asking gets nothing out of it. And from what I can see by the one star ratings, the expert gets nothing out of it either. What is the point? Why can't experts just be honest?

curious98 answered on 04/12/05:

I do not think anybody is trying to humor anybody in this board. In fact, quite often it is the other way round

What happens is that each one of us, so-called experts I actually think this is an overstatement- has an opinion of his/her own, and simply expresses it.

The person asking as in your case- gets the satisfaction of an answer, he/she may be, or may not be, in agreement with.

And the expert gets the satisfaction of expressing his viewpoint over a certain subject.

Or what did you expect? An economic compensation?

These Q&A boards are spreading like oil all over the world and, by using this wonderful tool which is called Internet, allow thousands of people from different countries to interchange opinions over different matters, while helping them realize there are not necessarily as many differences as we are led to think between someone from Washington, DC., and another one from Barcelona (Spain), or from Melbourne (Australia) and Stockholm (Sweden).

And, you know something, if through the Net we all contribute to know each other better, perhaps we shall avoid, in future the tremendous blunders Mankind has made in the not so remote past.

As for Zimbob88s particular answer, I think he is absolutely right.

Religion, per se, is encouraging us to behave according to moral with the promise of an everlasting Heaven or Paradise, if we fulfill our duties

But, unfortunately, man has used, and is using (and probably will go on using) Religion for his own selfish, ambitious and totally different reasons.

And this has proven to be terrible for Mankind and have cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives throughout History.

So while Religion is certainly good for Mankind, it can also be, certainly, very bad


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Choux asked on 03/03/05 - Harm or Good

Do you think that religion does more harm or more good? Give supportive opinions, if you will.

curious98 answered on 03/03/05:

Religion, much like science in some regards, is an attempt to gain a further understanding of an objective, universal truth that is beyond us, and is unattainable by our intellect. Granted, it can be used poorly, as science can with biological warfare and nuclear weapons, but to dismiss it completely on such grounds would be ignorant.
There are many positive aspects to religion. Believers all over the world have done, do and will always do, a lot of good in the name of their respective beliefs and this should not be forgotten.
Unfortunately, throughout history, this good seem to have been outweighed by the harm such beliefs have caused, when religion is mishandled and botched. We must admit that, normally, in our times, more attention and emphasis is given to bad news than to the good ones. Good news do not sell!
We tend to say I do that too- that our present world is lacking morals and ethics, that our youngsters seem to be having no interest in their future or that crime rate is increasing everywhere. In short, that our world is going apieces
But while these considerations are certainly valid and true, they only refer to a fractional part of mankind. For, despite everything, there are still more good people than bad people, more youngsters that are working for their future than irresponsible ones and we still can take a walk in our cities without being afraid of being shot around the first corner.
The same happens with religions. Whereas plenty of harm has been done in the name of God, much more good has been done in its name, which is unaccounted for, because thats not a piece of news.
An example: When I lived in the States I met a great amount of people who called themselves Christians, but could hardly accept black people were human beings. Other Christians claimed Jews were responsible for all the troubles in our world. In Europe is pretty much the same. And now, additionally, we tend to blame all Muslims for what a few fundamentalists bigots can do. Most people would say that to persecute someone because of the amount of pigment in their skin is certainly not in line with Jesus' message, and would probably remind us that Jesus was a Jew himself. And the Islam is not certainly responsible if some of their Imams and Ulemas are crazy and hate mankind. Racists and bigots are just like that and they hate whatever and whoever does not believe what they do. But if they had no religion, these people would probably still do the same thing although they would have to find a different way to justify their actions. Hitler had no religious principles or beliefs, and he did find plenty of reasons to indiscriminately murder non Aryans and Jews by millions, and the same happened with Stalin, who was a confirmed atheist
But is it that simple? One problem is that religion is often inherited - you grow up following the same religion as your parents (if your parents are Christian, it is highly unlikely that you would be Muslim and your sister Hindu). Children often grow up and adopt radically different views on many other subjects, but the religion is right there at the start and it sinks in at an early age - few parents teach their three-year-olds about conservatism and socialism, but they will take them along to church every Sunday. Religions usually encourage parents to raise their children as followers of that religion. Few other types of belief or philosophy (e.g. politics) do this.
Religion is not necessarily directly responsible for racism. It is hard to imagine anyone reading the Bible and suddenly concluding that whites are superior to blacks. But if a person is a bigot already they will use their religion as one additional excuse to oppress and mislead people. The problem is that this same religion will also encourage them to impose those beliefs on their children, raising them as bigots and making them think that God is on their side and that scripture supports this view.
You find that right now in your country. Mr. Bush jr., is considering himself an envoy from God to fight evil, and therefore, no matter who he may be fighting against, God will take sides with the USA.
Obviously, God cannot take sides now as It did not do in the Middle Ages, when the crusaders fought in the name of God the Turks who were also fighting in the name of Allah, i.e. God in Arab.
In both cases, these are clear instances of religious manipulation, which, of course, does not exclude the possibilitiy that the Crusaders, the Turks and Mr. Bush, were all convinced that God was indeed on their side.
For they would very likely have been imposed these views by their parents and their respective priesthoods when they were children, simply by raising them in a racist and intolerant or narrow-minded environment. However, the use (or abuse) of religion can actively reinforce these views and help to nationalize them and propagate them down through the generations.
That is one specific example of the sort of harm that religion can do to society and individuals (teaching children to hate is nothing less than child abuse).
But, throughout the years, since man started to rationalize and wonder what he was doing here or why was he here, in the first place, man has felt the need to believe in God, whether it may have been the Sun, the great Manitou, Allah or Jesus.
But, as I said at the beginning of this post, religion can be, is and will still be mishandled, like everything else where man is involved.
But we should not blame Religion or Science for our own incapacity to use them ONLY profitably and in favor of mankind.

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Raiden936 asked on 02/26/05 - please help with homework

5.The woman at the well is commonly used as a model for counseling and teaching, give supporting details.

3.From the story of woman at the well, point out the elements related to rituals.

curious98 answered on 02/27/05:

This is a duplicate question, which I have already answered before

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Raiden936 asked on 02/26/05 - please help with homework

5.The woman at the well is commonly used as a model for counseling and teaching, give supporting details.

3.From the story of woman at the well, point out the elements related to rituals.

curious98 answered on 02/27/05:

Hi there,

Jesus encounter with the woman at the well (John 4:1-42), is one of the most beloved stories in the gospels. Many have turned to this well-crafted narrative as a prime example of evangelism and outreach.

The one, who through his incarnation breaks down the barriers
between God and man, now begins to bridge the gaps which separate fallen humanity.
Missiologists commonly observe that in this story Jesus crosses over a number of cultural bridges: the holy, Jewish man reaches out to a sinful, Samaritan woman.

Along the way, he breaks down barriers of holiness, ethnicity, gender, and religion. Moreover, by offering the gift of salvation to the fallen Samaritan woman, the Lord shows that there is hope for all of us. He is indeed the Savior of the World.

Less frequently commented upon, however, is the fact that this text also offers a beautiful picture of the intersection between mission and worship. Christ, as Gods best missionary, at once reaches out to the Samaritan woman, but he also draws her in. Rather than leaving her in the purgatorial limbo of the seeker-service, he draws her to himself, into a place from which living waters flow, and true bread is discovered. In short, he draws her into his church, where alone there is worship of the Father, marked by Spirit and Truth.

If John the Divine describes heaven as a wedding feast at which Christ is the groom and the church is his bride, we should not be surprised that in his gospel he depicts evangelism as a type of courtship which leads to marriage.

In the long dialog which ensues a beautiful instance of inductive teaching- we see the woman coming to faith in Jesus, and acknowledging that he is the Messiah.
As an additional interesting piece, I enclose some comments on the subject from a Bible scholar:
.When this story is reduced to its essential components, two interesting details are left reguarding time. The first is that it was about the "sixth hour"John 4:6 and second, that Jesus decides to spend time, specifically, two days, John 4:40 in the town that this woman is from.
As with many of Jesus' stories there is both a personal meaning to this story and a national one. The personal one is the saving faith that this woman, and the people of her town, have from this visit of Jesus. When we finally meet Jesus for the first time we often respond about like this woman, running off to share with others. The human heart knows that it needs Jesus, and it responds like we see here. Some, though, do not respond this way, and a hard heart is revealed.
We were told early in the story that this was not just any plot of ground, but Joseph's. The key to understanding this passage is to understand that Samaria was the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and that the 30 pieces of silver eventually paid as the price on Jesus' head would break the staff of union between the house of Judah and the house of Israel. The Northern Kingdom was capitaled here near this well in Samaria.
What Jesus was telling us is that the other house, the non-Jewish house of Israel would disagree with the Jews over the identity of the Messiah. This other house, the Samaritan house, headed by Joseph, would listen, which is what this woman and her town is depicting for us. Who did this woman represent?
Chronologically, the woman started to listen at the "sixth hour". What is an hour worth if a day is 1000 years? It is worth either 50 years, a Jubilee or it is worth 100 years. In this case we can see from history that the Gentile World, capitaled at Rome, would listen to Jesus' message. When, exactly? The Edict of Milan, issued in the year 313 AD made Christianity legal throughout the Roman Empire. This is also when Christianity became the state religion of Rome. This is when the "woman at the well" situated at the "other capital" started to listen.
The year 313 AD is almost exactly 6 Jubilees from Jesus' first visit to the Temple at the age of 12 in the year 12. Rome was the first government to adopt Christianity in an important way. Rome is what this woman depicts. She listened at the sixth hour.
Jesus spends two days in this town. How long is that? With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, or 2000 years in this story. Jesus will rest with the Roman, pagan world, the Gentile world, Joseph's world, for two days on God's calendar. Then, as the story concludes, Jesus will get up and continue his journey.
When are those two days up? Here we have something we did not have before. Triangulation. We found that if the woman turns out to be Rome, or the Roman or Gentile world, then we will have a triple set of dates that all align. Jesus' visit at the start of a day, the woman starting to listen 6 hours later, the finish of his journey two days later. This aligns with two of God's days specficially, 11,001 through 13,000 from Adam, or through the year 2009, when Jesus can then get up in the morning of God's 14th day and finish his journey. He can do that any time after the spring of 2010.
This story does not show that he will move this soon in God's 14th day, only that he can. We need more evidence in order to figure out when he will so move.

Last but not least, see this beautiful thought from Hanna Cheryan Varghese, famous Malaysian artists.
"Viewing each one [Woman at the well] has been a meditative experience for me just now. There are so many variations and as many colours, styles and forms and cultures! The most important meaning is the same - no cultural, racial, gender or religious inclination will bar us from receiving the 'living' water from the God of love and compassion." --.

Best regards

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Choux asked on 02/16/05 - Found in Kansas, USA

The bones of two mammoths and one camel have been unearthed in Kansas. The archaeologists via Carbon-14 dating dated the boned back 12,200 years. Some of the bones were broken in such a way that the archaeologists believe that nomadic peoples shared this site with the animals and used the bones to make primitive weapons. [Other weapons found elsewhere are made of similar bones]

This site is one of the most important archaelogical sites in North America. The find is exciting because it rewrites history. Additional tests will be done.

Does the potential fact that human beings occupy the American Great Plaines 12,200(10,200 BCE) years ago impact in any way your Biblical beliefs?

curious98 answered on 02/16/05:

Dear Choux,
Certainly not to me. Why should they impact?
It is believed that the first Native Americans arrived during the last ice-age, approximately 20,000 - 30,000 years ago, through a land-bridge across the Behring Sound, from northeastern Siberia into Alaska. The oldest documented Indian cultures in North America are Sandia (15000 BC), Clovis (12000 BC) and Folsom (8000 BC).
But, in actual paleontological time, these findings in Kansas you are referring to, are practically newborn babies. In central Spain, in an area in the mountains, some years ago, it was discovered the oldest paleontological site ever, which is called Atapuerca. There, they unearthed some skeletons of human beings, which were named Homo Antecessor, and their age was estimated in a million years!! Some 500.000 years older than the Homo Heidelbergensis, who, until then, was supposed to be the oldest one!!
I think most Christians are convinced, by now, that the Genesis description of our Creation is just a legend adapted to what people was able to understand and assimilate some 4/5.000 years ago.
It has nothing to do with actual science discoveries such as, for instance, that our Earth is probably 4 billion years old and that the first human beings were probably dancing around, somewhere in Kenya, 1.200.000 years ago.
As you can see, the 10000/12000 years of Adam and Eve, as per our Bible estimates, fall a little short of that 1.2 million years...
But that does not mean the Bible lies. It just means that when it was written people didnt know any better, and they wrote what they thought to be the truth!
Our Biblical beliefs should concentrate on the fact there is a Creator of the Universe, and of everything it contains, us included. How or when he did it is relatively unimportant, and what the Bible says in that respect is just another version of the many existing ones in this respect.

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loneranger asked on 02/07/05 - peace with your God

I have an interest in studying world religions. A few months ago I was asked this question, " What do each of the major world religions have to do to have peace with their God or gods?" I could use some help from any group,sect,religion,denomination, etc.
I am wondering what you would have to do to make things right, so that you know that your God is pleased with you.

curious98 answered on 02/08/05:

Dear Loneranger,
As a Roman Catholic (therefore, a Christian) it is very simple What we are supposed to do to make things right, so that we know we are abiding by our Gods commands, is to just follow Jesus Christ last command He added to the 10 previous Commands Moses received from GOD in mount Sinai..
Such 11th commandment is this, and it summarizes all the others: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us.
1 John 3:23
For your additional information, these 11 commandments, including in the first place, the last addition by Jesus, are as follows:

1. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Deut. 6:5.

2. ...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Leviticus 19:18.

3. I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Exodus 20:2-3 (Worship and serve the one true God only, and his Son Jesus Christ)

4. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
Exodus 20:4 (This refers to items made for religious purposes and includes statues you see in churches and peoples yards)

5. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Exodus 20:7

6. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Exodus 20:12

7. Thou shalt not kill.
Exodus 20:13

8. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Exodus 20:14

9. Thou shalt not steal.
Exodus 20:15

10. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Exodus 20:16 (This is the commandment against lying. God promised to put the people who tell lies in hell. Revelation 21:8)

11. Thou shalt not covet anything... that is thy neighbours.
Exodus 20:17 (This is the commandment against being covetous and greedy)

However, no matter how simple it may look to follow these precepts, which naturally enough, coincide with what we know as natural law, in actual fact, they are very difficult to follow.
Most Christians fail to follow these simple guidelines, or prefer to interpret them to suit our own particular whims.

Yet, I am of the opinion that whoever follows these rules, irrespective of his/her beliefs, will eventually get GODs reward, for one thing Im sure of.
There is only a One and Only GOD, who may receive different names and be the object of different cults and rites, depending upon countries, etnias and religions, who has created our Universe and, therefore, if the GOD of all of us.


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stiamo_bene_insieme asked on 01/31/05 - teach religion to children

is it important or how is important to teach religion to children.

curious98 answered on 02/01/05:

In my opinion, children should start their religious formation at their own home, Parents should teach children authentic spirituality. Genuine spirituality is based on practical teachings that lead to demonstrable results--to the direct experience of the Supreme Being. Instead of teaching children mental and emotional gymnastics of religious dogmas that create an illusion of spirituality, they should be shown and inspired to follow an approach to the spiritual path that actually works. Through the example of their own parents they should be learning the basis of ethics and moral.
Genuine spiritual teachings with their orientation toward a rational approach to living, authentic spiritual practice, love and service should be the basic lines children should be learning at home.
The best way to encourage genuine spirituality in children is for the parents themselves to cultivate their own spiritual practice. Parents must become role models for their children, because children do not listen to the words of their parents, but are inspired by their behavior. Parents should create a pure environment at home, begin meditating, find a competent teacher, and under his or her direction, start moving on their own spiritual path. Parents cannot convey to children something that they only vaguely understand themselves. There is not need to pressure childrenthey will follow your lead according to their natures.
Spiritual topics could be discussed with children, such as: What is ethics? Is morality something fixed? What is the goal of human life and how may one reach it?
Then, once the children have absorbed this spiritual teachings, they can start studying their own parents religion, along with comparative religion for, eventually, they will have to make up their minds regarding the confession they intend to follow. Consequently, the more fluent they are in the History of Religions, the better prepared they will be to take that decision that will suit them better, that will make them happier.
As a Roman Catholic I should say that the basics of my religion (the Bible, the Gospels) should be emphasized to Catholic children as soon as possible. However, if they are formed as I point out above, they will have plenty of time to plunge into the Catholicism rules and regulations when they are mentally prepared to accept them or discuss them.
And the same approach should be followed by children of all the other confessions.
Hammering in their little heads, at an early stage of their lives, complicated rules and dogmas will most likely produce a sort of allergic reaction, very much similar to what the majority of children feel towards Maths.
In any case, I have no doubt in my mind that the best way is to preach with the example, for children, one way or other, remain, when grown up, heavily influenced all their lives by what they have experienced at home as children.

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jocase asked on 01/16/05 - Classical Proofs of Existence of God

When I was In high school we studied the classicial proofs of the existance of God.
The order of the universe
First Cause
Desire for moral order??

I can find info on this but am looking for a simplified list like the one I started above.
Can anyone provide such a list?
By the way, I am not looking for a discussion on Answerway as to the validity of the proofs, just need the list. Thanks!

curious98 answered on 01/16/05:

Dear John
One of the most far-reaching consequences of the rationalism of the Enlightenment was the undermining of basic Christian faith among the educated classes. The effect was unintended because the project of many Enlightenment philosophers was to prove the existence of GOD using reason: Descartes and Leibniz assumed that GODs existence could be rationally proved, for GOD was indeed a necessary part of their philosophy.
There are, however, many traditional "proofs" trying to explain the existence of GOD. Ill choose the 3 main arguments my Encyclopaedia mentions: the argument from design, the ontological argument and the cosmological argument.
1) The argument from Design.
If you found a clock and examined the mechanism within it, you would probably think that this intricate mechanism was not the outcome of mere chance, that it had been designed.
Now look at the universe; is it possible that such an intricate mechanism, from the orbits of planets round the sun to the cells in your fingernails could all have happened by chance? Surely, this enormously complex mechanism has been designed, and the being that designed it must be just GOD, or something we have decided to call GOD.
2) The ontological argument
GOD must be the perfect being. As IT is most perfect, IT must have all perfections. If GOD lacked existence IT would not be perfect, as IT is perfect he must exist.
3) The cosmological argument (GOD as "First cause")
Everything that exists has a cause. However, there must at some time have been a cause prior to all other causes. This 'prime mover' or first cause is necessary to explain existence. This first cause is GOD.
Pascal's Wager
The French mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-62) put forward an argument that would appeal to agnostics.
His argument goes something like this: GOD either exists or IT does not. If we believe in GOD and IT exists, we will be rewarded with eternal bliss in heaven. If we believe in GOD and IT does not exist then, at worst, all we have forgone is a few sinful pleasures.
If we do not believe in GOD and IT does exist we may enjoy a few sinful pleasures, but we may face eternal damnation. If we do not believe in GOD and IT does not exist then our sins will not be punished.
Would any rational gambler think that the experience of a few sinful pleasures is worth the risk of eternal damnation? Most likely the answer would be, NO!
Kant attempted to show how philosophy could prove the existence of GOD. Unfortunately, for him his previous work showed that we could not know reality directly as thing-in-itself. What is real in itself is beyond our experience. Even if GOD exists, we cannot know GOD as he really is.
For Kant the Christian could have faith in GOD, and this faith would be consonant with reason and the categorical imperative. Given that human beings have the autonomy to create moral values, it would not be irrational to believe in a GOD who gives purpose to the moral realm.
Hegel thought that the GOD of religion was an intuition of Absolute Spirit or Geist. Hegel's Geist is not like the transcendent (outside of our consciousness) GOD of traditional Christianity, for instance. For Hegel GOD is immanent and when we have understood that history is the process of Geist coming to know itself it appears that we are all part of Geist, or GOD.
Feuerbach and Marx
For Feuerbach and Marx religion is seen as the projection of the human essence onto an ideal: GOD does not make man. Rather "GOD" is the invention of human consciousness. Marx also sees that religion is part of an ideological view that encourages the oppressed to accept their fate. As he says: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of men is a demand for their real happiness. The call to abandon their illusions about their condition is a call to abandon a condition which requires illusions."
However, if man should abandon all illusions about a supernatural life, can our passage over here be explained?
Sren Kierkegaard
Sren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) agreed with Kant that the existence of GOD could not be proven by reason. However Kierkegaard did not think that it was rational to believe in GOD, rather one should have faith in GOD even if this seems to reason to be absurd. To put it another way reason has no place in faith. GOD is beyond reason.
Kierkegaard is regarded as the first existentialist.
Nietzsche: The Death of God
"Have you not heard the madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place and cried incessantly, 'I seek GOD!, I seek GOD!' ... Why, did he get lost? Said one. Did he lose his way like a child? Said another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? Or emigrated?... The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his glances.
"'Whither is GOD? He cried. 'I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I. All of us are his murderers...'"
"...the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they too were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke and went out. 'I came too early,' he said then; 'my time has not come yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering -it has not yet reached the ears of man."
In these passages Nietzsche is showing the inevitable unfolding anthropocentrism (lit. putting man at the centre of the world) implicit in philosophy since Kant. If we should view our existence through human categories, then our concept of GOD would certainly be a human creation.
Nietzsche is not simply asserting his atheism; he is suggesting that once we are aware that the concept of GOD is our own creation we can no longer base our religious and moral beliefs on any notion of a divine external reality.
In the period that Nietzsche was writing, the death of GOD was just beginning. Western thought was starting to face the prospect of a radical change in its orientation, and it wasn't quite ready to own up to it yet.
Kierkegaard and Nietzsche represent opposite reactions to the inability of rationality to give a rock solid theoretical proof of GODs existence. Kierkegaard calls for us to embrace GOD even if it seems an absurdity, while Nietzsche says it is time for us to create a new mode of being, with human creativity at its centre.
The atheist existentialist Sartre accepted GODs death and much of his writing is an attempt to look at the human condition in a world that is without a prime mover who could have provided a basis and structure for the understanding of being.
The twentieth century
Anglo American analytic philosophers of the twentieth century have tended to agree that philosophy may help us clarify religious concepts, without giving us a secure foundation for religious belief.
Many people claim to have had a religious experience, to experience the divine directly. This experience is direct and is of a different quality to sensory experience or intellectual discovery, and therefore outside of the scope of philosophy.
The view that the existence of GOD cannot be proved or disproved by philosophy has not stopped developments in modern theology. Theologians are attempting to balance the anthropocentric view of GOD presented by philosophers since the Enlightenment with the need to provide a spiritual path and a guide to an ethical and meaningful way of life.
Be what it may, the amazing thing in my opinion is that everybody feels the need to discuss GOD. To me the fact that such bright persons as Nietzsche feel the need to explain their confirmed atheism in front of the others, is the evidence they want NOT TO BELIEVE, but they cannot take the concept of GOD away from their minds.
To me, a true atheist should not even get down to discussing GOD at all. He/she would simply ignore IT and be totally unconcerned.
So, in conclusion, I feel that GOD must exist to explain the Universe and us. Once this concept accepted we could proceed a step further to determine which way shall we choose to worship GOD. Christianism, Islam, Judaism, etc. But, let us first be convinced there must exist a GOD responsible for the Creation.

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paraclete asked on 01/09/05 - The Ten Commandments in Cajun

1. God is number one... and das' All.

2. Don't pray to nuttin' or nobody... jus' God.

3. Don't cuss nobody... 'specially da Good Lord.

4. When it be Sunday... pass yo'self by God's House.

5. Yo mama an' yo daddy dun did it all... lissen to dem.

6. Killin' duck an' fish, das' OK... people - No!

7. God done give you a wife... sleep wit' jus' her.

8. Don't take nobody's boat... or nuttin' else.

9. Don't go wantin' somebody's stuff.

10. Stop lyin'... yo tongue gonna fall out yo mouf!

curious98 answered on 01/10/05:

J hate to say so, but these commandments of the Cajun people just prove they have much more common sense than most of us, sophisticated and civilized guys.

We do not have to memorize the entire Bible or debate for years Theological problems to achieve our salvation.

All we have to so is simply follow these Cajun Commandments, i.e. the Natural Law, i.e. the Commandments GOD gave us to follow.
And that is that!


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Choux asked on 01/06/05 - Tsunami Speculation

Since the tsunami killed tens of thousands of people outright, I have heard different explanations from GoidAlmighty/Allah believers about why God brought this horrible disaster upon all those children and adults. From a Muslim cleric telling a gathering at a mosque that it was a warning to the people to be more humble, to Muslims saying it is a punishment for allowing foreigners in a Muslim land(Indonesia)

And, Christians speculating all kinds of scenarios about "what god thinks". I haven't heardany Jewish speculation.

So, my question is, Isn't it about time for humanity to start letting go of GodAlmighty? (Christianity, Judaism, Islam)

Is a god who intentionally reins(sp) down destruction and mayhem worthy of the thoughts and love of children and adults??

Isn't it time to upgrade our understanding of God??

Thanks for answers in advance.

Choux--Religious myths are lies we agree to tell our children.

curious98 answered on 01/08/05:

Yes, I think it is about time we start upgrading our understanding of GOD, which has been explained in many ways leading to confusion into our minds.
It is about time we understand that we should not pretend to make GOD responsible for our unconscious behavior or for completely natural disasters, no matter how terrible they may be.
It has been explained that this Tsunami might have been, if not avoided, foretold with time enough to save thousands of lives, had they had, for instance, the warning systems there are in the Pacific Ocean. But these systems are expensive, and the wealthy nations of the world (the 1st world countries) did not deem it convenient to go into the necessary expenditure, probably thinking that a Tsunami like this one was a far remote possibility to even consider it. Very much like what is going on regarding the heating of our planet. Our rulers, wise guys all of them, consider all those who really worry about this problem as hysterical young girls who do not know any better than being afraid of science-fiction tales that will never happen. But what if they would happen once. Should we blame GOD for them or should we blame the incensed stupidity of man?
For years in the past, atomic and hydrogen bombs have been exploded in our earth with unknown repercussions that may have been slowly distorting the earth underneath our feet. But there are other reasons: The tectonic plates which support our continents and land masses consist of an outer layer of the Earth, the lithosphere, which is cool enough to behave as a more or less rigid shell. Occasionally the hot asthenosphere of the Earth finds a weak place in the lithosphere to rise buoyantly as a plume, or hotspot.
In cross-section, the Earth releases its internal heat by convecting, or boiling much like a pot of pudding on the stove. Hot asthenospheric mantle rises to the surface and spreads laterally, transporting oceans and continents as on a slow conveyor belt. The speed of this motion is a few centimeters per year, about as fast as our fingernails grow. The new lithosphere, created at the ocean spreading centers, cools as it ages and eventually becomes dense enough to sink back into the mantle. The sub ducted crust releases water to form volcanic island chains above, and after a few hundred million years will be heated and recycled back to the spreading centers. But eventually these tectonic plates move a little bit too fast or too much thus provoking earthquakes. Earthquakes, in turn, when happening in the middle of the ocean, may provoke Tsunamis. The bigger the Earthquake the bigger the Tsunami.
GOD has nothing to do with thisa natural process.
We may as well imagine a big meteorite falling upon our planet and destroying half of the world. Would that be an act of GODs revenge or simply the consequence of the eventual remote possibility of our planet colliding with another astral body?
GOD created the Universe and established the rules controlling it. We are included in these rules. I do not think we are so special to deserve GODs permanent attention. Most of us would not probably have a fit if we would see some heavy rains flooding an anthill and drowning thousands of ants. It is just a natural hazard.
But the proportion between ants and mankind is, no doubt, infinitely bigger than the proportion between GOD and us, if we can speak of proportions with our Creator.
So, yes, I think it is about time we start trying to understand what GOD actually should mean to us, and perhaps, paying more attention to the rules GOD set up for us, which, most of the time, we so happily ignore.
I have recently read that a suspected killer and unrepentant Ku Klux Klan leader, Edgar Ray Killen, the Preacher, has been arrested a couple of days ago by the FBI. Apparently, he is a pastor of some Christian denomination. Can you imagine any Christian denomination patronizing the superiority of the white race over all the rest? Well, I cant and yet many Christians are convinced of it
After the Tsunami disaster I would not be surprised to hear all kind of reactions coming from all religious sources, each one trying to explain it to better suit their interests.
It would be funny, had it not been for the more than 150.000 victims of this horrible disgrace.
Best regards

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Choux asked on 01/07/05 - Update God

I saw a television program on the Discovery Channel that was about the "History of God". It was shown that the Israeli's understanding and definitions of G_d evolved through pronouncements of prophets. Even more so then for Christians who follow the Jewish prophet Joshua who is an addition to their underatanding of G_d. And then, an Arab hears the voice of God and again, we see God evolving.

Why not now when we really need it??

curious98 answered on 01/08/05:

Dear Choux,

In its supreme ignorance man has always been puzzled by the abstraction of GOD and has, therefore, always been trying to define IT one way or other.
But, I think, that not matter how difficult to understand it may be, we all agree at least all of us who believe in one ONLY GOD ALMIGHTY- that GOD is eternal, i.e. with no beginning and no end.
As such, I cannot conceive how IT can evolve, being eternal!
On the other hand, you say now that we really need it.
Mankind has always needed GOD and will always need it!
Times are difficult for us now. But no more difficult than they were for those living before us.
Since the fall of the Western Roman Empire, there have been three major bubonic plague epidemics, which afflicted large segments of the population in the continuous Eurasian landmass and North Africa. Death quickly followed the trade routes of the times. The death toll is almost incomprehensible. The Plague of Justinian (6th Century A.D.), the Black Death (14th Century A.D.), and the Bubonic Plague (1665-1666, which coincided with the Great Fire of London) caused an estimated 137 million dead in a world much more sparsely populated than it is today.
To make matters even worse, one must also remember that these pestilences assailed and ravaged mankind at a time when the average life span was short --- less than two decades during the Middle Ages. Survival to age five was a miracle not only because of endemic disease, dirt and filth, concomitant poor hygiene and sanitation, but also because of the primitive state of medical knowledge. Pestilential disease thrived under such conditions. Moreover, during the Middle Ages, bathing and cleanliness, even in the upper classes, was a rarity, being viewed as unhealthy as well as irreverent --- acts of vanity in the face of GOD..
They also needed GOD in those days, didnt they?
But GOD made us free to chose our destiny. GOD also gave us some rules to live by, and most of the time we have chosen to ignore them. If you do not take care of your car as you should and you do not drive it as you have been taughtm and you have an accident, I do not think you can put the blame on anyone but you!
Certainly not on the car maker
Best regards

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graeylin asked on 12/25/04 - How many sons did Jesse have? Seven or eight?

How many sons did Jesse have? The Bible contradicts itself on the number, what do the experts or oral laws say is the correct number?

curious98 answered on 12/25/04:

In the Scriptures you can find scores of apparent contradictions which are used by non believers against the Bible, and who keep many believers absolutely puzzled.
Yet, we keep on forgetting all the time the many authors that contributed to write the Holy Bible, the many years elapsed, and the many translations and versions you can find of these Books.

Thus, in the King James Version, you can indeed read:

1 Samuel 16:10-11
"Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are these all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest [David]."


1 Chronicles 2:13
And Jesse begat his firstborn Eliab, and Abinadab the second, and Shimma the third,

Nethaneel the fourth, Raddai the fifth,

Ozem the sixth, David the seventh:

In this case, it is possible that 7 of these sons were from one woman and David from another.
At any rate, it is -in my opinion- of little importance to determine the exact number of sons.
As I say, the writer of the Chronicles was different, assuredly, than the writer of Samuel, and consequently his source of information may have omitted some details re. Jesse, who, most probably, did have 8 sons, including David.
Best regards

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graeylin asked on 12/10/04 - Males and Females except for Man?

God, during creation, created males and females of all living species. God knew that every species needed a gamete donor and gamete acceptor to live, reproduce, and be fruitful.

Why then did He create Adam, His greatest creation, as a single sex creature? How did God expect Adam to live without a female to reproduce with? Why was it later in creation when God realized that Adam was lonely that the thought finally came to Him that maybe He should have made both sexes in this Human animal too?

curious98 answered on 12/11/04:

Dear friend,
What you are actually asking is why the Book of Genesis was written as it was?
In the first place, you say, God knew that every species needed a gamete.
If you think of it calmly, you will understand that it is not that God knew about our sexual reproduction. It is simply that Gods will was to make almost all animal life on earth bisexual (there is some unisexual life, too).
Consequently, man and female were also created according to this bisexual law. God might, of course, just as easily decided to create only one sex. Perhaps, God wanted to make our life more difficult but also more amusing
The story of Adam in my humble opinion- only reflects the little consideration men felt for women in those days. Obviously, it made much more sense and it was enhancing much more mans arrogance, to claim that woman had been made out of a mans rib, than to pretend both were made at the same time, or evolved from whatever life form we came from, as male and female.
Let us not forget that Palaeontology has already found human life dated as far back as almost one million years. Right here in Spain, in Atapuerca, palaeontologists are working on human life going back 460.000 years.
This is way before Adams time, if we follow the same Scriptures.
The story of Adam and Eve is a beautiful tale as it is the story of creation in 6 days and the 7th to rest.
And even accepting the theory of some biblical scholars that the Genesis was dictated by God to Moses, I think again my opinion- that God chose to explain Creation in such a way that could be understood by Moses coeval people without any difficulty.

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abirl asked on 12/02/04 - Bible Questions 4: Exodus


More questions:

1. 2:18 says that Moses married the daughter of a man called Reuel but 3:1 says that his father-in-law was Jethro. Which is it?
2. 4:24-26 Please explain.
3. 6:12 What is meant by "uncircumcised lips"?
4. 8:26 What is meant by "sacrificing the abomination of the Egyptians"?

Thank you.


curious98 answered on 12/06/04:


2:18: Same person anyway. Some modern scholars, hold that his name was "Reuel," and that "Jethro" was a title, "his Excellency"). According to Simeon b. Yoḥai, he had two names, "Hobab" and "Jethro" (Sifre, Num. 78). It is, however, generallyaccepted that he had seven names: "Reuel," "Jether," "Jethro," "Hobab," "Heber," "Keni" (comp. Judges i. 16, iv. 11), and "Putiel" Eleazar's father-in-law (Ex. vi. 25) being identified with Jethro by interpreting his name either as "he who abandoned idolatry" or as "who fattened calves for the sake of sacrifices to the idol" (Ex. R. xxvii. 7; Mek., Yitro, 'Amaleḳ, 1; Tan., Shemot, 11; comp. Targ. pseudo-Jonathan to Ex. vi. 25 and Soṭah 44a).
4:24-26 Please explain.
And it came to pass in the way, in the inn, that Jehovah met him, and sought to kill him. And Zipporah took a stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and made it touch his feet; and she said, Because a bridegroom of bloods art thou to me. And He ceased from him. Then she said, A bridegroom of bloods as to circumcisions. "And it came to pass in the way, in the inn," signifies that the posterity of Jacob were in externals without an internal; "that Jehovah met him," signifies opposition; "and sought to kill him," signifies that a representative church could not be instituted with that posterity; "and Zipporah took a stone," signifies the quality shown by the representative church by means of truth; "and cut off the foreskin of her son," signifies the removal of filthy loves, and thereby the laying bare of the internal; "and made it touch his feet," signifies that the quality of the natural was then shown; "and she said, Because a bridegroom of bloods art thou to me," signifies that it was full of all violence and hostility against truth and good; "and He ceased from him," signifies that it was permitted that they should represent; "then she said, A bridegroom of bloods as to circumcisions," signifies that although the internal was full of violence and hostility against truth and good, still circumcision was to be received as a sign representative of purification from filthy loves.
Of course, this is just one of the different interpretations given by some scholars.

6:12 This phrase "uncircumcised lips" seems to be a red flag, given the pivotal importance of circumcision in Jewish tradition. What is Moses really concerned about here? Rashi explains that the Hebrew 'aral ("uncircumcised") simply means "obstructed" and gives a variety of examples of its use in other parts of scripture. Therefore 'orlah (foreskin) is simply an obstruction over the head of the penis, and Moses' 'aral s'fatayim - "obstructed lips" - simply refers to the physical deformity of his lips, causing a speech impediment.
But "uncircumcised" is also a clear sign of inappropriateness. When Jacob's daughter Dinah is defiled by Shechem, who then wants to marry her, her brothers object saying, "we cannot give our sister to a man who is uncircumcised, for that is a disgrace to us" (Genesis 34:14). Moses, then, seems to be implying that he is not only unable, but somehow unfit or impure for this important task, to serve as God's messenger

8:26 Some Bibles translate this passage you are referring to as follows:
And Moses said, It is not right to do so; for we make our offerings of that to which the Egyptians give worship; and if we do so before their eyes, certainly we will be stoned

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HANK1 asked on 11/30/04 - WHY NOW?

When God decreed that marriage was indissoluble, it was because He, the Author of nature, knew the weakness, the selfishness and fickleness of human nature. In former years people were content and happy with all their marriage ills. Why, then, are there so many divorces now? Have people changed that much?


curious98 answered on 12/06/04:


When God decreed that marriage was indissoluble, it was because He, the Author of nature, knew the weakness, the selfishness and fickleness of human nature. In former years people were content and happy with all their marriage ills. Why, then, are there so many divorces now? Have people changed that much?
If we are to explain the reason of the frailness of present marriages from a religious point of view, the explanation should be in my opinion, at least- quite simple.
Materialism and sexuality have invaded our present society since the mid nineties. At the same time, the old moral values we used to live by seem to be no longer valid.
Sexual instincts have no restrictions whatsoever (whether men or women, is the same) and moral barriers (that prevented us to a certain extent to behave as we wished) have practically disappeared.
So if I happen to have a crush for a nice girl (well, not me anymore, though I do like to look at them) and she finds me acceptable (certainly, a total utopia), the next question is: your place or mine? The end result, if one of those two, or both, were married, would logically be divorce.
Sociologically speaking, though, there is another strong consideration to bear in mind:
Women are more independent than ever before, and they do not have to put up anymore with the selfish whims of their husbands, so they are running very short of patience.
Still, Im glad I am not to worry about this after 55 years of happy marriage, with ups and downs, but happy after all!

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abirl asked on 11/26/04 - Bible Questions 3 (Genesis)


Some more questions.

1. 42:8 What is meant by the "nakedness of the land"?
2. 45:8 What is meant by "a father to Pharaoh"?
3. 45:10 Why is Egypt called the "land of Goshen"?
4. 47:15-21 Why would Joseph cause so much power to be collected in Pharaoh's hands by making all livestock and land his property? Why did he move all the people into the cities?
5. 49:10 Who is Shiloh?
6. Part 49 Does the meaning of Jacob's predictions for each of his sons' tribes become clearer elsewhere in the Bible?

Thank you for your help.


curious98 answered on 12/06/04:

Hi, once more

42:8. In some Bibles instead of nakedness it is mentioned undefended parts
The key to Josephs actions is found in the next two verses. Here we gain an appreciation for Josephs motives and methods in dealing with his brothers:
But Joseph had recognized his brothers, although they did not recognize him. And Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them, and said to them, You are spies; you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land (Genesis 42:8-9).
Far more is meant by verse 9 than that Joseph merely remembered his dreams about his brothers and recognized their fulfillment in their bowing down to him. All this would have done would have been to puff up his pride. Joseph not only realized the fulfillment of his dreams but also the reason for them. He saw that God had a purpose for placing him in his position of power, and this purpose was for him to function as the family head, protecting and preserving his family. He had great power and prestige, but God had given these to him for a purpose much greater than merely to seek revenge. He saw that leadership involved power, but that it also brought upon him the weight of responsibility. At times the greatest need is not to be aware of the power at our disposal, but of the purpose for which this power has been given.
It has been observed by saints and sinners for centuries that you can make the Bible say anything you want. Like it or not, this is true. Think of what Joseph could have made of his dream. This was a message from God! If he had been dominated by bitterness and hatred, Joseph could have viewed his vision as a mandate from God to make life miserable for his brothers. Hadnt God revealed to him that his brothers would bow down to him? He could have rubbed their proverbial noses in the dirt and given them a proof text for it, had he wished. It is alarmingly possible for us to justify sinful actions with biblical texts if we choose to, but this will always be at the expense of other clear passages which we have chosen to ignore.
And Joseph remembered the dreams which he had about them, and said to them, You are spies; you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land. Then they said to him, No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. We are all sons of one man; we are honest men, your servants are not spies. Yet he said to them, No, but you have come to look at the undefended parts of our land! But they said, Your servants are twelve brothers in all, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and behold, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no more (Genesis 42:9-13).

45:8 What is meant by "a father to Pharaoh"? Actually, this should be interpreted, in my opinion, as advisor to Pharaoh

45:10 Why is Egypt called the "land of Goshen"?
The region of Goshen is located in northeastern Egypt, in the The Delta of the Nile River, where it empties into the Mediterranean Sea. The Sinai Peninsula is just to the east. To the south are the famous Pyramids, and the Valley of The Kings, where many Mummies have been discovered.

47:15-21 With or without Josephs help. The Pharaoh (as a living god, for the Egyptians) gathered all the power there was. He had authority over everything that lived in his dominion. So I guess, Joseph did nothing but to follow his sound advice and behave as he felt would be more pleasing to the Pharah.

49:10 Who is Shiloh?
About 12 miles from Ramallah is the town of Bir Zeit, then around another 8 miles northeast of Bir Zeit is the Arab village of Seilun, the site of Biblical Shiloh:

Part 49 As far as I can remember I think the Genesis is the only place where Jacobs predictions to his sons are mentioned.

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graeylin asked on 11/25/04 - The Bible, a written and oral tradition.

It is often said on these boards and by Biblical experts and scholars that the Bible is more than a collection of scrolls and writings, that there is a second, very integral part of the "word of God" that is oral in tradition, having been recorded by ancient Hebrews and passed down alongside the Bible. To understand the words of the one, we must seek guidance in the words of the other.

If this belief is true, then can we safely discount the words of those who only quote the Bible itself, and not the historical rich tradition of oral beliefs and text that accompany it? When a Jimmy Swaggart extolls us to follow the words of John, Job, Isaiah, Moses, etc. as written in the Bible, can we discount his voice because he has not a belief in the other tradition? Does lack of belief in the extra biblical material mean we should discount the opinions of those who preach of God through only one set of words?

curious98 answered on 12/06/04:

Ive always been under the impression that the Bible itself is a recompilation of many oral traditions collected by ancient Hebrews and later on put into writing by a number or writers who wanted to be sure they would not be lost. Of course, this is my belief, nothing more.
But, at the same time, it is very similar, if not identical, to what happened with the N.T.
The Gospels, the Facts of the Apostles, etc. are written testimonies of something that happened a few years before or even, close to one century before.
They were not written on the spot while they were happening, nor were they dictated by Jesus himself.
But the message is there, all the same, and it is up to us to take advantage of it.

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abirl asked on 11/22/04 - Bible Questions 2 (Genesis)

Hello again.

More questions:

1. 20:7 When Abimelech took Abraham's wife Sara, why did God tell him that "if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours"? Why would God punish Abimelech's people for something that Abimelech did?
2. 20:12 How could Abraham marry his half-sister? Had incest not yet been forbidden at that time?
3. 20:16 Why was Sara rebuked? Did she do something wrong?
4. 21:21 Where is the wilderness of Paran?
5. 22:2 Why is Isaac called Abraham's only son in this and several other verses when he had another son?
6. 24:50-51 It is clear from these and other verses that Laban believes in Abrahams God. How can he also have other gods.
29:19 As Jacobs wife, doesnt Rebekah herself believe in Abrahams God? Why then would she steal Laban's idols?
7. In part 27, Jacob gains Isaac's blessing through deception but neither his father nor God rebuke Him in any way and indeed God blesses him and makes him a great man. How do you explain this?
8. 32:28 How can a man prevail against God?

Thank you for your help.

Best Regards,

curious98 answered on 12/06/04:

Hi again,

1. Gen 20:7: The official explanation would imply that now restore the mans wife," signifies that he should render up the spiritual truth of doctrine without taint from the rational; "for he is a prophet," signifies that thus it should be taught; "and he shall pray for you," signifies that it will thus be revealed; "and you shalt live," signifies that thus doctrine will have life; "and if you restore her not," signifies here as before that if he should not render up the spiritual truth of doctrine without taint from the rational; "know thou that dying you shalt die," signifies there will be no doctrine of truth and good; "and all that are thine," signifies all things that belong to it together.
It was said above that although the doctrine of faith is in itself Divine, and therefore above all human and even angelic comprehension, it has nevertheless been dictated in the Word according to mans comprehension, in a rational manner. The case herein is the same as it is with a parent who is teaching his little boys and girls: when he is teaching, he sets forth everything in accordance with their genius, although he himself thinks from what is more interior or higher; otherwise it would be teaching without their learning, or like casting seed upon a rock. The case is also the same with the angels who in the other life instruct the simple in heart: although these angels are in celestial and spiritual wisdom, yet they do not hold themselves above the comprehension of those whom they teach, but speak in simplicity with them, yet rising by degrees as these are instructed. The case would be the same if the Lord had not taught in the Word in accordance with mans comprehension, in a rational manner.
Mans vocabulary is certainly totally unable to clearly identify GOD.

2. 20:12 SHE REALLY IS MY SISTER = Here Abraham probably turns to a legal technicality in order to justify his deception. The trouble brought upon Abimelech underscores that God does not accept legal technicalities as a justification for intentional deception.
3. 20:16: The official version goes:
And unto Sarah he said, Behold I have given thy brother a thousand of silver; behold it is unto thee a covering of the eyes to all that are with thee, and with all; and she was vindicated. "And unto Sarah he said," signifies perception from spiritual truth; "behold I have given thy brother a thousand of silver," signifies an abundance of rational truth adjoined to celestial good; "behold it is unto thee a covering of the eyes to all that are with thee," signifies that rational truths are like a covering or clothing to spiritual truths; "and with all," signifies that so also are the derivative truths; "and she was vindicated," signifies that thus there was no fault and no harm.
21:21 Where is the wilderness of Paran? Paran is a desert area located in the north-eastern section of the Sinai peninsulaIn. The Paran plateau contains a lot of gravel because with a lack of rain, there is no soil formation. If any soil is formed the wind blows it off.
Hagar and Ishmael came to this region after leaving Abraham and Sarah. Genesis 21:20-21 (KJV) And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer. And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.

22:2 This is an interesting comment on this passage by Bishop Warburton. "The order in which the words are placed in the original gradually increases the sense, and raises the passions higher and higher: Take now thy son, (rather, take I beseech thee na,) thine only son whom thou lovest, even Isaac. Jarchi imagines this minuteness was to preclude any doubt in Abraham. Abraham desired earnestly to be let into the mystery of redemption; and God, to instruct him in the infinite extent of the Divine goodness to mankind, who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, let Abraham feel by experience what it was to lose a beloved son, the son born miraculously when Sarah was past child-bearing, as Jesus was miraculously born of a virgin. The duration, too, of the action, Genesis 22:4, was the same as that between Christ's death and resurrection, both which are designed to be represented in it; and still farther not only the final archetypical sacrifice of the Son of God was figured in the command to offer Isaac, but the intermediate typical sacrifice in the Mosaic economy was represented by the permitted sacrifice of the ram offered up, Genesis

24:50-51. He was not probably the best man around. Read this:
He worshipped other gods and had a superstitious dependence on them:
Gen. 31:19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's.
Gen. 31:30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father's house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?
3) He was a cheater--
Gen. 29:23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid. 25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? 26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
Gen. 31:7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me.
--as well as an ingrate--
Gen. 31:41 Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times. 42 Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight. 43 And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born?
--who was unkind even to his own children:
Gen. 31:15 Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.
[Cf. 1 Tim. 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.]
As I have told you man was created free. Right now, there are many who also believe in GOD, but at the same time, they adore other gods, like money, for one!
29:19: Do not try to always look for a reasonable explanation when reading the Bible. It is better to accept it for his face value. Otherwise, it would be like asking why Snowwhite had to eat the red apple, or little red riding hood had to go that particular day to visit het granny!

In part 27, Jacob gains Isaac's blessing through deception but neither his father nor God rebuke Him in any way and indeed God blesses him and makes him a great man. How do you explain this?
GODs designs are not for us to understand. You have rather got to consider the moral of the story.

32:28: The actual text is this one:
And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
It does not say Jacob has prevailed over God, but over men.
No man can prevail over GOD!

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abirl asked on 11/20/04 - Reading the Bible


I am reading the Bible for the first time and I would like to post any questions that I may have as I go along.

I am using the New King James version. I am currently reading the Book of Genesis. These are the questions I have so far:

1. In 2:17, God says to Adam "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" but Adam does not die in the day that he eats of the tree. Since God said this, why did it not come to pass?

2. In 6:2, why are men referred to as the "sons of God" while women are referred to as the "daughters of men"?

3. 6:3 says "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever for he is indeed flesh". What is meant by the striving of God's spirit with man? Why and when did (or will) this striving stop?

4. In 6:5, how could God not know in advance that man's wickedness would be great but only discover this after the fact? Is God not all-knowing? Same question for 18:21 where God appears to learn from others that there is wickedness in Sodom and Gomorrah so He comes down to check for Himself if the outcry against them is true.

5. In 6:6-7, how could God make a mistake and later regret it and feel sorry? Can God be fallible?

I appreciate any help you may give me to further my understanding.


curious98 answered on 12/05/04:


Im sorry for answering so late but Ive been enjoying a short holiday with my wife.
Am glad you have decided to read the Scriptures. They are, unquestionably, and irrespective of anybodys beliefs, the greatest set of books ever written.
The evidence lies in the way they have influenced the history of mankind.
Ill try to refer to your questions by trying to avoid complicated explanations. You must bear in mind that whatever significance we wish to give to any Biblical passages is basically the product of mans interpretation, for there is no direct GODs message telling us that this or that means precisely what we say it does.

The New King James version is, substantially, identical, except that it can probably be better understood, to the Old King James version or the Catholic version, which I use.

1. In 2:17. You must bear in mind there is a lot of symbology involved in many of the passages of the Bible. In this one, Gods words to Adam, most probably, refer to Adams spiritual death, not to his physical death. By contravening Gods instructions Adam commits a mortal sin. Thus, he is spiritually dead the very moment he commits that sin.

2. In 6:2. You should remember that men have written the Scriptures, though they may have eventually inspired by GOD.
When these texts were written and for many centuries to come women were, in general, 2nd class citizens, although many religions were placing the mother earth, as a top-level goddess. Consequently, it was logical to assume in mans fantastic arrogance- that only we were "sons of God"

3. 6:3. The idea or concept of God is merely spiritual. Hence, totally alien to the physical concepts that surround us. On the day of the final judgment those who will deserve it will eternally enjoy GODs spiritual glory. Of course, this is very simply put. Plus the fact that you may or may not believe in eternal life after death.

4. In 6:5: Of course, in GOD all the capacities we know of MUST be given in total fullness. Therefore, GOD must know the past, the present and the future, as we describe them; otherwise, IT would not be GOD. At the same time, GOD created man free to choose his destiny. Man's wickedness is his own option. Which does not imply that GOD must police us all the time. Same answer for 18:21. IT must certainly know what is going on in Sodom and Gomorrah and IT decides to punish them, as they deserve.
This, again, assuming that this is what actually happened, for there are other versions.
Youll realize a refer to GOD as IT, not He. The He pronoun, in my opinion, also comes from mans arrogance, when we decide GOD must have a gender and it has to be masculine.

5. In 6:6-7: The theological explanation would be that when God says that He does not change, He is speaking about His nature and character. But this does not mean that He cannot change how He works with people throughout history.
And when we see God changing His mind, we are seeing it from a human perspective. Since God knows all things from all eternity, He as always known the ultimate plan that He would carry out; even the plan to "change His mind." As we have seen in Jonah's account of Nineveh. They repented and God relented from the destruction that was to come upon the inhabitants. Of course, God knew this would happen and instituted the warning to them in order to bring about their repentance. There is no mystery here.
Again, always accepting the fact that GOD actually said those words to someone who, later on, put them in writing.

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graeylin asked on 11/06/04 - Moral Values:?

Curious98 mentioned in his recent post the worldwide "loss of moral values", and it made me wonder: Does anyone have any data that truly shows there has been a decline in morals over the past century, millennia, etc.? How does one measure and quantify a moral value, and how do we decide that this is a value that we do not want to decrease, or that this other one is?

Your thoughts and opinions?

curious98 answered on 11/09/04:

I do not think that to properly answer your question we must have recourse to a course in theology or in statistics.
I guess just some drops of plain common sense (which, incidentally, it is also becoming rarer) might suffice to justify my assert.
To the best of my recollections, way back there in the early 30s, when a man gave his word of honor it was sacred; when one owed any amount of money to somebody he did not need to sign any document to guarantee the payment. He just said Ill pay you within this or that date , they shook hands, and only death could force the debtor to break his promise; you could wander at night practically anywhere, or leave the door of your home unlocked, without any fear of being assaulted or, even worse, just killed; to hold hands with the girl you were in love with was really something; to kiss her was paradise! It took me close to six months for my first kiss to my present and only, wife. Ive been successfully married for the last 54 years plus another 5 engaged, i.e. 59 years of my happy life! When we got married, we were both; of course, virgins, and we had never gone beyond some petting!
We lived in a small apartment, with no car, no TV (there was none), little money, lots of love and, later on, the blessing of four children.
No drugs, no marihuana, no porno magazines, no fighting in the streets, and the end result, these four children are successfully married, and have children of their own. No divorce, no abortions, no sadomasoquist methods, no gay tendencies anywhere at sight
In short, what many would qualify as a boring life ; boring, perhaps, but happy, definitely.
People did not lie as a principle; politicians, with a few exceptions, were sincere and honest. They were not interested in their own enrichment, at least, not only. They were also true patriots.
Of course, there was crime, and some rules were eventually broken.
But the situation was more or less under control until after WWII was over.
And then, bingo! Everybody, everywhere were striving to live as intensely as possible, as fast as possible, and owning as many things as possible as quickly as possible.
For these and many other reasons, God started to fade away in peoples list of priorities until we have got to the present situation, when to make love means to have plain sex , when the chairman of the board steals as much as he can, not giving a damn for his shareholders, when politicians cannot say a true word anymore, when you risk your life in certain city areas, when drug traffic means billions of dollars, when the gap between rich and poor is widening all the time and when the real McCoy is to work as little as possible but trying to make as much as possible, no matter how !
How would you depict this picture with other words, than debasement of morals?

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Saladin asked on 10/09/04 - Atheists

What are the atheist organisations doing to help relieve the suffering in Florida and the other hurrican hit states?

How much have they contributed in manpower, goods, services, etc?


curious98 answered on 10/10/04:


To the best of my knowledge, there are a number of non-governmental organizations (Red Cross. Doctors without frontiers, etc.) which are non-confessional and which are full of volunteers performing a wonderful job, irrespective of their beliefs or non-beliefs.
In addition to that, I would say that Im somewhat surprised to see that you are only considering Florida as needing charity and support from religious or non-religious organizations while you completely ignore a much more dramatic situation, consequence of the same hurricanes, and where dead and disappeared are counted by thousands.
Im, of course, referring to Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world.
Im not going to dispute the convenience of helping Florida and any other State that may have suffered as a consequence of these last hurricanes. But Im sure you will agree with me that you can hardly compare Florida (or any other US State, for what matters) with Haiti as far as capacity of recuperation is concerned.
I do not know how many homes have been destroyed in Fla. But, Im willing to bet what you want that in less than a year they will all be rebuilt.
In Haiti, more than 20000 families have lost whatever little they had! The floods have destroyed even the huts they were living in
I think they more in urgent need of international help from all kind of organizations than anybody else.
For your information I will say that from Spain a number of planes left immediately for Port au Prince with help from our Government (Socialist aconfessional) along with teams of Doctors without frontiers, Red Cross, and several tons of equipment gathered by the Catholic organization of the Spanish Caritas.
Im a Roman Catholic, but Im sure that when it comes to helping others an Atheist can be just as good as a Catholic, and some times, much to my regret, even better!
Let us not despise Atheists just because they are, in our opinion, wrong. They have always the possibility to modify their way of thinking

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tomder55 asked on 10/08/04 - ET phone home

has anyone heard from Elliot ?

curious98 answered on 10/08/04:

I haven't, and I also hope all is well with him.

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freethinker asked on 10/04/04 - Who wrote the Bible (2) : can I have this time an anwer to my questions, please?

On my previous question "Who wrote the Bible" I received many replies and "clarifications", almost none of which had any reference to what I asked.
So I ask it again, to see if I get this time a reply to what I asked.
And please - if not all too inconveniant : keep to replies, and leave the clarifications : my questions are clear enough!
Introduction : Origins of religion
It's easy to imagine that 50.000 years ago humans - failing much scientific knowledge - tried to find alternative explanations for normal natural occurances.
So we got the god of the vulcano, the god of the earthquakes, the god for the sea, the god for harvest, the god for fertility, etc. etc.
But today - 3 October 2004 - we have explanations for nearly all these natural events, from here on earth to deep into space, and from the beginning of times till somewhere in the future.
But still the majority of people feel the need for god or gods.
What do you think is causing that need?
Fear for the unknown?
Fear for the future?
Fear for death?
The hope to see loved-ones back who passed away?
And why do people who do not believe in god or gods do not set themselves apart in any other way from humanity, f.i. in crime, in morals, and in social behaviour?
Afteral, I don't get the impression that theists lead "better" lives than atheists.
How could that be, as theists often refer to that "extra" they claim to get out of religion?
Please : just answer to what I ask. Thank you!

curious98 answered on 10/07/04:

Question 1 - Fear of the unknown, i.e. GOD

Question 2 - From a material point of view Theists do not live better lives than Atheists.
From a spiritual point of view, we definitely live better lives, for we have some to hope for, whereas atheists can hope for nothing at all, which is actually very sad...

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freethinker asked on 10/02/04 - Who wrote the Bible?

There are many questions that handle the origins of the Bible, but non of them contains the following question :
Suppose that God indeed exists.
Suppose that God indeed is a supra-natural, supra-powerful, all-knowing entity.
Suppose that God indeed created the universe in 6 "days".
Than why should such an entity not have thought-up, written, printed, and distributed the Bible him/her/itself?
It would have been so simple for such a powerful entity, isn't it?
Do you have any serious explanation why God allowed the Christian religion to be based on a "handbook" that is full of mistakes, full of contradictions, full of illogical and unsupported claims, full of unscientific nonsense, etc. etc. etc. ?
Please no biblical quotes or dogmatic claims : just a serious and - if possible - logical explanation!

curious98 answered on 10/04/04:

The existence of a supra-natural, supra-powerful, all-knowing entity is a matter of common logical sense. Unless you can come out with a supra-natural, supra-logical explanation to explain our Universe, and in case you propose the Big Bang, please add how and where from this Big Bang crop up. I wont accept that it created itself of then the Big Bang will be GOD.

We are already beyond the 6 days creation This and others parts of the Bible (Adam and Eve, for instance) have actually nothing to do with GODs existence.

We are totally unable to comprehend or even anticipate GODs plan or designs in our connection, in connection with the Bible nor in connection with anything else, for what matters.
Im not using any dogmatic nor Biblical quotes, just common sense.

If we were able to have only a clue of GODs intentions we should be at GODs level, in other words, we should have to be something like lesser Gods.
Even if you do not believe in GOD (which is your own privilege), you may understand that SHOULD THERE BE ONE (you may at least, grant us the possibility) there is no way how we can place ourselves at the level of who HAS MANAGED TO CREATE THE UNIVERSE.
A new born baby looking at his/her mother can hardly tell her mothers plans in his connection. All he knows is that he/she feels good when she holds him/her in her arms.
A bacteria inside us carries on with its life disregarding and ignoring whether we intend to inoculate some antibiotic to kill it.
All living beings just go by some implanted instructions in their AND and that is that.
But the difference between the smallest living being and ourselves
is nothing compared with the difference there must be between us and GOD.
The Scriptures were written by men like you and me. Probably inspired by God. And if they were so, they were written bearing in mind the mental development and know-how of people 6 or 7000 years ago. When reading them, now a days, we should try to bear in mind their age and not wonder how the authors did not refer to the Gravitation force or to the fact that our Earth is 4.5 billion years old?
Would have that meant anything for them, 7000 years ago?


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freethinker asked on 10/02/04 - Origins of religion

It's easy to imagine that 50.000 years ago humans - failing much scientific knowledge - tried to find alternative explanations for normal natural occurances.
So we got the god of the vulcano, the god of the earthquakes, the god for the sea, the god for harvest, the god for fertility, etc. etc.
But today - 3 October 2004 - we have explanations for nearly all these natural events, from here on earth to deep into space, and from the beginning of times till somewhere in the future.
But still the majority of people feel the need for god or gods.
What do you think is causing that need? Fear for the unknown? Fear for the future? Fear for death? The hope to see loved-ones back who passed away?
And why do people who do not believe in god or gods do not set themselves apart in any other way from humanity, f.i. in crime, in morals, and in social behaviour? Afteral, I don't get the impression that theists lead "better" lives than atheists. How could that be, as theists often refer to that "extra" they claim to get out of religion?

curious98 answered on 10/03/04:

Im of the opinion that man was created by instilling in him a need to explain his creation. This need was gradually satisfied through religions, which, to the extent man was growing in mental capacity, become more sophisticated. Jews, and later on Christians, were responsible for the most important religion of them all. At least, from our viewpoint.
It is true that, today - 3 October 2004 we have explanations for nearly all natural events, from here on earth to deep into space, and from the beginning of times till somewhere in the future
At least, some believe so. I do not.
We know nothing re. the creation of Universe. We have some theories going on. But nothing for sure.
Biogenetics seem to be able to create animal life, even human life. But we still need the basic ingredients (feminine and masculine) to create it. I do not think we have succeeded in creating something so simple as sperm or an ovum.
We know there are forces like magnetism, electricity, gravitation, light speed, etc. But do we know where did they come from, or who created them?
Our past history is full of mysteries which historians, when totally unable to explain them, prefer either to ignore them or simply shrug their shoulders.
So, its only normal that the majority feels the need for god. Because, the majority cannot explain the unexplainable!
The funny think is that the minority (a tremendous minority, at that) cannot explain it either. Yet, they prefer to shrug their shoulders and pretend it is not important to know.
And the big question remains unanswered for them.
The big question of where are we coming from, what are we doing here, and where are we going to from here? Religion, somehow, tries to answer these questions, and this is enough for billions of people.
Atheists, however, are human beings too, and as such they have been created just the same as the rest. Whether they like it or not (and even if they will not admit it), they are subject to the same laws as the others. They are free to choose their way of life. They are free to claim the do not believe in GOD (though they do not seem to be able to ignore GOD completely, for they keep on talking about GOD all the time) and they are even free to eventually convert, as many have done so far.
Being a theist as you call us- does not guarantee being able to lead "better" lives than atheists. The latter can live like saints all their lives without believing in GOD. And so can the former.
Religion has only relevance for our future life. Those of us who believe in another life try to behave here to gain Paradise and at the same time, that helps us feeling good with ourselves.
Those who do not believe in another life may also behave well according to Natural Law- and they will also feel good while here. Later on, nobody knows!

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FormerJesusHelper76 asked on 09/30/04 - Please Pray

For My wife and her challenges in life with her decisions in career, and family. Her challenges with her very controlling family. My challenges in dealing with this crazyness. Please pray for me to have patience even though i know the control and interfering ways will always be there. Please pray for peace and understanding and for Gods will to be done in all situations. God bless!


curious98 answered on 10/01/04:

Dear JH,

Whatever the nature of your problem, which is none of our business, I shall keep you in mind when praying.

God Bless

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paraclete asked on 10/01/04 - An Interesting Theory?

The temperature of heaven can be rather accurately computed. Our authority is the Bible, Isaiah 30:26 reads, Moreover, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold as the light of seven days. Thus, heaven receives from the moon as much radiation as the earth does from the sun, and in addition seven times seven (forty nine) times as much as the earth does from the sun, or fifty times in all. The light we receive from the moon is one ten-thousandth of the light we receive from the sun, so we can ignore that. With these data we can compute the temperature of heaven: The radiation falling on heaven will heat it to the point where the heat lost by radiation is just equal to the heat received by radiation. In other words, heaven loses fifty times as much heat as the earth by radiation. Using the Stefan-Boltzmann fourth power law for radiation

(H/E)4 = 50
where E is the absolute temperature of the earth, 300K (273+27). This gives H the absolute temperature of heaven, as 798 absolute (525C).

The exact temperature of hell cannot be computed but it must be less than 444.6C, the temperature at which brimstone or sulfur changes from a liquid to a gas. Revelations 21:8: But the fearful and unbelieving... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone." A lake of molten brimstone [sulfur] means that its temperature must be at or below the boiling point, which is 444.6C. (Above that point, it would be a vapor, not a lake.)

We have then, temperature of heaven, 525C (977F). Temperature of hell, less than 445F). Therefore heaven is hotter than hell.

curious98 answered on 10/01/04:

Dear friend,
It is Isaiah 30:26, not 30:25. Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven-fold, as the
light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.

I do not want to sound too disappointing, but I suppose what you say is actually a joke, is not it?
For if it is not, my first question is, where do you manage to place Heaven as regards to our Solar system? As you, our own system forms a small very small part of a small galaxy The Milky Way - , which, in turn, is only one of the millions of galaxies and the billions of solar systems in the Universe.
This is precisely why our GODs Creation is so magnificent!
Anyway. You seem to anticipate, according to your formula, that the Heaven should not be too far away from the Sun, in order to receive its radiation. In that case, it is sort of strange that it has not been detected by any of the many observatories inspecting the outer space, dont you think so?
It seems like we could somehow define Heaven according to earthen metrical system, in terms of square meters, or in terms of so large, so wide, so high, so close or so far away. Same with Hell.
So when we speak of Heaven we look upwards and when we speak of Hell we look downwards, so for us living in the Northern Hemisphere Hell would be more or less in New Zealand, but for Aussies Hell must be close to France
I think we should start thinking of Heaven, Hell and or GOD as abstractions, totally incomprehensible for our limited mind. We simply cannot apply to them our adjectives, which were only invented to qualify earthly things.
It is to attempt to describe the indescribable with words which cannot come close to expressing the glory of heaven. Paul wrote these words: "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him" (I Corinthians 2:9). Some question whether these words directly refer to heaven: they may not, but from all that we do know, they are certainly true of heaven and of the indescribable nature of that glorious place. Things which eye has not seen: can you imagine it? Men's eyes have seen abundant treasures upon the earth. Men have seen golden thrones, palaces, exquisite diamonds, rubies, and pearls. Men can conceive of handfuls of diamonds, fields of jewels, and buildings of gold, glittering in the noonday sun, but men cannot imagine the glory of heaven. It is beyond our imagination. Such is the task before us: to speak of the glory of heaven using words that cannot describe it; to try to picture for you that which cannot even be conceived by your heart.
SP much to my regret your otherwise well conceived formula is totally useless in this case.
Incidentally, concepts like hot or cold are also earthly concepts. I doubt they can be applied to Heaven or Hell.

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freethinker asked on 09/29/04 - Church of Scientology - 01

Challenged to bring the CofS up to debate here, and with the CofS forum as dead as a doodoo, I hereby post the first of a long list of CofS questions :
The C of CofS stands for CHURCH. What's your opinion on a MONEY SPINNING BUSINESS like the CofS calling itself a CHURCH?
Are the chimeras by Ron L Hubbard (RIP) a proper (enough) basis to describe scientology as a church? Why?

curious98 answered on 09/29/04:

According to the Oxford Universal Dictionary Illustrated, the word Church means:
Generally: the House of the Lord
I a.: A building for public Christian worship
II: The Christian community, collectively.
III: A congregation of Christians locally organized, and so on and so forth, for over 1 full page.
However, it has always a Christian connotation as a place for Christians to pray, etc.
It also points out that some do incorrectly use the word when speaking of a Synagogue, a Mosque, or some other temple belonging to other religions.
Consequently, as the CofS does not appear (or I havent found it) in the list of Christian Denominations existing at present, I should conclude they have no right whatsoever to usurp the name of Church. They might as well call themselves the Mosque or the Synagogue of Scientology.
According to the same dictionary,
Scientology is a new religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard in 1955 and characterized by a belief in the power of a person's spirit to clear itself of past painful experiences through self-knowledge and spiritual fulfillment [syn: Scientology, Church of Scientology]

The whole schemer seems to have started with Rons invention
of the Dianetics when, by using the trick of self-suggestion and a high cognitive process, plus a considerable amount of gullible customers in urgent need of consolation, Ron managed to persuade them of his miraculous power.
From there to come out with a brand new religion, there is only a short step.
And from a brand new religion to a money making business there is even less distance.
Irrespective of the fact of the religion we may believe in, Mankind
has always felt the need to answer the famous questions: where do we come from? What are we doing here? Where are we due from here? These questions have been answered in different ways by different religions ever since Man exists.
However, it is true that some of these religions have lately managed to disappoint their followers.
On the one hand, the growing materialism which we are submerged in, the change in moral and ethic values suffered basically by the western world, our increasing selfishness, the widening gap between the 1st and the 3rd world, all of them are contributing to create an uneasiness and a feeling at a global scale of where are we leading our world to
On the other hand, the different religions do not seem to fully realize the danger of the present situation and, though there are large quantities of people consecrated to the meritorious task of helping the needy, even at the risk of their lives, the higher authorities of these religious entities are not effectively tackling some of these problems.
The end result. Many are open to embrace any new philosophy promising them undivided happiness and justice down here, even if they have (as it is always the case) to pay for this happiness, which is nothing but wishful thinking and beautifully spoken words
While they lose sight of the fact that the speaker is driving a golden limousine and lives in an ivory castle
I feel sorry for them But they deserve what they get.
The daughter of a friend of mine (35 years), a successful lawyer in Barcelona, decided sometime ago that she was not happy making a lot of money of making love to a different guy every two years.
So, on good day, she disappeared and, a few months later, she showed up in India as the humblest collaborator of the Theresas, founded by Mother Theresa of Calcutta.
My friend went to see her last year and, when he came back, he told me he had never seen her daughter so happy before.
Non tam praesse quam prodesse; not so much to command but to serve, being useful.
If we are not satisfied with how the religion we believe in is tackling todays problems, we can always resort to action. There is so much to do right in the place where we live, that we should not have to waste our precious time listening to any bright guy who comes out from the blue to tell us he is in direct connection with God Almighty and he knows how to make us happy.
Best regards

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freethinker asked on 09/28/04 - What's going on here?

I look at the title here : it reads "Religion forum."
Still I note that half of the questions are of a christian nature, about christian issues.
Also I note that traffic at the "Christianity forum" is - to say it nicely - "slow".
Why are christians not posting their christian questions on the christianity forum?
This forum is about questions on religion in general, isn't it?
What is going on here?

curious98 answered on 09/28/04:

To the best of my knowledge, when we refer to Religion we are basically referring to a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that supposedly control the human destiny. The majority of the world population shares one religion or other.
Im of the opinion that Christianity is a religion. In fact, this opinion is also shared by 1.5 billion (25% of present world population) people.
Discussing Christianity subjects in the religion forum opens up the possibility of having other points of view from other persons who may go from atheists like yourself to followers of other important Religions like Judaism or Islam (Islam, for one, represents another 20% of global population).
On the other hand, the Christianity forum is probably (I dont know for sure) attended only by Christians.
Furthermore, so far nobody has ever complained about Christians participating in this Religion Forum, and we have so far had some quite interesting discussions on general religious matters.
However, and curiously enough, the first person who is questioning this Forum is a person who does not share ANY religion!
Why dont you participate in the Forum about Atheism?
The same freedom you have to participate in our Religion Forum being an Atheist, we Christians have even more rightly so- to be here.
SO nothing is going on here, at least, nothing extraordinary, as you seem to imply!
Best regards

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graeylin asked on 09/24/04 - What would happen if?

What would the world be like if all Christians actually acted like Christ? If they lived like Christ did, and tried to really behave and live in his manner and under his teaching? Modern stuff is still fine, they can drive cars instead of camels, etc., but what would the world be like?

curious98 answered on 09/24/04:

From what we are told by the Gospels, Jesus Christ spend his public life spreading love all over the place, and his maximum act of love was to give his life for the salvation of mankind.
Consequently, if we would all act like He did we should live in a world of peace and love.
However, this should imply a few changes in our so-called modern civilization.
For instance, 1st world governments, Arab tycoons, religious leaders, multinational corporations and, in general, all those of us who have more than what we may need to comfortably live, should start seriously thinking about the persons that die of starvation (one every 4 seconds!) in the rest of the globe, and, after getting rid of the whole bunch of corrupt leaders ruling in 3rd world countries (they would never behave like Christ, anyway) begin to consider the people from these countries irrespective of color, race, religion, educational level, social position, etc.- as our own true brothers and, therefore, help them as much as needed.
No more weapons, no more wars, no more injustice, no more whites are better than blacks or vice versa.
I start dreaming and get carried away
But now Im fully awake once more, and I tell you: if Jesus Christ would come to this earth of ours again, not only would we spit in his face but we would probably crucify him once more,
The charges being: Living danger for mankind!
Best regards

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tomder55 asked on 09/23/04 - Yom Kippur

To all my Jewish friends : Have an easy fast .

curious98 answered on 09/24/04:

I would like to endorse Tomder's best wishes for a nice and peaceful celebration of Yom Kippur, especially for those living in Israel.

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brmohammad asked on 09/17/04 - Jesus

Was jesus the son of the God phyisically or not ?
In my opinion Jesus was a craeture and the prophit of God.

curious98 answered on 09/18/04:

In very much the same way as Shia Muslims believe Ali (Muhammads son in love) as Muhammads legal successor, Christians consider Jesus the Son of God incarnated in a Virgin so that He could also become a man and eventually die in a Cross to redeem Mankind of its sins. Together with his Father and the Holy Spirit they form the Holy and Undivided Trinity, i.e. Christianity God.
It is a matter of faith.
For your further information, and considering you as a Shia Muslim as you consider yourself, please note the following:
Islam's prophet, Muhammad, believed Jesus was the Messiah, Allah's anointed messenger. Allah's people (Muslims) are told to listen to Allah's messengers (Koran/Quram, IV.171; V. 111*).

The Prophet's revelations about Jesus contained in the Koran should be read by his followers, all Muslims, as the Koran/Quram requires.
Muhammad, Islam's Prophet, believed Jesus was sent by Allah to be the Messiah, miraculously born of the Virgin Mary, who brought the Gospel, who died, was raised from the dead, then ascended into heaven to be with Allah. Jesus would become an everlasting blessing to all mankind!
The Koran tells how Allah anointed Jesus, through a virgin birth to be the Messiah - Savior of the world, nearly five hundred and fifty years before Muhammad was born.
Muslims believe the Koran was written by God and is God's message to all people.
So, if this is true, according to your Koran/Quram, Jesus was the Messiah, and you should believe it.
Jesus did the Messiah's work (opening heaven) 550 years before Islam's Prophet was born.
As God's messenger, Jesus explained, simplified, and demonstrated God's will and message, although the Jews did not believe in him. Jesus' "Good News" - the Gospel - is about God's love and forgiveness for all mankind. Muhammad's revelations, recorded in the Koran/Qur'an teach that:
Jesus was sent by Allah, who supported him with the Holy Spirit, to tell the world Allah's will (II, 87; V. 110-117*).
Consequently, just as you are to believe in what the Koran/Quram says, we are to believe in what the Bible, Christians Holy Book, says re. Jesus.
Hope to have helped

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Pamela asked on 09/16/04 - Acts of God

There was a recent Australian movie - The Man Who Sued God.

He sued the churches because the insurance company he was with refused to payout on what they said was an act of God ( lightening)

Do you believe that all natural disasters are acts of God, or are they the result of God allowing satan to rule? 2 Cor 4:4 Not that satan causes every natural disaster, but just that he does not control the weather as Jesus did when he calmed the storm.

curious98 answered on 09/16/04:

God is the responsible party for the Creation of the Universe. Which means that, at the same time, He created the set of rules and regulations running this Universe. I have no doubt about that.
But, in my humble opinion, these set of Universal physical and chemical Laws control what happens in out Universe in general and in our Earth in particular.
Natural disasters are mostly a direct consequence of natural and/or periodical physical phenomena, as for instance, the periodical floods in Bangla Desh, and consequence of the annual Monsoon.
Earthquakes or volcanic eruptions are consequence of tectonic movements
In some cases, though, some disasters may be the direct consequence of man decisions, like some wood fires.
But I believe that in no case we are to put the blame on God for whatever is going on down here, which we may not like
I think we ALL tend to either take the name of GOD too lightly or to pretend that IT must be helping us to get out of all the problems we run into.
The majority of us remember GOD when we need IT and the rest of the time we behave as we deem it more convenient.
And we are constantly fighting amongst ourselves over irrelevant questions such as God said this; no, God said that, instead; God wants this; no, God meant, that
Gods rules are quite clear. All we have to do is to follow them. And when natural disasters hit us, like lightning, maybe we should be more careful instead of suing God for our own stupidity

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Pamela asked on 09/16/04 - Anomalies in the theory of Evolution

Ever heard of Basilosarus, the so called lizard(saurus) whale? Even evolutionists dont believe that whales evolved from reptiles. Yet a famous paleontologist called this Indian fossil ( which is better described as a seal) as a Basilosaurus.

Anyone know of any others?

curious98 answered on 09/16/04:

In this Religion section we propose mostly religious subjects, though sometimes some political matters are brought here, but because they may be connected with Religion or Morals, in general.
So far I have not seen any question dealing in Zoology!
Or are we to consider your post as a religious question of some kind?

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Pamela asked on 09/15/04 - I escaped - from the Christianity Board

As with We Tell You that Board has degenerated into a total fiasco, with users claiming that I dont have a husband ( how could they know) and me being slandered - " she massages perverts"
Check it out.

Datheus must be on vacation because my husband and I have both reported abuse and no action has been taken.

I hope the serial pests dont follow me here. I look forward to answering and learning from you.

curious98 answered on 09/15/04:

To FormerJesusHelper76 I would invite to participate, if he does not mind, in our recent dialogue between Paraclete and I, where I'm precisely emphasizing that Jesus' message is, in the end, a message of love for Mankind.

As for PAMELA, I can only say that tolerance is not exactly abounding in our today's world.
This is the reason that, more often than not, even in these Q&A forums, some people cannot help exhibit their bigotry by speaking out of term.
This is the more extraordinary when we take into consideration that cultural level of participating people in these forums seems to be rather high.
But, as I keep on stressing here, we, humans, are so arrogant that, no matter how much we try to conceal this fact, we always end up by showing our slip
But we enjoy our debates, so I hope you will, too.

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graeylin asked on 09/11/04 - Sisera's death: awake or asleep?

was Sisera asleep when Jael killed him, as described in Judges 4:21 or awake and standing when Jael killed him, as described in Judges 5:25-27?

curious98 answered on 09/14/04:

Here is an interesting text from the Good News Bible, American Bible Society, 1982:
From the story, it seems that Sisera was sleep when Jael killed him. But againt, this is immaterial, for the fact is that Sisera was killed alright, which, once more, shows how much they resembled us.
Quote: The first and most remarkable thing about the story of Deborah is that a woman is a prophet, judge and leader of Israel. Judges chapter 4 opens as she is sitting under a palm tree judging disputes and making decisions for the people. The previous judge, Ehud, had died and Deborah had assumed the vacancy in local politics and spiritual life.
Its remarkable because women didnt have a voice in Biblical times. Although we know about Eve, Sarah and Rachel, women were usually referred to as the wife, the daughter, the mother or the harlot. If a couple was childless it was because the woman was barren. We know about Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, but we never get the names of the wives.
After Joshuas stellar leadership comes to an end with his death, the twelve tribes of Israel each settle on their own parcel of land. There is no national leader to replace him but God raises judges from time to time to deal with problems. As this story will show, Deborah probably fills a role that either no one wants or no one is courageous enough to play.
The judges were national heroes who came to the forefront whenever Israel was threatened by an armed force. The lead-in was always the same: The people of Israel sinned against the Lord. (Judges 4: 1) God protected them as long as they were faithful to Him. But the people were having a hard time ignoring the pagan gods around them in Canaan. When their worship of these gods became accepted practice, an enemy would appear to conquer them.
The people would return to YHWH and pray for help when things got really bad. A judge would rise up (Ehud, Deborah or Samson) and lead the defense of Israel. Worship of YHWH would return for a while and there would be peace. Then the cycle would repeat itself. This went on for a century or so between Joshua and the first king, Saul.
In defense of the people of Israel, scattered throughout Palestine, the pagan gods must have offered something that was hard to resist. Lets not forget that the children of Israel had been slaves in Egypt for a few hundred years. Then they were nomadic wanderers in the deserts of the Sinai. They probably werent great farmers or ranchers. The Canaanites had been settled there for maybe a thousand years prior. They no doubt had successful harvests and great flocks of sheep.
To the poor Israelite, this must have been a cause of great distress and envy. It must have seemed as if their gods were doing a great job. Maybe YHWH wasnt such a great god for farmers and if they prayed to another god and got results, Amen! Im sure there was a lot of mixing and matching of deities in an effort to secure a good crop. But YHWH proves what He said. He is a jealous God and demands fidelity to him only. Especially from His own chosen people.
Deborah, as prophet, receives a revelation. She summons Barak from the city of Kadesh. She instructs him to take an army of 10,000 men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun and take them to Mount Tabor. A Canaanite king had conquered the land and Barak was to lead an army against this intruder. The Bible says that Jabin, the Canaanite king ruled the people of Israel with cruelty and violence for twenty years. (Judges 4: 3)
Not only was his rule ruthless, the Canaanites had 900 iron chariots. Chariots were the new thing in the Iron Age and knowing how to make them gave an army great superiority. After twenty years of this the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help. (Judges 4: 3) The commander of King Jabins army was Sisera. This was the force that Deborah called Barak to challenge.
Deborah tells Barak that she will summon Sisera to fight him at the Kishon River. She says to him, He will have his chariots and soldiers, but I will give you victory over him. (Judges 4: 7) Barak is not too sure and tells her that he will only go if she goes with him. She answers, All right, I will go with you, but you wont get any credit for the victory, because the Lord will hand Sisera over to a woman. (Judges 4: 9)
When Siseras nine hundred chariots were near, Deborah gave the command to Barak and he led his 10,000 Israelite soldiers against them. The Lord threw the Canaanite army into confusion. It seems that a pouring rain had rendered the heavy iron chariots useless. They were trapped in the mud and all fled on foot. The whole army was killed by Baraks troops and Sisera himself ran away.
In the meantime, Heber the Kenite had set up his tent nearby and his wife Jael also had a tent there. Sisera ran into Jaels tent asking for her protection. She hid him behind some curtains. When he asked her for water, she gave him milk. He fell asleep and Jael took a tent peg and a hammer and drove the peg through Siseras head. Jael proudly displayed the corpse to Barak when he came looking for him. And so it happened just as Deborah had prophesied. A woman had executed Sisera. The army marched right on to Hazor, the kings city, and destroyed him too.
Chapter 5 is The Song of Deborah and Barak and gives more details of the struggle. It talks of Gods power in helping win the battle; of the rains that fell; how The stars fought from the sky. (Judges 5: 20) She also heaps scorn on those tribes of Israel that did not come to the aid of Israel. Zebulun and Naphtali are praised as heroes and the other tribes are listed with their excuses.
There was peace in the land for forty years and then the whole process will repeat as once again the people will become guilty and sin against the Lord. The mantle will fall on Gideon next.


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graeylin asked on 09/10/04 - King Baasha an the attack of the living dead.

How did King Baasha rise up ten years after his demise and attack Asa of Judah?

Elah became king upon the death of his father, Baasha in the 26th year of Asas reign as king of Judah.

1 Kings 16:8
In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah the son of Baasha to reign over Israel in Tirzah, two years.

However, in 2nd Chronicles, 16:1, Baasha lead an army against Asa in the 36th year of his reign.

In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah

that's ten years after he died. How did Baasha manage that neat trick?

curious98 answered on 09/14/04:

You are citing 2 different sources, i.e. 1 Kings 15:16 - 16:13 and 2 Chronicles 16:1- Therefore, 2 different authors and consequently, some discrepancies in dates, which are totally unimportant.
The history, according to the Encyclopedia, goes:
Little is known about Baasha's background. He was of the tribe of Issachar, of humble origin, and was probably a military commander, since he was with King Nadab in war. While at war, Baasha murdered Nadab and proclaimed himself king. He also murdered all Nadab's relatives, whom he considered rivals to the throne, thereby fulfilling a prophecy against King Jeroboam, but also bringing upon himself a prophecy that his own family would be similarly exterminated.
Baasha's 23-year reign was marked by ongoing war with neighboring Judah, and by a continuation of Jeroboam's golden calf cult.
Israel was not as prosperous as neighboring Judah, and many Israelites had warm feelings for their Judean neighbors. The kings of Israel generally saw emigration as a threat. Jeroboam had tried to stop international travel to Judah; Baasha similarly tried to seal the borders. He began building border fortifications at Ramah, for the dual purposes of enforcing travel regulations and for use as a base of military operations against Judah. But Judah's King Asa caused a diversion to draw Baasha's people away, then assembled a massive work force to remove the building materials so the fortifications couldn't be completed and used against Judah. Baasha was forced to abandon the effort.
Upon Baasha's death, he was succeeded by his son Elah. But Elah ruled only a short time before being murdered by Zimri, who also exterminated Baasha's heirs, as Baasha had done to his predecessor, and as the prophet had said would happen

The important moral of the story, though, is that they were not much better than we are, were they?


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Saladin asked on 09/09/04 - Suicide for children

The Vatican ( -- A leading Catholic official is blasting a proposal in the Netherlands that would allow children under the age of 12 to request assisted suicide.

Bishop Elio Sgreccia, the vice-president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, condemned the idea saying "the final boundary will have been crossed" in disrespect for the sanctity of human life.

"No one can claim such homicidal responsibility for himself or for another person. No authority can legitimately impose or permit it. This is a violation of divine law, an offense at the dignity of the human person, a crime against a life and an attack against humanity," the papal representative said.

Bishop Sgreccia warned of a "moral relativism" that has "anesthetized society," and said that modern medicine is wrongly focusing on costs rather than the welfare of the patient.

Approved in 2002, Dutch law allows adult patients suffering from incurables diseases to request assisted suicide. Teenagers under the age of 16 must have their parents approval, but the newly proposed law would drop that to 12 years of age.

Bishop Sgreccia's comments, which appeared in the newspaper l'Osservatore Romano, said that children that young can't provide valid consent.

The Vatican official said the Dutch law is rapidly moving away from assisted suicide and towards euthanasia. Many residents of the European nation wear arm bracelets telling doctors not to end their lives prematurely.

Sgreccia said that Catholic teaching on end of life issues and its opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide is "well known, constantly repeated, and confirmed."

"We must repeat with the utmost firmness that nothing and no one can give permission to kill an innocent human being, whether he be a fetus, an embryo, a child, an adult, an old person or a sick person in incurable agony," wrote Sgreccia.

Expanding on the Catholic Church's pro-life policies on assisted suicide and euthanasia, the Pope in March said that removing the feeding tube of a disabled patient is immoral and amounts to "euthanasia by omission."

Pope John Paul II also said that the lexicon used to describe such patients -- as being in a "vegetative state" was degrading and inhuman


curious98 answered on 09/10/04:


In such delicates matters as Euthanasia (or abortion) it is impossible to come out with a 100% objective analysis.
We simply cannot get rid of our own prejudices or preconceived ideas derived from our religious principles.
And, as it constantly happens in most religious matters, we will not get to any sort of agreement.
To properly mull over Euthanasia one has to find himself personally immersed in the problem and, even so, he/she will always stumble (if a Catholic) with the Church.
The Roman Catholic Church does not accept Euthanasia under any circumstances. Just as, with one or two exceptions, it does not consider Abortion either.
No wonder, therefore, that Bishop Elio Sgreccia, claims that Euthanasia is a violation of divine law.
This is the line of thought of the Catholic Church I cannot tell for the other Christian Denominations- and is totally inflexible.
It is not a dogma, but almost.
Personally, I must say that I agree with that position. Along with millions of other persons who think the same
The Nederlands are lately characterizing themselves for a great disposition to yield to the wishes of minority groups who consider themselves discriminated. Cannabis being freely sold in drugstores; gay culture; homosexuals weddings; abortions and euthanasia. Catholics are a minority in Holland too, but nobody listens to them instead, for they are considered politically inconvenient and demods (old fashioned).
In Spain we are also starting to have some discussions on the subject, now that we have a brand new Socialist Government.
It gives me shivers at what they are capable of doing. Our President, with an eye on the next election (in 2008!!) he is behaving in what I would say a childish and opportunist way.
He is a rather stupid back-scratcher.
To give you an idea yesterday he came out on the news with a most extraordinary declaration.
He said the ONLY way to finish off the Iraqi problem of kidnappings is for the USA and all the other countries involved in the conflict to immediately quit the Country, as we did last June.
He thinks that splendid attitude of his, will guarantee him an increasing number of votes 4 years from now. Certainly, not mine if Im still down here.
And he is also saying: maybe we should be doing something about legalizing euthanasia and homosexual marriages.
Again, this is nothing else but fishing for votes.
He, and I guess all the rest of his gang, are the kind of persons that claim to fight against color segregation, but they would have a heart attack if their sons or daughters would come one day and would tell them they are going to live with someone who is not stark white
I do not believe in euthanasia nor in abortion. I believe we cannot dispose of our lives at pleasure, even if this means extra pain and sorrow.
Here again we enter into the field of personal comfort. We would like our religion to be lenient and casuistical, and be able to adapt it to our convenience.
That person wants to abort because she is too young OK, go on, and dont worry!
Or that other is in bed in coma! Lets be charitable and lets get rid of him/her. He/She wont even notice!
We may end up behaving like Spartans, which brings back to my memory that famous sentence from Adolph Hitler:
The abandonment (or eventual killing) of sick, puny and misshapen people and children by the Spartans was more humanitarian and, in reality, a thousand times more humane than the pitiful madness of our present time where the most sickly subjects are preserved at any price only to be followed by the breeding of a race from degenerates burdened with disease.
Great words, arent them?
Sometimes, I have the feeling that Hitlers ectoplasm is floating around us looking for new opportunities

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graeylin asked on 09/08/04 - Free Will: what is it, and when do we get it?

What is "free will"? When, as humans, are we endowed with it? at birth? at age of reason? at age of consent? at the age of our first sin?

Let's take a hypothetical example:
a young girl is raised in a religous orphanage from birth to the age of 15. At the age of 15, she is sent to a religous prison, where she is incarcerated for the rest of her natural life at forced labor. She is beaten by the religous leaders of the prison for any "sin" or defiance of the rules, she is not allowed to speak to others in the prison or ask questions of the leaders. She simply works 6 days a week, and performs religous ceremonies on the 7th. There is practically no chance to escape, and anyone who tries is beaten severely with rubber hoses especially made by the leaders to punish prisoners. They are often beaten unto near death for petty crimes, and she cannot fathom the punishment for attempting escape.

THe "crime" for which she is placed in this prison is that the religous leaders felt she was "too pretty", and would possibly sin or lead others into sin if she was allowed to remain in the outside world.

At which point did this woman have free will?

curious98 answered on 09/08/04:

This girl had always free will from the moment she was born.
She had free will to endure her sufferings and remain faithful to the God her heart had turned to, or to the God she had been taught to worship. She was also free to renege of this God and curse him for having forsaken her.
In other words, she was free in her mind to think and believe the way she wanted.
In principle, nobody can control our minds; for we can abide by somebody else's instructions while thinking he/she is a son of a gun!
There are techniques, through hypnosis and/or chemicals, to try to control our minds (brainwashing) but, in any case, this refers to our physical life in this little world of ours; nothing to do with our spiritual life.

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Saladin asked on 09/05/04 - Genesis 11

Who are the 'us' in Genesis 11:7?

Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.

curious98 answered on 09/05/04:


I guess this fragment of the Gen. 11.7 is open to different interpretations. Im not a bible scholar so I will simply advance my personal opinion, which may be, of course, completely wrong.
In Gen. 11.5 and 11.6, it is being explained what the LORD did and gives the impression He is speaking with Himself. We also do that quite often, when we are thinking aloud
It also could be that in writing the Genesis, the author or authors (Moses?) might have decided to use the majestatic form whereas the Lord speaks with the plural form. We shall do this we shall do that
And in Gen. 11.8, it is said that the LORD scattered them
And it was the LORD who confounded the language Gen. 11.9.
So what He did, He did it by Himself, which is only natural. GOD can do what He wants, as He wants, from where He wants, and He needs no help whatsoever to do it.
If we accept this premise, the us in Gen. 11.7, could be simply Him, or He might be speaking with his Father and the Holy Spirit (if we accept the Trinity) and tell them what he was about to do.
But, let us not forget that this is a narration written by somebody else that was not the LORD (though it might be inspired by Him). In this case, Moses (if he was indeed the author) may have somewhat decided to adorn the text to give a major emphasis.

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graeylin asked on 08/25/04 - Genesis 11, who is "they"?

Who is "they" that travelled from the east in Genesis 11?

And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.

Does this refer to Noah's children, the survivors of the Ark? Does it refer to someone else? How soon after the Ark lands in the mountains of Ararat does the tower of Babel get built?

curious98 answered on 08/26/04:

The descendants of Noe had migrated from the "east" (Armenia) first southward, along the course of the Tigris, then westward across the Tigris into "a plain in the land of Sennar". As their growing number forced them to live in localities more and more distant from their patriarchal homes, "they said: Come, let us make a city and a tower, the top whereof may reach to heaven; and let us make our name famous before we be scattered abroad into all lands." The work was soon fairly under way; "and they had brick instead of stones, and slime (asphalt) instead of mortar." But God confounded their tongue, so that they did not understand one another's speech, and thus scattered them from that place into all lands, and they ceased to build the city.
This is the Biblical account of the Tower of Babel, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. Thus far no Babylonian document has been discovered which refers clearly to the subject. Authorities like George Smith, Chad Boscawen, and Sayce believed they had discovered a reference to the Tower of Babel; but Frd. Delitzch pointed out that the translation of the precise words which determine the meaning of the text is most uncertain (Smith-Delitzsch. "Chaldaische Genesis", 1876, 120-124; Anmerk., p. 310).
Oppert finds an allusion to the Tower of Babel in a text of Nabuchodonosor; but this opinion is hardly more than a theory (cf. "The Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia", I, pl. 38, col. 2, line 62; pl. 41, col. 1, I. 27, col. 2, 1. 15; Nikel, "Genesis und Keilschriftforschung", 188 sqq.; Bezold, "Ninive und Babylon", 128; Jeremias, "Das alte Testament im Lichte des alten Orients", 2nd ed., Leipzig, 1906, 286; Kaulen, "Assyrien und Babylonien", 89).
A more probable reference to the Tower of Babel we find in the "History" of Berosus as it is handed down to us in two variations by Abydenus and Alexander Polyhistor respectively ("Histor. Graec. Fragm.", ed. Didot, II, 512; IV, 282; Euseb., "Chron.", I, 18, in P.G., XIX, 123; "Praep. Evang.", IX, 14, in P.G., XXI, 705). Special interest attaches to this reference, since Berosus is now supposed to have drawn his material from Babylonian sources.
However, this is one of the narrations of the Bible that is has been more or less verified archaeologically.
The story of the tower of Babel found in the Bible is familiar to many. Is there evidence that such a tower really existed? There are archaeological indications that it did, indeed.
In the fertile Mesopotamian plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, in what is now modern Iraq, there was a mound, or tell, of broken mud-brick buildings and debris. This is all that remained of the ancient famed city of Babylon, probably now destroyed for good, because of the war.
Babylon was one of a number of cities built by a succession of peoples that lived on the plain starting around 6.500 years ago. There developed a tradition in each city of building a temple in the shape of a stepped pyramid. These temples, or ziggurates, most likely honored a particular god. The people of Mesopotamia believed in many gods and often a city might have several ziggurates. Over time Babylon became the most influential city on the plain and its ziggurat, honoring the god Marduk (their main god), was built, destroyed and rebuilt until it was the tallest tower.
Archaeologists examining the remains of the city of Babylon have found what appears to be the foundation of the tower: a square of earthen embankments some three-hundred feet on each side. The tower's most splendid incarnation was probably under King Nabuchodonosor II who lived from 605-562 BC. The King rebuilt the tower to stand 295 feet high. According to an inscription made by the king the tower was constructed of "baked brick enameled in brilliant blue." The terraces of the tower may have also been planted with flowers and trees.
Constructing ziggurats on the Mesopotamian plain was not easy. The area lacks the stone deposits the Egyptians used effectively for their timeless monuments. The wood available is mostly palm, not the best for construction, so the people used what they had in abundance: mud and straw. The bulk of the towers were constructed of crude bricks made by mixing chopped straw with clay and pouring the results into molds. After the bricks were allowed to bake in the sun they were joined in construction by using bitumen, a slimey material imported from the Iranian plateau. Bitumen was used widely as a binding and coating material throughout the Mesopotamian plain.
The tower, referred to by the Babylonians as Etemenanki, was only one of the marvels of the city. Down the street was the Hanging Gardens, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Nebuchadnezzar also had two impressive palaces inside the city. The final beginning of the end of the tower of Babel probably began around 478 BC. The city had been taken over by the Persian King Xerxes who crushed a rebellion there that year. The tower was neglected and crumbled .
Because of the use of mud-baked bricks, ziggurats needed constant maintenance. Often they had elaborate internal drainage systems to channel rain water away so that the bricks would not be eroded. If the pipes on a ziggurat were not cleaned regularly and allowed to jam the tower would slowly crumble. Ziggurats were also highly susceptible to earthquake damage. Their height amplified the effect of quake forces while the rigid, unreinforced-brick construction did not allow the structures to flex with the shaking.
Although the Tower of Babel is now gone, a few lessor ziggurats still exist. The largest surviving, (although damaged) temple is now found in western Iran, in what was once the ancient land of Elam. It is located about 18 miles from the capital of Elam, a city named Susa. Built in 1250 BC by the King Untash-Napirisha it once had five levels and stood 170 feet in height.
Even in 460 BC, after the tower had been crumbling for many years, the Greek historian Herodotus visited the tower and was very impressed. "It has a solid central tower, one furlong square, with a second erected on top of it and then a third, and so on up to eight. All eight towers can be climbed by a spiral way running around the outside, and about halfway up there are seats for those who make the journey to rest on."
Though the tower has been gone for many years, its biblical story has continued to inspire artists. It was a favorite subject during the 14th century when several well-known paintings were done. As archaeological and historical research has shown most were not truly representative of the actual building.
So, in conclusion, you can see that "The Biblical Tower" was, in any case, one of many of a typical monument of the epoch in former Mesopotamia, very much ad the Pyramids were quite popular in Egypt.
Best regards

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graeylin asked on 08/23/04 - Adam and others

In Genesis 1:27, God created Adam (on the sixth day). Genesis 1:27 says that "male and female He created them." This is also repeated in Genesis 5:1 and 5:2, where God created man, male and female, and blessed them.

Who is the "them" that God created on the 6th day? It can't be Eve, because woman was created later, after the 7 days of creation, after the creation of Eden, etc., wasn't she? God finished the sixth day (Genesis 1:31), and then He ended His working and creating on the 7th day, and He rested (Genesis 2:2
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.)

How do scholars differentiate between the "man" God created on day 6 (genesis 1:27) and the "man" God created on day 2 (genesis 2:4 to 2:7)? In Genesis 2, God clearly makes man on the same day as He made the earth and Heaven.

curious98 answered on 08/23/04:

I think your question is purely academic. If the process of creation had actually been accomplished as the Genesis account we might wonder about the what and the whys of the passages you are referring to.
The fact remains, however, that God created our Earth and its contents in an entirely different way to what the Scriptures say. And consequently, the way creation is narrated in the Genesis can only be attributed to the imagination of its authors and of the subsequent translators.
And I say authors for I find it hard to accept contrary to what my French rabbi friend says- that the Genesis was dictated to Moses by God himself during the 40 years that Moses needed to go across the desert to the promised land.
The Scriptures -probably, inspired, which is different than dictated - were written by men according to the knowledge available thousands of years ago, which has to explain whatever problems we may experience in interpreting them.
To this, you must add, as I said before, the differences small or big - arising from the many translations and translators.
For instance, our friend Yiddishkeit, in his answer to you, sounds somewhat reluctant to use a different Bible than his Hebrew one when, if they would all be alike, Hebrew, Catholic, Orthodox or Protestants would not really matter, for they would all have been the same author, would not they?

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paraclete asked on 08/20/04 - How much religion is involved in the celebration of the Olympic games?

I think we have forgotten the spiritually historic basis behind the Olympic Games

curious98 answered on 08/21/04:

The origin of the ancient Olympic Games has been lost, although there are many legends surrounding its origins. One of these legends associates the first Games with the ancient Greek concept of "Ekeicheiria" or Olympic Truce. The first recorded celebration of the Games in Olympia was in 776 BC, although this was certainly not the first time they were held. The Games were then mostly a local affair, and only one event was contested, the stadion race.

From that moment on, the Games slowly became more important throughout ancient Greece, reaching their zenith in the sixth and fifth centuries BC. The Olympics had, of course, a religious importance, for they honoured Zeus, of whom a huge statue stood at Olympia. The number of events increased to twenty, and the celebration was spread over several days. Winners of the events were broadly admired and were immortalised in poems and statues. The Games were held every four years, and the period between two celebrations became known as an Olympiad. The Greeks used Olympiads as one of their methods to count years.

The Games gradually lost in importance as the Romans gained power in Greece. When Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, the Olympic Games were seen as a "pagan" festival, and in 393, the emperor Theodosius forbade the Olympics, ending a thousand year period of Olympic Games.


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Bradd asked on 08/11/04 - Beginnings of Religion

What do you think is the source of religion? There are so many, and some are clearly opposed to others - to such a degree that one or the other must be "false".

How old do you think religion is?

For discussion purposes, I define religion as the belief in the supernatural (or outside of nature).

curious98 answered on 08/19/04:

Sorry for the delay, but I was out on holidays:
To try to properly answer your question I should disregard my own beliefs, to give you an objective view based on scientifical recent explanations. However, for me the existence of a supreme Creator is out of any question.
When we study the history of life, it is easy to see that life has evolved over time. The fossils of creatures that lived before us faithfully record the innovations and changes leading to the diversity of life that we observe today. The history of religion is much shorter, yet it too has left a fossil record revealing some of the innovations and changes leading to the diversity of religions which now surround us However, religion may be a special case of mystery religion depends on mystery and once the mystery is unraveled religion may not survive.
The evolution of humankind and religion are inextricably bound together. For millions of years evolution was controlled by one set of rules. The rules were simple: whichever genes carried the design for creatures most efficient at getting their genes copied into a new generation would come to dominate any gene pool. Then at some point those genes described a new environment. The new environment was a brain of sufficient power to support language. A new replicator would soon take advantage of the new environment. Not surprisingly, a rule very similar to the one for genetic replicators would apply to the new replicators. Whichever language constructs were most efficient at getting themselves copied would come to dominate the pool of language constructs.
Religion is really just a language construct a word-based replicator. Religions are affected by their environment and normally affect their environment in turn. The replicators must then adapt to the changes or perish. Thus we can see that the rules regarding natural selection of replicators apply equally to biological life and bodies of religious thought.
Evolution of life is a fact. The evidence is overwhelming. For example, Within our lifetime we have observed the rise of drug resistant bacteria and pesticide resistant insects.
Bodies of religious thought also evolve. The evidence is overwhelming. For example Christianity is clearly descended from Judaism. In turn, Judaism can trace its roots all the way back to the mythology of Zeus (Drews, 1998).

Many people no longer believed God conjured the Earth and man from nothing, but adapted by believing God's unseen hand directed our creation via natural laws. Humankind has an innate fascination with his origins and seems to need an explanation. Before science offered other explanations, this would seem to have the effect of making humankind a ready vessel for the need of religions.
Human curiosity is another characteristic seeming to go well beyond that of any other creature on Earth. We have a deep-seated desire to understand our surroundings. Again, before science offered competing ideas, this curiosity would seem to facilitate the need for religion as a means to explain the unknown. The young mind in particular seems to ask Why? A parent or religious leader was happy to answer and by doing so unwittingly transferred his beliefs to the next generation.
There are other characteristics of humankind which may show how our genes have been manipulated to better accommodate our religious experiences.
The God Module, if it exists, seems to be responsible for all sorts of visions and spiritual feelings in persons where it is not normally inhibited such as persons with certain types of brain-damage.
The term God Module was coined to describe a part of the brain which some people believe to be responsible for spiritual experiences. Many people would like to interpret the God Module as evidence that our creator made us in such a way that we could properly worship him. Mainstream scientists and free-thinkers are likely to dismiss the whole idea as illogical ranting or seek an explanation that does not involve religion (Noelle, 1998). Perhaps a better explanation is provided by the idea that the God Module does indeed exist and represents another way in which the genetic code of humankind has been manipulated to better accommodate this need or curiosity. A brain structure which created spiritual feelings or visions would seem to mesh nicely with a humankind's curiosity about his origins and surroundings. If we are wired so that we feel the constant presence of a supernatural being, then we are more likely to follow the rules of our beliefs and more likely to pass along the genetic code for accommodating to it.
Our need for ceremony crosses all cultures and has existed for all of recorded history. Does ceremony help our genes, or does it exist because it enhances the transmission of our ideas? There is evidence that Neanderthals placed flowers with the dead (Eccles, 1991). We still perform that ceremony to this very day. Yet, flowers for the dead cannot be interpreted in terms of getting genes into the next generation. However, from the vantage-point of most religions, flowers for the dead make perfect sense! Finally, does our recorded history exist to help us, or does it exist primarily to help stabilize and validate our theories?
Why are there Temples, Priests, and Nuns? Many religions include religious leaders who do not have children. Many religions also require the building of elaborate ceremonial structures. Can either temples or celibate religious leaders be interpreted as enhancing the reproduction of the genes in the temple builders or celibate religious leaders? Natural selection, even in terms of a selfish gene says No. Does a celibate religious leader make sense from the vantage-point of a selfish religion? Yes, because all their resources and energy which would have gone into reproduction are now redirected to replication and reinforcement of that religion! Purely ceremonial structures must be interpreted in the same way. These structures reinforce and spread a belief, but cannot be interpreted as contributing to the reproductive success of the builders. Building a temple or other purely ceremonial structure represents a diversion of important resources away from childbearing and child-rearing.

The appeal of religion cannot be underestimated. For example John Eccles writes I am constrained to attribute the uniqueness of the Self or Soul to a supernatural spiritual creation (1991, p.237). Eccles further concludes Each Soul is a new Divine creation which is implanted into the growing foetus at some time between conception and birth. Eccles is a highly educated scientist and Nobel prize winner and reached this conclusion after exhaustive research into the evolution and inner workings of the human brain!
The same quest for knowledge has led to many discoveries and many new discoveries have the effect of eliminating the mysteries formerly used by religions as connection points to the human mind. It would seem we are at a crossroads. We may follow the path of truth as rational and logical science or we may follow some other path that makes us feel better. What is certain is this: we cannot do both.
So I have chosen to follow the path that makes me feel better, i.e. Gods path.

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avrom asked on 08/08/04 - What is your problem?

For Aton2:

You wrote in a comment:
" that the three supporters of the Israeli killing of Palestinian children, should also be indiffernt to the Bush administration killing Iraqi children. Of course, what else can be expected from those who worship a war-mongering, desert tyrant as God???? Yahweh had nor more respect for innocent lives that any of the ' Musketeers of invasion...Avrom, Yiddishkeit, ETWolverine.
May God have mercy on your poor children. "

Dear Aton,
If you have any direct problem with anything I have said, please come out and say it. Please do not lump me with ETWolverine and Yiddishkeit, while, I may agree with them 90-95% of the time, I am in fact, not them.

Where have I stated any view that expresses that I support the willful, purposeful killing of innocent children?

Please, directly quote me and give a coherant logical argument why you think I am in error. Then maybe we can discuss this as adults instead of you resorting to childish insults. Your reference to my poor children (3 of them, thank G-d) is below the belt and probably merits a four letter word response followed by the word " you " but I dont do things like that.

curious98 answered on 08/19/04:

I can see that the Iraq war is still going on hot in this forum!.

I have just arrived from a few days in Anman and Ryad and for those of you who have in such high esteem the role the present US Administration is playing in the Middle East Countries, I would advise a short visit to anyone of the Countries in the area.

Nothing like being exposed to first hand information from some of the protagonists in the dispute.

Best regards

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HANK1 asked on 08/08/04 - NUNDINAE!

The Romans had a nine-day "week" (Nundinae) with each ninth day being the market day. Constantine adopted a seven-day week, oddly enough for a Christian, naming the days after the planets.

How did the Jews come to have such an unweildly system as a seven-day week?

How did the Sabbath get transferred from Saturday to Sunday?


curious98 answered on 08/19/04:

Hi Hank,

Digging into the history of the 7-day week is a very complicated matter. Authorities have very different opinions about the history of the week, and they frequently present their speculations as if they were indisputable facts. The only thing we seem to know for certain about the origin of the 7-day week is that we know nothing for certain.

The common explanation is that the seven-day week was established as imperial calendar in the late Roman empire and furthered by the Christian church for historical reasons. The British Empire used the seven-day week and spread it worldwide. Today the seven-day week is enforced by global business and media schedules.

As you already know, the first pages of the Bible explain how God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. This seventh day became the Jewish day of rest, the sabbath, Saturday.

Extra-biblical locations sometimes mentioned as the birthplace of the 7-day week include: Babylon, Persia, and several others. The week was known in Rome before the advent of Christianity.

There are practical geometrical theories as well. For example, if you wrap a rubber band around 7 soda cans (or any other convenient circular objects). You get a perfect hexagon with the 7th can in the middle. It is the only stable configuration of wrapping more than 3 circular objects. Four, 5, and 6 objects will slip from one configuration to another. Ancients wrapping tent poles, small logs for firewood, or other circular objects might have come upon this number and attach a mystical significance to it.

One viable theory correlates the seven day week to the seven (astrological) "planets" known to the ancients: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. The number seven does not seem an obvious choice to match lunar or solar periods, however. A solar year could be more evenly divided into weeks of 5 days, and the moon phases five-day and six-day weeks make a better short term fit (6 times 5 is 30) to the lunar (synodic) month (of about 29.53 days) than the current week (4 times 7 is 28). The seven-day week may have been chosen because its length approximates one moon phase (one quarter = 29.53 / 4 = 7.3825).

Im quoting below an interesting paper on the subject offering additional info. on it.

The first thing to understand is that a week is not necessarily seven days. In pre-literate societies weeks of 4 to 10 days were observed; those weeks were typically the interval from one market day to the next. Four to 10 days gave farmers enough time to accumulate and transport goods to sell. (The one week that was almost always avoided was the 7-day week -- it was considered unlucky!) The 7-day week was introduced in Rome (where ides, nones, and calends were the vogue) in the first century A.D. by Persian astrology fanatics, not by Christians or Jews. The idea was that there would be a day for the five known planets, plus the sun and the moon, making seven; this was an ancient West Asian idea. However, when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire in the time of Constantine (c. 325 A.D.), the familiar Hebrew-Christian week of 7 days, beginning on Sunday, became conflated with the pagan week and took its place in the Julian calendar. Thereafter, it seemed to Christians that the week Rome now observed was seamless with the 7-day week of the Bible -- even though its pagan roots were obvious in the names of the days: Saturn's day, Sun's day, Moon's day. The other days take their equally pagan names in English from a detour into Norse mythology: Tiw's day, Woden's day, Thor's day, and Fria's day.
The amazing thing is that today the 7-day week, which is widely viewed as being Judeo-Christian, even Bible-based, holds sway for civil purposes over the entire world, including countries where Judaism and Christianity are anathema. Chinese, Arabs, Indians, Africans, Japanese, and a hundred others sit down at the U.N. to the tune of a 7-day week, in perfect peace (at least calendrically!). So dear is this succession of 7 days that when the calendar changed from Julian to Gregorian the week was preserved, though not the days of the month: in 1752, in England, Sept. 14 followed Sept. 2 -- but Thursday followed Wednesday, as always. Eleven days disappeared from the calendar -- but not from the week!

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revdauphinee asked on 08/08/04 - Seperation of church and state !

Recently a judge in a neighbouring state to mine here lost his job because he chose to promote the ten commandments in a state ofice building.Yet all over the country there are folks preaching to thier congregations from the pulpit the greateness of Geo w. Bush( in other words promoting a vote for him )and please dont tell me this dosent happen, I myself have heard it.It seems this sepperation stuff only works one way here if you promote your faith in a government setting it is wrong! however if you promote the government in a religious setting its ok?
seems like sepperation only works one way to me what is your oppinion?

curious98 answered on 08/19/04:

Don't know why you are surprised.
Mr. Bush, has time and again, boasted of his
close relationship with God.
I'm sure he has a especial "carte blanche", granted by the Big Boss, to use any religious settings at Bush's convenience.
With a little bit of luck, though, Mr. Kerry may bring in some order in these matters.

Sorry for the delay. I've been for a fornight in Jordan (spending some holidays with friends) and have arrived only today.

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koinegreek asked on 08/03/04 - 40 years of living in ignorance? Tell me how ignorant you are?

Your profile has the readings of a no nothing?

curious98 answered on 08/19/04:

What the heck is this question about?
Is it only for US citizens?
I'm sorry. I've been spending a few days in Jordan on a holiday, and I've come back today a bit confused.
Best regards

HANK1 asked on 07/25/04 - EGYPT!

Does the pharaonic religion give the impression that the Egyptians were preoccupied with death?


curious98 answered on 07/27/04:

Dear Hank
The Egyptians saw death as a transitional stage in the progress to a better life in the next world. They believed they could only reach their full potential after death. Each person was thought to have three souls, the "ka," the "ba," and the "akh." For these to function properly, it was considered essential for the body to survive intact. The entire civilization of Ancient Egypt was based on religion, and their beliefs were important to them. Their belief in the rebirth after death became their driving force behind their funeral practices.
In a way, very much like our present monotheistic religions teach.

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Pamela asked on 07/23/04 - The old excuse

Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden and God noticed that Adam was a bit slow about certain instructions He had given. So He called Adam to Him:
"Adam" God said. "I want you to go give Eve's hand a squeeze"
Adam said: "LORD, what's a squeeze?"
So God explained what a squeeze was, and Adam went off to find Eve.
A few minutes later, Adam returned with a smile on his face.
So God daid: "Adam, I want you to go and give Eve a kiss"
Adam asked "LORD, what'a a kiss?"
So God explained what a kiss was and Adam went off again to find Eve. A few minutes later He returned, with a puzzled expression on his face.

"LORD, I have to ask" said Adam. "What's a headache?"

curious98 answered on 07/27/04:

That figures!

Now I understand how in 54 years of marriage, for 5.616 tiems, my wife have told she was developping a migraine fater the good night kiss...


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Bradd asked on 06/24/04 - Proofreading

Claude, My emails for the last several days have been returned by your end. "Access denied" or ͎ Data line too large (Max 1024)"

Since the reliability is less than adequate, you may want to remove me from your list of editors. If you have some suggestions, I'm open to them.

Otherwise, it has been a privelege to help you, and I wish you the best of luck.


curious98 answered on 06/25/04:

OK, Bradd.

I agree. For some mysterious reasons I have problems with some addresses -even family ones- while most others go smoothly.

Anyway, thanks for your cooperation, and I remain always at your disposal.

Thanks again

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kindj asked on 06/18/04 - Let's see if I can sneak this one by...

Gonna try to sneak in a joke here, and hope the Post Police don't get me...

A young woman brings home her fiance to meet her parents. After dinner, her mother tells her father to find out about the young man. The father invites the fiance to his study for a drink. "So what are your plans?" the father asks the young man.

"I am a Torah scholar," he replies.

"A Torah scholar. Hmm." the father says. "Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in as she's accustomed to?"

"I will study," the young man replies, "and God will provide for us."

"And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring such as she deserves?" asks the father.

"I will concentrate on my studies," the young man replies, "and God will provide for us."

"And children?" asks the father. "How will you support children?"

"Don't worry, sir, God will provide," replies the fiance.

The conversation proceeds like this, and each time the father questions, the young idealist insists that God will provide.

Later, the mother asks, "How did it go, honey?"

The father answers, "He has no job and no plans, but the good news is he thinks I'm God."

curious98 answered on 06/18/04:

So good and so real...

LoL and reLol


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tomder55 asked on 06/18/04 - Madonna

Madonna is planning on changing her name to "Esther". She says that as she has gotten older and more mature, she thinks "Madonna" is no longer appropriate. Never mind that Esther was a beautiful virgin in The Bible. The most beautiful virgin given to the King (Esther 2:2-7).

Yep. That describes her perfectly

Recently ,I read that she was involved in a Talmudic movement ;a 'Kabbalah Centre' which was described as a Jewish cult . What is that all about ?

curious98 answered on 06/18/04:


The origins of the Kabalah are lost in the mists of antiquity; no one can demonstrate who was its author, or who were its earliest teachers. Considerable evidence may be adduced to show that its roots pass back to the Hebrew Rabbis who flourished at the time of the Second Temple about the year 515 B.C. Of its existence before that time there are no proofs that I know of.
It has been suggested that the captivity of the Jews in Babylon led to the formation of this philosophy by the effect of Chaldean lore and dogma acting on Jewish tradition. No doubt in the earliest stages of its existence the teaching was entirely oral, hence the name QBLH from QBL to receive, and it became varied by the minds through which it filtered in its course; there is no proof that any part of it was written for centuries after. It has been kept curiously distinct both from the Exoteric Pentateuchal Mosaic books, and from the ever-growing Commentaries upon them, the Mishna and Gemara, which form the Talmud. This seems to have grown up in Hebrew theology without combining with the recondite doctrines of the Kabalah. In a similar manner it can be seen in that in India the Upanishads, an Esoteric series of treatises, grew up alongside the Brahmanas and the Puranas, which are Exoteric instructions designed for the use of the masses of the people.
With regard to the oldest Kabalistic books still extant, I understand a controversy is raging among modern critics, who deny the asserted era of each work, and try to show that the assumed author is the only person who could not have written each one in question. But these critics show the utmost divergence of opinion the moment it becomes necessary to fix on a date or an author; so much more easy is destructive criticism than the acquirement of real knowledge.
The "Sepher Yetzirah" or "Book of Formation" is the oldest treatise; it is attributed by legend to Abraham the Patriarch. This work explains a most curious philosophical scheme of Creation, drawing a parallel between the origin of the world, the sun, the planets, the elements, seasons, man and the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet; dividing them into a Triad, a Heptad and a Dodecad; three mother letters A, M, and Sh are referred to primeval Air, Water and Fire; seven double letters are referred to the planets and the sevenfold division of time, etc.: and the twelve simple letters are referred to the months, zodiacal signs and human organs. Modern criticism tends to the conclusion that the existing ancient versions were compiled about A.D. 200. The "Sepher Yetzirah" is mentioned in the Talmuds, both of Jerusalem and of Babylon; it was written in the Neo-Hebraic language, like the Mishna.
The "Zohar" or" Sohar" spelled in Hebrew ZHR or ZUHR "The Book of Splendour" or of "Light," is a collection of many separate treatises on the Deity, Angels, Souls and Cosmogony. Its authorship is ascribed to Rabbi Simon ben Jochai, who lived A.D. 160; he was persecuted and driven to live in a cave by Lucius Aurelius Verus, co-regent with the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. Some considerable portion of the work may have been arranged by him from the oral traditions of his time: but other parts have certainly been added by other hands at intervals up to the time when it was first published as a whole by Rabbi Moses de Leon, of Guadalajara in Spain, circa 1290. From that time its history is known; printed Editions have been issued in Mantua, 1558, Cremona, 1560, and Lublin, 1623; these are the three famous Codices of "The Zohar" in the Hebrew language. For those of us who do not read Hebrew the only practical means of studying the Zohar are the partial translation into Latin of Baron Knorr von Rosenroth, published in 1684 under the title of "Kabbala Denudata" and the English edition of three treatises,--"Siphra Dtzenioutha" or "Book of Concealed Mystery" "Ha Idra Rabba," "Greater Assembly" and "Ha Idra Suta," " Lesser Assembly," translated by S. L. MacGregor Mathers. These three books give a fair idea of the tone, style and material of the Zohar but they only include a partial view: other tracts in the Zohar are :--Hikaloth--The Palaces, Sithre Torah--Mysteries of the Law, Midrash ha Neelam--The secret commentary, Raja Mehemna--The faithful shepherd, Saba Demishpatim,--The discourse of the Aged--the prophet Elias, and Januka--The Young man; with Notes called Tosephta and Mathanithan.
In course of publication there is now a French translation of the complete Zohar, by Jean de Pauly: this is a most scholarly work.
Other famous Kabalistic treatises are :-- "The Commentary on the Ten Sephiroth," by Rabbi Azariel ben Menachem, 1200 A.D. ; "The Alphabet" of Rabbi Akiba; " The Gate of Heaven" ; the "Book of Enoch" "Pardes Rimmonim, or Garden of Pomegrantes" "A treatise on the Emanations" "Otz ha Chiim, or The Tree of Life" of Chajim Vital; "Rashith ha Galgulim, or Revolutions of Souls" of Isaac de Loria; and especially the writings of the famous Spanish Jew, Ibn Gebirol, who died A.D. 1070, and was also called Avicebron, his great works are "The fountain of life" and "The Crown of the Kingdom."
The teaching of the Kabalah has been considered to be grouped into several schools, each of which was for a time famous. It may be mentioned :--The School of Gerona, 1190 to 1210, of Rabbi Isaac the Blind, Rabbis Azariel and Ezra, and Moses Nachmanides. I must pointed out that Gerona, along with Toledo (both in Spain) had the most important Jewish communities in Spain, during the Middle Age. The School of Segovia of Rabbis Jacob, Abulafia (died 1305), Shem Tob (died 1332), and Isaac of Akko. The School of Rabbi Isaac ben Abraham Ibn Latif about 1390. The School of Abulafia (died 1292) and Joseph Gikatilla (died 1300); also the Schools of "Zoharists" of Rabbis Moses de Leon (died 1305), Menahem di Recanti (died 1350), Isaac Loria (died 1572) and Chajim Vital, who died in 1620. All the above from Spain. A very famous German Kabalist was John Reuchlin or Capnio, and he wrote two great works, the "De Verbo Mirifico," and "De arte Cabalistica."
In the main there were two tendencies among the Kabalists: the one set devoted themselves entirely to the doctrinal and dogmatic branch: the other to the practical and wonder-working aspect.
The greatest of the wonder-working Rabbis were Isaac Loria, also called Ari; and Sabatai Zevi, who curiously enough became a Mahommedan. Both of these departments of Occult Rabbinic lore have their living representatives, chiefly scattered individuals; very rarely groups of initiates are found. In Central Europe, parts of Russia, Austria and Poland there are even now Jews, known as Wonder-working Rabbis, who can do strange things they attribute to the Kabalah, and things very difficult to explain have been seen in England, at the hands of students of Kabalistic rites and talismans.
The Rabbinic Commentaries, many series deep, overlaying each other, which now exist in connection with the old treatises form such a mass of Kabalistic lore as to make it an almost impossible task to grasp them; probably no Christian nor Jew in the USA can say what doctrines are not still laid up in some of the old manuscript works.
The Dogmatic or Theoretical Kabalah indicates philosophical conceptions respecting the Deity, Angels and beings more spiritual than man; the human Soul and its several aspects or parts; concerning pre-existence and re-incarnation and the several worlds or planes of existence.
The Practical Kabalah attempts a mystical and allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament, studying each phrase, word and letter; it teaches the connection between letters and numbers and the modes of their inter-relation; the principles of Gematria, Notaricon, and Temura; the formation and uses of the divine and angelic names as Amulets; the formation of Magic Squares; and a vast fund of allied curious lore, which subsequently formed the basis of Mediaeval Magic.
For those who do not wish to read any Kabalistic work as a whole, but rather to glean a general view of this philosophy, there are now three standard works; two are in English; one by Dr. C. Ginsburg, 1865, a formal and concise rsum of the doctrines; the other, an excellent book, "The Doctrine and Literature of the Kabalah," by Arthur E. Waite, 1902; and one in French by Adolph Franck, 1889, which is more discursive and gives fewer details (the one these notes are taken from).
Many points of the teaching of Indian systems of religious philosophy are not touched on by the Hebrew system, or are excluded by differences of a fundamental nature: such as the Cosmogony of other Worlds, unless the destroyed Worlds of Unbalanced Force refer to these; the inviolability of law, as Karma, is not a prominent feature; Reincarnation is taught, but the number of re-births is limited generally to three.
Some small part of the Kabalistic doctrine is found in the Jewish Talmud, but in that collection of treatises there is some grossness that is absent from the true Kabalah; such are the theories of the debasement of men into animal forms; and of men to be re-born as women, as a punishment for earthly sins in a previous life.
It must be remembered that many points of doctrine are limited to the teachings of but a few Rabbis; and that the differences between the earliest and latest doctrines on a given point are sometimes very great, as is shown by a comparison of the Books of the Rabbis of different eras and schools. Some of the Kabalistic teaching has also never been printed nor published, and has been handed down even to this day from master to pupil only: there are some points not found in any Hebrew book, which, however, can be found and are taught in the Rosicrucian Society and in Hermetic Lodges. An attentive study of some of these old mystical Hebrew books discloses the existence of intentional "blinds," which appear to have been introduced to confine certain dogmas to certain students fitted to receive them, and to preserve them from promiscuous distribution and so from misuse by the ignorant or vicious.
Two or three centuries have now passed since any notable addition to the body of Kabalistic doctrine has been made, but before that time a long succession of commentaries had been produced, all tending to illustrate or extend the philosophical scheme.
As already said, when the Kabalah first took shape as a concrete whole and a philosophic system, may remain for ever an unknown datum, but if we regard it, as I believe is correct, as the Esotericism of the religion of the Hebrews, the foundation dogmas are doubtless almost as old as the first promulgation of the main principles of the worship of Jehovah.
As it would be pointless to initiate a debate about the fact some doubting scholars, are questioning whether the story of the Twelve Tribes is a historic fact, or whether there ever were a Moses, or even a King Solomon, it will be sufficient to say that the Jewish nation had the Jehovistic theology and a system of priestly caste, and a coherent doctrine, at the time of the Second Temple when Cyrus, Sovereign of all Asia, 536 B.C., holding the Jews in captivity, permitted certain of them to return to Jerusalem for the express purpose of reestablishing the Hebrew mode of worship which had been forcibly interfered with by the King Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C.
After this return to Jerusalem it was that Ezra and Nehemiah, circa 450 B.C., edited and compiled the Old Testament of the Hebrews, or according to those who deny the Mosaic authorship and the Solomonic rgime, it was then that the Pentateuch was written.
The renewed worship maintained until 320 B.C., when Jerusalem was captured by Ptolemy Soter, who, however, did not destroy the foundations of the Jewish religion; indeed his successor, Ptolemy Philadelphus, caused the Hebrew scriptures to be revised and translated into Greek by Seventy-two scholars, about 277 B.C.; this has been known for centuries as the Septuagint version of the Old Testament.
Further Jewish troubles followed, however, and Jerusalem was again taken and pillaged by Antiochus in 170 B.C. Then followed the long wars of the Maccabees; subsequently the Romans dominated Judea, then quarrelling with the Jews the city was taken by Pompey, and not long after was again plundered by the Roman general Crassus in 54 B.C. Yet the Jewish religion was preserved, and we find the religious feasts and festivals all in progress at the time of Jesus; yet once more in A.D. 70, was the Holy City taken, plundered and burnt, and that by Titus, who became Emperor of the Romans in A.D. 79.
Through all these vicissitudes, the Hebrew Old Testament survived, yet must almost unavoidably have had many alterations and additions made to its several treatises; the more Esoteric doctrines which were handed down along the line of the priestly caste, and not incorporated with the Torah offered to the people, may no doubt have been repeatedly varied by the influences of contending teachers.
Soon after this period was framed the first series of glosses and commentaries on the Old Testament books, which have come down to our times. Of these the earliest are the volume called the "Targum of Onkelos" on "The Law," written about A.D. 100, and that of Jonathan ben Uzziel on "The Prophets."
About A.D 141 there first came into note the now famous treatise written by the Rabbis of Judah, called "Mishna," and this formed the basis of those vast compilations of Hebrew doctrine called the "Talmud," of which there are two extant forms, one compiled at Babylon-the most notable, and the other associated with Jerusalem. To the original "Mishna" the Rabbis added further commentaries named "Gemara." From this time the literature of Judaism grew apace, and there was a constant succession of notable Hebrew Rabbis who published religious treatises, until at least A.D. 1500. The two Talmuds were first printed at Venice in 1520 and 1523 respectively.
The Old Testament books were the guiding light through the ages of the Jews, but the learned Rabbis were not satisfied with them alone, and they supplemented them by two parallel series of works of literature; the one, Talmudic, being commentaries based upon Thirteen Rules of Argument delivered by Moses to illustrate the Old Testament, and supply material for teaching the populace; and the other a long series of treatises of a more abstruse character, designed to illustrate their Secret Doctrines and Esoteric views. The Sepher Yetzirah, and the Zohar or Book of Splendour represent the kernel of that oral instruction which the Rabbis of the olden times prided themselves upon possessing, and which they have even claimed as being "The Secret Knowledge" which God gave to Moses for the use of the priests themselves, in contradistinction to the Written Law intended for the masses of the people.
One of the principal conceptions of the Kabalah is that spiritual wisdom is attained by Thirty-two Paths, typified by the Ten numbers and the Twenty-two letters; these Ten again being symbols of the Divine Emanations, the Sephiroth, the Holy Voices chanting at the Crystal Sea, the Great Sea, the Mother Supernal, Binah; and of the Twenty-two occult forces of the Nature of the Universe symbolised by the Three primary Elements, the Seven Planets, and the Twelve Zodiacal influences of the heavens, which tincture human concerns through the path of our Sun in its annual course.
Now to show the close connection between the Kabalah and orthodox Judaism, we find the Rabbis cataloguing the Books of the Old Testament into a series of Twenty-two (the letters) works to be read for the culture of spiritual life; this Twenty-two they obtained from the Thirty-nine books of the O.T. Canon, by collecting the twelve minor prophets into one treatise; Ruth they added to Judges; Ezra to Nehemiah; while the two books each of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, they called one each. The Canon of Thirty-nine works was fixed in the time of Ezra.
Returning to the books which illustrate the Kabalah, whatever may be the authenticity of their alleged origins, it cannot be denied that those ancient volumes, Sepher Yetzirah and Zohar, contain a system of spiritual philosophy of clear design, deep intuition and far-reaching cosmologic suggestions; that are well worthy of the honour of receiving a special name and of founding a theological body of doctrine,--The Kabalah.
The bulwark and main foundation of the public Hebrew religion has always been the Pentateuch, five treatises attributed to Moses, which proclaim the Laws of Jehovah given to his chosen people. The Old Testament beginning with these five books is further continued by historic books, by poetical teachings and by prophetic works, but many portions are marked by materialistic characteristics and a lack of spiritual rectitude which the books of a Great Religion might be expected to display, and they even offend our present standard of moral life.
The Mosaic Law, eminently valuable for many purposes to a small nation 3,000 years ago, and containing many regulations of a type showing great attention to sanitary matters, is yet marred by the application of penalties of gross cruelty and harsh treatment of erring mortals, which are hardly compatible with our modern views of what might have emanated from God the personal Creator of this Universe with its zillion worlds; and the almost entire absence of any reference to a life after death for human beings shows a materialism which needed a new Revelation by Jesus, whose life has earned the title of "Christ." Yet the orthodox of England hear this statement with incredulity, and if asked to show the passages in the Old Testament which insist on a life after death, or on a succession of lives for purposes of retribution, or the passages demonstrating the immortality of the soul, they could not produce them, and are content to refer you to the clergy, whose answer generally is, "If not plainly laid down, these dogmas are implied." But are they? If they are, how is it that notably clear passages can be quoted which show that important authors in the Old Testament make statements in direct opposition to these doctrines? And how is it, again, that a great author of modern times has said, "Prosperity was the blessing of the Old Testament for good works, but adversity that of the New"? This could only be true if there were no future life or lives, or no coming period of reward and punishment contemplated by the Old Testament doctrine.
But the comment is true and the Old Testament does teach that man is no more immortal than the beast, as witness Ecclesiastes, iii. 19 :--"For that which befalleth the sons of men, befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yeah they have all one breath; so that man hath no pre-eminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. . . . Wherefore some might perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?" Who, indeed, except his own Ego, Soul or Higher Self.
But perhaps this book is from the pen of some obscure Jew, or half pagan Chaldee or Babylonian. Not at all: Jewish critics have all assigned it to Solomon, who as you know- was the King of the Jews at the time of their heyday of glory; surely if the immortality of the soul were the essence of the Judaism of the people, Solomon could not have so grossly denied it.
Go back, however, to the narrative of Creation in Genesis, and the same story is found; the animals are made from the dust, man is made from the dust, and Eve is made from Adam, and each has breathed into the form, the "Nephesh Chiah,"--the breath of life, vitality; but there is no hint that Adam received a Ray of the Supernal Mind, which was to dwell there for a time, to gain experience, to receive retribution, and then enter another stage of progress, and achieve a final return to its Divine source. And yet the authors of these volumes, whoever they were, could hardly have been without the conception of the higher part of man, of his Spiritual Soul. The critical contention is that the Old Testament was deprived at some period of its religious philosophy, which was set apart for a privileged class; while the husk of strict law and tradition was alone offered for the acceptance of the people. The kernel of spiritual philosophy which is lacking in the Old Testament as a religious book may be the essential core of the Kabalah; for these Kabalistic dogmas are Hebraic, and they are spiritual, and they are sublime in their grandeur; and the Old Testament read by their light becomes a volume worthy of the acceptance of a nation. Im, of course, speaking of the essentials of the Kabalah, the ancient substratum of the Kabalah. Many are convinced that in many extant treatises these primal truths have been obscured by generations of editors, by visionary and often crude additions, and by the vagaries of Oriental imagery; but the keynotes of a great spiritual Divine concealed Power, of its Emanations in manifestation, of its energising of human life, of the prolonged existence of human souls, and of the temporary state of corporeal existence, are fundamental doctrines there fully illustrated; and these are the points of contact between the Kabalah of the Jew and the so-called Esotericism of the teachings of Buddha and of Hinduism.
It may be that the Catholic Church, which the Protestant Church seceded from during the Reform, was from its origin in the possession of the Hebrew Rabbinic secret of the intentional Exoteric nature of the Bible, and of a priestly mode of understanding the Esoteric Kabalah, as a key to the true explanations of the Jewish books, which being apparently histories are really largely allegorical. If this were granted, it would explain why the Catholic Church has for ages discouraged the laity from the study of the Old Testament books, and would lead some to think that Protestantism made a mistake in combining with the Reformation of some priests the encouragement of the laity to read the Old Testament books.
The literal interpretation of the Mosaic books and those of the Old Testament generally has repeatedly been used as a support for vicious Systems of conduct; a notable example of which was seen even a hundred years ago, when the clergy of some Protestant nations almost unanimously supported the continuance of the Slave Trade from arguments derived from the laws of Jehovah as stated to have been compulsory upon the Jews.
The Freethinkers of that day were largely the champions of suffering and oppressed races, and for centuries the wisest of men, the greatest scientists have maintained, and ever won, struggle after struggle with the assumed infallibility of old Hebraic Testament literal instructions, assertions and narratives.
The Old Testament may indeed be, to some extent, the link which binds together some of us Christians, for Jesus Christ founded His doctrine upon a Jewish people, but the interminable list of Christian sects of to-day have almost all taken their rise from the assertion of a right of personal interpretation of the Bible, which might have remained debarred to the generality by the confession that the keys of interpretation were lost, or at least missing, and that without their assistance error of a vital character was inevitable.
The vast accumulation of varying interpretations of the Bible, although a folly, yet sinks into insignificance as an incident of importance, before the collateral truth that the followers of each of the hundreds of sects have arrogated to themselves, not only the right of personal interpretation, but more often than not- the duty of condemning all others--as if the infallibility they claimed for the Bible could not fail to be reflected upon their personal propaganda, or the specialities of a chapel service. Religious intolerance has cursed many countries, and hardly a single sect has originated which has not only claimed the right to differ from others, and to criticise, but also to persecute and assign to perdition all beyond its own narrow circle.
The Mystic, the Occultist and the Theosophist do indeed do good, or God, service, by illustrating the bases and origins of all faiths by the mutual illumination that is available. By tolerance and mutual esteem much good may arise, but by the internecine struggles of religionists, every faith is injured, and religion becomes a by-word meaning intolerance, strife and vainglory, and the mark and profession of an earnest sectarian is now that he is ever ready to condemn the efforts of others, in direct opposition to the precept of Jesus the Christ, Who said--"Judge not, that ye be not judged." (Matthew 7:1-5)
One sect of the Jews, the Caraites, successors of the Sadducees, throughout history rejected the Kabalah, and it is necessary to say that the Hebrew Rabbis in USA and the U.K of the present day do not follow the practical Kabalah, nor accept all the doctrines of the Dogmatic Kabalah. On the other hand, many famous Christian authors have expressed great sympathy with the Doctrinal Kabalah.
St. Jerome, who died in A.D. 420, in his "Letter to Marcella," gives us all the Kabalistic Divine Names allotted to the Ten Sephiroth. Others were Raymond Lully, 1315; Pope Sixtus the Fourth, 1484; Pic de Mirandola, 1494; Johannes Reuchlin, 1522; H. Cornelius Agrippa, 1535; Jerome Cardan, 1576; Gulielmus Postellus, 1581; John Pistorius, 1608; Jacob Behmen, 1624; the notable English Rosicrucian, Robert Fludd, 1637; Henry More, 1687; the famous Jesuit Athanasius Kircher, 1680; and Knorr von Rosenroth, 1689. To these must be added Eliphaz Lvi and Edouard Schur, two modern French writers on the Occult Sciences, and two English authors, Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. The notable German philosopher Spinoza, 1677, regarded the doctrines of the Kabalah with great esteem.
Much more, of course, can be said on this fascinating subject, but I think I have exceeded the length of a normal answer by and far.


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paraclete asked on 06/17/04 - Dont give UP

"Don't give up. Moses was once a basket case."

curious98 answered on 06/18/04:

Could any pious soul feel sorry for little "old" me and explain what am I missing between Paraclete's post and Elliot's answer?

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paraclete asked on 06/15/04 - Knowing that some of you like humor and there are some strange religions about

A Washington think tank has announced a breakthrough in the search for a pattern in the seemingly random US military aggression since World War II. "We think they are spelling out a message", explains an unnamed spokesperson. "If we take the first letters of Korea, Vietnam, Libya, Iraq, Iran, El Salvador, Grenada, Nicaragua and Somalia, it spells 'ELVIS _S KING'. We just need to find another 'I' country to complete the message."
Maybe this explains the second attack on Iraq?!

curious98 answered on 06/15/04:

Yep! Interesting thought!
Anything, but the MDW!

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graeylin asked on 06/14/04 - Humour/Guaranteed to offend some.

Have you heard the rumour?

California District Attorneys are worried that Michael Jackson may skip the country in an effort to avoid prosecution on his latest child molestation charges. Reports reaching their ears are that Michael's people are looking for countries that would accept Michael, welcome him and that share similar values to his.

Top contender is currently the Vatican City.

curious98 answered on 06/15/04:

Hi Graeylin,

Ive tried to look at it by gathering all my sense of humor but Ive failed.
This is, of course, the sort of rumor (or joke, if you wish) that is spread with a very shabby and mean intention.
And of course, the same joke could be applied by replacing the Vatican, by La Mecca, by Jerusalem or by Bangkok.
When it comes to heterodox sexual practices I would challenge anyone to show me any country where you cannot find multiple instance of Michael Jacksons inclinations.
In ALL five stars Hotels in the Middle East countries from Tel-Aviv to Ryad, from Jeddah to Beirut, from Dubai to Bahrein, without forgetting, of course, Baghdad and Teheran (incidentally most of these Hotels with USA management) which I have visited in the last 40 years I have ALWAYS been offered by the night concierges whether I wanted to get some solace with young boys or girls under 12 years old. Same thing applies to all Maghrib and Sub-Saharan countries.
When in Bangkok, at the Dusit Thani Hotel for instance, they will tell you their best customers (and more demanding ones) for this kind of trade are the British. Apparently, there are a few travel agencies in London catering for this kind of sexual encounters in Thailand.
Im sure that in the Vatican there must be a few interested in pederasty and sodomy practices.
But the point is not this.
The point that really infuriates me is the hypocrisy spread all over the world in this respect.
Hollywood have found in Michael Jackson a good guinea pig for the yellow press, and they make it sound like if he was the only evil one in the whole of the States, and all the rest are saints.
Prostitution (feminine, masculine and/or children prostitution) is related to the amount of people that have to live below poverty level (mostly in great urban cities) and or drug consumption. LA is no exception, unfortunately, just as NY, Miami or Chicago is not either. Prostitution (at ALL levels) and drugs are easily available just as they are in Mexico City, Sao Paulo or Rio, Lima, etc. etc. The recent cases of pederasty in the very conservative Catholic circles of Boston (in fact, with lots of priests involved) have turned out to be an expensive game for the Bishopric (64 million dollars, so far) of Boston.
That reminds me of Jesus answer to the Pharisees who wanted to stone that woman taken in adultery.
He stooped down and started to write on the ground:
He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:1-11)
Best regards

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kindj asked on 06/14/04 - Can anyone verify this?

My estimatin of Clinton just went up a notch, from the negatives to at least a zero when I read this.

But that's not the point. This article claims that the UN takes off on Christian and Muslim holidays, but not Jewish ones. Can anyone verify this from another source? A quick search of the UN website revealed nothing (go figure). Here's a portion of the text:

"But the National Day of Mourning didn't stop the U.N. from its regular schedule of festivities.

The U.N.'s headquarters in New York City remained open for business and all employees were expected to report for work, says spokesman Stephane Dujarric. "The U.N. does not discriminate on the basis of nationality," he explained.

That is not exactly true.

The U.N. shuts down for numerous Christian and Moslem holidays. (Interestingly, it has never closed for any Jewish holiday in its entire history.)

In September 2000, President Bill Clinton asked the U.N. to delay the opening of the General Assembly out of respect for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur (the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.)

The answer was an emphatic "No."

Clinton boycotted the General Assembly's opening day and spoke the following week."

The source is NewsMax, a decidedly conservative internet news source. Not that that's a bad thing, but to be fair, I always like to double check anything from any source, especially when it's politically charged.


curious98 answered on 06/14/04:

In my humble opinion, what the UN should be doing (bearing in mind they are representing practically all nations existing at present in the world) is ignoring ALL religious holidays (and possibly Political too) as an alternative to celebrating them ALL.
However, commenting this matter with a former UN employee (retired) she told me it is her belief this is done because of the importance and amount of member countries
whose religion is either some Christian or Islamic Church. In fact, there is only one country that professes the Jewish religion, i.e. Israel.
I can understand that this is not fair towards all Jews in the World, or at least in N.Y. This is why I said at the beginning, they should not be contemplating ANY religious holiday to be fair with everybody.
Because this problem may be important for Jews, as it appears from the answers given to this post, but Im sure it must also be important to other representatives in the U.N. for, although the majority are, of course, Christians and Moslems, there must be many others who are belonging to different religions altogether.
Religious holidays in non-confessional countries should ONLY be kept in religious environments, and that should affect to all of us whether Christians, Moslems or Jews, for NO holiday in a given religion is more important than any other in other religions. Each one is important for each member of a given Confession but, of course, not for the others.

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graeylin asked on 06/08/04 - What do you believe pray(er)(ing) does?

As religous folks, we are frequently told/requested/cajouled/shamed/asked/desirous to pray.

To you, what does a prayer do? Why do you pray? What comes of a prayer?

Do you believe you can change events through prayer? Do you believe you can change God's mind through prayer? Do you feel it is simply a way to reach your inner self, or get in touch with others? Do you believe there is a tangible outcome to a prayer? If so, each time? every time? only some times? what determines it?

curious98 answered on 06/09/04:

Prayer like everything else as far as religions are concerned- is just a matter of faith.
But, at the same time, we all know the old saying faith can move mountains and, more often than not, it does.
I sustain the theory that praying is inherent to human nature.
Before certain circumstances, even atheists can exclaim or think God, please help me.
Prayer needs not be a long discourse or sentence written in a book for our benefit, nor it has to be said in a temple of some sort.
To me, the simple volition, at a given moment, and no matter where you may be, of exclaiming God, please, help me is a prayer just as good as any other.
But, of course, whatever your prayer is, it has to be said with faith.
Im not going to debate now whether or not prayers reach GOD. This is, also, a matter of faith and conviction. But to me it is rather irrelevant, for I think that the faith great strength lies on the effect that it can psychologically exert upon us.
Medicine is also trying to explain that our attitude whether optimistic or pessimistic-
can modify the course of a given disease.
Faith is stronger than this positive attitude for it is made of such an attitude plus the hope that our prayer is going to be heard by GOD. And, indeed, this has a tremendous force.
Ive been a few times in Lourdes (French Pyrenees) where there is a catholic Basilica built to commemorate the alleged apparition of the Virgin Mary, in 1858, to a very poor teen-age girl named Bernadette, whose incorrupt body can be seen in the town of Nevers (France). I always come back amazed at what I see there.
In the area of the Shrine there is a supposedly miraculous spring around which there have been built some pool-like bathtubs, where people bathe to be cured.
And ever since that cold day of February 1858, people have kept going to Lourdes, first by hundreds, then thousands and now, hundreds of thousands (over a million last year), with the faith (and hope) their diseases can be cured, through prayer.
Any person who has made a pilgrimage to this remarkable shrine of Our Lady will tell you that Lourdes is a place where the sick, the poor, those with emotional, psychological, spiritual, and physical handicaps find, if nothing else, encouragement, solace and hope. There, these downtrodden of the world, become the center of attention. Just as according to the Gospels- Jesus made the sick and the poor the focus of His public ministry, so too in Lourdes do these same children of God become the focus of the community's activity and care. Each day the sick are taken to the baths, brought in procession with the Blessed Sacrament around the main esplanade of the shrine, and taken to visit the sacred grotto. More often than not, they must wait for hours, in long lines, under the cold wind blowing from the mountain. Each evening they can participate in the candlelight procession, praying the rosary with hundreds, indeed thousands, of others, begging God to bring them greater peace, strength and consolation. For the believers Lourdes provides a glimpse into what the Lord envisioned for his Kingdom.
But all this would just be a big show were it not by the flagrant fact that every year a number of unexplainable cures are reported.
As a matter of fact, medical doctors normally accompany those pilgrimages to Lourdes. Many of these doctors declare themselves as complete agnostics. And many of them, have to sign a document, whereby some miraculous healing has happened and stating that for reasons unknown to them, that particular person is cured
The funny thing is that the Church is very cautious about considering any of such cures as a miracle. In fact, they hardly do it. They just say, it is unexplainable. Period.
To illustrate what I say, the last cure considered miraculous by the Church (that is, officially attributed to the Virgin Mary) in Lourdes, goes back to the case of Jean-Pierre Bly, age 51, French, who on the 9th of October of 1987 arrived in pilgrimage to Lourdes, with his family doctor, and a severe case of multiple sclerosis, took a bath, and got out of it totally cured. The diocese of Angoulme recognized this case only 12 years later, after studying a number of papers by a select group of doctors and countless visits and tests to M. Bly.
To me, there are only 2 alternatives to explain cases like this one.
Either you believe Our Lady is eventually responsible of these cures or the faith and the prayers of some of these pilgrims are so strong that they can do the trick.
And, believe me, since 1858, cures can be counted by hundreds of thousands.
When my elder son was 8 years, we took him there for he had developed an eczema, which our dermatologist said it would not disappear until he would be a teenager, with his change.
We bathed him and came back home. Some 3 months later, the eczema had disappeared completely and the doctor is probably still wondering (if still alive) what happened.
Before going we told our son he would be cured if he prayed to the Virgin Mary for his cure.
Faith in an 8 years old child can be very strong.
Whether She had anything to do or not with his cure is irrelevant, in this case. We never made a big fuss about it, anyway.
But the fact remains he was cured
Another instance. Whether Christian martyrs in ancient Rome, Japanese kamikazes in WWII or Muslim suicide terrorists, they all prayed before going to die
Believe me, prayer, when accompanied by a strong Faith, can, and often is, a powerful tool.

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paraclete asked on 06/06/04 - A Theory of Creation.

I know there are some here who reject humor as unchristian but I couldn't resist this item

God created the mule, and told him, "You will be mule, working constantly from dusk to dawn, carrying heavy loads on your back. You will eat grass and lack intelligence. You will live for 50 years."
The mule answered, "To live like this for 50 years is too much. Please, give me no more than 20." And it was so.
Then God created the dog, and told him, "You will hold vigilance over the dwellings of Man, to whom you will be his greatest companion. You will eat his table scraps and live for 25 years."
And the dog responded, "Lord, to live 25 years as a dog like that is too much. Please, no more than 10 years." And it was so.
God then created the monkey, and told him, "You are monkey. You shall swing from tree to tree, acting like an idiot. You will be funny, and you shall live for 20 years."
And the monkey responded, "Lord, to live 20 years as the clown of the world is too much. Please, Lord, give me no more than 10 years." And it was so.
Finally, God created Man and told him, "You are Man, the only rational being that walks the earth. You will use your intelligence to have mastery over the creatures of the world. You will dominate the earth and live for 20 years."
And the man responded, "Lord, to be Man for only 20 years is too little. Please, Lord, give me the 30 years the mule refused, the 15 years the dog refused, and the 10 years the monkey rejected." And it was so.
And so God made Man to live 20 years as a man, then marry and live 30 years like a mule working and carrying heavy loads on his back. Then, he is to have children and live 15 years as a dog, guarding his house and eating the leftovers after they empty the pantry; then, in his old age, to live 10 years as a monkey, acting like an idiot to amuse his grand children.

curious98 answered on 06/07/04:

I know some of these Christians you are talking about and I feel sorry for them.
True Christians should laugh their lungs out at the thought of their Salvation.
But, even for those who are not Christians, a good laugh is a most excellent cure for many deseases.
Your joke is really terrific, and I'm circulating it among friends.
Besides, as you know, it is already 3 years now I'm acting like and idiot... and enjoying it too.
Best regards

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bal317 asked on 06/06/04 - Prayer's for Mrs. Reagan & Family

I would like to start a Prayer request, for the former First Lady of the USA, Mrs. Ronald Reagan and Family.

Mr. Reagan passed away yesterday and preparations is being made.

However, I feel we all need to stop and say a Prayer for the continued strength Mrs. Reagan and Family will need.

This is not a question, just a personal request for our Nation's fallen Leader.
Thank you,

curious98 answered on 06/07/04:

While I can imagine how sad Ms. Reagan and the rest of the family must be right now, I suppose she must have sighed with relief as her husband have passed away.
Having to see for 10 long years how the person you love falls victim of the Alzheimer disease must be hell in life.
So I wish to salute the courage of this lady, while this confirms that the powerful are not in the least exempt of pain and sorrow and that, like the rest of us, they must find consolation and comfort in prayer and, in the final instance, in GOD.

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XCHOUX asked on 06/03/04 - Hermetica-Ancient Egyptian Sacred Writings

I can't remember where I read it, but perhaps I can get a clarification and more information. The Jews were held as slaves in Egypt(not sure when?)and then Moses led them out of captivity. The article I read suggested that the Jews learned about monotheism from the Egyptians.

Can anyone address this idea and perhaps provide any kind of timeline?

curious98 answered on 06/05/04:

This is not quite so.
According to the Genesis, the Hebrews arrived in Egypt approx. during the rule of Ammenemes III, who was the 6th ruler of the 12th Dynasty, and may have reigned for as long as 45 years. According to Clayton he ruled from 1842 through 1797 BC., i.e. 19th century.
By the l4th century B.C. the Egyptians had developed a large empire and their polytheistic religion beliefs were spread to other peoples of the Middle East, though Hebrews seem to have managed to stick to Abrahams monotheistic principles. Then, in the year 1379, there comes Amenhotep IV, the new pharaoh, son of Amenhotep III and his queen Tiy, who was probably a Nubian. She may have suffered from an ailment, which affected her physical structure and that of his son, too.
With these physical peculiarities, real or invented, went an equally remarkable personality and policy. Possibly, influenced by the Hebrews religion, he tried to replace the traditional, official Egyptian religion of Amarna by a new concept of god. Although still embodied in the sun, this concept, called Aton, was understood more abstractly and monotheistically. He destroyed the traditional patterns of religion, which were thoroughly woven into every aspect of Egyptian life and changed the theology, ritual and ecclesiastical structure. He also changed his name to Akhenaton, which means "Aton is satisfied."
However, Akhenaton died after only fifteen years of rule. His successors were young and ineffectual and hence victimized by the leaders of the party of the old regime. So the worship of the old god Amen was shortly.

Zoroastrian is considered by some to be the earliest monotheistic view to have evolved among mankind, though it is not fully so, as their chief god Ahura Mazda is not the sole creator. It has been theorized that Judaism was influenced by Zoroastrianism as well as by Greek philosophy before arriving at its modern monotheistic view of God. Earlier Judaism is assumed to have claimed only that Yahweh was a tribal deity who was the patron the descendants of Abraham worshipped, or that there were many gods but that theirs was the most powerful. This view is not compatible, though, with the modern self-understanding of the three Abraham religions, i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam - which traditionally insist that exclusive monotheism is the original religion of all mankind, all other gods being viewed as idols and creatures which wrongly came to be worshipped as deities.
The Christian belief in the Trinity is monotheism, the worship of the one God of Abraham according to the Trinitarian tradition. However, many Jews, Muslims, and Unitarian Christians question this classification. Such critics claim that the Trinity is in fact a form of Tritheism, a hypothetical belief system that teaches that there are three gods -- and, that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are, specifically, three distinct Gods.
Im giving you this information irrespective of my own beliefs practically quoting what the Encyclopedias are saying in this respect, which means in the most objective possible way.
As for the Chronology given by our friend Elliot, of course you realize that he is using the O.T. chronology, which does not necessarily follow what historians, and archeolegists say.
If Clayton data is more or less accurate, the Hebrews arrived in Egypt some 3900 years ago. As Elliot says, Moses date of his exodus is largely at debate, between 1450 and 1250 BC.

But, of course, all the rest belongs to the Scriptures.

Nobody knows, other than by faith, whether there ever was an Adam and Eve, and if they ever lived, when did they?
Today, the view of the history of man accepted by conventional archaeology is that Homo sapiens evolved roughly 30,000 to 50,000 years ago in Eurasia. Later, humans crossed the Bering Straits land bridge into North America around 15,000 years ago. Thus there should not be any indigenous man-made artifacts in North or South America older than around this date.
The trouble with this theory is that it can be maintained only by ignoring literally scores of archaeological finds that are unquestionably much older.
It was the discoverer of one such find, Dr Virginia Steen-McIntyre, who had such an interesting story to tell. In the late 1960s, Steen-McIntyre and Harold Malde, both of the U.S. Geological Survey and Roald Fryxell of Washington State University, were working under a grant from the National Science Foundation at a site called Hueyatlaco 75 miles south east of Mexico City.
Steen-McIntyre and her colleagues found very sophisticated stone tools there, rivaling the best work of Cro-Magnon man in Europe. The scientists applied four dating methods to the finds and the strata in which they were found: uranium series dating; fission track dating; tephra hydration dating and mineral weathering study. The four methods yielded a unanimous date of around 250,000 years!!
More recent findings in Atapuerca (Spain) at present, visited by the worlds very best archaeologists are finding evidence of a very sophisticated way of living around 450.000 years ago!!!
But if we want to concentrate only on the theoretical location of the Garden of Eden (in fact, quite close to present Baghdad) professional geologists and paleontologists have been able to trace back an splendorous civilization like the Sumerian (here we are no longer speaking of Paleo cultures, but of full fledged ones who could read and write) to some 7.5/8000 years BC., which means some 10.000 years ago So the garden must have occurred before
However, the Hebrew Masoretic text (MT), some major manuscripts of the Septuagint (LXX) versions (manuscripts Alexandrinus and Vaticanus), and the Samaritan Pentateuch have divergent figures. The Jewish historian Josephus of the first century is known to quote from the shorter Hebrew figures as well as from longer ones (Hasel 1980), testifying to the existence of both the Greek and "the Hebrew figures and their [the latter] being regarded as of value in the first century of our era"

MT = Adam to Abraham: 1948 years
LXX (Alex.) Idem 3334
LXX (Vat.) Idem 3414
SAM. PENT. Idem 2249
FLV-Joseph Idem 3329

Obviously, even taking the longest chronology between Adam and Abraham (3334 years) is cannot be scientifically sustained unless we consider Adams genealogy as just that, i.e. the genealogy of someone who lived in those days and whom the Bible, or all the other Sacred Books, write about.

The 20 generations the Genesis figures out between Adam and Abrahams birth are also quite hypothetical, for the ages of the Biblical characters of the O.T. are rather extraordinary in some cases.

In any case, Elliots very well documented chronology is based on the Torah which, naturally enough, he accepts by the letter, same as I should accept the O.T., but I dont. But, each one is entitled to believe what he wants is he not so?

Best regards

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stiamo_bene_insieme asked on 06/05/04 - Writing a letter to corporations to give money for trip.

I bunch from our school are planning to go to Germany next summer 2005 for World Youth Day. We are hoping to get a maximum of 40 people to go. Though there is not much left, we need funds. We started on selling a community cookbook for $15 and we kind of doing poorly and we are resorting to other means to get funds like writing a letter to big coorperations like banks and other religious organizations to donate money for our trip.
Right now we don' have much just $75 and we are looking around $25000.00. We know that this is alot but we are trying to get as many money as we can.
My question is how can I write this letter, how do I approach them, what things can I say in the letter?

curious98 answered on 06/05/04:

I'm afraid that unless you have something to offer in return, these Corporations are not even going to reply to your letter.
In the first place, you must think of some way to prove you are genuinely and truly interested in the money for the trip.
You must realize that you know it but they don't. To start with they do not even know you. And you could be asking the money just to buy yourself a nice car,,,
So you better think of the guaranties you can give and then we may speak of the kind of letter you could write.

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XCHOUX asked on 05/31/04 - Messiah

I am wondering, are orthodox people of the Jewish faith still expecting a Messiah? Would the Messiah be a rabbi or someone else?

Is a Messiah a prominant part of current Judaism?


curious98 answered on 05/31/04:

I prefer to leave the response to this question to our Jewish friends who must be experts on the subject.
Best regards

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paraclete asked on 05/31/04 - singer tries to pull the fat from the fire

Gene clarifies Muslim claim
May 31, 2004 - 12:47PM

Kiss bassist Gene Simmons, who sparked outrage in Australia after making comments seen as anti-Muslim, said he was speaking only of "extremists" and that his remarks were taken out of context.

"I was asked about extremists," he told The Associated Press. "And that's what I was talking about - only extremists."

Kiss has begun a five-concert tour of Japan.

Simmons sparked a furore when Kiss toured Australia earlier this month with comments seen as attacking Islam.

"This is a vile culture and if you think for a second that it's willing to just live in the sands of God's armpit you've got another thing coming," Simmons said during an interview on Melbourne's 3AW radio.

"They want to come and live right where you live and they think that you're evil."

Angry Muslims flooded the radio station with calls.


I can't recall that its extremists who want to live among us, I though it was those who wanted to escape extremism, so how can this fellows comments not condemn all Muslims with the statement "This is a vile culture and if you think for a second that it's willing to just live in the sands of God's armpit you've got another thing coming,"

curious98 answered on 05/31/04:

Hello Paraclete,

Gene Simmons, and his Kiss and Make-up, probably could do better by concentrating in his hard rock and in self-analysis.

There are Good Muslims and Bad Muslims ad there are Good Christians and Bad Christians and or Good Jews and Bad Jews.

Being Good ar Evil is not necessarily linked to religion but rather to human personality.
I know many Muslims who are excellent people and I know there are others who should better be dead...

But, you as a Christian should know that too, don't you?


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queenybee asked on 05/30/04 - RACISM & RELIGION

Racism and Religion

"When I came to the U.S. in 1978, I believed that America had long since resolved its racial problems, that blacks were equal citizens," stated Mark Mathabane, a South African-born author, in an interview by Time magazine. "In many ways, I found that to be true. The U.S. seemed to be a hundred years ahead of South Africa. Then I discovered, to my horror, that not much had changed in people's hearts." What brought him to that startling discovery?

"One of the most segregated hours in America is 11 a.m. on Sunday," said Mathabane. He noted that even in church, people cannot bring themselves to join in worship with those of another race. "How can they feel on the other days of the week?" he asked. Calling for education as a catalyst for change, Mathabane said: "With education you are made to accept the universality of human beings."


curious98 answered on 05/31/04:

Hello Queenybee,

How is your honey production?

It is a matter of education, indeed. And of race too, going back centuries ago. Mediterranean peoples have never had many problems to accept and intermingle with people of other cultures and races. And this goes back to the Greek and Roman civilizations. On the other hand, central and north European peoples (Saxons, Anglos, Goths, Celts, Normands, Francs), were just very jealous of their own ethnics, considering themselves stronger and braver while considering the Mediterranean weak and decadent. In a way, they were right, for when they appeared in the European picture with some strength it already was the decadence of the Roman Empire.
At any rate, this situation didnt improve in the least as far as color people were concerned in the US of the 18th and 19th centuries, where hundreds of thousands of blacks were sold as slaves in the Country. You must remember that a large proportion of the US population in those days was of Anglo-Saxon and north European origin. And, though diminishing, they still are a majority. Then, many are Episcopalian. For some strange reason I have not been able to understand, Episcopalians, among all Christian churches, are almost always hard working people (some could even add, responsible for the prosperity of your Country) whereas they consider themselves superior to the rest, not to speak of color people only, but also to what the call Hispanic (though they are not from Spain), Jews, Oriental people, etc.
That is, a similar problem to the one Germans had with their famous Aryan race
Therefore, until they cannot get rid of this deeply implanted gen (and it has to start with the education at home) you will keep on having that problem.
When you compare towns like London and Paris with Rome and Madrid you find what I mean in a rather explicit way.
London and Paris (the latter to a lesser degree, though) have ghettos for the different populations of immigrants. Not as clear-cut as the German had with the Jews, but ghettos all the same.
Whereas in Rome and Madrid these divisions are not a matter of race but of money; that is, you find all kind of mixtures.
In Spain, right now, we are having an important immigration coming from Sub-Saharan and Maghrebi countries. So far, many of them, find their way to total integration through marriage with Spanish women (and or Spanish men, too) Whereas, I still remember the big scandal way back in USA when Sydney Poitier kissed a white woman in a movie!
The funny thing, though, is that all those people are, as I say, Christian and the Gospel says quite clearly we are all alike

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XCHOUX asked on 05/29/04 - The Individual vs. The Common Good

What are the similiarities and differences among religions on the topic of the importance of the individual and the common good of their societies?

Say, The Christian View, The Jewish View, The Islamic View, The Indian(Hindu)View.

I'm very curious.
Thanks, Choux

curious98 answered on 05/30/04:

The Christian View.

Our one and final target is Salvation. To attain it we are supposed to follow the Gospel's teachings.

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:37-40"


"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another.
John 13:34 (Read all of John 13)"

Jesus established the main lesson for mutual understanding when he said:

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"

This saying has come to be called the Golden Rule.

The Christian view is based on true love for Mankind. Id we could simply assume that idea our world would be a different place altogether to live in.

In fact, this principle is prevailing in the core of most religions. The trouble is that, we all acknowledge it but none of us really practice it.
I once discussed this same subject with a Buddhist Lama in a Bangkok Temple and he sadly said that LOVE was the basis of their philosophy and yet, so very few seemed to understand the beauty of the idea.
And we shall not live in peace until we accept that only love can save our world

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XCHOUX asked on 05/23/04 - Qualilties of God

I do not believe that a quality of "God" has anything to do with judging good and evil in human beings. Or, holding human beings to be models of perfection which is unattainable, at least a hundred times a day!

God is to be worshipped. Having good ethics/morality is the business of humans in order to find happiness and have social order, among other things.


curious98 answered on 05/23/04:

I have often said in this forum, that to start with NO human being can even start imagining the qualities of GOD. We can only assume or pretend to know that GOD must have in a maximum degree all those virtues or qualities known to us.
But, as I'm fully conscientious of my insignificance -contrary to what many others think of themselves- I'm willing to accept that GOD is Perfection to a total degree. And by that, of course, I do not mean only the conventional adjectives we normally use, like beauty or goodness, but those we have no idea of.
This said, I feel inclined to share your theory that ethics/morality is our own business, for we were born free to behave as we please.
However, one big question mark opening up here is that, while it sounds logical that each one of us should try its best to socially behave, which means having a degree of morality, there should be somehow some kind of premium to differentiate those who fulfill the established norms from those who don't.
Otherwise, it would not be fair if all those who pretend to walk the line while they are not in the least (and could not care less and not only are not guilty of anything under human laws but are respected) would enjoy the same privileges (once we have reached our fnal destination) than the ones who suffer the injustice of mankind without a complaint.
There should be some kind of yardstick to measure our activities in this life. Dantes Inferno is full of popes, bishops and wealthy people, who were honored and respected while alive. And he was only referring to the limited segment of people he knew in his Florentine Renaissance!
With all due respect, and bearing in mind that I consider myself full of faults and in red numbers in my private accounting with GOD, I would certainly feel being very unjustly treated should I be considered by my auditors with the same yardstick as a person like Mr. Bush Jr., to mention just one. In other words, both being Christians and both supposed to believing our prize should be enjoying GODs vision in Heaven, I feel I should be much closer to that than Mr. Bush Jr., which does not mean Im entitled to that vision immediately, but certainly sooner than him
Think it over.

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XCHOUX asked on 05/21/04 - Impossible Goals

What is the best way to deal with the reality that an individual is facing a situation such as institutionalized bias, inequality, hopeless oppression or any other situation that a person cannot face up to and be delt fairly with?

curious98 answered on 05/22/04:

The best way -in my opinion, of course-
would be for that person to believe in GOD.
No matter the name you give to IT. But to believe that our life is just a coffee stop at some unimportant crossroad on our way to the real MacCoy.
If the individual you are talking about can manage to believe in that you would be surprised how his/her life would be simplified...
I'm fighting to assume that thought, for my train is getting near its Terminus. I haven't reached that perfection yet. But just by trying so hard, I already feel more relazed and cheerful

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XCHOUX asked on 05/21/04 - Chaos

How does your religion or spiritual path teach you to deal with the chaos that is so prevalent in many cultures?

curious98 answered on 05/22/04:

I'm not in the least concerned with the chaos you claim is prevalent in many cultures.
The only chaos I'm concerned with is that chaos that our Universe comes from and which could be originated by our own Creator as the beginning of the Universe we know. Not of our Creator, of course, for IT must be eternal.
However, if you are really interested in the subject I would advise you to get this book:

Quarks, Chaos and Christianity: Questions to Science and Religion
by John C. Polkinghorne

I found it to be extremely interesting.

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XCHOUX asked on 05/21/04 - Goals in Life

According to your understanding, what are the three most important individual goals a human being should pursue during their short time on earth?

curious98 answered on 05/22/04:

I would make it simpler.
The ONLY goal a human being should strive to attain during the short span of his/her life is Salvation.
Salvation according to his/her own religion.
For if we believe in some sort of religion, salvation is eternal, while our life is less than a sigh as compared to eternity.
Therefore, what we do to try to achieve that salvation is the only important thing.
In my own religion -and in most others- one good way to accomplish this is by loving your fellowmen as you love yourself...

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XCHOUX asked on 05/21/04 - Suffering

Suffering is always part of the human drama called life. How does your religion deal with helping individuals deal with their suffering? Thanks,

curious98 answered on 05/22/04:

Those very religious persons accept human suffering as GOD's will, which mean they accept if with resignation.
Others -those with an unlimited faith- can even accept their suffering with joy.
You can find multiple exemples in oriental spirituality -abandon of any human comfort-, christian martyrs or present muslims suicides.
The fact seems to be that the less faith you have in GOD the less inclined you are to accept your own sufferings.

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XCHOUX asked on 05/21/04 - Salvation

What is salvation in your religion? What does it mean to your day to day life?

curious98 answered on 05/22/04:

In my religion (roman catholic) salvation means to be able to enjoy an everlasting (eternal)life by our Lord, once we are no longer here.
In our day to day life it means, precisaly, what i already mentioned when referring to the devil concept, i.e. "walking the line" or abiding by the Law.
May I say, however, that going by the law, if one can manage to do it sincerely and willingly, is the best possible way to live in peace with oneself and with the others.

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XCHOUX asked on 05/21/04 - Dualism?

I have been thinking a little about dualism-the concept that human beings have two separate natures, physical and spititual. When and how and why did this idea begin? Who believes in this idea?

Thanks, Chou

curious98 answered on 05/22/04:

This is what my Encyclopedia has to say in respect of dualism.

DUALISM, feature peculiar to Iranian religion in ancient and medieval times. There is general agreement on this point, though some scholars have minimized the importance of dualistic elements in Zoroastrian doctrine and even denied their existence, in order to emphasize monotheistic or crypto-monotheistic aspects (e.g., Shroff; Moulton, pp. 125-26; Gray, 1929, p. 3), perceived as incompatible with any form of dualism (cf. Duchesne-Guillemin, 1958, pp. 1 ff.; idem, 1962, pp. 385 ff.; Herrenschmidt, pp. 217 ff.). From a strictly religious-historical perspective, however, dualism should not be conceived as opposed to monotheism (as polytheism must be); on the contrary, it can be viewed as "monotheism itself in two opposite and contrary aspects" (Pettazzoni, pp. 96, 112 n. 109). Although this definition cannot be applied to every dualistic religious conception (cf. Bianchi, 1986, p. 109), it fits Zoroastrianism, in which a monotheistic tendency and a strong dualism coexisted. The problem is complicated by the fact that Iranian dualism was not unitary and static but a developing concept (Gnoli, 1984). Heterogeneity within the Iranian religious world must also be taken into account; in fact, the fundamentally ethical and philosophical dualism of Zoroaster (as found in the Gathas and in part of Zoroastrian tradition) must be distinguished from a metaphysical and ontological dualism in which two coexisting entities are opposed by their intrinsic natures, rather than by choice (see below). This distinction is rejected by those who maintain the ontological nature of dualism in the Gathas and argue that reference to the two mainiius "spirits" (Y. 30.5) is at most a "statement regarding their essence" (Bianchi, 1978, p. 376). Nevertheless, the pivotal role of choice in Zoroastrianism has been established by Herman Lommel (pp. 156-65) and others, and Ilya Gershevitch has argued effectively for the ethical character of the gathic opposition between the two spirits (1964, pp. 12-14; cf. Gnoli, 1984, p. 118).
The most lucid evaluation of dualism as a fundamental element of the Gathas is that of W. B. Henning: "Any claim that the world was created by a good and benevolent god must provoke the question why the world, in the outcome, is so very far from good. Zoroaster's answer, that the world had been created by a good and an evil spirit of equal power, who set up to spoil the good work, is a complete answer: it is a logical answer, more satisfying to the thinking mind than the one given by the author of the Book of Job, who withdrew to the claim that it did not behove man to inquire into the ways of Omnipotence" (1951, p. 46). According to Henning, Zoroaster came to formulate his dualistic conception "only by thinking" and "by very clear thinking." Whether he was correct that it was a protest against monotheism or whether it was an integral part of gathic monotheism is unclear. It can reasonably be concluded, however, that dualism lay at the heart of Zoroaster's message and that gathic dualism cannot be dismissed on grounds that Ahura Mazda@ (q.v.) stood above the two opposed spirits or that an eschatological expectation of the triumph of good pervades the Gathas. These elements are, in fact, common to other dualistic conceptions in which the final triumph of good is implicit.

The following passage from the Gathas (Y. 30.3-4) is fundamental to understanding Iranian dualism: "The two primeval Spirits (mainiiu@ pauruiie@) who are twins (y@ma@) were revealed [to me] in sleep. Their (h^) ways of thinking, speaking, and behaving are two: the good and the evil (vahiio@ akma@). And between these two [ways] the wise men (hudho@) have rightly chosen, and not the foolish ones (dudho@). And when these two Spirits met, they established at the origin (paouir^m) life and non-life (gae@mca@ ajiia@it^mca@) and that at the end (ap@mm) the worst existence (ahu acito@) will be for the followers of Falsehood (drguuatam) and for the follower of Truth (aa@une@) the Best Thinking (vahitm mano@)." Although the interpretation of this passage is uncertain (for a different translation, see Kellens and Pirart, p. 111), its dualistic content is beyond doubt. Equally clear is the paradigmatic character of the choice between two spirits, the prototype of the choice that man must make between the paths of truth and falsehood (Gershevitch, 1964, pp. 13, 32). Among the many other gathic texts in which dualism is emphasized are Yasna 45.2, in which the two spirits are juxtaposed in several modes of expression, and Yasna 47.3, in which the twinship of the two spirits is implicitly clarified by affirmation that Ahura Mazda@ is the "father" of the beneficent spirit: Both are, in a certain sense, sons of the same father (Gershevitch, 1964, pp. 13, 33). Interpretation of "twins" as a metaphor for "the equality in state of the two unrelated beings, and their coevity" (Boyce, Zoroastrianism I, p. 194) is unconvincing. Instead, the fundamental role of choice in Zoroastrian dualism should be kept in mind; the relationship between God and the devil did not involve direct dependence, because the notion of "childbirth" implicit in the concept of twin spirits refers to derivation from God of an undifferentiated spirit, which splits into twin spirits of opposite allegiance once human free will has emerged (Gershevitch, 1964, p. 13).

Zoroaster's dualism was therefore a wholly transcendent or "spiritual" dualism, not based on the opposition me@no@g versus ge@t^g, which can be very approximately translated as "spiritual" and "material" respectively. The latter duality recurs particularly in 9th-century Pahlavi texts, reflecting a complex theoretical systematization (Shaked, 1971). It has clear Avestan antecedents in the Gathas, in the idea of two states of being (uba- ahu-), ahu- manaho@ (or manahiia-) and ahu- astuuant (lit., "bony," i.e., "corporeal" cf. Pahl. axw ^ asto@mand) or sti- "existence," mainiiauua- and gae@iiia-. In this context ge@t^g is negative not by nature but because it is the place where the two spirits intermingle, in which God's creation is contaminated by the assault (Pahl. e@bgat) by Ahriman (q.v.). In 9th-century Zoroastrian theology Ahriman was not considered the author of a ge@t^g creation, as Ohrmazd was (Bundahin, chap. 1; tr. Anklesaria, pp. 17-21): "Of Ahriman it is said that he has no ge@t^g" "The creation of Ohrmazd is both me@no@g and ge@t^g, while that of the demon has no ge@t^g" (Da@dista@n ^ de@n^g, pt. 1, 18.2, 36.51). In the De@nkard (q.v.) it is said that "Ahriman never existed and does not exist" and that "the gods exist while the demons do not" (De@nkard 6.278, 6.98; tr. Shaked, 1979, pp. 39, 109). It may therefore be concluded that "Ahriman's presence in the world is not an ontological fact, but merely an anthropological and psychological phenomenon. This does not deny the reality of Ahriman as such: it merely marks his totally negative, hence also non-material, character" (Shaked, 1967, p. 232). This doctrine, too, has Avestan antecedents: Avestan gae@iiia- (> Pahl. ge@t^g) may refer to the yazatas but not to the dae@uuas (Gnoli, 1963, pp. 182-83 n. 61; see *DAIVA; DEW). The existence of evil forces is only "spiritual" or "mental" Iranian dualism is a dualism not between spirit and matter but between two spirits, who choose between truth (aa, q.v.; gathic auuan-) and falsehood (drug; gathic drguuant- or Younger Av. druuant-; see DRUJ-) in the same way that men do (Gnoli, 1963, pp. 180-90; idem, 1971, pp. 77-78, 97-98).

There is no doubt that Ara Mainiiu, like Ahura Mazda@, was a "creating divinity," an idea that occurs in the Avesta (e.g., Yt. 13.76 = Y. 57.17, with an explicit reference to creation by the two spirits; cf. Kreyenbroek, pp. 44, 45, 85-86; Vd. 1, with a list of "countries" created by Ahura Mazda@ and the countercreations of Ara Mainiiu; cf. Christensen, 1943, pp. 50 ff.). The crucial element is the fundamental difference between the two kinds of creation (Y. 44.7; for references, see Gray, 1929, p. 176). Ara Mainiiu's creation has a negative character because it begins in opposition to that of Ahura Mazda@ (or, in the gathic formulation, of Spnta Mainiiu). The ge@t^g state is the creation of Ohrmazd; Ahriman can only attack, contaminate, and corrupt it. The me@no@g nature of Ahriman's creation is amply documented in Pahlavi literature (De@nkard III, sec, 10; Da@dista@n ^ de@n^g, pt. 1, 18, 30; cf. de Menasce, 1968; idem, 1973, pp. 107, 393). From this perspective the preeminently "mental" or "spiritual" character of the demons can be explained: The dae@uuas are false gods or chimeras without real existence (Gershevitch, 1975, pp. 79-80; Zaehner, 1961, p. 216), an idea traceable to the gathic notion (Y. 30.4) that Spnta Mainiiu and Ara Mainiiu are related to life and to nonlife (gae@ma@ ajiia@it^mca@) respectively. Pahlavi ge@t^g "worldly" corresponds to Avestan gae@iiia- "having corporeal life, material" (AirWb., col. 479) and is therefore connected to j^- (juua-) "to live," gaiia- "life." Zoroastrian "pandemonium" (Gray, 1929, pp. 175 ff.; cf. Christensen, 1941), with its classes of demonic beings symmetrically opposed to the angelic ones, results from an elaborate analysis of the superhuman world divided between good and evil, virtues and vices, opposed forces that, like man, may belong to the world of truth or of falsehood. All things are divided into two categories, even language itself, in order to distinguish between activities proper to beings that conform to truth and those who choose falsehood (Frachtenberg; Gntert; Gray, 1927; Burrow, pp. 128-33; Boyce, Zoroastrianism I, p. 298).

Zoroastrian dualism was based on the idea of choice, and the argument that one who chooses evil follows his own nature (Bianchi, 1978, pp. 361-62) does not affect that principle. In the Bundahin (1.20-22; tr. Anklesaria, pp. 6-9) Ohrmazd offers peace to the evil spirit (gana@g me@no@g), who may thus become "deathless and unaging, unfeeling, incorruptible," but the evil spirit rejects the offer and threatens to take over the entire universe. From this passage it appears that Ahriman freely chooses his own destiny: Dualism is thus characterized by "choice," not by the essence or nature of the protagonists. Further confirmation comes from the Armenian Christian writer Eznik Kobaci, in whose work Ahriman says: "'It is not that I cannot create anything good, but that I will not.' . . . Do you see? He is evil through his own wish, not from the fact of his birth" (Zaehner, 1955, p. 438). Abnormal aspects suggesting that Ahriman is capable of creativity comparable to that of Ohrmazd are debatable or absolutely secondary in Zoroastrian dualism, the ethical nature of which is a constant element from the Gathas to Pahlavi literature. Yet Zoroastrian and Iranian dualism generally did undergo historical transformations, impelled by inner tendencies and contacts with other religions (Shaked, 1994).

The transformation of Zoroaster's original dualism was determined by the progressive assimilation of Ahura Mazda@ and Spnta Mainiiu, a process favored by the idea that God created everything through the beneficent spirit (Y. 44.7), defined in the Younger Avesta (Yt. 10.143) as a "creator" (dauu spnto@ mainiiu) not unlike Ahura Mazda@ himself (Gershevitch, 1964, p. 14); there is no real evidence in the Avesta that the opposition between Spnta Mainiiu and Ara Mainiiu was transferred to Ahura Mazda@ and Ara Mainiiu, however. As Gershevitch (1964, p. 15) has noted, such a transformation was documented in the Greek sources as early as the 4th century B.C.E. and in Zoroastrian texts of the 9th century C.E.: "In the place of Falsehood now stands the Fiendish Spirit, in the place of Truth, God himself. Zoroaster's religion has become an uncompromising dualism, in which two aboriginal deities, Ohrmazd and Ahriman, God and the Devil, face each other and contend for ultimate victory." Aristotle, in a fragment of the Per philosophas (apud Diogenes Laertius, 1.8), explained the teaching of the Magi as presupposing the existence of two principles, Zeus or Oromasdes and Hades or Areimanios. In the Metaphysics, too, he cited the Magi in Asia, because of their dualism, as forerunners of Plato immediately after Pherecydes in Greece (cf. Benveniste, p. 17; Bidez and Cumont, I, p. 102). A similar notion was expressed by his disciple Eudemus of Rhodes (apud Damascius, p. 322; cf. Gnoli, 1988). In De Iside et Osiride Plutarch attributed such a dualistic formula to Zoroastres the Magus (Bidez and Cumont, II, p. 71).

In the 9th-century Pahlavi literature the dualism between Ohrmazd and Ahriman is omnipresent. In the first chapter of the Bundahin there is a powerful representation of Ohrmazd as omniscient and good, residing on high in the infinite light (asar ro@n^h), which is also its own space (ga@h) and place (gya@g). Ahriman, endowed with "knowledge after the fact" (pas-da@nin^h, knowledge of effects, rather than causes, as only Ohrmazd is able to foresee) and a desire for destruction (zada@r-ka@m^h), resides in the abyss (zofr-pa@yag) in infinite darkness (asar ta@r^g^h), which is its own place. Between them is the void (tuh^g^h), or atmosphere (way), where the mingling (gume@zin) of the two spirits (me@no@g) takes place (Bundahin 1.1-5; tr. Anklesaria, pp. 4-5).

It should be noted, however, that this new formulation of Zoroastrian dualism, in which God is degraded to the level of devil's antagonist, was part of a unitary body of doctrine that remained essentially unchanged for centuries. Within certain limits a historical development can be partially reconstructed from the heterogeneous sources. It can be assumed that the gathic formulation (of Ahura Mazda@ and opposed twin spirits) was succeeded by a formulation in which Ahura Mazda@ was directly opposed to the evil spirit, with the addition in some instances of another entity, time (Zurwa@n), conceived as the father of the twins Ohrmazd and Ahriman. The supremacy of time in some sources, both Iranian and non-Iranian, related to the religion of the Magi or even in the 9th-century Zoroastrian religious literature, has been interpreted as attesting to Zurvanism, defined either as the continuation of an Iranian religion parallel to Mazdaism, a Mazdean heresy, or simply a theological trend peripheral to orthodoxy (Nyberg, 1929; idem, 1931; Zaehner, 1955; for further references, cf. Gnoli, 1980, pp. 211-12; Boyce, 1990; idem, Zoroastrianism III, pp. 412, 423-24, 463-64). It seems that Zurvanism, "with its speculation on Time, its apparatus of numbers, and the idea of the world-year, is the outcome of contact between Zoroastrianism and the Babylonian civilization" in the 5th-4th centuries B.C. (Henning, 1951, p. 49; see BABYLONIA ii). The various references to the opposition between Oromasdes and Areimanios in Greek and Latin sources, particularly the passage from Eudemus, can be interpreted as evidence that Zurvanism already existed in the latter half of the Achaemenid period. The historical development of Iranian dualism can therefore be viewed as having taken place in three principal stages: gathic dualism (Ahura Mazda@ + Spnta Mainiiu and Ara Mainiiu), Zurvanite dualism (Zruuan + Ahura Mazda@ and Ara Mainiiu), and the simplified dualism of the Pahlavi texts (Ohrmazd and Ahriman), in which the two principles are represented in almost symmetrical opposition (pace Bianchi, 1958; Mole).

In the Zurvanite myth as transmitted by hostile and foreign sources, chiefly Syrian and Armenian Christian writers (cf. Schaeder, 1941), Zurwa@n, or time, fathered the twins Ohrmazd and Ahriman; having promised the scepter to the firstborn, he made Ahriman, who came to light first, king for 9,000 years, a "limited time," after which kingship was to be bestowed on Ohrmazd for "endless time." This myth attests a religious and philosophical mentality quite different from that of original Zoroastrianism. The historical development of Iranian dualism under the influence of Babylonian astronomy and astrology and the astral religion of Mesopotamia, far from preserving Zoroastrian moral values and belief in the dignity and freedom of man, caused a radical subversion of those values. In gathic dualism Ahura Mazda@ and man, his earthly and corporeal symbol, stood above and in the center of everything, with the two opposing spirits offering free choice. Syncretistic Iranian-Mesopotamian dualism reduced Ahura Mazda@ to the level of Ara Mainiiu and raised time above everything. Whereas in the Gathas the role and value of God and man's moral freedom were exalted above all, in the syncretistic version the role and value of the creator God were debased and man subjugated to the omnipotence of time (zama@n), from which the soul cannot release itself: "Time is more powerful than the two creations, the creation of Ohrmazd and the creation of the Evil Spirit" (Bundahin 1.43; tr. Anklesaria, pp. 12-15; cf. Nyberg, 1929, pp. 214-15; Henning, 1935, p. 11; Zaehner, 1955, pp. 281, 297 ff., 315-16). In these conceptions lie the foundations of a religious fatalism that deeply influenced medieval Persia (cf. Ringgren, 1952, pp. 72 ff.).

The transformation of gathic dualism into Zurvanite dualism was not simply a theological development without consequences for the Zoroastrian religious life and world view, as has been suggested (Boyce, 1990, p. 25). In fact, the Zurvanite conception of the world-year and exaltation of time above the protagonists in the cosmic drama represented adaptation of the Zoroastrian tradition to the religious, philosophical, and scientific tendencies prevailing in the Near East during the Achaemenid and Hellenistic periods, when the notions of a universal law regulating the eternal movement of the orbs and of the celestial vault were widely accepted (on these aspects of Babylonian religion, see, e.g., Meissner, chap. xviii; Bottero, pp. 142-43). It is certainly paradoxical to consider dualism as a monistic attempt to subjugate dualism to Zurwa@n (Petrement, 1947, pp. 323 ff.).

It was during this period, too, that Iranian dualism influenced Judaism (Bousset, 1926; Colpe; Duchesne-Guillemin, 1958, pp. 86 ff.; Hultgrd; Shaked, 1984), as is especially clear from the Qumran texts (Wilderberger; Michaud; Duchesne-Guillemin, 1957; Winston; Widengren, 1966; Ringgren, 1967; see DEAD SEA SCROLLS); early Christianity (Clemen; Duchesne-Guillemin, 1962, pp. 264 ff.; Widengren, 1975); and Gnosticism (Bousset, 1907; Widengren, 1952; idem, 1967). Research in these different fields is particularly rich and complex, and opinions often differ widely. It is nevertheless difficult to deny an influence of Iranian dualism on the religions of the Near East from the Achaemenid period to the early centuries of the present era (for a recent discussion see Boyce, Zoroastrianism III, pp. 361-490; cf. Gnoli, 1984; see also BIBLE ii).

Even clearer is the influence of Iranian dualism on Manicheism, despite the present tendency to consider the origins of Manicheism within the general framework of Judaism and Christianity (see, e.g., Boyce, Zoroastrianism III, p. 460-65). In formulating his version of dualism Mani abided by one of the fundamental tenets of Mazdaism, that creation is the work of a good, wise, and omniscient God (Puech, p. 142), but in Manicheism there is particular emphasis on an omnipresent evil, which man must fight with all his force during his earthly life. This dualism is based on the opposition of light and darkness, God and matter, conceived as principles preceding and transcending the drama of human existence in the mediating moment of their "intermingling" (Pahl. gume@zin), as in the 9th-century Zoroastrian texts. In Mani's dualism man was again at the center; Ohrmazd was redeemed from the degradation into which he had fallen in Zurvanite theology and identified as primordial man, who, in Manichean Gnosticism was the true divine savior (Gnoli, 1984, pp. 134-35). Manichean and Turkish documents from Central Asia demonstrate that Manicheans reacted against Zurvanite dualism by attacking those who affirmed that Ohrmazd and Ahriman were brothers or that God had created both good and evil, referred to in the Manichean Middle Persian text M 28 (Henning, 1951, p. 50) and the Uighur confession text Xwa@stwa@n^ft I.C.3-4 (Asmussen, p. 194; cf. the texts collected in Zaehner 1955, pp. 431 ff.; Puech, pp. 140-41). The occurrence of such a condemnation in a 9th-century Zoroastrian text undoubtedly reflects the influence of polemics between Manicheans and Christians (De@nkard 9.30.4: "Ohrmazd and Ahriman were two brothers in one womb" Junker, p. 144; Schaeder, 1930, pp. 288-91; Benveniste, 1932-33, pp. 209-11; Zaehner, 1955, pp. 429-31; Mole, pp. 464-65). Any trace of Zurvanite dualism was to be eradicated and replaced by the new Zoroastrian orthodoxy, in which the dualism between Ohrmazd and Ahriman was preeminent.

Islamic hostility to dualism also influenced the Zoroastrian communities in Persia. In fact, condemnation of dualists (tanaw^ya, ahl al-itnayn) was almost a topos in Muslim refutations of Manichean, Mazdakite, and even Mazdean doctrines; the last was, however, given special attention by such authors as Abu@ Bakr Mohammad Ba@qella@n^ (Monnot, 1977), Abd-al-Jabba@r b. Ahmad (Monnot, 1974), and Abu'l-Fath Mohammad ahresta@n^ (Gimaret and Monnot, pp. 635-54; cf. Monnot, 1986, pp. 119, 38, 41, 86, 124, 141 ff., 157 ff.). After the Muslim conquest of Persia and the exodus of many Zoroastrians to India and after having been exposed to both Muslim and Christian propaganda, the Zoroastrians, especially the Parsis in India, went so far as to deny dualism and to view themselves as outright monotheists (Dhalla, pp. 46-53, 156-73, 247-68, 337 ff.; Duchesne-Guillemin, 1953, pp. 161 ff.; idem, 1962, pp. 373-74; Boyce, 1979, pp. 197, 207, 213, 220). After several transformations and developments one of the defining features of the Zoroastrian religion thus gradually faded and has almost disappeared from modern Zoroastrianism.

Nevertheless, Iranian dualism spread widely east and west of the Iranian world, especially through Manicheism. Traces can still be found in Central Asian and particularly Tibetan cosmogonies (Klimkeit, 1986, pp. 46, 48; Tucci, 1949, pp. 730-31; idem, 1980, pp. 214, 271 n. 5; Gnoli, 1962, pp. 127-28; Hoffmann, pp. 102 ff.; Blondeau, p. 313; cf. Uray; Kvrne). In the West, although the connections are uncertain and the historical development difficult to reconstruct, religious dualism can be identified in the beliefs of Priscillianus and his followers in the late Roman empire, the Paulicians in the Byzantine empire, and later the Bogomils (see, e.g., Sderberg; Runciman; Loos; for a sound survey of the history and problems, see Manselli; for further references, see Couliano, pp. 223-81; Rudolph, pp. 402 ff., 423 n. 191).

Hope to have helped you

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XCHOUX asked on 05/21/04 - A question re: Satan

Didn't the concept of Satan develop in the MiddleEast as a result of the need to externalize the negative aspects of GodAlmighty, such as anger and jealously?

curious98 answered on 05/22/04:

In the Judeo Christian tradition, Satan, from the Hebrew word for "adversary," is the principal figure of the demonic world that is hostile to God and his will. In the Old Testament (for example, the Book of Job), Satan is presented as a distinct personality of darkness and accusation - the heavenly prosecutor. A fuller expression of his role is presented in the New Testament, where he is called "the tempter," "the slanderer," "the enemy," "the liar," and "the angel of the bottomless pit." Collectively, these titles present Satan as the one who has the power of death, rules with lies and deception, accuses humankind before God, and opposes the purpose of God in the world (while remaining obedient to God).
The Bible nowhere explains Satan's origin, but in both testaments he is presented as a part of the created order rather than as an eternal entity. Although, to the best of my knowledge, no explanation is given in the Bible for God's allowing Satan to exist, it does indicate that his time is short (only for this age of time and history) and his end is certain - ultimately he will be banished by the Messiah.
This concept of a temporal dualism in which Satan has influence is brought to expression most clearly in apocalyptic literature, such as the Book of Revelation. Two ages are reflected in apocalyptic cosmology: "this age" and "the age to come." Satan appears to be prevailing in this age, but in the age to come God will clearly display his sovereignty. In later Christian tradition Satan was described as a fallen angel.
But I would not go to the extent of saying that the concept of Satan can be dated back to Christianism, which you seem to imply.
In fact, I think it is as old as the concept of God. God represents the supreme prize while the Devil represents the supreme punishment.
The concept of a leader of the powers of darkness found expression in cultures as old as Sumerians. The Babylonians, Chaldeans, and Persians believed in a dualism between the forces of darkness and light. Ahriman, in Zoroastrianism, and Set, in Egyptian mythology, manifest characteristics similar to Satan's.
From certain cuneiform texts, which are more especially described as "religious", it appears that besides the public and official cult of the "twelve great gods" and their subordinate divinities, the Assyrians indulged in magic and sorcery. These "religious" texts together with a mass of talismanic inscriptions on cylinders and amulets prove the presence of an exceedingly rich demonology. Below the greater and lesser gods there was a huge lore of spirits, some of them good and beneficent and some of them evil and hurtful. Moreover, these spirits were described and classified with an exactness and method, which leads some to liken the arrangement to that of the choirs and orders of our own angelic hierarchy. The antiquity and importance of this secret religion, with its magic and incantations of the good spirits or evil demons, may be gathered from the fact that by order of King Assurbanipal his scribes made several copies of a great magical work according to an exemplar which had been preserved from a remote antiquity in the priestly school of Erech in Chaldea.
This work consisted of three books, the first of which is entirely consecrated to incantations, conjurations, and imprecations against the evil spirits. These cuneiform books, it must be remembered, are really written on clay tablets. And each of the tablets of these first books which has come down to us ends with the title, "Tablet No. - of the Evil Spirits". The ideogram which is rendered as kullulu -- "accursed" or "evil" -- might also be read as limuttu -- "baneful". Besides being known by the generic name of udukku -- "spirit" -- a demon is called more distinctly ecimmu, or maskimmu. One special class of these spirits was the sedu, or divine bull, which is represented in the well-known figure of a man-headed bull so common on the Assyrian monuments. This name, it may be remarked, is probably the source of the Hebrew word for demon. The Assyrian sedu, it is true, was more commonly a beneficent or tutelary spirit. But this is hardly an obstacle to the derivation, for the good spirits of one nation were often regarded as evil by men of rival races.
I honestly believe that the Satan concept was created by ALL religions to force their followers to walk the line.
Finally, at present, some theologists define Hell is the turture of having known GOD and not being able to share IT.

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XCHOUX asked on 05/20/04 - This is the Religion Board

For all who are under a misconception, this is the Religion(Spiritual Path)Board, not any specific religious board. If you want to post questions and quibble, do it! I have a right to do what I want to say and do. I can share ideas with anyone who wants to "converse" with me!

Thanks for your cooperation.
Have a great day!

curious98 answered on 05/20/04:

I agree with you.
I hope you are not referring to me, for I've never questioned your right to participate in this forum.

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XCHOUX asked on 05/18/04 - Middle Eastern GodAlmighty

I tried to answer Elliot's clarification from two questions ago, but it didn't go through.

I understand that there are vast differences between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but they share the MiddleEastern GodAlmighty in their scriptures.

I consider GodAlmighty a demiurge. There is a higher "God" who is associated with the fierce Mystery of Creation. God is a Mystery and Creation is a Mystery. Middle Eastern humans over the ages have created this GodAlmighty to describe God from their puny knowledge and emotions. This "God" proves to be a failure as we see with our "lying eyes"!

Just my opinion as you have your opinion(s).

Have a great day, Chou

curious98 answered on 05/19/04:

O.K., lets try to clarify some points or, at least, to answer as best as possible your post.
There are differences between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But not that many! Judaism could be considered as the parent religion from where Christianism was born. Most of the Judaism sacred books are contained or shared in our Christian Old Testament. On the other hand, Jesus and his first disciples were all Jews. The basic difference is that Judaism never accepted and still dont- Jesus as the announced Messiah, whom they are still waiting for.
As for the Islam, differences are not that big when we are referring to the actual Al-Koran written by Mohammed. In fact, He recognizes Jesus as the last of the prophets, as well as most of the other prophets of the O.T.
And yes, the 3 religions do coincide in one basic important fact. There is a single GOD creator of the Universe and of everything in our little planet.
But GOD is not a Middle Eastern God Almighty but my GOD and your GOD too, though you have failed to recognize or accept it so far. GOD reigns all over his Creation (otherwise IT could not be identified with the meaning we give to this word) and therefore it would be a piece of sheer nonsense to claim that GOD is not the same GOD atheists do not believe in or Hindus adore. GOD, wherever IT may be, is EVERYWHERE at the same time and, of course, what we may think or believe of HIM is perfectly irrelevant.
Some of the followers of the 3 religions you mention are convinced that GOD is listening ONLY to them, while ignoring the others.
In my opinion, they are entirely wrong. If GOD listens to us at all, IT must listen to all for we are all ITS children. Human fathers if normal ones- listen to all their children, likewise, no matter what.
As for the famous Almighty of yours, you must bear in mind that earthen epithets only try to give an idea to our very limited minds of what GOD must be like.
We are, of course, short of words and/or ideas to properly describe the concept of GOD.
To start with many insist on depicting GOD as a venerable white bearded wise man sitting in the midst of pink clouds up there, somewhere. (What does it mean up or down, by the way?)
Or in many other ways, as many as our poor human imagination is able to create.
But hardly as an unimaginable force, energy or something entirely different to what we know, which holds and controls all peculiarities and epithets, like omniscient, omnipotent, ubiquity, etc. etc. to total perfection.
And that must necessarily be what you consider as a higher God
Man, since his very beginning, has had the instinct or the need to justify his very presence in this Planet. This peremptory need has compelled him to create the name and image of God.
It may have been the Sun, the Stars, a Horse or a Bear, and thousands of other representations. But the mere fact that ALL men with a few exceptions really- have to believe in something, already is a prove, in my opinion, that this something MUST exist,
The middle eastern men, and their descendents have only developed a set of beliefs, which have ended up by producing the 3 largest monotheistic religions now available. This probably means that the unknown GOD may have favoured us with some advantages in ITS regard. In every case, through Sacred Books, theoretically (and also possible, why not) inspired or dictated by GOD and written by men, explaining the history of a small part of our world. We, Christians, have it better, of course, for we have Jesus and his Gospels (whether the Son of God or Gods envoy or anoter prophet, is irrelevant, again in my opinion) for He might indeed have been sent by GOD to deliver his message of Love.
But in no case can GOD proves to be a failure, for every night, when we look at the sky, we have the actual prove, in front of our eyes, of Gods triumph!
The beauty of it all, however, is that each of one of us may believe what we want for that does not and will not modify a bit the fact that there is GOD.
And, sooner than we may think (for human life is so short) we shall all find out that was totally right or totally wrong and our curiosity will be fully satiated.

Just my opinion as you have yours!

Think it over, Chou

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XCHOUX asked on 05/18/04 - Western Buddhism

I have studied some Buddhism(Western Buddhism, that is Buddhism explained and adapted to a Westerner by qualified Lamas) over the last number of years, and I would be curious to know where I can find out the number of Western Buddhists in the USA. Are the numbers growing, stuff like that.

Thanks, Choux

curious98 answered on 05/18/04:

Buddhism seems to be doing alright in the USA as well as in many other countries of the western world.
Maybe because it is not exactly a religion but a way of life or a philosophy of life with a high spiritual contents.
You should be interested, perhaps, in visiting some of the web sites below:*is+buddhism+growing+in+the+usa*&hl=es*is+buddhism+growing+in+the+usa*&hl=es*is+buddhism+growing+in+the+usa*&hl=es


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XCHOUX asked on 05/17/04 - Woman's Purpose

On of the responders(a Christian) to one my previous questions stated that it was a "woman's 'purpose'" to have children.

I ask the believers of GodAlmighty religions, what is the earthly PURPOSE of a male human?

curious98 answered on 05/17/04:

Obviously, when what you say was written and accepted by ALL religions - and Mankind in general it was only logical that it would be a prevailing though, bearing in mind the world needed to be populated, and women were (and, of course, still are) the only ones able to do it. Man, on the other hand, as author of this and whatever other laws and statements were made at the time, felt his role was too important to be defined. In fact, man started the whole thing by saying (at least, in our Christian religion, he said so) that he had been created in the image of God, which, in my humble opinion, is the supreme evidence of masculine arrogance I can think of. And mind you, it is not that Im gay (when I was young this was not in fashion) nor have androphobia. It is simply, that I have always liked to call a spade a spade

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XCHOUX asked on 05/17/04 - HIgher Ethical/Moral Standard For Women

Do you think that the GodAlmighty religions and how they have evolved in the last thousand years or so hold women to a higher moral standard than they hold men to??

curious98 answered on 05/17/04:

I do not think so.
Inasmuch as women and men are the 2 only specimens belonging to the human race, they are -in my opinion-entitled to the same moral standards, privileges and responsibilities. No reason why there should be any differences.
Yet, we must admit throughout centuries -and even now- it is true that such differences exist, and in many places and for many centuries, higher moral standards have been expected from women in some cases and in some others -actually Christianism to a certain extent- women have been considered as non having a soul.
But, in every case, this has nothing to do with what you call God Almighty. Whatever injustices we can see in our world have nothing to do with God Almighty - who by definition must be totally just- but with man, who constantly manipulates religions to suit his own private interests and reasons.
Best regards

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XCHOUX asked on 05/16/04 - Pope Names New Saints

This morning I was greeted by the announcement that the Pope had created a bunch of new saints. Among these new "saints" was a woman who gave her life so that her in utero fetus could live.

For me, this seems very sick to say that a woman is a saint for giving up her life unnecessarily. It smacks of mental oppression of women! Why? Why should a woman give up her life for a fetus???? Are women still very second class citizens to the Catholic Clergy?

The best thing you can say about a woman is that she died??? A saint??? Or a victim of evil dogma???


curious98 answered on 05/16/04:

Obviously you are not only in favour of abortion (I am not) but you DO NOT RESPECT the fact other people may think differently than you do.
And people who think they are right while refusing they might be wrong or people who refuse others the right to think differently, not ONLY they do not understand Democracy but they are very CLOSE to Fascism or Neo-Nazism thinking. In Mussolinis Italy, Hitlers Germany, Stalins URSS or Francos Spain (and I know what Im talking about) you had to be very careful to express an opinion which would be different than the official point of view.

But true democrats have learnt since a long time ago to respect other peoples way of thinking and debate, instead of imposing, our own opinion. True democrats are also respectful. That means that I would not dare saying that the Pope had created a bunch of new saints.
This way of talking implies a great disrespect for all Roman Catholic followers. The Pope does not create a bunch of saints. Perhaps, you should say the Pope creates some new saints instead, assuming saints can be created by the Pope, when what he actually does is to nominate them.
This said, another thing it would be advisable for you to do is to investigate a little about the life of the person you are talking about.
Maybe it is hard for you to understand it but, thanks God, there are people in our world who do not share your thoughts, although no doubt, you think they are wrong
For your guidance I reproduce a short biography of Gianna Baretta Molla.

Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962)

Gianna Beretta was born in Magenta (Milan) October 4, 1922. Already as a youth she willingly accepted the gift of faith and the clearly Christian education that she received from her excellent parents. As a result, she experienced life as a marvellous gift from God, had a strong faith in Providence and was convinced of the necessity and effectiveness of prayer.
She diligently dedicated herself to studies during the years of her secondary and university education, while, at the same time, applying her faith through generous apostolic service among the youth of Catholic Action and charitable work among the elderly and needy as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. After earning degrees in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949, she opened a medical clinic in Mesero (near Magenta) in 1950. She specialized in Pediatrics at the University of Milan in 1952 and thereafter gave special attention to mothers, babies, the elderly and poor.
While working in the field of medicine-which she considered a mission and practiced as such-she increased her generous service to Catholic Action, especially among the very young and, at the same time, expressed her joie de vivre and love of creation through skiing and mountaineering. Through her prayers and those of others, she reflected upon her vocation, which she also considered a gift from God. Having chosen the vocation of marriage, she embraced it with complete enthusiasm and wholly dedicated herself to forming a truly Christian family.
She became engaged to Pietro Molla and was radiant with joy and happiness during the time of their engagement, for which she thanked and praised the Lord. They were married on September 24, 1955, in the Basilica of St. Martin in Magenta, and she became a happy wife. In November 1956, to her great joy, she became the mother of Pierluigi, in December 1957 of Mariolina; in July 1959 of Laura. With simplicity and equilibrium she harmonized the demands of mother, wife, doctor and her passion for life.
In September 1961 towards the end of the second month of pregnancy of her fourth son, she was touched by suffering and the mystery of pain; she had developed a fibroma in her uterus. Before the required surgical operation, and conscious of the risk that her continued pregnancy brought, she pleaded with the surgeon to save the life of the child she was carrying, and entrusted herself to prayer and Providence. The life was saved, for which she thanked the Lord. She spent the seven months remaining until the birth of the child in incomparable strength of spirit and unrelenting dedication to her tasks as mother and doctor. She worried that the baby in her womb might be born in pain, and she asked God to prevent that.
A few days before the child was due, although trusting as always in Providence, she was ready to give her life in order to save that of her child: If you must decided between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child - I insist on it. Save him. On the morning of April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela was born. Despite all efforts and treatments to save both of them, on the morning of April 28, amid unspeakable pain and after repeated exclamations of Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you, the mother died. She was 39 years old. Her funeral was an occasion of profound grief, faith and prayer. The Servant of God lies in the cemetery of Mesero (4 km from Magenta).
Conscious immolation, was the phrase used by Pope Paul VI to define the act of Blessed Gianna, remembering her at the Sunday Angelus of September 23, 1973, as: A young mother from the diocese of Milan, who, to give life to her daughter, sacrificed her own, with conscious immolation. The Holy Father in these words clearly refers to Christ on Calvary and in the Eucharist.
Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, during the international Year of the Family.
At todays ceremony, her husband and her 4 sons were present and I had a chance to see their faces on TV. They looked so proud and happy that I felt a pang of envy.
And let me tell you something else, additionally. I think this lady now a saint by our Catholic standards- has much more merit by sacrificing her life for her new daugther who has been able to realize the magnitude of her sacrifice- than any of those poor soldiers that are told to offer their lives to save their countries
Those soldiers are considered as patriots!
This lady is considered a Christian!
Best regards

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Yiddishkeit asked on 05/12/04 - CEO pay increases and politics...

Although this is the "Religion" board I know many of you are very serious about America and it's current direction.

Both main party candidiates now have there ads on tv (Bush and Kerry) and as of last week I received the John Kerry DNC wish list in the mail. I'm giving strong consideration for voting none of the above and probably will just skip this election altogether.

If you have the MSN News home page (dated 5/12/04) and check out the article concerning the study done on the avg. US CEO pay that leaped 27% in 2003.

Now...the Corporation that I work just gave the Reports Record for the first quarter 2004. Here you go...generated net revenues 1.07 billion, up 12% from 2003 and produced an invididual property level of 370 million, up over the previous year and an all-time Company record for any quarter, and operating income 255 million, up 60% over 2003.

Wow! You just wish you had a potfolio like that...huh?!!!

But, how much did my pay leap last year? ONLY 2%!!! And that was only because of a cost of living increase. I never missed one day of work and you never found me on the golf course. Meanwhile, those fat headed brother-in-law CEO's types of America had a very large pay increase and to mention the bonus money that was generated on the backs of middle class America. As an additional insult to our dignity the damn CEO, who thinks he is so important, is still cutting jobs and downsizing by further enslaving the remaining work force for even more production.

I don't think for a minute that either, Bush or Kerry, are going to improve the average American working class status...not 2,3, or 4 years from election. The song will remain the same! Any little bit that has been done in the past has not been enough and I can't possibly see that changing for the better anytime soon.

Let's put aside thinking of one candidiate or party for just a moment. If you had the power to make change with the support of congress, senators, and the general public, what would you initiate to make improvements for middle-class working American?


curious98 answered on 05/13/04:

Hi Bobby.
As you know Im not a USA citizen. All the same as a world citizen I feel I can give you my opinion.

Bush and Kerry have gone to the same University and both are millionaires. That means both are deeply involved in the system and geared to gain as much power and money as possible. Each one will promise the Moon to ensure his victory, and once in the Presidency they will forget most of what they said.
On the other hand, corporations all over the world use the same yardstick to keep going.
It goes without saying that if they would have given you a 10% increase, their profit would have suffered tremendously and their balance sheet would not look so glamorous for their stockholders.
As good Jew you were probably thinking in terms of ma-aser but Corporations do not think along these lines.
You are speaking of additional insults to your dignity But listen to this
One of my sons is the Financial Manager of a multi-billion corporation (2nd largest Editorial in Europe). However, their CEO is also the main shareholder with some 85% of all shares. According to Fortunes 500 magazine, he is in the 150 level, so that means he is not really a beggar. He has many other companies (an aircraft company amongst them) and some 20.000 people work for him.
Last January he instructed my son to inform all Human Resources manager that business was pretty bad all over, and he could NOT authorize any increase. So that my son could sound convincing enough he allowed him, however, a non-official 3% increase, which he receives in a separate account. Of course, my son knows quite well that business is going splendidly
To top it all, last month the CEOs only daughter got married, and he celebrated a Salomonic wedding in Barcelona, with some 1500 guests. My son estimated the cost in well over $200.000 for the luncheon only
And it appeared on all Magazines
And yet, I had to tell my son that, no matter what he thinks of this CEOs and all the other CEOs in the world, Capitalism (even wild Capitalism as this one) is the best system available to produce wealth for a great amount of people, like my son and probably you, too.
Not as much wealth as it would be desirable. Not as much wealth for everybody as it would be convenient. But, at least, you two still have a job and still manage to keep up a family in rather good terms.
There are many who cannot do that
So this is why my advice would be go for Kerry. He cannot be any worse that Bush has been for the USA and probably, at least, in the beginning, he will do a few things better.
He will, of course, keep on favoring your gorgeous COE (they probably know each other) but, as long as your COE has a job in your Corporation you are likely to go on being engaged, which is not too bad.
But do vote! Its not only your duty, but if you dont you wont be able to protest later on
Incidentally, a Financial Mgr.. in Spain, can make some 95.000, or US$ 114.000 a year,
How does that compare with the States, right now?

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XCHOUX asked on 05/09/04 - Islam

Islam is a religion and social system based primarily on the opression of women and general sexual repression derived from ideas and tribal stories millennia old. Men are God in their cultures.

The cork in the steaming kettle is going to pop in violent ways such as the Terrorist Mentality which is driven by hatred for women, deep psychological poison and resentment for the success of women in western cultures in which Arab men cannot compete because they do not have "God" status there.

Islam is antediluvian and evil in its primitive abusive human relationships not only toward women, but thegoverning elite toward the "commoners", the clerics coveting great power.


curious98 answered on 05/09/04:

Most religions, when manipulated and adapted to private and political interests driven by lust for power or ethnical hate are equally dangereous.
History gives us plenty of evidence in this respect.
Islam, per se, is a legitimate religion, 2nd in number of followers.
The problem there, and you are, of course, right, is that Islam is being deeply and profoundly manipulated by Islamic priesthood (Ulemas, ayatolahs, etc.) who, in turn, are following indications of those who have undertaken a personal war against western culture.
The fact that Muslim populations, in general, are lacking the necessary cultural background to understand how they are being manipulated and also the sad coincidence that most Muslim countries are underdevelopped. belong to the so called 3rd world and millions are bving deprived of the minimum essential by their own leaders, makes Islamic Terrorism extremely dangerous for mankind.
But I think, it would be unfair to blame their religion for what is happening now as it would just be equally unfair to blame Christianism for the so called Holy Court of the Inquisition.
It is we men who must be blamed for all this nonsense...

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XCHOUX asked on 05/08/04 - More Religious Oppression

Did you know that it is illegal in several states of the US for an atheist to run for office? Can you name the states?

curious98 answered on 05/08/04:

I know really nothing about US lawa, mostly because I'm not a USA citizen.
But I would say such laws as you mention should date back to the beginnings of your Country when your founders were people extremely religious.
I'm sure that there must be scores of forgotten laws that need to be revised as it happen in many other countries, like mine, for one.

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ETWolverine asked on 05/06/04 - A plea from a soldier.


This is an exerpt from an e-mail that I have received through the grapevine. I know Moses Sheinfeld well, and my wife has known him a lot longer. He's an Orthodox Jew, like myself, and a personal friend, and one of the straightest guys I've ever met. He's a Captian in the Rangers, and he's currently in a combat zone in the Sunni Triangle. I personally vouch for the legitimacy of this e-mail. It was written to some friends of his, asking them to get their synagogues to set up a 'care package drive'. But I see no reason not to share this letter with all of you as well.

If you can, please help lift the morale of the soldiers risking their lives to protect us, especially a frum yid. More detail to follow at the end of his letter:


Greetings from Forward Operating Base Ar Ramadi (formerly Camp Junction City), the western edge of the "Sunni Triangle" in Iraq.

Today (20APR04), our unit, TF 1-16 IN (Iron Rangers), attended a memorial ceremony for our brother, SGT Christopher Ramirez, who was killed in action
while attacking an enemy dug in position during our unit's largest operation on 14APR04.

At the end of the ceremony, the 1st Sergeant (1SG) from SGT Ramirez's company, B Company (Bushmaster), conducted a heart-rendering ceremony called "Last Roll Call." The company of about 100 soldiers stood at
attention and the 1SG called out the name of a soldier and the soldier answered, "Here 1SG!" Then the 1SG called out the name of a different soldier and he answered, "here 1SG!" Then the 1SG called out the name of "SGT Ramirez" and there was no answer. He called out again, "SGT Christopher Ramirez," and no one answered. Just bone-chilling silence that was broken by a 21 gun salute in honor of this "Fallen Hero."

I mention this story to illustrate the great sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice which SGT Ramirez and 7 other Iron Rangers have made in the War on Terrorism, a war to protect us all.

Now, I request from each of you that you make a sacrifice on behalf of the soldiers of the Iron Ranger Battalion and the other soldiers of the Devil
Brigade. I request that each of you prepare a package of food and other items for our soldiers at the front of the War on Terrorism. Every single day, we face enemy direct fire outside the "wire" and enemy indirect fire inside the wire (we are mortared and rocketed on a regular basis inside the base). Your packages will be a phenomenal morale boost.

When our soldiers receive your packages, it's a little bit of home 7,000 miles from U.S. soil. The positive impact of your packages will be immeasurable. Your package will not only express your care and concern for
our soldiers, but also represent a much, much needed break in the monotony we face each day. We eat the same foods on a 3 week cycle, day in and day out. We see the same things day in and day out in our small post exchange.

This is a unique and extraordinary opportunity for the Jewish community of the United States, every temple, synagogue, congregation, and JCC and for each Jew to support the soldiers who are over here. Most Iron Rangers will be deployed to Iraq for up to a year away from family, friends, and home. Can you imagine being away from your wife, your husband, your children,
your parents for a year? It's a tremendous and noble sacrifice.

A principle Jewish value is hakart h'tov (recognition of good, gratitude). Sending packages here to Iraq is a unique opportunity to fulfill this mitzvah, this good deed.

Our soldiers would appreciate the following items: dried fruit, popcorn, candy (hard, soft), Pez and Pez dispensers, gum, cakes, cookies, power bars (EAS, Met-RX), nuts, chocolate (all types of M & M's), coffee (ground coffee, Starbucks would be greatly appreciated, soldiers love and live on coffee!!!), white exercise socks, Gold Bond powder, magazines, newspapers, soft cover books, and anything else you can think of to surprise our soldiers.

Success, victory for this avodah (this labor) will be twofold. One is that this e-mail makes the rounds to every Jew in the U.S. and two is that each member of the American Jewish community responds with a package. If thousands of packages come rolling in, this will be a magnificent kidush h'shem (a sanctification of the name of G-D).

You can send your package to the following address:

Iron Ranger Battalion and Devil Brigade
CPT Moses Scheinfeld
HHC/1-16 IN
1 BCT, 1 ID (M)
FOB Ar Ramadi/Camp Junction City
APO AE 09394

Please send your packages by priority mail. It will get here faster.

Finally, please continue to pray and say Tehillim (Psalms) for the successful mission and safe return of our troops here in Iraq and in other distant places.

"Rangers Lead The Way, But G-D Is The Way"

CPT Moses Scheinfeld

P.S. The walls of our headquarters are covered with patriotic drawings and expressions of appreciation and thanks from children all over the U.S. Such drawings from kids from Gan Shalom in Chicago, Ramaz in New York, the Beren Academy in Houston, and all the other Jewish schools in the U.S. would mean much. There's still plenty of space on our walls for these.


OK. Here's a little more information:

When sending these packages overseas, you will need to fill out a 'customs declaration form' (Form 2976 or 2976-A). Articles are liable for customs duty and/or purchase tax unless they are bona fide gifts intended for use by military personnel or their dependents. When the contents of a parcel meet these requirements, the mailer must endorse the customs form, "Certified to be a bona fide gift, personal effects, or items for personal use of military personnel and dependents," under the heading, Description of Contents.

Here is a partial list of items that the soldiers are commonly looking for. It comes from the Operation Military Pride website

Food Items
*Instant coffee. There are many flavored coffees that are very good.
*Powdered Gatorade.
*Powdered hot chocolate
*Kool-Aid (presweetened of course)
*Tea bags
*Slim Jim's
*Crackers and Easy Cheese. Triscuits and Ritz crackers are great.
*Single servings of bagged chips. (The small bags stay fresh longer.)
*Candy, of course. (M & M's are great, hard candy-anything that won't melt.)
*Little Debbie snack cakes
*Bubble gum
*Rice Krispie Treats
*Dry cereal. (The small, individual serving boxes stay very fresh.)
*Kraft Easy Mac
*Microwave popcorn
*Beef jerky
*Granola bars
*Power bars
*Dried fruit
*Chex mix
*Canned soup
*Spices (Onion powder, garlic powder, spice all, ect )
*Summer sausage
*Ragu Express
*Canned chicken
*Salad dressing
*Instant soup
*Fast food condiments (Hot sauce, ketchup, mustard, salt and pepperpackets, relish, Mayo)

*Clorox wipes
*Baby wipes
*Shampoo, conditioner
*After shave lotion
*Soap or body wash
*Mouth wash
*T-shirts, underwear and socks, monthly.
*A big fluffy towel
*Eye drops, especially for those in the desert.
*Lip balm
*Sun block
*Skin so soft (Avon)
*Dental floss
*Baby powder
*Foot powder
*Combs /brushes
*Cotton balls
*Liquid hand sanitizer
*Breath mints
*Contact lens cleaner
*Eye drops
*Nail files

Just for fun
*Send batteries. It sounds simple, but people forget.
*A stress ball.
*Stamps, paper and envelopes with a nice writing pen might inspire a few more letters home.
*Phone cards (AT&T work best from Kuwait)
*Paperback book or magazines
*Disposable cameras
*Yo Yo's
*Squirt guns
*Dart boards
*Small flash lights
*Hackie sacks
*Jump ropes
*Electronics hand held games
*Post cards from your home state
*Handmade items
*Radio head sets
*Portable CD players
*Mini fans
*Jokes and comics
*Hats (Baseball)
*Bug off
*Single sheet sets
*Birthday decorations
*Send board games-the ones they have made into key chains.
*With a CD burner, make a CD of favorite songs.
*Send a few toys. Slinky, sidewalk chalk, squirt guns...anything extra silly.
*Send electronic games.
*Make a miniature scrapbook.
*Foam footballs and basketballs, the miniature size. These will be used constantly!

*Pressurized items (Shaving cream, etc...)
*Chocolates (May melt all over package)
*News for shipments to the Persian Gulf

Thanks, everyone, for taking an interest and helping out our soldiers. This is a great chance to show them that we appreciate their putting their lives on the line for us. Hakaras hatov (recognition and gratitude) is a HUGE mitzvah. Please help them out.

I know from personal experience that morale can mean EVERYTHING in a fight.

May you be remembered on the Day of Judgement for your Good Deeds.


curious98 answered on 05/06/04:

A most sincere salute for your friend and admiration for all soldiers that are risking their lives in that hell!
Do you think, they will welcome a parcel from a non jew Spanish citizen?
I hope so
I will also try to distribute this mail to the Jewish community in Barcelona and in Madrid.
Let me know what you think?

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XCHOUX asked on 05/03/04 - Forging a New Religion

Scientology gained tax exempt status from the IRS in 1993...they stated that they were a religion after a scare. The Food and Drug Administration raided their offices and seized e-meters, part of their self-help program. Hubbard had been making madical claims for the device which could not be proven.

Hubbard added religious myth to his program which he apparently made up out of whole cloth. The final stage of scientology, one must tlepathically contact the parasitic body thetans and persuad them to let go. Critics deride all this as bad science fiction. But religion scholas J. Gordon Melton, who has studied dozens of new religions, says Scientology's theology is no more "irrational and ridiculous than the creation myths of many mainstream religions.

Any comments?

curious98 answered on 05/04/04:

Religions are man made, but some are GOD inspired; at least, this is what I believe, being that I believe in GOD while I assume my own religion Roman Catholic has been widely tampered with by men, throughout history.
The Church of Scientology, though, is a sect, as there are so many others popping up in your Country. With all due respect to its members that I know of it has been outlawed, at least, in Spain and in France.
I call sect all those religious organizations where it is very easy to get in and very difficult to get out. This seems to be the case of the C. of Sci.
However, I must admit that Im not interested in religions that are younger than 400 years give or take. I respect the right everyone has to believe in what he/she deems it convenient, and I admire the ability some people have to convince others of almost anything. Like some of the Hindu gurus who drive Rolls Royces and people keep on throwing flowers and rupees when they go by in their splendid cars.
Alas! Thats life.

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PraiseJah asked on 04/27/04 - Sh*t happens

Christianity - the devil did it
Buddhism - you deserved it
Judaism - why me?
Hinduism - again and again and again.

curious98 answered on 04/28/04:

Great answer from Elliot!

BTW, what is your kind of Sh*t?


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XCHOUX asked on 04/22/04 - The Worst Kind of Religious Oppression

I have personally found that the worst kind of religious oppression is against those who do not beieve in the God of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

How terrible! Would any politician get elected if he/she actually stated that they didn't believe? No way! They have to pretend they believe. All over a matter of opinion!

curious98 answered on 04/22/04:

I'm a Christian Catholic and I partly agree with you, i.e. I would not feel inclined to vote for an atheist for the simple reson that, in my opinion, of course, whoever does not believe in anything is lacking a certain amount of logical sense. Someone, somehow, must be responsible for the Creation of the Universe.
On the other hand, I would not mind voting for some who would profess any other religion like hinduism, for one.
Again, in my opinion, a truly religious persons offers some guarantees of honesty and straightforwardness.
The problem, as you also point out, is that quite a few the pretend to believe and they don't, and they get elected on the assumption they are faithful followers of one religion or other.
And even worse than that, there are those who are fanatic believers and, on top of that, pretend to be in direct communication with God, who also get elected and can be tremendously dangerous, for they always find a reason to justify their behavior through God.
In order to mention anyone alive, I will give as an instance Ayatollah Jomeini.
But, bear in mind that Christian or Judaism fundamentalism is just as perilous for mankind as Islamic fundamentalism.
Best regards

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XCHOUX asked on 04/16/04 - Religion and God

I feel some confusion has arisen over some of my comments which, I see, may be confusing.

I believe in a Higher God than the gods described in Judaism, Christianity(god almighty) and Islam. Also, in other tribal based religions like Hinduism, Shintoism, and assorted lesser known religions.

One of the problems for me is to make a distinction between my god and what most others call god which is god almighty. I see that not capitalizing the name of the Middle Eastern God/Allah may be a problem for some. I will now use *God* when speaking of my God(I'm not an atheist, more like Deism), and God when speaking of your God. Please accept my apologies.

Give me any other advice as you see fit.

curious98 answered on 04/16/04:

Dear Schoux,

In the first place I think it would be good if we should all stop referring to Allah as the God of Islam. Allah in Arab means God, very much as Gott in German, Dieu, in French, Dios, in Spanish, Dio, in Italian, God, in English and so on and so forth...
In the second place your "God" is my God and everybody else's God, no matter what each one of us may say or believe.
Islam, Judaism, Christianism, Deism, Hinduism, Sintoism, and what have you, they all share the same God, though many insist only theirs is the true one.
That's fine with me, for everybody has a right to believe in what their parents taught him/her or into who he/she may have chosen to believe in
But, what I'm trying to tell you, is that, in your case, you say you believe in one such "God" above all the rest. And this God is above all the others, the point is that HE must be the number ONE "God" or God or GOD; the Big Boss, so to speak, who created everything in this Universe, including you and me.
Accepting this premise, the kind of liturgy each one of us decides to follow in honest good faith does not matter too much, at least in my opinion.
At the end of our journey we shall all meet (this is a rhetoric figure, of course, to avoid theological discussions) and will share our common destiny whichever it may be.
I do not have any doubt that we are ALL heading for the same Station Terminus.
If part of the Islam believe in a Paradise with sweet fruits and 64 virgins for each male that has committed suicide in the name of God (I wonder what the Ulemas promise to each woman that has also committed suicide), or if we Christians believe we shall all sit at the right of God Father, or if Hindus believe we may end up as a Holy Cow in our next reincarnation, or if Jews hope for the Messiah to take them to Paradise, it does not matter very much, does it?
We must accept -at least, those who believe in ONE God - there cannot be different Paradises or destinations for each different believes.
We are not that important... In fact, we are insignificant before the Almighty GOD we all believe in, you too, one way or other, one name or other, one liturgy or other.
When the ONE and ONLY God created the Universe He must have certainly laid out the plans for whatever living beings there may exist in such Universe (lets not insist on the dream we are the only ones) and there cannot be anything past, present or future God ignores or has yet to decide about our future.
In fact, if God does care about us a tiny winy as some of us may believe in- ITs bound to have a kick out of our earthen worries and discussions at all levels regarding who God is, and Gods plans about us.
Best regards

BTW. I think Capitalizing the name of God is just a sign of respect.

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graeylin asked on 04/13/04 - How dumb can you be?

Given that God knows everything that is going to happen, and that the Devil has been around long enough to probably know that, why on earth would the Devil Bet God regarding Job?

No matter what the Devil did, God already knew what Job would do, right? So God already knew the outcome of the bet. The Devil had to know that God knew (heck, I know He knows, how could the Devil be dumber than I am?). Why would the Devil bet God when he knows that God already knows the outcome? What was in it for the devil?

curious98 answered on 04/13/04:

If your question has to do with an interest in promoting some sort of debate on something we can do nothing but speculate, then my answer would be the devil was ahead of a new frustration, as the many he had already had and the many he was yet to have.
If you are candidly interested in a formal answer I should say that, in the first place, and irrespective of what our religious beliefs are, if we believe in GOD we must accept HE is Omniscient.
Our knowledge is limited--we do not know everything and cannot. The more we learn, the more we find out that there is so much that we do not yet know and understand. Only a foolish man thinks he knows it all. But though we only learn and know in part, God knows ALL! Nothing is hidden from Him. This too is beyond our understanding to comprehend. God is Omniscient; that is, He knows and possesses all knowledge.
This said the formal answer to your question lies hidden in GODs mysterious ways. It is part of human curious and arrogant nature to pretend to explain why GOD did this or that or what were HIS intentions to let something happen as it did.
But the actual fact is that everything we say, think, imagine, consider, study, read, is based on speculation. When we read the O.T. some of us will believe it to the letter considering it is GODs direct word- some will consider as a set of books teaching the story of the Jewish people, some will claim there are other holy books belonging to other religions which are also worth studying.
When we get to the Gospels in the N.T. some of us believe the message therein contained is superb as originating in the Son of God, some will simply say they are fine as coming from a prophet, and a few will go to the extent of saying there is no historic evidence of Jesus.
Most Biblical scholars, historians, archeologist and even the clergy are knowledgeable about one fact of Christianity that we Christian worshippers mostly ignore. There is limited historical facts to establish finite historical evidence that Jesus Christ existed. The vast majority of what Christians believe today is based purely on the New Testament , a collection of writings and testimony of those who supposedly knew Jesus and from those who never saw him. The origin of the New Testament was not the "bible" of the Christians until after 150 A.D. The actual "bible" of the early Christians was the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament. For more than a century after the death of Christ, the early Christians relied on the Old Testament.
However, the recent finding of the burial cave of Caiaphas, the high priest, adds even more evidence to the general historical truth of the New Testament, though, of course, still leaved in the air the question of Jesus divinity.
Jesus resurrection the main pillar supporting the Christian Church- is just a matter of Faith for us Christians as it is for the Jews to believe in the O.T.
So you see, remove the Faith and all that remains is sheer speculation.
But, over and above all speculation there is the fact GOD exists and we simple mortals cannot dream of having the foggiest idea of what GODs plan have been, are or will be in our respect.
Best regards

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abirl asked on 04/07/04 - Explaining God

In your opinion, what is the best way to explain the concept of God to a child and at what age?

Thank you for answering.


curious98 answered on 04/08/04:

At 4 or 5, I took my own children out in the garden, at night; showed them the stary sky
and told them:
See all these little and bright points shining up there?
They were put up there by a good magicien who wanted to show us how powerful he is.
He also made the Sun and the Moon and the sea and the trees and everything you can see.
He lives up there, and He wants you and me and your mom and your brothers to be good and love each other very much.
And if we do, one day we shall see Him!
And it worked quite well...
But that was in the late fifties and mid sixties, when children were no used to navigate through Internet at 5 years old.
Right now, I must admit that perhaps my tale
would make them smile...

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graeylin asked on 04/06/04 - How would you answer?

Short intro: One cubicle over from me sits a VERY religous proselytizer, who is always pushing a religous slant/agenda onto everyone near to him. He isn't horribly annoying, just enough that you constantly hear him on the phone, talking to church mates at work, debating religion with others during breaks, etc..

I overheard him on Monday inviting another worker to a "special Easter Service" his church was holding "so that (the other worker) "could get to know about God and Christ better." He has been "working" this particular co worker for about 6 months, trying to get him to come to church.

The worker replied "Thank you, but I have no interest in worshipping a god who orders a mother to stone her children to death."

It is the first time in 3 years I have heard Mr. Religion speechless... Coworker walked away (to silent cheers?), and Mr. Religion stayed quiet the rest of the day.

My question: Given that someone else will use that line against him (as a way to quiet him down), what would YOUR answer and line of defense be against it? How would you handle the charge?

curious98 answered on 04/07/04:

It depends on the "talk" he/she claims is having with the Lord.
In this particular case, there is no question in my mind she is totally insane.
And, do not forget that not ALL who claim have been talking to GOD have indeed doing so.
Many say so to justify their actions by making us believe they have a direct red line with GOD.
But this is not so extraordinary. The extraordinary thing, in my opinion, is the amount of people that give them credit for what they say.

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graeylin asked on 04/06/04 - How would you answer?

Short intro: One cubicle over from me sits a VERY religous proselytizer, who is always pushing a religous slant/agenda onto everyone near to him. He isn't horribly annoying, just enough that you constantly hear him on the phone, talking to church mates at work, debating religion with others during breaks, etc..

I overheard him on Monday inviting another worker to a "special Easter Service" his church was holding "so that (the other worker) "could get to know about God and Christ better." He has been "working" this particular co worker for about 6 months, trying to get him to come to church.

The worker replied "Thank you, but I have no interest in worshipping a god who orders a mother to stone her children to death."

It is the first time in 3 years I have heard Mr. Religion speechless... Coworker walked away (to silent cheers?), and Mr. Religion stayed quiet the rest of the day.

My question: Given that someone else will use that line against him (as a way to quiet him down), what would YOUR answer and line of defense be against it? How would you handle the charge?

curious98 answered on 04/06/04:

My answer would be that Deanne Laney was obviously either pathologically out of her mind or had chosen that line as an excuse to hide some obscure sadist whim or instinct of hers.
And then I would add that if she accords Deanne the slightest suspicion of having actually received a message from God, and then it would be her who should immediately see a psychiatrist
And I would call it a day and go to the services by my little old self.


PS. Unfortunately, there are plenty of religious nonsense and fanatism going around these days.
Nobody in his/her sane mind, for instance, may believe that Moslems God (Allah) who is also our own GOD, is behind what the Islamic fundamentalists are doing.
The trouble is that some of their crazy priests are listened to and believed by some even crazier followers. But this is not new. Only recently, we had devils like that, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, who were so convincing that they still have followers.

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kindj asked on 04/02/04 - On the Pharisees, Sadducees, and others...

I'm curious if, within Judaism, there is still a "sect" or group that is called the Pharisees, Sadducees, or any of the other names of old.

If not, do their traditions continue in some circles?

How about the Essenes? From what I've read about them, those guys were pretty OK to me.

I know in Christianity I have personally called some "Christians" modern-day Pharisees, meaning to speak to their love of law over the law of love.

I sincerely hope I was not insulting to another group by accident in doing so.

Anyway, the real question I had was whether or not these groups still officially exist, or if they were pretty much disbanded after 70AD.

I'm obviously not a historian, so this should be pretty easy for those of you that are.


curious98 answered on 04/02/04:

Probably, if you were a Jew you might be somewhat offended unless you would appreciate that the word Pharisee has been adopted in the Western World to define someone who has a high opinion of himself.
The following are the definitions from 2 reliable dictionaries:

From the Webster Dictionary definition:

Middle English pharise, from Old English fariseus, and from Old French pharise both from Late Latin phar saeus, from Greek phar saios, from Aramaic p ri ayy , pl. of p ri , separate, from p ra , to separate. See pr in Semitic Roots.]

1st definition
Phar"i*see (?), n. [L. Pharisaeus, Gr. , from Heb. pārash to separate.] One of a sect or party among the Jews, noted for a strict and formal observance of rites and ceremonies and of the traditions of the elders, and whose pretensions to superior sanctity led them to separate themselves from the other Jews.

2nd Definition
a self-righteous or sanctimonious person
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Pharisees were an ancient sect of Judaism; they existed during the time of rabbis Hillel the Elder and Shammai, and during the time of Jesus. They are the direct predecessor to what eventually became known as Rabbinic Judaism.
In contrast to other Jewish groups of the time, such as Sadducees, Pharisees held that the books of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible, also called the written law) have always been transmitted in parallel with an oral tradition. They pointed as proof to the text of the Torah itself, where they said many words were left undefined, and many procedures mentioned without explanation or instructions; the reader is assumed to be familiar with the details from other sources. This parallel set of material was originally transmitted orally, and came to be known as "the oral law". By 200 CE much of this material was edited together into the Mishnah, the core document of rabbinic Judaism. Thus, from the Saduccee and Essene point of view, the Pharisees were the liberal party, which allowed for flexibility in the interpretation of the law.
This sect was present in the days of Jesus. Christians have traditionally seen Jesus as an opponent of the Pharisees, accusing them of being only outwardly religious, rather than inwardly observant of the Law. Jesus was opposed to the Pharisees emphasis on observance of religious purity laws. Some modern day scholars argue that this reading is no longer tenable, and that when the New Testament is read in its historical context, Jesus's attitude towards the law was more like a liberal offshoot of Pharisee thought.
While during the first century CE and earlier, the Pharisees were faced with opposition from other Jewish groups such as the Essenes and the Sadducees, they were eventually triumphant; rabbinic Judaism as it is known today is descended from them.

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tomder55 asked on 03/30/04 - prophets

have the line of prophets ended ,or did it continue beyond the biblical days? (besides the Muslim recognition of Mohammed of course) .Is there a system in the major religions that emerged from the deserts of the Middle East to recognize ,and possibly embrace prophets of the post bible era ?

curious98 answered on 03/30/04:

I think it all depends upon your personal beliefs and upon the different major religions.
Also, upon how you want to define the word Prophet.
For instance, you have someone like Nostradamus; some like to claim he is a prophet...

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graeylin asked on 03/29/04 - Your opinion: Was Christ aware?

Apologies to my Jewish mentors on the board... feel free to answer or ignore:

Since the gospels skip almost all of Christ's childhood, I was wondering what YOU thought.
Was Christ aware of His destiny as a child, or did He only become aware of His role as an adult? Did He grow up thinking "wow, I am the Son of GOd, I have huge job ahead of me..." or do you think His role was hidden from Him until later? When did He become aware of his part in the plan/big picture?

curious98 answered on 03/30/04:

You, of course, realize that we have no way of knowing for sure what were Jesus' thoughts as a child.
However, if you are asking for personal opinions, mine is that He grew up as a plain normal child and it was not until He was an adult that He became conscient of His destiny.
As to when did He find out -as adult- of his role, again this is just another point open to speculation, bearing in mind, mostly that through the Gospels we know only the final part of Jesus' life.
According to the Gospel only Mary, Jesus' mother, and Joseph (his putative father, as you know) were aware from the very beginning of Jesus' destiny.

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kindj asked on 03/29/04 - Here's another guy's take---

Here's what another guy thinks about the Israel/Yassin situation. He may be kind of famous, but his opinion is that of just an ordinary guy.

Makes a lot of sense to me, though.

>>Defending Ourselves

A couple of days ago Israeli forces sought out and killed a Palestinian named Yassim. He was a pathetic figure, small, emaciated and confined to a wheelchair.

Yet under those innocent looking white robes he wore beat the heart of a wanton terrorist. He was the founder of Hamas and responsible for the murder of hundreds of innocent Jewish women and children, masterminding an untold number of suicide raids against the Israelis.

Yet when the Jews finally take him out world opinion runs from
caustic criticism to outrage. How dare the Israelis retaliate, how dare they take out a terrorist who was dedicated body and soul to their destruction.

Well I dont care what the rest of the world says, I say, way to go Israel, we could take a lesson from you in this country. What it comes down to is do we destroy our enemies or do we sit back and let our enemies destroy us? And believe me folks, its going to be one way or the other, there is no middle ground.

Too long the U.S.A. has yielded to world opinion and political correctness and the inane and feeble edicts of the United Nations. Too long we have ignored our enemies until we find them on our doorstep.

There are parts of the world that are not going to like America
no matter what we do. We could consign fifty percent of our gross national product to them and they would still criticize and hate us.

One of the things which appalls me most is that there are so many people in this country who just dont get it. They think that if we leave the terrorists alone theyll leave us alone, that if we placate them they will go away.

Well nothing could be farther from the truth. Theyre never going to leave us alone no matter what we do and every little acquiescence is interpreted by them as weakness and in reality, it really is.

There are those who say that America has brought this on herself, that we are a mean and malevolent nation who rides roughshod over the rest of the world. There are even those who would side with the Palestinians who say that we were complicit in the assasination of Yassim.

The Palestinians say that they are going to hold the U.S.A. accountable and start terrorist attacks on American soil and interests.

Well I for one think that at the very first sign of Palestinian
terrorism that a few well placed bombs in the Bekah valley might be in order along with the immediate cutting of all aid to them.

But the best thing we could do is to encourage the Israelis to take the gloves off. They know how to deal with terrorism and are ready and willing to do it if their only ally would just get out of the way and let them have at it.

Pray for our troops.

God Bless America.

Charlie Daniels<<


curious98 answered on 03/30/04:

As a non-USA citizen I must say that, globally, I agree with Mr. Daniels remarks. There are, of course, several points in his paper that might deserve some further debate but, in the whole, getting rid of that sinister character, as it was Mr. Yessin is a good piece of news. At least, he will not be able to harm anybody anymore
The problem now lies with the eventual revenge Hamas will seek which, as usual, will hit innocent people. Unfortunately, there seems to be no other way to finish with terrorism right now than to behead its many heads. For Islamic terrorism is like the Lernaean Hydra in Argos, Herakles had to slaughter as his 2nd work. Yet, the Hydra had only 9 heads and this terrorism has many more.
What has happened in Madrid on the 3/11 is an instance of what Im saying. We have managed to already throw into jail 17 morocchans (14 have been proven guilty) but, so far, we havent been able to locate their head. Not even to find out who was sponsoring this terrible attack.
I, for one, believe that Mr. Arafat is just as responsible as Mr. Yessin, and he should be next in the list
But it cannot be done in the open and brag about it
There are certainly subtler and probably more efficient- ways to eliminate all these guys.
Besides, I think it is a very effective form of counter-terrorism to destroy its main leaders without letting them know where the next blow is going to come from!
In other words, to do the same think as they like so much to do.
They have the whole world as a target and they like to hit without any warning. We should be doing the same thing. And if they can do it, there is no question in my mind we can do it too, and do it in such a way, that nobody can put the blame upon anyone in particular.
Then it would not be possible to talk about State terrorism

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Yiddishkeit asked on 03/14/04 - Here's an opportunity for all...

Recently our Religion board has discussed American and World politics.

I'm an Independent minded voter, another words I don't care for neither of the two main parties, Democrat or Republican. I'm registered Democrat, but do not have an alliance to support a particular party affiliation. I have some issues that I agree with Libertarian Party and the Constitutional Party as well. Since Claude and Elliot started discussions concerning American politics the other day I have now started to look online concerning various issues and the candidiates.

Here are some issues important to me and why:

* Health Care...I would like to see health care for every American citizen or legal resident. If Canada can do it, I'm sure we can also.

* Social Security...This issue Elliot and I touched upon earlier. I look for reform or preferably dismantling the system to allow control over their oiwn hard monies.

* IRS...ditto on the tax system here in the U.S. I would abolish the I.R.S. and go to a flat tax system or just about anything else at this point.

* Illegal-Imigration...well if your spending time in the U.S. taking the food out of my families mouths perhaps then we should close the borders. The only other solution I see fit is to make Mexico another state or at the very least a common-wealth like Puerto Rico.

* Corporations...At some point when does Corporate America get the message? The government gives them tax breaks and why? In return with their greediness they break down the fabric of America with down-sizing and lay-offs...and a big no thank you for that! Let's get back to the government encouraging upstart small business and that in return will produce employment.

* Pro-Life...this means to me that abortion is only allowed if the mother's life is in danger or rape. I think adoption first in most cases over possiblity of an abortion.

* I'm pro-Israel....this means to me that Israel remains a State and that non-Jews are treated with all due respect as long as they are commited to Israel and remaining law abiding citizens.

* Budget, deficit, economy...well for me it's stop focusing on Iraq and throwing our U.S. dollars at their country. I'm very supportive that Pres. Bush did the world a favor by ridding it of the Saddam Hussein regime, now let's come home and work toward securing our borders. Reduce troop involvment before we end up like the USSR did with Afghanistan.

Well I'm stepping down off my soap-box now and as always I give ***** stars for the effort and opinion, not if I agree with a person or not. This is for everyone to share their views and opinions. Some of our board members are American citizens and yet other are not, in all fairness, allowing all to vote for the next United States president who would you vote for and why?


curious98 answered on 03/14/04:

Hi Bobby,

Here are my views for what they are worth:

Not only Canada. The E.U. too. And though in some countries is better than in others in the average is quite good. But this is the sort of socialization many are against in your country.

Yes, but that implies having to rely upon private Banking or Insurance Corporations and in turn in the Stock Market ups and downs. All my sons have been investing money on a monthly basis on Dutch or American Insurance Corps., to build a pension plan for when they retire. Theoretically, these funds were absolutely safe and guaranteed to grow every year. Safe, they are, indeed, at least so far. But, after the collapse of the Stock Market since the 9/11, the money they invested is now worth less than the total theyve paid so far

Social Security was facing and to a certain extent still is- certain insecurity for eventual lack of funds. Retired people living longer and diminishing vegetative growth depicting a rather pessimistic panoramic. However, the situation has improved thanks to immigrants who, not only have more children, but also quote to the SS. In Spain, for instance, we have gone from a forecast of almost bankruptcy by 2010 to an optimistic superavit until 2020.
Every year our pensions are increased by the increase of the cost of life and, in some cases like myself, what I have got so far from the SS already exceeds what I paid up in total while I was working.

Here, we all have problems. No possibility of improvement whatsoever, no matter what Elliot says. Money spent by Government has to come out of somewhere. And normally it is from taxpayers pockets.

Illegal immigrants come because they find people who employ them. Those who employ them should be penalized by Law and then, perhaps they would not come. As for your idea, Im sure Mexicans would gladly become a member state of the US provided they would be treated as equals. They would simply considerably increase their living standards, wouldnt they?

Agreed. And dont you ever forget the problem of greediness of Corporate America, and of Corporate Europe and of Corporate Asia affects the entire World.
In fact I sustain the idea that the main psychological resource where international terrorism supplies from as far as terrorists are concerned is the misery of third world countries, which Transnational Corporations contribute to conscious or unconsciously.

I agree.

Makes sense bearing in mind your beliefs.
I agree with you, but Arafat on one side and Sharon on the other it will still take some time to calm down the situation.

And unless you get out you are bound to be. Your Government should understand that fighting guerrilla war in some countries does not pay the effort, the money and most than all the casualties in human lives. You should know because you had a terrible experience in Viet Nam at the loss of 55000 young guys.
Pres. Bush got rid of Saddam, yes. The trouble is that his father could have done the same think 11 years ago, and he didnt.
But then you might wish to consider what this delay in taking action against S.H. has represented in terms of profit for weaponry industries (plane, warships, arms, equipment, etc) in your country

In all fairness, Id vote for JFK, though he seems to belong to the same secret Yale org. than the present Pres. But maybe he is smarter.

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excon asked on 03/06/04 - Gay Marriage

Hello experts:

Is gay marriage a legal or a religious issue? Certainly, its a political issue. Im asking this same question on the law board as well as on the political board to see if the responses differ depending on ones particular expertise. If youre on those boards (as I know some of you are), feel free to answer from a different perspective if you have one. I, personally, have many.

I think its a religious issue. If it werent, there wouldnt be any fuss about it. Or would there be? Is the gene out of the bottle? What happens to those licenses already granted? Is it here to stay? Or has Armageddon arrived?


curious98 answered on 03/06/04:

Hi Excon,

I think it is everything. A religious issue, a political issue and a legal issue probably. But, most than all, I think it is an anti-natural law issue.
Some people do pretend that homosexuals do exist amongst certain animals to a certain degree, though it seems only among males.
But have never heard of any of those learned guys speaking of animal families composed by two males or two females. In some species males are not interested in their offspring, so they have to depend upon their mothers tender care. Like the Elephant crowd where babies are cared by their mothers, aunts and sisters. But the Male is always around just in case
This said Im willing to understand that a homosexual couple may decide to live together and form a family, but this sounds to me more like living new experience than as something that will last.
Mother Nature has its laws and whenever man has decided to break them man has suffered one way or other. The Ozone layer destruction would just be a recent example. Deforestation in Brazils Matto Grosso is another.
Demographical unbalance could be another should this trend continue with the destruction of conventional family.
It remains to be seen, however, whether this sort of couples will last. My conventional, old-fashioned marriage has lasted, so far, some happily 53 years and still going on.
Unfortunately, the old family model seems to also be experiencing some problems amongst heterosexuals conventional marriages. Being optimistic by nature in my approach to life Im quite pessimistic regarding the future of our society if marriages keep on being destroying by divorce and violence
Aside of all that, as a religious person, I do not agree with gay marriages.

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tomder55 asked on 03/04/04 - U.S.First Amendment issue

A "Relatively Minor" Burden
What is the government's proper relationship to religion? In Locke vs. Davey, the Supreme Court explains why a public scholarship can't fund a theology education.
by Terry Eastland

The Supreme Court has taken another crack at explaining the government's proper relationship to religion. Unfortunately, last week's ruling in Locke vs. Davey, while it may seem limited just to the facts of a difficult case, could lead to substantial discrimination against religion.

The defendant in the case was the state of Washington, which, like all states, is bound by the U.S. Constitution as well as its own. Under the U.S. Constitution, government may not establish religion or prohibit its free exercise. But Washington's own constitution has a provision on religion not found in the federal Constitution, for it prohibits the state from even indirectly funding religious instruction.

That restriction came into play five years ago when the Washington legislature created a scholarship program designed to help high-achieving students from low-income families pay their college expenses.
To qualify for a Promise Scholarship, which may be used at any accredited school in the state, public or private, a student must meet certain academic and income requirements. But, consistent with the state constitutional ban on funding religious instruction, the program also requires that no Promise Scholar may pursue a degree in theology that's "devotional in nature or designed to induce religious faith." Devotional theology happens to be the only field of study denied to a Promise Scholar.

Enter Joshua Davey. Qualifying for a Promise Scholarship in the first year of the program's operation, he matriculated at Northwest College, a duly accredited school affiliated with the Assemblies of God. Planning to become a church pastor, he decided to co-major in "pastoral ministries." Advised by the college that pursing a degree in that subject would violate the terms of his scholarship (worth $1,125), Davey refused to opt for a different co-major and gave up his scholarship. He sued, arguing that the state, by treating theology differently from all other majors, had unconstitutionally burdened his federal right to the free exercise of religion.

In an opinion written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, the Supreme Court sided with the state of Washington. The chief justice said the federal Constitution binds government in a looser fashion than the Washington constitution does. He pointed out that, consistent with the court's decisions on "establishing religion," Washington could allow Promise Scholars to major in devotional theology. In other words, it could treat theology majors the same way it treats all other majors--precisely what Davey was asking for. But, the chief justice went on, the state has chosen not to pay for the religious education of future ministers. And it is free to do that--to "draw a more stringent line than that drawn by the U.S. Constitution."

The majority opinion is defensible--but only to a point. What makes the ruling hard to accept is that in past cases the court has said that when government makes a public benefit generally available, it can't withhold the benefit from some individuals solely on the basis of religion but must treat everyone equally. Had the court stuck to that principle, it would have ruled for Davey.

The court described the burden imposed on Davey as "relatively minor" and declined to "venture further into this difficult area." But the court might be forced to venture further; what if Washington now decides to prohibit Promise Scholars who aren't theology majors from taking theology courses? Or if it decides to prohibit Promise Scholars from even attending a religiously affiliated school like Northwest? And what if other states decide to craft scholarship policies based on "less stringent" line-drawing that treats religion differently? Or if--to consider another area of policy--states begin to exclude otherwise qualified religious charities from competing for social service grants?

When would the burden on free exercise rights cease to be so minor? When would the court feel compelled to enforce the First Amendment principle of neutrality and equal treatment?

Joshua Davey isn't on track to be a church pastor. He's in his first year at the Harvard Law School. Maybe someday Counselor Davey will find himself in the Supreme Court, arguing against efforts to extend the logic of Locke vs. Davey.

curious98 answered on 03/04/04:

Hi Tomder 55,
I'm not going to debate on the subject you are posing because I think you are basically right on your claim.
But I'm surprised you are surprised of how your Supreme Court (and Supreme Courts all over the World) reacts in certain cases.
The Preamble of your Constitution says:

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America"

I could also add your Constitution -like all Constitutions of Democratic Countries- speak of equal rights and opportunities for everybody.

Unfortunately, I must say that, quite often, this is just a romantic piece of paper written in yonder times.

I do not think that neither in the USA nor in the rest of the Western Democratic Countries (Im disregarding all others) anybody can seriously brag of equal rights for everybody. It is simply false
And another thing. Your President Mr. George Bush constantly boasts of his deep Christian faith and spirit.
A couple of days ago I read in the newspapers he is going to spend US$160 million in his coming campaign for the Presidency.
Would you say that anyone who can spend such an amount of money just to renew his mandate is a true Christian?
Im not disputing his right to do so. Others, in other areas spend much more.
But Im disputing his right to call himself a Christian!
Not with the amount of misery there is just a few blocks from the White House.
Best regards

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Yiddishkeit asked on 03/03/04 - Favorite religious movies...

Religious board-

Of the movies that are religiously based what are some of your favorite movies and why?

In no particular order here are some of the films that I think are classics for various reasons.

* Fiddler on the Roof - Because of the sense of humor and yet an ironic truer sense of history during that that time period. Besides nothings better than a musical of shtetel life with dancing and drinking in the bar after a hard days work.

* The Chosen - Well I can relate to this movie having come from a more liberal acclimated Jewish background. Likewise as in the movie, as is true in my life I eventually learned to respect the more traditional elements of Judaism.

* Schindler's List - The recreation of factual history reproduced in the details of this movie. Spielberg did the world a historic educational justice with this film.

* Diary of Ann Frank - Well it can't more real than this and from such a beautiful young soul.

* The Jazz Singer - I don't think this movie is anything to hang a yalmulke on, but it gives a little satisfaction to all the cantors out there with wonderful voices. Diamond mentions Jewish migration in his song 'Coming To America' in the line 'they come to America but not without a star' refering to the mogan David.


curious98 answered on 03/04/04:

Dear Bobby,

I see you have basically picked out movies concerning Judaism, though I agree with your selection.
But then, I think you are forgetting a most splendid movie (last year's Oscar) such as The Pianist, which also concernes the drana of the Jewish Ghetto in Varsaw during WWII while surrounded by a beautiful sound track with a grand performer of Chopin music.
If you havan'e seen you should.

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HANK1 asked on 02/29/04 - ANTI-CHRIST!

Are there more than one anti-Christ?

"I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also." (1 John 2:21-23 RSV)

True OR False?


curious98 answered on 02/29/04:

In my humble opinin John had to say what he writes in this paragraph of his Gospel. First of all, because he truly believed in what he was writing; secondly, because the threath of eternal doom for those who didnt believe in Jesus, was en excellent argument in those days even now- to make believe those who were doubtful.
God's Infinite Mercy is ongoing and limitless, as all Gods attributes, and I doubt very much that God's forgiveness will not be extended to those who may not accept Jesus divinity, but believe in GOD.
I also think that the true Anti-Christ if it ever appears- will be something more terrible than not believing in Jesus as the Son of God.
I quote:
Although the "spirit of the antichrist" (1 John 4:3) has been around for a very long time, and there were relatively minor examples of antichrists long ago (1 John 2:18-19), the ultimate end-time antichrist, identified variously as the "lawless one" or "man of sin" (2 Thessalonians 2:9) or "beast" (all of Revelation 13) is going to be more evil and more incredibly powerful (made possible by That Old Serpent) than any human that has ever existed. In a way, he will be the embodiment of Satan himself because no one is more anti-Christ than Satan.
For centuries, many have believed that a certain great, highly popular religious leader will be the antichrist. Although the idea has much superficial merit, it does not fit all of the stated facts in Bible Prophecy. While the antichrist will have his own extremely powerful and influential Great False Prophet, a role that will be filled by a very important religious leader, the actual antichrist will be a great, for a time undefeatable, military leader, who, like Satan, will not accept anything less than a leading role - the motive behind Satan's rebellion long ago (see Did God Create The Devil?). However, both of them will be judged equally guilty, and both will be cast alive into the lake of fire after the Return of Christ (Revelation 19:20).
Let's look at what The Bible actually says about them, with our own notes in brackets -
The antichrist will be a great military leader:
"Men worshiped the dragon [that is, Satan] because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?"
"The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months [the same forty-two months in which The Two Witnesses will be active]. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander His Name and His dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against The Saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation [he will conquer countries all around the world]. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast [many will be deceived into worshiping the man] - all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to The Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. He who has an ear, let him hear." (Revelation 13:4-9 NIV)
The antichrist's false prophet:
"Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb [he appears righteous - a lamb is the symbol of Christ], but he spoke like a dragon [a dragon is one of the symbols of Satan]."
"He exercised all the authority of the first beast [the political leader] on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast [the great religious leader will take a secondary role to the political leader], whose fatal wound had been healed [the Roman empire has "fallen" and come back to life a number of times]. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men [he is going to put on quite a show to convince people]."
"Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image [the political ruler is the one who will demand worship, not his powerful and influential religious ally who will merely be serving as his "prophet"] to be killed."
"He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666." (Revelation 13:11-18 NIV)

In fact, it does look as if the Anti-Christ would be someone more in the line of Stalin, or some one of our political leaders, even though if the believe in Jesus Christ!


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excon asked on 02/26/04 - Anti-Semitism

Hello Elliot:

Are you ready for the next round of anti-semitism eminating from Mel Gibsons movie?


curious98 answered on 02/26/04:

As I say in my previous post on the subject,
those who are writing about the Jews, because of this movie, are just those poor bigots who think the world is divided into aryans and the rest.
Maybe you should try to find out the background of those critics.
Furthermore, which scientific authority has dear Mel to comment on Jesus's life or on Jews?
As I said in my other post, Mel's only concern is how much money he will make and to ensure that, I agree that a good decision is to produce a movie that will originate a world debate on whether the jews were or were not guilty of Jesus' death.
Who in his sane mind would care a bit about that 2000 years later?
Best regards

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ETWolverine asked on 02/26/04 - Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ"

This board has been pretty silent about this film, considering the level of controversy that it has stired. So I've decided to shake up the proverbial hornet's nest.

1) Have you seen the film? Do you intend to?

2) If you have seen the film, do you think that it is anti-Semitic, or has the potential to cause anti-Semitism?

3) Do you believe the film to be too violent? (Please keep in mind that we are living in an age where eviscerations, beheadings, amputations, etc. are the norm in 'mainstream' horror flicks like the Freddy or Jason series.)

Here's my take. I have not seen the film, and quite a few of my fellow Jews who have seen it have condemned it as Anti-Semitic. I have not, because I'm not sure whether to trust people who I know have a history of knee-jerk reactions... like Abe Foxman of the ADL, and (despite my deep respect for him) Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

Nor am I willing to give in to the temptation to call Gibson an anti-Semite. I DO believe that his father is exactly that, a Nazi wannabe, a Holocaust denier and a ZOG conspiracy theorist nutcase. But Mel has on a number of occaisions disavowed or disassociated himself from his father. In a recent statement after one of his father's tirades, Mel said "He is my father and I love him, and I won't speak against him." Which leads me to believe that if Hudson Gibson were not Mel's father, he WOULD speak against him. I can accept that Mel is in a tough position where his father is concerned, an his wish to not speak against his father does not neccessarily constitute agreement with his father's beliefs.

Mel is further in a tough bind because of his ultra-Orthodox Christian views. (I never thought I'd use the term ultra-Orthodox for any groups except Chassidim, but there you go.) He rejects the "liberalization" of the Church that the Vatican has allowed and performed over the past 40 years... including allowing services to be multi-lingual, among other things. He therefore publicly rejects the Vatican's edicts over the past 40 years en toto. Unfortunately, that means that he also rejects the Pope John Paul II's edict that rejects the notion that the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus. As Edward Cardinal Eagan puts it "Jesus gave his life. Nobody took it." But Mel's position is that EVERY edict by the Vatican in the past 40 years is wrong. He can't cherry-pick the ones that he likes without seeming hipocritical. But the fact that he rejects the edict of the Vatican does not necessarily mean that Mel is an anti-Semite. It just means that he's in a tough position from an intelectial/religious perspective.

But what I have heard about the film does disturb me.

What is it that we Jews are afraid of? Are we afraid that the crowd exiting the theatre is going to start another Crown Heights riot? Are we worried about spontaneous progroms breaking out all over the world? (By the way, from an hisorical perspective, very few if any of he progroms were 'spontaneous'. Most were government and Church sanctioned, and developed over a period of months or years, and a few were actually STARTED by either the government or the Church deliberately.) Are we afraid that some mob will start tying Jewish men, women, and children to stakes and burn them as heretics and Christ-killers?


So what are we really afraid of?

Simply put, we are afraid of intellectual anti-Semitism. What does that mean? It means, we are afraid of how this movie will effect attitudes and relationships regarding Jews worldwide. Even before this film came out, there was a growing trend towards such forms of anti-Semitism.

For example:

- A pole in France recently determined that the French believe that the single greatest threat to world peace was Israel.

- The EU recently buried a report that they themselves commissoned which showed that Muslim Anti-Semitism is on the rise.

- The UN continues to try to pressure Israel into taking down the security wall, despite the fact that it is the most peaceful solution to the violence in the West Bank to have come about in years. And it even creates jobs for construction workers.

- In several protests against the United States in Europe recently, the flag of Israel was burned alongside the American flag... Somehow both the USA and Israel have been linked in people's minds as The Great Satan.

- Even in the United States, the number of universities that have hosted Radical Anti-jewish Muslims as guest lecturers or have even given such people tenured positions is on the rise. On the other hand, several protests against "Zionism" on campuses have turned violent, or at least destructive.

- In Germany, there is a best selling book that states that the 9-11 attacks were aranged by the Mossad with the help of the CIA. 19% of Germans believe it.

- In France's most recent elections for Prime Minister, 23% of the country voted for an admitted ex-Neo-Nazi, who in his political speaches blamed France's domestic and international woes on the Jews. 23%--- almost 1/4 of the country... and that's just the ones who admitted to agreeing with him by voting for him. I wonder how many people really agree with him, but are still in the closet.

- Muslim radicals state regularly that they are not against Jews, they are just against Zionists. But Jews living in Israel are guilty of living in and supporting Israel, (whether they are Zionists or not), and Jews outside of Israel are all guilty by association (whether they are Zionists or not). And people believe them, thanks to the media.

All of these things are forms of anti-Semitism. They are mostly non-violent forms of anti-Semitism, but that doesn't make it any less wrong. And the truth is, such attitudes that form intellectual anti-Semitism CAN lead to violent anti-Semitism. Don't believe me? Check out the background behind the afore-mentioned Crown-Heights riots before you come to any conclusions.

So the question is whether Mel's film will cause people to see Jews in such a light as to cause an intellectual form of anti-Semitism.

I guess, to a certain degree, it is the same as an Italian person having a problem with The Sopranos because of how people might come away viewing Italians... as violent mobsters who settle problems with their fists or a gun, and who are all part of organized crime. Or a Black person having a problem with Blacksploitation films, because they re-enforce certain stereotypes of Black men as violent and abusive to women, as well as promiscuous. Any person who believed such things were true would be called a racist. And most likely, nobody would come away from an episode of The Sopranos or Shaft feeling that way. But I can understand how it would make some Italians or Blacks worry about that possibility. Just as I can understand (more directly, obviously) how The Passion might make Jews worry.

Is the film anti-Semitic? I don't know, because I haven't seen it. But I do know that it makes Jews nervous... myself included. So is Mel Gibson an anti-Semite? Probably not. But I think he definitely could have been a bit more sensitive when making this film.


curious98 answered on 02/26/04:

Dear Elliot,

I haven't yet seen the picture, and I suppose it will take long before I do, for I go very seldom to the movies.
I prefer to watch the pictures in the comfort of our living room where, if I do not like the movie, I can switch on to Discovery or National Geographic Channels.
I have read, however, some commentaries and I understand the Vatican has finally accepted it.
Come what it may, I doubt very much of the fidelity of its historical background. In principle, Hollywood is more interested in how much money their pictures can generate than in how truthful they may be re. their subject.
European moviemakers are more precise in this respect. Perhaps, because they know we, over here, are rather well informed, in general, about our own history.
The history of Jesus is rather controversial, anyway, and its importance depends on one's beliefs.
All I know is that, though it has been finally accepted, as I say, by the Vatican, some bishops over there do not consider it too factual or interesting.
In all likelihood, the only part of Jesus life that was surrounded by violence was His Passion, and then, it concerned only Him.
Although, in those days, it seems there were some revolutionary movements going around in Galilee and in Judea, after Flavio Josephus, the problems for the Romans came in at a later stage. In fact, from the Roman point of view which, in that case only means Pilatus- Jesus figure was not so important. Im of course, historically speaking. He was treated and crucified by the Romans in very much the same way as they used to treat any other delinquent.
Now, if Mel Gibson is such an ultra-orthodox, as you say, then God knows what he may have imagined for the movie to make it
more cash producing!
As for Jews being afraid of psychological reactions against them all over the world, I do not think this movie or any other movie, for that matters- may change too much what people may think of Jews or of Israel now a days.
I think there are three kinds of opinions all over the world re. present Judaism.
Those who do not care any more about Jews than about any other ethnic group.
Those who have a visceral hate for Jews and Judaism that goes from fathers to sons, in very much the same way as they also hate anything that is not pure white and Christian, and those I consider myself within this last group that firmly believe there are bad Jews and good Jews as much as there are good persons and bad persons in any other race. That is, that people are not good or bad depending on their nationality or their religion, but just because human nature is divided just like that.
And I do not think this movie may alter that situation too much

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PraiseJah asked on 02/24/04 - 666 (Revelation 13:16-18)

The number of the beast. What does it mean? What is the mark of the beast?

curious98 answered on 02/25/04:

Maybe this article I have found in the Net may give you some indications:

"Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six." (Revelation 13:16-18 RSV)

The Mysterious "

A tremendous amount has been written about the Bible's one and only reference to the mysterious number ." Using various methods of equating numbers with letters of words or names, a wide variety of interpretations have been made. A few are reasonable guesses (e.g. Nero Caesar, Romulus, Lateinos, Vicarius Filii Dei), while numerous others are extremely unlikely.

Although it's not entirely clear, yet, what the " itself means, the Bible does provide many Scriptures relating to the "beast" that the number represents:

A "new" world economic and military superpower that will represent the final prophesied revival of the ancient "Holy Roman Empire" (Daniel 2:31-45, Revelation 13:1-3, 17:9-14) (see Daniel's Statue and Birth Of A Superpower), which has actually existed in Europe for many centuries.

A Satan-possessed human who will eventually become its absolute ruler, while claiming divine status (Revelation 13:4-6). The "beast" is a term used to describe both this human, and the great political/religious superpower that he will lead (see Emperor and The Antichrist).

A great religious leader who will support the beast. He will perform spectacular Satan-powered "miracles" that will deceive a majority of the citizens of every nation on earth into obeying and actually worshiping the "beast." (Revelation 13:4, 7-8, 12-14) (see Emperors and Popes). Because of this worldwide deception, undeceived Christians in even the most strongly-defended countries will not escape persecution because, in most cases, it will not come from foreign invaders, but from fanatically-deceived "Christians" of their own nation. The deceived masses will think that they serving God while they are actually martyring His people (e.g. John 16:2-3, Revelation 13:7).

The right and ability to buy, sell and work (Revelation 13:17).

The personal acceptance or refusal of the "mark" of the beast (Revelation 13:16).
The time will come when there will be no doubt about who and what the " symbol is all about. Why? Because the end-time account of the true church is about choices that every genuine Christian then living will have to make, and the consequences of those choices.

God's people can choose to obey Him and reject the mark of the beast, but then be persecuted by the beast and deceived humans (Revelation 13:7,10,15 and 17:6), or accept the mark of the beast and face the wrath of God that will come upon those who do so (Revelation 16:2). It will be a deliberate, knowing choice, and at that time there will be no doubt what it means.

Fact Finder: What great event will occur at the time that the "beast" is eventually defeated?
Matthew 24:30-31, Revelation 19:11-20


This Day In History, October 21

1520: On the first-ever voyage around the world, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan entered a passage off the southern tip of South America. Today it is known as the Strait of Magellan.

1520: The coronation of Charles V (Hapsburg) at Aachen.

1529: King Henry VIII of England was named Defender of the Faith by the Pope after defending the seven sacraments against Luther. The British church later rejected the papacy.

1532: Protestant reformer Martin Luther said, "For some years now I have read through the Bible twice every year. If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree and every word a little branch, I have shaken every one of these branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant." (translated from German). See 52-Week Bible Reading Plan

1692: William Penn was removed as Governor of Pennsylvania amidst charges of him being a "papist."

1790: The French Tricolor was chosen as the flag of France.

1797: The U.S. frigate Constitution was launched in Boston. The ship is still in existence today, and is popularly known as Old Ironsides.

1805: The Battle of Trafalgar. British forces under Horatio Nelson battled Spanish forces off Cape Trafalgar, Spain. Admiral Nelson, age 47, was killed in the battle.

1824: Portland cement was first patented, by Joseph Aspdin of Wakefield in Yorkshire, England.

1879: The incandescent light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison.

1923: The first planetarium was opened, at the Deutsche Museum in Munich, Germany.

1940: At the start of World War 2, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill challenged Adolf Hitler in a radio speech, "We are awaiting the long-promised German invasion - and so are the fishes..."

1960: HMS Dreadnought, Britain's first nuclear submarine, was launched.

1962: Day 8 of the 15-day Cuban Missile Crisis. U.S. President John F. Kennedy reached the decision to impose a naval blockade of Cuba. Up to that day, the existence of the Soviet missiles in Cuba had not been made public.

1967: A few months after the end of the Six Day War, Egyptian missiles sank the Israeli destroyer Eilat off Sinai. Israel responded by shelling the major oil installations in the Egyptian port town of Suez.



"Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them."
~~ Nathaniel Hawthorne"


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HANK1 asked on 02/19/04 - NEW WEB PAGES ...

... MINE! (I'm humbling myself by posting this notification!) Please go to my PROFILE and CLICK. Any suggestions will be WELCOME! Thanks.

curious98 answered on 02/19/04:

Dear Hank,

An absolutely remarkable web. I would not have expected anything less than that from someone like you, having read many of your responses.

So congratulations!

Now I'm somewhat busy, but I want to go through it in detail, and perhaps I will elaborate (with your permissin, and from the experience and "wisdom" of my 77 years) on some of the splendid thoughts you are pointing out in your web.


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PraiseJah asked on 02/17/04 - Lamarckism?

Did the ancient partriarch Jacob like Lamarck of the 18th century AD believe that the environment could change or alter and animal's physical characteristics?

Does Gen. 30:29-43 suggest Lamarckism?

curious98 answered on 02/17/04:

I do not think so but, on the other hand, how can anyone affirm what Patriarh Job may have ever thought on that subject?
It is highly possible that Jacob's problems may have been of a different nature altogether.
Bearing in mind the times we are referring to and the average culture prevailing among people environment it is very unlikely -in my opinion- that anybody would be paying much attention to their environment.
According to the dictionary Lamarckism [lɑː'mɑːkızəm]is a noun referring to the theory of organic evolution proposed by Lamarck, and based on the principle that characteristics of an organism modified during its lifetime are inheritable.
This is too much a concept for Job to have even thought of it.
Best regards

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Yiddishkeit asked on 02/09/04 - To my Christian friends and Jewish peers...

Christian friends:

I've learned that to some adherents of Christianity Jesus was Deity and to others he is the son of Deity...please would the Christian experts explain the differences between the two?

Jewish peers:

Please share with the religion board the Judaism definition of what a prophet is and why.


curious98 answered on 02/09/04:

Dear Bobby,

Speaking only for the Roman Catholics group (which I belong to, as you know), we do consider Jesus as GOD.
You must not forget that we are supposed to believe in a Holy Trinity, formed by the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit.
But, that does not mean there are three different Gods, but just one who can take the 3 forms at the same time.
Of course, this is a dogma of our Church and, as such, it has to be accepted without any further considerations.
Earthen logic cannot however easily swallow the concept of the Trinity, or the fact that Jesus was down here at the same time as He was UP THERE, wherever GOD may be.
Mortals that are humble enough to accept their ignorance which is not my own case, unfortunately for me- can conclude, without too many problems, that if GOD created the Universe out of nothing and if GOD ever existed and there is NO beginning and NO end for GOD, then it should not be difficult for GOD to be in several places AT THE SAME TIME, impersonating different personalities, doing exactly as IT pleases, for this is why GOD can just do anything.
You may perhaps agree with me, my dear Bobby, that if you and I admit, accept and try to understand the above idea (and I think we do), all other considerations are just petty problems.
The actual fact must be there is a ONE and ONLY GOD, who, CONSEQUENTLY, is the same for you and me. But GOD (we may call IT Yahweh, Adonai, G-D, Jesus, the Messiah, Allah or what have you) is so far away from our understanding capacity that we must be patient and resign ourselves to digest the concept of GOD until when our soul may have the chance to see IT.

Meanwhile, I can of course try to debate any religious matter from the standpoint of our religious orthodoxy, for the sake of debating ideas and philosophies, which I think is a positive thing to do.

Best regards

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PraiseJah asked on 02/08/04 - Red Sea or Reed Sea.

The famous Red Sea crossing of the Bible - Was it really the deep Red Sea or the shallow Reed Sea ?

curious98 answered on 02/08/04:

To the best of my knowledge there is only one portion of the Indic Ocean, named in English Red Sea at presebt, and which separates the Arabian Peninsula from Egypt.
Bearing in mind the Jews were living in Egypt and, eventually emigrated to Israel, and the crossing was on foot - not by boats of any kind - it has to be accepted that they- somwhow - crossed that Sea - probably through the shallow part which, at present, is the Suez Canal, by means of a miracle according to the Holy Scriptures, or by other circumstances that some people are trying to explain, with little success so far.
Best regards

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PraiseJah asked on 02/06/04 - Rev.22:16-18 and prophets

It is clear to me that these verses in the Revelation which Jesus gave to John indicate that there would be no more prophecies from God and no more prophets after Jesus.

What do you believe about later prophets such as Muhammad, Joseph Smith, Ellen G White to name a few?

curious98 answered on 02/07/04:

I, of course, deeply respect your opinion re. the above quote of the Revelation Book.
On my side, I cannot share that opinion for I question very much the historical precision of many passages of the Scriptures. Do not take me wrong. Im a Roman Catholic. But I sustain the theory that the Scriptures, through translations and time, have suffered some alterations to suit either the translators or those who ordered those translations.
But this aside, I think Jesus message was rather that He was the announced Messiah, as He declared himself as the Son of the Father, and as such God.
Of course, Judaism does not accept that they are of course entitled to believe what they want and Islam, does consider Jesus as the last prophet before Muhammad, who was the very last one, after them.
In my humble opinion most prophets have mostly been referring to events in such abstract ways that later on, they could have been adapted to what they had said.
Others, have clearly been mistaken, at least so far.
In the case of Mohammad we could never know whether he was actually inspired by GOD remember his God is our GOD too or not. The same happens with Moses. The books they wrote Al Koran, Genesis, etc. can only be approached with faith. Not scientifically.
And even so, we know that Al Koran, for instance, is being constantly modified by the Ulemas and scholars to suit their purposes. Of course, each one pretends they are the exact reproduction of Muhammads original, but the many versions and interpretations existing refute that possibility.
In the world of modern prophets there are some who, probably in good faith, feel they have been somehow inspired while others are simply and clearly fakes. Amongst those, Im just remembering a Hindustani by the name of Sai Baba whom I had a chance to meet a few years ago, while in India who claims nothing but being the new Messiah. I must admit he has done a remarkable job in the area where he lives (northern India), but at the same time he lives like a prince with 2 Mercedes and 1 Rolls...
This matter of prophets is a very delicate one and as I said before it is a matter of faith. And we have to be respectful with what others believe, as we expect them to be respectful with our beliefs.
I know that, in the case of Ellen G. White, many consider her as a saint. She was no question a very special person. But, personally, I have more respect for Mother Therese of Calcutta
But, of course, this is just my opinion

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ETWolverine asked on 02/03/04 - More Jokes --- No offense intended.

Donatello, Johnson, Gonzalez and Cohen are sitting around and talking religion.

Donatello says, "I can prove that Jesus was Italian. He was in the building trades and he talked with his hands a lot, and he drank a lot of wine. That proves he was Itallian."

Johnson says, "No way, man. He was Black. He went around calling everybody 'brother'. He was Soul Brother Number One."

Gonzalez says, "Not a chance. He was obviously Hispanic: his name was Jesus."

Cohen says, "I'm sorry to disagree with you all, but Jesus was Jewish. The evidence is irrefutable. He went into his father's business, he lived at home till he was 30, and until his dying day he thought his mother was a virgin, and she thought he was G-d. Case closed."


Feel free to add to the list.


curious98 answered on 02/03/04:

And this one?

As an atheist walked through the forest, he smiled at the beauty that was all around him and said, "What natural wonders the powers of evolution have created." Just then he heard a rustling near the river. He went to investigate and a 7-foot-tall grizzly bear was tearing down the path towards him him. The man took off like a shot, and when he got up the courage to look back, he saw the bear was catching up fast. He tried with all his strength to pick up the pace, but he tripped and crashed to the ground.

As he tried to get up, the bear jumped on his chest and picked up one paw to whack him. The atheist screamed, "Oh my God!!!" ....Time stopped!

The bear froze. The forest was silent. Even the river stopped moving. As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice boomed from the heavens, "You deny my existence for all of these years, teach others I don't exist, and even credit Creation to a 'cosmic accident'. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?" The atheist looked directly into the light, "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps could you make the bear a Christian?"

"Very well," the voice said. The light went out, the river ran again, and the sounds of the forest resumed. And then the bear dropped its right paw, brought both paws together, bowed its head and spoke: "Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful."


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ETWolverine asked on 02/02/04 - Jokes

So... have you heard about the Jewish fast food joint where they do it Yahweh...

Or how about the Budhist fast food joint where they make you One with Everything...

Or perhaps the Christian fast food joint that is staffed by Fish Friars and Chip Monks.

Got any others?


curious98 answered on 02/02/04:

Or that one about 2 jewish lawyers:

"Two solicitors, Levy and Cohen, opened an office in Kilburn. As this was a gentile part of London, they decided to call their firm Christian and Christian in order to attract non-Jewish clients. But on their opening day, they forgot to tell their switchboard operator what to say. When anyone phoned in and asked for Mr Christian, she answered, "Which Christian do you want, Levy or Cohen?"

It's always good to laugh a little early in the morning


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Yiddishkeit asked on 01/28/04 - Super Bowl...

Well I couldn't find a sports board here, so I figured I'd ask everyone that is interested in American football. Who do you think will be this years Super Bowl champion and why?


curious98 answered on 01/28/04:

Hi Bobby,

As a foreigner, living in Spain, but who really likes American Football (and European Soccer) I'll vote for the New England Patriots.
Why? Purely, sentimental reasons! I'va lived in Boston and I've only passed through Carolina.
Best regards

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stillwaiting asked on 01/28/04 - am I a Christian?


My parents had me baptized as an infant. Now I am trying to find faith of my own. Having been baptized, am I a Christian?


curious98 answered on 01/28/04:

Technically, you are!
But that does not mean a thing if your heart is not with GOD and if you do not share the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Once you have decided which is the path you want to follow, if this path goes the same way as the one Christians follow, then you'll be a Christian all right!

Baptism is the key than opens the door to Heaven. But it is up to us whether or not we want to go through its threshold...

God bless you

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ETWolverine asked on 01/27/04 - To my Jehovah's Witness/Watchtower friends

My understanding of your beliefs is that the name "Jehovah's Witness" is taken from the tetragrameton, the ineffible 4-letter name of G-d, Y-H-V-H. Is this correct?

Assuming it is, why has the Watchtower chosen to hand on to the name "Jehovah" over all the other names of G-d? The names of G-d in the OT Bible are numerous. And specifically, the one time G-d was asked for his name, he used a different name than "Jehovah". In Exodus 3:13, when Moses asks G-d "Moses said to God, 'So I will go to the Israelites and say, 'Your fathers' God sent me to you.' They will immediately ask me what His name is. What shall I say to them?'

G-d answers as follows:
3:14 'I Will Be Who I Will Be,' replied God to Moses.
[God then] explained, 'This is what you must say to the Israelites: 'I Will Be sent me to you.' '

In Hebrew, "I will be" is "Eheyeh".

Why are you not, therefore, "Eheyeh's Witnesses"? Why "Jehovah's Witnesses"?


curious98 answered on 01/27/04:

Dear Elliot,

There is a website in the Net, as follows:*why+jehovah+witness+chose+name+jehovah&hl=ca&ie=UTF-8

which I would advise you to check, for it deals to a large extent with your question re. the use of the name of Jehovah by the JW.

It starts like this:

I quote:
Jehovahs Witnesses falsely claim that bibles remove YHWH (Tetragrammaton) from the Old Testament. The truth is, they have added the divine name in the New Testament where it is never found in the original Greek manuscripts, and blamed the Bible as being corrupted from the original where YHWH was once found. Rather than trashing their false doctrine, they trash the Bible!

Whay do you think?

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stillwaiting asked on 01/26/04 - How to decide?

I am confused and don't know which church to join.

Most of my confusion comes from (what seems to me) different denominations that claim to be Christian.
How many false Christian churches are there? Each Christian church claims God's truth based on the Bible, yet each church teaches something different.

Which is right? Which one is the true church of God?

They each claim exclusive understanding of God's word.

What is the best way to choose a denomination? How do I pick one from another?


curious98 answered on 01/26/04:

All denominations that believe Jesus Christ is our Lord are rightly claiming their belonging to the Christian faith, for they all accept that Christ died in the Cross, to redeem mankind of their sins.
From what you say I understand your problem is to choose which one of these denominations as the right one.
Well, I think they as I said before- are all following the right direction.
All Christians believe or should believe- in Jesus Christ as our only true GOD.
Maybe you should try to ascertain the minor differences existing amongst the different denominations.
Basically, there are 3 major divisions amongst Christians. Protestants, Roman Catholics and Oriental Orthodox. Among the Orthodox, there are several denominations but the most important are the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches (basically identical). The Pope at the Vatican leads the Roman Catholic and, though there are some factions (Opus Dei, Jesuits, etc.) they all have the same leader, i.e. the Pope.
As for the Protestants, I would say there are Anglican/Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian, as the most important ones.
And by important, I do not mean the best but those which gather more followers.
Im almost sure that if you are an USA citizen you will find close to your home some Churches belonging to one of the above mentioned confessions, so you will not have any problems to make your selection.
But remember that for a Christian- the important fact is to believe that Jesus Christ is the true God.
Best regards

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graeylin asked on 01/26/04 - Right/Wrong/Good/Evil

God placed Adam and Eve in the garden of eden, with free will to choose. I think most people agree to that (on this board). If you don't, just pretend.

However, God did not give them knowledge (of good and evil, right and wrong). That knowledge, He reserved on/in the tree of knowledge. He then told Adam, essentially "do not eat of that tree". However, Adam did, because Adam didn't know it was wrong to do so.

Granted, I wouldn't put a razor blade in a crib with a baby, tell the child "don't hurt yourself with that blade" and then expect the child not to hurt themselves, but God put two children with no ability to choose between right and wrong into the garden, then told them "It is wrong to eat from this tree". How did GOd expect them to know what "wrong" was, since He created them without that knowledge? Was it really fair to present them with a choice between right and wrong without giving them the ability to choose?

curious98 answered on 01/26/04:

Ill follow your advice and Ill just pretend for the sake of debating the subject.
I would not go to the extent of comparing the happy couple of Adam and Eve to a baby in a crib. They were supposed to be intelligent enough, at least, to be obedient to the divinity that had created them. That divinity had thought it better not to disclose the good or evil of its prohibition to Adam and Eve for reasons of its own, which we cannot (nor are we able to) prejudge, from our very limited intelligence.
They were just to obediently follow its instructions and refrain from following their instincts.
This situation, however, evidences something that it has taken us thousands of years to realize. That women rule the world (because they use both hemispheres of their brain) while we, poor arrogant men, only use one side of our brain which, obviously, leaves us a little handicapped and without the necessary judgement to decide in delicate situations such as that of the tree of knowledge.
At any rate, we have already been paying a heavy token because of that deficiency of the masculine brain
All the best

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PraiseJah asked on 01/25/04 - Turn the other cheek - what about self defense?

On the Christianity Board a user claims that Jesus when he said to turn the other cheek meant not to fight back if someone assaults you with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Do you agree with that, or if in the event you or a child was being attacked, would it be wrong to strike the assailant, even to the point of causing death?

curious98 answered on 01/25/04:

My dear friend,
If you have read some of my previous posts you will now by now that I very seldom like to take what the Scriptures say to the letter.
I sustain the theory that most of their contents has to be taken with the perspective of time and thinking of the possible motives of the writers to say what they say.
The Gospels are somewhat different for they are supposed to transmit to us the teachings and words of Jesus, though they are transmitted through third persons and not by Jesus Himself, with the end result that similar situations are narrated somewhat differently by each one of the 4 evangelists.
Still, here also we are supposed to interpret the message Jesus is trying to convey to us rather than accept it literally.
The Gospels irrespective of whether they exactly represent passages of Jesus life or they have somehow been adapted to their own ideas by the evangelists- they have a common denominator all over, which is a message of Love. Love from Jesus to Mankind and love we should all feel for one another.
This is quite logical if we do not forget that the final act of Jesus life whether we accept Jesus as the Son of GOD or as another prophet- is a supreme act of loving for all of us.
It is under this premise, I would say, we are to contemplate the parable of turning the other cheek, id est, we are supposed to basically love one another, which implies that we try to accept offences without any or too much acrimony.
If a childs life, our own life or any human life for what matters, is at risk it goes without saying we have to take part to the best of our possibilities. For that is also a proof of love towards our fellow creatures.
As for killing anyone in self-defense, I can only accept it as an accident, not on purpose, unless there is no other alternative, of course. But here Im making my own interpretation of the Parable. I know Jesus did nothing to prevent his death. But there was a purpose for His sacrifice, that is to redeem us from our sins, or at least, this is what we Christians are expected to believe. For the non-Christians it could be taken as another one of the millions innocents that have died throughout the years as a consequence of human injustice
We cannot possible tell what Jesus would do if He would suddenly appeared in our century and was confronted to situations of injustice as we are given to see every minute of our daily lives.
In the first place, it is highly possible we should condemn Him to the gas chamber for apology of terrorism and impersonation of a divinity
Best regards

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graeylin asked on 01/24/04 - Modern Prophets:

Pat Robertson has said that God has spoken to him, and told him that George Bush is going to win the 2004 Presidential election.

So, since we know that God cannot be wrong (and can see the future events before they occur), and that God rarely lies, then for us here and now, it is pre-ordained that George will be our next President, despite ANYTHING we could do.

So, if George somehow does NOT win the election, can we assume that Pat is a false prophet? And, should I even bother to vote, since it is all a done deal?

curious98 answered on 01/24/04:

Unfortunately, Im not privileged enough to speak with GOD as religious broadcaster Pat Robertson apparently is.
And yet, I also think Mr. Bush will win the next election
I have known and loved- the USA for the last 50 years, so I have been able to witness its evolution throughout this time. It has changed in many ways. In my humble opinion of someone who had a crush on your country in the late 50s- not necessary for the better but there is something many US citizens will never change, i.e. their gullibility in their governments. I remembered when Nixon was President, how many friends of mine use to heatedly argue with me when I said he was anything but honest. Eventually, Nixon was impeached so I turned out to be right.
But we, Europeans, have had 2000 years of liars governing us and, consequently, have become quite suspicious about our rulers.
I have read quite a few books from reputable US writers who seem to agree on the fact the Bush clan is a definite risk for the USA and, eventually, for the whole world.
However, Im convinced that most US citizens are very proud of the way the Good Lord has armed George Bush jr., with the flaming sword (like the cherubs of the Garden of Eden) of Justice, with the licit purpose of fighting the infidels
And, consequently, he shall win again!
And Mr. Robertson who probably thinks along the same lines as I do- is betting on that possibility, which will procure him a lot of credit for his next December sermons.
If by a remote chance, Bush might lose, Robertson could simply ignore the fact or claim he was misinterpreted.
For another thing I have never understood in your country, is the amount of credibility granted to all these broadcasters and/or persons who, every now and then, come out with new religious proposals.
Best regards
Claude (aka Curious98)

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graeylin asked on 01/23/04 - Whatever happened to?

At the east end of the Garden of Eden, God placed cherubims with flaming swords to keep man away from the tree of life.

Whatever became of them? Does the Bible say? What do religous people believe? Where are they now? Do they still stand guard at the garden of eden, and if so, why haven't we seen them? If not, when did they get released and where did the garden of eden go?

curious98 answered on 01/23/04:

Dear Graylin,

Being consistent with my previous posts, and trying to take it lighly, I would say that the poor cherubims with or without flaming swords stood no chances in front of the SkyHawks of the US Army.
As you know, the garden of Eden was supposed
to be located in between the rivers Tigris and Eufrates, right in the middle of present Iraq, and quite close to Baghdad. If the could survive the first Gulf War, Im sure they were fed up this 2nd time and decided to give up their position, After all, what is what they were doing there anyway?
Again, we are faced here with a beautiful story that, unfortunately, has no longer much credibility!
Best regards

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graeylin asked on 01/23/04 - In the Garden of Eden

According to my teachers, there were two "special" trees in the Garden of Eden, the tree of knowledge and the tree of life.

Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge, and God sent them from the garden to prevent them from eating of the tree of life. As result of their eating, they introduced death into their world (mortality).

My question: If Adam and Eve were immortal before eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge, why the heck did God even have a tree of life in the first place? What was the purpose of having a tree to produce fruit that granted everlasting life to someone who was already immortal?

Your thoughts?

curious98 answered on 01/23/04:


You are simply great. Yu always come out with the most glorious questions...

Let's say that GOD, in ITS omniscience GOD already knew poor Adam and Eve would fail to pass the test, and therefore, GOD planted the Tree of Life.

In fact this is one of those beautiful and romantic stories that collapse when scientifically looked at.
Let us assume Adam and Eve might have lived eternally, and with them, all their descendants - Atropos, the Fate cutting the thread of life would be jobless the worlds population would have grown exponentially and the Paradise would no longer be a Paradise, but probably closer to Hell.
This idea is quite all right to explain Heaven. For Heaven been eternal and infinite it can easily accept the concept of Adam and Eve, and all their offspring, being eternal too. But in Heaven, not down here. We are just too ridiculously small for that.
Dont you think so?

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graeylin asked on 01/20/04 - What conclusion should we draw?

From the story in 2Kings about the Prophet Elisha, and his cursing of the 42 children?

Elisha is walking along, children tease him about his baldness, and he curses them in the name of the Lord, causing two bears to come from the woods, and attack the children.

What do scholars feel is God's message in this story to us?

curious98 answered on 01/22/04:

Dear Graelyn,

On the above subject, and to be coherent with my own thinking about passages such as the one you are interested in, I prefer to refer to somebody elses opinion, like this article by Peter J. Leithart, who is a pastor of the Reformed Heritage Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Birmingham, Alabama, and supposedly, a scholar on Biblical Matters.
Then [Elisha] went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, ne`arim came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, "Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!" When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two yeladim of them (2 Ki. 2:23-24).
The story of Elisha's cursing of 42 "little children" (KJV) in 2 Kings 2:23-25 is a perennial problem passage. Matthew Henry treats the story as a moral lesson on the level of Aesop's Fables: "God must be glorified as a righteous God, that hates sin, and will reckon for it, even in little children. Let the hideous shrieks and groans of this wicked wretched brood make our flesh tremble for fear of God. Let little children be afraid of speaking wicked words, for God notices what they say." Not a bad moral lesson, that. But is it the point of this passage?
For the most part, the best that has been done is to say that the 42 were "young lads," old enough to know that the prophet deserved honor and therefore culpable for their mockery. Others highlight the seriousness of the sin; T. R. Hobbs compares mockery of the Lord's prophet to touching the ark, both apparently minor transgressions that are severely punished (2 Kings [Word Biblical Commentary #13; Waco, TX: Word, 1985]). Still, one is left unsatisfied, both because of the brutality of slaughtering 42 children, and because it seems so odd that the Spirit would choose to record such an event in the first place. Perhaps we are to learn, as Augustine did, that human feeling and the justice of God are two different things.
In his taped lectures on Kings, James Jordan has provided a more satisfactory interpretation of the passage. Jordan points out the exodus-conquest pattern of 2 Kings 1-2. Elijah and Elisha leave the land (through the parted waters of Jordan, just as Israel left Egypt through the Red Sea), Elijah ascends and cannot be found (like Moses), and Elisha returns as Elijah's successor (again through the parted Jordan, just as Israel entered Canaan). Elisha is clearly presented as a new Joshua, who enters the land to heal it and to purge it of Canaanites. He meets the "young lads" at Bethel, a center of the golden calf cult (1 Ki. 12:25-33). Jordan suggests that the "lads" are priests or at least assistants to the priests who serve the shrine at Bethel. Cursing the 42 "lads" is part of the new Joshua's conquest of the land.
Jordan's interpretation is supported by the fact that na`ar ("boy") sometimes carries the connotation of "official" or "steward." It denotes someone who is in a subordinate position without implying anything about age. Mephibosheth's servant Ziba is called a na`ar of Saul's house (2 Sam. 16:1), and he was clearly no "lad," since he had fifteen sons of his own (2 Sam. 19:17). Boaz would have been a fool to put a "boy" in charge of his reapers, but his foreman is called a na`ar in Ruth 2:5-6. These examples suggest that na`ar might be translated as "official" in other passages as well (cf. 1 Ki. 20:13-15).
The same can be said for the other term used to the describe the 42, yeled. While this word normally refers to humans and animals of young age (even fetuses, Ex. 21:22), it is also used in reference to older persons. When Jeroboam led a delegation to Rehoboam to ask for relief from Solomon's heavy yoke, Rehoboam consulted with the yeladim "who grew up with him and stood before him" (1 Ki. 12:8). How old were these young men? Verse 8 indicates that they were about the same age as Rehoboam, and 1 Kings 14:21 tells us that Rehoboam was 41 when he began to reign. Thus, the "young men" were about 40 when they gave their foolish counsel. They are called yeladim both because they were younger than the elders whose counsel Rehoboam rejected and because they were Rehoboam's subordinates; that they "stood before" Rehoboam suggests that they were his personal servants and confidants, holding the office of "prince's friend." In any case, this passage shows that the usage of yeled is not restricted to young children and teenagers.
Elisha, thus, did not instigate a slaughter of babies or infants or little children, but instead called down curses on the "officials" of the idolatrous shrine of Bethel. As the new Joshua, he was beginning his herem war against the shrines of the Israelo-Canaanites who dominated the northern kingdom.
Anyway, and with all due respect, to me this is another instance of how this passage does not necessarily implies a true story. I cannot accept my GOD purposedly slaughtering 42 children, guys or men, for an act of mockery to a prophet


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graeylin asked on 01/19/04 - Deuteronomy 23:3 and Ruth

Deuteronomy 23:3 states "An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:"

and yet, wasn't Ruth a Moabite? Given that she is an ancestor of David (and to Christians, Jesus), wouldn't that require that she enter the congregation of the Lord? How did Ruth get around this ruling by God?

curious98 answered on 01/19/04:

Hi Graelyn,

Leaving aside whatever interpretations
Jewish or Christian exegetes may make which are, of course, absolutely worthwhile and to be taken into consideration- my own theory is quite simple. Ammonites and Moabites were most probably hated for whatever reason by whoever wrote those fragments of the Deuteronomy.
Please note that I underline the word wrote for I cannot dispute the fact GOD may have inspired this Book. I only hint that whoever actually wrote that part maybe decided to doom both tribes on his own account.
The reason for this thought which may sound blasphemous to some- is that I cannot believe in a vindictive GOD, as it would take to condemn someone just because he/she was born a Moabite
Many Moslems clearly believe, right now, that neither Christians nor Jews are eligible to enter their Kingdom of Heaven.
But I guess that all of us Jews, Christians and Moslems- do think that the GOD we believe in is perfect in everything. Everything must include Justice and Goodness.
And I can hardly see any justice in segregating anyone for reasons of birth, color or belief. I cannot accept that a Moabite just because he/she was born that- should be an evil person.
When I was a child ages and ages ago- in the Catholic school I went to I was told I could not shake hands neither with Jews nor Protestants because if I do I would go to Hell.
Thanks God, 70 years later (Im now 77) this stupid line of thought seems to have disappeared from most Catholic minds. Even our Pope John gathered the other day with some relevant Rabbis and Lutherans as a continuation of some ecumenical talks that have been developed these last years.
I say that my GOD loves every single one equally even those who offend IT- precisely because ITS love is infinite. A good father loves his children irrespective of whether they are handsome or ugly, intelligent or dumb, good or bad. And he is just a poor, insignificant person
Can we start imagining the kind of love Jehovah, Yahweh, Adonai, Allah or simply, GOD must feel for his children?
What do you think?

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Yiddishkeit asked on 01/14/04 - Communities worldwide...

I have a book titled, "Jewish Communities of the World." The book was published in 1997, so it's a little old but still a great source that gives world Jewry population counts country by country. Which countries have the largest populations of residing Christians?


curious98 answered on 01/15/04:

Hi Bobby,

According to, the break down would be this for the 10th largest Christian populations, irrespective of denomination:

Christian Population
1 United States 189,983,000
2 Brazil 170,405,000
3 Mexico 96,614,000
4 China 86,801,000
5 Philipines 72,225,000
6 Germany 60,712,000
7 Nigeria 54,012,000
8 Italy 47,704,000
9 France 45,505,000
10 Congo, Democratic Republic of 42,283,000

In Spain we are supposed to be about 40 million, so we should be within the next 5, possibly after the U,K,


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HANK1 asked on 01/13/04 - THE SOUL!

No biblical text authorizes the statement that the 'soul' is separated from the body at the moment of death.

True or False?


curious98 answered on 01/13/04:

Hi HankI,

I have extracted from the Catholic Encyclopeadia the following notes:

A. Dogma of Particular Judgment

The Catholic doctrine of the particular judgment is this: that immediately after death the eternal destiny of each separated soul is decided by the just judgment of God. Although there has been no formal definition on this point, the dogma is clearly implied in the Union Decree of Eugene IV (1439), which declares that souls leaving their bodies in a state of grace, but in need of purification are cleansed in Purgatory, whereas souls that are perfectly pure are at once admitted to the beatific vision of the Godhead (ipsum Deum unum et trinum) and those who depart in actual mortal sin, or merely with original sin, are at once consigned to eternal punishment, the quality of which corresponds to their sin (paenis tamen disparibus). The doctrine is also in the profession of faith of Michael Palaeologus in 1274, in the Bull "Benedictus Deus" of Benedict XII, in 1336, and in the professions of faith of Gregory XIII and Benedict XIV.

B. Existence of Particular Judgment Proved from Scripture

Ecclesiastes 11:9; 12:1 sq.; and Hebrews 9:27, are sometimes quoted in proof of the particular judgment, but though these passages speak of a judgment after death, neither the context nor the force of the words proves that the sacred writer had in mind a judgment distinct from that at the end of the world. The Scriptural arguments in defence of the particular judgment must be indirect. There is no text of which we can certainly say that it expressly affirms this dogma but there are several which teach an immediate retribution after death and thereby clearly imply a particular judgment. Christ represents Lazarus and Dives as receiving their respective rewards immediately after death. They have always been regarded as types of the just man and the sinner. To the penitent thief it was promised that his soul instantly on leaving the body would be in the state of the blessed: "This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). St. Paul (II Corinthians 5) longs to be absent from the body that he may be present to the Lord, evidently understanding death to be the entrance into his reward (cf. Philemon 1:21 sq.). Ecclesiasticus 11:28-29 speaks of a retribution at the hour of death, but it may refer to a temporal punishment, such as sudden death in the midst of prosperity, the evil remembrance that survives the wicked or the misfortunes of their children. However, the other texts that have been quoted are sufficient to establish the strict conformity of the doctrine with Scripture teaching. (Cf. Acts 1:25; Apocalypse 20:4-6, 12-14.)

C. Patristic Testimony Regarding Particular Judgment

St. Augustine witnesses clearly and emphatically to this faith of the early Church. Writing to the presbyter Peter, he criticizes the works of Vincentius Victor on the soul, pointing out that they contain nothing except what is vain or erroneous or mere commonplace, familiar to all Catholics. As an instance of the last, he cites Victor's interpretation of the parable of Lazarus and Dives. He writes:

For with respect to that which he (Victor] most correctly and very soundly holds, namely, that souls are judged when they depart from the body, before they come to that judgment which must be passed on them when reunited to the body and are tormented or glorified in that same flesh which they here inhabited -- was that a matter of which you (Peter) were unaware? Who is so obstinate against the Gospel as not to perceive those things in the parable of that poor man carried after death to Abraham's bosom and of the rich man whose torments are set before us? (De anima et ejus origine, 11, n.8.)

In the sermons of the Fathers occur graphic descriptions of the particular judgment (cf. S. Ephraem, "Sermo de secundo Adventu" "Sermo in eos qui in Christo obdormiunt").

D. Heresies

Lactantius is one of the few Catholic writers who disputed this doctrine (Divine Institutes VII:21). Among heretics the particular judgment was denied by Tatian and Vigilantius. The Hypnopsychites and the Thnetopsychites believed that at death the soul passed away, according to the former into a state of unconsciousness, according to the latter into temporary destruction. They believed that souls would arise at the resurrection of the body for judgment. This theory of "soul slumber" was defended by the Nestorians and Copts, and later by the Anabaptists, Socinians, and Arminians. Calvin (Inst. III, 25) holds that the final destiny is not decided till the last day.


Although, tecnically speaking, you are right, from the above you may see that, we Catholics, at least, are supposed to accept that the soul separates from the body at the moment of death, as a dogma.
The fact remains this principle comes from very old and it was spread with the clear intention of confirming the reward or the punishment we should deserve after our death.
This point aside, in my opinion, it makes sense that one way or other our soul separates from our dead body, for once we die, what happens to our bodies is irrelevant. Many religions still burn the corpses, and in this case, it is evident that the soul CANNOT be burned along. Hence, it must separate from the body.
Just my opinion, though!

Claude (Curious98)

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HANK1 asked on 01/12/04 - WHO WROTE THE BIBLE?

"Who Wrote The Bible
- Evidence of God"

"Who wrote the Bible" is a question that is undoubtedly asked by many who are familiar with the impact this book has made on people around the world. The Bible gives guidance in our journey through life to eternity, as well as leads us to a relationship with the God of the universe. It is a historical book that is backed by archeology, and a prophetic book that has lived up to all of its claims thus far. In light of all these facts, asking, who wrote the bible, is a vital question that deserves serious investigation and a serious response. The Bible is Gods letter to humanity collected into 66 books written by 40 divinely inspired writers. These writers come from all walks of life (i.e., kings to fishermen) and spans over a period of 1,500 years or more. These claims may seem dramatic (or unrealistic to some), but a careful and honest study of the biblical scriptures will show them to be true.

Who Wrote the Bible - Evidence of Divine Inspiration
Who wrote the Bible is a question that can be definitively answered by examining the biblical texts in light of the external evidences that supports its claims. 2 Timothy 3:16 states that All scripture is inspired by God. In 2 Peter 1:20-21, Peter reminds the reader to know this first of all, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of ones own interpretation, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. The Bible itself tells us that it is God who is the author of His book.

God does not leave us with just claims of His divine handiwork in the Bible, but also supports it with compelling evidence. The design of the Bible itself is a miracle. Written over more than 1,500 years by vastly different writers, yet every book in the Bible is consistent in its message. These 66 books talk about history, prophecy, poetry, and theology. Despite their complexity, differences in writing styles and vast time periods, the books of the Bible agree miraculously well in theme, facts and cross-referencing. No human beings could have planned such an intricate combination of books over a 1,500-year time span. Bible manuscripts (remember, there were no printing presses until 1455) have survived despite weather, persecution and time. Most ancient writings written on weak materials like papyrus have vanished all together. Yet many copies of the Old Testament scriptures survived. For instance, the Dead Sea Scrolls contain all books of the Old Testament, except Esther, and have been dated to before the time of Christ. Consider Julius Caesars Gallic Wars. Only ten copies written about 1,000 years after the event are in existence. In comparison, there are over 24,000+ New Testament manuscripts, the earliest one dating to within 24 years after Christ.

The Bible also validates its divine authorship through fulfilled prophecies. An astonishing 668 prophecies have been fulfilled and none have ever been proven false (three are unconfirmed). An honest study of biblical prophecy will compellingly show the divine authorship of the Bible. Further, archeology confirms (or in some cases supports) accounts in the biblical record. No other holy book comes close to the Bible in the amount of evidence supporting its divine authorship.

Who Wrote the Bible - A Question of Eternal Significance
Who Wrote the Bible is indeed a question that everyone must ask. If indeed it is the Word of the living God, then no other book gives us more insight into our lives, more hope for our future, and a true path to a relationship with God. Search the Bible with openness and honesty and see for yourself what the Creator of the universe wants to tell you!"


Thought you'd like to read this!


curious98 answered on 01/13/04:

Hello HankI,

Yes, certainly an interesting argumentation.
And the one I should believe as a Roman Catholic subject- and, actually, the one that would simplify my life immensely.
However, any historian would claim that while the Bible is extraordinarily consistent, bearing in mind the different writers and the span of time it covers, so the History of our different civilizations that go back to 4/5000 years BC is consistent, too-
Historians would also claim that there are a number of passages in the Book that, apparently, are based on old traditions, legends or books that were written BEFORE the Bible!
For instance, the Epic of Gilgamesh!
However, I have already said time and again that to me, whether or not the Book is inspired by GOD or is a fragment of history of a small part of the world covering a time span of some 2000 years is perfectly irrelevant.
GOD is way over these considerations and, what is more important, we shall all find out eventually who was right and who was wrong.
Meanwhile, and for debating purposes, we can speculate as much as you wish and take sides to make it more interesting.
Best regards,
Claude (aka Curious98)

BTW. How on earth can you answer so many questions to be number one with more than 1200 replies. Congratulations!

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graeylin asked on 01/12/04 - Prophecy, preordination, and free will

How do those fit together?

For example, if a legitimate prophet (by whatever definition you like) prophecies that a certain person will be born, raised in city X, be tatooed by a mad slave owner when he is twelve, and be killed by knife while saving the life of a princess, Do the events in that person's life become pre-ordained?

For instance, does that person get born, and then his parents are forced by cosmic will/God/Fate to move to city X, and a mad slaver who wasn't going to do anything has his mind changed into giving a tatoo to a young boy? What if no one really wanted to kill this guy when he rescued the Princess... would Fate/Karma/God force someone to kill him in order to create the destiny foretold?

Or, does prophecy give a series of events, and only when, in random occurences, someone meets all of the requirements, does the prophecy become official. In this case, maybe 200 boys are born in the next thousand years and their parents move to city X. but only 3 are marked with tatoos, and of those three, one dies in a horse accident, one lives to a ripe old age, and one is killed by an arrow while trying to rescue a princess.... and so, the prophecy waits.

your thoughts?

curious98 answered on 01/12/04:


If we look at your post from a religious point of view, I have to say that, GOD being omniscient IT can see AT THE SAME TIME, the past, the present and the future. Consequently GOD should have the capacity of knowing in anticipation what the parents of that boy would decide -out of their free will- to do one day, and what would happen to that boy when he, again, out of his own free will, would determine to rescue the princess.
It should be like a movie where you know quite well how it ends up and which you cannot change, because that's the way the movie was filmed.
Then GOD hints the story to some prophet or other, and this prophet comes out with the bright news that he knows the end of the movie...
That's how it should go more or less bearing in mind what I always say that we know nothing at all -though some may say they do- of GOD's plans, and that GOD can do or have things happening as GOD pleases.

Yet, that's not exactly how I would buy your story. I would perhaps feel more inclined to believe your 2nd theory, which ties in better with my rationalistic way of thinking
and also with my theory that GOD is way over our little lives to be concerned by them...

But this is something I'm not supposed to say

Best regards

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graeylin asked on 01/09/04 - Free Will

An interesting digression in another thread raised this question for me:

What exactly is "free will"?
Given that definition, how does Free Will work in these examples from the Bible:

Onan (makes a decision, God kills him. Did Onan know that the punishment for his decision was death?)
Pharoah (decides to release the slaves, God forces him to change his mind and keep them. Is it really free will if God can force your mind to change?)
Jonah (decides not to travel, God punishes him. Perhaps Jonah knew the rules and punishment for breaking them?)
Job (God and Satan play havoc with his life. Man goeas along, God and Satan kill everyone around him to test him. Is it really free will if you are a rat in a lab maze?)

curious98 answered on 01/11/04:

I think we have Free Will to do as we please with our lives. A good evidence would be the fact we can remove our own life, if we so wish. I cannot contemplate anything more important than that!
According to the different religions we dispose of a set of rules and regulations which we are free to break but we have to face our responsibility.
It is the same with Human Laws.
They tell us what we cannot do, but if despite everything, we prefer not to walk the line we must face the consequences.
Therefore, I can kill anyone if I'm willing to accept going to jail for it.
I can commit suicide if I'm willing to pay for it, eventually!
Best regards

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ETWolverine asked on 01/07/04 - To my Christian friends.

Hello all,

As you are by now probably aware, I am an Orthodox Jew who does not accept the Trinity or the idea of Jesus as either G-d or Messiah.

However, I am trying to further understand all of YOUR beliefs.

I understand that Trinitarians (and that is most Christians, in my experience) believe that Jesus is G-d or a part or aspect of G-d.

Does this interpretation mean that Jesus created the world in 6 days? Did Jesus split the seas dring the Exodus? Did Jesus bring the flood and save Noah? Did Jesus send the mannah to the Israelites in the desert?

I guess what I'm asking is how far do we take the explanation of Jesus and G-d being one and the same?

Please do not see this question as a criticism of what you believe, but rather as an attempt to understand. I most likely will not agree with you, and I don't expect most of you to agree with me. But this really is just an attempt to understand and question, not criticize.

Looking forward to your responses,


curious98 answered on 01/09/04:

Dear Elliot,

Far from my intention to molest any member of the Chassidic community that might read this, but how can anyone sustain right now that Creation took place in 6 days of 24 hours each?
Im tremendously curious (hence my aka) and I would like to know how could they start to believe something like that. I could eventually go along with Mr. Rashi and start talking about eras, although here Id have to define eras of different lengths altogether. Not 6 eras of equal length. But, at least, this is debatable. But how can anyone defend the 6 days of 24 hours thesis. This reminds me of the darkness in which the Catholic Church was living in the 16th century when the Inquisition forced Gallileo Gallilei to give up his theories about our Solar system, which were based on those by Nicholas Copernicus

There are bound to be, for the time being at least, some discussions as to the exact age of our Earth. However, the consensus of opinion seems to be inclined towards the 4 billion years, give or take a few millions, which does not make a great difference.

Lets be a little more precise about this. I KNOW Creation did not take place in 6 days, as much as I know our Earth is not flat but very much shaped like an orange of sorts; and as much as I KNOW there are billions of celestial bodies (galaxies, stars, planets, etc) in our known Universe.
As for the Trinity, I cannot say I know for I do not. I can say and that is my personal opinion- that Trinity and GOD is the very same concept, which probably means it is not a literal Trinity. I could visualize a big Oak with 3 branches, which nobody could say it is 3 oaks, but just a big one


It all depends on whether you believe like, my French Rabbi friend, that the O.T. is the word of GOD, very much like many Moslems believe the Al-Koran was totally dictated to Mohammed by GOD, or you believe, as I do, that both the O.T. and the N.T. are a set of books written IN GOOD FAITH by a number of men, basing themselves in oral traditions, legends and live experiences with the good intention of helping us and showing us how to walk the line.
Take the Gospels, just to speak of what I believe as a Catholic and you dont as a Jew. To write what it has been written there how it has been written it would have taken a reporter with a tape recorder and a digital camera plus a stenographer following Jesus everywhere and taking notes.
However, the Gospels were written AFTER Jesus DIED and According to Catholic tradition, the four Gospels were written by four individuals called the four Evangelists. Many scholars today, however, argue that the original authors were "anonymous," and that the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were only later connected with these four books. Which opinion is correct? Better yet, what difference does it make?
None whatsoever for the important question is the message transmitted therein.
It is highly possible that the different parables and situations presented by the Gospel were actually lived by Jesus irrespective of whether He was just another prophet or the Son of GOD. The fact remains the message is good and survives ages.
And the same thing happens with the O.T. What difference does it make whether it is literally the word from GOD, or was inspired by GOD or it is a set of good advices plus a number of more or less historical situations plus certain oral traditions transmitted from father to son What matters is its contents, and whether these traditions and messages are worth our following them, which they are.
Do we really think it can make that much difference to GOD whether you believe nearly two million refugees scramble across the Red Sea on a mysterious ridge of dry land--then watched a pursuing Egyptian army drown. and I find it difficult to accept it just like that. Would it add anything to GODs immense power?
Granted, Im too much of a rationalist, but on the other hand, I strongly believe in GODs message of Love thy neighbor If Heaven or Paradise do exist and Im convinced something must exist- Im pretty sure I wont get in through the marble staircase or be given the red carpet treatment. Maybe through the service entrance and even so, after having had to wait for a long while. But this will always be better than nothing at all!
I see your point quite well. But I think you are much better off than little old me! For you already strongly believe with the kind of Faith that is needed for true Salvation, whereas Im constantly submerged by all kind of doubts my rationalism floods me with. I have to keep a constant struggle between what I say and what I do. Between what I have been taught and want to believe in, and what the many books I have read have taught me
>>>Just remember that most wars and conflicts that we have suffered throughout our history have been motivated by religious differences and activated by religious leaders who have taken advantage, for their own benefit, of those differences.<<<


I agree only to a certain extent. Many wars have been territorial, granted. But, by the same token, many have used religion as an excuse to get started.
Let us just take the Crusades that were launched to reconquer Jerusalem, or the Moorish domination in Spain my country- that lasted well over 6 centuries. Of course, it was territorial, for the different Spanish kings wanted to get rid of the Arabs, but to do that they constantly used the argument of religion. We had to get rid of the Arabs, not because they were Arabs but because they were infidel. In fact, those who wanted to convert to Christianism were allowed to remain.
To such an extent, there was a famous battle (the battle of Clavijo) which the Christians won to the Moors because Saint James riding a White Horse came to help defeating the infidel!!
It is not clear whether all the troops saw the saint or only the king and some priests. But it worked

The problem does not lie with religion per se but with how the religious leaders interpret it, or how those who are ruling us pretend to use it to boost peoples morale.
When your President said on TV, when he was about to invade Iraq that God was behind him and America, how could he made such an assertion? Is he on speaking terms with GOD?
This is what I mean, when I say problems are not with religions but with their leaders, whoever they are!

Best regards
Claude (Curious98)

Be assured I enjoy tremendously your comments.

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ETWolverine asked on 01/07/04 - To my Christian friends.

Hello all,

As you are by now probably aware, I am an Orthodox Jew who does not accept the Trinity or the idea of Jesus as either G-d or Messiah.

However, I am trying to further understand all of YOUR beliefs.

I understand that Trinitarians (and that is most Christians, in my experience) believe that Jesus is G-d or a part or aspect of G-d.

Does this interpretation mean that Jesus created the world in 6 days? Did Jesus split the seas dring the Exodus? Did Jesus bring the flood and save Noah? Did Jesus send the mannah to the Israelites in the desert?

I guess what I'm asking is how far do we take the explanation of Jesus and G-d being one and the same?

Please do not see this question as a criticism of what you believe, but rather as an attempt to understand. I most likely will not agree with you, and I don't expect most of you to agree with me. But this really is just an attempt to understand and question, not criticize.

Looking forward to your responses,


curious98 answered on 01/07/04:

As I have pointed out in my recent post to HankI I have a not very orthodox view of some of our Catholic dogmas, which you have probably ascertained through the many posts I have sent to this forum since it started. Our Trinity is a very difficult to assimilate dogma which justifies why so many theologs have devoted their lives to study it.
Though, in fact, the Trinity concept is older than Christianism.
I prefer simply to concentrate on the Real Mac Coy, i.e. the Big Boss or, more respectfully, GOD.
And consider The Holy Spirit and Jesus, as GODs projections. Particularly, Jesus, who might have been like GODs Messenger (or ITS mental projection, for nothing is impossible for GOD) to redeem Mankind.
If GOD decided to appear before Moses as a burning bush (probably, another GODs projection) I do not see why Jesus could not be another projection of GOD in the form of a Man with some powers.

From that perspective I therefore believe that The Holy Spirit and Jesus are but the same thing as GOD, in different manifestations for the consumption of human race, though as I said, they are not exclusive of Christians.

This said, I would like to think that your paragraph

Quote: Does this interpretation mean that Jesus created the world in 6 days? Did Jesus split the seas during the Exodus? Did Jesus bring the flood and save Noah? Did Jesus send the mannah to the Israelites in the desert?

Is just written as a way of expressing what you want to say, not really because you literally believe those concepts of the Book.
I do not think any Orthodox Jew, no matter how orthodox, do really and literally takes now seriously that Yahweh created the world in 6 days, do you?
Orthodoxy should not mean sticking to old traditions and concepts once they have scientifically been proven wrong or am I wrong?
When science has determined our Earth is about 4 billion years old, it is kind of hard to be speaking in other terms than those, or it is not?
Im, of course, not taking this as an attempt for you to criticize Christians beliefs. After all we share the same Boss (as all of mankind, for what matters), and all the rest is peccatum minusculus which is Latin to describe other comparative insignificant matters.
And by that, like you, I am not intending to offend you or those who believe the rest is not SO insignificant.
What happens is that, for me, the concept of GOD is so unattainable that all the rest surrounding that concept seems rather irrelevant.
I always say to whoever wants to listen that if mankind would manage to understand there is ONLY ONE GOD, WHO IS THE SAME FOR EVERYBODY and would consider the different religions just as if they were different languages to address THIS SAME GOD, getting rid of all those things that separate us, life in this world would be much more peaceful.
Just remember that most wars and conflicts that we have suffered throughout our history have been motivated by religious differences and activated by religious leaders who have taken advantage, for their own benefit, of those differences.
Best regards

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HANK1 asked on 01/07/04 - REVELATION!

Please Read:

Revelation 2:1

"Jesus Christ controls history through positive volition toward Bible Doctrine. Christ controls history by the function of positive believers functioning in the Plan of God.
People are the products of their own decisions.
Exchanging freedom for security causes down trend.
Freedom is the real issue in life.
The demand for power exceeds the need for power.
Innovation without truth is dangerous.
The weak control the strong. There are teenage children which will manipulate there parents as an example of the how the weak can control the strong.
Economic disaster often comes from our own bad decisions. The sky and the ground is bronze symbolically when there is economic disaster. In this country, the world equality is a "buzz word" from the Cosmic System. We cannot have freedom and equality. We have tried in the United States to stop people from failing. We have the option to succeed or we have the option to fail. Socailism and Communism bring the welfare state. Carter legislated against success. Systems of taxation have been set up to destroy success. Nearly every president has tried to legislate against success.
The Bible's system of economics says that the masses do not bring prosperity.
If our emotions become involved in our thinking then we cannot think.
Historical trends are about to bring us into the decade of disaster. There are a lot of people that have not been around here. We need to understand many parts of the scripture before the Book of Revelation will make sense.
God's Knowledge
Billions of years before man existed he had self knowledge. God is soveriegn and is knowledge is much greater than any creature. The future is a clear as the past to God. God acts rationally. God knows himself to be beyond comparision. God existed eternally unsustained by anyone or himself. Christ controls history. Before man existed, God knew what would happen to the United States. God's knowledge is not limited to time and space. God's knowledge exists, in self knownledge, omniscience and foreknowledge. God's omniscience is related to man and history. God's objective knowledge of the universe and all of its creatures is his omniscience. The programming of the Computer of Divine Decress established reality. The computer contains every thought, decision and action of every person in human history. God is soveriegn and he does not interfere in the print out of the Computer. Billions of years ago in eternity past God thoughts new every action of every creature. There are a lot of things that are not entered into the Computer. The alternatives are not entered into the computer. The alternatives are the actions, motives and thoughts that we did not choose. The alternatives are a part of omniscience but they are not a part of Divine Decrees. All of us wether rational or irrational we are responsible for our own decisions. Foreknowledge is different than omniscience. Omniscience prgrammed the computer of Divine Decrees. The foreknowledge is the print out of the Divine Decrees. Nothing is foreknown until it is first decreed. The foreknowledge of God makes nothing certain. When Christ communicates prophecy he is speaking from his foreknowledge. Christ has foreknowledge. The soveriegnity of God may punish man or prosper man. Only man will interfere with the privacy of someone else."

Citation: As taught by R. B. Thieme - REVELATION CHAPTER 2

Any disagreements?


curious98 answered on 01/07/04:

Dear Hank,

"Jesus Christ controls history through positive volition toward Bible Doctrine. Christ controls history by the function of positive believers functioning in the Plan of God.

Im sorry but I do not agree. In the first place we should be speaking about GOD, not Jesus Christ who, according to Christians only, died in the Cross to deliver Mankind of its sins. Then, I do not believe GOD considers us so important as to wishing to control our history.
I know many of my Roman Catholic correligionaries (also many Jews and Moslems) do believe so. But this is only because our Religions, throughout the centuries, have been hammering on us a few things such as man is made in the image of god (gen.) or only man is able to approach and worship GOD and survive the death of the body, ascending to heaven (or descending to hell).
This is probably due to Mans most extraordinary arrogance.
A Spark of Divinity has no doubt touched us when we were created. But no more than everything else in the Universe.
When I wonder about the Magnificent Miracle of our Universe (the little we know of) I marvel at how little importance we in general- grant to this fantastic FEAT.
A few learned people do study our Cosmos trying to find out explanations or facts about how it all started.
But most of us simply take it for granted and do not even stop for a minute to think that, no matter how it all started (Big Bang, or whatever!) it did as a consequence of an act of GODs will. That ONLY GOD WHO WAS THERE BEFORE, IS THERE NOW, AND WILL BE THERE FOR EVER!
Can we absorb that concept?
Of course, if we do not assume this it simply means we do not believe in GOD. Period.
But, no one who believes in GOD, or in some kind of Creator, can ignore this Fact.
And that VERY SAME GOD (for there cannot be but ONE GOD), after our insignificant Earth was formed billions of years after the Big Bang (if that was really the beginning), decided AFTER another few more billion years (something like 4 billion) to send HIS Divine Spark and instill life in our Planet. But the firsts forms of biological life seem to have been some kind of bacteria or germs in the sea, not counting, of course vegetal life, which came first.
And, maybe just one million years ago (less than 0,025% of our Earth supposed age) that GOD decided to send another more perfected Divine Spark to help creating Mans ancestors, although if we stick to the Genesis, we cannot go beyond a tiny wee 0,00025% of the age of our Earth (some 10.000 years ago)
Less than a drop of water in the age of our own planet!
And we still pretend that GOD is in control of our History
That is rather pretentious of us, is not it?
Jesus was GODs messenger (I have got to believe at least that), his Son in a way, and He came to Earth, as I said before, to redeem us from our sins. And to tell us how we should carry on with our small lives
But hardly a few paid any attention to what He said. And hardly a few are now paying any attention to what He then said.
But this is our problem. For we were made free to choose our own destiny.
I do not believe Jesus, after his Ascension to Heaven, took upon Him the task of auditing our books of history...
We should rather ask ourselves, do we even know what GODs plans really are? Because to have the foggiest idea about that we should be able to understand GOD. And right now, I cannot imagine anything farther from our understanding and reach than GOD
So the whole premise of that gentleman of yours is in my opinion false and, consequently, not worth discussing it, though there may be some points that might be true per se.
Best regards

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bal317 asked on 01/01/04 - God is our Conductor.

Happy New Year to All: I live in a small town in Iowa, and on our phone system within our Community, for as long as I can remember, we have a local number to call, which gives us a Daily Thought. I was wondering if any of you have such.
Today's message was: God is our Conductor, speaking about how life is like music and we are lead by the conductor, many high notes and some low, but when we go flat we need a rest and that resting point can be used by viewing back on how to step up to a tone that can be nicely heard. God is our Conductor of life and when we are made to rest because of an illness or whatever should cause us to be still, because God wants us to reflex on how we can come back intune with ourselves and others in a more positive way. Believing in God, when we are at rest, it is for an important reason, as he is our conductor of life.
Those aren't the exact words, but about what it indetailed.
I am asking, do you all have the oppurtunity by phone within your Community, to call up and get some spiritial words?

curious98 answered on 01/01/04:

Not quite, but I do benefit of something just as good.
I receive every morning, entirely free of any charge, the daily Gospel, with a commentary written by a different learned person every day.
You, and anybody else, can get it too in English via e-mail, by subscribing to it in the following website:

As I say this is completely gratuitous, and the only purpose of this web is to spread the Gospel to as many people as possible.

The idea originated in a Christian Spanish group which is not only formed by Catholics, but by people from other Christian confessions, whether Orthodox or Protestant, who strongly preach the ecumenist message contained in the Gospel is valid for every Christian denomination and I would add, for everybody, irrespective of what his or her faith may be.

Although the web is in Spanish, there is a very clear log in place in English, for those English-speaking people who may wish to subscribe. The English translations of the Gospel are, of course, the official ones. As for the commentaries, some USA collaborators who have kindly volunteer to do so, proofread them all.

Though we have started only a few months ago, we have an increasing number of subscriptions from all over the World. Some 27.000 from Spanish speaking people and some 3.000 so far we have started only last October with the English translation mostly from USA and Canada.

Why dont you visit the site and subscribe. It will cost you nothing and, if you do not like it, you can unsubscribe just as easily, for this is not of course- any kind of Spam mail, nor do we include any advertising.

As I say, its purpose is not proselytism but evangelist. And whatever costs we have we gladly pay from our own pockets, for we all believe into what we are doing Spread Gods word!


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graeylin asked on 12/31/03 - The Ten Commandments and Christian laws

I have heard in the US many Christian groups claiming that the Ten Commandments are the basis for Christian life and laws. They claim that the commandments should be in our courts because they are the basis of Christian law.

But, don't Christians claim that they don't need to follow the laws of the OT? How does a Christian get the right to pick and choose, to follow only those ten commandments, but none of the other 200+ God gave in the OT. By being Christian, aren't they essentially saying "we choose not to follow or believe in the OT laws".

So, how can the 10 commandments be the basis of Christian Laws in this country, when Christians claim that Jesus removed the need to follow the OT laws?

curious98 answered on 12/31/03:

Dear Graelyn,

My previous answer to Hank can be applied, I believe, to your post too.

Not being an expert on the O.T. I cannot say whether or not there are other 200+ other commandments that are to be followed by Christians and which are they.

But I can tell you right away that ALL a good Christian should do is to follow the teachings of the Gospels, which I'm sure, embrace all the other commandments, whichever they are.

On the other hand, I fail to see which harm would do to Courts and Administrations all over the world, to bear in mind the ten commandments.

I do not give a damnn whether they are the basis of the Christian religion or of the Jewish religion. Or whether Moses just got them out of the blue...

The true fact is that they are damnn good and we should all be better off if we would follow them more closely. Don't you think so?.

Best regards

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HANK1 asked on 12/31/03 - OLD TESTAMENT!

"The Old Testament (the part of the Bible written before Jesus' birth) was completed in 450BC, hundreds of years before Jesus was born. The prophecies were made in astonishing detail by many people throughout these books.

For instance, the Old Testament indicated Jesus would be betrayed by someone he trusted, "Even my close friend whom I trusted, he who has shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me" (Psalm 41:9). The New Testament, which records Jesus' life and resurrection, reveals that one of the 12 people Jesus chose to be part of his inner circle betrayed him, "Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them" (Mark 14:19).

More than 300 prophecies like this were made in the Old Testament and then fulfilled through Jesus' life, death and resurrection. The chances of one person fulfilling a mere 8 of these prophecies are 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. For one person to fulfill 48 of these prophecies, the number becomes staggering--1 chance in 10 to the 157th power (1 with 157 zeros after it). Add to that the 250 other prophecies and it becomes impossible for any other person except Jesus to ever fit that particular sequence of time and events."

Citation: POWER TO CHANGE (Online)


curious98 answered on 12/31/03:

Dear Hank

Regarding your post, I would like to point out 2 things.

The first one answers our colleague Rosends.

When he refers to the Old Testament as the Only Testament, he, as a follower of the Jewish religion, is perfectly entitled to do so. However, he forgets that Christians are also benefiting of the Books contained in the Old Testament. Consequently, when we refer to the Old Testament, we do it just to separate it from the New Testament. There is no other significance implied. If Rosends estimates there is one, it is his own problem. On the other hand, he can call the Gospels as he wishes; I will not get offended, for the Christian Gospels are way above whatever Mr. Rosends may care to say or think. I think Mr. Rosends shows a certain tendency to a religious fundamentalism of some kind. The kind of fundamentalism also displayed unfortunately by many Christians and Moslems- which pretends they are the owners or proprietors of GODs copyrights.

"The only true God is my God and all the rest are wrong, nutty and they should go to hell! Or, better yet, we can kill them asap, so they do not contaminate this World with their theories about false Gods, and so on and so forth."

It goes without saying that, in my opinion, this is a very poor way to start a new year, when we should all be looking forward to a better and more peaceful year, with love rather than hate predominating, if at all possible!

Which takes me to the 2nd thing.
Those Jews, Christians, or Moslems, who believe their faith is the only true one, are, again, in my opinion, totally wrong.
GOD is the same one for every living soul or thing in this planet and for every moving thing in the entire Universe.

If it would not be like that, GOD could not be the Creator of everything we know and of the many things we ignore!

Consequently, I believe in GOD while simply accepting the fact that throughout history men have felt they have to justify GOD one way or other, when GOD needs no justification whatsoever. Let Jews believe what they want and say Jesus was just another good man while awaiting their true Messiah. Let Moslems claim Jesus was another prophet and stick to Mohammed as their kind of Messiah. And let Christians claim Jesus was the Son of God.
On day, we should all discovered for sure who was right and who was wrong!
But, in the meantime, disregarding whether Jesus was a good man, a prophet or the Son of God, let us try to follow His advice.

Love one another as I love you John 15:12

I challenge Rosends, and anyone else, for what matter, to say this is not a good piece of advice

And let us say with Luke 2:14 "Peace on earth, good will toward men."


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bal317 asked on 12/30/03 - When is this going to happen?

Maybe I am not understanding this, but what is in the meaning of, Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherite the earth.

Thank you,

curious98 answered on 12/30/03:

I agree with Toms777.

Of course, you realize that this is a promise with no time limit. That means that, according to the N.T. Jesus is neither saying when will that happen nor whether he is referring to this or some new Earth, we still do not know of.
However, our present Earth would simply be a beautiful Paradise to live in, if we men would not enjoy ourselves spoiling it or, rather, destroying it with our incredible ambition and thoughtlessness. For if we were ALL meek then, no doubt, the above promise wouldnt be an allegory but a true fact, and we would inherit the Earth.
I think Jesus was sending a subliminal message to Mankind with that promise. Be meek, be humble, love each other, and you will realize you are living in a wonderful World, which will be all yours to enjoy!
Maybe this fragment of a paper written 10 years ago by Archpriest Victor Potapov,
about Parish Life, will help you better understand that promise Jesus made to meek men.

Christ's third Commandment of Blessedness promises the meek that they will inherit the earth. This is true although difficult for contemporary man to comprehend in the context of stormy recent politics. States, parties and people continue fight for land and riches. Throughout history, people have fought over land and resources, making war and other violence, destroying so many human families as well other resources. The violence may well go on. Millions suffer in torment, and cannot see or take delight in the real beauty of our splendid earth, created by God.
Nevertheless, there are people who, as it is said in the Scriptures, have nothing, but posses everything (II Corinthians 6:10). These Christians ascetics live in the bosom of nature in deserts and mountains. Some of them were wanderers, who in Holy Russia went about the country on foot, from monastery to monastery, from one holy place to another. They delighted in the beauty of the land and were nourished by its excellent fruits. They breathed the pure air and drank spring water. They prayed to God beneath the open sky. They worked with their own hands, and they never took away land from anyone. And the land really belonged to them. And they, in their meekness, possessed it.
By the commandment of meekness, Christ foresaw not only such a possession of the earth. The time will come, when the earth in reality will belong to the meek. According to the word of the Apostle Peter, we, according to his promise, look for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (II Peter 3:13). By God's Judgement, the meek will become citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, which the Psalmist calls the land of the living. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 26:15).
Meekness is freedom from this sinful world, but a loving attitude towards it. The world needs healing by meekness. And meekness is readiness to endure suffering patiently and with joy. Only in this kind of meekness, can one win Christian victor: not by self-denial but by sacrificial love. This Christian victory is directly opposite to any worldly victory that suppresses enemies or rivals with vindication of one's purpose and pretension. Christ's victory is to attract to Himself the hearts of men. His victory challenges all worldly wisdom about man and man's futile aspiration. Christ's victory is goodness, self-renunciation, and love.
All earthy experience adds up to a loss in the face of what the Gospel calls treasure in the heavens. The believing mind knows that all things earthly evaporate and lose their power to attract. It believing mind wants heavenly treasure to nourish it fully without fear of loss f any kind.
The commandment the meek shall inherit the earth expresses the existential truth that unselfish love irresistibly attracts the human heart. It is an invincible power. We know that a mysterious law operates. True victors may look like people suffering defeat. The contemporary French writer Albert Camus expresses this truth in these words: I cannot but believe those witnesses who gave themselves up to be killed.
Let us complete our sketch with the prayerful instruction of the contemporary teacher of meekness, the Venerable Siluan of Athos:
The soul of the humble is like the sea; toss a stone into the sea and for a minute it slightly disturbs the surface, and then falls into its depths. So do afflictions drown in the heart of the humble man, because the Lord's power is with him.
Where dwellest thou, O humble soul; and who liveth in thee; to what shall I liken thee?
Thou burnest brightly, like the sun, and burnest not out; but with thy warmth thou warmest all.
To thee belongeth the land of the meek, according to the word of the Lord.
Thou art like unto a flowering garden, in the heart of which there is a splendid home, where the Lord doth love to abide.
Thee do heaven and earth love.
Thee do the holy Apostles, Prophets, Hierarchs and Venerable love.
Thee do the Angels, Seraphim and Cherubim love.
Thee, the humble, doth the Most Pure Mother of the Lord love.
Thee doth the Lord love and rejoice over.
That year 2004 may make us a little meeker and may be we shall make a step forward towards our inheritance.


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PraiseJah asked on 12/29/03 - Islam

Do you believe the rise of Islam was foretold in the Bible?

curious98 answered on 12/29/03:

Dear PraiseJah,

As usual with many history subjects, the answer depend on the source you are consulting.

For instance:

In a private note, a prominent member of the Saudi Royal family has asked to be kept in touch with further developments not only regarding the Exodus but also his thesis that the Temples of Jerusalem were never built on the Temple Mount but rather in their more logical position some 600 ft. further south over the Citys only natural supply of water, The Gihon Spring in the City of Jerusalem.

This same prince, writes:

Islam has claimed that the coming of Mohammed was foretold in the Bible in the following verse:
"And this is the blessing wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death and he said, 'The Lord came from Sinai and dawned from Mount Seir upon them; he shone forth from Mount Paran he came from ten thousands of holy ones: with flaming fire at his right hand. Yea, he loved His people; all those consecrated to him were in his hand: so they followed in thy feet, receiving direction from thee, when Moses commanded us a law, as a possession for the congregation of Jacob. Thus the Lord became King in Jeshurun when the heads of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Israel together." (Deuteronomy 33:1-5).
The controversy naturally revolves around any independent evidence that Paran was in the vicinity of Makkah (Mecca).
It has been cited a medieval geographer on that score but one cannot be sure whether the identification was real or an attempt to strengthen the thesis that Mohammed was mentioned in the Bible.
I would expect therefore that Muslims would favor that identification. In fact it is now taken for granted by the Muslim world. Perhaps that is the reason why we Saudis have expressed more interest in the thesis than the Israelis. However it does cause Islam a problem which they have preferred not to address over the centuries. For, if we accept Paran as Makkah, then we MUST at the same time accept that the Exodus took place in Saudi Arabia..
What is puzzling is that we cannot find any Islamic commentator who has taken the next and only logical next step. IF Mekkah is Paran then the Exodus MUST have taken place in Arabia .
I have seen no Islamic commentator make that obvious conclusion.
What is much more startling is that Yemeni Jewish sages also identified Paran with Mekkah, surely against their interests and biases. The argument has been posited that Yemeni Jews for their own protection would not want to rock the boat and that as the rise of Islam was undoubtedly a major world event in history and they believe that all such events are predicted in the Torah, they would have no problem is accepting the Muslim interpretation.
I will leave the reader to decide whether that is sufficient justification for Jewish sages to have accepted the identification that Paran is Makkah.


On the other hand, another member of the Islamic world, by the name of Abdulla Ibrahim, writes:

According to Surah 7, Al A'raf, verse 157, Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) the prophet of Islam is foretold in the Torah and the Gospel. However, a closer look at the context of the Biblical passages commonly referred to by Muslims, will show that they cannot be interpreted that way. The following quotes are all taken from the N.I.V. translation of the Bible:

The Lord had said to Abram, "...I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." (Genesis 12:1-3)
Dr. Jamal Badawi and some other Muslims claim that God would bless the whole earth through Muhammad (p.b.u.h) the descendant of Ishmael. (see "What the Bible says about Muhammad" (peace be upon him), IPCI, pages 26-27)

After all, he was the firstborn to Abraham through Hagar, an Egyptian maidservant, and the traditional rights the first son had as heir is, according to the law, not depending on the social status of his mother. However, the Bible is very clear in saying that God, by his sovereign choice, would fulfill his covenant through the seed of Isaac, the son given to Sarah, Abraham's first wife:
And Abraham said to God, "If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!" Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will ake him into a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year." (Genesis 17: 18-21)
Deuteronomy 21:15-17 assures the rights of inheritance to the firstborn son, to the one who literally was the first to be born. Since Abraham lived about 600 years before God gave the Israelites this law through Moses, it is not applicable to him. This rule was also set aside with divine approval in Jacob's and Solomon's cases. Even in the Quran certain laws, such as to how many wives one is allowed to marry, did not apply to Muhammad (p.b.u.h.)

For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. (Galatians 3:18, see also 3:6-23)
His situation also has to be understood in the light of an ancient custom, illustrated in Old Assyrian marriage contracts, the Code of Hammurapi and the Nuzi tablets (mid-2nd millennium B.C.). There we find that if a wife could not bear children to her husband, she was allowed to give him her maidservant to provide an heir. Every legal right of a child that was born in that way was passed on to the real wife. These laws allowed her to turn a mother of such a child again into her former state of a servant. In case the wife would suddenly be able to bear children she could disinherit the child of the maidservant. This is exactly what happened to Ishmael, the son of Abraham, born by the maidservant Hagar:

The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, and she said to Abraham, "Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac." The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. But God said to him, "Do not be so distressed about the boy and your maidservant. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned. I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation also, because he is your offspring." (Genesis 21:8-13, see also 25: 1-6)

God in his sovereignty chose to bless the whole world through Isaac's line. Surah 29, Al 'Ankabut, verse 27 (see also Surah 45, Al Jathiyah, verse 16) confirms this by stating that the prophethood and the scripture are to be found in Isaac's and Jacob's line, with the children of Israel. Nowhere in the Quran is it written that from Ishmael's seed too there would one day rise up a prophet. As seen above, this is confirmed in Genesis 17:20-21 where we read that God will fulfill his covenant through Isaac only. God remains faithful to his promise even though the Israelites have disobeyed him many times during their history. They were and are being severely punished for their stubbornness, yet God has still not chosen to reveal himself through prophets coming from outside the line of Isaac and Jacob.

The following verses verify this:
But Zion said, "The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me." "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I (God) will not forget you! See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me." (Isaiah 49:14-16)
If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)

What if some (Jews) did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? Not at all!... Romans 3:3-4
The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so. The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me (Moses) from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, "Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die. The Lord said to me: "What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death." (Deuteronomy 18:14-20)

Because Ishmael was Isaac's half-brother, Muslims interpret the words "from among your own brothers" to mean "from among the descendants of Ishmael. They conclude that since Muhammad (p.b.u.h) was a descendant of the Ishmaelites this prophecy must speak about him. The preceding chapter shows clearly that this is not the case. By defining the very words on which the Muslim argument is built we will see that they refer to a brother Israelite not to a brother Ishmaelite:
Be sure to appoint over you the king the Lord your God chooses. He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite. (Deuteronomy 17:15)

Even though this verse refers to a different incident, nevertheless the words under question are used again. It is a normal exegetic procedure to define a phrase according to how it is used in the close context, especially so if it is explained there. When it comes to a choice between accepting the interpretation of men or the Bible the latter must naturally be given preference.

This explanation is the only one that can be accepted in the light of Deuteronomy 18:14. There Moses tells his brothers, the Israelites, not to follow the detestable practices of the nations in regard to having contact with the supernatural world. At that time everybody else, including the Ishmaelites, belonged to those nations! Therefore, if verse 15 would refer to a prophet coming from the Ishmaelites, this surely would have been clearly stated!
The verses 20-22 (they mention the criteria for "a" not "the" true prophet) which follow after Deuteronomy 18:15 disclose that it is first and foremost a collective reference to all true prophets who will follow. They all, like Moses, were to act as mediators between God and the people. The Israelites had a frightening experience with the Creator on Mount Sinai and since then they did not want Him to speak to them personally. (Exodus 20:18-21) At their request God would send prophets who will speak in His name to them. In this way they will hear the words God put into the mouths of His prophets. In Acts 3:13-26 we read that Jesus was the unique, messianic fulfillment of that prophecy:
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed,...this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out,...and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you-even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. For Moses said, "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you"...When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you...
John 6:14 confirms that fact: After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world."
He (John the Baptist) did not fail to confess but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ." They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" He answered, "No". (John 1:20-21)

Ahmed Deedat believes this verse to be a sign that Jesus is not the prophet who was to come since it speaks about three different persons. ("What the Bible says about Muhammad (Peace be upon him)," IPCI,pages 17-19)

However, John 6:14, in which the Jews identify Jesus to be this prophet, shows that there were different opinions among them with regard to his identity. As seen above under 1), in Acts 3:13-26 the matter is clarified and he is identified to be Jesus. Deedat further thinks that there is a contradiction between John 1:20-21 and Matthew 17:11-13 where Jesus, in opposite to John the Baptist, declares the latter to be Elijah. (Ibid. page 18)

The solution to this apparent contradiction is found by turning to Luke 1:17 where John the Baptist is described as coming " the spirit and power of Elijah..." Since Elijah did not die (2 Kings 2:11) the Jews were thinking he would come back in the flesh, literally being the same prophet. John denied being Elijah in that sense. Since John functioned like that Old Testament preacher of repentance, in the spirit and power of him, Jesus affirmed him to be Elijah in that spiritual sense.
If the words in Deuteronomy 18 "...a prophet like me..." are not examined in relation to their neighboring verses, as explained above, they give raise to all kinds of speculations. Some Muslims say Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) was like Moses because, unlike Jesus, they both had a father and a mother, both where born in a natural way, both married and had children, etc. What they fail to conclude is that many prophets can be paralleled to Moses in some things but not in others. One could just as well say Jesus was the promised prophet because, like Moses but unlike Muhammad (p.b.u.h.), he was saved from death as a baby (Exodus 1:17, 2:2-10, Matthew 2:16), transfigured (Exodus 34:29, Matthew 187:1-7), preached about sacrifice being the way to get forgiveness of sins (Leviticus 4, Matthew 26:28, Hebrews 9:22), and called himself a Jewish prophet (Luke 4:16-24); Jesus too spoke in God's name (John 17:8) and performed many miraculous signs (See also Luke 8:48-55) In contrast to him, there is no sign recorded of Muhammad (p.b.u.h) in the Holy Quran that would be accepted as such by his enemies:
The Unbelievers say, "Why is not a Sign sent down to him from his Lord?" Say, "Truly God leaveth, to stray, whom He will; But He guideth to Himself those who turn to Him in penitence.." (Surah 13, Ra'd, verse 27, see) also verse 31)
To say that the Quran was a miracle given to Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) is unreasonable because many could write a piece of literature and then claim it miraculously came from God. Neither its poetic beauty nor the fact that it has been faithfully recorded down the ages would support such a claim. Otherwise, Shakespeare who wrote the best English prose and whose work has not suffered any change could be called a prophet of God as well in a few hundred years.
Deuteronomy 34:10 which reads, "Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face," can not be taken to mean that the promised prophet was to come from outside Israel. It refers only up to the time when Deuteronomy was written, about 1400 B.C.
The phrase, "...I will put my words in his mouth..." (verse 18), is used when other prophets are mentioned, such as Jeremiah (1:9) or Balaam (Numbers 22:38). It describes in a figurative way the form of divine inspiration that is common to the prophets in general, including Jesus (John 8:25-28) They are to pass on the words given by God only.
The prophets were to speak in God's name only. (Verse 19) God has many different names, the most common among whom are:
His general name "Elohim" (Hebrew) occurs 25550 times in the Bible. It is translated "God" in English and "Allah" in Arabic.
His descriptive name "Adonai" (Hebrew) is used 340 times and is translated "Lord" in English and "Rabb" in Arabic.
His specific, personal name is "Yahweh" or "Jehovah", depending on which transliteration is used for "YHWH" (Hebrew). It's occurrence is with 6823 times by far the most. The literal English rendering is "I am". When Jesus told the Jews that he was the great "I am" the Jews wanted to stone him for blasphemy (John 8:58-59). In Deuteronomy 18:21-22 "Yahweh" is used to identify the name of God in whom a prophet was to speak! Since this name was never used in the Quran and has no equivalent in Arabic one has to come to the conclusion that Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) did not fulfill this requirement of a true prophet!
This is the blessing that Moses the man of God pronounced on the Israelites before his death. He said: "The Lord came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir, he shone forth from Mount Paran. He came with myriads of holy ones from the south, from his mountain slopes." (Deuteronomy 33:1-2)
Bashir Ahmad claims that verse two speaks about three different manifestations of God's glory. (see "The Holy Quran" with English Translation and Commentary", by Bashir Ahamad, second head of the Ahmadiyya community, Islam International Publications, Tilford, Surrey, 1988, general introduction, page lvii) The first one took place on Mount Sinai, when the law was given to Moses. The second one, from Seir is identified with Jesus and his work in Palestine. The third one, from Mount Paran, is perceived to be the revelations given to Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) in Arabia.

Verse one provides the context for the correct interpretation. Moses is said to bless the tribes of Israel. Surely, Islam, the advent of which is allegedly mentioned in verse two, can not be considered to be a blessing to the Israelites! He begins by speaking about the place where God gave His law to them. In putting it as an introduction to the individual blessings, he indicates that obedience towards the law received on Mount Sinai is the source from which the blessings flow. The passage is further written in a poetic stile in the Hebrew language, known as synonymous parallelism. The second or subsequent line repeats or reinforces the sense of the first line. (For another example of this kind see Isaiah 44:22)

"Like the sun when it rises, and fills the whole of the broad horizon with its beams, the glory of the Lord, when He appeared, was not confined to one single point, but shone upon the people of Israel from Sinai, and Seir, and the mountains of Paran, as they came from the west to Sinai...Seir is the mountain land of the Edomites..." (see "Commentary on the Old Testament", by Keil-Delitzsch, W.B. Eerdmanns Publishing, Michigan, Reprinted 1991, "Deuteronomy", page 497)
Edom, located South East of Israel, did not belong to Palestine in Jesus' time. It was occupied by the Jews only during the reign of David and Solomon in 1010-930 B.C.
An oracle concerning Arabia: You caravans of Dedanites, who camp in the thickets of Arabia, bring water for the thirsty; you who live in Tema, bring food for the fugitives. They flee from the sword, from the drawn sword from the bent bow and from the heat of battle. This is what the Lord says to me: "Within one year, as a servant bound by contract would count it, all the pomp of Kedar will come to an end. The survivors of the bowmen, the warriors of Kedar will be few. The Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken." (Isaiah 21:13-17)

This passage describes, according to Badawi, the incident of the migration of the prophet and the battle of Badr. (Ibid. page 29) But the departure of Muhammad (p.b.u.h) took place on 20st June A.D. 622 and the battle was fought in March A.D. 624, one year and eight month later. (see "Dictionary of Islam", "Badr" and "Hijrah", by Thomas P. Hughes, Asia Publishing House, 1988) This time stands in contradiction to the "within one year" of the text! The Muslim interpretation does not fit their own historical dates! This prophecy speaks in reality about the attack on the Arabs by the Assyrians in 732 B.C, and the Babylonians did the same under Nebuchadnezzar.(see "NIV Study Bible", Footnotes to text, Zondervan Corporation, 1985)
"Who is it he is trying to teach? To whom is he explaining his message? To children weaned from their milk, to those just taken from the breast? For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule a little here, a little there." Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people,... Isaiah 28:9-11

Badawi wants to make his readers believe that the "strange" (other translations have "stammering") tongues, describe Muhammad's (p.b.u.h.) "...state of tension and concentration he went through at the time of revelation." The words "a little here, a little there" supposedly speak about the Quran which was revealed in piece meals over a span of twenty three years. (see "What the Bible says about Muhammad (Peace be upon him)", IPCI, page 29)

In reality these verses are part of a prophecy against Samaria and Jerusalem later fulfilled through the Assyrians. The drunken Israelites (verse 7) mocked the prophet Isaiah. God would speak to the scoffing people of stammering tongue a language of the same kind, since he would speak to them by a people that stammered in their estimation. The Assyrian Semitic had the same sound in the ear of an Israelite, as a provincial dialect has in the ear of an educated man. (see "Commentary on the Old Testament", by Keil and Delitzsch, Eerdmans Publishing, Reprinted 1991, notes on verses)
10 The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep: He has sealed your eyes (the prophets); he has covered your heads (the seers). 11 For you this whole vision is nothing but words sealed in a scroll. And if you give the scroll to someone who can read, and say to him, "Read this, please," he will answer, "I can't; it is sealed." 12 Or if you give the scroll to someone who cannot read, and say, "Read this, please," he will answer, "I don't know how to read." 13 The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. (Isaiah 29:10-13)
Ahmed Deedat singles out Isaiah 29:12 in an attempt to make it look like a prophecy about Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) After all, he used the same words when first confronted with revelation by the angel Gabriel. (Ibid, page 15)
A closer look at the whole chapter 29 shows that the subject under consideration is God's judgment on the disobedient people of Jerusalem. Because of their stubbornness He has hardened their hearts so that they can not understand His words. Verse 13 describes the low spiritual maturity of him who is told to read but cannot. This should not be said about the prophet of Islam, should it?!
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight: I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations...Let the desert and its towns raise their voices; let the settlement where Kedar lives rejoice. Let the people of Sela sing for joy... Isaiah 42:1-2,11)
In another desperate attempt to find the messenger of Islam foretold in the Bible, Dr. Badawi tries to apply the verses above to him. He connects the awaited one as coming from the descendants of Kedar, the second son of Ishmael, the ancestor of prophet Muhammad. (Ibid, page 28) What he fails to see is that the first two verses are applied to Jesus in Matthew 12:15-21! Badawi does not mention that Isaiah 42:11 also speaks about the people of Sela, the capital of the Edomites whose father was Esau (Genesis 25:29-30), son of Isaac! Both people will rejoice not because the Saviour came from them but to them!
His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this is my friend,... (Song of Songs 5:16)
Some Muslims claim that Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) is mentioned in this passage. The Hebrew word for "altogether lovely" is "Mahammaddim". The plural ending "im", also known as the royal plural, is allegedly given to pay the respect that is due to the prophet of Islam.

Dr. Alex Luc, an eminent Hebrew scholar at the well known Columbia Biblical Seminary in U.S.A has this to say about the argument:
"The word under consideration is plural. So is the word 'sweetness' in that verse. It is not to be labeled as royal plural like 'elohim (God); rather, it is common for abstract nouns or adjectives to be in a Hebrew plural form, e.g., 'adulterous' in Hosea 1:2 is plural, so is a 'faithful' man in Proverbs 28:20 and 'understanding' in Isaiah 27:11. Even allowing the way the Muslims are turning a non-prophetic text into a prophetic one, they will face the great challenge to see the Hebrew word Mahammaddim as Muhammad, a term usually used in a negative context, representing something destroyed and punished because of God's wrath on his people." (see Isaiah 64:11; Hosea 9:16; Lamentations 2:4)

It can also not be said that the same word used in two different languages has the same meaning. The word "bank" for example has different significations in English. However none of them can be compared to one of the meanings given in the German language. There the word "bank" can also be used to describe a bench to sit upon. Usually only what comes before or after a word will determine what it is intended to communicate.

Song of Songs 5:10-16 describe the man's beauty in poetic terms. The words "altogether lovely" in verse 16 are used to summarize verses 10-15. He who still thinks verse 16 applies to Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) will have to explain verse one of the same chapter. It refers to the one who is called "altogether lovely" in verse 16 and describes him as someone who has drunk wine! This, according to Islam, is considered to be a great sin!

God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth." (Habakkuk 3:3)
Dr. Badawi thinks that the Holy One to appear from the land of Teman and Mount Paran is the Holy Prophet Muhammad. But chapter 3 and the very verse 3 of Habakkuk identifies the Holy One very clearly as being God Himself! God's identity is also confirmed in verse 8 of the same chapter! Like in Deuteronomy 33:2, here too, the Hebrew language uses a poetic stile, synonymous parallelism, to express one and the same truth in different words. Teman means "Southland". God is described as coming from the area south of Israel of which Mount Paran is a part.

The passage in Isaiah 21:13-17 which supposedly mentions the migration and the battle of Badr is in reality referring to an invasion within the Assiryian era.
Let us now look into the passage of the Gospel that is supposedly speaking about the coming of Muhammad (p.b.u.h):

But I (Jesus) tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (John 6:7)
The Gospel was first written down in the Greek language. The argument is put forward that the Greek word for "Counsellor", "paracletos", is very similar to the word "periclytos" that can be translated "the praised one." Because this is the meaning of the name "Muhammad" it is concluded that three letters were altered and Jesus was really speaking about the prophet of Islam.

However, there is not even one Greek manuscript with the word "periclytos" in existence. This truth is further confirmed by looking at the circumstances in which the word "Counsellor" is used. About him we read in the verse quoted above, that he is sent by Jesus, in His name. Certainly, every Muslim believes that his prophet was sent by Allah rather than by Jesus or in His name!

And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you...But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:16,17,26)
Muhammad (p.b.u.h) has not remained with us forever; he is nowhere called the Spirit of truth; the world has seen him; he has not lived with the disciples and he will not live in them! It is impossible to spiritualize all these marks of recognition of the Counsellor, especially in the light of the above definition of the Counsellor, being the Holy Spirit! On one occasion, while he (Jesus) was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Hoy Spirit. (Acts 1:4-5)

The Ahmadiyya Muslim community has a few more passages through which they try to claim that Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) is found in the Bible. They are not so well known to other Muslims and are therefore dealt with in a separate paper entitled, "Ahmadiyya claims about Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) in the Bible." It can be ordered by the same author at 100554,

There is no prediction about Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) found in the Bible. Therefore Muslims are left with no Biblical evidence that would validate the authority of their prophet. This problem leads to another difficulty that is just as serious. It is described in Surah 4, Al-Nisa, verse 82:
Do they not ponder over the Quran? Had it been from any other than Allah, surely there would have been many contradictions in it.
Since the Quran says Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) is foretold in the Bible but as this study clearly shows, he is not, we are faced with the fact that this is a contradiction!


So there you are. It is up to you to decide. And I can point out there are many more versions favoring either one of the two possibilities.

So the debate is open!

Happy New Year


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graeylin asked on 12/20/03 - definitions: killing and murder

Much has been made about the commandment "thou shall not kill", and that we should understand that G*d meant one thing, and not another.

So, my learned teachers, what is the difference between killing and murdering? With your definition in hand, use it to judge these examples. In these examples, is the action one of killing or murdering? Is the example provided "okay" under the eyes of the commandment or proscribed by it?

a police sniper shoots a person holding a hostage.
a woman kills her husband who was threatening her with a weapon.
a soldier kills another soldier who was shooting at him.
a soldier kills another soldier who was walking on sentry duty.
a soldier kills another soldier who was taking a shower.
a civilian kills a soldier who was threatening his family.
a pilot/bombadier drops a bomb on a village with civilians and soldiers
a policeman shoots and kills a drunk driver who would not stop.
a policeman shoots/kills a known drug dealer
a drug dealer laces his drugs with rat poison
a soldier fires an artillery shell at a crossroads, killing a civilian and an enemy soldier.
a soldier fires an artillery shell at a target, and kills a soldier on his own side
a soldier plants a bomb by the side of a road, killing another soldier.
a soldier plants a mine field, and kills other soldiers.
a civilian leads enemy soldiers into a mine field, allowing them to die

curious98 answered on 12/25/03:

Hi Graeylin,
Hope you enjoyed your Christmas with your beloved ones.
It is indeed very encouraging and stimulating to see how we are able to develop an interesting debate out of a simple question posed by you.
In fact, I would say you are specially gifted to provoke these kinds of debates.
And I think this is quite positive, too.
However, referring to your question whether soldiers who kill and die in combat should be condemned by GOD, I wish to just say: lets not take too much for granted about GODs decisions as far as we are concerned and going by the Book.
You know I strongly believe contrary to what my Religion teaches - we are just like wee tiny microbes that were put for reasons unclear to me, although may be crystal clear for others in the tiniest and most insignificant of all the flying bodies of the Universe we are given to know so far.
Under this assumption I do not dare taking anything for granted when it comes to saying what GOD will do or will not do in our respect.
I do now want to sound disrespectful with anybodys beliefs, which should be also mine.
All I say is that when, on a clear night, it is given to me the pleasure of contemplating the magnificence of the skies above with its myriad of stars and worlds, I cant help wondering whether we do not really take too much for granted!?
This said, I hope your soldiers will not be condemned thanks to GODs mercy
Happy New Year 2004

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graeylin asked on 12/20/03 - definitions: killing and murder

Much has been made about the commandment "thou shall not kill", and that we should understand that G*d meant one thing, and not another.

So, my learned teachers, what is the difference between killing and murdering? With your definition in hand, use it to judge these examples. In these examples, is the action one of killing or murdering? Is the example provided "okay" under the eyes of the commandment or proscribed by it?

a police sniper shoots a person holding a hostage.
a woman kills her husband who was threatening her with a weapon.
a soldier kills another soldier who was shooting at him.
a soldier kills another soldier who was walking on sentry duty.
a soldier kills another soldier who was taking a shower.
a civilian kills a soldier who was threatening his family.
a pilot/bombadier drops a bomb on a village with civilians and soldiers
a policeman shoots and kills a drunk driver who would not stop.
a policeman shoots/kills a known drug dealer
a drug dealer laces his drugs with rat poison
a soldier fires an artillery shell at a crossroads, killing a civilian and an enemy soldier.
a soldier fires an artillery shell at a target, and kills a soldier on his own side
a soldier plants a bomb by the side of a road, killing another soldier.
a soldier plants a mine field, and kills other soldiers.
a civilian leads enemy soldiers into a mine field, allowing them to die

curious98 answered on 12/21/03:

In my humble opinion, the differences may be established only by using jurisprudence, and bearing in mind this may vary among Countries.
Going by GOD's law, however, I do not think -maybe you can correct me if I'm wrong- GOD ever established any difference between killing or murdering.
I think GOD refers only to "depriving someone of his/her life", no matter how or why!
I do not know anybody right now who mostly deserves to be executed than Saddam Hussein.
And yet, if I'm to be consistent with what I have been saying so far in this or previous posts, I must say "let him be rotten in jail" for we have no right before GOD to kill him...


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graeylin asked on 12/17/03 - Generations and prophecy?

In Genesis 15:16, it seems that Abraham is having a dream (or prophecy) that says that in 4 generations, his descendants will return. "But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full."

I understand this that they will leave Egypt (a stranger in a land that is not theirs, shall serve a nation, etc.).

Did the Jews 'come hither' in 4 generations?

curious98 answered on 12/17/03:

Hy Graylin,

I cannot but fully endorse the learned answer Elliot has given you.
I'm, however, at your disposal for any further clarification you may require

Best regards

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Fr_Chuck asked on 12/16/03 - Do we share the same God

I know, esp since 9/11 that most will not agree that the Christian God, is the same God as referenced in the Quran and the God of the Muslims. ( although they have false teachings, no form of salvation, where is the base for the God they call God)

So lets further this discussion.

There are many Christians that claim that the Christian God is also "NOT" the God of the Mormons, not the God of the JW.

But how about the God of the Jews. They have never accepted Christ as thier savior, the Jewish faith has no method of Salvation, The people are lost without Jesus, but is not thier God, also our God too.
All of the early Church were Jews, they even required new members at first to become Jewish to be Christian.
So would you agree that the Jewish God, is the same God as the Christian God???

curious98 answered on 12/16/03:

Dear Chuck,

I have just posted the following answer to one of those Christians you are referring to:

"Im a Christian Roman Catholic and I agree with you in all your statements but one. That Allah is a false god.
In the first place, Allah is Arab for God, as Gott is German for God, Dios is Spanish for God or Dieu is French for God too. The English language has not the property of the word meaning our Supreme Creator
Secondly, you, as a Christian, have no right to call the God more than 1 billion persons in this World believe in, a false God.
Jesus died in the Cross for all of us, whether white or black, yellow or red, Christians or anything else.
We, Christians, are not better because we are so. We shall be better when as you said- we accept the gift Jesus made ALL of us and we start practicing His Message of Love, indiscriminately.
I cannot help being surprised that a Christian ordained Minister shows what it looks to me as a certain amount of disdain towards those who do not share our own beliefs, when Jesus, by His supreme Sacrifice embraced all Mankind.
Furthermore, when He died, Christianism did not even exist as such. It came out later, after people started to swallow and digest what He had done for us, and He had Resurrected, for His Resurrection is supposed to be the pillar which Christianism is based upon, or is it not so?
Consequently, if we start considering Jesus died only for a chosen minority we should easily arrive to the conclusion he died for the Jews His contemporaries- who didnt even accept him as the Messiah.
We are approaching the most important Christian celebration that of the Nativity of He, who came to save us. And the implicit message is "Glory to God in the highest,
and on Earth peace to men of good will."
Lets not spoil this message with discriminations amongst ourselves.
For, I sure, the GOD I believe in, considers ALL of us ITS children and LOVE ALL of us equally, as a good father loves equally his own sons regardless of whether one if better than the other.
Merry Xmas. and Happy New Year

You are a pilot and you claim you love to fly... Which I think is stupendous. When you are up above, by yourself, dont you ever think of Whoever is responsible of that wonderful World below you? A World you can admire in his total beauty
And, dont you ever think of Whoever is responsible for the miracle that is the rest of our Universe, being youre closer to it than the rest of us?
Well, if you have, how many gods do you think can there exist who are able to create all those marvels?
And if you conclude there must be ONLY ONE, dont you think it makes sense this GOD is the SAME FOR ALL OF US, irrespective of our beliefs, ethnical origins or culture?
Merry Xmas. to you and Happy 2004, and be careful least you would fly too high!

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revdauphinee asked on 12/12/03 - not a question but an answer to Aton!

My God is not the same God as the Allah of the moslems many people think they are the same they are not allah is a false God I worship the God if Israel and no he did not "need" a son he needs nothing he is supreem and almighty he himself chose to take Human form and come to earth to take the place of the sacrificial scape goat and took upon himself all the sins of mankind so that by his death on the cross all could be forgiven if they so choose !A gift is not a gift if the recipient chooses as you seem to have done not to accept it !As for me I choose to I understand your desire not to embrace Christianity however for those of us who do please do not demean us and let us (if you feel its so)have our own idiocincracies!I am a believer in the God of the Jews and in Jesus his son and no one will ever change my mind on that no matter what !

curious98 answered on 12/16/03:

Im a Christian Roman Catholic and I agree with you in all your statements but one. That Allah is a false god.
In the first place, Allah is Arab for God, as Gott is German for God, Dios is Spanish for God or Dieu is French for God too. The English language has not the property of the word meaning our Supreme Creator
Secondly, you, as a Christian, have no right to call the God more than 1 billion persons believe in, a false God.
Jesus died in the Cross for all of us, whether white or black, yellow or red, Christians or anything else.
We, Christians, are no better because we are so. We shall be better when as you said- we accept the gift Jesus made ALL of us and we start practicing His Message of Love, indiscriminately.
I cannot help being surprised that a Christian ordained Minister shows what it looks to me as a certain amount of disdain towards those who do not share our own beliefs, when Jesus, by His supreme Sacrifice embraced all Mankind.
Furthermore, when He died, Christianism did not even exist as such. It came out later, after people started to swallow and digest what He had done for us, and He had Resurrected, for His Resurrection is supposed to be the pillar which Christianism is based upon, or is it not so?
Consequently, if we start considering Jesus died only for a chosen minority we should easily arrive to the conclusion he died for the Jews His contemporaries- who didnt even accept him as the Messiah.
We are approaching the most important Christian celebration that of the Nativity of He, who came to save us. And the implicit message is "Glory to God in the highest,
and on Earth peace to men of good will."
Lets not spoil this message with discriminations amongst ourselves.
For, I am sure, the GOD I believe in, considers ALL of us ITS children and LOVE ALL of us equally, as a good father loves equally his own sons regardless of whether one if better than the other.
Merry Xmas. and Happy New Year

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graeylin asked on 12/11/03 - Aethiests in prison: your theory?

I do not have the numbers at hand (i will research them tomorrow at work again), but the gist of the article I read stated that aethiests are very under-represented in prison populations in the US. Less than 1% of the criminal population in prison is aethiest, while over 15% of the US population is credited as such. One would expect, then, that somewhere closer to 15% of the prison population would be aethiest as well.

What is your theory as to why very few aethiests are in prison? Do aethiests commit less crimes? Get caught less often? Are better criminals? Don't get sentenced as much? Convert to religion once they get inside?

Does anyone have any other 'group' statistics? I always wonder about Jews... are they under-represented in US prisons as well? Muslims? Krishna's? Scientologists? Anyone with other information, please join in and share.

curious98 answered on 12/11/03:

Hi Graylin, long time no hear!

Statistics are not always the answer or, at least, the only answer.

Statistics may say that in a certain village there live 100 people who have 1000 chicken in total, and therefore, statistically, each person has an average of 10 chicken, which is totally false, for in the village in question out of the 100 persons, 1 has the 1000 chicken and the 99 remainder have none

If 15% of the US population is supposed to be atheist, and the other 85% is having a of religion of some kind, it does not necessarily follow that the same proportion has to be maintained in the US jails, nor in any other activity (like the US army), for what matters.

It is not written anywhere that I know of that religious people is better than non-religious one.

It is true that MANY persons considering themselves religious and believers in one confession or other DO think they are definitely BETTER than the rest. And that rest does not ONLY and SOLELY refers to all atheists, but generally to those NOT sharing their own faith.

This, of course, is due to the extraordinary egocentrism and arrogance of all of us. This is a clear case of seeing the straw in your neighbors eye while not seeing the beam in your own.

Atheists are, in principle, as normal as you and I (who belong to the religious clan and both probably feel we are great) may be. If they chose the wrong way and end up in prison the reason will have to be sought maybe more in their lack of morals than in their lack of faith. Christian, Jewish and Islam morality, for instance, if properly practiced, should help us to walk the line alright, and yet, with well over 1/3 of the world population sharing one of these 3 major religions, we all can see how our world is going on.

Im a Roman Catholic as you know, and Im far from considering myself anything close to a good Christian, but I cannot help being ashamed by the recent sexual scandals that have shaken the Catholic community in the Boston area because of the behavior of a number of priests who very much enjoyed themselves a lot by practicing pederasty. In my opinion, they should be sent to Sing Sing and yet, I suppose they still keep their parishes

So, please, do not prejudge people because of their religion. Not all atheists or Moslems should be bad, and by the same token, not all others are necessarily good, or as good as we should be.

Best regards

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bal317 asked on 12/07/03 - Does anyone know?

I know the late Bob Hope, had many celebs. entertaining the troups during many hard times, but out of all the singing and all, does anyone know if any big named Religious Leaders ever gone to host Prayers,and put themselves in harms way to give of themselves in such manner, like the ones we can see on tv holding services.
If not- why?
If so-who?

curious98 answered on 12/09/03:

I would like to stick up for the thousands of priests, pastors, nuns and sisters, of most Christian denominations who risk their lives on a daily basis in God forgotten countries, under unhealthy conditions, just trying to bring some relief to sick, ailing, starving and dying people of the so called 3rd World
What they all do is no piece of news for the media, unless they get killed or raped by some drunken soldier
But they didnt go there in the first place seeking the honors of the TV or the International Press. They just went there because of their love for Mankind
And, thus, my friend, with all due respect to Bob Hope whom I was a fan of- or to Dinah Shore, or to all the rest, in my humble opinion, they cant hold a candle to the least known of these missionaries
Best regards,

PS: The only one of those stars that actually died in a plane, while going from Paris to London, during WWII, was Glenn Miller.

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Bradd asked on 12/05/03 - Your message at Christianity

Sure, be glad to help in proofreading your translations. My e-mail is

curious98 answered on 12/06/03:

Thank you so much. Will be getting in touch

Best regards


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HANK1 asked on 11/29/03 - DIFFERENCE!

What's the difference between religion and spirituality? (No myths, please!)


curious98 answered on 11/30/03:

Religion is a system of beliefs and practices shared by a community of people. These beliefs and practices nurture a relationship with a supreme being, give moral guidance and provide meaning of life.

Spirituality is the way we live out our deepest beliefs, values, and convictions in our daily life. It is the way we live out our search for peace and meaning.

Our everyday choices reveal glimpses of our spirituality by pointing toward what we value most in life and what ethical principles we follow


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Fr_Chuck asked on 11/15/03 - Hello

I hope I have done this correct, and this will come to you privately. If not I am sorry.

All of the Martal Arts, are based on Eastern Religions, of Mind and Body. On the surface what we see in the US are just exersise and self defense, but the true study, and for those that really learn to practice the arts, it deals with a form of religion.

The schools in the US don't like to make this known, it could be bad for business if Christians started to question them about this.

But many have different levels, one of them on the last Campus I worked at, had levels of mental training, that went along with the physical, and in its fullness, would be contrary to Christian belief.

curious98 answered on 11/18/03:

As I said in one of my previous posts

"oriental martial arts were not meant to hurt or attack others but to be used in self defence. what happens is that, gradually, many are using them to abuse those who do not know them.
kung fu where most martial arts come from- is probably the most effective one and possibly the most dangerous one when ill used.
kung fu means "skill and effort" and can describe anything that one needs to spend time training in and becoming skillful in. when it means "martial art," kung fu refers to the hundreds of styles of martial arts in china, all of which are different.
however, there is one thing that all chinese martial arts have in common and that is the idea that kung fu itself is merely skill, not an instrument to kill or hurt.

the real value of chinese martial arts goes beyond self defense. it lies within the strong traditional training that all kung fu styles emphasize: training that teaches the student to respect the teacher and the teacher's advice; to be respectful towards other kung fu styles and to only use kung fu in a morally correct manner."

Best regards

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rgant asked on 11/14/03 - Getting started blogging

I want to have a Catholic News blog. How do I go about that?
Richard Gant

curious98 answered on 11/18/03:

While you're at it, you may also visit these webs.*catholic+news+blog*&hl=es&ie=UTF-8*catholic+news+blog*&hl=es&ie=UTF-8*catholic+news+blog*&hl=es&ie=UTF-8*catholic+news+blog*&hl=es&ie=UTF-8*catholic+news+blog*&hl=es&ie=UTF-8


Yiddishkeit asked on 11/11/03 - Veterans' Day in the USA

Thank you to all who served in our countries Armed Forces. Special thanks to our soldiers (my brother) currently involved in conflicts abroad, and to our allies.

G-d bless,

curious98 answered on 11/18/03:

As an European who have directly or indirectly beneficed from the sacrifice of thousands of USA forces in 2 World wars I salute all those veterans and wish to express my most sincere condolences to all those who have lost dear ones in these combats.
Which does not imply that I strongly oppose to those senseless wars like present war conflicts in Middle East-, which have lost their initial meaning while producing a constant drain of human lives for no licit purpose whatsoever.

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Ruckus asked on 11/11/03 - Do Jehovahs witnesses believe in

Using Karate or for exercise? Why or why not? Thank you in advance.

curious98 answered on 11/18/03:

im sorry to disagree, but in my opinion, its not a matter of being passive but, rather, of believing in violence or not believing in it. which does not entail being passive. it is licit to defend oneself when attacked.

oriental martial arts were not meant to hurt or attack others but to be used in self defence. what happens is that, gradually, many are using them to abuse those who do not know them.
kung fu where most martial arts come from- is probably the most effective one and possibly the most dangerous one when ill used.
kung fu means "skill and effort" and can describe anything that one needs to spend time training in and becoming skillful in. when it means "martial art," kung fu refers to the hundreds of styles of martial arts in china, all of which are different.
however, there is one thing that all chinese martial arts have in common and that is the idea that kung fu itself is merely skill, not an instrument to kill or hurt.

the real value of chinese martial arts goes beyond self defense. it lies within the strong traditional training that all kung fu styles emphasize: training that teaches the student to respect the teacher and the teacher's advice; to be respectful towards other kung fu styles and to only use kung fu in a morally correct manner.

kung fu underwent its early development within the walls of the chinese monasteries. the monks possessed the time and learned natures to refine and synthesize these defense arts.

northern style of kung fu developed in the most famous monastery in china called shaolin (young forest). this is where all kung fu first developed in about 500 ad. the monks developed and catalogue techniques based on the movements they studied from the tiger, crane, leopard, snake, and dragon for health and self defense.

kiao yuan expanded the shaolin movements to 72, and later he extended them further to 172. he classified them into the five formed fist: tiger, crane, leopard, snake, and dragon. each of these animals symbolized something from a corner of man's mind or spirit as well as his physical self, which also had to be developed. tiger emphasized the use of the hands (claws) and man's intention. crane, punches and strikes and man's concentration. leopard, footwork and agility and mentality. snake, hard work and development of chi. dragon, the twisting and turning of man's movements and of his spirit. from these theories developed three other concepts: hei lek, man's natural strength; gin lek, man's refined force or chi; and the center point at which gin lek originated from tan tien, the sea of chi.

nearly two-thirds of the shaolin systems seem to have come from these animals and they were further systematized by men who originated and performed profusely in one or more of these. from them arise the five names which are now famous: hung, fut, mak, choy, and li.

hung is based primarily on power and long hand techniques. fut is primarily short hand with slicing and tripping. mak is long hand style with kicks and breaking. choy is speedy maneuverability with hand and body movements like those of a snake. li represents short hand movements with many pokes and slaps.

in the middle 1600's the manchu dynasty overthrew the ming empire and subjugated the chinese people to foreign rule. because of the native resistance to foreign rule, men with power, such as martial artists, were hunted and killed by the manchus in an effort to break the back of the resistance. monasteries were burned and the monks were forced to flee for their lives, but with them they took their art.

but neither in shaoling nor in any other monastery will they teach you kung fu, nor any other martial art to harm others.

generally speaking all religions preconize non-violence. judaism, like christianism and islam, too.
it is men who by ill-using them, and by misleading their correligionaries with false promises or words coming all the way from god, corrupt those religions with violence, lies, corruption, etc., etc.

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graeylin asked on 11/07/03 - God or Gods/gods?

Do you believe in one single God, or do you think there are more than one god? The Bible speaks of other gods, what do you think is meant by those verses? Are there other omnipotent beings out there (gods)? What evidence do you use to make your decision?

curious98 answered on 11/09/03:

I don't know why, but this question of yours reaches me only now!!??

I do believe in one single GOD. I'va simply come to that conclusion (irrespectectively of my Christian education) by just watching the sky on a starry night, or by contemplating tha marvels science discovers every day about us...

All this has to be the work of ONE and ONLY GOD.

If by any chance GOD relied on any Assistants of sorts (do not understand by that the Holy Trinity, according to Catholicism) those must have been, or are, minor divinities; therefore, not at GOD's level.

In fact, such a Force or Energy capable of creating the Universe should be self sufficient and need no outside help other than His WILL.

In any case, that's the way I figure it out.


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Bradd asked on 11/08/03 - Religion defined?

Question Details Asked By Asked On
Tao and Religion Bradd 11/08/03
The question on Tao prompts my question. Just what is a "religion"?

Tao (and Buddhism, e.g.) seem to be psychologies more than religions. Or philosophies. Is belief in God required for a religion to be a religion? Tao, as originally formulated, has no God. Buddha himself avoided the question as being irrelevant. Jainism is often called an "atheistic" religion (oxymoron?).

Life after death? Again, some religions deny this, others are vague on it - returning to a stream of cosmic non-consciousness or something.

God and life after death are clearly fundamental to Christianity and Islam, life after death somewhat less so in Judaism.

Is there one characteristic that would apply to all religions that would define the term?

(Just thought - this cudda gone on to the religion board, but I don't want to re-type the thing, and besides there's nobody there. This board is more fun).

curious98 answered on 11/09/03:

Religion could be defined, in my opinion, as the set of rules and rites men have deviced to adore God, irrespective of whether men believe in one God or in one hundred divinities.
For man, from the very beginning of his existence, has always felt the need to explain the unexplainable by means of God.
The existence of God is too evident to need any arguments. Some saintly scholars have even stated that God is more manifest than any other being, but that those who lack insight cannot see Him. Others have said that He is concealed from direct perception because of the intensity of His Self-manifestation.
However, the great influence of positivist and materialist schools of thought on science and on all people of recent centuries makes it necessary to discuss this most manifest truth. As this now-prevalent scientific worldview reduces existence to what can be perceived directly, it blinds itself to those invisible dimensions of existence that are far vaster than the visible.
Let us reflect on one simple historical fact: Since the beginning of human life, the overwhelming majority of humanity has believed that God exists. This belief alone should be enough to establish Gods Existence. Those who do not believe cannot claim to be smarter than those who do. Among past and present-day believers are innovative scientists, scholars, researchers and, most importantly, saints and Prophets, who are the experts in the field. In addition, people usually confuse the non-acceptance of somethings existence with the acceptance of its non-existence. While the former is only a negation or a rejection, the latter is a judgment that requires proof. No one has ever proven Gods non-existence, for to do so is impossible, whereas countless arguments prove His existence. This point may be clarified through the following comparison.
Suppose there is a large palace with 1,000 entrances, 999 of which are open and one which appears to be closed. No one could reasonably claim that the palace cannot be entered. Unbelievers are like those who, in order to assert that the palace cannot be entered, confine their (and others) attention only to the door that is seemingly closed. The doors to Gods existence are open to everybody, provided that they sincerely intend to enter through them.
The most important factor leading many, especially those under the spell of materialistic science and its worldview, to fix their eyes on the apparently closed door is causality. Causality leads to the vicious chain of cause and effect, for each cause is also an effect. Moreover, the effect is totally different from the cause. All things and effects are usually so full of art and beneficial purposes that even if all causes gathered they would be unable to produce one single thing, let alone their simple immediate causes.
In order for a cause to produce an effect, it has to be able to produce the whole universe in which that effect takes place, for that effect cannot exist without the whole universe. Nor can they exist separately. Materialist scientists imagine powerless, dependent, and ignorant causes to be responsible for the existence of beings and things, and thus fancy them to possess absolute qualities. In this way they are implying (tacitly believing) that each of those causes possesses qualities that only can be attributed to God.
However, the latest discoveries of modern science, like the universes unity and its parts inseparability, exclude the possibility of all the explanations put forward by materialistic science. They demonstrate that all entities, whether in nature or in the laws and causes attributed to them, are devoid of power and knowledge. They are contingent, transient, and dependent beings. But the properties attributed to any of these entities need infinite qualities like absolute power and knowledge.
This shows that causality is by no means necessarily linked with objective study or neutral scientific investigation. It is no more than a personal opinion. Moreover, it is an opinion that is irrational and devoid of sense.
When we study the universe, we see that all beings utterly refute the false claims of materialist and atheistic reasoning through their order, mutual relationship, and duties. They affirm that they are nothing but the property and creatures of a Single Creator. Each rejects the false notions of chance and causality, ascribes all other beings to its own Creator, and proves that the Creator has no partners. Indeed, when the Creators Unity is known and understood correctly, it becomes clear that nothing requires that causes should possess any power. Thus they cannot be partners to the Creator, for it is impossible for them to be so.
The universe is a document for believers to use. The Scriptures and the Quran inform us that believing in God is to assent with ones heart to the Creator with all His Attributes supported by the universes testimony. The true affirmation of Gods Unity is a judgment, a confirmation, an assent, and an acceptance that can find its Owner present with all things. It sees in all things a path leading to its Owner, and regards nothing as an obstacle to His Presence. If this were not the case, it would be necessary to tear and cast aside the universe in order to find Him, which is impossible for us.
The universe has been made in the form of an intelligible book so as to make known its Author. The book, which addresses our humanity -and, maybe others in pther worlds too - seeks to make this humanity read the book and its parts, and respond with worship and thanks to its Authors will. Humanity attains to that worship by uncovering the order in the Book of the Universe through scientific study and displaying the functioning of the universes beings and workings.
The universe is not passive or neutral. We cannot interpret it as we wish, for there is only one correct way of looking at the world, one universal worldview common to all humanity. This means that most religions worldview recognize that the perception of the world differs relatively from one person to another. It allows for plurality within unity so that a universal dialogue is possible. This worldview contains no fragmentation or conflict, only harmony, assistance, peace, and compassion.
The materialist scientific worldview is based on radical fragmentation, for it views nature as a mechanism with no inherent value and meaning. It isolates an object by cutting off its connections with the rest of the world, and studies it within its immediate environment.
But our perception of ourselves tells us that we are meaningful and part of the whole universe, and that everything must have a meaning and be part of the universe. Materialist science has left the subjecthumanityout of the universe and, insofar as this science is taking over, people feel that they have no place in this world. Thus they are isolated and live lives without meaning, except in a very limited, egoistic sense. People are alienated from their environment and from themselves.
The universe is an inseparable whole. Indeed, the unity observed in its totality, including humanity, is so clear that no one can deny it. Thus the materialistic approach to the scientific method has to be reconsidered. This method is reductionist, for it reduces every thing to fragments and then attributes each fragment to causes. But in reality, all things are interconnected and interdependent, for it is impossible to attribute anything, however small, to causes that are themselves transient and contingent. Since whatever is responsible for one thing must be responsible for everything, we cannot have one thing without the whole.
Why can we ascribe a thing to its antecedents in time but not to its neighbors in space? Why should a thing be able to produce another thing just because it happened before? All modern scientists know that space and time are fully equivalent and unified into a four-dimensional continuum in which both here and there and before and after are relative. In this four-dimensional space, the temporal sequence is converted into a simultaneous co-existence, the side-by-side existence of all things. Thus, causality appears to be an idea limited to a prejudiced experience of the world.
Causality does have some meaning. Opposites are mingled in this world: truth with falsehood, light with darkness, good with evil, white with black, and so on. Since people have ingrained inclinations toward both good and evil, they are tested in this world to determine whether they will use their free will and other faculties in the way of truth and good or otherwise.
Like a mirrors two sides, existence has two aspects or dimensions: one visible and material, and the transparent, pure, and perfect spiritual realm. The material dimension mustand doescontain events and phenomena that appear disagreeable to us. Those who cannot perceive the Divine Wisdom behind all things may even criticize the Almighty for those disagreeable events and phenomena. To prevent that, God uses natural laws and causes to veil His acts. For example, so that we do not criticize God or His Angel of Death for the loss of our beloved ones or our own death, God places diseases and natural disasters (among other agents or causes) between Himself and death.
On account of this world of testing and trials essential imperfection, we encounter and suffer from many deficiencies and shortcomings. In absolute terms, every event and phenomenon is good and beautiful in itself or in its consequences. Whatever God does or decrees is good, beautiful, and just. Injustice, ugliness, and evil are only apparent or superficial and arise from humanitys errors and abuses. However, those who lack the necessary sound reasoning and judgment to understand the Divine Wisdom behind events and phenomena may impute directly to God the apparent ugliness or evil, imperfections and shortcomings, experienced in worldly life, even though God is absolutely free of any defect or imperfection.
Therefore, so that people do not ascribe any ugliness or evil to God, His Glory and Grandeur require that natural causes and laws be a veil before His acts, while belief in His Unity demands that those causes and laws should not be ascribed to any kind of creative power.
If God Almighty acted in the world directly, and not through causes and laws, we would be unable to develop scientific knowledge or live even an instant of a happy life free of fear and anxiety. We can observe and study patterns in phenomena thanks to Gods acting from behind natural causes and laws. Otherwise, each event would be a miracle. The regularity within the flux and mutability of events and phenomena makes them comprehensible to us, and so awakens within us the desire to wonder and reflect, which is a principal factor in establishing science. For the same reason, we are able to plan and arrange our future affairs to some degree. Just consider how life would be if we did not know whether the sun would rise tomorrow!
Whoever owns such attributes as beauty and perfection desires to know them and make them known. God owns absolute beauty and perfection and is independent of all things. He also owns a holy, transcendent love and thus a sacred desire to display His Beauty and Perfection. If He showed His Names and Attributes directly, without the medium of causes and laws, we could not endure them. He manifests them as he does and by degrees within the confines of time and space so that we can connect with them, reflect on them, and perceive them. The gradual manifestation of Divine Names and Attributes is also a reason for our curiosity and wonder about them.
Consequently, the above considerations, whether, you consider them philosophical or not, are applicable to all who believe in GOD, independently of how they may decide to adore Him.
Best regards

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Bradd asked on 11/08/03 - Religion and Power

A response on the Christianity board that went something like this "Extreme intolerance has no place in Christianity" made me wonder if this individual has ever picked up a history book.

So, to my question. Why do religions, when they gain political (State) power, become so extremely intolerant of other minority faiths?

From the execution of Socrates for his religious questions, through the Middle Ages when the Church changed from a pacifist group to the dominant religious power and immediately began persecuting (often killing) those who believed differently, the New England theocracy that punished and sometimes killed non-believers, the English who persecuted non-conformists, and on and on through the ages.

Even the Hebrews, we are told in the Old Testament, thought it perfectly proper to murder and pillage those tribes with different gods. To this day, there are restrictions on non-Israelis living in Israel.

Fundamentalist Christians send people to eternal damnation for not believing as they do. Well, they don't actually DO it, but they believe it.

What makes it even more startling is that most religious founders are big on brotherhood, love thy neighbor and all that. Where did it all go wrong?

curious98 answered on 11/09/03:

I do not know who wrote that "Extreme intolerance has no place in Christianity" but I can assure you he didnt write anything out of context.
Violence and intolerance cannot have any place in a religion whose founder, Jesus Christ, died in the Cross by aying :

"Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.",

and whose main message all along, was a message of love and peace!
And more or less, the same thing can be said out of all other main religions, including contrary to what many think. Islam.
A different thing altogether is what they do, those who claim to be Christians, Moslems, Jews, etc.
Religions are good for mankind. But, mankind is bad for religions.
Violence and intolerance are both components of human nature, not of religion, and though religion tries to fight them, more often than not, it fails.
Best regards

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graeylin asked on 11/03/03 - Was solomon commanded?

Was solomon commanded by God to create the graven images he displayed in his temple? THe 12 oxen, the sea of brass, etc.?

If not, was he punished according to the laws of the time for violating the commandment?

curious98 answered on 11/03/03:

According to the Scriptures, the answer to your questions is Yes to the first one and, No to the second one.
There is something peculiar about your questions if you allow me to say so. That is, you post them as in this case- as if the answer would be an incontrovertible certitude. When you say Was Solomon commanded by God You seem to be implying that there may be someone who knows what God might have ordered Solomon to do, if anything
When it comes to History, I have said more than once, it all depends on who has written it. There are, of course, historical facts that have been proven beyond any doubt, such as the fact that Solomon existed. But, from there to stating what was Solomon thinking or saying at a given moment, or whether he was on speaking terms with GOD Himself, there is a world of speculation.
The first part, i.e. was there ever a person named Solomon has been historically proved. The second part is just a matter of believing or not in the Scriptures. Which means someone may just answer to your question by saying thats just a legend while some other, may mention the Books where this is written.
So it is just a matter of faith. And, unfortunately, faith requires no proofs. Either you have it or you do not, although, of course, one can always become a strong believer in things that previously he/she didnt believe in.
This is why I answer you by saying according to the Scriptures
In the meantime, Im sending you an article on the subject I have found, which you may be interested in reading

The Sanctuary of God contained idolatrous images that God commanded to be included in the Tabernacle! This preliminary statement may surprise some people who study and love the biblical revelation because of its widespread condemnation of idolatry and its outward teaching of Gods adamant strictures against depicting Him in any physical fashion (that is, by making idols, images, statues, pictures, icons, etc.). So stringent is the biblical theme of avoiding idolatry (or, idolatrous ways) that the Israelites were ordered even in the Ten Commandments NOT to make similitudes of ANYTHING in the heavens, of ANYTHING in the earth or of ANYTHING under the earth (that is, of ANYTHING within the seas and oceans) and they were ordered NOT to devote those images to any religious activity in any ritualistic manner.
Though we read throughout the Bible that God loathes idolatry in any form, still the introductory statement of this research article is absolutely true. God actually commanded the Israelites to accept idolatrous rituals in the time of Moses that led the Israelites directly into the practice of idolatry (at least that is how Israel interpreted those commands of God). What we all need to learn is the fact that there is always a particular right manner in which to interpret or to understand a command of God, and the manner should never be twisted to produce opposite effects that will evoke diametrically opposed views as coming from God.
This teaching that I am referring to is in the Bible but many people have passed right over some of its most important doctrinal statements regarding Gods commandments. This is usually because of preconceived (and often erroneous) ideas on what they think the Scriptures teach (or what they think the Scriptures ought to teach). But strange as it may seem, even God Himself, through the words of one of His most powerful prophets in the Old Testament, made the judgmental appraisal that the Israelites were commanded by Him to perform certain rites and to involve certain images that caused them to commit idolatry. And, even God admitted that those commands of His were NOT GOOD. Furthermore, the prophet who stated these things was backed up by another who even named the images that the Israelites were commanded by God to recognize. Amazingly, those images that became idolatrous were ordered by God to be located within the very Temple of God.
That command of God concerning the introduction of those images into the Tabernacle and later Temple remained in force for almost a thousand years. And, interestingly enough, even the first martyr of the Christian Ekklesia (who was Stephen the Deacon) referred to this early period of time when the Israelites were practicing a form of idolatry that involved certain spiritual beings that God had commanded to be used in His worship in the Sanctuaries (Acts 7:41-43). The fact is, the Israelites were so endued with the practice of idolatry when they came out of Egypt that they were not prepared (or spiritually ready) to adopt more mature and advanced teaching in which idolatry became a prime transgression. Only later, in the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel do we find God finally having such images banished from the Temple. It was then that Jeremiah and Ezekiel got rid of much of the idolatry that stemmed from initiating the earlier commands of God as they related to the Tabernacle in the wilderness and finally in the Temple at Jerusalem.
But in the early age of Israel being a nation (at the time of their Exodus from Egypt), the conduct of the Israelites showed they were so prone to accept idolatrous principles that even God felt He had to give them some idolatrous teachings in order for them to comprehend what little spiritual truths the Israelites had mustered while in Egypt. God, in a sense, went to the "bottom of the barrel" and gave the Israelites some commands that finally resulted in them accepting a vast amount of idolatry into their mainstream teachings involving the Tabernacle (and later, the Temple). Or, as the Holy Scriptures relate it, we find God commanding Israel to accept doctrines and to perform religious rituals that were NOT GOOD for the Israelites to practice at the time. Yes, even God Himself recognized that some of those commands that He gave to the Israelites were NOT GOOD they turned out to be commands that led Israel into full-scale idolatry. That is precisely what the Scriptures teach us, if one will read the Word of God at its face value and try not to interpret away what the plain words state. Most people, however, are not aware of these commands of God that are recorded in the Bible because most (it seems) read right over them quickly without pausing to ask why in the world were they first given by God Himself.
The Strange Commands of God that Led to the Practice of Idolatry
Although God in the Ten Commandments utterly condemned any form of idolatry and He placed His proscription against the practice in those early constitutional commands, God still taught the Israelites to perform commands that were NOT GOOD for them. These commands concerned the introduction of Cherubimic images in their worship within the Tabernacle (the portable Temple). God even allowed it to happen again in the time of Solomon where images of Cherubim and twelve bulls were outwardly displayed in the Temple (I Kings 6:24-29; II Chronicles 4:15). Indeed, God even approved of this image display that Solomon continued when he built the Temple in Jerusalem. This was a violation of the strict wording of the Second Command. Did you read me correctly? I stated that God not only allowed a certain amount of violation of the Ten Commandments in the Tabernacle and later Temple, but God even commanded that those Cherubimic and bovine images be introduced even though His commands finally led Israel into idolatrous practices that were contrary to the plain statements of the Ten Commandments! Now, WHY would God "command" these things in the knowledge we should seek to understand these things. The fact is, the real truth of the matter is that anything can be made to say what a person wishes the "truth" to say, and usually it can occur quite easily. And a rational person might argue that a mere image of itself does not mean that the person uses it in an idolatrous fashion. Yes, but still it often takes an image to show outright idolatry in action. So, while images need not of themselves be idolatrous, the temptations are strong to make them such by most human beings who come in contact with (especially if the images are God ordained).
Those commands of God to build images within the Temple are an action that should not be taken by us in a frivolous manner (or an oversight on Gods part). Gods commands should always be taken seriously and they should not be jettisoned into oblivion as a mere sideline issue and without any formal significance for us as is often done by some theologians, preachers and priests. These commands of God also should not be explained away as irrelevant (as do many modern exegetes who merely do not understand why God did what He did). The foolish attempts to get rid of these explicit commands of God should never be looked upon as simple allowances by God to accommodate the weak character traits of the early Israelites at the time of the Exodus or in the period of Solomon. As a matter of fact, it was the prophet Ezekiel that God inspired to record His final displeasure at having had commanded the early Israelites under Moses to observe and to recognize images in the Temple that led them into abject idolatry (and even to the practice of evil idolatrous worship) and these idolatrous results were witnessed within the precincts of the Tabernacle that God commanded in the wilderness.
Thats right, dear folks, God Himself commanded (this means, God actively ordered the Israelites in the wilderness at the start of the Exodus period) to make images that proved to be idolatrous and to place them within the Holy Sanctuary. Now is the time to read those commands concerning this research paper. I deliberately took a considerable introductory space of narration in order to show the seriousness of those "bad commands of God" (or, at least, Ezekiel said under inspiration that the commands of God concerning this research WERE NOT GOOD). God introduced commands that were not good once the Israelites showed very early in the Exodus period that they were not willing to practice all of the "good commands of God." Note carefully these negative commands of God in Ezekiels prophecy that the Israelites were expected to obey. Indeed, what do some of you think about the majestic ARK of the Covenant? Is it a piece of architectural junk from the the Age of Idolatry, or is it to you the replendent symbol of the holy presence of God himself within His divine Glory? You may come to an opinion about this before you finish this article. Let us now read the biblical texts on these important and significant matters. The Prophet Ezekiel stated:
"I lifted up my hand unto them also in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the heathen, and disperse them through the countries; because they had not executed my judgments, but had despised my statutes, and had polluted my sabbaths [these were "good commands], and their eyes were after [they pined away for] their fathers idols. Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live [that is, God gave them commands which resulted in them NOT living in a righteous and proper manner]; and I polluted them in their own gifts [in their sacrificial gifts that they gave to God], in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the Lord " (Ezekiel 20:23-26).
In the plainest of language, we read in Ezekiel that God gave them commandments that were not good and that those negative commands led the Israelites into presenting paganized sacrifices in the Temple and even to the practice of killing one or more of their children as a human sacrifice (usually the sacrifice of the firstborn was the normal heathen method). Yes, the commands that God gave them led them in the final outcome to commit human sacrificing of children "they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb"). Some humanitarian parents, according to Maimonides, the great Jewish authority in the time of the Crusades, did not kill their children at all, though they "pretended" to. They seemed to have the idea that this pretended sacrifice of the firstborn son as in some way reflecting what God would do in the world when the Messianic period would come at the End of the Age. The pretence was to wrap the child and bundle it carefully (so that not even a spark of actual fire would hit the childs skin). This, according to Maimonides was the final ritual. In some cases, the old practice of the Amorites persisted. Of course, God did not intend that introducing those images into the Tabernacle rituals would lead to infant sacrifice. They did! Give an inch, and the people take a mile. This type of accumulation of pagan teachings is by the attrition method a little at a time.
"And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin" (Jeremiah 32:35).
"For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you" (Ezekiel 20:31).
"That they have committed adultery, and blood is in their hands, and with their idols have they committed adultery, and have also caused their sons, whom they bare unto me, to pass for them through the fire, to devour them. Moreover this they have done unto me: they have defiled my sanctuary in the same day, and have profaned my sabbaths. For when they had slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to profane it; and, lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house" (Ezekiel 23:37-39).
What we read in Ezekiel Twenty is the appraisal of God Himself (stated through His prophet) that His initial commands in some contexts proved in later times to be "commands that were not good." The outcome was very bad indeed. But what were those commands that God at first gave to the Israelites that turned out to be so very bad for them? Before I answer that question precisely, we should be aware of what God did not mean. It is plain that God did not mean in Ezekiel Twenty that He simply ALLOWED the Israelites to continue in their heathen ways.
This is what God did with the early Gentiles according to Paul. He "gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another.and even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind" (Romans 1:26,28). This was God ALLOWING the Gentiles to do wrong WITHOUT THE PERMISSION of God. But in the section of Ezekiel Twenty, the texts state in the clearest of Hebrew (and also in the clearest of English translation) that GOD COMMANDED (not simply "ALLOWED") the Israelites in the wilderness to practice the commands of God that led them finally into idolatry.
These odious and bad commands given by God to the Israelites (remember, it was God who said they were NOT GOOD) were given in the precise manner (and with the same wording in the Hebrew even the vowel points are identical) in which He "gave them my statutes, and showed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them" (Ezekiel 20:11). These commands that were NOT GOOD were also written in the Scriptures (with the exact Hebrew words and even the same vowel points) as when God gave Israel His positive commands that they should keep His sabbaths. Notice how this is the case in the same chapter in the Book of Ezekiel. "Moreover also [God said], I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign, between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord [YHVH]" (Ezekiel 20:11,12). These were positive commands that God gave to those Israelites. And in the same manner (and with same wording in the Hebrew) God gave the Israelites commandments that WERE NOT GOOD. God does not say the commands turned out to be bad ones in the end. He stated dogmatically that some of His early commandments to the Israelites were simply NOT GOOD to begin with. True, they turned out to be worse than God intended (indeed, they turned out to be far worse).
The reason this occurred is because of the nascent proclivity for the early Israelites to rebel against the basic commands of God that He intended for their good. It seemed to be in their very nature to want to be idolaters. Recall that when Moses was on Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments and some subsidiary laws, the Israelites clamored for Aaron to make them a molten calf as an image of their "God" who brought them out of Egypt, and Aaron went along with the endeavor (Exodus 32). Moses was infuriated at their example of patent idolatry and the Israelites were punished for this error. This, however, did not stop their inclinations to sway toward image-making and the production of human artifacts to "aid them" in their worship. So ingrained were their emotions to gravitate toward idolatrous ways that God finally gave them commandments that were NOT GOOD that led them into further debauchery with those images.
What was it that God commanded that turned out to be very bad commands to the Israelites? The context of Ezekiel (along with the teachings and example of Jeremiah and the prophet Amos) showed that it was Gods command to place images within the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle (and later to allow or command Solomon to do the same thing). What is remarkable in all of this is the fact that those commands of God to make images of Cherubim and place them in the Tabernacle were given to the Israelites in spite of the Second Command of the Ten Commandments which stated: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth" (Exodus 20:4). The rest of the Second Command states that Israelites should not bow before such images or idols nor to serve them. But when the Israelites in the wilderness blatantly refused to keep the commands concerning the sabbaths and other statutes and judgments, and that they continued in their idolatrous practices of their own accord, He then "gave them statutes that were NOT good, and judgments whereby they should NOT live" (Ezekiel 20:25).
God gave these later commands even though He had just deposited the Ten Commandments into their hands that proscribed such idolatrous acts. But, and in accord with Gods threat as we read in Ezekiel, God commanded exactly five chapters and sixteen verses after giving the Second Command of the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt make two cherubim of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat [that is, "Seat of Covering" or what later became known as the Ark of the Covenant]. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy [covering] seat shall ye make the cherubim on the two ends thereof. And the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy [the covering] seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy [covering] seat shall the faces of the cherubim be" (Exodus 25:18-29). Later God commanded Moses to make even more images of cherubim and to place them on the veil in the Temple (Exodus 26:31) and on the curtains (Exodus 36:8). These images were forbidden by the Second Command of the Ten Commandments. These commands God later said were "NOT GOOD."
But there is even more. About 39 years after God gave Moses the Ten Commandments to present to Israel as His law, God then commanded Moses to make a brazen image of a snake (which is a clear violation of the Second Command of the Ten Commandments). It should be understood that if God wishes to change (or even to violate) a former command that He made (even if it were one of the Ten Commandments) God has the power and authority to do such actions. After all, it was He who gave the laws in the first place, and He has the right and the prerogative of changing or eliminating such laws at any time He chooses. So, God in the year 39 of the Exodus gave a command that was contrary to the Second Command of the Ten Commandments. He ordered Moses to make an image of a poisonous snake and to hang that snake/image onto a pole that the Israelites could look toward for a physical remedy in the wake of being bitten by poisonous snakes (Numbers 21).
Let us understand once more that God can change any law He wishes and at any time He chooses. He has done so in the past and He can do it in the future. If God wishes to introduce idolatry into the Tabernacle (His divine Temple) even though it is a violation of the Second Commandment, God can do as He jolly well pleases. This is a principle that must always be understood and recognized by Gods own children and His people. God is in charge, not us!
So, near the end of the 40 years of wilderness journeys by the Israelites, God decided to adopt some idolatrous ways to teach the immature Israelites what calamitous consequences would develop by their insistence on having images of Cherubim in the Temple and also having an idolatrous brazen snake on a pole. And true to form, the Cherubim and the snake/image later became so idolatrous to the Israelites, that in the time of Hezekiah the snake/image had to be destroyed because of the rampant idolatry that it provoked (II Kings 18:4). But that did not end the matter. We find that the Israelites also began to worship those two cherubim that God had placed in the Holy of Holies associated with the Ark of the Covenant. Even in the wilderness the Israelites had commenced their worship and adoration of those two Cherubim (and others that were depicted on the veils and curtains within the Tabernacle and the Temple that Solomon built). Do these words not smack of a clear violation of the Second Command (of the highly prestigious "Ten Commmandments." It seems they languish the very spirit and the meaning behind the Second Command.
What is important to realize is the fact that these commandments of God ordered that the Israelites make the images of the Cherubim and also the image of the snake on a pole (which we find in our modern caduceus symbol which identifies the medical profession). Yes, this was the case in the time of Moses. In doing this, one might think that IT WAS NOT ALWAYS INEVITABLE THAT IDOLATRY WOULD EMERGE. Yes, but it almost always did! But what happened to the Israelites in their appreciation of these images of the Cherubim associated with the Ark of the Covenant? They soon (even while they were still in the wilderness) began to worship those statues and images. This infuriated Jeremiah at a later time as well as Ezekiel. So, when the Temple was just on the verge of being destroyed by the Babylonians, the prophet Jeremiah decided to get rid of the Ark of the Covenant and the worship of it by the Israelites. He felt the best thing to do was to bury it and then to tell the Israelites to forget it and its place of burial. Jeremiah knew the evil that those images in the Temple caused.
Jeremiah (who was a priest, as well as with the confirmation of Ezekiel) took the Ark of the Covenant with its idolatrous depiction of Cherubim out of the Holy of Holies and (according to Second Maccabees) deposited them in a cave on the east side of Jordan (opposite Jericho) near the area where Moses was buried. Notice the reference in this historical work that was written about a hundred years before the birth of Christ.
"One finds in the records that Jeremiah the prophet ordered those who were being deported to take some of the fire [from the altar of the Temple], as has been told, and that the prophet after giving them the law instructed those who were being deported not to forget the commandments of the Lord, nor to be led astray in their thoughts upon seeing the gold and silver statues and their adornment [that were discovered within the Temple itself that is, there were images and idols in the Temple and some God had commanded to be there]. And with other similar words he [Jeremiah] exhorted them that the law should not depart from their hearts. It was also in the writing that the prophet, having received an oracle, ordered that the tent and the ark [of the covenant with the two cherubs] should follow with him, and that he went out to the mountain where Moses had gone up and had seen the inheritance of God. And Jeremiah came and found a cave, and he brought there the tent and the ark [of the covenant with the two cherubs] and the altar of incense, and he sealed up the entrance. Some of those who followed him came up to mark the way, but could not find it. When Jeremiah learned of it, he rebuked them and declared: The place shall be unknown until God gathers his people together again and shows his mercy. And then the Lord will disclose these things, and the glory of the Lord and the cloud will appear, as they were shown in the case of Moses, and as Solomon asked that the place should be specially consecrated. It was also made clear that being possessed of wisdom Solomon offered sacrifice for the dedication and completion of the temple. Just as Moses prayed to the Lord, and fire came down from heaven and devoured the sacrifices, so also Solomon prayed, and the fire came down and consumed the whole burnt offerings" (2 Maccabees 2:1-7 RSV).
So exasperated was Jeremiah about the penchant of the Israelites (both those of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah) to turn physical things that God ordained even in the Temple into idolatrous artifacts that Jeremiah prophesied that in the future NO TEMPLE OF GOD would ever have an Ark of the Covenant again (with its permitted image of two Cherubim blazonly depicted). That is the main reason that Jeremiah took the Tent that housed the Ark and the Ark of the Covenant itself (with its two Cherubim) out of the Temple to hide them so that they would not be found to be placed in any Temple after the Babylonian Captivity was over. Note what Jeremiah the Prophet predicted would occur (and his prophecy was uttered under the inspiration of God Almighty).
"Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it [the Ark of the Covenant] come to mind: neither shall they remember it [the Ark of the Covenant]; neither shall they visit it; [the Ark of the Covenant] neither shall that be done any more" [allowing images of Cherubs for an Ark of the Covenant]. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers" (Jeremiah 3:14-18).
The Two Cherubim with the Ark of the Covenant Had Personal Names
We now come to an interesting fact that many of you may never have seen before. Do you realize that the two Cherubs that made up the one image in the Holy of Holies had personal names and that the Israelites called them by those individual names? Thats right. Those names are revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Recall that Jeremiah (according to the historical account given above from Second Maccabees) said that he took the Tent (or Tabernacle) that housed the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies (this was a small tent that covered the two Cherubs and the Ark, and it is not to be confused with the large Tent (or Tabernacle) that made up the whole of the portable Temple in the time of Moses and lasted until the time Solomon took the Ark of the Covenant into his Temple building in Jerusalem. This separate "Tabernacle" is mentioned in First Kings 1:39. This was a small Tent that became associated always with the Ark of the Covenant. This is the Tent that Jeremiah took along with the Ark to bury across the Jordan River east of Jericho (the Tent and Ark never went to Ethiopia as some people have imagined, nor were they buried in the bowels of the Temple precincts in Jerusalem as some later Jews speculated).
These factors concerning the small Tent that accompanied the Ark of the Covenant becomes a major key in identifying the names of the two heavenly Cherubim that the two images (soldered together as one image) depicted on earth. That key comes from Amos 5:25 and 26. Notice this scriptural indication.
"Have you offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O House of Israel? But you have borne the Tabernacle [the special Tent] of your Moloch and Chiun your images [there were two images], the star of your god [the Star a single "star" of your "gods"], which you made to yourselves."
What kind of a Tent (or Tabernacle) contained two images that were indeed a single "Star" (an image molded together into one image of two heavenly beings)? This was the special Tent that was erected over the Ark of the Covenant that contained the two Cherubim that faced one another with their wings outstretched toward each other over the Mercy [Covering] Seat that contained the sacred items within the Ark of the Covenant. In the plainest of language, we have the two Cherubim named by the Israelites. One of them was Moloch (which is the Hebrew word for "King" or "King Star" which was the name given to the planet Jupiter). The other was Chiun (which was another name for the planet Saturn, the furthest planet observable by the naked eye in our solar system). Now note this. When the two Cherubim were first constructed at the beginning of the forty years wandering of the Israelite Exodus period, Moses was told to have the two Cherubs facing one another. This represented Jupiter (a closer planet to earth) facing Saturn (the furthest visible planet from earth) in a conjunction with each other in the sky. Now Jupiter takes about 12 years to traverse the path of the Sun (which means to orbit the Sun) while Saturn takes about 30 years to do the same thing. If the two planets are shown in conjunction with one another (that is, as the Cherubim were shown in the Tabernacle and Temple) facing one another, it will take just over 20 years for the two planets to be exactly in the same position of the sky together and in conjunction again.
It is interesting that the great Massing of the Planets in Taurus (the Bull) that happened on May 5/6 of this year (2000 A.D.), and which I mentioned last year in a Prophetic Report, was also a time when Moloch (Jupiter) and Chiun (Saturn) once again "faced each other" as they did in the time that Moses ordered the Ark of the Covenant to be placed in the Holy of Holies at the beginning of the Exodus. At that time in May of this year, Jupiter and Saturn (as seen from earth) were about 2 degrees from each other, and both (of course) were in Taurus (the Bull) and very near "facing each other" after an absence of just over 20 years. But precisely on May 27, 2000, the two planets came to an exact "facing." They "faced each other in a marvelous conjunction" (only about one degree latitude separated them). As just mentioned, this would have been like the two planets were situated when Moses had the Ark of the Covenant constructed. Then they had 2 times 20 years (or 40 years) for the period of the Exodus that Amos 5:25 mentioned. There was then to be a period of 480 years (I Kings 6:1) for the start of Solomon building the Temple in Jerusalem (that is 24 times 20 years a significant biblical number).
The next time in our modern period that Jupiter and Saturn (or Moloch and Chiun) "face each other" will be on December 21, 2020 when they appear at the very beginning of the sign Aquarius (not Taurus). So, in just over 20 years we find that Jupiter (Moloch) and Saturn (Chiun) "face each other" again to become like a "Single Star." [Whether these indications can be used in a prophetic sense is another question altogether and it takes too long for me to discuss this possibility in this Prophetic Report of my Temple Update. I do plan to write a book on the Chronology of the Bible as it relates to prophetic events for the future when I can spare the time.]
The early Israelites noticed this remarkable astronomical phenomenon of these two planets and they gave religious value to it. Indeed, they began to worship the two Cherubim (named Moloch and Chiun that symbolized Jupiter and Saturn) and they fell into an idolatrous worship of those two Cherubs (and their images in the Holy of Holies) for the whole period of the forty years wandering in the wilderness. They were even continuing the practice (and even with worse consequences) in the time of the prophet Amos (Amos 5:25,26). Stephen even referred to the same practice in his discourse before the Sanhedrin in the year following Christs crucifixion (Acts 7:43 and note that Stephen then called Saturn by the name "Remphan" which is a Greek translation of the earlier Semitic term "Chiun"). Those images of Cherubs did great harm.
There are people today who are still enamored with this Ark of the Covenant (and its two Cherubs named Moloch and Chiun). Without doubt, if the Ark could be once again discovered, they would readily place the two Cherubs right back in any newly built Temple in Jerusalem. The human tendency is strong to do it. The fact is, however, Jeremiah saw the idolatry that had developed over the two Cherubs so he (under inspiration of God, in my view) took the special Tent of the Cherubs as well as the two images of the Cherubs molded into one image and hid it away. Then he wrote Jeremiah 3:14-18 that the true people of God would no longer require the Tent or the Ark of the Covenant in which to worship God. And, as a matter of fact, there was another reason why Jeremiah took those two images out of the Holy of Holies. That is because ONE OF THOSE VERY CHERUBS became a sinner of the first magnitude. That one Cherub had done such evil in heaven that he had been thrown out of his exalted position next to the throne of God and was in the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel considered by God as an evil angel a Cherub that had gone wrong. Which of the two Cherubs was the one who went wrong? The prophet Ezekiel tells us.
One of the Cherubs Depicted on the Ark of the Covenant Had Fallen From Grace
Notice what Ezekiel had to say about one of the Cherubs who had formerly been a righteous angel of very high rank in the heavenly hierarchy of divine beings associated with the very Throne of God Himself. This particular Cherub had become rebellious and as a result God had rejected him. Which Cherub was it?
"Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king [Moloch or Melek] of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou [Moloch] sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed [Messianic] cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire [to mimic this, the Israelites caused their firstborn to "pass through the fire"]. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God [Moloch would be jettisoned from Gods Holy Temple in heaven and on earth]: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire [where the children sacrificed to Moloch were supposed to go]. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness [Moloch was a bright planet in the heavens at times]: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries [both in Jerusalem and in Tyre] by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee [like the firstborn children of Israelites were burnt to ashes in sacrifice]. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more" (Ezekiel 28:11-19).
There you have it! It was Moloch (represented by the planet Jupiter) that was the sinning Cherub. The other Cherub was named Chiun (represented by the planet Saturn with the Sabbath being his day of consecration for worshipping him). But the Sabbath was made by God for His people to rest, and it was not made for Chiun (Saturn). The early Israelites took the command of God to make the images of the Cherubim and place them in the Holy of Holies as an example given by God to worship those Cherubim (named Moloch and Chiun). This was one of the commands that God gave to the Israelites in the time of Moses that WAS NOT GOOD for the Israelites because it led them into idolatry (Ezekiel 20:25,26). It would do the same today.
But with Ezekiel condemning the practice of having the Ark of the Covenant (and its two Cherubs named Moloch and Chiun) in an idolatrous form of worship, and with Jeremiah even hiding the Ark of the Covenant with its special Tent east of Jericho and across the Jordan River, that put an end to such false worship in the Temple built by Zerubbabel. Even the Temple of Herod (which was in existence in the time of Jesus), there was no Ark of the Covenant displayed in physical form in the Holy of Holies. Though the actual Ark of the Covenant is still in heaven (Revelation 11:19), it was not looked on as proper by God-fearing people to have the Ark again placed in a Temple at Jerusalem since we find Jeremiah and Ezekiel objecting to its placement in the Temple. However, at our end of the age, we are told in the Book of Revelation that there will once more be an image of a wild beast (remember that the Cherubs are shown as having four faces: one of a man, an eagle, a bull and a lion which equals a "wild beast"). This image of the wild beast (probably in the form of Moloch the King) will again be placed in a Temple in Jerusalem that we find described in Revelation 11. This "Image of the Beast" (or, it means that one or both of the Cherubim will be replaced in a new Temple remember that there were two images of the Cherubs but they were molded together to form one image) will be again placed in a new Temple in Jerusalem (Revelation 13:11-18). There will also be a "Mark of the Beast" associated with this new Ark of the Covenant. So, the rebellion to God of replacing the Ark happens at the End Time.
Questions to ask: Will this new Ark of the Covenant (which will be the Image of the Beast mentioned in the Book of Revelation) be the one that Jeremiah buried east of Jericho and across the Jordan River? That is possible. As far as Jeremiah is concerned, he stated that the ideal Temple in the future would NEVER AGAIN have an Ark of the Covenant in it (Jeremiah 3:16). This is the position that I personally take. In fact, God was honest in His statement in Ezekiel that His commands "were not good." If anyone wants to replace the Ark of the Covenant back into a renewed Temple, what he or she will be doing is placing the Image of the Beast mentioned in Revelation 13 back into the Holy of Holies. While God did allow that to happen in the time of Moses (though remember that even God said that command to put those images in the Temple contrary to the Second Command of the Ten Commandments), was one of those commands that Ezekiel 20:25 and 26 said God gave that "were not good." It led them directly (and very quickly) right into idolatry of the most serious kind. I am certain that if the Ark of the Covenant were once again found (or even a new one made by the Temple authorities), it would lead the people back into the kind of idolatry that the early Israelites engaged in, and what the Book of Revelation states this evil world will adopt when the Beast and the False Prophet are on earth. Ever since I discovered that the Image of the Beast was indeed the reintroduction of the Ark of the Covenant into an End Time Temple (I came to this conclusion well over twenty years ago), I have turned all my emotional connection with a physical Temple in Jerusalem (or eve with a physical Jerusalem) and I now have more important things to be concerned about. True, I plan to give more information on the Temple site as it becomes available, but I have written my book (and with the other articles on our Internet Web Page), I believe I have done my duty to God and to my readers in this matter for the present.
As for me, I have no need for any Ark of the Covenant in my worship. I have only one mediator between the Father and me and that person is Christ Jesus (I Timothy 2:4-6). As for Temples that are made by the hands of human beings, I have the express teaching of the Holy Spirit that came from the mouth of Stephen. Stephen boldly told the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem (and quoting teachings directly from the Old Testament): "the Most High dwells not in Temples made with hands [that is, human hands]" (Acts 7:48). I have not the slightest need for a physical Temple (with its Moloch or Chiun the two Cherubs that Moses placed in the Tabernacle). All I need (and I already have Him) is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Indeed, when one reflects upon the teaching of the Second Commandment of the Ten Commandments (and applies what the words state explicitly and without preconceived notions), it could be argued that even the building of a Temple is prohibited in the strict sense of the word. This is because the Temple represents an image or similitude of the House of God in which God resides in heaven. Do we not read in the Second Commandment that Israelites should not make an image of ANYTHING in heaven (or in earth or under the earth)? Thats right! Even the building of a physical Temple on earth is getting close to breaking the Second Commandment. Of course, it must be realized that God did in fact order Moses to construct the Tabernacle and later He told David to have the Temple built by Solomon. Yes, indeed, but still we are later told that God does NOT dwell in Temples made with human hands in an actual sense (Acts 7:48). Whatever the case, we Christians do not need a physical Temple in any manner whatever
1976-2003 Associates for Scriptural Knowledge
Here again, you find another opinion from someone I consider a somewhat pretentious studious of the Bible, insofar he affirms he knows for sure GODs intentions. Amazing, how many pretend to be receiving messages directly from GOD, even now, like President Bush jr.

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bal317 asked on 10/31/03 - Are we missing something from each other?

I was wondering about the different arguments concerning other religions, and wondered. What are we missing by not seeing what other's bring about, in order to help us understand things we are going through.
Such as: Suffering, who are we to deceide when someone is suffering too much? Isn't that why healthy people go into missionary positions, to help and understand those who are faced with this problem, to get right into the meat of situation, by offering themselves to live among the most deficet conditions? Is that why Catholics have their nuns,priest,and monks only live by limited financial means?
Or any other religions that live by certain givings of themselves, so they can truely pass on, what this suffering is all about, and how to accept what God can bring forth for them. As we see them get through their deeds and still go on in life, but it seems they have more full fillment from the experience.
Listening and really soul searching: Is it something that we are shown by certain religions, having silent days? Giving themselves a chance to go over in their own minds their problems or taking care of themselves in a way, many of us don't begin to do this, and much gets so over-whelming.
Fasting, certain dressing apparals, many other things. Could it be, that maybe, we, that don't study or learn from other's religious practices, on how they are showing other avenues of putting themselves into those areas we come across in our life, and don't know how to handle, or want a quick fix to the problem by ending it right now, as easy as we can just to put it to rest, would truely benefit if we would give ourselves the chance to observe and realize their quality of how not only their religion helps them, but can be of assistance to us all. But it takes many of us to come off of the "my way or the highway attitude".
What do you all think, better to learn about each other, or go on in life and keep to yourself even tho other ways could help?

curious98 answered on 10/31/03:


When we do not listen to what others have to say, in any field of knowledge, we may always be missing something. But, as I have often said in these posts, mans arrogance is incredible, and in religious matters, even more so. Michael Servetus was a Christian living in the 1500's who incurred the wrath of John Calvin and was murdered by him and his cronies for illegitimate reasons. He was accused of heresy, railroaded through a mock trial and put to death, being burned alive at the stake, in Geneva. His sin, the discovering of the pulmonary circulation. Doctors of that time, could not simply accept that discovery Yet such an atrocity was praised by even well known Calvinists as Bullinger and others for generations. . Galileo Gallilei suffered the wrath of the Inquisition for similar reasons
Bigotry, currently expanding in all religions, does not accept that others may have something to say worth listening to. The one and only truth is MY truth. All the rest are wrong.
On the other hand, to measure what is going on in our Planet we can only use our earthen yardsticks.
To define sufferings we have to use what the dictionary says, i.e. feelings of mental (psychological) or physical pain. That much we understand.
Missionaries go to foreign countries because of a very peculiar motivation. That of loving Mankind in general, and most of them, gladly risk their lives not only to bring relief and consolation to others who need them, but also to try to spread their own faith. They certainly follow the Gospels message, irrespective of whether they are Christians or not
As for Catholics having nuns, priests and monks living with limited financial means, let me just say (and Im a Roman Catholic) that this is not a privilege of Christians; in fact, you find nuns and monks among Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc
Again, let us not incur in the error to believe we Christians are the only good ones, not to say the very best of them all
These persons (nuns, monks, missionaries) have chosen to give themselves either directly to GOD through prayer or to GOD through others, by loving them. In any case they have clearly discovered one can certainly get more happiness out of giving than out of receiving
And they certainly find fulfilment in their lives. Some even find ecstasy! I remember, for one, Mother Therese of Calcutta
It is not very complicated. We should basically limit ourselves to help others, to love our neighbour, and forget or minimize all the other paraphernalia
But, as I say, our arrogance does not let us to.
And do not believe Im a saint. For Im not. Im just like the rest. I do not want to give up my way of life, my comfort. Nothing that represents sacrificing myself for the others. But, at least, I think I know the way. And I listen, for there is something good in practically everybody And, if I do not help, at least I try not to hinder, hamper or question others beliefs. And, eventually, GOD may also help me to be slightly better.
But to answer your basic question, if you are strong enough to overcome your own defect, try to help others as much as you can. Youll be happier that ever, I assure you
And do not fall in the temptation to believe your GOD (whatever your faith) is the only true one. Thats just a fallacy. There is ONLY ONE GOD, and its everybodys GOD, irrespective of what we may believe.
Best regards

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ATON2 asked on 10/29/03 - Not a question, just an explanation.

To the 'friend' who directed a question to me on the Religion forum and requested that my response be kept private: hope you read this. I am not trying to dis-honor your request, or to ignore it. There simply seems to be some technical glitch with my page that does not allow me the privacy option. I have tried a number of times to understand this glitch and correct it, but no matter what I do, I cannot get the privacy box to appear on my page. No privacy box, no way to check it!! Hope you understand. Perhaps you can depersonalize your question and post it on the open forum, so I can respond to it. Otherwise, I will try to contact Jay and find out the cause.....until then, be patient.


curious98 answered on 10/29/03:

DOn't worry too much. I do not have it either.
This belongs to the mysteries of Computerland.
I've changed 2 days ago my operating system from Windows 98 to Windows XP, and you have no idea how much I'm suffering.
I've lost all my e-mail addresses and pending mail I had.And nobody knows how I can retrieve them.
In fact I'm going to ask those who are expecting some private answer from me, kindly to repeat it and send it to


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*Karrisa* asked on 10/28/03 - Not an expert but try this .....

Aton, there is a small box at the bottom of your answer to keep it private, just like there is at WeTellYou, click it and lo and behold, for your eyes only.


Test this lil box with this note before you answer whoever, if it works with this one it will work with ...whoever.

curious98 answered on 10/29/03:

Holy Mackerel,

Like my friend Aton, I'm also being discriminated.

I cannot fin any sort of boxes at the bottom of my answer...

Iknow I'm shortsighted but all the same, if there was one, I should see it, with my amplifying glass...

I could use one of yours, maybe the jade one...

LOL and reLOL


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Laura asked on 10/28/03 - Okay, you can try it on me

check the box that says do you wish to change or keep this private or whatever it says.. It doesn't matter what kind of message you get just make sure the privacy box is checked.. if this gets public you will know you SCREWED up!! LOL

curious98 answered on 10/29/03:

Hi LauraLee,
Good to hear from you; hope you and your family go well.

I do not think there is any such facility in this program, or is it?

I have never seen it

All the best

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shekinah07 asked on 10/28/03 - Do you believe the Bible is God's Word?

Please give reasons for your answers

curious98 answered on 10/28/03:

Thats a question I have often asked myself. My rationality and common sense sustain the belief that we were created by GOD along with the rest of the Universe- as an insignificant part of a project which we have no idea of. Which is only natural bearing in mind that GODs plans should be inscrutable
On the other hand, its nonetheless true that a Man-God, or a God-Man, or simply another Saint and Prophet Jesus gave his life for all of us, which because of my Catholic background- I quite accept. Thus, I suppose that, after all, we might be a part of GODs creation, which GOD may have a certain interest in
This said, we have to consider the Bible in its 2 parts.
Obviously, the New Testament was written by (or credited to) the Evangelists Luke, Mark, Matthew and John, plus some others if we take into account the Apocryphals. Same with the Acts of Apostles In any case, these people stuck to saying what they have heard from others, or perhaps, witnessed, and, most surely, they might have even exaggerated some passages a little bit to provoke a bigger impact in his readers, as seems to be case with Saint Paul.
Latter on, it is highly possible that parts of the Gospels may have been manipulated by exegetes and translators to adapt texts and situations to changing times. So it is evident that only mans hands are responsible for the N.T.
However, this is not too important in my opinion, for what really matters is the message implicit all the time, i.e. the message of love for thy neighbour, and whether inspired by man or by GOD, there is no question this message is sound enough
As for the Old Testament, we have the Pentateuch, which some Christians, and certainly many Jews (their Torah) do believe was practically dictated by GOD.
I prefer to believe, at the very best, that it was inspired by GOD in accordance with the times when it was written.
I will try to explain this. It should be obvious for those who are not atheists, that GOD being Eternal, IT must know the past, the present and the future, for time as we know it- should not exist nor mean anything for GOD. Consequently, all the technological advances we have achieved with so much effort lately, all the knowledge we have so painfully acquired in these last centuries, was no mystery for GOD. GOD already knew when IT was inspiring the Torah to Moses, about how the Universe was created (most certainly, as IT was sole responsible for it), and about TV, Internet or our going to the Moon, and naturally, about all the rest that is to come, and which we are completely unaware of.
Yet, GOD preferred to speak of Creation in 7 days
If GOD inspired Moses, GOD knew quite well what people of Moses times could assimilate and what they could not.
And if Moses, just wrote the Torah all by himself, then he probably just put in writing a summary of the old legends and narrations he might have heard while in Egypt
And same for the rest.
The Old Books were undoubtedly written by men who else? - and they might have been inspired by GOD or just the product of the imagination of a number of writers, prophets and saint men, or transmissions of older oral legends put in writing.
But now I ask you, so what?
A considerable amount of what is written in the Old Testament and in the New Testament is either History or the expression of a way of life we should all follow, for it certainly leads to our peace of life and happiness!
GOD exists maybe not as some like to imagine IT, but IT does, even by looking at it rationally. GOD is a necessary MUST for man.
Therefore, if we have some Books (inspired or not) which tell us about our ancestors lives (btw., in a very small portion of the world as was Israel) and their problems to believe (very much as ours, now-a-days) they experienced, why struggle so much trying to find out who is actually responsible for what is inside.
We should just ask ourselves whether what is said (the majority of what is said there, anyway) is worth our listening to or, on the contrary, it is just a futile sort of tale!
If we believe the former, and I do, lets not give too much of our time, trying to find out about the actual author, for, in any case, we shall never know for sure. Only our Faith, if we have it, may convince us. Otherwise, we stick to sheer speculation one way or other.
Maybe, when we are no longer here, we shall know for sure but then, most probably, we wont care any more

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paraclete asked on 10/20/03 - The rhetoric of a meglomaniac revisited.

"US President George W Bush has condemned as "reprehensible" and "hateful" claims by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad that Jews control the world, a senior White House official said today".

""Everyone thinks the comments were hateful, they are outrageous," US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told reporters covering the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit".

"Bush "thinks those remarks were reprehensible," Rice said on the opening day of 21-member summit, attended by both Mahathir and the US president."

""I do not think they are emblematic of the Muslim world," she added."

"Mahathir was criticised internationally last week after he made the comments in a speech in Malaysia to the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the world's largest Muslim leadership group".

How many times does the lion need to roar before we understand that when the lion roars the pride gets ready to hunt. These are not the comments of an isolated muslim leader, but deeply held beliefs among muslims and no amount of appeasment will change this.

It's like Chamberlain on the brink of WWII "peace in our time" while Hitler laughed. This week we heard again the lion roaring "juden, juden" again but we arn't listening. Even the jewish representatives on this Board have said we have heard this before.

curious98 answered on 10/21/03:

You are of course realizing that, in a way, your are sponsoring the new scheme of protective war Mr. Bush Jr. is trying to present to the UN.
What is what you are suggesting?
a) that the USA declares war on Malaysia and, subsequently, proceeds to throw a few thousand tons of bombs to kill as many Muslims as possible since These are not the comments of an isolated Muslim leader, but deeply held beliefs among Muslims and no amount of appeasement will change this
b) by the same token, and since Syria is also a Muslim country and they probably protect terrorists from AlQaeda, proceed to destroy it too.
c) And get together with Russia on a mutual plan to attack and bomb all ancient Muslim ex-soviet republics of the Caucasus
But, let us not forget, meanwhile, that at present Muslims number some 1.300 billion spread all over the world, and no matter how powerful the USA may be at present, they should probably have to start by burning the close to 1.300 mosques you have in the States, plus killing the more than 1.3 million people (most of the US citizens, that have embraced that religion in USA), for a Muslims loyalty goes first to his/her God and then to his/her country.
I think that you are calling us all to a Christian Jihad against Islam, without considering the consequences it would have on the world.
In any case, this is not what Jesus was preaching and what He died in the Cross for.
Best regards

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graeylin asked on 10/20/03 - To my Catholic friends

What is the layman's scoop on the Mother Teresa miracle? The Vatican claims to have proof that light from a picture of mother teresa cured a woman in India of a cancerous growth. The light shone on the growth, and it went into remission and disappeared.

However, the woman's own doctor states that the growth was tuberculosis, not cancer, and was treated conventionally. In his opinion, it was the treatment of medication she was on that caused the growth to recede, just as expected.

How does the 'proving' of a miracle work in the Church? What evidence is needed to judge a true miracle? Does the medical opinion of the doctor weigh in at all in such a case? Does it weigh more or less than that of the woman/claimant? What facts are considered in such an event? Who decides when a miracle has taken place?

Thanks in advance for your answers!

curious98 answered on 10/21/03:

To the best of my knowledge the beatification process of the Catholic Church is, generally, very slow and full of hindrances and obstacles. These are normally put up by a person, in principle, a priest who is called the devils advocate and is supposed to investigate the life and so called miracles of the subject under consideration. This person is supposed to be totally critical of the smallest defects he can find in referred subject to the point of exaggeration.
This is just to state that, basically, the Church is very cautious about accepting miracles and prodigies.
The apparitions of our Lady of Fatima (Portugal) in May 1917, witnessed by 3 shepherd children, were not accepted but after a long period of time. As for 2 of the children Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who died of influenza within a few years of the apparitions, their beatification became possible after a miracle was attributed to themMaria Emilia Santos, a 47-year-old Portuguese woman who was cured of paralysis after 22 years and suddenly regained the ability to walk, and this happened, if Im not wrong, about eleven years later. At least one more miracle is needed for the two children to be canonized.
And, as far as I know, out of the thousands of many inexplicable and most extraordinary healings that have happened along the years in Lourdes (south of France), where more than 6 million pilgrims go every year! the Church is considering only less than 10! As true miracles. On the other hand, the resident Doctors every year consider as miraculous several scores of cures. Which shows that conventional medicine is more lenient than the Church to accept some of these cures as properly incredible.
Just the fact that thousands of people bathe every day in the pools, where the water is not changed, at least not while they are open to the public at large, and which therefore should be infected by all kind of germs, but nobody seems to get any infections, rather on the contrary, some appear to be cured, is quite an extraordinary event per se. Something similar can be accounted for in Vanarasi (India) where in the gats by the river Ganges, thousand of persons bathe every day, to achieve Heaven when they die
When I literally saw corpses drifting down the river and the amount of filth the ones alive were pouring on the river banks, one wonders And yet nothing happens.
In the case of Mother Therese, I think that what has sped her beatification is how she lived her life (entirely devoted to help the lowest of the lowest and most miserable people of Calcutta, of every condition and belief), the roaring clamour of hundreds of thousands of non Christians Hindis demanding her beatification by the Catholic Church and, perhaps, too, the fact that the Pope had met with her several times and seen how she was .
Best regards

PS. I saw the beatification on TV. There assisted more than 350.000 people, out of which, Italian TV estimated than there were ate least, 20% of non catholics such as Muslims (she was born in Albania), Hindus, Orthodox and Protestants of different denominations, currently living in India.

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paraclete asked on 10/21/03 - The unrepentant meglomanic

"Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad today renewed his attack on "arrogant" Jews, saying reaction to his recent controversial comments confirms "they do control the world".

The veteran leader, who retires later this month, also criticised Western media, who he said took his comments at last week's summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Malaysia out of context.

"In my speech I condemned all violence, even the suicide bombings, and I told all Muslims it's about time we stopped all these things and paused to think and do something that is much more productive," he told the Bangkok Post.

"That was the whole tone of my speech, but they picked up one sentence where I said that the Jews control the world.

"Well, the reaction of the world shows they control the world."

The comments attracted a volley of international criticism, led by US President George W Bush, who yesterday pulled Mahathir aside at the APEC summit to denounce his "wrong and divisive" charge.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday slammed the remarks as "slanderous".

However, Mahathir was unrepentant and launched a fresh broadside today.

"Israel is a small country. There are not many Jews in the world," he said in the interview.

"But they are so arrogant that they defy the whole world. Even if the United Nations say no, they go ahead. Why? Because they have the backing of all these people.""

What is made clear by this is that repentance isn't a concept readily understood by Islam. Only a meglomaniac will not back down when he has offended many nations by his ill timed and ill considered comments.

curious98 answered on 10/21/03:

I have commented enough on this character and have expressed my opinion about him.
So I'll say no more.

However, I do wish to say that, in my opinion, your last paragraph expresses part of the problem we are facing with Mahathir, i.e. when we take for granted that what a certain person may think about a certain subject, represents the entire group of people sharing his faith, and therefore, is applicable to all of them, I think we are committing a serious mistake.

Neither Mahathir's words are representative of the more than one billion Muslims there are in the world, nor his lack of repentance
"isn't a concept readily understood by Islam"
There are good and bad Muslims, as there are good and bad Jews, good and bad Christians, and, in short, good and bad human beings, no matter their origin, beliefs, colour, or social status.

I do condemn Dr. Mahathir's way of thinking, which I find extremely dangerous, but I cannot condemn Islam for the commentaries of an embittered old man who is, probably, afraid of dying, without having achieved a certain notoriety.


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graeylin asked on 10/16/03 - Isaiah prophecy?

Did Isaiah prophecy that Damascus would be destroyed forever?

Isaiah 17:1-2
An oracle concerning Damascus. See, Damascus will cease to be a city, and will become a heap of ruins. Her towns will be deserted forever...

curious98 answered on 10/17/03:

17:1 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from [being] a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
17:2 The cities of Aroer [are] forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make [them] afraid.
17:3 The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the LORD of hosts
Again, as I said in one of my previous posts today, these prophecies were not intended for us, but for the people of their times.

Damascus is a beautiful city right now, but assuming Mr. Bush might decide to declare war on Syria, it might be destroyed very much as Baghdad has been. In which case, some might say the prophecy had been fulfilled.


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graeylin asked on 10/16/03 - More prophecies

Jeremiah prophecies that Jehoiakim will have no heirs that become kings.

Jeremiah 36:30
Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah, he shall have none to sit on the throne of David.

But II Kings 24:6 seems to imply that he did have a son who inherited the throne.

So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.

Is that a different Jehoiakim? Is that not a throne of David? What's the official explanation of this conundrum?

curious98 answered on 10/17/03:

You might wish to read this excerpt from the The Department of Jewish History, Tel-Aviv University

1. Introduction

1.1. The variety of reports about the circumstances of the death and burial of Jehoiakim, along with the striking contradictions that exist among them, has no parallel in the history of Judah. According to 2 Kgs 24:5-6, the king died peacefully and slept with his fathers. A similar description appears in the LXX version of the parallel account in 2 Chr 36:8. There a comment is added, he was buried in the garden of Uzza. [1] The Luc. version of 2 Chr 36:8 seems to carry the same meaning but expands yet further, adding that Jehoiakim was buried with his fathers. The MT 2 Chr 36:8 does not contain any of these comments about Jehoiakims death and burial place. Moreover, the impression from MT 2 Chr 36:6 is that the king met an entirely different fate. He did not die in Jerusalem at all, but was exiled from it (and he [Nebuchadnezzar] bound him in fetters to carry him to Babylon). [2]

1.2. In contrast to all these traditions, Jeremiah prophesies (22:18-19) that no one will lament for the king, and that with the burial of an ass he shall be buried, dragged and dumped beyond the gates of Jerusalem (cf. 36:30). Josephus in Ant. X, 97 advances an echo of Jeremiahs prophecy, along with an attempt to reconcile it with a description of the Babylonian siege in 2 Kings. According to this text, the Babylonians put Jehoiakim to death, and his body was cast in front of the walls of Jerusalem, with no burial.

1.3. The existence of multiple and contradictory reports about Jehoiakims death and burial place has led to a considerable scholarly controversy on the matter of how to reconstruct the historical circumstances surrounding his death and burial. This situation is actually exacerbated by the description of the Babylonian campaign and the precise chronological data about this period in the Babylonian chronicles, despite the fact that they allow us to reconstruct the chronology of the campaign to suppress Jehoiakims revolt, define quite precisely the time of his death, and raise various hypotheses regarding the circumstances that led up to it.

1.4. The purpose of this article is to reconstruct the historical circumstances pertinent to the end of Jehoiakims rule. To that goal, I will analyze the various descriptions of the kings death. This analysis leads to the conclusion that he died a natural death even before the Babylonian army reached Jerusalem and that he was buried in his forefathers burial tomb. Moreover, I will contend that the omission of any reference to his place of burial in the book of Kings was deliberate and stemmed from the authors historiographic distress that resulted from the curses against the king that Jeremiah uttered prior to Jehoiakims death. Later writers were forced to cope with the absence of a description of the kings burial and tried to explain it in various ways, according to their own conceptual attitudes and historical worldviews.

2. Eleven years of Jehoiakims rule: historical background

2.1. Jehoiakim was appointed king by Necho II, King of Egypt, upon the latters return from the battle in Haran, three months after he had killed Josiah at Megiddo (August/September 609 BCE). [3] Nechos action rendered null and void the rule of the younger brother Shalum/Jehoahaz, [4] who was anointed king after the death of their father Josiah (2 Kgs 23:30). [5] Nothing is known of events in Judah during the first four years of Jehoiakims rule. During these years the Egyptians firmly established their rule over Syria and Palestine, in preparation for the decisive struggle with the Babylonians over control of the Euphrates region. The proximity of the Kingdom of Judah to Egypt and the latters control of the entire region did not allow the tiny kingdom any leeway for either political or military maneuvering. One may assume that Jehoiakim had no choice, but to remain loyal to Egypt. [6]

2.2. The great upheaval of 605 BCE had an impact on Judah. [7] The armies of Nebuchadrezzar defeated the Egyptian legions at Carchemish and broke through into Syria. Egypts rule over other territories in Syria and Palestine was challenged. One must assume, however, that the actual subjugation of Judah to Babylon took place during the Babylonian campaign into Syria and Palestine (the attu-Land in the Babylonian chronicles) in the second half of 604 BCE, after five years of Jehoiakims reign as an Egyptian vassal. [8]

2.3. Nebuchadrezzars policy was to maintain the geopolitical arrangements that he found before him when he conquered the area. [9] He allowed Jehoiakim to remain as king of Judah, even though King Necho II of Egypt had appointed him. This measure reflected the premise that a king who had accepted the Egyptian yoke was probably clever enough to accept the Babylonian yoke too. It is conceivable that the Babylonians hoped that these actions would preserve the stability of the region. Moreover, they could have anticipated that the kings whose rule they confirmed would feel gratitude towards the Babylonian king, and that such gratitude would lead to loyalty towards the new sovereign.

2.4. The rapid takeover of attu-Land by the Babylonians, and the Egyptian retreat from the region, left the small kingdoms along the coast and the interior regions with no room for maneuvering. One may assume that the first three years of Babylonian rule were quiet. Although there is no information about events in Judah during that time, it seems that Jehoiakim remained loyal to Nebuchadrezzar (and Jehoiakim became his vassal for three years; see 2 Kgs 24:1). [10] Only the failure of the Babylonian invasion into Egypt in the month of Kislev (November/ December 601 BCE), [11] undermined the Babylonian control of the area. At that time, Necho II had an opportunity to renew his influence on the region. Against this background, one may understand the brief report about Jehoiakims rebellion against Nebuchadrezzar in 2 Kgs 24:1 (Jehoiakim became his servant for three years; then he turned and rebelled against him). It is hard to imagine that Jehoikaims revolt have taken place without the support of Egypt. Moreover, although we have no information about the historical circumstances of the period, it is clear that if Egypt did return to a position of influence in the region, then Jehoiakim, most likely, had no choice, but to offer his loyalty to his former master. [12]

2.5. Only after three more years, in the month of Kislev (between mid-December 598 and mid-January 597 BCE) Nebuchadrezzar set out to re-establish his rule in the attu-Land. [13] The conquest of the city of Judah (i.e., Jerusalem) stood at the center of this Babylonian campaign. According to the Babylonian chronicle, Jerusalem surrendered to the Babylonians on the 2nd of Adar (March 16th/17th, 597 BCE). [14] At that time, the three-month reign by Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim came to an end. [15] The young king went into exile, and Nebuchadrezzar appointed in Jerusalem a new king of his own choice (lit. heart), namely, Zedekiah. [16] Nebuchadrezzar also levied a heavy tax on the city and returned to Babylon. [17]

2.6. The Babylonian chronicle shows that from the beginning of the Babylonian campaign, at some stage in the month of Kislev, until the city surrendered on the 2nd of Adar, three months at most had passed. In light of this information, one may assume that the Babylonian campaign was initially intended to suppress the revolt by Jehoiakim. If we accept the chronological delineation of the three months of Jehoiachins rule, [18] then Jehoiakim was still alive when the Babylonians planned their campaign and he died close to its beginning, or immediately after the Babylonian force set out. [19]

2.7. The Hebrew Bible does not offer any clear-cut information about the circumstances leading to the death of Jehoiakim. It is hard to ignore, however, the chronological juxtaposition of events. One must remember that since the king of Judah violated his vassals oath to Nebuchadrezzar, his death was one of the only resolutions that could have brought about the salvation of Jerusalem. [20] Against this background, one may wonder whether Jehoiakims death was due to natural causes, and its timingjust as the Babylonian army set out on its Jerusalem campaignwas a mere coincidence, a testimony to historical fate. Or did those who understood that his death was the only way that would allow Jerusalem to be spared destruction murder the king? Or, alternatively, did Jehoiakim take his own life? There is no unequivocal answer to these questions but an analysis of the Biblical descriptions shows that there is no evidence supporting the latter alternatives. Jehoiakims death may have, and most likely, died of natural causes, as it will be shown below.

3. Biblical Descriptions of the Death of Jehoiakim

3.1 Do the curses of Jeremiah (22:18-19; 36:30) reflect historical reality?

3.1.1. Jer. 22:13-17 contains a report of the prophets sermon of exhortation for the injustices practiced by Jehoiakim. Following this admonition, Jeremiah prophesizes about the retribution that is to befall the king. Verses 18-19, with supplementary text based on the LXX version, [21] read: Therefore thus Yahweh has said of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah: [Woe to this man!] They shall not lament for him, Alas, my brother, and alas, my sister! They shall not [burn spices] for him, Alas, lord, and alas [lady!] With the burial of an ass he shall be buried, dragged and dumped beyond the gates of Jerusalem. Similar words were said of the king also in 36:30, namely, therefore thus Yahweh has said concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah: He shall not have anyone sitting on the throne of David and his corpse shall be thrown out to the heat by day and to the frost by night. At least the first part of the curse did not materialize, for Jehoiachin ascended the throne upon the death of his father. [22] The lack of fulfillment of these words proves that they were uttered before the kings death, and perhaps during the first five years of Jehoiakims rule, even before the subjugation to Babylon. [23] They certainly do not reflect the events as they actually occurred. [24] The prophet was not describing an actual reality that he personally witnessed, but was cursing the king and prophesying the punishment that is destined to befall him.

3.1.2. Jeremiahs words and the language of his curses correspond to those in the dtr. law, namely those who do not heed the word of God to obey to all of his commandments and statutes (Deut. 28:15) are cursed with your dead body shall be food for all of the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and there shall be no one to frighten them away (verse 26). Threats of this kind are quite common in dtr. historiography, [25] in the prophetic literature, [26] and in Psalms. [27] There is, however, a close connection between the words of Jeremiah and the punishment as defined by the Deuteronomistic law. [28] The curse against Jehoiakim also corresponds to well-known images in neo-Assyrian literature of the ultimate fate of rebels and treaty violators. [29]

3.2 What were the circumstances of Jehoiakims death according to 2 Kgs 24:6? Does the absence of a description of his burial reflect the historical reality?
3.2.1. The description of the last years of the kingdom of Judah in 2 Kgs 23:26- 25:21 expresses the idea that the process of deterioration that led to the destruction of the kingdom accelerated since the death of Josiah. Because the composition of this work was written ex post facto, and with knowledge of the outcome of events, a worldview was shaped in which the die had already been cast in the time of Manasseh and even the righteous king Josiah was unable to change the fate of the kingdom. [30]

3.2.2. According to the viewpoint of the author of the book of Kings, the last four kings of Judah were wrongdoers. All of them are given negative evaluation in the introductory formulas of their respective reigns (see 2 Kgs 23:32, 37; 24:9, 19). Nonetheless, there is no doubt that to the author, Jehoiakim was the worst offender of all these kings. He was the link that connected the sins of Manassehi.e, the reason for Gods decision to put an end to the kingdom of Judahand the destruction that took place at the end of the days of Zedekiah. The author created the textual link by adding theological explanatory notes that connected the sins of Manasseh (21:1-9) with the decision of God to destroy Judah (verses 10-16), and with the sins of Jehoiakim (24:2-4). [31] In addition, a second theological explanatory comment that associated the sins of Jehoiakim with the revolt of Zedekiah, which was the last step on the path to the destruction, [32] was added in 24:20.

3.2.3. The guilt of Manasseh and Jehoiakim and the desire to absolve Josiah of all blame is also reflected in the introductory formulas of the last four kings of Judah. [33] In the introductory formula of Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim, collective blame is directed at the kings of Judah who preceded them, rather than at their father Josiah (and he did evil in the sight of Yahweh according to all that his fathers had done, see 2 Kgs 23:32,37). In contrast, the blame in the introductory formula of Jehoiachin is directed at Jehoiakim, his father (and he did evil in the sight of Yahweh according to all that his father had done, see 2 Kgs 24:9). [34] This is even more striking in the introductory formula of Zedekiah. Here Jehoiakim, his brother, is accused directly (and he did evil in the sight of Yahweh according to all that Jehoiakim had done, see 2 Kgs 24:19). [35]

3.2.4. Jeremiah also came out against the sins of Jehoiakim (22:13-17). He blamed the king and stated: But you eyes and a mind for nothing but gain, for shedding innocent blood, for oppression and the cruel misuse of power(v. 17). Nevertheless, it seems that the major problem confronting the author of the Book of Kings was that Jehoiakim was the only king of all the last four kings of Judah who did not meet his punishment at the hands of a foreign king through exile and death on foreign soil. [36]

3.2.5. In historiographic terms, the author solved this problem through his report of the attack of the bands against Jehoiakim. This attack was an attempt to suppress the rebellion, before the arrival of the main Babylonian forces headed by Nebuchadrezzar. One may then assume that even before the arrival of the main Babylonian forces, auxiliary forces were sent against Judah. According to 2 Kgs 24:2 these forces included bands of Chaldeans, [37] Aramaeans, [38] Moabites and Ammonites. [39] These auxiliary forces compelled some of the residents of Judah to flee from the border areas to Jerusalem. [40] Only at a later stage did the main Babylonian army arrive, as stated and Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came against the city when his officers were besieging it (2 Kgs 24:11).

3.2.6. The story, however, portrays the actions if the bands not as the prelude to the conquest of Jerusalem in the time of Jehoiachin, but as Jehoiakim's punishment and as that which led him to his death. [41] For that reason the report in Kings claims that Yahweh is the one who sent the bands against Jehoiakim (And Yahweh sent against him). [42] Moreover, these bands were sent to Judah with the aim of destroy them (24:2). Verses of theological explanation (vv 2-4) were added to the basic account of this punishment. They connected the punishment, linguistically and conceptually, to the divine judgement against Judah that is presented as a consequence of the sins of Manasseh (2 Kgs 21:11-16), and the continued wrath of the LORD (23:26-27). These verses lead directly to the description of Jehoiakims death. [43] Thus, the death of Jehoiakim is presented as a result of divine retribution.

3.2.7. This characterization of his death reinforces the assumption that Jehoiakim did indeed die in Jerusalem, and from the authors viewpoint, a natural death. For one may assume that if he had information on other, special historical circumstances that attended the kings death, it would have been described here as conclusive evidence of his sins and the punishment that befell him.

3.2.8. Moreover, the authors awareness of the place and circumstances of Jehoiakims death explains why the description of the years of his reign ends with the same standard closing formula, like most of the Judean kings, and unlike the other three among the four last kings of Judah. Nonetheless, despite the uniform nature of most parts of the formula in Jehoiakims case, [44] there is a conspicuous change in the fourth part of it, i.e., at the point in which the kings death is reported [45] along with his burial in a definite site, usually with his fathers. [46] The usual formula is only partially cited. His death is reported (and Jehoiakim slept with his fathers, 2 Kgs 24:6a), but any reference to the burial or the site of his grave is omitted. There are also no additional comments about any events that may have been associated with his death. [47] These facts reinforces the position that, from the authors point of view and insofar as he knew the circumstances of Jehoiakims death, the king died a natural death, which was not associated with any unusual circumstances. [48] One may assume that if his death had not been of natural causesthat is, if he had met a fate similar to those of his father Josiah and his grandfather Amonthen a report about the circumstances of his death would have been included in the closing formula of the account of his reign in Kings. [49]

3.2.9. There is no explanation, however, for the lack of reference to his burial and his gravesite in the closing formula. The omission may be a reflection of the historical reality and relate it to the events that were taking place in the Jerusalem area at that time, when various bands of mercenaries were preparing the way for the onslaught of the Babylonian army. [50] However, even if we accept this explanation, it is still unclear why the reference to the burial is missing from the account, and particularly so since such a reference could have served the theological inclinations of the author towards Jehoiakim, by demonstrating the fulfillment of Jeremiahs prophecy and highlighting the punishment that the king incurred because of his sins.

3.2.10. Some scholars have explained the omission of the reference to the kings burial by maintaining that the details were unknown to the author when he wrote of these events in Babylon, after being sent into exile with the exile of Jehoiachin. [51] This explanation seems forced and somewhat problematic. It is doubtful whether methodologically it would be correct to explain gaps in information and missing details in this case to the lack of sources available to the author and his lack of knowledge. Even if we accept the premise that the book was written by one of the exiles sent to Babylon with the exile of Jehoiachin, it is still hard to accept his lack of knowledge of the matter. For these events occurred only a few months before the city surrendered to the Babylonians and the people went into exile. The author should have had knowledge of, even from what he had personally witnessed or heard. [52]

3.2.11. If the lack of reference is not the result of a copyists error or an omission, it is preferable to explain it in terms of the historiographers aim. It is hard not to draw a parallel between the omission of a description of Jehoiakims burial and the authors inclination to depict him as a sinner who is justly punished by God, and to further connect these themes with Jeremiahs grim prophecy, according to which with the burial of an ass he shall be buried, dragged and dumped beyond the gates of Jerusalem (22:19, also cf. 36:30). This is the place where the author could emphasize the punishment of the sinful king. He could not describe it in his closing formula because insofar as he knew the details of the burial, it simply was not so. However, omitting a description of the burial from the formulaic ending leaves a gaping vacuum in the description, which the readers could not ignore or avoid connecting with the words of Jeremiah. Furthermore, it would seem that from the authors viewpoint he could not have acted differently, for if he had described Jehoiakims burial and thus contradicted Jeremiahs curse, he would also have had to explain why the prophecy was not fulfilled.

4. The Sources for the Reference to Jehoiakims Exile (2 Chr 36:6) and to his Burial in the garden of Uzza (LXX version of 2 Chr 36:8).

4.1. According to the description in 2 Chr 36:6-7, Nebuchadrezzar exiled Jehoiakim. The text states: [Nebuchadnezzar] bound him in fetters to carry him to Babylon. And Nebuchadrezzar carried some of the vessels of the house of the LORD to Babylon. [53] Various scholars have claimed that this account provides reliable historical information that supplements the information in 2 Kings 24. [54] They found such corroboration for their position in Dan. 1:1-2. The text there states: In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadrezzar came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And Yahweh gave Jehoiakim the king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God

4.2. It seems, however, that the description in the book of Daniel relies on that in 2 Chronicles. Moreover, the date reported in Daniel does not correspond to the well-grounded historical reconstruction of the days of Jehoiakim. One may assume it was taken from 2 Kgs 24:1, and certainly it cannot be used as the basis for any historical reconstruction. [55]

4.3. The description in Chronicles is brief, slightly contradicting the information available from the other biblical sources. It should be treated as a secondary description that its only source is the account in Kings, and which designed to express historiographic and ideological aims that belong to a time much later than that of the events themselves. [56] Many scholars have noted that the Chronicler made extensive use of descriptions of the death and burial of kings and fashioned them to comply with his own worldview, and to serve as a testimony to direct divine retribution for the deeds of the kings. [57] Not only he wished to shape the description of the last kings of Judah to fit the basic principles of his doctrine of reward and punishment, but also wished to draw a parallel between the fate of Jehoiakim and that of Jehoahaz, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. [58] According to the picture he presented, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin were exiled from their land (2 Chr 36: 4; 6; 10). One should assume that in spite of the general description of the punishment of Zedekiah in collective terms (verses 17-20), his fate was well known to the Chronicler and to his readers. [59] Because of this, there is also no description of the death and burial of the last four kings of Judah. It seems that the Chronicler wished to leave the fate of the House of David as an open question. [60] According to his doctrine, as soon as these kings were exiled from their land, there is no longer any reason to be preoccupied with their fate. [61]

4.4. It is not clear what is the source of the tradition in the Luc. version on 2 Chronicles regarding the burial of the king in the garden of Uzza and of its reliability. Some scholars assigned great reliability to the tradition, particularly in view of the fact that it contradicts Jeremiahs prophecy. [62] However, it seems that it should be seen instead as the later addition by someone who was trying to create a correspondence between the description of Jehoiakims burial and Jeremiahs prophecy, according to which the king was given an ass burial outside of the walls of Jerusalem. [63] The additional comment in the Luc. version according to which Jehoiakim was buried with his fathers was written by someone who was trying to integrate the secondary tradition with the information stating that Manasseh (2 Kgs 21:18) and Amon (21:26) were buried in the garden of Uzza.

5. Summary

5.1. An attempt to synthesize all of the accounts of the death and burial of King Jehoiakim, together with the chronological manipulations regarding the date of his death, can serve as a basis for fascinating historical reconstruction. However, an independent investigation of every source, together with an evaluation of its time, the purpose for which it was written, and the level of historical reliability, are a precondition for any reconstruction, and at times can take the sting out of such reconstruction.

5.2. In the case of the death of Jehoiakim, it seems that the simplest and least speculative reconstruction of all that is the most likely and most appropriate for the complex of historical data that have been preserved. Insofar as the author of the description in the Book of Kings knew about events in Judah in the last years of the kingdom, the kings death was not attended by any unusual circumstances. He died after an eleven-year reign and was buried in Jerusalem, exactly on the eve of Nebuchadrezzars campaign, which was aimed at suppressing the revolt and destroying the city. His death saved the city from destruction and enabled the small kingdom an additional eleven years of rule.

5.3. Did secret events take place in the royal palace that were unknown to the residents of the city? Was Jehoiakims death the result of a sophisticated conspiracy whose perpetrators or circumstances were not revealed and not known to his contemporaries? This may be the case, but it is better to remember that there is no contemporary information of that kind, and later accounts of it are filling in the gaps and try to create harmony between the lacunae in the Book of Kings and the curses of the prophet Jeremiah as to the fate of the sinner king.

6. Bibliography
Ackroyd, P.R. 1967. History and Theology in the Writings of the Chronicler.Concordia Theological Monthly 38: 510-515.Ahlstrm, G.W. 1993. The History of Ancient Palestine from the Palaeolithic Period to Alexander`s Conquest. Sheffield.Albright, W.F. 1932. The Seal of Eliakim and the Latest Preexilic History of Judah. JBL 51: 77-106.Albright, W.F. 1942. King Joiachin in Exile. BA 5 (no. 4): 49-55.Alfrink, B. 1943. LExpression ākab 'im ābŏtāyw. Oudtestamentische Studin 2: 106-118.Barkay, G. 1977. On the Problem of the Burial Place of the Last Davidic Kings. apud: Broshi, M. (ed.). Between Hermon and Sinai Yad Le Amnon. Jerusalem: 75-92 (Hebrew).Barthlemy, D. 1982. Critique textuelle de lAncien Testament. Vol. I: Josu, Juges, Ruth, Samuel, Rois, Chroniques, Esdras, Nhmie, Esther (OBO/1). Fribourg.Baumgartner, W. 1926. Neues keilschriftliches Material zum Buche Daniel. ZAW 44: 51-55.Begg, C. 1987. The Fate of Judahs Four Last Kings in the Book of Chronicles. OLP 18: 79-85.Ben Zvi, E. 1991. A Historical-Critical Study of the Book of Zephaniah. Berlin and New York.Bright, J. 1959. A History of Israel. Philadelphia. (2nd ed. 1972).Bright, J. 1965. Jeremiah. New YorkBurney, C.F. 1903. The Book of Judges and Notes on the Hebrew Text of the Books of Kings. New-York.Carroll, R.P. 1986. Jeremiah. London. Clines, D.J.A. 1972. Regnal Year Reckoning in the Last Years of the Kingdom of Judah. AJBA 5: 29-32.Cogan, M. 1971. A Note on Disinternment in Jeremiah. Gratz College Anniversary Volume. Philadelphia: 29-34.Cogan, M. and Tadmor, H. 1988. II Kings. Doubleday.Cortese, E. 1990. Theories concerning Dtr: A Possible Rapprochement. apud: Brekelmans, C. and Lust, J. (eds.). Pentateuchal and Deuteronomistic Studies, Papers Read at the XIIIth IOSOT Congress, Leuven 1989. Leuven: 179-190.Cross, F. M. 1973. Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic. Cambridge. Curtis, E.L. and Madsen, A.L. 1910. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Books of Chronicles. Edinburgh.Dahhod, M. 1961. Two Textual Notes on Jeremiah. CBQ 23: 462-464.Delcor, M. 1971. Le livre de Daniel. Paris.Dietrich, W. 1972. Prophetie und Geschichte Eine Redaktionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung zum deuteronomistischen Geschichtswerk. Gttingen.Gray, J. 1964. I and II Kings. London.Grayson, A.K. 1975. Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles. Locust Valley.Green, A.R. 1982. The Fate of Jehoiakim. AUSS 20, no.2: 103-109.Halpern, B. and Vanderhooft, D.S. 1991. The Editions of Kings in the 7th-6th Centuries .B.C.E. HUCA 62: 179-244.Hillers, D.R. 1964. Treaty-Curses and the Old Testament Prophets. Rome.Holladay, W. L. 1989. Jeremiah II. Minneapolis.Horn, S.H. 1967. The Babylonian Chronicle and the Ancient Calendar of the Kingdom of Judah. AUSS 3: 12-27.Hyatt, J.P. 1956. New Light on Nebuchadrezzar and Judean History. JBL 75: 277-284.Japhet, S. 1977. The Ideology of the Book of Chronicles and its Place in Biblical Thought. Jerusalem.Japhet, S. 1993. I & II Chronicles, A Commentary. London.Joon, P. 1937. Un Parallle la Spulture dun ne de Jrmie (XXII, 19) en arabe moderne de Palmyre. Recherches de science religieuse 27: 335-336.Lipschits, O. 1997. The 'Yehud' Province under Babylonian Rule (586-539 B.C.E.): Historic Reality and Historiographic Conceptions. (Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation), Tel-Aviv. (Hebrew).Lipschits, O. 1999a. Nebuchadrezzars Policy in Hattu-Land and the Fate of the Kingdom of Judah. Ugarit-Forschungen 30: 467-487.Lipschits, O. 1999b.The Formation of the Babylonian Yehud Province. Proceedings of the Twelfth World Congress of Jewish Studies, Division A, The Bible and Its World. Jerusalem: 115-123 (Hebrew).Lipschits, O. 1999c.The History of the Benjaminite Region under Babylonian Rule. Tel-Aviv 26 (2): 155-190.Liver, Y. 1959. The History of the House of David. Jerusalem (Hebrew).Lowery, R.H. 1991. The Reforming Kings. Cult and Society in First Temple Judah. Sheffield.Malamat, A. 1950. The Last Wars of the Kingdom of Judah. JNES 9: 218-227.Malamat, A. 1968. The Last Kings of Judah and the Fall of Jerusalem: An Historical-Chronological Study. IEJ 18: 137-156.Malamat, A. 1990. The Kingdom of Judah Between Egypt and Babylon. Studia Theologica 44: 65-77.McKane, W. 1986. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Jeremiah. Edinburgh.McKenzie, S. L. 1984. The Chronicler's Use of the Deuteronomistic History. Atlanta.McKenzie, S. L. 1991. The Trouble With Kings The Composition of the Book of Kings in the Deuteronomistic History. Leiden.Mercer, M.K. 1989. Daniel 1:1 and Jehoiakims Three Years of Servitude. AUSS 27: 179-192.Miller, J.M. and Hayes, J.H. 1986. A History of Ancient Israel and Judah. Philadelphia.

A rather extraordinary list of bibliography to refer to on the subject. Don't you think so?


graeylin rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

paraclete asked on 10/16/03 - Fulfilled prophesies?

Greylin You asked what prophesies were fulfilled

ISA 11: 12 He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.

Fulfilled with the return of the Jews to Israel.

ISA 25:3 Therefore strong peoples will honor you; cities of ruthless nations will revere

Fulfilled today in the position the Stae of Israel holds among the nations.

ISA 43:9 All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble. Which of them foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, "It is true."

Fulfilled in the creation and continuation of the United Nations.

ISA 8:9 Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered! Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Prepare for battle, and be shattered!

Fulfilled in the defeat of each nation that has attacked Israel.

ISA 17:12 Oh, the raging of many nations-- they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples-- they roar like the roaring of great waters!

Fulfilled in the many voices who are raised up against Israel among Muslim nations.

curious98 answered on 10/17/03:

ISA 11: 12

To a certain extent only, not because we are speaking of 4000 years later, but because nobody can tell for sure what is going to happen in Israel.
Besides, Isaiah was most probably thinking of the return of the Jews to Israel from Babylonia

ISA 25:3 Therefore strong peoples will honor you;
For you truly believe what you say? cities of ruthless nations will revere you.
I remember a city of ruthless nations, Berlin, in Hitlers Germany, not too long, and hoe did they revere the Jews

ISA 43:9 All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble. Which of them foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, "It is true."

Sorry, but since they were created they have turned out to be a great fiasco, maybe with one single exception. And certainly the most powerful country nowadays, the USA, pays absolutely no attention to them as it have been recently proved on occasion of the Iraq war

ISA 8:9 Raise the war cry, you nations, and be shattered! Listen, all you distant lands. Prepare for battle, and be shattered! Prepare for battle, and be shattered!

As I said, I hope you are right. History is still been written

ISA 17:12 Oh, the raging of many nations-- they rage like the raging sea! Oh, the uproar of the peoples-- they roar like the roaring of great waters!


This prophecy has been fulfilled many times. For instance, when 6 million Jews were killed by Hitler and Stalin
You should read a book by the name of The errand Jew, by French writer Eugene Sue, a saga of a Russian Jewish family stretching along 2000 years
But above all, I would like to emphasize, if you dont mind, that Old Testament prophecies and many scholars and exegetes agree on that were not intended to be projected to our times.
The reason, if that would be so, Isa: 11. 12
Would not have been fulfilled only 70 years ago, nor all the others, and people them might have rightly said Isaiahs prophecies were full of air
How have we have to interpret them now, and not then, or 50 years from now?
Those prophecies were basically, and most probably, meant for their contemporanies not for us, people projected in the future 40 centuries.


paraclete rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

paraclete asked on 10/16/03 - The rhetoric of a meglomaniac?

The Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad yesterday called on the world's 1.3 billion Muslims to unite against "a few million" Jews, whom he alleged ruled the world by controlling the strongest nations,

Mahathir Mohamad was speaking at the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Putrajaya.

Dr Mahathir, who is chairing the biggest summit of Islamic leaders in three years, urged Muslims to ignore teachings by religious fundamentalists that scientific studies were somehow un-Islamic.

"We need guns and rockets, bombs and warplanes, tanks and warships for our defence," Dr Mahathir told leaders from 57 nations gathered for a two-day summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia's new capital.

"But because we are discouraged from learning of science and mathematics . . . we have no capacity to produce our weapons for our defence," he said.

He launched a blistering attack on what he described as Jewish domination of the world and Muslim nations' inability to adequately respond to it.

"The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule the world by proxy," he said. "They get others to fight and die for them.

"We are up against a people who think. They survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back but by thinking," he said.

"They invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so that they can enjoy equal rights with others.

"With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power."

Dr Mahathir said that .3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. There must be a way".

He suggested new tactics other than lashing out violently against "the enemy", including leveraging the political, economic and demographic forces at the disposal of Muslim nations, calling for a "strategic retreat" and reassessment that would lead to "final victory".

For Dr Mahathir, a senior statesmen in the developing world who has turned his country into the world's 17th-ranked trading nation, the summit marks one of the last opportunities to take the podium on the world stage before retiring on October 31 after 22 years in power.

US Ambassador to Malaysia Marie Huhtala declined to comment on the speech.

Washington was angered over a speech he made in February, as host of the Non-Aligned Movement of 117 countries, in which he described the looming war against Iraq as racist.

Mohammed al-Farra, a Palestinian delegate, said he supported Dr Mahathir's analysis.

"If we are weak, nobody will respect us," he said. "In this world, the Israelis only respect the strong, so we have to unite to be respected by the other side."

The summit, held every three years, is the first since the September 11 terror attacks reshaped global politics and comes at a time when many Muslims - even US allies - feel the war on terrorism has become a war against them.

AP "

What I find suprising about this is that he is calling on Muslims to unite against jews. I wonder what he thinks they have been doing for the last fifty years, sitting on their hands? has he stopped to think that God might not want his people defeated? Has he read in the Old Testament the penalty for opposing God's people?

curious98 answered on 10/17/03:

What all this mean is that while there are guys like this Malaysian Primer Minister on one side and the USA General of your previous post, we are heading for an immense amount of trouble.

And we are falling back to the Middle Ages but with highly sofisticated weapons...


paraclete rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

paraclete asked on 10/16/03 - On a mission for God?

Is this man truely on a mission for God or has the war on terrorism taken on the lunatic fringe?

"By Richard T. Cooper
October 17, 2003

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The Pentagon has given the job of hunting down and eliminating Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and other high-profile targets to a general who believes he is on a mission from God.

Lieutenant-General William "Jerry" Boykin, the new deputy under secretary of defence for intelligence, has made it clear that he sees the war on terrorism as a clash between Judeo-Christian values and Satan.

The much-decorated veteran of covert military operations also believes that radical Muslims who resort to terror are not representative of Islam and compares them to Ku Klux Klan members.

In June, General Boykin told a religious group in Oregon that radical Islamists hated the US "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian . . . and the enemy is a guy named Satan".

Of his role in the battle against a Muslim warlord in Somalia, he told another audience: "I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol."

Last year, he said: "We in the army of God, in the house of God, kingdom of God, have been raised for such a time as this." He has also said of President George Bush: "He's in the White House because God put him there."

But General Boykin's penchant for casting the war on terrorism in religious terms appears to be at odds with an Administration that insists it is nothing of the sort.

Mr Bush has made a point of praising Islam as "a religion of peace" and has hosted Muslim clerics for Ramadan dinners at the White House. He has also criticised evangelicals who brand Islam a dangerous faith.

Independent experts see General Boykin's remarks as sending exactly the wrong message to the Arab and Islamic world.

Stephen Cohen, president of the Institute for Middle East Peace and Development in New York, said: "The phrase 'Judeo-Christian' is a big mistake. It's basically the language of bin Laden and his supporters.

"They are constantly trying to create the impression that the Jews and Christians are getting together to beat up on Islam. We have to be very careful that this doesn't become a clash between religions, a clash of civilisations."

A pollster, John Zogby, said surveys throughout the Arab and Islamic world had shown strong negative reactions to statements by US officials suggesting conflict between religions or cultures.

"To frame things in terms of good and evil, with the United States as good, is a non-starter," he said. "It is exactly the wrong thing to do." "

curious98 answered on 10/17/03:

That this General is saying what he is saying and that hes been appointed by Bush as the official hunter of all big terrorists, just show where the USA are heading to, should Mr. Bush be re-elected for another term.

In the first place, with all due respect, this general is nuts. Anybody actually believing he is on a godly mission to kill satanic evil forces, is out of his mind and should visit quickly a psychiatrist. He is, in fact, proclaiming a Christian Jihad against Islam, no matter what he says, which is exactly what we resent some bigot Muslims preach in their mosques, against Christians.
How can anyone say in the 21st century, that GOD has appointed him to destroy other people, even if they were celebrating satanic rites every day, which is not, of course, the case?

Satanic rites are celebrated, perhaps, in some big western city by some western sect

This general probably believes himself to be a reincarnation of Richard Coeur-de-Lion to the rescue of Christians in Jerusalem, in the 12 century...

As I assume this fellow to be a Christian, may be someone should give him a copy of the Gospels and remind him that Jesus gave his life for all of us, while preaching Love thy neighbour as you love yourself."

If he compares radical Muslims with the KKK, maybe he should look inside him and decide in all honesty whether he cannot be compared too to them.
For, Im sure, he considers himself as an special envoy to protect the Pure White Race from Satan, represented by all minor races or, better, breeds.


Such an amount of conceit is terribly dangerous for any Country, and Im afraid the USA are going to suffer terribly if they do not find someone soon with enough common sense to get rid of these perilous elements.

Remember what I told you in my previous answer about Malaysian Prime Minister. We are giving him arguments to speak as he does

In fact, you being an Australian, must be well aware of your Authorities policy against Australians aborigines, so similar to that of North Americans against Indians


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paraclete asked on 10/16/03 - Its not the Muslims its the europeans and the jews?

That's what Malaysian leader,Dr. Mahathir Mohemed intimated as he spoke to an assembly of Muslim leaders. The muslims have achieved nothing in their 50 year struggle in Palistine but what is needed is more guns, more violence. The europeans are controlled by the jews.

Is it any wonder we have radical Muslims at war with the west. With friends like this who needs enemies.

Australians, and their European brethren, are a greedy, war-mongering mob who promote free sex and sodomy, are indifferent to incest and want to conquer the world.

So said a teary Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday as he opened the last general assembly of his United Malays National Organisation in Kuala Lumpur before he retires in October, speaking with a venom undiminished by his 22 years as Malaysian Prime Minister.

"I am not anti-European. I have many friends and acquaintances who are Europeans. Certainly their media will condemn me as a racist but I consider exposing who the Europeans are has become so important that the risk must be taken," the 77-year-old leader declared, before launching into a career-best diatribe against the West.

He said Europeans, including "those who migrated and set up new nations in America, Australia and New Zealand", wanted "to control the world again".

The Europeans were determined to impose a global culture that included unlimited freedoms and "the practice of free sex, including sodomy, as a right", he said.

"Marriage between male and male, female and female are officially recognised by them. What we regard as incest is not regarded as serious by them.

"The culture and the values which they will force us to accept will be hedonism, unlimited quest for pleasure, the satisfaction of base desires, particularly sexual desires. Our way of life must be the same as their way of life. Asian values do not exist to them."

Dr Mahathir broke down briefly as he thanked the 2200 party delegates for their support over the years. But the tears were restrained compared with his closing speech to the UMNO general assembly last year when he announced his resignation - only to retract it a few hours later.

"They (Europeans) are very clever, brave and have an insatiable curiosity . . . unfortunately they are also very greedy and like to take forcibly the territories and rights of other people," he said.

Referring to the US-led invasion of Iraq, Dr Mahathir said: "They have demonstrated they are ready to invent false allegations in order to go to war to kill children, old people, sick people." The war against terrorism since the attacks of September 11, 2001 was "an excuse for the Anglo-Saxon Europeans to return to their old violent ways".

"Their strategy to fight terrorism is through attacking Muslim countries and Muslims, whether they are guilty or not."

So these days, being anti semetic, anti european and anti just about everyoneelse isnt racist.

curious98 answered on 10/17/03:

Dear Paraclete,
I dont think you should be surprised at what the Malaysian leader, Dr. Mahathir Mohemed told his colleagues and Muslim leaders.
Thats to-days normal way of talking for radical and fanatic Muslims

However, we should not ignore we, awful Europeans have been giving to them plenty of reasons to justify their speech.

Lets try to analyse the fundament of what he is saying.

While neither Europeans, nor USA citizens, and certainly nor Australians, are dominated by Judaism, it is undeniable that in the USA there is a strong Jewish lobby, that is influential at Government levels, not because Jews are more liked in the USA than in any other European country but just because they count a lot more when elections are close. Other than that, I think Jews in general are less liked in the USA than in Europe.

Australians, and their European brethren, are a greedy, war-mongering mob who promote free sex and sodomy, are indifferent to incest and want to conquer the world.

I think Australia is mentioned just because its closeness to Malaysia. It is Europe that still smarts, for until not long ago, and with the only exception of Thailand, all Asian South East Countries were colonies dominated by the U.K., Holland, France

And greedy they were indeed, like all settlers have always been and still are.

As for morality, you must admit that it is going downwards at full speed in all our wonderful western World

When I look backwards 50 years ago, I must say we were, perhaps, too much on the prude, Victorian side. But we have made a gigantic leap forward, in my opinion, for the worse.

Not only, but we have also brought to those countries some of our customs. You are probably aware that in London and/or in Madrid (and perhaps, in Paris or Rome too) you can book an organized tourist vacation trip to Bangkok, (also to Cuba, btw), with everything included, even 100% guaranteed clean prostitutes, which you can pick from photographs

Of course, it must be said that Dr Mahathir Mohammad is no saint. Mahathir was never a despot in the way Mao or Sukarno were, but he was a despot anyway. Also their present prosperity has been achieved thanks to Europe and the USA, but thats not the kind of speech his friends expect from him.

When he says that Europeans, including "those who migrated and set up new nations in America, Australia and New Zealand", wanted "to control the world again", he is making a mistake, in my opinion, maybe, because he does not dare refer to the one Government that is indeed trying to control, if not the whole World, a big piece of the pie. Im, of course, referring to Mr. Bush and Co., who cannot hide his (and his teams) worldwide ambitions.

Europe, right now, has no country or power to shadow the US power in that respect. Australia and New Zealand do not count either. And for China is to early, as yet
Their time will come, eventually, though I hope I wont be here to see it.

So, Im afraid here, Dr. Mahathir made a mistake, willingly or unwillingly.

"Marriage between male and male, female and female are officially recognised by them. What we regard as incest is not regarded as serious by them.

Not by everybody, but he is right. Well, Im going to make no comments about that. Im Dr. Mahathirs same age and, maybe because of that, while I respect everybody has a right to choose the kind of sexual life he/she wants to have, I, personally, do not swallow this mentality. But that its my problem.

But I can understand how Orthodox Muslims feel about these modern laws of ours. Catholic Church also feels the same. And, I'm sure most Protestant denominations. , Homosexuality has always existed and Muslims (as Christians and all the rest) have always practiced it. But, at least, it was not aired all over the placed

"The culture and the values which they will force us to accept will be hedonism, unlimited quest for pleasure, the satisfaction of base desires, particularly sexual desires. Our way of life must be the same as their way of life. Asian values do not exist to them."

You should admit that this culture he denounces is the culture we, in the Western World, have been exporting to Asia, through TV, Movies, music, etc. If you would see a Japanese disco in Tokyo, you would understand what I mean.

"They (Europeans) are very clever, brave and have an insatiable curiosity . . . unfortunately they are also very greedy and like to take forcibly the territories and rights of other people," he said.

Well, we have been doing that for ages. We are no longer doing it now, but basically, because we cannot. It is undeniable, that we Europeans (and North Americans, too, because of their European ancestry) consider ourselves superior in many ways to the other peoples of the World. We do not wish to acknowledge this, but it is a fact.
Actually, British, French, Spanish have felt like that for ages, and the very last instance was Hitler.

Referring to the US-led invasion of Iraq, Dr Mahathir said: "They have demonstrated they are ready to invent false allegations in order to go to war to kill children, old people, sick people." The war against terrorism since the attacks of September 11, 2001 was "an excuse for the Anglo-Saxon Europeans to return to their old violent ways".

He is got a point there. At least, the massive destruction arms have not appeared anywhere. Which does not mean, Saddam Hussein should not be destroyed. Which does not mean, either, the USA and British forces should not have left Iraq, by now

"Their strategy to fight terrorism is through attacking Muslim countries and Muslims, whether they are guilty or not."

Well, whether we like it or not, this is absolutely true, and the results could not be more disappointing. Osaka Bin Laden is still at large, while his rich family have mutual interests with the Bush Sr. family.
Saddam Hussein contacts with Al Quad have turned out to nothing, etc. etc.

So, while Dr. Mahathir is speaking out of spite, we should be thinking of how can we, Western Civilized Super People, try to find solutions to make all the others who are not like us, change their minds about us.


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graeylin asked on 10/15/03 - Half empty or half full?

A couple of posters have mentioned the "downfall of mankind" in recent answers, and we hear it in the media all the time (the world is going to hell in a handbasket, we aren't safe anymore, we have lost God, etc.).

But, have we really? Doomsayers have been around since the first man could speak, probably. Nostradamus predicted the end of Civilization almost a thousand years ago, and he was wrong. Revelations predicted the return of Christ in the lifetime of it's readers, and that hasn't happened. Different cults have predicted the collapse of civilization in the 1600's, 1800's, 1900's, and the biggie, Y2K. Yet, not one of them occured.

Am I the only optimist left?

Crime is down in the US.
Europe has formed closer alliances than ever in the EU, and looks to add more.
There is less hunger in the world now than ever (it's still horrible, of course, but historically speaking, less than ever before).
There is more wealth, less poverty across the world than ever.
THere is better education opportunities than ever.
THere is more democracy across the globe than ever.
Many major diseases have been conquered, some almost wiped off the face of the earth.
Medical techniques allow us to live longer, and in many cases, live better (note, longer is not necessarily better).

Sure, there are things that scare me: Government intrusion into my life, the rise (again) of terrorism as a political tool, the lack of equal resources across the globe, the apathy of mankind to certain sufferings, etc..

Do you think we are at the end of the world, or in a Golden Age?

curious98 answered on 10/16/03:

No, you are not the only optimist left. At least, you can count on me, too.
Do not pay much attention to old prophecies, nor to doomsayers. These are the ones that like to see the glass half empty
But, by the same token, lets be realistic and not see the glass ALMOST FULL, when its only half full
With all due respect, Im afraid, Ill have to contradict you on some statements regarding how we have, in your opinion, improved. It so happens that, because the US press and news are basically concerned with what is going on in the USA, their projections on Foreign Matters tend to be quite simplistic. Yet, there are quite a few USA journalists and writers that describe world problems and themes as they are. What happens, is that they edit their articles in foreign medias!
Another point to consider is that, in spite of the tremendous worldwide diffusion of Internet, a considerable amount of US citizens keep on believing what their Government says, disregarding any analysis nor what the REST of the world has to say, on the same subject.
Anyway, lets go step by step:
Maybe this is true in the USA. This is not unfortunately true in the rest of the world. Crime and justice are global concerns requiring concerted international action. From tracking online paedophiles to the murky world of drug trafficking, police forces around the world are uniting to stem the increasing tide of crime. This was just the title of a global crime report emitted by the BBC some time this Summer. A "snapshot" of crime recently showed that in England and Wales only more than 16,500 crimes are reported each day - one every five seconds!
In contrast, more than 5,400 people were arrested each day - that's one every 15 seconds.
Domestic violence has increased terribly in Spain in the 5 last years. Right now, every day at least one woman is abused or killed by her couple!

Again, I must contradict you here.
In fact, this is exactly the opposite. What surprises me is that even the US press agrees on that, so you should know.
The Iraq war and Bushs attitude, together with that of his unconditional allies Blair and Aznar has opened a gap wider than ever between Europe and the USA, and within Europe itself, that right now, everybody on both sides, is trying to close. Bush, because his decreasing popularity at domestic level as a consequence of the tremendous cost of the Iraqi war (both in lives and economically) is forcing him to look back once more at the UN, seeking European support (both in troops and economically), trying to alleviate this expense. But, alas, neither France, nor Germany nor Russia (each one with their own selfish attitudes and facing their own problems) are willing to abide, without the USA abiding too. to some of their demands, re. control in Iraq, role of the United Nations, reconstruction, etc.
Hopefully, good sense on both sides will finally prevail and Europe and the USA will get together once more, though Im afraid this will not be so at popular level. To tell you the truth, never has anti-Americanism been so strong in Europe as of from the Iraq war. In certain countries, like Great Britain and Spain, it is so strong it can cost their political future to Mr. Blairs and to Mr. Aznars political parties, in the coming elections.
These anti-American campaigns have and are promoted by France (Mr. Chirac) and by the European Socialists parties.
Of course, there are also millions in Europe who do not buy these policies at all. But, so far, we are not as noisy as the others
I wish I could say you are right, but you are certainly not. According to the last FAO report, recently appeared, in 1999 their estimate of persons that were permanently suffering hunger and famine was of 815 million approximately. In year 2000, this figure has increased to 840, i.e. more than 1,5% annual increase, and trends show this ratio will probably increase to 2% to 3% growth, annually!!!
The reasons given by the FAO for this spectacular increase are that war against terrorism is concentrating every year a biggest amount of resources from the world budgets, provoking, thus, a decrease of funds that were intended for the international fight against world famine. You are, of course, aware that the new USA budget for armament is bigger than that all the REST OF THE WORLD TOGETHER
Another instance, the European Commission Office for Humanitarian Help (ECOHP) has deviated this year 110 million dollars from its total budget of 450 million for world welfare, to the Iraqi crisis. Do not ask me why and how But the actual fact, is that they have!
Last but nor least, in the last famines that happened in the last few years in Sub-Saharan African countries, it has been found that the managing of funds sent to somewhat palliate these situations, was anything but transparent. It seems that some of their respective Administrations have hurried to place substantial amounts of those funds, in private bank accounts in Switzerland. An estimate of 4.000 million dollars seems to be quite moderate.
Bearing all this in mind, the FAO adds that their forecast made in the early 90s to reduce world famine down to 400 million by year 2015, and considering the increase of world population up to some 8000 millions by year 2050, theyll have to review their figures and forecast some 2000 millions, instead!!!, those who might by dying of hunger by year 2050, i.e. of total human population. Right now is about 14/15%
I honestly do not know, my dear friend, where on earth do you get these figures from. I wish you could tell me.
If you are simply talking of increase in World Gross Product, you may be probably right. But that only means that a bunch of millionaires are richer than ever before. One has to be careful with statistics.
I had a chance to go to Russia (when it was still the URSS, under Gorbachov)
and there was a joke going around in Moscow.
If you have 2 chickens and 2 persons, that means you can statistically prove there is a 50% for each one. However, this statistic ignores the fact that 1 of the 2 persons, has both chickens and is not prepared to give anything to the other one
The great success of the new liberal policies has made that globalisation as denounced time and again in massive concentrations like that of Porto Alegre concentrates more wealth than ever before in the hands of fewer than ever before. To the extent, that some of these huge corporations are the true rulers in many countries. Probably, the USA included. And Im not referring to the famous Trilateral commission, which, of course, it is still there and surely having a say or two in the course of affairs. Im referring, for instance, to other gigantic organizations in the world of communications, armament, planes, aerospace, etc.
May be it would enlighten you better than anything I can say to read a book (The New Masters of the World) by a Jean Ziegler, a Swiss, working as a special commissioned in the U.N.
Also the famous philologist at the MIT in Boston, Noam Chomsky, has said a lot about this same subject, and about the increasing poverty all over the world. Of course, you have to tour the world a little.
5 years ago, I took a holiday with my wife to the isle of Santo Domingo, in the Caribbean. While there, we checked out the possibilities to visit Haiti, which shares half of the island. We were very rapidly advised to forget about it. Life is worth nothing in the poorest country in the World. And it is less than 2000 miles from the USA.
How many million Mexican illegal immigrants try to enter your country every year, with more or less fortune.
Spain is the closest gate for illegal immigration to Europe through the Strait of Gibraltar. Moroccans and Sub-Saharians try to cross its dangerous waters every day in the most fragile rowboats you can imagine. Many die drowned in the crossing, mostly pregnant women and children! Last week, all records were broken! In one single day, 602 persons!, were arrested and, eventually, returned to Morocco by our police. And that is only the figure accounted for, by the police. We do not know those who managed to get in, nor those who didnt make it at all
NGOs say exactly the opposite. And you do not have to go to Africa nor Asia for that. In Latin America, just pay a short visit to Colombia, Bolivia (in this very moment they have a project of revolution going on), Peru, Argentina, and most than all Brazil (particularly Rio or Sao Paulo).
In each one of these 2 cities, full of favelasin the surrounding hills, every night special police corps are supposed to arrest the so called menhinos da rua (street children), who live in the slums by the thousands. But, there are so many, that it has been denounced to the Authorities (who claim they can do nothing about it) that these police corps instead of burdening themselves by arresting these kids, they simply shoot them to death and leave them there!
Of course, in other places like in black Africa or in Afghanistan, Iraq or Palestine, children, as young as 9 years, are trained as soldiers so they can fight and kill
No, Im not convinced there better educational opportunities than ever

You must be really kidding here! Would you mind telling me how many NEW TRUE democratic countries have appeared in the map?. And please, do not count the former URSS republics. I wish to remind you that using the word Democracy in the name of any state does not qualifies it as democratic. The Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR) was certainly not a democratic country. The Popular Democratic Republic of China, is certainly not a democracy, at all.
Spain, under General Franco (a lesser dictator than Mussolini, but a dictator anyway) established a so called Organic Democracy!?? (whatever that means) in our country. And I could go on and on
Yes, thanks God, but others have come back (Tuberculosis, for one) and others have settled down quite enthusiastically, like AIDS. (REFERRING ONLY TO South Africa, which certainly is the most prosperous and civilized country of Africa) the OMS (Health World Organization, depending from the UN.) says:
the number of AIDS deaths can be expected to grow, within the next 10 years, to more than double the number of deaths due to other causes, resulting in 5 to 7 million cumulative AIDS deaths in South Africa by 2010!
One of the main reasons for the estimated 40 million deaths in black Africa by year 2010, is the fact pharmaceutical multinationals do not want to reduce the price of the drugs against AIDS, making them thus prohibitive for all those populations!
That is something, Im going to endorse, myself.
Im now 77, have come out of one prostate cancer with flying colours, and of 2 eye surgical operation, and still am full of sense of humour and planning my next trip with my wife So what else can I ask for, thanks GOD?

So, in short, I still think the glass is half full, in spite of all I told you; that we are not at the end of the world, but this is not either a Golden Age, or at least, it is not for a majority of inhabitants of this planet. A few fortunate ones, like you and me, may think it is a Golden Age, and indeed it is, but lets not forget we are just a minority, and lets open our eyes to what is really going on in this world of ours outside of the USA!
Best regards

graeylin rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

bal317 asked on 10/14/03 - Found more on Bush's Family and Geronimo

I want to Thank all that responded to my question about Pres. Bush. However, pertaining to my second question about the skull of Geronimo, I did some investigating myself and would like to share.
Please view the following sites:
Please click on the highlighted areas in the above site to gain more info.

I just find this very interesting and so in tune to how our President is going at his business of today with those out of our Country, but will allow so many problems similar like the Cult in Colorado, KKK, Skin Heads,and many more racial groups that destroy other's to remain to operate, hold parades and continue in our so-called civilized world. Could it be he like the many that were a part of his sick demented high society people are and continue to enjoy humans against humans in such a way.

curious98 answered on 10/14/03:

Very interesting, indeed.

And, should it be true, that would not surprise me a bit, and would explain that strange look Mr. Bush has in his eyes...

It's probably something in his genes...

I only hope, for the sake of having some peace in this world of ours, that he will lose the next election to someone with more common sense.


bal317 rated this answer Excellent or Above Average Answer

dognap asked on 10/14/03 - A nation under God?

The US Supreme Court will discuss whether the pledge of allegiance is unconstitutional because of its reference to God.

Whatever anyone might hope, wish, pray for, etc., is the US really a nation "under God" or has the nation abandoned God as its anchor?

What do you think?

No foul language in your replies, please.

curious98 answered on 10/14/03:

My answer may be a little disappointing for some. I would like to believe that despite Mr. Bush, of your Constitution, or whatever, the USA are, and hopefully will always be, a nation under GOD, as much as any other nation in the World.
Im not prepared to admit that neither the USA nor any other country have GODs exclusive rights, as Im not prepared to admit that when the States defeated Spain in 1898 by conquering Cuba and the Philippines, they had GOD by their side, for that would have implied that GOD had suddenly become Protestant and had renounced all other Christian confessions. Just for the record, in those days Spain was officially Catholic, while the USA was not officially of any Christian confession.
On the other hand, when the USA lose the Vietnam war, we might say that GOD was on the Viets side. Now, bearing in mind that most of them are Buddhists, it would imply GOD had adopted that philosophy to punish Christians. Not that we do not deserve some serious punishment once more!
I think whether the States remain under GOD or not, does not have anything to do with any Legal Papers, Constitutions, Laws or else
Fortunately, GOD is way beyond all these silly bureaucracy which, most of the time, is not working as it should
Remaining under GOD only depends upon us, wherever we may live, and if live by GODs rules and regulations, we can be quite certain we are under GOD, and sooner or later we shall benefit of that protection, whether in this World or somewhere else
Best regards

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bal317 asked on 10/14/03 - Pres. Bush

Has it ever been said, What religion Busch's family is?
The reason I ask, sometime ago I seen on tv, where the Bush males went to a particular College, and also they were all involved with a certain College fraternity, when they were there. It appeared that one of the rituals to join that fraternity, was to hold secret meetings, gowned in some type of gown, and these young men had to prove their commitment to the fraternity, by digging up the remains of a celeberty bodies and taking the skull back for evidence. Then the tv program said, the Bush family had the head of Jerommino the head of the Indian's past, and tried to return it to the tribe, but the tribe refused them, saying they had invaded a sacret burial ground and would not accept. Does anyone know of this fact.

curious98 answered on 10/14/03:

President Bush was raised an Episcopalian but became a Methodist when he got married and joined the church of his wife, Laura. He spoke of his beliefs often during the campaign and said at his inauguration, "We are guided by a power larger than ourselves who creates us equal in his image."

Bush isn't reluctant to describe his active faith. "I pray all the time," he said in the Fox News interview. "When I am alone in the Oval Office (and) something might be on my mind ... I will pray. I don't think that I could be sitting here as comfortable as I am and as peaceful as I am had it not been for my religion."

This said, while it may be true that he is such a religious person, he is certainly not a humble and discreet believer.
What is even worse. He may pray every day, but the question is, what is he asking in his prayers? Because, he gives to the outside world the impression he has a red phone with God, who, with His answers guides and controls Bushs foreign policy.

But, if this is so, Bush may be ringing the wrong number. For his God, like mine, and yours (for It is the same one) is a GOD of peace and love, and Bushs words give the impression of being rather of war and hate!

I may be wrong, of course.


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bal317 asked on 10/12/03 - Religion in Schools???

Hello All: With so many different opinions about religions. Can anyone tell my why, it would be so bad for classes about history's of religion to be taught in the Schools. Then maybe with this teaching it would help many understand what they want to get into with a clearer understanding, than if one would settle for a certain type of religion and feeling trapped. And would this not help other's respect different religions and cultures better, possibly help those who don't have a religious background because their family don't go to Church, see there is no fear to believe in a spirital provider. But this class would not be a one sided deal, just a cross reference of all religions, leaving the person with base information, so they could choose more wisely on their own.

curious98 answered on 10/12/03:

As Im not a USA citizen I cant and will not judge your question from the point of view of your Constitutional rights.
Ill rather do it as a citizen of the world, who happens to follow the Roman Catholic Faith, in Spain.
In my opinion, all seriously practiced religions (here, I would exclude all sects) have the same right to be taught as an additional discipline, very much in the same way as Universal History is being taught. That means teaching Comparative Religion in a totally objective way. I mean without the teacher endorsing this or that confession or favouring this or that faith.
If the teacher happens to be Catholic, he has no right whatsoever to say, when referring to Catholicism, that this is the only true religion, although he may add immediately he respects all others. Because, then, he will not be able to complaint if his son has another teacher who may be Episcopalian, and who claims the very same thing.
Children normally grow up in the religion of their parents and when they become adults, if they have a minimum knowledge of what the other religions are like, they will be able to opt for whichever they consider the best and get all the information they want about it.
This is what the British call Fair Play.
Im convinced that Catholicism, when properly practiced, is the right answer for Mankind. But I cant ignore this is my own personal point of view, so whenever I discuss religion with a Jew, a Muslim, a Protestant, I always leave open the possibility they may be right and I wrong.
I try always not to behave like those bigots that are not prepared to admit any error in their Faiths, and instead, they are fully convinced the rest of world will burn in the flames of damnation!
So teaching comparative religion is a good thing provided is done impartially. One of my grand sons is now attending in his school one class of comparative religion and he is delighted. The school is run by Jesuits, but the professor in charge is a lay man and, apparently, he is right now in the process of denouncing the many absurdities of Christianism in the Middle Age, when, ignoring Jesus message of love thy neighbour, they were happily killing each other on the grounds this one was proclaiming a heresy or the other was a Jew or a Muslim!
I say this is to be teaching history of religions by having no fear to explain the white from the black, for all religions and beliefs have their white and their black points and moments, and knowing them will allow all of us to become more understanding and eventually able to live in peace with one another.
If you look at it dispassionately you will see that all the conflicts that are going on right now (not to speak of the past) in the world use religion, one way or other, to make people fight against each other and so, disguise the true motifs for the conflict, which normally are always economic.

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paraclete asked on 10/12/03 - Healing in His Wings II

For Hank, perhaps I should have given you this part first.

Let me tell you what He has done for me, and how I came to put my faith in Him for healing.

During my life, I have suffered some chronic conditions, but this was when I was in the world. Not knowing Christ, I was an alcoholic, I was subject the all the illnesses which life could throw at me. Stress was a frequent visitor. In fact, my wife used to say I was a hypochondriac, because I was always complaining about headaches, etc. Self inflicted injury, most of it. What I needed was an adjustment by my maker. Why did I need that adjustment? Because my life was full of the rejections, and traumas of childhood. Until such things are dealt with, the physical outworking will show up as stress, and disease.

In the aftermath of a 1975 bushfire on the outskirts of Sydney, I lived for months surrounded by a blackened landscape in which many of the trees had been killed. During this time, I contracted a chronic illness which would not yield to antibiotics. It had shown up as tonsillitis immediately before the bushfire. It would leave for a time, but would be back in a week, or so. This went on for about nine months. During this time, the traumas of my childhood began to surface.

You see, as a teenager I had been witness to the breakdown in relationship between my parents. This volatile relationship had given rise to incredible violence. I has seen my mother attempt to stab my father with a carving knife, and his violent response, with the result that the walls were covered in blood.
As I wasnt a Christian, I had no spiritual input, and no way of dealing with them. If I displayed the distress which these things caused me, it was seen as weakness by my wife. I dealt with it by suppressing it, and accepting the psychological crutch, Tryptanol, from my doctor. The medical cure, when it came was simple, gargle with a mouthwash. The spiritual cure took years, as I descended over the next few years further into alcoholism, gravitating into a job where my principles would be fully tested.

When I came to Christ, things changed. Firstly; the alcoholism went immediately. Now I wasnt your down and out drunk, but I did drink every day. Like many today, I used it to relax, and doctors will tell you that thats alcoholism. Its a dependency. I wouldnt admit it to myself. In earlier years though, I had been much worse, sometimes unable to remember the last few hours. Secondly; I was led towards divine healing.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John Chapter 8 Verse 36 NIV

The alcoholism left when I gave my life to Christ. It didnt need a twelve step programme, it just stopped, and I was free. You see, the Lord delivered me of the condition which needed healing most, the one which would restrict my relationship with Him. The one which could be considered idolatrous. Make no mistake, when you put your faith in something other than God, it is idolatry, no matter how innocuous it seems.

I had a bad back, the results of my childhood condition, and of heavy work wood cutting on a country property, for you see I had settled for that trap, the country lifestyle. As a child I had been crippled, and had worn callipers on my legs as a toddler. I went to a chiropractor, he manipulated me for a few sessions, decided that I had one leg longer than the other, suggested that I put an insert in my shoe, and told me that there wasnt anything that he could do for me.

The Lord had other ideas, He was about to teach this "young" Christian about divine healing. We had a visiting Pastor, the man of might and power I spoke of earlier who was to become a good friend. He offered to pray for me. Now this was the first time I was touched by the power of God. I knew nothing about this, I was afraid of falling, particularly as there were a lot of sharp objects at my back, I didnt yield to the Lord and I wasnt healed. You see, I was in a Church where the power of God wasnt manifest and these things werent taught. The following Sunday morning, I responded to an altar call for the first time, and hit the floor before the catcher could react. The events of that Sunday increased my faith, but I still wasnt healed.

A little later in that year, I was at a Full Gospel Business Mens Fellowship dinner, the first one in our town. Jack Roe, an American, was the speaker, and he called for those with bad backs to come forward. Jack held both my feet in his hands, and pointed out the shorter leg. As he prayed, both legs became the same length. Truly, a miracle of God!

Now I can tell you that this wasnt an illusion, because I had an insert in my shoe, and I started to walk with a limp. I had to take that insert out of my shoe. There were a number of healings that night, and for the first time, I felt the Spirit in power, and He led me to exercise the gifts, by giving a word to a lady there. She was distraught, for she had failed to respond when her condition was named, and called forward.

If she would just believe, she would be healed. There were tears in my eyes as I delivered that word, the Lord often witnesses His presence to me in this way. But you see, He testified to me through this, right from the start, that this was the condition. Revere His name, believe in Him. I believed, and delivered the word. She believed, and was healed.

A little later, I was suffering chest pains. The doctor was treating me for angina, and the specialist physician was saying that he didnt know what the problem was, it was just the way I was made. I still dont know what he meant by that, but these guys werent solving my problem.

Again, the Lord had other ideas. One evening, whilst I was at a Servants of Jesus camp, the power of the Lord surged through me, the lower part of my body vibrated as if there was an electric current passing through me. This went on for five, or ten minutes, then I could feel my heart being touched, and moved within me. The witness in my Spirit was that the Lord had given me a new heart. There was no-one praying with me while this was happening, just the manifest presence of the Lord in the room. The angina never returned, and that night I danced vigorously for half an hour, or more, in celebration. No person with a heart condition could have done it. There was no doubt I was leaping about like that calf that night.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
Ezekiel Chapter 36 verse 26-27 NIV

You see the reality is that He didnt only cure the physical condition, He also cured the spiritual condition. I used to be an angry man, the product of the rejections of childhood. His purpose was not only to cure me physically but also to heal me spiritually, to lead me to follow him.

One day while working at home, I lifted a forty kilogram bag of cement which had been left in the weather, and had hardened. My grip slipped, and I dropped the bag on the big toe of my right foot. The pain was intense. I immediately grabbed hold of the toe, and asked the Lord to take the pain away. The result was immediate. Not only did the pain go, but the foot didnt swell. The toenail blackened, but it didnt even fall off.

More recently. I began to develop a rash on my leg. I didnt notice it at first, but as it was a mild irritation, I would scratch it absent-mindedly. Over a period of months, I developed sores on my leg which didnt heal quickly. After a while, I realised that I had a large area on my shin which was discoloured, and on which there were sores. I began to pray to the Lord to heal it, whilst taking the usual measures to treat the sores. After a couple of months, I decided to refer the condition to my doctor. Yes, hes a legacy of the years before I met Jesus.

Now, I must worry the fellow, because I would come to him, and ask for his advice, as with the angina. Then I would go away, and he would not see me for a year, or more, and when I come back there is no mention of the previous condition.

This time I said to him "I have these sores which dont heal". He gave me some ointment, and sent me off to the physician, no doubt following up on the heart complaint. This fellow is not a Christian, so there isnt much point of telling him about divine healing. The physician was a waste of time, he was no more help that the previous one had been.

The sores took their time, so some months later, I decided to get a second opinion. The doctor I consulted knew exactly what was wrong. "You have varicose ulcers", he said confidently, "Its because you have varicose veins, your veins are weak, theres no cure. You will have to wear an elastic stocking to help your body pump the blood back up your leg". Now Im sure that God is just waiting for someone to tell one of his saints there is no cure. I became more specific in my prayer about the condition. Now I can tell you that its gone, and it hasnt come back. You see, what was wrong here was that I had one foot in the world, and the other in the kingdom. No prizes for guessing which foot I had in the world. When I reached the point of turning fully to faith, my healing came.

I was mowing long grass near my septic tank. Living in the country, such devices are necessary to provide for disposal of sewerage. The long grass was there because the outlet system wasnt functioning properly. Because the chute of mower was clogging up, I had the protective shield partially raised. I was hit in the stomach by something large, hard and travelling fast. It hit me so hard, I felt ill, and stopped what I was doing. There were just a few scratches on my skin.
A couple of weeks later, I realised that I had a large weeping ulcer, about two inches across, and a much larger discoloured area on my stomach, and it wasnt healing. Now it isnt that I had been neglecting the injury, I had been dressing it with antiseptics every day. I began to pray about it, and after a few days, in my worldly wisdom, I also went to my doctor for some antibiotics. Well the antibiotics didnt work the first time, or the second. I happened to tell my pastor, because he could see that I had this discomfort. He called me forward on the next Sunday morning, anointed me with oil, and prayed for me.

Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person
well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
James Chapter 5 Verse 14-15 NIV

The condition healed quickly. A liberal application of the word of God, and the prayers of the saints will shift the most stubborn condition. Im not advocating that the Church practice medicine, but that we recognise that God is sovereign, and that He can do what man cannot. You see the condition in the above Scripture, faith, or in other words, belief.
The lord has blessed me in another way lately. A visiting pastor called for a person who had a hip condition. "It is like your hip isnt properly in place in its socket", he said. Now my back had been healed, there was no doubt about that. However, I still walked with one foot turned out, the legacy of my childhood. This had been troubling me lately, particularly in the hip, as I had been driving up to 50,000 Kilometres a year, in recent years. You see, sitting in the car, my foot which was turned out, was being forced to turn in as I drove. It caused me considerable discomfort, not only whenever I drove long distances, but also when I walked any distance on concrete paths. But God knows what his children need, so I responded, and now I walk with both feet forward, after fifty years of walking with one foot turned out. No more pain on long trips. Praise the Lord.

Enough of me, what evidence do I have of divine healing in others. As my walk with the Lord has grown, so has my faith to pray for healing. There have been numerous times when the Lord has honoured my prayer for a brother, or sister, to be healed, but Im only going to tell you about two of these times.
We were meeting for a Full Gospel Business Mens Fellowship Chapter meeting. Joe, and John, were coming from 130 kilometres away, because their chapter no longer met. The Holy Spirit moved me to go over to Joe, and to pray for him for the healing of a cancer. The others joined in the prayer. Joe had been tired when he entered the meeting, weighted down by the worries of his condition, but full of life when he left. When next I saw him, he said he had been to the doctors, who had X-rayed him. Where the growth had been evident in the previous X-rays, there was just a blank space. I have since been told, by someone in the medical profession, that a blank spot in an X-ray literally means there is nothing there; no flesh, no bone. and no growth. Only God can do that.
John was a business acquaintance. We had lunch a couple of times, and the subject of God had come up. John told me of the excruciating pain he had in his back. He was far from home, facing a three hour drive that afternoon. When we returned to my office, I took the time to share with him about divine healing, and I offered to pray for him. As I prayed, and placed my hand on his lower back the pain left him. Johns immediate response was "Brian, thats remarkable". I then shared with him about Jesus and he accepted the Lord, speaking the sinners prayer as I led him.
When next I heard from John, he told me how things had gone. He had no pain as he drove home, but he was a keen horseman. He felt so well, he went back to doing things just as he had done before, and after a few days the pain returned. He consulted a doctor, and was X-rayed. The doctor found that there was evidence of three recently cracked vertebrae, two of which were fully healed, but the third had not fully healed, no doubt due to Johns lifestyle, which included long distance, cross country, riding.
John acknowledged that he had caused the second injury, by returning to his sport a little too soon. You see, the Lord had healed him, but as a new Christian, he needed time for his faith to be established, and the healing to be fully established in his body. Sometimes healing is instantaneous, other times it is a process which the body must pass through. The Lord expects that we will exercise wisdom, as well as faith.
Im not going to tell you about the numerous times Ive prayed for the healing of my children, members of the family, or friends, and seen the miracles, as the Lord graciously answered my prayer. Ive seen the healing occur not only when Ive been with the sick person, but also at a distance. Im not going to tell you about these things, because you need know only one thing. What I will tell you is that the Lord is faithful. That He will answer prayer for healing. What He requires is faith to be in operation. So get your eyes off the circumstances, and believe. When a family member is ill, or in pain, lay hands on them, and pray for their complete healing.
Michael was not a young man, but he was fit, and full of faith. He has a beautiful tenor voice, and often sang in Church. While driving home one evening, he suffered a horrendous accident. A friend of mine, who was part of the rescue squad team who cut him free from the vehicle, said that they could not understand how it happened, as the vehicle was completely turned around, and headed in the wrong direction. Michael had no explanation, other than having seen a blinding light, all memory of that evening was completely erased from his memory.
While we dont know how it happened, the effects on Michael were devastating. The vehicle, a light flat-top truck, had apparently hit a tree. The bolts which held the tray body had sheared, and the body had hit the back of the cabin, striking Michael in the back of the head. The doctors were amazed that he was still alive, as the damage to the cabin suggested that he should have been decapitated. He could not speak, but his wife, a nurse at the hospital where he was admitted, told us that he could be heard constantly praying in tongues, even though he was not conscious.
The Church immediately mobilised in prayer for Michael. It took a long time for him to regain full health and mobility, but today Michael is a testimony to the healing power of God, and the prayers of the saints. He has been fully restored, and recently completed a long unaccompanied trip back to his native Ireland.
After the move began, I recall Michael attending a night prayer meeting. This was difficult for him, as for a long time, he was not permitted to drive at night, because of damage to his eyes. He became excited as the Spirit touched him, dancing, and showing us how his leg, which had not been fully useful, had been healed, and he had fully mobility. Not only did God do a physical work on him, step by step, over the months, he testifies that God also changed his heart during that time, teaching him to meet the needs of others. Praise the Lord, for God is a good God. He gives his children the desires of their heart.

vaya con Dios

curious98 answered on 10/12/03:

You have been put to trial by the Almighty and your Faith has saved you!
Thats wonderful!
And remember, as the saying goes faith can move mountains!!
Best regards

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dognap asked on 10/11/03 - Anti-religion?

A young Muslim girl is suspended from shcool because she wears the hijab, the scarf worn by orthodox Muslim females.

Does the law have the power to order people with religious dress and jewellery customs to not wear them?

Do you know of any instances where pupils have been banned from wearing crosses and cricifixes?

I know of one case where teacher was banned from wearing a cross.

Do you agree that this is an unwarranted interference with a persons personal religion?

curious98 answered on 10/12/03:

I'm going to be very brief, exceptionally!
1 Yes, I've heard of similar situations where governments interfere with religious rights of different people.
Right now, there is a serious problem going on in France regarding whether or not little Muslim girls could wear their scarves or not.
But, it is not only in France. In Spain, we are having, every now and then, similar problems.
And this is not new.
This type of legal interference has happened quite often, unfortunately.

2 No, I do not believe in this sort of intervention from governments, and certainly less, in countries supposedly a-confessionals... where there should be freedom of cult.
If school managements and authorities do not deem it convenient to have a saying in the type of clothing conventional students are wearing at present (for instance, pants that lower the waitsline down to buttocks level!!), I do not see with which right they interfere in the use of some religious garments... on the other hand, quite harmless.

Which only proves freedom has not the same meaning for everybody, even in the same cuntry.


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graeylin asked on 10/08/03 - Ezekiel the prophet, part II:

Second part: WHat about Ezekiel's prophecy that King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon would destroy Egypt? That didn't occur either. Is that a false prophecy? if not, why not?

Ezek 29:10 NRSV) therefore, I am against you, and against your channels, and I will make the land of Egypt an utter waste and desolation, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Ethiopia.

(Ezek 29:11 NRSV) No human foot shall pass through it, and no animal foot shall pass through it; it shall be uninhabited forty years.

(Ezek 29:12 NRSV) I will make the land of Egypt a desolation among desolated countries; and her cities shall be a desolation forty years among cities that are laid waste. I will scatter the Egyptians among
the nations, and disperse them among the countries.

(Ezek 30:10 NRSV) Thus says the Lord GOD: I will put an end to the hordes of Egypt, by the hand of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon.
(Ezek 30:11 NRSV) He and his people with him, the most terrible of the nations, shall be brought in to destroy the land; and they shall draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain.

Yet Egypt was not destroyed, it's people not scattered, it wasn't unihabitable for 40 years, etc. Basically, Babylonia didn't do much against the Egyptians.

curious98 answered on 10/09/03:

In my previous answer I have already pointed out what I think re. Ezequiels prophecy in connection with Egypt.
I think it would be good for you to read what my Encyclopaedia has to say re. O.T. prophecies in general.
Again, an historical and objective look at them.

The Hebrew word for prophet is navi', usually considered to be a loan word from Akkadian nabu, naba'um, to proclaim, mention, call, summon. Also occurring in Hebrew are hoze and ro'e, both meaning seer, and nevi'a (prophetess).Though the origins of Israelite prophecy have been much discussed, the textual evidence gives no information upon which to build a reconstruction. When the Israelites settled in Canaan, they became acquainted with Canaanite forms of prophecy. The structure of the prophetic and priestly function was very much the same in Israel and Canaan. Traditionally, the Israelite seer is considered to have originated in Israel's nomadic roots, and the navi' is considered to have originated in Canaan, though such judgments are virtually impossible to substantiate. In early Israelite history, the seer usually appears alone, but the navi' appears in the context of a prophetic circle. According to I Samuel, there was no difference between the two categories in that early time; the terms navi' and ro'e seem to be synonymous. In Amos, hoze and navi' are used for one and the same person. In Israel, prophets were connected with the sanctuaries. Among the Temple prophets officiating in liturgies were the Levitical guilds and singers: the sons of Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, who are said to prophesy with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals (I Chronicles). Other prophetic guilds are also mentioned. Members of these guilds generally prophesied for money or gifts and were associated with such sanctuaries as Gibeah, Samaria, Bethel, Gilgal, Jericho, Jerusalem, and Ramah. Jeremiah mentions that the chief priest of Jerusalem was the supervisor of both priests and prophets, and that these prophets had rooms in the Temple buildings. In pre-Exilic Israel (before 587/586 BC), prophetic guilds were a social group as important as the priests. Isaiah includes the navi' and the qosem (diviner, soothsayer) among the leaders of Israelite society. Divination in the pre-Exilic period was not considered to be foreign to Israelite religion.In reconstructing the history of Israelite prophecy, the prophets Samuel, Gad, Nathan, and Elijah (11th to 9th centuries BC) have been viewed as representing a transitional stage from the so-called vulgar prophetism to the literary prophetism, which some scholars believed represented a more ethical and therefore a higher form of prophecy. The literary prophets also have been viewed as being antagonistic toward the cultus. Modern scholars recognized, however, that such an analysis is an oversimplification of an intricate problem. It is impossible to prove that the nevi'im did not emphasize ethics simply because few of their utterances are recorded. What is more, none of the so-called transitional prophets was a reformer or was said to have inspired reforms. Samuel was not only a prophet but also a priest, seer, and ruler (judge) who lived at a sanctuary that was the location of a prophetic guild and furthermore was the leader of that navi' guild. In the cases of Nathan and Gad there are no indications that they represented some new development in prophecy. Nathan's association with the priest Zadok, however, has led some scholars to suspect that Nathan was a Jebusite (an inhabitant of the Canaanite city of Jebus).Elijah was a prophet father (or prophet master) and a prophet priest. Much of his prophetic career was directed against the Tyrian Baal cult, which had become popular in the northern kingdom (Israel) during the reign (mid-9th century BC) of King Ahab and his Tyrian queen, Jezebel. Elijah's struggle against this cult indicated a religio-political awareness, on his part, of the danger to Yahweh worship in Israel; namely, that Baal of Tyre might replace Yahweh as the main god of Israel.The emergence of classical prophecy in Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom) begins with Amos and Hosea (8th century BC). What is new in classical prophecy is its hostile attitude toward Canaanite influences in religion and culture, combined with an old nationalistic conception of Yahweh and his people. The reaction of these classical prophets against Canaanite influences in the worship of Yahweh is a means by which scholars distinguish Israel's classical prophets from other prophetic movements of their time. Essentially, the classical prophets wanted a renovation of the Yahweh cult, freeing it from all taint of worship of Baal and Asherah (Baal's female counterpart). Though not all aspects of the Baal-Asherah cult were completely eradicated, ideas and rituals from that cult were rethought, evaluated, and purified according to those prophets' concept of true Yahwism. Included in such ideas was the view that Yahweh was a jealous God who, according to the theology of the psalms, was greater than any other god. Yahweh had chosen Israel to be his own people and, therefore, did not wish to share his people with any other god. When the prophets condemned cultic phenomena, such condemnation reflected a rejection of certain kinds of cult and sacrificenamely, those sacrifices and festivals not exclusively directed to Yahweh but rather to other gods. The prophets likewise rejected liturgies incorrectly performed. The classical prophets did not reject all cults, per se; rather, they wanted a cultus ritually correct, dedicated solely to Yahweh, and productive of ethical conduct. Another important concept, accepted by the classical prophets, was that of Yahweh's choice of Zion (Jerusalem) as his cult site. Thus, every cult site of the northern kingdom of Israel and all the sanctuaries and bamot (high places) were roundly condemned, whether in Israel or Judah.Amos, whose oracles against the northern kingdom of Israel have been misunderstood as reflecting a negative attitude toward cultus per se, simply did not consider the royal cult of the northern kingdom at Bethel to be a legitimate Yahweh cult. Rather, like the prophet Hosea after him, Amos considered the Bethel cult to be Canaanite.Prophets of the ancient Middle East generally interjected their opinions and advice into the political arena of their countries, but in this regard the classical Hebrew prophets were perhaps more advanced than other prophetic movements. They interpreted the will of God within the context of their particular interpretation of Israel's history, and on the basis of this interpretation often arrived at a word of judgment. Important to that interpretation of history was the view that Israel was an apostate peoplehaving rejected a faith once confessedfrom the very earliest times, and the view that Yahweh's acts on behalf of his chosen people had been answered by their worship of other gods. In this situation, the prophets preached doom and judgment, and even the complete destruction of Israel. The source of prophetic insight into these matters is the cultic background of liturgical judgment and salvation, wherein Yahweh judged and destroyed his enemies, and in so doing created the ideal future. What is totally unexpected is that the prophets would go so far as to include Israel itself as among Yahweh's enemies, thus using these ideas against their own people. Usually, however, the prophets allowed some basis for hope in that a remnant would be left. The future of this remnant (Israel) lay in the reign of an ideal king (as described in Isaiah), indicating that the prophets were not antiroyalists. Though they could and did oppose individual kings, the prophets could not make a separation between Yahweh and the reign of his chosen king or dynasty. Their messianic ideology, referring to the messiah, or anointed one, is based on old royal ideology, and the ideal king is not an eschatological figure (one who appears at the end of history). In this respect, the prophets were nationalistic; they believed that the ideal kingdom would be in the promised land, and its centre would be Jerusalem.With the Exile of the Judaeans to Babylon of 586 BC, prophecy entered a new era. The prophecies of what is called Deutero-Isaiah (Isaiah 4045), for instance, were aimed at preserving Yahwism in Babylonia. His vision of the future went beyond the pre-Exilic concept of a remnant and extended the concept into a paradisiacal future wherein Yahweh's new creation would be a new Israel. This tone of optimism is continued in the prophetic activity (late 6th century BC) of Haggai and Zechariah, prophets who announced that Yahweh would restore the kingdom and the messianic vision would come to pass. Prerequisite to this messianic age was the rebuilding of the Temple (which was viewed as heaven on earth). When, however, the Temple had been rebuilt and long years had passed with neither the kingdom being restored nor the messianic age initiated, Israelite prophecy declined.There is a tendency in prophetic preaching to spiritualize those aspects of religion that remain unfulfilled; herein lie the roots of eschatology, which is concerned with the last times, and apocalyptic literature, which describes the intervention of God in history to the accompaniment of dramatic, cataclysmic events. Since the predictions of the classical prophets were not fulfilled in a messianic age within history, these visions were translated into a historical apocalypse, such as Daniel. Why prophecy died out in Israel is difficult to determine, but Zechariah offers as good an answer as any in saying that the prophets in those days told lies. Prophets did appear, but after Malachi none gained the status of the classical prophets. Another reason may be found in Ezra's reform of the cult in the 5th century BC, in which Yahwism was so firmly established that there was no longer any need for the old polemics against Canaanite religion.
Prophets are almost as old as mankind, and there have been others after the Biblic times, as you surely know. St. Hildegard and Joachim of Flore, Nostradamus, etc.
The problem with most prophecies (as it happens with Nostradamus, is that, depending, on who and how, their analysis may turn out to be quite prophetic or non at all. SO we better take most of them with a grain of salt
As for Egypt itself, it became a province of the Roman Empire from the 30 BC to the 400 AC. From the 400 AC to the 641 AC was the Bizantine/Coptic period, when Egypt became a province of the Byzantine Empire. From the 641 to the 900 AC, Egypt formed part of the Arab Empire, forming what is called the earlier Islamic Period. And from then until now, it is known as the Later Islamic Period.
So nothing happened to the Egyptians, as our colleague Drgade seems to imply, except that they suffered a number of invasions that altered their history, as it happened with practically all Mediterranean countries along history. As for the language, it was gradually lost to the Arab, which, after all, was the prevailing culture for the last 5 centuries.
Best regards

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graeylin asked on 10/08/03 - Ezekiel the prophet:

Didn't Ezekiel prophecy that Tyre would be destroyed by Nebuchadrezzar?

In the eleventh year, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: (Ezek 26:1NRSV)
For thus says the Lord GOD: I will bring against Tyre from the north King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon, king of kings, together with horses, chariots, cavalry, and a great and powerful army. (Ezek 26:7 NRSV)
I will make you a bare rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets. You shall never again be rebuilt, for I the LORD
have spoken, says the Lord GOD. (Ezek 26:14 NRSV)
In their wailing they raise a lamentation for you, and lament over you: "Who was ever destroyed like Tyre in the midst of the sea? (Ezek 27:32 NRSV)

But, 13 years later, Tyre still stands (and still exists to this day). Nebuchadrezzar failed in his attempt to destroy it. Doesn't that make this a false prophecy? If not, why?

Even in the Bible later, Ezekiel says this about the events: In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: (Ezek 29:17 NRSV) Mortal, King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon made his army labor hard against Tyre; every head was made bald and every shoulder was rubbed bare; yet neither he nor his army got anything from Tyre to pay for the labor that he had expended against it. (Ezek 29:18 NRSV)

Says here that Nebuchadrezzar basically failed in his attempt, and got nothing for it.

curious98 answered on 10/08/03:

Hi there,

Well, the approximate date of composition of the Ezequiel book is estimated to be in the 6th century BC, as I say below. On the other hand, the siege of Tyre by Nebuchadrezzar its estimated to end by the 571 BC. So Ezequiel is actually narrating some event he has witnessed.
But lets analyse a little bit more the book of Ezekiel. The middle section of Ezekiel contains a series of what are known as "Oracles Against Foreign Nations" (chs. 25-32). All of the major prophetic books contain these. They are indictments against surrounding nations, often listing their crimes against humanity and sins against God, as a way to universalise accountability to God. They are highly stylized and poetic, but often contain specific predictions of the judgment of God against those nations for their self-sufficient arrogance, pride, and worship of false gods. Often the nations are evaluated specifically in terms of how they have treated Israel as Gods people.
An unusual feature of these oracles in Ezekiel is that they are dated, rather than simply being stereotyped and stylized generic judgment speeches. This relates these prophetic oracles to particular historical circumstances, which also explains why so many of them are very specific in terms of historical predictions. Ezekiel was clearly interpreting history as it was unfolding in front of him in the light of what he understood about God.
The oracles fall between 588 and 586 BC, with one dated 571 BC, the very same date as the siege of Tyre! But, we shouldnt forget this was an extremely traumatic and pivotal time in Israels history. There was a lot happening. The Babylonians had consolidated their empire through a series of strong leaders, and were in the process of incorporating most of the Eastern Mediterranean into that empire, with dreams of extending their control into Egypt.
Israel lay between Babylon and Egypt and was in great peril. Compounding the fact that Israel was far outclassed militarily, there had been a series of weak and godless leaders since the aborted attempt at reform by Josiah in 621 BC. This had undermined the nations commitment to God, and allowed a false sense of security to develop that prevented them from hearing prophets like Jeremiah and Ezekiel ("[they] have ears, but do not hear," Jer 5:21, cf. 25:4).
The Babylonians destroyed the Assyrian empire in 612 BC, and pushed south toward Egypt, and Israel. Because of failed political manoeuvring, Israel became a vassal state of Babylon in 605 BC. There was discontent and simmering nationalism, however, which led to rebellion against Babylonian control. After years of struggle, the Babylonians took Jerusalem in 598 BC, deported a number of Israelite leaders to Babylon, and set a puppet king over Israel. Unrest continued with political intrigue that included rebellion prompted by attempted alliances with several surrounding nations.
Finally, in 586 the Babylonians sent a large army into Palestine to put an end to the rebellions. As a result Jerusalem was totally destroyed and a second wave of deportees were taken to Babylon. Several other nations were also disciplined for their part in the ongoing turmoil.
Ezekiel was among the first deportees and probably wrote much of the book from the perspective of exile in Babylon between the first deportation in 598 and the destruction of Jerusalem in 586. The oracles in question came from the period immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem as Nebuchadnezzar marched south from Assyria along the Mediterranean coast via Tyre and Sidon before he turned toward Jerusalem on his way to Egypt.
The specific oracle under consideration is against the Phoenician city of Tyre in Ezekiel 26, and is dated 586, when Ezekiel could very well anticipate Nebuchadnezzars plans to besiege Tyre. To understand this oracle, we also need to know a little about Tyre. Tyre was a major seaport for the world renowned sailors and merchants, the Phoenicians. It was a wealthy city since it was the primary commercial seaport in the Eastern Mediterranean linking shipping to Cyprus, Italy, Greece, Spain, and North Africa with land caravans from Arabia, Babylon, Persia, and as far east as India.
At this time, the main part of Tyre was an island city about a mile off the coast of what is now Lebanon. There were smaller villages on the mainland, but the city itself was an offshore seaport. Because of its location, it could be easily defended and could be re-supplied from the sea.
Now, note Ezekiels prediction about the destruction of Tyre at the hands of the Babylonians.
26:3 therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves. 26:4 They shall destroy the walls of Tyre, and break down her towers; and I will scrape her soil from her, and make her a bare rock. 26:5 She shall be in the midst of the sea a place for the spreading of nets; for I have spoken, says the Lord GOD; and she shall become a spoil to the nations; 26:6 and her daughters on the mainland shall be slain by the sword. Then they will know that I am the LORD.
This is a rather unambiguous prediction. The city will be totally destroyed, including the city walls and defensive towers. The city would be levelled like a rock. In typical prophetic fashion, there is an interesting word play here, since the Hebrew word for Tyre means "rock," the city of "Rock" will become a bare rock. The mainland villages ("her daughters") will also be destroyed. This is all put under the rubric of the prophetic word that comes from God: "I have spoken" and "says Yahweh." All of this will be a sign that God is indeed God.
But the oracle goes on:
26:7 "For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will bring upon Tyre from the north Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, and with horsemen and a host of many soldiers. 26:8 He will slay with the sword your daughters on the mainland; he will set up a siege wall against you, and throw up a mound against you, and raise a roof of shields against you. 26:9 He will direct the shock of his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers. 26:10 His horses will be so many that their dust will cover you; your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen and wagons and chariots, when he enters your gates as one enters a city which has been breached. 26:11 With the hoofs of his horses he will trample all your streets; he will slay your people with the sword; and your mighty pillars will fall to the ground. 26:12 They will make a spoil of your riches and a prey of your merchandise; they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; your stones and timber and soil they will cast into the midst of the waters. 26:13 And I will stop the music of your songs, and the sound of your lyres shall be heard no more. 26:14 I will make you a bare rock; you shall be a place for the spreading of nets; you shall never be rebuilt; for I the LORD have spoken, says the Lord GOD
In case there was any ambiguity in the first oracle, this one is even more specific. It is not just "many nations" who will plunder Tyre. It will be a specific nation, Babylonia, and a specific king, Nebuchadrezzar. It seems fairly obvious here that Ezekiel had heard reports of the Babylonian march southward, and he predicts, as a prophet of God, what will unfold as Nebuchadnezzars army punishes the nations for their rebellion. (Im of the opinion Ezequiel here behaves more like a modern journalist than as a prophet, for he even mentions the name of the king, whom, of course, he knew quite well). They will lay siege to Tyre, take the city and destroy it, kill its inhabitants, and loot its riches (which was a way to pay soldiers in the ancient world). He goes so far as to say that after its destruction, Tyre will never again be rebuilt. There are actually a series of such oracles that continue through chapter 28.
So, here is a very specific prediction more than a prophecy, as I see it- coming from a particular historical circumstance, but couched in all the traditional prophetic formulae that say this is a "word" from the Lord. The problem is that very little of this actually came to pass! In fact, it badly missed how history actually unfolded.
We know from other historical records, including our friend, the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius, that Nebuchadnezzar did, indeed, take and destroy the mainland part of the city, and then lay siege to the island city of Tyre. However, the Babylonian army was a land based army with no ships, which made it very difficult to lay siege effectively to an island fortress that had an armada of ships at its disposal. Nebuchadnezzar spent 13 years in the siege of Tyre and was never able to take the city. He finally abandoned the attempt sometime in 573/572 and put his resources into the invasion of Egypt, having already destroyed the Israelite stronghold in Jerusalem.
The city of Tyre did pass into Babylonian vassalage, but that was the result of a negotiated settlement that required tribute, a form of taxation (or extortion). The city of Tyre was not destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar or the Babylonians, and in fact continued to thrive as a commercial center.
Now, some who want to maintain the absolute inerrancy of biblical prophecy point to the fact that Tyre was eventually destroyed, and so the accuracy of Ezekiels prophecy is vindicated. Tyre was, indeed, destroyed in 332 BC by the Greek Alexander of Macedon (Alexander the Great). He used the ingenious tactic of using rubble from the destroyed mainland settlements to build a causeway to the island, providing a land bridge for his troops. Since that time, Tyre has no longer been an island, now connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus.
So, the inerrantists would claim, the prophecy was really a long range prediction even though Ezekiel himself made it look like a short range prediction. But this raises another whole series of serious problems, and sounds far more like the rationalization of a position in spite of contrary evidence than it does a careful analysis of the biblical text. There are still several aspects of the Ezekiel prophecy unresolved.
1) Even though Alexander did, indeed, destroy the city of Tyre, it was immediately rebuilt and became an important Greek, and later Roman, seaport. It still exists today as a resort city of Lebanon. This clearly violates Ezekiels judgment that it would never be rebuilt and become a bare rock upon which to dry fishnets.
2) There is no internal rationale for changing the specific reference to Babylonians and assume that it really means Greeks, or to change Nebuchadnezzar to Alexander. If the text were inerrant in the way that many claim it to be, then we should be able to read "Greeks" and "Alexander" here. Again, this sounds suspiciously like an attempt to preserve a certain view of prophecy that the evidence will not support.
3) There are serious implications about the nature of Scripture and revelation (and God!) involved here. To maintain the "long range" view, Ezekiel, facing one urgent historical situation for which the people needed an immediate word from the Lord, actually and unknowingly addressed a situation 250 years in the future, spoke of a nation that had not yet emerged on the scene of world history, referred to persons and events for which he could have no direct knowledge, and predicted world events that involved huge shifts in how history unfolded from his own time. In other words, the only way this position can be maintained is to affirm both that history is predetermined, and that Scripture is verbally given to the prophet without any awareness on his part of the actual meaning of what he was being told (100% God!). In fact, it even deceives him into thinking he was actually talking about his own situation when in fact he was talking about a situation centuries in the future. This, as it often does, assumes as certain and 100% foolproof the principle of inspiration of the Scriptures in order to maintain its inerrancy, which is then used in a circular fashion, to confirm the same theories of inspiration.
4) Even beyond that, there is some sense that Ezekiel was himself worse than in the dark about his own prophecy. He seems to have rather badly misunderstood his own message, because he seems to believe that he is talking about the Babylonians and Nebuchadnezzar, when in reality, according to this view, he is talking about the Greeks and Alexander. This raises other serious questions about how we at any time in history can understand Gods work in the world. This seems to make Scripture more obscure than it makes it more authoritative.
5) What good is a prophetic word, or Scripture, if it has little or no meaning for 200 or 1,000 or 2,000 years when the precise "fulfilment" finally comes about? This reduces Gods word to a puzzle to be solved, or something that has little relevance to ordinary living because there is no way to tell, until after the "fulfilment," whether it has any meaning for today or not. It is not a living word that shapes how Gods people live their life as His people now, but is, at best, only a pregnant word with some potential that we may or may not understand, and may never live to see. The word of God is not redemptive for Gods people in on ongoing way, but is reduced to the level of proof to bolster our own criteria of validation.
All this says that to attempt to relate this prophecy to events 250 years later simply to vindicate a certain view of prophecy is not valid, and borders on not dealing with the biblical text honestly.
But there is even more compelling evidence from within Scripture itself as you already point out- indeed, from Ezekiel himself, that this view is deficient. In 571 BC, 2 years or so after Nebuchadnezzar abandoned the siege of Tyre and it had become obvious to everyone that he would not be able to destroy the city, Ezekiel gives another prophecy (I would call it a news report rather) concerning Tyre.
29:17 In the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: 29:18 "Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon made his army labour hard against Tyre; every head was made bald and every shoulder was rubbed bare; yet neither he nor his army got anything from Tyre to pay for the labour that he had performed against it. 29:19 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall carry off its wealth and despoil it and plunder it; and it shall be the wages for his army. 29:20 I have given him the land of Egypt as his recompense for which he laboured, because they worked for me, says the Lord GOD
Here, Ezekiel rather frankly acknowledges Nebuchadnezzars failure to take Tyre even though he laboured hard trying to do so (13 years!). So Ezekiel, seemingly without any embarrassment at the failure of his original prophecy, simply changed it after the fact to fit the historical situation as it had actually unfolded. We might go on and would see that his prophecy re. Egypt did not turn out to be true either!
Both Jeremiah and Ezekiel saw the Babylonian invasion as part of the out working of the consequences of Israels sins and repeated failure to serve and trust God. While God had fought for Israel in the past, both prophets vigorously proclaim, "Not this time!" So the Babylonians are unwittingly serving the purposes of God in the world, and the prophets conceptualise them as actually in the employ of God. And if they are working for God, God needs to pay their wages. Since they did not get anything from Tyre for their labour, Ezekiel affirms that God will allow them to be paid from the riches of Egypt (29:20).
Now, we do not know from historical records whether the Babylonians ever sacked Egypt. History is silent on this point. But it doesnt matter. The issue was never whether or not a certain historical event would unfold exactly in the specific way any particular prophet predicted that it would. History simply does not work that way, and that is not really the task of a prophet. The issue had always been the truth of what Ezekiel was proclaiming to the people about God and their responsibility and accountability to Him as their covenantal God. The prophet's role was to help the people respond faithfully to God in their own time. So, Ezekiel could change his prediction, and even admit that he got it wrong, because, finally, the historical prediction was not his message!
What is even more amazing is that the community of faith, perceptive enough to know that this failure was in the Ezekiel tradition, did not attempt to gloss it over or change it to fit some modern ideas of inerrancy and the absolute infallibility of prophetic prediction to fit within a certain view of how God orders the world. In other words, the community of faith who collected together Ezekiels writings and oracles saw no problem in preserving this failure, even though they most likely knew about the criteria in Deuteronomy (18:22). They saw no problem because, I suggest, they understood that "prediction of the future" is not primarily what a prophet does, is not the final or only or most important test of a prophet of God, and because they had no need to establish or maintain any dimension of inerrancy.
And the important fact is, Ezekiel was right! He was not right about all of his historical predictions. But he was right in that the message he proclaimed about the nation of Israel, its responsibilities to God, and the consequences of their failure to respond to God in faithfulness was proven true in the flow of history (which is the heart of the Deuteronomy 18 passage). That is, the community could look back at Ezekiel, and Jeremiah, and understand that they had faithfully borne witness to God, even though virtually no one listened to them at the time. They knew that not every historical prediction, or even most of them, directly corresponded to some specific historical event. But the community understood Ezekiels proclamation about God and His work with humanity, as they verified it in their own historical experience, to be a faithful witness to God.
Of what Im, therefore, convinced is that rather than actually believing they were receiving the Gods word some of the O.T. prophets, were exceptionally bright persons for their time, who believed that by conveying a so called prophecy with a message direct from God, they contributed to make their people walk the line, which they, so often, tended to forget
Best regards

PS.: All the above considerations are, of course, based on historical evidence you can find in any good Ancient History of Encyclopaedia.

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graeylin asked on 10/08/03 - A little different "why do you think" question

So, to stay away from trying to figure out God's motive in doing something (and avoid the "Who can question God?" answer), here's one that questions human beings' motives:

Why do YOU think that (prctically) no one in Christ's time wrote down anything about him? Why did none of Christ's own disciples write down their travels, lessons, etc.? (or if they did, what do you think happened to their writings?). Why did we (as human civilization/society) wait so long after the events to record them? What are your thoughts/theories?

curious98 answered on 10/08/03:

In my candid opinion, the explanation is rather simple. Jesus grow up as any other Jew of his social working class most probably ignoring His own Divinity until the moment, when His Father launched Him, so to speak, into His short public life, when he met the Apostles for the first time and initiated his long way to the Cross.

If we accept that premise, it is not surprising that we know nothing other than a lot of speculative writings based on fantasy more than on historical facts, for the simple reason that these do not exist- because:

a) the History of Israel in Jesus time (even though, my Jewish friends may resent my saying so) is just a few pages within the history of Rome.

b) From any ancient Historians viewpoint (like Josephus, for one) there were many more important events in those days to report than the death of a man, who, at least officially and for the majority of the people of His time, had been justly punished for high treason.

c) As for the Apostles, they were not what we could say, very learned persons and fond of writing. They were, probably more concerned with what they have been given to witness of Jesus life and death, while trying to digest it.

d) So we have to await until the Evangelists and, to a great extent, St. Paul, started to produce literature about Jesus.

We should not forget that the earliest criticism of orthodox dogma came in the age of the Reformation, not from the reformers but from the left wing of the Reformation, from Michael Servetus (1511?53) and the Socinians. This criticism was directed against the presence of nonbiblical concepts and terms in the dogma, and it was intent upon safeguarding the true humanity of Jesus as a moral example.

There were many inconsistencies in this criticism, such as the willingness of Servetus to call Jesus Son of God and the Socinian custom of addressing prayer and worship to him. But it illustrates the tendency, which became more evident in the Enlightenment, to use the Reformation protest against Catholicism as a basis for a protest against orthodox dogma as well.

While that tendency did not gain much support in the 16th century because of the orthodoxy of the reformers, later criticism of orthodox Christology was able to wield the Protestant principle against the dogma of the two natures on the grounds that this was a consistent application of what the reformers had done. Among the ranks of the Protestant laity, the hymnody and the catechetical instruction of the Protestant churches assured continuing support for the orthodox dogma. Indeed, the doctrine of Atonement by the vicarious satisfaction of Christ's death has seldom been expressed as amply as it was in the hymns and catechisms of both the Lutheran and the Reformed churches. During the period of Pietism in the Protestant churches, this loyalty to orthodox teaching was combined with a growing emphasis upon the humanity of Jesus, also expressed in the hymnody of the time.

When theologians began to criticize orthodox ideas of the person and work of Christ, therefore, they met with opposition from the common people. Albert Schweitzer dates the development of a critical attitude from the work of H.S. Reimarus (16941768), but Reimarus was representative of the way the Enlightenment treated the traditional view of Jesus. The books of the Bible were to be studied just as other books are, and the life of Jesus was to be drawn from them by critically sifting and weighing the evidence of the Gospels. The Enlightenment thus initiated the modern interest in the life of Jesus, with its detailed attention to the problem of the relative credibility of the Gospel records. It has been suggested by some historians that the principal target of Enlightenment criticism was not the dogma of the two natures but the doctrine of the vicarious Atonement.

The leaders of Enlightenment thought did not make a sudden break with traditional ideas, but gave up belief in miracles, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and the Second Advent only gradually. Their principal importance for the history of the doctrine of Christ consists in the fact that they made the historical study of the sources for the life of Jesus an indispensable element of any Christology. Although the Enlightenment of the 18th century was the beginning of the break with orthodox teachings about Jesus Christ, it was only in the 19th century that this break attracted wide support among theologians and scholars in many parts of Christendomeven, for a while, among the Modernists of the Roman Catholic Church. Two works of the 19th century were especially influential in their rejection of orthodox Christology. One was the Life of Jesus, first published in 1835 by David Friedrich Strauss; the other, bearing the same title, was first published by Ernest Renan in 1863. Strauss's work paid more attention to the growth of Christian ideashe called them mythsabout Jesus as the basis for the picture we have in the Gospels, while Renan attempted to account for Jesus' career by a study of his inner psychological life in relation to his environment.

Both works achieved wide circulation and were translated into other languages, including English. They took up the Enlightenment contention that the sources for the life of Jesus were to be studied as other sources are, and what they constructed on the basis of the sources was a type of biography in the modern sense of the word. In addition to Strauss and Renan, the 19th century saw the publication of a plethora of books about the life and teachings of Jesus. Each new hypothesis regarding the problem of the Synoptic Gospels implied a reconstruction of the life and message of Jesus.

The fundamental assumption for most of this work on the life and teachings of Jesus was a distinction between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. Another favourite way of putting the distinction was to speak of the religion of Jesus in antithesis to the religion about Jesus. This implied that Jesus was a man like other men, but with a heightened awareness of the presence and power of God. Then the dogma of the church had mistaken this awareness for a metaphysical statement that Jesus was the Son of God and had thus distorted the original simplicity of his message. Some critics went so far as to question the very historicity of Jesus, but even those who did not go that far questioned the historicity of some of the sayings and deeds attributed to Jesus in the Gospels. In part this effort grew out of the general concern of 19th-century scholarship with the problem of history, but it also reflected the religious and ethical assumptions of the theologians. Many of them were influenced by the moral theories of Kant in their estimate of what was permanent about the teachings of Jesus, and by the historical theories of Hegel in the way they related the original message of Jesus to the Christian interpretations of that message by later generations of Christians.

The ideas of evolution and of natural causality associated with the science of the 19th century also played a part through the naturalistic explanations of the biblical miracles. And the historians of dogma, climaxing in Adolf von Harnack (18511931), used their demonstration of the dependence of ancient Christology upon non-Christian sources for its concepts and terminology to reinforce their claim that Christianity had to get back from the Christ of dogma to the essence of Christianity in the teachings of Jesus about the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
This said, however, it is a most extraordinary thing that no other personage, historical or mythological, has produced so many tons of written pages as Jesus, which probably accounts for His Divine Nature
Best regards

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graeylin asked on 10/06/03 - Is there extra biblical record of Herod's slaying of newborns?

Is there any record of the slayings of all newborns by Herod outside the Bible? Did any contemporary historians capture that event? I know that Josephus (who chronicled much of Herod's life) did not ever mention this event. Did anyone else?

curious98 answered on 10/08/03:

Hi Graelyn

In any History of Rome if good enough- you will find references to the 3 Herods appearing in the Bible. Of course, Flavio Josephus also had to mention him. Josephus was confirmed Jew that had by no means abandoned his Judaism. His greatest work, Antiquitates Judaicae (The Antiquities of the Jews), completed in 20 books in AD 93, traces the history of the Jews from creation to just before the outbreak of the revolt of AD 6670. It was an attempt to present Judaism to the Hellenistic world in a favourable light. By virtually ignoring the Prophets, by embellishing biblical narratives, and by stressing the rationality of Judaic laws and institutions, he stripped Judaism of its fanaticism and made it appealing to the cultivated and reasonable Roman man. Historically, the coverage is patchy and shows the fatigue of the author, then in his middle 50s. But throughout, sources are preserved that otherwise would have been lost, and, for Jewish history during the period of the Second Commonwealth, the work is invaluable. BTW, The Antiquities contains two famous references to Jesus Christ: the one in Book XX calls him the so-called Christ. The implication in the passage in Book XVIII of Christ's divinity could not have come from Josephus and undoubtedly represents the tampering (if not invention) of a later Christian copyist.
But the following does not belong to Josephus but to the History of Rome. Rome had been growing and strengthening during the Hasmonean Period. In 161 BCE, near the beginning of the Hasmonean Period, Judah the Maccabee had made a treaty with Rome.
Corruption within the Hasmonean family speeded the fall of the Hasmonean Empire. Aristoboulos, a typical Hasmonean "loving son," declared himself High Priest-King thirty minutes before the death of his mother the queen. His brother, John Hyrcanus, felt his brother hadn't played fair. He revolted against him. By 67 BCE there was civil war in Judea , and the land was ripe for conquest. Rome took advantage of the situation. John Hyrcanus allied himself with Rome under General Pompey. Together, they succeeded in smashing most of Aristobulos' forces in 63 BCE. John and Pompey entered Jerusalem unopposed, but the Temple Mount, with its own fortifications, posed some problems. It took three months to take the Temple, and Rome gained control of Judea.
Confusion ensued. Rome was in a state of flux, with power struggles between Pompey and Julius Caesar; Caesar won. Julius Caesar appointed a governor to keep watch over the country, the son of an Idumean who had been forced to covert to Judaism, a man named Herod. After Caesar's death, Cassius, Mark Antony, and Octavian all struggled for control of the Roman Empire. They all kept Herod in power.
The Hasmonean family wasn't willing to give up, and, with the support of the Parthians (a nation in Asia Minor), there was a mini-revolt which was brutally suppressed.
After putting down the Judean/Parthian revolt against their rule, Rome appointed Herod king of Judea. Herod had complete authority, and he used it ruthlessly. He established an enormous secret police force, brutally killed anyone suspected of plotting against him, and created Roman peace by slaughtering all dissidents.
Herod controlled the sacrificial cult by placing a lackey in the position of High Priest. In any of his appointees was foolish enough to displease him, Herod killed him and replaced him with another lackey.
The vast majority of popular tourist sites in present-day Israel were originally built by Herod. Herod was security conscious. He built fortresses throughout the land just in case he should ever need sanctuary. These included Sabaste in the Hills of Ephraim, the central region of Israel; Herodium, just east of Bethlehem; and Jericho. Each of these fortresses was architecturally unique.
Sabaste was originally called Samaria. It had been the capital of Israel during the Divided Kingdom, and Samaria became the name for the entire northern region. Herod built over the ruins of Samaria, which had been built atop a mountain. He ordered the construction of an enormous colonnade of imported marble starting from the base of the mountain and rising to the summit.
The mountain Herod had chosen for the fortress Herodium was too low. Herod has his architects raise the summit and build his palace inside this man-made cone. It is generally believed that Herod was buried in Herodium, but no grave was ever found. Equally puzzling is the fact that archaeologists have been unable to discover a water source there.
To supply water for the Jericho fortress, Herod had an enormous aqueduct built which carried water from Ein Kelt.
One of Herod's greatest building projects was in Jerusalem. He wanted to enlarge and embellish the Temple, but the mountain on which Solomon had built the First Temple and on which Zachariah and Haggai had built the Second was just too small for his plans. That didn't stop Herod. He dramatically increased the size of the Temple Mount by constructing huge encasement walls and filling them in with pure dirt, creating a large trapezoid. He was then able to proceed with his architectural plans to enlarge the Temple and its courtyards.
Herod protected the Temple Mount with a large military fortress called Antonia, honoring Mark Antony. He protected the western entrance of Jerusalem (and, incidentally, his villa situated there) with a huge tri-towered fortress called the Citadel. The Citadel loomed over the wealthy part of town, called the Upper City.
Herod's most famous fortress was Masada. Located on the shores of the Dead Sea, Masada was built on a high plateau. Access was only along a steep, sharply winding path called the Snake Path. At the top, Herod had two palaces: a magnificent three-tiered northern palace complete with columns and frescoes offered a spectacular view of the Dead Sea. A larger mosaic- decorated western palace was probably planned as an administrative headquarters.
Herod's architects created water channels and cisterns to provide drinking water during the long, dry summers. Huge storehouses guaranteed food in case of siege. A strong casemate wall enclosed the entire summit of the plateau. It was an awesome fortress and appeared to be invulnerable.
Herod's projects were built through the use of thousands of Jews as forced laborers moving enormous blocks of limestone. Many of these blocks weighed more than ten tons. Because of his despotic actions, the Jews despised and feared Herod. Even projects that he commissioned to endear him to the people failed to change their hatred for him.
Herod continued to build. In honor of Octavian (Augustus Caesar), Herod took the ancient port city of Straton's Tower just south of Haifa and renamed it Caesarea. There he created a deep sea port, surrounded the city with a wall, and constructed an amphitheater. To supply the port with ample water, Herod build another enormous aqueduct.
Although Herod was a terrible tyrant, his buildings and fortresses remain awesome architectural achievements even today.
The following is his biography from my Britannia Encyclopaedia, and that of his 2 main sons.

born 73 BC died March/April, 4 BC, Jericho, Judaea byname Herod the Great, Latin Herodes Magnus Roman-appointed king of Judaea (374 BC), who built many fortresses, aqueducts, theatres, and other public buildings and generally raised the prosperity of his land but who was the centre of political and family intrigues in his later years. The New Testament portrays him as a tyrant, into whose kingdom Jesus of Nazareth was born.Herod was born in southern Palestine; his father, Antipater, was an Edomite (an Arab from the region between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba). Antipater was a man of great influence and wealth, who increased both by marrying the daughter of a noble from Petra (in southwestern Jordan), at that time the capital of the rising Nabataean kingdom. Thus Herod was, although a practicing Jew, of Arab origin on both sides. When Pompey (10648 BC) invaded Palestine in 63 BC, Antipater supported his campaign and began a long association with Rome, from which both he and Herod were to benefit. Six years later Herod met Mark Antony, whose lifelong friend he was to remain. Julius Caesar also favoured the family; he appointed Antipater procurator of Judaea in 47 BC and conferred on him Roman citizenship, an honour that descended to Herod and his children. Herod made his political debut in the same year, when his father appointed him governor of Galilee. Six years later Mark Antony made him tetrarch of Galilee. In 40 BC the Parthians invaded Palestine, civil war broke out, and Herod was forced to flee to Rome. The senate there nominated him king of Judaea and equipped him with an army to make good his claim. In the year 37 BC, at the age of 36, Herod became unchallenged ruler of Judaea, a position he was to maintain for 32 years. To further solidify his power, he divorced his first wife, Doris, sent her and his son away from court, and married Mariamne, a Hasmonean princess. Although the union was directed at ending his feud with the Hasmoneans, a priestly family of Jewish leaders, he was deeply in love with Mariamne.During the conflict between the two triumvirs Octavian and Antony, the heirs to Caesar's power, Herod supported his friend Antony. He continued to do so even when Antony's mistress, Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, used her influence with Antony to gain much of Herod's best land. After Antony's final defeat at Actium in 31 BC, he frankly confessed to the victorious Octavian which side he had taken. Octavian, who had met Herod in Rome, knew that he was the one man to rule Palestine as Rome wanted it ruled and confirmed him king. He also restored to Herod the land Cleopatra had taken. Herod became the close friend of Augustus' great minister Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, after whom one of his grandsons and one of his great-grandsons were named. Both the emperor and the minister paid him state visits, and Herod twice again visited Italy. Augustus gave him the oversight of the Cyprus copper mines, with a half share in the profits. He twice increased Herod's territory, in the years 22 and 20 BC, so that it came to include not only Palestine but parts of what are now the kingdom of Jordan to the east of the river and southern Lebanon and Syria. He had intended to bestow the Nabataean kingdom on Herod as well, but, by the time that throne fell vacant, Herod's mental and physical deterioration made it impossible.Herod endowed his realm with massive fortresses and splendid cities, of which the two greatest were new, and largely pagan, foundations: the port of Caesarea Palaestinae on the coast between Joppa (Jaffa) and Haifa, which was afterward to become the capital of Roman Palestine; and Sebaste on the long-desolate site of ancient Samaria. In Jerusalem he built the fortress of Antonia, portions of which may still be seen beneath the convents on the Via Dolorosa, and a magnificent palace (of which part survives in the citadel). His most grandiose creation was the Temple, which he wholly rebuilt. The great outer court, 35 acres (14 hectares) in extent, is still visible as Al-Haram ash-Sharif. He also embellished foreign citiesBeirut, Damascus, Antioch, Rhodesand many towns. Herod patronized the Olympic Games, whose president he became. In his own kingdom he could not give full rein to his love of magnificence, for fear of offending the Pharisees, the leading faction of Judaism, with whom he was always in conflict because they regarded him as a foreigner. Herod undoubtedly saw himself not merely as the patron of grateful pagans but also as the protector of Jewry outside of Palestine, whose Gentile hosts he did all in his power to conciliate.Unfortunately, there was a dark and cruel streak in Herod's character that showed itself increasingly as he grew older. His mental instability, moreover, was fed by the intrigue and deception that went on within his own family. Despite his affection for Mariamne, he was prone to violent attacks of jealousy; his sister Salome (not to be confused with her great-niece, Herodias' daughter Salome) made good use of his natural suspicions and poisoned his mind against his wife in order to wreck the union. In the end Herod murdered Mariamne, her two sons, her brother, her grandfather, and her mother, a woman of the vilest stamp who had often aided his sister Salome's schemes. Besides Doris and Mariamne, Herod had eight other wives and had children by six of them. He had 14 children.In his last years Herod suffered from arteriosclerosis. He had to repress a revolt, became involved in a quarrel with his Nabataean neighbours, and finally lost the favour of Augustus. He was in great pain and in mental and physical disorder. He altered his will three times and finally disinherited and killed his firstborn, Antipater. The slaying, shortly before his death, of the infants of Bethlehem was wholly consistent with the disarray into which he had fallen. After an unsuccessful attempt at suicide, Herod died. His final testament provided that, subject to Augustus' sanction, his realm would be divided among his sons: Archelaus should be king of Judaea and Samaria, with Philip and Antipas sharing the remainder as tetrarchs._

Herod Archelaus
born 22 BC, Judaea died c. AD 18, , Gaul son and principal heir of Herod I the Great as king of Judaea, deposed by Rome because of his unpopularity with the Jews.Named in his father's will as ruler of the largest part of the Judaean kingdomJudaea proper, Idumaea, and SamariaArchelaus went to Rome (4 BC) to defend his title against the claims of his brothers Philip and Antipas before the emperor Augustus. Augustus confirmed him in possession of the largest portion but did not recognize him as king, giving him instead the lesser title of ethnarch to emphasize his dependence on Rome.Archelaus was half Idumaean and half Samaritan and, like his father, was considered an alien oppressor by his Jewish subjects. Their repeated complaints against him caused Augustus to order him to Rome again in AD 6. After a trial in which he was unsuccessfully defended by the future emperor Tiberius, he was deprived of his throne and exiled to Gaul.In the account of the Gospel According to Matthew (2:22), it was fear of Archelaus' tyranny that led Jesus' family to settle outside his domain at Nazareth in Galilee_
Herod Antipas
born 21 BC died AD 39 son of Herod I the Great who became tetrarch of Galilee and ruled throughout Jesus of Nazareth's ministry.Around 4 BC Herod Antipas inherited part of his father's kingdom after the Roman emperor Augustus had adjusted his father's will. He restored the damage caused in the period between his father's death and the approval of the will, restoring two towns, one of which he renamed in honour of the Roman imperial family.He divorced his Nabataean wife, daughter of the king of the desert kingdom adjoining his own, to marry Herodias, formerly the wife of his half brother. The marriage offended his former father-in-law and alienated his Jewish subjects. When John the Baptist, one of his subjects, reproached Herod for this marriage, Herodias goaded her husband into imprisoning him. Still unmollified, she inveigled her daughter, Salome, to ask for the Baptist's head in return for dancing at her stepfather's birthday feast. Antipas reluctantly beheaded John, and later, when Jesus' miracles were reported to him, he believed that John the Baptist had been resurrected. When Jesus was arrested in Jerusalem, Pilate, the Roman procurator of Judaea, first sent him to Antipas, who was spending Passover in the capital, because Jesus came from Antipas' realm. The Tetrarch was eager to see Jesus, expecting more miracles, but soon returned him to Pilate, unwilling to pass judgment.Some time earlier, Antipas had built the city of Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, partly modelling it after a Greek city, but though he erected statues in the Greek manner in his palace, his coins bore no images. He also encouraged the Herodians, well-to-do Jews who supported him and were tolerant of Roman authority.Herod's closeness to the imperial family resulted in his choice as a mediator in the RomanParthian talks of 36. To his credit the conference was a success, but Antipas' haste to report the news to Rome aroused the hostility of Aulus Vitellius, legate of Syria, later emperor. Around 37, the Nabataean king Aretas IV, whose daughter Antipas had repudiated, attacked Herod's realm, inflicting severe damage. When the Tetrarch appealed to Rome, the Emperor sent Vitellius, who, still nursing his resentment, availed himself of every possible delay. After Caligula became emperor in 37, Herodias, envious of her brother Agrippa I's success, persuaded her husband to denounce him before the Emperor, but the intended victim, Caligula's close friend, anticipated Antipas and levied charges, partially true, against him. Caligula banished Antipas to Gaul, where Herodias accompanied him, and her brother added the tetrarchy to his domains"
This is about as much that can be found on this family, outside of the Bible, though we must admit that the Bible is not very explicit about them.

As for the slaying of the infants, you will notice that no mention is made in Herod's the Great biography, which means that no historical evidence has been found so far on that event. I'm not saying it didn't happen. Herod's reputation would accept this possibility, indeed. All I'm saying is History does not accept it as it accepts that Herods did exist.


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graeylin asked on 10/03/03 - Ezra versus Nehemiah:

There seems to be a lot of differences between the numbers of children of Bebai, Zattu, Azgad, etc. who returned from Babylonia. In fact, Ezra and Nehemiah almost never agree on the number that returned. sometimes the difference is small (only a couple) and sometimes a hundred or more.

Any thoughts as to why?

curious98 answered on 10/03/03:

I have found the following differences in numbers Ezr 2:1-70 and Neh 7:7-72

The first name refers to the Clan name.
The 2nd figure is from EZra
The 3rd one, is from Nehemiah
And the 4th one, is the difference, if any-

I have tried to list them, but the program does not admit it. I'm sorry





2 to 8


9 to 8


2 to 6

3 to 8


6 to 7

56 to 67

4x4 to 6x5



3 to 4


Gibeon / Gibbar

Bethlehem and Netophah
Addition +7



Keareath Jearim, Kephilah, Beeroth

Ramah and Geba


Bethel and Ai
2 to 1

Other Nebo


Other Elam


Lod, Hadid, Ono
5 to 1


6 to 9






2 to 4

9 to 8

Temple servants

Unproven origin
5 to 4












(There are also 50 bowls in Nehemiah.)
The apocryphal book of 1 Esdras also lists the returnees. According to The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 4 p.618 and The NIV Study Bible p.676, it has 25,947 men of Israel (compared with 24,144 for Ezra and 25,406 for Nehemiah), 5,288 priests (vs. 4,289 for Ezra and Nehemiah), 341 Levites, singers, gatekeepers compared to 341 for Ezra, 372 Temple servants vs. 392 for Ezra and Nehemiah, and 652 men of unproven origin, vs. 652 for Ezra.
The total number of people are far greater than the those listed, so the listing is not exhaustive. For example, Ezra has the family of Magbish, and Nehemiah does not. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.687 says the total might also include northern tribes and women and children.

Of the 50 common numbers there are 22 total differences. There are 12 single-digit differences, and Nehemiah has the larger number in 7 of them. There are 10 multi-digit differences, and Nehemiah has the larger number in 7 of them. For contrast, lets look at the Hebrew vs. Greek Septuagint: for Ezra there are 2 differences (both are single-digit), and for Nehemiah 10 differences (5 of which are single-digit).
Aas for the reasons for these differences,
it probably is due to a combination of a number of reasons.

Simple copyist errors: In the manuscripts today, there have been some copyist errors. Many copyist errors would be changing or leaving out a digit.

In the Hebrew vs. Septuagint there are 2 differences in Ezra (both single-digit) and 10 differences in Nehemiah (5 are single-digit). Thus one would expect simple copyist errors to explain around 2 to 5, or possibly up to 10 of the 22 differences. Since The number of times Nehemiah is larger in 7 out of 12 single-digit differences, there is no statistically significant trend of one being larger.

Change in the way numbers were written: The way Hebrews wrote numbers changed about this time. Formerly the Hebrews used old "round letters", and changed to "square" letters. This would cause more copyist errors. The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.667 mentions that the Moabites spoke a dialect of Hebrew and still used the old round letters in the ninth century B.C. the Encyclopedia

Britannica volume 1 (1956) p.684 says, "the earliest records of Aramaic go back to about 800 B.C. The alphabet at this time differs little from that of the Moabite Stone." It says there were two tendencies, which were completed during the time of the Persians
1) the opening of the heads of letters beth, daleth, and resh. And angles became more rounded and ligatures developed. This might be expected to explain more errors.

Cipher lists: The NIV Study Bible p.674 says that the differences might be due to using "cipher lists", where a vertical stroke represented " and a horizontal stroke represented ൒", and this would lead to greater copying errors.

The lists were made at different times: Of the 10 multi-digit differences, Nehemiah is larger in 7 of them. On one hand, the differences probably are not due to more exiles returning, as the totals match exactly. On the other hand, or the returnees, more people might have been found in the listed clans and villages. 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.139-140 and the Commentary by Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown volume 1 p.289 mention that Ezra 2:1 says this is the list was made of those who left for Babylon, apparently prior to them arriving at Jerusalem. Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.229 also adds that there might have been some last minute decisions to join with a clan or village.

Hope this information has helped you

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graeylin asked on 10/01/03 - How did Saul die?

By his own hand, by another, or by God? (or any combination of the three?)

curious98 answered on 10/03/03:

Sorry, would not know!
The language is rather cryptic, and it could be what you presume, but it could be someone else.
Sorry not to be able to help you there


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graeylin asked on 10/01/03 - help with interpretation of verse

I am having trouble figuring out what this verse in Hosea is saying. I tried to read the rest of the chapter for context, but I am either missing something or not understanding.

Hosea 12:12
And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep.

What does "served for a wife" mean, and "for a wife he kept sheep", does that read better as "He raised sheep to support his wife" or something?

curious98 answered on 10/02/03:

Which Bible are you using?

For the text I have seems rather clear to me.

12. And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep.

12. (In latin)
Et fugit Jacob in agrum Syriae, et servivit Israel in uxore (hoc est, pro uxore,) et pro uxore custodivit (id est, custos fuit gregis.)

And here is the corresponding commentary from the Bible:

"The Prophet now employs another kind of reproof, -- that the Israelites did not consider from what source they had proceeded, and were forgetful of their origin. And the Prophet designedly touches on this point; for we know how boldly and proudly the people boasted of their own eminence. For as a heathen gloried that he was an Athenian, so also the Jews think that all we are brute animals, and imagine that they have a different origin from the rest of mankind, because they are the posterity of Abraham. Since then they were blinded by such a pride as this God meant to undeceive them, as he does here: "Jacob your father, who was he? What was his condition? What was his nobility? What was his power? What was his dignity and eminence according to the flesh? Yea, truly, he was a fugitive from his own country: had he always lived at home, his father was but a sojourner; but he was constrained to flee into Syria. And how splendidly did he live there? He was indeed with his uncle; but he was treated no better than if he had been some worthless slave: He served for a wife. And how did he serve? He was a keeper of sheep. Go then now and boast of your dignity, as if ye were nobler than others, as if your condition were better than that of the common sort of people." God then brings against them the condition of their father, in whose name they gloried, but who was an abject person and a fugitive, who was like a worthless slave, who was a keeper of sheep; who, in short, had nothing which could be deemed reputable among men.

And God, he says, brought you up by a Prophet from Egypt, and by a Prophet you have been preserved. This was, as it were, their second nativity. Some think that the comparison is between their first origin and their deliverance; as though Hosea had said, "Though you were born of a very poor and ignoble man, yet God has favoured you with singular privilege; for he gave Moses to be the minister of your liberation." But in my judgement the Prophet speaks in a more simple way; for, first, he shows what was the first origin of the people, that they were from Jacob; and then he shows what was their second origin; for God had again begotten them when he brought them out of Egypt. And they were there, as it is well known, very miserable, and they did not come out by their own velour, they did not attain for themselves their liberty; but Moses alone extended his hand to them, having been sent for this end by God. Since the case was so, it was strange that they now provoked God, as he says in the last verse, by their altars."

Hope to have helped you

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graeylin asked on 10/01/03 - How did Saul die?

By his own hand, by another, or by God? (or any combination of the three?)

curious98 answered on 10/02/03:

See what the Chapter 31, of the 1st book of Samuel says on the subject.

"Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa.

2 And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Malchishua, Saul's sons.

3 And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers.

4 Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

5 And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him.

6 So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together. "

From that part it seems clear that Saul commited suicide to avoid being caught by the

Which may bring up another interesting subject of discussion, guess which one?


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Yiddishkeit asked on 09/30/03 - Slavery and the meanings as used in the Bible...

What I am asking is that knowledgeable experts give further insights so as to help others with related subjects. I'll start this off with a general overview...

Slavery was commonplace in ancient times. A person could be forced into bondage if captured during war or if kidnapped. Slavery could also be imposed for failure to honor debts. Free people might voluntarily sell their children or themselves into slavery to avoid destitution. Slaves labored in fields, in mines, and on construction projects; some worked in the temple or in the government bureaucracy. A slave might also toil as a domestic servant. Hagar, who became Abraham's concubine was the "maid-servant" (Gen. 16:1) of his wife, Sarah. For more examples of servants see 1 Sam. 9:22 and Prov. 27:27. Of course, let's not forget Moshe and David are referred to as servants of G-d.

Slaves [servants] were not permitted to work on the Shabbos (Deut. 5:14). A fellow Israelite could be enslaved for only six years; in the seventh year the slave had to be released and the owner was to provide for the newly released person (Deut. 15:13-14). Such generosity reflected G-d's own care: "Bear in mind that you were slaves in the land of Egypt and the L-rd your G-d redeemed you..." (Deut. 15:15). Being mistreated as slaves in Egpyt we learned how to better treat servants. This sort of servitude as compared to our slavery in Egpyt is night and day. As a sidenote...further mistreatments of slavery in this respect can be relate to in African-American history. Again I'm truly thankful for I'm commanded to remember our ancestors freedom out of the tormentive Egyptian bondage; also happy to reside in a country that eventually chose to wisely abolish slavery, America. Now if only fewer of my tax dollars that serve the governemnt use was better spent, but that's a whole different subject.


curious98 answered on 10/01/03:

Hi Bobby,

I am not quite sure as what you may be driving at.

My English dictionary defines Slavery: (1) Drudgery, toil (2) Submission to a dominating influence (3) the state of a person who is a chattel of another (4) the practice of slaveholding, etc.

These practices are as old as Mankind and, in many ways, they are still going on and being practiced, as it could not be otherwise, by perfectly honest looking dominating influences

The O.T. had necessarily to reflect these practices which, at the time, were not only quite common, but acceptable too.

And certain passages show this trend quite clearly.

When in Gen. 22:2, GOD says "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you..." we may say, as we do, that GOD was testing Abraham, but we could probably assert that Abraham was behaving like GODs slave, which, btw, its quite a privilege, but thats another story

As for your being happy to live in a Country who abolished slavery, just 2 things for the record:

a) Of course, you are entitled to happily live in that Country, though I would like to remind you that in Europe slavery was abolished shortly BEFORE than in the USA. So we are happy too, to live here in Europe. BTW, should you wish to read some exhaustive study on Slavery, from its very beginning I would recommend you a book by the reputed historian Hugh Thomas, The Slave Trade, Just great!

b) As I said before, some kind of slave trade can still be found in quite a few places around the world. The USA, unfortunately, is no exception. Youll find it within its borders, in the Californian vineyards, amongst the so called wetbacks, and outside its borders within some big corporations who do not mind using child labour abroad to reduce production costs.

Jesus said to the people who wanted to stone the woman caught in sin If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

This, just to say, that there is very little justice we can brag about in our respective Countries, whether USA or European, and there is still a lot to do to be able to say we are morally alright. Dont you think so?

Best regards

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graeylin asked on 09/29/03 - Was it okay for Moses to be a murderer, since the commandments weren't written yet?

Was it okay in the eyes of the Lord for Moses to be a murderer, since Moses hadn't received the Commandment yet that Men shouldn't Kill?

curious98 answered on 09/30/03:

OK, here we go again!

In the first place your assumption that Moses was a murderer is a non proven assert. According to your own Jurisprudence everybody has the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty!

Any good lawyer would succeed in obtaining a verdict of Non-guilty for good old Moses. In fact, it was not probably Moses intention to kill the taskmaster; Moses probably only wanted to save the slaves life, which he actually did.

Secondly, you like most people when judging historical events- forget a very interesting question, i.e., that History must be analysed bearing in mind the mentality of the epoch one is judging.

4000 years ago, human life was worth very little, which does not mean people had no feelings; it just meant that a slaves life belonged to his/her master, who could dispose of it after his/her own pleasure.

In fact, the very same thing happened more or less in the Southern cotton plantations, 200 years ago only

However, it is obvious that Moses did not think like that, so he felt the taskmaster was overdoing his punishment on the Hebrew slave and acted accordingly.

Unfortunately, he killed the taskmaster NOT murdered him.

Moses was acting out of righteous anger, not wickedness, although God did show him later that there is a better way. Bottom line, Moses risked not only his very life, but the fame and riches of living in the pharaohs house. Woule you still maintain he was a murderer?

Which poses another interesting possibility. That of the taskmaster being a simply instrument God used to persuade Moses to live a righteous life, thus causing him to leave Pharaohs service and join the Israelites; and thus making him as good as dead from Pharaohs point of view.

I hope your verdict now, will be innocent!

As for the 5th Commandment, I will not speak of how in the 21st century we are abiding by it

I will only remind you of the Christian Crusades, those expeditions undertaken, during the 12th and 13th centuries, in fulfillment of a solemn vow, to deliver the Holy Places from the so called Mohammedan tyranny.
Something very close, if not identical, to a Christian JIHAD

Or the extermination of the Albigensian heresy, carried out by the Domincans, in the south of France, or when the Pope also preached a crusade against John Lackland and Frederick II.

All these expeditions have been carried out in the name of God, and the very name of Crusade derives from the Cross, where Jesus died for all of us

You must admit, it is rather ironical to speak of the 5th Commandment in the times of Ramses II or Akenaton, dont you think so?


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graeylin asked on 09/27/03 - Do I understand this part of the Captivity story correctly?

Did God really prevent the Egyptians from releasing the Hebrews by hardening Pharoah's heart over and over? Did He do that so He could teach the Egyptian's a lesson? Did He do that so He could kill more of them? When Pharoah first thought "Let the Hebrews go.", why do you think God forced him to change his decision?

curious98 answered on 09/29/03:

Well yes! The Bible does seem to mention that God did harden the Pharoa's heart.
But what I say is just how can we ascertain for sure what were GOD's designs behind that attitude, if GOD actually acted like that?
Whatever we conclude will be purey speculation...
However once evident fact I have already referred to on several ocassions in this forum, is the existing difference between the O.T. Elohim or Yahveh and the N.T. Jesus.
WHile the former does look rather formidable and terrible and always more or less willing to punish those who did not abide by His orders, the latter was always speaking of love and forgiveness!
There must also be some sort of explanation behind these differences in behavior. But, again, I do not think anybody can offer an explanation for sure.

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ldmitch asked on 09/28/03 - Did Abraham break the kosher rules?

Genesis 18:8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

Did Abraham and the angel of the Lord break the kosher rules?

curious98 answered on 09/29/03:

Thanks to Avrom for the clarification and for the rating, too.

Best regards

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graeylin asked on 09/27/03 - Do I understand this part of the Captivity story correctly?

Did God really prevent the Egyptians from releasing the Hebrews by hardening Pharoah's heart over and over? Did He do that so He could teach the Egyptian's a lesson? Did He do that so He could kill more of them? When Pharoah first thought "Let the Hebrews go.", why do you think God forced him to change his decision?

curious98 answered on 09/28/03:

I think, dear Graylin, we have dealt with this type of question more than one.

How can anyone pretend to know GOD's designs and, much the less, if we are asking whether or not GOD influenced Pharoa's heart, by hardening it?

Whatever answer you may receive on this subject cannot be but sheer speculation...
or is there anyone who can claim to be able to consult GOD on the matter?


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ldmitch asked on 09/28/03 - Did Abraham break the kosher rules?

Genesis 18:8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

Did Abraham and the angel of the Lord break the kosher rules?

curious98 answered on 09/28/03:

WOuld not that be a clear reference to the beginning of the Kosher rule?

"Genesis 7
1 The LORD then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven [1] of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made."
5 And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.
6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth."


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Toms777 asked on 09/28/03 - Yom Kippur

Could someone provide some background to help us understand better what Yom Kippur is about?

curious98 answered on 09/28/03:

This is what the Encyclopaedia says on the subject:

Yom Kippur is probably the most important holiday of the Jewish year. Many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will refrain from work, fast and/or attend synagogue services on this day. Yom Kippur occurs on the 10th day of Tishri. The holiday is instituted at Leviticus 23:26 et seq.
The name "Yom Kippur" means "Day of Atonement," and that pretty much explains what the holiday is. It is a day set aside to "afflict the soul," to atone for the sins of the past year. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in the Days of Awe is sealed. This day is, essentially, your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends.
As noted in Days of Awe, Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and God, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur.
Yom Kippur is a complete Sabbath; no work can be performed on that day. It is well-known that you are supposed to refrain from eating and drinking (even water) on Yom Kippur. It is a complete, 25-hour fast beginning before sunset on the evening before Yom Kippur and ending after nightfall on the day of Yom Kippur. The Talmud also specifies additional restrictions that are less well-known: washing and bathing, anointing one's body (with cosmetics, deodorants, etc.), wearing leather shoes (Orthodox Jews routinely wear canvas sneakers under their dress clothes on Yom Kippur), and engaging in sexual relations are all prohibited on Yom Kippur.
As always, any of these restrictions can be lifted where a threat to life or health is involved. In fact, children under the age of nine and women in childbirth (from the time labor begins until three days after birth) are not permitted to fast, even if they want to. Older children and women from the third to the seventh day after childbirth are permitted to fast, but are permitted to break the fast if they feel the need to do so. People with other illnesses should consult a physician and a rabbi for advice.
Most of the holiday is spent in the synagogue, in prayer. In Orthodox synagogues, services begin early in the morning (8 or 9 AM) and continue until about 3 PM. People then usually go home for an afternoon nap and return around 5 or 6 PM for the afternoon and evening services, which continue until nightfall. The services end at nightfall, with the blowing of the tekiah gedolah, a long blast on the shofar.
It is customary to wear white on the holiday, which symbolizes purity and calls to mind the promise that our sins shall be made as white as snow (Is. 1:18). Some people wear a kittel, the white robe in which the dead are buried.
Yom Kippur Liturgy
The liturgy for Yom Kippur is much more extensive than for any other day of the year. Liturgical changes are so far-reaching that a separate, special prayer book for Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. This prayer book is called the machzor.
The evening service that begins Yom Kippur is commonly known as Kol Nidre, named for the prayer that begins the service. "Kol nidre" means "all vows," and in this prayer, Jews ask God to annul all personal vows they may make in the next year. It refers only to vows between the person making them and God, such as "If I pass this test, I'll pray every day for the next 6 months!"
This prayer has often been held up by anti-Semites as proof that Jews are untrustworthy (we do not keep our vows), and for this reason the Reform movement removed it from the liturgy for a while. In fact, the reverse is true: Jews make this prayer because they claim they take vows so seriously that they consider themselves bound even if they make the vows under duress or in times of stress when they may not be thinking straight. This prayer gave comfort to those who were converted to Christianity by torture in various inquisitions, yet felt unable to break their vow to follow Christianity. In recognition of this history, the Reform movement restored this prayer to its liturgy.
There are many additions to the regular liturgy (there would have to be, to get such a long service ). Perhaps the most important addition is the confession of the sins of the community, which is inserted into the Shemoneh Esrei (Amidah) prayer. Note that all sins are confessed in the plural (we have done this, we have done that), emphasizing communal responsibility for sins.
There are two basic parts of this confession: Ashamnu, a shorter, more general list (we have been treasonable, we have been aggressive, we have been slanderous...), and Al Chet, a longer and more specific list (for the sin we sinned before you forcibly or willingly, and for the sin we sinned before you by acting callously...) Frequent petitions for forgiveness are interspersed in these prayers. There's also a catch-all confession: "Forgive us the breach of positive commands and negative commands, whether or not they involve an act, whether or not they are known to us."
It is interesting to note that these confessions do not specifically address the kinds of ritual sins that some people think are the be-all-and-end-all of Judaism. There is no "for the sin we have sinned before you by eating pork, and for the sin we have sinned against you by driving on Shabbat" (though obviously these are implicitly included in the catch-all). The vast majority of the sins enumerated involve mistreatment of other people, most of them by speech (offensive speech, scoffing, slander, talebearing, and swearing falsely, to name a few). These all come into the category of sin known as "lashon ha-ra" (lit: the evil tongue), which is considered a very serious sin in Judaism.
The concluding service of Yom Kippur, known as Ne'ilah, is one unique to the day. It usually runs about 1 hour long. The ark (a cabinet where the scrolls of the Torah are kept) is kept open throughout this service, thus you must stand throughout the service. There is a tone of desperation in the prayers of this service. The service is sometimes referred to as the closing of the gates; think of it as the "last chance" to get in a good word before the holiday ends. The service ends with a very long blast of the shofar.
After Yom Kippur, one should begin preparing for the next holiday, Sukkot, which begins five days later.
List of Dates
Yom Kippur will occur on the following days of the Gregorian calendar. Remember that all holidays begin at sundown on the date before the date specified here.
September 16, 2002 (Jewish Year 5763)
October 6, 2003 (Jewish Year 5764)
September 25, 2004 (Jewish Year 5765)
October 13, 2005 (Jewish Year 5766)
October 2, 2006 (Jewish Year 5767)
Hope to have helped

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Toms777 asked on 09/27/03 - Signature of God

There is a book called the signature of God by Grant Jeffrey in which he uses a method like the Bible code to demonstarte what he calls the signature of God.

What is the basis for this approach to understanding scripture?

curious98 answered on 09/28/03:

Although I have not read this book, from what I gather the basis of Grant Jeffrey's approach to this especial way of understanding the Scriptures, may be an ancien technique called GEMATRIA, whereby, as you may know, In Hebrew, each letter possesses a numerical value. Gematria is the calculation of the numerical equivalence of letters, words, or phrases, and, on that basis, gaining, insight into interrelation of different concepts and exploring the interrelationship between words and ideas.

A little bit of History on this technique:

"The Babylonian king Sargon II, in 8th century BC, is believed to have been the first to use gematria when building the wall of Khorsabad exactly 16,283 cubits long, because that was the numerical value of his name.

In Jewish mysticism this is a traditional system of associating numbers with Hebrew letters for the purpose of discovering hidden meanings in words. This is accomplished by systematically associating letters with numbers and then finding other words with similar numbers. These latter words are regarded as comments on the original words. Systems related to the Hebrew implementation of gematria are still used.

The Hebrews also used gematria for divination.

The ancient Greeks used gematria in dream interpretation. It also appears in the literature of the magi, and has been used in connection with the Greek alphabet.

The Gnostics applied gematria to names of deities such as Abraxas and Mithras, equating them because both of their names equaled 365, the number of days in a year.

Gematria carried over into early Christianity which helped make the dove a representation of Jesus; the Greek word for dove, peristera, equals 801 as do the Greek letters in alpha and omega, which represent the Beginning and the End.

It was the Kabbalists, however, who seriously studied gematria and developed it into an art form. The Kabbalists of the 13th century seriously believed that the Old Testament was written in a hidden code inspired by God. They used gematria as one of the chief means by which to decipher this code. An example of this is shown in their interpretation of Jeremiah 9:9, "From the fowl of the heavens until the beasts are fled and gone". This was interpreted as meaning, that no traveler passed through Judea for 52 years, because the Hebrew word for beast, behemah, has the numerical value of 52.

Entire verses were numerically added up and interpreted in such a fashion. The 13th century German Kabbalistic scholar, Eleazar of Worms, did extensive gematric commentaries on the Bible.

Present practices:

The Kabbalists also used gematria to search for the holy names of God thinking, as so many others have, that these names such as the Tetragrammaton possessed power. Such a procedure has been adopted by many present day magicians. However, it should be noted two schools of thought regarding gematria also were issued from the Kabbalists. One advocated it use while the other cautioned against its practice, recommending that it only be practiced to strengthen one's own conclusions. Various methods of gematria have evolved; for example one Kabblistic tract lists 72 of hem.

There are two other lesser known decoding systems which are related to gematria, and various methods of practice exist within each of these systems too. The first of these systems is known as notarikon, in which the first letter of words may be extracted and combined to form new words; or, another version is to take the first, last, and sometimes the middle letters to make new words or phrases.

The other system is called temurah. It is a more complicated system in which letters are organized in tables, or according to mathematical arrangements. By the procedure of substitution new words or anagrams are formed."


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Toms777 asked on 09/27/03 - Famous Sages of Chelm

In as recent response to a question, ldmitch made a reference to the famouse sages of Chelm.

Could someone tell us something about these sages of Chelm?

curious98 answered on 09/28/03:

Here is a text on the above subject, directly from a Rabbi Samuel's desk:

"Rosh Hashanah reminds us about the passage of time. Each of us in a most literal sense, is a time traveler. Each day all of us embark on an eternal journey spanning the generations that proceeded us. The future is in our hands.

A rabbi once asked his congregation, Think for a minute: Which day is the greatest day of your lives? A young boy answered, The day I was born. A groom, in the presence of his bride, said, The day I met her. An elderly Holocaust survivor replied, The day I arrived in on Ellis Island in 1946.

We would all agree that these are very significant days. But some people live as though the greatest and most important day of their lives is tomorrow! Tomorrow is the day I will lose that extra weight, or Tomorrow I start saving for retirement. Tomorrow is the day I am going to spend time with my family, or Tomorrow I will go study Torah. It is always tomorrow, but as the songs says, Lets forget about tomorrow, for tomorrow never comes.

Those who put off for tomorrow what they can do today, rarely do the things they say. The real tragedy is that too many of us never begin to live authentically until we realize that the days of our lives are all used up. A philosopher once said There is no past, present or future. Using tenses to divide time is like making chalk marks on water. The approach of Rosh Hashanah beckons us to make today count.

I think that another reason many of us realize our full potential is because, on a deep level, many of us fear failure. Its easier to remain with what is familiar and boring rather than risk trying something new and different. The ancient Chinese philosopher, Confucius, wrote in his Analects, Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

A story comes to mind about the wise men of Chelm. Chelm was a city in Poland, and legend has it these people thought they were the wisest sages in the world. In reality, they were among the worlds most foolish people and the stories about Chelm can teach us much about ourselves.

The good citizens of Chelm used to spend a good deal of time worrying. In fact they spent so much time worrying they soon began to worry about how much they worried. The Grand Council of Wise Men convened a special meeting to discuss all this worrying and to find a solution for it. For seven days and seven nights, the wise men of Chelm discussed the problem, until finally the chairman announced a solution. Reb Yossel, the penniless chimney sweep, would be the official Chelm Worrier. In return for a ruble a week, he would do the worrying for everybody in Chelm. The Grand Council members all agreed that this was the ideal solution, but just before the vote was taken, one of the sages rose to speak against the proposal. Wait a minute, he announced. If Reb Yossel were to receive one ruble a week, then what would he have to worry about?

Indeed, it is useless to worry about tomorrow, because most of the time, our worries prove unfounded, and if true, there is usually nothing we can do to prevent them from occurring. Often, what we worry about does not come to pass and what occurs is something we never even thought about. In one sense, tomorrow exists only in our minds, for what we truly experience is really a succession of today. Thus, while we can plan for the future, we must live for today.

Perhaps the Psalmist said it best: Teach us to number our days so that we may obtain a heart of wisdom. Rosh Hashanah reminds us that our time in this world is limited, so let us do our best to make a difference in the world and in our communities in which we live. The great medieval scholar, Bahya Ibn Pekudah, in his masterpiece, The Duties of the Heart, wrote Days are scrolls; write on them what you want to be remembered. Let us pray as we age that God gives us the wisdom to become a sage."


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jewels asked on 09/27/03 - what does religious tolerance mean to you and where do you draw the line

I am continually amazed by the workings of the human mind...makes me wonder what other's definitions or beliefs of religious tolerance actually is.
The term "religious tolerance" could have different meanings to different peoples.

Many people reject the term, because they often interpret it as meaning that, to be tolerant, one must accept all religions as equal and true. I think that is the religious concept called "pluralism." One implication of this is that, absolute truth might not or does not exist. This they generally find unacceptable. Many believe that a person first has to accept all other religious beliefs as equally valid as their own in order to be tolerant. Many Christians regard religious toleration as a major threat which is sabotaging the foundations of Christianity, (and here in the USA undermining the very foundations of this country).

Among other individuals and groups (those who might be considered to be less conservative Christians or even liberals if you will) "religious tolerance" generally means to avoid oppressing or discriminating persons whose religious beliefs happen to be different from their own. It is a statement of fundamental human rights.

What does religious tolerance mean to you? Do you think some religions or religious beiefs are dangerous?
If you believe in 'tolerance' and believe some religions are dangerous, how do you tolerate that?


curious98 answered on 09/27/03:

My answer may be disappointing to you!
Strongly believing in the unity of GOD (to me there cant be but ONE and ONLY GOD) it does not matter very much what religion or beliefs do you subscribe to. If you honestly believe in ONE and ONLY GOD, it does not matter to me whether you call IT ALLAH, YAHVEH OR GOD, and whether you are a Moslem, a Jew or a Christian. It does not matter either whether you belong to some Christian Protestant denomination, or to some Orthodox Church, or to some Roman Catholic organization.
And if you do not believe in anything or in some strange and primitive religion, it does not matter too much either.
What really does matter, is how do you behave in your daily activities. If you are a person that love your neighbour and respect
what he/she may think or believe in, Im convinced my GOD (which is everybodys GOD) will take care of you, in ITS INFINITE MISERICORDY
On the other hand. there are, of course, religious beliefs that are indeed dangerous or even very dangerous These simply are those imparted by the fundamentalists and bigots...
And please note that these sort of people unfortunately abound in ALL religions, whether Monotheistic or Polytheistic.
Youll find them in practically all Christian denominations, Catholics included, of course; in Judaism; in Islam, as we know quite well; in Hinduism, etc.
The only ones who seem to be over and above these considerations are, perhaps, the Buddhists for their philosophy is that of a wide acceptance of other people faiths.
As for religious tolerance undermining the very foundations of the USA, I believe exactly the opposite. What may undermine the very foundations of the USA, or of any other country for what matters, is precisely religious intolerance. And this is even more ridiculous in the USA, where the majority of the people belongs to one Protestant denomination or other. And I say ridiculous because there, they ALL believe in the same GOD, with the same NAME.
In fact, if my memory serves me right, the USA Constitution does contemplate everyones right to his/her own beliefs. This is why the USA a non-confessional Country.
Sorry if I have disappointed you!
Best regards

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jewels asked on 09/25/03 - Is this for real? Please give me your opinion

Please vist this site and give me your opinion.

CAUTION - If you are EXPOSING the devil in any way, you better be doing DAILY Spiritual Warfare, Deliverance, and RETURNING all curses.

If you can hear the "Oh the Blood of Jesus" midi file, and it gets under your skin, don't turn your speakers off. The demons absolutely hate this song or any song that mentions the Blood of Jesus. The more this bothers you, the more demon infested you are. You actually could get some Deliverance by having this tune play in the background, and some demons may actually leave your home or apartment too. Tape the song and play it in your home over and over.

curious98 answered on 09/26/03:

I am not going to discuss the demon or its existence. We may believe in it or not. Even my own Catholic Church is not very definite about that simbology. Some will say that Hell is having met GOD and not being able to spend Eternity with IT. Others, like Dante in the Renaissance, depicted it in 7 different stages, each one worse than the previous one.
We should not be afraid of Satan, as long as our conscience tell us we are doing more or less what we should. For, somehow, I feel that if Satan does exist it may communicate with us through our conscience. As for the site, I have opened it and I have closed it right away. Im simply not interested.
But I have the idea the authors may have to got to see a psychoanalyst

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ldmitch asked on 09/25/03 - Abraham - soul winner?

Genesis 12:5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brothers son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

Was Abraham a soul winner?

curious98 answered on 09/26/03:

Although, this is pure speculation, my own opinion is that Abraham was, indeed, a soul winner.
Considering what I said in my previous post on the same subject, Abraham was full of compassion towards his fellowmen and women. And he was like that because he loved them.
Abraham had compassion towards the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis 18 he asked the Lord to spare the city if there were 50 right living people. Then he asked if the Lord to spare the city if there 45, 40, 30, 20 and then for 10. God had agreed.
SO, being consistent with what I believe Abraham must have certainly been a First Class Soul Winner, alright!

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ldmitch asked on 09/25/03 - A question for all "YOU'S WISE GUYS"

Proverbs 11:30 he that winneth souls is wise.

How does a wise man win souls?

curious98 answered on 09/26/03:

The entire sentence reads:
Pr. 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.
And have to be taken in its full context, i.e.
those who know how to win souls ARE wise. How can we win souls? Simple, by loving them and teaching them rightly
Dont you think so?
PS. And, of course, I do not consider myself a "wise guy" Just a little expert because of my age.

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ldmitch asked on 09/25/03 - Significance of the Shofar to the Messiah

"The Shofar is blown on Rosh Hashana, according to the story to upset Satan. Why? His evil doings are over. Or so he believes. For when he hears the blasts, he thinks it is because the Messiah has arrived." Sound the Shofar, Marion Chaikim, Clarion Books, 1986, page 9

Is the blowing of the Shofar on Rosh Hashana a call for the Messiah?

curious98 answered on 09/26/03:

Hi Idmitch,

Encyclopaedia says

The shofar commemorates the intended sacrifice of Isaac by his father, Abraham, and the provision from the Lord of a substitute sacrifice which came in the form of the ram caught in the thicket.

It is from the ramss horn that the Shofar is made. Scripture prescribes the sounding of the shofar on this day to encourage every man and every nation to come out from chaos, to reflect on their conduct and to rededicate themselves to goodness and morality.

The first prescribed sound of the shofar is the Tekiaha long deep blast which ends abruptly It is the call of the people to assemble for Heshbon ha-Nefesha reckoning of the soul. The second sounding is the Shebarim, three broken notes used as a sound of alarmwhich says, "Beware, there are powerful enemies who threaten righteousness and morality and who would destroy holiness. Beware, stand firm for justice and holiness.

" The third call was the Teruah which was comprised of nine short notes summoning strength for the struggle against evil. The last call of the shofarthe Tekiah Gedolah, is one very long blast pointing to the day of final victory, when all people will worship in peace the one eternal God.
The greeting to a Jewish person on Rosh Hashanah is, "Le-shana tova", which means, "May you be inscribed [in the Book of Life] for a good year." It is traditional on Rosh Hashanah to eat a round Challah (braided bread) which is dipped in honey.

Honey is one of the seven healing substances listed in the Talmud. Honey is also symbolic of the hope for a sweet New Year. Apples are also served with honey. The apple is noted for its healing power and sweetness. Pomegranates, figs and grapes are also eaten for the first time that year.

Messianic Implications

From a Messianic standpoint, the Feast of Trumpets and the sounding of the shofar is Gods signal which precedes the rapture. According to Scripture, the Second Coming of Messiah will be accompanied by the blowing of the shofar:

Hope to have contributed to your knowledge of Jewish traditions, in case you did not know already.


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jewels asked on 09/25/03 - what to do about religious diversity and discrimination?

The United States of America is a melting pot and has become the most religiously diverse nation in the world. People from all different religious faiths live in our neighborhoods, and children of Jewish, Muslim, Protestant Christian, Catholic Christian, and Buddhists, wiccan, atheists families, (the list could go on and on) all go to school together, sit next to each other and work side by side every day. We are a mixed society, yet religious discrimination and hate run rampant.

While race has been the dominant American social issue in the past century, many Americans aware of the religious diversity have become involved in discrimination and acts of hate.

How Americans of all faiths and beliefs can engage with one another to shape a positive pluralism is perhaps the most important question facing American society today. Religious diversity in our lives is emerging as a huge challenge for the possibility of peace on earth.

What is the answer? Education? Tolerance? Acceptance? What are some of the things you can do to quell the tragedy of misunderstanding and the rampant spread of hatred and discrimination against those who don't share the same faith?

curious98 answered on 09/26/03:

Im not an USA citizen nor do I live in the States any more, though I lived there in the 70s. I have travelled to the States since then quite often and I have certainly being able to see how, in my humble opinion, the USA society is degrading itself slowly but surely. Your wonderful country is gradually becoming obsessed, more than ever before, with the modern concepts of materialism, consumerism, personal success, dehumanisation and, maybe, some religious intolerance, too, although, I do not wish to be as pessimistic as you are, for this is happening in other parts of the World too. For reasons, unfair true, but understandable, the only religion which right now seems to be under close observation is Islam.
As for the others, from what Im being told by friends living there, and from my own experience, problems are no more and no different than in other countries.
Take, for instance, Northern Ireland
I have always envied the wonderful pluralism that formed your Nation, despite the many problems you have had, and still have, with racism (Blacks, Hispanics Indians, Koreans, etc.).
Despite the fact that large sections of your white population with Anglo Saxons ancestors strangely consider themselves as belonging to a superior (or in any case, better) race, it has to be recognized that your Country is what it is thanks to the combined efforts of Anglo Saxons and Northern Europeans Protestants indeed, with Catholic Irish, Italians, Polish, Hispanics (as you wrongly say, instead of Latin Americans) and Jews; of Moslems from Asia and Africa; of Buddhists and Sintoists from Japan, China and Korea; of Hindus from India and Blacks (most of whose ancestors helped to create immense wealth in the 18th and 19th centuries in your South).
In larger or smaller proportions the USA belongs to all those who have and are participating in its development. All USA citizens have the same rights, privileges and obligations. And this should be respected by all, although Im afraid, this is not always the case.

However, I would not certainly be that pessimistic.
As for solutions to correct the present state of things (which has spread to Europe, as well), maybe if you (we all, in fact) should finally and for good, understand that nobody is any better, from the standpoint of race, origin or nationality, than our neighbour and would be respectful with their way of thinking (which is true democracy at its best), we could make a first step towards global understanding.

Neo-liberal policies amongst Western Governments however are not going to help this global understanding, though.
The gap between poor countries and wealthy countries is bigger than ever and, as I said yesterday in another post, every single day of the year some 100.000 persons die of starvation or from its direct consequences.
Some 826 million people suffer right now from chronic malnutrition.
From them, some 34 million live in the Northern Hemisphere, within countries with developed economies.
The rest are spread all over Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Just in the latter 186 million (34% of its total population) suffer the said condition.

If our respective Governments keep on ignoring this tremendous reality, there will be in the near future floods of immigrants (in your Country and in Europe) that will be impossible to stop. Whereas if we truly lend them a hand, if we honestly tend to their imperative needs, they will continue living where they were born, which is where they probably like to be, anyway.

We, white, capable and well fed people should definitely be less arrogant.

Incidentally, speaking of arrogance could you offer a good explanation why you always say we Americans instead of, for instance, we USA citizens or we North Americans?
When I went to school there was a big continent called America, divided into 3 sections called North, Central and South America.

Has that been changed?

This is an arrogant mistake of course, in my most humble opinion as European- unless, of course, when you sing God Bless America, you are referring to the entire Continent, which is most probably what GOD understands.
BTW, I like to say Im European, from Spain
Best regards

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bal317 asked on 09/25/03 - What do you think???

Religious thinking, so this is for all. What goes through your mind, when you are out among others, and for whatever reason, you look someone in the face, and their eyes meet yours, and 1. it seems like you know that person and they you, but in reality you don't but the eyes say to you otherwise.
2. Again the same as above, but the eyes seem to be looking right through you, like piercing, which gives you some sort of strange feeling.
3. Has anyone ever looked into an animal's eyes and so strongly thought that that animal, either reminds them of a loved one that has passed on? If so what type of animal.
4. What do you feel in your heart when you go to do something or go somewhere, and you really feel you have been there and done that before?

I know these sound "funny", but this has happened to me and I was just wondering from a Christian view point, are we over-looking something that we should pay attention to, or is this just a happen-stance?
Thank you.

curious98 answered on 09/25/03:

I do not know whether we can explain those feeling you mention through Religion or in any other way. I have often experienced looking into somebody eyes and feel I could speak with him/her without uttering a word I have many times looked at a dogs eyes, which was looking at me, and have had the sensation it was understanding much more than what I was asking it to do
Psychologists and Psychiatrics have written books over these, and other similar phenomena, trying to explain the unexplainable.
Maybe you are right and we are overlooking something. And, on second though, it is not a maybe; you are right, and we are certainly overlooking how little we know of how our mind and soul work.
We know a lot about our physical properties and our genetic engineering, the RNA and DNA, and what have you We have even counted that marvels me- that an adult normal brain may have something like 100.000 million of brain cells
And yet, we know so very little as to feelings like love and hate, and all those emotions that are hidden in a mans soul

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ETWolverine asked on 09/25/03 - A Glass of Milk - an story and essay about prayer

The following appears on the Chabad website:

Based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson

The chassid Rabbi Shmuel Munkes was traveling to spend Rosh Hashanah with his Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, when he was stranded in a small shtetl over Shabbat.

Soon after Shabbat was over, the village retired to an early bed. Several minutes before midnight, the shamash began making his rounds with a lantern in one hand and a wooden mallet in the other, pounding on the shutters of each home and calling, "Wake up! Wake up! Wake up to the service of the Creator!" The entire village climbed out of bed, dressed swiftly, and hurried to the brightly lit synagogue for Selichot, the solemn prayer that opens the High Holiday season.

In the home of Rabbi Shmuel's host there was much confusion. The entire family had dressed and gathered at the door, prayerbooks in hand, ready to depart for the synagogue; but their prestigious guest had yet to emerge from his room. Finally, the villager knocked softly on Rabbi Shmuel's door. No response. Slowly he entered the room. To his amazement, he found the chassid sound asleep.

"Reb Shmuel, Reb Shmuel," he urged, shaking his guest awake. "Come quickly. Selichot."

Rabbi Shmuel's only response was to burrow even more deeply under the covers.

"Hurry, Reb Shmuel," his host persisted. "They're about to begin in the synagogue any moment now."

"Begin what?" asked Rabbi Shmuel, quite obviously annoyed. "It's the middle of the night. Why are you waking me in the middle of the night?"

"What's the matter with you?" cried the villager. "Tonight is Selichot! A fine Jew you are! Why, if I hadn't woken you, you would have slept through the entire Selichot!"

"Selichot?" asked Rabbi Shmuel. "What is Selichot?"

Rabbi Shmuel's host was beside himself with incredulity. "Are you making a mockery of me? Don't you know that today was the Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah? Every man, woman and child of the village is now in the synagogue, trembling with trepidation. Soon the baal tefillah will begin chanting the Selichot prayers and the entire community will burst into tears, praying and begging G-d to bless them with a good year..."

"So that's what this commotion is all about?" asked Rabbi Shmuel. "You're going to the synagogue to pray? What's so urgent that can't keep until morning? What are you praying for?"

"There's so much to pray for, Reb Shmuel," sighed the villager. "I pray that the cow should give enough milk to keep my children healthy. I pray that the oats should fetch a good price on the market this year, for soon I shall have a daughter to marry off. I pray that my horse should not break a leg, G-d forbid, as happened the year before last..."

"I don't understand," interrupted Rabbi Shmuel. "Since when do grown men wake up in the middle of the night to ask for a bit of milk?"

The Villager Was Right

Rabbi Shmuel Munkes wished to impress upon his host that there is more to preparing for Rosh Hashanah than praying to G-d for one's material needs. Rosh Hashanah is the day on which we proclaim G-d king of the universe and commit ourselves to obey and serve Him. It is a time for teshuvah, for repenting for one's sins and failings and resolving never to repeat them. Is this the time to approach G-d with a "shopping list" of our material needs?

And yet, a glance at the Rosh Hashanah prayerbook shows that it abounds with requests for life, health and sustenance. For on Rosh Hashanah, the Divine energy that vitalizes all of creation is "renewed" for another year, and every creature is allotted its share of life, happiness and wealth. The simple villager was right: Rosh Hashanah is the time to pray that the cow should give milk and the oats should fetch a good price in the marketplace.

How, indeed, are we to reconcile the loftiness of the day with the mundane subject of a significant part of its prayers?

But the very concept of prayer carries the same paradox. Prayer is the soul's communion with its Creator, its island of heaven in an otherwise earth-bound day. Indeed, the Hebrew word for "prayer," tefillah, means "attachment," it being the endeavor to rise above our pedestrian concerns and connect to our Divine source. Yet the essence of prayer, the foundation upon which its spiritual edifice rests, is our beseeching the Almighty to provide us with our everyday needs.

The paradox of prayer is magnified a thousand fold when it comes to the prayers of Rosh Hashanah. On Rosh Hashanah, we are not only standing before G-d; we are crowning Him king, pledging to Him the total abnegation of our own self, and all its desires, to His will. What place is there on this day for the very notion of personal need?

A Dwelling Below

As discussed at length in our previous Rosh Hashanah essays, only man can make G-d king, for only man possesses the capacity for free choice--without which the very concept of "kingship" is devoid of significance. By freely submitting to the Divine sovereignty on Rosh HaShanah, we reawaken His desire to be king and infuse a new vitality into His involvement with the whole of creation.

The Divine desire to be king is also described by our sages as a desire for "a dwelling in the lower realms"--a home in the physical world. Why the physical world? Because only in the physical arena does true choice exist. The world of spirit is naturally inclined toward its Divine source. Thus, our service of G-d in the spiritual areas of our lives is a "compelled" service, driven by the natural inclinations of our spiritual selves. On the other hand, when we invite G-d into our physical lives, when we serve Him through physical deeds and with the materials of our physical existence, we are truly choosing to submit to Him, for such servitude goes against the very grain of our physical nature.

Thus, one who considers it "unbecoming" to entreat G-d for milk for his children on Rosh Hashanah rejects a most fundamental aspect of the Divine sovereignty. Crowning G-d king means accepting Him as sovereign in all areas of our lives, including -- and primarily -- our most mundane needs and requirements. It means acknowledging our utter dependence upon Him not only for our spiritual nurture, but for the piece of bread that sustains our physical existence.

Seen in such a light, our needs are not personal needs, and our requirements are not selfish requirements. Yes, we are requesting food, health and wealth; but we are requesting them as a subject requests them from his king -- as a servant asking his master for the means with which to better serve him. We ask for money to observe the mitzvah of charity; for strength to build a Sukkah; for food to keep body and soul together so that our physical lives may serve as a "dwelling in the lower realms" that houses His presence in our world.

Chanah's Prayer

The haftarah (reading from the Prophets) for the first day of Rosh Hashanah tells the story of Chanah, the mother of the prophet Samuel:

Chanah, the childless wife of Elkanah, came to Shiloh (where the Sanctuary stood before King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem) to pray for a child.

She prayed to G-d, weeping profusely. And she vowed a vow, and said: "O L-rd of hosts... If You will give Your maidservant a man child, I shall dedicate him to G-d all the days of his life..."

Eli, the High Priest at Shiloh, watched as she

prayed profusely before G-d... Only her lips moved; her voice was not heard.

Eli thought her a drunkard. And he said to her: "How long shall you be drunken! Put away your wine!" Chanah replied: "No, my lord... I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink. I have poured out my soul before the face of G-d..."

Eli blessed her that G-d should grant her request. That year, Chanah gave birth to a son, whom she named Samuel ("asked from G-d"). After weaning him, she fulfilled her vow to dedicate him to the service of G-d by bringing him to Shiloh, where he was raised by Eli and the priests. Samuel grew up to become one of the greatest prophets of Israel.

The "Prayer of Chanah," as this reading is called, is one of the fundamental biblical sources for the concept of prayer, and many of the laws of prayer are derived from it. Indeed, the dialogue between Eli and Chanah touches on the very essence of prayer, and of prayer on Rosh Hashanah in particular.

Eli's accusation of "drunkenness" can also be understood as a critique of what he saw as an excessive indulgence in the wants and desires of the material self on Chanah's part. You are standing in the most holy place on earth, Eli was implying, in the place where the Divine presence has chosen to dwell. Is this the place to ask for your personal needs? And if you must ask for them, is this the place to "pray profusely," with such tenacity and passion?

You misunderstand me, answered Chanah. "I have poured out my soul before the face of G-d." I am not merely asking for a son; I am asking for a son that I might "dedicate him to G-d all the days of his life."

Our sages tell us that Samuel was conceived on Rosh Hashanah. G-d's fulfillment of Chanah's prayer on this day encourages us to indeed avail ourselves of the awesome moment of G-d's coronation to approach Him with requests for our everyday needs. For on this day, our "personal" needs and our desire to serve our Master are one and the same.

Based on the talks and writings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe; rendered by Yanki Tauber.


All comments are appreciated.


curious98 answered on 09/25/03:

Hi Elliot,

I will give my candid Catholic point of view which will make more than one shudder.
In Spanish we have a saying that goes Slo te acuerdas de Santa Brbara cuando truena
Roughly translated means that we remember Sainte Barbara but when it thunders
It has to be said that this Sainte is supposed to protect us from big storms and she was very popular in the Spanish rural areas to protect the crops.
I mean by that your villager was absolutely right in my opinion.
We do not have to get up at midnight to ask GOD for a glass of milk, nor are we very tactful bothering GOD (if GOD can be bothered) with our selfish prayers asking GOD to provide us with a healthy, prosperous and happy life.
I have the feeling we might all be better off if we ALL should devote one hour every day ALL TOGETHER to pray GOD for Peace and Justice for all Mankind.
Every single day of the year some 100.000 persons die of starvation or from its direct consequences.
Some 826 million people suffer right now from chronic malnutrition. From them, some 34 million live in the Northern Hemisphere, within countries with developed economies. The rest are spread all over Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. In the latter only 186 million (34% of its total population) suffer the said condition.
These figures come all the way from the FAOs World Food Report, year 2000.
So, maybe we should ALL pray at night, if we do have to get up, for something really important, such as implanting some sense of justice in the hearts of those who command on Earth, so as to make them become a little more human towards the rest of the world that really needs help
It might be interesting for us to know that, according to the same source, present Worlds agricultural production could feed some 12.000 million people, by giving every one of them 2.700 daily calories
The funny thing is we are only some 6.000 million
And we still pray to GOD for our petty problems?
Best regards

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graeylin asked on 09/24/03 - How many children did Michal have?

"Therefore Michal, the daughter of Saul, had no child unto the day of her death.."
- II Samuel 6:23

"The five sons of Michal, the daughter of Saul.."
- II Samuel 21:8

Did she have five sons on the last day of her life? Quintuplet boys and died in labor?

curious98 answered on 09/25/03:

I guess you are using tne KJV Bible.

Samuel 6:23, literally says:
23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.

While Samuel 21:8, says:
7 The king spared Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, because of the oath before the LORD between David and Jonathan son of Saul. 8 But the king took Armoni and Mephibosheth, the two sons of Aiah's daughter Rizpah, whom she had borne to Saul, together with the five sons of Saul's daughter Merab, [1] whom she had borne to Adriel son of Barzillai the Meholathite. 9 He handed them over to the Gibeonites, who killed and exposed them on a hill before the LORD . All seven of them fell together; they were put to death during the first days of the harvest, just as the barley harvest was beginning.

Some Hebrew and Septuagint manuscripts say Merab instead of Michal, Merab was Michal's older sister. You left off the rest of the second verse if you're using the King James Version, which says Michal, "whom she brought up for Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite:". Since elsewhere in 2 Samuel, we read that Saul's daughter Merab married Adriel, it could mean exactly what it says in the King James Version, that Michal, for some reason not explicitly stated, brought up the sons of her sister. Either because of the advantages she could give them by living in the palace, or perhaps Merab's death. It's very likely Merab died before her sons were fully grown. Or it could mean that in some of the manuscripts, the wrong daughter's name was written down. A copyist working with thousands of verses could certainly make a copying mistake. Since the father is explicitly named, though, and there's no mention of Michal committing adultery with her own brother-in-law, they probably weren't biologically hers. Probably they were Merab's sons, but she may have been responsible for their upbringing.

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graeylin asked on 09/24/03 - How old was Ahaziah when he began his reign?

"Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign.."
- 2 Kings 8:26

"Fourty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign.."
- 2 Chronicles 22:2

curious98 answered on 09/25/03:

Hy Graylin,

After the clarification Bobby has given you
there is nothing I can add.

This is what my Encyclopaedi says in that respect, so as usual, Bobby seems to have given the right explanation.

Tell me. Are you reading the entire Bible sentence by sentence and throw you doubts at us for clarification?

For if that is the case, you have a several years job ahead of you. I have heard of people who have spend all their lives trying to explain the Bible and still have doubts...