– by embracing the factually real history of the three Western world religions …
On how modern religious indoctrination arose out of Jewish mythologized history and Christian/Islamic historized mythology.
The purpose of this post is to correct the widely common misperceptions about the history of religions, their developments, and the time frames of their developments. I am sharing this here, mostly, because it is not our fault that we are not aware of the historically verifiable history of humankind upon this planet and, thus, have believed all of our lives in a “revisionist” version of ancient history, taught to us by those brought up in the dominating religions of our society. The versions of history that teaches us to believe events and time periods that favor the assumed historicity of the religion around us, thus, justifying this religion’s existence. To give you a short and obvious example that is most common, most people believe the historically inaccurate belief that monotheism was started by Jews in the ancient Before Common Era (B.C.) period of human history, and some even believe that King Tut, an Egyptian Pharaoh, was the first monotheist in human history. Both of these beliefs are simply not factual and simply untrue! For no kingdom of ancient times denied the existence of the neighbor nation’s gods, not a single one of them. They just simply said theirs is the superior god and, thus, always the victor (aka, the true god/goddess/plural-of-these for their nation and national rites).
Since the researchable and verifiable “real” history of this post affects more than just Jewish people, this rise of monotheistic salvation religions in the beginning years of the modern Common Era (C.E./A.D.) time period and their indoctrinations of religious “faith”, here are some enlightening facts on our modern religions to put real history into perspective for Jews who are religious, for all Christians, and for all Muslims. The first of these three began with the Rabbis, during national temple times 200 years prior to the turn from B.C.E. history to C.E. history and finding its ideological formation during the first two hundred years of the C.E. in post-temple Talmud times. This was the time of nationalistic Rabbinical Judaism of Third Kingdom time (Hasmonean Dynasty), which had replaced the henotheistic nationalistic theocracy of the Priestly Judaism of Second Kingdom time, which had replaced the polytheistic nationalistic monarchies of the Kingly Judaism of First Kingdom time.
With Rabbinic Judaism, a nationalistic salvation religion, came the first fully compiled and redacted TaNaKh (the Jewish/Hebrew Bible). With Rabbinic Judaism, a nationalistic salvation religion amongst Jews that literally saved the Jewish people as an ethnicity from disappearing into the extinct populations of human past history (by keeping the Jewish civil population together through the unified laws and rituals of Talmudic Judaism), came the offshoot rise of (first) the theological non-nationalistic non-ethnic Christian religion amongst Romans and Greeks (that emphasized personal salvation, the salvation of individuals, in place of national salvation, the salvation of the people together as a whole), and the offshoot rise of (second) the theological nationalistic ethnic Islamic religion amongst the Arabs (that emphasized both personal and nationalistic salvation, the two tied very intimately together).
This is how what we know today as the modern religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam came about, from this turbulent historical time in which the Jewish people were a displaced ethnicity no longer having national borders and where most were living in Diasporas – either Greek/Roman controlled or Arab Persian controlled. For Jews, it wouldn’t be until the recent European “Enlightenment” period and, especially, the Jewish Emancipation period of modern history that the Jewish people would give up their ethnic/nationalistic view of modern Judaism in favor of a more purely “religious” only form. This occurred through the great change in the European world, where European peoples made their first attempts to allow Jewish people the legal right of citizenship within their countries. But, still yet, in “as a religion” form, Judaism today (in this secular Israel as a recognized U.N. State present time) still retains its nationalistic messianism of ancient Jewish times, and Jewishness in religious form is still focused in on this kind of salvation. Though it, too, (like Islam) now contains elements of both personal and nationalistic (the time of the world-to-come, symbolized by peaceful sovereignty within the ancestral homeland) dual-focus salvations in its modern theology.
The religious teachings and legends of modern Judaism (what is found in TaNaKh, Talmud, Mishnah, and in the Rebbe’s pulpit/classroom) are fully and only (and historically factually so) mythologized history, a mythologizing practice that began as far back as the monarchy ruled first kingdom time period three thousand years back. In contrast, with Christianity the reverse has been consistently happening, a historizing of mythology that was born out of and then evolved from Jewish messianic religious lore being written just prior to C.E. time period. And, Islam took an even more radical approach, which their extremist offsprings of today are still exercising, that of simply eradicating any prior history – viewing it as a distraction from non-questioning adherence to religious faith and obedience. This latter part – non-questioning adherence to religious faith and obedience – is what all three “world” religions share in common. For this kind of indoctrination is necessary for the survival of said religions.
Real world reality has a way about it, in how it interferes and challenges religious indoctrination, with real world facts and intellectually honest critical questions. Questions brought on by secularists, people who embrace rational thinking and critical analysis/study in place of religious theology, which has led to the modern world of capitalism, science, and a democratic way of life. Questions brought on, not just by Jewish secularists who have been present in Jewish civilization throughout Jewish history, but brought on by secularists of near all ethnic persuasions that have given rise to a modernized way of human life (both extinct civilizations and still existing ones, like ours). Much of what we have today, we as Western people owe to the two great secularist empires of the ancient B.C.E world of history – the secular focused Greeks and Romans (Western) and the period of secular dominance within the Persian world (Eastern).
So, if you are of a questioning mind, you are in good company (and good real world historical company, not just present) and you have nothing to be ashamed about. Your questions are valid and deserve real factual answers. Ancient Semitic Judaism, the precursor to modern Christianity and Islam (and Judaism), began as a nationalistic-based rites of cult with a national god and goddess who were reverenced to ensure good fortune for the nation of people. These national god and goddess were symbolized in the ancient monarchy period by an unmarked stone in the center of the temple and a tree trunk pillar in and around outside, respectively, before the fall of the first kingdom. With the replacement of the monarchs with the subsequent theocratic rule of the temple priests in the second kingdom came the singular national god of the Jewish temple (male, who now encompassed both male and female) that was viewed supreme amongst all other surrounding nation’s national gods and goddesses.
With the fall of the second and third kingdoms of Israel, came the rise of monotheism’s god of the entire world. It is through modern Judaism that we come to learn that the world god (the universe creator) is all powerful and all knowing and expects religion of us – and expects us to believe the mythologized history of the Jewish people at face value. The mythologized history from which the historized mythology of Christianity arose from. Never mind that academic and scientific studies of ancient civilizations by way of both archaeological artifacts and passed down written literary works show us a very different picture of history. Never mind that science has revealed that the universe works not by divine command but, rather, by discernible natural laws not of specifically anyone’s making (god or not). Never mind that our secularist explorations have uncovered a whole time period of pre-civilization and pre-human history that is not found in the written works of any nation’s bible. And it’s okay, if you are doubting your place in religion. It really is, and secular humanism is waiting to embrace you – when you are ready for a new inner path.
On The Most Important Religious Act I Wish To Impart In The Minds Of My Children
“Authenticity requires vulnerability, transparency, and integrity.” “Never look down on anybody, unless you’re helping them up.”
These days, I look forward to those moments when I am not plugged in and online! What a break from the b.s. of “I.” Everyone’s, and mine included.
The simplest sanest joy is in taking a break from yourself, from your world of “I” and “others.” How do we do this? By deliberately stepping back from our “self,” our ever rambling world of thoughts, and just observing them silently for a good long moment.
A silent mindfulness exercise, a detailed home project that requires full attention to accomplish, a walk in the park with your child and deliberately listen to her or him. All these and many more quiet mind activities … do so much more for you, than any social group activity, psychological therapy, or acts of religious/ideological belief!
There is being in the real world, and observing non-judgementally all of it that you can perceive, including the thoughts you’re having about it. There is being caught up in a perceived world, the real world as colored and tainted according to your mood and thought -filled outlook upon it.
The former brings genuine peace and contentment in life, here and right now. The latter brings the highs and lows, the pleasures and sufferings, of needy excitement and depressive disappointments that plague our lives with unaddressed discontentment.
I have experienced both firsthand and, knowing all humans share a common condition – whether we believe we are unique from others or not, I can confidently say that you have, too. Unless, you haven’t yet stepped back from your wordy “I”-isms about the world yet, haven’t stepped back from your perceptions and beliefs.
I have experienced the darkest, the heaviest, of mental perspectives about life, and I have experienced intense and briefly liberating mystified joy. What has saved me from both of these extremes, extremes we humans are so easily caught up into and addicted to, has been the ability, at times, to sit quietly, and patiently insist upon seeing the real world simply as it is, as it just is in this moment, my thoughts included.
This is the foundation to resilience, clear-headed sanity, personal salvation and redemption, peace, and constructive pro-active behavior. This is where one learns to ask the questions that actually do change lives, where one develops lasting self-esteem, where one see another and sees him or her -self, … where one learns forgiveness and develops empathy through connection.
We are humans, an intelligent primate species of this planet. We are, by this default, given to a self-limiting and unavoidable nature and chacteristics of behavior. The best thing we can learn to do with ourselves is not berate and fight over this, like still socially developing children. But, rather, step back from ourselves and give ourself a moment to see clearly and be able to choose our perspective and our action.
It’s the hardest act for thinking humans to do, but it is the most productive and rewarding one. I can assure you this, but it is up to you to choose to experience for yourself. Fair warning, it’s a lifetime act of experiencing, but more rewarding an experience than what most are used to.
More than any philosophy of mind or religion, the best thing one can teach his or her children is how to step back, here in this now, and just genuinely observe and listen. Notice everything, one’s thoughts and feelings included! This, too, this state of quiet awareness, is our natural state. It is the fundamental state of being, from which our ever thought filled mind arises from.
On whether a Jew can be non-religious or not. The answer is so demonstrably obvious!
There is a modern phenomena occurring amongst we Jewish people. It is the phenomena of “religious only” identity. The idea that you can only be a Jew so long as you are a religious Jew. We hear it in the denouncements of highly religious Jewish folk and Rabbinic leaders, most often with the Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jews who insist upon giving their short-sighted and often highly indignant opinions on this matter. In there mind-sets, a Jew can only be a Jew religiously, as defined by their particular ideology and theology on what religion is for a Jew. It is time to take a close look at this, and see if their position stands on valid ground, or more simply resembles the theocratic ideology of other religions and, most specifically, that of Islamic ideology.
I have heard many religious Jewish rabbis give their response to a question raised about whether Jews can be secular Humanistic and not religious, or be outright atheists and yet still recognizable as Jews. The religious responses to these questions are typically and expectedly ideologically-limited, judgmentally quick, and without interest in knowing enough about Jews who are not-religious to be able to make an informed decision about their Jewishness. Basically, the highly religious Jew’s response falls to, “if you don’t believe in the supernatural and don’t embrace Torah and Talmud, then you’re not Jewish.” But, is this actually true? If it weren’t so laughable, this insisted upon belief by religious Jewry, it would be extremely sad. But, such can be expected by this extremely vocal religious minority in our Jewish midst. For, they operate from a limited and distorted mindset.
First, they believe in the supernatural, a human created and defined perception, as if it is demonstrably real. You all know my opinions on this from much of the writings above. Specifically, my insisting that as adults we develop the ability to differentiate between what are the fantasies of our head and what is the reality of our lives and universe. These same religious Jews also make the assumption that secular Jews reject Torah completely. This is far from the truth, rather we appreciate our ancestor’s written works for what they actually are – ancient Jewish written literature that has value to engage in and learn from. But, they are hardly divine in their authorships, as historical and archaeological reality demonstrates this clearly as so. Religious Jews also make the assumption that without Torah and Torah’s inaccurate version of actual Jewish history, then there would be no Jews. This, too, is far from the truth, seeing how it was a real Jewish people in ancient history (B.C. Era) that wrote what would become in modern history (C.E./A.D. Era) the redacted Torah and TaNaKh and, additional, Talmud/Mishnah. Meaning, in plain and simple words, the Jewish people preceded the Jewish national religion we created for ourselves. But, all this (demonstrable historical facts!) falls on deaf ears when speaking to the religious. Why?
The answer is obvious. For the highly religious Jew, Judaism is nothing but a religion. Being Jewish only fits, in their mindset, within the boundaries of their religious theology. This is, despite their inaccurately taught history, a rather modern development for the Jewish people. And, despite general modern misconception, the highly religious Jewish movements are not actually representative of ancient Jewish lifestyle and beliefs. This is just the simple historical truth on this matter.
We have always been a people before being a religion, and this is easy to historically verify by anyone willing to look. (Hint, you have to look outside the Torah.) In essence, what the highly religious do is limit the rich fullness of what it means to be a Jew down to a ritualized-determined stereotype. Then, they go and denounce anyone who doesn’t fit this as not Jewish, all to justify their limited view of reality. The only thing this serves is to strengthen their self righteousness. It sure doesn’t make the rest of us Jews and our secular Humanistic movements with our secular Rabbis go away. But, it is sad to see the disdain snickers and comments of religious Rabbis bent on denouncing the existence of fellow Jews who are not Jewish-theistically religious, all for not being their definition of what a Jew is.
We will always be an ethno-culture with a national religion, that some will follow and some will not. As it has always been with us Jews throughout history. At first, historically, we were polytheistic with a monarchy for government. Then, with the loss of the monarchies, we became henotheistic, having formed a newly developed religion-based theocracy for a government. Then, in the modern era of history, we became monotheistic, with a rabbinical leadership and Talmud for a government. Then, the first “as a religion only” movements began from European Emancipation – like Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox and Conservative and Reform – and, so too, the non-religious movements – like Yiddishists and Zionists and Secular Humanistic. Our history as a Jewish people, an ethno-culture, is very deep and very diversified. It is a magical wonder of our ability to adapt and survive as a Jewish people!
What these religous Rabbis fail to understand is that they only have a say on who is a “religious” Jew, and not on who is a Jew. So long as one has Jewish ancestry and so long as one is accepted as a Jew in an established Jewish community*, whether religious or whether secular, one is a recognized Jew and their children are born Jewish. And there is no avoiding this reality! It would be incredibly foolish for the Jewish people as a whole to see it otherwise. It would be akin to ethno-cultural suicide, threatening the very continuity of Jewish tradition and survival. The very definition of who is a Jew and who is not is clearly and self-evidently obvious! Let us all together as a Jewish people recognize our diversity, and the importance of maintaining this ethno-cultural diversity. It is important to embrace all of the different ways we express our Jewish heritage as a family nation.
*- What is an established Jewish community? Ethnic/Familial examples are: Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Mizrachi, Ethiopian Jewish, and so forth. Ethno-Religious examples are: Utra-Orthodox, Orthodox, Modern Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Renewal, Universalist, Secular Humanistic, and Yiddishist/Zionist. Examples of what is not a Jewish community – Jews for Jesus, pop-culture Kabbalah groups, Hebrew Israelites, and so forth.