To any who would keep a nation subjugated under a hierarchical social order, intimate inter-gender friendship is the ultimate threat. It facilitates invincible social links at the grass-roots level. A way had to be found to smother all potential relationships of this kind. [PDF]
The strongest form of relationship that can exist between humans is the intimate inter-gender friendship. Unimpeded, it would cause humanity to crystallise into an intimate network whose links could not be broken by any outside force. It would be impossible to impose hierarchical rule over such a society. Yet, long ago, a way was found to prevent such a network ever forming. And it has been ruthlessly applied ever since.
The force of law is wholly inadequate against the sheer strength of the intimate inter-gender link. Simply making it illegal could never work. There would need to be a policeman in every room of every house and in every conceivable private place. All such policemen would have to be emotionally inert. Each would have to have an incorruptible sense of exclusive obligation to the law of the State.
But there is a policeman within the mind of every human. It is called conscience. This is the internal policeman with which almost all human beings come naturally equipped. If he fails to heed his conscience, the individual suffers a discomforting spiritual experience called guilt. To avoid the spiritual pain of guilt, the individual must therefore follow the dictates of his conscience.
Natural conscience requires the individual to do unto others as he would wish others do unto him. Natural conscience does not therefore act in the self-interests of a minority elite who would seek to subjugate and enslave the hapless majority.
The elite minority's only effective solution is to replace the policeman within the mind of every subject. They must reprogram each individual's natural conscience. And this is what, from ancient times, they have done. This replacement policeman does not inspire the individual to do unto others as he would wish others do unto him. Instead, it requires the individual to betray self, family, friends and all to the elite who rule him.
But how is it possible to get inside the head of every subject of the realm and change the whole nature of his conscience? The answer is: through fear. The guilt that arises from going against one's natural conscience results from an internal sense of failure rather than an external sense of fear. It is, however, only overwhelming external fear that can overcome the inner force of guilt and make a person follow a contrary path.
It cannot, however, be accomplished through just any kind of fear. People become brave. They may not submit to the fear of bullying or even to the fear of death. Notwithstanding, most will submit to the fear of what may await them beyond death. And it is this fear that the elite exploit in order to alleviate the threat posed to them by inter-gender friendship.
A human being has an innate sense that death is not the end. After all, it does seem incongruous that a personality, developed over a lifetime, with its accumulated knowledge and acquired wisdom, should end abruptly at the singularity of non-existence. The observed laws of nature do not readily embrace singularities. Consequently, each has a curious fear about what could be in store for him beyond the grave.
Notwithstanding, he is fundamentally unable to traverse the threshold of death, to investigate what it is like on the other side, then return to life and discuss the experience with his peers. From the stand-point of direct observation and experience, the form and nature of what may or may not lie on the other side is therefore bound to remain forever a matter of conjecture.
For the human being to try to assuage his curious fear of what may lie beyond his physical life, the only option is revelation. Somebody must tell him.
Herein lies a problem. The teller of what lies beyond cannot give the hearer direct observation and experience of what he is telling. The teller can only tell of it in words.
Within the limits of human sense and perception, a person can rely on what he concretely observes or experiences as being true. But words are not observations and experiences. They are only symbols that represent observations and experiences. They can therefore also represent lies and fantasies. Consequently, what they tell may or may not be true. Part of what is said or written could be true and part could be false. Whatever information be conveyed symbolically, at least a part thereof is inevitably bound to be false.
Each of the vast majority of mankind only ever hears words that tell of what is beyond death from another human being. Like all human beings, that human messenger cannot have been to the other side of death and returned to tell the tale. Therefore, the messenger himself must have heard the tale from somebody else. In the vast majority of cases, that somebody else is also a human being, who in turn, has also never seen first-hand that of which he is telling. Notwithstanding, the message itself must have originated from somebody.
Generally, a message that claims to reveal something about the realm beyond death itself contains a claim as to its origin. This invariably states in some form that the words of the message were received by a certain human being from a being that was not human. The non-human deliverer of the message is usually said to have delivered the message to its human recipient through some kind of vision. From descriptions contained within such messages, the means of delivery would seem to be a direct audio-visual experience within the mind of the human recipient. Many people with some kind of mental defect hear voices and see visions. But their voices and visions are not real. They are generated within the brain, triggering experiences that merely appear to be real.
I would not expect what such people see or hear to make much sense. On the other hand, what prophets relate about their visions do constitute sensible messages, which are often quite extensive in their content. I can think of three possible explanations as to what could really be taking place.
The prophet may be a normal, healthy stable intelligent person who is really receiving a telepathic audio-visual message from a hyper-physical life-form.
The prophet may be a very intelligent person with cerebral defects that augment his fertile imagination with audio-visual effects.
The prophet may not exist, but be a character created by the writer as a means of amplifying the impact and credibility of his thesis.
The first case involves a phenomenon that is untestable and cannot be repeated by independent experiment. Consequently, it is fundamentally impossible for the average human being to have or obtain any means of verifying or substantiating the truth or falsehood of the presented message. He has power only to blindly accept it, blindly reject it or be completely non-committal about it. He can, however, apply a credibility test as to whether or not it is useful, benign and consistent both with itself and with observable reality.
In the second case, the content of the vision, namely the presented message, could have either of two origins. On the one hand, it could stem from ideas consciously originated by the prophet himself. However, I think it would leave the prophet unconvincing since he would know that he was lying by claiming his message to have divine origin. On the other hand, if his cerebral defects also render him highly susceptible to suggestion, his message could stem from ideas subtly placed within his mind by others. This would make the prophet effectively a puppet used to super-charge, with divine authority, ideas that promote the vested interests of a third party; namely, another individual or a group.
In the third case, the writer creates the prophet. He is therefore completely free to place whatever ideas he wishes into the mind of the character he is creating. This again makes the prophet effectively a puppet used to super-charge, with divine authority, ideas that promote the vested interests of the writer himself or of whatever individual or group the writer serves.
There is only one way to assign, for any particular prophetic message, a probability as to which of the above cases be true. That is, to examine the message received and see whether the ideas it contains furthers the well-being of mankind in general or promotes the enslavement of mankind to serve minority interests.
It appears that no such messages have been received in living memory. In fact, the only universally accepted prophetic messages that exist were all received thousands of years ago. These are all contained in ancient texts that have doubtless suffered corruption due to such things as copying mistakes, mistranslation, cultural shifts and politically-motivated editing. Nonetheless, it is all there is to go on.
The only ancient text I have studied is the Judeo-Christian Bible. It is therefore from this that I make my observations. To cut a long story short, it describes to me a God of two opposing personalities. One is a
ruthless psychopath who would exterminate all who could not, in good conscience, agree with him or submit to his particular hierarchical regime. The other is a benevolent philanthropist who champions a benign way of life in which each loves his neighbour as himself. He is sometimes jealous and paranoid. At other times he is loving and forgiving. He is an inclusivist in that he says he welcomes all. Yet he is also an exclusivist in that he grants salvation only to a predestined elect minority.
His two personalities are mutually incompatible. If he be a real individual, then he is schizophrenic. I cannot see how our ordered universe could be the creation of such an unstable mind. It seems much more plausible that such a God must have been, at different times, the plural creations of very different men. At some times, he must have been the creation of xenophobic nationalists who needed a focal super-hero to pulverise their enemies in order to realise their selfish ends. At other times, he must have been the creation of concerned thinkers as the personification of their egalitarian ideal. These two incompatible personalities are inseparably concreted, like sand and cement, throughout the body of the Biblical text.
This uneasy amalgam is an ideal source of doctrine for any elite minority who would seek to subjugate a nation. It enables them to preach to the masses the egalitarian ideal that each should love his neighbour as himself, while taking to themselves divine authority that grants them totalitarian rule. Part of loving neighbour is loving the State. This includes obedience to its laws, especially those laws that have - or appear to have - Biblical authority.
Because of its threat to a hierarchical social structure, the most important task of a ruling elite is to construct, from the Biblical text, some kind of divine authority for severely attenuating - if not completely suppressing - the potential for multiple intimate inter-gender friendships.
The approach seems to have been to construct, within the mass mind, the notion that multiple inter-gender relationships are bad and should be publicly unacceptable. The root of this endeavour was, from the beginning, to imprint the notion that the bodily differences between the genders are filthy and repulsive. The basis of this notion was abstracted from the story of the Garden of Eden.
The story states that Adam and Eve initially wandered about naked and that they were not ashamed of being naked. Later, it seems, they ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, after which they became aware that they were naked and so tried to hide their nakedness by making aprons out of leaves. An apron does not hide the whole body. The word "apron" therefore suggests that the part of their bodies they were trying to hide was the lower front part where their genitals were. The story says that they were hiding themselves from the Gods, which does not necessarily imply that they were hiding their genitals from each other. Why should they want to hide their genitals from the Gods? Why should they be ashamed of letting the Gods see their genitals?
According to the story, this shame came after they had eaten of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In other words, after they had gained the necessary perception to be able to classify things as being good or evil. This does not mean that male and female genitals or the difference between them are evil in themselves. All that is certain is that the story implies that it is, at least, the general displaying of them that is evil. Perhaps they were not ashamed of seeing each other naked. The story is vague.
Constructors of doctrine imply from this story that it was good for Adam and Eve to be naked together and engage in sexual intercourse together but evil for them to expose their nakedness to anybody else or engage in sexual intercourse with anybody else. This seems rather incongruous since, if they were the first humans, there were no others with whom they could engage in sexual intercourse. Unless, perhaps, you include animals. However, as with people today, I cannot imagine Adam or Eve feeling ashamed at animals seeing their genitals. That just leaves one other possibility. Perhaps the Gods appeared as male and female versions of the human form. After all, the Gods created man after their own likeness.
If the ancient writer wished to be rigorously definitive about sexual relationships being exclusive, I am sure the ancient Hebrew language was well capable of carrying their intent. So why make the text so vague and woolly like the implicative indefinitive language of a politician's speech? Notwithstanding the indefinitive vagueness, the majority of doctrineers draw from this story the uncompromising divine decree for monogamistic marriage.
Many biblical characters, such as Adam, Noah, Job, Isaac, and Joseph ("father" of Jesus), appear to have had only one wife. Many others had 2 wives. Ahasuerus (Vashti & Esther) (Est:1), Ashur (1:chr:4:5), Eliphaz (Gen:36:11-12), Esau (Gen:26:4), Ezra (1:chr:4:14-18), Elkanah (Peninnah & Hannah) (Isa:1:1), Lamech (Adah and Zillah) (Gen:4:23:), King Saul (Ahinoam & Rizpah). Even God depicts himself as having 2 wives: Oholah and Oholibah, representing the two kingdoms of Israel and Judath (Eze:23, Jer:3). Others had 3 wives: Abraham (Gen:16 Gen:25), Caleb (1:Chr:2) and Moses had Zipporah the Gershomite, an Ethiopian wife and a Kenite wife (Ex:2:16-22). Jacob had 4 wives: Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, Bilhah (Gen:29,30). King David had 9 wives: Michal, Ahinoam, Abigail, Maachah, Haggith, Abital, Eglah, Bathsheba and Abishag. He also had many concubines. Abijah had 14 wives (2:chr:13:21). Others are more vaguely said to have had many wives: Ahab (1:Kin:20:1), Belshazzar (Dan:5:2), Gideon (Judges:8:30). Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines. King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
Out of those mentioned, 5 had 1 wife each, 10 had 2 wives each, 3 had 3 wives each, one each had 4, 9 + concubines, 14, 78 and 1000 wives, 3 had "many" wives. I include as wives what are referred to as concubines. This is because a concubine differs from a wife only in legal or social status. She is still in just as much an inter-gender human relationship as is a wife.
The Biblical text gives me the overwhelming impression that each of a man's many wives and concubines is restricted to having an intimate inter-gender relationship exclusively with him. This restriction is bound to create immense social stress in two ways. Consider Abijah with his 14 wives.
The average frequency of sexual intercourse for middle aged people is 69 times a year. To fulfil the needs of his wives, therefore, Abijah would have, during his middle years, have to engage in sexual intercourse 966 times a year. That is once every 9 hours day and night. If he were only active for one 8-hour shift per day, it would be once every 3 hours. If, on the other hand, he is a male chauvinist and only obliges 69 times a year, then each wife will be able to have sex only just under 5 times a year - about once every 10 weeks. So they will each be left somewhat unfulfilled.
But it gets worse. Apart from short periods after devastating wars, nature manages to balance fairly well the number of male and female babies born. It is evident that some form of biological signalling takes place between individual humans that causes a population to gravitate towards a mathematical attractor of half male and half female. So if a man like Abijah takes 14 wives exclusively for himself, it leaves 13 other men without a wife at all. So none of these 13 men is ever able to have an intimate inter-gender relationship. So each of them will be more frustrated and unfulfilled than Abijah's wives.
This situation is so biologically and sociologically out of balance that it would require a most Draconian regime of force and fear in order to contain it. Indeed, nothing short of the imposed death penalty for violation could possibly sustain it. Even so, I sincerely doubt whether even this was sufficient. The only way balance could be restored, and the sociological tensions relaxed, would be for Abijah's 14 wives each to have the option of legitimate extramarital relationships.
Human beings occur in two different types, namely: male and female. Direct and immediate observation makes this clear to everybody, without the need for any third-party to substantiate it. It is equally clear that these two types can bond - each with the other - physically and emotionally. There is no need for any ancient text - divine or otherwise - to tell us these facts. They are intrinsically self-evident.
The only aspect of these facts that is not immediately self-evident is how these two complementary types of human being came about. The book of Genesis states that God made Man in his own image. Since Man occurs in male and female versions, it seems reasonable that God must also occur in male and female versions. Weight is lent to this idea by the fact that God [Elohim], in the context of the creation chapters of the book of Genesis, is grammatically plural.
This suggests that perhaps the Man and the Woman in the Garden of Eden, and the relationship between them, is meant to be a physical model of the God-species and the relationships between the individuals within that species of being. There, the Man and Woman were not joined by a civil contract or religious decree. They were simply together in the Garden. However, they were together in a sense greater than simply being in the same physical proximity. They were together as companions.
The story of the Garden of Eden is of a single pair - a Man and a Woman. Many cite this as the central pillar of the doctrine of monogamy. However, since they were only one of each gender, any other option was clearly physically impossible. There were no other men or women with which either of them could have bonded. Hence, the story neither supports nor refutes either monogamy or polygamy.
Then why would the story relate to a single couple? The technique of reducing to the singular is by far the clearest way, grammatically, to explain a principle. I have used it as often as possible in this book. For example, instead of explaining how a zillion hydrogen atoms bond with a zillion hydroxyl radicals, it is much clearer to explain how one hydrogen atom combines with one hydroxyl. This may or may not be the case with the story of the Garden of Eden. It is essentially unclear. So it is erroneous to read into it a rigorous definition of monogamy or otherwise. Nevertheless, it is upon the foundation of this story that mainstream Christianity bases its doctrine of monogamous marriage.
By way of Old Testament examples, it appears that the only survivors of the Flood were four monogamous couples. Isaac and Rebekah also seem to have been monogamous. Notwithstanding, many patriarchs of the Old Testament and others of the time appear to have had multiple wives. And there is never a hint of divine disapproval of this practice. No accounts remain within the text, assuming any ever existed, that relate to a woman having multiple husbands.
In the New Testament, the tolerated model for inter-gender bonding is defined in Ephesians 5. This elaborates the structure founded in the Garden of Eden "thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." It shows marriage as a hierarchy. The husband is the head of the wife and the wife must submit unconditionally to her husband. It is, in principle, a totalitarian dictatorship. However, it is hoped that the husband will be a benign loving dictator over a willing submissive wife. I feel I must say in support of such a regime that a benign dictator is far more just than a democracy ruled by a self-seeking majority.
I have used the word tolerated because in Christian doctrine, inter-gender bonding of any kind is definitely not a preferred state. The Apostle Paul states emphatically that the preferred state for the Christian is celibacy. That means to live without any form of inter-gender bonding - physical or amorical. Inter-gender bonding is reluctantly tolerated only for those who do not have the personal control and strength of will to remain celibate. Inter-gender bonding is only permitted, however, within a state of marriage in which each man has his own wife and each woman has her own husband.
Note well that the stated purpose of marriage is to avoid fornication. It is for capturing and dissipating sexual desire so that this does not drive a Christian of insufficient faith or will-power into committing fornication.
Fornication is derived from the Latin word fornix meaning archway. It is under the archways of Ancient Rome that men went to find prostitutes. However, the original Greek word porneia, which is translated as fornication, just means sexual immorality or perversion, without really defining what these are. Fornication - whatever it may really signify - is emphatically condemned in the New Testament. From the context, it seems to indicate the act of having raw physical sex with somebody without also having an emotional relationship with them.
Paul's notion of the purpose of marriage conjures within my mind the following scenario where a young man wishes to marry the vicar's daughter:
Young man: "Sir, I would very much like to marry your daughter."
Vicar: "Tell me, my boy, why do you wish to marry my daughter?"
Young man: "Why sir, to alleviate my temptation to go down town on a Saturday night to relieve my lusts with a whore under the arches."
Vicar: "Excellent reason, my son, you think just like St Paul. I am sure that my daughter will make a fine substitute whore for you."
To my mind, the avoidance of fornication seems a most unflattering reason for wanting to marry somebody.
Celibacy being the preferred state is not a doctrine that is peculiar to St Paul. Jesus Christ himself said, in effect, that the real guys were the ones who could bear to hear (act upon) his words about the ideal being not to marry but to be celibate (in effect, eunuchs) for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. There is no doubt that celibacy is the Christian ideal and that marriage is the best of a bad job for those who are just not man enough to take on celibacy.
The two permitted states of celibacy and marriage are defined and protected by prohibitions. The first prohibition is fornication - engaging in physical sex with someone with whom you have no emotional relationship. The second prohibition is adultery. From the context, this appears to mean an intimate inter-gender relationship between parties who are married but not to each other. This is essentially of the type involving an emotional content, with or without a physical relationship.
Something Jesus Christ said gives a clue as to the nature of this emotional content. It is not the emotion of love. It is the emotion of lust:
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." - Matthew 5:27-28
Lust is the desire to have, possess, dominate and control a person or thing. This suggests that adultery is a desire to have, possess, dominate and control somebody else's wife. The context implies that a wife is her husband's possession. This is substantiated in the Old Testament:
"Thou shalt not covet [yearn to have or possess] thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's." - Exodus 20:17
The idea that marriage is a contract by which a man gains possession of a woman is significant because possession is generally understood to be exclusive unless otherwise qualified. This is consistent with the accounts in the Old Testament of a man having multiple wives but not of a woman having multiple husbands.
Although a wife be her husband's possession, his possession of her is not quite the same as the possession of other things. He is able to sell his house, ox, ass. He is also able to sell his manservant or maidservant. However, under the Old Testament, he cannot sell his wife. He can only divorce her. That is, he may only dispossess her. Notwithstanding, the New Testament states that if a dispossessed wife remarries, then she and her new husband will be committing adultery. This implies that she is still regarded as being married to her first husband. However, if a man dispossesses a wife because she has committed fornication, it seems he is not committing adultery by marrying another wife. Divorce was allowed under the Old Testament only because people did not have the moral strength to avoid it.
So far, nothing definitively prohibits a man having more than one wife. Many times the word wife is mentioned in the singular as in Exodus 20:17. Note, however, that house, manservant, maidservant, ox and ass are also in the singular. Does this therefore mean that a man may not have more than one of each of these? I think not. There are so many examples of men having multiple wives on the Old Testament without any note of disapproval. On the other hand, the implication of practically all Old Testament context is that a woman cannot have more than one husband. At least, not at the same time. Of course she can have husbands consecutively provided each, in turn, dies before she marries the next.
Perhaps the first real hint of a requirement for monogamy is given specifically for an Old Testament priest:
"They [the priests] shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God." - Leviticus 21:7
It could be argued grammatically, however, that the singular wife here refers to the event of taking (or adding) a wife rather than to the priest's total complement of wives. It is far from unambiguous.
The first definitive prohibition of a man being limited to one wife of moral purity appears in the New Testament letters of Paul. Notwithstanding, he too applies it definitively only to officers of the Church: not to church-members in general.
So, the unequivocal Christian ideal - the one that Jesus Christ said would be the universal norm in the Kingdom of Heaven - is celibacy. Failing that, if a Church Officer lacks the strength of will (or faith) to resist the need for sexual union, then marriage is allowed but it must be monogamistic. For ordinary lay-Christians non-monogamy does not seem to be definitively forbidden, except as may be required by the civil jurisdiction within which they live.
Paul, it is said, was a Roman citizen. Roman Law most emphatically required a man to have only one wife at any time. Anybody living within Roman jurisdiction was therefore required by law to be monogamous. Paul preached that all should keep the secular Law of the Land in which they live: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." - Romans 13:1-2
Jesus Christ lived within Roman jurisdiction and advocated obedience to the civil authorities. So perhaps, for this reason, the versions of what he said about divorce and remarriage, especially in the versions given by Mark and Luke, really are said within the context of monogamy.
Hence, the only absolutely definitive requirement for universal monogamy comes initially from Roman Law. Roman Law does not have a Judeo-Christian origin. In fact, the Roman authorities had a particular problem with Jews as late as 300 AD or so regarding polygamy. So, why was Roman Law so strict about monogamy? I suggest that it must be for the same reason that State authorities today require by law that their subjects or citizens be monogamous and have gone to all lengths to construct, from the Judeo-Christian scriptures, a justification and divine mandate for monogamy. But what is that reason?
The reason is plain and simple: control.
A population of celibates would be most easy to control. There would be no intimate connections between individuals at the grass-roots level. So they could be controlled easily through an administrative hierarchy. Celibacy, however, is very contrary to nature. Consequently, the external force required to maintain such separation within an entire population makes universal celibacy impossible. Besides, it would cause the entire population to die out within a generation.
The next best option is monogamy. Instead of isolating individuals, it isolates joined couples which, like binary molecules, are socially inert. In other words, there is no strongly linked network at the grass-roots level. So hierarchical control is still relatively easy.
Of course, there would be casual, economic and intellectual interactions between members of a society of celibates. This could never, however, attain the strength necessary to overcome a governing hierarchy. The same is true, to a slightly lesser extent, of a society of inert binary pairs. Notwithstanding, the elite-controlled hierarchy that rules a monogamistic society is able, by various means, to reduce to triviality all interaction between couples at the grass-roots level.
Such means were well prototyped in Ancient Rome. There, the technique was to dissipate any potential thoughts of revolution against the established power by focusing the public mass-mind onto evermore gruesome spectator sports. Any residual dissidence was crushed by the sword.
Later, the governing hierarchy used the Church as the mass medium of public mind control. Indeed, for 91 years (from 1559 to 1650) in England everybody was required by law to attend Church every Sunday. The penalties for not attending were Draconian. In church, the whole population was taught to fear for their "immortal souls" in the after-life if they so much as considered within their minds disobedience to the edicts contained within the Word of God. That is why the Church - the servant of the ruling elite - moved Heaven and Earth to establish monogamy as the divine requirement for human relationships.
This fear of the unknowable thus precipitated an unbearable burden of guilt within the mind of any who dared to engage in any form of extramarital liaison. Such a person also had to bear the disdain and ostracism of the rest of society as well as the punishment determined by law. But, worst of all, his soul would be resigned, with divine certainty, to eternal retribution after death.
The common people were thereby kept divided. They were thus starved of connections through which they could unite in unshakable mutual trust against the powers of the ruling elite that used and exploited them.
Unfortunately, from the beginning of the 19th Century, universal education began to take root. This led to a greater and greater proportion of a population being taught how to think for themselves. By the beginning of the 21st Century, the Internet was connecting vast numbers of individuals on a person-to-person basis. Profound ideas were readily exchanged and searching questions asked. Radical thinking came out of the cloisters into a global arena. Traditional values, and the reasons for their being, became subjected to popular scrutiny. The grip of traditional religion began to weaken. Its whole superstructure began to crack.
In the late 20th Century, the sovereign State found a way to counter its loss of control of the popular mind due to diminishing religious fear. Television and other modern mass-media allowed them to do, in effect, what Ancient Rome did, on a much vaster scale, to their much larger and more distributed populations. They focused the largely male mass-mind onto spectator sport and the largely female mass-mind onto romantic fantasy.
The modern State further alleviated the threat of the educated public mind by creating a culture of materialism. This drove people to work evermore hours to maintain the dream lifestyle projected at them by psychologically designed consumer advertising. This left people with no time or energy for radical thought or revolutionary ambition. However, something had to be done about the Internet.
The Internet is internationally open and consequently beyond the control of any State or legal jurisdiction. It allows peer to peer communication between individuals anywhere in the world. It empowered people like me to publish their thoughts and ideas for all to see. This had to be stopped. And it has been. However, this was not achieved through force of law. It was achieved by inductively trivialising inter-personal activity on the Internet.
The first phase of trivialisation was done by the dominant search engines. This website has been on-line since April 1998. Up until around 2004, It had thousands of unique visitors a month. I received hundreds of emails in feedback from viewers.
Now, looking in the access log, I see that this entire vast website receives about half a dozen meaningful hits a month if I'm lucky. And these hits are exclusively to pages about odd technical topics, which are of only ancillary significance. Searching for major topics within this website using public search engines reveals nothing. Yet I have complied with all the technical standards that search engines currently demand. Why should this be? Statistically, it does not make sense.
The obvious reason is that the major search engines have changed the criteria for indexing websites. Any little website promoting a commercial entity, right down to a corner shop, gets pride of place in search listings. For anything of an intellectual nature, however, only globally-known high profile websites get listed. Others seem to be classified as being of interest only to their owners and are consequently not considered worth including on a search list. Of course, another possibility could be that the programmers of search-engine algorithms have suddenly become extremely inept. However, I do not think this to be likely.
Compounding the changes in search-engine indexing criteria is the explosion of social networking sites. Social networking can be done most simply and effectively through open websites and email. This, however, is outside corporate or State control. And this will not do. The powers that be - commercial or political - therefore set their goal to induce the vast majority of Internet users to interact exclusively through proprietary social-networking sites.
I remember the early social networks as being quite useful. I could search for - and find - other people in the world who shared my values, interests and aspirations. But not any more. The dominant social networking sites today (2011) stubbornly inhibit any attempt I may make to link with people of similar values, interests and aspirations. I quickly found that entering my interests on my social network page was not to help other people with those interests to find me. On the contrary, it was exclusively to help commercial advertisers target me with products based on my published interests.
The only people with whom I can link up on a modern social network site are people I already know and people whom they already know. And these people get to know each other for utterly trivial reasons. Of the registered "friends" that I have managed to accumulate through modern social networking, practically none share any values, interests or aspirations with me. And the exchanges of information they make with each other are utterly banal and inconsequential.
The upshot is that, for common man, the exchange of information via the Internet has become impotent, relegating any serious grass-roots thinker to a voice crying in the wilderness where none can hear. This has left television and other mass-media, once again, free to brainwash the public mind into forsaking its own well-being to serve the self-interest of the global elite. Once again, only those with lots of money - namely the State and the corporate - can make their voices heard.
As the public mind became more secularly educated, religion lost its ancient grip. The consequence has been that the Established Church has undergone an enormous liberalisation. Nevertheless, the norms that it formerly imposed through divine fear remain entrenched within the social psyche. People still experience pangs of guilt when they stray from what the Church taught their forefathers.
Notwithstanding, another power has now arisen. A rash of independent evangelical religious enterprises has swept the United States of America and is now (2011) a pandemic infecting the rest of the world. They are essentially businesses. They employ the well established psychological techniques of mass-media marketing to prey on the minds of the ineffectual who are disaffected and feel crushed by modern society. They then brainwash the minds of their captives into believing the literal syntax of the ancient texts of the Bible. They explain the schizophrenic nature and behaviour of its God and reconcile all textual inconsistencies by saying that none can understand the literal text until the Holy Spirit has opened his mind to its truth. That way, they can have the Holy Spirit interpret black as white and white as black to suit the particular organisation's promulgated doctrines.
Two particular doctrines are essentially common to all these organisations. The first concerns tithing. The second concerns inter-gender relationship.
Perhaps the most obvious characteristic that is common to all these religious organisations is their wealth. They have no shortage of money to buy mass-media air-time, arrange mass public events and remunerate their officers with substantial salaries. Where do they get it from? From the tithes and offerings they inveigle from their often poverty-stricken captives. They achieve this by preaching that every lay-member of their organisation is obliged, by divine authority, to give a tenth of his gross income to God. God isn't physically present in a form that can take receipt of this physical money. Consequently, it is the human proprietors of the particular organisation - who claim to represent God - that always take and spend the money as they themselves see fit.
This doctrine is supposedly based on the tithing system of Ancient Israel. However, a tithe of the increase of the land is fundamentally different and is in no way equatable to a tenth of a person's gross salary in a modern economy. This practice has caused grievous misery to thousands, if not millions, of families all over the world.
Another dominant characteristic common to all these religious organisations is their Pauline prudery. The atmosphere is such that one would expect a ministerial assistant to be standing by with a bucket of cold water in case a layman should forget himself and exchange time-of-day greetings with somebody else's wife. Each celibate individual or married couple is in an isolation bubble that is open only to receive instruction from above through the church hierarchy. Grouping together at the grass-roots level to discuss or question church doctrine is denounced by the ministry as being disloyal to God. Thus separation at the grass-roots level is maintained even more rigorously than before. Free thought is suppressed.
The custodian of what is popularly perceived to be the Christian religion, from Ancient Rome until the beginning of the Protestant Movement, was the Roman Catholic Church. This was, in effect, a virtual Super-state that held power within all Western secular States. Through various agencies, it kept all its populations indoctrinated by force of arms and economics or the threat of such. Then large sectors of its populations began to break away, following dissident leaders who disagreed with some of its points of doctrine. These break-away dissidents formed themselves into what often became transnational organisations. In England, at least, the State itself (in the person of the monarch) became the dominant church. The Great Evangelical Revolution that is now enveloping the world is based on organisations that each exhibit a distinct capitalist corporate structure.
All these organisations are - and always have been - for the most part wealthy and all supported by money extracted from the common people by tithes (a form of taxation) or by rents earned from the lease of land and property acquired in lieu of tithes. Anciently, the tithes were extracted by force. Lately, they are being extracted by deceptive marketing based on fear and emotional blackmail concocted through the modern psychological techniques used for high-powered selling. On examination, it is clear that their State-political and corporate-commercial structures are completely at odds with the structure of the embryonic church.
"And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."
"Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need." - Acts 4:32-35
The embryonic church was based on the premise: "To each according to his need: from each according as he is able." This is the premise of Communism. I cannot see this economic model of the embryonic church being sustainable. Each turned his land and possessions into money and pooled the money. I think that the money would run out surprisingly quickly. It would have been more viable for them to have pooled their lands and then share the on-going produce of the lands, which they would have been able to do indefinitely.
Notwithstanding, just about any officer of a modern established religion will retort that this "apparently Communist" set-up was "just for that time" to accommodate the particular circumstances experienced by these early Christians while the church was being established. Once the church was able to get on its feet, they would assert, its members would revert to a normal market-based economy of slaves (employees) and masters (businessmen).
A certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. - Ac:5:1-6
And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. - Ac:5:7-10
It does, however, seem very strange to me, if this "Communist" set-up really were just a temporary stop-gap measure, that any "loving" God would take the Draconian action of murdering Ananias and Sapphira for its partial violation. After all, they did give some (probably the majority) of their money to Peter. Would not a loving God give them a little space to "grow in the faith" until they could, of unfettered free will, give all of it? I wonder how many Evangelical super-preachers have ladled their expenses while the children of their poor victims suffered malnourishment in silence. Shouldn't God have struck them dead on stage?
This is a prime example of a doctrine forthrightly written within the Biblical text that, without known exception, all the aforementioned religions choose not to impose upon themselves.
Here is another clearly defined doctrine that mainstream Christianity has generally rejected:
"Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." - M't:5:33-37
"Above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation." - Jas:5:12
Yet most State legal systems require witnesses to swear on the Bible itself. And the mainstream churches go along with it. This came up in a conversation I had with a man who was witness to a road accident and had to testify in Court. He was a professed Christian and very devout. I asked him if he was not afraid to do precisely what Jesus Christ had told him not to do. He was disturbed. He went to discuss it with the vicar at his church. When I saw this man the next time I asked him what he had decided to do. He said that the vicar had said that the particular text "didn't bother him", so the man decided that what didn't bother his vicar shouldn't bother himself. He gave a sworn testimony in Court. There are many more clearly-defined doctrines within the Biblical text, that are utterly rejected by practically all flavours of so-called Christianity.
On the other hand, there are doctrines rigorously observed by Christian churches that are very hard to justify from the Biblical text. For example, the rigorous requirement to observe the so-called "Lord's Day" on Sunday clearly originates from the Roman State rather than the Biblical text. Sunday observance came from Mithraism, a mystic cult, which entered Rome in 67 BC. It gained popularity within the Roman military and was made binding upon all within Roman jurisdiction in 306 AD by decree of Emperor Constantine. To substantiate Sunday (Lord's Day) observance within Christianity, its proponents toiled feverishly to abstract a cogent justification from the ancient Biblical text.
The first text that a lot of people point to in order to justify Sunday Observance is Revelation 1:10 "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, ". Many reference Bibles put in references to the following verses to elaborate on what is meant by the Lord's Day.
Matthew 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
Mark 16:2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. Mark 16:9: Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
Luke 24:1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre,
John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
However, not one of these texts mentions the Lord's Day. Nor does any one of them state explicitly or even imply any command or obligation to observe the first day of the week. The only text that could be loosely construed to indicate that the Early Church met on the first day of the week is Acts 20:7 "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight". This could, however, be referring to the first of the 7 days the disciples stayed in Troas. It is entirely indefinitive.
A notion that the Early church did not observe the first day of the week is given in 1 Corinthians 16:2 "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come". Harvesting is hard work, yet Paul told them to do it on the first day of the week.
Notwithstanding, the New Testament does mention the Lord's Day (or its direct grammatical equivalent in English "The Day of The Lord") in places other than Revelation 1:10:
Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
1 Corinthians 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
2 Corinthians 1:14 As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.
1 Thes 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
The Day of the Lord is also mentioned 52 times from Isaiah to Malachi in the Old Testament. Each refers to a future epoch of tribulation. It is nothing to do with observing Sunday. There are a few Christian sects that recognise this. They observe, with equal or greater rigour, the 7th day of the modern-day week, which they assume is the same day as the ancient Sabbath.
Unfortunately, it isn't. Originally, in Genesis 1:14:
God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years... And God made two great lights... [obviously the sun and the moon]
Consistently with this text, the Ancients used the sun and moon to divide time. The modern week, however, is in no way synchronised with the sun and moon. The ancient week was. Because there is not an exact number of 7-day weeks in a lunar month, the Ancients re-aligned the week with the moon each month by inserting one or two days into the month. These days were not part of any week. They were called Dark Moon days. Consequently, due to a monthly frame-slippage, the real ancient Sabbath occurs on different days of the modern week from one month to another. So even the 7th-Day church sects are not observing the real Sabbath as God supposedly decreed with reference to the moon.
Sunday observance originated in ancient mystery religions. It was then perpetuated through the force of civil law by the Roman Empire and subsequently by the Roman Catholic church. Modern States, and the societies over which they rule, have kept Sunday observance ingrained within the social psych. The reason is that, before the advent of modern mass-media, States needed a mechanism for indoctrinating their common people with their elite-friendly political philosophies - rather like television and the Sunday tabloids do today.
All this gives me the overwhelming impression that religious people fear and respect the human hierarchies of their churches far more than they fear or respect the supposed creator and sustainer of the universe and holder of the key to eternal life. It is firm evidence that the vast majority of religious people do not, in the deepest profundity of their minds, really believe that the latter even exists.
It is only in relatively recent times that common people have been able to read. And it is only after the advent of cheap mass printing that common people have had access to official translations of the Bible. Indeed, the powers-that-be (religious and secular) fervently resisted the efforts of notable individuals to make the printed text commonly available. The reason for this resistance was that religious doctrine does originate from the State and not from the Bible. And if common people became able to read the text directly, they would see the fallacies and inconsistencies. The State's cover would be blown. The cat would be out of the bag.
However, the powers-that-be, for the most part, did not need to worry. The vast majority of the common people could not be bothered reading that difficult and confusing ancient text. Nevertheless, a significant sector of the common people did read it. And they did find insurmountable inconsistencies between preached doctrine and what the Bible said. Society had historically-ingrained doctrines that were inconsistent with the Bible. How could the newly literate doctrinal dissidents be recaptured?
The solution was to create the notion that one could not understand what the Biblical text said without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This was something that had to come into one's mind to open it to divine truth. This made it possible to bend what the Biblical text actually "said" to "mean" what the State and religious powers-that-be wanted it to convey. If a lowly layman could not see how a particular text substantiated a doctrine of the established church, he was told that this was because the Holy Spirit had not (yet) opened his mind and revealed its truth to him.
The powers-that-be are thereby able to justify that the Biblical text means what it doesn't say and says what it doesn't mean. This leaves them free to construct and then "extract" from the Biblical text, any doctrine they require to facilitate and enforce the ordered and peaceful containment and exploitation of the poor by the rich. To this end, the first essential is to prevent intensive intellectual interaction between people at the grass-roots level.
An ideology is built by combining ideas. Each idea is born within an individual mind. To be combined, ideas must be brought together and discussed. The individuals who give rise to them must therefore meet. An ideology is better if it is built from ideas that are born from complementary view-points. This is most effective when an idea originated by a male mind is combined with a similar idea originated by a female mind. For this, a man with an idea must be free to meet a woman with the same idea to allow their male and female view-points to create a stereoscopic view through which the idea may be seen in its ultimate clarity.
But they are not free to meet. At least, not if one is monogamistically related to a different other. Why? Because an intellectual relationship places the man and woman in active proximity to each other. This puts them in the path of temptation to develop a friendship - an emotional relationship. This, in turn, super-regeneratively amplifies their carnal temptation to fall into a sexual relationship, which is a sin. The result is that, after death, both their souls will be damned to suffer eternal anguish in hell fire.
But suppose the man and the woman are educationally enlightened and simply don't believe in this eternal punishment? They are still trapped because marriage, and the restrictive protocols relating to it, are instituted and enforced by the State. Marriage is a civil contract. The religious aspect is, and always has been, simply a deterrent to violation. Penalties for violation are nowadays largely economic ones.
Independently of the present evangelical pandemic, the religious overtones of marriage are well entrenched within the social psych, with which all potential and actual violators are individually pre-conditioned. All are thereby instilled with a fear of violating and actual violators suffer not only an internal sense of guilt but also the indignant ostracism of society.
So the man and the woman never meet. The embryonic idea of each thus remains a mono-dimensional notion that is doomed never to be combined, developed or expressed in its full multi-dimensional glory. The world-wide web of inter-gender friendship thus never forms. The oppressive elite hierarchy maintains its exclusive control of society. What an excellent way to suppress free thought!