This Chapter contains Theologies of both past and present
and examines the origins of man's many belief systems.
has played a major role in every age and every culture.
The practice has been with us since humans first evolved
on this planet. Men were always troubled by the mystery
and finality of death and Religion attempted to supply
an answer. Since no way exists to prove its conclusions,
the Religious premise must be accepted on faith.
understand how the original notion of a god began we
must go back in time to the earth, as it existed when
humans made their initial appearance. The dawn of spirituality
began with Early Man who stared at his surroundings
and wondered who, or what, had created everything that
his survival depended upon. Surrounded by predators
and threatened by the hostile forces of nature, he devised
rituals hoping to gain power over his environment. His
first response was a belief in magic. Anthropologists
have dubbed this primary form of religion "Sympathetic
Magic". Its purpose was to mimic nature by producing
similar effects found in natural phenomena. For example,
observing that rats had strong teeth, men began to eat
rats hoping to gain similar tooth strength; noticing
that bears were physically powerful, they ate bears
to gain their power and so on. Primitive Man practiced
this form of magic for Eons until it gradually began
to dawn upon him that he wasn't getting the results
he had hoped for. As winter approached and the days
grew shorter, he worried that the sun was leaving and
the fearful darkness would soon engulf him. Using "Sympathetic
Magic", tribes hurled flaming sticks into the nighttime
sky in the vain attempt to re-ignite the sun and keep
it from leaving.
continued to plague him and when a fellow hominid met
the inevitable, the tribe rubbed his body with red clay
hoping to bring back the pink blush of life to the corpse.
More Eons passed before a new thought occurred to some
perceptive individual. "What if somebody (or something
else) was controlling everything"? That was the
beginning of a new concept and, shortly thereafter,
man started to propitiate the spirits, who he now thought
animated nature. Early Man believed in spirits of trees
and grass, of sky and water, plants and animals and
every aspect of nature. Primitive Man imagined that
an invisible "Spirit World" was controlling
things so he created more rituals to appease these spirits
and began entreating them to send him animals that were
the staple of his diet. This is the origin of Totems,
which each tribe invoked to insure success during the
hunt. More rituals became a necessity for winning favor
of the spirits and great care was taken to avoid offending
and incurring their anger, which might result in poor
hunting. Man has always feared the "wrath of the
gods" in his quest for survival. In this regard,
Prehistoric Man was no exception.
modern faith came upon the scene, Pagan cultures flourished
that recognized the existence of spirits and gods. Both
genders were included in the celestial Pantheon and
some early societies sacrificed innocent virgins to
appease their gods and goddesses. These sacrifices were
condoned by the entire society, convinced that the ritual
would protect them. Then along came an Egyptian Pharaoh
named Ahknaten with a revolutionary idea of "One
God" and the Egyptians had to abandon their religion
of Animism and accept Ahknaten's new theory. But one
god or many, the motivation behind faith was always
the same. Paradoxically though it may seem, worship
was designed to mollify man's fear of God.
God: Monotheism becomes a security blanket.
Pharaoh Ahknaten had introduced the world to a new Celestial
Wonder, a personal God. The idea of a personal
god was something totally new at the time. No
longer was the function of God merely to control nature,
regulate the sun and moon and keep the universe running;
a personal god was aware of all His children's needs and
would care for them. He could hear the prayers of each
individual and comfort them through the long night of
fear and despair. Every culture since has relied upon
the belief that a personal god was watching
and listening and would offer help to His human creations.
The mind is captivated by the belief that it is in direct
contact with the Almighty and that He will grant its fervent
wishes. The feeling is indescribable; it is almost hypnotic
and the pious mind accepts this belief without question.
"Spirit World" gradually evolved into the
Hindu Religion is one of the oldest Theologies on the
planet and at the helm is the god Brahman. Because of
the tenet of reincarnation it is impossible to debate
with a Hindu disciple. Should someone claim that Christ
or Jehovah is the one true God, the Hindu will agree
and declare that Brahman shows his many faces to the
world as all the gods and that each face is merely another
incarnation of Brahman. He also believes in many other
deities including Krishna, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganeesh, Kali
and three hundred million lesser gods. When a pious
Hindu has proven himself worthy, after a number of reincarnations,
he may reach Nirvana where his soul will find peace
and final rest.
The most fascinating religion is Buddhism, which boasts
well over a billion followers. Do all the world's religions
offer the same "judgments of God" for our behavior,
namely the rewards of Heaven or the torments of Hell?
Most of them, I'm sorry to say, do. Yet, there is one
that resembles no other faith, and that one is Buddhism.
Buddhists are faithful to the Buddha but is the Buddha
a god? And is Buddhism a religion, in the way we of the
west interprets faith? Although the world accepts it as
a religion, the one thing that sets Buddhism apart from
all the rest is-it has no god. To understand, we must
explore the myth that spawned that great Eastern philosophy.
Buddha, as he is referred to, was not a god but a mere
mortal named Siddhartha Gautama Sakyamuni. He
was born a Prince in the palace of his father. The King
decreed that his son should be raised in the palace behind
its cloistered walls. As he grew, he wondered about the
society that lay just outside the grounds. Never permitted
to venture into the town nor mingle with the peasants
who inhabited his father's kingdom, he learned nothing
about life, as it existed in his country. Associating
only with the privileged members of court, he gained no
knowledge of the daily lives of the people he would someday
by the reality denied him by his position, he developed
an intense desire to discover what the subjects of his
father's realm were experiencing. He devised a plan
to disguise himself and venture forth into the village
where he would live amongst the common people. One night,
while everyone slept, he slipped out of the palace and
entered the city. His aim was to find out how the average
citizen existed. Upon seeing that suffering and unhappiness
was the legacy of humanity, he realized that he must
seek enlightenment in order to help his people. Dedicated
to find wisdom, he sat down under a Boa tree and vowed
not to return to royal life until he had discovered
the secret of enlightenment which he could then endow
upon his subjects. And, there he remained, focusing
all his attention upon his naval until his goal could
myth does not tell us how long he sat there, but his
focus was so intense, that he shut out all thought save
that of finding enlightenment. At long last, a beautiful
lotus flower sprouted from his naval, signaling him
that he had found the wisdom he sought in order to help
all humanity. Myths are always symbolic, but the wisdom
Siddartha had found, eventually eased the suffering
of his subjects and touched more than a billion hearts
throughout the Asian continent.
His odyssey to enlightenment gave Buddhism its "Four
Truths" and "Eight Noble Paths" which is
accepted as the cornerstone of its philosophy. The "Four
Truths" relieved his peoples' suffering, and the
"Eight Noble Paths" eased their troubled lives.
It is wisdom indeed, and while the Eastern world has embraced
it, it seems unlikely that the western mind has the discipline
to adopt its dogma. One of the "Noble Paths"
0ffered by Gautama, suggests, "Surrender the things
you want that are "not in your best interests".
There is no doubt that this is genuine wisdom but what
society would follow such a noble truth? If it could,
would the world have its wars, drug problems, Aids, rapes,
murders and a myriad of other horrors with which mankind
is constantly plagued? Many of us engage in pursuing our
desires despite consequences to our health and safety.
When the results are catastrophic, regret, anxiety and
depression follow. Sometimes, those who believe their
behavior is innocuous are driven to suicide in the attempt
to escape their dilemma. Panic and guilt are almost always
spawned by self-destructive impulses that man refuses
The most fascinating aspect of Buddhism is, that while
extremely principled in morality, it recognizes no deity.
The realization that a belief system, embraced by a billion
adherents, can be so lofty in it's values without a god
at the helm is a huge paradox. And, yet, Buddhists are
not considered Atheists by other cultures. They observe
rituals and tenets indigenous to other forms of worship.
They have their temples, priests, icons and even a bible,
yet their mythology recognizes The Buddha--to whom they
pray--as the very mortal Siddhartha. Strange though it
may seem, religion can exist and flourish without a godhead.
homage to God through Scripture has not always yielded
the purest moral image that one could hope for. The
"Holy" Bible, which is the cornerstone of
The Judaic-Christian faith, meticulously describes the
gruesome origin of the Hebrew Religion. Fresh blood
of slaughtered animals was poured over "holy"
sacrificial altars throughout the tabernacle of the
wandering tribes of Israel. Gore literally drenched
the tent in which "sacred" services were held
but the interior was splendidly fashioned of gold, silver
and precious stones that were stolen from the Egyptians
on God's orders (So saith Moses). The first tribal priests
were Moses' brother Aaron and his sons for generations
to come. They burned the flesh of bullocks, lambs, turtledoves
and other livestock to provide "a pleasing savor
to the Lord" as the Clergy initiated Peace Offerings,
Wave Offerings, Sin Offerings, Heave Offerings and Trespass
Offerings as payment for infractions of the Mosaic Code.
Two millenniums later even the Virgin Mary, being a
Jewess, had to bring a Sin offering to the Priests to
be made "clean" again after the birth of Christ.
So demeaning was motherhood during antiquity because
of the archaic taboo against blood.
The advent of Christianity officially began after the
Crucifixion by the followers of Jesus. The original
Church of Christ was spawned by terror and torture.
The Auto de Fe, better known as "The "Inquisition",
took the lives of thousands that refused to accept Jesus
as the "Son of God". In order to make converts,
priests poured hot molten led into their ears and tightened
ropes around their heads until their skulls burst. Men
and women alike were placed upon the rack and slowly
stretched until their arms and legs were torn from their
sockets. The only way that victims could stop the horror
was to recant and swear that they accepted Christ. History
clearly records that Inquisitions took place in many
different lands and that conversions were made in the
most ruthless fashions, but with the passage of time
such bestiality seems to have been almost entirely forgotten.
Mormon Religion is a form of Christianity, which features
the Angel Maroni and the Golden Plates. The text goes
on to claim that Jesus Christ returned to Earth and
appeared to the American Indians. While none of the
Mormon premise can be substantiated, we do know that
its founders Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were quite
involved in the occult. If a "prophet" appeared
today and announced that he was a practitioner of "Black
Magic", do you suppose he would he attract many
supporters? Well, strangely enough, the "Church
of the Latter Day Saints" has become one of the
fashionable and respected Theologies of our day and
faith of Islam uses the Koran as its Scripture and not
many Americans are familiar with its contents. The Koran
is the equivalent of our western Bible, containing many
of the same Patriarchal characters and fables of the
Old Testament. Allah is the god Jehovah-known by a different
name-and Mohammed is the prophet of the Muslim people,
just as Moses is venerated as the prophet of the western
The Religion of Islam had not yet been created as the
first book of Moses begins. In Genesis we learn of a "Sacred
"Covenant" made between God and the Hebrew Patriarch,
Abraham. A loyal servant of the Lord, he is put through
a grueling test to prove his love for Jehovah. The Almighty
orders him to murder his son Isaac on the sacrificial
altar. I'm sure we all know that story and most of us
also know that Abraham was the husband of Sarai or Sarah,
who the Bible tells us was barren. Sarah entreats Abraham
to impregnate her brown-skinned handmaid saying, "that
I may have my children by Haggar". A boy is born
and named Ishmael but not long afterwards, Sarah becomes
resentful and orders her husband to abandon Haggar and
Ishnael in the desert. He dutifully obeys and soon their
pitiful sobs are heard up in Heaven. God comes down to
investigate and upon learning what transpired, makes a
"Sacred "Covenant" with them to create
a new peoples from the seed of Ishmael. The Hebrew god
Jehovah promises them a population as vast as the "grains
of sand on the beaches". This, according to Genesis,
is the origin of Islam that sprung from the loins of the
Jewish Patriarch, Abraham!! Moses is the alleged author
of this story and since he, nor anyone else witnessed
these Covenants, how he came by this information remains
In the New Testament, the same god that made the Covenants
with Abraham and Ishmael, sends the Angel Gabriel to a
Jewish virgin in Bethlehem to announce the birth of "His
Son". Three religions, all-vying for the approval
of one Father, can initiate a multitude of conflicts,
especially if the father shows the slightest trace of
favoritism. So, what emotions would one expect to be piqued
in "God's children" when God infers that the
Jews are His "chosen people"? If this slight
did not occur in the Bible, it may have spared a good
deal of pain and hatred for Jewish people the world over,
anguish they still experience because of it. It seems
that planets can remain in orbit without a Heavenly Father's
constant approval but not human beings. Is it possible
that these biblical Covenants made between Abraham, Ishmael,
Mary and Jehovah backfired and caused 9-11, America's
second "Day of Infamy"? The implications of
this biblical tale are staggering. Despite three covenants
made by the same god, man's intolerance of his brother
continues. History clearly chronicles that Islam and Christianity
have frequently conducted Holy Wars against each other
and currently Muslim Fundamentalists seem bent upon the
destruction of their brothers in Israel. It is absurd
to even consider that our Creator precipitated this man-made
God so loved the world)
Throughout history millions have believed every word
in the Bible but today many worshippers feel that the
Old Testament no longer carries its original authority.
They discount many of its fables on the grounds that
although our forebears meant well, they were misinformed.
These folks are "selective" worshippers who
accept what hey find agreeable and discount the rest.
Unfortunately, Scripture does not offer that luxury.
Either the Bible is the word of God or it's not. And
if the Almighty did write it, as many members of the
Clergy claim, didn't He know in advance that one testament
wouldn't suffice? If Jehovah is infallible why did he
need to write a second one? And if He is the author
of the New Testament, He has presented himself as a
Personality that's not even remotely like the god of
the Old Testament. Besides, it's not so easy to ignore
the first one because a number of its prophecies are
fulfilled in the second. In essence, the two testaments
are irrevocably intertwined. Were it not for that fact
alone, Christianity would have no gospels and no god
figure as well. It is therefore not possible to discount
the Old Testament or the entire foundation of Christianity
The second part of the Bible finds Jesus Christ paying
the ultimate price for the “Original Sin” of Adam and
Eve. As the gospel according to Luke unfolds, we meet
a young Jewish girl named Mary, who is betrothed to a
man called Joseph. Luke claims that Mary receives a visit
from the angel Gabriel announcing that she has will conceive
a holy infant. In Matthew’s gospel it clearly states that
the angel appeared to Joseph-not to Mary -and it occurred
in his dream. Nevertheless, This fulfills the prophesy
of the Old Testament that a Messiah is coming. Luke is
the only Apostle to tell the story of Gabriel visiting
Mary. He must have also considered it advantageous to
claim that Jesus was a blood descendant of King David
because he provides a genealogy tracing Jesus back to
the King. In doing so, he lists forty-three generations
from David to Jesus. Matthew also offers a genealogy but
Matthew lists only twenty-eight. When we compare both
genealogies, we discover that no two names on either list
are the same, except for the final name Joseph-the husband
of Mary. It therefore appears that Joseph is descended
from David-not Jesus. We are left in a quandary because
the New Testament has just begun and we are struck by
is a striking difference in the Personalities of Jesus
and Jehovah. Christ is kind and gentle, filled with love
and compassion while Jehovah is portrayed as wrathful
and filled, with vengeance. Jesus never mentions the despicable
deeds that Bible writers attribute to Jehovah; not one
word about the awful flood that drowned the world or the
cruel punishment of Adam and Eve. No mention of betraying
the Hebrews by causing Pharaoh to pursue them, the deadly
plagues He visited upon Egypt or the slaying of the firstborn
of every Egyptian family.. There is no doubt that Christ
gave the world a new image of God-one that is not remotely
like the god of the Old Testament. He saw the Father quite
differently than the way Moses had depicted h Him. In
essence, you could say that Christ was also defending
God against defamation of His character and morality.
Moses was still revered when Jesus began to challenge
many of his principles. Those that obeyed the Mosaic Code
considered this blasphemy. But even more so, the priesthood
of the day began to feel threatened by his new ideas.
One day he went to the Synagogue and berated the loan
sharks, threw down their tables and chased them and their
animals from the Temple. But he must have known that moneylenders
and animal sacrifices were part of Jehovah's rituals.
His unusual practice of exorcising devils from those he
believed to be possessed frightened the worshippers. Is
it possible that Jesus Christ believed in devils? Scripture
claims He believed with all His heart. But His "Father"
created everything so God must have also created devils,
but why? If Satan were destined to become Christ's archenemy,
why would God create devils? The answer is simple; He
didn't! In olden days people believed that illness was
caused by demons inhabiting our bodies. It's hard not
to feel compassion for them because medicine, as we know
it, hadn't been established and no one would have believed
that microbes were the real culprits. Still, if Jesus
Christ were God's son why wouldn't he have known that?
Recently there has been a resurgence of Exorcism in the
Catholic Church as modern prelates "cast out devils and
unclean spirits" just as Christ did and some gullible
Catholics have been injured or killed by the practice,
which only shows that many scriptural passages continue
to foster a belief in magic.
Note: Let me try to set the record straight.
The Jewish people did not kill Christ. The priesthood,
then in power, occluded that he might become a problem
and hurt their lucrative practice and the shekels might
diminish, so they alerted the Roman government and accused
him of trying to overthrow he system. But Jesus was never
a thorn in Rome's side; in fact they hardly knew him.
When Judas Iscariot betrayed him, he actually had to point
him out to the soldiers who could not even recognize him.
The Rabbis and high priests, protecting their investment
in their temples, were the culprits and it is they that
bare the responsibility for his execution. I'm sure this
truth will fail to impress many for the myth of the Jewish
people being culpable has infected even our youth.
The unforgettable scene at the cross can melt the heart
of an Atheist. The pain and anguish have been indelibly
imprinted on the minds of the faithful for the last two
thousand years. It is excruciating as Christ pleads to
Yahweh, “My God My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” and
God never answers. The Bible cites several instances where
God spoke aloud from heaven, from a cloud and from a burning
bush and His voice “was heard by many” but when His Son
pleads with Him to answer-not one word; He just silently
let Jesus die. Such callousness at the very end of Christ’s
life defames the very meaning of a loving and caring god.
The pious will continue to venerate this book and believe
such heartlessness about our Creator-but never shall I.
Note: A careful analysis of the New Testament
reveals the fact that Luke and Mark were not members of
Christ’s original twelve Apostles. Who were these men
that wrote gospels and claimed to be eyewitnesses to the
events reported in all four gospels? This becomes very
significant when we realize that Luke alone gave Christianity
three of its most crucial tenets.
1. Angel Gabriel visiting Mary.
2. The Immaculate Conception.
3. Jesus born in the manger.
4. Mark and Luke are the only disciples to report “The
time ago on public television, Bill Moyers presented
the renowned Mythologist Joseph Campbell in a fascinating
series of interviews. Mr. Campbell has since departed
this world leaving a contribution to theological thought
that will remain a classic for many years to come. According
to this learned gentleman, every faith begins with a
myth, which then spawns the rituals, tenets and scripture
of that religion. The Christian myth is no exception-says
Mr. Campbell-for it springs from one of the more fascinating
flights of man's imagination:
In the beginning, Satan was God's most favorite angel.
He served his master faithfully and lived in peace and
harmony with all the heavenly occupants. One day, God
decided to create human beings and ordered Satan that
henceforth he would serve man. Lucifer adamantly refused
to serve anyone but his Lord, God. Jehovah became livid
at being disobeyed but Satan remained adamant and hostility
began to escalate between the two powers until a full-scale
war broke out in Heaven. It was catastrophic because many
innocent angels were killed (?) and the conflict ended
with Satan's "fall from grace in the eyes of his
Lord". Jehovah banished him to Hades where he would
tend the flames of Hell forever more. If it were not for
this myth, "The Fallen Angel" might have enjoyed
a far better reputation, in fact we may never have heard
of the "Prince of Darkness" or of Devil worship.
to Mr. Campbell, and I should add Bertrand Russell as
well, this is the original myth that gave rise to the
Christian faith, following which rituals and tenets were
added to flush out the religion. By creating a Devil as
the epitome of evil, the myth served the purpose of absolving
God of all responsibility for the cruelties and injustices
that occur in the world. The creation of two separate
powers (one for good and one for evil) it eliminated the
grays and everything was painted n black and white. Today,
when we imagine God and Satan as mortal enemies, we fail
to recognize the alliance that the early church constructed.
It's almost as though they had formed a partnership between
the two powers so that when we die, God judges us and
sends the "Sinners" to Satan in Hell. We are
well aware of what supposedly awaits us if we arrive in
Hades but what happens if we receive our just reward and
go to Heaven? Have we ever taken the time to think this
We've been conditioned to earthly pleasures throughout
life and spent our existence pursuing the things we love.
What would we do with ourselves in Paradise? There are
no football games or other sporting events to relish.
What about the love we have for our cars and our computers?
We couldn't drive anywhere and there's certainly no Internet
or TV in the Hereafter. It's not very likely that we could
find many interesting hobbies to fill our time. Perhaps
we could take a trip to the mall for some shopping? No
need for designer clothes up here. How about a nice glass
of cold beer at the local tavern? I don't think so. Hey,
how about sex? Jesus said that all marriages are dissolved
in Heaven. Hmm, I would think not. But wait, I mean with
my own spouse? I can see where that wouldn't work either
because suppose I had outlived three spouses, I don't
imagine I I'd be allowed to sleep with all of them. No,
that would definitely be a Sin. By the way, can one sin
while in Heaven? And if one does, can he still be sent
to Hell-even after living an exemplary life? Hmmm, better
keep on thinking. How about food? Scripture says Jesus
ate a hearty meal of honeycomb and fish after He had risen.
But does it really make much sense to continue needing
nourishment-and toilets for eternity? What if we turned
into angels-could we just fly around all day? I've heard
some people say they thought they might become pure energy,
but what kind? Others say they would be in ecstasy just
to sit on the right hand of God. But that's out the realm
of our experience. Obviously, life after death would have
to involve the same sort of things that we loved and did
while we were alive. So, the Hereafter would probably
be like living life all over again. But many good people
have led very unhappy lives. So, what would their reward
be after a lifetime of righteousness? They undoubtedly
fantasize that suddenly they would feel gloriously happy
but it just doesn't work that way; happiness is not something
we find-it's something we choose. And yet it's not hard
to understand why so many dream of going to Heaven. This
is a pretty rough world with all its crime, murders, kidnappings,
drug traffic and injustice that many experience. It makes
one fantasize about a better place somewhere else where
everyone is kind and even the animals don't kill each
other. It is natural that Heaven would seem to be a better
world than this one.
I'm sure lots of well meaning people have dreamed about
the Hereafter without giving it much rational thought
but suppose, to our amazement, we failed to arrive in
either Paradise or in Hades? Would there really be much
fun being ghosts and continuing to wander through our
old haunts for eternity? This concept of life after death
definitely requires more thought.
The Origin of the Bible
the previous Chapters numerous examples of slander and
defamation leveled against Our Creator were shown to
be present in the "Holy Bible". Peculiar though
it may seem, the faithful will probably fail to recognize
them. Before continuing to examine the Theologies of
other cultures, it is significant at this point to discover
just how our own "Holy Book" came into being.
The "Judaic-Christian" Bible was created approximately
300 years after the Crucifixion. It was during the third
century in the Ottoman Empire, that Emperor Constantine
of Turkey settled the religious strife in his country
by converting to Christianity. Constantine then decided
that a "Holy Book" was needed and ordered his
Cardinals to collect old folk tales, Hebrew stories and
assorted gospels written by unknown authors after the
Crucifixion. Among the many works collected were the five
books of Moses, the gospels according to Peter, according
to Mary, according to James, according to Thomas, according
to Matthew, according to John and a plethora of Apocryphal
fragments. After much deliberation, the Cardinals cast
their votes for the manuscripts they wanted included in
one cohesive volume. It was this compilation of themes
that later came to be known as the "Holy Bible".
Consider this: if those men had chosen other works, the
faithful would now believe different authors. The revered
Bible that millions of worshippers have accepted as the
"Word of God" was created by a vote of men.
I repeat, I'm neither for nor against any religious
practice because I believe that people have a basic
need to worship. But must religions create fearful gods
in order for them to work?
A few related thoughts
Egypt was constantly invaded by fierce tribes, known
as the Hiksos people that dwelt in the craggy regions
of the Tigress and Euphrates. They coveted the Nile
River, which overflowed its banks yearly, inundating
the fertile valley below and never failed to produce
lush verdure in great abundance. Each time the tribes
invaded they were subdued and scores of prisoners taken.
The Hiksos were an extremely persistent people, driven
by the dream of living in an environment that was the
antitheses of their sparse homeland. They had been successful
in their pursuit twice before and occupied Egypt briefly.
Ultimately, the Egyptians prevailed and brought back
scores of prisoners to serve as slaves. Soon their numbers
swelled and began to pose a serious threat to the country.
The Pharaoh knew he had to get them out of Egypt so
he commissioned his grandson (who was found in the bull
rushes by the Princess) to lead the Hiksos out of Egypt
and into the desert. Biblical authors later claimed
this to be the Exodus of the Hebrews led by Moses. This
event became the cornerstone of Judaism.
Extremely meaningful is the fact that the Egyptians left
a detailed, hieroglyphic account of their history and
failed to mention the "Exodus" or that "Hebrews"
were ever held in bondage. In addition, they left no report
of the Nile turning into blood, the many plagues that
allegedly decimated the country or the slaying of the
first born of every Egyptian family. All these events
are chronicled only in the Bible.
All Religions are "Belief Systems", which means
they can be altered by new and compelling information
but precisely how has Religion continued to hold such
a grasp on the mind? The answer may be found in "
We all have parents and each of us has been "hypnotized"
by them to a certain extent. This idea may seem incredulous
at first because the process occurs in such a natural
manner. The parent is the "hypnotist", the
child is the "subject" and religious beliefs
constitute many of the suggestions that they make. Perhaps
the word "suggestion" seems a bit too clinical-so
let's say "imitation" or even "copy"
because that's how we learn. Initially, by copying or
imitating our parents and then others we later encounter.
Day after day as we grow, we re-enforce the messages
we get from mom and dad, practically since birth. "I
am a Catholic", says one; "I am a Jew",
says another, "a Protestant, a Methodist, a Moslem"
and so forth, and yet we seldom ask ourselves why? The
answer is so academic there seems to be no need to inquire.
I am a Catholic because my mother/father were Catholics.
I am a Jew for the very same reason. We identify with
our parents through the suggestions they make to us.
These messages need mot be overt because we can receive
them subliminally from observing their behavior. One
stern look of disapproval can have as potent an effect
as a lecture. Noticing their demeanor in a house of
worship can reveal their level of religiosity. Do they
seem to be at ease with their god or do they appear
obsequies and fearful? We incorporate all these signals
and frequently, even wear the symbols of their faith
to help us feel that we belong. One may wear a Star
of David, another display a Crucifix, another completely
cover her face- and as we age, the original suggestions
enter the Limbic system of our brains and become deeply
ingrained habits that feel comfortable and natural to
us. So natural in fact, that it never occurs to us we
may be following a form of post-hypnotic suggestion.
This does not imply that we walk around in a trance,
only that our beliefs are unconsciously re-enforced
on a daily basis.
As our small world widens and society becomes more meaningful,
we discover that most folks share this "suggested-religiosity".
That discovery condones the practice and adds a strong
sense of legitimacy to the state we're in. But the final
realization sets in when we learn that highly respected
individuals like government officials, Priests, Rabbis,
our Presidents and even the Pope himself, all agree that
the information fed to us with mother's milk is valid.
The original Parental Suggestions become a tenacious habit
that lasts for most, if not all, of our lives. "Habit"
may seem a strange word to describe a person's faith but
that's what it is-a post-hypnotic habit! Perhaps that
may explain why each religion believes with equal fervor
in a different god.
Let's take a close look at a person that is hypnotized.
He or she will behave in almost any manner that the hypnotist
suggests to her. While she sincerely believes that the
suggestions are her own thoughts, she will accept ideas
for which there is no sensory evidence of reality. In
other words, she can be made to believe that something
exists which she cannot see, touch, smell, hear or taste.
Conversely, she can also be made to "see" and
"hear" things that do not exist. "Happenings"
that are frequently reported as religious experiences
meet these criteria. The "belief" is genuine
even if the event is not. Tests have shown that certain
suggestions are short lived while others have been known
to last for years. Religion is of the long lasting type,
often persisting for a lifetime, which may explain why
many people-who are quite rational in other aspects of
life-continue to believe the outlandish passages in Scripture.
If we examine several different religions we would have
to concede that all of them could not be true, yet the
adherent of each would insist that only his was valid.
He is convinced that his god is the only true god-while
the others are false. And he might often defend his belief
with his very life, as many have done in the past. What
is it that makes religion so delicate an issue hat it
can seldom be discussed without powerful emotions surfacing?
What puts people on the defensive about the subject? And
lastly, exactly what are they defending? Most of the time
it turns out to be the values of mom and dad. In essence,
criticizing the cherished beliefs of someone's parents
feels like criticizing his parents. Pleasing one's folks
is almost a universal phenomenon, which many continue
even after the parents are no longer alive. The hypnotic
process therefore, may explain the tenacity and persistence
"Parental suggestion" is a two-edged sword that
can stimulate one's curiosity or even create a state of
indifference. Some parents are too stringent in their
beliefs and can unintentionally create problems for their
offspring. Suggestions containing threats like those of
Hell and Damnation imprint the mind with such powerful
stimuli that later adult reasoning often fails to expunge
them. Only the use of common sense and compelling new
information can alter a belief system.