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Friday, February 11, 2011

In Response To A Request Made For Plume To Explain His Concept Of "Religion Equals Politics" (Per FaceBook)

 As you are aware, many times Plume will be drawn into FB discussions that go deeper than what he had for breakfast. Often times his viewpoints are challenged or, at least, questioned. Recently, a good friend of the professor was curious to know what exactly he meant when he compared religion to politics. Here is his reply: (remember, facebook rants are off the cuff and largely unedited. Please excuse any snafus and feel free to leave editor's notes in the comments area.) 

Carla, my dear, I thought you'd never ask. What do I mean by Democrats and Republicans [being the same type of debate as the one over religion that has a father of six remaining incarcerated in order to defend his faith in Jesus Christ.], huh?

Well, I think I covered it pretty thoroughly when I went on a binge about this topic about three months ago. In fact, one title was something like Religion=Government, and that's exactly true. Of course, I am still learning how to express my thoughts clearly and everyday is a new chance to practice, so....

Let me first say that I still think, after all this time, that you are misunderstanding my position on all of this, and I believe it stems from the definition of "religion."

Christianity, the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, the Church of Latter Day assholes...all of that is religion. They are political institutions, meaning they have constituents, they raise money (called dues or fees or taxes), they hold a specific moral stance on political subjects, they even lobby right alongside the NAACP and the unions and everyone else. In fact, the Catholic Church is a political juggernaut in this country as is the Jewish faith.

The political parallels are not only blatant like that, they not only steer our foreign policy directly (Israel-Palastine), but they are one in the same and always have been!

Back to Israel-Palastine for a moment, if you truly think that conflict is over which son of Abraham is the true heir to the promised land then I have a nice bridge over here in NY, actually a few of them. It's about money, land, power. Do you think the Ayatollas or Sheiks or Mullahs (one of those) are seriously religious. I don't, but they still run a theocracy, which I define as a government that uses the fear of God to breed obedience.

It is the oldest game in the book. Let's take a look at Christianity briefly. How did it start? It didn't start with Jesus. No, Jesus died and rose to heaven...(ok, I have no problem with that. I actually believe he may have lived, and his teachings ARE based on ancient wisdom. There's no doubt about that. That's why I say follow Christ! BUT THE RELIGION...)

OK, so Jesus rose to heaven, and a handful of people witnessed it. I believe it was  Mary Magdeline and Thomas and a few others. The point is that It wasn't on pay per view! Nobody wrote a book about it or a movie or even a drawing. In fact,
it wasn't until the 6th century that they figured out what he looked like. (you know, a  white guy with a beard!)

Keep in mind the political landscape at the time. Roman Law ruled all, but as the Empires who conquered this area over and over often did, they allowed the Jews to govern themselves. You remember that's why Jesus was brought before Punctuos Pilate, the Roman governor. The Pharisees, which were a POLITICAL PARTY in the kingdom of Israel (consisting of different tribes), did not like the fact that Jesus was "rallying support" for someone other than their so called God, and like you said, they were as religious as George Bush is. Remember my definition of a theocracy.

But, they had to bring him before the governor first who said, "Do what you want with him." (in not so many words, of course, my guess is as good as Luke's, but we'll get to that)" He just wanted things to settle down.

So, Jesus rose from the dead, and there was some chatter about it, but that's it, UNTIL 5 years later, when Paul of Tarus, who was a Pharisee, a politician and
not only a politician, but was known for being a radical, a loose cannon if you will, enters the scene. He somehow gets wind of the story and decides to start a new sect, the Christians!

So, he writes a bunch of letters. We know them as the famous "epistles," the basis of the New Testament, written by a politician, about 20 years after Christ's death. (There are about 15 missing years there between his so called conversion and the actual letters. things like this take planning, especially with no computers. Also, he never met the man, but it's cool because he said he saw a bright light on the road to Demascus that told him to write them, so it's valid, I guess.)

Ok, Paul kicks off the new political party, the Jewish Christians. If you read the accounts of his three missionary journeys, as seen in the book of Acts, it is nothing more than a political campaign, as he travels from city to city to give speeches (also known as sermons), accompanied by his friend and campaignmanager, Barnabus. By the way, St, Paul spent days in jail as a political activist criminal trouble maker (no surprise) before finally being put to death by the Roman emperor Nero who had enough of his hijinks, but the damage to the Jews was done. 

Shortly afterward came the four gospels,, which are written accounts of Jesus' life. The first one was written by Mark, a dude that never met Jesus and wrote his biography two decades after his death, (BUT it was supposedly looked over by Peter so it's valid enough to base a religion on.) Then came Matthew; he was a disciple, so he decided to get in on the action. Mind you, he never thought to write such a thing before, but did so for the sake of the new party (and a nice fee I'm sure).

Luke followed, another political hack who never met Jesus and then John, whose version was written from a different angle than the others and has been called inaccurate, not surprising considering it was written some 50 years after Jesus' death. 

The so called scholars have formed a myriad of different hypotheses as to who wrote which book when and who copied from who; still, as I said, imagine you and I and another person writing a story about someone we never met, twenty years after he died and then arguing whose is more factual. It seems that God should have only commissioned one person to write his son's autobiography.

 At any rate, these aren't even the Gospels you know, as you'll see.

So, now you have four gospels (actually there are several Gospels, but these four made the final cut, 300 years later, as you'll see), and you have Paul's letters (and other literature written by members of the CNC, the Christian National Committee), which were the foundation of the new political party, the Jewish Christians, first headed up by a guy named James, the Christian party's Ralph Nader, if you will.

They enter the fray, along with the old school Pharisees and the Sudicees and the Assholcees, and the Christians have a new, hot thing going on. I mean, shit, a NEW messiah! So, they were hot out of the gate and, thanks to resilient campaigning by the group, picked up steam steadily for 300 years

Of course, like any other start-up, they had it rough in the beginning. Back then, trouble-makers like Paul and James were killed, not just punished. We call them Martyrs, but you could only expect that the Jews who were still in power did what they can to stop them.
The Romans got in on the act because the Christians were trouble-makers. Like any other mini-revolt, they did annoying, you could say terrorist, things to be heard. Well, the Romans didn't like them for that , at first, and they even blamed a great fire in Rome on their anti-establishment activities. The Emperors used to throw them to the lions as an example.

Of course, we are taught that they were thrown to the lions because of their faith! lmao They were thrown to the lions for the EXACT, THE EXACT reason the Kurds were tortured or why any rebel or terrorist is punished when they get caught damaging buildings or blowing up trains. The Christians were looked at as terrorists.

Think how we, the US, a better parallel to Rome, because we are an Empirical nation, choose sides all the time when there is infighting in one of our provinces, I mean allies. Look at, (I don't know, we do it so often)...look at Nicaragua, we looked at the Contras as friendly and the Sandinistas as enemies. or Iran-Iraq..if you recall, Iraq were the "good guys"lol

Well, that was Rome's view on the Christians......UNTIL Constantine, Emperor Constantine. You may know him as the Emperor who "found Jesus."
No, he was the Emperor who decided to switch sides. Because the Christians had grown strong behind the new wave messiah and more powerful than the old Jews, so he started playing ball with them, until eventually, he liked the format so much, Rome decided to make Christianity the LAW or the political party or the religion or the law or the political party or the religion, all the same, are you getting that? of the newly named HOLY Roman Empire!!!

Of course, they had to work out some kinks. So, they had a meeting, and this is literal. They literally had a meeting!

THE COUNSEL OF NICEA 325AD, where the Romans got together with some representatives from each of their provinces and picked and chose exactly what they wanted in their new law book, I mean Holy scriptures. They took the epistles (Paul's bullshit letters), they took the four gospels (out of a shitload), they worked out the Creed. you know the NICEAN CREED, that all the parishioners stand up and chant at mass. 

They went over that word by word. They even decided how the mass would go.
They decided what rules were inportant, what rules were to be stressed. Basically, whatever the Roman Senate thought was important, Jesus thought was important.

Then, of course, the Romans had to throw some of their own tradition in there, actually a lot. Much of the story of Jesus is based on Pagan ritual and belief, which was the ancient Roman religion of course. By this time it was just tradition, but haven't you ever wondered where the fuck a rabbit hiding eggs comes from on Jesus resurrection or a christmas tree and shit? lol (I believe the santa clause thing was thrown in later.)

See that's the thing. That is just the beginning. This thing has been the rule book for 2 millenia now!! The bible you read today is this book written by political activists who didn't know Jesus, generations after him, then edited 3 centuries later by a Roman council, then edited and amended by Roman Emperors, English Kings, and yes, US Presidents (such as Jefferson) for 2,000 years!!! lmao

I mean, really Carla. I'm not making this up.

Oh, and as far as the analogy to your story featuring Muslims vs. Chrisstian, Islam is the exact same thing. When Christianity began to spread, it spread across the middle East, to Egypt and Syria...etc This is the area we speak of when we speak of that time.

Anyway, about 200 years after the Romans dressed up their new constitution, it was working so well, that a guy named Muhammad, in Mecca, did the same thing our friend Paul did.

It was the unifying rule of the Arab world and it made for a great backdrop for the many, many conflicts that were to come, as the Muslims became the great Ottoman Empire and the Romans split and became the Holy Bystantine Empire and they fought forever, through the crusades, and all the way up to modern times, to that poor lost soul whole sold his family out for nothing!

BUT, it made for great motivation. I mean when you read Bystantine literature denouncing Islam, calling Muhammad a false and deceitful prophet.... That book, put together in Nicea over lunch and cocktails, holds enough weight that people will kill and die and kill and die for what is written in it.

People like this psychopath on my wall would be one! (The subject leading to the religion=government comment was concerning a website had stumbled upon ) Now, it just wouldn't have the gravity if it were only political parties, but make no mistake, that is EXACTLY WHAT IT IS!!!(A Facebook
So, yeah, that's what I mean by that, Carla.

Gotta run

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Thanks for reading that. Please add some comments, give an opinion, ask questions, disagree. I would love a healthy discussion on this, not to find a winner in this debate, but to find the truth.

- Professor Plume

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