Why is it that so many people are understanding and accepting of this…
But intolerant and dismissing of this?
I don’t want to be perceived as a “Bible Basher,” but there are tons of worrisome discrepancies in the Holy Bible that just don’t make sense to me. The concept that we all originate from Adam and Eve, considering how diverse we are as a people is mind-boggling, and the story of an immaculate conception and virgin birth sounds even more ludicrous. Why have people so willingly accept these stories and never question them? I was on a hunt for the answer, when it dawned on me to take a closer look at other cultures, their faiths and religious beliefs. Then, I asked myself, are all denominations outside of Christianity wrong and doomed to hell? (only because I was raised Christian). That doesn’t even sound coherent? Everybody seems to be stuck in an “I’m right, you’re wrong” mentality when it comes to their faith and religion. So who’s right? Who’s wrong? I haven’t quite figured out the answers to that, but in investigating I popped opened a whole new “can of worms.” I won’t be the Judge, I’ll illustrate the picture and let you decide for yourself.
(Abraham plays a prominent role in Judaism, Islam , and Christianity.)
Biblically speaking, Abraham, who was born Abram, is placed around 2000 BCE. The story of Abram pretty much revolves around prosperity, land rights and posterity (more so inheritance). Pretty much an olden day play out of the hit Fox TV show Empire, only he has a whole lot more sons.
Abram’s father, Terah (descendant of Noah) decided to leave his homeland and move to the land of Canaan. He journeyed with his son Abram and Abram’s wife Sarai but they never made it to their destination, because old man Terah died en route. So, Abram and Sarai inhabited the land where his father died and was buried and there they prospered.
Sarai became unsettled because she was unable to conceive a child, so she voluntarily offered Hagar, one of her servant girls to her husband. He consorted with the slave girl Hagar and she had a son named Ishmael. Abraham was reportedly 68 years old when Ishmael was born. Ishmael’s bloodline will eventually establish Islam.
At some point, God called to Abram and made a covenant. According to scriptures, Abram was 99 years old at the time. God promised Abram the land of Canaan and to make his descendants through Sarai a great nation (Israel, as we know it today). This is the land that Moses will eventually lead his people to. To seal the deal, Abram had to circumcise himself and every man in his camp. And so he did. God then changed his name from Abram to Abraham, meaning, a father of many nations and changed his wife Sarai’s name to Sarah. Sarah in her old age, eventually gave birth to Issac, the continued father of this promised nation.
This interestingly sets up two separate nations and religions from one father. Ishmael vs. Issac = Islam vs. Judaism = Muslim vs. Jews.
This covenant between God and Abraham has proven to be a big deal over time. It has spawned the Abrahamic religions, and Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all fall under this umbrella.
Judaism encompasses the religion, philosophy, culture and way of life of the Jewish people, which all stems from the Biblical Covenant between God and the Patriarch Abraham and all the additional aspects of the Covenant later revealed by their greatest prophet, Moses.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ISLAM
Muslim version of their own history
The name Islam, is derived from the Arabic word “salam,” which is often interpreted as meaning “peace” or “submission.” The religion claimed to be the revelation of God (Allah) through the angel Jibril a.k.a. Gabriel to a man named Muhammad (pbuh). Muhammad was born in approximately 570-571 AD. He descends from the line of Abraham and Hagar. He was born to the powerful tribe of the Quraish in Mekkah (Mecca), what we now call Saudi Arabia. His father’s name was Abdullah. His mother’s name was Aminah.
Abdullah was a merchant who made caravan trips. He died on a trading trip soon after his marriage to Aminah, leaving Muhammad fatherless at birth. Aminah, his mother, died when he was only six years old. Muhammad was taken in by his grandfather, only to have him die when Muhammad was eight years old. At this time, his uncle, Abu Talib, one of the leaders of the Quraish tribe took him in and raised him
Having married the wealthy Khadijah, Muhammad became a gentleman of leisure and somewhat of a philosopher. He would retreat from society; take trips into the desert and mountains. He would spend his hours in meditation, greatly concerned about the condition of the civilization he saw around himself. He had a personal mission to find “truth.” One of his frequent places of seclusion was a cave on Mount Nur. It was while in this cave, during the month of the Ramadan, a pagan festival, that he received his first visitation from the angel Gabriel.
At first, Muhammad shared his new revelations with only his family and close friends. During the next three years the message of Muhammad quietly spread among the people of Mekkah, especially among the youth. Then Muhammad is believed to have received instructions from Allah to go public with his message and openly condemn the paganism and idolatry of Mekkah.
Muhammad continued to proclaim his message, and his following slowly grew. At one point, in 621, a group of delegates from Madinah (Medina) responded to his call and made a covenant with Muhammad and declared themselves to be Muslims. Eventually, the Muslims collected Mohammad’s messages and gathered them into a book known as the Quran. The Quran is the holy book of Islam. It has been translated into many languages, but many Muslims believe that the only true version of the Quran is written in Arabic.
REACQUAINTED WITH CHRISTIANITY
Christianity is simply based around the life and teachings of Jesus, a man born in Nazareth, but believed to be both the Son of God and the savior of humanity. I think everybody at this point knows the story of Jesus. So, I won’t delve into it like I want to. However, it was another man who truly contributed in making the gospel of Jesus as renowned as it is today, and that man is no other than the Apostle Paul.
Paul to me is quite a fascinating figure, because not only was he NOT around when Jesus was teaching and performing miracles, but he was one of the Jesus haters who persecuted the 12 remaining disciples after Jesus died.
According to Paul himself who wrote 14 of the 27 books in the New Testament, while he was traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, the resurrected ghost of Jesus appeared to him in a bright light. He went blind for 3 days after the fact. On the 3rd day, Ananias of Damascus, one of the Jesus loyal 12, came to him and said that Jesus sent him to restore his sight.
From then on, Paul became a believer. He began to preach that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Jewish Messiah and the Son of God. He taught of the life and works of Jesus Christ and that the Covenant God made with Abraham excluded Gentiles (non-Jews), so a New Covenant established through Jesus’ death and resurrection unites Gentiles and Jews as the people God. You can see how that conflicts with Judaism. Again, a fascinating character that Paul.
Buddha was born Siddhattha Gautama around 565 B.C. in Lumbini (a town situated in modern Nepal, near the Indian border). The title Buddha means, Enlightened One or Awakened One. His descendant name, Gautama means of whose aims are achieved/who is efficacious in achieving aims. He became known as the Buddha (Enlightened One or Awakened One) at the age of 35. He is also commonly known as ‘Shakyamuni’ or ‘Sakyamuni’ (The sage of the Shakya clan) and as the Tathagata (thus come or thus gone).
Few of the details of the Buddha’s life can be independently verified, and it is difficult to determine what is history and what is myth.
According to most Buddhist traditions, Siddhattha Gautama, the future Buddha lived many lives before coming to our present world era. In his many existences during the long, long period of time and in the one hundred thousand worlds, the future Buddha had fulfilled the Ten Paramitas, and, in order to save this world, he was to be born in our era and to become a fully enlightened Buddha. Very Christ like, don’t you think?
****Not to be confused with Budai (the laughing fat Chinese Buddha). I can’t express enough how different the two are. The latter is a Chinese folkloric deity (he’s like what Santa Claus is in American Culture). ****
BUDDHISM IN CHINA
Buddhism was introduced from India into China in 6th Century AD. One of the Hen Emperors sent a mission to the west of China and brought back the scriptures, Indian monks and the images of Buddha. Since then, Chinese translation was made available and the further exchange of scholars among China, India and other Asian countries brought about the rapid development of Buddhism in China. Buddhist monasteries and temples were built to promote the Buddhism and some of the Emperors were also the followers of Buddhism. Buddhism, just like Confucianism and Taoism, guides people to behave, to be honest and responsible. It promotes harmony and peaceful mind, sharing and compassion. Buddhists never force people into their belief. Buddhism emphasizes in “awakening of mind”. Through learning, one will develop intellectual capacity to the fullest so as to understand, to love and be kind to other beings.
Buddhism does not believe in God. It believes in People. In Buddhist teaching, there is no aggressive promotion of Buddhism or strong rejection of other religions. All these make Buddhism fall into the same scope of Confucianism and Taoist. Its ability to co-exist with any other religions makes it being developed into one of the largest religions in China.
GETTING TO KNOW HINDUISM
Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism were the hardest one’s to grasp, to me. It just seems so evasive, but what do I know? Apparently, it is the oldest living religion in the world, or at least elements within it. Hinduism seems to be a vast array of practices and beliefs. Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings. They believe in concepts such as karma and reincarnation. However, they do believe in a Supreme God, whose qualities and forms are represented by a multitude of deities which emanate from him. That was the only place I can really relate. So I dug some more into this Supreme God and Bingo!
I found a commonality, a prophet of sorts by the name of Adi Shankara. Now Adi was never proclaimed a prophet, but he was a Hindu philosopher and theologian from India placed sometime in early 8th century. He wrote and discussed the unity of the ātman (soul) and Nirguna Brahman or Para Brahman (Supreme Cosmic Spirit)…Sounds like God to me.
Adi Shankara died at 33 years old. Reliable information on his actual life is scarce.
You know who else died at 33 years of age? Jesus.
Anyone who has read the Bible from cover to cover will agree, or should realize that it is a well documented Jewish history book. It explains the story of “the first man” Adam and follow it all the way to Jesus. It’s quite phenomenal actually. This is how the timeline goes.
Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methusaleh, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Arphaxad, Cainan, Sala, Eber, Peleg, Ragau, Saruch, Nahor, Terah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Phares, Esrom, Aram, Aminadab, Naasson, Salmon, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, David, Solomon, Roboam, Abia, Asa, Josaphat, Joram, Ozias, Joatham, Achaz, Ezekias, Manasses, Amon, Josias, Jechonias, Salathiel, Zorobabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Sadoc, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary who gave birth to Jesus.
My only issue with that timeline is, at what point in time do we get the different races of people to branch off and come into existence? African, Asian, European, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, Native American… As distinct and diverse we are as a people, It’s really become hard for me to swallow that we all came from Adam.
A few things I’ve scrutinized really leads me to believe that we were not. Again, it’s a Jewish timeline, so it accounts for only Jewish. So where are the rest of the people? This is what I’ve come up with.
Everybody knows the story of Cain & Abel. If, you don’t already know, they are the 2 sons of Adam & Eve. So, let’s do the math. If Adam and Eve are the only two people on earth and they have two sons, there should only be 4 people living on earth. Right? Well, apparently not.
Out of rage and Jealousy, Cain kills his brother Abel and tries to hide it from God. Silly boy, you can’t hide anything from God. So, let’s go biblical now. I’m going to copy and paste a passage directly from Genesis chapter 4. Disclaimer: These are not my words.
9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;
12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
13 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
15 And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
I’m no genius, but if there’s only 4 people living on the earth, why is he worried that anybody is going to kill him? He get’s banished for murder, but winds up finding a wife and having children. I’ve heard the Nephilims theory, but that just doesn’t sit well with me. Because he eventually had a family. Nephlilms supposedly were fallen Angels or giants who inhabited the world then. They were depicted as these huge rock-like monsters in the 2014 film Noah, starring Russell Crowe. Why are they not around now? Someone didn’t edit chapter 4 properly.
The other thing is that, some of these other cultures I’ve mentioned above have rich cultures that dates back to the time of Moses and beyond. The Asians, much like the Jews are well documented as well. The Hindu Indians in, particular. Their religion (Hinduism), Yoga, and Ayurveda is a 5,000-year old Indian culture healing system. That makes it older than the Great Flood of Noah’s time, which dates back roughly 4,365 years ago. They are never mentioned in the bible. So what do we really know?
The scary fact about all of these other god-men is that they all preceded Jesus Christ on the timeline, so they are not copycats. I’m only highlighting three on here, but there seems to be a long list of others influencing different cultures and faiths. So what do we really know?
–Jesus was conceived by the holy spirit and was born of the virgin Mary.
–He was brought gifts by three wise men.
–He was a shepherd.
–He began his ministry at age 30.
–He was tempted in the wilderness by the devil.
–He was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist”
–He resurrected the dead and restored the sight to a blind man.
–He had twelve disciples.
–He used the holy grail during the last supper.
–He was crucified on Black Friday and resurrected on Easter Sunday.
–He ascended into Heaven.
–He was the “Word made flesh.” The son of God.
–Christians expect a “second coming” of Jesus the Savior.
–Zoroaster was born of a virgin and “immaculate conception by a ray of divine reason.”
–He was baptized in a river.
–In his youth he astounded wise men with his wisdom.
–He was tempted in the wilderness by the devil.
–He began his ministry at age 30.
–Zoroaster baptized with water, fire and “holy wind.”
–He cast out demons and restored the sight to a blind man.
–He taught about heaven and hell, and revealed mysteries, including resurrection, judgment, salvation and the apocalypse.
–He had a sacred cup or grail.
–He was slain.
–His religion had a eucharist.
–He was the “Word made flesh.”
–Zoroaster’s followers expected a “second coming” in the virgin-born Saoshynt or Savior, who is to come in 2341 CE and begin his ministry at age 30, ushering in a golden age.
–Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Merion December 25 in a cave/manger with his birth being announced by a star in the East and attended by three wise men.
–His earthly father was named “Seb” (“Joseph”).
–He was of royal descent.
–At age 12, he was a child teacher in the Temple, and at 30, he was baptized having disappeared for 18 years.
–Horus was baptized in the river Eridanus or Iarutana (Jordan) by “Anup the Baptizer” (“John the Baptist”), who was decapitated.
–He had 12 disciples, two of who were his “witnesses” and were named “Anup” and “Aan” (the two “Johns”).
–He performed miracles, exorcised demons and raised El-Azarus (“El-Osiris”), from the dead.
–Horus walked on water.
–His personal epithet was “Iusa,” the “ever-becoming son” of “Ptah,” the “Father.” He was thus called “Holy Child.”
–He delivered a “Sermon on the Mount” and his followers recounted the “Sayings of Iusa.”
–Horus was transfigured on the Mount.
–He was crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, and resurrected.
–He was also the “Way, the Truth, the Light,” “Messiah,” “God’s Anointed Son,” “the “Son of Man.”
The best selling book of all times is noted to be the Bible. It is also deemed the most controversial book ever written. Fabricated as a guideline for better living, yet from it some find truth and happiness, while others are fueled to hate. It has been a source of inspiration, enlightenment, confusion and even slaughter for two millennia (that’s two thousand years). How can a document that is declared celestially inspired by an omniscient holy being be so unclear? The apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 14:33, “God is not the author of confusion,” yet the bible emerges as the most confusing book ever produced. Hundreds of denominations and cults alike all support their conflicting doctrines using the same scriptures from the holy book as inspiration.
Why such a widely spread dissimilarity? Is it because it was poorly written or just badly edited? Are the incidents stated in its contents facts? Were the listed authors truly divine instruments used by God? Those have been some of the mind boggling questions that have rendered some of its more critical readers and theologians bewildered. But what of the average reader and some of its more faithful cohorts, what has got them so blindly reading with their heart, not with their eyes. The eyes can be deceiving, but the heart will never lead you wrong. What do we really know? Who really knows? Those are the more important question one should decipher when attempting to read the bible. It has to be approached free of theological bias and everything you were taught in Sunday school. It has to be approached like any other piece of literature you would pick up to read.