The Mayans Wrote Books, Too


Mention the Mayan civilization and you probably think of strange celestial calendars carved in stone, Meso-American pyramids and human sacrifice. You probably wouldn’t think about an ancient library book. Well, the gringa says, “Think again.” And what scholars have translated from the pages of this 17th century Mayan book might have a plan of strategy for those Americans engaged in the Trump resistance of today. Who knew?!

During the time the manuscript was written, European colonialism and Christian religious oppression was in full swing over the indigenous people of pre-Columbia America. Although the entire manuscript is comprised of entries by different authors, it does open a very revealing window to how the influence of Pope Urban IV affected the Mayans.

The manuscript itself is a map of linguistic evolution. Four different languages are represented. It would be only natural to find Latin and Spanish. But two native tongues of the Mayan Empire, K’iche’ and Kaqchikel, are also part of this written record.

The K’iche’ language was already thousands of years old by the time European invaders arrived. But the K’iche’ dialect was what was commonly spoken between the Spanish speaking Europeans and the Mayans. Even today K’iche’ is still used in parts of Guatemala and Mexico by more than one million people, although the influence of Spanish and Latin can be detected in the most current versions. Thousands of immigrants to the United States also speak this ancient language.

The existence of this language into the modern age is a testament to a people who vehemently resisted the Catholic Church’s attempts to convert them and the efforts of Europeans to assimilate them. K’iche’ eventually lost status as an official language in Guatamala. Priests tried to convert Mayans through catechisms and confessionals performed in Latin and Spanish. But the Mayans wanted none of it.

By refusing to assimilate to European customs and the Catholic religion, Mayans were able to preserve their culture. They defended their beliefs by adapting certain elements of their public spaces.  This compromise, a public recognition of the political and cultural sovereignty of the Europeans and the Catholic Church, created a buffer, allowing the resistance to live wholly Mayan in private, unmolested.

The religion practiced by the K’iche’ speaking Mayans evolved over time. It eventually became a hybrid with indigenous and Christian elements easily recognizable in their tenets, documents and art.

One example is the most fundamental concept of sin in Christianity. No such concept existed within Mayan beliefs. Dominican missionaries introduced the concept through a play on words. The K’iche’ word “mak” literally translates “will”, as in personal desire or impulse. The missionaries used the idea of personal impulse to illustrate sin because man is not to follow his own impulse but, rather, the will of god.

Even today, when visiting a Catholic church in Guatamala one will find a very different religious environment than a traditional Catholic setting. The effectiveness of the Mayan religion was a heritage that has reached far, even into our own current era.

To satisfy the Church that they were being compliant, the K’iche’ speaking Maya simply picked and chose the elements of Catholicism that seemed interesting or agreeable. Visiting Catholic officials would see an amalgamation of rites and rituals, many they easily recognized, and would go away satisfied. It was a resistance perpetrated through  appearing to appease the oppressor.

Many people, especially Catholics, prefer to visualize the Catholic Church for its many charitable works it performs today. It is easier on the Catholic conscience to overlook the history of cruelty and brutality. But the reality of violent measures to mandate conversions are the reason the Church was met with such virulent resistance. Who wants to love and serve a god who is represented by something like that?

And it wasn’t just a cruel example of god that turned off the Mayans. The Europeans enslaved them. They, a proud, free and dignified people, a wealthy empire that had built massive monuments were forced into labor, slaves for their invaders. To refuse to serve their taskmasters and worship their overlord’s god often meant imprisonment, torture and, eventually, death.

Although the need for a slave class prevented the physical genocide of the Mayans, a cultural genocide was attempted as a means to force their religious conversion. Prized artifacts and relics were destroyed. Sacred shrines desecrated and razed to the ground. Any written text burned. So, it isn’t that ancient Meso-Americans intelligent enough to build pyramids were illiterate. It’s that their conquerors were effective book-burners. But one amazing book escaped their fires.

If you want to see it in person, it can be perused at the National Museum of History. Or, a digital version can be enjoyed online.

Sources:

Smithsonian

History.com

Britannica

Peoples Of The World

World Atlas

Image Credit: Smithsonian

Video Credit: SmithsonianNMAI

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Persecuting Science Kills Nations


Respected physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson gave a very grave status update for the United States recently. He made the following claim while delivering a warning alongside his claim:

“America is already kind of fading… there’s no future [for a country that ignores science].”

Is Tyson simply a disgruntled scientist complaining about the position the Trump administration has taken with regard to climate change or is he on to something here? Let’s look at history. That is, after all, one of our greatest teaching resources.

Muhammad ibn Zakariya Razi: Simply known as Rhazes, he was a pioneer in medicine in the Baghdad of the late 9th and early 10th centuries. He followed the rational and logic methods of Hippocrates and penned a comprehensive medical tome, Continens Liber. The book made him famous but not for the reasons he had probably hoped for.
A Muslim priest, offended by his work, ordered him beaten with the work’s manuscript. The abuse was so severe he was blinded which put an end to his illustrious medical career.

Was religious motivated persecution of Baghdad’s science community the beginning of its end? During the Abbasid caliphate, also called Baghdad’s “Golden Age”, the Islamic theocracy was churning out the world’s greatest scholars, mathematicians and scientists of that time. But as Sunni ruled Baghdad was achieving glory, Shiite Muslims were slowly simmering in their religious rivalries. Rhazes was one of the first casualties of this in-fighting.
The battle of religious ideology supremacy would lead to a weakening that made Baghdad vulnerable to Mongol aggression which eventually destroyed the city a couple of centuries later. But the short-sighted Shiite’s could not see this coming. They were so intent in destroying their rivals, the Sunnis, that they did not consider the consequences of their actions.

You see, the crazy thing is that the origins for the religious rivalry had nothing to do with science. It was all about the rights of succession for religious leaders, whether they be elected (Sunni belief) or a descendant of Mohammed (Shiite belief). Since patronizing the scientific community was a source of strength for the Sunni faction, the Shiite’s strategy for supremacy was to destroy the Sunni’s source of strength, the scientific community. But by persecuting the science community, the Shiite’s also brought about the entire destruction of Baghdad’s empire.

Michael Servetus: This Spanish physician’s work included a book that promoted a reformation of the Christian religion that was dominated by the Catholic Church during his lifetime in mid 16th century Spain. This earned him the label heretic. He fled his native country to avoid imprisonment and torture, the hallmarks of the Spanish Inquisition. He arrived in what he thought would be a more tolerant nation, Protestant dominated Switzerland.

However, it wasn’t just Christian Catholics who wanted to see him dead. John Calvin, who himself was a reformer of Christianity as a founding father of the Protestant Reformation, considered this medical scientist such a threat to the power of the church that he ordered the arrest of Servetus.

You see, although Europeans were being terrorized by Christian leaders of the Spanish Inquisition, Nordic peoples were equally terrorized by the Protestant Inquisition that was going strong in Switzerland. Eventually Servetus was captured and tortured. Religious leaders crafted quite a public spectacle, burning him at the stake with Lake Geneva as the backdrop. Stoking the fire? Copies of his book.

So, if the 16th century is noted by historians as the era of Spain’s Spanish Inquisition, what happened in the next century? Did persecution of scientists make the nation greater or worse? Historians describe the 17th century as an era of Spain’s decline. So, yeah, kill off your scientists and expect your country to fail.

The gringa could go on and on recounting the many scientists throughout history who have endured periods of purposeful persecution from governments of religious extremism that eventually led to the destruction of a nation. The dear reader can do their own homework on the life and times of scientists and their respective countries. Why not start with these:

  • Galileo of 17th century Italy
  • Henry Oldenburg of 17th century England
  • Antoine-Laurent Lovoisier of 18th century France
  • Gerhard Domagk of 19th century Germany

So what should be expected as the anti-intellectual, religious extremists of the Republican party transform the US? Well, right now we are at the brink of what will become known as the cliff this great nation falls off of. Anti-intellectualism will inevitably lead to a less informed democracy. A nation of people who believe false science are incapable of solving the problems that will plague them, whether it be pollution, disease or social conflict. Without the right information, all decisions are the wrong decisions.

What happens then? If religious extremism prevents an embrace of the truth, then when solutions fail blame must be cast. The US can expect, then, a rash of scapegoat classes to be created and systematically persecuted for all the ills in society.

As other nations cultivate their own science communities, eventually one will emerge as the leader, filling in the vacuum the US leaves behind as it abandons real science. We already see this happening with the nations supporting the Paris Climate Agreement. This will result in the US losing its competitive edge in the consumer markets dominated by science and technology. And what can we expect that to do? Affect the US economy disastrously.

So, as the US denigrates, denies and persecutes science, it is stabbing innovation and hope for the future right in the back. The Trump administration may be the catalyst for a destruction the nation cannot recover from. Consider what can happen in 4 short years of no innovation or inspiration. Scientists who cannot pursue their passions, have their work published, implement their methods and are maligned for what their research indicates will go elsewhere. And once settled in a new home that welcomes and supports them, it is highly unlikely they will ever come back.

An exodus of talent will make America’s science community a veritable wasteland not just of scientific talent but of the backers who fund their work. Investors will then put their money where it will be used in the research and development of tomorrow’s technologies that will sell big.

The Trump administration is initiating a chain reaction of scientific abandonment that is not just ideological. Scientists who want to be empowered to fulfill their potential will go elsewhere, hand-in-hand with those who have the money to make their dreams come true. In the next few years the landscape of science and technology will change. Other nations will be developing the cures for AIDS and cancer. A new Silicon Valley will emerge as California’s own becomes a ghost town. Tyson is right.

 

Sources:

Live Science

Thought Co.

Wisconsin History

Annals of Clinical & Laboratory Science
Image Credit: Boise State
Video Credit: StarTalk Radio

Are You A Passive Terrorist?


As the US has continued a long, pro-tracted war on terror that focuses on the religious element of a perceived terrorist enemy, what about the religious position of the US? Does the election of Trump signal the possibility that religious extremists have taken over the Republican party? Are Americans now living in a nation poised to become, in essence, a theocracy? With executive orders shooting out of the White House in quick succession, most citizens know little about what they actually mean. We read the headlines, perhaps even the wording of the orders. But what about the motives inspiring them? Even more importantly, what are the long-term consequences? In other words, what is the hoped for end-game the Republican party desires for the country they are re-shaping?

The gringa finds it pointless to try to ascertain motives. The private discussions and hidden agendas are just that, private and hidden. But there are clues that have been laid out right in the open long before Republicans began fuming openly about Obama’s presidency. And many of these clues point to a Republican party effectively taken over by religious extremists.

As early as 2005 there was at least one Republican concerned about the direction the party was headed:

“This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy.” – U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-CT, 3/25/05, with regard to the Terri Shiavo case.

To discover how this happened, interested dear readers must look to activities within American churches prior to 2005.

“… true Christian citizenship… [involves engagement in society to] take dominion over all things as vice-regents of God.” Rev. D. James Kennedy, Sept. 1994 when addressing the national convention of political special interest group Christian Coalition.

What does dominion ideology mean to American Christians? The first command God gave to Adam was to have children (Gen. 1:26). The second command was to subdue the entire earth. For dominionist Americans, the Republican party platform that is anti-abortion is in perfect alignment with the first commandment.
Despite the instruction of Jesus to turn the other cheek and, in essence, co-exist peacefully with all of mankind who are our brothers, dominionist Americans believe in military aggression in order to rule the world as an obligation of their religious calling and duty. Dominion theology is no less dangerous than the perversion of Islam used by ISIS.

“There will never be world peace until God’s house and God’s people are given their rightful place of leadership at the top of the world.” Pat Robertson, The Secret Kingdom.

Here’s a taste of Pat Robertson’s ideology that the Christian God is the only way to make America great. Do not miss all the phrases which make it clear that he believes that America was originally designed to be a theocracy, not a democracy. He is the star of a recruitment video for the Christian Coalition:

But how influential are special interest groups like the Christian Coalition and well-known religious leaders like Pat Robertson? After all, most people are inclined to believe that churches are playing by the rules, not preaching politics from the pulpits. When Time magazine interviewed Pat Robertson in 1995 regarding the most recent elections, here is what he reported about the effectiveness of the strategy implemented by the Christian Coalition:

“… eager volunteers down to the precinct level… handing out 33 million voter guides, often in church pews, prior to last November’s election, the Coalition is credited with providing the winning margin for perhaps half the Republicans’ 52 seat gain in the House of Representatives and a sizable portion of their nine seat pickup in the Senate”

Consider the terms of George W. Bush. Religious leaders made no secret of their support of the Bush-Cheney administration.

“It is the responsibility of… every evangelical Christian… to get serious about re-electing President Bush.” Jerry Falwell as reported by The New York Times, July 16, 2004

And Bush made no secret that he was God’s vessel in the White House. There was no separation of church and state as he led daily devotionals every morning, reading from “My Utmost for His Highest” with his staff. George W. made no secret of using descriptors like “messenger of God” with regard to himself. As he made executive decisions like going to war, he was never too shy to claim that he was doing “the Lord’s will”.

In the book, “Plan of Attack”, written by Bob Woodward, based on his personal conversations with President George W about the Iraq war, he clearly lays out the case for perceiving the war as a holy war waged by the US on behalf of George W’s god. Fulfilling his god’s will was all the justification George W. needed to lie to Congress, the American public and even certain members appointed to his cabinet. In George W’s mind he was embarking on a modern day Christian crusade.

Despite George W’s criticisms of the Afghani Taliban regime’s brutal enforcement of radical religious fundamentalism, George W was actually paving the way back home for Republicans to re-shape the US into its own Christian Fundamentalist regime. And now we are seeing the fruits of his labor in the attacks on freedoms here at home and threats to non-Evangelical nations abroad by the Trump administration.

Who are the radical Christian fundamentalists in the Trump administration?

  • ·     Jerry Falwell, Jr. is leading Trump’s higher education task force assigned to overhaul the accreditation process and operations of universities and colleges. What this means is that whether or not an institution of higher learning receives any government funding will rely on teaching what suits the US government. If that government is a theocracy, that means teaching religious ideology and rejecting anything, even sound science, if it conflicts with the religious ideology of the government.
  • ·     Steve Bannon is most often depicted as a racist white nationalist. However, don’t overlook the significance of his religious fervor. In 2014 he delivered a speech via Skype for a Catholic conference at the Vatican. He attributed the economic and social crisis of the US as a result of the erosion of Judeo-Christian beliefs rather than the effects of capitalism. In other words, only re-shaping the nation into earlier models of a stricter religious-focused American society can the country become great again.
  • ·     Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, poses the greatest danger because she is in a position to affect the belief system of our upcoming generations. She wants to remove the teaching of evolution in public schools and replace it with the religious doctrine of intelligent design. By re-directing money away from our public school systems through the voucher system she supports, DeVos can accomplish her goal of government funding of religious education and destroying public education that, by law, cannot show preference to any specific religion.

But why does any of this matter? The primary reason all of this matters is that radical fundamental evangelicalism culminates in Zionism. The ultimate goal of Zionism is world domination as the duty of Jews and Christians to subdue the world and rule for the sake of their god’s glory. When this is achieved, their god will return and manifest in the flesh, restoring world peace and order while doing away with suffering and death.
The only way fundamentalist Christians and Zionists can achieve this goal is with enormous wealth that is the means to military dominance. This wealth, for the US, is generated through the invasion of non-Evangelical countries who are subjugated and exploited without conscience because they are not god’s people.

This ideology thus makes the US no different than ISIS in its motives for waging war. The primary difference is that the US makes a concentrated effort to keep up appearances at home. In order to have a free hand around the world the US must maintain a homeland population that is easily managed.

Within the Republican party are the war hawks who are religiously motivated as well as the war hawks who are motivated solely for the purpose of amassing more wealth, the investors in corporate interests abroad. So long as the Republican party continues to be in power, the US will continue to be at war, and shamefully so. For we are not protecting, preserving and spreading democracy. We are exploiting others while we destroy their native lands for national gain.
When Americans become fully aware that the humane social norms, luxuries, freedoms and comforts of American culture are by design, to keep them compliant, they must then accept that their silence and inaction also makes them complicit in their nation’s ability to perpetrate religious inspired terrorism around the world. By refusing to be a part of the resistance, an American allows the US to continue business as usual without so much as a hiccup. Americans who prefer to keep their eyes closed become, in essence, a passive terrorist.

Sources:

NY Times

Occupy Democrats

Theocracy Watch

Christian Headlines

Image Credit: The Gospel Coalition

Video Credits: PFAWdotorg

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbiFt3UdxX7LxferwDmuegQ

India’s 1st Female Muslim Ruler


The average American is inundated with headlines and articles about the nature of Islam practically on a daily basis. Despite the fact that many Americans don’t even have a Muslim as a close, personal friend, they often believe they have a pretty good handle on Islamic culture. One of the most common misconceptions non-Muslims have about Islamic culture is how women are perceived and treated. That is one reason the gringa, who has a Muslim daughter that enjoys a liberated life, higher education and career in medicine, would like the American public to become better informed. Let’s start with some notable Islamic women and their achievements as recorded in history.

Hinduism may be most commonly associated with India, but, once upon a time, a brave Muslim warrior became India’s first female Muslim ruler. Her name was Raziya, the daughter of a Turkish slave, Iltutmish Raziya, who achieved final greatness as the Sultan of Delhi, paving the way for his daughter’s future acclaim.

The year is 1236 in India when Raziya Sultan, birth name Jalalat-Al-Din Raziya, took the throne as the first female Sultan of Delhi. Her older brother, Nasiruddin, governor of Bengal, had died. Her younger brothers were too young to rule. So, when her father, the reigning Sultan, died, his legacy passed to the next capable heir according to the law of “qabliyat”. That was Raziya.

What determined her legally “qabliyat”, or, capable, of ruling a nation? While her father was Sultan, Raziya had acquired many years of experience as a trusted minister and regent when her father, the Sultan, was away on state business. Formally educated in the Qu’ran, she was also trained in the martial arts and became a skilled mounted warrior, be it on horseback or commanding an elephant.

As she carried herself with dignity and exhibited noble accomplishments, her father confided to the ulama, the religious law scholars, that he saw in his daughter “signs of power and bravery”.  He expressed his preference for her over his sons with these words:

“My sons are devoted to the pleasures of youth, and not one of them is qualified to be king… After my death, you will find that there is none more competent to guide the state than my daughter.”

Many noblemen within the kingdom resented the idea of a female Sultan. But Raziya was clever and rendered their opposition powerless. She sowed seeds of discontent among them, making it possible to win over enough that she soon had a majority supporting her. As support for her leadership solidified, she was able to manage all the affairs of state through the loyalty of appointed maliks (lesser kings) and amirs (state governors).

Her accomplishments include building public schools, expanding academic opportunity, opening medical and science research centers, and public libraries for everyone to have access to religious texts related to Islam and Hinduism. She oversaw an extensive infrastructure project that created a sophisticated roadway system. This strengthened the kingdom’s economy and security, connecting remote villages and military outposts. And, contrary to many modern Americans who view Islam as intolerant, Sultan Raziya established the law of religious tolerance and equality between Hindus and Muslims.

It is interesting to note that she claimed the official title of Raziya Sultan rather than the feminine version, Raziya Sultana. This was by design to communicate to all that she was, indeed, the sovereign and rightful ruler of Delhi. She also set aside traditional female attire, opting for the masculine fashion of tunics and turbans. When she boldly rode out in public on horseback or elephant, she did not wear a purdah, the customary veil associated with Muslim women of that era.

Much to the dismay of the nobles who continued to refuse to accept a woman ruling over them, Raziya, secure in her power, made it clear that she did not need their approval. She signaled her independence by appointing a trusted slave to the strategic position of commander of her army. Even more shocking to the discontented nobles was that the new army commander was not even a Turk. He was Jamaluddin Yakut, an Ethiopian. His official new title was Amir-i-Akhur which literally means Intendent of the Royal Stables. The horses and elephants maintained in the stables were, in essence, the kingdom’s war machines. So he was, indeed, Commander of the Army.

The antagonistic noblemen were so incensed they conspired to overthrow their Sultan. They hoped a bit of romantic intrigue might result in a jealous rivalry that could end in assassination. You see, dear readers, at one time a nobleman, Malik Ikhtiyauddin Mirza Altunia, who had been a good friend to Raziya’s father, had proposed marriage to the new female Sultan. She turned him down, citing her responsibilities as head of state. She did, however, reward him with a governorship of Tabarhinda (today’s Bhatinda). The troublemaking noblemen began to gossip to Altunia, telling him lies about an affair between Raziya Sultan and the new Commander of the Army, Yakut. Altunia reacted as expected and joined the rebellion.

The rebellion consisted of small pockets of resistance cropping up in remote areas. Yakut had to send the army here and there, squashing fires and skirmishes as they popped up. Eventually, with his army scattered and tired, Yakut was killed in battle. His disheartened soldiers surrendered to Altunia. This led to Raziya Sultan’s forces turning on her, taking her prisoner.

The noblemen who started all of this trouble appointed Raziya’s step-brother as the new Sultan. It turned out that he was a drunk who oppressed the people and slaughtered all who criticized him. As the disaster of his leadership was fully realized, Altunia once again softened his heart for his old love. Raziya saw the strategic advantage of the alliance and the two were married.

Although Raziya Sultan did gain her freedom and, ultimately, her throne because of this marriage, the bloom on the rose faded quickly.  One particular nobleman, Bahram Shah, could not let go of his hatred for her. He continued to stir up resistance. Raziya Sultan often took to the battlefield. The exact details of her death are unknown but the gringa will share the legend that is most often told:

Engaged valiantly in battle, Raziya Sultan was struck with an arrow. She fled the battlefield, looking for a place to restore her strength. A man discovered her and offered her food and a place of concealment where she could rest, unaware of who she was and thinking that she was a male soldier. While asleep she shifted her position. This revealed to her rescuer a glimpse of a golden tunic with expert needlework and pearl embellishments. Enraged when he realized that this was a woman disguised as a man, the rescuer turned murderer, later selling her valuables at market.
Legend recounts that the murderer buried Raziya Sultan. However, if you travel to Delhi you can find a tomb designated as this famous woman’s tomb. In fact, you might find several! Who really knows where Raziya Sultan lies today?!
If you don’t like this kind of ending to the fantastic account of Raziya Sultan’s life, you can see any number of fanciful and romantic endings in the many dramatic re-enactments on stage or in film that tell her amazing tale. And the next time you hear someone stereotype Muslims as not respecting their women, oppressing them and affording them no power, you will know what they don’t know. That Muslims are people like everyone else. Some good, some bad. And within every religion there are those who abuse the opportunity to use religion as a means of power over others while there are those who understand the true meaning of their religion: to serve all of mankind with kindness and humility, regardless of gender.

Sources:

Delhi Timeline

History of Islam

The Famous People

Mvslim.com

Image Credit: Alchetron

Video Credit:
Mint

VideoVolunteers

Luciferian & Satanist – Are They Different?


The gringa was raised in a fundamental evangelical household. Needless to say, the basic training of such a life is that Satan is bad. Nowadays, living the heretic life I do, I don’t give Satan much thought. If I do something bad, I own it. It was my decision and no phantom Lord of the Underworld made me do it.

Recently there was a terrible crime that took place in my city. A young girl was kidnapped and murdered. Her murderer claimed he killed her as a sacrifice to Satan because she disrespected his altar dedicated to the Evil One.

So, with this fresh reminder of the presence of Satan being very real for many people, the gringa made a snarky Satan-related comment on social media. It didn’t take long before the trolls hammered me. Who knew there were so many Satanists? They assured me that they were good guys. That their tenets didn’t demand human sacrifice or torture. They were kind enough to refer me to the local Luciferians for such acts.

The gringa was left scratching her head. Isn’t Lucifer just another name for Satan? Wasn’t Lucifer the name this entity had before he got exiled from God’s presence on rebellion charges? Isn’t Satan just an interpretation of an ancient Hebrew word that literally means the accuser? So if a Satanist accuses the Luciferian of dirty deeds that were blamed on Satanists, isn’t such an action actually a dead give-away that the Satanists actually are the bad guys after all?

It’s all so confusing. Now atheists or deists would both say that it’s not worth the bother to ponder over such things. After all, Satan and Lucifer are only religious myths. But the gringa says, “Not so fast.”

 
The issue is not whether Satan and Lucifer really exist. The crux of the matter is whether or not there are people who believe these entities exist, have power, and are willing to engage in certain acts in order to tap into that power or gain favor of a supernatural intervener. The existence of crimes in the names of fictitious gods is a very real and present concern for humanity. So, what do modern Luciferians and Satanists believe and practice?

The Greater Church of Lucifer has a really creepy website landing page, which is actually completely contrary to the claim that the entity they worship is the Light Bearer. I would have expected the main landing page to contain, well, beautiful light. Instead it is everything synonymous with the Prince of Darkness. A black background filled with ominous looking symbols and sigils.

They claim that Luciferianism is not really a religion but, rather, a life philosophy. The main difference between religion and philosophy is a god lacking in a system of philosophy.
There are basically 11 tenets of “faith” called the 11 Luciferian Points of Power. These 11 points encompass a lifestyle of individual power, rather than power vested in a supernatural being of authority. Spiritual lawlessness is the first step toward enlightenment (whatever that means).  They are clear that there is no practice of submission or worship to anyone physical or spiritual or imaginary. They don’t believe in the existence of deities.

 
They regard the power as being vested in Lucifer as a word, or name, of power. This name is associated with pride and self-liberation balanced with discipline and logic. This philosophy is designed to inspire Luciferians to live a life of balance yet challenge all that seeks to bring them into submission.
As the Bearer of Light, Luciferians associate with the planet Venus which is also known as the Morning and Evening Star This title is also applied to Jesus of Christianity and the expected Messiah of the Judaism.

Although Luciferians admit a close kinship with Satanists, they offer these distinct differences:

  • Satan is regarded as a deity
  • Satanism centers around self-interest and hedonism

Luciferians have a strong appreciation for skepticism and science. They value individuality. About the only thing they believe that can be considered supernatural is the power of language, words and names. The magyck they practice centers around using the power of language.

The gringa found the Luciferians interesting. There were a few times when I thought to myself, “I think I’m a Luciferian!” But then it was time to visit the Church of Satan’s website and see what they had to say for themselves. And it has an equally dark landing page. What the heck is up with all this darkness if they don’t appreciate the stereotypes of the Prince of Darkness? Silly people. But, I digress.

The Satanists trace their roots through many religions like Voodoo and the Black Order of Germany from the 1920s and 1930s (um, yeah, if you are thinking Nazi mysticism, you are on the right track). Anton LaVey is considered to be the current High Priest of all Satanists around the world (even though he’s been dead for a decade).

Now, any Satanist can conduct a ritual but a priest is necessary to lead group worship. And, boy, do they have some dillies for rituals. There are 3 types:

  1. Sexual – to, of course, fulfill desire
  2. Compassionate – to help others (who knew)
  3. Destructive – to channel anger, annoyance or hate (oh boy)

Satanists are highly concerned with power. The gringa found it very interesting that the most important religious holiday for a Satanist to observe was their own birthday. It is considered the day another God was made manifest, in accordance with their belief that each person is a God (yeah, capital G).

They make it clear that they do worship Satan, referring to him as Lucifer, the bearer of light. They believe that he is invisible yet manifest in the forces of nature like wind, tornadoes, lightning, etc. They also believe that human life is sacred and that each person is obligated to fulfill their potential (so far, so good).  It’s the ethics of Satanists where things get tricky, er, messy.

Satanists believe in indulgence rather than abstinence. I suspect there may be a lot of substance abusers in their church and they are a-okay with that. Which is why I found it surprising to later see all sorts of discouraging language with regard to substance abuse.

Indulgence would also seem diametrically opposed to the obligation to fulfill one’s potential. After all, to achieve your best, a person often has to sacrifice their personal wants and desires and practice self-discipline. This one’s a head-scratcher for the gringa.

Although Satanists believe in kindness for those who deserve it, they have no problem “channeling” their anger through rituals of destruction aimed at someone they might consider an “ingrate”. But they also believe that Satan and man are just animals, and sometimes very bad animals. Now, no matter how mad I might be at an armadillo digging up my garden or a puppy chewing up an expensive pair of shoes, I wouldn’t channel my anger through a destructive ritual to punish those darn ingrates.
So, how can a Satanist rationalize revenge upon an “ingrate” human animal that might have just been following their own animal nature? Well, that’s because Satanists claim that their Lord is the embodiment of vengeance. Curious because Christians & Jews have a scripture that says, “Vengeance is mine, thus sayeth the Lord.” The gringa’s sees how conflicted Satanists, Christians and Jews will be if they ever compared notes.

The strangest ethical practice the gringa saw posted was “Satan represents responsibility for the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires!” I’m not sure what that means. I think by the time the Satanist content creator got to this point in their writing they may have been in the grips of meaningless babble. Perhaps their animal nature was wrestling with their higher human mind.

It is even stranger that after talking about the obligation of kindness, undefiled wisdom, the hypocrisy of self-deceit, the rambling goes on to say that Satan and man have such highly developed spirituality and intellect that they have become the most vicious animal of all. The gringa doesn’t find animals to be vicious, only attacking others when necessary for survival. The gringa finds animals quite reliable and sometimes even noble. As for the humans the gringa knows who are considered to be highly intellectual and divinely evolved, I don’t find them to be vicious either. Usually they are pacifists.

Even more confusing is labeling Satan the most vicious animal of all yet a few sentences later calling him the best friend of the Church of Satan. With a friend like a vicious animal, who needs enemies, right?

My only conclusion is that Satanists are highly self-deceived because their own tenets and ethics are conflicting and contrary to one another. Hence living up to the stereotype and label generated from the Christian Bible that Satan is the author of confusion.

So, this guy in Houston who killed this girl and did it in the name of Satan? Well, Satan didn’t tell him to do it. This Satanist did it because he was a cruel, selfish man who hoped to mitigate some of his guilt and ease his conscience as he lashed out cruelly toward another human being. This makes Satanists dangerous because they can justify heinous acts through the reasoning that Satan would have wanted them to do such a thing. This man’s act of murder became a ritual of destruction to channel his anger at an “ingrate” who desecrated his religious altar to his god. He rationalized killing her as an act of religious justice.

 
Since she wouldn’t love her kidnapper, then this monster used his religion excuse to act on the belief that she didn’t deserve for him to waste kindness on her. He was only living up to another tenet of Satanism. His indulgence and self-gratification through his abuse of this victim was only a Satanist modeling himself after his god. And this god is claimed to teach adherents that the acts labeled sins by other religions are the acts one should engage in to satisfy their physical, mental and emotional desires.

Although the gringa has rejected the faith of her ancestors, she will give credit where credit is due. Fundamental evangelicals were right when they said Satan is bad. Even if Satan doesn’t exist, those who believe that Satan is real and worthy of worship and emulation, well, those are the REAL bad guys. Luciferians? I haven’t made up my mind, yet.

 
But one more curious point to ponder. Although the public may like to point the finger at this murderer and decry the evils of Satanism. Consider this. Without the Christian and Jewish texts, this vile religion wouldn’t exist. So, the stranger truth may be the existence of a trinity of blame for the existence of the evil of Satanism. But that deep well is fodder for another post.

Sources: GCOL

Church Of Satan

Image Credit: Labor In Christ

Video Credit: Nateypxgrey

The Immortality Of Mathematical Unity


Many people think that religion and science are mutually exclusive. Not the gringa. She believes that they are inextricably linked. One cannot exist without the other. One explains the mysteries of the other. They are mirror images reflecting and confirming the existence of each other. Follow the gringa on a mathematically spiritual rabbit trail and see where we end up on the other side of the mirror.

The gringa read a little ditty about Roman dodecahedrons. They are a 12 sided object with each side shaped like a 5-sided pentagon. Each pentagon has a hole in it. The sides of the pentagons connect to create a hollow center. At each corner junction is a knob.  These strange little doo-dads have been found in all sorts of places: central Europe, France, southwest Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Belgium, the UK, etc. They are very mysterious objects usually constructed of bronze or stone.

As archaeologists have continued to uncover these thingamajigs, they have scoured the annals of ancient literature, government records, science annals and religious texts to no avail. No one seems to have ever mentioned them. It is perplexing, indeed, for archaeologists to determine what the heck they are. Considering the time period in which they were constructed (200 AD), the materials from which they are made (stone or metal), the skilled craftsmanship required, it is highly unlikely such investment was made for the purpose of a flower vase, children’s toy or gaming device.

The gringa agrees with one speculation, especially since there is no written record accounting for them. I agree with the theory that they are some religious relic of kabbalistic intent. These dodecahedrons may have been been secretly used by elite Roman religionists, objects of great mystical power. Let’s explore the possibilities.

A mathematician will explain that there are 30 edges, 20 vertices (points of angle),  and twelve faces. In a nutshell, to a mathematician, a dodecahedron is the only 3-dimensional geometric shape that is a polyhedron comprised of pentagons. In other words, it is unique, one of kind.

A mathematician will explain further fascinating aspects:

  • It is a pentagon inside as well.
  • A perfect cube can be created within it.
  • A tetrahedron can be created within it.
  • A decagon can be created within it and is, in fact, created based upon the geometric shape of the pentagon. So, without a dodecahedron, a decagon could not exist.
  • An octahedron can be created within the tetrahedron.
  • The icosahedron is the dual-opposite of the dodecahedron. This means that none of the other geometric solids fit within the icosahedron without the dodecahedron existing in the first place. One cannot exist without the other and vice versa. The physical connection that bears evidence of this “duality” is created by connecting each pentagon’s vertex (the middle holes) with lines.
  • All 5 geometric shapes (cube, tetrahedron, decagon, octahedron & dodecahedron ) fit within one another within the icosahedron.
  • The geometric solid dodecahedron contains 12 pyramids.
  • The geometry of dodecahedron is a union of crystals, lattices and organic life.

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That’s some deep stuff from math. Seeing as how the Roman dodecahedrons all had holes in each pentagon’s center, it is easy to see that whoever was using it for whatever purpose was aware of the icosahedron duality aspect. The gringa’s pretty certain a detail like that is no coinky-dink.

So what, then, would be a relationship that would tie an advanced mathematical object to religious use? That would be the symbology of numerology. The most important and repetitive numbers in the geometry of the dodecahedron is 5 and 12, most importantly 12. It is the geometry of 5 and 12 which create the dodecahedron so that the dodecahedron can, in turn, create everything else. Let’s see what superstition, religions and mysticism have to say about these numbers:

The Number 5

  • Ancient Chinese superstitions attributed this number as having a duality: good luck and bad luck. Philosophically, the number 5 is indicative of the five elements so this number is also featured in much of ancient Chinese medicine that is still in practice today.
  • In Christian symbology, the number represents the creation of mankind who has 5 fingers, toes and senses.
  • Judeo-Christian mysticism attributes God’s grace to the number 5 based on a formula developed from the 10 Commandments: First 5 commandments are about man’s relationship with God, the other 5 about mankind’s relationships with one another, all of which require grace because of man’s inability to achieve perfection. This is further confirmed by the number of offerings required in order to receive grace: 1. Sin Offering; 2. Trespass Offering; 3. Burnt Offering; 4. Grain Offering; 5. Peace Offering.
  • There are 5 Pillars of Islam which define how to live a Muslim lifestyle.
  • Muslim mysticism attributes the number as symbolic of doubt and weakness, the spiritual and physical condition of mankind.
  • Hinduism teaches that the number represents the elements of nature, in essence, it represents the divine’s creation, mankind and the Earth. Lord Shiva’s 5 faces are turned toward different directions observing these elements, each face having a different name.
  • The condition of man after death is of joining the 5 elements, meaning he becomes Panchaka, a part of the group of 5. Panchakona is the Hindi word for pentagon.

The gringa’s conclusion, then, is that the pentagons which comprise the dodecahedron represent mankind and the Earth.

The number 12

  • To understand how ancient Chinese philosophers would view the number, you have to break it down into the components of 10 and 2. The number 10 is a yin number, meaning evenly balanced, as is the number 2, hence the number 12. As an evenly balanced number it would be regarded as good luck. 2 is considered especially lucky because of the superstitious belief that all good things come in pairs. That can be determined by a quick scan of human physiology: 2 eyes, 2 hands, 2 feet. Lose one and a person is significantly impaired, incomplete, imperfect. Thus, the number 2 is also symbolic of perfection, thus, the divine.
  • Judeo-Christian teaching is that this is the divine number, the number that represents the godhead: 12 tribes, 12 disciples, and 12 zodiac star systems in the heavens from whence the 12 Roman gods were derived.
  • Muslims teach that there were originally 12 ruling Imams mentored and appointed by Muhammad.
  • Buddhism features 12 life stations that are achieved on the path to enlightenment.

The twelve individual pentagons that symbolize man individually, once united, form the representation of the godhead, the creator of mankind. In other words, these Roman dodecahedrons teach us that:

  • All of mankind serves its own purpose in representing an aspect of the godhead.
  • Once each aspect accepts that it needs the existence and support of the other aspects, it can then unite.
  • Once all aspects unite, they form the image of the godhead.
  • All of Earth (the dodecahedron) and all of the dual Spiritual (the icosahedron) are contained within this union, thus…

Unity of all mankind will lead to immortality and the physical restoration of the Earth. That is the mystical message of the Roman dodecahedron. At least that’s the road the gringa has travelled. And the building block of the godhead is mankind. Man has always thought that without God, man could not exist. But the geometric model shows that without mankind, the godhead could not exist. The practical take-away from all of that for the gringa is: respect all religions, respect all cultures, respect all people. Get along and, like the Vulcans say, live long and prosper. Heck, we might, in fact, achieve some mystical end-game accomplishment and become immortal, enjoying world peace for ever and ever.

Sources: The Vintage News

www.kjmaclean.com

Tutor Ming

www.biblestudy.org

Mystical Numbers

My Islamic Dream

Bhargavasarma

Image Credits: Before It’s News Science & Tech

www.kjmaclean.com

 

Was Baal Such A Bad Guy?


Just how many gods are there? Monotheistic religions like Christianity, Islam and Judaism will say that there is only one god. A Hindu would tell you that there could be as many as 320 million gods. However, another Hindu might tell you that it is really only a single god in 320 million forms. A religious encyclopedia claims that there are only 2,500 gods known throughout the world. Atheists say that there are no gods. Deists say that it doesn’t really matter, because gods only create us then go on their merry way. The gringa finds all of this incredibly frustrating because I like to “know” stuff.

Well, if I can’t get an exact head count of the head guy(s)/gal(s) in charge, then at least the gringa should know some helpful stuff about who he/she/they might be. Take, for example, 3,300 year-old Baal… Tel Burna is a 3,300 year-old archeological site thought to be where a Baal cult thrived (although there are those who want to give credit to the goddess Anat). Baal was a Canaanite storm god.

When the gringa was a little girl in Sunday school, I didn’t learn anything about Baal. However, I received quite an impression in church service with a hellfire-brimstone preacher who pounded the pulpit and claimed that Baal was the pagan god who inspired abortion. There was a scripture in the old testament that he explained as describing child sacrifice. The gringa never really thought much about this memory until the subject of Tel Burna in Israel was brought to my attention. So was Baal a storm god who demanded child sacrifice?

The encyclopedia Brittanica describes Baal as a god of fertility who was manifest in rain and dew. His “storm” nickname translates into “He Who Rides on the Clouds”. So, westerners who preferred to call their own Judeo-Christian god the “God of the Heavens” had to do a bit of rhetorical gymnastics with Baal’s title “Lord of the Heavens”, hence, “storm god”. But did Baal require child sacrifice?

It seems that ancient Baal worship did require human sacrifice, adults as well as children. Strange as it may sound, there are still worshippers today of this ancient religion, at least according to Protestant Evangelicals. Many Protestant Evangelical preachers teach that modern liberalism in U.S. society is neo-Baalism, marked by pro-choice positions on abortion, the acceptance of the LGBT community, and “radical” feminism. Gee, the gringa must be a Baal worshipper! However, once the gringa found out what has been unearthed so far at Tel Burna, and what it indicates about Baal society, she doesn’t feel so bad.

Archaeologists found jars called “pithoi” that were used to store the tithes and offerings of the people. Baal worshippers were generous, faithful givers. Religious icons from other civilizations were also present. Baal worshippers were open minded and tolerant. Chalices and art from other civilizations were found which indicate that Baal society appreciated higher learning and skilled craftsmanship. Interesting technology was discovered that originated from other civilizations. Baal was not a closed society, engaging in open trade with other communities. Baal worshippers were savvy in business and friendly neighbors.

The gringa believes that she is in good company with Baal worshippers. I’m afraid I’m just one, big, fat, heretical disappointment for my childhood pastor.

Sources:  listverse.com

www.sciencetimes.com

www.wnd.com

www.wnd.com

Image Credit: dragonsandseamonsters.wordpress.com