Thursday, April 28, 2011

Without Changing the Story, Can You Picture the Serpent as the Hero?

This post concerns the story of Adam and Eve, and I will argue that the story of Adam and Eve represents the transition from a matriarchal society to a patriarchal society, and that the serpent was not evil, but the hero of the story.*  I will prove this by taking the story as it is written, without adding to the story, or taking anything out of the story--but by merely elaborating on what is written.  Traditionally, this story is viewed as the "Fall of Man" and is believed by Christians to be the reason why humans are "born sinners" and as it says in Romans, "the wages of that sin, is death."--but below you will find out otherwise.

For those unfamiliar with the story, according to the bible, Yahweh created the universe, the world, all the animals and plants, and Adam and Eve --the first two human beings--wandering naked in a garden. Yahweh is purported to be a god who is all knowing, all good, and all powerful by the Christians, but this was not always the case. Before Christianity, he was more like the god of the Greeks-- Zeus--a storm/war god. So this all knowing god then put a forbidden tree in the middle of the garden where Adam and Eve were living, knowing what was going to happen to them when he did. He told Adam and Eve they could have the fruit of any tree they chose except that one, for if they ate from the fruit of that tree, they would "die on the day they ate of it." He's such a manipulative trickster that god. As Adam and Eve had no knowledge, they were literally as innocent as babes in the woods, and what Yahweh did was akin to a human father leaving a 2 year old child alone with a poisoned box of chocolates. I don't have to be god to know what would happen in that case, and such a father would be considered negligent, and would be charged by the police.

So Eve went to the tree, and was met by a mysterious talking serpent. Eve told him that Yahweh said they would die on the day they ate the fruit from this tree, but the serpent knew better. The serpent said to her that she would not die on the day she ate that fruit, but would instead gain the knowledge of good and evil, and would therefore, be able to find the Tree of Life and become gods. So she decided to eat the fruit, and offered it to Adam, who also decided to eat the fruit--this is the so-called "sin" which Christians believe has led all of humanity to sin.  It is ironic that gaining "knowledge" is considered "sinful"--but then again, Yahweh did say he would "destroy the wisdom of the wise," 1 Corinthians 1:19  But I digress.

Adam and Eve then gained the knowledge the serpent told them they would. They also noticed they were naked, felt ashamed, and immediately went out and "sewed" some leaves together to cover themselves. (Where they got the needle and thread from, no one knows.) But why were they ashamed? This is a red herring--don't let it fool you. The original authors of this story, and theologians of the past and present would have you think the "shame of nakedness" and "original sin" were the focus of this story--but they are not. The real focus of this story is the transition from a matriarchal society to a patriarchal one, which allows the demonization of women, as traditionally, Eve is blamed for the "Fall of Man."

Continuing on with the story, after they had eaten the fruit and sewed their leaves together, the all-knowing Yahweh called out to them and asked "Where are you? ( as an all-knowing god, he should have known that), and when he finds them he asks if they have eaten the forbidden fruit!! (Again--he is supposed to already know the answer to that.) Yahweh was playing games.

Adam and Eve confessed to eating the fruit, which prompted Yahweh to punish them with "hard labour." (Adam in the fields and Eve giving birth) But Yahweh wasn't finished yet. He decided to punish everyone that comes after them for the "crime" of gaining the knowledge from the tree, which could have saved Adam and Eve from the tyranny of being ruled over by an egomaniacal god. He was in control, and he knew that if Adam and Eve found the Tree of Life--they would have become immortal gods like he is--and he couldn't have that. So he went to the other gods, and said, "..."The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."(Genesis 3:22) Now, many Christians believe that Yahweh was speaking to Jesus and the Holy Ghost in this passage, but this is nonsensical. The Jews who wrote the Torah/Tanakh did not believe in Jesus, and still do not believe that Jesus is god. The Jews did however, believe in many gods. Jeremiah 11:13 states they had as many gods as towns in Judah, and the goddess Asherah was among them. There is also archeological evidence for Asherah being the consort of Yahweh, and she is represented by Asherah poles in the Old Testament, which further illustrates that the Jews worshiped various gods at one time or another in their history.

Think about this for a moment. No court of law would punish you for a crime your grandfather committed because that would be unjust. Why then do Christians feel is is just for their god to do just that?? This belief is grossly unfair and grossly unethical.

The serpent is not Satan, nor is he evil, as he told the truth and Adam and Eve did not die on the day they ate of it--but gained knowledge. Yahweh LIED, as they did not die on the day they ate of it. (They did not die a "spiritual death either, as the bible says no such thing.) Yahweh did not want them to have the knowledge of good and evil, as he did not want them to have the knowledge which would allow them to find the Tree of Life and become gods--like him. The Tree of Life is a representation of Yahweh's consort Asherah, and while most Christians believe Yahweh is the only god in the universe, there were many other gods and goddesses the Jews worshiped. (Every Jewish tribe had their own pantheons of gods and goddesses before Yahweh was made the only god.)

Actually, the story of Adam and Eve paints Yahweh as an egotistical, narcissistic deity, while the serpent did nothing but tell the truth in his attempt to help Adam and Eve reach the Tree of Life and become gods.  Yahweh had constructed a scenario where Adam and Eve could not become gods--which is why he hid the tree of life. He then goes on in the Old Testament to demand that he be the only god. So, after he uses the other gods to help him hide the tree of life, he then turns on them.

Yahweh planned out a scenario in which he knew the ignorant humans would fail so the world would be filled with humans who were subservient to him, and only him--which was his goal all along.

Not everything is as it seems......

* Based on Nietzsche's "The Antichrist" 48

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Exodus, and Why it Did Not Happen as Depicted in the Bible


In the spirit of Passover, and the fact that Christian holidays such as Easter "borrowed" many of the elements of their beliefs from others, in this post I will argue that the best explanation for the Exodus, via Ockham's razor, is that it did not occur as depicted in the Old Testament, but is instead a story which was cobbled together from the stories of different groups, and was used to elevate the status of the Jewish kings, and to serve their political, economic, and social interests.

I will be looking at the Exodus from a historical materialist perspective, and will use historical and archeological evidence to support my arguments--unlike the traditional idealistic Christian perspective, which views the bible as the "words of God," in the strict and literal sense. Instead, I will be looking at the "conditions of production" of the Exodus story that explains why it was written.

Considering the Israelites were at one point in time, nomads and slaves, it makes logical sense that their kings (namely Solomon and Josiah) employed hyperbole to create scenarios that elevated their status. In fact, some of the earliest known written works in the bible are from 1 Kings 1 and 2, and 2 Sam 9:20--the narration of the succession of David. Scribes of kings are known to exaggerate claims of the rulers who employ them, and this too can be said for the writers of the bible in their efforts to elevate their status in the world. This is how the story of the Exodus evolved.