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Re: Theos-World KPJ on historical analysis of the inscrutable

Sep 08, 2004 07:29 PM
by stevestubbs

--- In, Bart Lidofsky <bartl@s...> wrote:
> Can you show some historical evidence of this outside of
> fundamentalist Christian, Islamic or Nazi literature?

I got that partly from Breasted's DAWN OF CONSCIENCE, which is none 
of the derogatory things you mentioned. The story of wrestling with 
an "el" is in Genesis and the descriptions of Mt. Sinai as a volcano 
are in Exodus. I found out about Breasted's book reading Freud's 
MOSES AND MONOTHEISM. Freud was a Jew and not a Nazi, etc. In fact 
he was obliged to leave Austria to avoid the Nazis.

One can trace a clear evolution of thought about matters spiritual 
among the ancient Hebrews from the goblin story, which is very old, 
to the volcano period, the brazen serpent period, the star worship 
period, the donkey head worship period, and finally to the notion 
that God could not be represented in any way but must be treated as 
an abstraction. Tacitus referred to this last with evident 
admiration, since it would appear by this time the Hebrews were more 
sophisticated than the Romans in this one respect. Unfortunately 
they used this idea to ban artistic representations of mortals, for 
which reason we have no idea what the main characters in their 
history looked like. That idea has also evolved, or rather softened, 
since Jews no longer ban art works, judging by how much of it was 
stolen by the Nazis. It is not clear to me at least whether they 
adapted this idea from the Persians whom they contacted during the 
Exile (the Persians had a similar idea about graven images from way 
back) or if it was a reaction to the impiety of Antiochus V as some 
ancient writers say. There is also a rather dramatic evolution of 
the idea of God from tribal deity among tribal deities to the supreme 
being. That is perhaps more dramatic than the transition from image 
to imageless worship. Anyway, the historical record shows a people's 
religious consciousness evolving over time and does not support the 
myth of revelation for once and for all in a blinding light. Just 
speaking for myself, I rather prefer a people who grow and evolve 
over time anyway, and do not see that as in any way pejorative.

I know nothing at all of "fundamentalist Christian, Islamic or Nazi 

> A comptroller (NOT a judge) in one state, mentioned he might
> do this, when the lawyers came in and told him, NO. Two
> American Presidents were Unitarians (John Adams and John Quincy
> Adams), so it's not like it's a phony religion put together to
> get around laws.

Well, a religion it is not, since it has no teaching and in this area 
at least is a meeting place for atheists and agnostics. Calling 
Unitarians religious is akin to calling the customers at Outback 
Steak House vegetarians. I guess I could go there, order a steak, 
say my god is my belly and ask for a tax break, but I doubt the IRS 
would smile on that, nor should they.

> However, advocacy of legislation, political activities by
> religious officials acting as individuals, and, to a certain
> extent, lobbying, is specifically allowed by the IRS

I chose my words poorly but what I had in mind was nonprofits 
incorporated as educational institutions, which I assume the TS is. 
Unless they have changed the law, educational nonprofits are quite 
restricted with regard to political activity. Used to be, anyway.

18660From: kpauljohnson <kpauljohnson@y...> 
Date: Wed Sep 8, 2004 4:56pm
Subject: Prothero has had a change of heart?? fascinating read

> We exchanged emails after his Religious Studies Review
> article about the mid?90s books on HPB (in which he
> ranked Carlson and Godwin as more reliable than I,
> Washington and Cranston less so.)

I don't want to seem flippant, but the observation that Washington 
and Cranston are unreliable witnesses does not strike me as 
extraordinarily profound. That is comparable to saying G Bush is 
less than altogether truthful about his war record, his drug habit, 
his drinking, the sleazy way he got into university, the manner in 
which he took the white house, the war in Iraq, and so on and on and 
on and on.

From: "Katinka Hesselink" <mail@k...>
To: <theos?>
Sent: Monday, September 06, 2004 3:47 AM
Subject: Theos?World Re: Anand: Serious Questions with 
Profound Implications

> Blavatsky stated specifically that she would not be speaking 
to anyone
> after she was dead. Nor would Olcott, for that matter.

It is an old family tradition in my family to shut up after we are 
dead. I have not heard from any of my dead relatives. In fact, I am 
unhappy to say there are plenty of living relatives I never hear 
anything from. Some of them may BE dead for all I know or would ever 

There is a very bad book called THIRTY YEARS AMONG THE DEAD, written 
by someone whose social life must have been less than wonderful 
considering the title and contents, which claims Blavatsky did 
communicate with the author and said everything she wrote during life 
was crap. I no longer have the book but do remember that much.

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