Tag Archives: Bible

City and Tower: A Prophecy Found

I had a moment of revelation recently, one that drove me into the pages of the Bible.

Don’t worry folks, this isn’t my “I found Jesus and renounced my heathen ways” post.

Not even close.

But I did find a Biblical prophecy that I feel certain is, even now, coming to pass.

And that’s kind of a big deal for me!

If you know me at all, or if you’ve so much as skimmed through any of my writing here, you have to know that I don’t put a lot of stock in the Bible, and even less in the so-called prophecies there-in.

That is not to say that I am unfamiliar with them.

I received many a heaping helping during my childhood in the Bible-Belt, and then later, as my interests turned toward the study of mythology in all its varied forms, I researched many of them on my own time.

And what I found, in almost every instance, was that Biblical prophecies are typically nothing of the sort.  Instead, they usually turn out to be descriptions of events that had already transpired when they were written down.

That these passages have been reinterpreted as representative of future events has, I think, more to do with the apocalyptic mindset of a later generation of Christian readers, than the intent of those who chronicled the myth-historical origins of the Hebrew tribes.

The core belief of Christianity, after all, is that the end-times are imminent.  Therefore, all prophecies must be happening in the now, the signs must be there, you only have to know where and how to look for them.

So imagine my surprise when I found one sitting there, out in the open where everyone can see it.  And it’s one that I’ve never once seen it listed, or had spouted at me by someone trying to prove that the Bible was inspired by the mind of God.

All the others I’ve been able to discount.  But this one, this one is just huge.

Let’s go through it.

Genesis Chapter 11:1-8

1 And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech.

2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

3 And they said one to another: ‘Come, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.

4 And they said: ‘Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, with its top in heaven, and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’

5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

6 And the LORD said: ‘Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do; and now nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose to do.

7 Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’

8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city.

Everyone knows this story, right?  It’s the Tower of Babel, and what we are supposed to believe it that it explains why people all over the earth spoke different languages if they were all descended from the handful of folks that made it through the big flood on the Ark.

More The Confusion Of Tongues

But let’s take a moment and look at it with an eye toward recent events.

  1. Suddenly there was this thing called the Internet, and everyone everywhere could talk and share ideas with each other.
  2. Suddenly, all the important stuff seemed to be happening in one place: On Line.
  3. Apparently, building stuff with bricks and mortar was some cutting edge technology back in the day, so imagine instead a world built of data, a marketplace of ideas.
  4. They built for themselves a city and a tower, and they called it Social-Media and Facebook.
  5. And then God got bored one day and logged in to see what the buzz was all about.
  6. There he found groups devoted to Yoga and Cosplay and something called GrumpyCat, and discovered, to his absolute horror, that everyone wasn’t talking about him.  And when they did talk about him, it wasn’t always in the most complementary fashion.  New ideas were the meat and drink of this strange new land, and the potential broadening of experience and understanding was the hope of the dawning age.
  7. At this point, he closed the shades on his house, took his phone off the hook, and started hacking a bunch of his followers’ user accounts (‘cause hiding your passwords from an omniscient deity is kind of a bitch).  Once in, he started posting memes debunking climate science and claiming that president Obama is a Muslim.  He was always ready with poorly edited PlannedParenthood videos, and made up statistics on a thousand topics.  He started posting about “Keeping Christ in Christmas” before retailers were finished dumping all the unsold Easter candy, and whenever there was a shooting in a school he was johnny-on-the-spot to suggest handing out handguns like candy.
  8. Now this was stuff that no thinking person could believe, and yet they did, because they heard it repeated again and again from their friends and loved ones, and it was on the internet so it must be true.  Right?!  Fact-checking became something that only intellectual snobs with too much time on their hands bothered with.  The traditional meanings of words like “fact” and “opinion” were switched, and pretty soon no one could communicate with anyone else, because all appearances to the contrary, not as single one of us is still speaking the same language.

It’s all right there in black and white!

And it has to be God doing it because no mortal could lay the bullshit down so think.

Errr…, maybe Trump.


There are those, I am sure, who will find these revelations offensive.

I understand that I seem to be reducing the almighty Abrahamic God to nothing more than a giant internet troll…, and if I am, isn’t that still better than taking a literal interpretation of the story, which has him (an omnipotent god) scrambling like crazy to muck up human language before the mortals figure out that by working together, there is nothing they cannot accomplish.

Nah, it has got to be the internet thing!

I found a Biblical prophecy that I can believe in.

Doesn’t mean I’ll be joining team Yahweh, of course.  I mean, however you choose to interpret the story, it is not exactly what I would call a ringing endorsement.  But it will definitely change the way I approach conversations on the internet.

A city and a tower with its top in heaven…,

It was a nice idea.

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Filed under Culture, Modern Life, Mythology, Philosophy, Religion

Truth and Clouds

Lunar Eclipse 2015

There’s a red smudge in the sky to the east.

The Earth’s shadow is falling across the surface of the Moon.

Giant bodies are rolling around each other at stunning distances and speeds.

Together, as they dance, they do this occasional trick with the light, where the one becomes lost almost completely in the shadow of the other.

Almost lost, but not quite.

Because the thin sheen of atmosphere which clings to our globe bends the light, curving it around the edges of the globe and refracting it toward our distant dance partner.

We bend the light around us and the red tinge of a million sunsets and a million sunrises paint our normally pale sister with a ruby hue.

It is a beautiful thing to behold.  I’ve seen it before.

But not tonight, not yet.

The clouds have been rolling across the sky all evening, and the rising moon is little more than a red smudge, nearly lost in the haze.  The atmosphere is the thing that makes the miracle, and often enough, obscures it from our vision.

 

I have many friends and acquaintances who are devout followers of this or that monotheist denomination.  When, on occasion, I have wondered aloud about why, in the face of scientific fact, they cling to literalist interpretations of biblical canon, I have been told that their strength lies in their faith.  If any one part of the Bible is found to be false, they explain, then the whole of it is forfeit, and their faith is for nothing.

This, it seems to me, demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the meaning behind the word.  Any faith that cannot survive in the light of truth is a hollow imitation of belief.

 

The clouds have cleared a bit and the Moon is hanging higher in the sky, a dusky red lantern in the darkness.

I’ve brought my telescope out for the occasion, and it’s finally clear enough that I can put it to use.  The blood-moon of the naked eye is, upon closer inspection, a gradient of hues from orange to deepest maroon.

My cat, weaving her way around the legs of the tripod, sees none of these colors.  For her, the bright white ball has become a dim grey ball.

Do my eyes see the truth of it?  Do hers?

Or does the scientific instrument see things more clearly?

And why would we assume that it must be one or the other?

Especially when there are still so many clouds!

 

For most of the people alive on this globe right now, the gods which I believe in are mere fables, or metaphors, or at best they are Jungian Archetypes which exist as manifestations of the human psyche.

When you spend years of your life, as I have, studying the gods and the mythologies that surround them, you quickly come to accept the fact that most of the scholarship on the topic was written with these biases as their foundation.

It is an unavoidable and perfectly reasonable attitude.

It doesn’t bother me.  It inspires me!

And why shouldn’t it?

These, simple metaphors (if you will), have shaped human art and literature and science for the entire known history of our species.  For almost two-thousand years, they have continued to guide and influence our culture, despite militant, often violent, suppression by the various monotheist orthodoxies that have held power.

If the gods are fictional then that’s pretty damned impressive for a bunch of stories!

Now stop and imagine, for just a moment, that you felt the touch of something that huge and powerful, in your life.  If you count yourself as a believer, would you really need to cling to this idea that every scrap of mythology associated with your deity was true, despite all evidence to the contrary?

 

The clouds are gone.  And so is the eclipse.

I just watched through the big lens as the last of the Earths’ hazy shadow slipped off the rim of the lunar sphere.

Earlier tonight I was using the 20mm lens on my scope, which puts the entire globe on display, but for these final moments I switched over to the 10mm which draws the moon down with stunning detail – craters, mountains, valleys, and the shadows they cast.

The red color is all leeched away by now, of course, and dear Luna is clothed once again in her standard pearlescent garb.

Watching through the scope, I see the last sliver of our shadow…,

…going…

…going…

…and gone.

It is a strange thing to sit there and see the final moments of something that huge, watching it not on television or on some live feed from the internet, but through your own eyes aided only by a couple pieces of glass.  The stark truth of the thing does nothing to diminish the feeling of awe which is inspired by the immensity of the event.

 

I have been challenged, on more than one occasion, to produce some proof that my gods exist.

I can’t even prove that there was an eclipse tonight.

I saw bits and pieces of it.

I’ll wager you did too.

But there were an awful lot of clouds rolling through and most of it I couldn’t see that clearly.

The atmosphere, as I may have mentioned earlier, is the thing that makes the miracle, and often enough, obscures it from our vision.

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Filed under Culture, Mythology, Nature, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Spiritual Journey

Oh, but we do!

We were sent a message a few weeks ago.

On a mountaintop in Northern Ireland, a six-foot tall statue of the Irish sea god Manannán Mac Lir was stolen by vandals, ripped away from its foundation overlooking the place where Lough Foyle meets the North Atlantic.

Manannan Panorama

For many of the people reading this blog, this is already old news.  It may even seem strange that I have waited so long to write about it, when the story has begin to grow cold and our interests have moved on to other things.

But I believe that this sort of message demands a response from each of us, and I wanted mine to come from a place other than sorrow and anger.

As an artist, I mourn the wanton destruction of any work of art.  I cannot fathom the impulse which drives people to destroy what others have labored so hard to create.

As a devotee of the ancient gods, as someone who has stared into the crashing waves and whispered prayers of my own into the gusting winds, this attack feels very personal.

And I know a great many others who feel the same way.  Indeed, the global outpouring of grief and rage over this crime has been very encouraging.  It is nice to know that we are not alone, even if it sometimes takes a senseless crime to remind us so.

So yes, there is the sorrow and the anger.

But we have been sent a message, and that message deserves an answer born not from grief or rage, but from conviction!

We’ve seen things like this before.

And we will, without a doubt, see them again.

A work of art designed to raise up the ancient spirit that still burns within a people and a place is desecrated.  The symbol is utterly destroyed and in its place a large wooden cross, with these words writ upon its surface…,

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

A line from the Bible, from Exodus, Chapter 20.  It is part of the first Commandment which the Hebrew god gave, through Moses, to his people.

Here is the un-abridged version for you…,

“I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  Thou shall have no other gods before me.

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

Now, there is a tendency, within certain circles, to only count the part that I highlighted above as the actual commandment.  But the first sentence and the second paragraph, both serve to modify that statement, thus forming a whole.  What it comes down to is, “You dance with the one who brought you, and just leave off with the golden calf stuff already.”

Which is all well and good if you happen to be descended from that subset of Hebrews who are said to have been enslaved by the Egyptians in the 1st millennium B.C.E., but that’s a mighty thin line in an awfully big world.

Of course, we are also told that Jesus is supposed to have opened that Covenant up to everyone, or supplanted it, or possibly both, depending upon which interpretation of scripture you want to go by this week.

But even then, it only counts if you accept Jesus as your savior, and believe that his father is the one and only god in the heavens.  Which is where those of us with polytheistic tendencies, just nod politely and step outside for a breath of fresh air.

Because it’s not our business what the monotheists get up to, as long as they leave us to our business.

Which is where our statue stealing, cross leaving friends, come into play.  Turns out they think that we should, all of us, take that first Commandment, with its various prohibitions against other deities represented by graven images, a bit more seriously.  While most monotheists are content to simply ignore us, some few think it only fair that everyone follow the same rules.

And while I can understand their position, it’s really hard for me to take their dedication to the 1st Commandment all that seriously, when they so blatantly demonstrate their willingness to break the 7th along the way.

“Thou shalt not steal.”

Yeah, sorry guys, but I’m just not impressed.

Manannan Side View

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

And to them, our answer is and must always be…,

“Oh, but we do!  We have before and shall again in the days to come.”

They can pull down the images of our gods.  And we will just raise them up again.  And really, what are they going to do, burn every museum and gallery, the statehouses, the courts and libraries?  Because that is what they would need to do, and it’s not like it hasn’t been done before.  Those vandals, skulking around a mountaintop in Northern Ireland are no different than the Taliban who used dynamite to demolish the great Buddhas of Bamiyan, or the mobs who wandered the streets of 4th century Rome, destroying everything in their path.  They are and have been, all of them, driven by fear.

That is why we must have the strength of our convictions.  Because they do not, or their fear would not drive them so.

Let them come, and we will stand against them.  And when the smoke has cleared, the memory of the gods will persist, as it always has.  Because their blood runs in our veins, and their bones are the framework upon which our society is built.

Yeah, tear down our statues.  Go ahead.

We’ll just build bigger ones.

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Filed under Art, Culture, Ireland, Modern Life, Religion