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Old 10-17-2011, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
5,990 posts, read 11,252,034 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneInDaMembrane View Post
There is also the St. Jerome argument, popular amongst Seventh Day Adventists which says that Satan knew, beforehand, how God's plan was going to go down so he preempted it by setting up counterfeit religions to sidetrack the ancient world from the real truth. I actually tried to sell that one for a few years. *Sigh*
It's amazing how many mental backflips Christians will do to justify their absurd beliefs.
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:46 PM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,166,342 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneInDaMembrane View Post
There is also the St. Jerome argument, popular amongst Seventh Day Adventists which says that Satan knew, beforehand, how God's plan was going to go down so he preempted it by setting up counterfeit religions to sidetrack the ancient world from the real truth. I actually tried to sell that one for a few years. *Sigh*

Yeh - if we've been a christian at any point, we've tried to justify what we perceived as the one, true religion....


Quote:
Originally Posted by northstar22 View Post
It's amazing how many mental backflips Christians will do to justify their absurd beliefs.
...and the backlfips become so ingrained in one's mind, that it sometimes becomes impossible to see any contrary evidence: the whole juggling act becomes so complicated. Almost similar to how a liar must start making up other lies to back up previous ones, etc. - until they catch up to the liar, and all he can do is just stick to his guns heh heh!
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
Yahweh is the figure in the middle, flanked by Asherah on his right. A figure to the far right plays music. Notice the strange, horned cow in the foreground giving suck.

Are you sure that's Asherah in the pic? Unless that's supposed to be part of their clothing, both figures appear to have male genitalia. The figure playing music does appear female.
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Old 10-17-2011, 10:57 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
5,990 posts, read 11,252,034 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whoppers View Post

...and the backlfips become so ingrained in one's mind, that it sometimes becomes impossible to see any contrary evidence: the whole juggling act becomes so complicated. Almost similar to how a liar must start making up other lies to back up previous ones, etc. - until they catch up to the liar, and all he can do is just stick to his guns heh heh!
I know this from personal experience. I spent years reading apologetics materials, coming up with rationalizations, and denying historical and scientific facts to preserve my beliefs.

Recently, I decided that I couldn't keep up the charade, and decided to dump it all and become an atheist. It feels so liberating to admit to myself that there are no gods, there is no afterlife, and there is no supernatural. Just cold, hard naturalism and physical processes.

I find that my mind is now liberated and I can think of other things instead of trying to push doubts about my beliefs out of my head.

Christianity, like all spiritual beliefs, is a delusion. The fact that there is a huge apologetics industry illustrates how nonsensical Christianity is: if Christianity were actually true, it would need no apologists.
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Old 10-17-2011, 11:35 PM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,166,342 times
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On the subject of Abram's gods, again - have we talked about Sin at all?

I think I showed (pretty convincingly?) that Terah would have come from the Norther Ur, and not the Southern Ur - both of Mesopotamia. In addition, we might have looked at the possibility that Abram was actually born in Haran. Let's assume, for the moment, that these are good assumptions to make when approaching the available literature.

Haran (חָרָן) was also know as the region of Paddan Aram or Aram Naharaim, and was a city of the Hurrians. The Hurrians are an important influence on the Patriarchal Narratives, as can be seen in various laws and customs that were Hurrian in origina, but were practiced by Abram and his kin. It's also notable that when Abram sends his servant to find a wife for Abram's son Isaac, that he sends him not to Southern UR - but to the Northern area of Aram and Haran, to find a wife from his relatives.

Now that I've actually bothered to look at one of my first posts in this thread, I do see that I discussed both Haran and Sīn. That's okay. Shall we see if we can delve a little deeper? Nanna/Sīn was a Sumerian and Babylonian moongod with Ur as the main center of his cult. In addition, Haran in the North was also a major center of Sīn worship. But was this god a likely candidate to have been one that Abram favored? It might make sense that a moon god would be a favorite of nomads, as Abram is depicted as being, but this isn't certain. Additionally, we find no evidence for Sīn in the accounts of Abram - whether mentioned specifically, used theophorically, or elsewise. We need to look for something that might possibly approach the characteristics that later showed up in 'El and Yahweh - and Sīn is not a good match.

Sīn here appears as the moon crescent:



What other Hurrian god can help? Perhaps Ea - who we should know from Babylonian and Sumerian mythology. From DDD:
"Ea too is known from Presargonic personal names and belongs to the oldest Semitic pantheon in Mesopotamia (Roberts, 1972)....was soon equated with Enki...and....In Sumerian mythology, Enki is one of the creators and organizers of the universe. Especially the creation of man is ascribed to him." (DDD)
Ea/Enki is the god who also saved mankind from the Flood sent be Enlil to destroy mankind.

Enki / Ea is the one with the waters flowing from him symbolically:




Now for the Hurrian connection. Ea soon became known as Aya among the Hurrians and Ugarit - both closely tied together economically, and sometimes politically. The religions of the Hurrians and the Hittites had an influence on the religion of Ugarit. Now, the connection and evolution to Abram might have come from how Ea - through the name Aya - changed. Some scholars have noted that Yahweh and Yam might have come from Aya - notice the final syllable in Aya. 'El is also surmised to have come from Ea, as well. A side note is the theophoric use of Aya in some Biblical names.

I'm not so sure about the Yahweh surmise, and I am not skilled in Hurrian or Hittite practices or religion, but perhaps that's an avenue that might be worth exploring? I only run across Hittite and Hurrian sources when studying Ugaritic - which included special alphabetical letters for the sole purpose of dealing with some of the foreign phonemes used by their neighbors, and not normally used in Ugaritic.

Apart from that - a general exploration of Hurrian religion and legal customs would also be fruitful in general to explore Abram and the world he came from.
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Old 10-17-2011, 11:45 PM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,166,342 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuixoticHobbit View Post
Are you sure that's Asherah in the pic? Unless that's supposed to be part of their clothing, both figures appear to have male genitalia. The figure playing music does appear female.
I know exactly what you're seeing, and everyone sees it at first. It's possible that it's a tail, instead. Remember - these are bull and cow figures. Notice the "Asherah" figure's breasts, also - they are missing on the left figure, and can be compared to the figure playing what looks like a lyre (?). Another point is the mouths - the Yahweh figure appears to have a slight beard, while the Asherah figure does not.

According to the scholars who have studied this find, it actually says on the piece "Yahweh with his Asherah" or "Yahweh of Samaria with his Asherah". Unfortunately, many parts are missing - if you look at the blank spaces.

If you're truly interested in the piece, I can find you a good scholarly write-up on the subject. Scholars are still, of course, debating this remarkable find and it's implications: were these universal depictions, or merely regional?
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Old 10-18-2011, 06:19 AM
 
Location: New York City
5,556 posts, read 6,736,829 times
Reputation: 1351
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoppers View Post
On the subject of Abram's gods, again - have we talked about Sin at all?

I think I showed (pretty convincingly?) that Terah would have come from the Norther Ur, and not the Southern Ur - both of Mesopotamia. In addition, we might have looked at the possibility that Abram was actually born in Haran. Let's assume, for the moment, that these are good assumptions to make when approaching the available literature.

Haran (חָרָן) was also know as the region of Paddan Aram or Aram Naharaim, and was a city of the Hurrians. The Hurrians are an important influence on the Patriarchal Narratives, as can be seen in various laws and customs that were Hurrian in origina, but were practiced by Abram and his kin. It's also notable that when Abram sends his servant to find a wife for Abram's son Isaac, that he sends him not to Southern UR - but to the Northern area of Aram and Haran, to find a wife from his relatives.

Now that I've actually bothered to look at one of my first posts in this thread, I do see that I discussed both Haran and Sīn. That's okay. Shall we see if we can delve a little deeper? Nanna/Sīn was a Sumerian and Babylonian moongod with Ur as the main center of his cult. In addition, Haran in the North was also a major center of Sīn worship. But was this god a likely candidate to have been one that Abram favored? It might make sense that a moon god would be a favorite of nomads, as Abram is depicted as being, but this isn't certain. Additionally, we find no evidence for Sīn in the accounts of Abram - whether mentioned specifically, used theophorically, or elsewise. We need to look for something that might possibly approach the characteristics that later showed up in 'El and Yahweh - and Sīn is not a good match.

Sīn here appears as the moon crescent:



What other Hurrian god can help? Perhaps Ea - who we should know from Babylonian and Sumerian mythology. From DDD:
"Ea too is known from Presargonic personal names and belongs to the oldest Semitic pantheon in Mesopotamia (Roberts, 1972)....was soon equated with Enki...and....In Sumerian mythology, Enki is one of the creators and organizers of the universe. Especially the creation of man is ascribed to him." (DDD)
Ea/Enki is the god who also saved mankind from the Flood sent be Enlil to destroy mankind.

Enki / Ea is the one with the waters flowing from him symbolically:




Now for the Hurrian connection. Ea soon became known as Aya among the Hurrians and Ugarit - both closely tied together economically, and sometimes politically. The religions of the Hurrians and the Hittites had an influence on the religion of Ugarit. Now, the connection and evolution to Abram might have come from how Ea - through the name Aya - changed. Some scholars have noted that Yahweh and Yam might have come from Aya - notice the final syllable in Aya. 'El is also surmised to have come from Ea, as well. A side note is the theophoric use of Aya in some Biblical names.

I'm not so sure about the Yahweh surmise, and I am not skilled in Hurrian or Hittite practices or religion, but perhaps that's an avenue that might be worth exploring? I only run across Hittite and Hurrian sources when studying Ugaritic - which included special alphabetical letters for the sole purpose of dealing with some of the foreign phonemes used by their neighbors, and not normally used in Ugaritic.

Apart from that - a general exploration of Hurrian religion and legal customs would also be fruitful in general to explore Abram and the world he came from.
I have since concluded that all the mythologies of the Near East, Far East and those in the lands around the Mediterranean can trace their origins to lower Mesopotamia as civilization emanated from the area. I see the name of the god Anu, evolving into An, evolving into El (might not be as simple as that, but I believe there is some connection). I also find it quite interesting that the [East] Indians referred to their most ancient of deities by the name Dyaus Pitar/Pita or "good father." Then when I look up the rivers and the many miles (where people traveled and/settled) and beyond, such as places like Greece, we find the name Zeus Pater which in Rome became Ju-Piter.
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:23 AM
 
17,853 posts, read 11,826,622 times
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Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
Whoopers, I can't thank you enough for bring all this information out. Insane has also been very helpful, as well as Micah. These new threads are some of the best in this sub-forums history.
Agreed. I'm really enjoying reading this thread.
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Old 10-18-2011, 08:34 AM
 
17,853 posts, read 11,826,622 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northstar22 View Post
I know this from personal experience. I spent years reading apologetics materials, coming up with rationalizations, and denying historical and scientific facts to preserve my beliefs.

Recently, I decided that I couldn't keep up the charade, and decided to dump it all and become an atheist. It feels so liberating to admit to myself that there are no gods, there is no afterlife, and there is no supernatural. Just cold, hard naturalism and physical processes.

I find that my mind is now liberated and I can think of other things instead of trying to push doubts about my beliefs out of my head.

Christianity, like all spiritual beliefs, is a delusion. The fact that there is a huge apologetics industry illustrates how nonsensical Christianity is: if Christianity were actually true, it would need no apologists.
This reminds me of Bertrand Russell's Celestial Teapot:


"If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense.

If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time" - Bertrand Russell
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Old 10-18-2011, 09:12 AM
 
3,488 posts, read 3,166,342 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneInDaMembrane View Post
I have since concluded that all the mythologies of the Near East, Far East and those in the lands around the Mediterranean can trace their origins to lower Mesopotamia as civilization emanated from the area. I see the name of the god Anu, evolving into An, evolving into El (might not be as simple as that, but I believe there is some connection). I also find it quite interesting that the [East] Indians referred to their most ancient of deities by the name Dyaus Pitar/Pita or "good father." Then when I look up the rivers and the many miles (where people traveled and/settled) and beyond, such as places like Greece, we find the name Zeus Pater which in Rome became Ju-Piter.
There's a mystery involved with lower Mesopotamia, and that's the Sumerian language - it's unrelated to any other language. Linguists are still not sure where to plae it.

The other curious thing is the influence of the Indians, you mentioned, on the Hittites and Hurrians. This Indic influence went on to help influence Ugarit, among other places. We have discovered so many things in the past century, it's amazing - the history and language of the Hittities, the history and language of Ugarit. In the previous century Sumerian and Akkadian were really explored. I wonder what would have happened had these things always remained a part of historical knowledge? There's a few ancient writers who reference some of these areas and religions - most notably Sakkunyaton. If there's any information of his to be had, it can be very helpful.
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