November 26, 2008

November 19, 2008

Israelite Origins

PBS had a great episode of Nova last night, The Bible’s Buried Secrets (BBS). Not surprisingly, it dealt with the origins of the Israelites, scripture and especially how the idea of monotheism was able to spring up in the most unlikeliest of places. It is two hours long but you can watch individual chapters. The reenactments are interesting but the CGI in recreating villages for example is outstanding. Anyways, given that it was a two hour show, there is no way I can fit in all the arguments they made, but hopefully, just touch upon the new theory as to the origins of the ancient Israelites and they god. I would like to start by first quoting William Dever in this interview (as well as the show).

We want to make the Bible history. Many people think it has to be history or nothing. But there is no word for history in the Hebrew Bible. In other words, what did the biblical writers think they were doing? Writing objective history? No. That's a modern discipline. They were telling stories. They wanted you to know what these purported events mean.

I wonder if James Kugel would consider him an apologist. From reading his site, I get the impression that he says one needs to understand the bible as they, the ancients thought that every incident in scripture ACTUALLY happened as written and any interpretation or meaning came later. Seems to me, Dever is saying from the very get go, the stories themselves were interpretations of events. But I could be wrong. Anyways, I feel that is an important quote given that sometimes people judge the ancients based on how WE would write a text.

Where I want to begin is where the episode discusses the conquest of Canaan. Tradition of course says, that Joshua led the people and conquered city after city in a relatively short amount of time until the country was taken. BBS takes us to one of these cities, Hazor. Like Jericho and AI—two other cities that tradition says Joshua conquers—Hazor has significant evidence of destruction. An idol was even found that had been decapitated. The archeologist on site believes that the only real candidate for this destruction is the Israelites. They are the only ones with a tradition of it happening an no mention of Hazor is mentioned in any of the Egyptian records. It would seem to be good news in favor of our tradition. The problem is, archeologists say that its not so cut and dry. The biggest problem is one of dating. Archeologist date the destruction of Ai to 2,500 BC, the destruction of Jericho to 1,500 BC and Hazor to 1,250 BC. This is over 1000 years and nowhere near what the book of Joshua allows for. The other problem is that most of these sites do not show any signs of a war. Interestingly, the archeologists discuss and important find. They found that Hazor was a city state built on two “levels.” The lower level was mainly inhabited by the serfs and slaves while the top level was inhabited by the elitists. What they found was that the lower level had been abandoned and the top portion of the city started seeing crumbling in its infrastructure. According to the archeologists, this was a time of great upheaval in the entire region, not just in Canaan. They conclude therefore, that Hazor was not destroyed from the outside, but from the inside. A rebellion of sorts as the entire region was crumbling. These freed peasants eventually scattered and created their own identity…the Israelites. More evidence is given from the pottery that has been found within Israelite dwellings. These pottery bare an amazing resemblance to those of the Canaanites

So now we have where the Israelites come from, but where does this odd idea of one god come from? For this, we have to go back to Egypt. Egyptian records tell us that King Seti I (1,300 BC, father of Ramses. Also, this date is close to the rebellion in Hazor) enslaved a group of people called the Shasu. These people come from an interesting place. It is called YHW, and it is located around the area the Torah calls Midian. Could these Shasu people have worshiped a god called YHW or YHWH?

Archeologists in the show are hypothesizing a new theory built on all this information put together. They believe there in fact WAS a group of freed Canaanite slaves leaving Egypt, but on their way back to Canaan, they entered the land of the Shasu and were inspired by the the God YHWH. This God, they believed was the one that had freed them from Egypt.

As they re-entered the land of Canaan, they were greeted by the newly freed slaves (now the Israelites) that had settled the land after the Canaanite states crumbled. The returning Canaanites from Egypt taught this new God that they learned about from the Shasu to the people. Slowly, as these brand new Israelites spread in the land, so did this brand new idea of one God. It inspired them and gave them meaning. As centuries passed and the populations grew the stories became exaggerated to give more meaning. It wasn’t just a small band of freed Canaanites that were freed from Egypt, but that EVERYONE was from God in Egypt. And so, the idea of one God for everyone, was formed. But clearly, old habits are hard to break and that would account for the large amounts of idols found in Israelite cities.

The show earlier discussed a rock that was found in Israel. This rock had the entire Hebrew alphabet on it and was also dated to about 1000 bc. Archeologists now believe that writing was possible long before they had previously thought. In fact, at this time they believe, the writing down of the “Israelite Story” may have begun. Different stories, myths and songs until it took its final form centuries later, the Torah.

I highly recommend watching all the chapters that the site offers. At the very least, it is interesting to get many powerhouse names in archeology in one show giving you the main essence of evidence and theories rather than having to go out read dozens of books. Though I like reading too :) I didn't finish wathcing the whole thing. There is still more discussing the united kingdom, but I just wanted to touch up on this one issue. Let me know what you think. Strengths? Weaknesses? Did I miss anything?

November 13, 2008

Should Mormons Be Punished?

This ex-Mormon says going after their tax exemption status is the wrong way about it.

"There is a legal problem here that we realistically need to account for if we are to hold the LDS Church accountable (as well as the Catholics and all those Evangelical churches): The Mormon church did not break any law. It’s within their rights according to the IRS code to advocate publicly and spend money to advocate for political issues. Like all churches/non-profits, they are only barred from campaigning for candidates.  The website “Mormons Stole Our Rights” is wrong on the legal facts (it ignores subsection (h) of the tax code they site) and this will lose in any court in America. Ask any tax attorney and they’ll spell it out for you.  Even more problematically, the Mormon church itself donated exactly ZERO funds to this campaign anyway and asked its members to donate money; this is also completely within its rights as the law now stands."

November 9, 2008

Propostion 8 and Lessons for the Gay Community in General.

Why did prop 8 pass? Well, to the gay community it is but one reason "Hate." Simple black and white case. If you are against calling their union a marriage it MUST be about hate right? I would like to take a closer look at this and if anything, have the gay community learn something that actually might benefit their cause.

1) Stop playing the "Hate" card. Those that disagree with you, do no automatically hate you. I realize it is easier to indoctrinate a population--ESPECIALLY younger people who tend to have no life experience and that everything is either a case of love or hate-- but it doesn't work and it is wrong. People are sick of hearing it.

For some reason the gay community cannot fathom that people don't want to redifine an institution that has existed for thousands of years, but at the same time, do not hate them.

2) Stop comparing yourself to black people or the plight of the black experience. The establishment does not segregate you. You are politicians, business owners, celebrities and everything else anyone is. What you are basically fighting for, is a word, "marriage," not treatment. You have domestic partnership rights, with the exact same treatment (and if you don't have more rights, I would side with you). But to equate yourself as an oppressed people is a slapin the face to those that truly have been treated like an oppressed people by the majority.

3) Don't blame the mormon church. Don't blame the synagogue. YOU alone are responsible for your message loosing out, not others. It's totally logical that ANY proposition on ANY ballot will be financed by different people from different locations. I am not saying you don't have a right to protest, you do, but its simply a cop-out for your own failure. You are only hurting your cause by picking on this one group when there was so many others behind it.

4) Moderates don't trust you. They don't mind having gays marry but they wonder where your crusade will end. In Canada, there was a case of a reverend punished for talking against homosexuality. The gay activists have some of the most fanatic activists, and they want to know FOR SURE that the slippery slope will not end up like like Canada, or Illinois ( If you did, but still failed, don't blame the mormon church, blame yourself.

5) Keep your sexuality to yourself. There are many people out there that think the gay lifestyle is either disgusting or immoral. And you know who is to blame? YOU! If you are attempting to show everyone else, that in fact you are no different than they are, stop parading yourself in the most vile intimidating manner for the simple sake of being intimidating. What you do in private is your business, but when you dress up with penises hanging out in public you are only furthering the stereotypes of yourself. In my opinion, no responsible parent wants their kids to see things like that OR be around you.

I myself voted in favor of prop 8. I do not believe one can redefine something simply because of a feeling they have, especially when all the 'actual' rights are given (if I am wrong, let me know). Either way, anything I feel goes out the window if this proposition was implemented illegally. The court has to now see whether this is an amendment or revision. If its an amendment, its legit, if its a revision than it has to go through longer steps which it did not. If it is indeed deemed a revision than the proposition has to be repealed whether I like it or not. Its in everyone's best interest that the majority does not have a free hand to revise a Constitution without going through the proper mechanism the law requires. Because guess what? If you can change the constitution then so can the other side and NO Constitution should be a ping pong table.

Le me know what you think. Right? Wrong? Some things right? Some things wrong?

Update: I saw this posted on this Facebook after writing my post:

Homosexuality has been a faux pax for too many years because of a conservative nation's fear of it's own sexuality. Unfortunately homosexuals are being defined by bedroom activities and not by the content of their character. Sound familiar? And unless they decide to reclassify homosexuality as a disorder there is nothing to say that we are different or 'less than.'

Like I said, gays have NOBODY else to blame but themselves for this. All you have to do is attend ANY gay rally or ANY celebration in the West Hollywood area.

Also, I think this whole "Oh, if we are second class citizens, why should we pay taxes" crap. Or, "no taxation without representation." I just don't understand this sort of stupidity. You DO have representation and this has nothing to do with your marriage rights. Whether gays like it or not, not ALL unions are allowed in the US but yet those people still have to pay taxes.

I am honestly re-considering my vote for prop 8, but the stupidity of the gay activists simply leaves me speechless.

November 6, 2008

Candyman - The Shit of the Nation, Part II

                       - Candyman

Oh well, at least he finally said something nice about the IDF

Candyman - The Shit of the Nation


If you have any brains, you would be appalled by a post like this. In his basic fanatic leftists bullshit, Candyman explains to all of us that those of us that voted McCain have no RIGHT to celebrate Obama

Candyman, nothing describes you better THAN a piece of shit, you don't deserve to live in this country, and for sure you have no right to champion Barack Obama who on his acceptance speech basically blamed himself for not earning the support of the rest of us. I celebrate Barack Obama because I celebrate the sheer awesomeness of how democracy moves in this country. I celebrate because even though I do not agree with the policies he tried to sell the nation, he is still my leader. The point of this nation is NOT to be divisive if we do not get what we want.  My opposition for Obama does not come from the same disgusting hatred that YOU, YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU, a soft tolerant liberal have anyone on the right, but comes from policy only. I NEVER doubt that a person like Barack Obama wants the best for this country, I simply disagree with his views. So does this mean I still don't get to celebrate a new leader? Even if you disagree with a conservative, would one ever not reach over his hand to deny you the right to celebrate with him that our democracy still works? This is a victory for EVERYONE, you shit for brains. Its a victory that the gears of our democracy work and the people get what they wanted. If he does a crappy job, we vote him out. 

You, have no right to claim any allegiance to this country with that attitude. Until you party is made up of saints with no money in their fat pockets, you have no right to judge those on the other side. 

You really think the democrats are some godly party? You really believe the democratic party is NOT responsible for this economic slump? Wake up you moron. You don't think your god Obama didn't have some blood money in his pocket? Wake UP! 

If anyone is the party of emotions it is YOU! Your crusade to always be kind and fait have brought on disastrous laws like the Community Reinvestment Act. It's people like you that never thought that the sexual revolution of love and peace would have any affect on the future generations. It is your party that is  aiming toward more PC bullshit. It is your party that helps the gang mess. You breed an unhealthy tolerance toward the rotten in this society thinking that good might come out of it, when reality dictates they need to be deported. But you don't, cause you kiss the mexican lobbyist to get their votes. You are the party that is always concerned with not hurting anyones feelings. You are NOT the party of freedom. You are a party that has grown to making this country a Nanny State. Legislating what is good for us no less than what the right used to do. 

No wonder I hate these leftist extremists. They condemn the right-wing extremists but think their own shit doesn't stink. I rarely hate people, but Candyman I hate. His posts are routinely  filled with venom and insinuations about other people. He truly is a piece of shit.

November 4, 2008

Post Election Thoughts

What an election huh? I will have to admit it is an amazing thing to have the first black American president. You can't deny this is a great historical moment in this country. Today, I voted for my very first time. It was a great experience (mainly because I got a cool sticker). Voting, made me appreciate what a great system we have. Not just the voting system, but the whole political edifice of this country. Seriously, when I look at other countries, even like Israel, you have to be thankful. What a mess over there. One day you are elected, the next day the government collapses and you have to start all over. It's just not healthy for any nation.

I really wish Obama luck. I hope to God that he will not create a nation of entitlement 10 year olds. Remember what Kennedy said: "Ask not what your country can do to you, but what you can do for your country." Part of the problem with what the democratic party has turned into is that it totally flipped this message. I hope this messiah complex that people have for Obama (cough::candyman::cough) will subside. This country is not based on that. It's based on hard work. It's based on personal responsiblity and that anyone can achieve anything with that hard work. Government does not need to pamper you. If government will always come to your rescue, when will you grow up. Ezzie has a great post on this. I hope some reason will come into the democrats senses rather that build their whole party base on emotions and "fairness" appeals. I hope.

There is a shinning light to Obama's win. Jackson, Sharpton and Farrakan will finally be out of business. They were literally the worst of the worst that the left was able to produce. I truly hope this culture of victimhood and self pitty will end with Obama's win. That it will inspire other black men and woman to work hard and achieve their dreams in a nation that is the greatest on earth and not the horrible racist sespool that the three stooges have portrayed (jackson, sharpton and farrakan). Oh, and I am at least happy this won't be a filibuster proof congress. That's just dangerous. No party should have that level of power

Anyways, its fantastic to be an American and I am really happy to have gotten my citizenship in time to vote.