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Sunday, May 8, 2016


I've long considered biblical scholars to be the equivalent of well-educated individuals who made a living pontificating on what are mostly fairy tales for mature adults.  From Moses to Mohammed (statue located at the U.S. Supreme Court), you need to take that giant leap of faith that an omnipresent God, or his representative, actually passed on elements of The Bible or the entire text of the Koran, first to an individual who cannot be historically confirmed, and the second, a shepherd who was illiterate.  

Joseph Smith more recently copied his antecedents when:
  • so that on 22 September 1827, Smith was given custody of these golden plates (weighing from 30-60 pounds), which became the Book of Mormon, not to be confused with the currently popular Broadway musical, although the latter is based on the former.
  • Smith is said to have returned these plates to Moroni, who might reappear with those plates someday for credibility purposes, as angels exist forever, or at least The Bible says so.
In my research, I found it interesting that:
  • Angel Moroni is placed on on the top of most Mormon temples, usually facing East, except when not.
  • There was any Caucasian culture living in America from 589 BC, for the darker skinned Laminates also left Jerusalem at this time, and killed Moroni, who was elevated, by God, I guess, to angel status.  
  • In a similar case, God supposedly gave Moses (who, incidentally, also was a shepherd by occupation--and was born 3416 years ago, living to a ripe old age of 200) two stone tablets weighing a total of 2 pounds with the Ten Commandments inscribed, the first set which Moses destroyed in anger, and a second which ended up in the Ark of the Covenant (a chest, not a ship--remember Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark?), which disappeared in 587 BC, around the time there was this diaspora from Jerusalem.  Could the Ark be in America?  Perhaps another Dan Brown novel?
  • Like the Mormon plates, these stone ones are still missing, but a shepherd also came into prominence in 1946 when he found the Dead Sea Scrolls.  These  Hebrew documents, mostly written on leather and parchment between 408 BCE and 318 CE, a period of more than half a millennium, has tended to reinforce the Old Testament.  However, Cave 3 yielded copper scrolls (right), and provided directions to 64 sites around Jerusalem that contained hidden treasures worth a cool billion dollars.  None has yet been found.
  • Shepherd, plates, God, religion...seems like the same story re-told.
Okay, so much for biblical history.  SCIENCE magazine is the quintessential publication representing science.  Anyone who publishes an article here has attained the pinnacle of achievement in his/her field.  So I pay close attention when an article like Birth of the Moralizing Gods is featured, this, written by Lizzie Wade, a contributing correspondent.

Basically, she reinforces what I've been saying most of my life.  If not for God, the Afterlife and religion in general, Humanity might not have survived, and certainly would not be here today in our splendor of more than 7 billion people.  But in a way antithetical to most, who sincerely think that God created everything from scratch, I subscribe to a more natural evolution beginning with the Big Bang almost 14 billions ago.  In fact, 42% of Americans believe that He did all this within the last 10,000 years, while an additional 31% (73% if you're counting) feel we evolved from simpler life over millions of years, but guided by God.

Wade, thus, approaches this issue from a scientific point of view, for she makes an attempt at citing cutting edge research to show how human evolution occurred without supreme intervention.  More specifically, there is a sense that animals, including Homo sapiens, naturally cooperate, else they are socially excommunicated and won't survive.  However, when a critical mass population is reached, the need of an all-seeing God, reinforced by your mother, father, spouse, whatever, up there in Heaven, watching over you, is needed, so you MUST be good.  Thus, a Moralizing God (left, God Who Works in You by Mark Lawrence) becomes necessary for our global society to function efficiently.
  • As one example, the Hadza, a group of African hunter-gatherers, does not believe in an afterlife.  They don't need to, for if you are not part of the tribe, you're on your own and won't procreate.  You just can't afford to have a damaged reputation in a small community.
  • But as societies grow, social monitoring become impossible, so individuals can take advantage of good will, shirk responsibility and even commit crimes.
  • This is not functional, so a Moral God, with Heaven and all that, begins to become essential to keep people honest.  From Islam (right, Way to Heaven by Mahmoud Farshchian)  to Christianity to Buddhism, major societies grew because religion provided the moral compass.  Remember, in those earlier days, there was no such thing as a police force.  Watched people are nice people.
  • Thus, agriculture began to work, maybe 10,000 years ago because people cooperated through a central government which provided irrigation, cooperatives and monetary exchange.

So, while in the beginning humans did not necessarily need a God, as we became larger societies, He became necessary.  The concept has worked.  Religion has well survived the past ten millennia because it serves a morally unifying role, minimizing crime and indirectly enhancing the economy.

When will religion become obsolete?  Well, in the USA, during the past decade or so, belief in God has had a modest decline from 92% to 89%, but those absolutely certain that there is a God dropped from 71% to 63%.  
Looking ahead, younger Americans are less religious than those older:

I'm more and more beginning to think that religion is an important part of the social fabric.  Me?  I'll continue to be good, but still need to be convinced that these are not fairy tales, for that matter of eternal gloom is fearsomely disquieting.

Congratulations, Pat, while writing this post, you passed one million viewers!


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