Historicity of Jesus - 2 - Printable Version

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Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-05-2008

<b>A critique of Jesus and Christianity - Judea and the Messiah Prophecy</b>

the real Exodus:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The final revolt of the Jewish nation against Rome happened from 130-136CE under the leadership of a charismatic leader called Bar Kochba. This revolt and its defeat by Rome resulted in the burning down of the Jewish temple and the expulsion of all Jews from Jersusalem. Judea was officially renamed Palestine after the Roman Governor and the neighbouring arabs were encouraged to settle and trade in place of Jews. <b>This of course led to the Exodus of Jews from the promised land. </b>
Jesus and his main teachings were actually directed against the high priests the Pharisees more than the Roman Emperor. It can be safely said from his actions that Jesus ambition was to become the high priest of the temple at Jerusalem rather than be the saviour of the world.

from the above article:

Christian Chronology:

68 Nero commits suicide, resurrects as "Nero redivivus", Rev's 666? (see 81)

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-06-2008
-mention of Bruce Lincoln in article on Fishbane_2003

there is a connection between seeing past the imposed aryan narrative and the new (balu-atwill) interpretation of "Religion".

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-06-2008

Christian Book List:

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-06-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->What Should One Think of Alexander the Great?
Arvind Sharma, 3 Feb. 2008

Perhaps the clue to what we should think of Alexander the Great is provided by the dual etymology of the word itself: (1) the ruler of men and (2) the repeller of men. It is understandable why the first etymology should have appealed to the British, virtually to the point that they identified themselves with the Greeks. Vincent Smith devoted almost a ninth of his book On the Early History of India, to recounting his exploits, and E.R. Bevan, in his chapter "India on Early Greek and Latin Literature", in the first volume of The Cambridge History of India, edited by E.J. Rapson under the title Ancient India (1922) starts using the word Europeans to refer to the Greeks, which suggests a degree of identification with the subject which would otherwise remain only a matter of speculation. Indeed, the British could find a precursor to their own imperialism, and even its justification, in harking back to Greek imperialism although they were more prone to invoke the Roman. As Plutarch notes:

Those whom Alexander subdued would never have become civilized unless they had been brought under submission. Egypt would not have had Alexandria, nor Mesopotamia Seleukeia, nor the Sogdians Prophthasia, nor India Boukephalia nor Caucasus Hellenic cities in its neighbourhood, by the influence of which barbarism was crushed and a better morality superceded a worse. [1]

If, however, Alexander is viewed without the distorting spectacles of Western imperial historiography, a somewhat different picture begins to emerge. Attention may be drawn to the three devices of imperialism which one might have difficulty calling noble or even dignified. First is the use and abuse of Indian mercenaries. A good example of this is provided by what was done to them at Massaga. Accounts differ as to motive, but not as to the gruesome outcome: "Arrian justifies the massacre of the Indian mercenaries at Massaga on the ground that they had treacherous intentions, but, according to Diodorus, Alexander treacherously attacked the mercenaries, being actuated by an implacable enmity against them."[2] Were the killings in the Indian Mutiny a replay of this on a grand scale? The second is the proleptic genocidal elimination of groups which might turn hostile, which in this case seem to be the Kṣatriyas and the Br�hmaṇas. Thus, while he was at Taxila, according to Plutarch:

As the Indian mercenary troops, consisting, as they did, of the best soldiers to be found in the country, flocked to the cities which he attacked and defended them with great vigour, he thus incurred serious losses, and accordingly concluded a treaty of peace with them; but afterwards, as they were going away, set upon them while they were on the road, and killed them all. This rests as a foul blot on his martial fame, for on all other occasions he observed the rules of civilized warfare as became a king. The Philosophers gave him no less trouble than the mercenaries, because they reviled the princes who declared for him and encouraged the free states to revolt from his authority. On this account he hanged many of them.[3]

The third is the imperial projection of one's powers. When Alexander withdrew, according to Q. Curtius Rufus, "he ordered…couches of a size larger than was required for men of ordinary stature to be left, so that my making things appear in magnificent proportions he might astonish posterity by deceptive wonders".[4] So also Plutarch: "he first, however, contrived many unfair devices to exalt his fame among the natives, as for instance, causing arms of men and stalls of bridles to be made much beyond the usual size, and these he left scattered about".[5]

Is Alexander in these respects too the precursor of Western imperialism, inclining one to some partiality towards the second etymology of his name? What the Indian philosopher, whose name in its Hellenized form is given as Mandanis, thought of Alexander may not be irrelevant here as anticipating India's struggle against British imperialism centuries later.

For when Alexander's messengers summoned Mandanis to visit the son of Zeus and promised that he would receive gifts if he obeyed, but punishment if he disobeyed, he replied that in the first place, Alexander was not the son of Zeus, inasmuch as he was not ruler over even a very small part of the earth, and, secondly, that he had no need of gifts from Alexander, of which, there was no satiety and, thirdly, that he had no fear of threats, since India would supply him with sufficient food while he was alive, and when he died he would be released from the flesh wasted by old age and be translated to a better and purer life; and that the result was that Alexander commended him and acquiesced.[6]

[1] R.C. Majumdar, The Classical Accounts of India (Calcutta: Firma KLM Private Ltd., 1981) p. 204.

[2] Ibid., p. xxi.

[3] Ibid., p. 195.

[4] Ibid., p. 135.

[5] Ibid., p. 199. The Arthaś�stra also seems to recommend similar measures at some places.

[6] Ibid., p. 280.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-08-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Lost my name in Baal

Consider what a pit must have been in Paul’s stomach when he entered Rome. There the greatest temple stood on the Capitoline Hill, the temple of Jupiter or Jove Pater, the great father of the gods. Jove is a hard word to trace. It is the older form of the name for the great god Diespiter or Dyaus Pita, used only by the Latins. Where did they get it? Wherever, in Latin J is pronounce Y and V is always pronounced W. <b>Thus the pronunciation was almost if not identical to the Tetragrammaton: YOWEH.   </b>“Father Yoweh.” Can you imagine Paul being shown the great temple and seeing the colossal statute of Yoweh Pater inside; a Jew actually hearing the NAME commonly pronounced and being shown an image of a bearded stately old man as representative of Yoweh? No wonder he began Romans with:  <i>Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man.</i><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-08-2008

God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215
by David Levering Lewis

One of his conclusions was that the Islamic Empire was an imitation of the Roman Empire in the ME.

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-09-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Forged Origins of The New Testament; Tony Bushby

Extracts from the Hymn to Zeus, written by Greek philosopher Cleanthes (c. 331-232 BC), are also found in the Gospels, as are 207 words from the Thais of Menander (c. 343-291), one of the "seven wise men" of Greece. Quotes from the semi-legendary Greek poet Epimenides (7th or 6th century BC) are applied to the lips of Jesus Christ, and<b> seven passages from the curious Ode of Jupiter (c. 150 BC; author unknown) are reprinted in the New Testament.</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-09-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Titus carried on the construction of the Colosseo which was inaugurated in 80. The ceremonies were particularly solemn and the first season of the amphitheatre ran for a hundred consecutive days; the Romans watched munera (fights between gladiators), venationes (capture and killing of beasts) and naumachiae, a sort of naval battle (read Mark Twain's Coliseum playbill).
He also built public baths making use in part of those of Domus Aurea; of these baths very little is left: just a few low walls opposite the northern side of the Colosseo and in the adjoining archaeological park known as Colle Oppio (the southern peak of Esquilino). A few years later Trajan built larger baths, next to those of Titus. <b>The arch dedicated to him was erected by his brother Domitian after his death.</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-11-2008

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-12-2008

Celsus, the First Nietzsche:
Resentment and the Case Against Christianity

Christianity shares with Judaism the ability to provoke resentment against its own persistent undermining of resentment. Nothing infuriates the critics of Judaism and Christianity - but especially of Christianity - more than the gentle admonition to turn the other cheek. <b>Like the swellfoot outsider, Biblical religion becomes a magnet for every imaginable accusation, inspiring a voluminous Schimpflexicon of calumny and abuse.</b>

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-12-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Oblivious Colonial Orientalists and Aramaeology, a Prohibited Science
The rise of the Orientalist Disciplines

With the colonial expansion of Spain and Portugal to the Indies, the subsequent Anglo-French rivalry for India, and the French expedition to Egypt, a small number of researchers, explorers, academicians, agents and adventurers started being versed into various old texts, undeciphered inscriptions and manuscripts, antiquities and antiques gathered from any corner of the areas they were traveling through! The military, political, economic competition was transferred to the academic level, and within a century from the moment Anquetil Duperron disembarked at Pondicherry, several ancient writings were already deciphered. The 19th century attested the rise of the Orientalist disciplines, namely Egyptology, Assyriology, Iranology, Indology, Sinology, Islamology. This was not an easy process - in any sense.

The Orientalist project went wrong from the very beginning because of preconceived ideas, concepts and schemes that should have been eliminated first, before the fresh discoveries determine the historical truth in the most objective, neutral and unbiased way it could be possibly obtained. Because this was not done, many discoveries have been kept for more than 100 years under silence. The average public in Europe and America, and throughout the world, has not yet got access to original sources discovered before numerous decades, and their contents have not been incorporated in Education manuals as they should, if Truth and True History of the Mankind are still sought after. The world keeps living based on erroneous descriptions, false (as incomplete and uni-dimensional) historical data, and even more disastrous interpretations and fact perceptions. This automatically guarantees ignorance, wrong choices, and error repetition.

Even worse, there were numerous and multifaceted political motivations and shadowy ideological machinations behind the Orientalist experiment; one of them was the use of the discoveries in order to shape the History model, and to depict the course of the World History in a way that would best suit the colonial academia’s preconceived ideas and undeniably biased concepts.

Another vast issue has been the political use of the Orientalist discoveries in a way to possibly corroborate the peremptory division between West and East (which is an artificial, Manichaean concept, a ridiculous factoid) and, even more strikingly, the West’s superiority over the East. ‘West’ meant mainly France and England, whereas East was exclusively the Ottoman Empire and Iran, as Mughal India had already collapsed. It was a sheer anti-Islamic action of deeply preconceived and pre-arranged machinations. It was only normal for it to have political repercussions, cultural – educational consequences, and economic ramifications that sooner or later would engulf the entire Mankind into a most definite disaster.

A most inhuman machination and practice consisted in the political decision of the colonial powers to preserve the unearthed and deciphered knowledge as hidden secret, far from the hands of the political authorities of the areas where the material record was collected. They stored an incredible amount of antiquities in the Paris and London museums, therefore pulling a great number of Europeans and Northern Americans to compete and do the same, although the real profit would go to the Anglo-French colonial scheme. Even worse, they deliberately caused vibrant reactions among the most obscurantist and extremist elements of those societies – throughout the Ottoman Empire and Iran – in order to further engulf the populations and the elites of these countries in deep and permanent ignorance, perverse and unjustified hatred, and definite weakness ensuing precisely from the lack of knowledge that the Western explorers were first unearthing and deciphering, and second exploiting, altering and falsifying.

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-13-2008


that is to say, the spirit of life that vivifies all things. <b>It is not without some reason, therefore, that Varro thought that Jove was worshipped by the Jews; </b>for the God of the Jews says by His prophet, "I fill heaven and <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-13-2008


<b>The Dome is in the shape of a Byzantine martyrium, a structure intended for the housing and veneration of saintly relics, </b>and is an excellent example of middle Byzantine art. al-Maqdisi reports that surplus funds consisting of 100,000 gold dinar coins were melted down and cast on the dome's exterior, “which at the time had a strong glitter that no eye could look straight at it.” [9] <b>During the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent the exterior of the Dome of the Rock was covered with Iznik tiles.</b> The work took seven years.


Prof. Shlomo Dov Goitein of the Hebrew University states that the Dome of the Rock was intended to remove the fitna, or 'annoyance,' constituted by the existence of the many fine buildings of worship of other religions. The very form of a rotunda, given to the Qubbat as-Sakhra, although it was foreign to Islam, was destined to rival the many Christian domes. [6]<b> A.C. Cresswell in his book Origin of the plan of the Dome of the Rock notes that those who built the shrine made use of the measurements of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.</b> The diameter of the dome of the shrine is 20m 20cm and its height 20m 48cm, while the diameter of the dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is 20m 90cm and its height 21m 5cm.

The structure is basically octagonal. It comprises a wooden dome, approximately 60 feet (20 m) in diameter, which is mounted on an elevated drum consisting of a circle of 16 piers and columns. [3] Surrounding this circle is an octagonal arcade of 24 piers and columns. During his travels in Jerusalem, Mark Twain wrote that:<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-14-2008

Needs to be read in full.

In the west society subordinated itself to the state

People in the Semitic society of the west, on the other hand, seem to have burdened themselves with the state the moment they graduated from tribalism and nomadic life to a settled existence and began to perceive themselves as a society. There is no social history or civilisation of the west that predates the western state. The western civilisational history starts with the creation of the state. <b>Before the state, there was only tribalism and barbarism; there was no civilisation or order. Thus the Semitic society of the west never knew how to live and self-regulate as a society. It never knew how to live except through the state and its coercive institutions.</b>

The concept of self-regulation, the concept of dharma, the personal and public norms of action and thought that we have inherited from times immemorial, did not have any chance to evolve in the west. Instead what the west evolved was the “social contract” theory of the state. And this became the basis of the nation-state that developed later.

But even before that, a mighty state, a nation-less state had already evolved in the west. It was a state that cut across all nations, all societies, all ethnicities, all faiths, and all races. This was the kind of state developed by the Romans. The statecraft of the Romans purveyed power and power alone and nothing else. Later, after the collapse of the nation-less state, tribal nationalism began to be assertive. This nation-state, with socio-religious sanctity for pursuing even unguided state power, became the model for the modern west. Far from being an arbiter, the state became the initiator, the fulcrum of the society.

Even religion acquired stately attributes

Western society thus became largely a state construct. Even geography and history began to follow state power. In the scheme of things, the king symbolised total power, the army became crucial to the polity, and the police indispensable. The throne of the king became even more important than the Church, and his word more important than the Bible, forcing even the Church to acquire stately attributes and begin competing with the state.

That is why the first Church was founded in Rome. Because of the social recognition of state power and the importance that it had acquired, religion had to go to the seat of the state. That is how Rome, and not Bethlehem, became the centre of Christian thought. The Church developed as a state-like institution, as an alternative and a competing institution. The Church began to mimic the state, and the Archbishop competed with the King. And finally religion itself became a competitor of the state.

Naturally there were conflicts between these two powerful institutions - between the state<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - ramana - 02-15-2008

Husky where is your post on Thomas Paine?

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-15-2008

Husky's post is in the US elections thread :

Thomas Paine: A Hero for the World

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-15-2008

The two poles of western civilization - constrained vs unconstrained:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Kubrick's Psychopaths
Society and Human Naturein the Films of Stanley Kubrick


Manipulation is another tool of the psychopath often used by Alex. He lies to his parents and to his truant officer in order to manipulate them. When Alex is caught and charged with murder, he typically tries to shift blame to his droogs and to deny responsibility. Once he is imprisoned, he adopts the role of model prisoner, "sucking up" to the chaplain by pretending to study the Bible (secretly finding more material for his sadist and sexual fantasies therein). During his conditioning he attempts to manipulate the scientists. Once in a position of dominance, his manipulation takes on a bullying tone, as exemplified by his behavior following the suicide attempt when, despite having lost the use of all four limbs, simply by opening his mouth, and demanding food as if he were a baby bird, he asserts his dominance over the government minister as the minister feeds Alex.

As might be expected, the choice of such a protagonist for an important film by such a well known director as Kubrick resulted in a storm of critical controversy. Kubrick was accused of pandering to violent behavior if not outrightly promoting it. In an interview in the New York Times, Kubrick explained that although he is fascinated by violence, he is not advocating it (or anything else) in the film, but merely portraying it: "Part of the artistic challenge of the character is to present the violence as he sees it, not with the disapproving eye of the moralist, but subjectively, as Alex experiences it."[15] From this standpoint, in my view, Kubrick has succeeded masterfully in letting us see into the mind of a psychopathic personality. But Kubrick goes further in the interview in explaining his reasons for his fascination with Alex: "I'm interested in the brutal and violent nature of man because it's a true picture of him. And any attempt to create social institutions on a false view of the nature of man is probably doomed to failure.... The idea that social restraints are all bad is based on a utopian and unrealistic vision of man."

Kubrick is expressing an idea here that accords with Sowell's[16] description of the "constrained" view of human nature which posits that it is flawed and largely fixed, and that efforts to build utopias will invariably founder on the rocks of human failings and will reflect the imperfections of their builders. Variations on this view have been held by such historical figures as Adam Smith, Alexander Hamilton, Edmund Burke, Thomas Hobbes, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Friedrich Hayek, and Milton Friedman. The opposing view, that man is (at least somewhat) perfectible, or that the evil in the world is mainly the result of bad social institutions has been the view of Godwin, Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Paine, Jefferson, Voltaire, Ronald Dworkin, and John Kenneth Galbraith. The constrained vision has been characterized as cynical, conservative, pessimistic, as opposed to the romantic, liberal, optimistic, idealistic unconstrained vision of man. Sowell points out that the person's view of human nature often serves as a litmus test that can predict which side of a given controversy the person will come down on, with holders of the constrained vision opposing holders of the unconstrained view across a spectrum of religious, social, and political issues. Often, people at opposite poles have great difficulty communicating with and understanding each other, since their basic premises are so different.

Kubrick expands on his view of the man's futile hope of salvation through social institutions in Clockwork by showing the natural man (psychopath Alex) in his encounters with characters representing other archetypes.

The liberal is represented by the writer Frank Alexander. Alex and his droogs gull him into opening the door to them by playing on his compassion with a sob story about an accident on the road, whereupon they brutally rape the wife and beat Frank so severely he is left a paraplegic invalid. Significantly, Alex vandalizes Frank's study, sweeping his writings and his typewriter onto the floor, and pulling down the shelves scattering asunder the books representing man's accumulated wisdom and knowledge. When Alex has come full-circle, and once again encounters Frank, he now is in Frank's power. How does the liberal deal with him? He drugs him and submits him to torture, gleefully enjoying his screams, thus demonstrating that at the heart of the liberal lurks the same primitive brutality that motivates Alex.

The moralist is represented by the prison chaplain. Alex fools the chaplain into thinking he has a true love for the Bible in order to gain privileges. The chaplain, significantly, recognizes the hypocrisy of the conditioning, and that it has made no moral change in Alex. But he is told by the minister of the interior (another type of psychopath):

<i>Padre, these are subtleties. We're not concerned with motives, with the higher ethics, we're concerned only with cutting down crime and with relieving the ghastly congestion in our prisons. He will be your true Christian...</i>

Cynical characters in the film who appear to share Kubrick's gestalt are the prison guard and warden who see through Alex's manipulation, but have not sufficient power to prevent the minister and the scientists from using Alex for his own ends.

Kubrick's view of societal institutions is shown by his general portrayal of the drab conditions of the future England as well as through the psychopathic characters of the representatives of state authority shown in the film. The truant officer, Mr. Deltoid, is hardly concerned for Alex's well being. He barely can conceal his joy that finally Alex has killed someone and now can be punished severely. The psychopathic police interrogator enjoys torturing Alex. The government minister is also a psychopath, having no true concern for the welfare of either the prisoners or the society. The minister sees the Ludovico technique[17] as a tool for accomplishing his political ends, and Alex as a perfect candidate: "He's enterprising, aggressive, outgoing, young, bold, vicious--he'll do". And besides, "Soon we may need all our prison space for political offenders." He and Alex understand each other well and the last scene shows them scheming to place the blame for Alex's "misfortune" on the scientists and the minister's political opponents:
We tried to help you. We followed recommendations which were made to us that turned out to be wrong. An inquiry will place the responsibility where it belongs.... We never wished you harm, but there are some who did and do.... There is also a certain man...a writer of subversive literature, who has been howling for your blood...but you're safe from him now...we've put him away. He was a menace--we put him away for his own protection and also for yours.</i>

At the end, Alex is "cured" of his conditioning under government auspices and begins a new career in government service ("we always help our friends, don't we"). It is clear from his power and sex fantasies which close the film that he is not cured of his psychopathy, and that he will now continue his exploits from a position of even greater power than before. The final fantasy of him reveling in a sexual orgy while being applauded by many figures in Victorian garb may be symbolic of the forthcoming social sanctioning of his libertine behavior.

In Clockwork, government, technology, and other social institutions are seen as only worsening the problem of man's barbaric nature rather than helping. It is small wonder that liberal critics decried Kubrick's vision, as this also runs counter to their notions. Malcolm McDowell said in an interview, "Liberals, they hate Clockwork because they're dreamers, and if someone shows them realities--cringe, don't they, when faced with the bloody truth."[18]

Kubrick's view that the psychopath is an apt model for the natural man is one of the more bleak and cynical castings of the constrained vision. His casting of society as basically sharing the psychopathic bestiality of the natural man makes it no surprise that he has been vehemently attacked by some critics. It is interesting that many of those critics generally failed to perceive Kubrick's fundamental antagonism to their own views until the release of Clockwork. We will now examine the earlier Kubrick films to see how his use of psychopathic individuals and societies developed.

In Kubrick's earliest work we encounter psychopaths only as villains or peripheral characters, in the persons of <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - Husky - 02-15-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-dhu+Feb 15 2008, 10:39 AM-->QUOTE(dhu @ Feb 15 2008, 10:39 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->The two poles of western civilization - constrained vs unconstrained:

<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Kubrick's Psychopaths
Society and Human Naturein the Films of Stanley Kubrick

The opposing view, that man is (at least somewhat) perfectible, or that the evil in the world is mainly the result of bad social institutions has been the view of Godwin, Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Paine, Jefferson, Voltaire, Ronald Dworkin, and John Kenneth Galbraith. The constrained vision has been characterized as cynical, conservative, pessimistic, as opposed to the romantic, liberal, optimistic, idealistic unconstrained vision of man.
When Alex has come full-circle, and once again encounters Frank, he now is in Frank's power. How does the liberal deal with him? He drugs him and submits him to torture, gleefully enjoying his screams, thus demonstrating that at the heart of the liberal lurks the same primitive brutality that motivates Alex.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->[right][snapback]78515[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->Gordon Banks (?) need not drag Thomas Paine into his review of A Clockwork Orange. I do not see how the reviewer presumes that Paine falls into that category. And why does it need to be one or the other? Why can't people generally be optimistic - assuming most humanity may be sane - while being realistic with respect to psychopaths and those possessed by scary ideologies?

Paine doesn't seem to be a man who believes or doesn't believe in Mankind ('Mankind' the species, the phenomenon). He has always appeared to me to be a man who did what he thought needed to be done - for instance, he wrote and worked, because he had to try. Whether others improved themselves based on his writings and endeavours or not, does not look to have been his aim at all - only the fact that he <i>needed</i> to do his bit to hopefully show them sense and humaneness. That is, if betterment could even be achieved, he would certainly try.

I don't care two straws about Jefferson (the slave-owner whom many are so infatuated with) nor about Voltaire. (The rest are blanks to me.)
But Thomas Paine does not come across as anything like these men. He's not definable by 'liberal' or other ideological terms. He's his own person, defined by his own actions and his own individual beliefs. Voltaire, Jefferson (and presumably the others) all had their own objectives in writing for or against christianism, christoslavery, rationality and the rest.
Paine did no more than his own sense of duty and right or wrong prompted. He need not have done anything at all - he had no motivations to enforce his vision of society on people (as Voltaire, Jefferson) - he did it because it was in him and <i>would</i> come out because no one else was trying to do the right thing that was so obvious to him.
I don't see the sense in Gordon Banks censuring him along with the rest who, in outward appearances, may have looked to have pursued a similar bent of thought (in some matters).

What I'm saying is, Paine doesn't seem to merely have been a product of his environment, but rather one with an innate sense of humanity that would have come out in the face of injustices no matter whether he were born in some other era and/or geography.

Dhu, he's the only genuine article that western people have amongst their ranks of The Famous and Esteemed. And - based on the limited knowledge I have of him - he compares favourably with factually great men from across the globe. (Statements expressed from my Dharmic POV. And it is because of this little I gleaned of him that I think his Deist God must be real.)
There's no need to knock him in order to show the consistent superficiality of the rest that have generally been proclaimed 'great philosophers/humanists/freethinkers/...'. Paine seems to me to be an original (the real thing), while the rest just come across as wannabees in comparison, who never had the inner conviction he had, but were merely articulating platitudes that sounded nice ("philosophy for the sake of philosophising" or even for the sake of persuasion) or that seemed pleasing in the limited context they could conceive of.
From what I understand, he seems a very worthy and worthwhile person; and whatever country cheers him has full reason to be pleased and proud. IMO, even if he were the only great individual they ever gave rise to, his righteous, sincere, inspired efforts makes up for any paucity otherwise, and gives hope they may produce others of the same spirit.

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - dhu - 02-16-2008


Despite the variable orientations of the western social theorists, they are always dealing with the feasability of resurrecting an ideal utopian system - this is the set in stone framework in which they operate. You will never find an Indian obsessed with ressurecting the Mauryan or Gupta Empire (unlike West's obsession with recreating the first, second, third, fourth, fifth versions of the Roman Empire). This is what I was trying to show with the Kubrick post.

These individuals are social theorists; they deal necessarily with abstractions as a way of going about the world - which is of course different than the Hindu-heathen reliance on experience. The former way of going about will necessarily lead to
monstrosities of one sort or another since rigidity is an absolute characteristic of theories. I'm sure that Kubrick thought he was analyzing the universal "human
condition" or "human nature" or "natural man," but we know that his analyses pertain mostly to westerners and their derivatives.

That said, let me just say that it's quite possible that Paine is cast in the mold of a Frawley or Danino and that his Deism is akin to the Great Spirit of the Native Americans (as you said in your other post). We should examine why these individuals turned up so different than their contemporaries. Their accounts
usually say that they felt atracted to Dharma since Childhood. I came across a similar statement by Frank Morales on youtube.

Historicity of Jesus - 2 - Husky - 02-17-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-dhu+Feb 16 2008, 10:52 AM-->QUOTE(dhu @ Feb 16 2008, 10:52 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->That said, let me just say that it's quite possible that Paine is cast in the mold of a Frawley or Danino and that his Deism is akin to the Great Spirit of the Native Americans (as you said in your other post). 
[right][snapback]78572[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt (unless and until such a time as we come across and confirm anything that is not consonant with such a view).
For one thing, there are his actions, and for the other, the fact that christo America has completely ignored him <i>on purpose</i> (which is very telling), while some atheist in America entertain ponderings on whether or not Paine might have traded his Deism in for Atheism if he were alive today - considering science, evolution (but I think not).

Others may know first-hand, but it doesn't appear that American education teaches kids much about Paine, even though the young nation owes so much to him.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->We should examine why these individuals turned up so different than their contemporaries.  Their accounts usually say that they felt atracted to Dharma since Childhood.  I came across a similar statement by Frank Morales on youtube.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->And Ishwar Sharan, as per his interview, was attracted to Hindu Dharma because it was a religion that showed obvious experience of the Mother Goddess and which confirmed his own.

Paine might have fought off all the effects of even the surrounding <i>societal</i> christian 'meme' at a young age, to pursue his own inner idea of what his God was like and that inspired his understanding of natural law/what is right (or what we call Dharma). Having hit upon a truthful view of God, that inner idea would have led him to his legitimate God/attracted the same into his heart. It obviously doesn't happen often enough, but it does happen.

I think it starts off with some people having a true inner quest for truth. They keep looking with sincerity and an open mind and obviously that leads them to the truth.
I read somewhere that many European settlers were instantly attracted to NA native American tradition and life, and their controllers couldn't get them back. I think it was in that Christian Heritage site, but it is also here:

Natural religions must continue to exist for this additional reason. The presence and interaction with natural religions seem to act as a catalyst for people who are already tending toward such ideas. It gives them confirmation of their personal discoveries, and feels like a return to home for them. That is, when such people growing up in a wayward (say christo) society come face-to-face with the existence of societies that understand, have preserved and live in a Dharmic manner that they recognise, it facilitates the return of these people to their natural selves, freeing them from the christoislamicommunazi meme their birth-society was infused with.
Or so I understand it.