Monday, September 21, 2015

Date of Eden and The Snake. Does literalism pan out? When Did the NCHSH Lose Its Legs

Dancing With Eden.
Change partners.
The snake taps us on our shoulders.
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The snake. Eden. Powers. Conundrums, or conundra.  To the existing named issues of meaning of the old Hebrew sound-form NShCh, that moderns usually translate as the Snake, add this newly discovered attribute:  the ability of the snake, the NCHSH to auto-reproduce itself, female without male, becomes a Mom. See http://www.babwnews.com/2015/09/scientists-astonished-after-snake-has-virgin-birth/

Virgin births are always of theological interest, suggesting, of course, that the female indeed came first and that the male was an afterthought, so this post, from several years ago, is being updated. Parthenogenesis, see http://www.nbcnews.com/id/48995742/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/wild-snake-study-suggests-virgin-births-may-be-common/#.VgBwoPDDDRY  The idea has been around a long time, and in some cases, the means to do it, see http://sassafrasthicket.blogspot.com/2010/12/parthenos-parthenogenesis-genesis-north.html

Q.  How old is Eden? This site says Adam was created in about 4004 BC - see http://www.biblestudy.org/beginner/timelineot.html.  This renders any thinking person speechless, is that so? Keep that date in mind here.
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PROCESS HERE.  An aid to scrolling.
 
A.  Multiple sources, approaches, research of original text meanings, where possible.

B.  Vet each appoach against other evidence accumulated. Do evolutionary arguments stem from the Biblical reference to the NCHSH (Nacash?) losing its legs as punishment for the tempting.  Does the loss of legs date, also date Eden, if we can determine vestigial legs in snake anatomy, figure when the legs receded.
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C.  Separating culture from theology. Does the character and role of the NCHSH, suggest cultural intrusion establishing hierarchies and punishment patterns that might not have been part of original inspiration.

Culture and literalism:  handy patterns for maximizing survival at the time, even if later distorted by literalism; or theology: direct inspiration. If the dates of loss of legs do not match when people were at the talking, sexually differentiated stage.
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D.  Eden and Politics.  Do thought patterns of candidates as to a literal Eden inform as to their future international and inter-cultural approaches.  What serves a common good, and does that matter where conviction stands above all else.
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E.  Religious Truth -- Taken literally, it assumes events and intentions that establish a partilarly demonstrable connection between this deity-these deities and this group of people. Ask when the "literal" presentation then became cultural -- used to perpetuate and spin for human status and survival interests, setting bounds on acceptable needs and desires of a culture in facing life, good, evil, place in the world. If the literal or the figurative allegory furthers survival and cohesion, the story itself survives. But somewhere there was a choice made.
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A.  Dating Eden

1.  For literalists, a creature lost its legs while in Eden, and slithered thereafter. The creature was the NCHSH.  The date would be some 7 days, calculated literally with a sun (don't askl) after Creation (a spontaneous combustion plus stages) plus some time: for the events of the Eden story to take place.  Literal. It means what it says. If something doesn't fit, say what it must mean and say that it also is literal; or if not literal, then infallible or dogma, to be believed as "inspired" interpretation.

2.  Figuratives. The story signifies -- what?  original sin as the sabotage of one created entity by another;  if so, was there a sabotage before the NChSh? Temptation?  but the temptation was to think, gain knowledge with the brain one had. Or was it fraud.  Did the deity really forbid thinking? How did fraud get into the created entitites? Did Woman caused man to, gasp, think and is that Sin. Oris Eden a simple, gauzy, some things work out, some don't. Hang in there, expect sabotage, fraud, betrayal, self-serving, and the good inflicted with evil.
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Eden as myth. Best efforts at putting elements of experience together in a meaningful, explanatory, predictive way.
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a. Eden as Allegory. Figurative, descriptive, "one thing under the image of another," see http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=allegory&allowed_in_frame=0.
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b. Eden as Metaphor. She is a monster. One thing is so similar to another that skip the mid-terms and say she is it. See http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=metaphor&allowed_in_frame=0.
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c. Eden as Analogy, one thing is likened to something else. My love is like a red, red rose.
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d. Blend. Expedience and common sense to bridge gaps.
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B. How and why did the West Shift to the Literal. 
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Nomads we can understand. Myths and laws of the Old Testament developed in their context. In the New Testament, however, a more settled era, Jesus spoke no by those literal laws and hierarchies of authority; but persuaded obliquely, by example, parables, general love-God-love-your-neighbor, cheeks, give to the poor, etc. So why go from nomad literal to modern literal in the western institution, even after Jesus' non-force, persuade by example approach? As the Western form of Christianity Christian or Jesusians.  Institutions hardly look Jesusian, except for the maligned liberal ones.
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Is this the chronology:
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The Western Christian Church veered to the literal when it wanted to organize and spread by force or spin to a group, not just one on one influence. See the course of thinking in the institutional religion, with the spur of Gregorian Reforms in the 11th Century, at http://individual.utoronto.ca/hayes/survey2/03_gregorian.htm. Lateran II in 1139 laid out the rules, see http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/lateran2.asp.
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  • The Roman branch split with the rest of Christianity, the Orthodox, in the Great Schism of 1054, and rules abounded anew after that. The Roman branch needed converts, money, identity on its own. There had been foundations set for creeds, who is to rule whose head, but after the Schism came the deluge.
  • This Schism and its effect on the Roman branch was a profound marking point. It has relevance to the dichotomy between literal and figurative. The Roman branch is highly literal, defining and excluding. Is the east more tolerant of the figurative. We think so. Compare the branches of this east Christian west Christian historical tree at http://wps.pearsoncustom.com/wps/media/objects/2426/2484749/chap_assets/studyguide/ste_sg_ch14.pdf

Why did this happen so fiercely, leading to crusades and inquisitions and warfare between religious views?
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The reason appears to be organizational rather than inspirational. The Roman Churh rejected the figurative because the figurative leaves latitude in interpretation, and does not forge immediate cohesion, enforceability. Paul took over from, would it have been James the Brother of who more followed Jesus' approach. Love your neighbor, give your goods to the poor, give some examples, but let the ones who disagree walk away.
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The Figurative is not a complex idea. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=figurative&allowed_in_frame=0; it is easily grasped. But for an institution establishing itself as Supreme, Superior to the Eastern Christians or any other religion, Supreme in the early days against "heresy". It is too flexible to serve clout and power. Myth as myth allows various meanings. And the figurative myth allows independence of thought and analysis, ranges of interpretation. That range of permissible interpretation undermines automatic, entitled authority.
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That flexibility became, in terms of religious history and ongoing
3.  Pragmatic blenders.  The ultimate appliance. Mix just enough rules so people don't have to reinvent the wheel, but base it all on principle, open to interpretation.
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C.  Vet Each Approach.  When did the lizard lose its legs?

1. Problems for literalists.  Figuratives look instead to allegory, myth, metaphor, etc.

Eden by this literal text religion's eye view was start-to-finish in six rotations of the earth, and only God knows when, see http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-c014.html Evolution 0, Spontaneous Combustion 10.  But:
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a.  Traditional translations do not fit. 

We cannot use traditional translations that call this creature a "serpent" http://www.themystica.org/mystica/articles/n/nachash.html because a serpent has no legs and that leg-loss happened after the creation of the creature. Pre-serpent. Lizard? Reptile? And if the Creator did not create the Creature in its full form all at once, where did it come from? Did it cross the open border at Eden and shift shape? What does that mean for a perfect Eden? Another discussion.

b.  People could not have been there at the same time as the creature. 

People were not have been upright at the time that the NCHSH lost its legs, and talking and tending gardens?  How could the people then be simultaneously in Eden with the NCHSH, and a literal person has to pick one for the date and ignore the other: or skip the whole thing and apply "faith" that against all evidence, it happened together.1) date of upright humans talking, with concept of a one God,  and tending gardens; or  2) date of the NCHSH losing its legs.

Both and allegorists, or figuratives,  and literalists are indeed "thinking" people.  They just stop thinking at different points. When do we want our children to stop thinking?
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Reptile loses legs?  We can figure that out.

Physical Fossil Science places Eden at 112 to 94 million years ago. The earliest snake fossil that is not a reptile with legs dates from that period. See http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2011/02/08/3132755.htm. The New York Times sets the date of the creature with legs, a reptilian thing becoming a snake without legs, at 47,000,0000 years ago. See http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/24/science/24obsnake.html?ref=todayspaper
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Common ancestor to reptile or lizard to snake.  Cryptolacerta Hassiaca. The year is 47 million years ago. Meet the lizard-dragon-serpent before and as it became the Snake: The common ancestor. Lizards lost their legs and became Cruptolacerta Hassiaca.
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So, if Eden is the time when the snake lost its legs, we have Eden at perhaps 47-90 million years ago, giving some latitude from the articles, with a focus on other research. Evolution 10, spontaneous combustion 0.
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Were Humans there then?
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Depending on the fossil, Fossil Science as to humans or human prototypes-progenitors also places Eden at a far later time: Humans or human prototypes, on off the tree, date variously from some 7 million to 1.2 million years ago, depending on which remains have significance for whom, see
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=south-african-hominin-fossil&page=3. Now we may have another, Australopithecus sediba.
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Modern human ancestor.  Australopithecus Sediba. Modern Humans (emerging about 1.9 million years ago), are now to be updated with Australopithecus Sediba, see http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/science/09fossils.html?scp=1&sq=discovery%20human%20fossil&st=cse; and keep in mind always the earlier findings, example Israel's contribution at
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/10/science/10neanderthal.html?scp=1&sq=first%20humans&st=cse, say, some 100,000 years ago; and later dates are bandied for entry of different branches into Europe and contact with Neanderthals.
  • Refine the "human" further, to conform to the texts: The humans in issue must be a talking, linguistically sophisticated, gardening people. When were the first talking people, with language skills, naming skills, also suitable as gardeners. Those were in Eden at the same time as the now-legless wonder. We need a bridge between the earliest ancestor possibles, and us; and that had been Homo habilis, a toolmaker, thanks to the Leakeys.
Evolution 10, spontaneous combustion 0.
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However, this evolutionary date does not coincide with the serpent's eye view, the herpetological evolutionary date, so Eden's date is still out of reach.
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C.   Vet Texts
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What words were used to describe the events. What text do we choose to believe. The new, the blue, or the one we wore last?
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Theology. Old Hebrew. Literal Nacash. Figurative Nacash.
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Issues with the NChSh. Hebrew appears to say that it was "NChSh" that was in Eden doing the bad things that resulted in more bad things. See whether or not this is the same as snake (not) at http://kngdv.blogspot.com/2011/09/vet-serpent-literalism-leads-nowhere.html.

Who gave the NChSh its marching orders, or is it independent and equal in power to the deity, who could not control it? Was the NChSh the "wise one", as some of our own translations provide; and if so, does that help us date Eden?  If other cultures have the NChSh, or its equivalent, does that dilute the absolute authority of one account, ours? 
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Theology.  Other cultures. Literal Nacash. Figurative Nacash.

Other cultures refer to an actor with the function of an NChSh or a Nacash. One of the definitions from the literalism site http://kngdv.blogspot.com/2011/09/vet-serpent-literalism-leads-nowhere.html, is "the wise one" for the NChSh.
Do we believe highly variable and much translated, retranslated-revised, augmented-subtracted texts over time (count the Bibles out there), each selected interpretation as direct inspiration of an identifiable deity who just happens to support present culture as it is, thus it must be right. Once used for that purpose, is force and manipulation then used to exploit the now dependent people and stay in power?

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D.  Thought Patterns and Politicians and Eden
and other Religious Beliefs.
Spill-Over?
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Politics: Does a candidate's beliefs about literalism and Eden; or literalism superimposed on any human act and whether it is good or evil, other "religious truths", predict how they approach issues in governing. Should we be concerned, as voters, about non-analytical behavior, generally. When did the candidate stop thinking; and does that serve the common good.

Update 20120. Among the literalists appears to be Governor Rick Perry who has no idea how old the earth is; or if there was an evolution of anything, and cares not a tumbleweed whit. http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/08/perry-responds-to-question-about-creationism-earth-is-pretty-old-video.php.  Rick Santorum has strong, narrow views about his evangelical-based idea of religious truth:  public schools should teach Creationism.  Romney shape-shifts, depending on expedience.  Gingrich (this by way of update) also shapeshifts, see http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/08/evolution_gop_candidates.html, and claims he is reformed from earlier baggage-ways, Huntsman appears moderate and sensible and qualified for a multi-faceted society.
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So how could humans at 1.9 million years ago, converge with the lizard-dragon-serpent losing its legs some 47 million years ago. Presidential elections are so interesting. Do their positions reveal more about their analytical thought process, intellectual curiosity, analytical ability, by their views on Eden.
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How we get information counts in elected officials, and what we do with what we get. Look back to when the serpent separated from the legged lizard, Eden itself, not just Israel where the stories got told last before being Incorporated into The Book, a term favored by Rick Perry (corporations, ).
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Quoth Rick: We must choose between one date (the serpent's) and the other (the humans') because all is black or white, and if that does not work, declare victory and leave the field. All is black or white. So blacks get more capital punishment, is that so.
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We have an ideal opportunity, in a season of debatius borius, who will ask the Governor (in between executions) when, if ever, thinking counts.  Was it a religious kind of belief that said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  Of course.  Faith.
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Conclusion:  How to date Eden, assess the meaning of oldest religious texts, match them to common experience.  Cultures look to origins to justify themselves, and their ways. In order to do this, did stories begin and expand as myth, to be received figuratively;  or as a disinterested reporting meticulously and without great change from teller to teller from the start, to be received literally.

For literalists, is the story of the snake a mechanism for culturally demonizing others, an ongoing theme of institutional religions.  How else to explain good, evil, life, fruitful relationships. Did we stop with the nomadic view. And now, with a snake shown capable of reproducing itself as a female without a male, do the old myths of
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*  Photo:  yet another Eden, here, Switzerland

Friday, September 4, 2015

KNGDV: Symbol of a process. Vet old texts for understanding, not certainty. A challenge to systems.

KNGDV or KNGDU.  This odd combination represents a way of vetting religious systems.  Take an early word form, here the k-n-g-d-v rough phonetic from Genesis 2-18, as one of many from a literal translation the paleo Hebrew.  The shapes used there are not our letters at all, so narrative-builders enter fill-ins and interpretations. Follow the translations down the rabbit hole of meaning. Does KNGDV somehow mean help-meet or is she to be a guide, in front of him.

A.  Since so many old texts did survive, ask why.

What human need is at work in the preserving, copying, puzzling, making up narratives, and ascribing inspiration to be taken on others' faith.

Religious meaning. What is this? When in doubt, sound certain rather than question, say some.

1.  Seeking meaning.

Look for a cogent, respectful discussion of how absolute interpretations do a disservice to faith by faking security.  Do systems fill in to make a narrative that suits the institution, and fibs that the individual's fears and anxieties can be relieved by dogma absorption and supremacism, and denying others rights of decision-making on their own moral ground.  This is the way.

No, it may well not be. The other view: Does more security arise from questioning tradition, interpretations and mores in culture? There may well not be more security, but the state of not knowing at least is normalized, freeing the person from the drive to force others to follow one cultural-religious ideology.

2. Found.

This non-traditional religious-oriented group describes itself as progressive, but that is difficult to define, see http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/01/what-is-progressivism/And there are aspects  of anyone's religious life that are firmly within the traditional circle, retaining designations of the institution, for example, regardless of other movings outside it.
  • John Shelby Spong, retired Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Newark NJ (retired 2001), lays out an inclusive and accessible approach to theology, for anyone.  An interest is in the parts of texts misused to foster prejudice and violence. the facts that can shed light on all this human ongoing insecurity.  Live with it, positively, and as a bridge and helping hand to others regardless, perhaps.
4.  Premises of Bishop Spong, if I understand them reasonably accurately:  Please correct if wrong.

All humans seek security, but concretized faith positions cannot provide it, and should not distort old texts in order to try.  There is a basic flaw in ideological systems, in that they aim to convince people that they can find identity and security in this life, a very human drive, by adopting a system. And that deprives everyone of the full panoply of human relationship and inquiry needed to help each other, and live broadly moral lives.  Is that so?

5.  Current spur in the news for this issue. See http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/04/us/kim-davis-same-sex-marriage.html?_r=0
  •  A county clerk's spiritual life was shaped by a conversion experience with the result that she, in her own conscience, will not allow others to live their lives according to the secular law.  Her ideological system says that allowing same gender marriage is morally wrong, that the Deity requires her and others like her not only to live their own lives accordingly but also to aggressively enforce the institution's interpretation (from the Deity) against anyone outside the group.  Her own conscience, newly awakened, says to deny others their own path. Her security is in her membership ad her adamance based on her sincerely held religious belief. 
5.1  What overall might be the John Spong Response to the Kentucky clerk's conscience dilemma, and our own path:  
  • Source:  a monthly email Q&A accessible through Questions and Answers email about 9/2/2015,  johnshelbyspong.com/.  Mailing address: ProgressiveChristianity.org, 4810 Pt. Fosdick Dr. NW, #80Gig Harbor, WA 98335
5.2.  As beings conscious of our selves, danger, the future, and death, humans seek security, to reduce anxiety. Humans seek meaning. Religion is part of the anxiety-reducing and meaning system. People also turn to other substances, addictions, and other sources of even temporary comforts.

5.3. The human condition itself remains chronically insecure and , and no ideological system can bring security without distorting, suppressing, reducing the thought process to controlled level of ongoing dependence. 
5.3.  In order for religion to work effectively  as a security avenue, it must be "ultimately true with no doubts allowed."  Steps are taken to ensure that. For example, enter the (suddenly) infallible Pope (1870, declaration, but made retroactive) (I would add that censorship of other ideas so the belief community is insulated, also serves to remove doubts).
5.4.  That requirement of ultimate truth for the chose system also fosters the drive to compel others to comply.  (It follows that, rather than encouraging inquiry and interacting, the system seeks to add to its own membership, even if other paths emerge through text or events).  Rather than needing to be "born again", goes the idea, we need to "grow up."
5.5.  What is it, then, to identify as a member of a religious group (if that is what is desired) if there is no dogma.  As to Christians (Bishop Spong is one), he says:
"To live with integrity in a radically insecure world is, I believe, the meaning of the Christian life."   John Shelby Spong, see site
So, he continues, truth is not possessed, but is a goal for walking toward. Forcing conversions repels more than attracts, a sign of decline.  Spong, above. "Whether a new stage of religious maturity is being born to take its place is not quite as clear. That, however, is where the future of Christianity lies."

6.  KNGDV finds a kindred spirit in Bishop Spong.  There is pleasure in looking things up, finding Aha moments, but those will never change others' minds -- ever.  That is not the goal. Rather, KNGDV here is dedicated to the walk forward, the larger understanding of why we distort as we do.

B.  Broader secular epiphany.

 James Joyce and Epiphany. How awareness unfolds.  See http://www.mrbauld.com/epiphany.html. Considerations, and with warmth extended to the Kentucky clerk, a fellow
  • Consider the risks of vetting. Rather than add to the security offered by fixed systems, this vetting instead suggests that anxiety about meaning is to be lived with, as a normal, there are no absolute answers.  Texts that religious systems include-omit-interpret may well not match, even nearly, the old roots.
To balance the risks of vetting, ask about the risks of dogma adoption.  Do the certain institutions instead serve the survival needs of the institution, or the individual to attain some sense of security in this life. Does it matter, so long as enough other individuals seek understanding and perspective on their own. So, down the rabbit hole. Membership, adamance, dogma: do those bring security or merely delay.

7.  Start:  Take any verse, portion of any scriptural text, and vet. Prepare for surprises, and resistance by firm system believers to the possibility of taint, cultural self-serving, in the interpretations. 
  • Kentucky clerk, I think you would find the process of vetting your belief about same-gender deity approval or not to be safe, if you have like-minded friends interested in arguments counter-arguments. Certainty: No one verse will establish that.  
  • Skip labels like progressive. Think Progress. A constructive way of looking at tradition, and moving forward with and from it, using thinking, texts and ideology as a vetting opportunity.
And perhaps look up approachable Bishop Spong.  His ideas may be a war alternate place to consider our common walk, if your system allows. Conscience may be religious culture, the result of persuasion, not deity attention. Perhaps. How to know. Uncertainty.










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