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"I tore myself away from the safe comfort of "certainties" through my love for truth;

and truth rewarded me."

      "Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind"

                                                                                    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

" The bible was written at a time when people thought the Earth was flat,
when the wheelbarrow was high tech.

Are its teachings applicable to the challenges we now face as a civilization...? "

— Sam Harris (1967-),
author of "The End of Faith",
Los Angeles Times, Aug. 15, 2004


Judges 9:8-15
New International Version (NIV)

8 One day the trees went out
to anoint a king for themselves.
They said to the olive tree,
‘Be our king.’

9 “But the olive tree answered,
‘Should I give up my oil,
by which both gods *
and humans are honored,
to hold sway over the trees?’

10 “Next, the trees said to the fig tree,
‘Come and be our king.’
11 “But the fig tree replied,
‘Should I give up my fruit,
so good and sweet,
to hold sway over the trees?’

12 “Then the trees said to the vine,
‘Come and be our king.’
13 “But the vine answered,
‘Should I give up my wine,
which cheers both gods * and humans, to hold sway over the trees?’

14 “Finally all the trees said to the thornbush,
‘Come and be our king.’

15 “The thornbush said to the trees,
‘If you really want to anoint me king over you,
come and take refuge in my shade;
but if not,
then let fire come out of the thornbush
and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’

NB: Plural : "gods"

(The thornbush is judged to be king because fire originating within it can destroy the biggest trees.

when it was written,
it was no doubt considered to be "wisdom".)

"There are many people ...
who have found themselves
questioning beliefs they inherited
but never really examined.

This is nowhere more apt
to be the case than in the
area of religious beliefs.

Our religious beliefs come to us
in a protective coating of age
and respectability,

like the invisible "force field"
of science fiction.

It takes a degree of
intellectual courage
to penetrate this
penumbra of sanctity
and inspect a belief on its own merits.

Still, many people have done so.

They have themselves asking such questions as:

how do I know
that this book called the Bible is supernaturally revealed
and infallible word of God?

How do I know that there is even
such a being as God?

When people begin seriously to raise questions of this sort,
they find that their "faith",
that is,
their accustomed belief-patterns,
seems increasingly insubstantial.

- Thomas S. Vernon,
Professor of Philosophy
Author of "The Complete Secularist"

Giordano Bruno (1546 - 1600 )
Burned at the stake by the church :

"The foolish renounce this world and pursue an imaginary world to come."

Michel de Montaigne (1533 - 1592):

"How many things that
were articles of faith yesterday

are fables today."

New reformation Leaving

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Heavenly dreams

How would we understand someone who last night had a dream of God and today wanted to rename the place where he'd slept ?

What if it was the US President and he / she wanted to change the name of the White House ?

Try to think with modern knowledge as you read the following Bible text:
For clarity I've chosen a modern translation.

( Genesis 28:10 - 20 NIV )

Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran.

When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set.
Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep.

He had a dream
in which he saw a stairway* resting on the earth,
with its top reaching to heaven,
and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it

There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac........"

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought,
"Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it."

He was afraid and said,
"How awesome is this place!
This is none other than the house of God;
this is the gate of heaven."

Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it.

He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.

( The name Bethel means “house of God” - editor )

* The Hebrew noun (sullam, “ladder, stairway”) occurs only here in the OT, but there appears to be an Akkadian cognate simmiltu (with metathesis of the second and third consonants and a feminine ending) which has a specialized meaning of “stairway, ramp.” See H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena (SBLDS)

In biblical times,
people "knew" Heaven to be located above the earth,
and the earth was "known" to be flat.
Here are some verses :

1 Chr 21:26 - And David built there an altar unto the LORD,
and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings,
and called upon the LORD;

and He answered him from heaven by fire upon the altar of burnt offering.
I'd think it was lightning but David saw it as "God's answer".

Isaiah 66:1 - "Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool…………"

Psalm 102:19 - "For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth;"

Matt 5:45 - That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (KJV)

Job 22:12 - Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are! (KJV)

Mark 16:19 - So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. (KJV)

Rev 21:2 - I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,......" ( "saw" meaning "had a vision of" )

Rev 11:19 - And the temple of God was opened in heaven,
and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament
and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail” ( another "vision", but note what it included.)

Job 22:14 - Thick clouds are a covering to Him, that he seeth not; and He walketh in the circuit of heaven. (KJV)

Habitation of God

"Habitation of God and and of all the Elect... :"

Habitacvlvm ( also Habitaculum ) means dwelling place; home; residence; habitation
Dei means God

image is from Wikipedia, Geocentric celestial spheres; Peter Apian's Cosmographia (Antwerp, 1539)

Earth is at the center,
then the spheres of Luna ( moon ), Mercury, Venus, Solis ( our Sun ), etc... .
The historical understanding of where Heaven is located :
the other side of Satvrni ( Saturn ).
In his Metaphysics, Aristotle ( Greek, Tutor to Alexander the Great, lived 384 BC – 322 BC ) developed a physical cosmology of spheres, based on the mathematical models of Euoxus.
( To explain & predict the movements in the night skies. )

Each of these concentric spheres is moved by its own ( different ) god
— each an unchanging divine unmoved mover,
and who moves its sphere
simply by virtue of being loved by it.

The astronomer Ptolemy ( c. AD 90 – c. 168, defined geometrical predictive models of the motions of the stars and planets in his Almagest
and extended them to a unified physical model of the cosmos in his Planetary hypotheses.

By using eccentrics and epicycles,
his geometrical model achieved greater mathematical detail and predictive accuracy than had been exhibited by earlier concentric spherical models of the cosmos.

Christians and Muslims modified Ptolemy's system
to include an unmoved outermost region, the empyrean heaven,
which came to be identified as the dwelling place of God and all the elect.

The outermost moving sphere,
which moved with the daily motion affecting all subordinate spheres,
was moved by a fixed unmoved mover, the Prime Mover,
who was identified with God.

Each of the lower spheres was moved by a subordinate spiritual mover
(a replacement for Aristotle's multiple divine movers),
called an intelligence,
...identified with the angels of revelation.

Medieval Christians identified the sphere of stars with the Biblical firmament
and sometimes posited an invisible layer of water above the firmament,
to accord with Genesis.

An outer sphere, inhabited by angels, appeared in some accounts. - retrieved 9 August 2010

The map of the universe in the Middle Ages was religious.
Due to this, you will see that it was divided into sections.

The first sphere is shown as “Coelvm Empirevm Habitacvlvm Dei Et Omnivm Electorvm”
or “The Empyreal Heaven, the Habitations of God and of all the Elect”,

the non-moving seat of God and the nine types of Angels. retrieved 9 August 2010

Habitacvlvm ( also Habitaculum ) means dwelling place; home; residence; habitation
Dei means God

In this traditional Biblical, Christian understanding there was a real "Highest" ( "Empyreal" ) Heaven,
NOT some sort of "spiritual realm"
but a place that can be shown on a map, just as the sun ( Solis ) & moon ( Luna ) are shown.

Everything on the map revolved around the Earth.

The Triune God was NOT ONLY a Spirit, ( in the way The Holy Spirit WAS only spirit ) but was Something more.

The Trinity - equally & indivisably "God" included " God the Father " and a resurected ( bodily ) Jesus " sitting on the right hand of God".

This traditional teaching was NOT meant to be examined,
but simply believed
& the church made sure it enforced the belief,
even when it's own adherents came up with proof that things were actually different.

Copernicus withheld publishing his findings for decades until he knew he was dying.

Galileo Galilei's contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter (named the Galilean moons in his honour), and the observation and analysis of sunspots.
Galileo also worked in applied science and technology, inventing an improved military compass and other instruments.

After 1610, when he began publicly supporting the heliocentric view,
which placed the Sun at the centre of the universe,
he met with bitter opposition.

In February 1616, the Catholic Church condemned heliocentrism as "false and contrary to Scripture",
and Galileo was warned to abandon his support for it — which he promised to do.

When he later defended his views in his most famous work, "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems", published in 1632,
he was tried by the Inquisition,
found "vehemently suspect of heresy,"
forced to publicly recant,
and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

God would have been seen as an old human-like
( Bible says he made us in His image ) man ( My Father - said Jesus )
up in heaven - out there past Saturn.

He was supposed to have come to earth to talk to Moses & observe Job.
He supposedly sent "His Holy Ghost" and "His Son" to Earth.

We are still waiting
for the supposedly promised "Second Coming of Jesus",

even though, according to the SAME primitive texts :

"Verily (ie Truthfully ) I say unto you,
There be some standing here,
which shall not taste of death,
till they see the Son of man ( ie Me, Jesus ) coming in His ( My ) Kingdom."
( Matthew Ch 16 v 28 KJV ;

Matthew Ch 24 v 34 has similar :
"This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." )
(Similar passages elsewhere.)

One of more than 170 billion galaxies

What we have discovered since:

Our Solar system is part of the Milky Way galaxy.
The Sun is one of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

Typical galaxies range
from dwarfs with as few as ten million stars
up to giants with hundred trillion stars,

all orbiting the galaxy's center of mass.

There are probably more than 170 billion (1.7 × 1011) galaxies in the observable universe.

Most galaxies are 1,000 to 100,000 parsecs in diameter and are usually separated by distances on the order of millions of parsecs (or megaparsecs).

One parsec equals 3.26 light-years, or 19.2 trillion miles (30.9 trillion km).

Info source: Wikipedia

It is quite clear :

We do NOT have,
( and do not need ),

an invisible, pretend "Heavenly Father"
"up" in a primitive imaginary concept of the universe.

When people realised that these ideas
conflicted with reality

the primitive views were not properly questioned,

but were modified

to " everywhere" , "a 'spiritual' place" "in our hearts", etc.

Our present religious variations
attempts to salvage something from the residual wreckage

of uninformed primitive misunderstandings.

We now have the information.

It is time for an honest use of it,
& and for intellectual integrity...

"In the spring and with the coming of Easter,
an old man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of gods.

I am now 83 pushing 84
and the closer I come to shuffling off this mortal coil,
the more mystified I am by Christian belief
in the deity they call by the not very original name of God
(as if there had never been others).

All gods from time immemorial are fantasies,
created by humans for the welfare of humans
and to attempt to explain the seemingly inexplicable.

But do we,
in the third year of the 21st century of the Common Era
and on the springboard of colonising the universe,
need such palliatives?

Wherever one looks there is conflict:
Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland;
Jews, Christians and Muslims in Palestine;
Muslims and Hindus in the Indian subcontinent;
Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

Is not the case for atheism made?"

Sir Ludovic H.C. Kennedy , British journalist,
in a column titled "Put away childish things," The Guardian [UK], April 17, 2003

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