Spirit-WWW: NewsGateway Article <news:talk.religion.newage.73162>

From "Frank T. De Angelis" <spartacus@fda.net>:
Newsgroups: soc.culture.indian, alt.fan.jai-maharaj, hawaii.nortle, soc.culture.indian.kerala, alt.culture.kerala, alt.religion.christian, alt.religion.islam, talk.religion.newage, soc.culture.bengali,

Subject: Re: QuestionS/answers of the DAY/gods, war, AIDS

All Follow-Up: Re: QuestionS/answers of the DAY/gods, war, AIDS
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 1998 09:28:52 +0200
References: 1, 2, 3,

ramkrisp@imap3.asu.edu wrote:
> aditya (bc05321@binghamton.edu) > 
> Law suits may kill you if AIDS doesn't ;-)
> : 5. Why is that Hinduism has approximately 33000 "gods"?
> : 7. Who is a better god? Visnu or Siva?
> Dumb question.  And hence two groups formed to answer this ;-)  Shaivites
> and Vaishnivites and couldn't settle it.
Origins/parallels/food for thought (from The Polytheism of the Bible and 
the Mystery of Lucifer 0965783464):

....Similarly, although we know of the Aryan influence in the creation of 
the caste systems in India and Persia, at about the same time, little is 
known in detail.  Not much more is known about the original Greeks and 
pre-Grecian language(s) and culture of the Minoans (from the island of 
Crete).  Were these one of the Sea Peoples of the Old Testa-ment, as is 
commonly thought?  Were the Phoenicians and Philistines connected to, or 
part of, this culture?   It is believed that while Solon of Athens was 
traveling through Egypt, he was somehow introduced to the idea of 
abolishing debt - as a preventative cure for revolution.   His bold 
implementation of this policy in Athens led to the birth of democracy, 
giving freedom to all Greek adult males, as they became free citizens 
with voting rights.  Although we can read about this historic event of 
594  B.C.E. in several accounts (e.g., Herodotusı Histories and 
Aristotleıs Constitution of Athens), we have no idea as to exactly how, 
when, or  where this idea came to him in his travels through Egypt.   
Perhaps this was linked to the biblical story of debt and slavery in the 
Books of Genesis and Exodus.   None of these puzzling questions have 
ever been satisfactorily answered.  Some of the claims to cross-cultural 
influences, however, are much more probable than others; e.g., many 
strong claims have been made for Egyptian influence on Israel and the 
Hebrew language.

 It is my contention that key non-Jewish religio-ethical concepts were 
unavoidably included within the biblical Hebrew language.  The foreign 
and ³pagan² influence that was unavoidably accepted by the Jewish 
people, was eventually suppressed and hidden by Hebrew leaders; while 
(at the same time) the influence that was openly rejected, manifested 
itself in the form of all-out attacks- which had been instigated by the 
same patriarchal authorities.  Hebrew terms reflecting foreign 
influences were used in a pejorative sense, as verbal weaponry for the 
Jews (especially the priestly caste) in their attack on outsiders.   
This was clearly the case with Ugaritic and - to a lesser extent - the 
languages and religions of Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, and Egypt.

 Ra (ur) is a Hebrew term for evil, and is used in the Old Testament 
(e.g., in Isaiah 45:7, where God says He is the Œcreator of good and 
evilı).  In the Egyptian script, Ra and Re are used as key prefixes and 
suffixes for divinity, signifying the human-divine status of the Phara - 
oh.   We know that the Egyptian pronunciation of Ra is similar to the 
Hebrew -  after breaking the code of the Rosetta Stone - along with many 
other clues left to us from the Roman era.  This is how we know the 
correct pronunciation, e.g., for ³Cleopat-ra,²  where the suffix is 
used, and also for³Ra -messes,² where the prefix is used.1    The 
Egyptian Ra influenced many other cultures, including the Minoans, and 
may even be responsible for the Hindi-Pali-Thai  pra and bra prefixes.   
I am convinced that the similarity between the Egyptian and Hebrew is no 
coincidence, but, rather, is part of a pejorative transition, 
juxtaposing ³evil² for an Egyptian term denoting veneration and 
deification (i.e., for ³good/God²).   Furthermore, I do not believe that 
Rahab, the name for both the Jewish heroine (carrying the stigma and 
shame of being a whore) and the evil sea monster who loses in battle to 
Yahweh, is a coincidence either.2

        There are numerous examples of ra being used as both a divine 
name and a personification for evil in the East, West, and Middle East.  
Ancient India and Siam (Thailand) followed suit, as many other cultures 
did, in reflecting both the favorable and pejorative uses for the term 
ra.  Thai, and the Hindi language that influenced it, incorporated the 
positive Egyptian sense - as well as the negative Ugaritic-Hebrew sense 
- to ra.   It is both clear and irrefutable that, with Indian Sanskrit 
and the Pali texts, an overwhelming influence was exerted on the 
formation and development of the Thai language.   If, however, this 
influence came from Egypt and/or Canaan, it can not be demonstrated with 
any degree of certainty.   As a prefix, ra is the designation for royal 
divinity; e.g., in family names of kings in both Hindi and Thai.3    As 
a root, ra in Thai is connected with evil, e.g., the word ragsat,  for 
³demon,² in much the same way as the Hebrew ur (and its Ugaritic 
predecessor, rz, the transliteration from the original cuneiform 
writing, for ³terrible²).   These similarities and apparent connections 
are uncanny and quite startling.   Striking similarities are also to be 
found in the terms relating to god(s), especially with concepts of 
bovine divinity (found in most ancient cultures).

 Bovine divinity, reflecting both the male and female gender, is 
in-corporated into almost all languages and religions, including the 
Hebrew.  From the ox, bull, and bullock to the cow and calf, there are 
indubitable and inseparable ties with the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, 
Minoans, Ugaritic Canaanites, Persians, Indians, Greeks, Romans, and 
Hebrews.  For the latter, both the positive and negative concepts are 
incorporated into the Hebrew language and religion, including - of 
course - the Bible.   The ³sacred cow² of India manifests itself in 
various ways.   Brahman is Hin-du for ³God² or ³Godhead,² while a 
Brahmin is a divine and educated member of the ruling class at the top 
of the caste system in India (i.e., the priestly caste).   A root for 
these terms is Brih, ³to be great,² and, ac-cording to Hindu religion 
and myth, Brahma is the creator.  This last term is the basis for 
several offshoots and depictions of the cow and bull,  including the 
origin of the great and mighty Brahma bull.  With the help of 
archeological discoveries, we now know that the Hindus originally 
worshiped the bull as the fertility god, as well as the female side, in 
references to ³mother-goddesses.²   Hindu Vedic literature depicts and 
re-veals the etymology of Brahman  from/as ³the mouth² with ³the 
bellowing of a bull.²4    Hindus worship Nandi  ³the bull,² Kali  ³the 
divine moth-er,² and the gods Shiva and Vishnu, who have the goddesses 
Parvati and Lakshmi, respectively, as their consorts.  

 The primordial status of the bull can be traced back throughout all of 
history and prehistory.   The famous cave drawing of a bull found in 
Altamira, Spain, for example, dates back to between the fifteenth and 
thirteenth millennium B.C.E.   The first writings of Sumerian 
Mesopotamia have numerous bovine divinities and partial divinities 
(i.e., half human), from Gilgameshıs mother, Ninsun- the ³wild cow² and 
³mother goddess² - to the ³bull of heaven² (sent by Anu) and 
Utu(Shamash, in Akkadian), the ³wild bull.²  Objects of Egyptian worship 
include the Apis Bull and Hathor, the goddess of beauty and love, who 
was often depicted as a cow. 

The Ugaritic religion places Anat as Baalıs wife and sister, while 
Asherah (or Athirat) is the consort of El, and the chief goddess for 
that culture.   As it was for Saturn and Jupiter, Kronos and Zeus, and 
Kumarbi and Teshub, the transition of political power and supremacy - 
from El to Baal - also took place in the religion of Ugarit.  Israel 
probably went through this very same process and transformation, from 
el-ohim to yahweh.   Asherah, once included, was eventually eliminated 
from Hebrew worship, with no scriptural trace left, beyond the attacks 
of the ecclesiastical pen.  Anat had her complement in other religions, 
being similar to Kali, the Hindu goddess.   Here too, in Early Hindu 
belief, Dyas is superseded by Indra.1   The personification of Anat, the 
Virgin, also seemed to coincide with that of Athena and Minerva, in the 
Greco-Roman world.  (More on this later.) Now, on to the gods as 
creatures and entities. 

 The numerous sea battles that take place in the Sumerian and   
Babylonian literature and Ugaritic texts clearly had an overwhelming 
influence in forming the much later Leviathan-Rahab accounts in Job and 
Psalms.   There is a host of gods battling the Sea (Tehom and Yam), such 
as Humbaba and Enlil (in the Sumerian-Akkadian Gilgamesh epic), Marduk 
and Tiamat (in the Babylonian Creation Myth), and the Ugaritic Baal and 
Anat - overcoming Yam, Mot, and Lotan(Leviathan).  

 As with the sea monsters, female and male divinities are characterized 
in many different ways.  Similar to the Hindus, we find the bovine 
parallels (with the cow and the bull) in most ancient religions, from 
Sumeria - with Gilgameshıs mother, Ninsun, the Wild Cow goddess - to 
Canaan.   Daniel is a patriarchal figure in the Ugaritic scriptures, 
long before the biblical Daniel.2   The ³house of cedar,² to be built in 
the Second Book of Samuel (7:5-7), finds a parallel in both the Ugaritic 
and Sumerian texts.  In tracing the development of deities, we cannot 
ignore the impact of the earlier written traditions on the later ones.  
Thus, regardless of the influence of Ugarit on Israel, we must trace 
this history of gods back to the first written tradition of Sumeria, 
since it was the very first in history.

 The pantheon of gods found in the Epic of Gilgamesh, gives us in-sights 
into all of the  gods of other religions that will follow.   Even the 
hierarchy of the gods follows a similar pattern in many ancient 
cultures. Anu is the sky god and Father of all gods (much like El and 
Zeus).  His name reflects a synthesis of the words an, meaning sky, and 
ilu (dingir), for god.    He created the Bull of Heaven, for Ishtar.3  
Utu (in the earliest Sumerian version), or Shamash, in the more recent 
Akkadian version, represents ³the wild bull.²  He is given the epithets 
of: ³Šthe road of Shamash, the sun [god],² and is the one who ³crosses 
the sea no one cross-es.²4   So, shapash is the sun goddess, in the 
Ugaritic religion; Aton-Ra, or Re, is the sun-god in Egypt; and, in 
biblical Hebrew, the sun  is shamash, cmc, the sea  is tehom, \y t 
(t-y[a]m), and ŒMoses crosses the Red Sea.ı

  The god Ea, or Father Ea, warns Utnapishtim, the sole survivor  and 
builder of the ark, that the coming flood will devastate all of man-kind 
and nature.   Saving ³the seed² of all species via the building of an 
ark, reflects both, Utnapishtim and Noahıs tasks and accomplishments.  
Here, over twenty-six hundred years before Jesus of Nazareth (2600+ yrs. 
B.C.), the Mesopotamian scriptures designate Ea as the ³word god²   or 
logos (logoV).5   According to the Persian-Greek Mithraic cult, 
ŒMith-ras slaughters the bull,ı and here too, in the original 
Mesopotamian account, Enkidu, along with Gilgamesh, ³takes [or grasps ] 
the bull by the horns,² and kills the ³Bull of Heaven² sent by Anu.   
There is also an identity of the bull with Humbaba, who is a god who 
makes war, ³stirs up the sea,² and is responsible for flooding storms.  

  Gilgameshıs mother is Ninsun, the Wild Cow,  and Mother Goddess; 
characterizations also attributed to the Indian Nandi  and ³mother 
goddess.² Ishtar was called Inanna in Sumerian Mesopotamia.  Ishtar was 
also referred to as Aruru, the Great Goddess.   As Asherah was referred 
to as the ³Great Lady of the Sea² (along with Rahab and Tiamat - the 
Hebrew and Babylonian versions of the Greek multi-headed female, 
³Hydra²), so too is the similar Hindi feminine sea reference to the 
³Mother Ganga.²   In the Hindu belief system, Nandi is ³the (white) 
bull,² Kali - the ³Divine Mother, and Radha is the beautiful mistress of 
Krishna.  Ironically, Indra  slays the serpent with his thunderbolt.    
There are also Mesopotamian allusions to the Hindu ³demon king,² Bali, 
and Maruts, ³storm spirits.²6   Whether or not Bali comes from Baal, and 
Maruts  from Marduk, is speculative, yet probable.  Brahmin, Brahman, 
and Brahma have their roots in the Hindi brih, meaning ³to be great.²7   
This bra prefix is very close to the use of the pra prefix, from the 
Hindi-Sanskrit to the Pali-Thai texts (as we will see later, with astral 
deities and days of the week).   From Nandi, Bali, and Maruts, to 
Brahmin, Brahman, and Brahma-Bull, these similarities with the Hindu 
religion can be traced back to Mesopotamian origins.   The complete 
Hindu texts, e.g., the Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita, are dated from 
within the first millennium B.C.E., and note, for future reference, that 
it wasnıt until the sixth century B.C.E. that the Aryan influence helped 
to create the caste systems in both India and Persia.  The influence of 
Sanskrit can be seen from terms like soul, where atman becomes atta, in 
the Pali texts.8   Of course, all of these texts, it should be noted, 
predate the Hebrew torah. 

  The chapter in the Upanishads labelled Isha is reminiscent of the 
Hebrew word isha (or ishah), for woman.   The Hindi name, Ish, short  
for Ishwari, has its etymological roots in femininity, in general, but 
is verified and qualified - specifically, with the term Ishvara, 
designating  a personal god, or Lord;  this is much too similar to 
Ishtar and Isis to be a coincidence.9   The Hindi word for Lord is also 
the word Adhi,  similar to adon, adonay, and adonis (all signifying 
lord.).   Samsara is Hindi for ³passing through intensely,² and shares 
the prefix, sam, with samadhi, meaning ³together with god,² or ³absorbed 
with god.²10   It is easy to point out etymological cross-cultural 
similarities in ancient religions, speculating on the origins of 
influence; however, it is quite another to demonstrate the chronological 
order of the scriptures, tracing the languages, writings, and religions 
back to Mesopotamia and Ugarit.   My as-sertions reflect the latter, and 
pinpoint the essential origins of Judeo-Christianity within the cultures 
of Ugarit and Mesopotamia, but there were also influences from Egypt, 
Persia, Pre-Early Greece, India, etc.  

 It may be argued that the Hebrews, ³like all cultures, shared - and 
were influenced by - each otherŠafter all, this is considered obvious, 
natural, and unavoidable,² it is said.  It may also be argued (as it 
always is) that, regardless of ³the different names for God, whether 
they were created by several authors or not, Judaism is still 
monotheistic.²  ³Many of the characteristics of Judaism,² it has been 
claimed, ³are radically different from those other pagan polytheistic 
religions that did not survive.²  ³They relied on myths and astrology, 
not actual history,² so goes the explanation.  Astral deities were 
common in all pagan myths; with ³the Bible,² however, ³there is still 
the concept of only one God, who represents the Hebrews,² most people 
believe.   It does not appear to me, however, that the biblical authors 
(neither before nor after the redaction process) were referring to, or 
describing one and the same God. 11 

As a social institution, religion is inseparably tied to all of the 
other institutions of the state: political, economic, ideological, 
legal, and military.  This function has led to corrupt bureaucracies, 
evolving from priestly castes of one kind or another.   The elitism of 
the priestly castes, based on their consolidation of power and wealth, I 
am convinced, has accentuated and accelerated the development of both 
patriarchy and monotheism.  This process seems to have taken great leaps 
forward under Judaism and  Christianity, understandably so. 

 If Job taught us that Godıs intervention in this world is 
incomprehensible and blasphemous, then how are we to take the priestly 
admonitions of avoiding the wrath of God seriously?  How did Carl Mc 
Intyre know that God intervened in his Vietnam War Victory Parade, 
claiming,  ³there is no question ŠThe Lord rained on my parade, but the 
Lord knew what he was doingŠ He wants us to press on for another round²?   
A great number of Christian fundamentalists have claimed that the AIDS 
virus was ŒGodıs way of getting back at homosexuals for their immoral 
behavior,ı but that would be blasphemous, based on the message given in 
the Book of Job; so too would the claim by Hindu fundamentalists be 
illegitimate, i.e., in blaming Mad Cow Disease (BSSE) on people who ate 
meat.  Cause and effect relationships can not be understood via Godıs 
al-leged intervention.  Only science can deal intelligently with 
cause-effect events. (On this point, I believe Kierkegaard can teach us 

 Firstly, even in light of recent developments in the area of pathology, 
there is no scientific proof that Bovine Subacute Spongiform 
Encephalopathy is linked to the human Creutzfeldt-Jakob syndrome.  
Subacute Spongiform Encephalopathy and the dementia attached to it are 
not identical in both humans and (bovine) animals.  As a form of 
dementia, they are demons, entering the brain - to be sure - but solely 
within the confines of the medical and scientific realm.  Once thought 
to have been the African Kuru, and once thought to have been transmitted 
via the Lebanese common practice of eating the eyes of lamb, the 
syndrome for one of the most common forms of this disease has been 
initially diagnosed and established, and is based upon the following 
synopsis of peculiar symptoms and similarities: old age; acute 
depression from a tragic event; a previous cataract operation; a sharp 
blow to the head from a fall; and a history of diabetes.  What we do 
know - is that this disease is from a slow (sub-) viral infection; after 
entering the brain, the virus attacks the brainıs white matter.  What in 
the world, could these characteristics, symptoms, and events have to do 
with, the wrath of God?  

 After reading the story of Job, are we to conclude that God makes 
mistakes (i.e., God isnıt God), since the innocent are punished, too?  
In addition to homosexuals and intravenous drug users, innocent little 
children and heterosexual adults have also died of AIDS.  Obviously, 
the essential function of the church is not to help or counsel, 
strictly from the religious end, i.e., concerning Godıs punishment and 
rewards, but from the social end of the equation.  A group of Jews 
awaiting extermination in the Aushwitz concentration camp held a court 
session; they put God on trialŠ and found Him guilty.  Rabbi Wolpe puts 
forth a poignant, well taken, and final statement in his commentary on 
the Book of Job by relating a story of Hebrew wisdom, where the man who 
asks God why he didnıt send someone, is answered, ³I did, I sent you.² 1  

 This message comes down to the simple and yet profound truth found 
emphatically in Marx, that only human solutions can solve human 
problems.  Anything more is an illusion.  Believing that you are one of 
Godıs Chosen People (and therefore saved), or fearing that you are not, 
is not of earthly importance; hence, it is not a worthwhile function to 
be attempted by any institution in our society.  Hate and fear (of hell) 
are not healthy human emotions, although the values distinguishing 
between good and bad behavior certainly are.  (More than that = an 

 Sigmund Freud was convinced that religious ideas are an illusive 
by-product of ³wish fulfillment,² i.e., we wish for all of those things 
missing, in this world of oursŠ such as justice and immortality.   
Freudıs last two works, The Future of An Illusion (1927) and 
Civilization and Itıs Discontents (1930), are dedicated to this 
psychological truth found hid-den behind the illusive veil of religion, 
according to him.  It seems as if the development and formation of the 
Bible - via the priestly authors - has become a fabrication of gods, 
angels, and devils.  The actual existence of these so-called 
Œcharactersı of the Bible is highly questionable, but the import of 
their symbolic application to our lives is not.  Contrary to the living 
incarnations and personifications portrayed, by these authors, the real 
existential import, for both the individual and the community, can be 
found in social, political, and economic reforms and revolutions.

 Revolutionary movements and revolts against the state were very 
different from the so-called Œholy wars,ı both of which existed 
through-out all of world history.  Aside from the corruption and 
barbaric Œholy warsı conducted later, under the name of the ³universal² 
Church, Catholicism has been one of the few institutional beacons in 
history, by defending the downtrodden, and helping to feed the poor.  
The reason Pope Leo XIII delivered such a famous and radical encyclical 
On Economic Reform  in 1891, was because he broke the papal tradition of 
silence on social and economic matters, condemning, not only socialism 
and communism, but laissez-faire capitalism and interest-bearing capital 
as well.  Unfortunately, ³if youıre not a part of the solution, youıre 
part of the problem² (Eldridge Cleaver)Š and it was the famous Latin 
American revolutionary, Dom Helder Camara, who was reported as saying, 
³When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint; when I ask why the 
poor have no food, they call me a communist.²  (Taurus charges Orion, 
the hunter.)

 The Buddha and Gandhi were revolutionary to the extent that they both 
opposed the Hindu caste system.  Both were opposed to violence and war, 
but Gandhi was a political revolutionary who succeeded in helping to 
liberate India from foreign rule.  This is precisely why Mal-com X 
believed he was a closer follower of Gandhi than was Martin Luther King.  
King was a reformer, while Malcom X rejected ³passive re-sistance,² and 
fought for the Nation of Islam and Black America, as a nation within a 
nation.  Many wars, claimed Marx and Malcom X, were billed as religious 
wars, in order to justify stealing other peoplesı prop-erty.  The 
phenomenal rise of Black Muslims during the Œ60s was due to the 
hypocritical stance of Christians, insisting - on the one hand - that 
the exploited ³turn the other cheek,² while, in the same breath, 
advo-cating and justifying Œholy warsı of one sort or another.  Islamic 
belief, in a much more consistent manner, openly supported ŒJust wars.ı1   
This is exactly what both Gandhi and Malcom X fought in defense of: 
ŒJust wars.ı  The Buddha, however, taught that there is no such thing as 
a ŒJust warı Š³just  say no.²

 My aim has not necessarily been to debunk religion, or even to de- 
mythologize it; quite the contrary, it has only been to demystify it.  
Through the demystification of the Bible, we come to value reason and 
knowledge, and turn our backs to the dazzling lures of mysticism, with 
easy Œsmoke and mirrorsı and snake charming voodoo cures.  This can only 
be accomplished through historico-philosophical analyses, as a 
pre-requisite.   The monotheistic and polytheistic interpretations of 
the Bible, much like the interpretation of anything, law(s) included, 
require hu-mans to interpret what humans have created.  Thus, contrary 
to the claims of strict religious Fundamentalists and Constitutional 
Construc-tionists, all  laws, human or divine, require human 
interpretation, and all interpretations of law necessarily become acts 
of law-making, intentional or not.   Human problems require human 

Prof. DeAngelis   http://home.fda.net/~spartacus

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