Science explains everything

ben crosses the lineI remember hearing a joke about a Sunday school teacher who was telling her young students about the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. This teacher was more learned than the average Sunday school teacher so she explained that the Moses hadn’t miraculously parted the water to enable the crossing. Rather, the sea was actually very shallow — only a couple of inches or feet deep, in fact. So while God did rescue his people, he didn’t use supernatural means.

“That’s amazing!” said Billy, one of her young charges.

The teacher explained that God was amazing but that this crossing hadn’t been such an amazing feat. In fact, Red Sea was a mistranslation. It was a sea of reeds. A Reed Sea. And so the Israelites only had to cross a very shallow sea.

“Wow! That’s super-amazing!” said Billy.

Exasperated, the teacher asked him what was so amazing about the Israelites traversing the Reed Sea.

“That the entire Egyptian army drowned in a few inches of water!”

I thought of that joke when I read the news today that a scientist thinks the biblical account of Jesus walking on the water has a scientific explanation. Here’s how the New York Times put it:

It was a stormy night on the Sea of Galilee and the disciples were out in a boat, battling a contrary wind, when they saw Jesus approaching, as if a spirit. “And he went up to them into the ship; and the wind ceased,” it is written in Mark 6:51. “And they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.”

Doron Nof also wondered, in a measured, scientific way. A professor of oceanography at Florida State University, he conducted an inquiry and found what might be a natural explanation: ice.

Writing in The Journal of Paleolimnology, Dr. Nof and his colleagues point out that unusual freezing processes probably occurred in the region in the last 12,000 years, icing over parts of freshwater Galilee. This has not happened in recent history, but there were much colder stretches 1,500 to 2,500 years ago. . . .

From a distance, the scientists suggested, a person on the ice might appear to be walking on water, particularly if it had just rained and left a smoothed-out watery coating on the ice.

Not to sound like Billy, but that is amazing that a boat could be battling rough seas at the same time Jesus was walking on ice nearby. Not to mention that this event occurred immediately after Jesus fed thousands with the few loaves and fishes. And remember what the Bible says about that group? That Jesus told them to recline on the “green grass”? Sounds like winter.

Following on the heels of the prayer study, it’s interesting to see so much media coverage of scientific attempts to explain either supernatural occurrences or issues of spirituality. It’s also interesting to contrast with the media treatment of religious explanations of scientific phenomena.

When any group questions or raises concerns with the current scientific explanation for a given issue, it rarely if ever gets to just tell its side of the story without rebuttal. And that’s only fair and right. But when some scientist comes up with an outlandish explanation debunking Christ’s power, it would be nice if reporters would seek a response from other scientists or followers of Jesus who could explain the significance of the story.

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  • http://www.geocities.com/hohjohn John L. Hoh, Jr.

    “Not to sound like Billy, but that is amazing that a boat could be battling rough saltwater seas at the same time Jesus was walking on ice nearby.”

    Actually, Mollie, the Sea of Galilee is a fresh-water lake, misnamed a “sea.” Technically, a sea is considered international waters and national sovereinty extends only three miles from shore. A lake is divided among the bordering nations.

    But you are right, scientists are myopic in explaining the miracles they fail to see the broader context–whether its Pharoah’s army drowning in only a few inches of water or ice forming on a lake tossing a boat with waves while people stood outside for hours to listen to Jesus speak and then reclined on green grass.

    “The foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of man.”

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    John,

    Are you sure? I thought it was fed by saltwater springs.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    John, et. al.,

    I removed the word ‘saltwater’ lest I be accused of contributing to the misinformation of our readers. Thank you for pointing out my error. Although I’m still confused how a freshwater lake can have saltwater springs that feed it (along with the Jordan).

    Is it percentage of salt that dictates what type it is? Just curious.

  • Herb

    It’s passover (more than likely, see John 6:1-4), in other words, April 29, or 32, depending on which chronology you’re using. I seriously doubt there would be any ice on the lake in April. I seriously doubt there would be ice on it at any time, but someone wiser can weigh in on that.

  • http://rightonpeachtree.blogspot.com/ Mike

    It’s funny. There have been studies in the past showing that prayer has a statistically positive impact on patients’ health. Now this recent study shows that prayer actually has a deleterious effect on those being prayed for.

    I thinks that speaks more about the revered “scientific value” of these studies than about prayer itself.

  • dk

    Those legs are hideous. Is that guy wearing a speedo, or nothing? Nice socks too.

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    Has he considered that maybe Jesus had really big feet?

  • Caelius Spinator

    The salinity of the Sea of Galilee is 50-100 times smaller than that of the oceans. Furthermore, it has no physical connection with the Mediterranean or any other ocean or marginal sea. It, however, is somewhat more saline than the Jordan River, thanks to those springs, making its waters marginally potable and usable for agriculture.

  • http://cinecon.blogspot.com Victor Morton

    I think some scientists have been spending too much time watching videos of Ric Ocasek of the Cars.

  • http://www.ecben.net Will

    Don’t forget the ones who “explain” that Jesus “really” shamed the five thousand into sharing the food that they had been hiding.

    I am with Asimov on this. It is one thing to deny that any such things happened… but to claim that they happened AND were just ordinary “explicable” occurrences… will THAT get God mad!

  • http://blogs.salon.com/0003494/ Bartholomew

    From the Telegraph, Feb 1999:

    The Religion Business

    Walk on Water: Only 10 Shekels

    It’s a miracle

    TOURISTS will be able to follow in the footsteps of Jesus this autumn and walk on the water.

    Up to 300 at a time will step gingerly over a 240ft-long platform two inches below the surface of the Sea of Galilee near Kfar Nahum, where the miracle allegedly took place nearly 2,000 years ago. Lifeguards will be on hand to help those who do not quite make it.

    Plans for the platform have been approved by the Israeli authorities, who are expecting about four million visitors and pilgrims for the new millennium celebrations. The platform is the brainchild of Ron Major, an Israeli lawyer, who said it came to him while driving alone one night. Yesterday he said: “I was ashamed to share it with other people at first, for fear they would think that I was a lunatic.”

    He was at pains to stress that the project was designed to appeal to Christian pilgrims, not to make money. He said: “It will help people feel what He felt when he walked on the water. We are not trying to recreate the divine miracle, which we respect. This is not Disney World. If there is a charge, it will be about 10 shekels [£1.50], just to cover maintenance.”

    Ze’ev Margalit, of the Israeli National Parks Authority, said: “We could not believe it at first, but we have assurances that it will not be kitsch. The promoter has done research with Christians and most find it attractive.”

    One Christian who does not is Israel’s leading New Testament historian, Fr Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, a Dominican friar. He said: “This is bloody ridiculous. It is an absurd theme park gimmick. I suppose some idiots would want to get themselves photographed walking on the water, but what kind of pilgrim would play this silly game?”

    However, Fr Jerome conceded that the attraction of walking on the water might be strong enough to tempt even the most religious. He said: “When I was a young man, in 1964, I could not resist the temptation to walk on the Sea of Galilee . . . But that was on water skis.”

  • http://perfectwork.typepad.com Jennifer

    I’ve always thought that scientific explanations didn’t preclude miraculous ones–as if the operations of nature aren’t in themeselves miraculous—great joke…I’m going to pass that one on.

  • http://anklebiter.net/log brian

    I find it interesting that many people who think that religious folks are, at best, crazy, and at worst, lunatics, get excited when science attempts “disprove” miraculous phenomena. I’d think atheists would rather see scientists spend their time finding a cure for AIDS or cancer, rather than proving that Jesus walked on a patch of ice.

    (I just saw this link with a letter from the Ayn Rand Institute wondering the same thing in regards to the prayer study).

  • http://www.geocities.com/hohjohn John L. Hoh, Jr.

    Usually in my biblical studies Galilee was referred to as a freshwater lake and the Dead Sea as a saltwater lake. The Sea of Galilee has an outlet so, while it may be fed by salt springs, that water has an outlet and the sea is also fed by streams that flow into it (I recently learned that there is another lake even north of Galilee that also feeds into Galilee). The Dead Sea has a high saline and mineral content because it has no outlet (like the Great Salt Lake in Utah). I’m told by people who have been there that you can’t actually swin in the Dead Sea, you merely float (and then shower when you get out because you are covered in salt and minerals).

    I’m surprised the scientists didn’t trudge out that old joke about the three religious leaders who cross a wide river. The first two veterans walk across with no problem, so the newbie feels, “if they can do, so can I.” Well, he begins to walk across and falls in up to his neck. The veterans on the other side say, “Maybe we should have told him where the stepping stones are.”

  • http://www.likelierthings.com Jon W

    The worst part of it is that it assumes not only that Christ’s disciples were idiots who didn’t know the preternatural from a piece of ice, but also that Jesus was actively deceptive, letting on to his disciples that he was performing a miracle when in fact he was doing a trick.

  • http://agrumer.livejournal.com/ Avram

    Or maybe Jesus was ice skating, because that’s what Brian Boitano would do.

  • http://notfrisco2.com/camassiablog Camassia

    Not that it matters that much, but I can say as one who lives in a Mediterranean climate (California) that the idea of green grass in the winter is actually quite plausible. Since the rainy season starts in the fall, that’s when the annual grasses sprout.

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  • http://www.anotherthink.com Charlie

    “And they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.” Verily.

    Why is it that everytime a newspaper quotes the Bible they go to the KJV? Is this yet another indication of how clueless they are about modern Christianity, or do they just have a soft spot for archaic language?

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    I was wondering that too, Charlie.

  • http://www.geocities.com/hohjohn John L. Hoh, Jr.

    Link: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vie/Tiberias.html#The%20Sea%20of%20Galilee

    States:

    The Sea of Galilee

    Tiberias sits along the 32-mile shoreline of the Sea of Galilee. The Sea lies roughly 650 feet below sea level and is 14 miles long and 7 1/2 miles wide at its widest point. The Sea is the major source of fresh water for the entire country. The Sea, really a lake, lies on the ancient “Via Maris,” a route that linked Egypt and Mesopotamia.

    The information at that link is very interesting.

    Also interesting is this link to the Dead Sea, today a major spa resort area (all those minerals and such):

    http://www.deadsea.co.il/ENA/Index.html

    You can view the site in English or Hebrew. I’m a bit rusty on my Hebrew so I’ll stick with the English. (Yes, I do know Biblical Hebrew–the Wisconsin Lutheran Synod requires every pastor to have a working knowledge of Greek and Hebrew.)

    Recognized as a mini-universe with its own micro-climate, the Dead Sea is the saltiest and most mineral-laden body of water in the world. The unparalleld buoyancy and warmth of the water has everyone floating. And its health promoting thermo-mineral springs and world famous cosmetic black mud have been praised by visitors for millennia.

  • http://www.blackphi.co.uk/webitorial.php Phil Blackburn

    If you compare the links Mollie gave, to each other and to the source paper, you can see how such stories evolve. The LiveScience link looks like a bit of populist spin on a scientific study about the East Mediterranean climate: “We simply explain that unique freezing processes probably happened in that region only a handful of times during the last 12,000 years,” … “We leave to others the question of whether or not our research explains the biblical account.” And notice all the ‘coulds’ scattered throughout.

    The NY Times also has a ‘could’ or two, but mostly gives the impression that science has pronounced the miracle non-miraculous: “A professor of oceanography at Florida State University, he conducted an inquiry and found what might be a natural explanation: ice.”

    If you then go back to the source abstract in the Journal of Paleolimnology, then you get to see a different story: there were probably plates of ice thick enough to hold a human during the Younger Dryas period (roughly 12,000 years ago) once every 30 years or so; then there might have been such a plate once during a cold period about 500BC; and there might have been an ice-plate once during another cold period around 500AD. You don’t need that much Biblical knowledge to spot the flaw in the ‘Jesus walked on ice’ theory.

  • http://www.blackphi.co.uk/webitorial.php Phil Blackburn

    Sorry, the link to the Journal of Paleolimnology doesn’t work properly in the post above: try this one to the contents page of the April 2006.

  • Charles

    Maybe reporters tend to use the KJV because modern translations lack poetic force.

    Compare “they were sore amazed.” with the NIV’s “they were completely amazed.” The first is vibrant, potent. The second, pedestrian, lame.

  • Jim

    “It’s funny. There have been studies in the past showing that prayer has a statistically positive impact on patients’ health. Now this recent study shows that prayer actually has a deleterious effect on those being prayed for.

    I thinks that speaks more about the revered “scientific value” of these studies than about prayer itself.”

    Just to clarify for Mike, the original study you mention was about when you pray for yourself – this showed a benefit similar to the “placebo effect”. The latest study is about when others pray for you. The detrimental effect is observed with those who were told that they were being prayed for. This effect is thought to be because those that were told they were being prayed for may have associated that with a negative impression of their survival chances. Kind of a “reverse placebo effect”.
    I think your post speaks more about a lack of understanding of the studies, than a pre-disposed bias against listening to what science says :).

  • http://rightonpeachtree.blogspot.com/ Mike

    http://www.crystalinks.com/prayer.html

    Just to correct your clarification, Jim, I was referring to the study referenced above. It also dealt with heart patients who were prayed for by another person. It was not about patients praying for themselves. And it showed a positive effect.

    In fairness, I probably should’ve referenced it before, but I thought well-read persons who follow these types of studies would already have heard about this study.

    I think your clarification speaks more of a need to demonstrate a self-anointed superiority and nitpick than it does to provide meaningful dialogue.

    :o)

  • Jim

    Mike,
    My apologies – I hadn’t yet read about the previous study. I have now, so thank you for pointing it out.

    The Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health has an article about it, which is unfortunately currently offline. I’ve read Google’s cache of it though, and it contains the following:

    “A study on the healing power of remote prayer in the current issue of the medical journal Lancet may help correct misleading statements that the lead author made about his earlier pilot study. Thanks in part to this misinformation, the earlier study continues to be widely cited as scientific evidence of the efficacy of prayer.”

    The link to the article is on http://csmmh.org/news.html. Since its offline, the cached page is at http://66.249.93.104/search?q=cache:O_MSs4A28ZMJ:csmmh.org/prayer/MANTRA.release.htm+%2B%22duke+university+medical+center%22+%2B%22prayer+study%22+%2B2001&hl=en&gl=uk&ct=clnk&cd=1

    “need to demonstrate a self-anointed superiority”?. Hmmm.. possibly. “Nitpick”?. Maybe. Still, it can be fun :). “Meaningful dialogue”? I learned something, how much more meaningful can it get? :)

  • http://rightonpeachtree.blogspot.com/ Mike

    Jim,

    Apologies for being snarky. I agree that there’s not much additional meaning to be gleaned from this. My only point was these studies that are often deeply embraced and respected are weak by nature. There are so many variables that must be controlled. Even a slight change in a minor variable can change the results. So I look at them with a discerning (not necessarily distrustful) eye.

    I have similar qualms with other areas of science, including physical science. There is a big difference between physical traits or behaviors that can be observed and/or re-created in a lab and the part of science that, by design, must depend on a “best guess” as observed by the piecing together of an incomplete set of possibly relevant (or irrelevant) clues.

    In that respect, I do have a pre-disposed bias against those “scientists” who condescendingly insist that we accept whatever they say as fact. Likewise, I don’t march in lockstep with anything a pastor or evangelist tells me just because he said it. I try to evaluate everything I see or observe or believe through the prism that matters most to me – my prism.

    That’s just how I roll. :)

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  • http://www.geocities.com/sevenstarhand Seven Star Hand

    It’s [the] Symbology, Stupid!

    The topic of symbolism is pivotal to every endeavor related to uncovering the truth about the foundations of ancient Near Eastern and North African religious texts. These texts, which are most often associated with the traditions of all three Faiths of Abraham, are heavily steeped in similar symbolism that is clearly apparent in the very earliest mystical and religious traditions. Similar symbolism is found in archeological, astronomical and astrological settings, as well as in the mystical and wisdom traditions of the earliest civilizations.

    It is undeniable that early humanity thought and communicated with a more symbolic mindset than we do today. This is redundantly and consistently proven by the nature of all early alphabets, hieroglyphs, and the consistently symbolic manner that early architecture, art and knowledge were structured. Likewise, the narratives of most ancient wisdom traditions use strikingly similar symbolism within consistent contexts and themes. Furthermore, the use of numeric symbolism was pivotal to every ancient wisdom tradition. It is likewise a central aspect of Hebrew prophecies and wisdom texts and is widely evidenced in ancient archeological sites worldwide. This symbolic mindset is still readily apparent in all non-European societies and was prevalent in most pre-Christian European traditions. This observation leads to the conclusion that the imposition of Christianity is closely associated with the reduction of symbolic thought and its replacement by materialistic literalism.

    All ancient religious, mystical and wisdom texts have been shrouded in mystery for millennia. They remain enigmatic for one reason: The ability to understand ancient symbology was lost in antiquity. Consequently, the earliest known texts and traditions treat it as mystery and religion because the ancient cultures at the dawn of our current cycle of civilization were unable to decode them. All of the available evidence demonstrates that the ancient wisdom, mysticism, and religion of Africa and Asia arose using closely related symbolism about similar topics and concepts. This and other evidence clearly alludes to a common source originating in an epoch prior to what we label as recorded history.

    It is also blatantly obvious, though regularly obfuscated by many religious leaders, that their canons are not very well understood. This situation exists because the key to the ancient symbolism that permeates them was lost long before their religions were created. What is known is usually kept hidden by the upper echelons of religions and secret societies and obfuscated so low level adherents don’t understand the more esoteric interpretations. None of the Faiths of Abraham can (or will) truly establish the foundations of the ancient texts they evangelize. Consequently, when they represent clearly symbolic texts as literal narrative while insisting they are preaching the “word of God,” they are undeniably committing blatant fraud and exploitation. There is no other truthful way to describe the actions of people who claim to “speak for God,” when they can’t understand the ancient texts they base such claims upon and can’t (or won’t) prove the origins or reliability of their canons. While religious leaders and proselytizers shrewdly equivocate about the true nature and veracity of their canons, mountains of independently established facts don’t lie to us.

    Great effort has gone into textual, historical and archeological analysis in the quest to solve these persistent mysteries. Documentary analysis has revealed much about the construction of these texts. Archeology clarifies historical details and challenges certain assertions, but can only solve primary mysteries by uncovering a Rosetta Stone equivalent for ancient symbolism. Discoveries such as the Nag Hammadi Codexes and Dead Sea Scrolls, though spectacularly insightful, have failed to solve the primary mysteries. Nonetheless, they have provided pivotal evidence about the allegory, parable, and symbolism of ancient Near East and North African philosophical narratives and traditions. Even so, the primary mysteries remain unsolved. In large part, this is due to stubborn resistance and active obfuscation by religious leaders and adherents who value blind faith and dogma over truth and justice.

    This leads us directly to the crux question: How do we finally solve these ages-old mysteries when ignorance and deception are the obvious goals of religious leaders? To recast an often-used political adage: It’s [the] symbology, stupid! The only truly reliable way to prove or disprove the claims of all three Faiths of Abraham is to solve the great riddles that persist because the keys to interpreting ancient symbology were lost in antiquity.

    That is precisely what I have accomplished and documented in this book. I have verifiably solved many ages-old mysteries by fully reverse-engineering and decrypting the ancient symbology that permeates the canons of all three Faiths of Abraham and other ancient texts. After realizing that I was actually observing an ancient philosophical technology, I treated it like any undocumented computer program and succeeded at reverse engineering, reconstructing, and documenting it. The structure, foundations, rules, purposes, and functionality of ancient North African and Near East wisdom symbology and the long-lost Philosophers’ Stone are verifiably reconstituted and documented throughout this book.

    As you can see on the cover, my intentions go beyond simply presenting yet another scholarly discussion on ancient texts or biblical criticism. A primary product of decoding the symbology of the ancients is the ability to verifiably establish the origins, purposes, and messages of pivotal ancient texts; before they were recast as religious canons at the dawn of this epoch of civilization. With this understanding comes the undeniable conclusion that a series of originally symbolic wisdom narratives were systematically encoded over the millennia. They were all based on a very specific and ultimately verifiable symbology of such sophistication that it had to originate from an as-yet-unverified source during what we call prehistory. Those wisdom narratives were later modified to become the religious cannons of all three Faiths of Abraham.

    Contrary to the repeated assertions of Christianity, the pervasive and highly structured symbolism of these ancient texts is not merely casual, cultural, or poetic metaphor. When redundant symbolism is repeatedly used for millennia and is pervasive throughout multiple canons that belong to an ages-old genre of symbolic literature, we are undeniably observing a purposeful and well-developed ancient symbology.

    When religious proselytizers go to great lengths misdirecting our focus towards literalism or mere metaphor and away from such obvious facts, they are actively committing fraud. If the purpose of such well-orchestrated obfuscation was merely a scholarly or theatrical exercise, it could be overlooked. But these religions collect vast sums of money based on verifiably false assertions that negatively impact the intellectual and psychological well being of billions. Because religious leaders are purposely using deception and delusion for financial and geopolitical gain, they are clearly committing fraud for the specific purpose of mass exploitation. The same is true of all politicians who use religion to manipulate populations. No religion has ever arisen as the spontaneous expression of a population; they are all created, organized, popularized and imposed by people seeking personal gain. Consequently, when governments give honored status to religion, they are blatantly supporting massive criminal enterprises, which are destructive to the collective well being of their citizens.

    Likewise, contrary to the assertions of all three Faiths of Abraham, much of what has been sold as literal history, miracles, and religious content has now been verified as recast and misinterpreted symbolism, allegory, and philosophical narrative. The very same symbolism that permeates ancient Hebrew texts, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and The Apocalypse was purposely recast and methodically misrepresented throughout the New Testament. Furthermore, the purported miracles and prophecies associated with Jesus Christ are blatant lies based on recast Hebrew symbolism, misrepresented Greek style allegory, and reused mystery school traditions. Even more enlightening, most of the narratives containing recast symbolism are rife with historical and geographical error. These observations are not mere opinions but are verified by irrefutable and redundant proof from many sources.

    The original purpose for using ancient symbology to construct wisdom texts and prophecies was to transmit philosophical and scientific wisdom into our time by using a methodology that would survive millennia of ignorance, language changes, greedy leaders, and their religions. It also serves to prove that there was an earlier period of civilization during and after the last ice age. This civilization emanated from Africa and had a relatively small population. It was eventually overwhelmed due to the effects of rapid climate change and the population explosions of primitive societies following the ice age. This ancient epoch of civilization is alluded to by the stories of Atlantis, Melchizedek, Enoch, and Noah, among others. Such stories were modified and passed down by subsequent and more primitive societies that lacked the ability to understand ancient wisdom. They instead treated it as literal history, religion, and mysticism. By the time these stories reached the Greeks, they were rife with error due to millennia of misinterpretation.

    The texts associated with the Faiths of Abraham are similarly derived from ancient narratives that were wholly symbolic in their original form. The skeletons of ancient symbology are readily observed throughout these canons. Accordingly, such religious texts are likewise rife with false doctrine resulting from millennia of misinterpretation that was further compounded by purposeful embellishment. The same is true of the Babylonian and Egyptian mystery schools that were precursors to modern secret societies and mysticism. These cabals have always sought to gather and hoard secret knowledge for use by ruling classes, which have always included religious leaders. They purposely obfuscated and confounded the true meaning of much ancient symbolism while keeping what they perceived as truth hidden from the masses. That tradition has culminated in our time as the Vatican, its religions, secret societies, and the world leaders that belong to them. This occult and mystery oriented ruling class has controlled empires since ancient Egypt and Babylon. That situation is symbolized in the Book of Daniel as the four-metal image/beast and as Mystery Babylon in The Apocalypse.

    This book contains the keys to proving that the texts of all three Faiths of Abraham purposely and knowingly incorporate elements of Egyptian and Babylonian religion and mysticism. The true purpose of religion is to impose ignorance and to obscure so-called hidden knowledge from the masses. This is further reinforced by evidence presented by a long list of other authors and researchers.

    This first volume focuses most directly on The Apocalypse, because it was purposely and specifically designed to serve as the eventual code-key and proof-text for understanding ancient wisdom symbology. Once you understand the symbology of The Apocalypse, you can easily discern the foundations of all sealed Hebrew texts and readily decode and interpret them.

    The symbology displayed in these ancient texts purposely models the long-lost Philosophers’ Stone of Melchizedek, which was never a method of creating gold from base metals. That explanation results from misinterpreted symbolism and purposeful misdirection. It is instead a body of encoded ancient wisdom based on several related and synchronized symbologies. It is also symbolized as the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail and alluded to by the symbolism of the Grail Stone and Two Tables of Stone. The gem and stone symbolism throughout Hebrew texts and their derivatives allude to this ancient wisdom framework. The “two tables of stone” carried (conveyed) within the “ark” is also misinterpreted symbolism. It is in fact the same wisdom as the Doctrine of Two Spirits and the Two Ways mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls and later misrepresented in the Didache. The literal text of the Ten Commandments, which was supposedly written on “Two Tables of Stone,” was actually inserted within an earlier symbolic narrative by Babylonian-inspired Israelite priests and scribes following their release from Babylonian exile (Zerubbabel).

    Similarly, the story of Moses “going to the top of a mountain” to receive wisdom was an original symbolic narrative that was later embellished by the Aaronic priesthood. It is no coincidence that pivotal Hebrew stories and prophecies include water, clouds and mountaintops in clearly symbolic narratives. The very same symbolism is closely associated with the seeking of wisdom in other philosophical traditions. The original symbolism was later merged with Babylonian and Egyptian elements to become Israel’s state religion–exactly as Moses warned would happen. In fact, Aaron’s Rod, the Gold Calf, and the story of the Exodus all symbolize the ancient tribes of Israel rejecting the wisdom delivered by Moses. They instead turned to an Egyptian-inspired religion created by Levite priests that included animal sacrifice, which later incorporated other Semitic and Babylonian mysticism.

    It is already widely recognized that the Old Testament (Torah and Tanakh), the New Testament, and the Quran suffer from errors in translation and interpretation. Translators and earlier scribes changed many references to the Lord, (Melchizedek or “Archangel” Michael) to refer to God and vice versa. Likewise, the terms El and Elohim were regularly mistranslated as God, though Elohim is a plural term. It appears that this was part of a concerted effort to purge symbolism misinterpreted as signifying multiple gods. In fact, they were symbolic references to God’s nature (Seven Spirits of God and wisdom’s seven pillars) and were rewritten to literally refer to a singular Lord, God, Holy Spirit, or to many fantasy angels. Consequently, most of the symbolized philosophy like Solomon’s seal, Solomon’s Temple, the seven pillars of wisdom, the Doctrine of Two Spirits, the Two Ways, Seven Spirits, and Seven Eyes in The Apocalypse and Book of Zechariah were recast to fit Babylonian-inspired images of a powerful male god. It is no mere coincidence that all of the specifically named fantasy angels have the root “El” within their names. Likewise, the titles Melchizedek and Archangel Michael” contain the root “El.” Due to translation and interpretation errors further compounded by purposeful embellishment, the religions of ancient Israel and Juda were rife with false doctrine. It is therefore undeniable that the state religions of ancient Israel involved the worship of lies and errors.

    When you understand that the post-Babylonian-exile state religion was based on ignorance of the original wisdom symbology and further compounded by the strong desire to accumulate wealth and power, it is undeniable that modern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam represent greatly compounded error, ignorance, false doctrine, and verifiable deception. Furthermore, the images of the “gods” expounded by these religions are based on a morass of verifiable misinterpretation, embellishment, deception, and false doctrine. This leads to no other conclusion except that these religions are worshipping false images of the Creator, hence false gods. This is precisely the message of the Hebrew saints, sages, and prophets who consistently and invariably chastised rich and powerful religious and political leaders for their greed, arrogance, and fraud.

    One of Moses’ last pronouncements to the priests of Israel was that he knew they were going to modify the wisdom he delivered by bending it to their own selfish aims. I now deliver verifiable proof that the Hebrew prophets and sages opposed religion and thereby mistrusted the religious and political leadership whom they knew would modify and embellish prophecies and wisdom texts. Once you truly understand the symbology, these facts are easily and redundantly verified. Consequently, the symbology of the original texts purposely encoded a loud and resounding message: Religion is ignorance, deception, and strong delusion; unquestioning faith, belief and worship are the refuges of fools and the chosen tools of deceivers.

    The original wisdom texts were all constructed using the symbology of the ancient Philosophers’ Stone. Later derivative texts reused the original symbolism because of its mysterious and inspirational qualities and because certain stories told in a certain manner had grown to represent the core of ancient traditions. The creators of the ancient symbology fully anticipated and prepared for the fraudulent activities of future religious and political leaders. Accordingly, the resulting wisdom texts were purposefully designed to endure and survive millennia of tampering, misrepresentation, and misinterpretation.
    Continued at the following URL:

    http://www.geocities.com/sevenstarhand/preface.html

  • Jim

    Mike,
    no need to apologise – any snarkiness was deserved. I need to be less supercilious. When I said I learned something, I didn’t just mean about the other study :).
    I agree, everyone sees things through their own prism – the aim, though, should be to try and reduce the prism’s light-splitting effect as much as possible.
    I don’t have any problem with scientific studies. The trick is to try and get a look at the data and compare it with the conclusions drawn. Also, a simple search can reveal other interpretations, just like I did with the study you referenced.
    I think that intercessory prayer is a crazy thing to study, but that’s because the idea of intercessory prayer to me is crazy. Surely an omniscient being does not require being told that something needs doing? For me, the whole idea defies logic.

  • Eric Phillips

    I suppose Peter was walking on ice too, when he got out of the boat to walk to Jesus. But when he took his eyes off Jesus, he suddenly fell through the ice. Of course, if there was ice that close to the boat, it’s hard to figure out how it could have been tempest-tossed. It would have been ice-locked, rather.

    Basically, this guy has to take the position that the entire story surrounding the miracle is fabricated. So he arbitrarily discounts 90% of the story, then for some reason chooses to believe the only part that he has any actual reason to doubt. Yeah. The storm? That didn’t happen. Someone walking on water right next to a boat? That didn’t happen. Oh, but someone walking on water at all? Sure. It was probably ice.

    So dumb.


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