This sort of ‘higher’ criticism bothers me. Clever people doing darkness – “the deep things of Satan” – do not stay clever forever.
On the other hand, God himself wants people to use their reason to come to him. He doesn’t want robot worshippers. The issue, then, is: Are we dealing with higher criticism by people with good or bad intentions?
I actually only stumbled upon this collection of responses to Eric Zuesse’s book, “Christ’s Ventriloquists: The Event That Created Christianity” when I was following links that originated with Eric’s Off Guardian article titled “America’s Secret Planned Conquest Of Russia.” I have come across mention of that book here and there but never investigated it. I wasn’t (probably am not) interested in Eric’s book. I never even had it on my mind tonight when I was flitting from website to website. But a page I landed on also carried an ad for Eric’s book and so I clicked on it in order to see what it was about. The first thing I got was an Amazon captcha, which I have no use for. What the hell is that? But I Googled a bit and found the book and a brief mention of what it is about. And then I found this website, Vridar, which allows comments.
I didn’t bother to read them all (or even note, initially, the date for the conversation, which was 2012). They’re fairly fancy pants comments. Are the posters merely educated God-haters? Probably. I read enough to get the flavor. Those people have all sorts of clever (and sometimes worth thinking about) reasons for rejecting Christianity. It was distressing, for me as a Christian, to say the least. Anyway, I read halfway through Neil Godfrey’s interesting commentary, which included much back and forth between him and Eric Zuesse, when I found that I could not not address a point about Eric’s methodology which Neil was conveying. (I finished reading the lengthy post before this was posted, but, as interesting as some of this stuff is, I can’t help feeling that it’s darkness and something that one cannot truly profit from.) Ironically, The passage in Revelation (chapter 2, verse 24), in which there is mention of “the deep things of Satan,” which I was going to throw at the participants in this forum, led me to a passage just before verse 23 that includes God’s announcment that he intends to kill a sinner’s children. That stopped me in my tracks. I can only be so harsh toward God- and Bible-rejecters when there’s passages like that in the Bible, namely the sort of passages that Noam Chomsky, a man of peace who I believe in, has a hard time with to the point where he has a problem with Christianity. Which doesn’t mean that he automatically has a problem with all Christians. He takes individuals on their own merits or he wouldn’t have bothered to write me to thank me for my “interesting and thoughtful” letter to him in which I talked about God and other things.
The traitorous Left should take note. Here’s one more way to divide us (us = the people who do ‘not’ worship the wild beast of corporatocracy, including those who ‘do’ fear God) and put us off balance. As the ‘imaginary’ angel ‘did not’ say to the apostle John: “Let the one who is unrighteous continue in unrighteousness…” (Revealtion chapter 22, verse 11)
An excerpt from the above linked-to post by Neil Godfrey follows:
I recently posted on Eric Zuesse’s Christ’s Ventriloquists: The Event that Created Christianity with a link to David Hamilton’s views of the book. The book also comes with nice endorsements from Richard Dawkins and James Crossley and others…
So when David Hamilton finds the thesis interesting but not quite convincing, and when other readers, scholars and non-specialists, find the book’s thesis likewise interesting, I can understand and respect where they are coming from, and to some extent I share their viewpoint. I am quite open to the possibility that some of the assumptions underlying the author’s case — assumptions shared by many scholars, too — will eventually prove to be established certainties. But I’m not ready to take that leap yet.
Unfortunately Eric Zuesse turned upon me with some hostility when, after pressing me to spell out the reasons for my reservations about his thesis, I attempted to clarify why I was not ready to accept the assumptions upon which he builds his argument…
Eric Zuesse stresses the uniqueness of his approach. It is quite unlike anything biblical scholars have attempted, he says:
…Being a responsible juror requires immense attention and care, far more than does simply reading a mere narrative “history” of an alleged event. In the present instance, investigating what might possibly have been the biggest deception in all of history requires a degree of intellectual concentration which will greatly sharpen the mind. Anyone who is prepared to engage in such an analysis will find the process itself to be rewarding, not only because of the new information and understandings which result, but also because the methodology, that’s used in this discovery, possesses wide applications, far outside courtrooms. A skill in recognizing liars (and their lies) protects one against deception, no matter what the particular subject might happen to be; and this increases one’s intellectual capacities.
Is it just me or is Eric saying that those who agree with him here are super clever and possess the power to engage in rigorous intellectual investigation that those who don’t agree with him can’t muster?
My typo-corrected response to Neil’s above linked-to post follows. My corrections are in square brackets, except in two instances. I dropped a redundant ‘are’ and changed the ‘d’ in passaged to ‘s’). I corrected the misplaced ‘e’ and ‘u’ in Eric’s name, which I wasn’t going to do, but then forgot to leave alone:
Being a responsible juror requires immense attention and care, far more than does simply reading a mere narrative “history” of an alleged event. In the present instance, investigating what might possibly have been the biggest deception in all of history requires a degree of intellectual concentration which will greatly sharpen the mind. Anyone who is prepared to engage in such an analysis will find the process itself to be rewarding, not only because of the new information and understandings which result, but also because the methodology, that’s used in this discovery, possesses wide applications, far outside courtrooms. A skill in recognizing liars (and their lies) protects one against deception, no matter what the particular subject might happen to be; and this increases one’s intellectual capacities. . . . .
I (a Christian) am appalled. However, I do believe that my mind is intact. It’s hard to argue [in defense of God when] that God (perfect, holy, all powerful) is behind threats to kill children for their parents sins, such as what we see when Jesus (speaking for God through other angels to John at Revelation chapter 2, verse 23) [did that very thing]. Which (in circular fashion) kind of supports what I was going to say about Eric’s above words. How could he honestly claim that when someone’s core – identity, including what fundamentally forms it – is ripped out of him (or…), via that person’s own analysis (or critical examination), he will feel rewarded? That’s disingenous. I note that Eric there didn’t remind readers that the Christian Bible itself recommends such analysis. Please examine closely and you’ll find what I don’t want you to find-? There’s Paul’s comments about the Beroeans, who, when he and Silas found them were “noble-minded… for they accepted the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17: 10,11)
Rejectors of God are, if they happen to be more interested in debunking God’s word than, say, studying physics or linguistics, of course going to both eagerly examine the Bible ‘and’ feel rewarded when they can point to conclusions, and evidence adduced to lead to them, that reveals Christianity to be a fraud. No surprise there. Yes, Examine. Don’t disbelieve first, then acquire a hostile attitude toward believers and then examine and draw conclusions and proclaim your success and nobleness in achieving it.
I landed here after following links that originated in Eric’s Off Guardian article about “America’s Planned Conquest Of America,” which he should acknowledge is hardly a discovery first made by him. I have for long been following politics, from a Left perspective (and discovering, to my horror, how much of the Left is actually traitorous and in league with destroyers on the Right) since the mid or late 80s. I was a Jehovah’s Witness for a few years and don’t regret it even though I feel let down by them. There is no one who will teach you – in plain language – what’s in the Christian Bible better than the Witnesses. But I came to believe that they got some big things wrong. As well, I didn’t like the way I was treated there. Which doesn’t mean you jettison what you believe when you shun those who you [no] longer feel support you. That would then make you an apostate, even if Witnesses might call you an apostate for disagreeing with them. (No, I never explicitly heard them say that, and even asked. But I felt that that is how I was being treated. And there was my disturbing experience of having door knocking Witnesses scream at me that I was possessed when I explained to them how they got their own teachings wrong in one instance. They didn’t realize that the Watchtower Society does not teach that all are ‘in’ the New Covenant. Never mind the ignorance. Look at the ‘spirit’ on display!) Anyway, I left my Bible studies long ago, not after having made the determination to do [so], but solely as a result of circumstances, namely life and chaos. I have forgotten more than most self-identified Christians know, sadly. And it doesn’t help that people (my family included) get their knowledge of God and the world from corporate owned media.
I segued into politics after seeing a review of Noam Chomsky’s “Deterring Democracy” in the Toronto Star. I thought, in a simplistic fashion, that here was a book that would give me ammunition in my spiritual struggle and in conversations with people about God and democracy versus theocracy. Then I read Noam’s book. It was information overload, to say the least. But, although I don’t possess formal education worth mentioning, I can read. I’ve always been a reader. So I read it and never looked back. That was my introduction to politics, or knowing what’s going on in the world in other words. Thank goodness I started with that book! It’s scary to think how much of life, our own trajectories, is by chance. I won’t say we don’t enter life with some inclinations that stem from upbringing (which I sort of never had, with my father absent and my mother utterly uneducated) and one’s own limited views etc, but for sure a lot of it has to do simply with people, family or friend[s] or strangers, who we bump into and in that way change our direction.
Years later, I wrote Noam a long letter in which I raised many questions and made many observations, including [mention of] God [in there somewhere] . It took him some time to respond (and I didn’t think he was going to), but his letter to me dealt with every comment I had made. He enjoyed my letter, and despite expressing [dis]belief in a God who cannot be measured, he expressed an appreciation for those who held religious beliefs. (I can’t see or touch Chomsky’s mind, but is it true that I can’t measure it?) Years, and many Chomsky books, later, I came to realize that Chomsky also has issues with what he sees as the promotion of violence in the Bible. It’s too bad he doesn’t see in it what I do, but I (and God) can hardly find fault in someone’s rejection of a source that is hypocritical about violence. Chomsky’s letter to me didn’t deal with this in any more detail than he dealt with other subjects looked at and it wasn’t anguished, although I have seen passage[s] in his books, dealing with God and Christianity, that I would describe as anguished, in which he felt anger toward Christianity and those who uncritically embraced it. It’s up to Jehovah God to determine whether Noam has crossed the line. I never thought so myself.
“America’s Secret Planned Conquest Of America” by Eric Zuesse
I was going to include this article in my blog’s list of important articles (and may still), but am put off by Zuesse’s hate-on for God and the Christian Bible. It depends on whether I feel he’s sincere. I don’t know him well enough to say, but I’m not impressed with some of what I’ve seen, as I’ve explained. The Great Game that Eric has discovered is not his discovery. It had been ‘discovered’, or exposed (often) before Eric Zuesse discovered it, and really isn’t secret. Arguably, that element in it, about Nuclear Primacy, is secret in the sense that it hasn’t been sufficiently emphasized by others who would surely know about it. And the policy shift from MAD to Nuclear Primacy is no small potatoes.
An excerpt from “America’s Secret Planned Conquest Of Russia” by Eric Zuesse follows:
The U.S. government’s plan to conquer Russia is based upon a belief in, and the fundamental plan to establish, “Nuclear Primacy” against Russia — an American ability to win a nuclear war against, and so conquer, Russia.
This concept became respectable in U.S. academic and governmental policymaking circles when virtually simultaneously in 2006 a short-form and a long-form version of an article endorsing the concept… were published respectively in the world’s two most influential journals of international affairs…
This article claimed that the central geostrategic concept during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, Mutually Assured Destruction or “MAD” — in which there is no such thing as the U.S. or the U.S.S.R. conquering the other, because the first of the two to attack will itself also be destroyed by the surviving nuclear forces of the one responding to that attack — will soon be merely past history (like the Soviet Union itself already is); and, so, as the short form of the article said, “nuclear primacy remains a goal of the United States”; and, as the long form said, “the United States now stands on the cusp of nuclear primacy.” In other words: arms-control or no, the U.S. should, and soon will, be able to grab Russia (the largest land-mass of any country, and also the one richest in natural resources).