There is a line of continuity that exists and runs through the earlier Jewish faith and on into the later Christian faith. When both of these religions are stripped of the theological trappings of imperialism, of sterile religion and its empty rituals and meaningless dogmas, at their core they both deliver a similar message : "Let my people go!"
Introduction : Duality in the Jewish religionIt has been said many times that "the Bible is contradictory". It turns out that this true because imperialism and liberation are in opposition. Liberation can only confront imperialism, because imperialism enslaves, and the message of liberation is that of justice to those who are exploited in the service of imperialism. The Bible is 'contradictory' because imperialism and liberation are contradictory, and the Bible advocates both, and thus the Bible can never be found to be consistent about anything.
One of the really interesting aspects of Jewish religion that is kept hidden by the doctrine that teaches that 'the Bible is infallible, the inerrant Word of God' is that the Jewish tradition actually preserves a record of the conflicts that encapsulated the controversies that arose over what it meant to be Jewish. Because these were controversies the traditions are in opposition, and so then for this reason the historical Jewish writings are found to be inconsistent and contradictory. This is interesting, for by including both sides of a dispute, the for and the against, it demonstrates that the doctrine that the Bible was 'inerrant' or 'authoritative' must have been a later invention, since no such authority existed in earlier times when the manuscripts were assembled, but rather we find a record of disputes and debates within the Jewish community as controversy developed over what it meant to be Jewish.
The most obvious conflict was between the school of the priest and the school of the prophets. Was the vital core of Jewish faith to be found in religious ritual or was it to be found in justice?
The priestly source included the following :
"This is the portion of Aaron and of his sons from the offerings made by fire to the Lord, consecrated to them on the day they were presented to serve as priests of the Lord; the Lord commanded this to be given them by the people of Israel, on the day that they were anointed; It is their due forever throughout their generations. This is the law of the burnt offering, of the cereal offering, of the sin offering, of the guilt offering, of the consecration, and of the peace offerings, which the Lord commanded Moses on Mount Sinai, on the day that he commanded the people of Israel to bring their offerings to the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai." (Leviticus 7:35)
Contradictory passages are found in the prophets. According to Jeremiah, a dissident priest, passages such as the above were fraudulent, and he reported to the people that the priests were forging documents and then attempting to pass these forgeries off as 'the Torah' (which means 'the Law of God').
"Thus says Yahweh of Hosts, the God of Israel: Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh yourselves, For on the day that I brought your ancestors out of Egypt I did not speak to them nor command them concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices...but they did not listen, but walked instead in their own counsels...since the day that your ancestors came out of Egypt to this day I sent you my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, yet they refused to listen to me and became stubborn and stick necked. You shall tell these people these words, but they will not listen to you, and if you call for them they will not answer you. Then say to them, this is the people who have not listened to the voice of Yahweh nor are they willing to receive teaching. Now truth has perished from their lips and it is no longer heard in this land"..."The stork in the heavens knows the time to migrate, but now my people do not know the requirements of God...How can you say, 'we are wise, for we have the Torah (the law of God), when, actually, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie." (Jeremiah 7:21, 8:8)
The book of Psalms contains the lyrics to a collection of ancient songs, and apparently people composed songs on this theme, as you can see by considering the lyrics of the 50th, psalm which questions the notion of offering sacrificed animals as the food of some god.
"I have no need for a bul from your stall, nor of he goats from your pens. For every animal of the forest is mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, For the world is mine, and all that is in it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls, Or drink the blood of goats?"To understand the significance of this protest song you need to be familiar with the priestly documents from the Bible, such as Leviticus, where there are found dietary menus which spell out the nutritional requirements of some god they supposed that they were required to feed. The god had a varied diet, subsisting on various animals, grain products, and washing it all down with copious quantities of beer and wine. These animals would be delivered to be roasted by priests, and as for the beer and the wine, well apparently the priests were drinking that beer and win themselves, for Isaiah tells us that the priests were getting so drunk, they were vomiting on the tables and the floors of the temple.
The same protest theme appears in books by other schools of Jewish prophets, the examples which follow being taken from the school of Isaiah, which condemn both the god feeding rituals, which passed for official religion in those days, as well as the burning of incense which featured prominently in documents such as Leviticus. According to the priests the smell of a barbequed animal was 'a soothing aroma' which would then calm down a wrathful god angered by sin, while to Isaiah the smell of that animal roasting was a reeking stench, and the stink of it all actually provoked God to wrath. This is irony, not to mention sarcasm, and it clearly targets Leviticus, just as the polemic of Jeremiah targeted the priestly documents of the Bible and its invented mythology..
"To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me? I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of he-goats. When you come to appear before me, who requires this of you. No more will you be trampling my courts? Bring no more useless offerings; the reek of sacrifice is abhorent to me"..."Sacrificing an ox is like killing a man, sacrificing a sheep is like breaking a dog's neck, offering an oblation like offering pig's blood, and the one who offers incense blesses an idol. These people have chosen their own ways, and their souls revel in their abominations." Isaiah 1:11, 66:3
There are also contradictions caused by controversies to be found in the later Christian writings. One particularly good example is found in the Gospel of Mark, where the Jesus figure is portrayed as a sinner, which is in conflict with later developments in Christian theology, which made the Jesus figure out to be a sinless divine god. Do not call me good, he is given to say, for no one is good except God. So then it would have to be the case that Jesus would be a critic of Christian theology, for Christian theology holds that Jesus was without sin, therefore Jesus was good, but then Christian theology also insists that Jesus was a god, and if he was angry that someone called him good, then surely he would be appalled to be called a god. The doctrines of Mark conflict the doctrine of divinity found in Matthew, Luke and John, and also with the same doctrine found in the book of Romans.
. The Jesus figure is also portrayed in Mark's gospel as being baptized in the Jordan for his sins by John the Baptist, which so embarrassed later gospel writers, who had already begun to process of transforming the Jesus figure into a god, that they rewrote the Baptist story, or turned it upside down (for example, in the Gospel of John, the Christ figure has become the divine Word, the creator of heaven and earth, and upon seeing him, John the Baptist glorifies him as a divine being, and then immediately goes into retirement, recognizing that now that a divine god has appeared his services as a Baptist are no longer required. The Jesus figure does not require Baptism, but rather takes over John's job, and performs the baptism of others himself.). In Matthew's gospel John at first refuses to baptize Jesus, stating that it should be the other way around, and only consents when Jesus insists that he needs to be baptized, not for sin, because he has none, but only because he is afraid that people might gossip if they found out he wasn't baptized, therefore, as a formality and just to keep up appearances, it would be better to silence the gossips for him to at least appear to need baptism. These are examples of the tortured way later gospel writers found ways to rewrite history to agree with evolving dogma, since Mark's gospel is a very early work, compared to the rest, as is demonstrated by how little doctrine is found in the Gospel of Mark, and instead we find those embarrassing passages which contradict later Christian doctrine.
The Gospel of Mark was the source for what later became known as 'heresies' (such as Arianism) and this leads one to wonder why it would be the case that what theology would consider heresy would nevertheless be canonized and declared sacred scripture, considering all the trouble this would cause later when it came time to stamp out the heresies such writings were bound to inspire. The answer is found in social processes, in that an alliance was being forged with Caesar which would then result in the Christian religion becoming the official religion of the empire, and one thing Caesar demanded was unity in the church, since it was his intention to use the religion as a tool to unify the Roman empire, which was in decay and approaching the point of terminal collapse. For this reason it was required that disparate Christian traditions at least appear to come together in some sort of agreement, and that meant that their documents had to be included in the official list of books, lest their be a split in the church. Archeologists have discovered copies of the Gospel of Mark in wide spread locations, which was an indication of how popular the manuscript was, and given the size of the movement using this manuscript it was required that other churches just hold their nose and make at least a temporary alliance with these heretics. Later, after having assumed full power in the Roman Empire, they could then rely on the power of the Roman state to stamp out the heresies inspired by the Gospel of Mark, and the heretics were crushed but the manuscript itself survived this process. Later on theologians would attempt to explain the contradictions between Mark's gospel and theology by insisting that Mark's gospel was 'immature' or 'undeveloped', and it was called 'the little gospel' or the 'minor gospel', while it was suggested that the church had a 'progressive revelation' which then resulted in the superior theology of the later manuscripts.
A similar social process resulted in the fusion of contradictory manuscripts in the Jewish scriptures, this time the process being driven by the experience of the shattering of the Jewish nation during the time of the Babylonian empire, when the Jewish people were carried off into exile, and responded to the situation by agreeing to disagree in order to join together so as to forge a national identity that would be able to survive the experience of being a people in exile.
Religion, the pillar of support for social inequalityThe Jewish writings are complex because of the social process that resulted in the fusion of these disparate traditions, but for the purposes of this discussion the writings can be separated into two categories which stand in opposition to one another. One could say that Israeli society was divided between the religious right, the Jewish imperialists, who preached social inequality and religious ritual, and the Jewish prophecy movement, which disdained religion, and instead preached Liberation theology.
The imperialist writings of the Jewish Religious Right concern themselves with war and conquest, and the acquisition of real estate, and because the real estate being coveted was not empty, the imperialists were also racists who advocated either displacement or genocide for the native populations who were in their way. All the racist writings of the Jewish tradition naturally belong in this religious right camp for that reason alone, and this becomes more apparent when you consider that the modern religious right continues to defend those traditions to this very day, while those in opposing traditions ignore them. The right defends the right, and so we see this pattern, because those racist, militaristic, imperialist documents are the property of the religious right and always have been, and thus they defend their own. Naturally with an agenda like that, religion for such people becomes sterile ritual, and thus the rituals of animal sacrifice and other such empty practices belong to the religious right as well, which explains why they so stubbornly insist that Jesus was the fulfillment of the animal sacrifice ritual in Leviticus. To do otherwise would be to preach a naked crucifixion, which would be a condemnation of state violence and oppression, and since one cannot be an imperialist without being an oppressor, and without slave driving, and since enslavement requires terror and force and never proceeds voluntarily, the right wing must preach ritual instead, and then use ritual to change the meaning of crucifixion for those very reasons.
This biblical racism expressed itself in the form of either genocide or the practice of slavery (as it states in the documents, 'slaves you may possess, but make sure they are foreigners. You may also make slaves out of the natives of the conquered lands. You may own them as chattels and leave them as an inheritance to your children as their property, making them into your slaves forever.') This racism encapsulated support for social inequality, in that not all human beings were equal or worthy of being treated the same. In the same way not everyone deserved the be rich, and as for the poor, not everyone deserved to live. Imperialist doctrines then can be seen as the polar opposite of liberation, although it is quite common for imperialists to promise liberation, typically freedom from being tortured in places like hell, which is then celebrated as a form of liberation, since it would seem liberation is so desirable that even oppressors must proclaim themselves to be liberators, which should tell you something right there.
Jewish prophecy as Liberation theologyThe opposing tradition of Liberation Theology was concerned with liberation of slaves and the end of exploitation and inequality, and finds its expression in the story of the Exodus of the slaves from bondage to Pharaoh in Egypt. Moses becomes a role model for the Jewish believer, whose task is to rescue the weak and the helpless from the oppression of the ruthless and the powerful, and the message of their theology was the message Moses gave to the Pharaoh, which was 'Let my people go!'
Faith then was not ritual, but rather consisted of doing justice, and it is in this tradition that one could also place the later emerging tradition of Jewish prophecy, in that the Jewish prophets had a low opinion of the religious rituals of the time, and insisted that true faith was expressed in the pursuit of justice, while religion was something that only served to divert the people away from the path of justice by keeping them distracted with meaningless religion and its pointless rituals Even worse, by following 'the commands of God' to perform such sterile rituals, they took upon themselves a false sense of righteousness, while looking down upon others who had 'disobeyed God', and they also made the task easier on themselves, as ritual was easy, but struggling for justice was more of a challenge, and so then we see that the religious chose an easy path, which is an indication of concern for self and lack of concern for others.
Isaiah mocked the infatuation of religion with doctrine as empty and pointless, when he testified that ,
'the heads of their prophets have been covered and the seers have been blinded for to them religion has become the study of mysterious words hidden in a scroll...it is all just rule upon rule, line upon line, here a little, there a little...for their entire religious practice consists of doctrines of priests which they have memorized by rote repetition.'
This passage encapsulates the differences that existed between the imperialists who practiced both religion and injustice, and the prophets who rejected religion and all the warfare that went along with that imperialist religious practice, and instead preached justice and liberation. Religion was a hypocritical fraud, they insisted, of which the only purpose was to divert the people from justice, while at the same time giving them a false sense of righteousness, which then meant that they lost, in effect, their moral compass. People could 'be good' by not doing good, which in itself then was a way of supporting systems of oppression, even if the people themselves did not actually do the deeds of an oppressor. Silence equals consent.
Later Isaiah would be canonized and his writings become 'scripture' at which time they began quoting him a line at a time, a line here, a line there, in the Christian tradition, taking a line here or a line there out of context (which was even worse), and priests began making up doctrines from bits and pieces of the writings of Isaiah which people were then expected to memorize off by heart (that bit about the virgin birth comes to mind, which was based upon a mistranslated quote from Isaiah, taken completely out of context, a line here, a line there, here a little there a little, this doctrinal creation then added onto that rather lengthy list of such doctrines one must be immediately become trained to repeat by rote the instant one gets 'saved' lest one be found to not have proper religion). If they dug up Isaiah's grave I am sure they would find him face down, Isaiah having rolled over in the grave because of it all I am sure.
Jewish Prophets and the call to RevolutionJewish prophets were revolutionaries who called for the overthrow of the corrupt governing powers of the time, and like Marxists, they called for social inequality to be made concrete through the dispossession of the wealthiest citizens. Poverty, they insisted, was caused by greed, and the solution to such obvious injustice was an equitable distribution of the available resources. Most people would probably be unaware that Jewish prophets were revolutionaries, but then most people either have religion or have heard about religion, and religion as I mentioned only exists to subvert revolution and support imperialism and social inequality, so naturally prophets are dragged through the muck and the mire by being made into tools of religious doctrines, a line here, a line there, here a little, there a little.
Another good example of the conflict between Liberation Theology and religion is found in the writings of the Jewish prophet Micah, who preached land reform, much as some Catholics do today in the third world, only to get condemned by the Pope, just as was the case with Micah, who was condemned by the religious for exactly the same reason, proving that the more things change the more they stay the same.
Micah described a situation in ancient Israel very much the same as the situation in third world countries around the world today. A small oligarchy consisting of just a handful of vert families had devoured almost all the land in the country (it is typical today for these third world oligarchies to own over three quarters of the nations land and wealth...for example El Salvador has been owned by about seven families, and the native populations of Guatemala have been forced during the reign of imperialist colonialism to scratch out a living on the less fertile mountain sides, since the traditional oligarches, as well as large corporations, a new type of oligarchy, control all the good land in the country, leaving only those mountain sides available for the oppressed populations of such countries)..
It is not common knowledge that the Jewish prophets preached revolution to go along with their liberation theology, but that should be no surprise if they were sincere in their call for justice, for it is not possible to be liberated and to be oppressed at the same time. That is just simple common sense. Therefore we can separate the wheat from the chaff by considering this simple truth (thus separating empty religion and its sterile prescriptions from genuine liberation, in that the message of liberation leads to liberation, which once again, is just obvious). Another example of this revolutionary preaching is found in Isaiah's condemnation of the oligarches, since this message was not only the message of Micah, but then how could it be only his message, when the problem was so persistent, and they kept crucifying prophets in those days, which meant it was no surprised to see someone else appearing to pick up the dropped torch.
Isaiah's call for land reform and revolution in Israel is couched in the language of 'jihad', or a Holy War as you can tell by considering the following passage from the fifth chapter of Isaiah..
"God looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, a cry! Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room, and you alone are left to dwell in the land. Yahweh of hosts has sworn in my hearing: "Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant." ... Therefore the grave has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure, and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude go down, her throng and all those who exult in her. Man is bowed down, and men are brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are humbled. But YAHWEH of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God is revealed as holy in righteousness. Then shall the lambs graze as in their pasture and feed among the ruins. Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin as with cart ropes, who say: "Let God make haste, let God speed the work that we may see it; let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and let it come, that we may know it!" Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right! Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust... the mountains quaked; and their corpses were as refuse in the midst of the streets."
Messianic ProphecyMost people have heard bits of pieces of Jewish Messianic prophecy. You know, the part about the blind seeing and the lame jumping or the lion laying down with the lamb, and so on. What most people probably don't know is that once again Jewish Messianic prophecy is liberation theology in the form of the prophecy of revolution, something you can only understand when you read those Messianic prophecies in their full context. Passages are only ripped out of context to hide their context, and given that this context is revolution led by the coming Messianic leader, it is understandable why religion would prefer to rip.
The following is one of the better known 'Messianic prophecies', and it is often quoted to refer to the Christ figure. It is worth noting here that this prophecy does not necessarily refer to 'Jesus', which would be only one way to interpret the passage, but 'predicting Jesus' is not the theme of the speech, but rather the main theme here is the establishment of a just system following a revolutionary overthrow of an oppressive system of ruthless inequality.
Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice. Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a covert from the tempest, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land. Then the eyes of those who see will not be closed, and the ears of those who hear will hearken. The mind of the rash will have good judgment, and the tongue of the stammerers will speak readily and distinctly. The fool will no more be called noble, nor the knave said to be honorable. For the fool speaks folly, and his mind plots iniquity: to practice ungodliness, to utter error concerning Yahweh, to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied, and to deprive the thirsty of drink. The knaveries of the knave are evil; he devises wicked devices to ruin the poor with lying words, even when the plea of the needy is right. But he who is noble devises noble things, and by noble things he stands. ... Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field. And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust for ever. My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. And the forest will utterly go down, and the city will be utterly laid low. ... Woe to you, destroyer, who yourself have not been destroyed; you treacherous one, with whom none has dealt treacherously! When you have ceased to destroy, you will be destroyed; and when you have made an end of dealing treacherously, you will be dealt with treacherously.
The following is one of the more famous messianic passages ('the wolf will lie down with the lamb'). You will note that once again this passage is found to be set within a revolutionary context, describing the overthrow of the powerful oppressors of the poor and the weak of the land..
With righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.
The Bible and the Big LieNow much more could be said about this, and I would like to say as much as I can, because I find it so offensive that people consider the Jewish prophets to be backwards right wing reactionaries, so much so that if you mention 'Jewish prophets', some people try to stifle the urge to vomit. This is unfortunate, but then people are really ignorant because they are deliberately kept ignorant. One of the main purposes of the religious right throughout history has been to so discredit the truth that because of them people of all nations are provoked to blaspheme. So we see big feuds going on with the religious right claiming to want to 'bring God back into the schools' or bring God back into government or the court system, and this will stir up a huge backlash, since what the religious right wants to do is to have little children exposed to that genocidal racism and slaughter in the Bible, since it is obvious that the religious right is not interested in exposing little kids to revolution, nor are they interested in a revolution in the governing system or the courts, and they certainly are dead set against land reform. Since no one wants their children exposed to the homicidal imperialism of religion and no one wants their country governed by the rotten superstitions of ancient religious ritual or the violent oppression that was meted out to dissent in those days, naturally people are found to be gross bigots when it comes to the history of the traditions in the Bible. They know very little about the complexities of the historical record, and given how they are constantly involved in attempts to stop the oppressions of the religious right, they assume it must be all evil, since it did after all produce the religious right, and anything that produces something that offensive cannot be good.
Now given how revolutionary parts of the Bible can be one must wonder why the religious right would be so eager to have 'the Bible brought back to the country.' That would seem to be quite a risky move for imperialists who are determined to stifle the poor and deny justice to the earth while they work to protect the rich and the powerful. But then I would suppose that the religious right is not worried since they retain great confidence in that source of mass confusion and obfustication known as 'theology'. After all, religion has kept people blind and ignorant for millennia, and when something works that well for that long, you can understand how some people might still be able to place complete confidence in that process of benumbing and confusion, and thus take the risk of exposing even more people to the Bible. I would suppose that the homicidal fury of those religious right writings in the Bible are such a source of stupefying superstitious horror and dread fear that they are guaranteed to overwhelm and dominate, or this would certainly seem to be the way that works. Therefore people have become devoted readers of 'God's word' and present no threat that they might become just and righteous, but rather they become militaristic imperialists and racists or other types of bigots, since that was the intended product of such documents, and thus no accident.
The doctrine of 'Biblical infallibility' is required only to protect the raw sewage that has been included in the Bible, the mass murder, the rape, the plunder and looting and oppression and the systems of domination and exploitation which has been normalized through inclusion in what is then extolled as our society's most sacred book. For this reason theology must be founded upon the Big Lie and everything built must be based upon a pack of lies. Now a person could tell the truth about the Bible, that is full of sharp contradictions, the contradictions between imperialism and liberation, between oppression and justice, between dominance and equality. This would then lead a person to choose the good and throw out the wicked. The reason for this is that no one chooses the wicked, but rather the wicked requires 'Biblical apologetics', which is an admission that, yes, the Bible has wickedness to be found on its pages, or there would be no need for these apologetics. Therefore, since everyone wants to claim to be good, it is required that only those who are promoting the homicidal doctrines found in the Bible are those who will falsely claim that the Bible is without error, for that is the only way that they can keep the wickedness of the Bible, without actually admitting that they are keeping what is wicked, which is unacceptable, which is why no one does that, but they tell lies about the Bible instead to cover up for what they are actually doing.
We can see then that a litmus test to distinguish between a 'Christian' and a hypocritical imperialist for whom religion is just a tool of oppression is to be found in considering that doctrine of 'Biblical authority and inerrancy.' For theology is a form of propaganda found to be based upon Hitler's Big Lie technique. Tell a big enough lie, and since people do not believe that anyone could be an atrocious liar, they will believe the lie is the truth. Similarly tell people that genocidal murder is holy, or senseless superstition and empty ritual are holy, and since no one could believe that anyone would be monstrous enough to include supreme evil in the Bible, they will believe that it must be holy. Or so it would seem. All propaganda brainwashing consists of making what is evil seem good, and theology and its apologetics is one of the classic examples of that particular form, since no one wants to be seen as doing what is wrong, but rather they must become wolves in sheep's clothing, because no one can be a naked wolf, even when they are out stalking prey. People must at least seem good, even when they are not.
The (unknown) Christian RevolutionIf we reject the Big Lie that teaches that the Bible is 'God's Infallible Word', then we can separate what is found in the Bible into individual piles, based upon who wrote and what they were attempting to accomplish. As I mentioned the religious right will never tolerate this practice, because that would mean that they would be stuck with the evil pile, while someone else would be found to be in possession of a pile of revolution, which is exactly the very thing they don't want, since subverting revolution is the reason behind all the seeming religious activity of the religious right.
Once we have separated those piles, we find that the ancient Jewish tradition can be roughly separated into two categories - (1) genocidal imperialism and forms of domination which center upon the greedy desire for real estate and the accumulation of wealth; (2) the preaching of revolution intended to overthrow the corrupt systems of religion and governance intended to promote and foster the agenda described in the previous category. Therefore the Bible is contradictory, because it cannot be anything other than contradictory, given that there are two systems found to be at war with each other, each determined to destroy the other, which is the truth about the Bible which the doctrines of 'infallibility' or 'divine word' are intended to obscure. When this truth is not kept hidden then people would be placed in the position of being forced to choose sides, and religious imperialism has always feared that given those two choices, they would choose the wrong side (which would then mean revolution, and the overthrow of religious imperialists, which explains why they are always so busy doing their level best to spread mass confusion).
Now once these piles have been divided up then people would understand that the Bible preaches either revolution or reaction, and then, depending on how they feel about those options, when people 'come to God', they could either become naked revolutionaries or naked reactionary imperlialists, instead of becoming confused imperialists (confused in that they think they are liberators when they convert). If neither of these two options are palatable then they could become sterile religious people, but at least it would be the case that they would know they were becoming sterile religious people, instead of thinking that they were good religious people, like they do now, and that would also be an improvement.
At the core of the earlier Jewish tradition is the story of Moses freeing slaves from the exploitation of a powerful oppressor. This theme is picked up in the Jewish prophets. A Jewish prophet is what you wind up with if a Marxist had faith, whereas if a Marxist was an atheist you wind up with a Marxist. Jewish prophets were revolutionaries, and at the core of the earlier Moses tradition is a story of revolution and liberation. These truths can only emerge when the Bible is separated into piles based upon the agenda of the authors, and this can only happen when people realize that the Bible is not 'God's infallible Word' but rather the record of a fierce social struggle in ancient times as the Jewish people were riven with dissension over what it meant to be Jewish.
Now the Christian religion consists of an attempt to hide the fact that someone was crucified. Now you do not crucify people for 'obeying the authorities' and becoming those 'patriotic citizens' of Imperial Rome which is the end product sought by right wing religious imperialists. No, people are crucified for practicing civil disobedience, for defying the powerful. The crucifix is therefore the symbol of revolution, in that for that form of civil disobedience known as revolution the punishment has always been meted out by the death squads. Christian theology is therefore a form of obfustication intended to introduce such mass confusion that people can actually forget that someone was crucified, and this forgetfulness is required if a religion whose core symbol is crucifix is going to become the main tool of imperialist domination and colonial exploitation that the Christian religion became. This smog cloud of obscuring smoke known as Christian doctrine is required if even Caesar is going to become a Christian, recognizing the great value of that form of religion, for the message of the crucifix is that 'Caesar crucifies the leaders of the insurrection, but God rescues them.' In its naked form a crucifix is an insult to Caesar and a damnation of imperialism and its systems of oppression intended to protect inequality and promote domination. That would have to be hidden, it would have to be redefined, before the Church could be married to Caesar and become an imperialist power itself. Thus was theology born.
So then we can see here two lines of continuity.
The Moses tradition, the revolutionary agenda of the Jewish prophets, and the revolutionary symbol of the crucifixion, are all religious rescue metaphors, and thus an expression of faith in the triumph of justice and righteousness. The message in three cases is found to be exactly the same : 'Let my people go!'
The sterility and pointlessness of religious ritual, the imperialist agenda of the Jewish religious right, its genocides of the natives of the land, its wars of conquest, its racism, and the doctrine that teaches that 'God crucified Jesus' in order to 'pay for original sin', all these are also in a line of continuity, and find their expression in false forms of 'worship' and the rote memorization of doctrines intended to stifle free inquiry and thought, while doctrine hides the meaning of the crucifixion, completing the square.
Therefore a Christian has two choices. A Christian can be a fascist, a right wing imperialist, the genocidal murderer who steals native lands and sides with the oppressors of the poor and the helpless, or a Christian can be religious, which amounts to the same thing at the end of it all, for silence equals consent. Or a Christian can be a revolutionary, and prove it by picking up their cross and carrying it, which means civil disobedience, for they do not crucify people for being polite and well behaved.
Therefore, the mark of distinction that indicates a true Christian must be the acts of civil disobedience that are the defining characteristic of the revolutionary, and the only message that is truly Christian must be 'Let my people go!'
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