Gender Inequality Was Man’s Idea, Not God’s

Let’s assume the Christian or Jewish YHWH exists.  Let’s assume that the collection of myths and legends are based on actual fact and history.   Well then, riddle me this, Batman.  Why was the story of Adam’s first wife Lilith removed from the bible (almost completely) before the 16 century AD?

So who was Lilith?    Well, according to older translations of the bible, she was the original first woman god made at the same time he made Adam.  Adam and Lilith were both formed from the earth, at the same time, so that neither one came first and neither one was made from the other.  Lilith was, in other words, Adam’s equal.

In the older translations, the first creation story we find in Genesis describes the creation of Lilith.  This has all but been removed (it is widely believed this story was deliberately removed, but I’ll get into that later). 

The only remnant that still gives us a clue something was once there but taken out is this contradiction.  In first Genesis we read this, and it is referring to Adam and the first woman, Lilith:

Genesis 1:27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

In Genesis 2 we read this, and this is the story we have all heard the most and is used as an example to show men were made in God’s image, but woman was made from man:

Genesis 2:18-22: And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help mate for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help mate for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

 How interesting, don’t you think, that so many people remember the second story about Eve being created from Adam’s rib, but not the first one. Granted, it’s a more detailed story, but is it mere coincidence that it’s also the story in which woman is portrayed as secondary to man? Is it coincidence that the creation story churches emphasize is the one in which woman was created simply to “help man” while the creation story where woman is created as an equal alongside man is not?

So which story about the creation of Eve is the “correct” one? The order and nature of events in these two Bible stories are contradictory and they cannot both be true, though they can both be false.

The answer?  These stories are not describing the creation of the same woman.  Lilith was created first.  And because she was created from the dirt just like Adam, she considered herself his equal and Adam was displeased. 

I am copying various takes on Lilith’s story I have found online:

 http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1513/whats-the-story-on-lilith-adams-first-wife

On the one hand there are all these (and likely other) interpretations. On the other hand there are the legends themselves, which are also quite varied, from Jewish folklore. Let’s start with a paraphrase of the most familiar legend, which dates to medieval times, from the controversial work known as the Alphabet of Ben Sirah, including a few of our own interjections:

When God created Adam, he was lonely, so God created Lilith from the same dust from which Adam was molded. But they quarrelled; Adam [the proverbial domineering male] wished to rule over Lilith. But Lilith [a militant feminist] was also proud and willful, claiming equality with Adam because she was created from the same dust. She left Adam and fled the Garden. God sent three angels in pursuit of Lilith. They caught her and ordered her to return to Adam. She refused, and said that she would henceforth weaken and kill little children, infants and babes. The angels overpowered her, and she promised that if the mother hung an amulet over the baby bearing the names of the three angels, she would stay away from that home. So they let her go, and God created Eve to be Adam’s mate [created from Adam’s rib, so that she couldn’t claim equality]. And ever since, Lilith flies around the world, howling her hatred of mankind through the night, and vowing vengeance because of the shabby treatment she had received from Adam. She is also called “The Howling One.”

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/blogpost/23

(Many thanks to Seth Andrews for putting this fascinating article (below) together!)

Adam’s First Wife: The Story of Lilith

The Thinking Atheist    Oct 30, 2011 6:39 PM | Date Modified: Oct 31, 2011 10:01 AM

(Editor’s note:  In a recent podcast entitled “Woman, Be Silent,” the story of Lilith came up, prompting a litany of requests from our users for more information.  TTA guest blogger “Meg” has provided an in-depth look at this fascinating legend in this post.  Many thanks to her for the long hours of research on this one.  -Seth)

“God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

To the faithful of both Christianity and Judaism, from the earliest days of the Bible until quite recently in history, that verse referred to Adam’s first wife, but it wasn’t Eve. It was Lilith.

Lilith (1892) by John Collier in Southport Atkinson Art Gallery

Few Christians in the current age are versed with the story of Lilith despite her being a part of Christianity since its inception. However, even today, Christians (albeit unknowingly) reenact rituals meant to ward off Lilith. Among those who are familiar with the story of Lilith, there is a common belief that she was purposefully removed from scripture.

As we will later see, Lilith does appear in both older and contemporary versions of the Bible, the Jewish Torah, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. And we will examine the possibility that the omission of Lilith omission from the King James Version and other, more recent translations of the Bible might well have been intentional, rather than an error in translation. But for now, here’s an overview of the basic story:

According to the first chapter of Genesis, God created Lilith and Adam both at the same time. Adam felt he was superior to Lilith, and because of this, he insisted on always taking the top position during sexual intercourse. However, Lilith refused to consider herself anything besides equal to Adam. They were, after all, created as equals, and Lilith believed she should take the top position, too. Adam refused and told Lilith, “you are fit only to be in the bottom position.”

Lilith, realizing neither she nor Adam would willingly change their mind, spoke the secret name of YHWH. Transformed into a demon, Lilith flew away from the Garden, leaving Adam behind. And since she had gone without eating from The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Lilith would remain immortal.

Adam complained to God that Lilith had left him. God sent out three angels (Senoy, Sansenoy, and Semangelof) to return Lilith to Eden. And God told Adam that if Lilith refused to return, she would have to permit one hundred of her children to die every day.

The angels found Lilith in the midst of the Red Sea and informed her of what God had said. Lilith told them she would not return. The angels then threatened Lilith saying, “We will drown you in the sea!” Lilith cursed the angels and demanded they leave. However, Lilith agreed to spare the lives of children protected by amulets bearing the names or images of the three angels: Senoy, Sansenoy, and Semangelof.

God watched Adam in the Garden and said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” To avoid a repeat of the Lilith debacle, God decided this time to create a mate who was submissive. So God put Adam to sleep and removed one of his ribs, using it to create Eve. Upon meeting Eve, Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”

At this point, myriad versions of the story begin to branch off. In some accounts, Lilith mates with the archangel Samael, further transforming her into a succubus. In others, Lilith is the evil serpent in the Garden, who tempts Eve into eating from The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil so that (unlike the immortal Lilith) Adam, Eve and their offspring could die.

Lilith Tempting Adam and Eve

 Through the Medieval Era and beyond, Lilith was held responsible for miscarriages and the deaths of sleeping infants. To protect babies, parents hung amulets bearing the images and names of the three angels around the child’s room or on a cord around the baby’s neck.

Lilith was also blamed for men ejaculating in their sleep, in the belief Lilith had tricked them into copulating to produce demon spawn, the succubi. To ward off Lilith and her succubi offspring, men slept with their hands crossed over their genitals and clasping a crucifix.

So how did Christians become familiar with the story of Lilith when all one finds of her in the Bible is a single direct mention? Well, there are numerous beliefs that people accept as part of Christianity that do not appear directly in scripture and are drawn instead by inference from particular verses.

You will not find a list of the Seven Deadly Sins in the Bible. The Bible doesn’t give the actual number of wise men (magi) who visited Jesus. There is no mention that there were three of them.   Those are just a couple of examples of many beliefs that do not appear directly in scripture but are based instead on verses from the Bible.

The Book of Genesis, which Christians rely on for the story of Creation, is found in a part of the Bible that Christians know as the Old Testament. Genesis is referred to as one of The Five Books of Moses, which also include Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, and are known to Jews as the Jewish Torah.

The traditional practice of drawing on inference from scripture, known as Midrash, has been employed since the earliest days of the Old Testament of the Bible. In the Bible, one finds there are parts missing from characters who are otherwise well known, as well as names mentioned apparently randomly in only a verse or two. In Rabbinical Midrash tradition, it is believed God does not simply toss a name out; he had some reason for including it. The purpose of Midrash, meaning “investigation,” is to connect the dots between those names and events in other parts of scripture and to resolve conflicting passages in Biblical texts. One such discrepancy arises at the very beginning of the Bible:

Genesis 1:27 God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

In this verse, God creates man and woman at the same time. However, in Genesis 2, we read that Adam is alone.

Genesis 2:18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

So, after already having a mate created at the same time that he was, Adam is alone in Genesis 2. Then the Bible tells us that God made Adam’s wife from his rib. While Christians today apparently choose to ignore the discrepancy, it presented a distinct gap to Rabbinical scholars.

In what was said to be the home town of the Bible’s Abraham, 4,000-year-old stone tablets from the ancient Sumerian city of Ur tell the story of The Epic of Gilgamesh. In developing the Midrash to explain Lilith’s presence in the Bible, the Rabbinical authors returned to the original source for clues; the epic poem of Gilgamesh and the Huluppu-Tree, a creation story of the world that tells of a special garden with a magical tree, and a being who occupied the tree before going to live in the desert, Lilith.

While this is likely news to most Christians, from the time it was written, the originality of the Bible has been a point of contention. The Epic of Gilgamesh predates the Old Testament accounts of Genesis by nearly 1,500 years.

Fortunately for its authors, the Bible was written long before the existence of copyright law. Those who wrote the Bible “borrowed” stories from far older religions and cultures. And the authors of the ancient Rabbinical Midrash regarding Lilith were aware of that fact, which is what led them to connect the Creation story to this verse of the Bible:

Isaiah 34:14 “Wildcats shall meet with hyenas, goat-demons shall call to each other; there too Lilith shall repose, and find a place to rest.”

While Lilith is mentioned by name in the original version of the Garden of Eden in the Gilgamesh poem, in the Bible, she is mentioned by name in Isaiah, and as in the Gilgamesh poem, she is said to live in the desert.

Lilith got her name from the Babylonian lil?tu, desert-dwelling spirits whose breasts produce poison instead of milk. The lil?tu were considered a threat to the very young, the unborn, and their mothers. The related ardat lil? are promiscuous, sexually aggressive succubi to whom men were susceptible, exploited by the succubi to produce offspring.

In the Rabbinical Midrash, further connections are made between the Lilith mentioned in Isaiah 34:14 and Psalm 9:5-6:

Psalm 9:5 will not fear the terror of night… 9:6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness…

So, according to Rabbinical Midrash, Genesis 1 and 2, Isaiah 34, and Psalm 9 provide the canonical scripture behind the Lilith story.

Additional sources regarding Lilith include the Zohar, which is the foundational work of Jewish Mysticism known as Kabbalah, the Alphabet of Ben Sira, the Talmud, and the Dead Sea Scrolls:

 Zohar 3:19 “Come and see: There is a female, a spirit of all spirits, and her name is Lilith…”

 Zohar (19b) “She wanders about at night, vexing the sons of men and causing them to defile themselves…”

Ben Sira 23a-b “Adam and Lilith began to fight. She said, ‘I will not lie below,’ and he said, ‘I will not lie beneath you, but only on top. For you are fit only to be in the bottom position, while am to be in the superior one.’ Lilith responded, ‘We are equal to each other as we were both created from the earth.’”

The Talmud (Niddah 24b) Rab Judah citing Samuel ruled: If an abortion had the likeness of Lilith its mother is unclean by reason of the birth, for it is a child but it has wings.

 The Talmud (Shabbath 151b) R. Hanina said: One may not sleep in a house alone [in a lonely house], and whoever sleeps in a house alone is seized by Lilith.

Dead Sea Scrolls, Songs of Sage (4Q510-511) And I, the Instructor, proclaim His glorious splendour so as to frighten and to terrify all the spirits of the destroying angels, spirits of the bastards, demons, Lilith, howlers, and desert dwellers… and those which fall upon men without warning to lead them astray from a spirit of understanding and to make their heart and their […] desolate during the present dominion of wickedness and predetermined time of humiliations for the sons of light, by the guilt of the ages of those smitten by iniquity – not for eternal destruction, but for an era of humiliation for transgression.

We know where Lilith came from and why she is part of Abrahamic beliefs. So why did Lilith, arguably one of the most interesting characters of the Bible, vanish within relatively recent history from Bible translations and the practice of Christianity?

While in Old and Middle English the spelling of her Hebrew name varies among the texts, Lilith appears in one of the first English translations of the Bible, the Wycliffe Bible of 1395. And she is included in further English translations up to and including the Great Bible and the Taverner Bible, versions of the Bible which appeared in the midst of the Protestant split from the Catholic Church in the Reformation. 

Now this is where it gets interesting — the Geneva Bible from 1587.

King Henry VIII of England broke away from the Catholic Church while the Reformation was in full swing on the European continent. The Protestants, led in Germany by Martin Luther, had rejected the Catholic Church and were establishing their own version of the Christian faith.

However, following the deaths of Henry VIII and her younger brother, Edward VI, Henry’s daughter, Mary, inherited the throne becoming Queen Mary I. Mary was a devout Catholic and, through her restoration of Catholicism in England, became known among Protestants as “Bloody Mary” for the execution of Protestant leaders. To escape persecution, a number of Protestant scholars from both England and France fled to Geneva, in Switzerland. The group is known as the Marian (as in Mary) Exiles.

One of the scholars who landed in Switzerland was John Calvin, founder of the Protestant reform movement of Calvinism. He overtook the theological leadership of the Marian Exiles. Together, Protestant scholars decided to reform the Bible as they had the tenets of their faith. Part of their work is evidenced in the addition of numbers to the verses, the Geneva Bible representing the first time numbered verses were seen in an English language Bible. The Marian Exiles also followed the lead of Martin Luther in the removal of canonical books, which had been present in the Biblical texts since their original compilations, and relegated them instead to the Apocrypha.

Historically, in all former versions of the Bible, Isaiah 34:14 says “…there too Lilith shall repose, and find a place to rest.”

Then we get to the Geneva Bible produced by Calvin and his colleagues in exile, and Isaiah 34:14 reads, “and the shricheowle shall rest there, and shall finde for her selfe a quiet dwelling.”

 As I speak German, it struck me when reading the Geneva Bible version of Isaiah that Lilith’s name had been replaced by a Germanic term. In German, related words are combined to form a single word instead. The term “shricheowle” breaks down into the words “schrei” meaning scream, screech, etc. and the word “eule” meaning owl. In other words, Lilith had, without precedent, been replaced by a screech owl.

Responsible for translating the Old Testament of the Geneva Bible was a British scholar, Anthony Gilby. Gilby was a radical whose beliefs would later become known by the term Puritanism.

Gilby, although he studied in Germany and spoke German, does not typically use Germanic terms in his texts, yet he did so in Isaiah as a means of replacing Lilith’s name. And as it turns out, Gilby was a vocal critic of female monarchs such as Mary being in command of the country.

Anthony Gilby’s Admonition, 634: And doth not Esaie (Isaiah) reckon this also as the extremity of all plagues for the wickedness of the people, to have Women raised up to rule over you? But what saith the same Prophet, in the beginning of his prophesy, for a remedy against these and all other evils?

In demanding equality with Adam, Lilith was demonized in the most literal sense. However, even then and despite the threats issued by the patriarchal figures in the story, Lilith refused to be submissive. In light of her character, it hardly seems a coincidence that Gilby chose Isaiah, the only book where Lilith is mentioned in by name in the Bible, to use in his Admonition against powerful female monarchs, which he termed an evil and counted as a plague.

The evidence indicates Gilby knew exactly what he was doing when he replaced Lilith in the Bible. In the Gilgamesh poem, Lilith is said to live in a tree, and in her image carved onto stone tablets that predate the Bible, she appears pictured as a winged creature with talons, and she is flanked by two large owls.

The Geneva Bible was the Bible of people such as Shakespeare and Oliver Cromwell. Incidentally, screech owls are a species found only on the continents of the Americas, but are also mentioned by Shakespeare.

The screech-owl, screeching loud,
Puts the wretch that lies in woe
In remembrance of a shroud.
-William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Presumably, Europeans who came to the New World brought the name for the screech owl with them in Shakespeare’s work and their Bibles, as decades after the Geneva Bible when the King James Version of the Bible was published, Lilith had gone from shricheowle to screech owl:

KJV Isaiah 34:14 …the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.

The replacement of Lilith with the screech owl in the KJV secured Gilby’s removal of Lilith not only from the Bible, but eventually also from the traditional beliefs of Western Christianity. Though in the nighttime cries of Lilith’s American namesake, the screech owl, Lilith remains part of the same fearful superstitions that have plagued Christians since the inception of their faith. For the first European settlers in the strange, New World, hearing such cries echoing through the night must have been unnerving indeed.

—– END OF ARTICLE—

So.  How interesting that our imaginary Christian and Jewish deity originally intended women to be equal to men, and it was man’s dysfunction, his inability to co-exist with an equal, that brought about a modified, submissive version of woman.  How funny that the church selectively removes the strongest female character in the bible, and the evidence of what god’s original intent was–to create two equal human beings.

I have long suspected that the reason the church, or at least the big patriarchal religions, have sought to suppress women and control them, dominate them, keep them silent, keep them uneducated and from reading, was all about smothering in women their innate sense of strength and power, covering that up with brainwashing that the Almighty made them to be subservient, accepting their position as help mate, created to be at man’s beck and call.

In more ancient cultures deities were often female, and women were often accepted as leaders or revered healers.   After the human contrived teachings of these religions made by men who, just like Adam, wanted woman not as his equal but rather to lord over, now very few women have even heard of the story of Lilith, the very first woman who was proud and unashamed, strong, and indomitable. 

But perhaps she whispers in our ears.  Perhaps she is why more and more are shaking off this notion of Adam’s that women should be inferior–were made inferior.  Maybe more and more women are deciding to be daughters of Lilith, rather than daughters of Eve.  Lilith, being god’s first mistake, and also god’s first conception of how WOMAN should be.

Mary WHO??? What the First Christians Believed…

http://www.christianitydisproved.com/bible/marcion-of-sinope.html

Who was Marcion? What was Marcionism? Why was he so important in the development of the church in the Second Century?

Who was Marcion?

Marcion: The Gospel of the Alien GodMarcion: The Gospel of the Alien God

Marcion of Sinope was born around 85-100 CE, in the region of Pontus on the Black Sea.1 According to Hippolytus, Marcion’s father was a bishop in Sinope; the young Marcion likely attended his church and became familiar with the Christian scriptures.2 As time progressed Marcion became an educated man, who prospered as a ship-master/shipowner.3 His familial relationships did not share the same prosperous fate as his career; tradition has it that Marcion’s father excommunicated him in Sinope for seducing a young virgin, what is more likely, is that he was excommunicated for his false teachings in relation to his father’s Christianity.4 Marcion had embraced a radical Paulinist theology (see ‘What was Marcionism?’ below), we don’t know how far developed this theology was at the time of his excommunication, but we do know that it was fully developed by 144 CE.5

Undeterred by his excommunication, Marcion travelled throughout Asia Minor seeking recognition for his theology; he was rebuffed by the church leaders of Ephesus, Smyrna and Hierapolis.6 It was probably around this time that Marcion infamously encountered Polycarp and his barbed retort, “I recognize you as the first born of Satan.”7

Undeterred by his rejection in Asia Minor, Marcion travelled to Rome on his own ship with grand plans in mind, upon arrival around 137-139 CE, he donated 200,000 sesterces to the proto-orthodox church.8 It appears that Marcion learnt from his experiences in Asia Minor, rather than submitting his theology to the church in Rome straight away, he probably sequestered himself to five years of private study, from around 139-144 CE.9 At the end of this period, Marcion emerged with Marcionism’s foundational documents; the Marcionite Bible and its commentary the Antitheses.10 He gathered the Roman community, submitted his theology and demanded a verdict from the presbyters in 144 CE.11 There can be no doubt that this action unearths Marcion’s mindset; he saw himself as the literary saviour of the proto-orthodox church, he would have expected the community to read his writings and see the error of their ways. For the third notable time, Marcion and his theology were rejected, he was expelled from the community, branded as a heretic and had his 200,000 sesterces refunded.12

Undeterred by his rejection in Rome, Marcion started his own church; if the proto-orthodox would not propagate his theology, then he would do it himself. The ensuing results were spectacular, by the year 150 CE Justin Martyr wrote: “And there is Marcion, a man of Pontus, who is even at this day alive … And he, by the aid of the devils, has caused many of every nation to speak blasphemies…”13 Tertullian echoed these sentiments: “… [Marcionism] has filled the whole world…”14 as did Epiphanius, “The sect is still to be found even now in Rome and Italy, Egypt and Palestine, Arabia and Syria, Cyprus and the Thebaid – in Persia too, moreover and other places.”15 Marcion’s church was a formidable rival to the proto-orthodox; Marcion lived no more than 15 years after his Roman expulsion, but his efforts influenced Christendom for centuries.16 According to Harnack, “No other religious personality in antiquity after Paul and before Augustine can rival him in significance.”17

What else do we know about Marcion the man? It is clear that Marcion was a great organizer that he was: energetic, intelligent, stubborn, an idealistic reformer, naive, self assured, single-minded, forcible, and resilient, a visionary, sincere, pragmatic, serious-minded and possessed strong convictions.18 He had an aversion to philosophy but was potentially influenced by the ‘problem of evil’ in his younger days, he rejected allegorical interpretation and was not significantly influenced by the Gnostic Cerdo; if he was influenced at all.19 He was an ascetic, a modalist, a dualist, a docetist, a biblical theologian, a biblical literalist, a textual critic/restorer, as well as a man that loved his enemies and embraced the Beatitudes.20 It is highly unlikely that Marcion was a charlatan; he never claimed a religious revelation, he never claimed to have received his scriptures supernaturally and he never claimed authority for himself.21 He could easily have claimed these things; charlatans have done so both before and after him with lasting effects.22 No, Marcion was a genuine believer, he saw himself as a student of Paul, simply following in the apostle’s footsteps.23

What was Marcionism?

Marcionism rested upon two foundational assumptions.24 The first assumption was based upon Paul’s writings in Galatians:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed! … For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.25

Marcion interpreted Paul‘s words literally, there was only one gospel not four (or more) and it was the gospel that Paul had received personally from Jesus Christ. The second assumption arose from Marcion’s observation that the Old Testament God was starkly different from Jesus. According to Tertullian, Marcion compared Old Testament verses like:26

He [Elisha] went up from there to Bethel; and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go away, baldhead! Go away, baldhead!” When he turned around and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys.27

With Jesus‘ loving words toward children:

People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs”.28

From such verses Marcion made the relatively logical conclusion, that the God of the Old Testament; the creator-God, was different to the good-God who was the father of Jesus Christ. The creator-God was: inferior and previously ignorant of the good-God, the creator of the physical world, the God of the Jews, in opposition to the good-God, the law-giver, a judge, just, petty, cruel, finite, warlike, jealous, blood-thirsty, severe, fierce, hostile to Christ, responsible for procreation and all other evils of the flesh.29 In stark contrast, the good God was: the God of Marcionism, superior to the creator-God, in opposition to the creator-God, separate from the universe, loving, good, righteous, giving, kind and previously unknown; a stranger/alien from the third heaven.30 The good-God had never produced any flesh, and he was seeking to purchase/steal people from the creator-God to his own heaven through Christ the redeemer.31 Marcion rejected the creator-God, the Old Testament and its prophets; the law and its creator-God were viewed in opposition to the gospel and the good-God.32

In summary, Marcionism was foundationally based upon Paul‘s one gospel and the rejection of the Old Testament, its law and creator-God, in favour of the new good-God.

From this foundation, the Marcionite conspiracy theory was born; Judaism had corrupted the true gospel/epistles throughout the entire apostolic age.33 Marcion therefore would allow no connection between the gospel/epistles; “…anything that purports to be Christian and yet exhibits a connection with the Old Testament is false and forged.34 To rectify this alleged travesty, Marcion set about ‘restoring’ the Pauline texts, excising them to form the first closed canon; the Marcionite Bible which accompanied the Antitheses.35 The excised Bible contained one unnamed ‘authentic’ gospel (Luke), and the epistles: Galatians, Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Romans, Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, Philippians and parts of the Epistle to the Laodiceans.36 The proto-orthodox destroyed this Bible along with the Antitheses but we can deduce Marcionite teachings from the anti-heretical works that the texts spawned.

On Christ, Marcion denied the virgin birth, instead proposing that Christ had emerged from heaven in 29 CE as the son of the good-God; a stranger to the creator-God.37 Christ didn‘t have a normal physical body but he was not a phantom, he still suffered.38 The purpose of Christ‘s visit was to purchase mankind from the creator-God for the good-God, with Christ‘s blood.39 This act displayed the innate goodness of the good-God, the new reality was love.40 Marcionites were ‘saved’ by faith in Christ, not by observing the creator-God‘s law which Christ abolished.

On Judaism, Marcion saw the Old Testament as a book of literal history; he rejected it but did not see it as a book of lies.41 He believed that the Jewish Messiah was yet to arrive.42

Much emphasis was placed on newness within Marcionism. Marcionites constantly referred to Jesus’ saying:43

And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed.44

Contrary to the proto-orthodox, Marcionites held that there was no physical resurrection of the dead. They believed that the soul would be saved but that the body, the creation of the creator-God, would be destroyed.45

Marcionites held to the Pauline teaching that, “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”46 As such, people that rejected Christ were to be punished on judgment day. Since the good-God couldn‘t possibly have his own hell, non-believers would simply be cast away to the creator-God, who does have his own hell and will burn them with fire.47

Marriage was not allowed by Marcion, it was viewed as a corruption. Since the creator-God ordained marriage, the Marcionites believed that they were distressing him by avoiding it; this was a positive thing for they viewed themselves in opposition to the creator-God.48 Sex was prohibited for it engaged the sinful flesh, an additional bonus was that this too supposedly bothered the creator-God.49 This teaching had an enormously negative effect upon the movement‘s demographics; besides the ascetic deterrent, they couldn‘t expand the religious base by indoctrinating children, they had to continually recruit new members.50

Marcionites had special dietary restrictions, they were not allowed to eat meat with the exception of fish and they were not permitted to drink wine.51 Food intake was to be minimized alongside fasting, which was also conducted to spite the creator-God.52 Marcionites also practiced the Eucharist.53

Baptism was practiced, it is possible that women were allowed to conduct the ritual and that it was allowed more than once.54

Whilst Marcion rejected the Old Testament prophets, it is possible that he did not reject the concept of prophecy itself.55

It also appears that Marcionites died for their beliefs in significant numbers; being prepared for martyrdom was encouraged.56

Whilst many of Marcion‘s teachings were irrational by modern standards, there was one teaching that was clearly unethical; it involved the damnation of Abel and Enoch amongst others. It was commonly held in Marcion‘s time that Jesus had descended to Hades, to redeem prior generations.57 Judaism ‘back-sliders’/non-adherents were saved including Cain, Esau, Abiram, Korah and Dathan.58 But, ‘ethical’ people like Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Moses and David were not, for they had followed the creator-God.59 This teaching was clearly immoral; to reward a murderer such as Cain, yet condemn Abel to an eternity of fire was an ethical affront to justice.

Marcionite teachings were propagated within Marcionite churches.60 Their church structure paralleled that of the proto-orthodox involving bishops, elders and catechumens and they observed similar religious events.61 Their services were open to the public; pagans included.62 They had no clear cut doctrinal system which allowed diversity from the beginning, Marcionism would evolve with time; most notably with Apelles.63

Why was he so important in the development of the church in the Second Century?

The success of Marcion and his Marcionite church threatened the proto-orthodox: “Already in the year A.D. 150 Justin could say that his influence extended all over the Empire. A real rival to the growing Catholic Church had sprung into being, and for a few years it must actually have seemed possible that the Marcionite church would become the dominant church.”64 This spurred the proto-orthodox into action, three major developments took place: (1) The proto-orthodox were motivated to clarify their ecclesiastical doctrines; (2) They were forced to create their own Biblical canon, and; (3) They were motivated to include Paul in the newly formed canon. These developments will be analysed in turn.

Prior to Marcion’s emergence, the proto-orthodox lacked conclusive ecclesiastical doctrines; there was no canon besides the Old Testament, there was a lack of meaningful creeds, there were competing interpretations of tradition, there was a reliance on “apostolic men” like Polycarp, and the episcopate was still developing its authority.65 Marcion‘s theological assault spurred them into action; anti-heretical counter literature was profusely written by the likes of Irenaeus and Tertullian forging ecclesiastical doctrines.66 The Old Roman Creed was reiterated to specify the belief, that the creator-God was the Father of Jesus Christ, and the need for their own canon was identified.67

Marcion‘s greatest contribution to the development of the second century church was the Marcionite canon; it was the catalyst and prototype for the proto-orthodox‘s canon.68 Prior to Marcion‘s emergence, Christendom had employed a vast array of literature ranging from the accepted Old Testament, to various gospels, apocalyptic works, epistles and letters.69 There was no consensus on which texts where authoritative, it depended on which church you visited.70 Marcion led the way on enforcing consensus and the proto-orthodox followed suit: It cannot have been twenty years later when authoritative bishops in Asia Minor and Rome proceeded to set in opposition to Marcion‘s Bible a collection that was also in two parts and to designate it as the apostolic catholic New Testament. This work, created in imitation and under the impact of Marcion‘s creation, was hardly felt to be an odd innovation, because the four Gospels had already been in use in those churches for more than a generation.71 Whilst the proto-orthodox would have inevitably developed their own canon, Marcion accelerated the process.72

Finally, the contents of the proto-orthodox canon were influenced by Marcion; specifically the inclusion of Paul‘s writings. Prior to Marcion, Paul had progressively been on the outer of proto-orthodox Christianity; appreciation for his “gospel” had been waning.73 In the words of E.C. Blackman, “It may be that but for Marcion the Catholic Church might have left Paul‘s writings out of its canon, and have left the Apostle with no greater authority than the Apostolic Fathers.”74 Ironically, it seems like Paul‘s real saviour was Marcion.

What Came First? The Chicken or The Egg?

Creationism:

Obviously the chicken would come first because it would be the source of the egg.  Actually there would have to be a first chicken and a first rooster to accomplish the first fertilized egg resulting in a chick.  So the answer is, like with everything else, a full formed first chicken came first–created by the great I AM.

Evolutionism:

Obviously a living animal would be necessary in order to give birth to offspring, so the real question is, when did the first chicken-like bird first appear on the earth?

The theory of evolution states that species change over time via mutation and sexual reproduction. Since DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) can be modified only before birth, a mutation must have taken place at conception or within an egg such that an animal similar to a chicken, but not a chicken, laid the first chicken eggs. These eggs then hatched into chickens that inbred to produce a living population.[12][13] Hence, in this light, both the chicken and the structure of its egg evolved simultaneously from birds that, while not of the same exact species, gradually became more and more like present-day chickens over time.

Not any mutation in one individual can be considered as constituting a new species. A speciation event involves the separation of one population from its parent population, so that interbreeding ceases; this is the process whereby domesticated animals are genetically separated from their wild forebears. The whole separated group can then be recognized as a new species.

The modern chicken was believed to have descended from another closely related species of birds, the red junglefowl, but recently discovered genetic evidence suggests that the modern domestic chicken is a hybrid descendant of both the red junglefowl and the grey junglefowl.[14] Assuming the evidence bears out, a hybrid is a compelling scenario that the chicken egg, based on the second definition, came before the chicken.

This implies that the egg existed long before the chicken, but that the chicken egg did not exist until an arbitrary threshold was crossed that differentiates a modern chicken from its ancestors. Since this arbitrary distinction cannot be made until after the egg has hatched, one would have to first find the original chicken, then from this find the first egg it laid.

A simple view is that at whatever point the threshold was crossed and the first chicken was hatched, it had to hatch from an egg. The type of bird that laid that egg, by definition, was on the other side of the threshold and therefore not technically a chicken — it may be viewed as a proto-chicken or ancestral chicken of some sort, from which a genetic variation or mutation occurred that thus resulted in the egg being laid containing the embryo of the first chicken. In this light, de facto, that the argument is settled and the egg had to have come first.

Transcript of Richard Dawkins’ speech from Reason Rally 2012

(I loved this speech!)

The following is the text of Richard Dawkins’ speech at the Reason Rally, held Saturday, March 24, 2012 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The full video of the speech can be found here.

What a magnificent, inspiring sight! I was expecting great things even in fine weather. In the rain — look at this: This is the most incredible sight I can remember ever seeing.

The sharper, critical thinkers among you may have discerned that I don’t come from these parts. I see myself as an emissary from a benighted country that does not have a constitutional separation between church and state. Indeed it doesn’t have a written constitution at all. We have a head of state who’s also the head of the Church of England. The church is deeply entwined in British public life. The American Constitution is a precious treasure, the envy of the world. The First Amendment of the Constitution, which enshrines the separation between church and state, is the model for secular constitutions the world over and deserves to be imitated the world over.

How sad it would be if in the birthplace of secular constitutions the very principle of secular constitutions were to be betrayed in a theocracy. But it’s come close to that.

How could anyone rally against reason? How is it necessary to have a rally for reason?

Reason means basing your life on evidence and on logic, which is how you deduce the consequences of evidence. In a hundred years’ time, it seems to me inconceivable that anybody could want to have a rally for reason. By that time, we will either have blown ourselves up or we’ll have become so civilized that we no longer need it.

When I was in school, we used to sing a hymn. It went, “It is a thing most wonderful, almost too wonderful to be.” After that the hymn rather went off the rails, but those first two lines have inspired me. It is a thing most wonderful that on this once barren rock orbiting a rather mediocre star on the edge of a rather ordinary galaxy, on this rock a remarkable process called evolution by natural selection has given rise to the magnificent diversity of complexity of life. The elegance, the beauty and the illusion of design which we see all around us has given rise in the last million years or so to a species — our species — with a brain big enough to comprehend that process, to comprehend how we came to be here, how we came to be here from extremely simple beginnings where the laws of physics are played out in very simple ways — The laws of physics have never been violated, but the laws of physics are filtered through this incredible process called evolution by natural selection — to give rise to a brain that is capable of understanding the process, a brain which is capable of measuring the age of the universe between 13 and 14 billion years, of measuring the age of the Earth between 4 and 5 billion years, of knowing what matter is made of, knowing what we are made of, made of atoms brought together by this mechanical, automatic, unplanned, unconscious process: evolution by natural selection.

That’s not just true; it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful because it’s true. And it’s almost too good to be true. How is it conceivable that the laws of physics should conspire together without guidance, without direction, without any intelligence to bring us into the world? Now we do have intelligence. Intelligence comes into the world, comes into the universe late. It’s come into the world through our brains and maybe other brains in the universe. Now at last — finally — after 4 billion years of evolution we have the opportunity to bring some intelligent design into the world.

We need intelligent design. We need to intelligently design our morals, our ethics, our politics, our society. We need to intelligently design the way we run our lives, not look back to scrolls — I was going to say ancient scrolls, they’re not even very ancient, about 800 BC the book of Genesis was written. I am often accused of expressing contempt and despising religious people. I don’t despise religious people; I despise what they stand for. I like to quote the British journalist Johann Hari who said, “I have so much respect for you that I cannot respect your ridiculous ideas.”

Electromagnetic spectrum runs all the way from extremely long wave, radio-wave end of the spectrum to gamma waves on the very short-wave end of the spectrum. And visible light, that which we can see, is a tiny little sliver in the middle of that electromagnetic spectrum. Science has broadened out our perspective of that section to long-wave radio waves on the one hand and gamma rays on the other. I take that as being symbolic of what science does generally. It takes our little vision — our little, parochial, small vision — and broadens it out. And that is a magnificent vision for what science can do. Science makes us see what we couldn’t see before. Religion does its best to snuff out even that light which we can see.
We’re here to stand up for reason, to stand up for science, to stand up for logic, to stand up for the beauty of reality and the beauty of the fact that we can understand reality.

I hope that this meeting will be a turning point. I’m sure many people have said that already. I like to think of a physical analogy of a critical mass. There are too many people in this country who have been cowed into fear of coming out as atheists or secularists or agnostics. We are far more numerous than anybody realizes. We are approaching a tipping point, we’re approaching that critical mass, where the number of people who have come out becomes so great that suddenly everybody will realize, “I can come out, too.” That moment is not far away now. And I think that with hindsight this rally in Washington will be seen as a very significant tipping point on the road.

And I will particularly appeal to my scientific colleagues most of whom are atheists if you look at the members of the National Academy of Sciences about 90 percent of them are non-believers an exact mirror image of the official figures of the country at large. If you look at the Royal Society of London, the equivalent for the British Commonwealth, again about 90 percent are atheists. But they mostly keep quiet about it. They’re not ashamed of it. They can’t be bothered to come out and express what they feel. They think religion is just simply boring. They’re not going to bother to even stand up and oppose it. They need to come out.

Religion is an important phenomenon. Forty percent of the American population, according to opinion polls, think the world — the universe, indeed — is less than 10,000 years old. That’s not just an error, that’s a preposterous error. I’ve done the calculation before and it’s the equivalent of believing that the width of North America from Washington to San Francisco is equal to about eight yards. I don’t know if I believe that 40 percent figure. It stands up as being apparently so from about the 1980s. But what I want to suggest you do when you meet somebody who claims to be religious ask them what they really believe. If you meet somebody who says he’s Catholic, for example, say “What do you mean? Do you mean you just want that tie as Catholic? Because I’m not impressed by that.”

We just ran a poll by a foundation in Britain in which we took those people who ticked a Christian box in the census — and by the way, that figure has come down dramatically. we just took the people who ticked the Christian box and we asked them “Why did you tick the Christian box?” And the most popular answer to that question was “Oh, well, I like to think of myself as a good person.” But we all like to think of ourselves as good people. Atheists do, Jews do, Muslims do. So when you meet somebody who claims to be Christian, ask her, ask him “What do you *really* believe?” And I’ll think you’ll find that in many cases, they give you an answer which is no more convincing than that “I like to be a good person.”

By the way, when we went on to ask a specific question of these only 54 percent: “What do you do when you’re faced with a moral dilemma? Where do you turn?” Only 10 percent turned to their religion when trying to solve their moral question. Only 10 percent. The majority of them said, “I turn to my innate sense of goodness” and the next most popular answer was “I turn to advice from relatives and friends”.

So when I meet somebody who claims to be religious, my first impulse is: “I don’t believe you. I don’t believe you until you tell me do you really believe — for example, if they say they are Catholic — do you really believe that when a priest blesses a wafer it turns into the body of Christ? Are you seriously telling me you believe that? Are you seriously saying that wine turns into blood?” Mock them! Ridicule them! In public!
Don’t fall for the convention that we’re all too polite to talk about religion. Religion is not off the table. Religion is not off limits.

Religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated and need to be challenged and, if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt.

I want to end now on what my colleagues from the Richard Dawkins Foundation said. I am an outsider but we have been well-staffed in America and we’re going to spread the word along with our colleagues in other organizations throughout the length and breadth of this land. This land which is the fountainhead, the birthplace of secularism in the world, as I said before. Don’t let that tradition down. Thank you very much

Hey Fundamentalists!

Hey fundamentalist, high and mighty Religious Right.

Who stand on a pedestal of your own making,

like you alone have special sight,

To declare what the mind of God thinks,

to declare what He doesn’t like.

Based on the book you hold,

A book written by men—do you even know who?

Do you not care about the authenticity of what you ground your ideas upon?

Ideas based on this book, or on the locality you grew up in,

the traditions you hold dear…

*

Tell me truly,

Had you been born to Muslim parents, or atheist parents—

To Jewish parents, or Buddhists—

Born in another land where these other beliefs are majority held,

If you had grown up believing on these instead,

Interpreting everything about your life around them instead,

their holy books,

Would you be a Christian right now?

Enforcing your moral code, your beliefs and assertions on

atheists and Jews,

Buddhists and Muslims?

As if no other beliefs or faiths are valid, no other traditions just as beloved?

Your bible speaks out against the folly of arrogance.

A quality your God is not fond of.

And yet you dare call a secular nation Christian?

A land founded by Deists forefathers?

Because of your influence–

preying on our propagandized fear of communism,

we now have your God printed on our money,

“Under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance as if we all agree.

And now you seek to convince us it’s always been this way?

Well, what would our Diests founders think?

Jefferson or Adams?

Washington or Abe Lincoln?

The twisting of their vision–

Home of the free, of the first amendment

Place where all may practice to believe, or not to believe.

Freedom of religion.

Freedom from religion.

That was their dream.

The original dream.

What our great men of history fought for.

Separation of church and state—

Equality for all.

For all persons are created equal.

Not one color, one language, one gender, one age, one religion.

But all.

*

So kindly not lord over me with your doctrine–

penned by the agendas of men.

Do not presume to be the mind and mouth of your God.

Let me live and follow my own moral code,

Which just like yours, cares for my fellow men and

urges me not to rob or kill.

Let me live my life unfettered by your scare tactics,

your lectures of hellfire,

Just because I don’t believe as you do.

Just let me alone, please, to decide for myself and on my own–

to have a baby or not.

To dream or aspire to whatever goals I want. 

Let me alone to decide what to do with my body–my life.

You are no more right than I am—than we are.

And my life is not yours to command or control,

not yours to make my decisions for.

This is my freedom, won for me by my forefathers–

it is not for you to take that away!

D. Fadden