King James I of England did a great disservice to the world in his attempt to bring enlightenment to huddled masses.  We can’t fault him as he was the product of a broken home.  His mother was a ruthless opportunist who in her insanity turned to Catholicism to give her life meaning and his father (genetic science was still witchcraft, so only a vague assertion) Lord Darnley was murdered either by his mother, her lover and second husband or any other interested party.  Think of it as Jerry Springer on crack, English 16th century style, phase one in which Doris gets her oats.

A century before all this, a wondrous new piece of technology was unleashed on the world that sparked a dramatic surge in mass media and the ensuing international battles over copyright laws concerning Guttenberg’s first publication made a bloody mess of the status quo.  New reality shows were popping up all over Europe and you could go to any major city and be delighted by the royal shenanigans.  Often viewers were selected at random to participate with a wealth of door prizes and instant celebrity.  The fun couldn’t last forever as the competition for the limelight started to heat up as nations sought primacy in their monopolistic world order.  James was a product of this new fast moving cultural revolution, half progressive like his grandfather but with strong reactionary impulses of his mother.  He sought civil discourse and rational debate in politics hoping to change people’s minds while empowering them to participation using the still fresh technology.  He was a strong advocate of committees and convened the Hampton Court Conference to get his messaging perfect as he was intimately familiar with the dominant polling corporation’s opinion surveys by Gallup known by their old English family name the infamous Gallows’ Polls.

The result of the industrious committee members was an epic success that is the gold standard of legislation even today.  It replaced the far too simplistic Magna Carta that empowered the nation’s people but failed to properly format common law much the same way our own Constitution is a fading document, written on sheep’s skin that isn’t properly enforced to assert justice for all.

One of the most poignant stories in this fabulous work of fiction is a retelling of an old Herew fable called The Tower of Babel.  Though, this too is somewhat deceptive as the Jews never really used that title, their word was balal.  It wasn’t so much a city name but a slur and pun against the Sumerian people and a tale to devalue the culture of the people they themselves had successfully revolted against.  More specifically Ancient Mesopotamians and the city state of Akkadian, the remnants of which are still present in Al Hillah just a day trip south of  Baghdad.  The people of KÁ.DINGIR.RA had partially constructed an engineering wonder of the world but failed to finish, Etemenanki,  Sumerian for  temple of the foundation of heaven and earth.1

This context is important to understand when reading Genesis 11:1-9 of King James’ version of the story.  James was constructing a blueprint for his descendants to follow that would be the final word on all the hot topics of the day;  history, religion, law, morals, race, business, economics and politics.   It would combat the new media barrage that sought to destabilize his administration and limit his authority.  The book also carried a history of propaganda wars that its original writers were waging on similar issues by previous generations.

I will paraphrase, ‘god don’t want no stinking babelfish2 getting the people all uppity.’  Today we see our own techno revolution in the media and information.  I didn’t need to go rummaging through my old history books and dictionaries to find the correct names, spelling and dates I just farted around the internet, googling my way around citation and ancient memories.  Twitter and Facebook have been credited as a boon to the people’s voice and the new and improved revolution and I say they’re fine, the polaroid of the blogging world if you like that sort of thing.  I am old enough to think simple snapshots are kid of sleazy like a fat man with a mustache taking pictures in his basement but I learned valuable lessons from King James I, The Magna Carta and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  Keep the law simple and easy to understand, irony and metaphor are often lost without a pair of eyes and lips and we don’t need no stinking committee doing all our thinking for us.

P.S. Have you been to Google translate?  You can talk to yourself for hours and in a different language so it’s not as pathetic.

http://translate.google.com/#en|de|

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_Babel

2 Adams, Douglas. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy , Titan Books. 1978

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ADONAI
Member

Always loved the “tower of babel” story.

“5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children built. 6 And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech”(Genesis 11:5-7)

Jehovah is basically the Ashton Kutcher of deities and he punk’d them.

whatsthatsound
Member

I like to think that the one language was telepathy. We had our brains scrambled so we couldn’t do that anymore.

Questinia
Member

What a great thought!

I was thinking that too! No not really, but you know what I mean.

whatsthatsound
Member

of course I do. I knew what you meant before YOU did!

choicelady
Member

Clearly the fog is lifting and we’re all becoming one again. At least on this planet…

Khirad
Member

The irony of course, was that was after stealing many Mesopotamian myths.

A lot of the familiar stories from the Old Testament?

http://www.amazon.com/Eastern-Mythology-Library-Worlds-Legends/dp/0872260046

So yeah, I find slurring against the Sumerians supremely ironic. And in the destruction of the Tower of Babel, I thus find so much more symbolism.

KQµårk 死神
Member

Excellent article.

I once saw one of the top ten list shows and they said Gutenberg’s printing press was #1 discovery or invention I forget now. I thought they were crazy.

Actually the whole story of biological Jesus is really just centered around the movements of the sun. So Jesus is the Sun not the Son. Of course this story was stolen from the Egyptians and the biography of the god Horus.

While I’m respectful of other people’s faith, my own belief is all the world’s religions are just myths at least the part of the religion that are biographical narratives or address the creation of the natural universe. I actually prefer Greek/Roman, Norse and Japanese myths to the bible they are way more entertaining.

I also reject belief hubris. Unless you literally believe in something that has been absolutely unproven like people who think the world is 6,000 years old because that’s what the Old Testament says, your beliefs are as valid as mine because there’s a remote probability that your belief’s are “right”.

I’m somewhere between agnostic and atheist. I believe in something but it’s never the same every day and my little monkey brain on steroids can’t explain what it is.

Don’t even get me started on common law.

choicelady
Member

Hi-

There was a Jesus – and he did throw the laws into the faces of both the Romans and Pharisees. Historically he did live, did do his best to piss off the religious right of his day. But no, he did NOT get born Dec. 25 and while he probably died more or less around when we celebrate Easter, the whole cycle of the Biblical year is entirely out of sync with reality. it was indeed created to win over the pagans.

What you write about the creation of the mythology is accurate, and most mainline faiths agree that the Bible is allegorical and not literal. But there are enough credible sources to confirm that what Jesus (that probably was not his name – or full name – either) said was recorded fairly accurately.

What he taught was that the tribal rules that the religious right today hang onto with a death grip are all bunk. He moved into a new world of love for all people, of peace, of justice, that transcended the ritualistic hierarchical rigidity of his day and age. The guidelines he did save were economic rules of justice that are prefigured in the prophets and the laws of earlier times – the things that today the religious right repudiate. You know, like Jubilee – the forgiveness of all debts owed to you. That is what got the powerful people’s knicker in a twist – he preached equality and justice for all people. He preached peace and an end to rank based on birth and nationality. He preached selflessness rather than privilege. That part is accurate.

Was his a “virgin birth” and did he rise from hell three days later after crucifixion? Nope. I know that’s heretical to most conservative Christians, but it just cannot be sustained. What did “rise” is hope – hope for a world of loving kindness, compassion, equality, and forgiveness – not by a supreme being but by each of us to others. WE are the bearers of what is best in the world. The old scripture maintained slavery (and so did Paul – whose influence over the new faith is, to me, despicable) but Christ said in Galatians – there is no master or slave. All are equal.

It is the teachings – the Beatitudes – the hope and the focus on equality, justice, and perfect love that lead most of us who are still engaged with faith to BE engaged. The legacy of King James and the narrow view of rules and regulations just is NOT on for us. That was what was to be abandoned. Those who cling to rules that let them point fingers at others based on Old Testament writings are NOT Christians – they use Jesus just as a “get out of jail free” card. You cannot simultaneously be a “Christian” AND an adherent of the Old Testament punitive laws. They simply do NOT work together.

A marvelous theologian I know has written a superb book, “Saving Paradise” that shows that until Charlemagne c. 800 AD, the whole focus of faith was centered on making THIS world the paradise it could be. Salvation and the afterlife were not the issue save for a smallish segment of scholars hidden away in dark rooms. Charlemagne made the crucifixion the centerpiece because it served to create binary classes – the saved, the unsaved, the loyal (to him) and the unworthy. The acceptance of the “passion” or the DEATH of Jesus became the “test” of your commitment. How nifty to fit right in with the Divine Right of Kings! Then you could have crusades, inquisitions, etc. to make divisions of people and terrorize them into obedience! So faith is politicized, and today there are those who still use it as “the test” of worth. TOTALLY misses the point. Totally.

The faith is a process of “becoming” – becoming someone who is not petty, selfish, mean spirited, violent, and venal. The religious right don’t see that in clinging to King James and to the old codes they are violating their own espoused faith.

Those of us within the “teachings” tradition also, by the way, have a good sense of wonder and joy on one hand – and a great sense of humor on the other. The United Church of Christ uses a line from the late comedienne Gracie Allen as an OFFICIAL saying: “Don’t put a period where God only put a comma.” Now what’s not to like about a church who thinks that’s theologically important? And loves that source?

Faith is different from religion even as people come together under the umbrella of a denomination. That is more social and communal these days than it is reflective of narrow theology. Nobody really worries too much about “predestination” vs “free will” or the micro parsing of details. It’s the joy of hope, the equal joy of community evolving into something better.

That’s where it is, what it is, why we keep on keepin’ on.

And we don’t need anyone to be IN our congregations to care about them and see them as complete, total, marvelous, absolutely equal human beings. Have a commitment to justice? That’s all we need to know. I hope that’s all you need to know about us, too.

KillgoreTrout
Member

choice, isn’t it true that there are 18 years of Christ’s life unaccounted for? I have heard the assumption that during that time, he was in what is now India and the far east.

whatsthatsound
Member

wonderful, choicelady! A true description of genuine Christianity. I read “The Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Claiborne and was often reminded of the things you post here.

Questinia
Member

Hello old buddy, old pal, old chum!

whatsthatsound
Member

What’s with all the “old”s?

choicelady
Member

Yeah Ques – we’re saving all the “olds” for Arianna! LOL!!!

Thank you WTS – I am not familiar with that book, so thanks – I will read it!

chazmania
Guest

Loved the hitch hikers guide…ahh the British, they can be as self debasing as they are pompous…But always scathingly funny.

KQµårk 死神
Member

Love it. Like always better book but the movie was good too. I even listened to the BBC radio series version.