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New Pope

    As everyone knows Pope John Paul II has not appeared in good health for the past few years.  This is a sensitive subject as I don't wish to appear as though I am attacking any individual.  Instead I am compelled to make a few observations about the Roman Catholic Church as an institution.  My approach to this topic and the Bible (actually everything) is my own but for the purpose of comparison you will find it resembles in many ways the views of Thomas Jefferson author of the "Declaration of Independence" and John Adams author of "A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law".  Jefferson interpreted and wrote his own analysis of the teachings of Jesus Christ in what has been called the Jefferson Bible.  If you read it you should keep in mind that he did not have access to the Gnostic texts.

Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush (September 23, 1800)
"I promised you a letter on Christianity, which I have not forgotten. ... I have a view of the subject which ought to displease neither the rational Christian nor Deists, and would reconcile many to a character they have too hastily rejected. ...had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity thro' the U.S.; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians & Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Deism: The Britannica Concise
Belief in God based on reason rather than revelation or the teaching of any specific religion. A form of natural religion, Deism originated in England in the early 17th cent. as a rejection of orthodox Christianity. Deists asserted that reason could find evidence of God in nature and that God had created the world and then left it to operate under the natural laws he had devised. The philosopher Edward Herbert (1583-1648) developed this view in On Truth (1624). By the late 18th cent. Deism was the dominant religious attitude among Europe's educated classes; it was accepted by many upper-class Americans of the same era, incl. the first three U.S. presidents.

Christianity: The Britannica Concise
Religion stemming from the teachings of Jesus in the 1st cent. AD. Its sacred scripture is the Bible, particularly the New Testament. …During the centuries since Jesus' death, Christianity has subdivided into numerous sects that continue to proliferate; the major divisions are Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism. Nearly all Christian sects have an ordained clergy, members of which are typically though not universally male. Members of the clergy lead group worship services and in many sects are viewed as intermediaries between the laity and the divine.

propaganda: The Britannica Concise
“Manipulation of information to influence public opinion. The term comes from Congregatio de propaganda fide ("Congregation for Propagation of the Faith"), a missionary organization established by the pope in 1622. Propagandists emphasize the elements of information that support their position and deemphasize or exclude those that do not. Misleading statements and even lies may be used to create the desired effect in the public audience.”

Cult Conversion, Deprogramming, and the Triune Brain
Geri-Ann Galanti, Ph.D., 1992
Abstract
This article presents a theoretical analysis of cult conversion and deprogramming based on the model of the triune brain. During participant-observation at a Unification Church training camp, the author found, to her surprise, that her intellect was unaffected; the "brainwashing" affected her emotionally (limbic system). Cult life involves much ritual behavior (R-complex) but de-emphasizes intellectual processes (neocortex). Interviews with deprogrammers indicated that their goal is to get the cultist to see contradictions between cult doctrine and practice in essence, stimulating the neocortex. Thus, cult conversion and deconversion emphasize different parts of the brain.
 

    Despite being raised Catholic I can't say I have any affinity whatsoever for the hierarchical structure that in so many ways seems hostile to the enlightenment and education of the individual.  Besides a few fantastic stories, the overwhelming impression I was left with from my Catholic school education was that God was something to be feared.  I'm sure it doesn't surprise Christians outside of Catholicism that the Catholic church in many ways so similar in philosophy, organization and architecture to that of the Roman Empire itself (as is the Republic known as the United States of America).  I believe that period of human history was chosen by our overseer to influence and possibly aid an individual like the Christ/Buddha Jesus specifically because of how hostile the republic was to the rights of individuals.  Think about the recent film Gladiator.  Most people were slaves.  People were slaughtered for entertainment.

    I am in no way well versed in theology or the history of the Catholic church, as a consequence I can offer a fresh perspective.  I do however remember a few bits of information that I've found interesting.  The first is that Catholic priests (and nuns) were not always required to take oaths of celibacy and chastity.  I'm not sure when but what I recall is that the hierarchy found evidence that some priests were passing on property and money to their families instead of it going to Rome.  They instituted the vows in response.  Another interesting bit I find easy to believe is that the papacy itself is prone to political corruption and hypocrisy.  Umm. Well to back this up I just did some web searches and I have to say I found more support than I had expected.  The following page on Papal Impropriety lists numerous historical examples.  I've also added more contemporary evidence.  Any Catholic who reads this should attempt to separate themselves from the "Institution" of Catholicism and compare and contrast their values and behavior with those of other individuals.  Know yourself.

Papal Impropriety
From St Peter to recent history, the papal line has shown an incredible propensity for almost all forms of the worst kinds of corruption. Throughout the ages, the Holy Roman representatives of the Catholic Christian God on earth have been very naughty boys and girls indeed! Several of the following (by no means exhaustive) examples are taken from 'Sex lives of the Popes' by Nigel Cawthorne. A most enlightening tome I'm sure you will agree, but beg, buy or borrow it yourself for the full sordid revelation.

Documented history proves that for nearly two thousand years the Christian tradition of the Bishops of Rome has been founded on, indeed, has wholeheartedly supported deceit, murder, sexual depravity, torture, rape, paedophilia, prostitution, incest... well I won't go on, you get the picture. I suppose that the real message of this web page is to inform Catholic Christians of the true nature of their god, for why would He allow such deviation in His name by His chosen messengers? And of course the answer is that gods don't exist. As an Atheist, I understand perfectly well the real nature of the historical Catholic Popes - power breeds corruption, but to be corrupt with the authority of a god behind you...

It was said that Pope John XII (955-64) invented sins that had not been known since the beginning of the world and whole monasteries spent days and nights praying for his death. He turned his home, the Lateran Palace, into a brothel. He used the papal treasury to pay off his gambling debts. He died on May 14th 964 aged twenty-four, after he was caught in bed by the husband of one of his mistresses in 'the very act of adultery'.
...
The Apology of John Paul II
Or: 'Will 50 pages be enough?'
By John Patrick Michael Murphy (26th February 2000)

In a bit more than a fortnight Pope John Paul II will make a request for forgiveness for the conduct of his church over the centuries. The infirm pontiff has prepared a list of the murders, tortures and horrors the papacy has caused to humanity. It reportedly takes 50 pages to lay it all out--things like the papal pogroms against the Jews, the crusades against Islam, and the Inquisitions that went on for centuries. Will 50 pages be enough?

Not if he tells it all. He knows his church historically engaged in political assassinations and other monkeyshines to impose the will of the Vatican upon the civil governments of the world. Will he mention that, even while families hold up pictures of desaparecidos, their kin, who disappeared in countries run by Catholic bishops and generals, like Argentina, Chili, and Croatia? Will he mention Rwanda? Will he say he's sorry Pius XII said nothing while million of Jews were taken to their deaths? Will he mention Monsignor Tiso, head of the Slovak State, who delivered the first trainload of Jews to Auschwitz? How about the Catholic Ustashi of Croatia who carried out the "quiet holocaust" of Jews and Serbs? I doubt it.

“Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws.”
- John Adams
Hitler wth Archbishop Cesare Orsenigo, the papal nuncio in Berlin

Australian Memories Of The Holocaust
In the 1920s Pius XII had been a Vatican diplomat in Germany where he developed a strong pro-German position. He personally gave Hitler money to help build the tiny Nazi Party in the 1920s. As the Vatican's Secretary of State, in 1933 he made a Concordat with Hitler to preserve the position of the Catholic Church, and then invested much of the Vatican's wealth in the booming Nazi economy of the mid-1930s. Just before World War II broke out, his predecessor (Pius XI) was preparing to issue a strong denunciation of Nazism when he suddenly died. Pius XII quietly buried the denunciation and spent the next six years issuing only vague messages of sympathy for "the victims of injustice", even though the Vatican knew from 1941 what Nazi policies meant to Jewish and other victims.

Sex, Fraud, Money Laundering: All Roads lead to Rome
PRWeb – THE FREE WIRE SERVICE
June 28, 2002
Attorneys in the Vatican Bank lawsuit (Alperin v. Vatican Bank) seeking restitution of Nazi loot laundered through the Vatican Bank after World War II have asked the United States District Court in San Francisco to coordinate all pending lawsuits against the Vatican. This includes another WWII era lawsuit against the Vatican Bank, three sex abuse cases filed in Missouri, Oregon, and Florida alleging a Vatican cover up of pedophile priests and a $600 million dollar RICO (Anti Racketeering) lawsuit filed by five state insurance commissioners for insurance fraud aided and abetted by top Vatican officials in conspiracy with convicted swindler, Martin Frankel.

Americans have not yet put together all the pieces, ” said Levy, “they need to know the Vatican is being used as a haven for crooks, pedophiles, and financial corruption. By combining these cases temporarily and forcing the issue of Vatican immunity we are actually helping the honest clergy who are trying to clean up an appalling situation.”

Boston Globe / Spotlight / Abuse in the Catholic Church / Scandal and coverup
A history of secrecy, coverups in Boston Archdiocese
Church documents, official testimony, and victim interviews gathered over the past year paint an extraordinary picture of secrecy and deception in the Boston Archdiocese; a culture in which top church officials coddled abusive priests and permitted them to molest again, while stonewalling or paying off the victims of that abuse.

Matthew 6: King James Version (KJV)
1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

"I am surrounded by priests who repeat incessantly that their kingdom is not of this world, and yet they lay their hands on everything they can get."
- Napoleon Bonaparte

    Hmm, I spent a few hours trying to determine the Vatican's (The Holy See) net worth.  It's not an easy (possible?) task.  Most official sites such as various state departments repeat the exact same statements.  I've even found one admission from a Catholic priest, "I really wouldn't have too much factual material on the subject of the church's wealth."  If you somehow discover such factual evidence, preferably from the Vatican itself I would appreciate an e-mail


U.S. State Department Background Note: The Holy See
The Holy See (State of the Vatican City)
Economy
Budget: Revenues (1999)--$175.5 million; expenditures (1999)--$175 million.
Industries: Printing and production of mosaics and staff uniforms; worldwide banking and financial activities. Other sources of income include contributions (known as Peter's Pence) from Roman Catholics throughout the world, the sale of postage stamps and tourist mementos, fees for admission to museums, and the sale of publications.

Lennon picks sites for sale, eyes court test in abuse cases
By Michael Rezendes and Walter V. Robinson, Globe Staff, 12/23/2002
In a gesture aimed at assuring 500 alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse that the Boston Archdiocese is committed to a financial settlement of their claims, the newly named apostolic administrator, Bishop Richard G. Lennon, said yesterday that he has selected church properties for sale and directed officials to put them on the market ''as soon as possible.''

Lennon would not say which properties will be sold, but said he is seeking -- in his first week on the job -- to demonstrate his resolve to settle the growing number of sexual abuse cases. "I chose a number of properties
[how many do they have?] and asked the chancellor to go forward and market them as soon as possible, so we can show our commitment to this," Lennon said.

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
Vatican Politics, the Calvi Murder and Beyond...
by Conrad Goeringer
As a matter of record, it is next to impossible for outsiders to determine what the “net worth” of the Vatican really is. Some of this wealth is described as “illliquid,” meaning that it consists of art treasures, buildings and other holdings, and some of this is in the form of so-called perpetual trusts, which means that it cannot be sold off. But some of the wealth takes a different form, and when you look at these holdings as financial instruments, they are virtually indistinguishable from those of any modern bank, government or corporation.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.
Italy: Economy
Italy’s economy has deceptive strength because it is supported by a substantial “underground” economy that functions outside government controls. Despite significant government progress in the 1990s in its war against organized crime, the Mafia continues to exert a strong influence in S Italy, often hindering governmental programs aimed at integrating the region more fully economically and politically into the national scene. The spread of drugs has become a major problem in Italy, which has the highest incidence of drug addiction in Europe.

Vatican City - History
© copyright 2000-2001 - eurotravelling.net
More recently, scandals and innuendo relating to the Italian Mafia's control over the Vatican have surfaced. Given their reported control over the rest of Italy - the Mafia's estimated worth is about 12% of Italy's gross national product - there seems no reason to suppose that crime organizations don't have connections with the Holy See. Rumours were fuelled when Pope John Paul I died suddenly in 1978 after only 25 days in office, having earlier vowed to break the Mafia's hold over the people of Rome.

Vatican's banker 'was murdered'
BBC, Friday, 25 October, 2002, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Investigators suspect Calvi was killed by the mafia for failing to repay their "deposits" on demand.

Calvi's son, also named Roberto, was quoted by La Repubblica newspaper as saying that although he was convinced the mafia carried out the murder, it was on behalf of a third party.

"Behind the mafia, there's someone else," he said, adding: "The politicians who gave the order must be found."

In recent years more evidence has come to light, suggesting Calvi was murdered by the mafia to stop him divulging damaging details about links between the mafia, the Vatican and P2.

Matthew 6 :: King James Version (KJV)
19
 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

"The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern...Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
- Lord Acton (1834-1902)

Unholy Trinity
Mark Aarons, John Loftus
From the Publisher Written in riveting fashion by the coauthors of The Secret War Against the Jews, Unholy Trinity tells one of the darkest tales of World War II. After the war had ended, fearing a surge of Soviet growth, the Papacy entered into an espionage alliance with British and American intelligence agents. Subsuming justice to the nascent Cold War ideology, these three powers ferreted Nazi criminals out of Europe so that they could be used in the supposedly greater fight against Communism. The Vatican's Nazi smuggling network was penetrated by Prince Anton Turkul, the great Soviet double agent who turned the operation into a sting for his masters in the Kremlin. Unholy Trinity exposes Turkul's "Red Nazi" operation for the first time and shows how Kim Philby, the infamous British -- Soviet double agent, and his network were nearly sacrificed to preserve Turkul's Vatican operation.

Exploring the Vatican's role in aiding Nazi criminals to escape punishment for their crimes, this book, originally published in 1991, first revealed the Vatican -- Swiss bank connection to Nazi gold and documented the hidden links to Western investors in Nazi Germany. Since 1991, major revelations about the role of the Swiss banks have confirmed Unholy Trinity's expose of the flight of the Nazis' stolen treasures; the new introduction and new final chapters, written by Aarons and Loftus for this edition, bring the book completely up to date and show how the media have missed the vital Vatican connection in the Swiss-bank story. Among other things, the authors demonstrate that U.S. and British code-breakers were fully aware of the Holocaust as early as 1941 but lied to the Western press; that the code-breakers bugged the Swiss banks and then buried secrets of Nazi gold transfers to protect U.S. intelligence chief Allen Dulles; and that the Australian, British, and Canadian governments are still waging a campaign to keep their citizens ignorant about the Nazi war criminals living among them.

Covering all these topics and more, Unholy Trinity is the definitive history of a series of profoundly disturbing cover-ups involving the Holy See, Allen Dulles, the Swiss banks, and the remnants of the Third Reich.

Introduction to the Vatican Bank Claims: FAQ
What is this lawsuit all about?

In 1998 the US State Department issued a report implicating the Vatican in the 1945 disappearance of the Treasury of the Nazi Puppet State of Croatia. The purpose of this lawsuit is to obtain legal accounting of the missing funds, recover assets and distribute them to survivors and their descendants.

What is the Position of the Vatican?

The Vatican has repeatedly denied any participation in Ustashe crimes or the disappearance of the Croatian Treasury yet has refused to open its wartime records despite requests from the US government, Jewish and Roma organizations.

Scholars hail early opening of Vatican archive
Papers to cast light on Pius XII and the Nazi era
By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, 2/14/2003
VATICAN CITY -- For years, the Vatican has struggled to defend Pope Pius XII against assertions that he was anti-Semitic and didn't do enough to save Jews from the Holocaust.

Now the Vatican is taking the extraordinary step of opening part of its secret archives ahead of schedule, in a bid to silence attacks against a man it is considering for sainthood. Starting tomorrow, millions of Vatican documents from the years leading up to World War II will be available to scholars, at the express wish of Pope John Paul II.

The diplomatic and doctrinal records are being released two years earlier than other documents from the papacy of Pius XII, which the Vatican said last year would be made available in 2005.

“Any priest or shaman must be presumed guilty until proved innocent.”
...
“The profession of shaman has many advantages. It offers high status with a safe livelihood free of work in the dreary, sweaty sense. In most societies it offers legal privileges and immunities not granted to other men. But it is hard to see how a man who has been given a mandate from on High to spread tidings of joy to all mankind can be seriously interested in taking up a collection to pay his salary; it causes one to suspect that the shaman is on the moral level of any other con man. But it’s lovely work if you can stomach it.”

- Robert A. Heinlein more quotes

“Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.”
- Robert A. Heinlein more quotes

"Though I have asserted above that in truth a legitimate conflict between religion and science cannot exist, I must nevertheless qualify this assertion once again on an essential point, with reference to the actual content of historical religions. This qualification has to do with the concept of God. During the youthful period of mankind's spiritual evolution human fantasy created gods in man's own image, who, by the operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate to influence, the phenomenal world. Man sought to alter the disposition of these gods in his own favor by means of magic and prayer. The idea of God in the religions taught at present is a sublimation of that old concept of the gods. Its anthropomorphic character is shown, for instance, by the fact that men appeal to the Divine Being in prayers and plead for the fulfillment of their wishes."
- Albert Einstein, Science and Religion II, Science, Philosophy and Religion, A Symposium, 1941

    To gain additional perspective on how an institution like the Roman Catholic Church is detrimental to the spiritual health of the individual consider the role religious leaders play in all societies.  It's practically the rule that religious leaders impose their interpretation of spiritual texts on others for their own gain.  Religious leaders also typically mislead, misunderstand and even lie in order to differentiate their teachings from other religions.  This practice reinforces their own perceived authority and diminishes the value of other spiritual texts.  This philosophical misdirection underlies most of the bigotry and hatred that has set one people against another throughout history.  Consider the similarity of views by John Adams on the Catholic Church's rise to power and Dr. Varza's on  Zoroastrianism.  While I recommend reading both articles in full, below are relevant excerpts.  Remember the story of the three wise men (astronomers/astrologers) said to have visited Jesus at his birth?  They were Zoroastrian.

Why Zarathustra’s Philosophy was gradually Forgotten?
by Dr. Bahram Varza
"The answer to this question is quite clear. Zarathustra was against bartering for gaining power through the name of God. He was also against the inhumane sacrificing of animals, which was a lucrative source of income for religious leaders. Moreover, since Zarathustra’s philosophy frequently indicates that three principles of good reflection, good words, and good deed; lead to human exaltation, therefore, there remains no need for religious leaders to assume the role of mediating between God and people like other religions. The meditation between God and people then becomes a lucrative job for clergies and will cause them to extort the fruits of their toils by promising them heaven and scare them of hell."

A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law
by John Adams, second U.S. President, 1765
"By the former of these, the most refined, sublime, extensive, and astonishing constitution of policy that ever was conceived by the mind of man was framed by the Romish clergy for the aggrandizement of their own order. All the epithets I have here given to the Romish policy are just, and will be allowed to be so when it is considered, that they even persuaded mankind to believe, faithfully and undoubtingly, that God Almighty had entrusted them with the keys of heaven, whose gates they might open and close at pleasure; with a power of dispensation over all the rules and obligations of morality; with authority to license all sorts of sins and crimes; with a power of deposing princes and absolving subjects from allegiance; with a power of procuring or withholding the rain of heaven and the beams of the sun; with the management of earthquakes, pestilence, and famine; nay, with the mysterious, awful, incomprehensible power of creating out of bread and wine the flesh and blood of God himself. All these opinions they were enabled to spread and rivet among the people by reducing their minds to a state of sordid ignorance and staring timidity, and by infusing into them a religious horror of letters and knowledge. Thus was human nature chained fast for ages in a cruel, shameful, and deplorable servitude to him, and his subordinate tyrants, who, it was foretold, would exalt himself above all that was called God, and that was worshipped."

“The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.”
-
Robert A. Heinlein more quotes

The Basis of Zarathusta’s Teachings
“Zarathustra never imagined praising a God who is a bribe taker. The one, who is bribed by worship and then he rewards his worshiper with a part of paradise. The Almighty God is not a dealer, he is neither a buyer nor a seller, and does not need also to be flattered by his creatures. The almighty God of Zarathustra, is the initiator of justice, kindness, and truthfulness and guides his creatures to the same principles. That is why, Zarathustra, has based his philosophy on good reflection, good word, and good deed. In Zarathustra’s philosophy, everybody has the liberty to choose the right way, out of his/her good reflection and since human wisdom is more related to good reflection, thus the followers of Zoroastrianism should precede by each other to the propagation of science and education. In this manner, Zoroastrianism becomes the forerunner of knowledge and enlightenment.” - Dr. Bahram Varza

"Nobody, certainly, will deny that the idea of the existence of an omnipotent, just, and omnibeneficent personal God is able to accord man solace, help, and guidance; also, by virtue of its simplicity it is accessible to the most undeveloped mind. But, on the other hand, there are decisive weaknesses attached to this idea in itself, which have been painfully felt since the beginning of history. That is, if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?"
- Albert Einstein, Science and Religion II, Science, Philosophy and Religion, A Symposium, 1941

"When a child my mother taught me the legends of our people; taught me of the sun and sky, the moon and stars, the clouds and storms. She also taught me to kneel and pray to Usen for strength, health, wisdom and protection. We never prayed against any person, but if we had aught against any individual we ourselves took vengeance. We were taught that Usen does not care for the petty quarrels of men."
- Geronimo/Goyathlay 1829-1909 Chiricahua Apache Chief

    For another example of the kinds of lies, distortion and misdirection I am referring to, consider that for centuries the Catholic Church has taught that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.  This position as well as the attempt to destroy numerous teachings of Jesus Christ helped these institutions to reinforce their misogynistic practices, re-define history, dehumanize and demonize healthy sexual desire and subjugate the hearts and minds of millions of people for centuries.  Not only was Mary Magdalene 'not' a prostitute, she and several other influential women actually helped 'support' the early Christian movement.  She was apparently not only one of Christ's apostles but she was 'first' among them.  The fact that Jesus spent so much time alone with her teaching her things he did not tell the others caused a bit of animosity among some of the other apostles.

“The second most preposterous notion is that copulation is inherently sinful.”
- Robert A. Heinlein more quotes

The Development of My Magdalene and the people to make it happen
by David Tresemer, Ph.D., and Laura-Lea Cannon, January, 2000
“Who was Mary Magdalene? In 600 AD, Pope Gregory labeled her a penitent prostitute. Yet there are no direct references in the New Testament to confirm this labeling. The Christian Gospels do tell us, however, that she was permitted to perform the anointing of Jesus Christ, a task traditionally reserved for the senior priestess in the Isis tradition. And perhaps, most importantly, all four gospels agree that she was the first to witness the resurrection. Why should she not be most remembered as the Apostle of the Apostles (which she was called in other first-century texts), instead of 'penitent prostitute'? In 1969 the Catholic Church reversed its position about Gregory's 1400-year-old statement, but the image of loose woman and whore has stuck.”

Mary Magdalene: The Hidden Apostle
Biography

“The first person to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection has been the victim of a 2,000-year smear campaign. This groundbreaking profile strives to set the record straight.”

“Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute. Rather, she, was a woman of wealth whose financial support was crucial to the early survival of Christianity. But, as BIOGRAPHY® reveals, the special relationship she had with Christ led to resentment among the other disciples, and her reputation was tarnished as a result. Drawing on ancient texts, rare art and the research of top scholars at Harvard, Yale, Catholic University and the University of Wisconsin, this far-reaching portrait compares the evidence we have with the stories we have heard--and tries to reconcile them.”

“She was a disciple who believed in the word of the Lord long before many others, yet her reward was to be misrepresented for millennia!”

Scholars taking a new look at Mary Magdalene
By Victor Greto
“In the last twenty years, the history of women in ancient Christianity has been almost completely revised," writes Karen King in a recent essay about women in early Christianity. King is a professor of New Testament Studies and the History of Ancient Christianity at Harvard University's Divinity School.”

“King writes that the early Christian women we thought we knew have almost nothing to do with the revised portrait scholars are just beginning to unveil.”

"Chief among these is Mary Magdalene," she says. "Discoveries of new texts ... have now proven that (her reputation as a repentant prostitute) is entirely inaccurate. She was indeed an influential figure, but as a prominent disciple and leader of one wing of the early Christian movement that promoted women's leadership."

“Among the newly discovered texts King is referring to is "The Gospel of Mary," discovered at Nag Hammadi in Egypt more than a half century ago.”

“In that Gospel, Mary receives secret revelations from Jesus - much to the chagrin of Peter.”

"The Gospel of Philip," also discovered at Nag Hammadi, shows yet another understanding of Mary's relationship with Jesus.

"But Christ loved her more than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on the mouth," that Gospel reads. "The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, 'Why do you love her more than all of us?' The savior answered and said to them, 'Why do I not love you like (I love) her?'"

The Gospel According to Mary
Chapter 4
...Will matter then be destroyed or not?
22) The Savior said, All nature, all formations, all creatures exist in and with one another, and they will be resolved again into their own roots.
23) For the nature of matter is resolved into the roots of its own nature alone.
24) He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
25) Peter said to him, Since you have explained everything to us, tell us this also: What is the sin of the world?
26) The Savior said There is no sin, but it is you who make sin when you do the things that are like the nature of adultery, which is called sin.
...
(for my interpretation of Chapter 4 please click this link.)
Chapter 5
5) Peter said to Mary, Sister we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of woman.
6) Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember which you know, but we do not, nor have we heard them.
7) Mary answered and said, What is hidden from you I will proclaim to you.

...
Chapter 9
4) He questioned them about the Savior: Did He really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did He prefer her to us?
5) Then Mary wept and said to Peter, My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I have thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Savior?
6) Levi answered and said to Peter, Peter you have always been hot tempered.
7) Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries.
8) But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well.
9) That is why He loved her more than us. Rather let us be ashamed and put on the perfect Man, and separate as He commanded us and preach the gospel, not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the Savior said.
10) And when they heard this they began to go forth to proclaim and to preach.

"At the time when Jesus lived society had a generally negative attitude towards women. Both Jews and Greeks believed women should be limited to the domestic roles of wife and mother and also believed that they were responsible for most (if not all) sin (especially sexual temptation – NB. Jewish men thanked God they were not born a woman!). However, despite the cultural limitations imposed onto women a quick glance through the gospels will reveal that Jesus had a very positive attitude towards them. He accepted and affirmed women who were neglected by society and declared them people of value. Jesus healed women who were considered ritually unclean and forgave women guilty of sexual sin. Jesus both taught women and included them amongst his followers/disciples. In his teaching they are often used as examples of people living a life of faith. Although women were not generally educated at the time of Jesus he allowed them to sit at his feet (the traditional posture of a disciple – Luke 10:38-42), and taught them."
-
Jesus and Women - The Role of Women in the Church, © Pelusa 2002

1 Timothy 2 :: King James Version (KJV)
9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

Matthew 15 :(KJV)
7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

"Since the promulgation of Christianity, the two greatest systems of tyranny that have sprung from this original, are the canon and the feudal law."
- A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law
by John Adams, 1765

canon law
It is the law of the church courts and is formally distinguished from other parts of ecclesiastical law, such as liturgical law. However, when liturgical law overlaps with canon law, canon law normally prevails. Canon law has had a profound influence on the law of countries where the Roman Catholic Church has been the state church.

sharia
the religious law of Islam. As Islam makes no distinction between religion and life, Islamic law covers not only ritual but every aspect of life. The actual codification of canonic law is the result of the concurrent evolution of jurisprudence proper and the so-called science of the roots of jurisprudence (usul al-fiqh).

1 Corinthians 14 :: King James Version (KJV)
33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.
35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

"Literacy has promoted the subjugation of women by men throughout all but the very recent history of the West," writes Leonard Shlain. "Misogyny and patriarchy rise and fall with the fortunes of the alphabetic written word."
- "The Alphabet Versus the Goddess : The Conflict Between Word and Image" by Leonard Shlain

THE BURNING TIMES: The Christian extermination of Witches and other heretics
The time line: the Dark Ages to now
1227: Pope Gregory IX established the Inquisitional Courts to arrest, try, convict and execute heretics.
1252: Pope Innocent III authorized the use of torture during inquisitional trials. This greatly increased the conviction rate.

Bride burning 'kills hundreds'
August 27, 1999, BBC
She said: "Every second Pakistani woman is the victim of a direct or indirect form of mental or physical violence, leading to heinous crimes against them including rape, murder, chopping of limbs or being burned alive."

Musharraf vs. the mullahs: a fight for Islamic schools
A Pakistani crackdown on madrassahs may change the way students learn
January 30, 2002, CSMonitor.com
RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN - Upon his father's cue, Abdul Wahid Zarif closes his eyes and begins to chant a verse from the Koran, rocking back and forth in sync with his slow, mournful trills. At 12, he has learned to memorize great portions of the Koran in Arabic - a language he does not understand.

"Right now he doesn't know what it means, but when he is a man of age, he will understand it," says Khatib Mohammed Zarif, Abdul Wahid's father and the mullah and schoolmaster of one of this city's largest mosques.

As in most madrassahs, or Islamic religious schools, rote memorization is the key method of learning the Koran under Zarif's tutelage, and virtually no other subjects are tackled.

Saudi police 'stopped' fire rescue
Friday, 15 March, 2002, BBC
Saudi Arabia's religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress, according to Saudi newspapers.

In a rare criticism of the kingdom's powerful "mutaween" police, the Saudi media has accused them of hindering attempts to save 15 girls who died in the fire on Monday.

About 800 pupils were inside the school in the holy city of Mecca when the tragedy occurred.

According to the al-Eqtisadiah daily, firemen confronted police after they tried to keep the girls inside because they were not wearing the headscarves and abayas (black robes) required by the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islam.

One witness said he saw three policemen "beating young girls to prevent them from leaving the school because they were not wearing the abaya".

The Saudi Gazette quoted witnesses as saying that the police - known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice - had stopped men who tried to help the girls and warned "it is a sinful to approach them".

The father of one of the dead girls said that the school watchman even refused to open the gates to let the girls out.

"Lives could have been saved had they not been stopped by members of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice," the newspaper concluded.

    For some insight as to why such political and misogynistic patterns are found in many cultures at different points in time consider not only cognitive functional preferences and the neurophysiology that underlies them but also the environmental influences that culturally reinforce certain practices and viewpoints.  Also consider that Buddhas such as Siddhartha, Zarathustra, Jesus and I promote the utilization of both hemispheres of the brain.  Enlightenment makes this possible.  Most of Jesus' Zen/Tao/Buddhist like teachings are found in the Gnostic texts especially the Gospel of Thomas which contains many Zen Koans.

"When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything--you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him."
- Robert A. Heinlein more quotes

The Nag Hammadi Library
"The Nag Hammadi Library, a collection of thirteen ancient codices containing over fifty texts, was discovered in upper Egypt in 1945. This immensely important discovery includes a large number of primary Gnostic scriptures -- texts once thought to have been entirely destroyed during the early Christian struggle to define "orthodoxy" -- scriptures such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, and the Gospel of Truth. The discovery and translation of the Nag Hammadi library has provided impetus to a major re-evaluation of early Christian history and the nature of Gnosticism."

The Alphabet Versus the Goddess : The Conflict Between Word and Image
by Leonard Shlain
“Making remarkable connections across brain function, myth, and anthropology, Dr. Shlain shows why pre-literate cultures were principally informed by holistic, right-brain modes that venerated the Goddess, images, and feminine values. Writing drove cultures toward linear left-brain thinking and this shift upset the balance between men and women, initiating the decline of the feminine and ushering in patriarchal rule. Examining the cultures of the Israelites, Greeks, Christians, and Muslims, Shlain reinterprets ancient myths and parables in light of his theory. Provocative and inspiring, this book is a paradigm-shattering work that will transform your view of history and the mind.”

"All things in the world are two. In our mind we are two -- good and evil. With our eyes we see two things -- things that are fair and things that are ugly ... We have the right hand that strikes and makes for evil, and the left hand full of kindness, near the heart. One foot may lead us to an evil way, the other foot may lead us to a good. So are all things two, all two."
- Eagle Chief (Letakots-Lesa) (late 19th century): Pawnee

The Gospel of Thomas
Jesus said to them, "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom]."

“The Tao gives birth to One.
One gives birth to Two.
Two gives birth to Three.
Three gives birth to all things.

All things have their backs to the female
And stand facing the male.
When male and female combine,
all things achieve harmony
.

Ordinary men hate solitude.
But the Master makes use of it,
Embracing his aloneness, realizing
he is one with the whole universe.”
- Lao-tzu , Tao-te ching “The Book of the Way and Its Power”
A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell

Know yourself, the path to enlightenment
The experience variously referred to as Enlightenment, Satori, Prajna, Awakening and Healing simply stated, is a neural synaptic cascade that integrates and aligns perceptual and analytical cognitive functions probably at an engrammatic level. For many people this phenomenon can last for a split second and offer a ‘flash’ of insight (e.g. the Archimedes 'eureka' story). My experience lasted in varying degrees for days and weeks. For further explanation you could refer to these pages on my site, Definition and Recognition.


Here's a bit more "food for thought".

“History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.”
- Robert A. Heinlein

A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law
by John Adams, second U.S. President, 1765
"By the former of these, the most refined, sublime, extensive, and astonishing constitution of policy that ever was conceived by the mind of man was framed by the Romish clergy for the aggrandizement of their own order. All the epithets I have here given to the Romish policy are just, and will be allowed to be so when it is considered, that they even persuaded mankind to believe, faithfully and undoubtingly, that God Almighty had entrusted them with the keys of heaven, whose gates they might open and close at pleasure; with a power of dispensation over all the rules and obligations of morality; with authority to license all sorts of sins and crimes; with a power of deposing princes and absolving subjects from allegiance; with a power of procuring or withholding the rain of heaven and the beams of the sun; with the management of earthquakes, pestilence, and famine; nay, with the mysterious, awful, incomprehensible power of creating out of bread and wine the flesh and blood of God himself. All these opinions they were enabled to spread and rivet among the people by reducing their minds to a state of sordid ignorance and staring timidity, and by infusing into them a religious horror of letters and knowledge. Thus was human nature chained fast for ages in a cruel, shameful, and deplorable servitude to him, and his subordinate tyrants, who, it was foretold, would exalt himself above all that was called God, and that was worshipped."

Eucharist: CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA
The Church honors the Eucharist as one of her most exalted mysteries, since for sublimity and incomprehensibility it yields in nothing to the allied mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation. These three mysteries constitute a wonderful triad, which causes the essential characteristic of Christianity, as a religion of mysteries far transcending the capabilities of reason, to shine forth in all its brilliance and splendor, and elevates Catholicism, the most faithful guardian and keeper of our Christian heritage, far above all pagan and non-Christian religions.

"We had no churches, no religious organization, no sabbath days, no holidays, and yet we worshiped. Sometimes the whole tribe would assemble and sing and pray: sometimes a smaller number, perhaps only two or three. The songs had a few words, but were not formal. The singer would occasionally put in such words as he wished instead of the usual tone sound. Sometimes we prayed in silence; sometimes each prayed aloud; sometimes an aged person prayed for all of us. At other times one would rise and speak to us of our duties to each other and to Usen. Our services were short."
- Geronimo/Goyathlay 1829-1909 Chiricahua Apache Chief

“When they lose their sense of awe,
people turn to religion.
When they no longer trust themselves,
they begin to depend upon authority.

Therefore the Master steps back
so that people won’t be confused.
He teaches without a teaching,
so that people will have nothing to learn.”
- Lao-tzu , Tao-te ching “The Book of the Way and Its Power”
A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell

Plato: The Allegory of the Cave, from The Republic
"At the end of the passage, Plato expresses another of his favorite ideas: that education is not a process of putting knowledge into empty minds, but of making people realize that which they already know. This notion that truth is somehow embedded in our minds was also powerfully influential for many centuries."

Jefferson's letter to his nephew, from Paris, August 10, 1787.
“4. Religion. Your reason is now mature enough to examine this object. In the first place, divest yourself of all bias in favor of novelty & singularity of opinion. Indulge them in any other subject rather than that of religion. It is too important, and the consequences of error may be too serious. On the other hand, shake off all the fears & servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. ...But those facts in the Bible which contradict the laws of nature, must be examined with more care, and under a variety of faces. Here you must recur to the pretensions of the writer to inspiration from God. Examine upon what evidence his pretensions are founded, and whether that evidence is so strong, as that its falsehood would be more improbable than a change in the laws of nature, in the case he relates."

"How on earth can religious people believe in so much arbitrary, clearly invented balderdash?....The acceptance of a creed, any creed, entitles the acceptor to membership in the sort of artificial extended family we call a congregation. It is a way to fight loneliness. Any time I see a person fleeing from reason and into religion, I think to myself, There goes a person who simply cannot stand being so goddamned lonely anymore."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr

Matthew 6:5-8 :: King James Version (KJV)
5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

"Religion is a primitive form of philosophy, [the] attempt to offer a comprehensive view of reality."
- Ayn Rand, (The Objectivist Feb 1966)

"Common to all these types is the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God. In general, only individuals of exceptional endowments, and exceptionally high-minded communities, rise to any considerable extent above this level. But there is a third stage of religious experience which belongs to all of them, even though it is rarely found in a pure form: I shall call it cosmic religious feeling. It is very difficult to elucidate this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God corresponding to it.

The individual feels the futility of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. Individual existence impresses him as a sort of prison and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole. The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear at an early stage of development, e.g., in many of the Psalms of David and in some of the Prophets. Buddhism, as we have learned especially from the wonderful writings of Schopenhauer, contains a much stronger element of this."
- Albert Einstein, Religion and Science

The World
Do not follow low practices.
Do not live carelessly.
Do not hold wrong views.
Do not prolong the suffering of the world.

Lift yourself up. Be attentive.
Act virtuously.
One who does good deeds lives happily,
Both in this life and the life to come.

Act righteously.
Refuse to do otherwise.
One who follows this path lives happily,
Both in this life and the life to come.

Perceive the world as a bubble.
Perceive the world as a mirage.
If you see the world in this way,
You render the Lord of Death powerless.

Look at the body as a royal chariot
To which the ignorant cling,
While the wise let go.

Whoever moves from carelessness to
vigilance,
Lights up the world
Like the moon that emerges from a cloud.

Whoever overcomes his unwholesome
deeds
With wholesome actions,
Illuminates the world
Like the moon emerging from a cloud.

There is blindness all around.
Only very few can see.
Many are like birds trapped in a net,
Only few escape and achieve liberation.
- The Dhammapada (The Path of Truth) translated by Ananda Maitreya

The Prayer To Our 'Father'
"The Aramaic Language has (like the Hebrew and Arabic) different levels of meaning. The words are organized and defined by a poetical system where different meanings of every word are possible."
(in the original Aramaic)

Abwűn
"Oh Thou, from whom the breath of life comes,

d'bwaschmâja
who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.

Nethkâdasch schmach
May Your light be experienced in my utmost holiest.

Tętę malkuthach.
Your Heavenly Domain approaches.

Nehwę tzevjânach aikâna d'bwaschmâja af b'arha.
Let Your will come true - in the universe (all that vibrates)
just as on earth (that is material and dense).

Hawvlân lachma d'sűnkanân jaomâna.
Give us bread (understanding, assistance) for our daily need,

Waschboklân chaubęn wachtahęn aikâna
daf chnân schwoken l'chaijabęn.
detach the fetters of faults that bind us, (karma)
like we let go the guilt of others.

Wela tachlân l'nesjuna
Let us not be lost in superficial things (materialism, common temptations),

ela patzân min bischa.
but let us be freed from that what keeps us off from our true purpose.

Metol dilachie malkutha wahaila wateschbuchta l'ahlâm almîn.
From You comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act,
the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age.

Amęn.
Sealed in trust, faith and truth.
(I confirm with my entire being)

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity." "What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of "humility." This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism"
- Albert Einstein, What I Believe, 1930


    Here's an example of how one individual's spiritual quest has been perverted by the unquestioning dogma of organized hierarchical religion.  Such an individual may maintain a certain level of comfort with his beliefs so long as he does not doubt or question them.  From my perspective however, knowing that such dogma is incomplete and inaccurate I expect even the devoutly faithful are plagued with doubts.  While my goal now is simply to reveal the truth no matter what it is, I am personally pleased that I can help people find the right path by reaffirming their faith in their own abilities.  Too often however, in order to help them see the truth I must show them what is blinding them.

"Sadly, you are still the fool. This is also to the scientific writers who posted some really good posts.  The Creator, God, is uncreated. He is in three persons which explains speaking in plural. The three persons are: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit/the Messenger. They have been for ever and uncreated. This is hard for unbelievers to understand because it can't be proven by science but must be accepted by faith. Read the Athanasian Creed and the Nicene Creed."
- by: smokin455, 05/21/03

Matthew 15 :(KJV)
7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

The Council of Nicea
©1996, Richard Hooker, Washington State University
Perhaps the most important task that Constantine undertook was the Council of Nicea which was called largely to arbitrate the conflict between the western church and the Arians and to decide the question of the relationship between imperial power and the church. The Council dealth with more than this controversy, however, and made major doctrinal decisions that were meant to apply to the whole of the Christian world. This council is important as the first attempt to centralize doctrinal authority among Christians.

The Council officially ruled against Arianism, but the movement continued until the emperor Theodosius I officially condemned it and rooted it out in 383 and 384. The basic orthodoxy of Christianity was instantiated in what came to be called the Nicene creed, the basic statement of belief for orthodox Christianity. Constantine accomplished more, however, for the Nicene council also ratified his own power and Christianity would begin the long struggle, lasting to this day, between the anti-political ideas of Jesus of Nazareth and the Christianity that is compromised to allow for human authority and power.

The Athanasian Creed
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II
One of the symbols of the Faith approved by the Church and given a place in her liturgy, is a short, clear exposition of the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, with a passing reference to several other dogmas. Unlike most of the other creeds, or symbols, it deals almost exclusively with these two fundamental truths, which it states and restates in terse and varied forms so as to bring out unmistakably the trinity of the Persons of God, and the twofold nature in the one Divine Person of Jesus Christ. At various points the author calls attention to the penalty incurred by those who refuse to accept any of the articles therein set down.

Athanasian Creed
Rev. Michael H. Anderson, MDiv.
...While the Creed has always been attributed to St. Athanasius (d 373 AD), it was unknown in the Eastern Churches until the 12th century and thus it is unlikely he is the author. …Current theory suggests it was composed in southern France in the 5th century.
 
QUICUMQUE vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est, ut teneat catholicam fidem: WHOEVER wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic faith.
Quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in aeternam peribit. For unless a person keeps this faith whole and entire, he will undoubtedly be lost forever.
Fides autem catholica haec est: ut unum Deum in Trinitate, et Trinitatem in unitate veneremur. This is what the catholic faith teaches: we worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity.


The Nicene Creed as approved by the Council of Constantinople (A.D. 381)
Rev. Michael H. Anderson, MDiv.
Usually associated with the Council of Constantinople this symbol is an expansion and revision of the earlier Creed of Nicaea with which it is often confused. This is the creed recited in churches.
The Nicene Creed -- Constantinopolitan Creed -- Creed of 150 Fathers
We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible....

 

"As for when and who God created things, I will let that to God. The theme of scripture is salvation through Christ not the beginning of the world. There are many things not told or explained in the scriptures so they are considered not important to your salvation."
- by: smokin455, 05/23/03

Not considered important by whom?

Why Are Gnostic Teachings Missing?
Copyright © February 2, 2001, William C. Kiefert
At great cost to all of us, Jesus' private/Gnostic teachings were "outlawed" with the Roman Emperor Constantine's decision to make Christianity the state religion. For along with that decision came his command that all Christian bishops choose between Jesus' public/Orthodox and private/Gnostic teachings. In this way Constantine could unite the empire under one official church doctrine. His command was carried out at the Council of Nicaea (325 AD) in the document Christians call the Nicene Creed and its shorter version, the Apostles' Creed. In effect, the Nicene Creed, which reflects Jesus' public teachings, became the one official doctrine of Orthodox Christianity, and in turn, made his private Gnostic teachings an outlawed heresy.

Soon after the Council, "an imperial edict ordered that all books by Arius [the principal advocate of Jesus' Gnostic teachings at Nicaea], and others like him, should be burned, and made concealment of such a book punishable by death." …

The Emperor is long dead. We no longer need to live in the dark ignorance of Constantine's shadow. We can now examine for ourselves every aspect of Jesus' outlawed Gnostic teachings, and bring back into our lives that part of Jesus' ministry which Constantine stole from us.

The Gospel of Thomas
3. Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father's) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.
When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."

"When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything--you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him."
- Robert A. Heinlein more quotes

A Review by Vincent J. Romano: Elaine Pagels on "Jesus and his Message in the Gnostic Gospels"
Indeed, the suppression of the Gnostic gospels fits the pattern of rational patriarchy that has marked the Church throughout the centuries. …The forced exclusion of these Gnostic elements have kept hidden from Christians many aspects of their faith--until now

The Gnostics believed that by investigating the source of sorrow, joy, love and hate, one could cultivate insight and discover God as the fountainhead of all of these states of being. The significance of Jesus is interpreted to be that of a model, one whose instruction to come and know oneself as he did will transform human beings into sons (and daughters) of God like him. Consistent with the scholarly consensus that Jesus' purpose was not to found a new religion centering its devotion upon him, the Gospel of Philip, a companion text to the gospel of Thomas, urges followers not to become Christians, but rather new Christs.

…In addition, it seems clear that the Gnostics had some contact with Buddhism in the formation of their ideas.

Many Buddhas
“The word Buddha is a generic term, meaning the Enlightened One. It refers to a person who has realized the Dhamma and attained enlightenment. This enlightenment, as we have seen, is open to all, and so is Buddhahood. In line with the Theravada teachings, Mahayana tradition goes a step further to strongly assert the universal presence of Buddha-nature in all beings, without exception; this Buddha-nature is the inherent potential for enlightenment, which can be cultivated and actualized by each and every individual. This spirit of openness and tolerance is characteristic of Buddhism.”

- The Way -
Following this path, you shall put an end to
Suffering.
Having myself realized the way that can lead to
removal
of the thorns of defilements,
I have shown it to you.

You, yourselves, must walk the path.
Buddhas only show the way.
Those who are meditative, who have gotten
On the path,
Will be free from the bonds of Mara.

All conditioned things are subject to change.
When one realizes this truth,
One feels wearied of these suffering heaps.
This is the way of purification.

All conditioned things are unsatisfactory.
When one realizes this truth,
One feels wearied of suffering.
This is the way of purification.

All things in the world are insubstantial.
When one realizes this truth,
One feels wearied of suffering.
This is the way of purification.

The lazy man, weak in mental discipline,
Indolent, prone to sloth,
Unproductive, and though young and strong,
Failing to move at the right time,
Never finds the road to wisdom.
- The Dhammapada (The Path of Truth) translated by Ananda Maitreya

If you overesteem great men,
People become powerless.
If you overvalue possessions,
People begin to steal.

The Master leads
By emptying people’s minds
and filling their cores,
by weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve.
He helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion
in those who think that they know.

Practice not-doing,
and everything will fall into place.
- Lao-tzu , Tao-te ching “The Book of the Way and Its Power”
A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell

    The Near Future purpose of this page is that from reading the Yahoo! Bible Prophecies club and in consideration of several other things it appears as if Revelation Chapter 17 refers to the Roman Catholic church as another Babylon.  Chapter 18 was New York and Chapter 17 appears to refer to Rome.

Revelation 17 :: King James Version (KJV)
1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a
scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and
scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

Seven hills of Rome
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Seven Hills of Rome, where the original city of Rome developed, are specifically the Palatine, Aventine, Capitoline or Capitolium, Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline and Caelian hills.

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Rome
The significance of Rome lies primarily in the fact that it is the city of the pope. The Bishop of Rome, as the successor of St. Peter, is the Vicar of Christ on earth and the visible head of the Catholic Church. Rome is consequently the centre of unity in belief, the source of ecclesiastical jurisdiction and the seat of the supreme authority which can bind by its enactments the faithful throughout the world.

Sex, Fraud, Money Laundering: All Roads lead to Rome
PRWeb – THE FREE WIRE SERVICE
June 28, 2002
Attorneys in the Vatican Bank lawsuit (Alperin v. Vatican Bank) seeking restitution of Nazi loot laundered through the Vatican Bank after World War II have asked the United States District Court in San Francisco to coordinate all pending lawsuits against the Vatican. This includes another WWII era lawsuit against the Vatican Bank, three sex abuse cases filed in Missouri, Oregon, and Florida alleging a Vatican cover up of pedophile priests and a $600 million dollar RICO (Anti Racketeering) lawsuit filed by five state insurance commissioners for insurance fraud aided and abetted by top Vatican officials in conspiracy with convicted swindler, Martin Frankel.

Americans have not yet put together all the pieces, ” said Levy, “they need to know the Vatican is being used as a haven for crooks, pedophiles, and financial corruption. By combining these cases temporarily and forcing the issue of Vatican immunity we are actually helping the honest clergy who are trying to clean up an appalling situation.”

Boston Globe / Spotlight / Abuse in the Catholic Church / Scandal and coverup
A history of secrecy, coverups in Boston Archdiocese
Church documents, official testimony, and victim interviews gathered over the past year paint an extraordinary picture of secrecy and deception in the Boston Archdiocese; a culture in which top church officials coddled abusive priests and permitted them to molest again, while stonewalling or paying off the victims of that abuse.

Vatican: U.S. Catholic Sex Scandal Was Overstated
Fri, Oct 10, 2003
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The media has exaggerated a sex scandal that has shaken the U.S. Roman Catholic Church and unfairly tainted thousands of priests with overzealous coverage, Pope John Paul (news - web sites) II's top aide said Friday.

"The scandals in the United States received disproportionate attention from the media," Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano told Reuters in an interview. "There are thieves in every country, but it's hard to say that everyone is a thief."

"It is fair to condemn evil, but one must keep it in proportion," said Sodano, dressed in his cardinal's black and scarlet robes with a golden crucifix around his neck.

Asked if there might have been a plot to discredit the Church, he said: "We don't have evidence of this but I know that many people have thought this. We give the facts."

propaganda: The Britannica Concise
“Manipulation of information to influence public opinion. The term comes from Congregatio de propaganda fide ("Congregation for Propagation of the Faith"), a missionary organization established by the pope in 1622. Propagandists emphasize the elements of information that support their position and deemphasize or exclude those that do not. Misleading statements and even lies may be used to create the desired effect in the public audience.”

 

    I shall repeat my assertion that the feminine pronoun can and is being used here and in several other places to refer to a man-made edifice or vehicle such as airplane or a ship.  This claim is affirmed clearly in the last verse (17:18).  I also think that referring to the city as a she appeals to the thinking of a masculine religious hierarchy and their contempt for women.  Since such contempt is irrational most of these knuckleheads overlook the obvious fact that the word 'woman' is actually a metaphor for 'city' and promote such texts.

(see memetics  MEME: (pron. `meem') A contagious information pattern that replicates by parasitically infecting human minds and altering their behavior, causing them to propagate the pattern. (Term coined by Dawkins, by analogy with "gene".) Individual slogans, catch-phrases, melodies, icons, inventions, and fashions are typical memes. An idea or information pattern is not a meme until it causes someone to replicate it, to repeat it to someone else. All transmitted knowledge is memetic.)

    Anyway it seems possible to me that Pope John Paul II may die soon and I don't think the person who replaces him is likely to be a person who can be trusted.   Since I think scholars within the Catholic Church are aware that the end is near, only an ignorant, irrational and/or power hungry person would desire to be Pope. In on-line forums I've seen mention of the prophecies of St. Malachy in regards to Papal reign.  I find such a list interesting as they will likely effect people's behavior in one way or another.  Here are citations on the subject from two Catholic websites.

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Prophecy
(2) Prophecies of St. Malachy
Concerning the Popes
The most famous and best known prophecies about the popes are those attributed to St. Malachy. In 1139 he went to Rome to give an account of the affairs of his diocese to the pope, Innocent II, who promised him two palliums for the metropolitan Sees of Armagh and Cashel. While at Rome, he received (according to the Abbé Cucherat) the strange vision of the future wherein was unfolded before his mind the long list of illustrious pontiffs who were to rule the Church until the end of time.
...
These short prophetical announcements, in number 112, indicate some noticeable trait of all future popes from Celestine II, who was elected in the year 1130, until the end of the world. They are enunciated under mystical titles. Those who have undertaken to interpret and explain these symbolical prophecies have succeeded in discovering some trait, allusion, point, or similitude in their application to the individual popes, either as to their country, their name, their coat of arms or insignia, their birth-place, their talent or learning, the title of their cardinalate, the dignities which they held etc.
...
The last of these prophecies concerns the end of the world and is as follows: "In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people. The End."

Prophecy of St Malachy
www.catholic-pages.com 
266 John Paul II (1978-2005)
110 De labore Solis
(of the eclipse of the sun, or from the labour of the sun)
Hist.: Karol Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920 during a solar eclipse. He also comes from behind the former Iron Curtain (the East, where the Sun rises). He might also be seen to be the fruit of the intercession of the Woman Clothed with the Sun labouring in Revelation 12 (because of his devotion to the Virgin Mary). His Funeral occurred on 8 April, 2005 when there was a solar eclipse visible in the Americas.

267 ???
111 Gloria olivć
The Benedictine order traditionally said this Pope would come from their order.

268 ???
In persecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit Petrus Romanus, qui pascet oves in multis tribulationibus: quibus transactis civitas septicollis diruetur, & Judex tremędus judicabit populum suum. Finis.
(In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the term of which the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge
will judge his people. The End.)

Oh, and here is now a Reuter's report on this subject.

Doomsayers Say Benedict Fits World End Prophecy
By Phil StewartThu Apr 28, 2005 9:17 AM ET
Pope Benedict's ascent to the papacy took a conclave of 115 cardinals, four rounds of voting and followed a lifetime of service to the Vatican.

But ask Internet doomsayers eyeing a 12th century Catholic prophecy and they'll tell you it was all stitched up more than eight centuries ago and that judgment day is nigh.

    From reading Revelation Chapter 17 verse 16 it appears that something rather eventful will soon transpire in Rome.  I could read a lot more into the text of this chapter but that would take the fun (necessity) out of letting others contemplate it.  The whole point to composing these texts in the form of allegory and metaphor is to allow and encourage the reader to use their own cognitive functions, look around at the world in a new and different way and reason things out themselves. 

17:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
 

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