Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The 13th Day

     Have you ever noticed that in the United States there aren't 13th floors in most buildings and 13th Streets or Avenues in many cities.  Our airplanes lack a 13th row and our airports a Gate 13.  Our hotels, apartment buildings, and hospitals lack room #13.  It's as if we were taught to count ...10, 11, 12, 14, 15...

     We think of ourselves as an evolved society.  We look down upon the "antiquated" myths and "unsophisticated" morals of the Greeks, Romans, and Mesopotamians, as if our own religious stories and beliefs didn't rip off much of their pagan stories and superstitions.

     We tell ourselves that the ancients are unsophisticated, but it is our presumptuously named "old" testament god that not only says nothing about forbidding slavery, rape, genocide, and child abuse, but actually encourages and orders these atrocities.

     We tell ourselves that the old testament is antiquated, but our "new" testament plagiarizes much of the old making sure to "fulfill" its "prophesies."  The Father (Abraham) sacrifices his Son (Isaac) for the expiation of others' sins.  A great prophet, teacher, and leader named Jesus (Moses) leads his illiterate followers through the desert to the promised land of eternal life (Canaan).  These illiterate disciples unable to write down what actually happened, leave the story to be told orally until later generations write it down (and this is the unblemished truth?).  The greatest "moral" sermons occur on only mountains.  Barren women and virgins can have babies.  Prophets can fly off into the sky, whether by flaming chariot or ascension.   People quite often come back from the dead,and wander around outside of their graves with apparently no care or attention to the details of what became of them.

     If we're not like the ancients, then why are fundamentalists and historical-critical exegetes obsessed with deciphering ancient words for any sort of meaning they can force onto anachronistic situations beyond the imagination of the scriptures' unknown authors and plagiarists? 

     Romulus and Remus were born of a god and a virgin. Romulus slew his brother Remus, in a dispute over which son the gods favored more.  The Sumerian gods destroyed the world by flood, but spared Ziusudra whom they instructed to build an arc (and this is just one of numerous ancient religions' flood epics).  Referred to as "the light of the world," Mithras (of Persian mythology) was born of a virgin on December 25th, inspired ritualistic baptism of his believers, veneration of Sunday, and the ritual eating/drinking of bread and wine as his body and blood.  Osiris, Tammuz, Adonis, Balder, Attis, and Dionysus all died were resurrected.   Odysseus was a carpenter, who suffered greatly, had tragically flawed dimwits for companions, and experienced a frightening storm at sea.  The list of ancient myths plagiarized by the Judeo-Christian-Islamic Western religions goes on and on, but to evolved modern believers those other ancient religions are just myths.

     Even so, we've used science to figure out how to erect earthquake-proof edifices but fear the 13th floor.  We've constructed carbon-based fuel-consuming cars but won't drive them down 13th Street.   Our heaviest flying machines can defy gravity and return to the ground safely, but we refuse to park them at Gate 13.  We've been counting without thirteens for so long that any other way is heresy according to the Gospel of Triskaidekaphobia.