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Oh, God

New -- 21 March 2008

God has been getting a lot of press lately... primarily of course because the press, i.e. the media, knows a controversial and thus financially rewarding celebrity when it sees one. There is, in addition, the wholly desirable convenience of the media avoiding lawsuits on the basis of libel, slander, defamation of character, and taking any of various names in vain -- of which there's been a LOT lately. There is, admittedly, always the possibility of the press being damned for all time, but then again, considering the media's track record, it's pretty much damned if they do, damned if they don't and damned in any case for previously unrepentant multiple infractions.

For Updates, see also the Halexandria Forum

The media's routine exploitation of someone who allegedly has not spoken up in his or her defense for potentially a very long time, might lead one to conjecture that among other attributes, God must be something other than a capitalist -- like, for example, a mathematician with a rather delicious sense of humor. Meanwhile, the God name sells newspapers, it's words and pronouncements have become notoriously subject to misinterpretation, fabrication, and being ignored. Also, in the best traditions of rampant capitalization, God would not under any circumstances be allowed in a court of law -- thus removing those traditional bugaboos of capitalists: that is the issues of justice, fair play, recourse and remedy. Meanwhile, very importantly, God appears to be receiving no cut at all in the loot taken in.

But this God thing is... perhaps... all a matter of perspective.

Douglas Adams has compared, for example, his famous five book triology, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to other universal best sellers, including the "more controversial... Oolon Colupbid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters, Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes and Who Is This God Person Anyway?" [1]

The latter, we suspect, asks a very good question: Who is God?

Aside: Others of a contrarian nature to Monsieur Adams, might suggest that the so-called Holy Bible is far and away the best seller of all time. Or at least on the planet Earth during the last, roughly 2600 years since its first chapters first began to be written down. On a slightly larger scale, of course, the last 2600 years on Earth is an inconsequential blip in time on a minor planet, attached to a nondescript star in the far distant backwaters of an average, run-of-the-mill spiral galaxy located somewhere in far left field on an enormously increasing and ever expansing universe... the latter which may be one of many... and where the "many" may the possibility of an infinite number.

As we said... it's all a matter of persective, a sense of proper proportion.

Continuing the Aside: It has in fact been said that an absolutely essential element in surviving the experience of being human in an infiniite universe -- with or without a God/Creator -- is to have a very limited perspective and/or sense of proportion. Otherwise humans would almost certainly go further insane -- or in the more extreme case, totally and completely bonkers upon being subjected to the Total Perspective Vortex. [1] [This is one of those links, you really need to follow -- prior to your speedy return here, of course!]

Meanwhile, this "Bible" thing is essentially a misnomer in that there are a plethora of books claiming the trademark title of "Bible". Bessel, for example, has noted that there are numerous different translations, and the number and order of the various books of the "Bible" are distinctive variables. There are, for example, 24 books in the Jewish Bible (the "Old Testament"), 39 books in the Old and 27 in the New Testaments -- a total of 66 -- of the Protestant Bible, a total of 73 books in the Catholic Bible, 51 or so in the Anglican Bible, 79 in the Greek Orthodox Bible, and the current record holder, Ethiopic Church Bible has 81 books. Small wonder there is a bit of confusion in publishing circles. [But inasmuch as they can ignore the idea of paying royalties to the authors, publishing the Bible is still a financially lucrative exercise -- especially when you can also add several concordances to the Bible, numerous guides to the concordances, and a whole block of Cliff Notes.

The purpose of the above Aside was to make the important point that, if one of the most authoritative books on the subject is so rife with controversy, what chance is there for the main character, God, to be seen in definitive terms or where his intentions might be gleaned? Clearly, any agreement as to who this God Person is -- to answer Oolon Colupbid's extremely pertinent question -- is far from realization.

In the United States, for example, it has been recently reported that there are four distinct gods and/or Gods [2] -- and we're not even talking about the god of capitalism and a whole host of other mundane philosophies. The four gods we're talking about here can be described in summary as:

God A -- 31% of the population believe in an Authoritarian God – one who is deeply involved in daily life and events, angry, punishes the unfaithful and the ungodly. 53% of African-Americans believe in this god; while 56% of the general population strongly believe that God is a “he”.

God B -- 23% of the population believe in a Benevolent God – one who is deeply involved in daily life and events, but mainly a positive force less willing to punish. Only 13% of people under 30 hold this view. [Can you blame them?]

God C -- 16% of the population believe in a Critical God – one who does not really interact with the world, but is unhappy with the current state of the world and will exact divine judgment. 21% of Easterners [U.S.] and 14% of Westerners [also U.S.] hold this view.

God D -- 24% of the population believe in a Distant God – one who does not interact with the world and is not angry – more of a cosmic force that set the laws of nature in motion. 37% of those with household incomes of over $100,000 (10% of nation) and 42% of Jews view God this way. [The Jews having a more substantive experience with any of the other three Gods may have something here.]

These distinctions may account for the delineation of a "God" in the first chapter of Genesis [probably in the guise of the "Distant God"], while thereafter in the same book (at least, according to the same King James Version) the reference to "God" slips away and is replaced thereafter by "the LORD God". Why is this?

For starters, it can be explained by the various combinations of the Anunnaki, EN.LIL. ("Lord of the Command") and EN.KI. ("Lord of Earth) -- the former "Lord" (Enlil) sounding very much like the Authoritarian God, and the latter, Enki, initially at least like the Benevolent God and, perhaps later, becoming more like the Critical God.

Meanwhile, for reasons that cannot be fathomed, the study did not include any reference to the God whose name is Bob... but then again the number of Douglas Adams' fans is definitely finite. [Ever notice that if you get rid of the "de' in "definite", you definitely obtain "finite"? This may suggest that you can not have something that is definitely infinite. Someone should immediatly alert the mathematicians!]

But I digress.

What is truly fascinating is that one's belief in God -- at least in the United States -- can have a profound effect on one's political opinions. For example, from [2]:

Percentage of Believers who believe that:

A

B

C

D

Abortion is always wrong

23%

17%

05%

01.5%

Government should allow prayer in school

91%

79%

69%

47%

Government should increase military spending

63%

55%

46%

34%

Government should expand authority; fight terrorism

76%

63%

64%

40%

Government should protect the environment better

76%

81%

89%

87%

Government should redistribute wealth more evenly

57%

53%

59%

63%

The war in Iraq is justified

63%

47%

38%

29%

Trust President Bush “a lot”

32%

23%

12%

09.3%

These are one set of fascinating statistics. Unfortunately, they do not suggest, among other things, which of these groups also share a belief in Douglas Adams' assumption that God's last message to his creation was, "We apologize for the inconvenience."

It is clear, however, that the good news (the "gospel") -- at least for God -- is that so many of the respondents to the survey have finally figured out that President Bush is NOT trustworthy. And this was back in the days when Shrub's approval ratings were relatively good, when his crimes were a bit less self-evident to most anyone claiming membership in the Homo sapiens club. [As opposed to now, when his ratings are essentially in the toilet with a mere 30% approving of the job he's basically ignoring. [3] As noted by Toles of the Washington Post:

[Advisor to Bush] "The economy is falling off a cliff. And the federal budget is wrecked as far as the eye can see. The nation is divided and adrift. Foreign policy is a shambles. The planet is dying." [Bush's reply] "Then I guess my work here is done." [3]

Don't you just love these Asides? Tends to put things into better perspective, don't you think? Okay. Forget I asked!

Yet another view of what constitutes God is Don DeBrandt's article, "That About Wraps it Up for Oolon Colluphid". [4] DeBrandt analyzing the profound philosophy of Douglas Adams as exhibited in the Hitchhiker's Guide, claims that the Heart of Gold's [spaceship's] computer, Eddy, was God, Marvin was his son (and who was made to suffer terribly though a period of time about 37 times longer than the life of the universe), while the Improbability Drive itself was the Holy Spirit. 

Incidentally, in connection with Douglas Adam's conviction that the answer to life, the universe and everything was 42, Adam Roberts [in the same volume -- 4] notes that "In ancient Egypt, the fate of the dead was supposed to be decided by forty-two demons... There was a forty-two-armed Hindu god and forty-two was a sacred number in Tibet.  In Judaeo-Christian tradition also, the number forty-two crops up more often than it ought.  There were forty-two generations from Abraham to Jesus Christ, forty-two Levitical cities, forty-two boys torn to pieces by bears because they had ridiculed the prophet Elisha (2nd Book of Kings), forty-two sacrifices of Balach in the Book of Numbers and "forty and two months" which the Gentiles would tread the Holy City, as predicted in the Book of Revelations."  There is also the perennial hit musical, 42nd Street.

That should pretty well clear up that particularly confusion.

Meanwhile, we can resort to the more or less standard definition of "god" [5]:

"1 "(in many religions) a superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature, human fortunes, etc; a deity," "2 (God) (in Christian and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe; the supreme being."  In turn, Deity is defined as: "1 a god or goddess. 2 divine status, quality, or nature. 3 (the Deity) the Creator; God." Clearly we're equating "god" and "deity", which is at least consistent. That's good. Right?

From one point of view, the key point suggested by this definition appears to be some superhuman being worshiped.  But if we're talking about the Creator of the Universe, then under what astounding logic or thought process could we assume that an omnipotent (or near-omnipotent, omniscience, omni-everything) entity -- who is capable of creating the universe -- needs, requires, enjoys, and quite frankly even bothers to pay attention to any worship by a clearly inferior being of the first magnitude.  Only a thoroughly dysfunctional being needs (or for that matter would even bother with expecting) worship.  Accordingly, any discussion of God, the Creator of the Universe would have to be confined to Genesis 1:1-2:2. 

[After that all the talk is about a "Lord God", a clearly dysfunctional being who requires slaves to do the bidding of the master/Lord; and where "worship" more likely derived from "workship", i.e. something that makes a lot more sense with a master/slave relationship. For more on this concept, see the definition of "Lord" elaborated below in considerable detail.']

About the only thing that actually makes sense is that the Creator of the Universe is the only being/concept/entity/all-that-is who is worthy of the title of God, with a capital "G"..  Any other creator (from writers to scientists to mothers to engineers to havoc creators) can only be assigned the title of "god" (lower case "g") when and if they create original works.  Such original creations, of course, are really only rearrangements of existing energy/matter -- as in the vast amount of so-called snow removal being mere snow-rearranging. Meanwhile, everyone else is either a technician, a user, or simply an observer -- but not a snowplow rearranger, some of whom can get very creative.

Accordingly, ALL of the gods and goddesses of the various religions are just that: gods and goddesses.  The fact that worship is something they require, need, demand, insist upon, or threaten if they don't get it... makes it clear they cannot be credited with the more exalted monicker of "God".  We can, of course, allow the lower case designation for some of the more creative ones in the pack.

The Word, "God"

The curious thing about "God" -- and/or "god" -- is that the word, "God", is a relatively recent, European innovation. [6]

This strange state of affairs arises from the attempt to understand a concept by investigating the concept's source in order to gain a greater appreciation for the concept itself. In this regard, Wikipedia does its usual thing about the God (word), which may be worth perusing. Meanwhile, perhaps a more in depth, less constrained by being politically correct, version -- incorporated at a website notoriously politically incorrect -- might yield some very interesting fruits... and from any number of Trees. [Pardon the pun.]

In effect, not only should we answer Oolon Colupbid's question of Who Is This God Person Anyway?, but we might also ask: Where did this God come from?

As it turns out, the exact history of the word is unknown. There is, however, some evidence to suggest that the word stems from a Sanskrit word meaning: to call upon, invoke, implore, request intercession, or routinely berate for lack of attention to detail and not answering e-mails . Interestingly, different dictionaries have different takes on the root of the word, some differences being religiously inspired.

For our purposes, one scholar's view is succinctly stated:

"The concept of "God" as we know it today was unfamiliar in the ancient world of the Hebrew Bible, who called their god "Elohim", which means "many El's", or basically "Deities". Only much later in Macedonian Greece was the concept of "ThEOS", the formless all-filling "single" God, formulated -- influenced by Zoroastrian and Hinduist doctrines that the Greeks brought from Persia and the East. The Greeks themselves did not call their own gods "Theos", but "Olympians".

"Theos/Deus as the all-pervading Om was a great concept altogether, because it's the closest thing we actually have to describe the Energy of the Universe, which I myself see (and feel) as "God". However, the ancient world was a very cruel place compared to what we're used to today. The nice doctrine was quickly perverted by the Zoroastrians to portray an endless struggle between Good and Evil, so it became a War, something everyone back then basically knew. The formless Om-Theos was perverted into some bearded Hebrew Patriarch as depicted in Michelangelo's Adam, some stern dude who'll punish the hell out of you if you don't do exactly what he says [or just for doing what comes naturally... like sex without the intent to make babies].
 
"That was the Big Conspiracy, to turn the Formless Om into a distorted figure of the Stern Father who frowns upon the Disobedient Son [and daughter, obviously]. This was of course designed to keep the masses in fear and under control. I think that this was the original Anunnaki design, this is how they kept early Man enslaved too, with their ever-present hierarchy structure. Which is precisely the meaning of the King James Version word "Lord", somebody who's your Master, and you are his Slave. This goes on forever of course, for example one of the most popular Arabic names is Abdullah - Allah's slave. In fact the KJV mistranslated, and the Hebrew term Adonai actually means "My Lords", plural, so the reference to the extant Annunaki is obvious."
"BTW, in Russian, "god" is "bog", so if I say bog be with you, I mean that well." [7]

For that matter, "god" in dyslexia is "dog", as in the "tale wagging the dog."  [Note the lack of misspelling in the previous phrase!]

Another intriguing lead is the connection between "god" and "gossip". The Online Etymology Dictionary notes, for example, that:

O.E. godsibb "godparent," from God + sibb "relative" (see sibling). Extended in M.E. to "any familiar acquaintance" (1362), especially to woman friends invited to attend a birth, later to "anyone engaging in familiar or idle talk" (1566). Sense extended 1811 to "trifling talk, groundless rumor." The verb meaning "to talk idly about the affairs of others" is from 1627.

It's probably noteworthy that something describing the discussions surrounding a child birthing experience -- the most profound of life giving exercises -- should be later degraded by the patriarchy. Speaking of which, if we consider the Etymology of god, we obtain:

O.E. god "supreme being, deity," from P.Gmc. *guthan (cf. Du. god, Ger. Gott, O.N. guð, Goth. guþ), from PIE *ghut- "that which is invoked" (cf. Skt. huta- "invoked," an epithet of Indra), from root *gheu(e)- "to call, invoke." But some trace it to PIE *ghu-to- "poured," from root *gheu- "to pour, pour a libation" (source of Gk. khein "to pour," khoane "funnel" and khymos "juice;" also in the phrase khute gaia "poured earth," referring to a burial mound). "Given the Greek facts, the Germanic form may have referred in the first instance to the spirit immanent in a burial mound" [Watkins]. Cf. also Zeus. Not related to good. Originally neut. in Gmc., the gender shifted to masc. after the coming of Christianity.

The pouring a libation is intrigung, as well as the "funnel' of "juice", in that both suggest a connection with the Starfire of the Goddess, the ORME like menstrual blood of the Goddess. Obviously, this is just more of the patriarchy's spin on words and concepts in order to avoid the possibility of acknowledging the contribution of the feminine. It's another example of the male "lording it over" the female... so to speak.

Speaking of which , there are a couple of roots of "Lord", as well and which are... well... really pretty strange. Back to the Online Etymology Dictionary searching for "Lord", we encounter:

"M.E. laverd, loverd (13c.), from O.E. hlaford "master of a household, ruler, superior," also "God" (translating L. Dominus, though O.E. drihten was used more often), earlier hlafweard, lit. "one who guards the loaves," from hlaf "bread, loaf" + weard "keeper, guardian, ward." Cf. lady, and O.E. hlafæta "household servant," lit. "loaf-eater." Modern monosyllabic form emerged 14c. The verb meaning "to play the lord, domineer" is from 1377; to lord it is from 1579. Interjection Lordy first attested 1853, Amer.Eng. Lord of the Flies translates Beelzebub (q.v.) and was name of 1954 book by William Golding." [Emphasis added]

There are two items worth exploring. The first is positively... weird... unless one thinks back a bit to Laurence Gardner's description of "shewbread", the latter which Gardner translates as "bread of the presence" or "presence loaves". [8] Gardner goes on to state that the shewbread was made at Mount Horeb by Bezaleel, a skilled goldsmith -- in fact the man in charge of building the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle. Besides being described in Exodus (25:29-31; 35:31-33; and 39:37), shewbread is also mention in Hebrews (9:1-2) and Leviticus (24:5-7). Gardner also points out that Immanuel Velikovsky had previously stated [9]: "the shewbread was obviously not of flour, but of silver or gold."

Suddenly from out enlightened perspective -- I told you it was all a matter of perspective -- the reference to a guardian of the gold, a "ward", seems entirely appropriate. Clearly the Anunnaki -- and Enlil in particular -- would not want anyone not specifically authorized access to the gold-- almost certainly the White Powder of Gold -- to have any access (or even knowledge) of the good stuff... lest the upstart humans chow down and, quite literally, see the light! Not just the light at the end of the tunnel (as in Plato's cave analogy), mind you, but the genuine article... the LIGHT!

The second aspect of the etymology of "Lord" is the connection with the Lord of the Flies and Belzebub. Ah, yes! Another lead to follow and upon which to base all manner of conjecture! The game is very definitely afoot. Or ahand... whichever.

Again, referring to the Online Etymology Dictionary, we obtain for Beelzebub:

"O.E. Belzebub, Philistine god worshipped at Ekron (2 Kings i.2), from L., used in Vulgate for N.T. Gk. beelzeboub, from Heb. ba'al-z'bub "lord of the flies," from ba'al "lord" + z'bhubh "fly." By later Christian writers, often taken generically for "Satan," though Milton made him one of the fallen angels."

"The Lord" derives in some manner from Beelzebub? A fallen angel? Wow!

But then, come to think of it... EN.KI. might very well qualify as a "fallen angel" [10], certainly the adversary of EN.LIL, adversary being the literal definition of Satan [5]. This would raise the question of exactly who is guarding the hen house? Could it be the fox (traditionally associated numerologically with the Catholic Church -- i.e. FOX = 666 -- and by extension with EN.LIL.)?

Or is it the Rooster?

My bet is on the Rooster. The ascension (mainstream science's "evolution") of Homo Erectus into Homo sapiens sounds very much like an "inside job". Something clearly associated with Enki and his sister, Ninhursag. Consider, for example, the rooster implications -- those in addition to simply being the Puritan alternative to "Cock".

There are, for starters, the attributes of the Zodical Rooster. [Another version is at Astrology.com.]

But another, perhaps more intriguing possibility is from the perspective of the Rooster being viewed as an animal totem. At one website, it notes, among other things, that:

"The Rooster is a solar symbol and represents sexuality." 

"A Rooster totem brings enthusiasm and humor and a sense of optimism.

The Rooster is a totem of great power and mystery
with ties to the ancient past and clues to your own hidden powers.
It is the enemy of evil spirits and can bound them with the light of day."

and

Cock, crow!  Shatter evil!
Ward this place, both day and night.
Sound your warning! Repel danger!
Build us a wall of brilliant Light."
 

That sounds about right... just the sort of thing a benevolent god might do, i.e. a god such as Enki or Hermes (aka Ningishzidda, one of Enki's sons), one of whose symbols was the rooster. Clearly, all of these attributes are the kind one might hope for in a superhuman being... even if they're not the Creator of the universe. If we could just add a well developed sense of humor, we'd pretty much have it made.

In any case, that's should be enough for now -- lest we become encyclopaedic.

For Updates, see also the Halexandria Forum

_______________________

References:

[1] Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Wings Books, New York, 1979.

[2] http://www.time.com/time/covers/20061030/what_we_believe/

[3] News, The Week Newsmagazine, 22 February 2008, pages 17-19.

[4] Don DeBrandt, "That About Wraps it Up for Oolon Colluphid", from the fabulously entertaining book, The Anthology at the End of the Universe, "Leading Science Fiction Authors on Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", Edited by Glenn Yeffeth, Ben Bella Books, Dallas, 2004.

[5] Complete Wordfinder, Reader's Digest - Oxford, Reader's Digest, Pleasantville, New York, 1996.

[6] Etymology of the Name God, http://wahiduddin.net/words/name_god.htm.

[7] Sol, Private Communication, March 2008.

[8] Laurence Gardner, Lost Secrets of the Sacred Ark, Element, HarperCollins Publishers, Hammersmith, London, England, 2003, page 23.

[9] Ibid [6], specifically: Immanuel Velikovsky, Ages in Chaos, Sidgwick & Jackson, London, 1952, ch. 4, p. 160.

[10] There's a restaurant in Cuzco, Peru named "The Fallen Angel". If you're ever in the neighborhood, you've really got to check it out! You won't regret it.

A Whimsical View

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