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Hellenic polytheism against Oriental monotheism

Reader comment on item: Britain's Encounter with Islamic Law
in response to reader comment: Ianus and our way of life

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Feb 23, 2008 at 06:42

Dear Infidel ,

Let me first assure you that I intended to offend no Christian or Jew by my statement. I do understand and appreciate the Judeo-Christian contribution to our culture and way of life and I would never ever like either Judaism or Christianity to be lost ...and replaced the Devil's religion - Islam. In fact I am ready to fight for both against our worst common enemy - Islam!

But this can't prevent me from voicing my strong doubts on the ontological and historical claims of these two Oriental religions.

What I stated reflects my views on monotheism which I find a very unhealthy, harmful and questionable ( absurd) development in the intellectual history of mankind. Monotheism was born in the Near East, the home of Oriental despotism, I can't escape the impression it best served the idea of legitimizing that Oriental despotism - one metaphysical despot in heaven, one human despot on earth.

I was personally brought up in the cult of ancient Hellenism at whose core stood the Olympian gods and I have always felt that it was no accident that freedom, philosophy, science, were all born in Hellas and not in "the Holy Land" - the home of dogmatism and wars of religion. What is more, when Hellenism was transported to the East in the wake of Alexander's victories it caused a major clash of religions where Judiac monotehism became an implacable enemy of Hellenic polytheism.

Civilisation I adore and belong to has come from Hellenism , hence my opposition to Judeo-Christian monotheism (weakened as it is now by Enlightenment and other historical vicissitudes ) . The enemies of Hellenism have come from what you may perhaps call the "Holy Land" , hence my statement "all religions born in and around the despotic and obscurantist "Holy Land" belong to abject barbarity". I consider the enemies of Greek culture barbarians. Horodotus writes that even among some Scythians were many Philellenes. Jewish monotheism was incompatible with Hellenic polytheism and in form of Christianity it finally defeated that polytheism. I am not happy about that.

< However, your statement that simply amazes me. On my way of reading the entire Bible for the third time, although I've studied many other chapters many times, I continue to be impressed by the wisdom it contains. And every time I read from the Bible, I learn new knowledge. I've read thousands of books but there is none like the Bible.>

Have you read Homer, Aristotle, Greek tragedy, Friedrich Nietzsche or Arthur Schopenhauer ? I happened to start my education with Greek classics and so I can understand the view of early Greeks well who were confronted with the Bible and its followers. I have even written a little book on that. After the Illiad I can't be satisfied with any second-class literature even if disguised as heaven-sent by Jehova or contain his son's (Jesus') sayings.

Sure I have, large parts of it even in Greek. There are no doubt fascinating parts in it , so e.g. the story of Joseph and his brothers. I read it wholly enthralled by its dramatism. But the best I have found is the Book of Esther. You may well want to know why? There is no mention of Adonai-Jehova in it and it is the surest indication that the narrow-minded meddling Levite priests have not akwardly distorted it as is the case with almost every single chapter in this queer and illogical book. Instead of taking care of improving bad composition, dull style and repetitions, they were overzealous to insert as many invocations and references to Jehova as possible and to self-glorify of course. In short, wherever I read 'Jehova was angry with this or that' I do know the priests were angry as what the Levites didn't like they in their secret newspeak identified with Jehova's displeasure. A simple , dishonest but effective trick, wasn't it ?

< Even an atheist should at least read the book of Proverbs simply because it contains wisdom that can be found no where else.>

Have you ever read Babylonian or Egyptian literature , their proverbs? The epic of Gilgamesh, Enuma Elish , Sumerian poetry ? I most heartily recommand that to you. It gives a fine context which is necessary not to be misguided by the Bible and its ill-founded claims of originality and incurable bias to replace history with theology. The ancient Jews were far behind their neighbours in wisdom , they imitated them adroitly but , what is worse , their obsession with dull monotheism really obscured their otherwise admirable intellectual qualities. I would apply to them what Nietzsche said about Pascal ( roughly) " He was a genius but his Christianity stymied his genius".

Rigveda , recited c. 1000 years before Job,

Hymn CXXIX

< 1. THEN was not non-existent nor existent: there was no realm of air, no sky beyond it.
What covered in, and where? and what gave shelter? Was water there, unfathomed depth of water?
2 Death was not then, nor was there aught immortal: no sign was there, the day's and night's divider.
That One Thing, breathless, breathed by its own nature: apart from it was nothing whatsoever.
3 Darkness there was: at first concealed in darkness this All was indiscriminated chaos.
All that existed then was void and form less: by the great power of Warmth was born that Unit.>

It looks like the cosmological singularity , the state before the Big Bang, doesn't it? And mark it, there is no whimsical Jehova who in turn you must find some origins and explanation for unless you're satisfied with "credo quia absurdum".

Even "Enuma Elish" is much better , much more modern than Moses' and Job's obscurantist monotheism :

"When in the height heaven was not named,
And the earth beneath did not yet bear a name,
And the primeval Apsu, who begat them,
And chaos, Tiamut, the mother of them both
Their waters were mingled together,
And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen;
When of the gods none had been called into being,
And none bore a name, and no destinies were ordained;
Then were created the gods in the midst of heaven,
Lahmu and Lahamu were called into being...

< Job 38:16 Have you entered the springs of the sea? Tell me Ianus, when did men learn that there were springs in the ocean? Proverbs 8:28: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the "fountains of the deep". How did the writer of the Book of Proverbs know that there were fountains of water in the ocean at least two thousand years before men discovered them?>

Tell me, dear friend, do you think that e.g. the Phoenicians who sailed around Africa or those ancient divers who used to fish pearls from the bottom of the sea knew nothing of that very bottom of the sea? Anyway, have the scientits found yet the whale in whose belly Jonah spent three days and three nights?

< Isaiah 40:22 It is He who sits above "the circle of the earth". Tell me Ianus, how did the writer of the Book of Isaiah, who lived 740 B.C. know that the earth was round?>

Did he mean that? Let's have the full quote : "It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in."

I think he only means the horizon which is round even in the Holy Land. How could he "sit" on a round earth ? And , mark it , Jehova 'sits'. I wonder about His anatomy and how about you ?

And if you are going to rely on his obscure metaphors you'll be forced to define the heaven as "the curtain stretched out over the earth" and meant to serve as Jehova's palace.

If you make of Isaiah a "scientist" then I am puzzled what use you might have for Aristotle, Eratosthenes or Copernicus?

Science seems to you to be just an ancillary tool of theology. It confirms its dogmas , metaophors, claims. I am very afraid of that development which was exactly what made science among ancient Jews (and today's Moslems) impossible. If you have Jehova's(Allah's) word you'll never be given a fair chance to show how absurd, stupid and harmful it is. If you try , the priests(mullahs) will kill you. As in ancient Greece no caste of priests was ever created or had much power, science and freedom of thought were born on the shores of Ionia, not on the banks of the Jordan.

Let me doubt seriously what you say, dear friend.

I do hate the Quran and know what will happen if one day it is imposed on our minds. But , frankly, I don't want even a milder yoke of the Bible on my mind, although as I said I will be the first to fight to defend the Bible if Islam declares war on the civilisation the Bible has created.

With my best reagrds ,

Ianus

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