Ignorance is bliss? I think not. The problem with Yahweh.

On the way home from seeing a client the day before yesterday I noticed several large tents being erected on the school grounds just down the road from us.

The school rent the top sports field on a fairly regular basis for large meetings: external sports gigs, musical shows and as in this current case, some sort of evangelical gathering for one of the numerous African churches. These meets are full of what one would normally expect at such ‘’God Drives’’ : impassioned pleas to ‘’Gord’’ through a several hundred if not thousand Watt sound system, accompanied by loud gospel singing and frenetic African Ululating.

Sadly, we can do nothing about the noise and what I consider a vile imposition on my quiet weekend.

*Sigh*.

Be that as it may.

After reading a comment by a Christian fundamentalist in response to a statement regarding archaeologists and their stance on Moses and the Pentateuch …

Every? Unless you are prepared to discuss the qualifications of every single scholar and archaeologist in the world. That assertion is merely your own opinion. But, since you know you cannot, and also know your statement is untrue.

Again. Lie

… It got me thinking.

Yes, to be fair the term ‘’every’’ was used in the first instance, rather than consensus or majority and it was only afterwards I remembered who we are dealing with: someone who believes in the absolute inerrancy of the biblical text. Or at least this is what he claims.

Now, in the case of this individual, there is a large amount of voluntary indoctrination and an even larger amount of willful ignorance. I say this simply on the basis that, with almost everything one could wish for in the form of information at one’s fingertips to blithely dismiss the entire body of secular archaeology is tantamount to stating there is a global conspiracy; that hundreds if not thousands of archaeologists are simply lying through their teeth.

For even a renowned archaeologist such as William Albright was unable to unearth evidence to back biblical claims and, dig as he might, the basis of his religious foundational tenets were eventually laid to waste.

Modern archaeology has come on in leaps and bounds since the days of Albright, and if the bible stories had any basis in fact one would expect that such facts in the form of evidence would have begun to be revealed. And have they? Well, no, they haven’t.

In fact, the archaeological evidence reveals a completely alternate history that runs contrary to the bible and does not feature the biblical Patriarchs, an Egyptian Captivity, Moses, Exodus or Conquest and the overwhelming consensus is that the Pentateuch is simply historical fiction.

But who knows this?

Yes, some Internet Christians, for sure, and certainly many of the ones I have come into contact with.

But what about mainstream Christianity?

And this is what got me thinking after seeing all the tents on the school field.

So, this morning I casually asked our housekeeper, who I know is a Christian ( she belongs to an Apostolic Church)  if she knew who the god, Yahweh was.

Our short conversation went pretty much like this.

‘’What is  Yah … what, Mister Ark?’’

‘’Yahweh. He is the god in the Old Testament. You’ve read the bible, yes?’’

‘’Yes, some parts. Mostly what they tell us at church or if I am feeling depressed I will just open the bible and read what it shows. Why?’’

‘’I was just interested if you knew, that’s all.’’

‘’I will try to read it and look for this god. You say he is in the Old Testament?’’

‘’Yes.’’

‘’Okay, Mister Ark, I will look.’’

At which point I thanked her and left it at that.

Now, aside from this very brief and I hope, nonthreatening encounter, I never have and do not discuss religion with our housekeeper. My wife would kill me! Yet it revealed so much of what I imagine the vast majority of Christians truly understand about their religion, and especially on the African continent. Namely: Hardly anything at all.

Fundamentalists bemoan that atheists always call for evidence, yet I’ll wager millions of followers have not even heard of the biblical god, Yahweh, let alone know who he was.

Imagine how long this ignorance would last if secular biblical history and archaeology were compulsory subjects on every school curriculum?

If we are truly serious about educating everyone concerning the historic truth of our species, and considering the amount of conflict, wars and general trauma religion has caused, it damn well should be compulsory. Then we wouldn’t have bloody fools telling me I must be prepared to, ”discuss the qualifications of every single scholar and archaeologist in the world.”

 

Ark.

New Visitors. Leading you up the garden path.

A fascinating and unique week on the photo front. I have managed to photograph five previously uncatalogued ( at our spot) species of butterfly and one fabulous looking moth .

If you are not into butterflies and moths and bugs in general this might be considered unimportant, but for me, it is something special.

And most important, it means the garden is capable of hosting such a wide array of visitors.

Black Striped Hairtail 3

Black Striped Hairtail a

Black Striped Hairtail

Grass Jewel

Grass Jewel blue g

Grass Jewel

Male Topaz Babul Blue.April 29 2016

Topaz Babul Blue

Topaz Babul Blue

Apricot Playboy

Playboy 9

Apricot Playboy

Zebra White

Zebra White

Crimson Speckled Footman 6

Crimson Speckled Footman

Feathers on Friday. Grey Lourie.

Lourie on pine nuts

Sitting on the fruit of the large pine tree in the garden

lourie 2

Morning, Ark.

lourie looking

Okay, so where’s breakfast?

Lourie on tree

Aah, found it. You can leave me in peace, I prefer to dine alone. Thank you.

Grey Lourie

We have recorded forty-six species of birds that have visited our garden. Some are infrequent and /or seasonal. Many are regular, all year round visitors. I have been fortunate to photograph thirty-five species – so far.

The Grey Lourie arrives most mornings at our spot and we put out fruit almost every day thus ensuring they grace us with visits. When we forget, they will quickly let us know, and its loud, distinctive call has given rise to its popular local name of the ”Go Away Bird” as this is what the call sounds like.

Have a listen!

Thanks to Charlotte over at Prairie Birder for the Feathers on Friday Challenge.

Leading you up the garden path. Moth.

After expressing concern that we seemed to have been short-changed with butterflies and moths so far this year, within days, a brand new species turns up and I manage to photograph it.

This afternoon, I wandered to the front of the property, where we have a wild yellow creeper growing,  and something took off right in front of my eyes. It was a blur but instinctively I raised the camera and snapped.

Flunky 1

This makes for an interesting Arty type of shot but didn’t in any way tell me what it was. It fluttered off the property towards the road and I thought the chance of even identifying it had gone. But then …. it circled back and landed in almost the exact position as before.

And this is what I saw … another new species and a first at the Ark’s spot.

Crimson Speckled Flunkey 5

Crimson Speckled Flunky2

Crimson Speckled Flunkey 6

Crimson-speckled Flunkey. Utetheisa pulchella

©Ark 2106

Out and About: Yesterday Around the suburb.

Autumn is definitely here, and temperatures rarely get above 23c.

Soon winter will arrive and we’ll have to pack away our shorts and T-shirts and dig out jersey’s and blankets. And I am not joking either.

Lazy Sunday,  but we needed to do some shopping and so I grabbed the camera, called shotgun and asked if we could take the scenic route.

Observatory is an old, established suburb, Situated on either side of a valley that has a golf course running through. It has only approximately 800 homes.

There are a lot of trees and a fair number of open spaces. 1.St George St looikng East

Three towers: L 2 R. Radio Tower, Ponte Flats, Hillbrow Tower.

2.South across the golf course2

Looking South across the golf course.

3.Kloof St

Entrance to one of only two residential blocks of flats in the suburb.

4.Down St. George St

See if you can find a genuine flat piece of road in Observatory!

Ideal if you need somewhere to hill train for the next marathon.

5.Klip a 33

Intelligent greenery over here. These creepers automatically formed the number 33 to save the owners having to paint or buy numbers. I want the name of this plant.

6.FRedrick St. April 2016

7.Fredrick St April 2016

Two views of Frederick Street. As far as I know, this is the only street in the entire suburb that has a planting of Birch. At least I think they are Birch? Arch, what say you?

Edit. He says, Sycamore.

9 guinea fowl

I saw the bird, and asked the Wife to reverse. Only when we  stopped and I took the shot did she point out the sign!  Talk about kismet.

Wonder what the odds are that the guinea fowl would be in this position just as we passed?

glossy starling

On the adjacent wall this Glossy Starling seems to be contemplating the consequences of breaching the razor-wire.

911

We’re fine, thanks.

temperature 1430

In case you think I tell porky-pies about the temperature out here in Jo’burg.:)

Klip Street 1

Down the Dip. Klip Street. Bougainvilleas are to be found  all over the suburb. In our garden too.

Looking East

Almost on the eastern  border of Obs. Appropriately named, East Street.

8.Eckstein April 2016

The Ark’s Street.

Ark

Leading you up the garden path. My heart is all a flutter …. by.

I mentioned before that butterfly visitors have been a bit thin on the ground so far this year … or in the air, rather. But this visit made up for any lack!

I had the camera in hand as I went for a wander before the football started a 3:00 this afternoon and saw a tiny butterfly flitting across the rockery in the Dry Garden. It settled on a succulent as I was passing and I knelt to take a quick snap, thinking it was a species called the Pea Blue.

But as I got close and focused, I noticed it had three wing spots rather than the usual two of all other ”blues” I have photographed to date.

Straightaway, I knew this was a different species.

And what a treat this turned out to be.

After looking up a few pictures in my field guide I posted a several photos online and had my confirmation from a local expert, Steve Woodhall,within ten minutes.

This is a Grass Jewel Blue and this is the first time I have ever seen, let alone photographed, this species at the Ark’s Spot!

Made my day!

2Jewel Blue a

 

Jewel Blue J

 

 

Once upon a time in the middle east.

Several things I learned early on when blogging about religion.

You cannot possibly have a reasonable, intelligent discussion with  a committed religious person about religion – theirs or anyone  else’s. It is an impossibility as eventually it all boils down to faith – theirs.

You will soon find you are arguing the same points over and over and … over  and more so with a religious fundamentalist.  Colorstorm take a bow. Furthermore, if by this time you haven’t realised the word fundamentalist contains the word ‘mental’ and you are unable to focus on the ‘fun’ you deserve everything you get in such interaction.

I have also come to realise there is quite a deep divide regarding the historicity of the character, Jesus of Nazareth – Yeshua – among non- believers, who  to my mind have been suckered into accepting supposed mainstream non-Christian scholarship on this issue. Such ‘scholarship’ which largely seems to follow the Bart Ehrman Approach, or some version of, that there was a real live (Jesus) Yeshua who strutted his 1st century stuff across a tiny ‘corner’ of the Middle East eventually pissing off the authorities and getting himself nailed to a cross.

The End.

Personally, I hold no truck with what’s held up as evidence for this biblical character and the continual assertions that there must have been  a real person behind the supernatural Lake Tiberius Pedestrian.

And always I ask: why on earth should there?

Many, if not most, of those who hold to an historical Jesus have now accepted that there never was anyone called Moses. That the Pentateuch is nothing but historical fiction and the characters and their supposed derring-do featured in such Cecil B. De Mille type tales as the Captivity, Exodus and Conquest are all myth.

In fact, we now have a reasonable idea of what actually happened; an alternate history based on an ever-growing body of archaeological evidence. And this evidence does not include the characters Abraham , Moses , Joshua and co.

So why are some of these people reluctant to consider the very real possibility that Jesus ( Yeshua) is simply a wholly fictitious narrative construct?

There is not a scrap of contemporary evidence, and the two ( three?) infamous references found in Josephus and Tacitus have been so fraught with controversy that one would think that any reasonable pursuer of the truth would look beyond these tenuous few lines and wonder why, if they do  not believe in the god-man why would they feel the need to hold on to any such beliefs regarding an historical template for the biblical character?

It makes no sense whatsoever.

Not least because in the years immediately following the time Jesus of Nazareth, or whoever this character was supposed to have been, wandered about preaching the end is nigh, it would have been a lot easier to point out the nonsense of the claims and identify the character they were based upon.

To paraphrase the words of Life of Brian.

”They’ve been making it up all along.”

Ark.

If you would like to read a more scholarly take, I highly recommend Neil Godfrey’s blog, Vridar. 

He has several posts on this issue.  This two-parter is excellent.

 

Colorstorm Rules Apply to this post

If fundamentalists etc would like to comment and engage, you are more than welcome. Please feel free to leave comments at the linked page above. Thanks.