Christian theology dictates that Carnegie
burn eternally in an imaginary hell. Yet, every time we enter the
Stillwater Public Library - or one of the thousands of other libraries
he funded - Carnegie's generosity and wisdom are contrasted with the
harsh vindictiveness of the Christian God.
I applaud Pastor Becker's acceptance of evolutionary theory as fact.
Pastor Becker separates himself from the self-serving, narrow-minded
fundamentalist clergy who oppose our young people's understanding
science for the sake of perpetuating the mythical creation story. This
sad promotion of the Genesis account as historical fact has become an
obstacle to young minds searching out the biological realities that
evolution so marvelously explains.
rejection of an "angry God" who must "punish somebody" is
understandable for those able to reason outside the box of man-made
tradition. The bible's God knew in advance that Adam and Eve would sin.
Nevertheless, this God created them, allowed for their temptation, and
then contrary to the basics of any parent's love becomes angry at the
very event He planned. This God then blames His newly created ignorant
victim alleging "free will." Today's civil law describes God's
horrendous act as "entrapment." Carnegie rejected this convoluted
irrational God as the theological manipulation of an authoritarian
priesthood who fabricated a scenario to justify their own existence in
order to foist it upon fearful gullible humans.
Carnegie would also reject Pastor Becker's reasoning of "a virgin will
be with child and bear a son and she will call his name Immanuel"
(Isaiah 7:14) as being fulfilled in "God is with us" (Matthew 1:23).
This is one of many Old Testament scriptures lifted out of context to
justify the claim that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah.
claim that Jesus was born of a virgin based on Isaiah 7:14 is a gross
misrepresentation of Isaiah's words. Christian theology required a
savior of divine seed untainted by Adam's sin. In addition, Matthew was
competing with other Greek, Egyptian, Persian and Roman savior-god
stories whose saviors were born of virgins. Thus, Isaiah's so-called
virgin birth solved this duel-faceted challenge.
Israel's King Ahaz: "The Lord will give you a sign: Behold an almah
will conceive" (Isaiah 7:14). The Hebrew word meaning "maiden" was
mistranslated in the third century BC Greek Septuagint translation of
the Hebrew Bible as "virgin." Isaiah acknowledges he approached this
almah; she conceived and gave birth to a son (Isaiah 8:3). Isaiah's
almah conceived without any intervention by God. There was no virgin
birth prophesied. Immanuel meaning "god is with us" received the credit
for Ahaz's victory over the King of Syria.
The Jewish people
were not dumb. As expected of any rational people they rejected
Matthew's fabrication. This proved calamitous for the Jews. The Gentile
Christian victors who generations later wrote the crucifixion story
purposely blamed the Jews so the Romans would look like innocent
law-abiding citizens. Hence, Martin Luther and multitudes of Christians
had an excuse for the centuries of heinous anti-Semite atrocities
culminating in the Roman Catholic-aligned Hitler's extermination of six
To add further to the Christian theological
cauldron of make-believe and the chagrin of Christian theologians,
there are no original manuscripts of the gospels or epistles. No one
knows who actually wrote them. The number of gospels and their alleged
eyewitness accounts are, at best, half-truths. All that scholars have
are copies of copies of copies edited and re-edited over many centuries
in order to accommodate the continuously unfolding doctrinal
requirements of church hierarchy.
This should come as no
surprise. Christianity's evolution parallels the development of every
religion - whether Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim or Jewish. Doctrinal
requirements dictate the eventual interpretation required, whether it
be a revered Mullah or Bishop, all so the respective sect could claim
to have "the truth."
Nevertheless, myth in every culture has
always provided powerful examples for us hero-loving humans. Myths
illustrative of heroic sacrifice, selfless love and commitment to a
cause greater than us have proven inspirational. To the extent that
they inspire us to reach beyond our all too oft uneventful lives, they
our Christmas holidays (that actually originated from the secular
solstice celebrations) inspire gift giving and joyful celebrations by
virtue of the mystical story of Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus and the Magi.
I hope all our Gazette readers had a very Merry Christmas, and I wish them a happy New Year!
Lee Salisbury lives in Stillwater and appreciates reader responses at firstname.lastname@example.org.