- The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Evans-Wentz version) is
one of my favorite books. It describes how after death our souls pass through
a place called the bardo, and after reviewing every event that has happened
in our lives through conversations and confrontations with apparitions
called the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities, we either evolve into pure light
or choose the time and place of our next reappearance on this physical
- I am not a believer in reincarnation. So it took me awhile
to realize that this ancient ritual prescription is more about life than
it is about death. We carry the memories of every bad thing we've ever
done in this life with us, and when we die, these thoughtless transgressions
are going to come back to bother us. Which makes it a lot better to confront
those episodes long before we breathe our last. You know, beat the rush!
Make those last moments more comfortable, because when you think about
it, we really live our lives in order to have our deaths be the best, most
enlightening experience of our lives. I mean, nobody has an utterly clean
slate after very many years of life, but having confronted one's own faults
prior to the moment of big sleep will at least make that last closing of
the eyes a lot more peaceful.
- It was in this vein I was chatting with a friend the
other day about the sundry forms of religion in the world, many of which
seem hateful skeletons of what a fully functional, compassionate and healthful
human being should be.
- Of course it was the vengeful, superficial brand of religion
espoused by the current U.S. president that set our tongues to wagging.
George W. Bush is fond of saying how he talks to God every day, and God
tells him which country to invade, which innocent people to slaughter from
the air with his high-tech weaponry, and presumably, which multinational
corporations upon whom to bestow his ill-gotten gains.
- Bush's brand of religion is endorsed by a larger audience
of American evangelical Bible-thumpers, many of whom advocate the death
penalty for such human subgroups as homosexuals, peaceniks and all those
who don't accept the fire-and-brimstone version of their Christian holy
- In our conversation, my friend, shaking her head at all
these punitive pronouncements so popular among those who seek to get everyone
else to believe the way they do, brought up Catholic confession, and noted
that at least Catholics are made to verbally confess their sins on a regular
basis to help keep them living honest lives.
- But as far as the bizarre belief that some people, including
Catholics and George W. Bush (among millions of others), have special insight
as to what "God" really said, nothing these days tops for sheer
sickness the relationship between the Jews of Israel and the evangelical
Christians of the United States, all of whom are collectively known as
- This special relationship, which is behind what is perhaps
the most heartless and destructive political philosophy of all time (the
policy of pre-emptive war), links Jews and Christians in a downright pathological
bond in which the two pretend to be philosophical allies while underneath
the surface each is working and praying for the utter destruction of the
- The Christian evangelicals support Israel because it
fits their fixated belief that their messiah will only return if Israel
is controlled by the Jews. However, when their messiah returns, they believe
he will destroy the entire Jewish population, or at least those who don't
instantly accept Christ as their savior. The cynical Jews, on the other
hand, don't really care what the Zionist Christians think, because they
don't believe in Christ at all and are merely contented by the political
and financial support brought to them by a group they consider subhuman,
but politically important. This is truly a match made in hell, the forging
of a powerful coalition of lunatics who together aim to turn the world
into a smoldering cinder merely to fulfill their own mutually exclusive
and insane desires.
- So, getting back to the conversation with my friend,
she insisted that some people, when push comes to shove, actually try to
lie to God, because their egos are so big, and their religion is merely
something they use a badge of social status and acceptance. These people,
she insisted, merely use the concept of God for their own psychological
aggrandizement, and because they are willing to lie to God, they certainly
are willing to lie to their families, friends and everybody to achieve
their own selfish objectives.
- I let this percolate around in my mind for awhile, and
then vehemently (or as strenuously as you can be when you love someone
and disagree with them) objected to her characterization that people, in
their last moments of life, would actually try to lie to God.
- Maybe it's because I've led a somewhat sheltered life.
For instance, I've never, like so many Iraqi and Palestinian families,
had a loved one shot to death by a soulless enemy right in front my eyes.
Or like a Hutu or a Tutsi, I've never seen one of my children hacked to
death by someone who can't explain why he's doing what he's doing. Or,
like an Afghani or a Serb, I've never seen one of my children born with
grotesque external tumors on his face because someone had bombed my neighborhood
with poisonous radioactive ammunition. I've led a sheltered, coddled, relatively
affluent American life, for which I constantly give thanks to God and many
others for my good luck.
- But the idea that, at the final moment of death, someone
would actually lie to God as they enter the infinite realm of dark shadows
is just beyond my comprehension. How could anyone, faced with the freighted
moment of their final departure from this life, tell a lie to an all-encompassing
being who knows the truth about everything? What kind of delusional indoctrination
could make somebody attempt something so ludicrously impossible?
- Then I began to re-examine all these hateful things that
so-called religious people are constantly saying. I have long held the
belief that the people you can trust least are religious people, because
they use their divine excuses to refute reason in any and all situations.
The current U.S. demolition of Iraq provides a clear example. We are going
to bomb these innocent people into submission so they can have freedom.
What is wrong with this picture?
- It is high time for people of good conscience to ignore
the dictates of their so-called spiritual leaders and abandon their churches,
if they continue to preach divine retribution for what is clearly a case
of robbery and mass murder cloaked in noble rhetoric.
- And it is time for all Americans to turn on their murderous
government and support freedom for the Iraqi people against the shocking
sexual perversions of the U.S. government. That's right - only perverts
and moral criminals support what the U.S. is doing in Iraq.
- What is right is right, and the U.S. attack on Iraq is
clearly wrong - immoral, inhumane, ignorant and against every single word
a truly just God would ever utter through those who pretend to be his bewitched
- The same goes for Christian and Jewish pronouncements
against Islam. Muhammad wrote that worshippers of other religions should
be protected against discrimination, and their shrines protected. That
makes Islam morally superior to both Christianity and Judaism, whose commonly
held holy books (i.e, the Old Testament) endlessly preach destruction,
murder, and robbery against all those who won't accept their evil version
of ancient events.
- To all Christians, I say: how can you accept as your
messiah a cynical, figmented construct not verifiable in history who was
invented by a Jewish rabbi who changed his name from Saul to Paul?
- And to all Jews I say: your God is Moloch, who values
money and power over compassion and respect. Anyone who thinks their subgroup
is supernaturally superior to all others is bound to be destroyed by the
resentful retribution of the masses. It's only a matter of time.
- In this respect, both Christians and Jews worship an
evil God. All of you will suffer eternal torment when you die for failure
to use both your brain and your heart to a minimal extent. If you believe
God put us here, it had to be for us to use our brains and our hearts to
protect and nurture this wonderful garden he gave us to thrive in.
- Getting back to the subject of lying to God, I switch
now to another Book of the Dead, the Egyptian one, the actual title of
which is "The Book of Going Forth by Day," for a much more intelligent
and functional description of what happens to you when you die, and how
you should really live your life (if you need to be religious at all, and
sooner or later, most of us do).
- When you die, you go before the Goddess Ma'at and your
soul is put on a scale and weighed against the Feather of Truth. If your
unforgiven sins reveal that your soul is no heavier that that single feather,
then your soul is allowed to travel blissfully through the Field of Reeds
and across the River of Truth to the Island of the Just, where it will
repose in peace forever.
- But if it is found to be heavier than the Feather of
Truth, your soul is fed to Thoth's dog! (Think very big teeth.)
- I'm sure you will agree with me that in this sad day
and age of war and lies that the gurgling hordes of human souls on this
planet - those who believe you can lie to God by using the hateful phrases
of warped preachers who are far more interested in property than propriety
- are just so much dogfood.
- John Kaminski is the author of "America's Autopsy
Report," a collection of his Internet essays published on hundreds
of websites around the world. In addition, he has more recently written
"The Day America Died: Why You Shouldn't Believe the Official Story
of What Happened on September 11, 2001," a 48-booklet written for
those who still believe the government's version of that say day. A second
collection of his essays, titled "The Perfect Enemy," will be
published later this summer. For more information, or to make a contribution
to his work, go to http://www.johnkaminski.com/
- I'm quite tired of hearing about the 'superiority' of
Islam to Christianity or Judaism. When it comes to atrocities committed
in the name of a God or spawned by a religion, Islam is no virgin wallflower!
Who destroyed the Library at Alexandria in name of Mohammed and Allah,
declaring "If these books deviate from the Koran then they are blasphemous;
if they agree with the Koran, then they are superfluous"? A Muslim,
Caliph Omar (even if one wants to dispute the mostly widely held scholarly
viewpoints on this event, and lay blame at the feet of another, it would
be at the feet of the PAGAN Julius Caesar!). Islam is no stranger to genocides,
mass murder and evil in the name of Allah. I don't see Christians or Jews
strapping bombs to their bodies and getting aboard crowded city busses
and blowing up everyone present, women, children and Muslim's alike! Talk
about insanity in the name of a religion or a God! As for your attack on
Christ and Christianity, Kaminski, all I have to say is... GET OVER IT.
I realize you've got some wicked thing stuck in your craw about that dreadful
Jew, Jesus, but I'm sorry, millions and millions of people the world over
believe in Him as the Son of God and the vast majority of them are not
out slaughtering others in his name. There are hundreds of thousands of
them in China right now suffering unspeakable torments we never hear about
in the west, because killing Christians is no big deal in THIS world.
- In his response to the recent article by John Kaminski,
Alton Raines says that he is "tired" of claims of the moral superiority
of Islam as measured against Christianity. Therefore he brings forward
the case of the destruction of the library of Alexandria as evidence that
Islam is not "a Virgin Wallflower" when it comes to matters of
moral turpitude. This crime of long ago committed against ancient scrolls,
Raines appears to feel, is equivalent to the slaughter of human beings
to which Kaminski's column relates. The crime of Alexandria aligns itself
better with the looting of antiquities that followed upon the American
invasion of Iraq than it does with the murder of human beings. Be that
as it may, Raines selects for his line of argument the least likely explanation
of all for the disappearance of the great library of Alexandria, i.e.,
its destruction by Moslems. Islam did not exist until the 7th century.
Who believes that the great library of Alexandria still existed at that
late date? The Caliph Omar story that Raines offers us is generally discounted
as a medieval, anti-Islamic fabrication. Raines second choice of destruction
by Julius Caesar is hardly better. The real destroyers of the library were
very likely Christian mobs in the late 4th century, acting under the orders
of the Christian emperor Theodosius and the bishop of Alexandria, Theophilus.
We know of a certainty that Christian mobs destroyed the Serapeum, which
probably housed many of the surviving scrolls, and murdered the outstanding
philosopher, Hypatia, the daughter of the head of the library, scraping
the flesh off her bones with shards. Of these facts there are no questions.
Therefore, for Raines to cite the case of the Library of Alexandria as
exhibit A in his quest for a cure for his tiredness borders on the ludicrous.
The reputation of the Islamic world as the preserver rather than the destroyer
of ancient culture is hardly shaken by this warped argument.
- From Martha Moss
- Alton Raines is all wet! Please inform him that the Roman
Christians destroyed the Library of Alexandria----NOT the Muslims.
- Could be he got his info from Hannity or Limbaugh? :):)
- Take a look: http://www.geocities.com/essenecx/alexandria_library_loss_truth.htm
- Dear Mr. Rense,
- Why don't you feature people of wisdom, understanding
and love such as Alton Raines on your pages, instead of the mind excrement
you have posted in volumes daily by ignorant, troubled haters.
- It certainly would be a postitive light shining to build
the internet of understanding instead of the constant diatribe of profits
made from tearing down every leader, person and position not in line with
atheists, secularists and vegans.
- Always, Jess
- Tui infrimitas Deus vis
- Kaminski is a powerful and important writer, but he is
REEEALLY pushing the envelope with this one.
- I hope he doesn't get death threats; few things stir
up a hornets' nest of virulent passions like religion, not even SEX, tho'
the race card runs almost neck and neck with that assessment.
- I am no Christian Jeff; but I believe that Jesus The
Christ did indeed exist and is a divine avatar of the Ancient Mystery -that
which many call "God".
- I personally found the idea that Jesus was created by
rabbis offensive and I don't believe it to be based in provable fact -nevertheless;
you won't find me foaming at the mouth, thirsting for his blood. Can't
say that about some of the fools running around on this planet.
- In MY book, Islam, Christianity and Judaism are all divinely-revealed
Faiths (and they are not the only Ones, either) and they have ALL been
used for corrupted human purposes to the untold misery of countless millions.
We humans have stained their fair Names by word and deed over the millennia.
Each has been a successive expression & manifestation of God's will
for the age in which they arose and each has inspired mighty civilizations
in their wake over time; none of them are superior to the other.
- To imagine that God would have us murder and revile one
another in the name(s) of the religion(s) that "He" "Himself"
has created for the purpose of shepherding humanity to Maturity is naught
but blind bigotry and madness, unalloyed.
- Put it BEHIND you, man!
- It's time for us to GROW UP.
- Alton Raines
- William, you are mistaken regarding when Islam began.
The 7th century?? According to an official Muslim website on the history
of Islam, it states...
- "Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born in a noble
family of the Quraysh Tribe of Makkah, in the Hijaz region of the present
Saudi Arabia in 570 C.E (5th century). He started preaching the Religion
of Islam to his people when he was 40 years old."
- "Early in the year A.D. 642, Alexandria surrendered
to Amrou, the Islamic general leading the armies of Omar, Caliph of Baghdad...
On the orders of Omar, Caliph of Baghdad, the entire collection of books
(except for the works of Aristotle) stored at the Library of Alexandria
were removed and used as fuel to heat water for the city's public baths.
- This was not the FIRST destruction of the Library, but
the last and final blow. There had been several previous attempts to destroy
it. There is no discrepancy in the dating. To try and claim that Islam
did not even exist at the time is ridiculous.
- Additionally, I was not equating the destruction of books
with people, though if you want to pretend Islam has no blood on it hands
in the deaths of innocent people, you can live in that la-la land all you
want! History says otherwise. What I was doing was directly challenging
this asinine statement regarding the superiority of Islam by Kaminski...
- "Muhammad wrote that worshippers of other religions
should be protected against discrimination, and their shrines protected.
That makes Islam morally superior to both Christianity and Judaism, whose
commonly held holy books (i.e, the Old Testament) endlessly preach destruction,
murder, and robbery against all those who won't accept their evil version
of ancient events."
This statement is patently ridiculous. If you'd paid attention to the subject
I brought up, you'd not have gone off half-cocked attacking me for what
I did NOT say. Islam has not spared any holy shrines as a show of moral
superiority! It was Muslims who destroyed the great Buddhas of Afghanistan,
standing 56 and 36 meters high (respectively), carved from the mountains,
saying, "We leave nothing contrary to our beliefs." This was
Islamic moral superiority? The loss to the world of these stupendous centuries
old monuments is tragic. It is routine for Muslim radicals to hold up in
various holy shrines and mosques, firing out at enemies, and drawing fire,
knowing full well they are bringing destruction upon the holy place. This
shows moral superiority??? That was my issue, I stated it plainly. You
twisted it to your own ends.
- Ms. Moss, -- I don't normally derive my history from
homepages on GEOCITIES, thank you! The number of scholars who agree that
Omar was involved, if not chief in the destruction of the Library at Alexandria
far outweigh those who lay the blame elsewhere, and as I stated, if blame
is to be placed somewhere other than Omar, most scholars agree the pagan
emperor Julius Caesar fits the bill for the most massive early destruction
of the library, certainly more than this undocumentable nonsense about
rabid Christians running around with torches setting fire to it. I know
it's popular to blame everything from itchy polyester to the slaughter
of American Indians on "Christians," but it just won't fly. That
is not to say Christiandom doesn't have its share of acts of atrocity and
madness. Every religion does, which is why I took such strong exception
to Kaminski's absurd statement about Islam's moral superiority and his
attacks on Christianity.
Mohammed, Jesus, Buddha... they all said a LOT of things. It's very hard
to find those who adhere to their admonishments and wisdoms and teachings.
The religions that sprang up around them and from them scarcely represent
their teachings. And it's even worse that outside these faiths there are
the fence-sitters like Kaminski who simply lob cow pies at whichever religion
they feel hostile toward on a given day. They may aim for the religion,
but they almost always wind up hitting ordinary people, just like themselves.
- I have to confess, Kaminski had me screaming. "Preach,
baby, preach" on his recent submission regarding the Zionists. That
is, until I read the words:
- "To all Christians, I say: how can you accept as
your messiah a cynical, figmented construct not verifiable in history who
was invented by a Jewish rabbi who changed his name from Saul to Paul?"
- Surely, Kaminski would offer that I was merely one of
the individuals he was challenging in his article who all of a sudden felt
his words hit too far home and therefore was on the defensive. On the contrary,
I would offer that the same collective definition of a Christian that he
supposes in the above-mentioned paragraph actually condemns him to the
same train of thought as those he opposes.
- Speaking as a Christian (and I use that in the modern-day
"struggling with the nature of God, his Son and my own personal bouts
with sin" framework as opposed to the "pious Evangelical"
sense upon which his lecture is poised against), I can only say that his
attempt to categorically dismiss those who believe in a Christ is not only
short-sighted and small, but in the end inane and incredibly ignorant.
- While it is true the nature of Christ's time on Earth,
his doings, preachings, and even what some would call miracles are debatable
(what Kaminski, I assume, refers to as "construct"), to dismiss
his historical existence and the resulting impact out of hand borders on
juvenile and is just plain simple-minded.
- To further purport that all Christians believe and totally
adhere to the Pauline principles and therefore are unaware of the conflict
of interest that Saul himself presents is quite assumptive. In essence,
it is the same as saying "all Americans eat McDonalds."
- Ultimately, I'm not irate and still appreciate the spectrum
of ideas that the Rense web sit offers. I'm just a bit disappointed that
Kaminski had his pitch but knocked it just shy of the outfield wall. In
the end, what Kaminski is missing is ironically the same thing that the
very Christian Zionists that he preaches against have been missing for
the past three or so decades--Christ did not preach exclusivity. He did
not preach elitism or fascism or allow for the passing of judgment. He
did not preach that an end may justify the means. And, above all, from
the prostitute to the robber, he did not preach condemnation other than
that power solely owned by the one true God. At the same time, until the
three main religions of the world can accept their differences and move
on, they will be subject to a fourth religion of which Kaminski is no stranger--The
Sacred Pidgeonhole. --
- I am writing in response to Alton Raines posting of 5/31/04
- Firstly, a minor point, I reiterate that Islam began
in the 7th century, as everyone knows. The birth of Mohammed in 570 CE
is not a 5th century event (as Mr. Raines believes), but a sixth century
event. That Mohammed began preaching at age 40--therefore in the year
610--places the beginning of Islam in the seventh century by any reckoning.
- Secondly, I was not trying to exonerate the followers
of Mohammed of the charge that they have committed atrocities in the past.
As to which "people of the book," Jews, Christians, Muslims,
have done the most thorough job of violating the moral principles of their
religions I have no firm opinion. Which brings us to a third point, the
rather narrow one which it was my main purpose in the beginning to address:
Who destroyed the library at Alexandria? It was Mr. Raines confident assertion
that it was the army of Caliph Omar that got me stirred up.
- Mr. Raines would leave us with the impression that there
is strong scholarly support for his position. As far as I am able to tell,
this is not the case. There seem to be a number of web sites, including
the one Mr. Raines relies on, that still uncritically propagate this very
old view, one which prevailed up until the writings of Gibbon in the 18th
century, but this is no reason for us to accept it. The pertinent facts
are that the army of Islam captured Alexandria in 642 CE (7th century)
and that the story that said army destroyed the library surfaced in the
writings of one Abd al Latif in the 13th century. We are talking about
approximately 600 years of silence between the time of the capture of Alexandria
and the first mention that this capture marked the destruction of the library.
And the source that Abd al Latif cited was...rumor! I think it is incumbent
upon supporters of the Caliph Omar hypothesis, such as Mr. Raines, to explain
for us the 600 years of silence. I would also like to have explained how
the scrolls burned for six months, heating the baths of Alexandria, as
it is said in this account. If we were talking about a mountain of old
truck tires I might go along with this, but not in the case of ancient,
dry papyrus. This smacks of Arabian Nights rather than history.
- No one really knows what happened to the library. The
"...undocumentable nonsense about rabid Christians running around
with torches..." is much better documented than is the fable of Caliph
Omar, there being a number of 5th century historians, both Christian and
pagan, who give us accounts of the destruction of the Serapeum.
- In the end all we can say, I suppose, is that if the
library had not been destroyed we would have all the evidence we need to
determine how it was destroyed.