EASTER – Science, Evidence and Faith

IT IS FOR EACH ONE OF US TO DECIDE WHAT TO BELIEVE  REGARDING THE LIFE OF JESUS. THE HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS PASSED DOWN TO US ARE A STARTING POINT FROM WHICH TO QUESTION.

In an increasingly secular and some might say selfish world it is perhaps surprising to note that 84% of the world’s population identifies with a religious group. The Christian faith remains the largest religion in the world, with 31.2% of the global population of 7.3 billion. ‘No religious affiliation’ (6%)  does not indicate atheism, many in this group have a strong sense of spirituality or belief in God, gods or guiding forces. Jesus Christ is revered by many who do not adhere to Christianity or practise an organised religion.

Science and religion are not  incompatible. A survey of 3,000 science, medical, technical, and engineering professionals in the UK, Germany and France, commissioned by the Scientific and Medical Network, found that 25% described themselves as atheists, with 45%, a majority defining themselves as ‘religious or spiritual’.

Crucifixion was meant to be a humiliating death, victim’s bodies were not normally returned to their families but were thrown into a lime pit. Joseph of Arimathea,  a wealthy man and a distant relative of Jesus (uncle of Mary, the mother of Jesus) was a prominent member of the Sanhedrin Jewish Council but also a secret follower of Jesus. This status allowed him to approach Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, to claim the body.  Joseph of Arimathea made his own tomb available for the body of Jesus but as the strict laws governed the ritual anointing for burial could not take place during the Sabbath (Saturday),  the body was hurriedly prepared and left wrapped in a shroud. The  intention was to return on Sunday to complete the ritual.’  The authorities, concerned that the followers of Jesus may attempt to retrieve his body, sealed the entrance to the tomb with a large stone and placed a guard overnight, however the soldiers fell asleep.

On the morning of Sunday, the women who had followed Jesus came to the tomb to complete the anointing and found the stone rolled away from the entrance and the body gone. Mary Magdalene ran to the disciples Simon Peter and John to tell them. John came first to the sepulchre followed by Simon and looking in saw the linen shroud and the cloth  that had wrapped Jesus’ head lying separately. They ran to tell the other disciples but Mary Magdalene stood outside the sepulchre weeping. She looked inside and saw two angels, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had laid and the angel said to her: “Woman, why weepest thou …Why seek ye the living amongst the dead?”  She answered: “Because they have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid him.” She turned and saw Jesus but in her shock and grief did not recognise him.   Supposing him to be the gardener she answered:  “Sir, if thou have born him hence, tell me where thou has laid him and I will take him away.”  Then Jesus said“Mary.”  Recognising him she said:  “Raboni,” which means Master. Jesus said to her:

TOUCH ME NOT FOR I AM NOT YET ASCENDED TO MY FATHER BUT GO TO MY BRETHREN AND SAY UNTO THEM… I ASCEND UNTO MY FATHER AND YOUR FATHER AND TO MY GOD AND TO YOUR GOD’

The disciples did not believed Mary Magdalene’s account but as they they were assembled together Jesus appeared in the room and said:  “Peace be unto you” He appeared to them many times in the following days saying:

” GO YE INTO ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE”

                “LO, I AM WITH YOU EVEN UNTO THE END OF THE WORLD”

The Turin Shroud, believed by many to be the linen shroud which wrapped the body of Jesus in the tomb is the most investigated artefact in the world today.  Forensic science research involving atomic resolution electron microscopy, thermography, haematology, crystallography, botany, textiles and coinage have shown  the carbon dating conducted in 1988                                                                                   to be flawed.

A new examination, the results, of 15 years of research, dates the shroud to between 300 BC and 400 AD, placing it in the era of Christ. In forensic terms the wounds described in the biblical account are a match with those seen on the shroud, confirmed by anatomy and pathology.

  • The 120 scourge marks on the front and back and legs of the man of the shroud match the flagrum or flagellum, a Roman whip. The direction of the lash marks indicate two soldiers were striking him, one on each side.
  • The Shroud shows the nail wounds in the wrists, this is anatomically correct, medieval paintings wrongly show nails in the palm of Christ’s hands, this  would not have supported the weight of a crucified body.
  • Botanists discovered Ziziphus spina-christi,  a flowering thorn, around the head of the man on the shroud. The sharp thorns matched 15 puncture wounds, blood stains on the shroud, indicating piercing of the head, especially at the back, where it would have rested against the cross.

Aromatic oils have long been used to prepare a body to assist release of the soul after death, with floral bouquets often the final tribute to the deceased. Professor Avinoam Danin, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, states that the only place in the world where people could gather at least four of the species of plants found on the Shroud , is the area between Jerusalem and Hebron. The flowering characteristics of eight species identified on the Shroud have determined that the plant life was placed on the body somewhere during March or April, the time of the crucifixion.

See full text:

Metaphysics of the Shroud of Turin- Message in the Flowers

The Turin Shroud – Evidence for Crucifixion

EASTER STORY – ‘Could you not watch with me one hour?’

HONOURING THE LIFE OF JESUS AT EASTER

For those who know the story and for those who don’t.

THE LAST SUPPER

On the Thursday at the end of the week of celebrations to mark the Jewish Feast of Passover the disciples met with Jesus to celebrate the feast together. This commemorated a historical event in Jewish history, still celebrated today which marks the end of 400 years of captivity of the Israelites in Egypt (1446 BCE) when Moses their leader was commanded by God to instruct the pharaoh to “Let my people go”. When Pharaoh refused, twelve consecutive plagues resulted, culminating in the death of the eldest son of each Egyptian family. Tradition holds that the Angel of Death ‘Passed over’ the houses of the Israelites and Pharaoh freed them.

As Jesus and the disciples ate a supper together he shocked the disciples by indicating that he would soon leave them. This became their ‘last supper’.

He broke the bread and said: “This is my body broken for you, eat in remembrance of me.” He gave them wine to drink saying: “This is my blood, drink in remembrance of me.”  This later became the sacred ritual performed by his followers in his memory, referred to today as taking Communion, as he asked.  Jesus talked to them of what was to come saying: “This night one of you will betray me,”  but they did not understand. Judas Iscariot one of the disciples, slipped away to meet with the High Priest, having arranged to betray Jesus to the authorities.

At the end of the day Jesus and his disciples retired to the Garden of Gethsemane, a place where they often met together. Here Jesus asked the disciples to watch with him while he prayed for strength in his coming ordeal . When he returned he found them sleeping and said ‘Could you not watch with me one hour?’ 

 

The Temple Guards arrived to arrest Jesus and Judas Iscariot identified him by kissing him on the cheek, the origin of the term ‘Judas’ as one who betrays another. Jesus was bound and led away to be interrogated by the High Priest.

See also

Easter Welcome

The Easter Story

HALLOWEEN – TRICK OR TREAT?

On the 31st October each year the ritual of Halloween is celebrated with little or no thought for its origins which lie in the belief that at this time there is a thinning of the veils between the manifest and the astral worlds.  Many  continue to take advantage of this window of opportunity maintaining their traditions of communicating with the spirits of those who have departed this world.  For some this is a positive act of remembrance, for others an opportunity to interact with negative forces. In either case  we are engaging our psychic energy to create a connection, linking the physical and astral realms and should be aware of the inherent vulnerability and need for respect. Continue reading

‘Gunpowder, Treason and Plot’

A glance over the medieval shoulder reveals religious intolerance and a capacity for atrocity equalling anything seen today. When Henry Vlll, the English king, separated from the Church of Rome in 1534 to form the Church of England, Protestantism was forced upon the population and those who dissented were made to pay fines, thrown into prison, tortured  or killed. Elizabeth 1st  succeeded Henry and the Spanish Armada set sail to restore ‘the true religion’ at the popes behest. The Armada failed and centuries of division and religious persecution of Catholics followed.

Catholics were seen as potential traitors and required to deny their allegiance to the pope.The Jesuit priesthood entered the country on behalf of the papacy and laws were tightened.  In 1585, theAct Against Jesuits, Seminary Priests and other suchlike Disobedient Persons made it High Treason for a priest to reside anywhere in England or for anyone to hide or assist a priest.Harsh laws meant fines, imprisonment or forfeiture of property could be imposed on those who brought Catholic artefacts into the country, heard mass or sent children abroad to schools or seminaries. The Catholic population became increasingly estranged.  Elizabeth died childless in 1567 and was succeeded by James V1, King of Scotland who became James 1 of England.  The two Protestant kingdoms  became the United Kingdom in 1603, further alienating the Catholic minority. Continue reading

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GOOGLE ‘GOD’?

My intention in writing this article was to pose the question: Is technology driving us towards a godless society?  As a starting point I decided to google ‘God’ simply to obtain a definition, expecting of course that there would be several.  Of the the first 3  references: 2 referred to the release of the film Godzilla which grossed  $93 million dollars in its opening weekend and $518,369,590  within weeks. The third reference was to the web hosting giant ‘godaddy’. None of the remaining references related to a Creator, a Supreme Being  or a Deity.  God, whatever we assume that word to mean, would seem to have been supplanted in the mass consciousness by commercialism and entertainment; the question however remains – what part if any does technology play in this?. Continue reading

ISLAM AT CHRISTMAS

Surprisingly,  there are more similarities than differences  between Christianity and Islam. 

shine_quranThe definition of a Muslim is ‘One who surrenders to the will of God’. Mohammed is acknowledged by the faithful as the final messenger sent from God; chosen to receive verbal communication from Archangel Gabriel, to guide mankind to the last days. This became the Quran.

Jesus is revered by Muslims as a prophet and and referred to under various titles, the most common being al-Masīḥ  (“the Messiah”). Muslims believe that Jesus will return to earth near The Day of Judgement to restore justice and to defeat al-Masih ad-Dajjal  (“the false messiah”. (also known as the Anti Christ). Jesus is named in the Quran more often than the patriarchs, Moses (136 times) or Abraham (69 times). His Islamic name is Isa ‘the word of truth’ and he is referred to as “Ibn Maryam” (son of Mary).  Muslims believe Jesus was  sent by God as a final prophet to guide the children of Israel; he is unique in being the only prophet in Islam who neither married nor had any children Continue reading

Reaping what we Sow

Some 30,000 years ago, the Paleo-Indians, the ancestors of Native Americans, followed herds of animals from Siberia across Beringia, a land bridge connecting Asia and North America, into Alaska. By 8,000 B.C.E., these peoples had spread across North and South America. The tribal peoples were diverse but all Indians lived in organized societies with political structures, moral codes, and religious beliefs. The idea of private land ownership was foreign; all land was held communally and worked collectively. Most of the Four Corners region belongs to semi-autonomous Native American nations, the largest of which is the Navajo Nation, followed by Hopi, Ute, and Zuni.

400px-4corner4 CORNERS REGION:  The United States acquired the four corners region from Mexico after the end of the Mexican–American War in 1848. Colorado Territory was created in 1861 and in 1863 Congress created Arizona Territory from the western part of New Mexico Territory. Gold was discovered in California just days before Mexico ceded the land to the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Under the treaty, Mexico recognized the U.S. annexation of Texas, and agreed to sell California and the rest of its territory north of the Rio Grande for $15 million plus the assumption of certain damages claims.  The people of these newly created states share jurisdiction for the region along with  the Navajo Nation and Mountain Ute Tribe. Tribal nations living within the 4 Corners region  include the Hopi and other Ute. Continue reading

Money as Power

                

                 “The love of money is the root of all evil”  Jesus Christ

Many might think that the wealth amassed by the Catholic Church is in conflict with the teachings of Jesus who advised his followers ‘If you have two shirts, give one to the man that has none’ and warned that ‘It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven’.

Where did the wealth of the church come from?

The medieval church had amassed its fortune over centuries of supremacy over the European monarchies. In more recent times during the Unification of Italy the Catholic Church was deprived of its papal states which included Rome itself and almost one third of the Italian peninsula. In order to a provide territorial  identity for the Holy See (the ecclesiastical governing body of the Catholic church) an agreement was made between the Kingdom of Italy represented by the fascist leader Benito Mussolini and the Holy See represented by Pope Pius XI . The Lateran Treaty of 1929 recognized the papal state under the name  ‘Vatican City’ as a full sovereign independent  state . A walled enclave located within the city of Rome, covering 110 acres, it is the smallest independent state in the world. Today Vatican City continues as an ecclesiastical monarchy ruled by the pope, the highest offices of State are all held by Catholic clergy.

Through this treaty Italy agreed to pay the Vatican State $39million dollars in cash  and $52 million in 5% government bonds as indemnity for the loss incurred when the papal states were incorporated into  Italy in 1870. In 1942 the Vatican was exempted from certain taxes on dividends however in 1962 the government placed a tax on all stock dividends. The Vatican refused to pay, citing the Lateran Treaty and threatened to sell its Italian stocks and shares which would have caused a financial collapse of an already shaky market and the fall of the government. They remained exempt.

Power is dependent upon networks: The Holy See is a separate and distinct sovereign entity recognized in international law since medieval times. It is the ecclesiastical governing body of the Catholic Church, operating from its home territory, Vatican City State.  Governance of the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide  is by a  hierarchical structure of the pope, the College of Cardinals and the Curia ( a Latin term meaning ‘Court’ in the royal sense). The Holy See  maintains formal diplomatic relationships with 180 sovereign states, the European Union and others.

Power is defined in many ways, not least by money.  ‘Vatican Billions’ written in the 1980s by the late Avro Manhattan, revealed the vast wealth and influence of the Catholic Church around the world. He described  “the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. She is a greater possessor of material riches than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe.’ Renowned for the secrecy of its operation, with no oversight, the Vatican Bank has been worryingly described as the perfect money laundering system 

The Wall Street Journal has said that the Vatican’s financial deals in the U.S. alone are so big that very often it sold or bought gold in lots of a million or more dollars at one time. “The Vatican’s treasure of solid gold has been estimated by the United Nations World Magazine to amount to several billion dollars. A large bulk of this is stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest.’

“The Vatican has billions of shares in the most powerful international corporations… “In a statement published in connection with a bond prospectus, the Boston archdiocese listed its assets at Six Hundred and Thirty-five Million ($635,891,004), which is 9.9 times its liabilities. This leaves a net worth of Five Hundred and Seventy-one million dollars ($571,704,953). It is not difficult to discover the truly astonishing wealth of the church, once we add the riches of the twenty-eight archdioceses and 122 dioceses of the U.S.A., some of which are even wealthier than that of Boston.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels 
 is known to the local people as the Taj Mahony after their cardinal who had oversight of the project. It cost almost $200 million to build. The altar alone was said to have cost $5 million, the main bronze doors cost $3 million, $2 million was budgeted for the wooden lectern and $1 million for the tabernacle. $1 million was budgeted for the cathedra (bishop’s chair), $250,000 for the presider’s chair, $250,000 for each deacon’s chair, and $150,000 for each visiting bishops’ chair, while pews cost an average of $50,000 each. The budget presumably does not cover community outreach services which are not provided. Parishioners in need of  housing, food or money are obliged to use the neighborhood parishes.

For a history of the papacy see: Jesus Chronicles – The Lost Teachings Published by Epiphany Press. Available through Amazon

 

 

Metaphysics of the Christmas Story

HOW REAL IS THE CHRISTMAS STORY?

For some Christmas means the tinsel and the tree, the shopping and the presents, the turkey and the treats; in short an opportunity for self indulgence and partying while others honour the sacred cycles. For millions it is  a time of deep significance, of reflection and spiritual renewal; the remembrance of a promise, angelic visitation and guidance, a merging of the celestial and the terrestrial. The rational mind rushes to dismiss what in the 21st century seems fanciful and deluded. The story however does not rest on superstitious belief but on the science of metaphysics and is worthy of investigation from that position.  If we take a few brief moments to consider the event we are commemorating, the birth of Jesus Christ, we are faced at once with the challenge of faith, for who now believes in miracles, angelic intercession, prophetic guidance or a pre-ordained, divinely inspired Incarnation? The answer of course is that the vast majority of the human race holds to these beliefs in one form or another. Figures for 2017 show Christianity has 2.1 billion followers while Islam (which shares a belief in Jesus and his divinely inspired origins) has 1.5 billion. These two groups alone represent  half of the 7 billion people alive today.  In addition there are 900 million Hindu’s and 394 million Chinese who practice their respective  religious traditions.  Buddhism has 376 million adherents while Sikhism and Judaism each have  23 million. These represent only the major world religions, there are numerous others with a further 376 million practising indigenous primal faiths. Only 16%  state no religious affiliation.

From this perspective we might conclude that most of us have a belief in something beyond the physical realm, suggesting that conscious communication exists between the physical and the non physical worlds. Religions simply regulate a specific belief system into an ordered pattern which we can choose to follow for as long as they serve our spiritual growth. All religions are born out of an awareness of divinely inspired events whether personal or impersonal. Initially these are recorded and crystallised as revealed wisdom, eventually to become fossilised as dogma at which point followers begin to seek elsewhere.

WHO WAS JESUS?

The question has been posed for 2,000 years, it is for each of us to find our own answer, for those who accept his life and teaching he is the supreme pattern of spirituality. Spiritual teachers magnetise followers through the positive vibration of the electromagnetic field or aura, creating a resonance which is felt as a magnetic attraction. The greater the attainment the greater the acceleration of that field and the greater the momentum. An Avatar or world teacher carries a momentum of light within the auric field which has been accumulated through countless lives of service. The consciousness radiates light which is not only felt but seen, this is the origin of halo’s depicted by artists around the head of saints and mystics. .

THE BIRTH OF AN AVATAR IS PREDESTINED AND ALWAYS A HERALDED EVENT, PRECEDED BY PROPHECY, ACKNOWLEDGED BY ASTROLOGICAL CONFIGURATION AND CONFIRMED THROUGH CELESTIAL INTERCESSION.

According to ancient wisdom cosmic time is measured in Cycles or Ages. Avatars incarnate in every Age at significant points on the cosmic calendar, referred to as  ‘Transition Cusps’ their sole purpose is the advancement of humanity by reminding of our spiritual origins. At the culmination of a Cycle of Ages (known as The Grand Cycle)  we approach the threshold of a New Age and the supreme guide appears, to shepherd us through the doorway. The penultimate Cusp of the Piscean Age heralded the birth of Jesus Christ. (Christ meaning ‘anointed of God’).

The word “ixoye” is an acronym comprised of the first letter of five Greek words: Iesous Xristos Theou Yios Sotare which means Jesus, Christ, Son of, God, Savior. … The wheel symbol,  carved into marble  in the early Christian community of Ephesus,  represents the Cycles and Ages, foundation of the teaching given by Jesus and subsequently lost. The word is also the Greek word for “fish,” icthus, ἰχθύς which when spelled in capital letters in Greek is ΙΧΘΥΣ. The first followers of Jesus were persecuted and used the sign of the fish as a secret symbol to recognise each other. It is no coincidence that  the astrological symbol of Pisces the fish was the sign of  the early Christians and later of Christianity. Today we stand at the threshold of the Aquarian Age, unready to birth the new, the reason for the global chaos and upheaval.

Each of us is free to view Jesus in accordance with our own beliefs or prejudices. For some he is simply a great spiritual teacher, for others he is the pre-ordained Avatar guiding humanity through the closing of an Age. Christianity accords him the role of Saviour the Only Son of God. Whatever our belief  his vast spiritual attainment is acknowledged and it is his message which is important.

As we celebrate his birth at Christmas it is an opportune moment for reflection and to question. Is the story true? Did the Angel Gabriel announce the birth to Mary?  Was Jesus born in Bethlehem and if so why? What of the star and the three kings who are said to have brought their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Excerpt from: Jesus Chronicles by Carol Lamb

The name Jesus is the English translation from the Greek Yesous translated from the Hebrew Aramaic the native tongue of Joseph and Mary. Yeshua is the abbreviated version of Joshua a name which predates the Christian era by several centuries and means deliverer or saviour. Among the many titles accorded to Jesus is ‘Emman-u-el’. The Jewish scripture foretold of a conception through divine agency. ‘Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and his name shall be called  Emman-u-el’ which means ‘God is with us’.

Prophecies of past centuries had stated that the Messiah or Saviour was to be born in Bethlehem, a small town in Judaea. Since Mary lived in Nazareth some miles away her child could have been expected to have been born there. However, in the time preceding the birth, the emperor decreed a census in order to register those eligible for taxation: ‘In the days of Caesar Augustus a decree went out that all the world should be taxed’. In a very real sense all the world was Roman and despite Mary’s advanced state of pregnancy there was no choice but to obey the decree that the head of each household was to report to his home town to be registered.

Today if we require a copy of a birth or marriage certificate we are still required to apply to the Registrar in the town of our birth. Of course we have the luxury of filling in a form and applying by post. We can only sympathise with the plight of Mary on such a journey as she travelled by donkey to reach Joseph’s home town of Bethlehem. Once more the prophecy was fulfilled and the birth occurs where scripture had stated that it would. ‘And thou Bethlehem in the land of Judaea art not least among the princes of Judah, out of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people Israel.’ The name Bethlehem means ‘place of bread’.

The story of the nativity is known to us all, Mary and Joseph are forced to rest in a place described as a stable, the only place available because the town is teeming with visitors. The birth is marked by an angel who appears before shepherds in the fields to proclaim: ‘Be not afraid, for behold I bring you tidings of great joy which will come to all the people, for to you is born this day in the city of David a saviour who is Christ the Lord, and this will be a sign for you. You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger’, and the angel was joined by a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men, with whom he is pleased.’

At Christmas we sing to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the words of the carol ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ a reminder that Bethlehem was also known as ‘the city of David’ a reference to the birth of another king in another time. King David born in the little town of Bethlehem a thousand years before Jesus, united the Jewish tribal peoples to become the nation of Israel and laid the foundations for the temple in Jerusalem in which Jesus himself would one day teach.