Is Britain Institutionally Racist?

The Sh*t Show of Racism!

Cartoon of a duck and a fog

People can feel as if they are racist these days for not integrating much, or by having no friends outside their group comprised of the same ethnicity. 


For years, however, science has told us we all have an own-race bias. A bias for recognising the faces of other people who share our own ethnicity, this has shown to start when we are babies. It's natural. Holistic based explanations are not uncommon: we bond to what faces we see frequently, recognise familiarities and take pleasure in people in whom we can relate—is it fair to call this racism? 


Maybe this factors in on people's choice to auto segregate, Mandaeism and Islam, for instance, both show that endogamy preserves culture. Though, for all accusations, is Britain really institutionally racist? Historians such as David Olusoga and Kehinde Andrews might refer to Britain as a country for white privileged benefactors of colonial slavery. Professor Andrews —who narrated the documentary 'The Psychosis of Whiteness'—speaks up against the racism he sees. His books are clearly defined; the latest called, 'The New Age of Empire: How Racism and Colonialism Still Rule The World.


If you take a 'what about' stance to challenge the professors points on race, or refer to historical occurrences of when white people were being booted out of their homes, it won't remove the historical racism of Britain. It cannot be undone. 


All of Europe has a dark history and it lingers. In the years following George Floyd's murder in the USA, British Policing was exposed to have a useless vetting system; what came next was high profile murder, MET corruption and toxic police chauvinism featured on national news, it led to resignations. 


On the other hand, if everyone takes a 'what about' stance and points the finger; we'll see humans from every walk of life fostering some kind of racial animosity towards each other.
Danny Baker made racist comments

The United Kingdom does have it's share of Danny Bakers; the disgraced broadcaster who compared the Sussex's newborn baby to a monkey in a picture he posted on twitter. 


The country also has it's portion of Azeem Rafiq's, who rightly exposed Yorkshire Cricket's racial bullying, only to land himself in trouble for antisemitism.

Sasha Johnson's voice stood against racism via Black Live's Matter. Someone filmed her and posted her baiting violence and verbally abusing a black man in social media. The woman was clearly intimidating him with a racially loaded name denoting a black person who is culturally more like white people—doesn't this imply racism is beyond institution? 

When there is hypocrisy and bias, racial signalling always becomes an insult to injury. Attempts to allocate a specific ancestral, national or cultural origin of racism is also futile. The general idea is to blame white people for historical horrors committed against black people as well as modern institutional racism. Numerous factors come into play in modern hate crimes other than race, such as sexual matters, religious hatred or misogyny, mental health stigma or intimate relationships etcetera. The crown prosecution service (2022) said, 'many members of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities and faith communities do not report what they consider to be racist or religious crime to the police because of low confidence in the criminal justice system. This is not a declaration of institutional racism, it is low confidence in a public service. 


British classism is the greatest cultivator of inequality and it has it's roots in history, reflected in the feudal system and its medieval use of torture. Christian rulers permitted nasty devices such as the iron maiden, the bone crushing wheel, and the Judas cradle, they destroyed suspected heretics, witches, as well as homosexual people, Jews and military prisoners. Countless civilians suffered this madness which served to pacify religious based schemes of powerful people. Racism is another vice of the wicked, found in the layman's dichotomy of Good and Bad; as with crime, phobias, and it's other ism's—our conscience recognises racism as bad. A deficiency. How should it be tackled? 

Moving out of Britain for a moment, consider the racially discriminatory evictions that occurred in African countries under Robert Mugabe. He deliberately changed land ownership rules in Zimbabwe against the interests of the majority of white farmers. This is reminiscent of the Windrush scandal under Teresa May, in Britain; again, this highlights our collective human deficiency of morality. Idi Amin ridded himself of many Indian and Pakistani citizens and famously said Hitler was right. Google images show him demeaning his white subordinates. The communist Vietnamese expelled their French citizens. Societal hierarchy, power is the beast. Today, classist discriminatory thinking only serves to widen the poverty gap in the UK, genuinely, social equality won't thrive when racial games divide people. 


Undeniably, skin colour is widely identified as the sole target of racial abuse, but, is racism always down to this? The term white supremacy or white privilege doesn't work with Anglo-Celtic racism, which, in all fairness, didn't require physical differences to incite hatred. The same goes with Russian and Ukrainian racism. Again, nasty intentions manifest in all towns, countries and empires alike. 

Definitely, any government department or public service might do something we call racist. However, when a big e-commerce company started to promote shops owned by black people, internet users called it racism, because of the exclusivity to one particular skin colour—nothing changed. This pales in comparison to the racist institutions of World War 2 for example.
Jeremy Clarkson cartoon caricature

However, it is good to know that policies for apartheid, edicts of expulsion are unlikely to be drafted when the equality act (2010) and the Race Relations act (2000) exist. The abolition of slavery act (1835) was only recently paid off. Race is a protected characteristic in the U.K. The country has it's share of multi-cultural tension. Sadly, inequality continues to grow; education figures show that the children of white working class families have been down prioritised beneath those of other racial backgrounds, this is an example of institutional racism. 

Higher death rates for women of colour in maternity units was not sufficiently addressed and was called a racial issue. Health figures show, black women experience more chronic health conditions such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease than women who are not black. All of these problems can significantly increase chances of pregnancy complications and maternal mortality. It seems feasible that commonly found conditions like eclampsia or pre-eclampsia are more responsible for mortality figures than a racial issue. I hope this maternity care can be improved. 


It doesn't seem easy to explore all of the benefactors of slavery, it reached far and wide. Even West African Monarchy had dealings in it. The Velekete markets traded African countrymen with Europe—sometimes exchanging their own men for guns! Central and Eastern Europeans were enslaved by the Ottoman empire, Barbary Pirates made Eunuchs of the men and sex slaves of the young females. If legal historical reparations are ever introduced, everyone would be claiming from everyone else. What has long gone can't make modern Britain a racist institution. 

The crown prosecution define racism as: 

'Any incident/crime which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race'

or

'Any incident/crime which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person's religion or perceived religion.' 

In everyday language do these definitions mean you can phone the police on anyone of a different background if they have been rude to you, or do only serious racial slurs suffice? If British justice is chasing up many perceived racial hostility, when will unfair accusations drain police provision? How would Harry and Meghan look:

Racist art in the Palace. 

Episode three claims racist art is in the Palace, but according to reporters, all of the items shown are situated elsewhere:

York Mansion House, 

Bristol Museum, 

The National Trust,

The Cliveden Estate,

Wentworth Castle in South Yorkshire,

Dyrham Park, Gloucs.

Historian Afua Hirsch says, “If you go into a palace or a stately home or anywhere that represents tradition you are likely to be faced with racist imagery.” She informed millions of viewers that the murals and statues “glorify the institution of slavery”. How is this not liable or racist? Classism and equality seem to have their own rules. 

If false vexatious racial accusations lead to legal action or psychological stress why shouldn't they be considered a crime? Historians seen in Harry and Meghan's docu-series may well have portrayed the Commonwealth as the new colonial-esque empire but, Meghan Markle's wedding veil was decorated with flowers representing the Commonwealth, countries to which she was to become a willing servant. 


With respect to the Sussex's, they once presided over Queen Elizabeth's Commonwealth Trust; equality of gender and support of it's youth was central to the job, but then, their Netflix historians pushed opposing views to the fact finding; both can't be correct—the Sussex's wouldn't have knowingly presided over a regime they knew was racist or colonial. They never stood for empire 2.0. Be that as it is, they did feel vexatious at the monarchy. 


The focus of the Commonwealth is to maintain peace and to facilitate trade between member countries. It values democracy, promotes cooperation on environmental and economic issues, and finally, when a leader dies they vote for the next one. They all chose to vote for King Charles III. 


Out of all the 56 independent members, 36 are republics. 


It begs the question: why would the Sussex's go to such great lengths with a Netflix PR production to smear the Monarchy, but, at the same time, withhold direct conversation with a senior royal who they perceived as racially hostile? What sort of message does this send to people who stand up against racism? 






Beyond the DNA Hype: Unveiling the Complexities of Celtic Ancestry


Beyond the DNA Hype: Unveiling the Complexities of Celtic Ancestry

Model of a celtic warrior on a horse


Years ago, a friendly man with the surname Maxwell noted that we shared similar YDNA on Y-Seq, a genetic testing company. We both held an interest in each others family history. My paper trail reached its limit and strongly points toward involvement in the Welsh Wars: generations of my Pages seemed to serve the noble families therein. Through the Norman era Baron Corbet and some of his men showed up in records near the location of Clan Maxwell in Dumfries, Scotland, bordering England. This Norman actually died in Roxburgh near Kelso; the Corbet family occupied both the Scottish and Welsh borders. My ancestral grandfather, William Page, lived along the Welsh borders on Thomas Corbets land in the 1240s-1250s in a place called Aston Rogers. 

Out of the blue, during one of my less common explorations of Family Tree DNA, I found information again, confirming my genetic similarity shared between myself and 'The Clan Maxwell,' as the site put it. With numerous Scottish and Irish surnames in my matches, sharing subclades on the Scottish cluster and being of the Western Atlantic Modal type: a picture easily started to form in my head. This is where people begin to invest money into DNA, and to be honest, I did. I wanted to know where to understand the original where-abouts of my forefathers, and, as you'd expect, from which tribe or culture they belonged. The cost can be anything from £20 to £500, depending on the service you have. I spent conservatively on my tests and was finally given my answer, which was: BY113677 a subclade of R-L21. 

I heard theories from armchair genealogists and professional genetic wizards alike, but a theory is like an arse; we all have one. I left it at that, returning to check up on progress every year or so, for curiosities sake. This time, I got sucked into it again. You see, L-21 is called 'Celtic' because it dates to the time when these Brythonic and Gaelic languages were spoken by tribes who enjoyed Hallstatt and La Téne cultures in certain lands, especially western Europe, Britain and Ireland. So, with this circling in my mind, I digested some history about the Brythonic Selgovae tribe who settled on the land now called Dumfries, where the Clan Maxwell later emerged! This tribe had close ties to the Brigantes, and they were both hostile toward Rome! How spectacular. My dark age obsessed detective brain is fully aware that many of my finer genealogical lists and circles have a sort of Western British/Gaelic flavour, and consequently, I started to get fleeting desires to learn Scottish Gaelic!

Before I knew what's going on, I was consudering a Celtic tattoo, admittedly, the idea of buying a kilt was sobering! It might sound wrong, because it sort of is wrong, isn't it? That FTDNA statistic information was clear; Z16502 exists in Scotland but also Ireland and England, as well as a tad in Germany and also Wales. Living in the West Midlands of England, my inner voice of sensibility says to me: "You're not a Celt, you're a twat!" 

Cartoon caricature of author dressed as a celt

No doubt, I promise, all this pondering leaves the brain somewhat fishy. Every upturned coincidence wants to reinforce that confirmation bias you treasure, which, in all honesty; is just a dopamine hit! Many Brits today identify as Viking, we've seen the cool viking mass-media mania; Thor, The North-man, Vikings, Vinland Saga, The Last Kingdom—it's all easy viewing. Just to be more realist here, if the 1881 census records prove someones London based ancestry, they don't tend to identify as Victorian and grow 'Bob Cratchit' pork chops, do they? 

Likewise, I don't think I've noticed many teenage 'Mods and Rockers' in my time or Tricorn hat wearing shoppers in town. So, I wonder, how does my little strand of so-called, 'Celtic' DNA compares with all those microplastics I've absorbed into my system after eating all that contaminated sea fish—I'm more plastic than Highlander! 

These 'Celtic People' were never a genetically defined nation of 'Celts,' but put simply, they're people first. This haplogroup, L21 is a huge net that only takes Tuna. However, it is Tuna, which some fish and their historians have ascribe bygone diverse tribalism and cultural themes—still Tuna, nonetheless. However, certain historical peoples such as the Yamnaya, for example, were genetically homogeneous.

Throughout the ages, ancient Briton saw genetic and culturally diversity which shows in genealogy. Consider all those cultures: The Dal Raida, Picts, Britons, Bell Beaker People, Neolithic people, The Irish settlers across Wales. It must be said, Rome introduced YDNA from far and wide; this list comes centuries before the Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman period!

Genealogy has unfairly been accused of racism by the hard left or the overly Liberal, but it's merely a tool to help family historians confuse themselves. Tuna.



Ten Beginner Arguments For Atheists and Agnostics

My go to


Secular Claims That Challenge Jesus... 

1. Later Generations of Christians Re-Branded Jesus. Later generations re-branded Jesus, embellishing his story, but sometimes it's contradicts the Christian message. For instance, in Matthew 15:21-28, Jesus's comparison of a gentile woman to a dog and his initial refusal to help her shows this. 

    2. A Trouble Maker. The bible shows Jesus as a troublemaker as he challenged Israel's rulers by publicly declaring himself as a great figure with the use of apocalyptic symbolism. Instigating disturbances in the Jerusalem Temple heightened tensions, especially as some of his followers carried weapons! 

    3. The Gospels Resemble Historical Fiction! Some scholars think the gospels are like what Bernard Cornwell has done with his works about Uhtred of Bebbanburg! Jesus Christ did not teach our Christianity, his followers did— scripture writers had the final word! 

    4. The Failed Messiah ApproachJesus was seen as a failed messiah because he did not meet everyones expectations of the role.

    5. The Biased Writing Angle. E.P. Sanders, a credible biblical scholar, believed that Jesus's arrest and execution was unexpected. He argued that Easter traditions were created retroactively by followers to explain Jesus's fate and rebuild their movement.

    6. Bad news for the Jews. Many Jewish people did not benefit from the introduction of Christianity, despite being considered God's 'chosen' people. Centuries of christian-based anti-semitism in Europe caused hardships. It seems the gospel story brought them no benefit, this is not fitting the message of loving your neighbour. 

    7. It is an Unrealistic Story. The miraculous stories, raising the dead and healing by touch are far fetched. None of us sane minded individuals would believe to similar events today from friends, we quickly dismiss it nonsense. We never see legitimate news reports about real miracle workers, angels or demons, dragons or nephilim.

    8. So Much Contradiction! There are numerous scriptural sources about Jesus: The New Testament, The Nag Hammadi Scriptures and The Apocrypha, for starters. Across the internet various sources claim that tens of thousands of denominations exist, which are all like interpretations or expressions (for want of a better description) such as Methodists, Calvinists, Mormons, or Jehovah's Witnesses. They can't all be right, but many can be wrong!

    9. It's a Dodgy Deal! If Jesus rose again and walked, the divine trinity went back on its deal of the son dying for the sins of humanity, because, let's face it, death is a permanent arrangement, it is not being alive ever again! There's no consensus on the nature of the risen Jesus either, so we can't explain whether he was a ghost or a spirit, which we commonly associate with death or a physical ressurection which is the deal breaker.

    10. Contraception and Sexual Ethics: In 1968, the Catholic Church released a document called 'Humanae Vitae' to continued the ban of artificial birth control such as condoms and the pill. This religious decision led to significant health problems for adherents of the faith, especially in communities afflicted with HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases: we all know such protection greatly helps reduce the spread of illness and death.


These ten points are meant to stimulate that detective mindset. If you want to add to the list or have any thoughts, please share them in the comments section! 

 





Abrahamic Religion: The Bad Stuff.

There is Always a Calling for Power-Lovers, Those Who Relish War, or Fancy Being a Predator!

YouTuber Sarah Rocksdale posted a brave and sincere video, sharing her experiences of upbringing and indoctrination within an evangelical Christian community. Hat's off to her. Being raised in such a manner may seem subtle compared to the harsh realities of Middle Eastern strictness, but even mild indoctrination shapes our worldview! Molding a child's perspective to conform to religious dogma and discouraging their instinct to question stifles their intelligence. In these cults, girls are often made to blame themselves for the sexual advances of aroused men. We've seen this in the case of Warren Jeffs of the FLDS, and in historical abuse cases within Catholic, Anglican, and Orthodox churches—more will likely come to light. Child offenders exploit the bodies of minors, but religious abusers also manipulate their victims' behavior, leading to ongoing compliance.
Buddha and Jesus disappointed
Buddha and Jesus watch on

Let's avoid that well-trodden path. If you turn on Netflix or browse Amazon Prime, you'll find documentaries galore from religious morality, to church paedophile rings to the crusades. Then there are shows like "The Borgias," depicting a family of incestuous, adulterous murderers—two of whom became Popes! What drives people to embrace these corrupted religions, knowing Catholicism once castrated boys (castrati) to enhance their choir voices?

Homophobia and misogyny have long echoed through the corridors of abrahamic traditions. The denial of homophobia by abrahamic school protesters backfired in 2019 in Birmingham, England. A particularly outspoken Muslim protestor challenged the inclusion of same-sex themes in school materials—a story about a baby penguin with two dads. The man, confrontational by nature, and others left some children and the headmistress feeling intimidated. The dispute escalated but thankfully, no one was injured. The case reached court, and the main agitator, who had no children at the school, lost credibility when recordings surfaced showing homophobic slurs. Consequently, the Islamic group of mothers lost their battle to remove the penguin book from the curriculum, and key individuals were banned from school premises. Granted, we shouldn't generalize based on a few bad examples. 
Nowadays, the Western world often links religious violence with 9/11, the beheading of a teacher, and the French cartoonist, not to mention the countless assaults and ongoing strife in the Middle East. While Israel has its own history of harsh punishments, they're not known for targeting Europeans over caricatures. Islam has suffered under Western occupation, and these intrusions are often cited as evidence of Western malevolence. Is the UK miserable
Moses on mount dubious

Clearly, with concepts like the apocalypse, messiah, and jihad, abrahamic religions can be seen as particularly conflict-prone. In contrast, dharma-based and meditative traditions like Buddhism, Jainism, Advaita Vedanta, and Sanatana Dharma are peaceful. Armies representing atheism or non-religious agnostics are virtually unheard of. Interestingly, it's often those who proclaim peace who wage wars. I'm not suggesting a binary choice between 'good' Dharmic and 'evil' abrahamic spirituality. Everyone can hold personal beliefs or none at all. Atheism can be a spiritual stance too. Apparently, we lose innocence when we learn about immorality and engage in it regardless. That's how religions often brand us as sinners. If you're at home and decide to indulge in foot porn while dressed as Spider-Man, it's inconsequential if you're unaware of any supposed immorality. What if we never learn such rules? We have our golden rule and our innate human empathy—what more is essential?

St. Paul advocated for controlled sexual behavior—a rather Orwellian concept, don't you think? Today, modern evangelicals like William Lane Craig idolize the perfect family as the cornerstone of God's kingdom. To me, that's absurd. We don't all have to agree. The heteronormative adage 'go forth and multiply' is well-known. But if Paul's God demonizes homosexuality, it's akin to a potter faulting his pots for not turning out as intended. A perfect God doesn't err. . . nevermind. If homosexuality were truly an issue, an omnipotent being could simply 'turn off' that aspect of human DNA, rather than resort to eternal punishment and lamentation. Without resorting to vague statements like 'The Lord works in mysterious ways,' no Abrahamic faith has adequately explained why the world is naturally imbued with a cruel, sadistic streak. The problem of evil implies complicity on the part of the Almighty for permitting such malevolence.
A crusader cartoon



Reference:
Rocksdale, S. (2019). 10 Harmful Effects of Religion. YouTube. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=a0Q_IhGdDcA#Menu

Disrespecting The Departed Queen

Why is it so ugly to see?

I saw a couple of posts accusing Elizabeth II of being a parasite. As well as this, there have been a few art posts on Instagram portraying her in a negative light, as well as regular memes done in bad taste—not forgetting that booing up in Scotland. It is sad this behaviour is churning out before her funeral! I'm not a massive Royalist. In fact, I don't even read about them. I think one particular moral value of mine is that decent folk don't spit on graves, the flavour of disdain is not palatable for me. That and usually, before we start smashing the jokes out, we wait a couple of months (admittedly, I cut close to the mark with Prince and Keith Chegwin).


What's with the Parasite thing? 

Years ago, David Ike made money demonising the Royals in his books. He once said The Queen was a reptilian from space. He may have been trying an edgy approach or something, I have no idea, but I doubt the schizotypal conspiracy illuminates among us have contributed to charity work or the country as much as the Queen did over the last seventy years. If the anti-monarchy agenda label our recently departed Matriarch a parasite, what will they say about the rest of us? Are recipients of benefits also parasites? If not, are they called something else like bottom feeders, maybe? Circumstance has forced sections of the public to rely on food banks, generally, opiniated narcissists like to throw their intracranial excrement at other people just to validate self image—perhaps this factors into it? The expenses scandal of the 90s revealed a 'parasitic nature' in politics which continues today. Comparably, working class families are richer than the countless starving children in those television adverts asking for donations; if £5 feeds someone and you have £5000, at what point do you become a saint or an idiot or just mean with your money? 

Bad Politics Bad Conduct? 

The age of retirement in this country is 67 for some and like my father, many are given a cheap watch, and a half-soaked speech before you clock out for the last time. Pensions and the life of retirement is fantastic for some but not all. My point being, anyone can call anyone a parasite, it's just low. The Queen was working only two days before her death, approaching one hundred! Without a choice, she was born into a life where public service was the norm before becoming the country's Monarch. She was expected to learn the pomp and tradition—she did what was expected of her—you cannot choose what family, heritage or nationality you are born to. 

Accusing the Queen of colonialism, as well as stealing the Jewels and treasures for her Royal adornments was another unfair post. Let's just imagine she decided to abdicate and dissolve her monarchy and reset everything pre-monarchy just before her passing? We would see some international disinterest in our country for a start, his means fiscal disadvantages. Anti-Elizabethan sentiment is blown around the playground by politics and anti-monarchism. However, dissolution of monarchy would be a large democratic motion facilitated by The Palace, White Hall and Westminster, but it isn't going to happen. It is funny to imagine The Queen on a jewellery heist for her sceptre and diamonds, as social media geniuses have implied. Also, with regard to historical blaming, in no form of logic can people be rightfully held accountable for the actions of relatives born years before they were: should we slam Prince Andrews daughters on trial for his antics with Guiffre and Epstein? In fact, I could be charged by the descendants of the murdered French soldiers my forefather arrowed down in the skirmishes under Edmund Mortimer in 1415. Should we demand an apology from Rome for conquering us? Expect compensation from Norway and Denmark for Viking raids? 

The word parasite is not a fit word to describe anyone who attracts business and global alliances to the country. It's not the correct word for anyone who never retires, created a commonwealth and regularly engaged with Prime Ministers. If you're tempted to goof off on the royal family, maybe wait at least a week or so. 




















The Queen - Elizabeth II - Royal Death - The Queens Funeral - Show Respect 


Jesus The Cult Leader: Have We Ignored The Facts?

Jesus The Cult Leader: Have We Ignored The Facts?

What is a Cult?

A cult is a sect perceived as different from everyday life because it is considered radical or simply wrong. In contrast, religion is integrated into society. Cult members don't lead normal lives compared to free civilians; their group identity centers around their communal lifestyle often based on theological arguments. Often, a charismatic autocratic leader may facilitate undesirable outcomes, such as dictating financial measures or imposing sexual and/or work-related demands. In extreme cases, there have been instances of mass suicide. Unsettling indeed! 

There have been cult-like comparisons made with Jesus before. These seem reasonable. Why not? For instance, Jesus's followers voluntarily devoted their lives to him and willingly faced death for their beliefs. Manson's family surrendered their lives, but they committed murder for Manson. Osho's 'Red People' took up arms for Osho, and then there's the messianic aura surrounding David Koresh and the Waco disaster. Clearly, none of these cults evolved into a global religion; media scrutiny tends to reveal unhealthy sects. Hence, figures like David Koresh, Charles Manson, or Warren Jeffs are unlikely to achieve the historical renown of The Buddha or Moses in the modern era.


Some Key factors that made Christianity grow:

1. The promise of saviour and heaven in exchange for 'belief' which equated to service, loyalty and following the the sect leader. This was alluring for ancient superstitious communities.

2. The ease of communication across language barriers, with merchants along trade routes, converting influential individuals. 

3. The written accounts of Jesus Christ came from devotees who revered him, and who wanted others to revere him.

4. Christian writings defended Christianity against opposing theological views and were disseminated globally.

5. Christian evangelism infiltrated numerous other religions and traditions by cultural appropriation: turning celtic gods into saints, attempts at christianising Roman Saturnalia, Jesus as a germanic warrior Christ. 

6. The execution of Jesus was transformed into a holy symbol, a divine super martyrdom offering hope to potential converts: Preaching that God sacrificed his only son to save us all, meant that deals based on salvation continued during missionary work!

Culty Types These Days! 

The cult leader Warren Jeffs (featured in the Netflix show: Keep Sweet, Pray and Obey) and the historical figure Eoshu Msheekha (known today as Jesus Christ) are separated by over two millennia. Despite the differences in myth, culture, and geographical distance, it is intriguing to see how theological modes of operation can seemingly transcend boundaries.

Charges against Jesus according to the bible:

  • Blasphemy: He claimed to be the Messiah and the son of God. Crucifixion was an incorrect punishment for blasphemy within the context of Jewish law. E.P. Sanders noted that two specific actions led to Jesus's arrest: his symbolic entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling a messianic prophecy, and his expulsion of traders from the temple. The chief priests (usually the Sanhedrin) were responsible for reporting troublemakers to the Roman governor. Under Octavian's rule, Rome maintained justice and order in its territories, not leaving such matters to the locals.

  • Sedition against Rome (Likely): This was a crime in Roman territories and could have been the rationale for Jesus's crucifixion. However, religious crimes often fell under the remit of local religious authorities. Jesus, aware of his cousin John the Baptist's fate, would have understood the potential consequences of his actions. The Gospel of Mark portrays Pharisees as malevolently seeking Jesus's death for their own reasons. Professor Sanders suggests that the Gospels do not fully represent their historical and cultural context. In other words, they are not as villianous as portrayed and Roman Governor Pontius Pilate ordered the execution quickly.

Non-biblical sources:

Talmud, Sanhedrin, Tosefta:

Jesus as a magician

These texts are considered late and not strictly historical, but none of it really is strictly historical given the theological spin! Nevertheless, they present alternative candidates as Jesus and Mary, his mother. The identification of Yeshua Ben Pantera as Jesus Christ is not widely accepted in biblical circles and mainstream theology. It wouldn't though, given the defamation within them. Admittedly, the new testament writings do not mention Pantera, which, yet again, if it would true make sense wouldn't it? The Pantera tradition is argued to be a polemical reaction to Christianity by Jewish authors. However, I would doubt it, if the earliest mentioning of this Yeshua ben Pantera tradition came from the 2nd-century Greek philosopher Celsus who was actively writing between 170–180 CE. This shows Celsus was propogating an existing Jewish narrative that is evidently much older that Talmudic text, the age of this these stories are unknown but it could have been a first century oral tradition.

 
Top scholars Professor Sanders and Professor Crossan say that the Romans crucified Jesus much quicker than the gospels portray. High Priest Caiaphas is seen by Sanders as being pro-active in his duty by having Jesus taken-up to justice. In doing so, he ended a potential uprising which would have saved many Jewish lives from Roman swords. Instead, it was one life for all the Jews which, fair dues, was the person who caused the trouble. Rome permitted it's provinces religious freedom and so, first century Pharisees punished their religious criminals by stoning them, not the Roman cross. Sanhedrin 43a claims that Yeshua and his five disciples were stoned to death and then hanged (crucified) on the eve of the Passover, Schäfer (2009). 

Professor Tabor (2016) has shared his ideas about Pantera being a family name. In his YouTube videos, he has referenced early church leaders and fathers, Epiphanius and Origen who have used this Pantera name in connection with Jesus. Epiphanias said Mary was the daughter of Joachim Bar Panther, the son of Levi, likely surnamed Pantera! Eas the names cursed or shamed? Tabor simply highlights the plausibilty of a Pantera family existing in the first century. He has pointed to a discovery of a first century Israeli ossuary bone box, inscribed with Joseph son of Pantera. He doesn't think it is the father of Jesus. 


Old non-biblical sources, such as Tacitus, note Emperor Nero's persecution of Christians—some of these accounts are quite blunt. The Talmud and Midrash do not support Jesus being oppressive to his followers, engaging in sexual misconduct, or being involved in terrorism. These later sources emphasize that both Jewish and Roman authorities collaborated in Jesus's execution as a joint punishment, aligning with the accounts of stoning and crucifixion—methods used by Rome to set an example for others. 


Jesus's disciples were Jewish individuals familiar with the Torah but receptive to his eschatological teachings. It is commonly accepted Jesus believed himself to be the Messiah, descended from King David, who urged his followers to abandon everything to join him, promising a hundredfold reward in the kingdom. This talk sounds very reminiscent of a cult leader.


Verdict:

There is no compelling evidence to suggest that Jesus Christ was anything other than a leader of his own movement or sect influenced by Judaic traditions and other philosophical ideas. Cults typically do not stem from established religions, unlike cases such as Warren Jeffs and the FLDS or the Waco cult. Scriptures depict Jesus challenging the religious authorities of the established Jewish faith, preaching to them about imminent divine judgment, posturing himself as a figure of key importance, attracting thrir followers, claiming salvation came only through him! This resonates strongly. In contrast to sects, cults often demand total devotion from members. A charismatic leader, such as Jesus expected his followers to bear their burdens alongside him, forsaking their families to join his cause. He sent them into perilous situations as "lambs among wolves," a practice more akin to a cult than a sect:


"If anyone comes to me but loves his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, or sisters more than me, he cannot be my follower. Whoever will not carry the cross that is given to him when he follows me cannot be my follower." - Luke 14:25-27


"Peter began to speak to Jesus: Look, we have left everything and followed you. Jesus replied: Truly I tell you, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life." - Mark 10:28-30



References:

Crossan, J. D. (1996). Who Killed Jesus? HarperCollins, pp. 31–38.

Sanders, E. P. (1996). The Historical Figure of Jesus. Penguin Putnam, pp. 215-238.

Schäfer, Peter. (2009). Jesus in the Talmud. Princeton University Press.

Tabor, James. (2016). TABORBLOG: The "Jesus Son of Pantera" Traditions. [Online] Available at: https://jamestabor.com/the-jesus-son-of-panthera-traditions/

Annoying Cosmological Arguments That Promote Religion: my brief overview

Annoying Cosmological Arguments That Promote Religion: it's not quite evidence. 

Essentially, debates like the Kalam cosmological argument or the watchmaker analogy, typically place emphasis on annoying claims that play on intuition which religious and cult leaders have often utilised. For example, since Christianity arrived in Europe people started crediting God for anything good that happened in their lives and the Devil was the cause of the bad. Modern religious minded folk are doing the same to this day! The evangelist, William Lane Craig, stressed that it's obvious how everything with a beginning, was, in fact, caused by an almighty Abrahamic god, or likewise, they attribute marvels of nature to intelligent design. It's never ending: what always follows is that God did it if it is good. Even the cosmological assertion that the universe must originate with some kind of non-material, all amazing God who existed before time itself came to be, is realistically, the same religious psychology. It ignores all religious atrocities like what they did to poor Joan of Arc

Here are the simplified key points for cosmological arguments and my responses to them:

1 Everything that has a beginning has a cause

This is often made to look like a no brainer because, again, it appeals to common intuition. On the contrary, a beginning, be it created or a by-product or an accident can have one, none or many causes. When you question causality, not everything that starts has any one definitive cause, because, in reality, we all anecdotally prescribe causes for everything! Rarely do we actually uptake a discipline of unbiased study to identify specific, individual causes for everything that happens. Causes even evade modern professional disciplines, for example, when experts talk about the start of cancer development, explaining the numerous contributing carcinogenic factors, causes get lost in the mess of multiple possibility. It's similar with unstable random biological mutation, because there's rarely no one clear cause when an organism might evolve or devolve. 

For the sake of this point, let's say apparitions are spirits that manifest from nothing; we humans aren't exploiting any trigger devices to conjure them up, it's purely supernatural phenomenon. We can call apparitions random, but also deem them to be personal experiences, much like many mystic interactions with  God from across the globe. Denying the existence of apparitions weakens the argument for a religious apparition such as the Holy Spirit, angels, Christ or God, which, is a discredits pro-creator cosmological argument. On the other hand, keeping within the scope of this context; the acceptance of manifesting apparitions acknowledge that not all things with a beginning have a discernible cause—the paranormal phenomena would hold mysterious causality. These debates become tiresome. 

We can question what might cause things to begin all day, starting with acute onset schizophrenia or other drastic human personality changes—they often lack a cause. In fairness, we shouldn't, but we do prescribe causes without proof. By asserting 'everything that has a beginning has a cause,' do we discard other 'numerous contributing causal factors' involving change within any system, state or form? Consider the complex alterations of form seen in the double slit experiment during measurement/observation of waves, for example. The cause of flattening waves are not fully known. There is nothing obvious about causality in this example, despite William Lane Craig's use of the word to appeal to popular intuition concerning his view on causation. These arguments can be too 'dodgy car salesman' and not enough unbiased progression. 


2 The universe has a beginning

Again, we don't know. An agnostic position is honest here. Scientists don't all agree if or how the universe began. The period called the big bang is a blank period. It wasn't even a bang because sound doesn't travel in space! The universe might not have a beginning. Much of the universe is unknown and ideas of multiverse are holding sway. It is as if the judge has declared the universe has a 'beginning,' without even picking up the case file. 


3 The universe has a cause

Again no one knows and so this claim cannot be measured or validated by the world's best scientists. If time began with the 'big bang'–which is popular in physics–then time didn't exist before the big bang, this means the universe had no creator. Without time there is no creating, hence planning and building time. Consciousness exists in time. Even if we say the universe was caused we cannot prove it. At this moment the universe has no discernible cause. 


4 The cause of the universe is God. 

Straight to the religious conclusion already? Which God? There are many of them, Brahma, Odin or Jupiter, perhaps? God, just like fairies, flying unicorns or werewolves, has never been proven to exist, this is why people with religion can be dismissive of natural and scientific explanations that do not follow their faiths narrative. As previously touched on, Gods are arguably corporeal, spiritual and without mass, like how Socrates described our imagination before he died. It seems ludicrous how a matter-less ghost is supposed to have created our universe from his primordial stasis. 

This is a non sequitur and a biased argument.

These arguments do religion a disservice. 


Fish cartoon image of two fishes talking




The Mind Link: A Vivid Encounter with an Extraterrestrial Presence The Incident... One evening, while drying off in the shower, I experience...