Hesiodic Works and Days # Hesiod’s Theogony describes his version of creation accepting the gods as delivering justice. In Works and Days, a more practical almanac on living an ordinary life, he appears to advocate for leaders to make laws and Early in the seventh century AD, Hesiod, a contemporary of Homer and Solon, comments on the urgent demands of the ordinary peasants not to be victims of the arbitrary jurisdiction of the aristocrats.

    Origins of Greek gods # Precis of Hesiod’s Theogeny – The origins of the gods Muses who dwell in the house of Olympus, and tell me which of them first came to be. In truth at first Chaos came to be, but next wide-bosomed Earth, the ever-sure foundation of all the deathless ones who hold the peaks of snowy Olympus, and dim Tartarus in the depth of the wide-pathed Earth, and Eros (Love, fairest among the deathless gods, who unnerves the limbs and overcomes the mind and wise counsels of all gods and all men within them.

    Biblical Women # Eve was the first woman, created by God to be a companion and helper for Adam, the first man. Everything was perfect in the Garden of Eden, but when Eve believed the lies of Satan, she influenced Adam to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, breaking God’s command. Eve’s lesson was costly. God can be trusted but Satan cannot. Whenever we choose our own selfish desires over those of God, bad consequences will follow.

    The Crusades # The Holy Land Crusades began in 1095 AD when European Christians sought to regain land around Jerusalem. The bloody battles endured until the fall of Acre in 1291. This is one of the most fascinating periods in history. From Richard the Lionheart to the mighty Saladin, from the emperors of Byzantium to the Knights Templar, A magnificent epic of Holy War between the Christian and Islamic worlds unfolds.

    Sex and Religion # Religion and Sex Sumerian # Gilgamesh, corrupted by his power, became an abusive oppressive tyrant. He insists on the droit du seigneur: he, not the groom, spends the wedding night with the bride. The gods, listening to the complaints of his people send a priestess, the Goddess of Love, Shamhat, a sacred prostitute, to seduce Enkidu, the wild brutalised man, and they make love continuously for six days and seven nights.

    Frank H Epp (1929-1986) # What happened to Frank Epp is happening all over the evangelical and ecclesiastical world, including Jewish, Catholics, evangelicals and even Muslims; vicious, ferocious, mean – spirited polarising attacks on enlightened leaders by ultra - extremists. I prefer the ultra – moderates. The malice that infects so much of religious animosity is one the nastiest elements of the sanctimonious piety of all religions throughout history.

    Muslims and the Law # Islam has a long history of pluralism. The earliest community of Muslims led by Prophet Muhammad in 7th-century Medina included Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims. The Medinan Constitution, presided over by Muhammad, accorded rights to all Medinans from all faiths. In his last sermon, Muhammad reminded his congregation of the imperative to accord respect and dignity to all human beings – irrespective of their colour and gender.

    Superstitions # People believe what they want to. W.H. Auden has a beautiful line in The Shield of Achilles: “They (soldiers) marched away enduring a belief Whose logic brought them, somewhere else, to grief.” Rational people can rationalize or justify almost anything. We are good at self-deception. All ideologies can be self-serving and delusional. That’s why philosophy, history and great literature is such a good guide to reality. All early civilisations relied on gods.

    Epidemics # Influenza Plagues and Pestilence have been with us since early times, originally seen by superstitious people as the result of offending the gods. Influence - power from heaven – Influenza was considered punishment for disobeying authority. Biblical # One of the earliest records of plagues was one Moses unleashed on Egypt when Pharaoh would not free the enslaved Hebrews. It was divine punishment for injustice, and an assertion of religious power in the battle between Egypt’s gods and the god of the Hebrews.

    Inquisitions # The Inquisition is an historical persecution that originated in Southern France around the turn of the 13th Century and lasted about 500 years after spreading throughout Europe including England. Napoleon is credited for putting an end to its bloody ethnic cleansing. It is without a doubt the darkest and bloodiest period of Christian history, making the barbaric antics of Daesh or ISIS look like a Sunday school picnic.

    Violence and Religion # Religions tend to arouse deep passions, strong convictions and assumptions of righteousness that justify entitlements of power to impose their views on others. Most conquer territory by a combination of coercion and conversion forcing the indigenous inhabitants, as part of their hegemony, to adhere to their teachings and practices - Catholics in South America, Protestants in North America and Africa, Muslims in North Africa and in the Balkans, later India and Afghanistan and the Hindus vied the Buddhists for hegemony in the Orient.

    Apostasy # The formal disaffiliation from, abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. It can also be defined within the broader context of embracing an opinion Secular apostasy: - When founding principles give way to pragmatic compromises in everyday life. Apostasy – espousing high ideals – perverted by base morality. The problem with hypocrisy is that it shatters truth. If we believe in a principle, but don’t apply it ourselves, that principle is essentially meaningless.

    Imagination, fantasy, illusions, chimera # Literature is based on make believe. As Margaret Atwood wrote, both the reader and writer know what is fiction, but agree to believe it. Ashleigh Brilliant coined this saying: Now that I have abandoned my search for truth, I’m looking around for a good fantasy. For survival, we need some self-deception and useful delusions. When our dreams become unrealistic and supplant our aspirations, they can be damaging.

    Evangelicals # Religious sectarianism has been the cause of more murders and blood shed in the world than any other cause. Christians against perceived heretics, or any other faiths; Catholics versus Protestants and vice versa, Hindus versus Buddhists, Muslims, Sihks .. Muslims versus Christians and other infidels, Buddhists versus Hindus, Tamils or Muslims - and everyone against Jews. All sanctioned by religion. Thomas Paine defined theology as the study of human opinion and fancies concerning God.