Religion

    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.

    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.

    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. There appears a phenomenon that some Churches have become so removed from their formative roots that they are wholly innocent of any knowledge of what Christianity is all about.

    Hesiodic Works and Days # 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. Oppression and injustice were the growing causes of complaint. Blood vengeance with its curse of constant feuds among the clans can only be avoided by responsible and fair minded rule of law.

    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.

    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.

    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 in Biblical literature as well as Greek mythology- Oedipus in Thebes, Moses and the Egyptians. Biblical # One of the earliest records of plagues was one Moses unleashed on Egypt when Pharaoh would not free the enslaved 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.

    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.