In trying to understand just how the barbaric, war-driven abrahamic monotheism spread over the planet I keep running across a strange scenario. I find documentaries and books where authors who are generally historians or archaeologists will assert that the timeline of the old testament of the bible is way off, the events of the first five chapters were described hundreds of years after they happened, and little if any historical evidence for the events or people is solid. Abraham’s historical existence is now in question; this is important because it is through Abraham that biblical zealots claim to trace the paternity of Christ back to Adam and Eve, or, more specifically Adam, the first man created by their God (the fact that Christ was, according to them, the son of God, and therefore exempt from human patriline doesn’t seem to bother them); it is from this patriline that all their justifications for human dominance spring.
All sorts of unbelievable contortions have to take place for the bible story to be put in a light of truth, including the most glaring one, that God is a racist who only favored one group of people in his creation of the incredibly diverse human species. It is clear from history that most every ethnic or tribal group that is in relative isolation believes they are favored by God when threatened with an external foe, but the bible asserts the oddity that it is only natural to expect the rest of the world to accept this belief about one group of humans as well, and they used this justification to slaughter the polytheist Canaanites and establish Israel, and to enable Christians to later carry on their grand tradition, (who have now largely passed the torch to another violent abrahamic faith, Islam).
What is interesting to me about the scholars of religious history claiming the bible is non-historical is that they always stop short of wanting the general populace to react to this assertion or to process it. There seems to be a nervousness about what the public at large will do with knowledge of the fact that we’ve been swindled; largely by conquest and forced conversion but also by a whale of a lot of propaganda. I just ran across another example of this reading the google books version of “Who Were The Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From” by William G. Dever. The paragraph that contains the to-be-expected reservations about the ability of the public to interpret religious mythology when confronted with the absence of historical fact reads, “…the public is becoming aware that long-cherished notions about the “Bible as history” are being questioned, undermined, and often rejected, not only by a generation of younger, disaffected, post-modern scholars, but even by members of the institutional and religious Establishment. In seminaries the Bible and biblical history are being rewritten by deconstructionist literary critics, political activists, New Left idealogues, radical feminists, Third world libertarian theologians, social constructivists, multiculturalists, New-Age pop psychologists, and the like.” (Dever, pp 2-3) This quote follows 2 pages of Dever’s musings about the historical inaccuracy of the events of the first five chapters of the bible, known as the Pentateuch.
It is clear that scholars want to be left alone to research the historically inaccurate religious tome of the last three thousand years or so, but they do not want it unhinged from its influence on society; lest social power be given to ‘those people’, such as the ones listed above. In truth, abrahamic faith has always belonged to the elite, beginning with the Hebrew priests and their writings from which the old testament books were plagiarized (sermons which were delivered to a largely illiterate populace), followed by the Catholic priests who put a virtual lockdown on selection and interpretation of ‘scripture’ once Constantine forced conversion to Christianity on Rome in the 4th century B.C.E. The Church had such a lockdown on religion in its beginnings that there were times when it was actually illegal for commoners to read the bible.
The most curious thing about all of it is the existence of many great societies that were polytheistic that preceded abrahamic monotheism, which was essentially a religion ministered by pastoralists, generally animal herders. Even today the most devout followers of abrahamic faiths are found in rural areas, to the degree that I sometimes refer to the abrahamics as ‘herding cults’ because of their appeal to isolationist pastoralists. The only reason given for why we as a species should adhere to the monotheist, patriarchal, abrahamics is that historically they essentially slaughtered everyone who did not do so. When we look at the technological advances and social organization of the many great socieities that were polytheistic that predated the abrahamic domination of the Earth, (Sumeria, Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, etc) and compare their advancement of our species with the retrogressive pastoralist herding cult religions, it becomes clear that the only reason the abrahamics dominated humanity is because they literally dominated us; i.e they slaughtered anyone who stood in their way and tortured and killed any woman who stepped out of the boundaries of the patrilinealism they violently enforced. It is clear that violent enforcement is the only way there is to maintain a patriline; since it is becoming clear that females intentionally seek out genetic diversity in mates to give their offspring a better chance at survival, brute force is the only way to continue such an unnatural situation.
It must be quite a dilemma for these scholars who make the discovery of just how inaccurate the bible is yet who want to share their research for their own benefit without society getting their hands on the truth. Because it is bound to happen that the world at large is going to wake up one day and rediscover the consciousness of the stars and planets that these great ancient societies worshipped, especially with so many people currently using entheogenic drugs such as Ayuhuasca, MDMA, and other hallucinogens that allow humans to connect with the divine. Humanity has experienced a very entrenched, violent, top-down lockdown on the spiritual truth for thousands of years. It is a shame that the very people who could help to free it, the scholars and researchers of religion, are so timid about upsetting the apple cart that they imply there is something wrong with the common-folk and minorities of society interpreting the divine they way they see fit. The truth is, it takes prolonged, excessive force to prevent this from happening, something they should be opposed to, and be willing to do everything in their power to help humanity progress out of.
Dever, William G. Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 2006.