GOD (Part I: Bird "doing it" with Mummy)
INTRODUCTION (God is my copilot)
"And you may ask yourself, 'Well, how did I get here?'"
When an organization's Chaplin complains that the organization has
become too aggressively Christian, we can safely say that some sort of
line has been crossed.
On Wednesday, a panel which had been formed to investigate allegations of
religious intimidation at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs found
that there had been no "overt religious discrimination" …only
"insensitivity". [Check out the different spins placed on the story by the
Voice of America and the World Socialists Website] The panel also and
lauded the academy's leadership for taking great strides to confront issues
Their findings are sure to surprise Capt. Melinda Morton, a Lutheran
Minister, who made news when she claimed that she'd been dismissed from her
post as a Chaplin at the Air Force Academy for insisting that that
evangelical Christians were attempting to "subvert the system" by creating
a hostile environment for non- evangelical cadets. Examples of this hostile
environment included an incident in which a staff chaplain reportedly told
newly arrived freshmen that anyone not born again "will burn in the fires
of hell."; promotional fliers for a screening of "The Passion of the
Christ" being placed on the breakfast plates of all the nearly 4,000
cadets; over 250 people at the academy signing an annual Christmas message
in the base newspaper which stated that "Jesus Christ is the only
real hope for the world"; and the case of an atheist student who was
forbidden to organize a club for "Freethinkers."
In the words of Casey Weinstein, a Jewish graduate who is now a now a
second lieutenant at the Los Angeles Air Force Base (and, no doubt, the
fastest Jew alive), "I could give you a million examples," says Weinstein,
now a second lieutenant at the Los Angeles Air Force Base. "There was a
large and vocal minority of evangelical Christians who regularly blurred
the line between church and state, but there was no system at the Academy
to keep that in check."
One can't help but wonder what the academy was like before its
leadership took great strides to confront issues of religion. "Private
Weinstein, report to Sergeant Torquemada: on the double! Move, you
worthless, Kosher maggot, move!"
For sheer irony, it's hard to beat the Air Force Academy story. First of
all, there's the fact that the academy's last scandal involved rape and
sexual harassment. But for me, as an "outsider", the real irony is that,
once again, people who worship the same God (with the exception of
the of that atheist cadet, Private Beatupalot) are pissing each other off.
What is it with Jews, Christians, and Muslims that makes it impossible
for them to not only be incapable of getting along with each other but
also makes them so divisive in their own ranks?
And why is it that Christians feel the need to spread the "good news"
(that God so loved his only son that he let him hang on a chunk of wood
in the desert for a couple of days) to African villages and metropolitan
shopping malls alike? It's not like I've ever been approached by a Wiccan
who wanted to bend my ear with the "good news" of The Green Man. For the
love of Xenu, there are even Evangelicals in Baghdad!
How did this shit get started? Whose idea was this, anyway? I want some
answers…on the double! Move, maggot, move!
Part One: The Man Who Invented God
"And you may say to yourself, 'My God, what have I done?'"
Philadelphia, 2003 CE: While on a visit to the University of Pennsylvania
Museum, my wife begins hurling loud insults at an image of Queen Nefertiti
. Within seconds a guard appears and asks her if she wouldn't mind showing
a little less enthusiasm towards the exhibits. "Do you realize what a pair
of complete assholes her and her husband were?", my wife asks the guard.
This doesn't help matters. "She's a follower of Bastet and Sekhmet", I
weakly offer. The guard's expression quickly changed into the same look
of confusion that you, gentle reader, are wearing right now.
Thebes, 1364 BCE: It's moving day for the entire Royal Court. There moving
to a new city where "the one true God" will be exalted… and it's very
likely that more than one person is cursing Queen Nefertiti. You see, the
Queen's husband Pharaoh Amenhotep IV has been doing some very odd and
un-Egyptian things lately. First, he changed his name from Amenhotep
("Beloved of Amon") to Akhenaton ("Splendor of Aton") "Well", said the
average Egyptian, "shit happens: he's the Pharaoh; he can call himself
'Pricilla, Queen of the Desert' if he wants to. Amon is a sun god and so
is Aton. What's the difference?" and they went back to farming the banks
of the Nile and, occasionally, being devoured by crocodiles.
Next, Akhenaton did the unthinkable (by Egyptian standards: and for people
who often practiced "ass magic" the term "unthinkable" carried a lot of
weight) he banned the worship of all gods and goddesses (including my
wife's beloved Bastet and Sekhmet) with the exception of Aton. This made
even the Egyptians who were busy being dragged into the Nile by crocodiles
take a minute to scratch their shaved heads and wonder if they were being
For thousands of years the Egyptians, like every other culture on the planet
at that time, worshiped a rich (and really twisted) pantheon of Gods. For
example, there was Isis whose brother/lover, Osiris, was hacked to pieces
by his bother/hater, Set. As the story goes, Isis managed to gather
together all of the pieces of her late brother/lover, except for his penis
which had been…wait for it…swallowed by a fish! Undaunted, the
resourceful Isis substituted a stick for Osiris' missing member and …wait
for it…turned herself into a bird and had sex with his mummy.
Wanna see a picture?
Sure, it's easy for us to laugh at this story (Dude, that bird is "doing
it" with a mummy), but it's import to remember that to the Egyptians
under Akhenaton this was history, and the Pharaoh was taking it away
and replacing it with…
…a golden circle? Yes, not only had Akhenaton decreed that only Aton could
be worshiped, but he also ordered that Aton was to only be depicted
as a golden circle. OK, class, which do you prefer?
Bird "doing it" with mummy?
I thought so.
Finally, Akhenaton got it into his head that he (and, by extension, his
Royal Court) needed to put some distance between himself and the stench of
the old gods and goddesses at Thebes; so he decided to found a new city
(Just like Emperor Constantine: and Charles Manson…and David Koresh) where
a huge temple to Aton, called "the Mansion of the Sun-Disk" was erected.
This was the "Sun-City" of On ("Heliopolis") and you can see its ruins
today at a place called Tell el-Amarna, about 180 miles south of Cairo.
So what happened? Well, Akhenaton died for starters. While the Pharaoh
spent seventeen years ruling from distant On, dissent quietly brewed in
hearts of the followers of the old religion. So, no sooner was Akhenaton
dried out and his vital organs placed in canopic jars then the Sun-City
was abandoned and the capitol moved back to Thebes: where the old temples
of the gods and goddesses where promptly reopened. And there was much
This experiment with a "One, True God" left such a bad taste in the mouths
of Egyptians that they soon set about chiseling Akhenaton's image off
temple walls (fortunately for us, they left those great pictures of birds
and mummies getting it on with each other), and they even struck the
"Splendor of Aton"'s name from the official list of kings. In fact, so
hated was Akhenaton for messing with the country's religion that the
Pharaoh who succeeded him (Akhenaton's son-in-law) immediately changed his
own name from Tutankhaton to Tutankhamon: yes, the same
"Boy king" that Steve Martin used to sing about.
So, Akhenaton was a failure, right? Well, maybe not. It's possible that
Jews, Christians, and Muslims - today's Monotheists- owe a huge debt to
Neferiti's husband. Here's a hymn to Aton that was, most likely, composed
by Akhenaton: "O Though only God, there is no other God than Thou" and
here is the fundamental tenant of Judaism: "Hear O Israel, the lord thy
God, the Lord is One." As a Professor of Egyptology at Heidelberg
University with the hilarious name of Jan Assman pointed out "Were not the
Egyption 'Aton' and the Hebrew [word for "Lord"] 'Adonai' the same name?"
Shit Luther, in his book Moses and Monotheism, Sigmund "Sometimes a
banana is just a banana" Freud proposed that Moses had been a priest of
Aton who brought his religion to the Israelites.
Of course there is another book which poses a different theory: it's
called "the Bible" and we'll learn all about it in Part II.
God Against The Gods by Jonathan Kirsch
A History of God by Karen Armstrong
Secret Origins of the Bible by Tim Callahan
The Bible Unearthed by Israel Finkelstein
Rodney on 06.25.05 @ 06:00 PM EST [link] [No Comments]