Thursday, May 21, 2009

Open Letter to Charles

Following your online efforts more or less closely for some time now, I am deeply respectful of the technical skill Little Green Footballs, as a blog, demonstrates. Having modest programming experience myself, I know good work when I see it and experience it online. Well done, Sir.

On the eve of a world-wide celebration of the events of May 22-23, 1844, I took this opportunity to follow your suggestion and address some issues raised at LGF, addressing them here.

You and I appear to have been born into pretty much the same post-War America, where 'everybody knew' Jesus was Christ, and voiced that unexamined assumption every time they spoke about Jesus of Nazareth by calling Him 'Jesus Christ'; and everybody knew that black Americans (in the 1940's and 50's) were just, well, different from whites...

And everybody knew that Christ had not returned, but would someday, and until then 'the business of America IS business'.

White, middle-class America wasn't an evil reality, it simply embodied and reflected the knowledge and ignorance of the day, despite the Civil War, despite World Wars I and II and the racial, racist aspects of those conflicts. The Great War was over, Korea wasn't yet a Communist rape of a free nation and America was counting its blessings.

Life was pretty good, Charles.

So as this examination of some remarkable coincidences unfolds, please don't read it as a criticism of you or of America, my beloved homeland. Setting context and establishing some benchmarks helps keep this as short as possible but still coherent.

1980 years ago, as Jesus of Nazareth walked this Earth, speaking with a human voice 'that every ear could hear' and living in a human body 'that every eye could see', He may have been the Christ, but 'everybody knew' He was not.

Everybody except a tiny handful of humans, fringe zealots or zeal-filled saints, depending on your choice of views. The descendants of those unbelievers have continued to this day, living lives of moral value WITHOUT 'taking Christ as their personal savior', and believing -if pressed on the issue- that Jesus existed, but did not fulfill the Scriptural prophecies the way THEY expected them to be fulfilled.

So when we were young, there was an exception to the 'everybody knows' received and common knowledge. Agnostics were a fairly quiet minority, godless Communists were anathemized and ostracized, and there were hardly ANY Muslims in America.

So how does this background inform the main story here?

In Abraham's day, Krsna's day, Moses' day, Zoroaster's day, Buddha's day, Jesus' day and in Muhammad's day, there were certain shared characteristics that all of them had. News -and CHANGE- traveled at the speed of horse. Less than 2 people out of every hundred humans could access or wield the POWER of reading and writing, ciphering numbers and accessing records. Those 2% fell, themselves, into two distinct groups, the kingly caste and ecclesiastics.

The other 98% of humankind was engaged primarily in agrarian tasks to feed humanity, and because of this were serfs or slaves or otherwise disempowered members of humanity, living out their days in a milieu rich with oral tradition. In Jesus' day the great majority of people learned what they knew either by direct experience or by shared speech... parables, stories, myths, songs, poetry, plays and recitations.

But some of the oral traditions sprung up from Moses' day and others from Jesus' day got carefully written down, so that it was easier to keep them in their undistorted form, as close to originally spoken as possible.

And that is where we can start to note some of the truly fantastic 'coincidences', tomorrow.

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