posted on Jun, 5 2003 @ 05:28 AM
My lasy reply was was trying to address Helens question of religiion controlling the masses.
Firstly, one must take another look at the the old testament and take into account its authorship, regaurding the Yawhist, Elohist, Deuteronomists and
the Priests. It is the latter that I intend to show how religion has been used to control the masses.
In 596 the city of Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzer and his Babylonian army. The city was sacked, and, in keeping with policy, a program of
deportation into exile began. In the ancient world this policy normally meant the end of a nation's life. In capativity the conqured peolpe tended,
after a period of time, to intermarry with their captors and to lose their national identiy. This is what happened when the people of the Northern
Kingdom of Israel where resettled after their defeat by Assyria some 130 years earlier.
The Jews of exile, led by their priestly class beginning with Ezekiel and culminating in Nehemiah and Ezera. They rose to meet a national crisis in a
way that no captive people had ever done. They did this by primarily asserting the power of the religious tradition of the Jews over the total life
of the people. In the process they also edited and rewrote massive parts of their sacred story.
For people to maintain their national identity in captivity, they had to be percived as different. The Priest accomplished this in two primary ways.
From the Jewish past they lifted two traditions that had fallen into general disuse - circumcision and the sabbath day observance - and they invested
these with such meaning that they became the distingushing marks of a Jew.
A result was the familar seven-day creation story that opens the bible. Written to root in the sabbath day observance in the moment of creation. This
part, is in fact one of the last parts of the Old Testament to be written.
Synagogues were buit to indoctrine the coming generation, who would not remember Jerusalem, including in time, those who had never known Jerusalem.
The details of worship, the rules of worship, the observance of worship became all important and resulted in creation of much of the Book of Exodus,
almost all of the Book of Leviticus, and major portions of the Book of Numbers. The older Yahwist-Elohist-Deuteronomic version of the Hebrew sacred
story were thorougly edited to include ancient priestly trations and to affirm the sanctity throughout all Jewish history of the traditions now being
requred of faithfull Jews.
The Noah story was altered so that Noah took seven pairs of clean animals and one pair of unclean animals. This would enable Noah to have enough
animals available for the ritual sacrifices and still preserve the species.
The story of manna in the wilderness was altered so that the people gathered two days' supply on the sixth day of the week and would not therefore
have to work by gathering manna on the sabbath.
The Ten Commandments of Exodus 20 were edited to place the rationale from the newly written creation story into the words of Moses requring the Jews
to keep the Holy Sabbath day. All the chronoligies in the Old Testament are from the hands of priestly writers. The story of Abraham was altered to
place the origin of the practise of circumcision into the life of the founding father of Israel. Strict dietery laws were written into the Torah as
part of the separatist movement. Kosher food is a gift to Jewry of the priestly writer in exile in the late sixth and early fith century B.C.E.
Bascially, one can see that religion is in fact a way of controlling the masses. Anyone who cannot see this needs to open there minds, and look and
embrace what God and faith really is. I have only used the Old Testament to give an opinion but it would be easy to see how the New Testament and
'churches' would, and did, and still do, manipulate faith to 'control' a population.
[Edited on 5-6-2003 by Maddas]