The content of this webpage, and everything associated with this webpage, is independent of the Peace Corps and the United States Government, though I think they should read it too. This blog solely reflects the experiences and observations of Jake DeBerry.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Religion & the Irony of Peru's Catholicism

Warning: This blog might upset you.

I’ve hesitated writing a blog regarding this topic. Religion is a sensitive topic, especially amongst believers. Faith sits alone in a corner protected from criticism and shielded from inquiry…and when you do question it, people take it personal. I do not intend to be mean or cruel; I want to be factual and honest. I do not believe in something simply because I was told to and I do not allow previous assumptions to block new evidence. An open mind and reason are two of the most important characteristics to me.

In Peru, one of the first things Peruvians want to know upon meeting you is your religion. I always say that I do not have a religion. Then they ask me if I believe in god. When I first arrived to my site, I simply said yes to avoid awkward situations and fit in. Now that everyone knows me to be a jolly, good-natured person, I tell them the truth if they ask that I believe in the laws and beauty of nature and not in a god that hears prayers, impedes nature’s laws, and chooses which to answer. I do not believe in a god that instilled certain instincts then forbade us from acting upon them. I do not believe there is a god that answers the prayer of a football player to score a touchdown but leaves a child with cancer to rot away and die. I do not believe in a god that loves us but would banish us to hell for eternity (which, by the way, is what Jesus said, there is no mention of hell in the Old Testament). And, as Socrates put it, “I am not certain about death and the gods – but I am as certain as I can be that you do not know either.”

The majority of Peruvians are Catholic. Every Peruvian house seems to have a quota of Jesus photos, one of the Last Supper, one with a crown of thorns and a very weary, pain-soaked face, another with a child-like, angelic face and a valentine-type heart coming out of his chest. Every taxi and combi usually has numerous pictures of Jesus and/or the virgin Mary. Jesus statues are everywhere…all with his arms spread wide. When the Spanish came here, they saw to it themselves to force Christianity upon the people here just like Christianity was forced upon all of Europe after Emperor Constantine and the Council of Nicaea put it formally together in 325. Over a thousand years had passed since their ancestors were forced to take up Christianity or be burned alive, hanged, or banished, so those Spaniards were probably unaware of the irony of what they were doing.

The reason why Peruvians claiming to be catholics is ridiculous is the simple fact that Christianity is basically the sun, from the viewpoint of the northern hemisphere, personified as Jesus (he is the ‘light of the world’). Christians today give worship to Jesus as people 4,000 years ago worshiped the sun. Peru is in the southern hemisphere, with different growing seasons, with different stars, and different solstices, but thanks to the massacre of their ancestors, they now take pride in being catholic.

Do you know why you celebrate the birth of Christ on Dec 25th? Do you know why you have easter in April? It’s not because that’s when Jesus was born or died. “The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the sun, in which they put a man called Christ in the place of the sun, and pay him the adoration originally paid to the sun.” Thomas Paine

I’m going to make this a short history/astronomy lesson in the hope that people read it. Though, I have found that most people don’t actually care to inform themselves. The world is easier if you don’t look for answers but instead accept the ones given to you. You don’t have to think as much – and you do not have to go against the grain of society and risk being ostracized. Also, after growing up believing something when there is no good reason other than that it eases your worries and everyone else says they believe it, coming across information that does not agree with your beliefs is not always a fun activity. In fact, it can make you feel quite silly. “All great truths begin as blasphemies.” -Shaw

Here we go: The prominent civilizations of history that would later influence others took place in the northern hemisphere. This is important because there are different stars in the northern hemisphere than in the southern. The earliest civilizations developed beliefs based upon the sun and the stars, day vs. night, light vs. dark, good vs. evil. The sun is what they glorified, because upon its rising they were saved from the cold, dark night where big animals and small insects had the advantage and wanted to eat you. The sun provided vision, warmth, and life. It was considered a creator’s sun, and actually his son. (The human mind has a difficult time conceptualizing anything without a beginning…for instance, you see a ball roll past you, your instinct is to turn around to see where it came from)

The zodiac is probably the best known astronomical symbol of all time, where the stars are personified and anthropomorphized. They represent the 12 months that we now know. When looking at the sun and thinking the earth is still and the sun moves (celestial sphere), it would appear to move through 12 constellations. The solstices and equinoxes are also very important. From the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice is June 21 or 22 (longest day & amount of sunlight) and Dec 21 or 22 is the shortest day. The equinoxes are in late March and late September. Easter is the first Sunday that occurs after the full moon after March 21. Originally it was celebrated at the same time the Jews celebrate Passover, but was changed to Sunday.

There is also something called an ‘age’ or ‘aeon’. Approximately every 2,150 years, due to the wobble of the earth, the constellations change. On the morning of the spring equinox at the beginning of a new age, the sun appears to be in a different constellation than before, and it appears to go backwards through the zodiac. Right now, that one is pisces, the fish, next is Aquarius. Before pisces, it was Ares…a ram, which is what Moses represents (which is the reason why the ram’s horn is connected to the Jewish people). When Moses came down from Mt. Sinia, he saw people worshipping a false idol, the bull (he then instructed people to kill each other to purify themselves, Exodus). They were doing this because before Ares…it’s Taurus, the bull. At 4 B.C. it officially changed to Pisces and will be that until 2150, then it changes to Aquarius (think about the big connection with Jesus and fish).

On Dec 22, the shortest day, the sun appears to stop moving for three days. Then on December 25th, it appears to move to the north by 1 degree. Also, the Southern Cross is visible during this time, and at no other time in the Northern Hemisphere is it visible due to the tilt of the earth. Sirius, the brightest star (east star) is aligned with the three brightest stars in Orion’s belt (known as the 3 kings) on Dec 24th; all are aligned pointing to where the sun/son rises on Dec 25th.

The earliest societies saw this as a very important happening, because it signaled the march towards warmer and longer days, as well as the growth of their crops. It was celebrated in March/April, the equinox, when the day overtakes the night in length.

If you take a look through history, you will find that before Jesus, there were many other gods who have the same characteristics as he does, such as: born of a virgin, died on a cross, resurrected after three days, traveled with 12 disciples, performed miracles, among others. One of the first was Horus, the Egyptian Sun god. Another is Dionysus, another is Krishna, another is Attis, another is Mithra, another is Odin, another is Baal (and many more).

Why are there so many figures before Jesus with the exact same characteristics? The answer is the sun and the stars. The Sun (or son), travels around with 12 disciples (constellations). During December, he dies on a cross (southern cross), to be resurrected after 3 days (Dec 22 – 25). His birth is signaled by a star in the east (Sirius) and visited by three kings (orion’s belt). He was born of a virgin – representing the time of Aug-Sept, the harvest period. Virgo in latin means virgin and Bethlehem literally translates to ‘house of bread’ – the symbol for Virgo is a virgin holding wheat.

There you have it, very short and simple. I left out a lot of information to make this easy reading. Don’t believe me? Do your own research. Just don’t use Wiki or self-interested work that assumes what you’re supposed to prove. That’s one of the main problems with any information you find supporting religions, it overlooks many facets due to its own self interest in proving its worth.

“The religious impulse is essentially ineradicable until or unless the human species can conquer its fear of death and its tendency to wish-thinking.” Freud

The funny thing is most probably won’t believe me, and you shouldn’t. You should look into it yourself. Instead, most will believe a bible which was put together 300 years after Jesus would have been alive, in a different language than what he spoke, by elitists who wanted to control an empire. After that, the church did everything it could to silence by death anyone who disagreed. Do that for over a thousand years and you get today’s society.

No historian from Jesus’ time mentioned him, other than Josephine, and that account is proven to be a fraud. Why is it that some dude, who was going around walking on water, healing the blind, etc, was never mentioned by those who were recording history? Perhaps those in charge didn’t want him to be mentioned, or perhaps he never existed.

Of course, this doesn’t change the message of forgiveness and love, but we don’t need Jesus to know the importance. Those two words are just as important today as they were then, in fact, given the amount of damage our weapons are capable of today versus then, I would say those words are more important. Given the sheer amount of information and ability to communicate today, there are no excuses for not living peacefully. But as long as people stay ignorant, they can be easily coaxed by those in power to cause harm to others...just question somone's patriotism or religion to get the most violent responses.
Perhaps those who claim to believe in Jesus should actually practice his message of love and forgiveness.

Regardless, as we search to become a more peaceful species globally, both towards each other and our earth, we’re certainly not going to find that peace within the world’s religious texts.

“Give me the name of one people whom prodigies were not performed when so few knew how to read and write.” Voltaire

Thanks for reading,

PS – I would love to read your comments or arguments…please email me if you have any.


Blogger coderifous said...

Absolutely wonderful post, Jake. I bet you have a very interesting reading list, you should consider adding an amazon-affiliate linked list of recommended books on your site.

August 3, 2008 at 3:02 PM


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