The Meaning of Life - a spectator's view Part 9The Meaning of Life - a spectator's view Part 9

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Today’s mental workout is the grand finale of the special weekend edition. We’ll conclude by going over the story behind the compilation of the bible and also recap the various viewpoints from the beginning as well as a few myths and controversies and see what overall takeaways and conclusions we can draw. Whenever evaluating any historical sources or references especially from secondary sources, it’s perceptive to take a look at the circumstances in your present time. We assume the bible came from secondary sources of course, even though it’s supposedly the word of God, he presumably didn’t write it himself and only he could truly make it primary despite what anyone tries to tell you.

Look around you today, imagine if we lost track of the last two thousand years and had to come up with a modern day bible. Who would today control the required information. The private sector Googles of this world, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and government entities of course. Governments play a key role in information. Try going to China, Iran or Cuba and see if there’s a meaning for free press in their vocabularies. So it doesn’t take an Einstein to discern that as long as mortal men control information involved, there’s underlying factors associated. Unfortunately, it's always men that seem to control information. Would you say most information generating entities are profit oriented. You betcha! Look at the US government and entire political process to understand how money plays a role. Everything the government does needs to be about money, either paying it out or bringing it in, and by the state of the world budget shortfalls, I would say the latter is losing out badly. We previously discussed how the powers-that-be censored Virgil’s Aeneid. The same was done for compilation of the Bible. Anytime the primary evidence is altered, it ceases to be primary. Records are conveniently lost or changed significantly.

Today, if you wish to publish content, after a while how does Google know where the original source is. Sure the Google algorithms are getting more sophisticated by the day, but what is it that they preach most of all, you guessed it, no duplicate content. Kind of how the Bible hates duplicate content. However even with all the work behind-the-scenes, there's still contradiction at seemingly every turn. In my case, I publish multiple articles online on a frequent basis, but yet before you can hit post, there are already online bandits at work that steal and change the content for themselves. How will Google ultimately know the original source. Now consider all these challenges in a modern technological world, now rewind about 200 years after Christ when stories begin to be compiled. Then a further 1200 years till the printing press of the Gutenberg bible and the Complutensian bible a century later. It wasn’t till the 1600s did we get the King James Version. Just the name alone should spark some interest. Why should a religious book of God be named after monarchy. Do kings see themselves as Gods, a few of them surely have, they even call themselves 'Lord.' King James had two distinguished titles at that, James VI of Scotland and later became James I of England and Ireland. So as you can see he was a very busy man indeed, but found just enough time to sponsor the translation of the bible that took his name. He claimed the divine right of biblical Kings and practically did everything, but proclaim himself God. His bible is the basis of all the revised versions on the market today. There are literally multiple hundreds of bible versions spread throughout Christendom and counting. It would seem anywhere the word of God goes, dollar signs follow suit.

It was the Roman Catholic church who first decided which books would be included in the bible from the first Christian Canon 350 AD leading to the Council of Carthage in 397. All this is predicated if you believe in the accuracy of not only the written papyrus and their translations, but people’s recollection of stories and events passed through generational word of mouth which had not been recorded. Good luck with that! Trusting stories handed down through generations with any sort of accuracy requires a huge leap of faith, by leap we don’t mean just a little hop, but more like the size of the Grand Canyon. Trusting the numerous translations from Aramaic, Hebrew, Koine Greek and Latin Vulgate is only one of the challenges, just trying to trace back the accurate timeline is a whole other matter. As we progress through the next thousand years or so, there are even more regal and papal influences that showed bias over certain passages and versions. Not only is it hard to track the timeline of those authorities controlling the changes, but the supposed trusted sources reporting it also had their own bias. We truly have a case of many chefs and multiple ingredients from everywhere cooking up the greatest story ever told.

The Gutenberg bible of the printing press was more about widespread proliferation of the word than checking for its reliability. It’s still unclear what the exemplar bibles and sources Gutenberg copied from since there were still various texts circulating that were different in origin. The Complutensian bible of the 1520s was spearheaded by Cardinal Cisneros and the Northern Humanist, Desiderius Erasmus sponsored by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian I and the then pope. In other words you had academia, political and papal power all working in conjunction. This led to the aforementioned King James version in the next century. If you ever find the time, research the political machinations behind the scenes during the approval process of King James. The proceedings themselves would require a whole chapter. From there we get to all the various modern day versions. It’s fair to say that the word of God has come a long way indeed from Moses. Through numerous translations and translations of translations. Through royal and papal influence under the guise of academia.

Then of course we have all the controversies of the Da Vinci code and Priory of Sion. Will anyone ever prove with any certainty the relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus. In some circles she’s a prostitute, in others, she’s a saint. Quite remarkable extremes even to the most astute spectators. We sure know that Jesus had 12 male disciples because women were looked down upon in those days and we assume he followed the same sexist standards of the day. The world also has the folklore fascination of myths like The Quest for the Holy Grail and the Knights of the Roundtable and so on. It’s truly the story of the gift that keeps on giving. Who knows what twists and turns await our succeeding generations. Not only are we not sure of how it all began, but we have no idea where it may well end up at the end. The beauty of life on a place called Earth!

It’s been quite an incredible journey from the Meaning of Life Part one for all those who hung in till the end. We started with the epic question of Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid progressing through the Old and the New Testaments. Hopefully you took it upon yourselves to conduct your own research and draw your own conclusions. We have our own that we hope to publish in the future. What connects human beings from every culture across the world through generations since the beginning of time is that nobody knows with absolute certainty about all matters relating to God and Gods. Just imagine how the native Indians thought Christopher Columbus was a God. Well he sure brought god-like qualities of absolute authority and disease that had the power to wipe them all out. Seeking explanations for fear of the unknown has no limits just like the universe is infinite. The universe doesn't seem to care for all our battles over land, religion or politics. It doesn't even care for the names we give each other or what titles we bestow on one another. The universe observes us the same as the other creatures of the Earth, just that we can read, write and talk. As long as we can do that, I guess there's always a great story to be told or sold, depending on one's perspective. We’ll see you on the other side.