Thursday, July 3, 2014

Treatise: A Monument to All Your Sins

Transcribed from Journal Brown, late 2012.

The explanation for the Mayan Long Count:

20 days
18 times 20 days = 360 days, one Mayan Year.
20 times that,
and 20 more times that = 144,000 days, one b’aktun, if I recall.

A number of astronomical phenomena converge at a point in the past, roughly 3100 BC; the Milky Way and the plane of the ecliptic of the sun and bla de bla de bla. The significance and reverence the Mayans gave to astronomical things led them to peg the date as the date of creation. Close, but no cigar. Anyway, since the Mayans liked multiples of 20 (and may have used a ‘base-20’ numbering system, whereas ours is base-10), they invented a longer calendar for keeping accurate track of dates over long periods of time. This was called the Long Count. It lasted 144,000 days, as shown above. The 13th round of that reckoning came to a close today (or started. I can’t recall). When you understand what the Long Count is, you realize it’s just a a calendar and not a prophecy of any sort. There’s no coincidence that the b’aktun came to a close on the Winter Solstice, either. The  solstice is directly tied to earth’s orbit and is one of the smaller, shorter cycles that made a circuit and converged today. The Mayans may have attributed religious beliefs to the conclusion of b’aktuns, because they, like many other cultures, had tied their religious beliefs to astronomical phenomena—attributed religious significance to conspicuous mathematical relationships in nature. In this way, they were very much like the Pythagoreans (Protagoreans?), who, though mathematically astute (supposedly), maintained many strange rules and basically worshiped the number 10 because 1+2+3+4 = 10 OMIGOSHITSMAGICK! Something like that.

So the astounding irony of all this is that the guys who made fairly noteworthy mathematical, astronomical, and engineering discoveries in earth’s past basically wasted their potential by directing all their energy into the babbling nonsense of false religion and foolish, vain spirituality. Much like how the Egyptian pyramids were built to serve as the tomb for one man! At least the Great Wall of China had a practical application. Stonehenge and Göbekli-Tepe were large stone structures for religious ritual/festival. If you think about it, the huge Roman temples are the same thing: huge concrete engineering feats, massive building expenditures, all to build houses for idols built by man’s hands. What. A. Waste. To be honest, huge Catholic Cathedrals and “evangelical” mega-churches also fall into this category. There seems to be something innate in Man, that he has a tendency to try to erect extravagant structures to impress weak-minded people into becoming followers, and really, to impress himself, also—and convince himself that his false deity must be right, because “look how cool this is!” It’s the age-old “dick-measuring” shtick. It’s the short man overcompensating with a big/expensive car. (Contemporarily, they even call it “short man syndrome.”) When you have nothing truly impressive or remarkable to be confident in, you try to hide that fact by outwardly making a show for others, lest they see you for who you really are, and you be ashamed.

Wikipedia image
Flickr image
 If this is true for individual men, why would this not be true for religions as well? After all, religions are made by men, and their following is made up of men. It’s the same insecurity, played out in equally sinful ways, on a much larger scale, compounding the effect….which is what makes it so atrocious. To borrow a phrase I heard in Halo 2, spoken by the Gravemind, “I am a monument to all your sins.” This is what all those construction marvels are. Chichen Itza. The Great Pyramid. The Temple of Jupiter. St. Peter’s Basilica. Notre Dame. Angkor Wat. Taj Mahal. Vertsailles. The Masjid Al-Haram, “Dome of the Rock.” Easter Island. Stonehenge. The Mahabodhi. The Kashi Vishwanath. The Church of the Nativity. The Forbidden Palace. The Sistine Chapel. The Hagia Sophia. The Vatican. The Mormon Temple. The Ka’aba. These variations on the Tower of Babel all have one thing in common: they were either built for ONE MAN (“idolatry of self-worship”) or they were built for the worship of a false deity (idolatry by other means). They are the rotten fruit of thousands and millions of individual sins, compiled and amplified, manifest in enormous man-made structures which echo Babel, both in its form, scope, and intent: Man-made beacons of idolatry for the glorification of man and idol. No wonder God is so furious with idols and idol worship throughout the Old Testament: “behold, you are nothing, and your works are less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you.” (Isaiah 41:24)  Good grief, I am angered, exasperated and frustrated by this myself! How much more so the Holy God of the universe, who has no tolerance for sin as I do?

I’m pleased to think that my growing hatred for idolatry is indicative of the Holy Spirit changing and growing me spiritually, giving me new, godly desires. Consider that the often-called “beautiful” Islamic art and architecture (the art, mostly) is a direct result of the cultural—which because of Mohammed became religious—aversion to depicting images of  people, particularly their faces. I can’t look at the decorative binding on a Qur’an or the superstructure of a Mosque and think “that’s beautiful.” It’s vile to me. It’s filth. It provokes a visceral reaction. They are emblems of evil, flagrant symbols of defiance against the God who gave them the freedom to choose to be defiant. Every “allahu ackbar!” is a rebellion against the Creator. Don’t tell me it just means “God is great.” I know that. I’m not stupid. I’m also not naïve. No one who ever said “allahu ackbar” had in mind the Suffering Servant, our Kinsman-Redeemer, the Son of God and our Messiah, Jesus Christ. It makes me physically ill to hear evil glorified. I can’t listen without wincing or grimacing. It antagonizes my soul.

I pray that this is a sign that I’m being remade into the image of Christ. That this is not human anger, but God-given, Spirit-breathed. That I would not hate the people, who desperately need God as do I. That my zeal would not hinder my goal of evangelism, but that it would goad it on, and that my recognition of the hopeless situations the idolaters are in would teach me compassion, gentleness, patience and love.

There is much to be angry about. But there is a wrong time, a wrong place, a wrong target toward which to be, a wrong way, and a wrong reason to be angry.

And the same goes for all of God’s attributes which are reflected in us. We are to love. But many of us do not know the difference between love, pity, and liking. And we do not express it the right way, or we are motivated to be kind and gentle for the wrong reasons or in the wrong circumstance, and this is not true love. More can be said on this topic. I’ve run the gamut. And look, now there’s only 3 pages left after this one! Not that that is why I was writing. This entry, as with all of my reflective, analytical entries, was straight from the heart (as the saying goes).
Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces, And cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” Psalm 2:1-6
~ Rak Chazak

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