What a Wisteria Vine and Authoritarian Religions Have In Common
“Wisteria is an extremely hardy plant that is considered an invasive species in many parts of the U.S., especially the Southeast, due to its ability to overtake and choke out other native plant species.
Wisteria can become immensely strong with heavy wrist-thick trunks and stems. These will certainly rend latticework, crush thin wooden posts, and can even strangle large trees.
Wisteria vines climb by twining their stems either clockwise or counterclockwise round any available support. They can climb as high as 20 m (67 ft) above the ground and spread out 10 m (33 ft) laterally. The world’s largest known Wisteria vine is in Sierra Madre, California, measuring more than 1 acre (0.40 ha) in size and weighing 250 tons, planted in 1894 of the Chinese lavender variety.”
“Climbing walls of an endless circle
Walking paths you never heard of
Struggling in an endless battle
Searching far for a higher purpose
Drowning in betrayal’s river
The freezing cold will make you shiver
Join the world of greater learning
Crown me king and be my servants
Misled by beauty, one you rarely find
So loving and friendly, it’s one of a kind
Their arms wide open, willing to take me in
No doubts in choosing a world free from sin
All the dreams I had, all my future wishes
Put aside for a greater journey”
Lyrics by Evergrey – A Touch of Blessing <—
Going through a deconversion several years back was excruciatingly painful and lonely. It took a heavy toll on me. But the feeling of betrayal and deceptions was all too familiar. I studied fervently. I was having a lot of questions about my religion, Christianity. Questions none of the pastors or elders wanted to answer. Nervously, they gave me pat answers — usually quoting scriptures, e.g., “Lean not on your own understanding” and “For my thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are my your ways my ways” — love, God.
I made a lot of sacrifices as a believer. Although I was widowed in my twenties, with an infant, I was never offered a helping hand or financial support from churches. That’s because of 1 Timothy 5 regarding widows, elders and slaves. According to scripture, young widows don’t qualify for help from the church, even when they have children. However, they expected me to give tithes and offerings and volunteer my services. I served on mainstream church boards for a couple of years. I saw where the money went. It went towards padded pews, carpet, toilet paper, administration, and of course, proselytizing. Proselytizing took a big chuck out of the generous offerings by well-meaning members. Less than 10% went towards helping the downtrodden, charities, and those in poverty.
When my husband passed away, the Roman Catholic Church
convinced coerced my grandparents, on my dad’s side, to give money to them rather than send it to me to buy diapers, and other necessities. $500.00 went to the church, where priests lit a candle and prayed for my deceased husband. Yes, you read that right. $500.00. I got a certificate from the RCC telling me that they were praying for my late husband’s soul. I’m touched.
The Roman Catholic Church has enough wealth to eliminate hunger, globally, and wipe out preventable diseases for every child, woman and man. But, instead, they build more churches, extravagant cathedrals, and send missionaries all over the world to bring more into their fold. $$$ They forbid contraception and undermine family planning in an over-populated world. Yes — “every sperm is sacred.”
It’s disconcerting knowing that they continue to promote a belief system that has been debunked for decades now.
“It’s been decades since we’ve known – what’s the hold up?” asked Israel Finkelstein, the chairman of the Archaeology Department at Tel Aviv University. “The period of the patriarchs, exodus, conquest, or judges as devised by the writers of Scriptures never existed,” asserted Robert Coote, Senior Research Professor of Hebrew Exegesis at San Francisco’s Theological Seminary. “The Genesis and Exodus accounts are a fiction,” noted the biblical scholar Niels Peter Lemche of the University of Copenhagen.
“The actual evidence concerning the Exodus resembles the evidence for the unicorn,” concluded Baruch Halpern, Professor of Jewish Studies of Pennsylvania State University. “The patriarchs’ acts are legendary stories, we did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, we did not conquer the land.
Those who take an interest have known these facts for years,” declared famed Israeli archeologist, Ze’ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University. “Scholars have known these things for a long time, but we’ve broken the news very gently,” explained one of America’s preeminent archaeologists, Professor William Dever of the University of Arizona… an admission which then inspired Christianity Today’s Kevin D. Miller to concede: “The fact is that not one shred of direct archaeological evidence has been found for Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob or the 400-plus years the children of Israel sojourned in Egypt. The same is true for their miraculous exodus from slavery.”
Excerpts above are from: “Well, This Is A Little Embarrassing, Isn’t It?” by John Zande
If Moses and Abraham are myths, mentioned by Jesus and Paul in the New Testament, then that affects the credibility of Jesus the divine and Paul the apostle. Read here and here about the lack of credibility with the N.T.
The world’s leading biblical archaeologist is Prof. Ze’ev Herzog. This is what he says:
“The patriarchs’ acts are legendary stories… The Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Most of those who are engaged in scientific work in the interlocking spheres of the Bible, archaeology and the history of the Jewish people and who once went into the field looking for proof to corroborate the Bible story now agree that the historic events relating to the stages of the Jewish people’s emergence are radically different from what that story tells.”
This is Professor Magen Broshi, head Archaeologist at the Israel Museum:
“I think there is no serious scholar in Israel or in the world who does not accept this position. Herzog represents a large group of Israeli scholars, and he stands squarely within the consensus. Twenty years ago even I wrote of the same matters and I was not an innovator. Archaeologists simply do not take the trouble of bringing their discoveries to public attention.”
This is Rabbi David Wolpe:
“The rejection of the Bible as literally true is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis.”
This is from a recent article in Israel’s oldest leading daily Newspaper:
“Currently there is broad agreement among archaeologists and Bible scholars that there is no historical basis for the narratives of the patriarchs, the exodus from Egypt and the conquest of Canaan, nor any archaeological evidence to make them think otherwise.”
My grievance is not with individual, personal belief in God(s), and I understand the importance of community. I take issue with the fact that people are being deceived by the traditions of men, authoritarians in powerful positions, who are doing their damnedest to make laws and rob people of their rights based on archaic religious (fictional) books, in the name of religious liberty, and their hypocritical “sincere religious beliefs”.
To all highly stratified, authoritarian religions:
You are like the wisteria vine. Invasive.
You methodically deceived and misled by beauty.
You did it for power, for control — for filthy lucre’s sake.
Significant evidence shows you’ve done more harm than good;
Robbing people of their dignity, human rights and well-being.
You devalued woman and children for centuries;
You condemned the very “sins” you practiced in secret.
We entrusted you with our children and regretted it.
We made untold sacrifices and gave to you generously.
The Dark ages are behind us – the vines are being uprooted.
Change your ways or your days are numbered!
Religion: It’s given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.” ~ Jon Stewart
Wisteria photos from Wiki Commons. Credits: