In the previous two posts, I suggested that much of Genesis 1 – 3 of the Old Testament (OT) was “borrowed” from earlier myths, although the authors and redactor (or redactors) did change some of the older stories. For example, the author of Genesis 1, “E” (since he refers to God as “Elohim”) seems to have made up his story about how God created everything in six days by combining Persian, Babylonian, and Egyptian creation myths. Similarly, the author of Genesis 2 & 3, “J” (since he refers to “God” as Yahweh – or Jehovah) seems to have concocted his stories about Adam and Eve by mixing (and mismatching!) the Babylonian myth about the “Lady of the Rib”, the Sumerian myth about a snake who stole “eternal life” from Gilgamesh, stories about fruit from the tree of knowledge that were known from Africa to India, and so on. In this and subsequent posts, I’ll try to demonstrate not only the continued “borrowing” of myths from other cultures but also that the plagiarism and distortions of myths from other cultures gets worse – and more significantly, begins to reveal the nature and purpose of the conspiracy that the priests foisted on the poor Jewish people.
To illustrate what I mean, the myth about the two brothers Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 is probably not the best place to start, because the source myth has been so badly distorted that it’s almost unrecognizable and because the resulting story is so weird that probably the most common reaction to it is to ask something similar to: “What the devil is this?” If I had been asked about the inclusion of the Cain and Abel myth in the OT, I would have recommended to the redactor (Ezra?) that he cut it! But since the myth about Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 is followed by the Cain and Abel myth, I’ll address it now, although some of my claims about the priests’ purposes for including it will probably seem poorly supported – until the purpose becomes more apparent in later OT myths.
Since this Cain and Able myth is so bizarre, it might be useful if I reproduce it here (copied from the New English Bible), in case readers might conclude that I’ve made some of it up, to ridicule the Bible! But I assure the reader that copied below [with some notes added in brackets] is the most reliable version of the myth known.
The man [Adam] lay with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the Lord [Yahweh], I have brought a man into being.” [Which seems to be another way that the male-chauvinist priests who wrote this junk denigrate women: the first woman was made (so they claim) from the first man’s rib, women are to be slaves of their husbands, and now we learn that women produce babies only with “the help of the Lord”.] Afterwards she had another child, his brother Abel. Abel was a shepherd and Cain a tiller of the soil. [Which then suggests that Cain was the good kid, growing up to be “a tiller of the soil” (which, the reader might recall, was the assignment Yahweh gave to Adam in the Garden of Eden), whereas there was no suggestion by Yahweh that humans should herd sheep.]In any case, we learn, here, more about this God, who’s alleged to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omni-this-that-and-the-other thing. Already, from Genesis 1 – 3, we learned:
The day came when Cain brought some of the produce of the soil as a gift to the Lord [Which then supports the idea that Cain was a good kid: not only did he “till and care for the garden” (as Yahweh wanted Adam to do) but Cain offered no doubt the best of the fruits and vegetables that he had grown as a gift for Yahweh], and Abel brought some of the first-born of his flock, the fat portions thereof. [Which hints not only that Abel’s not such a good kid (having herded and done who knows what with his sheep) but now Abel brings to Yahweh as “a gift” some high-cholesterol food, obviously unconcerned about Yahweh’s health!]
The Lord received Abel and his gift [the deadly high-fat meat] with favor [So, now we learn more about Yahweh: he’s a fat-food junky!]; but Cain and his gift [fruit and vegetables] he did not receive. [Hello? Is the moral of this myth: “Whereas man was created in God’s image, and whereas God didn’t accept fruit and vegetables but only fatty junk-food, therefore kids don’t need to eat their fruit and vegetables; instead, they get to have hamburgers and fries at the nearest fast-food joint”?!]
- That God was so worn out naming things (or snapping his fingers or whatever) to create the world that he had to take a break on the seventh day (some omnipotence!),
- That he couldn’t find two people in a little forest (some omniscience!),
- That he thinks that snakes can talk and are punished by not having legs (more omniscience?),
- That Adam would be punished by having a wife who wants sex (we’re not talking omniscience, here, we’re talking dumb!), and most significantly,
- That God doesn’t have a clue about either logic or justice (illogically demanding that Adam and Eve obey him, without permitting them to know that it was “good” to obey him and “bad” to disobey him, and then, for their failure to be good by obeying him (!), unjustly punishing all future people for the “sins” of their great-great-great… grandparents).
But it gets worse:
Cain was very angry and his face fell. Then the Lord said to Cain: “Why are you so angry and cast down? If you do well, you are accepted; if not, sin is demon crouching at the door. It shall be eager for you, and you will be mastered by it.”Say it ain’t so! Nobody – even this yahoo Yahweh – could be that dumb! Why didn’t the redactor (Ezra) add to this stupid story that Cain tried to get Yahweh to smarten up? Maybe add something similar to:
So Cain said. “Yahweh, you’re a nitwit. First, why do you think that I’m ‘angry and cast down’? Any chance that you can appreciate my disappointment with you? I gave you the best fruits and vegetable in my garden, and you don’t even have the decency, the common courtesy, the most miniscule of manners, to accept my gift with thanks!Poor old Cane. I can see why he would be “angry and cast down”. In a flash, he saw what he was up against: in control was a stupid, boorish, tyrant god.
“Second, what do you mean ‘If you do well, you are accepted; if not, sin is a demon crouching at the door’? I did well, you nut. I gave you the best present that I could create. It’s you that didn’t do well: in fact, for the rest of my life, I hope never to have any dealings with anyone who is such a boor.
“Third, think about the stupidity of your statement: ‘If you do well, you are accepted’. That’s horrible: people should be “accepted” if they do their best; they can’t do better! If others don’t accept people who do their best, then that means that “the others” are the ones who should be rejected (in this case, rejecting a certain stupid god who advocates such hideousness).
“Fourth, look at the idiocy in your statement: ‘If not [i.e., if you don’t do well], sin is a demon crouching at the door. It shall be eager for you, and you will be mastered by it.’ No one with even just a half-functioning brain could make such as stupid comment. If a person (in a purely a hypothetical situation) didn’t do so well as he or she thought was possible, then (as Brian Hayward suggested) that triggers in humans one of our most glorious attributes: we learn from our mistakes and our shortcomings, we try harder the next time, and many times we accomplish even more than we thought we could. If that’s a sin, then bring 'em on!
“What we do find ‘crouching at the door [of our mistakes]’, however, are the damnable clerics of the world. Oh what con games they’ve got going! They claim that our troubles are caused by ‘sins’ against their god(s) and then claim that, if we’ll pay them to run their con games, they’ll arrange forgiveness for our sins. So maybe there is some sense in what you say, Yahweh, if what you mean is: ‘All clerics of the world are demons crouching at your door.’
“But I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that you’re too dumb to see it. Let’s hope that you’re not so dumb that, when you make a mistake (e.g., by making people), you don’t find ‘sin… crouching at your door’ and then proceed to make an even bigger mistake by killing essentially every living thing in a great flood. But surely to god you’re not that dumb – are you Yahweh?”
Given his predicament, what reasonable actions were available to Cane? No doubt he was pleased that his brother, Abel, was in God’s favor – because that’s the way brothers are, helping each other and pleased with each other’s accomplishments, no doubt in part because they share approximately half of each other’s genes. Granted that Abel was a bit strange (hooked on junk food and apparently preferring the company of sheep), but then, Cain could overlook Abel’s shortcomings (and even try to help him overcome them), provided that his shortcomings didn’t damage Cain’s survival.
So again, what reasonable actions were available to Cain? And note that, generally speaking, farmers such as Cain are reasonable, levelheaded people. They’re required to be, because essentially daily, they’re required to implement reasonable responses to nature’s vagaries – or suffer the consequences. Personally, I’d recommend to Cain, strongly, that he do his best to have nothing more to do with the stupid, boorish, unjust, illogical Yahweh. In fact, I’d suggest to Cain that he just take off: given that Yahweh couldn’t find Adam and Eve in a little forest, it’s highly doubtful that Yahweh could find Cain if he headed for the hills.
In contrast, the crazy cleric(s) who fabricated this junk concocted the most unbelievable story, attributing to Cain a most unreasonable response:
Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go into the open country.” While they were there, Cain attacked his brother Abel and murdered him.That’s crazy. Cain, the older brother, kills his kid brother, Abel. The clerics suggest that Cain killed Abel because the older brother was jealous of the kid brother (because the kid brother’s present was accepted by God). But brothers, especially two brothers otherwise alone in the world (except for their parents) wouldn’t behave that way. My big brother would have said: “Good job, kid!”
It seems that what the crazy Jewish clerics are doing, here, in part, is just copying the Egyptian clerics’ myth about the first-two famous brothers, Set or Sut (pronounced “soot”, as in “black as soot”) and Osiris (which is probably the origin of the English word ‘sir’). In turn, the myth about Sut and Osiris seems to be a story about how the night (“black as night”) kills the day. But at least the Egyptian clerics concocted a reasonable story about why the night (Sut) kills the day (Osiris): in their myth, the unhappily married sister-wife of the impotent Sut, Nephthys, tricked Osiris into having sex with her, by disguising herself as Osiris’ sister-wife (and therefore Nephthys’ sister) Isis. Sut blamed neither his wife, Nephthys, nor her resulting son, Anubis, but his handsome brother, Osiris. The result, according to the Egyptian myth, is a never-ending fight during which, at the end of each day, Osiris loses and Sut rules the night – which, ya gotta admit, is a much sexier story for why there’s day and night than the explanation in terms of a spinning Earth!
But anyway, continuing with the crazy Jewish clerics’ version of the Egyptian myth:
Then the Lord [Yahweh] said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” Cain answered, “[I thought your were supposed to know everything!] I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Lord said, “What have you done? [Cain answered: “You really don’t know, do you? So much for the claim that you’re omniscient! With only four of us on Earth (me, my mom and dad, and my kid brother), you can’t keep track of even the four us?! What a putz!”] Hark! your brother’s blood that has been shed is crying out to me from the ground. [“I may not know everything, but I’m big on magic: blood in the soil speaks to me!” To which Cain blurted out: “You’re bonkers!”] Now you are accursed, and banished from the ground which has opened its mouth wide to receive your brother’s blood, which you have shed. [To which Cain added: “Well, I guess there’s at least a little sense in that: if the soil speaks to you, at least it’s consistent for you to assume that it has a mouth.”] When you till the ground, it will no longer yield you its wealth. You shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on earth.”From which we see a little more of this crazy god’s idea (or better, the crazy Jewish clerics’ idea) of justice. Not only that, if your great-great-great… grandparents, Adam and Eve, didn’t obey an order (when they were prevented from knowing that it was “good” to obey God’s order), then you (who weren’t even there!) would be punished (and the punishment was the death penalty!) but also that, if you kill somebody (e.g., your brother), then no problem: you can just wander off! But anyway, continuing:
Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is heavier than I can bear [of all things, don’t throw me in the briar patch!]; thou hast driven me today from the ground [so, where’s he going, into the air?], and I must hide myself from thy presence [which otta be a snap, given that God seems to be not only a halfwit but also half blind]. I shall be a vagrant and a wanderer on earth [living off the fruit of the land, never again needing to try to scrape a living out of this useless, alkaline, soil], and anyone who meets me can kill me" [but given my reputation, I bet they’ll get out of my way!].Sorry for the notes, but I don’t know how anyone can read this story without concluding that it’s crazy.
The Lord answered him, “No: if anyone kills Cain, Cain shall be avenged sevenfold." [To which Cain said, under his breath: “Yahweh, you really are a stupid SOB, aren’t you? I set you up, and you fell for it like a ton of bricks. In case you didn’t know it, the only other people on Earth are mom and dad. So, the only ones out there who could kill me are mom and dad. And even if they did kill their only surviving child, then how, pray tell, will my death be 'avenged sevenfold'?"] So the Lord put a mark on Cain, in order that anyone meeting him should not kill him.This story is mind-boggling in its stupidity (except if it’s interpreted entirely differently, as I’ll return to later in this post), but as stupid as it is, its usual interpretation is even worse. An obvious question that has been asked is: What sort of “mark” was put on Cain? And the horrible answer adopted (especially by Christians and Mormons) was that, consistent with the Egyptian myth of Sut and Osiris, Cain (like Sut) was “colored” black. Natural selection didn’t adopt a wonderful pigment in Black people’s skin to protect them from damaging ultraviolet light (UV-B); instead, according to the damnable clerics, God marked Black people as the descendants of the murderer Cain. Further, consistent with God’s complete unawareness of even the simplest concept of justice (that you should get what you deserve and not get what you don’t deserve), then just as he punished all descendants of Adam and Eve for their non-crime of not obeying him, God punishes all of Cain’s descendants for Cain’s alleged crime. It’s sick – as is the clerics’ god (that is, as are the clerics).
But the craziness of the story rolls on:
Then Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and settled in the land of Nod, to the east of Eden.Neat, huh? So much for threats from “the almighty”! God’s “royal proclamation”, the “official decree” punishing Cain, the sentence to be carried out to the letter, was: “You shall be a vagrant a wander on earth.” So what did Cain do? He sauntered over to the land of Nod and SETTLED. Duh.
And that’s not all:
Then Can lay with his wife; and she conceived and bore Enoch. Cain was then building a city, which he named Enoch after his son…Sorry, but that just doesn’t compute. It’s one thing to see that God’s sentence against Cain (that he was to be “a wanderer and vagrant”) could be ignored. [Who’s afraid of the big bad God? He’s a putz.] And it’s not too much beyond that to assume that Cain could build himself a city to settle in. But pray tell: where did he get a wife? The only woman in the world was Eve. Does it mean that…?!
Or is it something different? Did the male-chauvinist clerics who concocted this story neglect to mention that Eve had daughters (daughters being so inconsequential that they’re not worth mentioning, doncha know). So, does it mean that the Jewish clerics who concocted this tale were following the Egyptian myth much more carefully? Did Cain really kill Abel because Cain (like Sut) found out that Abel (like Osiris) was having sex with Cain’s sister-wife?
Actually, there’s probably something else, here: it seems that the clerics are just playing to the prejudices of the crowd. Thus, the Hebrews herded sheep – just like poor old Abel, who was allegedly murdered by Cain, a farmer. After being a farmer, Cain moved to the city. So the clerics seem to be telling the Hebrew shepherds (and more of the same will be seen later in the OT) that they’re descendants of the good guy, Abel, while all those damnable farmers and city dwellers are descendants of the killer Cain? And in all future animosities between the good shepherds and the horrible farmers and city dwellers, guess whose side God is on.
But all that aside for now, just imagine (for a moment) that you (a reasonable person) were in the crowd of Hebrews listening (for the first time) to Ezra & Co-Conspirators (Ezra & C-C) read their brand new “holy book”. Imagine that you had just finished hearing Genesis 1 through Genesis 4.
First, you heard a tale about a monster magician, Elohim, who snapped his fingers (or whatever) to create everything. You then heard the tale that the damnable Yahweh placed a couple of innocent kids in a garden, and told them to obey him (not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil) – which necessarily prevented them from learning that it would be “good” to obey him. Next, you heard about how a talking snake (?!) conned the kids into learning the difference between good and evil, and then, how the cruel Yahweh punished not only them but also their progeny, forever, flaunting justice to its core. And now, you just finished hearing how Cain and Abel tried to placate the monster Yahweh with presents, the boorish god didn’t have the common courtesy to accept Cain’s present, Cain got pissed and killed Abel, and then the crazy Yahweh not only turned the killer lose but even gave him the most fantastic police protection imaginable: “the Lord put a mark on Cain, in order that anyone meeting him should not kill him.” What reasonable person could hear such crazy stories without concluding something similar to: “This god-awful God is a crazy SOB! I want nothing to do with him.”
But that imagined conclusion was from a reasonable person. In fact, all of my comments, above, are made from the perspective of person simply trying to understand this crazy fable about Cain and Abel. That perspective, that assumption, I now suggest, is naïve. The focus should be, not on understanding the myth, but on understanding the goals, strategies, and tactics being used by Ezra & C-C. And if some reader doesn’t immediately see what’s going on, then permit me to suggest that the reader is too trusting. I’ll put it this way: if the reader is to understand clerics, then it’s necessary to think deviously, crookedly, with “malice aforethought”. Below, I’ll try to illustrate.
Imagine that you’re Ezra (or whoever was the leader of the clerical conspirators who foisted the OT on the Jewish people). You’re “sick and tired” of kowtowing to your Persian masters. For example, who wants to be the Royal Taster (to make sure that the food and drink of your Persian boss isn’t poisoned)? So, you start scheming – so you can stop serving and start ruling.
Gaining power by force is out of the question (since you’re both a weakling and a coward), but you’re cunning. You know that the vast majority of the Jewish people whom you’d like to rule are simpletons, but your Persian bosses aren’t. So you propose to your bosses that, on their behalf, you’ll rule the Jewish people (collect taxes and make sure the people are loyal to the Empire). To accomplish that, your strategy will be to foist on the Jewish people a religion that, in a nutshell, demands that people obey you.
To implement the strategy, you devise your tactics. In general, make it clear to the simple, uneducated, unsophisticated Jewish people that you’re speaking to them on behalf of – and with the authority of – no less than the creator of the universe. Tell them that no less than the creator of the universe selected them as his “chosen people”. Feed them a bunch of old myths that they might hazily remember, but in each such myth, forcefully and consistently repeat the same moral, which in essence is: Obey (us priests)! If the fools fall for it, then “presto”: power.
If the reader is skeptical about the proposed “conspiracy theory”, then good! In subsequent posts, as I continue on through the OT (in diminishing detail), I’ll provide increasingly more evidence that supports the theory. Already, though, I invite the reader to reconsider the essence of the messages in both the Adam and Eve myth and in this crazy fable about Cain and Abel.
In the case of the Adam and Eve myth, I ask the reader to ignore its illogic – as do all “believing” Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Mormons. Its illogic, again, is that Adam and Eve couldn’t know that it was “good” to obey God (and “bad” not to), because he specifically excluded them from knowing the difference between “good” and “evil”. But ignoring that, notice the simple, obvious moral that the conspiring clerics wanted the simpletons to take from the story: God told Adam and Eve to obey Him; they didn’t – and look at the consequences. Thus, when you don’t obey (us priests): snakes lose their legs, women suffer during childbirth and become slaves of their husbands, and men are forced to work for a living. [And later, in the concoctions of conspiring Christian, Muslim, and Mormon clerics, people die and will suffer for eternity in Hell if they don’t obey us new breed of parasite priests.]
In the case of the Cain and Abel myth, again the reader is required to suspend rational thought. What Ezra & C-C wanted the simpletons to see was its obvious morals: 1) Don’t be like Cain and think that you’re smart enough to decide what “offerings” to present to the Lord; we priests will do the deciding – and later in this “holy book”, we’ll spell it out for you exactly what “offerings” will be acceptable [so we priests can live in comfort and style] and 2) Don’t think that you’re smart enough to decide what punishments are appropriate for what crimes (such as Cain’s killing of Abel); we priests will decide for you what the law will be – and later in this “holy book”, we’ll spell it out for you. And lest you forget, then 3) Consider again what happens to people (such as Adam, Eve, and Cain) who don’t obey (or even please) God (i.e., us priests). God may be an SOB, but he’s a powerful SOB – and we priests are his point men.
From all of which there are three obvious “take-away messages”:
1) The only power that priests have is what the people give them,
2) What the people gave, they can take back, and
3) Never underestimate the cunning, the conniving, the skullduggery, the immorality… of the clerics of the world.