master and slave
November 6, 2012 in Entertainment
Review of Acharya S’s “The Christ Conspiracy” part 1
Recently I have been chastised by Acharya S (D. M. Murdock) and some of her followers for failing to give the attention and prominence (one of them wanted to do a guest post on my blog) to their views that they demand they deserve. This followed recent posts and comments of mine in which I tried to explain that I was not particularly interested in their approach to the question of Christian origins, but it also followed my trying to point out to them why I thought their approach to Christian origins was logically flawed and hence unscholarly or unscientific. Their thesis failed adequately to argue against alternative hypotheses and relied mostly upon the fallacy of seeing only what they believed could be used to support their views, and also because they failed to provide any direct or specific evidence to support their claims that ancient astrological or astrotheological views belief systems were responsible for the creation of Christianity.
Consequently I suddenly found myself accused of suppressing and banning astrotheology, of insulting Acharya personally, and of being under the influence of a cult mentality that pre-programmed me to adhere to certain conclusions and rendered me incapable of thinking for myself.
Thoroughly chastened, I have decided to go back and take the time to read more carefully The Christ Conspiracy than I did some years ago and to give it a full-scale chapter-by-chapter review.
Let’s start with the Preface. I take a little time on this because it introduces us to the author of the book and helps us get our bearings as we approach a work that stands outside the resources of mainstream scholarship.
The Preface is written by Kenn Thomas. I had no idea who Kenn was so I checked out a few sites where he explains himself, including one where he engages in a lengthy radio interview. Kenn Thomas is Mr Conspiracy Theorist Par Excellence and responsible for SteamshovelPress.Com – All Conspiracy – No Theory. Kennedy was assassinated because of what he was about to discover about UFOs. The Middle East riots are instigated by an FBI related plot. I also thought I heard something about “they” who are “trying to take away our enjoyment of life”, too. Most instructive was a moment in a radio interview when Kenn addressed those who reject such conspiracy theories: he could not remember or bring himself to spell out what their alternative explanations were and why they rejected the conspiracy option.When astrotheology advocates supporting Acharya’s views recently appeared on this blog they conceded that the evidence needed to prove their theories was missing — it had been wilfully destroyed — and that their views were extrapolated from scattered cryptic clues. Anything I said about the need for evidence and logical rigour in demonstrating cause and effect was dismissed as “denialism”.
Some websites addressing the typical fallacies of conspiracy theorists:
- Conspiracy theories as examples of pure dogma
- Logically fallacious: Conspiracy theory
- Conspiracy theory logical fallacies
- Common conspiracy fallacies
- That’s just stupid
- A vivid demonstration . . . conspiracy theories
- Changing minds: conspiracy theory
- Five logical fallacies that make you more wrong than you think
- Top 20 logical fallacies
- Logical fallacies
- Magical journey through the land of logical fallacies
If we approach The Christ Conspiracy expecting it to be built upon such logical fallacies we will be well prepared for what we find. It is easy to dismiss an argument founded upon fallacies and ignorance but it is also not a bad thing to take time to explain to others exactly where one sees the flaws and grounds for dismissal. That’s what I’d like to do in future posts on this book — though I can’t promise I’ll have the perseverance to get through every chapter.
On the opening page one reads a header quotation that is not encouraging for one looking for an intellectual discussion. It cites American satirist H. L. Mencken, the concluding sentence being:
One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. It is not only more effective; it is also vastly more intelligent.
Thomas introduces us to the meaning of the name “Acharya” and why she wrote this book.
[Acharya] means “preceptor,” the head-master or principal of a school. . . . Acharya’s preceptory resides in cyberspace, on the web at www.truthbeknown.com, on her discussion list, through her posts in such e-;aces as konformist.com and Steamshovel.Press, of which I am the publisher, and through her non-profit Institute for Historical Accuracy.
So the title sounds to me like a claim to authority. That worries me just a tinge. I am niggled with questions over whether readers will be granted permission to question anything. That non-profit “Institute for Historical Accuracy” is also a bit of a worry. It conveys (to me) the impression of an “us versus them” mentality and a suspicion that mainstream historical studies are not to be trusted. I found the following on the origins of this corporate body at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/konformist/message/91
Institute for Historical Accuracy
December 28, 1998
I am delighted to announce that I have been retained by the American Anthropological Research Foundation (“AARF”) as a consultant to develop a new division, the Institute for Historical Accuracy. AARF is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization established in the State of Florida in 1974. The Institute for Historical Accuracy (“IHA”) will be concerned with the restoration of history and heritage of destroyed, lost and/or suppressed cultures. As has been noted, history is commonly written from the perspective of the conqueror. Since this conquest has been not merely physical but also spiritual, religion and mythology will constitute a major focus of IHA.
As an archaeologist, historian, mythologist, linguist and member of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece, I am able to bring scholarly credentials, skills and knowledge to the task. However, as an independent researcher I will not be bound by typical institutional obligations that may compromise the integrity of the work. As some of you may know, I have spent many years intensely researching and writing about the history and culture of mankind in general. Part of my work has been and will continue to be to alert the media of major inaccuracies of fact that perpetuate divisiveness and prejudice. It is my conviction that we cannot create a better future without a proper understanding of the past.
To meet this challenge of historical restoration, IHA needs and welcomes the support of the public. By contributing to IHA, you can be part of this exciting and unique endeavor to enlightened and inform. Any tax-deductible contributions may be made payable to AARF and sent to: . . . . . . .
. . . .
Acharya S Associate Director Institute for Historical Accuracy
Acharya S Archaeologist, Historian, Mythologist, Linguist, Minister Member, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece http://www.artnet.net/~acharya/truth
Acharya is also a Minister? Minister of what?
So the emphasis is to be on religion and mythology, and breaking down prejudice.
One example of this institute’s work (it appears to be a one-person institute, actually — just another name under which Acharya S. herself writes) can be seen in the blow it strikes against anti-semitism. One part of the solution is to get rid of the word “anti-Semite”! As found at http://www.goldtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23717
The Institute for Historical Accuracy June 1, 1999 The History Channel
I watched with interest your program on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, particularly since I have for years maintained that it is impossible to understand World War II without factoring in the Protocols, whether or not they are spurious.
One point I would like to criticize is the use of the word “anti-Semite,” which actually gives credence to the notion of a Jewish conspiracy. As you must know, “Semite” refers to any descendant of Shem, one of the three sons of Noah (a fictitious character). In reality, it is claimed that about 90% of Jews are NOT Semites, such that anti-Jewish sentiment may in no way be characterized as “anti-Semitic.” In fact, Jewish authorities will admit that the term is used in order to quash any criticism of Judaism as a bigoted, sexist and divisive ideology, which it is clearly demonstrated to be in the Old Testament, the Jewish apocrypha, the Dead Sea scrolls and the Talmud. By using the term “anti-Semite,” supporters of Judaism/Talmudism are able to make critics seem as if they themselves are racist, even though Judaism does not constitute a race. As Joseph Sobran says:
“So is the fear of being called ‘anti-Semitic.’ Nobody worries about being called ‘anti-Italian’ or ‘anti-French’ or ‘anti-Christian’; these aren’t words that launch avalanches of vituperation and make people afraid to do business with you.
“It’s pointless to ask what ‘anti-Semitic’ means. It means trouble. It’s an attack signal. The practical function of the word is not to define or distinguish things, but to conflate them indiscriminately – to equate the soberest criticism of Israel or Jewish power with the murderous hatred of Jews. And it works. Oh, how it works.”
In actuality, most Arabs may be considered to be “Semites,” such that anti-Arab Zionists/Jews could themselves be characterized as “anti-Semites.” How often have you heard anyone criticize “Semites?” The proper term would be “anti-Jewish” or “anti-Judaic,” and, again, the use of the erroneous “anti-Semite” lends credence to the idea of a Jewish conspiracy designed to make the “Goyim” or “Gentiles” look like irrational, prejudiced monsters. It would be much better for world harmony if this term were not perpetuated and if a spade were called a spade, particularly by an organization as the History Channel, which purports to be portraying history accurately.
Thank you for your attention to this important information.
Acharya S Archaeologist, Historian, Mythologist, Linguist Member, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece Associate Director, Institute for Historical Accuracy
Of course. The mythological derivation of the word must be the guiding principle for its meaning today.
But another example of the efforts of the Institute for Historical Accuracy can be found online relating to Noah’s ark:
The Institute for Historical Accuracy
April 19, 1999
The Myth of Noah’s Ark
In a matter of days, NBC-TV will be presenting what its star Jon Voigt calls “. . . the biggest thing ever done for television,” a mega-production of the biblical tale “Noah’s Ark.” Because this well-known story is widely portrayed as being “historical,” it is incumbent upon the Institute for Historical Accuracy to disseminate the following information.
For millennia, countless people have been taught that there was a real man named Noah who somehow piled two (or seven, depending on which scripture in the “infallible Word of God” one reads) of every animal on the planet into an ark and with his family survived an enormous global flood. Obviously, to thinkers worldwide this story is logically to be considered an impossible fable, not history.
The fact is that, rather than being a historical figure who was the progenitor of three races, Noah is a fictitious character found in the mythologies of a number of different cultures globally, as opposed to being limited to one area and its specific peoples. The Bible story, in reality, is a rehash of many of these other myths, changed to revolve around these particular peoples.
Like other biblical tales, the myth of Noah is found earlier in India, Egypt, Babylon, Sumer and other places. The fact is that there have been floods and deluge stories in many different parts of the world, including but not limited to the Middle East. In the Sumerian tale, which predated the biblical by thousands of years, the ark was built by Ziusudra; in Akkad, he was Atrakhasis, and in Babylon, Uta-Napisthim. The Greek Noah was called Deucalion, “who repopulated the earth after the waters subsided” and after the ark landed on Mt. Parnassos. The Armenian flood hero was called Xisuthros, “whose ark landed on Mt. Ararat.” Noah’s “history” can also be found in India, where there is a “tomb of Nuh” near the river Gagra in the district of Oude or Oudh, which evidently is related to Judea and Judah. The “ark-preserved” Indian Noah was also called “Menu.”
Like Noah, the Sumerian Ziusudra had three sons, including one named “Japetosthes,” essentially the same as Noah’s son Japheth, also related to Pra-japati or Jvapeti, son of the Indian Menu, whose other sons possessed virtually the same names as those of Noah, i.e., Shem and Ham.
The story of Noah’s Ark actually takes place in the heavens, as Noah and his crew of seven represent the sun, moon, earth and five inner planets. Obviously, Noah’s famous “ark,” which misguided souls have sought upon the earth, is a motif found in other myths, representing the arc-shaped lower quarter of the moon.
As to the “real” Noah’s ark alleged to have been found, it should be noted that it was a custom, in Scotland for one, to create stone “ships” on mounts in emulation of this pre-biblical celestial myth, such that any number of these “arks” may be discovered on Earth.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
For more information, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Archaeologist, Historian, Mythologist, Linguist, Humanist Minister
Member, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece
Acharya here explains her Minister rank. A Humanist Minister. This is all new to me, I’m embarrassed to say, so I googled that and it appears that I, too, can become an ordained Spiritual Humanist Minister for free and online right now at http://www.spiritualhumanism.org/ and so perform marriages and benedictions if local laws permit me.
So I am learning something of the background and person of the author of this book.
The Preface refers to now dated headers on Acharya’s website, Truth Be Known, but the current header is just as informative. Our author is undeniably a mystic and invites readers to join her on a spiritual transformation tour later this year to the Yucatan.
Kenn Thomas quotes Acharya S:
“The believers/theists believe my views are intolerant,” she writes, “while the nonbelievers/atheists object to the mysticism and perceive me as creating new beliefs . . . While I do not wish to live in a world where everyone is deluded by blind belief, I also do not want to totally dismiss all imagination or color.”
A nonbeliever or atheist position is considered to be necessarily without imagination or colour?
It seems clear, then, why Acharya S/D. M. Murdock stands apart from the mainstream positions of both believers and educated nonbelievers. She is clearly a mystic. That leaves me wondering if I should read another quotation of hers in Thomas’s Preface literally:
Indeed, Acharya S likes to say, “There is no single giant male god in charge. There are six billion little gods all jockeying for position.”
This follows Thomas’s opining that Acharya would
no doubt [agree] with [William S. Burroughs'] assessment . . . “Perhaps the most basic concept in my writing is a belief in the magical universe, a universe of many gods often in conflict. . . . “
An impressive set of academic credentials
Kenn Thomas finds “most interesting” Acharya’s combining her “rabblerousing rebel” position with “an impressive set of academic credentials.”
She belongs to one of the world’s most exclusive institutes for the study of ancient Greek civilization, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece. She has taught on Crete and worked on archaeological excavations in Corinth, site where legend holds Paul addressed the Corinthians, and in New England. She has also traveled extensively around Europe and has a “working knowledge” of Greek, French, Italian, German, Portuguese and other languages. She as read Euripides, Plato and Homer in ancient Greek and Cicero in Latin, as well as Chaucer in Middle English, and has clearly sat down withe the Bible — in English, as well as in the original Hebrew and Greek — long enough to understand it more than most clergy.
That sounds as if she is as well equipped as any zealous amateur or aficionado.
The nature of and motive for the book
She takes hammer and tong to many other non-historical figures, fraudulent church scams and misrepresented history in a matter of fact way, with chapters containing mythological character cross-references and details of legends. She recovers astronomical and cosmological elements in biblical texts that are far older than the corrupted versions revered in churches. The thesis of her work, that Christianity was created artificially out of older religions to consolidate Roman state control over those religions, as well as various mystery schools and secret societies, is a wellspring of awareness for students of conspiracy. Acharya S also makes a clear case for the existence of an ancient global civilization.
“A wellspring of awareness for students of conspiracy.” So we are told from the outset that this book is for conspiracy theorists. Christianity, we will “learn”, was created as a conspiracy for the purpose of consolidating “Roman state control”? I can understand factions in the Christian religion being used by fourth century political powers to bolster their authority, but that the Christian religion itself should have had such conspiratorial origins . . . ? Return to the fallacy links above.
So why did D. M. Murdock write it (I am loathe to refer to her by the authoritative title under which she wrote this book, being ever mindful, as I am, of Jesus’ admonition to call no man “Master” and no woman “Acharya”)?
While some may wonder about her motives for creating such a monumental work that will no doubt shake up many people’s perceptions of reality, Acharya S told me in no uncertain terms that “one of the reasons for doing this work is that I spent the first decade of my life literally becoming ill at war, violence, death and man’s inhumanity to man and other creatures. Such vile behavior has all too often occurred because of religion and unfounded beliefs. The deception of the religion business is appalling, and it’s high time it is exposed.”
So we can expect not only to read a thesis that is “a wellspring of awareness for students of conspiracy” but a work that is highly polemical, an attack on Christianity and religion in general as wellsprings of evil throughout the world.
I have my own views of Christianity and religion, but I do believe they generally need to be kept distinct from discussions and historical investigations into Christian origins. Polemical motivations for arguments can hardly reassure a reader aspiring for relative objectivity of their ultimate value.
Next: Chapter 1, the Introduction, by D. M. Murdock.