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Pope Francis blesses Pachamama, from Peter Myers

(1) Economist: Pope Francis blesses a statue of Pachamama, Inca goddess(2) Pope Francis apologizes that Pachamama was thrown into Tiber River(3) Pope Francis blesses Pachamama - a slide into paganism?(1) Economist: Pope Francis blesses a statue of Pachamama, Inca goddess beautiful southPower in the Catholic church is shifting south and exposing divisionsThe church is pondering whether to ordain women and married menPrint edition | InternationalOct 24th 2019 | ATALAIA DO NORTE, BRAZIL; NAZARETH, COLOMBIA; AND VATICAN CITYAs the sun sets over Nazareth, a village on the banks of the Amazon river in the Colombian rainforest, a Jesuit priest peers out at a small congregation, made up of members of the indigenous Tikuna people. They are sitting on rickety benches around the edges of a cement church. "Why is everyone so far away?" asks Father Valério Paulo Sartor, stepping down from the altar to say mass from the aisle. "If you won’t come to me, I’ll come to you."Some 6,000 miles away in Rome, bishops, indigenous leaders and ngo representatives from the Amazon basin, together with Vatican prelates, are discussing how the Catholic church can do just that. In a three-week synod that ends on October 27th, they hope to find new ways for the church to work with local communities to tackle the crises facing the region—and Catholicism—in a part of the world where the church is overstretched, understaffed, yet still remarkably influential.The synod represents the biggest step yet towards recognising something many Catholics in the West, especially church leaders, have been reluctant to acknowledge: just as economic and diplomatic power in the secular world is slipping away from the North Atlantic region, a similar process is taking place in Catholicism. In the secular world, the shift is to Asia. Within the Catholic church it is towards not only Asia, but Africa and Latin America, too. That is forcing the church to consider how far it is willing to adapt to the practices and beliefs of cultures with their own spiritual traditions. The synod has added to fears of a new schism within the church.Catholicism’s three biggest national churches are those of Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines. It has become a religion largely of the poor world, but with a leadership that is still predominantly rooted in the rich one. Around 40% of baptised Catholics are from North America, Europe, Australasia and Japan, yet those regions provide the church with 57% of its cardinals. Italy, with 4% of the world’s Catholic population, is the birthplace of almost one in five of the "princes of the church".Pope Francis, who is the first Latin American pontiff, has tried to rebalance things. He joked on the night of his election in 2013 that his fellow cardinals had gone "almost to the ends of the Earth" to find him. He has continued their quest. More than half the cardinals he has created come from the developing world. His long-awaited reform of the administration of the Catholic church may take the process further by reducing the scope of the Vatican and transferring some of its departments—and power—to other parts of the world.That shift has been exacerbated by the growing threat posed by climate change. The pope has long argued that care for the environment is inseparable from the fight against global inequality. He called the synod, the first to be dedicated to a single region, partly because of the Amazon’s crucial role as a buffer against climate change. Its basin contains 40% of Earth’s rainforests and serves as a carbon sink, mitigating warming. But rising deforestation, on the pretext of development, threatens the sustainability of the ecosystem. The insouciance of regional governments, especially Brazil’s, puts them on a collision course with the church.Leaders from half a dozen ethnic groups gathered recently in Atalaia do Norte, a town outside an indigenous territory the size of Austria, to discuss a rise in invasions by illegal miners and loggers emboldened by Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro. His government has shrugged off deforestation, vowed to legalise mining on indigenous lands, and hollowed out the environment ministry and the indigenous agency, funai. The murder in September of a contractor from funai who worked in that territory, Vale do Javari—and the subsequent exodus of other workers after they were threatened—left the tribes feeling even more vulnerable.Despite the church’s chequered history in the region (it is credited with educating millions of poor children but blamed for its complicity with colonialism and the economic exploitation that followed), many indigenous people see the institution as their most promising ally. "In the past, the church made us lose our culture, but there’s a new spirit in the head of the pope," says Absalon, a middle-aged curaca (chief) from a Uitoto village near Nazareth.The Indigenist Missionary Council (cimi), a human-rights organisation established by the Catholic church in Brazil in 1972 and run mostly by lay-workers, helps indigenous tribes secure land rights and put pressure on governments to uphold them. In a vast region where the state’s presence is limited, cimi also tells the authorities about abuses against indigenous people. "The church is often the bridge between the tribes and the government," says Felício Pontes, a public prosecutor who worked for two decades in the Amazon. "It saves us time and money."But the Catholic church is not an ngo; it wants to save souls as well as trees. Its efforts to do so raise an issue that resonates far beyond Latin America and the Catholic church. "The indigenous representatives [in the synod] are saying: ‘If you don’t recognise some part of indigenous spirituality, you will lose us’," says Josianne Gauthier, a guest at the synod and the secretary-general of cidse, an international alliance of Catholic charities.How far, though, can a religion based on dogma go in respecting other belief systems before it irreparably compromises its own? The dilemma posed by inculturation—the adaptation of a religion to alien cultures—has been central to the synod’s deliberations. It parallels the secular debate in countries that have experienced mass immigration over the relative merits of multiculturalism and assimilation.Christians have been borrowing from other religions since the days when the pagan feast of Saturnalia transmogrified into Christmas and the Gaelic festival of Samhain became All Saints’ Day. In the sermons he delivers in Nazareth, Father Valério adapts a few of the details. The figs become local acai berries and Mary and Joseph travel, not by donkey, but in a canoe.Few Catholics dispute the need for compromise if their faith is to prevail in a part of the world where it is increasingly being challenged by other brands of Christianity, particularly the evangelical kind. But many would be shocked to hear Adolfo Zon Pereira, the bishop of the Alto Solimões region of the Brazilian Amazon, say: "We don’t talk about conversion any more." Dialogue with locals, he argues, should be "intercultural and inter-religious" in order to protect "our shared house".To the retired pastor of Marajó, another Amazonian diocese, this verges on sacrilege. Bishop José Luís Azcona Hermoso believes that the synod has been irretrievably corrupted by an "obsession to understand the Amazon from the [perspective of] indigenous people", who make up only a small fraction of its residents.On October 4th, two days before the synod opened, Pope Francis and other Vatican dignitaries attended a ceremony in the Vatican gardens that gave substance to the worst fears of those who believe that the pope’s tolerant liberalism risks carrying him to the brink of heresy, or even beyond. "A group of people, including Amazonians in ritual dress, as well as people in lay clothes and a Franciscan brother, knelt and bowed in a circle around images of two pregnant women who appeared to be semi-clothed," according to the Catholic News Agency. A woman later presented one of the statues, apparently representing the Andean fertility goddess, Pachamama, to Pope Francis, who blessed it.The event, with its suggestion of pagan worship, set off a social-media firestorm of indignation. A "blasphemous abomination" is how one conservative website described it. On October 21st a video was uploaded to YouTube showing the removal of wooden figures similar to those used in the Vatican ceremony from a Rome church. They were then cast into the Tiber.Lead, kindly lightExasperation with the reforming pope has been gathering momentum among a minority of traditional Catholics. Even some of his cardinals believe he is distorting the church’s teaching. Talk of a schism within the church is growing. Last month Pope Francis said he was not afraid of such a rift, but prayed that it would not happen.The discussion at the synod of whether to recommend in the Amazon region the ordination of women as deacons or that of married men as priests will do little to heal such divisions. Both questions have arisen as a result of local issues, in particular, a scarcity of manpower. Most missionaries in the Amazon are lay-workers or women. Father Valério makes it to Nazareth, less than an hour up the Amazon from where he lives, only every couple of months. Some isolated places see a priest just once a year.Where do they go from here?The pope is not bound to respect the synod’s advice. But a strong consensus against either measure would make it harder for him to steamroll them through. As a first step towards drawing up the synod’s final report, 12 working groups were formed. Six have endorsed the ordination of viri probati (a church phrase meaning "men of proven virtue"), who in many cases would be tribal elders, and four that of women as deacons. But the others either appealed for further debate or made no mention of the issue.Approving either measure would prove divisive. The ordination of women as deacons would enable them to carry out a wide range of ecclesiastical activities, from delivering sermons to officiating at some baptisms and funerals. Supporters argue that women played a prominent role in the early church. Conservatives remain energetically resistant to the idea.Traditionalists fear that ordaining married men as priests in the Amazon could gradually lead to wider, if not complete, acceptance of the practice. On October 18th Archbishop Rino Fisichella, a senior church bureaucrat, disclosed that his working group had recommended the creation of a new, Amazonian rite. Such a move should ensure that the practice of ordaining married priests was "quarantined" within the region, making sure that it could not easily be spread to the rest of the church. But opponents still fret that this could be the thin end of the wedge.Such debates echo only faintly in the Amazon basin, where the concerns of most missionaries are largely practical. Father Valério spends far more time on boats criss-crossing the region to check up on the well-being of residents—only some of whom are Catholic—than he does baptising babies or giving communion. His work will continue whatever Rome decides. But the current in the synod appears to be flowing in the direction of change. ?This article appeared in the International section of the print edition under the headline "The beautiful south"(2) Pope Francis apologizes that Pachamama was thrown into Tiber River Francis apologizes that Amazon synod 'Pachamama' was thrown into Tiber RiverCatholic News Agency  25 October, 2019'As bishop of this diocese, I ask forgiveness from those who have been offended by this gesture'After controversial statues were thrown into Rome’s Tiber River, Pope Francis has issued an apology during Friday’s afternoon session of the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops on the Amazon."As bishop of this diocese," Pope Francis, who is Bishop of Rome, said, "I ask forgiveness from those who have been offended by this gesture."Pope Francis also reported that the statues had been recovered from the river, are not damaged, and are being kept in the offices of the head of Italy’s national police.The statues, which were identical carved images of a naked pregnant Amazonian woman, had been displayed in the Carmelite church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, close to the Vatican, and used in several events, rituals, and expression of spirituality taking place during the October 6-27 Amazonian synod.The pope said they had been displayed in the church "without idolatrous intentions," according to a transcript provided by the Vatican press office.The statues were thrown into the river on October 21; a video released on YouTube showed two men entering the Church, leaving with the statues, and then throwing them off a nearby bridge.The figures have become symbols of controversy during the synod of bishops, which is a meeting held to discuss the Church’s life and pastoral ministry in the Amazonian region of South America. They first appeared at an October 4 tree-planting ceremony in the Vatican gardens, attended by Pope Francis, at which they were in the center of a collection of figurines around which attendees processed.According to the transcript provided by the Vatican, the pope referred to the statues as "Pachamama," the name traditionally given to an Andean fertility goddess, which can be roughly translated as "Mother Earth."While it is unclear whether he was using it colloquially, the pope’s use of the term "Pachamama" will likely further ongoing debate regarding the exact nature of the statutes, and what they represent.They had been described as representing "Our Lady of the Amazon," and some journalists initially suggested they represented the Blessed Virgin Mary.Vatican spokesmen have said that they represent "life," and are not religious symbols, but some journalists and commentators have raised questions about the origins of the symbols, and whether they were religious symbols of Amazonian indigenous groups.Paolo Ruffini, head of the Vatican’s communications office, said last week that "fundamentally, it represents life. And enough. I believe to try and see pagan symbols or to see… evil, it is not," he said, adding that "it represents life through a woman."He equated the image to that of a tree, saying "a tree is a sacred symbol."The pope said that the statues might be displayed during the closing Mass of the synod on October 27, saying that would be a matter for the Vatican’s Secretary of State to decide.Transcript of Pope Francis’ October 25 remarks, as provided by the Holy See Press Office:"Buon pomeriggio, vi vorrei dire una parola sulle statue della Pachamama che sono state tolte dalla chiesa nella Traspontina, che erano lì senza intenzioni idolatriche e sono state buttate al Tevere.Prima di tutto questo è successo a Roma e come vescovo della diocesi io chiedo perdono alle persone che sono state offese da questo gesto.Poi comunico che le statue, che hanno creato tanto clamore mediatico, sono state ritrovate nel Tevere. Le statue non sono danneggiate.Il Comandante dei Carabinieri desidera che si informi di questo ritrovamento prima che la notizia diventi pubblica. Al momento la notizia è riservata e le statue sono custodite nell’ufficio del Comandante dei Carabinieri italiani.Il Comando dei Carabinieri sarà ben lieto di dare seguito a qualsiasi indicazione che si vorrà dare circa la modalità di pubblicazione della notizia e per le altre iniziative che si vogliono prendere a riguardo, ad esempio, riferisce il comandante,’l’esposizione delle statue durante la Santa Messa di chiusura del Sinodo’, si vedrà. Io delego il Segretario di Stato che risponda a questo.Questa è una bella notizia, grazie."(3) Pope Francis blesses Pachamama - a slide into paganism?- by Peter Myers, Oct 27, 2019Pope Francis has blessed Pachamama, an Inca goddess.Orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians would see it as a slide into paganism, but the Catholic Church has practised religious syncretism for two thousand years.It has copied or borrowed themes from Ancient Egypt (the Madonna and Child), Babylon (the Queen of Heaven), and Persia (Dec 25 was the birthday of Mithra). The Monstrance features symbolism appropriated from the sun-god (the rays of the sun radiate out).I have many books on that topic. Most are by atheists who see such borrowing as proof of fakery. I don't, and will explain why, below.Even the Jewish religion borrowed copiously. Before the exile, it was polytheistic, featuring a Council of Gods headed by a Great God, El. Later, Yahweh appropriated El; but like El, he had the goddess Asherah as his wife. The original Temple of Solomon was built during the polytheistic period.Judaism as we know it was born in Babylon during the Exile, partly under the influence of the Babylonian religion - the Jewish Calendar even to this day is the Babylonian Calendar - but mainly under Zoroastrian influence.Zoroastrianism was the religion of the Persian Empire, the first 'multicultural' empire. The Zoroastrian religion was the first 'revealed' religion based upon its scripture (the Avesta), commentary (Zend), and psalms (Gathas). Zoroaster preached the first Monotheism; he was the first to distinguish between a totally good God (named Mazda), and a totally evil Devil (named Ahriman, or The Lie). Friedrich Nietzsche assessed Zoroaster as the first Moralist - something Nietzsche disapproved of.Zoroastrianism featured angels and devils, a cosmic battle between Good and Evil, a Messiah, judgment after death, resurrection of the body, and the final triumph of Good with the defeat of the Evil forces.Judaism copied all these features, and the Essenes, who evolved to became the first Christians, took them very seriously. In effect, Christianity is a continuation of the Zoroastrian religion.Sadducees preserved the original Judaism; Pharisees were the leaders of Zoroastrianised Judaism. The word 'Pharisee' is a rendition of the word 'Parsee', which means 'Zoroastrian'. After the Fall of Jerusalem in 70AD, the Council of Javneh developed a new form of Judaism based on Phariseeism; The Sadducees were no more.Leading Jewish author Norman Cohn acknowledged the Jewish debt to Zoroastrianism in his last book, Cosmos, Chaos and the WorId to Come.The Zoroastrian religion, as outlined above, was somewhat intolerant, as all monotheistic religions are. But the Persian Emperors, ruling a huge empire with many different religions, could not afford to let fundamentalists take charge. They tolerated the local religions throughout the empire, except when they became the nuclei of rebellions. In that spirit, the Old Testament says, Cyrus let the Exiles return to Palestine. In fact, Cyrus had such a policy throughout the Empire. Even in the Persian religion itself, the goddess Anahita reappeared after a while.In fact, most Exiles stayed in Babylon. There was no mass Return; archaeology has proved that.But Ezra, in Babylon, formulated Judaism as we know it, including the story of Moses and the Exodus - this was a motivator for Jews to Return, a precedent - but in fact, there never had been an Exodus. Archaeology, once again, has shown so.The only comparable event was the expulsion of the Hyksos shepherd-kings from northern Egypt (the Delta) about 1530 BC. They had ruled from their capital Avaris; the Biblical towns Pi-Ramesse and Raamses are associated with this period. Pharaoh Ramesses II was long alleged to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus, and to have drowned in the Red Sea when the waves, parted by Moses to let the Israelites cross, closed back in.The Bible says that the returning sea swamped the Egyptian Army; but the mummy of Pharaoh Ramesses II is in the Egyptian Museum at Cairo; I saw it last year.After the expulsion, the Hyksos returned to Syria/Palestine, chased by the Egyptians, who incorporated the whole region into their empire, up to the border of the Hittite Empire. There was no independent state of Israel as the Old Testament alleges. Those books were written by Ezra and other scribes centuries later in Babylon.Ezra has God commanding the Returnees from Babylon to separate from the People of the Land and seize Palestine from them. Many genocidal passages from the Old Testament originate in his fanaticism, inspired by Zoroastrian fundamentalism.These passages are based on the distinction between Israel and "the Nations" (Gentiles, Pagans, Goyim, Non-Jews). Israel is commanded to overcome and destroy them:1. "Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you" (Genesis 27:29)2. "I will send my terror in front of you, and throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come ... Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and possess the land" (Exodus 23:27-9)"For I will cast out nations before you, and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year." (Exodus 34:24)3. "Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, for by all these practices the nations I am casting out before you have defiled themselves" (Leviticus 18:24)4. "As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves. You may also acquire them from the aliens residing with you ..." (Leviticus 25:44-5)5. "When the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are about to enter and occupy, and he clears away many nations before you ... and the LORD your God gives them over to you and you defeat them, then you must utterly destroy them" (Deuteronomy 7:1)The Europeans who conquered the New World were Christians, but their religion also incorporated the Jewish Bible, and sometimes values like the above took hold.The Spanish conquerors in America recited the "Requiremento" to the Indians:"On the part of the King, (and)...Queen...we their humble servitors hereby...make known to you that the lord our God, living and eternal, created the Heavens and the Earth, and also one man and one woman, of whom you and we, and all mankind...are the 5,000 year since the world was created..."Of all these nations God gave the charge to one man - St Peter...that he should be the head of all the human race...This office of St. Peter was called Pontifex Maximus, or the Pope. One of these Pontiffs who succeeded St. Peter as lord of the world...made donation of these Isles...and all contained therein to the atorementioned King Ferdinand and Queen Juana as is shown in certain writings upon the subject, which writings you may examine if you wish..."We ask and require you that you do consider what we have said to you and that you take the time that shall be necessary to...deliberate upon and that you do acknowledge the Church as the Mistress and superior of the whole World, and the high priest called the Pope, and in his name and stead the King Don Fernando and Queen Donna Juana, as superiors and lords and Kings of these Isles and terra firma..."If you do so, you will do well...But if you do not do this...I certify to you that with the help of God we shall forcibly enter into your country and shall make war against you in all ways and manners that we can ..and shall take you and your wives and children and shall make slaves of them ..."The Requiremento was normally read in Spanish to the trees. In one case it was actually translated to an Indian ruler, Atahualpa of Peru, in 1532:"Pizarro's Priest Vicente De Valverdo read the 'requiremento' to Atahualpa. After hearing it he said 'Your Pope must surely be a most extraordinary man to give so liberally of what does not belong to him.' He asked Vicente where he got his title to command of the Earth. 'In this book' replied the monk, presenting his breviary to the Emperor. Atahualpa took the book, examined it on all sides, fell a laughing and throwing it away added 'Neither this nor any other writing conveys a title to the Earth.'"- from The Lost Science of Money, by Stephen Zarlenga, p. 212.Given the false pretenses under which the Spanish Conquest was enacted, it may be only fair that Pope Francis has blessed Pachamama.If I were an atheist and materialist, as you are probably assuming, this would be a good place to stop.But I'm not; and I will now proceed to tell the other side of the story. It begins in the Soviet Union, in the 1980s.Tikkon Shevkunov, who grew up in the days of Scientific Atheism, relates that one of his teachers introduced the class to divination and seances.They found, to their surprise, that spiritualism was not all fakery as they had expected. Seances led to revelations from 'spirits' of private facts that no-one else knew but the recipient.Tikkon and his friends were so disturbed that they returned to the Orthodox Church. Tikkon became a monk, then the abbott of his monastery, and is now Metropolitan (Bishop) of Moscow, and the 'Spiritual Father' of Vladimir Putin. He wrote up the story in his best-selling book Everyday Saints and Other Stories.I'm going to quote a bit of it:{p. 7} Our teacher for foreign art history was Paola Dmitrivena Volkova. Her lectures were always interesting. And for some reason, perhaps because she was herself a person striving for answers to the big questions in life, she used to share her spiritual and mystical experiments with us. For example, she devoted a whole lecture or two to the ancient Chinese book of divination, the I Ching. Paola even brought sandalwood incense and yarrow stalks into the classroom and taught us how to use them to peer into the future.One of her lectures concerned investigations conducted over many years (though unknown to all but the smallest group of specialists) by the famous Russian scientists Dmitri Mendeleyev and Vladimir Vernadsky. And although Paola gave us fair warning that dabbling in such things risked all kinds of unpredictable and unpleasant consequences, we, her students, with all our youthful enthusiasm, plunged ourselves into these tempting new mysterious worlds.I will not get into the technical description of spiritualist techniques described in Mendeleyev's scientific papers, which we further discovered from researchers at the Vernadsky Museum in Moscow. But having experimented ourselves with several of the techniques, we found that we could indeed establish some sort of connection with ...  certain completely incomprehensible (for us) but nonetheless absolutely real entities. And these new mysterious acquaintances of ours with whom we began to conduct long nocturnal conversations during seances, introduced themselves by various names: sometimes Napoleon, sometimes Socrates, and sometimes the recently dead grandmother of one of our acquaintances.These entities would sometimes relate incredibly interesting things to us. Furthermore, to our utter astonishment, they somehow knew intimate details about each of our personal lives. For example, we might be curious about our classmate Alexander Rogozhkin (who would become a renowned film director). With whom was he secretly going out until late at night? And we would immediately receive the answer: "With Katya, a second-year student." Rogozhkin was indignant, huffing and puffing - and by his fury it was quite obvious that this answer had been spot on.{p. 8} But there were other "revelations" that were even more amazing. Once during a break between lectures, one of my friends, who was particularly engrossed by these seances, started almost throwing himself at us, his classmates, urgently asking around in a conspiratorial whisper, with eyes red from sleeplessness: "Who is Mikhail Gorbachev?" Neither I nor any of my classmates had ever heard of anyone by this name (it was 1982). But my friend explained: "Last night we asked 'Stalin' who was going to be running this country and he answered: 'Some guy named Mikhail Gorbachev. But I've never heard of him myself. Find out who he is!"Three months later we were all shocked to hear the news that the young former First Secretary of the Regional Committee of the Stravropol Provincial Communist Party had been elected a Candidate Member of the Politburo.{endquote}Well, the same has happened to be. I have encountered ESP, Telepathy and Witchcraft - the bad kind.The latter happened through my attending a Tarot Reading. The Reader, a Filipino woman, told me that she had called up the spirit of Hose Rizal. She wrote down the message in a book. The spirit proceeded to warn me of something very personal (which I cannot disclose), but in effect he was warning me about something the Reader would do in coming months.She engaged in witchcraft, and attempted to take over my mind and life, promising to give me half her power. "You can have sex with anyone you like," she said. "I don't want your power," I said, "Take it back."I can't prove that the witchcraft was spiritual; it could have been a form of hypnosis. But she could even do it over the phone.So, like Tikhon, I conclude that there is another dimension, a spiritual dimension, what clairvoyants call "The Other Side".I don't claim to know much about it. But I am sure that all religions try to engage it. That is why religions are important to people. And yet, in their theology and teachings, all religions are wrong. We are not given to "see through the glass".Even though all religions are wrong, many of them have some good features.The Catholic Church, on account of its long experience of syncretism with other faiths, is well-placed to 'discern the spirits' and draw features of merit from traditional religions, even while rejecting other features.This is a strength that the Catholic Church has, that Evangelical Churches and Orthodox Judaism do not.Recently, Pope Francis was in the news for saying "I don’t go to the Doctor, I go to the Witch!".By 'witch' he meant 'shaman'.The stories mentioned two 'witches': Dr. Liu Ming, an Acupuncturist from China, and a woman from South America who visited Francis at the Vatican and gave him Healing.For conventional Catholics, the story was shocking. But one of my readers, David West, commented, "The stuff the Shrmans do is not magic. It's the same basic principles that Jesus Christ used when healing people."I think so too.The Talmud disparages Jesus of Nazareth, calling him a  'Magician' or 'Sorceror':{quote}10 ... On (Sabbath eve and)10 the eve of Passover Jesus the Nazarene11 was hanged (telduhu).12 And a herald went forth before him 40 days (heralding): Jesus the Nazarene13 is going forth to be stoned because he practiced sorcery (kishshef) and instigated (hissit) and seduced (hiddiah) Israel (to idolatry). Whoever knows anything in his defense, may come and state it. But since they did not find anything in his defense, they hanged him on (Sabbath eve and) 14 the eve of Passover.Ulla said: Do you suppose that Jesus the Nazarenell was one for whom a defense could be made? He was a mesit (someone who instigated Israel to idolatry), concerning whom the Merciful [God] says: Show him no compassion and do not shield him (Deut. 13:9).{endquote}- Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud), Sanhedrin 43a. From Jesus in the Talmud, by Peter Schafer, Princeton University Press, 2007, p. 64.Another translation uses the word 'magician' instead of 'sorceror':{quote}It was taught: On the day before the Passover they hanged Jesus. A herald went before him for forty days [proclaiming], "He will be stoned, because he practiced magic and enticed Israel to go astray. Let anyone who knows anything in his favor come forward and pleads for him." But nothing was found in his favor, and they hanged him on the day before the Passover. (b. Sanhedrin 43a){endquote}- from The Rabbinic Tradition: Jesus the Magician and Deceiver 1987, when in the Philippines, I visited a Psychic Surgeon and saw him perform bloodless operations on patients without using instruments.My contacts in the Philippines were sceptical, and tried to dissuade me, but in the end I was able to find out this healer's address, and called on him.He had patients queued up as in a doctor's surgery. In the operating room, there was a statue of Jesus of Nazareth, recumbent on a sofa. I have never seen such a recumbent statue before or since.People call them "Faith Healers", but that is a misnomer. They do perform surgery; it is not just a matter of faith.He opened his patient's stomach with his bare hands, removed something, then closed the wound with his fingers. There was no blood. He sprinkled a disinfectant over the wound.Anthropologists used to encounter 'Sorcerors' and 'Medicine Men', some seemingly doing evil, and others good. Professor A.P. Elkin wrote about "Aboriginal Men of High Degree".Perhaps some of them were like the Psychic Surgeon I saw; I don't know if this is uniquely Christian. Such healers are found in Catholic countries, and are (I believe) frequented more by poorer people than by urban professionals. Perhaps they're more gullible; or perhaps less inhibited by scepticism.If there is another Dimension, a spiritual dimension, then it is not subject to the physical evolution that occurs in the Physical Dimension.The Theosophists say so; that Evolution is compatible with spirit, because they operate in discrete domains.I must say a final word about Theosophy.I have studied their literature; bought books at Theosophical bookshops; and was a member of the Theosophical Society in Canberra for a while.On the one hand, they spread knowledge and tolerance about other religions (including witchcraft); on the other hand, the founders of Theosophy were devotees of Lucifer - called Ahriman in Zoroastrianism, and Satan in Christianity.These Theosophical feminists portrayed Satan as an Enlightener. They put out a magazine called "Lucifer".The word "Lucifer" DOES mean "Light"; but so does the word "Mazda", name of the Good God in Zoroastrianism. If you want Light, why not go to the Good God instead of the Bad one?Alice Bailey was associated with the Lucis Trust - once again the "Light" theme.And Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy is also pro-Ahriman.Here is a review of the book Satanic feminism, by Per Faxneld: Under the SpellAugusto Zimmermann20th October 2019Satanic feminism is based on Faxneld’s doctoral dissertation, which was awarded the Donner Institute Prize for Eminent Research on Religion. It discusses how prominent feminists—primarily between 1880 and 1930—used Satan as a symbol of their rejection of the so-called "patriarchal traits of Christianity". It shows that these women were inspired by the period’s most influential new religion, Theosophy, and how the anti-Christian discourses of radical secularism affected feminism.Satanic feminism sheds a new light on the early feminist movement. It discusses neglected or unknown aspects of the intellectual connections of early feminism with Satanism in a way that nobody before Faxneld has dared to do. In doing so, he richly illustrates how leading figures of the early feminist movement, such as the suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the actress Sarah Bernhardt and the poet Renée Vivien, viewed God as the precursor of patriarchy and Satan as an ally in the fight against it.This feminist view of Satan as the liberator of women, according to Faxneld, was "intertwined with prominent anticlerical, left-wing, and esoteric currents of its time". Examples in his book include feminists employing Lucifer as a symbol of revolution and eulogising him as an anti-patriarchal figure. As Faxneld points out, Satanism and feminist politics were interwoven from the first appearance of the theme of Satan as a benevolent revolutionary figure and the liberator of womankind. [...]The founder of the spiritualistic movement called Theosophy, Helena Blavatsky, is notorious for promoting Satanic inversions of Genesis 3, arguing that "Satan, the enemy of God, is in reality, the highest divine Spirit". Blavatsky’s books Isis Unveiled (1877) and The Secret Doctrine (1888) were hugely successful, the first book selling roughly half a million copies up until 1980. These books depict the Fall positively, as a significant event that implies an up-valuation of women: "She is no longer responsible for mankind’s fall into sin but is instead actively involved in the gaining of spiritual wisdom from the benevolent snake."According to Blavatsky, Satan—or Lucifer, or the Devil, as she often uses the names interchangeably—brought mankind spiritual wisdom and is "the spirit of Intellectual Enlightenment and Freedom of Thought". Beginning in September 1887 she published a journal in England called Lucifer, which infamously spread the notion of a connection between the use of pro-Satan symbolism and the struggle for women’s rights.There was another feminist periodical in the United States also called Lucifer. Through its choice of name, in combination with a heavy emphasis on women’s rights, it disseminated the image of Satan and female emancipation as related. As Dr Faxneld notes, Lucifer was an influential American feminist organ for more than twenty-five years. By 1879 it reached readers in at least thirty-seven American states and at least eight other countries.{end}You can buy Satanic feminism at Amazon:Satanic Feminism: Lucifer as the Liberator of Woman in Nineteenth-Century Culture at can buy Everyday Saints and Other Stories at Amazon: at Abebooks: