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Neander-Thoughts and Thinkers-Ideas in Religion That Never Really Worked

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Message Dennis Diehl

The Neanderthal stage of human development has always fascinated me. What beings these "not quite us" types must have been. Powerful in build and physical abilities. Impervious, compared to modern Homo Sapiens, to pain and injury. When one researcher sought to find a counterpart in our culture to explain the skeletal injuries found in most Neanderthals, the American Rodeo star won. The injuries rodeo riders suffered dealing with large animals were the same as those of the Neanderthal. Massive bones and skulls, amazingly peg like teeth used as tools over a lifetime and probably the attitude to go with it all, a Cro-Magnon, modern man, had better to have outsmarted him before he was broken in two.

Neanderthals existed for several hundred thousand years as a being on this planet. Hard to believe, but it is true. They were in Europe already when modern man entered showed up in the long trek out of Africa. European Neanderthals had no other human competition until about 35,000 years ago, and when it showed up, they lost. A culture that had the same tools and the same way of being simply lost out to creative thinkers, who, while not as physically powerful, were more intelligent and forward looking. A Neanderthal lived day to day in the present and seemed to have no foresite and few insights. This finally proved to be their downfall and the last Neanderthal may have departed the planet trapped in a cave in Southern Spain where they had been driven over thousands of years of losing out to the more "enlightened" Cro-Magnon...Us.

There are no Neanderthals on the earth today, but there are Neander-thoughts. A Neander-thought is an idea, way of thinking or being, that no longer works. Just as Neanderthals seemed incapable of insight and foresight, creative solutions and critical thinking, Neander-thoughts today are holding humans back from making any real progress and actually expose us all to being consigned to some trash heap of history for not recognizing it.

Neander-thoughts fall into endless categories, but for my intended purposes and from where I tend to come from in my experiences, I will deal with Religious Neander-thoughts. There are political, economic, social and pseudo scientific Neander thoughts out there causing no end to problems as well. However, at the present time, it seems that religious Neander-thoughts are the ones tearing the planet apart...again.

There are thousands of Neander-thoughts that no longer serve human beings well, and yet are pumped out day after day and year after year over lifetimes as if they worked. They don't work and aren't true. Perhaps they never did, but the certainly do no longer and it's time we recognized the main ones. Most won't of course. If it was good enough for daddy, it is good enough for me, is a far too common apologetic for why Neander-thoughts still deserve a place in our minds and practices.

Religious Neander-Looking back at ideas that never worked well.

1. There is the one true God that is easily found if you just look and believe. Of course with six billion diverse peoples on the planet, the One True God that you find, or finds you will be a different One True God from the one most others find or are found by.

2. Having found the One True God, be it Allah, Jesus or YHVH, there is one easily understood way this God expects you to behave and one true set of discernable beliefs and practices to be adhered to.

3. There are written texts on the planet that have literally been written by God or the gods. These texts are coherent, seamless and inerrant in their content and intent. When read, it is obvious they were not written by men.

4. Those texts that were not literally written by God or the gods, but rather inspired in the minds of chosen men are coherent, seamless and inerrant in their content and intent. There are chosen and inspired by a True God men even if you are not and cannot be one.

5. Women and texts that relate to Goddess worship and Mother Earth perspectives are never correct nor worth knowing about or practicing in fact. The sin of one woman has brought all present day problems upon us all. As a result, she shall say "yes Lord" to men and have babies painfully.

6. When a Holy Book is written over thousands of years by scores of MEN, it is coherent, seamless and inerrant in content and intent.

7. Some men and very few women are more special than the general population of humans. When God tells them to build little forts of mud and burn them down, lie on their side for over a year, or cook their food with human dung, (Ezekiel) lesser called humans should pay close attention to what this man is saying. Mental illness has never been a factor in the behavior of religious men.

8. Men in religion who talk to bushes in the desert, hear voices, see bright lights and receive commands from a Deity that no one else, standing by, can hear, see or perceive, should be paid close attention to and followed in all they say after the encounter.

9. Men who can and do stop the earth from rotating, so the sun appears to stand still, because he needs more daylight to finish the killing of enemies are credible, and it's always a good idea to have more time for killing.

10. Obscure peoples, living in obscure deserts, roaming around obscure mountains in obscure parts of the world, are the chosen people of the One True Deity, always have been and always will be, and you are not.

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Dennis Diehl is a former pastor of 26 years,  who outgrew the Literalism of Fundamentalism.  He writes about Pastoral and Church abuse and is available to speak on such topics or be helpful to any church suffering under abusive (more...)

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