Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tis the Season to Obscure Truth and Harm Your Relationships

I often expound upon the value of truth and how people should be mindful of their deceptions and attempt to be honestly accurate. Truth is essential to the well-being of children. Societies or groups of people who extoll the value of honesty and Truth are populated by healthier and happier people.

Deceptiveness and lies are often so ingrained into our culture that, as adults, they are nearly imperceptible to us. In this rationation I will provide two examples from our common parlance that are based upon disproven mythology or superstition but are nonetheless still reinforced through common daily vernacular. But before I do that I will explore some blatant lies that befall us during this season.

The winter solstice provides an opportunity to confront the deceptions and lies that were built upon ancient pagan rituals by the cults which evolved and adapted these early practices into their mythology and rituals. The winter solstice represents the reemergence of the sun. The daylight hours begin extending on that day and reach their pinnacle at the summer solstice. Celebrations and rituals during the winter solstice recognized that Earth was awakening, being reborn, and that vegetation would soon flourish again.

Cults, such as Mithraism, popular during the second century CE developed a mythology surrounding the winter solstice. This included 25 December as the birthday of the Roman god known as the "Unconquered Sun". Mithraism was a secretive cult whose members came largely from the officials of government and administrative workers. Constantine was known to have identified himself with the pagan worship of the Sun celebrated on 25 December before his conversion to Christianity. Constantine formalized Christianity and made it the state religion in 324 CE.[en1]

Like Christianity, as other new cults evolve they adapt existing mythology and ritual as a means of easing converts into their ranks by conditioning them through practices or concepts that were somewhat familial. Christianity did this through portrayals of Jesus of Nazareth as having a birthdate near the winter solstice rather than the date of his actual birth which was more likely in the Spring.[en2]

Equally as untrue as the recognized birthdate of Jesus of Nazareth being his actual birthdate is the lie about Santa Claus. I won’t go in-depth about that here because I already wrote about it in Teaching your Children about Santa Claus, or; Why it's best to Beat your Child with a Stick. Quickly though the Santa Claus mythology is a complex structure of lies that a great many people participate in and perpetuate to unsuspecting, trusting children. There is no single person flying through the air in a sleigh pulled by reindeer delivering packages, individually, to nearly a billion children throughout the world in a single day. It’s a blatant lie of which you are likely quite aware - now that you are no longer a child.

Interestingly, other mythology which is just as absurd and illogical continues to be perpetuated by those duped into also believing them when indoctrinated as youngsters. Even over their protests of chastity and not naming a father we logically know that in the 1950s and 1960s there weren’t thousands of Catholic school girls being shipped off to the home of a relative in another town to complete their pregnancy who had not engaged in sexual intercourse.[en3] Such girls were considered sluts and the claim of a virgin birth would not be uncommon to counter the social stigma. Yet there are people throughout the world so disillusioned as to believe that some woman who, according to scripture would have been stoned to death, instead of admitting to an adulterous sexual relationship also protested against allegations of sexual intercourse -- and people believed her.

The perpetuation of lies is often as a result of ignorance but equally purposeful in an intent to deceive. So now I come to the crux of this rationation where I stress the importance of being mindful of your language and the implications derived from the meaning applied to the words. This is critical for children because they do not have the experience nor abstract reasoning capabilities to fully comprehend the implied or assumed meanings present in language that, on its face, transmits a different message. A child overhearing adults speaking in a condescending tone about so and so “sleeping together” may question his or her own value because during nap time at the child warehousing center the children all “sleep together” on their mats on the floor.

When someone sneezes do you say “bless you”? Have you referred to the Sun as “rising” in the morning? Both of these have cult origins and the bases for both have been soundly scientifically disproven although each still receives support in somewhat of a liturgical sense.

The Abrahamic cults hold a geocentric model of the universe - that Earth is standing still at the center of the universe. A substantial majority of the people of the world now hold a heliocentric view of our solar system - that the Sun occupies a stationary point in the center of our solar system and the planets rotating on their axes revolve around it. Galileo’s become an advocate of the work of the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and in the year 1610 Galileo published his heliocentric observations. His initial discoveries were met with opposition within the Catholic Church, and in 1616 the Inquisition declared heliocentrism to be formally heretical. The Church held the biblical view that the Sun revolved around the earth.[en4] Heliocentric books were banned and Galileo was ordered to refrain from holding, teaching or defending heliocentric ideas. The Roman Inquisition tried Galileo in 1633 and found him "vehemently suspect of heresy", sentencing him to indefinite imprisonment. Galileo was kept under house arrest until his death in 1642.[en5]

Although the cults attempt to keep their adherents ignorant of Truth, Truth being what it is -- self-evident -- reveals itself to enlightened people. Vestiges of the deceptions and lies remain embedded in our culture and language. People often still reinforce the geocentric view of the universe by attributing movement to the Sun rather than Earth in declaring that the Sun “rises” in the morning. Accurately and without allegiance to either universal view is that the Sun “appears” just as your clothing may appear in the morning when you open a closet door although neither the clothing nor room moved.

Church leaders mandated to propound dogma are not the only professionals to ignore Truth and advocate mythology, superstition of falsehoods. Microorganisms were first discovered by Anton van Leeuwenhoek in 1675 with the invention of the microscope. Nearly 200 years later is was Louis Pasteur who made the connection between microbes and infectious illnesses. Initially his findings were ridiculed by the medical community which was still largely under cult influence.[en6]

The great majority of people in the world now hold the view that viruses or bacteria are the cause of illness that befall us and produce the symptoms of lethargy, irritability, headache, congestion, runny nose and yes - sneezing. Yet a great many people still perpetuate the cult based fallacy that such illness and associated symptoms are the result of demon possession. Sneezes are not the bodies attempt at self-exorcism for which one needs to be “blessed”. Sneezes are simply the result of irritation to the nasal passages that can be caused by bacterial or viral infection.

The involuntary act of sneezing and its related air exchange has been assigned meaning by many cultures. Commonly the air exchange is referred to as out with the bad and in with the good. The expulsion and repudiation implied in sneezing is yet glanced at in the saying that such a thing is "not to be sneezed at." Hindu, Muslim, and Christian texts all give account to evil spirits entering or being expelled from the body through air passages.

While the rational mind can know Truth, for many people who are so invested in cults and don’t want to admit being deceived they hold onto the deceptions through culture and ritual as it was declared they should. Pope Leo XIII said that when the proofs of physical science contradict scripture that people are to believe scripture and “at all events we must, without the smallest hesitation, believe it to be so."[en7]

Various popes have defended scripture by attacking those who reveal contradictions or Truth as doing so with an evil motive. Pope Pius XII in quoting St. Augustine claims that their analysis ignores that when god spoke to man he “did not intend to teach men these things – that is the essential nature of the things of the universe.”[en8] Rather it was the intention of god that man remain ignorant of sciences.

The Catholic Church imprisoned Galileo for his revelation of Truth. It wasn’t until the decision of the Congregation of the Holy Office in 1822 as ratified by Pope Pius VII that the prohibition on the publication of books treating of the earth's motion in accordance with Truth, such as Galileo’s 1632 Dialogue, was rescinded.

For those who were deceived, lied to actually, and then who become aware of Truth through an admission -- such as that of the Catholic Church -- or via other means feel that a sense of trust has been violated. Children who placed their lives in trust of parents feel this when the falsehood of Santa Claus is revealed. Spouses experience this when infidelities are revealed. The pains and pangs on deceptions are not a result of the underlying act itself but in the subjective experience of betrayal or the insult of being duped. We may hear this expressed as “How could I have been so stupid?” Lies damage relationships. I contend, more so than the act of betrayal.

If you are not mindful of what you say you may not only be perpetuating an absurdity and casting doubt upon your intelligence but you may be reflecting messages that are not aligned with your actual feelings. The English language with its grammatical structure, when used properly, is so precise that there is no room for ambiguity or misperception. From the linguistic perspective it counts more as to what is perceived rather than as to what is said, which any good speech writer knows. In the case of high conflict parents or children one must consider the lens through which these people of differing experiences will perceive what is said. Being mindful of language improves communication -- the key to successful relationships.


[1] Constantine, who had converted to Christianity, defeated Licinius in battles at Adrianople and Chrysopolis in 324CE leaving him as the sole rule of the Roman Empire. Constantine then advanced Christianity throughout the empire.
[2] Some theologians have suggested that Jesus was born in the spring, based on the biblical narrative that shepherds were watching over their flocks in the fields on the night of Jesus' birth.
[3] Fessler, Ann. The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade. Penguin Books, 2006
[4] The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. [Joshua 10:14]
[5] Mayer, Thomas F. The Roman Inquisition: Trying Galileo. University of Pennsylvania Press.
[6] C N Trueman "Louis Pasteur" The History Learning Site, 17 Mar 2015.
[7] Pope Leo XIII Quoting St. Augustine in PROVIDENTISSIMUS DEUS: ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON THE STUDY OF HOLY SCRIPTURE. Given at St. Peter's, at Rome, 18 November, 1893.
[8] Pope Pius XII quoting St. Augustine in Divino Afflante Spiritu (On Promoting Biblical Studies) Given at Rome, at St. Peter's, on 30 September 1943

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