I have been lurking and reading all the interesting comments and opinions. Thanks a bunch.
Sadly, religion has dominated my life. Initially, Greek Orthodox and then when I was 7ish my mum became born again and everything changed. Life became colourless and extreme.
No: music/dancing/sleeveless clothes/trousers/non Christian friends etc etc etc. Life was linear and riddled with guilt, as I did eventually succumb to the constant accusations from the pulpit that I was sinful and condemned.
Thankfully, I managed to extricate myself but am still haunted by the concept of hell! I know crazy. The indoctrination was fierce.
One of my biggest issues is that even if it is true I cannot in good conscious accept it. The whole idea of a loving god condemning the masses to an eternal damnation is such a contradiction. And don’t get me started on original sin and human sacrifice to atone for it! Seriously? As Richard Dawkins Says ‘why can’t god just forgive us? He is god after all.’
Why can’t we just die and be done? No we have to suffer eternally because god loves us. Not convinced.
It was such a heavy burden to carry and now I feel lighter and overall happier.
Although must confess that I am a bit obsessed with religion/cults!
For one I can’t get over the Exodus. Forty years of wandering in the desert for what? That’s a long time out of a limited human life to be punished for disobedience.
Thanks for this place of refuge.
I really appreciate it.
Exodus never happened. It was a made up story. There is no archeological evidence for such an event, 600,000 people wandering in an area that small? For 40 years? Yet not one artifact, dried turd or anything, not one relic found.
Let yourself off the hook. Most of the stories in the Pentateuch are plagiarized from older texts, exaggerated or just plain never happened.
Stick around Daisy, ask questions, here you will get answers!
Greetings from the Great White North (aka Canada) CrazyDaisy.
First off, and this is important, this is a safe place. You are not alone in dealing with religion. And there are scores of people in here that are truly sympathetic to the abuse you endured. Many in here also suffered the same fate.
I was living in Queensland, Australia until last November, but we’ve now moved back to the South Island of New Zealand.
I sympathize with your struggle. Religion poisons everything, especially family ties. The good thing about atheism is that you don’t have to witness, and you don’t risk your immortal soul by going into the wrong church or eating the wrong food.
So you can just fly under the radar and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you’re alive until you die, and then you’re not.
I love the 40 years in the desert story. Somebody should give god a GPS. They could have walked home via Johannesburg in that time.
Seriously you guys are lovely.
Thank you so much.
I’ve been dealing with a high maintenance friend and feeling defeated and depleted.
Coming here I feel a warm embrace.
What a privilege to be among decent thoughtful and might I add very clever people.
Keep the discussions/debates coming.
Seriously. Take your stick and walk outside the camp.
…it would appear that some two to three million all told, men, women and children, Israelites and mixed company, began to leave Egypt that night.
(How Many Israelites Left Egypt? — Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY) note: source is from dub-lala-land but argues against the more “rational” position of exaggerated numbers
Just to add to the Exodus tedium, the majority of those two to three million who left Egypt and the Red Sea behind them, usually calculated from figures given in Numbers, most of them all had to die before the next generation could enter the Promised Land because they had all caused their unforgiving god grief, even Moses. Apparently that all took forty years.
Precious few bones or Jewish burial sites have ever been found in the Sinai desert.
It’s strange how some tedious religious stories make good movies.
It was Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” that initially converted the ten-year-old me into a believer. I really needed a reliable deity who could deliver some of that “A” grade smiting those nasty Egyptians got. I really thought I was onto something when the whole school came down with head lice.
The official Jewish line is that Pharaoh of Exodus was Ramses The Great (13 century bce) At That time, the entire population of Egypt has been estimated at around 5 million.
Catholics tend to be very pragmatic about the old testament. IE That its the poetic history of the Jews, and not meant to be taken literally. .
Consequently; Adam and Eve were not literally the sole progenitors of the human race, no one lived hundreds of years. That other figures given in the bible need to be taken with a pinch of salt. EG that the total number of Israelites at exodus would probably have been a few thousand at best.
This make sense when one realises ancient Egypt was not a slave-based society such as Rome or Greece… Slaves tended to be prisoners of war, and they were released after a few years.
There is of course a far simpler explanation; Moses did not exist, the exodus did not happen. It’s mythology and folk tales. IE they made it all up. Just as they did the entirety of Genesis.
Fortunately, much of the old testament as history is falsifiable: Over the last couple of decades, archaeologists have made findings which strongly indicate Exodus is a myth. That what became Judaism was still polytheistic as late as the fourth century bce. Even that YHWH began as a petty Sumerian storm god,he then became a war god. He even had wife called Asheroth who was part of the Canaanite canon.
I’m going to give this some thought. Obviously, places (most) and some events…some of the kings and such. Most likely a goodly portion (of the books) have “some” basis in fact but has been exaggerated or mythology has blended in nicely.
I appreciate older writings as a neat read of man at that time (like a snap shot).
Same goes for so many ancient texts, Such as The epic of Gilgamesh and Hammurabi’s code (which has parallels with both Mosaic and Sharia law)
There is a nifty little book with sayings of ancient Egyptian sages. Well worth a look if you have the interest. It was edited by French Egyptologist Christian Jacq.
Ancient Indian texts are fascinating. The Mahabharata is the world’s longest epic poem. Many non Indians tend to do as I did, and just read the part called ‘The Bhagavad Gita’. (The song of God) It takes the form of a dialogue between a man , Arjuna, and the god Krishna and is about the causes of suffering. The Mahabharata is thought to have been composed around the 4th century bce.
There is a rich collection of ancient Indian writings which imo are easily as important as any of the ancient texts on the Abrahamic faiths.
Apparently the worship of Asheroth is alive and well…
Ashteroth lives at Starbucks?
Ashteroth is alive and well and living at your local Starbucks. Whether you believe what you’re going to read or not, accept it or not, or care or not, it’s important for you to be able to recognize Ashtoreth, for this is one of the things God has told you in his Word that he consistently hates.
Who is Ashtoreth?
Ashtoreth has been worshiped through most of recorded history. Other names for Ashtaroth include Astaroth, Astarot and Asteroth. Here is how the historian William Smith describes her:
Ashtoreth: (a star) the principal female divinity of the Phoenicians, called Ishtar by the Assyrians and Astarte by the Greeks and Romans. She was by some ancient writers identified with the moon… It is certain that the worship of Astarte became identified with that of Venus, and that this worship was connected with the most impure rites is apparent from the close connection of this goddess with ASHERAH. 1
There is overlap between Ashtoreth the female goddess and Astaroth who is worshiped as a demon. From Wikipedia:
In demonology, is the Great Duke of Hell, in the first hierarchy with Beelzebub and Lucifer; he is part of the evil trinity. He is a male figure named after the Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar.2
Both Ashtoreth and Astaroth are associated with sexual practices condemned by the one true God. One commentator sympathetic to Ashtoreth describes:
In Ashtoreth’s worship services, male worshipers (committed sodomy) with priests and priestesses of the goddess. The priests and male prostitutes, who were consecrated to her cult were called qadesh, qedishim or sodomites.
(In addition, physical relations) …between male and male worshipers and male and female worshipers was viewed as an offering to the goddess. (parenthetical words slightly edited) 3
It’s curious that Ashteroth and Astaroth are both connected with the blurring of gender and direct attack on God’s moral standards related to sexuality. It’s helpful to keep this in mind when considering the promotion and prevalence of Ashteroth worship today.
History matters. Symbols retain their meanings. The more you educate yourself about what’s come before, the more you’ll recognize the connections.
Ashteroth key points:
Phoenicians, Assyrians, Greeks and Romans all worshiped her as God.
Ashtoreth is a fertility goddess.
She is a “star”.
Temple prostitution was used to bring honor to her.
There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god. (Psalms 81:9)
Worship as a form of money or currency
Worship is a type of currency, just like money. In the ancient world, bending the knee or acknowledging the state god was a form of tax. One of the reasons faithful Jews were so hated and persecuted was their refusal to worship false goddesses like Ashtoreth. Unfortunately we know from the true Biblical accounts that many in the nation of Israel were quite happy to go along with the pagans around them in the worship of Ashteroth.
The deceptive subtlety
Solomon, the wisest man in the world of his time, a believer in the true God, was seduced through his senses into the worship of Ashteroth.
Here’s how Solomon started:
And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. (1 Kings 4:29-31)
And here’s how he finished up:
For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.
And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, (1 Kings 11.4-6a)
What happened to the wisest man in the world could very easily happen to you, me or anyone.
What is a graven image?
At the simplest level a graven image is a good-luck charm. Having one gives people a feeling of safety, comfort and hope.
In more advanced usage a graven image helps one experience what they think is the divine mystery. People are experiencing something. But that something is not the true God.
A graven image is an idol.
People develop an emotional dependency on their idols. This relationship is religious in nature. Like other addicts, they will sacrifice their health, their wealth, and even their relationships for the sake of their experiences:
And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father’s… And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done…wherefore hast thou stolen my gods? Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. (Genesis 31 extracts)
Today we poo-poo any talk of idol worship as ridiculous. What in the world could it have to do with us? How arrogant we are. There is almost no essential difference between the ancients and us.
Have you ever wondered why God placed his command about images right at the start of his commandments?
I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me (Exodus 20:2-5)
God’s nature is jealous. As we transition fully into the visual age, you’d do well to take heed to his command. Make no mistake. Giving honor to Ashteroth is evil.
…dangerous yet beautiful creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island… they were considered the daughters of the river god Achelous.4
Sirens are related to Ashtoreth worship. That will be explained further on in the post.
The Ashtoreth Corporate Name
Building on the information above, the name of the global corporate entity which has adopted the logo may also be associated with the pagan goddess:
STAR = Ashtereth BUCKS = standard of value or medium of exchange, usually thought of as money but also worship
So STAR + BUCKS equals Ashtoreth worship.
Don’t stop now. Keep reading so you know the whole thing.
Evangelistic social change agenda
You might expect that the proponents of either Ashtereth or Astaroth would be interested in promoting social change. This is what happened in Old Testament times, and it is exactly what is happening in the Twenty-First Century across the world.
Global cultural revolution, corporate style
This multinational corporate force is in the business of global cultural revolution.
Cecilia Carter joined the Starbucks team as their Vice President of Global Diversity, Community and Government Affairs, for Starbucks Coffee Company…
CC: I really believe that we have the responsibility to shepherd the image of Starbucks as a catalyst for change.… We are in the community business as much as the coffee business. (emphasis added)5
To translate, the logo is being promoted at the executive level as a force for cultural change. This is cultural evangelism. Such things are always religious in nature, no matter what they’re called.
Think how successful this one company has been over the past few decades in promoting international cultural change. Isn’t this what you would expect to go along with the promotion of open pagan worship?
Scroll up again to examine the logo. Ashtoreth is alive and well on planet earth.
Objection!: A corporate logo is not a religious icon!
How can you be so sure?
Objection!: I still think it’s a siren!
It makes no difference whether you or I believe the corporate logo depicts Ashtoreth, Astaroth, a siren, or some other pagan god-creature. All the warnings still apply.
Richard Merrick writing at the Interference Theory has this to say on the subject:
Identified variously as a double-tailed siren or “Melusine” mermaid, the Starbucks logo is actually a Venusian fertility goddess. The “star” in Starbucks is the pentagonal orbit of Venus while the siren herself is a European version of Ostara, Astarte and Ishtar (among many others).
She is portrayed as a sea goddess because the Morning Star appears to rise out of the eastern sea at dawn prior to resurrecting the Sun. Thus, a cup of coffee can be equated with the Morning Star as it also resurrects us in the morning when we drink it.6
So according to Richard Merrick, drinking a cup of Ashteroth coffee is akin to a kind of resurrection. Of course the only true resurrection is of and through Jesus Christ, commemorated in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper/ holy communion.
Understood in Merrick’s context, drinking this coffee becomes a pagan sacrament.
Old Satan loves to take to himself (and his minions like Ashteroth) the glory reserved for God alone (Isaiah 14.12). Tellingly, the sham ritual celebrates human divinity, which is Satan’s original lie to Eve in Genesis 3.5, …your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods.
This is the core of idolatry (Revelation 9.20).
Objection 3: Having a logo on your cup does not mean you are giving honor to Ashtoreth
The lady doth protest too much, methinks -Queen Gertrude.
Conclusion - A comment from Matthew Poole
Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. (1 Corinthians 10:14-15)
The apostle would have them avoid all sin, but idolatry more especially, keeping at the utmost distance imaginable from that, being of all sins in its kind the greatest transgression; upon which account it is often in Scripture compared to whoredom. Though we ought to be afraid of and to decline all sin; yet as God hath revealed his wrath against any particular sin more than other, so every good Christian is obliged more to detest and abhor that sin.
For though idolatry be properly where the failure is in the ultimate or mediate object of our worship, and the creature is made either the ultimate term of our worship, or the medium in and by which we worship the Creator; yet there are many other ways by which we may be partakers of the sins of others, and this sin of idolatry in particular: and idolatry being a sin of the greatest magnitude, from which they were bound to keep the furthest distance, they were bound to take heed of being partakers of other men’s sins of this kind.7
But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. (1 Corinthians 10:20)
Umm, don’t know how to tell you this, but Asheroth/Asherah are not the same being as the biblical Ashteroth as far as I’m aware.
Ashertoth is rightly associated with a bunch of other goddesses.
Asheroth/Asherath is a minor Canaanite deity, and wife to the minor Sumerian god YHWH, at first a god of storms, then of war. The Israelites pinched him and made his wife a demon and [much] later transmogrified him into the one true god and lord of the universe . At least that’s my understanding. I don’t claim to be a scholar of this vast area, merely a dilettante.
the moon goddess of the Phoenicians, representing the passive principle in nature, their principal female deity; frequently associated with the name of Baal, the sun-god, their chief male deity ( Judges 10:6 ; 1 Samuel 7:4 ; 12:10 ). These names often occur in the plural (Ashtaroth, Baalim), probably as indicating either different statues or different modifications of the deities. This deity is spoken of as Ashtoreth of the Zidonians. She was the Ishtar of the Accadians and the Astarte of the Greeks ( Jeremiah 44:17 ; 1 Kings 11:51 Kings 11:33 ; 2 Kings 23:13 ). There was a temple of this goddess among the Philistines in the time of Saul ( 1 Samuel 31:10 ). Under the name of Ishtar, she was one of the great deities of the Assyrians. The Phoenicians called her Astarte. Solomon introduced the worship of this idol ( 1 Kings 11:33 ). Jezebel’s 400 priests were probably employed in its service ( 1 Kings 18:19 ). It was called the “queen of heaven” ( Jeremiah 44:25 ).