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only a legend evolved from an attempt to explain the variety in tongues is proved by, not only the word itself, but from the fact that it was sometimes written with two signs in the cuneiform-a gate and a god. The clay tablet tells us that the Babylonians called it Bab-ilu= the gate of God. The reason given, too, for the building of this so-called tower, but which was nothing more than a temple, as we have seen, is too absurd for anything. The idea that a God represented as omnipotent and omniscient should require to come down from his throne in Heaven" to see the city and the tower” that the children of men were building, and being frightened that it might possibly reach to Heaven, is quite sufficient to show its legendary character; and to contemplate the fact of educated Christians believing such rubbish is simply astounding.
The astronomical idea of the ladder of seven planets was Chaldæan, and was derived from the idea of the sun being the “ king of heaven," and surrounded by his six satellites. The moon was supposed to be the nearest, and Saturn the farthest, judging from the time occupied in their revolution round the sun. Hence arose the idea of seven spheres or consecutive heavens, near each other, but placed at distances proportioned to the duration of their revolutions. The sun was placed in the middle of the seven spheres, as the soul of the world, the king of nature, and the chief of the gods to whom the heavens paid homage.
The legend of Jonah and the big fish, or whale as it is often called, is also one full of absurdities, only fit for the nursery. He is said to have been swallowed by a dog- or dag-fish, remaining in its belly for three days and three nights, during which temporary seclusion he offered up a prayer to Yahuh. This legend is derived from the zodiacal legend of the sun going down in the sign Pisces, at the winter solstice, for three days and three nights (Dec. 21st to 24th); and is the original of the old nursery tale, Little Red Riding Hood, which, however, in its modern form, is somewhat mutilated from the original. The little maid in her red shining cloak (the evening sun, called by the ancients “ Jona”; the sun and day were depicted as red or golden, and darkness and night as black) was swallowed by the great black wolf (the clouds and darkness of night), but came out safe and sound when the
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sleeping beast was cut open. The grandmother was the earth, to whom the rays of the sun bring warmth and comfort.
The ancient Aryan and Hindu story was that the great dragon (the black wolf) was trying to devour the sun (Little Red Riding Hood) to prevent him from shining upon the earth and filling it with brightness, life, and beauty; and that Indra, the sun-god, killed the dragon. The belly of the fish is simply the “bonds of the earth.” In the Grecian fable, Hercules lay three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish at Joppa. The Persians and Scandinavians had a similar legend.
“Jona” is derived from Oannes-Joannes or Jonas (J being pronounced like I or Y)—a fish-god of Chaldæa, who represented the sun when in Pisces at the winter solstice; he was supposed to have gone down into, and to be rising from, the sea.
The prayer to Yahuh offered up by Jona in the fish's belly is made up of odd bits taken from the Psalms; and the truth of the legend is guaranteed by Jesus, according to the writer of Matthew (xii. 40)!
Not to be outdone by other messiahs and saviours, Jesus, “the son of man,” is said to have spent “ three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”!
The RAINBOW was the object of another primitive attempt to explain the occurrence of a natural phenomenon. Science teaches that this is due to the unequal refrangibility, through falling rain, of elementary rays of light, taking the shape of the earth, and must have occurred ever since the earth and rain were evolved. But we are told in Genesis (ix. 12) that Yahuh set it as a “token of a covenant” that there should “never more be a flood to destroy the earth.” Could anything be more absurd ?
Space does not allow of any more than mention of the other stories and legends found in the Bible, which are too numerous to examine in detail. Their absurdities would render them suitable as nursery tales, were it not for their want of moral tone; the chief characteristic being generally injustice. The chief are :
DANIEL AND THE LION's Pit (Dan. vi.) and the injustice to the Royal officers, their wives and families, allowed by the Hebrew god. The same power that saved the Godfearing and divinely-protected Daniel could have prevented
the injustice of punishing the innocent wives and children of the officers, who were simply carrying out their orders, for the fault they did not commit. THE EXODUS FROM EGYPT (Ex. vii.), the writer of which was evidently familiar with a similar legend of the sun-god Bacchus ; for Orpheus, the earliest Greek poet, relates that Bacchus had a rod with which he drew water from a rock, and performed miracles, and which he could change into a serpent at pleasure; and that he passed through the Red Sea dry shod at the head of his army. That Pharaoh and his host should have been drowned in the Red Sea, and the fact not be mentioned by any historian of the period, is incredible ; and there are no authentic records of any person of this name ever having lived. RECEIPT OF THE DECALOGUE by Moses (Ex. xix.). It appears to have taken Yahuh “forty days and forty nights” to carve a small stone; yet he is said to have created a whole universe and its contents in six ! Every nation of antiquity had a legend of their holy men ascending a mountain to ask counsel of their gods. Minos, the Cretan law-giver, ascended Mount Dicta, and received from Zeus the sacred laws. A similar legend is told of Zoroaster, to whom Ormuzd handed “The Book of the Law”—the “ Zend Avesta." SAMSON's Six Exploits (Judas xiv. and xv.) are culled from the exploits of the Greek Hercules and the Akkadian Izdubar. ELIJAH CALLING FIRE down from heaven (2 Kings i.), and his ascent in a whirlwind (ii.). THE RE-ANIMATION OF DRY BONES to form a large army (Ex. xxxvii.). The TALKING ASS (Num. xxii.); the TALKING SERPENT (Gen. iii.); and the TALKING CLOUD (Ex. xxxiii.). THE ARMY OF DEAD MEN wakening up and finding them- . selves dead corpses (2 Kings xix.). THE GOING BACK OF THE SUN to guarantee the efficacy of a fig poultice (2 Kings xx.), and the STANDING STILL OF THE SUN AND MOON one whole day, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies (Josh. x.), during which time Yahuh was pelting the latter with stones and hailstones, which is taken from the legend of Jupiter sending a shower of hailstones on the rebellious sons of Neptune. The Giants generated by the sons of god and the women of the earth—becoming “mighty men and men of renown” (Gen. vii.). THE FLOATING IRON AXE-HEAD (2 Kings vi.). THE RIVAL GODS, Dagon and Yahuh in his ark (1 Sam. iv. and v.). THE
RAISING OF THE SPIRITS OF THE DEAD by means of the witch of Endor (1 Sam. xxviii.). (Where are the witches of the present day ?) The DESTRUCTION OF 600 PHILISTINES with an ox-goad, by one man (Judges iii.). The TURNING OF WATER INTO BLOOD throughout all the land of Egypt, by Moses's magic rod (Ex. vii. 21), notwithstanding which the magicians (22) are said to have repeated the transformation. The PLAGUE OF FROGS, LICE, AND Flies, by Aaron's magic rod; the cattle-horses, asses, camels, oxen, and sheep-being killed over and over again (Ex. viii. and ix.).
INSPIRED REVELATION - THE CHRISTIAN SCHEME OF SALVATION, AND THE IMMORALITY OF ITS CONCEPTION -THE DEITY AS A MURDERER—THE ELECT AND CHOSEN ONES.
We have already seen how the dreams of men have led them to believe that they have received an “inspiration " or “revelation" by supernatural agency. This revelation, to be believed by another, must be accepted on faith, for it would be impossible for any other person to be an actual observer, and therefore witness, of the aggregation of ideas which make up the vision of the dreamer; and no evidence has ever yet been forthcoming that any of the “revelations” supposed to have been received by the various messiahs of the world during moments of “inspiration” have been received by any natural agency. No one but the self-constituted recipient, or messiah, has ever yet seen either god or angel descend from the skies with a divine message. Revelations are, therefore, blindly accepted by credulous people on the simple ipse dixit of some other person. It is well known that debilitated subjects, or the dying, of a religious turn of mind frequently see visions, in which angels generally take part, which are simply a recapitulation of that which they have pictured to themselves during health, and which are really the wanderings of an anæmic brain ; and these visions are related to, and accepted by, relatives as actual facts-affection and religion combining to produce the necessary credulity.
In che event of any revelation, other than one manifested to us by the ordinary natural mode—i.e., by the observation of phenomena and the discoveries of science-we naturally ask ourselves certain questions before we accept it as true, just as we should with regard to anything else we might be