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From The Jesus Followers
Recently an online friend sent to me an article about those
Sunday visitations from the Christians, the Mormons or the Jehovah
Witnesses. The article was originally published in a periodical
from Church Of All Worlds called
years ago. At the time of this posting, the magazine was out
of print and the article was not to be found online. I am very
fond of this article and decided to include it here on Pagan's
Path with it's full accreditation to Oberon Zell the author.
It's too good to allow it to fade into history. It's message
and information is both interesting and enlightening. I hope
you enjoy it. My many thanks to my friend WizeWitch for sharing
Update: GreenEgg Zine has been released. In 2007 Green Egg
magazine was reborn in an eZine through GreenEgg
Zine, an online magazine.
WE ARE THE OTHER PEOPLE
By Oberon (Otter) Zell.
- "Ding-dong!" goes the doorbell. Is it Avon calling?
Or perhaps Ed McMahon with my three million dollars? No, it's
Yahweh's Witnesses again, just wanting to have a nice little
chat about the Bible...Boy, did they ever come to the wrong house!
So we invite them in: "Enter freely and of your own will..."
(Hey, it's Sunday morning, nothing much going on, why not have
a little entertainment?)
- Diane and I amuse
ourselves by watching their expressions as they check out the
living room: great horned owl on the back of my chair; ceremonial
masks and medicine skulls of dragons and unicorns on the wall;
crystals, wands, staffs, swords; lots of Goddess figures and
several altars; boa constrictors draped in amorous embrace over
the elkhorn; white doves sitting in the hanging planters; cats
and weasels underfoot; iron dragon snorting steam atop the wood
stove; posters and paintings of wizards and dinosaurs and witchy
women, some proudly naked; sculptures of mythological beasties
and lots more dinosaurs; warp six on the tar-filled view screen
of my computer; a five-foot model of the USS Enterprise and the
skeleton of a plesiosaur hanging from the ceiling; very, very
many books, most of them dealing with obviously weird subjects...to
say nothing of the great horned owl perched on the back of my
chair and the Unicorn grazing in the front yard...you know; early
Addams Family decor. And then, of course, it being late in the
morning, you can expect Morning Glory to come wandering out naked,
looking for her wake-up cup of tea. Morning Glory naked is a
truly impressive sight, and the Witlesses look as if she'd set
titties on stun as they stand immobilized, hands clasped over
- With the stage set and all the actors in place, the show
is ready to begin. Their mission, of course, is to save our heathen
souls by turning us on to "The Word of the Lord"- their
Bible. I guess they figger some of us just haven't heard about
it yet, and we're all eagerly >awaiting their joyous tidings
of personal salvation through giving our rational faculties to
Jesus. Every time they come around, I look forward to trying
out a new riposte. Sure, it may be cruel and sadistic of me,
but hey, I didn't call them up and ask them to come over, they
entered at their own risk! This time should be pretty good.
- After letting them run off their basic rap while lovely Morning
Glory serves us all hot herb tea, I innocently remark: "But
none of that applies to us. We have no need for salvation because
we don't have original sin. We are the Other People."
- "Hunh? What?" they reply eloquently. It's clear
they've never heard this one before.
- "Right," I say. "It's all in your Bible."
- And I proceed to tell them the story, using their own book
- (Genesis 1:26): The [Elohim] said, "Let us make humanity
in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them
be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle,
all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the
earth." (Elohim is a plural word, including male and female,
and should properly be translated "Gods" or "Pantheon.")
(1: 27) The Gods created humanity in the image of themselves,
In the image of the Gods they created them, male and female they
created them. (1:28) The Gods blessed them, saying to them, "Be
fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters
of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals
on the earth."
- Now clearly, here we are talking about the original creation
of the human species: male and female. all the animals, plants,
etc. have all been created in previous verses. This is before
the Garden of Eden, and Yahweh is not mentioned as the creator
of these people.
- The next chapter talks about how Yahweh, an individual member
of the Pantheon, goes about assembling his own special little
botanical and zoological Garden in Eden, and making his own little
man to inhabit it (Gen 2:7): Yahweh God fashioned a man of dust
from the soil. Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath of
life, and thus the man became a living being. (2:8) Yahweh God
planted a garden in Eden which is in the east, and there he put
the man he had fashioned. (2:9) Yahweh God caused to spring up
from the soil every kind of tree, enticing to look at and good
to eat, with the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of
good and evil in the middle of the garden. (2:15) Yahweh God
Took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden to cultivate
and take care of it.
- Now this next is crucial: note Yahweh's precise words (2:16):
Then Yahweh God gave the man this admonition, "You may eat
indeed of all the trees in the garden. (2:17) Nevertheless of
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat,
for on the day you eat of it you shall most surely die."
Fateful words, those. We will refer back to this admonition later.
- Then Yahweh decides to make a woman to go with the man. Now,
don't forget that the Pantheon had earlier created a whole population
of people, "male and female," who are presumably doing
just fine Somewhere "outside the gates of Eden." But
this set-up in Eden is Yahweh's own little experiment, and will
unfold to its own separate destiny. (Genesis 2:21): So Yahweh
God made the man fall into a deep sleep. And while he slept,
he took one of his ribs and enclosed it in flesh. (2:22) Yahweh
God built the rib he had taken from the man into a woman, and
brought her to the man. Right. Man gives birth to woman. Sure
he does. But that's the way the story is told here. (2:25) Now
both of them were naked, the man and his wife, but they felt
no shame in front of each other. Well, of course not! Why should
they? But take careful note of those words, as they also will
prove to be significant.
- Now this next part is where it starts to get interesting.
Enter the Serpent (Gen. 3:1): The serpent was the most subtle
of all the wild beasts that Yahweh God had made. It asked the
woman, "Did God really say you were not to eat from any
of the trees in the garden?" (3:2) The woman answered the
serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees in the garden.
(3:3) "But of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the
garden God said, 'You must not eat it, nor touch it, under pain
of death." (3:4) Then the serpent said to the woman, "No!
You will not die! (3:5) "God knows in fact that on the day
you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods,
knowing good and evil."
- What a remarkable statement! "Your eyes will be opened
and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil." The Serpent
directly contradicts Yahweh. Obviously, one of them has to be
lying. Which one, do you suppose? And, if the serpent speaks
true, wouldn't you wish to eat of the magic fruit? Wouldn't it
be a good thing, to become "like gods, knowing good and
evil"? Or is it preferable to remain in ignorance?
- (Gen. 3:6): The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and
pleasing to the eye, and that it was desirable for the knowledge
that it could give. So she took some of its fruit and ate it.
She gave some also to her husband who was with her, and he ate
it. (3:7) Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they
realized that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together
to make themselves loincloths. The author makes an interesting
assumption here: that if you realize you are naked you will automatically
want to cover yourself. Further implications will unfold shortly.
- (Gen. 3:8): The man and his wife heard the sound of Yahweh
God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid
from Yahweh God among the trees of the garden. (3:9) But Yahweh
God called to the man, "Where are you?" he asked. (3:10)
I heard the sound of you in the garden,"he replied. "I
was afraid because I was naked, so I hid." (3:11) "Who
told you that you were naked?" he asked. "Have you
been eating of the tree I forbade you to eat?"
- And so the sign of the Fall becomes modesty. Take note of
this: The descendants of Adam and Eve will be distinguished throughout
history from virtually all other peoples by their obsessive modesty
taboos, wherein they will feel ashamed of being naked. It follows
that those who feel no shame in being naked are, by definition,
not carriers of this spiritual disease of original sin!
- (Gen. 3:12): The man replied,"It was the woman you put
with me; she gave me the fruit, and I ate it." Right. Blame
the woman. What a turkey! (3:13) Then Yahweh God asked the woman,"What
is this you have done?" The woman replied, "The serpent
tempted me and I ate." So of course she blames the serpent.
But just what did the serpent do that was so evil? Why, he called
Yahweh a liar! Was he wrong? Let's see... (3:21) Yahweh God made
clothes out of skins for the man and his wife, and they put them
on. Out of skins? This means that Yahweh had to kill some innocent
animals to pander to Adam and Eve's new obsession with modesty!
- And now we come to the crux of the Fall. Yahweh had said
back there in chapter (2:17), regarding the fruit of the tree
of knowledge, that "on the day you eat of it you shall most
surely die." The Serpent, on the other hand, had contradicted
Yahweh in chapter (3:4-5): "No! You will not die! God knows
in fact that on the day you eat it your eyes will be opened and
you will be like gods, knowing good and evil." So what actually
happened? Who lied and who told the truth about this remarkable
fruit? The answer is given in the next verse: (3:22) Then Yahweh
God said, "See, the man has become like one of us, with
his knowledge of good and evil. He must not be allowed to stretch
his hand out next and pick from the tree of life also, and eat
some and live forever."
- Get that? Yahweh himself admits that he had lied! In fact,
and in Yahweh's own words, the Serpent spoke the absolute truth!
And moreover, Yahweh tells the rest of the Pantheon that he intends
to evict Adam (and presumably Eve as well) to keep them from
gaining immortality to go with their newly-acquired divine knowledge.
To prevent them, in other words, from truly becoming gods! So
who, in this story, comes off as a benefactor of humanity, and
who comes off as a tyrant? THE SERPENT NEVER LIED!
- This story, to digress slightly, bears a remarkable resemblance
to a contemporary tale from ancient Greece. In that version,
the Serpent (later identified as Lucifer, the Light-Bearer) may
be equated with the heroic titan Prometheus, who championed humanity
against the tyranny of Zeus, who wished for people to be mere
slaves of the gods. Prometheus, whose name means "forethought,"
gave people wisdom, intelligence, and fire stolen from Olympus.
Moreover, he ordained the portions of animal sacrifice so that
humans got the best parts (the meat and hides), while the portion
that was burned to the gods was the bones and fat. In punishment
for this defiance of his divine authority, Zeus condemned Prometheus
to a terrible punishment for an immortal: to be chained to a
mountain in the Caucasus, where Zeus' gryphon/eagle (actually
aLammergier) would devour his liver each day. It would grow back
each night. Zeus promised to relent if Prometheus would reveal
his great secret knowledge: Who would succeed Zeus as supreme
god? Prometheus refused to tell, but history has revealed the
- The interesting thing about all this is that the Greeks properly
regarded Prometheus as a noble hero in his defiance of unjust
tyranny. One may wonder why the Serpent is not so well regarded.
On the contrary, snakes are loathed throughout Christiandom.
- So Yahweh God expelled him from the garden of Eden, to till
the soil from which he had been taken. (3:24) He banished the
man, and in front of the garden of Eden he posted the cherubs,
and the flame of a flashing sword, to guard the way to the tree
of life. So that's it for the Fall.
- But the story of Adam and Eve doesn't end there. (Gen 4:1)
The man had intercourse with his wife Eve, and she conceived
and gave birth to Cain. (4:2) She gave birth to a second child,
Abel, the brother of Cain. Now Abel became a shepherd and kept
flocks, while Cain tilled the soil. (4:3) Time passed and Cain
brought some of the produce of the soil as an offering for Yahweh,
(4:4) while Abel, for his part, brought the first-born of his
flock and some of their fat as well. Yahweh looked with favor
on Abel and his offering. But he did not look with favor on Cain
and his offering, and Cain was very angry and downcast. Well,
why shouldn't he be? Both brothers had brought forth their first
fruits as offerings, but Yahweh rejected the vegetables and only
accepted the blood sacrifice. This was to set a gruesome precedent
(4:8): Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let us go out"
and while they were in the open country, Cain set on his brother
Abel and killed him.
- Accursed and marked for fratricide, (4:16) Cain left the
presence of Yahweh and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
We can assume that the phrase "left the presence of Yahweh"
implies that Yahweh is a local deity, and not omnipresent. Now
Eden, according to (Gen. 2:14-15), was situated at the source
of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, apparently right where Lake
Van is now, in Turkey. "East of Eden," therefore, would
probably be along the shores of the Caspian Sea, right in the
Indo-European heartland. Cain settled in there, among the people
of Nod, and married one of the women of that country. Here, for
the first time, is specifically mentioned the "other people"
who are not of the lineage of Adam and Eve, i.e: the Pagans.
- So let's look at this story from another viewpoint: There
we were, around six thousand years ago, living in our little
farming communities around the Caspian Sea, in the land of Nod,
when this dude with a terrible scar comes stumbling in out of
the sunset. He tells us this bizarre story, about how his mother
and father had been created by some god named Yahweh, and put
in charge of a beautiful garden somewhere out west, and how they
had gotten thrown out for disobedience after eating some of the
landlord's forbidden magic fruit of enlightenment. He tells us
of murdering his brother, as the god of his parents would only
accept blood sacrifice, and of receiving that scar as a mark
so that all would know him as a committer of fratricide. The
poor guy is really a mess psychologically, obsessed with guilt.
He is also obsessively modest, insisting on wearing clothes even
in the hottest summer, and he has a hard time with our penchant
for skinny-dipping in the warm inland sea. He seems to believe
that he is tainted by the "sin" of his parent's disobedience,
that it is in his blood, somehow, and will continue to contaminate
his children and his children's children.
- One of our healing women takes pity on the poor sucker and
marries him...(4:17) Cain had intercourse with his wife, and
she conceived and gave birth to Enoch. He became the builder
of a town, and he gave the town the name of his son Enoch.
- With both of their first sons not turning out very well,
Adam and Eve decided to try again (4:25): Adam had intercourse
with his wife, and she gave birth to a son whom she named Seth.
(4:26) A son was also born to Seth, and he named him Enosh. This
man was the first to invoke the name of Yahweh. Now it doesn't
mention here where Seth's wife came from, another woman from
Nod, possibly, or maybe someone from another neolithic community
downstream in the Tigris-Euphrates valley. But her folks also
cannot be of the lineage of Adam and Eve, and must also be counted
among "the other people".
- But whatever happened to Adam? After all, way back there
in Chapter 2:17, warning Adam about the magic fruit of knowledge,
Yahweh had told him that "on the day you eat of it you shall
most surely die." So, when did Adam die? (Gen. 5:4) Adam
lived for eight hundred years after the birth of Seth and he
became the father of sons and daughters. (5:5) In all, Adam lived
for nine hundred and thirty years; then he died. Hey, that's
pretty good! Nine hundred and some odd years isn't bad for a
man who's been told he's gonna die the next day!
- Well, the story goes on, and maybe next time the Witlesses
come to visit I'll tell more of it. But suffice it to say that
those of us who are not of Semitic descent (i.e., not of the
lineage of Adam and Eve) cannot share in the Original Sin that
comes with that lineage. Being that the Bible is the story of
that lineage, of Adam and Eve's descendants and their special
relationship with their particular god, Yahweh, it follows that
this is not the story of the rest of us. We may have been Cain's
wife's people, or Seth's wife's people, or some other people
over the hill and far away, but whichever people the rest of
us are,as far as the Bible is concerned, we are the Other People,
and so we are continually referred to throughout.
- Later books of the Bible are filled with admonitions to the
followers of Yahweh to "learn not the ways of the Pagans..."
(Jer 10:2) with detailed descriptions of exactly what it is we
do, such as erect standing stones and sacred poles, worship in
sacred groves and practice of divination and magic, and worship
the sun, moon, stars and the "Queen of Heaven". "You
must not behave as they do in Egypt where once you lived; you
must not behave as they do in Canaan where I am taking you. You
must not follow their laws." (Lev 18:3) For Yahweh, as he
so clearly emphasizes, is not the god of the Pagans.
- We have our own
lineage and our own heritage, and our tale is not told in the
Bible. We were not "made" like clay figurines by a
male deity out of "dust from the soil". We were born
of our Mother the Earth, and have evolved over aeons in Her nurturing
embrace. All of us, in our many and diverse tribes, have creation
myths and legends of our origins and history; some of these tales
may even be actually true.
- Like the descendants of Adam and Eve, many of us also have
stories of great floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and
other cataclysms that wiped out whole communities of our people,
wherein "I alone survived to tell the tale." Nearly
all of our ancestral tribes (and especially those f us who today
are reclaiming our own Pagan heritage) lack that peculiar obsessive
body modesty that seems to be a hallmark of the original sin
alluded to in the story of the Fall. We can be naked and unashamed!
Why, our Goddess even tells us, "as a sign that you are
truly free, you shall be naked in your rites." Not being
born into sin, we have no need of salvation, and no need of a
Messiah to redeem our sinful souls. Neither heaven nor hell is
our destination in the afterlife; we have our own various arrangements
with our own various deities. The Bible is not our story; we
have our own stories to tell, and they are many and diverse.
In a long life, you may get to hear many of them...
- May you live long and prosper!
- Created: 12.09.1999 Updated: