Category Archives: Belief Systems

Belief Systems Revisited

Belief Systems Revisited

Belief systems tend to have a significant impact on our lives. It has always been interesting to me that where you are born will be a primary determinant of what you believe. For example: If you were born in India there is an 85% chance that you would be raised in the Hindu Faith.

Three belief systems amount to over half of the world’s population. The followers of Jesus (including Roman Catholics) comprise 2.4 billion, followers of Mohamed 1.9 billion, and followers of Vishnu (the supreme Hindu god of thousands) 1.2 billion. 5.5 billion of 7.9 billion people subscribe to one of these three beliefs.

Studies indicate that when facts and beliefs are at odds then beliefs tend to rule the day.

Historical beliefs have been traditionally viewed as myths. Early Egyptian, Roman, Greek, and Norse beliefs in multiple gods are generally viewed as misguided by current standards. And yet, to the people of those times, they were just as real as the primary belief systems of today. In one sense all of these systems are correct even though they are quite different since all that is required is a personal commitment to a dogma. However, from an objective observer who has no prior conditioning, it becomes quite confusing. Which belief system should I adopt? Which one is more accurate in absolute terms?

Perhaps the system that has endured for the longest is the best to adopt. In that case, Hinduism is, by far, the best option. Perhaps the system that has the most devotees is a better option. Christianity seems like a good option. However, the most recent may have improved on some of the older systems. Islam might be the best choice.

A remaining option would be to remain with 1.2 billion others that do not subscribe to any organized belief system.

Moses, Thutmose, Akhenaten & Osarsiph

Moses, Thutmose, Akhenaten & Osarsiph

The Exodus story, as described in most versions of the bible was first put in writing Circa 600 BCE as result of many years of oral tradition. It purports to document events that occurred between 1450 & 1300 BCE.

Some have speculated that Thutmose III was the Pharoah at the time of the Exodus or that even he was Moses.  While the time frame exists, there is no written documentation existing to support that idea. However, there is historical evidence that support another theory regarding the Character Osarsiph and a potential relationship to the demise of the Pharoah Akhenaten.

The following from:

The Egyptians are famous for their record-keeping and yet no records have been found which make the slightest reference to the departure of a segment of the population of the land which, according to the Book of Exodus, numbered “six hundred thousand men on foot besides women and children”

Manetho’s story of Osarsiph/Moses is related by the historian Flavius Josephus (c. 37-100 CE) who cited Manetho’s story at length in his own work. The Roman historian Tacitus (c. 56-117 CE) tells a similar story of a man named Moses who becomes the leader of a colony of Egyptian lepers. This has led a number of writers and scholars (Sigmund Freud and Joseph Campbell among them) to assert that the Moses of the Bible was not a Hebrew who was raised in an Egyptian palace but an Egyptian priest who led a religious revolution to establish monotheism. This theory links Moses closely with the pharaoh Akhenaten (1353-1336 BCE) who established his own monotheistic belief in the god Aten, unlike any other god and more powerful than all, in the fifth year of his reign. Akhenaten’s monotheism may have been born of a genuine religious impulse or could have been a reaction against the priests of the god Amun who had grown almost as wealthy and powerful as the throne. In establishing monotheism and banning all the old gods of Egypt, Akhenaten effectively eliminated any threat to the crown from the priesthood. The theory advanced by Campbell and others (following Sigmund Freud’s Moses and Monotheism in this) is that Moses was a priest of Akhenaten who led like-minded followers out of Egypt after Akhenaten’s death when his son, Tutankhamun (c. 1336-1327 BCE), restored the old gods and practices. Still other scholars equate Moses with Akhenaten himself and see the Exodus story as a mythological rendering of Akhenaten’s honest attempt at religious reform.

Potential Egyptian Pharaohs during the estimated time of the Exodus:

Thutmose III ca. 1479–1425 B.C.

Hatshepsut (as regent) ca. 1479–1473 B.C.

Hatshepsut ca. 1473–1458 B.C.

Amenhotep II 1427–1400 B.C.

Thutmose IV ca. 1400–1390 B.C.

Amenhotep III ca. 1390–1352 B.C.

Amenhotep IV ca. 1353–1349 B.C.

Akhenaten ca. 1349–1336 B.C.

Lady Liberty

Lady Liberty

Currently our internal population growth rate is actually negative. It is only through immigration that we have a modest overall growth rate of .6% per annum. Our economic growth as measured by GDP has averaged over 3% per annum over the past two decades. Combined with the aging of our population and the slowing of the birthrate we need immigrants to bolster our labor force.

Prejudice against immigrants is not a new phenomenon. You might remember the movie “Gangs of New York” where the earliest immigrants considered themselves the true “Americans” and all later arrivals (like the Irish) were considered as intruders. I do wonder what the Eastern Native Americans were thinking?

My opinion is that we all need to be reminded of the words of Lady liberty:

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus – 1883