It is becoming increasingly common to disparage Christianity and religion because of the evident contradictions that exist in the Bible. As a consequence, people have not only rejected Christianity, or "organized religion" in general, but also a belief in God and the several positive values that accompanied Christianity.
While the Bible is indeed a corrupted text, there is a basis of truth to it. In order to sort the truth from error, it is important to understand the original orthodox teachings of Judaism, and how these were corrupted by the new heretical doctrines of the Kabbalah, that were developed in sixth century BC Babylon.
Commonly, it is wrongly supposed that Christianity teaches the existence of a "old man in the sky with a beard". This anthropomorphic interpretation, however, has been brought about through the influence of the occult. Rather, according to the original teachings of the Bible, God is transcendent and all-powerful. No likeness could be made of him, so it was forbidden to create images of false-gods, or idols, to be worshipped in his stead.
The Jews, according to the Bible, were chosen to preach God's commandments and act as examples to mankind. Specifically, they were to uphold the basic rules of life, not to murder, to honor one's parents, not to steal, not to lie, and to care for the poor, the sick and to rescue to the oppressed, and generally confront injustice everywhere.
However, as lesson for all of us, about man's propensity to aggrandize himself, the Jews interpreted the meaning of being "chosen" to imply that these rule applied only to themselves. Forgetting that the original message was one of exercising compassion towards one's fellow human being, they lost sight of the "spirit of the Law". To compensate, they tried to demonstrate their religiousness through scrupulous attention to detail, and the performance of ritual.
The Golden Calf
The early Israelites rejection of God's teachings went further still. Following their exodus from Egypt, the Israelites were commanded to punish the inhabitants of Palestine, then known as Canaanites for their transgressions, and possess their land, which had been promised to them through their ancestor Abraham. Though the Jews were sternly warned to the contrary, they repeatedly succumbed to the worship of their Canaanite neighbors, a series of lapses that forms the fundamental theme of the Bible, from the Exodus to the Exile.
The Canaanites worshipped Baal, one of many dying gods symbolized by the bull worshipped throughout the ancient Middle East, like Adonis and Bel. He was identified in antiquity with the legendary founder of Babylon, Nimrod, "a mighty hunter before the Lord," which Jewish tradition regarded as the constellation Orion. His cult was centered around the myth of his death, or descent to the Underworld, and subsequent resurrection, symbolizing the death and return of fertility with the seasons. Baal was one of three gods, comprising a trinity, with his father El, and his mother Astarte, also his sister and spouse. As the sky god who fertilizes the mother earth, Baal was usually represented by phallic pillars called Asherah poles.
The first instance, though, of the Jews' worship of a bull-god was even before their entry into Palestine, occurring shortly after the Exodus, borrowed from the Egyptians, who worshipped the Apis bull. Exodus recounts that soon after their escape from Egypt, while Moses was in retreat receiving the Ten Commandments, and, concerned that he was tarrying too long, the Israelites approached Moses's brother Aaron and asked him to build for them an idol. He complied by melting their jewelry and cast what has henceforth come to be known as the Golden Calf, to which the Israelites, according to Exodus 32:6, "offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink and pagan revelry."
Even Solomon, king of the Jews from 968 to 928 BC, was said to have been guilty of worshipping foreign gods, blamed on his marriage of foreign princesses. Solomon's great Temple too was built in a manner quite foreign to the Israelites. The Bible maintains that he hired the services of the master builder Hiram, a Canaanite. Two bronze pillars were erected at the door of the Temple. Similarly, temples dedicated to the goddess in Tyre are said to have featured stone pillars of phallic design at their entrances. Herodotus described two pillars in the temple of a god he referred to as the "Phoenician Hercules", meaning the Canaanite Baal.
After Solomon, the Jewish nation was divided between Israel in the north and Judah in the south. When Jeroboam became king in Israel he was concerned that, in going to offer sacrifices at the Temple in Jerusalem, the Israelites would come to give their allegiance to the king of Judah instead of himself. Therefore, on the advice of his counselors, he set up two golden calves at the southern and northern ends of Israel, and said to the people, "It is too much trouble for you to worship in Jerusalem. O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt!"
God finally punished the Israelites with an attack led by the Assyrians under Tiglath-Pileser, and eventually, under Shalmaneser, who successfully invaded the city of Samaria, and exiled the people to Assyria. According to II Kings 17:16-20, this disaster came upon the nation of Israel because:
They defied all the commands of the Lord their God and made two calves from metal. They set up an Asherah pillar and worshipped Baal and all the forces of heaven. They even sacrificed their own sons and daughters in the fire. They consulted fortune-tellers and used sorcery and sold themselves to evil, arousing the Lord's anger. And because the Lord was angry, he swept them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah remained in the land. But even the people of Judah refused to obey the commands of the Lord their God. They walked down the same evil paths that Israel had established. So the Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel. He punished them by handing them over to their attackers until they were destroyed.
Though the Assyrian king Sennacherib also attacked Judah, Jerusalem was spared. Nevertheless, God had resolved to keep His promise to destroy the people of Jerusalem, and sent against them their great enemy, Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonians, who devastated the city in 589 BC. The Temple was destroyed, its contents taken away, and most of the people, except the very poor, were carried into exile at Babylon, with any remaining eventually fleeing with Jeremiah into Egypt.
The Babylonian Exile
In 538 BC, Cyrus released the Jews from captivity at Babylon, who returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt their Temple. It was at this time, known as the Second Temple period, that the Bible, although derived from earlier material, was compiled and seems to have incorporated a number of Zoroastrian doctrines. Ever since the initial suggestion of Count Constantin in 1791, the importance of the influence of Zoroastrianism on Judaism was promoted by the History of Religions School. Currently, many important scholars maintain the thesis of Zoroastrian influence on Judaism, including Duchesne-Guillemin, Gnoli, Hinnels, Anders Hultgard, Joseph Kitagawa, Shaked, David Winston and Mary Boyce.
However, it is not in the Bible, but in the Kabbalah, that we find teachings similar to those attributed to the ancient Chaldean Magi, and therefore, are not to be found in Bible text, but in interpretations of it. But, since the Kabbalists claim to derive their teachings from the text itself, the text must have been subtly altered to encrypt such information. In The Text of the Old Testament , Professor Wurthwein asserts: before the text of the Old Testament was officially established it was not regarded as unalterable. Accordingly we should expect to find that those who were concerned with the transmission of the text would occasionally make deliberate, fully intentional alterations in the text.
Therefore, though much of Bible is indeed historical, the many bizarre, enigmatic and sometime offensive tales, have perhaps been designed to conceal Kabbalistic meanings, some of which can be discerned from the extra-biblical texts of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, also compiled in the Second Temple period, as well as a number of Kabbalistic texts of the Middle Ages. It is in this manner that we should seek to understand the significance of the curious and paradoxical story of the descendants of Cain, Adam's son, who was cursed for killing his brother Abel. According to Kabbalistic legend, Cain's female descendants intermarried with the Sons of God of Genesis, producing a race of giants known as the Anakim. Apocryphal texts explain that the Sons of God were the devil and his legions, who were cast of heaven, and, taking for themselves human brides, taught them the arts of sorcery and astrology.