Your Questions About Successful Trading Stories

George asks…

What do you think of this alternative story of Jesus?

There are no contemporaneous (written during his lifetime) accounts of Jesus. Here is my suggestion for his history:

Jesus was born a jew in a Roman occupied province. Like most of those who lived in cities, he was a greek-speaking jew born into a family of tradesmen. It had only been two generations since the Maccabees, Jews who took control of Jerusalem from the Greek empire in a violent uprising, had been crushed by the Roman army of Pompey, and Jerusalem was once again subjugated.

There was still an atmosphere of dissent about the place, some jews worked with the Romans while some resisted. The Romans had brought with them eastern-influenced cults within it’s ranks, and Jerusalem was already a trading town between the Asia and the Roman Mediterranean. Jesus listened to and was influenced by some of these eastern cults and philosophies. A charismatic young man, he began preaching to his jewish friends a variation on the normal judaism, preaching how liberation could achieved by both baptism and personal liberation. his teaching struck a chord with the disaffected, rebellious jewish youth of the city, and as his fame grew. he organised a violent takeover of one of the temples. this brought him to the attention of the Romans, who later on decided to execute him in the traditional manner for non-Roman citizens, crucifixion.

This might have been the end of the story, but a few of his followers thought they could exploit Jesus’s success, and create an even bigger cult with themselves at the head of it. They first started by creating and spreading stories of Jesus’s miracles designed to make the dead Jesus look like he had fulfilled the jewish prophecies of Isaiah. Unknown to them, being greek-speaking jews, they used the greek Septuagint translation of the jewish prophecies, that has a mis-translation of the word “unmarried” to the greek “virgin”. So some of their inventions were without basis. However they are successful in growing the cult among the Jews.

The sect spread not just among jews, but among the slave and servant class of Romans, where it is considered to offer more rewards in the next life than the Roman’s religion of virtue in this one. Year later, one of the cleverer and ambitious sect members, Paul of Tarsus, realises the potential for the sect among normal romans, so he drops the requirement for circumcision and the abstinence of pork, and incorporates some of the mythology of other sects already popular in the roman army into the jesus story, such as the worship of the resurrected sun-god mithras and salvation of man’s sins. He is successful, and his religion spreads in the roman army. the roman empire is collapsing in the 3rd century, it is a time of civil war and uncertainty, and eastern religions that offer rewards in the next life capitalise on this. The emperor Constantine, who knows that 3 emperors have been murdered by the army in the last 10 years prior to his reign, makes it the state religion, with himself as it’s head. The rest is history
song: you claim I have no documentation (even though I started by saying no one had any). So if I’m claiming that his followers spread false stories about his death to make it sound like he fulfilled some of the prophecies of the 8th Century BC prophet Isaiah., then how does quoting these prophecies back to me constitute documentation of jesus’s life?

John answers:

You’re right to look at the importance of ‘eastern’ cults in the formation of Christianity.

There are two historical details, though, which suggest a rather different origin. One is the fact that non-Jews read Jewish texts and revered them for their antiquity. A lot of people (including scholars who really should know to be more careful) just assume that anything and everything involving Hebrew, Jewish texts, or monotheism also involved Jews. That’s a HUGE assumption. And it’s unfounded.

Get rid of that and we can start looking at what is Jewish in the sayings attributed to Iesus. I haven’t done a thorough review of that yet, but they tend to be part of mainstream Judaism, like the paraphrase of Hillel’s version of the golden rule. Sometimes that happens even when Iesus is arguing with Jewish leaders – which is really rather strange.

One example of that is the line ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone’, the poetic cornerstone of that story. Jewish law regarding capital trials required (amongst many other things) witnesses of impeccable character – it was part of the mainstream, yet the Christian canon uses it to attack that same mainstream. The many requirements also show that the story was a fiction, Jews just didn’t go around stoning people. They just didn’t. Whoever was the source of the story wasn’t Jewish, didn’t live amongst Jews, and, quite frankly, didn’t have a clue. Either that or it was written maliciously.

If a radical Jewish teacher was the source of that story, why would he take normative Jewish law and pretend that it was his own original and new work? If he knew so little about Judaism, should he be called Jewish? If he knew, why would he speak so maliciously and paint such a deceitfully insulting of Jews? And who was he speaking to? Jews would have seen it for the fiction it is.

Which brings us back to the use of Jewish sacred texts by non-Jews. People who didn’t understand Judaism. People who read the texts without the broader context of Jewish tradition and practice. People who wouldn’t be terribly happy when Jews pointed out the discrepancies. A source coming from that milieu makes far more sense than a disaffected (and apparently delusional) Jewish radical.

The second historical fact is the existence of religions, known as Mysteries, which have similar theologies and rituals to Christianity. They were salvation cults which (by the time Christianity came on the scene) typically combined a refigured ‘eastern’ deity, some theatricalized Stoic philosophy and a miscellaneous collection of elements from other religions, like the Egyptian fascination with afterlife beliefs. Judaism didn’t have a deity who would suffice, but that wouldn’t have bothered Romans at all. They routinely made up deities to fill various needs.

Think of it that way and various bits of the Iesus stories start fitting into place. Agricultural harvest/’rebirth’ cycles were part of the earliest mysteries, but through the centuries were transformed into a sort of ‘spiritual’ death/rebirth. So the new ‘Judaized’ dying/rising saviour deity didn’t need to be a harvest/fertility god. He just needed to be shown as having power over wine, grain/bread and fish. Check. He needed a brutal death. Check. He needed a ritual in which his followers shared in his eternal life. Check. And he needed a font of ‘secret’ knowledge to reveal to his followers. Check, check, check.

It’s those similarities – along with the Roman habit of mashing all sorts of bits of existing religions together and making things up as needed – which in my opinion present the most likely scenario for the invention of Christianity. Non-Jews were reading translations of Jewish texts and invented a salvation cult which drew on their own (non-Jewish) interpretations.

Michael asks…

What is this Fairy Tale called and where can I find it?

When I was a boy I read a fairy tale that I loved. I can not remember what it was called. I believe it is a variation of the Grimm fairy tale “4 Clever Brothers”. Here are as many details as I can remember.

Once upon a time there was a poor father who had many sons (I cannot remember how many there were). He was sad because he was so poor that he could not afford to feed all of them. One night he gathered his sons together and explained that they would have to go out into the world and learn a trade if they were to survive.
So the next morning the brothers set off together to find their trades. As they were journeying one brother heard a sound. He left his brothers to follow the sound. He came upon some thieves scaling a wall. The sound that he heard was the clang of knives as they were driven into the side of the wall. Using this method the thieves could scale any wall to steal any treasure. The brother decided to become an apprentice to the master thieves and learn their trade.
The rest of the brothers continued on their journey. Here is where my memory becomes fuzzy. I want to add the characters from “The four clever brothers” so there would be a Huntsman, Tailor, and astrologer. I also remember two more brothers very clearly.
One brother became a servant for the king of the ocean. He learned how to breathe underwater. The final brother heard the sound of the birds deep in the forest. He came upon an old hermit. The hermit decided that he would teach the last brother how to talk to birds.
All of the brothers became very successful in their different trades. One day the Hermit brother was talking to the birds and discovered that the princess of the kingdom was taken hostage by a dragon.
All of the brothers use their amazing talents to rescue the princess. Because they all had an equal part to play in the rescue they all decide that they should be the one to marry the princess. In the end the Hermit brother gets to marry the princess because he is the only one who actually loves her.
The end.
I remember that the book was thin. It was not a collection of fairy tales it had the one story in it and that was all. The sounds of each trade was a very important element in the story. Each brother heard the sound of the trade calling to them. The Hermit brother who talked to birds was the main character. He might have been the youngest brother.
I have been trying to find out what story this is for about ten years now. Please help.
edit:I’m not in London but thanks for the help.

I looked through all of the Andrew Lang’s books and there is an awesome website that I can view every story of his for free. I enjoyed finding this resource. The search is still on.

John answers:

You might try Andrew Lang’s fairy tale books. They are titled by their colors…The Lilac Fairy Book, the Orange Fairy Book, etc. They have all the classics and variations and are excellent. Hope that helps and good luck finding it.

Robert asks…

What would be a feminist analysis of the power relations between rich, popular, cute white girls and male nerd?

What would be a feminist analysis of the power relations between rich, popular, cute white girls and male nerd?

Ok so the Alyssa Bereznak hub-bub has come and gone, and I’m a latecomer to the story. And for me this story wasn’t about Alyssa Bereznak or Jon Finkel (who despite Alyssa’s caricature seems to be a rather successful handsome well-adjusted fellow with alpha-activities such as poker championships and hedgefund trading). So its not about feeling sorry for Jon Finkel personally but what he represents.
The thing that really got me, was not the story itself but the response of the feminisphere to it. Despite or perhaps because being a subomega male virgin loser, I’ve always been sympathetic to women. It comes not so much from feminist propaganda as just hearing the way regular guys talk about women. They way they totally dehumanize them into sextoys and piece of meat to be used for pleasure and then disgarded like a used condom. And I’m not just talking about alphas here but even “good guys” who maybe really nice to me personally and generally decent people, even they talked about women in the same way. And the more I read PUA blogs like Roissy, Spearhead, Tucker Max etc the more I really felt for women.
I guess what got me about the feminist blogs response to the Jon Finkel incident is that for the 1st time in my life I felt like shouting at women “men are real human beings”. I was shocked to the degree in which feminist blogs were willing to totally dehumanize loser men. A woman’s sexual autonomy came above all else, even if it were used in a cruel sadistic manner. Alyssa was even a hero standing up against the evil patriarchal Disney plot to force women to give frogs a chance. Beauties don’t have a responsibility to give beasts a chance.
I guess the most representative post, that really captures the whole situation was a sole dissenting voice on a geek feminism blog, that actually had to remind women that loser nerds are actual human beings with their own problems-
Quote: “I lived through it. I was the a girl in a group of predominantly-male geeks, and I watched my male friends be subject to gender-policing violence on a daily basis that I and the other woman were never targeted by. They were sexually assaulted, beaten, mocked and socially ostracized (we were socially ostracized and got the occasional prank call, but were otherwise ignored, unlike the boys.) For those who didn’t leave our small, rural town after graduation, the mockery, social ostracism and sexual harassment continued after graduation.
It isn’t an excuse for their misogyny, but it is an explanation; women were both part of the patriarchy that kept them down and a safe, dehumanized target for their anger (they considered me “not a girl”. At the time I took it as a complement; boys aren’t the only ones who can protect themselves by buying into misogyny.) The only time I saw one of them interact with a girl romantically, it was a practical joke by one of the “popular” girls. I know it’s an unpopular position around here, but at least sometimes these things are real. I saw them happen.
I can understand the exclusion; it is uncomfortable to interact with someone who so clearly doesn’t understand social graces. But that doesn’t mean the exclusion isn’t real, or hurtful.
This also isn’t to say that every geeky man is a misogynist. I’ve seen some who correctly draw parallels or formed alliances with queer, artsy or otherwise-deviant boys and became feminist allies. I have also met men, more common among my friends group now than the misogynists, who married the first woman he had a long-term relationship with and stays with her no matter how badly she treats him, because he thinks she’s doing him a favor by being with him. Almost a quarter of my male friends are in what I consider to be abusive relationships, and they seem really surprised when they confess their unhappiness to me and my response is, “you know you’re not the only one, right?” For some reason none of them talk with the others about living in misery in order to avoid being alone.
Do either group of men have it “worse” than woman under the patriarchy? Probably not, though I believe Oppression Olymp

John answers:

I was a feminist in the sixties and you wouldn’t believe how many political divisions there were within us, from anarcha-femimism which was about individuals of any gender co-operating to SCUM the society for cutting up men.However the force for change was never meant to be for women only, how could it be when we give birth to boys? It was the plan to just rock the boat and force an examination of gender roles so that men would then look at their own position to see how they were also alienated and have their own talks about their way forward Feminism at that time was a response putting ourselves on the map – What then happened wasnt a rolling change men on the whole adjusted to the new position so we didnt have dialogue about what prime relations could be in society.
HOwever my analysis is that the personal is political and that what somebody says they are on the tin doesnt necessarily mean that those are the contents as many of us dont practise what we preach but start to believe our own advertised personal propaganda.
Someone who professes to be a feminist and then tries to achieve prominence and status by exploiting vulnerable men is deluding themselves. Feminism as I said had many political facets within it but equality was the only goal so making an other unequal is counter-productive.

Thomas asks…

i need to know the truth about drugs and alcohol?

ok this is gonna be a long description but here we go. Before becoming a freshmen in high school my grandfather warned me about druggies and drug dealers in high school and that i should stay away from them and said drugs would ruin my life and that i would be living off the streets and said I would rob banks, kill people, steal purses for drugs and said drugs are like cigarettes if i do not do them I will never have to worry about quitting and he said they would kill me and used elvis presley as an example on how successful he was and he died. My grandfather told me they will end up like my step mother who was an alcoholic who ended up on the streets. Even a cop came in and told me stuff about drugs. He said how marijuana is addictive and how these kids in college got up in the morning and smoked after lunch they would smoke and after classes were all done they would smoke and after dinner they would smoke for the rest of the night. He said they had never passed college. He told our class how this guy got addicted to heroin through smoking a weed laced with it. He told us how some one died from heroin the first time at a party. He said he has never met any one who said drugs were the best decision they have ever made. He said if you would use them you could do things you would never thought you would do like steal from a friend or family member and so on. I even know some one who stole 100 dollars from his parents to get an ounce of weed. But when ever it comes to on line things i hear a bunch of other things like peoples opinions about things saying there is nothing wrong about getting drunk all the time or getting high. They say under age drinking does not cause alcoholism irresponsible idiots do but under age drinking is being irresponsible. I have heard so may different opinions about drugs when it comes from paces such as yahoo or other places saying what cops and people and parents tell you about drugs is lies they try to scare you from doing them it is fun to get high. They are under control of the media. When i was taught no drug ever makes a persons life better things could just get worse in the long run whether it is days, months, years from now. I have heard so many stories about marijuana. They say it is safe and not addictive. People say marijuana has helped improve their life and made them successful. Look at willie nelson and a rumor about the beatles saying they came up with their songs while being high. Look at San Antonio Holmes he is a foot ball player even has been caught with it and failed a drug test and was traded. I just do not know who to believe every ones opinions has changed my thinking about drugs whats true whats not. They say you you should get a very reliable source but getting drugs from drug dealers is not a safe thing at all. People on line have told me that ecstasy is safe and not addictive. Hell I even read that cocaine is not addictive and it is safe off of here. People say lsd will make your life awesome and it is safe and all that stuff and it is not addictive. there are people who say if you use drugs responsibly you will do fine or if you know the consequences and use them safely you will do fine. It is like people always try to come up with excuses to do drugs. But this is a place for people’s opinion it is just i do not know who to believe anymore. I just do not want to make a wrong decision. I do not know why i even ask this here i probably will not get a straight answer at all. I just need help.

John answers:

Dude, I’ll be totally honest. If you want a happy life, just stay away from all that crap. Drugs and alcohol are for losers who either fell for the advertising BS or for people whose lives are so boring they need to do something to ‘feel better”. I’m 43 now and have never done any of that junk, and all the people I know who are into them as really pathetic. My own brother, who is now 45 or 46 lives with a married couple in some shack in the back woods of Arkansas where they grow weed. That is his entire life. He doesn’t have nor did he ever had a girlfriend, drugs are his life. He doesn’t even communicate with his family anymore, which is why we wrote him off as a loss. Oh, I forgot to add he sometimes sleeps in his van when he gets kicked out. He was a smart dude, but he got addicted to weed and now that’s all he does. No life, no girl, no children..nothing. What a waste of a life.

Alcohol makes you stupid and do shit you normally wouldn’t do. I drink beer sometimes, but usually only one or two. I hated being drunk, it makes me tired and gives me a headache. I personally don’t know why people even like it so much.

I’m now a technician for the government, and I get drug tested once a month. I also have a secret clearance and if I had any kind of infraction in the past (drug possession) I would lose it and lose my livlihood.

I’m just saying, sure, you might have some “fun” playing around with the stuff, but is it worth it? Yes, I also know many people I went to college with who wasted their money because they got caught up in the stoner/partier lifestyle and flunked out of school. One works at a chicken plant cutting open chickens, another works in a factory and lives in a mobile home. I make 122k a year and take a month long vacation every summer.

By the way, those examples of willie nelson and the beatles, that isn’t a common thing. They were already geniuses at what they do, and marijuana didn’t “make” them do it, it just affected their perception or style of what they did. Whose to say the music wouldn’t have been netter if they DIDN’T use it? Oh, and Willie Nelson lost everything because he was so stoned all the time he didn’t realize when all his “friends” were ripping him off and the IRS took his house. Look it up.

I broke up with a chick because she started doign drugs, but at first I was like, hey, whatever. But then I turned into a babysitter, always getting her out of trouble. One time we were driving and she just opened the door and fell out. Luckily I was going real slow through a parking lot and she didn’t get hurt. That’s what drugs do to you. Nice, huh? Ever hear of a crack baby?

Just my opinion, bro.

Daniel asks…

Don’t know what career/field I want to go into?

When I was young, my parents always pushed me towards becoming a doctor. My brother is almost in med school now, and my parents run a very successful business and want their children to do well too. Here’s the deal; I don’t want to be a doctor. I’m not a very assertive girl. Not that I have a low self-esteem, but I don’t have the leader personality, have very little regard for money (no, really) and don’t want to have to treat patients like an assembly line. They are heroes of course, but I don’t know if I can be that type of hero. I like caring for people, but as far as I know doctors mostly CURE them and the rest of the staff does the hands-on work. I considered something like law school, but successful lawyers generally have Type A personalities and are money-driven. I considered getting a Ph.D. in psychology and becoming a clinical psychologist, but that just isn’t an option for various reasons I won’t get into, not the least of the reasons being that psychology is only lucrative for psychiatrists.

Finally, people are telling me to go into healthcare because that’s where the jobs are at. I do think I’d be a good nurse. I have a lot of empathy for people but am not too attached that I can’t face the impermanence of life. I am smart, but not as good at math or as driven in the hard sciences as my pre-med brother. I’m a sophomore in university now and am nearly done with my GE reqs, so it’s time for me to decide what path to take. I’ve heard lots of horror stories about nurses being treated like slaves and being overworked to the point of burnout, but I’ve also read nurses write about how they wouldn’t trade their job for the world. Unfortunately, I can’t shadow a nurse or doctor right now, but I already know what their duties are. I’ve researched a lot of it.

Another thing that interests me is becoming an R.N. and then after doing two years of ICU experience possibly trying to get into CRNA (nurse anesthesia) school. Apparently they have better hours and are not as overworked.

Sorry, I’m coming off as arrogant here. I’m just trying to find a career path that suits me. I want to do something that HELPS people, will allow me to have a stable job, requires a lot of studying but not the 12 years for an M.D.,and will not leave me physically unstable every time I come home from work. I don’t want a boring office job, but I don’t want to be married to my job either. Can anyone offer opinions on my train of thought? Sorry to bother all of you fellas :/

John answers:

My G.F. Came to the U.S as an ESL from Malaysia. She worked her a** off as an undergrad at college and was eventually accepted to Pharmacy school at U.O.P. A 4 year program I think? She makes about the same as an MD Generalist, has a DR. Title on her diploma and has the enviable situation of being offered a pay raise seven years running now with full benefits and a fat retirement pension. When the State was cutting back on everything, her dept. Got raises all around and had to go begging to find Pharm. D’s to fill the vacancies in her department. Apparently her job title is transferable all over the country and has demand in many foreign countries as well. She’s never had to pick up a bed pan in her life and she pretty much gets to work in a sterile environment without having to worry about exposure to disease or the assembly line clinical situation imposed upon patients via the doctor / nurse interaction. Working with the public in a hospital is really one of the sickest, dirtiest, most disease filled jobs you could ask for. Hospital are where people go to die and disease goes to live and thrive. Pharmacists get a very sterile environment to work in. The air is filtered and she has to walk through a double door air lock to get to her station. The trickiest part of her work is walking through the hospital on the way to the Pharmacy.

Her only issue is that she did not do a full residency before taking the Pharma exams. Had she done that she would be making twice what she is making today, almost $200k, and be in a position to be a Pharmacy administrator where she would get to eat at the big table with the big shots and have her Christmas and Thanksgiving Turkey dinner. But hey she’s real happy doing what she is doing. Oh and if she choses to work Christmas they pay her a fat bonus. Also she enjoys saving lives everyday by checking to make sure the Doctors that order up the meds. That she reviews, aren’t prescribing the wrong drugs and killing their patients because they are only spending about 10 seconds on each patient evaluation. That’s another reason why Doctors get sued all the time. Stress.

HMMM. Hope this gives you something to think about??

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