Sunday, August 26, 2012

Boney M and the Bible

Boney M  BBC Top 10

Disco music has rarely been as powerful and memorable as it was with Boney M.

Their performance at Sopot 1979 Festival brings back the unforgettable beats, tunes and arrangements that are even today, 40 years later, immediately recognisable as "Boney M". The three beautiful ladies together with a skilful male dancer with his sexy voice made a brilliant contrast that has remained a Boney M hallmark ever since.

However, Boney M was not an immediate success. It was created in 1975 by German record producer Frank Farian but their first album Take the Heat Off Me was published the following year with lukewarm reception.

Things began to heat up with the 1976 hits Daddy Cool and Sunny. Once you hear them they do linger in your ears whether you want it or not! Similarly penetrating and memorable were the 1977 hits Ma Baker and Belfast.

By the rivers of Babylon
Show business and entertainment such as popular music aimed at the young disco generation may be very far from religion and the Bible. Some rockers are inspired by the opposite dark forces and show it in their music and attitudes. Instead, Boney M got their greatest hits and reached near the coveted 2 million sales (5000 short) with a "white" song with good words taken directly from the Bible

By the Rivers of Babylon (youTube)
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion... They carried us away in captivity requiring of us a song... Now how shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?
Psalm 137:1-4
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight...
Psalm 19:14
By the Rivers of Babylon stayed at the number one position in the UK for five weeks and sold over 1,985,000 copies and is one of the top ten all-time best-selling singles in the UK.

The contents are not necessarily understood in the Biblical Zionist sense by all - there is a genuinely Jamaican rastafanian interpretation where "Babylon" takes the meaning of a tyrant and the words have thus some Ethiopian side tunes, as well. But the words are pure Bible.

The group has had political comments since the famous visit to Soviet Union (please, no Rasputin!) As recently as in 2010 when Maizie Williams visited the Palestinian Culture Festival, organisers asked her not to sing By the Rivers of Babylon (The Telegraph) because of its Zionist content.

Mary's Boy Child - Oh My Lord
Another centrally Biblical theme brought Boney M their second great success - now actually dressed in white! It a Christmas song originally made famous by Harry Belafonte in 1956. Boney M released it in 1978 to their unmistakable beat and with mind penetrating simplicity

Mary's Boy Child - Oh My Lord (youTube)

"The single was recorded in a hurry early November, included in the group's live set and rushed out at the end of the month, topping the UK charts for four weeks during its eight week stay in the charts, and becoming the second single for the group in the all-time best selling singles charts." (wikipedia

This is and has remained a genuine Christmas song with no side interpretations!

The Keel and Caledonian orogeny

He set the earth on its foundations;
    it can never be moved.
You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
    the waters stood above the mountains.
But at your rebuke the waters fled,
    at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
they flowed over the mountains,
    they went down into the valleys,
    to the place you assigned for them.
You set a boundary they cannot cross;
    never again will they cover the earth.
Psalm 104:5-9 NIV

Continental drift - Iapetus ocean
Modern geodynamics deals much with the play of water and dry land during the geological history of planet Earth. It is a highly complex field of research but crucial in our attempt to try to understand the landscapes of our world. There have been periods when waters have covered mountains and valleys deep under like by a garment - the Psalmist may actually refer here to the ancient story of the Flood - and massive tectonic movements that have raised mountain ranges or folded them over. A vivid image of the process is given by the relatively young formation of Himalayas as the Indian continental plate pushes against the Asian plate and causes the majestic mountains to rise. Similar pushes have happened throughout the geological history of planet Earth.

Reconstruction of Late Ordovician Epoch 460 mya
The reconstruction shows part of the map of Earth before the majestic Caledonian orogeny took place. The land masses of Laurentia are separated from Baltica by the huge Iapetus Ocean. Baltica is separated from Avalonia by the Tornquist Sea. Tectonic plates laying under the crust of Earth moved slowly during the Devonian Epoch driving away the waters of the separating seas and pushing the edges of the plates up into mountain ranges.

Later on, continental drift again separated the land masses eventually creating what became the Atlantic Ocean between America, Eurasia and Africa.

Reconstruction of Late Devonian Earth 370 mya
The enormous pressure of land masses pushing against each other lifted massive mountain ranges that may have been as high as the Himalayas today. Later events and erosion has "polished" the Caledonian mountains into soft shapes and much lower remains perhaps one fifth of the original at 2000 meters or so. Nature thrives towards the peaceful balance of flat landscapes without the physical tensions that are caused by mountains and valleys.

Caledonian orogeny

Location of the Caledonian/Acadian mountain chains
in the Early Devonian Epochwikimedia
The Caledonian orogeny is a mountain building era (orogeny) recorded in the northern parts of the British Isles, the Scandinavian Mountains, Svalbard, eastern Greenland and parts of north-central Europe. The Caledonian orogeny encompasses events that occurred from the Ordovician to Early Devonian, roughly 490-390 million years ago (Ma). It was caused by the closure of the Iapetus Ocean when the continents and terranes of Laurentia, Baltica and Avalonia collided.

The Caledonian orogeny has been named for Caledonia, the Latin name for Scotland. The name was first used in 1885 by Austrian geologist Eduard Suess for an episode of mountain building in northern Europe that predated the Devonian period. Geologists like Émile Haug and Hans Stille saw the Caledonian orogeny as one of several episodic phases of mountain building that had occurred during the Earth's history. Current understanding has it that the Caledonian orogeny encompasses a number of tectonic phases that can laterally be diachronous. The name "Caledonian" can therefore not be used for an absolute period of geological time, it applies only to a series of tectonically related events.

The Keel

Geological map of Scandinavia
wikimedia Bjoertvedt
The fascinating geological map by Bjoertvedt gives detailed picture of the Keel as part of the extremely complex geological map of Scandinavia, Finland and the Baltic area. Many parts of planet Earth are covered with later sedimentary rocks covering like thick garments older rock formations sometimes under kilometres thick deposits.  The Caledonian orogeny is Postcambrian but in this Nordic corner of the world we can study it in relation to the early geological history of Precambrian Earth.

Cambrian deposit over Precambrian base - Slemmestad, Norway
Jan Ove R. Ebbestad and Elisabeth Sunding 2006

Young Earth Creationists
Learning about the making of the Keel and the landscapes surrounding it are in my mind a fascinating and also theologically significant exercise. It is admittedly very demanding and I confess my utter ignorance of most of the subjects mentioned here - I have much to learn and I am very eager to learn more as a Christian, child of the God who made these majestic landscapes of Scandinavia.

Not so Young Earth Creationists.

Because of the shackles of their faulty hermeneutics and forcing human rationalism into the Biblical revelation in all its intended ambiguity and complexity, YEC people must close their eyes to all this. It is impossible that there was a Devonian period when Laurentia and Baltica moved towards each other creating nappes and what not?

For all the Earth was made in seven days of creation about 4000 BC and so it must be. From this divine knowledge - that contradicts what we can learn from God's nature - they must find an explanation to the rise and fall of the Keel in what is geologically speaking less than a second.

They do so with admirable zeal, piety and imagination, thereby forging both the great work of Creator and falsifying the Word of God and bringing shame to the name of the God of Israel.


But so it is.

Young Earth Creationists without the Keel

Maukojaureh and Mt. Ahkka, Northern Sweden
Young Earth Creationists are mostly North American and Australian Christians who date the entire Universe- and with it planet Earth - by the Biblical genealogies from Adam to Jesus Christ. Because they thus know from the divine revelation that God created the world about 4000 B.C. all human knowledge about the world must be fitted to this chronology. They say that giving up this chronology is equivalent to giving up faith in God of Israel and His only begotten Son, so the linkage between science and religion is strong indeed.

With these Biblical associations we get, for example, from Answers in Genesis and Creative Ministries re-dating of Grand Canyon and making one of God's wonderful creations a subject of ridicule to normal people. I am particularly saddened by the children's book telling about a post-diluvial glacial period. Rather that they tied a millstone to that pious writer's neck and throw him to Gennesaret than he misleads innocent children to such falsities!

Young Earth Creationists are left by logical necessity of their pseudo-science without the Keel.

As one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world the geology of the Fenno-Scandian mountain range is particularly complex leaving only one fifth of its original height. But even the remains of this pre-Cambrian formation are so impressive that the area ranks among the most beautiful regions in the entire world - a true masterpiece of Creation that has taken some 800 million years from Him to perfect.

The Keel
The Scandinavian Mountains or the Scandes, in Swedish Skanderna, Fjällen ("the Fells") or Kölen (Fjällen being by far the most frequent name and virtually the only one in modern colloquial speech), in Finnish Köli and in Norwegian Kjølen, with the three latter meaning The Keel, are a mountain range that runs through the Scandinavian Peninsula.

The Scandinavian Mountains are equivalent to the Scandinavian Caledonides.

The western sides of the mountains drop precipitously into the North Sea and Norwegian Sea, forming the famous fjords of Norway, while to the northeast they gradually curve towards Finland. To the north they form the border between Norway and Sweden, still reaching 2,000 m high (6,600 ft) at the Arctic circle. The mountain range just touches northwesternmost Finland, but are scarcely more than hills at their northernmost extension at the North Cape.

The Scandinavian mountain system is geologically connected with the mountains of Scotland, Ireland and, crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Appalachian Mountains of North America. Geologists hold that all these formed a single range prior to the breakup of the ancient supercontinent Pangaea. The current mountains are remnants of the Caledonian mountains. The mountains have been eroded to one-fifth of their original height. The mountains are one of the oldest still extant mountain ranges in the world. The Scandinavian Montane Birch forest and grasslands terrestrial ecoregion is closely associated with the mountain range.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Strong Nina Burleigh and weak Bible

Nina Burleigh

Internet newspaper The Huffington Post has a well-written and interesting article by Nina Burleigh called What good has to do with it?

Nina Burleigh's homepage tells that she is an adjunct professor at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and author of five books of which The Fatal Gift of Beauty was a New York Times bestseller. She has published in "Businessweek, The New Yorker, and Time, is a contributing editor at Elle and has appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, The Today Show, 48 Hours, MSNBC, CNN and, on NPR and numerous radio programs". In her many writings Burleigh has covered "American politics, the Arab Spring, Israeli archaeological forgers, Arab feminism, Iraqi immigrants to Nebraska, the NYPD and human trafficking in New York City, Nazi looted art at the MOMA, a small-town Italian mayor murdered over slow food politics, Arctic travel, and Chinese immigrants to Italy and expat life in Italy".

In short, Nina has experienced very successful life in modern media world and is going strong on many fronts as her web pages inform us.

So what has the old Bible to give to such a modern, highly educated, and enlightened woman who knows quite well not only Israel and American Jews but also the Arab world  - worlds in which ancient Scriptures still play a vivid role.

Not much.

According to her sharp analysis the impact of Biblical heritage on modern politics and culture is mostly negative. Bible itself is just an ancient collection of religious writings created by some seventh century BCE Hebrew priests in the desert who apparently invented most of the stories in it. And still many read it as blueprint of modern events taking place in the Near East, Armageddon and all.

Strong modern woman and weak Bible. Undoubtedly many people agree and hurray with her in the evaluation of the Bible and those who so fanatically still believe in it.

Study the Bible!
IMHO it is really unfortunate that Nina Burleigh has not bothered to learn to know the Scriptures better. Her obvious ignorance of historical-critical research of the Bible and lack of understanding of Religions of the Book is apparent in the background of her notes on modern fraud and deception in the Biblical world and USA politics and culture.

The frauds are truly disgusting and the use of the Bible in modern politics surprising - but the only effective weapon against false claims is the truth.
"Many of the Bible stories and characters in them -- Adam and Eve, Abraham, Noah, Moses, Solomon -- have no historical basis. The more archaeologists dig and the more historians search, the less certain they are of almost every aspect of the Bible, from Exodus to the conquest of the Promised Land to the existence of a grand ancient Israeli empire.
Nina Burleigh

It is the business of historians, archaeologists and academics to suspect everything and to be sceptical about everything. But this does not mean that they are correct in their claims and counterclaims - history of scholarly research is full of shipwrecks that once proudly filled the lecture rooms of Universities and Theological faculties. Bible has turned out to be quite persistent even its doom has been announced so many times during the scientific era of Western society.

But many among us -- from Christians in America to religious nationalists in Israel -- persist in reading the Bible, a document written in the 7th century BCE by a small group of priests in the desert, as a blueprint for God's plan for the Middle East, giving politicians like Netanyahu cover, and enriching charlatans who hawk proof of the Bible on TV and in print.
Nina Burleigh

Not only a blueprint for Netanyahu era right wing Israel and republican votes but for the entire planet Earth on the axis of Jerusalem. Bibi is not the Great King the ancient Scriptures are talking about and does not claim to be - the time of the real King will come.