The ancient Mesopotamians believed in an afterlife that was a land below our world…known alternately as Arallû, Ganzer or Irkallu, the latter of which meant “Great Below”… everyone went to after death, irrespective of social status or the actions performed during life…Mesopotamians considered the underworld neither a punishment nor a reward…merely weak and powerless ghosts…The myth of Ishtar’s descent into the underworld relates that “dust is their food and clay their nourishment, they see no light, where they dwell in darkness.” Stories such as the Adapa myth resignedly relate that, due to a blunder, all men must die and that true everlasting life is the sole property of the gods.
Can we see that logical conclusion of someone with this belief system is a resigned “So might as well eat, drink and be merry in this life.”?
Apply what we’ve discovered about ancient pagan beliefs and practices to the following biblical account, where a great many recent converts to the God YHVH abandon faith in him as soon as they feel abandoned by him as just another one of a million capricious gods they know are all unpredictable, untrustworthy and self-serving.
“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us…And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he…made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt…And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have שָׁחַת corrupted themselves [invited evil spirit possession]:” (Exodus 32)
The word צְחַק delicately translated “play” here has a much more baudy meaning than children having fun. There is an unquestionably sexual meaning when Abimelech caught Isaac צְחַק “sporting” with Rebekah, and Potiphar’s wife was certainly accusing Joseph of sexual assault when she reported that he had come in to צְחַק “mock” her.
The Israelites were not passing time playing games. This should not come as a news flash. It was standard practice in ancient times to include sexual debauchery and drunkenness in pagan practices.
Oh, wait. This is still a common occurrence whenever people get together to party with intoxicants.
“For the time past of our life [when we were younger, without adult responsibilities, in college] may suffice us to have…walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable [mix of human and evil spirit] idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: (I Peter 4:3-4)
It’s not just ancient culture.
Dionysia – the Original Greek Carnival –
It’s All About Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll
The Greek Orthodox Church rather try to play down the shenanigans of Greek Carnival, all this bawdiness is not seemly, so, just where did Greek Carnival originate?
As with many Christian celebrations, Saint Valentine’s Day is just one example, Greek Carnival was an ancient pagan celebration. The heathens may have allowed themselves to become Christians, but no way were they about to give up their festivities.
The priests of the day, unable to persuade the newly-converted to forego their jollies, simply changed the name, and dedicated the celebration, to some other Christian occasion…
Also known as Bacchanal, crazy parties with drunken revelry, sexual experimentation, and wild music dedicated to Bacchus, the Roman name for the Greek god of wine Dionysus, were also celebrated in southern Italy…via the Greek colonies…
Back in the day, Dionysus, with the looks any Greek god would have been proud of [are you recognizing the androgeny?], had his cult of followers, who eagerly awaited this yearly blow out, which is exactly what it was.
The females, “Maenads” (the word comes from the Greek maenades, meaning mad or demented) wild, drunk women, dressed as Ariadne, wife of Dionysus, with animal skins draped over their shoulders, carrying a “Thyrus”, a rod topped with a pine cone, and his male devotes, satyrs, men with goat-like features, in a permanent state of arousal, gathered together in the woods, for what can only be dubbed as a rave party!
The copious amounts of wine knocked back, trance-inducing music, strange herbs ingested and wild singing and dancing; all produced a state of complete abandon, a total lack of inhibition.
Baby this was the original sex, drugs and rock and roll!
…a huge wooden statue of Dionysus was borne aloft, through the inebriated crowds…escorted by men dressed at satyrs, disguised by masks, the women following, wildly dancing, heads thrown back in ecstasy…
I can certainly understand why early Christian priests were not enamored with these pagan shenanigans, and replaced it with Greek carnival, which, it seems to me, is just a reenactment of wild parties, thrown all those years ago, under another name: Apokreas!
…the description of the Dionysia reminds me of the less reputable holiday resorts of the Greek islands, where, according to foreign tourists, anything goes!
Including sexual assault if anyone resists.
The percentage of women in the [American] military who were sexually assaulted in 2021 spiked to the highest level since the Defense Department started tracking the statistic more than a decade ago, according to new data released Thursday…”The adjustment in how the data is gathered appears to confirm what survivors and advocates have been saying for years: The reality is far more grim than the report numbers have suggested,”
Surely we’ve learned about enough monster politicians in our own recent history to realize there are real threats to humanity by cruel rulers with their devoted followers, and someone IS going to die.
It’s just a question of believing if someone else’s life is worth giving up yours.
This is why the American men and women who fought World War II, “not for fame or recognition, but because it was the ‘right thing to do'” are labeled “The Greatest Generation” of Americans by journalist Tom Brokaw.