Interview with the Author
The author was interviewed by Out There Television on February 6th, 2005
by Kate and Richard Mucci. A copy of the interview (#167) is available
on DVD from www.outtheretv.com. The following are excerpts of that interview.
Alex: Oh, I’m fine. I’m fine.
Kate: Great, … You know Alex, some people think that The Bible is an accurate account of true historical events. It seems from what I’ve read in the book that didn’t quite pan out that way. Where did The Bible come from? Is it the Word of God?
Alex: Well, actually, no one knows what the original texts said. One or the things you have to remember is that at that time, back around 850 BC texts were handed down by word of mouth. Consequently, you’re going to have a lot of problems when it comes to dealing with that. Least of all is the memory of the person who is talking about it.
Histories weren’t actually written until Herodotus about 450 BC. The early texts of The Bible were basically mythologies and they were restated mythologies. If you want to consider mythology the Word of God, fine. I’m sure that Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung would agree with that. Basically, they’re just restated mythologies written for a particular Semitic group of the time by priests.
Kate: So, they were written to illustrate a point, to tell a story. If they were a history they would be just a record of events. When you say a mythology you get the idea that it’s got some other purpose other than just relating historical events.
Alex: Exactly. Yes. The Bible actually is a series of teaching tales. One of the most interesting experiences that I had a long time ago; I was watching a television program about the Passover. It was a Jewish family having the Pesach, the Passover dinner. The father read the story of the Passover and he asked the family, “What is this story telling us?” That really affected me. It made me think, “Wait a second. These things are nothing but a bunch of stories.” You learn something from the stories. The stories in The Bible are filled with archetypal symbolism. As you grow and evolve as a person, the symbols transfer their meaning and become deeper embedded in your unconscious and you understand them a lot better.
Rich: That must have come as a real shock to you, Alex, especially when you went into the “born again” Christian thing and realized that, “Hm-m-m. None of this is making much sense at all.”
Alex: The interesting thing is that I was raised Catholic.
Rich: Me, too.
Alex: I started dating a girl whose father was an itinerant minister.
Alex: Well, you know what he thought about Catholics.
Alex: One day, we were sitting there talking, me and her father were sitting talking. He started quoting The Bible and I started quoting The Bible right back at him. He was shocked because, you know, Catholics don’t know anything about The Bible. He went to his daughter and he said, “Gee, I didn’t think he knew anything about The Bible.” His daughter said, “I told you not to bother with him.”
Kate & Rich: (Laughter)
Alex: One night while his daughter was out working he invited me to one of his meetings and that’s where the “born again” thing came in.
Kate: Oh, I got you, I got you.
Rich: You know, I’ve always wondered, sorry Kate, Alex, maybe you can help me with this: We have one Bible, we have a King James Version, we have a Catholic Version, why is it the Mormons, the Jewish People, the Baptists why do they think that they have the one winning ticket to God and everybody else is wrong? It’s, well, the same Bible.
Alex: Except for one small detail.
Rich: What’s that?
Alex: There are over 250 different versions of The Bible. You got to pay attention to that last word: version. It doesn’t mean that that is what it is. It’s a version.
Kate: Also, like the Catholic Bible has more books in it and we know that there are many, many texts that were left out of The Bible. Who was it that made, during the Council of Nicea or something…?
Alex: Constantine at the Council of Nicea was the one who basically decided on what was going on as far as Christianity was concerned. He decided on which texts were going to be the most appropriate ones.
One of my early experiences in thinking, let’s put it that way, as far as religion was concerned, was listening to Dr. Joseph Murphy. He’s written like 60 different books on The Bible and self-development and things like that. I used to go listen to him when I moved to Los Angeles, I used to listen to him all the time. He was the one who really got me thinking. He was a brilliant speaker and did a lot of research on his own. His teaching got me moving, really got me moving.
Kate: So, he was talking about the actual history of what was supposedly in The Bible. In the Old Testament, God is always testing somebody or having somebody go and kill the whole population including the animals and the children. That seems like a really …
Rich: What a wicked God!
Kate: Why would an omnipotent creator want to do something like that and how would that get into The Bible in the first place?
Rich: That’s not a God I ever want to know or meet.
Alex: Some people think that that is wonderful.
As far as the testings are concerned, basically, if you look at that, the God of The Bible is always the righteous to see if he is going to do what he was told to do. In other words, “Are you going to be a sheep and just continue to follow. Do what I tell you or I’m going to wipe you off of the face of the Earth.” That’s not a loving father.
Rich: Absolutely not.
Alex: I love the story of Onan. I like to call him, “Onan, the Barbarian.”
Kate and Rich: (Chuckle)
Alex: This is very interesting, it was believed at that time that if a man ejaculated on the earth it would grow demons and God had to contend with those demons.
Kate: (Laughter) So, that’s why he struck him down dead?
Alex: That’s why he struck him down.
Kate: Because he was such a powerful God he couldn’t deal with the demons on his own. That’s amazing.
Rich: You know, if you read the Old Testament carefully, I’m sure …
Kate: We’re going to get some letters on this.
Kate: There’s so many questions we have about this but who compiled the Christian Scriptures because, when we went off Richard said, “The God of the Old Testament seems so cruel and warring, always fighting, starting a war against somebody. Then, we get into the New Testament, first, when was it compiled, when was it written and how come the whole atmosphere feels so different with this man Jesus?
Rich: Yes, he was supposedly the son of the God of the Old Testament.
Alex: As far as who compiled it, it was compiled or put together by Ireneaus about 180. This was about 180 years after Jesus was supposed to have lived. The original Christians, the orthodox Christians didn’t have any Gospels and Epistles. They used what was referred to as the Old Testament or the Hebrew Scriptures. What they used, actually, was the Greek version and not the Hebrew version so a lot of the interpretations are wrong.
As far as the writing of them is concerned, nobody knows who wrote Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John is known to have been a Gnostic text and the Gnostics were considered the heretics.
Rich: Wait a second, Alex, you said no one knows who wrote Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Didn’t Matthew write Matthew?
Rich: Mark didn’t write Mark.
Alex: One of the writing techniques of the time is to write a book and attribute it to someone who is well-known by the group. So, the early Christians had legends of the apostles possibly. As far as the early Christian memories of Jesus, there really wasn’t much.
Kate: Yes, not very many people ever actually saw him. When you think of the number of Christians ultimately, even 100 years later, or even in the first 50 years, how many would have actually seen this man? He didn’t get to go on tv like these guys now.
Alex: If you want to get into the historical Jesus, that’s another whole area to talk about. I have a cousin right now who’s in the seminary and he just found out some things that kind of opened his mind. One of the things that he found out was that early Christianity talked of more than one Jesus.
Rich: How’s that? Run that by us again, here.
Alex: It’s very interesting. What’s taught in the seminaries to the young men going to be priests is different than is taught to the nuns and is totally different than anything taught in these Bible colleges.
Kate: Back to this number of Jesus’…
Alex: Yes, there were several different ones.
Kate: (Flabbergasted) Okay, were they all the Son of God? Where does this Son of God come in? How many Marys were there?
Alex: As far as Mary was concerned, nobody knows if she actually existed. Nobody knows if Jesus actually existed because there’s no actual proof. As far as Son of God, that was a title. It was a title attributed to high priests and kings. The pharaoh was called the “son of god.” He was considered the son of Aten, or Horus, or Ra depending upon which one he was worshipping at the time.
Kate: Going back to the Son of God thing, as far as Jesus, the man that --- we all think that there was this man called Jesus, and even though I’m not convinced that many of the stories in The Bible are the truth as they are written, it seems that there was some evidence of somebody out there preaching peace and good will. Was there not anybody doing that?
Alex: Well, interestingly enough, I don’t know if you’ve seen Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian.” Well, actually, a lot of that was not too far from the truth. Around that time there were messiahs all over the place who claimed to be the Son of God who were either preaching peace or preaching war; one of the two. That was a problem for the governments at the time because, think about it, if you had enough people to gather around you to try to overthrow the present government, you could cause a heck of a lot of problems.
Rich: Before we went to the break, Alex, I wanted to find out why the God of the Old Testament --- here we have one book that Christians all over the world follow, The Bible. It’s in the homes of every Christian in the country. Yet Jesus is so radically different than this vengeful, wrathful God of the Old Testament. How can they both be in one book? I don’t get it.
Alex: That is a good question. Actually, it’s kind of interesting because the God of the Old Testament in the Book of Job it says, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” Basically, it was believed in the Old Testament that good and evil came from God. This changed after the Persians came in and took the Judean population out of the diaspora. This is when a lot of the Persian influences came into what we know as the Jewish religion now. There was a god that brought good and a god that brought evil and this came out of Persia and the Zoroastrians. So, this god that gave good continued to travel down and it was about that same time that the Mystery Religions began coming very popular, like the Dionysian Mystery Religion, the Orphean Religion. Their main god was a very positive, loving god.
Kate: So then, they would pull that into Christianity.
Alex: That’s exactly it.
Kate: Now, we hear a lot about the prophets in The Bible and I had someone in my store the other day saying, “You know it’s against God’s Word to tell fortunes.” I flat out said to her, “Jesus was a prophet, The Bible’s full of prophets. What is it that makes it okay for them and not okay now?” In your book you mentioned something about how the prophets were considered good if they were right and --- explain that to us a little bit.
Alex: Okay, a prophet of God is supposed to be 100% correct all of the time. This also came out of the Persian religion. There’s a verse in The Bible that is very badly translated, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” That’s in the King James Version. The actual word in there that they translate as “witch” is a Hebrew word that means a “sorcerer.” Now what you have to do is find out what the word “sorcerer” meant 2 or 3000 years ago. A sorcerer, at that time, meant anyone who was going to predict ill will or evil. So, all these doom-gloom prophets running around today are sorcerers according to The Bible.
Kate: So, it was a bad thing and if a prophet didn’t come out right they were finished, they were put to death.
Alex: Oh, yes. In fact, in Ezekiel it says, “If a prophet be deceived when I have spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet and I will stretch out my hand upon him and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.” Interesting, none of the prophets were destroyed and they all …
Kate: Made mistakes.
Rich: Are we saying here, Alex and Kate, the Old Testament is nothing but a bunch of mythology, a bunch of stories put together by nameless people and Christians all over the world are using these stories to base their life upon. I mean, people use The Bible as a tool to do everything from control the sex lives of believers to deciding what kind of food to eat. How did all that stuff get into The Bible?
Alex: A lot of the laws that you find in Deuteronomy that dealt with that were ancient Semitic laws and these laws stretched all the way back into ancient Sumer which goes from 3000 to about 3500 BC. I don’t understand why anyone wants to deal with some of those laws because they’re absolutely ludicrous.
Kate: Yes, they are.
Rich: Like eating the flesh from a cloven-hoofed animal or something.
When we come back I want to go a little bit more about the messiah. Why was it so important to have this myth of a messiah coming, back then and now. Because now, this whole mess that we’re in Mesopotamia, Iraq has something to do with the messiah coming; the return of Christ, or whatever. When we come back we’ll ask you about that, Alex.
Kate: What happened to books like the Book of Nod, the Book of Enoch?
Rich: There was a Book of Mary and Mary Magdeline.
Kate: What happened to all those?
Alex: They didn’t fit.
Kate: They didn’t fit. Why?
Alex: They didn’t fit because of the agenda of the people deciding on which books to put in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Kate: So the agenda … Who decided what went in there and why did it not fit in the agenda? What was their agenda?
Alex: Well, the agenda was basically to control people. It had nothing to do with helping people become more individual, more spiritual, or more developed as a person. It was basically to get followers. As I mentioned before, it was Ireneaus about 180 who decided which texts would be used in the Christian Scriptures. He did it out of anger because there was a Gnostic who was the first one to develop a canon. Since he got ticked-off at that Gnostic well, he said, “These are going to be the books we’re going to use.” Then, he rewrote them.
Kate: Now where did Constantine come in to this?
Alex: Constantine was the emperor of Rome in the early part of the 4th century. I think he took over about 312, somewhere around that time. At that time about ¼ of the Roman Empire and about ¼ of the Roman Army was Christian. So, obviously, this is a lot of people he can work with. The other part were Pagans. Basically, in order to appease that ¼ of the Army and ¼ of the Empire what Constantine did was --- he did not make Christianity the state religion of Rome, as most people think. What he did was give Christianity the right to practice because it was taken away about 50 years earlier because of riots that were going on in Rome especially.
Kate: So he goes through all this to make it legal, basically, for people to worship as Christians.
Alex: Oh, yes.
Kate: Something that was in your book was that you said, “Faith, according to Constantine, was a matter of politics.” It seems still like that, isn’t it?
Alex: Yes, it is.
Kate: Constantine thought, “If I legalize it I’ve got a better chance of …” what? He wouldn’t have to worry about getting votes. Why would he worry about them?
Alex: Basically, he would be protected. What happened to most of the Roman emperors was that they got poisoned. If you remember “Gladiator” the recent movie. What were they doing to Marcus Aurelius? Slowly poisoning him. That’s one of the reasons why Constantine wanted this group behind him. He knew he could manipulate them very easily.
Kate: Because they like to have something to follow.
Rich: I’d like to change the topic here real quickly. Have you done any research on Noah and the great flood in your studies of Genesis?
Alex: As far as the flood myth, you can find that in over 400 different mythologies around the world. The interesting thing is that you don’t find a flood myth in Egypt and Egypt was right next door to where everybody thinks Noah was. Noah actually is a derivation of an early Semitic myth, Babylonian myth of a man by the name of, I think it is, Nipshitim. He was the one who saved the world from a flood that the god, I believe it was, Marduk sent to the world.
Rich: Okay, now you’re getting into some Sumerian and Mesopotamian history here.
Alex: This is pre-Israelite, pre-Hebrew.
Kate: They just used that myth and stretched it into The Bible as a lesson that you had to follow God’s will or …
Rich: Listen, I’m 9 years old, Alex, and I’m questioning my teacher, going, “How in God’s name” I didn’t say God’s name, “How on Earth did they get 2 of every animal …” I mean, at 9 years old I’m deducing this, “… on to the ark?” But yet, people believe every word of this story. That it was the wrath of God, because people were bad and, “I’m going to kill you all with a flood.” People still buy this today.
Alex: I have an uncle who is a psychotherapist and every once in a while he’d get confronted by people telling him that story. Then, he’d say, “It killed everything that was on the Earth, right?” The guy would go, “Oh, yes, it did.” He’d say, “How about the fishes?”
Kate: Back to Constantine. He’s had a big effect on this whole Christian movement. He’s a saint, right?
Alex: Yes, he was made a saint.
Kate: He was a terrible, cruel person.
Alex: Oh, absolutely. He was a murderer. In fact, what a lot of historians say is that there wasn’t a more bloodthirsty emperor than Constantine. He killed his 11 year old nephew. He killed his sister’s husband. He killed his wife’s father. He killed his wife. He killed his former friend. He killed his sister’s second husband. He killed his own son. This was all to insure that he would stay on the throne.
Rich: He was also a pope. Was he a pope as well?
Alex: No. He was the one who actually initiated the papacy. At that time there were bishops all over the Empire; there was a bishop of Alexandria, a bishop of Jerusalem, a bishop of Athens, and a bishop of Rome.
Kate: He had to centralize power. That’s why he made a pope, right?
Alex: That’s exactly it.
Kate: Then there wasn’t a line of Peter at all.
Alex: No, there wasn’t.
Kate: The other thing we got to get into because of all of these negative prophecies that you alluded to them earlier, the Book of Revelations, what is that and how does that fit into this whole warning system?
Alex: Let me give you a little bit of information about the writing of the Book of Revelations. The person who was attributed to it was given the title “John, the Divine.” You think it’s the same John who wrote the Gospel of John. Which it most likely is not. He was on the Isle of Patmos and the Isle of Patmos was replete with Magic Mushrooms. So, he was probably a little spaced out. The Book of Revelations, the Apocalypse as it is called in the Catholic Bible, was written by Gnostics: It is known to have been written by Gnostics. It’s filled with mystical symbolism and a lot of plagiarism from the Old Testament and a lot of plagiarism from a lot of mystical books. The thing is there were debates down into, I think, the 5th and 6th century as to whether the Book of Revelations should still be included.