A Call to Action

I have heard it said that trying to gather Atheists is like trying to herd cats. That’s not entirely wrong. Many of us tend to be strong willed, thoughtful, opinionated, independent and some of us our fiercely anti establishment. I don’t mean to be narrow, we are many things which includes being capable of making a greater impact in this time of illogical reasoning and overt denialism of science or reality. Are we, as Atheists, denying the potential power of a unified front because we are not organized?

I know, I know. Some of you are thinking, “Um, we don’t have a leader and we don’t want one.” Gotcha. Can we even afford to think that way right now? Let’s discuss.

Denialism is taking over conservative American culture. Denial of Science, disease, election results, and civility just to name a few. To make matters worse, conservatives have reinvented Jesus. Yes, Christian Jesus is dead and Republican Jesus has been born in his stead. So you might be thinking, “Why does that matter?


The balance of power in the United States has been seized by radical fundamentalist Christians with a political agenda of creating their perfect union that allows for their fundamental denial science and human rights on a scale unseen in over a hundred years. You may be reading this and think that I am fear mongering or over reacting to the political climate but one thing is certain – history repeats itself.

What does that mean for Atheists? Currently Atheists can be executed in 14 countries across the middle east. It was only in the last 70 years that paganism has truly began to resurface after years of hiding in the shadows. Laws that had created against it combined with the stigma and memory of 125 + years of persecution (and by persecution I really mean slaughter of millions of innocent people) for being “witches” which began in the late 1400’s across Europe. If you’re not familiar with the time in which Christians preferred bloodshed over prayers, give it a quick google. Not to mention that Christians, Jews and Muslims have been killing each other for thousands of years and they believe they have a common ancestor, you know, that schizophrenic guy name Abraham that heard voices and nearly killed his own son. They kill each other without conscience, and when given the freedom to rule with religious law, they make it legal to kill us.

So how passive do we continue to be? Atheists aren’t a voting block. We don’t have representation, and/or consideration in politics. We aren’t considered within the walls of Congress or in the White House. We are discriminated at at work, school, and by our families and friends. We hide and suppress our opinions and the ability to be true selves to not upset the religious majority around us, and it needs to end.

When is it time to stand together?

Atheism Mythology

Atrahasis Part 3 – The Flood

Hello and welcome to the conclusion of the Akkadian epic of Atrahasis. In the first two posts we examined the first and second tablets that detail the creation of humankind and the gods attempt to control the population by torturing mankind with disease, starvation, and thirst. In this post we will look at the conclusion of these three tablets with the story of the flood. Unlike the first two stories, the third story is missing portions due to erosion of the clay tablets the story was recorded on. We begin the story after 36 missing lines of tablet.

The story of the flood begins with an angry Enlil ranting that his will and the will of the Annuna (the collective of higher gods) has been defied by the Igigi (lesser gods) and Enki. Within the missing lines of the text, it could be extrapolated that mankind was allowed some type of respite from the relentless oppression of the gods and allowed to flourish as long as Enki was able to keep them in check and “hold the balance” of mankind.

In his anger, Enlil tells Enki, that he helped create mankind and now he must destroy it. As Enki is the god of water, Enlil commands him to destroy his creation using his own power by creating a flood to destroy humanity. Enlil begins to insist that Enki take an oath to the gods that he will do follow through with this. In response Enki says,

‘Why should you make me swear an oath?
Why should I use my power against my people?
The flood that you mention to mt.~
What is it? I don’t even know!
Could I give birth to a flood?
That is Enlil’ s kind of work!

After a gap of 10 lines in the story we see Atrahasis for the first time in this tablet. Enki has allowed him to witness this scene through a dream and Atrahasis awakens to question Enki with the meaning of the dream in which he has just witnessed. Enki begins to instruct Atrahasis to dismantle his home and build a boat. After several lines of instruction on boat building and animal gathering, Atrahasis gathers the elders of his area and tells them that his god (Enki) has fallen out of favor with their god (Enlil) and he is not welcome there and must go to the Apsu (primordial waters) to be with his god.

10 lines of the tablet are missing.

This is followed by the elders and craftsman showing up to help Atrahasis complete the boat and fill it with animals. After the boat is completed, Atrahasis invites everyone to a celebratory feast and the storm begins. Adad (the weather god) begins the rain and Anzu tore at the sky. The sky blackened until no sun could shine through as the land flooded.

The gods, in realizing what they have done begin to suffer. They grow parched and famished and begin to weep for the death of humanity. The next several lines of the story are lamentation of the gods of allowing Enlil to give the order to for the flood and how they will regret it for all eternity.

58 lines of the story are missing.

The story picks back up after an offering has been placed. The starving gods gather together at the offering to partake and begin to bicker amongst each other regarding the death of all life from the flood. Then Enlil spots the boat and erupts in a fury.

The warrior Enlil spotted the boat
And was furious with the Igigi.
‘We, the great Anunna, all of us,
Agreed together on an oath!
No form of life should have escaped!
How did any man survive the catastrophe?’

Anu speaks up to say ‘who else would do this but Enki?’ to which Enki responds:

‘I did it, in defiance of you!
I made sure life was preserved

The epic then concludes with what seems to be an acceptance among the gods that man will exist and the gods continue to set forth rules they establish to control the population of mankind. These exact measures are unknown due to missing script in the tablets.

The Analysis

The story of the flood, while familiar, has some undeniably important changes. This flood story is among the oldest in record. It can be suggested that other versions of this myth that come from the same general region will be branches of this version of the story.

The stage is set with angry Enlil ordering Enki to destroy life on Earth and Enki is resistant. He has done so much to protect the lives that he helped to create. The other gods in this story do nothing to stop Enlil from destroying not only humans but animals as well. Enki then exposes this plot to destroy man and beast to Atrahasis. Enki gives specific instructions to Atrahasis to build a boat. Notice that I did not say, “build an ark” as that is a Judeo-Christian concept and not the way in which boats were constructed during this period in history along the Euphrates and Tigris River’s. For more information regarding the specifics on this mythology and the art of ancient boat building I have posted both a video and book by the epic rockstar, and god among men, Irving Finkel of the British Museum.

More important that the flood or ancient boat building techniques is a theme in which is used over and over throughout religion. As this story and culture predates many other ancient cultures and gods, it is by construct one of the first times which the son of the father god becomes the savior of humankind.

In the story of Atrahasis we see Enki help craft and create humans. He then protects them by repeatedly defying the will of Enlil to end the suffering he has ordered the gods to inflict upon the people and the land. Enki’s final act of defiance occurs when he saves both human’s and animals alike when he instructs Atrahasis to build a boat to survive the coming flood. Enki is the hero of the story. The son of the father god Anu has become the savior of mankind.

As the story of Atrahasis was recorded around the 17th century BCE it is believed that the story is much older and was passed down through oral tradition. This tale is part of a foundational basis that comes from the ancient middle east. These are the stories that Christianity has altered and continued. They may have changed the details to fit the time and the narrative in which they project but it is important to remember that the Torah was written either during the end of or directly after the Babylonian captivity which saw the forced captivity of the Jewish people in Babylon. We will leave that story for another time…


Atheism Mythology

Atrahasis Part 2

Famine, Pestilence & Death

One of the most popular stories of the bible is that of the Ten plagues of Egypt. What if this tale is a combination of tales from both Akkadian and Egyptian mythology combined into one story? Enlil is replaced in the newer version of the myth by “Pharoah”. The similarities are too numerous to be coincidental yet the newer version of this story contains details that may have been lost forever in the lines missing from the face of the ancient tablets.

From the end of the creation story the second tale within the three tablet epic of Atrahasis begins after some time has passed and the population of people has expanded. The god Enlil tells the gods that there are too many people on earth and they are too loud; they disturb his peace. Enlil commands that the gods to cause disease to break out upon the earth. We next see Atrahasis implore the god Enki for help. Enki instructs Atrahasis to gather the elders and tell them to stop praying and offering items to their usual gods and instead build a temple to Namtara and offer him offering of bread. Atrahasis and the people do so and Namtara ends the plague of disease from the people.

Six hundred years pass and Enlil again tells the gods there are too many people, they are too loud and they disturb his sleep. Enlil orders the vegetation killed and that the god Adad withhold rain and cause a drought. As ordered, Adad withholds rain and a drought sweeps across the land. Atrahasis again implores the Enki for help. Enki gives the same advise as before. He tells them to withhold their offerings and prayers to the gods and instead build a temple to Adad and gift him offerings of bread. Atrahasis and the elders build a temple to Adad who finds their offerings pleasing and he allows it to rain saving the people from drought.

The story continues repeating this pattern. Time passes, Enlil is disturbed by the noise of the people and he sends drought again, he orders the land bleached and unable to support livestock. As the land is ordered baron from producing life so are the women and they are unable to have children. The earth is brought down to only a few weak starving families with scabbed faces.

While most notably the ten plagues of Egypt do not occur in the Torah until after the flood, this is the story within Akkadian mythology that occurs directly before the flood. Many scholars try to explain the ten plagues as natural occurrences that happened in a relatively short period of time from a volcanic eruption or some other natural disaster. The Egyptians were not without their own literature and recorded their history in writing. There is no evidence to suggest that the ten plagues of Egypt literally occurred within Egypt from their own Egyptian writings or Akkadian writings. Akkadian was used as language in which Egypt and Mesopotamia communicated with each other. It was the English of the time. The Egyptian court kept scribes fluent in Akkadian to communicate with the those across the fertile crescent. It is unlikely that within the thousands of communications that have been found between the Egyptian and Akkadian cultures there would exist zero accounts of these troubles in Egypt if they had actually occurred around 1800 BCE as biblical scholars suggest was the time in which Moses was in Egypt.

In continuing with the theme regarding the transformation of similar ancient mythological stories, In particular to the first plague listed within the Ten Plagues of Egypt is the river’s of blood. As scholars have tried to suggest this is a red algae bloom and it’s probable that something of that nature could have been but the Egyptians tell a story similar to what we have read in Atrahasis.

The period of time known as The Middle Kingdom in Egypt was a time in which Egypt produced amazing works of Art And Literature roughly 2040 BCE to 1750 BCE. In the Book of the Heavenly Cow written during that ancient time is the story similar to the theme of an angry authoritian unleashing his fury upon human kind.

In this story the Sun god Ra is angry that humans are ungrateful and evil and needs to be punished for their sins. Ra sends Hathor down to unleash fury and destruction upon humanity destroying everything in her path. Upon witnessing the absolute blood lust and destruction of humanity, Ra and the gods come up with a plan to stop Hathor (or rather Sekhmet as she is called during the destruction). Ra instructs the Egyptian Goddess of beer, Tenenet, to create a particularly strong brew of beer. They then dye the beer red with the juice of pomegranates and pour the red beer into the Nile River whereupon Sekhmet drinks the beer until she is becomes drunk and falls asleep. Sekhmet then awakens as Hathor and has nothing but love and guidance for humankind.

Funerary Stela of the Gatekeeper Maati, ca. 2051–2030 B.C. Egyptian, First Intermediate Period Limestone; H: 36.4 cm (14 5/16 in.), W: 60 cm (23 5/8 in.), D: 5.9 cm (2 5/16 in.) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund, 1914 (14.2.7)

In closing, regardless of where the story has been recorded, many ancient cultures have created a narrative to explain the difficulties in which ancient cultures experienced such as plagues and droughts. Cultures created villain’s and saviors to reconcile man’s constant struggle to survive in nature. As I have written about 3 very similar and specific myths across 3 cultures that existed very close within time and proximity they do reflect that these myths persist across an expanding area. The names of the gods and the details of the stories change but the existence of humankind finding a way to explain the extreme difficulties of ancient survival is a universal theme. These stories are not reflection of any real history that occurred during ancient time and allegorically represent the same difficulties we face today.


Atrahasis – Part 1 – The Creation Story

The foundations of all three major religions are built on ancient source material that has woven their way through history. While ancient history and mythology may not appeal to everyone, the ancient history of the middle east unlocks the truth. Most people when thinking of the history of the middle east often think of the biblical accounts as actual history scholars and archeologists have been decoding vast libraries of information left on tablets and unearthing buried cities from the sand. Within these writings are familiar stories. In part one of this discussion on the mythology we will take a look at the story of Atrahasis.

Before we can begin the story a little background about area. The map below is a general idea of the regions and that existed within the fertile crescent between roughly 2600 BCE to 600 BCE. That’s a really long time ago and while a few places may be familiar most of these cities and civilizations have been either lost or transformed as states and cultures were lost through wars and migrations which have remained constant in this region through most of modern history.

The story of Atrahasis which we will be discussing is the Akkadian account of the story and was recorded in Akkadian Cuneiform around 1650 BCE. The story existed long before it throughout different cultures in the same region and the hero of the story has been known by many different names. As this tale accounts for the creation of mankind to through story of the great flood. In a comparison of time, the story of Atrahasis recorded in Akkadian dates to roughly 1650 BCE while the account of Noah may first appear in the Torah after it’s creation around the 5th or 6th century BCE. That is a span of over a thousand years between the story we will examine and the biblical story known today.

The story of Atrahasis begins before the creation of man. The Great Gods (Annunaki) had created a race of lesser gods called the Igigi. The Great Gods sent the Igigi down to Earth to work the land including digging out the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. After 3600 years the Igigi rose up and rebelled against the Annunaki saying, “Every single one of us gods declared war. We have to put [ a stop] to the digging. The load is excessive, it is killing us. The work is too hard, the trouble too much. Every single one of us gods has agreed to complain to Enlil.”

Now, Enlil is not the eldest god in the pantheon but he’s the guy in charge. The Annunaki come together and discuss the complaints of the Igigi. Anu, the father god and sky god, agrees with the Igigi stating that they have been complaining for a long time and their burden is too heavy. As a solution the Annunaki decide to create primeval man to carry the burden of performing the gods work on Earth. Mami, the midwife to the gods was asked to be the creator of man.

Enki, the god of the primordial waters and earth declared, “On the first, seventh, and fifteenth of the month, I shall make a purification by washing. Then one god should be slaughtered, and the gods can be purified by immersion. Nintu shall mix clay. With his flesh and his blood. Then a god and a man will be mixed together in clay. Let us hear the drumbeat forever after, Let a ghost come into existence from god’s flesh, Let her proclaim it as his living sign, and let the ghost exist so as not to forget (the slain god). ”

Ilawela, the god of intelligence is sacrificed to be made one with mankind. The god and the clay are mixed together and Mami, the Midwife of the gods separated the clay into 14 balls creating 7 men and 7 women and the first humans were created.

Link to the full script of Atrahasis

The earth might be older than 6000 years after all?

  • A god dying for mankind. Check
  • Father, son, holy ghost theme. Check.
  • Intelligence theme in man’s creation. Check.

From the onset of the story we can observe several ideas that are new as well as some common themes that were introduced into the Torah in it’s inception yet altered. Although there are authors who wish to construe the Annunaki as our alien overlords, this is a classic creation story. The notion that man was created from clay/mud can also be seen when Prometheus creates man from mud, as well as many other gods from China, Egypt, the Inca, Hawaii, as well as the Qur’an and the the Bible/Torah where in Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”. The theme of this message is not special. If it’s origin is the middle east during an early Sumero-Akkadian period it makes sense that clay would be the chosen medium as clay was a resource that was not only in abundance in the region but sustained life as it was used to create structures, vessels for food storage, beer, and to write the nearly unmeasurable amount of records kept within this culture.

The other major points of this first portion of Antrahasis are nearly opposite the story of the creation story attributed to Yahweh. Instead of mankind created and given a beautiful garden in which to live men and women are created equally to tend to the earth for the gods. I personally find it interesting that the creation of women and their subjugation as a result of altering a story to make women come forth from a man was a cultural shift that occurred during the 1000 year period between the when the story of Antrahasis and the Torah were recorded. This shift in the belief that the first woman was created from a man has persisted for two and a half millennia and continues to cause the suppression of women but I digress…

In the story of Atrahasis we see the common theme regarding the sacrifice of a god. This story is perhaps made more interesting by the fact that the god which is sacrificed is the god of intelligence, Ilawela. Although the story does not go into detail regarding the decision to choose the god of intelligence to sacrifice as the blood in which to create humankind. Intelligence is a central theme in creation of man. The Torah has infused intelligence into man using a fruit instead of a god. Although the bible mentions the Eloheim which gives evidence of polytheism another god can’t be sacrificed to push the monotheistic worship of one god. The story had to be altered. In doing so, humans become intelligent and that is in turn used against man in introducing the concept of sin.

This is just portion of this ancient story. I have not gone in great depth into any one concept but rather point out some of the foundations used in the creation of biblical mythology that existed long before the Torah. Before these myths were sealed within stone tablets they were communicated through countless generations like a game of telephone. Yet in the preservation of these stories we see how cultures took these stories and changed them to fit within their own culture. They are foundations. Literalists from Judeo-Christian faiths are perpetuating the same pagan belief’s from the middle east that have existed for at least 5000 years and counting.