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A Skeptic's Guide to the Universe: Mystery Babylon, part I – From its roots in remote antiquity to its influential place in modern organized religion
By Charlotte B. Cerminaro
Some of the strangest and most vile pagan practices have been well-documented throughout their long history. Reputable theologians, historians and anthropologists generally consider ancient pagan rituals and beliefs to be products of ignorance or superstition – antithetical to enlightenment, written law and freedom. Yet there are pagan practices still entrenched in some modern-day religious institutions; their odd pageantry and compulsory rituals are merely a covert form of thinly disguised power and control that have proven disastrous to human civilization.
Catholicism is one of the largest organized religious orders in the world, with an estimated one billion followers. Unbeknownst to most lay-Catholics, thousands of years ago the founding leaders embraced ancient Babylonian rituals to lure pagans into the "church". Their new converts, however, were not educated; they were misled. Rather than being enlightened, they were enslaved. Christ's gospel message to the gentile world – one of rationality and freedom from the bondage of legalism, sin and superstition – was willfully distorted for the basest of all worldly power and greed.
As leaders in the Catholic church lay claim to the teachings of Christ, no religious group has done more damage over the past 2,000 years – through overt "replacement" theology, oppressive taxation and laws, and capital punishment for any perceived disobedience.
Many of the pagan practices that were absorbed by the Catholic institution survived the protestant reformation and persist to this day. The systematized priesthood itself was directly inherited from an ancient Babylonian order – with layers of stratified power and titles such as bishop, archbishop and cardinal all subordinate to the high priest, or pontiff. Also called the 'Vicar of Christ', the pope is granted infallibility as the sole authority on earth to speak for God, to enact new decrees or laws, and have the devotion, obedience and praise that God alone has the right to receive.
This magnitude of human arrogance was not invented by Catholic leadership. Its origins are far older and more enigmatic, going back several thousand years to the cradle of civilization – ancient Mesopotamia. During a time generally considered to be proto-history, the city-state of Babylon was founded by a powerful military leader who appointed himself king. He was known by many names, Gilgamesh and Nimrod among them.
As his city grew exponentially so did his arrogance and he started to believe that he was a god. Those who refused to worship him were put to death. He built a temple in the plains of Shinar, a ziggurat structure of enormous proportions – calling it the Tower of Babel. The Chaldean term, Bab-El, literally means "gateway to the gods"; Gilgamesh/Nimrod intended this structure to be a dimensional portal, for the purpose of reaching the heavens and usurping the God. He claimed to hold the power over life and death, and only a select few of his wisest priests were taught these "mysteries".
Nimrod's mythology and fame soon spread throughout the ancient world, his god-king dogma quickly becoming orthodoxy. Every pharaoh, emperor and king was a god and only the chosen initiates could become their priests, gaining access to supernatural rituals, mysteries and knowledge that was otherwise inaccessible.
There is nothing new in these beliefs, that there are secrets of the gods deliberately hidden from humanity revealed to only a select few – specifically the secrets of worldly power and immortality. They have existed since the dawn of humankind. If the tomb of Gilgamesh were empty or the pharaohs of Egypt could not be found, it would be no secret. There is only one documented and confirmed empty tomb that I know o; if even this strains credulity at times, there is one fact that is even more remarkable and striking: This is a mystery no power on earth could keep secret.
Charlotte B. Cerminaro is a Juilliard-trained classical musician and recording artist. In her free time she enjoys writing and regularly contributes to Enter Stage Right and she attained a Bachelor's Degree in Molecular Biology.