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Evolution, interrupted

Now that I have been looking at the history of religion, from its earliest manifestations in primitive cultures until the sudden change that took place in prehistory, I am getting even more suspicious about the possibility that human history was altered.

I don't refer to people such as the arrogant copyists who changed and added to the New Testament. Many of them have been found out, and as time goes by there are going to be new discoveries that will throw doubt on passages in the New Testament that vanish and re-emerge in copies that were put together later.

The earliest human religion was the sense among early humans that there was more to the physical world than they could experience with their senses. They connected their wants and needs to nature, beginning with food and water. They began to anthropomorphize these things, envisioning some kind of Power of the Deer or the Horse or the Boar. We refer to this generically as Animism. You can see remains of it in the amazing cave paintings that date from the earliest cultures of Homo sapiens that we know of. They show not only the animals that were so important in sustaining life, but also the hunters upon whose powers the lives of the community rested.

But then suddenly, still in prehistory, we don't know what happened but suddenly there were gods. Ancient people such as the Sumerians (who were by no means uncivilized) referred to them as Anu-Naki, or "those who came down from the stars." And all over the world, on every continent, there are drawings and petroglyphs depicting strange-looking beings that were not animals. Many of them appear to be wearing headgear suggesting helmets.

This happened before the Book of Genesis was written, not later. The vanity of the Twenty-First Century culture suggests that we would, of course, be the fascinating and impressive group that the super-technological extraterrestrials would visit. But it seems that they came by, if indeed they did, many centuries before our culture existed.

And while this thread of godly invasion appears in religion all over the world, there was also a later epiphany that arose in the early Egyptian and the Hebrew people, that God was not a superior human being but an entity above and beyond the physical world. These are two entirely different ideas.

Non-believers often suggest that Man invented God in his image, and that therefore we are to imagine God as a super-human. I can see where Zeus fits that category pretty well, but the Hebrew people rejected that idea even though they understood it as well as we do. The Christian Church teaches that God is a spirit without body, parts or passions. That means that God doesn't have hands to shake the earth or hurl bolts of lightning; that God is not angry or vengeful; and that God must be superior to any form of created being if he is to be a proper object of worship.

The sudden appearance of gods in human worship, long before our knowledge was sophisticated enough to understand what and who they might be, would be a logical idea as far as I can tell. If a group of extraterrestrial visitors could dazzle the locals with their bells and whistles, they stood a better chance of getting their cooperation (either voluntary or compelled) with a minimum of resistance.

If powerful extraterrestrials were to appear in the heavens today, humanity would stand a chance in resisting them. There have been many explorations of that idea, and my favorite is the television series called "V." In it, our scientists get together to find out what makes the aliens tick, and they make it impossible for them to continue living on Earth. In "V" we are far more than the helpless victims in a War of the Worlds (the book or the film), who flee or die. I can understand why, especially if we were being observed, the ancient visitors chose the less-technological (or non-technological) period of human history to tamper with our civilization. But now that we understand the distinction between gods and God, don't you think it is reasonable for us to have some spiritual growth as well as civilization-building?

For more info: Tucson is responding to the border crisis that I have been writing about for years. President Obama's surrender to far-right propaganda resulted in his needless deportation program which has now been made far worse by cynical human smugglers. They are giving misinformation about the Dream Act and persuading parents to send their children to the United States unaccompanied. Other parents, particularly women with children, are electing to try it on their own. These people are landing on our southern border, which is rapidly beginning to resemble Somalia.

For all the politicians care these people can die on the streets. But in Tucson, Catholic Community Services, Casa Mariposa and the Episcopal Church Women have joined forces to collect supplies and money. At this point they need the following specific items: small blankets, women's sanitary napkins, diapers and small sizes of new underwear for women and children. Such items can be dropped off at any Catholic Social Services or Catholic Community Services office. Addresses are available online and they have a presence in Nogales as well.

Checks may be made out to Catholic Community Services and designated for the Central American migrants fund. Donate online at http://www.ccs-soaz.org/