The Holy Grail

Spoilers ahead if you want to read / watch The Da-Vinci Code and haven't done so yet.
Triggers ahead if you're a feminist with Twitter issues

I've just finished a fascinating book. Guess what it is? The Da Vinci Code? No.

The Da Vinci code was a fictional story but many of the art and history references in the book were claimed to be true. I had my smart phone with me while I read that book so I could Google the references. The book challenges the Christian faith, so it would have be wrong of me to accept those challenges on faith.

The story claims that the Holy Grail is not in fact the cup of Christ, but a reference to the bloodline of Jesus following his marriage to Mary Magdalane. A shadowy group called The Priory of Sion apparently protect the secret of the marriage and the subsequent family tree, as this has been excised from history by the church who do not want the secret revealed, as the religious idea of Jesus is that he was the Son of God, not a mortal man with a wife and children.

As a fictional story, I found it really good (and the film, pants). It troubled me a bit though. Although the story about the main character discovering these secrets was fictional, the secrets themselves were told as the truth.

I read a text when I was twenty four that suggested Jesus never existed at all. Apparently historical writings from about one to two hundred years after Jesus did not mention him or his life and influence at all, at least in their original versions. Later versions had the bible story of Jesus added by the church, but the few remaining original texts that survived the purge of the church at that time, did not make any reference to Jesus at all.

This suggested that he never existed and was a fabrication of the church in order to further the cause of Christianity.

That 'revelation' simply confirmed what I have always believed. The Da Vinci code suggested that my beliefs may actually be incorrect and that Jesus may actually have been a real person. I had to know more.

The Da Vinci Code made reference to a non-fictional book called "The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail". It rang a bell. I checked.

My dad gave me a copy of that book a few years ago. I had no idea what it was supposed to be about and gave it up after a few boring pages. Fortunately I rarely get rid of books and it was still sat there on one of my bookshelves. That is the book I've just finished.

Whereas the Da Vinci talked heavily about symbolism and how certain clues to the mystery have been hinted at by various people throughout history, The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail looks at the historical evidence.

According to the authors they were not looking for the conclusion they found, they were simply trying to unravel an historical mystery about a church in France that they had stumbled on, and their research took them in surprising directions.

The book runs through the mystery they were investigating and subsequent mysteries and questions they dug up, by looking at and referencing documented history. Their conclusions cannot be proven beyond doubt and they do not claim to, although enough evidence is provided to make their conclusions seem a lot more than just plausible.

In a nutshell, the book tells us the following:

The New Testament:
Jesus was a mortal man. Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had at least one child.
Jesus modelled his life on the teachings of the Old Testament and the prophecy that the Jews would be sent a saviour or messiah. The miracles were not in fact miracles, but were stage managed  to perpetuate the impression of Jesus being the prophesied messiah.
Jesus was royalty; a descendant of the House of David and an actual King of the Jews.
The crucifixion may have been faked and Jesus may not have died on the cross (This is only mooted as a possibility with some evidence to support it).
After the crucifixion, Mary Magdalene and her child(ren) went into exile for their safety, eventually settling in France.

The Priory of Sion:
The Priory was created to protect the descendants of Jesus and to protect the secret that the church excised from history.
The priory still exists today (this is true as they spoke with the present Grand Master of the Priory).
The Priory created the Knights Templar around 1000ad

The Knights Templar:
The Knights were created to go to Jerusalem and recover evidence of the secret. A task which they appear to have accomplished.
They were then to protect the secret as the military arm of the Priory.
The priory split from the Knights at a later date and eventually the knights were almost wiped out by the church in one carefully planned assault.

The Bloodline:
Jesus and Marys bloodline continued on after Mary settled in France.
Their descendants eventually became the French Merovingian family who were the rulers of the French provinces and also intermarried with other French noble families.
Godfroi De Bouillon of the Merovingian dynasty co-led the crusade to the Holy Land in 1096 and took Jerusalem from the Muslims. He was voted King of Jerusalem, placing a descendant of Jesus back on the throne of the King of the Jews.

The purpose:
After Godfroi De Buillon became King in Jerusalem, the idea was to solidify his power in the region and eventually come clean with the truth of his ancestry, bringing the Christian power base back to the Holy Land and away from Rome.
After a series of errors and blunders, the Muslims eventually retook the Holy Land bringing an end to that scheme.
The secret of Jesus bloodline and the Merovingian Dynasty has remained with the Priory every since, apparently waiting for the right time for a Merovingian descendant to gain enough power in Europe for the secret to come out.
Apparently they were to make an attempt that was thwarted by the  French Revolution and another one that was stopped by World War One. Stopped in a way that might be permanent due to WW1 ending monarchy rule throughout Europe.

And there you have it. All these ideas are heavily supported by historical evidence in the book. Do I believe it? I believe it's at least possible, even likely.

There was one part of the book that made me sit up and say "Shit!" out loud.

Apparently when Godfroi De Bouillon was King in Jerusalem and the Priory wanted the secret to come out as soon as their power was sufficient to hold their own against the church, they had a plan.

Apart from Christianity, there were two other dominant religions of the time, Islam and Judaism. Both religions believed in Jesus, but as a mortal man, a human prophet, not the Son of God. If the secret of Jesus actually being mortal were to be revealed at the time, this scenario would have been compatible with both Islam and Judaism.

When the time was right, the plan was to unite all three religions.

The time just never became right.

What kind of world would we be living in today if the plan had worked? I see two possibilities:

1) Christianity has become very watered down in the past 1000 years. The church has no authority and the bulk of 'beleivers' are part timers, many of whom only go to church to get their kids in a good school. If the three religions had combined, would we have seen the same kind of diminishing of the one religion? Would we be living in a largely religion free world? Would the Middle East be at peace? Would humans have grown beyond Gods and started to work together and believe in themselves?


2) Would the combined new religion have become so powerful that we would all now be living in a world of religious fundamentalism? Would the new church have become so powerful that it could not be challenged?

We can only speculate.

One of the unanswered questions in the book is why the Priory of Sion is still active now. There appears no chance of monarchy rule returning to Europe and Christianity no longer has the power to appoint rulers or to decide the fate of countries. What do they still hope to achieve?

**The above is simply me repeating the book. It's all backed up by historical evidence. What follows is simply me wildly speculating.**

What do the Priory Still hope to achieve? The book was written a while ago. What has happened since?

The European Union.

Monarchy rule is no longer a viable possibility in Europe, yet another version of autocratic rule has sprung up in it's place. The EU has the illusion of democracy in that individual member states can vote for their own rulers, but on the top level there is no democracy and ultimate control is in the hands of people not much different to the monarchies of the last few centuries. Rule not by mandate, but imposed.

There is also another pervasive change in Europe that has sprung up around the same time - Islamification.

The Priory seem to require two things in order to place the bloodline of Jesus in control - Power and religion. Islam has been deemed compatible with the idea of Jesus being mortal. Maybe that will do?

If the Priory have tried to gain power and reveal the secret a number of times in the past, could they be doing it again? Are they at the top of the EU food chain pulling the strings and are they trying to reintroduce religion into their domain?

As I say, this is mere speculation, I'm no conspiracy theorist. Something to think about though?

Or it could just be bollocks. Either way, it looks as though the wheels may be coming off the EU project anyway. Hopefully. If I'm right, maybe this next attempt will result in failure just like the others.

Enjoy your weekend!

(And I recommend that book)

Let's all ban the Confederate Flag

The western world has gone ban crazy over the last couple of decades, anything that offends anyone, even is it's just one person, can be up for the chop of the righteous these days.

The surprising thing is that America, the self styled 'Land of the Free', is often at the front of the queue for the next ban.

One thing some Yanks have been trying to ban for a long while, guns, still seems to be untouchable. Every time an American shoots people, the usual suspects pop up and demand that all the law abiding gun owners who didn't shoot anyone have their guns taken off them.

It never works though, there are too many guns and too many gun owners in the USA for a ban to practical. There are some token gestures made and a lot of talk, but so far, gun ownership is still a liberal thing in America.

Following the latest shooting in Charleston, the same bleating for bans has been in the news, but I think the gun grabbers may have got the message that they are fighting a lost cause, at least for now. Huge bans like that need to be done in small baby steps, not in one fell swoop. Just like smoking bans, they need to start small but think big.

This time they've picked a different target to guns - they want to ban the Confederate Flag. Apparently the shooter was in some pictures with the Confederate Flag and they are suggesting that the flag promotes race hatred which in turn provoked the Charleston shooting.

There is much debate about what the flag actually represents. To some southerners it is a symbol of their heritage. To some black people it is a symbol of racial oppression.

The Southern Cross as it's traditionally depicted was apparently not the official flag of the Confederate States, although it was part of two out of three officially recognised designs. It was however, the battle flag of General Robert E Lees army, which makes it as near as dammit official, so as a heritage symbol, it's certainly legitimate.

The racism suggestion comes from two angles. The first is the fact that the Southern states who wanted to secede, wanted to do so in order to keep slavery. That isn't a reason to call the flag racist in my opinion. The flag does not represent slavery, it represents Southern Independence from the North

The fact that one of the reasons for the South wanting to secede was slavery, does not make the idea of Independence racist. Slavery was only one of the reasons and because the North won the war, they were in a position to write history to the tune that slavery was the only reason.

In fact it was a minor one. The Government in the North had simply got too big for it's boots and was interfering in the South to an intolerable level. For example, the North was in debt to the banks and wanted the Southern gold reserves to pay that debt. The South could see quite clearly that the Federal Reserve banking system was fatally flawed.

Slavery as an institution would still not have survived even if the South won it's independence. Many in the South did want to abolish slavery. As soon as an alternative economic model could have been achieved, slavery would have become part of history anyway. It may have taken a lot longer to happen, but could possibly have been a better option than a bloody civil war. We can only speculate. Something as reprehensible as slavery had no future in any evolving word and simply could not last, independence or no.

The second racism angle comes from how the flag was used in the years after the war. Certain groups who were definitely dyed in the wool racists appropriated the flag for their own reasons.

Symbols have been taken by groups and used for things other than their original meaning throughout history. The Swastika existed 3000 years before the Nazis but there are no ancient Egyptians about who could display one and say, "This is about my heritage", so now it's a purely Nazi symbol.

Does it matter that the Southern Cross has been used by racist groups in history? I think not. I think the important thing is not how a person views the flag when they look at it but how a person views the flag when they display it.

If a racist person displays the Confederate Flag, the flag is no more to blame for that person being a tosser than one displayed by a Redneck who can trace their family history to the battle of Gettysburg. Why ban the Redneck flying the flag rather than challenge the racist person?

I have a small Confederate Flag lapel pin on one of my jackets. I wear it because I personally see the flag as a symbol of the fight against big Government rather than having anything to do with race. (I also have a large one behind my drum kit, but that's just a Lynard Skynard thing. The Cross does appear in a lot of Country Music stuff, of which I'm a big fan).

But the gun grabbers have got their little victory. Items displaying the flag are being taken off the shelves, both real and virtual, by a number of large stores. That isn't a victory in the fight against racism, that's a victory for ignorance and fear. Do you remember what happened last time a western country began using those reasons to control what people think?

And it won't stop there, the first victory is only ever the start of the race for those who want to ban symbols and control speech and thought:

So what are we to do? Wipe the history of slavery from modern life in case a reference to it offends someone? History is supposed to be learned from, not erased. As soon as we forget the bad things that happened in our pasts, we're doomed to repeat them.

This chap makes a good point:

As long as major companies are ending sales of the Confederate flag in the wake of the Charleston church shooting, why not pull rap music from the shelves as well?

"A lot of the music by those artists is chock full of the n-word and the b-word and the h-word, and racist, misogynist, sexist anti-woman slurs none of those retail executes would be caught dead using,” he said.
 “We’re in the process of banning everything. Just a thought.”
The PC brigade obviously haven't told him the black people cannot be racist as they're all victims innit.
It's a good point but I'm sure he understands that the correct response to banning A is not to ban B in retaliation.

I hate rap music but I don't want it banned. The correct response to banning A is to get an A and display it with pride.

Lovely weather!

(If any of my American friends spot mistakes in my interpretation of American history, please put me right in the comments)

Public servants

Anyone buy cheap fags from man in van?

A FATHER and son have been jailed for an international cigarette smuggling operation which saw illegal tobacco posted from Spain, Luxembourg, Germany and Belgium. 

 Jailed? As far as I'm concerned, they were doing an important public service.

£229,000 in lost duty over a three-year period

That's 230 grand the Government can't give to fake charities or spend on House of Commons Champoo.

Cheap at half the price

In the key of A

I've broken another laptop. The A key no longer works on this one. I'm having to use the regular keyboard along with the on screen one.

I've broken more laptops than anyone I know. That's why I rarely spend more than fifty quid on one; less money to waste.

I've decided to spend a bit more this time though, rather than fix this one or buy another cheapy one; 85 quid on ebay. I've bought a Mobile One T12ER. I've never heard of them before, but apparently they are built for primary school children. They're so rugged, even I can't break it.

As laptops go, it's also a lot more advanced than my Dell Inspiron 1300 that I've upgraded as far as it will go. Should last me a long while if I don't break it.

It's supposed to be a tough little cookie but knowing me, I'm sure I'll find a way.

Worst newspaper comment ever... (again)

After a short debate about the pros and cons of fracking, which can be read here, the resident self proclaimed expert won the day with the following:


This chap claims to have enough knowledge about fracking to campaign for a complete ban on it. It's a pity he can't turn his abilities to the English language.


There is no Hell... my opinion.

Lots of people believe in many and varied religions. I think it's because they are afraid to die and all religions promise some kind of continuation after death.

The trouble is, when people devote their entire lives to worshipping some form of God in order to cheat death, they often forget to live.

I'd rather make the most of the life I know I'm going to get, this one, and not devote any time on an afterlife that I don't believe is coming anyway.

And my philosophy is a win-win situation. Here's why:

I do the best I can with this life and die happy knowing I did it my way (hopefully without breaking into song). What happens then? If I'm right and there is no God and no afterlife, job done. Kerching!

If I'm wrong, and I rarely am *ahem*, one of two things will happen:

1) I go to Heaven. Not bad. Heaven is supposed to be pretty top drawer cool. Some people say it's to die for. It would be nifty if everyone had their own individual Heavens. I suppose that's the only way it could work, really. I don't want to go to Heaven only to find that Jo Brand died before me and her idea of Heaven is to have a captive audience with me in it. Sat next to Frank Sinatra singing endless renditions of, "He did it his way (and look where it got him)".

2) I go to Hell. Hell is supposed to be all fiery and torturey and stuff, and my idea of Hell really is Jo Brand in the flesh, probably pissed up and trying to get into my tidy whiteys.

I don't see it that way though. I think Hell would be pretty cool for someone like me. Don't worry, I'm going somewhere good with this. I'll explain.

This is the story if I remember it correctly. Jump in if I'm wrong.

The Devil wasn't always the Devil, he used to be an Angel. A pretty high up and influential one by all accounts, maybe even family. But one day the Devil / Angel did something really bad. So bad that he pissed God off so much he was thrown out of Heaven for good.

I'm not sure what he did, but as I understand it, God is supposed to be quite a forgiving chap, bible stories aside, so it must have been serious.

So the Devil is cast into the pit and has to set up his own gaff and he calls it Hell. Sounds better than 'Chez Devil'. Now anyone who annoys God to the extent that he won't let them in Heaven, goes to Hell instead. That's assuming they haven't got unfinished business and have to walk the Earth for eternity, which doesn't sound good. Must remember to settle everything before I go.

So let's assume that my lifetime of doing as I please rather than as I'm told by a chap with a funny collar, has got Gods back up so much that entry to Heaven is acessus deniedium. I go to Hell.

The Devil was chucked out of Heaven by God and the Devil hates God. I was refused entry to Heaven by God because God hates me. Why is the Devil going to torture me with fire and brimstone and Jo Brand for eternity? He's not is he? We're going to be best buds.

When I arrive at the fiery gates, the Devil will be waiting there with a six pack of John Smiths in one hand and a pack of Cubans in the other.

See. It's a win-win situation.