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In the Beginning!

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724264.  Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:29 pm Reply with quote

How about an "In the Beginning" episode about some facts about religion we don't often hear about.

I'll start off with the following question:

Q. How was Jesus' brother responsible for the deaths of over 20 million people during a 14 year period.

To answer the question we need to go back to 19th century China, and a certain Hong Xiuquan who tried to become a civil service in order to get a cushy job, but failed the entrance exams no less than 4 times between 1827 and 1843.

After his third failure in 1837 he fell ill for several days and claimed to see several visions which he initially put down to delirium.

Later, his cousin spotted a Christian pamphlet and gave it to him and this made him wonder if his visions had meaning.

When he failed his exam once again he was on his way home when he seems to have come across a translation of the Bible in Chinese and became convinced that his earlier visions showed him to be the brother of Jesus.

He was in good company because his brother in law, Xiao Chaogui, would later claim to have Jesus speak through him, and another friend, Yang Xiuqing, would later claim to have God speaking through him.

Hong started preaching to others and his followers began to swell in numbers. Around 1847 he even decided to actually learn a little about the Bible and spent two months with Reverend Issachar Jacox Roberts, which was enough to convnice himself of his divinity.

By 1850 Hong had as many as 30,000 followers and they decided to call themselves the "Heavenly Kingdom of Transcendent Peace", the word for peace being Taiping, their fights with the rulers of China became known as the Taiping Rebellion.

Several initial successes were more down to the Chinese underestimating the numbers of folloers and the fact that many people in Southern China hated the ruling dynasty. At it's height the Taiping may have numbered as many as 30 million.

The British, French and American would later help the Qing Dynasty fight off this rebellion, but the conflict took the lives of some 20-25 million people.

Hong's downfall may not have been as predictable if he hadn't been embroiled with arguments with his friend, who claimed to be the voice of God, with the two of them arguing who was truly divine and who was simply lying through their teeth.

Hong eventually had the voice of God killed, alongside his family and some 20,000 followers.

724374.  Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:18 pm Reply with quote

This could also go under 'Identity'.

Great story CB27 - thanks!

724378.  Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:12 pm Reply with quote

No probs, I'm collecting information about a couple of other "oddballs" which is why I started this thread.

Lately I've been obsessed with finding information about people most people are not aware of, who've had a major influence, I reckon there's enough out there to fill a Qi People book :)

Ion Zone
724404.  Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:02 am Reply with quote

Interesting chapter of the peasant uprisings in China, though I can't find anything on him being "responsible for the deaths of over 20 million people during a 14 year period.", though you later amend to a massacre of twenty thousand. Are you sure? All I can find is that he killed the family you mention and then died under uncertain circumstances, after which the rebellion was put down by the government.

Hong Xiuquan

Actually, I think he may be the basis for 'Lord Hong' in the Discworld books.

724536.  Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:12 am Reply with quote

This is the most plausible explanation I've seen so far.

724634.  Wed Jun 30, 2010 4:24 pm Reply with quote

The Taiping Rebellion ended up costing the lives of over 20m people and is considered to have claimed more lives than WWI (if you don't count the Spanish Flu). Hong created and led the rebellion, hence my comments.

725120.  Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:45 am Reply with quote

OK, on to a question which might rile some people up, but must be asked. Who was the first Pope?

The immediate answer that comes to most people is Peter, but Peter never took the title, nor did he ever call himself Bishop of Rome, this was inferred to him after his death.

What we do know from various evidence (mostly in the NT) is that both Peter and Paul took charge of the Christian community in Rome, which had already existed before they arrived, and we also know that there is a claim to Peter being the Bishop of Antioch for 7 years.

In fact, though St Linus is nowadays listed as the second Pope, one of the earliest mentions of him seem to suggest he is the first.

In 180AD Irenaeus wrote "The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate." and did not mention that anyone else held that office before.

This throws up two questions.

Is Linus the first Pope by the fact that no previous person held that post?


Is Peter not the first Pope on account that if the leader of the Church in Rome was Pope then whoever led the Christians before he and Paul arrived would have been Pope?

725152.  Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:54 pm Reply with quote

I don't know about the first Pope, but the current one, according to the prophecies of St Malachy, is the penultimate.

725712.  Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:45 pm Reply with quote

I think I remember it being mentioned on Qi before, but in case it hasn't there are not just ten commandments in the bible, as most people "remember", but 613.

They were comprehensively compiled by Maimonides back in the 12th century and include some that have since been adopted by fundamentalists from all the three Abrahamic religions (not to blaspheme, not to shave your beard with a razor, women must not wear mens' clothes, etc).

However, there are some laws which could be considered quite bizarre, work out which of the following are real specific commandments from the Bible (the answer below in white):

Not to embarrass others
Not to be superstitious
Not to make a bald spot in mourning
Not to have sexual relations with a woman and her daughter's daughter
Don't keep a third-generation Egyptian convert from marrying into the Jewish people
Not to eat worms found in fruit on the ground
Not to benefit from an ox condemned to be stoned

All of them


725754.  Sun Jul 04, 2010 11:00 pm Reply with quote

It's a bit rich of the Bible to say you mustn't be superstitious, ne c'est pas?

730446.  Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:49 am Reply with quote

Q. Who may possibly be responsible for the highest proportion of Welsh people killed?

Klaxon for Anne Robinson or Jeremy Clarkson.

The surprising answer, which might prompt the Welsh to think that the BBC is picking on them, is Saint David.

While St David is mostly remembered for the miracle of standing on a platform so that those in the back could hear him preach, and letting a dove land on his shoulder (presumably the miracle being that his shoulder was still clean when it flew off), we have to remember that he preached a very strict monastic life and practiced asceticism to the point he thought it was too frivolous to eat meat (some think that might explain why his symbol was a leek). He even expected monks to plough the without animals, to drink only water, and eat only bread with some salt and herbs.

However, mostly forgotten is the fact that he was very fanatical about converting the Welsh to Christianity and that he got Pope Hormisdas to grant him a Papal army with which to do so.

During the 6th century he used a combination of horrific tortures and intimidation, including staking the mutilated bodies of those he tortured on the hills for everyone to see, starvation, rape, and infanticide, and eventually managed to kill between 200,000 and 300,000 Welsh people (I'm not sure about this number as it seems incredibly high for the time), many more were sold into slavery.

730459.  Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:44 pm Reply with quote

It's just occurred to me that "In the beginning" might be a good basis for topics about the Big Bang.

Ion Zone
730528.  Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:10 pm Reply with quote

It's a bit rich of the Bible to say you mustn't be superstitious, ne c'est pas?

Superstition meaning things like not walking under ladders - Christianity sees belief in God as rational, but 'magic' as not. Link.

They were comprehensively compiled by Maimonides back in the 12th century

Maimonides's book doesn't simply cover The Commandments, it covers the whole scope and breadth of Jewish religious law. Jewish religious law and The Commandments are not the same thing.

For example, "Not to have sexual relations with a woman and her daughter's daughter" is actually from Leviticus (and so is the law of the Levites, not a commandment)

Leviticus 18:17 "'Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter" (it goes on to ban quite a bit of incest)

Several of those are sound advice (in context).


Saint David seems to have been strict but fairly well loved from what I can see. Nothing about mass murder. I think that had he killed even half that many, somebody would have noticed (Indeed I can find nothing about this on the internet).

Spud McLaren
730533.  Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:36 pm Reply with quote

According to the Miao, we're rather horribly interbred.

Hurons combine Adam & Eve with Discworld.

Last edited by Spud McLaren on Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:42 pm; edited 1 time in total

Ion Zone
730534.  Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:40 pm Reply with quote

Anyway, the Big Bang sounds like a more interesting topic for discussion. The Big Bang Theory was first proposed by father Georges Lemaître, the name 'Big Bang' was initially a derisive term for what Lemaître called his "hypothesis of the primeval atom".


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