Symbols and Learning

By John Farnam
Passover 2016 begins in the evening of Friday, April 22 and ends in the evening of Saturday, April 30. Wishing you joy and many blessings
at Passover and throughout the year!

Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-( “Our old gods were not obsessed with us. Among themselves they had endless squabbles and love affairs to be sure, but they ignored us most of the time. By contrast, this Christian God apparently has nothing better to do than make rules for us.” ~ from Bernard Cornwell

As a meandering ascendant from primitive European tribes, to whom the above notion often occurred as they were progressively “Christianized” by Romans, I fully realize the “Christianity” we’ve thus inherited in our age is an incongruous mixture of Scriptural truths with pagan symbolism and holidays.

I admire my Jewish friends and colleagues who have inherited a much less contaminated religion, yet still one complete with tedious symbols and celebrations (like the upcoming Passover Week), the purpose of which is long-lost on many of its observers. Among Jewish friends, they still, however, do their best to remind each new generation of the origin of the symbolism, and what each symbol is designed to represent and of what period of history, or historical event, it is there to remind them of. “Memory pegging” is nothing new, and their efforts enjoy at least modest success.

“Empires do not suffer emptiness of purpose at the time of their creation. It is when they have become established that aims are lost, and replaced with vague rituals.”  Princess Irulan (played by Virginia Madsen) in the 1984 science-fiction feature film, “Dune

On the Christian side, some symbols, like the empty cross, is still effective and genuinely communicative, but “Christianized” (formally pagan) holidays, like Christmas and Easter, never had credibility, an error long-past any chance of correction, as most of Christendom would readily point out!

It strikes me that at the last Passover Supper observed by Jesus, probably in 33AD as we reckon time, this long-established Jewish holiday, was observed as normal, but with the addition of new symbols.

The “Passover” observation was designed to commemorate the precipitous departure of the Israelite people in 1200BC, from four-hundred years of captivity in Egypt. The celebration is full of symbols, from unleaven bread to parsley dipped in brine. Actually, the “Passover” was observed long before that age, back to the time of Abraham, but way back then it had a different name and different symbols. Moses updated the celebration and its symbology.

1200 years later, Jesus updated it again, this time adding the “bread and wine” sequence (maybe even the “foot-washing” routine), and Christians at least have been observing it that way ever since, dropping all previous symbols. In fact, some Christians, in their enthusiasm for disconnecting themselves from all vestiges of Judaism, participate in this new symbology every week, not just on Passover (Easter).

The point:

“Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.” ~ Bruce Lee

A nation’s, or a religion’s, memorials and symbolic rituals, in order to be lasting and genuinely helpful, need to be clear and historically accurate. I love visiting historic memorials that precisely list dates and individuals. I can relate directly with that, and I enjoy passing it on to the next generation. By contrast, the more unfocused, vague, and “secret,” the more quickly forgotten.

Our Jewish friends clearly do the best job of this, and they greatly benefit from it. I often wonder what rituals and symbols our ascendants will be observing a thousand years from now, and if they will remember this age and our challenges, accomplishments, and failures at all!

Every generation needs to carefully study history, particularly its own!

“Every act of conscious learning requires a willingness to suffer injury to one’s self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily; and why adults, especially when vain or ‘important,’ cannot learn at all!” ~ Thomas Szasz


About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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Being slaves in Egypt came after Abraham. Abraham was the first Hebrew 5700 years ago. There is no bread at a Passover Seder, only matzah and products made from unleavened flour. All unleavened products don’t have rising agents like yeast. Three glasses of wine must be consumed by each person during the course of the Seder. Even children must drink three glasses. Matzah came about as the Jews were hurrying away from bondage in Egypt. They left so fast that the bread dough they were carrying didn’t have a chance to rise, and was baked by the desert sun.

David Pickering

Excellent points and quotes, and thank you John, for your article. I read the AmmoLand blog daily and generally find at least one great article every day. Today it was yours. As an American who served in the Marines and spent time in both Iraq and Afghanistan I am deeply proud of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The oath I, and so many others have freely taken to support and defend the Constitution is an oath never to be forgotten or broken. As citizens of the United States we are all Americans, but as Americans our religions are greatly… Read more »

Clark Kent

So, John Farnam, where did you earn your doctor of divinity degree? Which Bible/Torah school did you attend? The point: ‘There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death’ – Proverbs 14:12.

brian winters

Interesting points in your article. However I disagree with the date of 122 or so for the Exodus. There is substantial evidence for a 1450 bc date not late like many liberal Bible scholars say.

2nd Amender

After ‘Nam I studied the major religions. I needed to find answers to questions that only ‘eating dirt’ could put into being.
I do believe, I do believe, (like the lion in Oz says). Humility must be learned, ego overcome, to know yourself.

It keeps me going……everyday…..fully prepared for what comes next, and always!