Nice post. I appreciate your views and interpretations. Unfortunately I hesitate to form opinions of the AE paintings and so have absolutely no interpretation of Osiris being watered. The concept is so foreign to me that I cannot form an opinion without having more knowledge of their symbolism.
I can understand why you would encourage me to learn hieroglyphics. The thought occurred to me some years ago. I would take one glyph and if it had what I thought was a preposterous meaning, I would research how that meaning was determined. Time after time I was incredulous as to how the meaning was decided upon. I would think; this can't be true, this isn't science. So no thanks, I would rather not read them at all than to have a false sense of them.
Speaking as an atheist also, what I'm trying to say is..... christianity is so ingrained, so embedded in our culture, that it's effects are unnoticed. Our concepts of good and evil, grief and joy, wrong and right, are christian based. Unknowingly, we project these concepts onto other societies.
For example: a man or woman who has an extra marital affair is a chump. It is wrong because we've been taught it is. It is based on a value of fidelity. I could be wrong, but I believe this value stems from christianity. Other cultures might not have this concept of fidelity. But we will assume that an ancient woman would have cause to lament and wail about her spouse's infidelity, thereby giving 'context' to a manuscript. Yes it's a simple example and ck could probably convey it better.
It seems the fashion these days to view all of ancient man as having a reverence for farming. As if they were so mystified by, so ignorant of, the process of planting and harvesting that they filled this void of knowledge with superstition and religious beliefs. Archaeology/anthropology implies that ancient man was not capable of learning that the cold season killed the strawberries. That they were not, could not be, objective. That they could not simply observe - warmth = growth, and so had to create a plethora of gods and rituals to explain it. Well obviously they did understand the process of farming because they multiplied and prospered. They developed farming techniques that I would venture to guess, were a result of trial and error and not prayer, worship or ritual. This agricultural development seems to be horribly incongruent with superstitious religious text. How do you reconcile an obvious practical knowledge of farming with the extremely religious text ? Hence my observation that the "wheat" doesn't look like wheat. They knew dam well what their grains looked like and exactly how to grow them.