Is There a God?
The Truth Shall Set You Free
George Carlin of Religion
The Abrahamic Religions
History of Christianity
Reasons People Are Religious
Religion: Business, Politics, and War
Terminologies and Notations
About the Author
[_History of Jesus/Christianity is part of the Is There a God? series. _]
Is There a God?
Book One: History of Gods
Book Two: History of Religion
Book Three: History of Humans
[*Epicurus (341-270 BCE). *]
Is god willing to prevent evil, but not able to?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him god?
Where Does Evil Come From?
If god wants to prevent evil,
but he can’t,
then he is weak.
If god can prevent evil,
but he doesn’t want to,
then he is evil.
If god can prevent evil,
and wants to prevent evil,
then why is there evil?
If god cannot prevent evil, or
he does not want to prevent evil,
then why call him god?
The Truth Shall Set You Free
The beliefs of your parents, if they are false, should not be your beliefs.
The beliefs of your peers, if they are outlandish, should not be your beliefs.
The beliefs of society, if they are dogmatic, should not be your beliefs.
The beliefs of your ancestors, if they are contentious, should not be your beliefs.
The beliefs of your country, if they are unjust, should not be your beliefs.
Abandon all false, outlandish, dogmatic, contentious, and unjust belief systems.
Accept what is right and not who is right. This is the path to spiritual enlightenment.
Through spiritual enlightenment you will know the Truth and
The Truth shall set your mind free…
George Carlin of Religion
“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” —Mark Twain, American writer (1835 – 1910)
When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims: Religion. No contest. Religion.
Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ‘til the end of time!
But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!
But I want you to know something, this is sincere, I want you to know, when it comes to believing in God, I really tried. I really, really tried. I tried to believe that there is a God, who created each of us in His own image and likeness, loves us very much, and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize, something is fucked up.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the résumé of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you’d expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently-run Universe, this guy would’ve been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago. And by the way, I say “this guy”, because I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man.
No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he’s at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn’t give a shit. Doesn’t give a shit, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results.
So rather than be just another mindless religious robot, mindlessly and aimlessly and blindly believing that all of this is in the hands of some spooky incompetent father figure who doesn’t give a shit, I decided to look around for something else to worship. Something I could really count on.
And immediately, I thought of the Sun. Happened like that. Overnight I became a Sun-worshipper. Well, not overnight, you can’t see the Sun at night. But first thing the next morning, I became a Sun-worshipper. Several reasons. First of all, I can see the Sun, okay? Unlike some other gods I could mention, I can actually see the Sun. I’m big on that. If I can see something, I don’t know, it kind of helps the credibility along, you know? So everyday I can see the Sun, as it gives me everything I need; heat, light, food, flowers in the park, reflections on the lake, an occasional skin cancer, but hey. At least there are no crucifixions, and we’re not setting people on fire simply because they don’t agree with us.
Sun worship is fairly simple. There’s no mystery, no miracles, no pageantry, no one asks for money, there are no songs to learn, and we don’t have a special building where we all gather once a week to compare clothing. And the best thing about the Sun, it never tells me I’m unworthy. Doesn’t tell me I’m a bad person who needs to be saved. Hasn’t said an unkind word. Treats me fine. So, I worship the Sun. But, I don’t pray to the Sun. Know why? I wouldn’t presume on our friendship. It’s not polite.
I’ve often thought people treat God rather rudely, don’t you? Asking trillions and trillions of prayers every day. Asking and pleading and begging for favors. Do this, gimme that, I need a new car, I want a better job. And most of this praying takes place on Sunday: His day off. It’s not nice. And it’s no way to treat a friend.
But people do pray, and they pray for a lot of different things, you know, your sister needs an operation on her crotch, your brother is arrested for defecating in a mall. But most of all, you’d really like to fuck that hot little redhead down at the convenience store. You know, the one with the eyepatch and the clubfoot? Can you pray for that? I think you’d have to. And I say, fine. Pray for anything you want. Pray for anything, but what about the Divine Plan?
Remember that? The Divine Plan. Long time ago, God made a Divine Plan. Gave it a lot of thought, decided it was a good plan, put it into practice. And for billions and billions of years, the Divine Plan has been doing just fine. Now, you come along, and pray for something. Well suppose the thing you want isn’t in God’s Divine Plan? What do you want Him to do? Change His plan? Just for you? Doesn’t it seem a little arrogant? It’s a Divine Plan. What’s the use of being God if every run-down shmuck with a two-dollar prayerbook can come along and fuck up Your Plan?
And here’s something else, another problem you might have: Suppose your prayers aren’t answered. What do you say? “Well, it’s God’s will.” “Thy Will Be Done.” Fine, but if it’s God’s will, and He’s going to do what He wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me! Couldn’t you just skip the praying part and go right to His Will? It’s all very confusing.
So to get around a lot of this, I decided to worship the Sun. But, as I said, I don’t pray to the Sun. You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Two reasons: First of all, I think he’s a good actor, okay? To me, that counts. Second, he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn’t fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with.
For years I asked God to do something about my noisy neighbor with the barking dog, Joe Pesci straightened that cocksucker out with one visit. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a simple baseball bat.
So I've been praying to Joe for about a year now. And I noticed something. I noticed that all the prayers I used to offer to God, and all the prayers I now offer to Joe Pesci, are being answered at about the same 50% rate. Half the time I get what I want, half the time I don't. Same as God, 50-50. Same as the four-leaf clover and the horseshoe, the wishing well and the rabbit's foot, same as the Mojo Man, same as the Voodoo Lady who tells you your fortune by squeezing the goat's testicles, it's all the same: 50-50. So just pick your superstition, sit back, make a wish, and enjoy yourself.
And for those of you who look to The Bible for moral lessons and literary qualities, I might suggest a couple of other stories for you. You might want to look at the Three Little Pigs, that’s a good one. Has a nice happy ending, I’m sure you’ll like that. Then there’s Little Red Riding Hood, although it does have that X-rated part where the Big Bad Wolf actually eats the grandmother. Which I didn’t care for, by the way.
And finally, I’ve always drawn a great deal of moral comfort from Humpty Dumpty. The part I like the best? “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.” That’s because there was no Humpty Dumpty, and there is no God. None, not one, no God, never was.
In fact, I’m gonna put it this way. If there is a God, may he strike this audience dead! See? Nothing happened. Nothing happened? Everybody’s okay? All right, tell you what, I’ll raise the stakes a little bit. If there is a God, may he strike me dead. See? Nothing happened, oh, wait, I’ve got a little cramp in my leg. And my balls hurt. Plus, I’m blind. I’m blind, oh, now I’m okay again, must have been Joe Pesci, huh? God Bless Joe Pesci. Thank you all very much. Joe Bless You!
May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008
The Abrahamic Religions
“It seems to me that Islam and Christianity and Judaism all have the same god, and he’s telling them all different things.” —Billy Connolly
In the first book,[_ History of Gods_], we witnessed how different civilizations worshipped gods for hundreds (and some thousands) of years. The beliefs of those civilizations changed according to social progress and geopolitical events. Now, if god is singular and eternal, why had civilizations changed allegiances from one god to another? Or from many gods (polytheism) to one god (monotheism)?
The Middle East has been the biggest exporter of religion. The three major Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) are the products of the Middle East. The spiritual headquarters of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are within 666 miles of each other (distance from Jerusalem to Mecca). Therefore, it is no surprise that in the 21st century, the Middle East is still mired in religious conflicts and wars.
We need to understand that religion is an ideology (a set of ideas and beliefs). Religion is not about race (proper word is ethnicity). Anyone, regardless of ethnicity, can adopt a religion as their own. For example, in the Christian religion, the adherents include Caucasians, Africans, Indians, Arabs, and Asians. The same is true of any religion: You can convert to any religion, regardless of the color of your skin. You are simply adopting a belief system when you convert to a religion. Therefore, someone who is anti-religion is not a racist.
History has shown that the vast majority of people adopted the religion of their elite and rulers. For example, Christianity proliferated on the back of the Roman Empire. Similarly, Islam proliferated on the military conquests of Muslim conquerors:
-Khalid ibn al-Walid,
-Sayyed Mahmud Khan,
-Ottoman Empire, and many others.
In other words, the state religion was often the de facto religion for the majority of its citizens—people were born into the religion of their parents and state. This is to ingratiate themselves with those in power, either to fit in or to curry favour. The remaining potential adherents are impressionable and are easily indoctrinated into religion, especially the most vulnerable groups in society and those at distressing periods in their lives. Examples of these groups are the poor seeking to better their lot in life, and those facing personal tragedies seeking guidance.
[*Judaism, Christianity, and Islam *]are known as “Abrahamic” religions because they stemmed from the beliefs of a man named Abraham, if he existed at all. Abraham had borrowed his religious ideas from other cultures, most of which were discussed in book one, History of Gods.
We have to keep in mind that what we consider myths and fables today, our ancestors accepted as religion. Perhaps 500 years from now our descendants will look at our religions as myths and fables.
In 2017, the world’s population was estimated at 7.5 billion people. Of those 7.5 billion, over 6 billion identified with a religion. The other 1.2 billion identified with the group “Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist”—this group was also the fastest growing. This trend demonstrated that people were leaning away from religion. However, to the chagrin of many, Islam registered an increase of 500 million new adherents from 2004 to 2017 (1.3 billion to 1.9 billion).
Top Religions of the World
1) Religion: Christianity
Adherents: 2.2 billion (about 1.2 billion were Catholic)
5) Chinese traditional religion
7) Folk religion (ethnic religions excluding some in separate categories)
8) African traditional religions
[*9) Sikhism *]
[*11) Spiritism *]
7 million 0.1%
4 million 0.06%
16) Cao Dai
4 million 0.06%
1 million 0.02%
20) Unitarian Universalism
Source: Pew Research Center. Islam, the world’s fastest-growing religion, is expected to jump from 1.8 billion in 2015 to 2.76 billion by 2050 according to the Pew Study.
The list above only includes the top 21 religions—there were hundreds of them in the world. In the US alone, there were about 313 religions and denominations. Some of these were fringe religions that included groups who worshipped animal spirits, aliens, and psychoactive substances. And several of them were still polytheistic; as examples, Druidism, Wiccan, Santeria, and Shintoism. Buddhism is not covered in this book because it is considered more philosophy than religion. In Buddhism, there is no deity to worship, just the teachings of a prince-turned philosopher.
We’ll focus on the three religions that have been in perpetual conflict since c. 70 and 632.
In circa 70, about 40 years after Jesus’ supposed death, the first writings of Christianity appeared.
In 632, Muhammad, founder of Islam, died and Islam exploded in the Middle East under his successors.
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are known as Abrahamic religions because they share the same root. These Abrahamic religions have always been in the global conversation. The inter-faith and sectarian violence between these religions are regularly in the newspaper and on television. Throughout history, the adherents of these Abrahamic religions have been responsible for all the major religious wars and conflicts around the globe. As examples, the Crusades, Jihads, pogroms, and holocausts. For these reasons, we’ll focus on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
“There are no great religions. They’re all stupid and dangerous.” —Bill Maher
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are considered Abrahamic religions because in c. 2 000 – 1 800 BCE a man named Abraham claimed that god spoke to him. More amazingly, that god had created a covenant with him. In this covenant, god agreed to make Abraham the father of all the nations on Earth and his descendants would be the Chosen People of god. This rocking covenant was supposedly arranged in Canaan (modern-day Israel, Palestine; and parts of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt). At the time of Abraham’s divine revelation, Canaanites were polytheists (believed in many gods), as were most people in the Middle East.
Also, in Abraham’s time ( 2 000 – 1 800 BCE), the Hindus, Chinese, Sumerians, and Egyptians had already established advanced civilizations, each with their own religion. It’s reasonable to conclude, based on the historical pattern of how knowledge was passed from culture to culture, that Abraham (if he did exist) borrowed from existing religions to form his own belief system.
“Religion has what is easily the greatest bullshit story of all time.” —George Carlin
The Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were copycats of other religions before them. It started when Judaism copied from the Mesopotamian and Mediterranean pagan religions, then Christianity copied from Judaism, then Islam copied from Judaism and Christianity. Had our ancestors stuck to worshipping the Sun, we wouldn’t have a world full of people hating each other over fictional characters.
Again, we’ll only discuss the Abrahamic religions in this book because they’re still problematic in current affairs. The perpetual and violent conflicts between the three main Abrahamic religions and their deep-rooted sectarian wars affect global events.
Even those who have vehemently denounced religion, they’re still caught in the crosshairs of the continued religious nuttery.
The Historical Origins of Abrahamic Religions
As the oft-told story goes, Abraham (birth name Abram) was born circa 1 800 BCE in Ur, Babylonia. His father was Terach, an idol merchant (sold statuettes and figurines of pagan gods). In their time, polytheism was the religion of the day. However, Abraham had a divine revelation that there was only one god responsible for creating the Universe and everything in it. He was so sure of his belief that he began teaching it to other people.
To Abraham, polytheism (belief in many gods) was idol worship and he tried to warn his father, Terach, of that folly. One day, Abraham was assigned to watch his father’s idol shop. After his father left, Abraham took a hammer and smashed all the idols, except for the biggest one. Abraham then placed the hammer in the hand of biggest idol (the last god standing).
When Abraham’s father returned and asked him, “Why are all the gods smashed up save for the biggest one?”
“All the gods got into a fight and the biggest god destroyed the smaller gods,” Abraham replied.
“That’s absurd! These are statues. They’re not alive. They have no power, not even the biggest one.”
“Then why do you worship them?” Abraham inquired.
As time passed, Abraham’s god, the one true Creator, summoned him and made an offer he couldn’t refuse: If Abraham left his home and family to serve god, then god would make Abraham the father of all nations. This god also promised Abraham and his descendants a nation of their own. Who could refuse such a generous offer, especially one from a god? Abraham accepted, thus establishing the covenant (B’rit) between the Jews and god. Although there was no witness to the agreement, the religious Jews hold the covenant as true. Thus began a long, painful road for humanity.
The Offsprings of Abraham
Abraham and Hagar: Ishmael. According to the “sacred” scriptures, Abraham’s first wife was Sarai (Sarah), who was unable to have children. So Sarah offered her maidservant, Hagar, to Abraham. Together, Hagar, the maidservant (some call her a concubine) and Abraham had a son named Ishmael.
Abraham and Sarah: Isaac. When Abraham was 100 years old (yes, 100) and his wife Sarah was 90, she was miraculously conferred with the ability to conceive. Apparently, god had made Sarah fertile again when she was 90 years old. After this rocking miracle, Abraham and Sarah had a son named Isaac.
In summary, as it pertains to the Jews and Muslims: Abraham had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was the son of Abraham and Hagar (the maidservant). Isaac was the son of Abraham and Sarah (Abraham’s wife).
Ishmael. Ishmael was the eldest son of Abraham and went on to have 13 children (12 sons and one daughter). Ishmael’s sons were Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadar, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, Kedemah. His only daughter was named Mahalath (aka Basemath). Ishamael’s children became the patriarchs of the Muslim Arabs. Ishamael died when he was 137 (yes, 137). His descendants were known as Ishamaelites (aka Muslim Arabs). To the Jews and Muslims, Ishmael was the ancestor of the Arabs, or Arab Muslims. This prophecy was fulfilled when Muhammad declared himself a prophet in circa 620. In retrospect, the entire story was backdated.
Isaac. Isaac was the second son of Abraham. Isaac and his wife, Rebecca, had two sons: Jacob and Esau. However, Esau was considered a black sheep in the family who “sold his spiritual leadership to Jacob for a bowl of lentil soup.” Needless to say, Esau didn’t have godlike qualities.
Jacob (aka Israel). Jacob was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham. Jacob had 12 sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph and Benjamin. The 12 tribes of Israel were named after Jacob’s 12 sons.
￼A painting of Abraham, who according to the Old Testament was the father of the modern-day religious Jews and Arabs and also “the father of all nations.” The Caucasians, Chinese, East Indians, and Africans may disagree with the assertion that a Middle Easterner was their only ancestor. Photo: Wikipedia.org
According to the rocking holy scriptures, Abraham, this man of god, was quite the gigolo. Sarah was his first wife but not the only one, and Hagar was his first concubine but not the only one.
Genesis 25:6: But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.
Genesis 25:1: Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.
[*Genesis 25:4: *]And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.
Chronicles 1:32: Now the sons of Keturah, Abraham’s concubine: she bare Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And the sons of Jokshan; Sheba, and Dedan.
By now, if you’re thinking this was simply a sibling rivalry or long-running family feud with myths and fables thrown in to make one side look good, you’re correct. Because that’s what exactly what it was.
The 12 Tribes of Israel, each named after Jacob’s sons. Jacob was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham. Map: Wikipedia.org
In summary, as centuries passed, the 12 tribes of Israel dispersed throughout the Middle East. Then became enslaved in Egypt, where god, in a form of a burning bush on-top Mount Sinai, revealed himself to Moses (a descendent of Abraham). Seeing that his Chosen People were suffering, god eventually forced the Ten Plagues on the Pharaoh’s people. Moses then parted the Red Sea to escape Pharaoh’s wrath and saved the Israelites from bondage. God then gave Moses the 10 Commandments on Mount Sinai.
However, the Israelites reverted to worshipping idols and were punished by god, and they had to wander the wilderness (some say desert) for 40 years. Eventually they settled down in Judah (Canaan, Israel), where they were taken captive and enslaved by the Babylonians, then subjugated by the Romans. These events were a part of a historical pattern of the Jews being enslaved, exiled, and persecuted.
“Religion: The belief that an unseen, all powerful entity made everything in the Universe just for you and that you’re special; your ancient, retranslated and rewritten texts are the right ones and all those other religions are completely wrong without a single shred of evidence. Makes perfect sense.” —Freethinkers
In Abraham’s time, circa 1800 BCE, there were thriving civilizations in North America, South America, Asia, Europe, and other parts of the Middle East besides Canaan. In Abraham’s time, the Canaanites were a tiny minority in the global population, as the Israelites are today. Even as a population within the Middle East, the Canaanites were a very small minority, as the Israelites are today. The Old Testament’s claim that Muslim Arabs are the descendants of Ishmael (first son of Abraham with maidservant Hagar) is hard to digest. Based on population projections the math does not add up. Most present-day Muslim Arabs are descendants of the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and other Canaanites who had converted to Islam after 632. that is, most modern Jews and Arabs are not the descendants of Abraham.
Even if we believe the Old Testament, only a fraction of the present-day Arabs are descendants of Ishmael (if he did exist). At the time, he was one man surrounded by millions in the Middle East. Again, the math simply does not add up.
According to the Old Testament, the religious Jews are the descendants of Isaac and his son Jacob (Abraham’s grandson). Again, these religious Jews believe they’re The Chosen People of god—chosen as a light unto humanity, to show the rest of the world how to live, as an exemplary example of god’s children. Similar to how the modern-day Arab Muslims could not have been the progeny of Ishmael, the modern-day Jews could not have been the descendants of only Isaac and Jacob. Abraham was only one person among the hundreds of thousands in Canaan. The majority of modern-day religious Jews are the result of their ancestors’ conversion to Judaism, not by their heredity to Abraham.
We’ve learnt that the Jews, Christians, and Muslim believe that Abraham was a prophet (messenger of god). But how did Christianity establish itself as a dominant Abrahamic religion?
The story of Judaism did not begin with Abraham (circa 1800 BCE), but was dated in the Old Testament to the first person and prophet on Earth: Adam. According to the Old Testament, god created Adam from dust, then from Adam’s rib cage, god created Eve, the first woman. Going with this theory, Adam and Eve (Middle Easterners) were the ancestors of all the Africans, Chinese, East Indians, Native Americans, blond-haired-blue-eyed Scandinavians, and everyone else on Earth.
Adam was the first prophet and Abraham was the 13th mentioned in the Old Testament—there were 12 prophets in-between. Abraham was a remarkable character because of what the scribes had written about him, notably that god had made a sacred covenant with him and his descendants, and he was chosen by god to be the father of all nations. More importantly, Abraham was the champion of monotheism (a single god).
Now, if Abraham championed the concept of one god and that one god just happened to favour Abraham and his children, some would say that was nepotism (nepotism: favouritism granted to relatives). But that’s another story.
Judaism is wrapped up in a series of books, about people who baked bread, ate bread, lied, stole, cheated, killed animals, got in trouble, had sex, had regrets, suffered, and made sacrifices to a fictional character in the cloud. In brief, about life, about experiences common to every person.
The Hebrew Bible (Tanach)
The Hebrew Bible consists of 24 books in three categories:
[_—The Five Books of Moses (Torah, Chumash) _]
—The Eight Books of the Prophets (Neviim)
—The Eleven Books of the Writings (Kesuvim)
Memorizing them is not required, as that can lead to utter confusion and even madness, since each major denomination of Judaism has different interpretations of the holy books. Therefore, different interpretations of what god wants. Therefore, different gods. Because a single god cannot consistently contradict his own words and actions. Either god is confused or hypocritical, or those who created him are.
David Hayward, Nakedpastor.com
The Five Books of Moses. The books in The Five Books of Moses are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Five Books of Moses is the common text of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The Five Books of Moses is known as the Torah in Judaism, Old Testament in Christianity, and Tawrat in Islam. Although, The Five Books of Moses are referenced by Christians and Muslims, they are not the only ones. There are 19 other books in the other two categories.
The Eight Books of the Prophets (Neviim). The books in The Eight Books of the Prophets are Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and The Twelve.
The Eleven Books of the Writings (Kesuvim). The books in The Eleven Books of the Writings are Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra/Nehemia, and Chronicles. Now, what’s religion without the prophets (messengers of god)? Prophets for profit.
Prophets in the Old Testament
Notice that Ishmael, the eldest son of Abraham (with maidservant Hagar) was not a prophet according to the Jews. According to Jewish tradition, Ishmael was the father of the Arabs, and as sibling rivalries went, it appeared Ishmael was disowned. However, Abraham’s other son, Isaac, with first wife Sarah, was noted as a prophet; and so was Isaac’s son, Jacob (aka Israel). The divine irony was that there were, as of 2015, roughly 1.8 billion Muslims and only 15 million Jews.
“Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people’s business. I live by the golden rule: Treat others as you’d want them to treat you. The religious right wants to tell people how to live.” —Jesse Ventura
Also notice that Jesus Christ and Muhammad are not in the Old Testament (Torah in Judaism, Tawrat in Islam). Jesus Christ is a prophet to the Christians and appears in the New Testament (Christian Holy Bible, circa 70). Muhammad is a prophet of the Muslims and appears in the Quran (aka Noble Koran, Qu’ran, circa 632). The Muslims also acknowledge every Jewish and Christian prophet as their own. However, in practice they put Muhammad above all.
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, infanticidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” ―Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
Religion is an evolution of social and geopolitical events. Increasingly, religious texts have been evolving to make them more agreeable with new scientific discoveries. That is, religion has been updated to keep up with science. However, there are some detrimental practices that remain to this day. For example, the practice of circumcision (surgical removal of a genitalia’s foreskin) is a religious custom of the Abrahamic faiths. According to the “sacred texts” Abraham circumcised himself to seal his covenant with god. To this day, circumcision is compulsory for newborn Jewish males and customary for males of other Abrahamic faiths. Circumcision has no scientific validity, except for the belief of a sheep herding, Bronze Age culture.
“This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised.” —Genesis 17, 10-14
There is no scientific basis for infant male circumcision. If there were health or evolutionary benefits to being circumcised, we would be born circumcised. Research has shown that the long-term health risks of circumcision outweigh any benefit espoused by the for-profit medical industry (refer to research compiled by Dr. Morten Frisch, or visit Intactamerica.org). Circumcision, like animal sacrifice, is another outdated practice conjured by a delusional goat herding “messenger of god.”
Christianity and Islam
Islam became an Abrahamic religion when it adopted the Old Testament (Tawrat in Islam). In the Old Testament, Abraham and his sons Ishmael (Arabs) and Isaac (Jews) were the ancestors of the Arab Muslims and religious Jews. Christianity became an Abrahamic religion because Jesus Christ was supposedly the Messiah the Jews had been promised.
Although, the Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe in the Old Testament, the Jews have a variant of the Old Testament called the Talmud (interpretations and comments of the Old Testament, or Torah). The Christians and Muslims do not subscribe to the Talmud, which has divinely-disparaging remarks about the Christians and Muslims.
The Torah consists of five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. In Christianity, the Torah is called the Old Testament; in Islam the Torah is known as the Tawrat. Therefore, Christians and Muslims believe in all the Jewish prophets (messengers of god in the Old Testament). In other words, Christianity and Islam are continuations of Judaism, or they’re different branches of Judaism. The Christians believe Jesus Christ is a prophet, the Messiah, the son of god, and god reincarnated into a human body. While the Muslims believe Muhammad was the last prophet (messenger of god) on Earth.
The four main Abrahamic religions are Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the Bahá’í Faith. The Bahá’í Faith was founded by Bahá’u‘lláh in Persia (Iran) and has about 5 million followers.
Below is a list of the four Abrahamic religions.
Judaism was the first Abrahamic religion and the oldest.
[*Founded: *]circa 1 800 BCE
Adherents (2015): 15 million
Founded by semites but spread far-flung by the Roman Empire.
Founded: circa 30-70
Adherents (2015): 2.2 billion (about 1.2 billion are Roman Catholics)
Founded by the tales of a single man: Muhammad.
Founded: circa 620 – 632
[*Adherents *](2015): 1.8 billion
Founded: circa 1844
[*Adherents *](2015): 5 million
It gets more convoluted when we take into consideration the different branches (subgroups, denominations, sects) within the major Abrahamic faiths.
Judaism. Judaism has four major denominations: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist.
Christianity. Christianity has five major denominations: Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, and Protestant. Of the 2.2 billion Christians, about 1.2 are Catholic.
[*Islam. *]Islam has several denominations (sects): Sunni, Shia, Sufism, Yezidi, and Ahmadiyya. The vast majority of Muslims are Sunni (75-80%), followed by a distant second Shia (10-15%).
Polytheism to Monotheism
One reason monotheism made more sense than polytheism was that it simplified the concept idea of god—people only had to remember one god instead of dozens, hundreds, and even thousands. However, religion was subjective and arbitrary, always favouring the people who created it and subject to various interpretations. As centuries passed, monotheism achieved the opposite of its original intent. The dozens of denominations of monotheism had made Abrahamic religions convoluted, just like polytheism. People only worshipped one god but their interpretations of that god’s will and word were vastly different. In this regard, monotheism had fractured and became polytheism in a different form.
“Denominations often form slowly over time for many reasons. Due to historical accidents of geography, culture and influence between different groups, members of a given religion slowly begin to diverge in their views. Over time members of a religion may find that they have developed significantly different views on theology, philosophy, religious pluralism, ethics and religious practices and rituals. Consequently, different denominations may eventually form. In other cases, denominations form very rapidly, either resulting from a split or schism in an existing denomination, or if people share an experience of spiritual revival or spiritual awakening, and choose to form a new denomination based on that new experience or understanding.” —Wikipedia.org
In 1800 BCE, the “known world” was confined to the continent in which people lived. Science was so underdeveloped and crude that people thought they’d fall off the Earth if they travelled beyond the horizon. For about 2 400 years (circa 1800 BCE – 620), while all the descendants of Abraham (Middle Easterners) were fighting to be god’s favourite children, what were the millions of Africans, East Indians, Chinese, North American Natives, Europeans, and South American Natives doing? Merrily living and believing in their own gods, as witnessed from the previous chapter. In other words, while the Judaic god of the Jews, Christians, and Muslims was being established in the Middle East, hundreds of other gods were being worshipped in other parts of the world.
If there was indeed only one true god, surely everyone would had heard of her or him. And if god’s word was final, why were there so many different interpretations of it? And more importantly, why did it keep changing? Could it be that our ancestors created god in their own image? Like we create god in our own likeness.
Most of the civilized world would come to know the one true god concocted by a goat herding, Bronze Age gigolo. However, monotheism wasn’t proliferated by god himself but on the backs of the Roman Empire’s legionnaires.
The will and word of god changes according to a specific religion, denomination, congregation, and priest/rabbi/imam. Every person who claims to know god, to represent him, and to communicate with him has a different interpretation of his will and word. God is like a popularity contest, whoever makes him look the best has the most followers.
Think of ancient religions in this way: If you believe in 2000 year old ideologies, then you are 2000 years behind in your thinking. The truth is liberating.
Be suspicious of those who claim they are connected to god in someway. And especially distrustful of those who require that you go through them to reach god. No all-knowing and all-powerful god needs a middleman to represent him, nor validate him.
“There will be no peace in the Middle East until the Jews and others involved abandon their myth-based beliefs.” —Garry Greenwood, All the Emperor’s Men
We are all Humans. We become segregated when we label ourselves as Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, or Hindus.
In the beginning, man made god, then the problems started…
History of Christianity
“In the entire first Christian Century, Jesus is not mentioned by a single Greek or Roman historian, religious scholar, politician, philosophy, or poet. His name never occurs in a single inscription, and it is never found in a single piece of private correspondence.” —Bart Ehrman, Professor of Religious Studies
A Christian is one who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. What if Jesus never existed? Then whose teachings have Christians been following?
For thousands of years Winter Solstice, December 25, was long celebrated as a holiday by the ancient pagans of Europe and the Middle East. Winter Solstice was also known as the “holy night” for being the shortest day and longest night of the year. The three days preceding Winter Solstice were December 21-23, or 22-24; they were traditionally the coldest days of the year. The story that Jesus Christ was born on December 25 and died for three days, then resurrected on the most important pagan dates was not lost to comparative religious scholars.
He was born by a virgin mother on Winter Solstice (shortest day and longest night of the year—holy night), greeted at birth by three wise men with presents, hailed as the Bringer of Light, accepted as the Son of God, healed the sick, walked on water, and performed other miracles; betrayed by someone close to him, crucified with two thieves, buried for three days, and resurrected after three days. Most Christians believe this man was Jesus Christ. However, he was not. All of Jesus Christ’s major life events were “borrowed” from other gods, such as Horus (Egypt, circa 3000 BCE), Mithra (Persia, circa 1200 BCE), Attis (Greece, circa 1200 BCE), Dionysus (Greece, circa 500 BCE); and the prophets Moses and Joseph in the Old Testament (Torah in Judaism, Tawrat in Islam).
￼Jesus Christ never existed. Like Horus, Zeus, and Yahweh, Jesus was a fictional character—he did not exist as a real person. He was created by the religious establishment. Why was Jesus not Chinese, African, or East Indian? The Middle East has been the biggest exporter of religion. The three major Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) are the products of the Middle East. As such, in the 21st century, the Middle East is still mired in religious conflicts and wars.
To many, Jesus Christ is the greatest story ever SOLD. The perfect marketing image of Jesus dying on the cross invokes deep emotions in many people—who could forsake someone who died for their sins? People develop sentimental and emotional attachments to this character who supposedly sacrificed everything for them. Who is cruel and evil enough to reject someone who had died for their mistakes? Many develop lifelong relationships with this sacrificial lamb. It is the perfect marketing ploy that reach deep into the spirituality of every person. Again, perfect marketing by the church—perfect marketing to exploit human weakness and personal guilt.
Whether Jesus ever existed is shrouded in doubt. For starters, he never wrote a piece of literature himself, which was out of character for a teacher and preacher. All his teachings and parables were written by other people. Moreover, everything about him was written by others starting four decades after his supposed death. Because he never wrote anything himself and everything about him was written by others were red flags that casted doubt on whether Jesus was a historical person. By all accounts, he was an allegory (the representation of abstract principles by characters or figures). In addition, based on the miracles that he supposedly performed, he must had been quite the magician. If he did exist, he was at best either a preacher, rabbi, or philosopher.
“The fable of Christ and his twelve apostles is a parody of the Sun and the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Everything told of Christ has reference to the Sun. His reported resurrection is at sunrise, and that on the first day of the week; that is, on the day anciently dedicated to the Sun, and from thence called Sunday (SUNday).” —Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason
“Prayers offered up in Christian worship in the earliest days of the faith were addressed to ‘Our Lord the Sun,’ evidencing that ‘primitive’ Christians were quite in the spirit of Pagan forms and ideologies.” —Alvin Boyd Kuhn, Who Was This King of Glory?: A Critical Study of the Christos-Messiah Tradition
“Jesus is a mythical figure in the tradition of pagan mythology and almost nothing in all of ancient literature would lead one to believe otherwise. Anyone wanting to believe Jesus lived and walked as a real live human being must do so despite the evidence, not because of it.” —C. Dennis McKinsey, The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy
“The Christian religion and Masonry have one and the same common origin: both are derived from the worship of the Sun. The difference between their origin is, that the Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun, as I have shown in the chapter on the origin of the Christian religion.” —Thomas Paine, Common Sense, The Age of Reason
Many 21st century scholars have dismissed Jesus Christ as a historical character and accepted that he was an allegory figure created by the Christian establishment. That is, Jesus never existed as a real person but a mythical character comprised of other mythical characters before him. Photo: Wikipedia.org
“Contrary to this popular delusion, the reality is that, in addition to the enormous amount of bloodshed which accompanies its foundation, Christianity’s history is rife with forgery and fraud. So rampant is this treachery and chicanery that any serious researcher must immediately begin to wonder about the story itself…In truth, the Christian tale has always been as difficult to swallow as the myths and fables of other cultures; yet countless people have been able to overlook the rational mind and to willingly believe it, even though they may equally as easily dismiss the nearly identical stories of these other cultures.” —Acharya S., The Christ Conspiracy
“The Bible is fiction. The similarities between the stories and characters in the Bible and those from previous mythologies are both undeniable and well-documented. It is only due to the extreme religious bias that pervades our world today that people rarely get exposed to this information.” —Nicholas Hazel
Comparative mythology is defined as “the comparison of myths from different cultures in an attempt to identify shared themes and characteristics.” If we apply comparative mythology to Jesus Christ, we find that he had all the characteristics of the ancient pagan gods, from the birth sequence right down to the divine features.
Let’s revisit some of the pagan gods and prophets before Jesus Christ: Horus (Egypt, circa 3000 BCE), Mithra (Persia, circa 1200 BCE), Attis (Greece, circa 1200 BCE), Dionysus (Greece, circa 500 BCE); and the prophets Moses and Joseph in the Old Testament. Now, these gods and prophets either had most or all of the attributes listed below.
—Conceived by a virgin mother and had a stepfather.
—Born on December 25 (longest night of year, holy night), after the 3-4 days of winter solstice. For thousands of years, Winter Solstice was a special pagan holiday.
—Born in a cave, his birth announced by an angel, heralded by a star and attended by shepherds.
—Attended a special rite of passage at the age of twelve but there was no official record of him as a child.
—Baptized in a river at the age of 30, and his baptizer was later beheaded.
—Had 12 disciples.
—Performed miracles, exorcized demons, raised someone from the dead, walked on water.
—Called “Iusa”, the “ever-becoming son” and the “Holy Child”.
—Delivered a “Sermon on the Mount”, and his followers recounted his sayings; some bible version said he delivered the sermon at the base on the Mount.
—Transfigured on the Mount.
—Betrayed by someone in his inner circle.
—Crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, and was resurrected.
—Called “The Way”, “The Truth the Light”, “Messiah”, “God’s Anointed Son”, “Son of Man”, “Good Shepherd”, “Lamb of God”, “Word made flesh”, “Word of Truth”, “The KRST” or “Anointed One”.
—Was “The Fisher” and was associated with the Fish, Lamb, and Lion.
—Came to fulfill the Law, and was supposed to reign one thousand years.
Almost every attribute listed above can either be found in Horus, Attis, Mithra, or Dionysus. These pagan gods existed 500 - 3000 years before Jesus Christ (1 -33 AD) was born. Again, was it a coincidence that Jesus Christ had all the divine features of earlier pagan gods and prophets? It’s not a coincidence. We’ve read how the Babylonians borrowed from the Assyrians, and the Romans borrowed from the Greeks. Furthermore, as shown below, the early Jewish Christians borrowed from the Judaic Jews. And the Jews borrowed from the Babylonians, Egyptians, and Persians. The practice of borrowing gods was emblematic of ancient religions.
The Trinity is the belief in Christianity that God is one God in essence but three persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. Source: Wikipedia.org
Mandeanism: a Gnostic religion originating the 2nd and 3rd centuries that believes John the Baptist was the Messiah and that incorporates Jewish and Christian elements into a framework of dualistic beliefs. —Thefreedictionary.com
Similarities Between Moses and Jesus
We learned from the previous chapters and book one, History of Gods, that there is nothing new under the Sun. Where religion is concerned, deities are freely borrowed by various cultures. The creation of Jesus Christ follows the same pattern.
Showed dominance over the water by parting the Red Sea.
Jesus Christ (prophet and Messiah)
Showed dominance over the water by walking on it.
Fed the people with bread and meat supernaturally.
Fed the people with a few loaves of bread and fishes.
Fled from native land to preserve life (forced by Pharaoh Ramses to flee Egypt into the wilderness)
Fled from native land to preserve life (forced by King Herod to flee from Judea to Egypt)
Returned to native land as instructed by god.
Returned to native land as instructed by god.
Mass murder of children at birth.
Mass murder of children at birth.
Risked his life for Israel.
Risked his life for Israel.
12 leaders under Moses
12 Disciples under Messiah
70 leaders under Moses.
70 Disciples under Messiah.
Again, the idea of one culture “borrowing” ideas from another culture was a time-honored tradition that persists to this day. When it came to the concept of god, there was nothing new under the Sun. Old ideas were rehashed into new ones and passed on as divine revelation. And fools followed.
Religion started with worship of the Sun, and there is nothing new under the Sun.
The Life of Jesus Christ
“The gospel story is an artificial, non-historical work. It has been fabricated from source materials that can be identified and traced to their incorporation into the gospels. There is not a particle of hard evidence that ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ ever existed.” —Harold Leidner, The Fabrication of the Christ Myth
In 2015, a Christian ministry asked Facebook users, “Who is Jesus Christ to you? Describe Jesus using one word!”
Some of the responses were: Misinterpreted, who?, tool, implausible, imaginary, mythology, fiction, crutch, Batman, Horus, bullshit, fairytale, WTF, myth, irrelevant, fictional, exaggerated, incoherent, retro, zombie, superstition, hogwash.
The life and teachings of Jesus Christ were open to interpretation and doubt. There were many reasons for the ambiguities:
1) Jesus Christ never wrote anything himself. This was peculiar since he was supposedly a teacher and preacher.
2) Everything that was written about him appeared about fourty years after his death.
3) His life story kept changing for the next 300 years. First as a gifted preacher, then a rabbi, then a prophet, then a son of god, then god himself reincarnated in human flesh in the Holy Trinity.
4) Jesus was a Jew and Jews in his time spoke Aramaic (Semitic family of languages including Hebrew). His first followers and all 12 of his disciples were Jews, so their accounts of his life should had been in Aramaic. However, the first literature about Jesus Christ were written in Greek and Latin. More on this later in the chapter.
If god sent his only son to die, there should had been no ambiguity as to who he was or the events surrounding his life. From Wikipedia.org:
Most scholars generally assume the year of the birth of Jesus to be around 6–4 BC, though some widen the range to 7–2 BC, but there is no definitive dating.
According to Matthew 2:1 King Herod the Great was alive when Jesus was born, and Matthew 2:16, says Herod ordered the Massacre of the Innocents in response to Jesus’ birth. Blackburn and Holford-Strevens fix King Herod’s death shortly before Passover in 4 BC, and say that those who accept the story of the Massacre of the Innocents sometimes associate the star that led the Biblical Magi with the planetary conjunction of 15 September 7 BC or Halley’s comet of 12 BC (less likely since comets were usually considered bad omens); even historians who do not accept the Massacre accept the birth under Herod as a tradition which was older than the written gospels.
The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was conceived during the reign of Herod the Great[Luke 1:5-38] (i.e., before 4 BC) while also stating that Jesus was born when Cyrenius (or Quirinius) was the governor of Syria and carried out the census of the Roman provinces of Syria and Iudaea.[Luke 2:1-3] The Jewish historian Josephus, in his Antiquities of the Jews (ca. AD 93), indicates that Cyrenius/Quirinius’ governorship of Syria began in AD 6, and that the census occurred sometime between AD 6–7, which was incompatible with a conception prior to 4 BC. On this point, Blackburn and Holford-Strevens state that ‘St. Luke raises greater difficulty … Most critics therefore discard Luke’.
The Gospel of Luke also states that Jesus was ‘about thirty years old’ [Luke 3:23] during the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar [Luke 3:1]. Tiberius began his reign as Caesar in September of AD 14. The 15th year of his reign would then be AD 28 or 29. If Jesus was born in 5 or 4 BC, that would put the start of Jesus’ ministry around age 32 to 34. Most scholars do not see this as a contradiction of Luke’s claim that Jesus was ‘about thirty years old.’ Some scholars rely on John 8:57: ‘thou art not yet fifty years old’, making the earliest possible year for Jesus’ birth c. 18 BC…
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anno_Domini
In brief, Jesus was born circa 7-2 BCE, started his ministry when he was about 30 years old, and died when he was 33-36 years old. He was born on December 25 in Bethlehem to a virgin mother named Mary (Immaculate Conception, or immaculate bollock). He was forced to flee to Egypt and later returned to grow up in the northern district of Galilee, Nazareth. He was baptized by John the Baptist (the first prophet in the New Testament). Jesus was born with the primary purpose of dying for the sins of humans (we weren’t born then, so Jesus died for the sins we never committed). The Romans supposedly crucified Jesus Christ on the cross with two thieves. Although, there was no Roman or Jewish administration record of such an event.
The early Christians were Jews (Jewish Christians). The Judaic Jews were blamed for the death of Jesus. Furthermore, all of Jesus’ 12 Disciples were Jews.
“And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles were these: first, Simon, who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.” —Matthew 10:1-4
During his lifetime, Jesus performed many rocking, supernatural miracles.
The Holy (Smokes!) Miracles of Jesus Christ
Jesus supposedly performed many rocking miracles during his lifetime.
—Jesus changed water into wine (John 2:1-11). Holy smokes!
—Jesus cured the nobleman’s son (John 4:46-47).
—The great haul of fishes (Luke 5:1-11).
—Jesus cast out demon from a follower (Mark 1:23-28).
—Jesus cured Peter’s mother-in-law of fever (Mark 1:30-31).
—Jesus healed a leper (Mark 1:40-45).
—Jesus healed the centurion’s servant, who was paralyzed (Matthew 8:5-13).
—Jesus raised the widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:11-18). Holy smokes!
—Jesus calmed the storm (Matthew 8:23-27). Smoking!
—Jesus exorcised two demons (Matthew 8:28-34).
—Jesus cured the paralytic (Matthew 9:1-8).
—Jesus raised the ruler’s daughter from the dead (Matthew 9:18-26). Holy smokes!
—Jesus cured a woman of a blood disease (Luke 8:43-48).
—Jesus cured two men of blindness (Matthew 9:27-31). Rocking!
—Jesus cured a man who was a deaf-mute (Matthew 9:32-33).
—Jesus healed a disenfranchised man at the pool called Bethesda (John 5:1-9).
—Jesus restored a withered hand (Matthew 12:10-13).
—Jesus exorcised demons from a possessed man (Matthew 12:22).
—Jesus fed over five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fishes. (Matthew 14:15-21). Holy smokes!
—Jesus healed a woman of Canaan (Matthew 15:22-28).
—Jesus cured a deaf-mute man (Mark 7:31-37).
—Jesus fed at least four thousand people with a few loaves of bread and fishes (Matthew 15:32-39). Oh my god!
—Jesus opened the eyes of a blind man (Mark 8:22-26). Holy smokes!
—Jesus cured a boy plagued by a demon (Matthew 17:14-21).
—Jesus cured a man of blindness (John 9:1-38). Hallelujah!
—Jesus cured a woman who had been possessed eighteen years (Luke 13:10-17).
—Jesus cured a man of dropsy (Luke 14:1-4).
—Jesus cleansed ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19).
—Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-46). Smoking!
—Jesus opened the eyes of two blind men (Matthew 20:30-34).
—Jesus made the fig tree to wither (Matthew 21:18-22).
—Jesus cured a mute. (Luke 22:50-51).
—Jesus resurrected from the dead (Luke 24:5-6). Holy smokes!
—The second great haul of fishes (John 21:1-14).
“There is a paradox that Jesus did all these amazing things and taught all these amazing things yet no one heard of him outside his immediate cult for nearly 100 years. Or it means he didn’t do all these things at all…The first gospel of Christianity appears to have been a literary allegory that were written decades after the time they portray…Christianity appears to have been a Jewish mystery faith. ” —David Fitzgerald, Ten Christian Myths that Show Jesus Never Existed at All
The laws of Nature were the same in 1 – 30 CE as they are now. All of these miracles defied physical, biological, and other scientific laws as we know them. The material world has not changed, the rules of science applied then as they do now. To conservative Christians, those miracles were the work of Jesus and considered historical events and treated as fact; to liberal Christians those miracles were figurative events meant to demonstrate the power of Jesus; to the non-religious and enlightened, those supernatural deeds were preposterous and those who believe in them are nutcases.
Children believe that there is a man with a beard living far away who watches them every minute and knows if they’ve been good or bad. If they’re good, this man rewards them. Adults also believe that there is a man with a beard living far away who watches them every minute and knows if they’ve been good or bad. If they’re good, this man rewards them. Children eventually grow up and stop believing in Santa Claus because they know he’s not real. But adults cling to the belief of Jesus Christ until their death bed. The Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Jesus Christ, a god in the clouds, are all fictional characters meant for different age groups.
“The best cure for Christianity is reading the bible.” —Mark Twain
There were just too many questions left open to interpretation. In addition, a plethora of contradictions between Christian scholars and objective historians. If Jesus was the son of god and god reincarnated, he sure left us with a lot of doubts about his life.
Again, the fact that Jesus never wrote anything himself made many skeptical as to his existence. Also, the fact that no official record about him during his lifetime was a persistent red flag. As examples, no record of him in the Roman census, tax record, Judaean administration, personal letters, art, literature, etc. Some Christian scholars point to a few Greek and Roman texts in Jesus’ time that mentioned the word “Messiah.” However, the word “Messiah” in Greek simply means “anointed one.” It was a word commonly found in religious texts and discussions. If we examine religious literature from any period in Greek, the word “Messiah” was commonly used .
Joke: Religious science is an oxymoron (a figure of speech in which two words with opposing meanings are used together intentionally for effect).
“There is not a conception associated with Christ that was not common to some or all of the Savior cults of antiquity…Some commentators even link Horus, Ra and Osiris with the Christian Trinity concept (Gordon, p.657). One of the most well known of the Egyptian Pharaohs was Amenhotep IV who eliminated the many gods of the realm and told his countrymen to worship just one god, signified by the solar disc known as aten, and even changed his name to Akhenaten. After he died, Tutankhamen who had married one of his daughters succeeded him, and he reverted back to the old traditions and changed his name to Tutankhamen. (Hagen, p.47)” —JM Robertson, _A Short History of Christianity _
The New Testament
“Christianity, along with all other theistic belief systems, is the fraud of the age. It serves to detach the species from the natural world, and likewise, each other. It supports blind submission to authority. It reduces human responsibility to the effect that god controls everything and it in turn awful crimes can be justified in the name of divine pursuit. And most importantly it encompasses those who know the truth but use the myth to manipulate and control societies.” —Zeitgeist documentary, 2007
Why are all bibles contradictory and hypocritical? Because humans are contradictory and hypocritical, and humans wrote the bibles.
The last prophet in the Old Testament was Malachi, who supposedly composed his work circa 450 BCE (recall that the Old Testament is known as the Torah in Judaism and Tawrat in Islam). Jesus’ birth was in the year 1 CE (or AD, Anno Domini, or “the year of our Lord” to the Christians). According to legend (not historical fact), Jesus died around 30-33. And according to many historians, the first writings of the New Testament (Christian Holy Bible, or simply Holy Bible or the Bible) appeared about 40 years after Jesus’ death. Therefore, there was about a 500 year gap between the Old Testament and the New Testament. It may surprise many that Jesus was not the first prophet in the Holy Bible. The first prophet in the Holy Bible was John the Baptist, who prophesied the coming of Jesus Christ (if you rewrite and backdate any text, you too can become prophetic). John the Baptist was also the one who baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.
According to the Muslims, Jesus was not crucified. In the Quran, chapter 4, verse 157, it states that another man was crucified in place of Jesus. The Muslims believe that Jesus did die, but he wasn’t crucified as described in the Holy Bible.
“We killed Messiah ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), the Messenger of Allah…But they killed him not, nor crucified him, but the resemblance of ‘Iesa (Jesus) was put over another man (and they killed that man), and those who differ therein are full of doubts. They have no (certain) knowledge, they follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed him not…”
This is another inherent contradiction of the “holy” scriptures.
Prophets in the Holy Bible (New Testament)
As with all religions, there are prophets for profits. Christianity is no different.
1. John the Baptist
2. Jesus Christ
Jude/Judas (brother of James)
The books in the Holy Bible (New Testament) are Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation.
“Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.” —Thomas Jefferson
The 2000 year-old hostility between the Jews and Christians boils down to this: The Christians believe in a man who did not exist. Furthermore, the Christians blame the Jews for killing this man who did not exist.
For the Christians, the Holy Bible is the continuation of Judaism, or the continuation of the Old Testament. Recall that Jesus himself was a Jew and the first Christians were also Jews—the Bible was the first major schism of the Abrahamic religion. Before Jesus Christ, the “People of the Book” (Jews) were waiting for their Messiah (they’re still waiting). To the Jews who preached Christianity, Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah. Therefore, early Christians considered Jesus as a prophet of god and the Messiah. Eventually, forced by politics, Jesus became known as the Holy Trinity. In this conception, Jesus was a prophet, Messiah and also the son, the holy spirit, and the father. Basically, Jesus Christ was the reincarnation of god himself in human flesh. However, to the Judaic Jews, Jesus was neither a prophet nor a Messiah, and he definitely was not god reincarnated. He was “that man” to the religious Jews.
“Every church I know claims to know that ‘we are the true church and we have the ultimate authority, we have the infallible pope, and we have the inerrant Bible.’ The idea that the truth of god can be bound in any human system, by any human creed, by any human book is almost beyond imagination for me.” —Bishop John Spong
According to some sources, early Christians never claimed Jesus Christ was divine, only that he had a special spiritual closeness to god. His divine features were endowed by the Roman emperors, particularly emperors Vespasian and Constantine the Great. As we’ll soon discover, the “confusion, controversy, and contention” of Christianity added to the shroud of doubt as to whether Jesus existed at all.
In the Holy Bible, all the words and deeds of Jesus Christ were written by third parties. In other words, the Son of God himself never wrote a single word about his teachings and philosophies. This doesn’t lend to the credibility that he existed as real person. Everything we know about Jesus Christ was written by others decades and centuries after his death. According to historical facts, Jesus Christ was a character that was the result of over 300 years in the making, from his supposed birth circa 4-6 BCE to the first Council of Nicea in 325.
“Christianity and alcohol are the two great means of corruption.” —Friedrich Nietzsche
Up until the first Council of Nicea in 325, Christianity was mostly viewed as a cult throughout the Roman Empire. The Romans were mostly pagans until mid 4th century CE and Christianity was branded by the majority as a dangerous sect of the Jewish faith Judaism. Most Christians were banned and persecuted during this time, and those who openly practiced Christianity were fed to the lions in the Colosseum. So hated and considered dangerous that the Roman Emperor Nero (37 – 68, emperor 54 – 68) even burnt most of Rome and blamed it on the Christians.
[*Persecuted Christians *]making their last prayers before being fed to the lions. For over 300 years (1-325), Christianity was a persecuted cult.
However, Christianity slowly crept into Roman society when many Roman administrative bureaucrats, the poor, and marginalized adopted the religion. This deadly infiltration soon became a problem for future Roman emperors, which was fitting because the story of how Christianity became the religion of emperors involved Roman royal court intrigue.
Christianity Quick Facts
[*Formed: *] circa 30 -33, when Jesus Christ supposedly founded his ministry.
Origin: Judea and Palestine according to the Bible, in Rome’s royal palace according to history.
[*Adherents: *]2.2 billion (2015). Catholic 54.5%, Protestant 6.15%, Orthodox 3.96%, Anglican 1.26%.
Deity: Monotheistic. Jesus Christ as the son of god. Or as the Holy Trinity (God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit).
Sacred Texts: Old Testament, New Testament (Holy Bible)
[*Headquarters: *]Vatican City, Jerusalem (spiritual)
Holidays and Remembrances: Christmas, Halloween, Easter Sunday, St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Mardi Gras, Good Friday, St. Andrew’s Day, Epiphany.
[*Major Denominations: *]Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, and Protestant.
As previously stated, Christianity was a mashup of other religions. More on the topic by Fazal Ahmad:
Christianity and the Sun
Christianity emerged out of Judaism and therefore all of the early Jewish Christians (Jews who had accepted Jesus as their Messiah) were monotheistic. However, they lived in the context of other civilisations such as the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians and Persians, all of whom had strong cultures of their own. As Christians tried to politically distance themselves from the Jews, and also tried to gain acceptance in Europe, their theology sometimes became merged with local culture to the detriment of Christianity.
A key example of this was the interaction of Christianity in the Roman Empire with traditional Roman beliefs. The Romans had been persecuting Christians and despised the Jews whom they had defeated in Jerusalem around 70. They wanted all races in their empire to pay tribute to the Emperor and the Roman gods and goddesses. Over three centuries, gradually Christians began to associate Jesus as with the Roman god Sol Invictus by depicting Jesus as having a solar halo around his head just like Sol Invictus, and by adopting the holy day of their god, December 25th, as the key date for Christianity, erroneously celebrated as the birthday of Jesus.
In the early 17th century, Christianity had to debate the place of the Sun in the Universe with scientists such as Galileo. The Orthodox view of the Church at that time was that man was central…
Read more: Reviewofreligions.org/2306/ancient-Sun-worship/
It is a godly irony that Christians have persecuted Jews throughout history, but worship a man of Jewish heritage.
Important Christian Dates and Their Origins
The modern-day Christian/Western Calendar had its root in pagan holidays and deities.
Christian/Western Holidays and Their Pagan Origins
Christmas: Winter Solstice, Yule. (If Christmas is the celebration of Jesus, then what does Santa Clause have to do with it? Because Christmas had been celebrated by the pagans for centuries, long before Jesus came on the scene).
Easter: Ostara (the Spring Equinox)
[*Valentine’s Day: Imbolc *]
May Day: Beltane
[*Monday: *]The Moon’s Day (Monday)
Tuesday: Tyr’s (Tiw’s) Day
Wednesday: Woden’s (Odin’s) Day
Thursday: Thor’s Day
Friday: Freya’s Day
[*Saturday: *]Saturn’s Day
Sunday: The Sun’s Day (Sunday)
Again, one religion borrowing from other religions. With religion, history always repeats itself: Different god, same ideas, different era.
“All Bibles are man-made.” —Thomas Edison
The Historical Origin of Christianity
“What seems to have eluded many scholars is that the sequence of events and locations of Jesus ministry are more or less the same as the sequence of events and locations of the military campaign of (Emperor) Titus Flavius as described by Josephus.” —Joseph Atwill, Caesar’s Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus
How did a backwater religion from a seaside village of Galilee, in a small corner of the Middle East become the biggest religion in the world? Christians are in every country on every continent of the Earth. How did that become to be?
The Roman Empire
The person credited with transitioning Rome from a republic to an Empire was Julius Caesar (100 – 44 BCE). After acquiring vast territories for the SPQR (The Senate and People of Rome), Julius Caesar had ambitions, according to his enemies, of becoming the dictator or king of Rome. The Romans detested the word “king”, as they had killed all their kings to found their republic. The word “king” was a taboo in Rome in Julius Caesar’s time.
Deemed as an overly ambitious despot and dangerous to the republic, Julius Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March (March 15, 44 BCE) in the Roman Senate. Before he died, Caesar had adopted his grandnephew, Augustus (born Gaius Octavius), as his son. In his will and final testimony, Caesar had named Augustus as his heir. After Julius Caesar’s death, a brutal civil war erupted for the control of Rome and its vast territories and provinces. After over a decade of politicking, infighting, and civil war, Augustus, with the help of the loyal generals who had served Julius Caesar, finally defeated all of Julius Caesar’s old enemies and assassins. Augustus became known as Augustus Caesar (or Caesar Augustus), the first Roman Emperor. After consolidating his power, Augustus purged all his enemies from the Roman Senate and restored peace to Rome.
“I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.” Augustus Caesar, or Caesar Augustus (born Gaius Octavius, 63 BCE – 14) was the grandnephew and adopted son of Julius Caesar.
[*Augustus Caesar *]was the Emperor of Rome for 44 years. Jesus Christ was supposedly born during Augustus’s reign (31 BCE – 14 ). Photos: Wikipedia.org
To history, Augustus Caesar (63 BCE – 14) was the son of Julius Caesar, the founder of the Roman Empire, and the first emperor of Rome. Unlike his granduncle, Augustus was more adept at the game of politics—he knew when to use the pen over the sword. His reign was known as the Pax Romana (the Peace of Rome, Roman Peace), or the Augustan Age. The words tzar, czar, and kaiser were derived from Caesar. In the Julian calendar, the months of July was named for Julius Caesar and August for Augustus Caesar. The updated Gregorian (Christian) calendar kept July and August as the 7th and 8th months of the year. To the Romans, Augustus was an emperor, high priest (Pontifex Maximus), and a living god. The Romans loved their gods and the Roman Imperial Cult bureaucracy encouraged the worship of emperors as gods alongside Roman pagan gods.
Map of the Roman Empire during Caesar Augustus’s reign (31 BCE – 14). The entire Mediterranean Basin was his playground. Map: Wikipedia.org
Augustus Caesar lived between 63 BCE – 14. During his reign (44 years, 31 BCE – 14 ) Judea and Palestine were under Roman rule, and the Romans were pagans. Jesus was about 18 years old when Augustus died. Yet, there was no mention of Jesus in the Roman census, tax record, literature, correspondence, art, or official records. If Jesus Christ was such a superstar, surely people would had known about him, or spoken or written about him in his time. That was not the case, though. In addition, Augustus Caesar was intolerant of any opposition to his thrown. He had killed all of Julius Caesar’s enemies and purged his enemies from the Senate and Equestrian class. A person of Jesus Christ’s stature would had been quickly disposed of by Augustus.
Shortly after Augustus’s death in 14, the Pax Romana (Peace of Rome) died with him. Without an iron fist to allocate the resources of the vast empire, royal court intrigue took over—scandals, betrayals, and the assassinations of emperor-wannabes became commonplace. It got so chaotic that there were four emperors in the year 69. As the Empire continued to expand, it became unwieldy and required co-emperors to manage it. For a brief period, a system of two co-emperors (Western and Eastern) was implemented; then in 293 Emperor Diocletian instituted the tetarchy system (leadership of four). There were four co-emperors.
Long before the Roman Empire was officially partitioned into two empires (West and East), it had a succession of co-emperors. Map: Wikipedia.org
At its peak under Emperor Trajan (reign 98 – 117), the Roman Empire controlled, through its provinces and territories, the entire Mediterranean Basin. The empire stretched north-south from England to Egypt, and west-east from Portugal to Iraq. However, every empire, especially massive ones, eventually collapsed under its own weight and the Roman Empire was no different. The Empire overextended its resources and was attacked by barbarians (at least the Greeks and Romans called them barbarians) from modern-day France and Germany. Add complacency, corruption, infighting, and greed to the mix and it was only a matter of time before the fall.
A unique perspective on the Roman Empire’s downfall was presented by Dr. Harris L. Coulter, PhD. He theorized that its fall was primarily due to health reasons.
“A major cause of the Roman Empire’s decline, after six centuries of world dominance was its replacement of stone aqueducts by lead pipes for the transport and supply of drinking water. Roman engineers, the best in the world, turned their fellow citizens into neurological cripples. Today our own ‘best and brightest,’ with the best of intentions, achieve the same end through childhood vaccination programmes yielding the modern scourges of hyperactivity, learning disabilities, autism, appetite disorders, and impulsive violence.” —Dr. Harris L. Coulter, PhD
Another theory on the Roman Empire’s fall was the numeral system they’d used. The Romans used combinations from their Latin alphabet to signify numbers (Roman numerals). For example, LXXX was 80, DCCC was 800, XL was 40, etc. One can only imagine how burdensome basic arithmetic must had been. The theory posited that the accounting system became so strenuously burdensome that it became nearly impossible to track resources throughout the vast empire. The modern positional numeral system (digits 0 to 10 only became widely used around 876).
“The first true written positional numeral system was considered to be the Hindu–Arabic numeral system. This system was established by the 7th century, but was not yet in its modern form because the use of the digit zero had not yet been widely accepted. Instead of a zero, a space was left in the numeral as a placeholder. The first widely acknowledged use of zero was in 876. Although the original Hindu-Arabic system was very similar to the modern one, even down to the glyphs used to represent digits, the direction of places was reversed, so that place values increased to the right rather than to the left.” —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numerical_digit
Evan Andrews, writing for the History Channel, listed eight main reasons why the Roman Empire fell.
1) Invasions of Barbarian tribes.
2) Economic troubles and over reliance on slave labour.
3) The rise of the Eastern Empire (aka Byzantine Empire, Eastern Roman Empire).
4) Over-expansion and military spending.
5) Government corruption and political instability.
6) The arrival of the Huns and the migration of the Barbarian tribes.
7) Christianity and the loss of traditional values.
8) Weakening of the Roman legions.
But the theories on the decline of the Roman Empire are another story. Let’s get back to the fascinating subject of religion, shall we?
Of Emperors and Gods
Recall how historians were perplexed with these pressing questions:
1) Why the writings about Jesus Christ appeared 40 years after his death.
2) Why he never wrote anything himself.
3) Why the original Christian writings were in Greek and Latin and not in Aramaic (Semitic family of languages including Hebrew and Phoenician).
4) Why there were no mention and record of Jesus Christ in his time (no census record, no tax record, no literature, no art, no personal correspondence, no government correspondence, etc.).
Again, the “missing links” of Jesus Christ had to do with Roman Royal Court intrigue.
The Julio-Claudian Dynasty
Julius Caesar and his adopted son (grandnephew) Caesar Augustus had established the Julio-Claudian dynasty of Roman emperors that lasted from 27 BCE – 68 (or 95 years). When Augustus became the first Emperor of Rome, he made sure that the empire worshipped him as a living god (he was also deified after his death). After all, he had been handpicked by the great Julius Caesar to be his successor, and Julius Caesar’s ancestry was of Roman aristocracy (nobilitas Romana) of the Equestrian order.
Furthermore, Julius Caesar had claimed that his family tree could be traced back to Romulus and Remus (the mythological founders of Rome), which added credibility to the deity status. For their aristocratic pedigree, all five emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty were worshipped as gods: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero.
The irony of the Julio-Claudian dynasty was that no emperor was succeeded by his legitimate or biological son, and only one of the emperors had a legitimate son survive him. Four of the Julio-Claudian emperors were grandnephews of the previous emperors, just like Augustus had been a grandnephew of Julius. However, as long as the emperor was a genetic descendant (kinship by blood) of Julius Caesar, the Romans worshipped him as a living god.
The worship of Roman emperors as gods was administered by Roman Imperial Cult bureaucracy. This bureaucracy was vast and sophisticated, able to satisfy the citizens’ craving for deity worship. The Roman Imperial Cult created statues, buildings, “holy” texts, and priests, all dedicated to the sole purpose of worshipping Roman emperors as gods. This large and expansive religious bureaucracy would later become instrumental in the spread of Christianity when Emperor Constantine I instituted Christianity as the official state religion in 325.
Rise of the Flavian Dynasty: Vespasian and Josephus
In 68, as it expanded to new frontiers, the empire had become unfailingly corrupt, teetering on civil war. The last Julio-Claudian emperor Nero (emperor 54-68) had committed suicide, ending the fabled Julio-Claudian dynasty. In 69, a power struggle ensued, and there were four emperors in that one year. As expected, a civil war broke out—there were too many cooks in the kitchen. The winner of that Civil War was Vespasian Flavius, who founded the Flavian dynasty what ruled Rome from 69 – 96 (27 years).
When Vespasian became the first emperor of the Flavian dynasty in 69, the Romans still loved their gods. So Vespasian had a legitimacy issue. Unlike the five Julio-Claudian emperors before him, who had royal (and god) blood by being the progeny of Julius Caesar, Vespasian did not have the godly pedigree. Vespasian was a Roman general and consul who had successfully campaigned throughout the empire. He was noted for subduing Palestine and Judea. While in the “holy” (smokes) land, Vespasian became acquainted with the region’s religion. He was well aware of the divisive nature of religion and would later exploit it for his powerbase.
During his time in the holy land, Vespasian became aware of Judaism and its promise of a Messiah. But more importantly, Vespasian was able to subdue the Jews, but not subjugate them. The Jews had clung to their monotheistic god and had refused to worship Roman emperors as living gods. To legitimize himself to the Romans and his subjects, Vespasian invited Josephus, a popular Jewish-religious scholar and historian into his court. Josephus, with Vespasian’ s guidance, became a central character in creating Christianity. Together, they created the institution of Christianity.
Below is a brief biography of Josephus from Wikipedia.org.
Titus Flavius Josephus (/dʒoʊˈsiːfəs/;1 37 – c. 100), born Joseph ben Matityahu (Hebrew: יוסף בן מתתיהו, Yosef ben Matityahu), was a first-century Romano-Jewish scholar, historian and hagiographer, who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Roman Judea—to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry.
He initially fought against the Romans during the First Jewish–Roman War as head of Jewish forces in Galilee, until surrendering in 67 to Roman forces led by Vespasian after the six-week siege of Jotapata. Josephus claimed the Jewish Messianic prophecies that initiated the First Roman-Jewish War made reference to Vespasian becoming Emperor of Rome. In response Vespasian decided to keep Josephus as a slave and interpreter. After Vespasian became Emperor in 69, he granted Josephus his freedom, at which time Josephus assumed the emperor’s family name of Flavius.
Flavius Josephus fully defected to the Roman side and was granted Roman citizenship. He became an advisor and friend of Vespasian’s son Titus, serving as his translator when Titus led the Siege of Jerusalem, which resulted—when the Jewish revolt did not surrender—in the city’s destruction and the looting and destruction of Herod’s Temple (Second Temple).”
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus
Josephus (born Yosef ben Matityahu, 37 – c. 100, a Jew) was believed to be the author behind early Christian literature and gospels that formed the New Testament.
[*Roman Emperor Vespasian Flavius *](10 – 79) commissioned Josephus to create a Jewish Messiah to pacify the rebellious Jews and quash the Messianic movement. The newly created Messiah (Jesus) was to be in the likeness of Vespasian and his future-emperor sons. Little did the early Christians know, worshipping Jesus (the mythical Messiah) was worshipping emperors of the Flavian dynasty (Vespasian, Titus, Domitian).
In his early writings, Josephus, using the liberal interpretation of the Torah, declared that Vespasian was the long-awaited Messiah the Jews had been promised in the Hebrew Bible. Therefore, Vespasian and his future heirs would have the divine right to inherit the throne of Rome. As the Messiah, Vespasian could rule the Jews without spilling blood.
But wouldn’t the Jews be offended if a Roman, and not a Jew, was the Messiah of the Jews? Josephus pointed out that the holy scripture clearly claims that a power rising from Palestine would be the Messiah. As a powerful general who had subdued most of Palestine and Judea, Vespasian was this Messiah—he did rise from the ranks for his military conquests in Judea and Palestine. The scripture didn’t say that the Messiah had to be from Judea and Palestine, only that he would rise from there. Thus, Jesus Christ was conceived by humans, just like every other prophet and god before him.
When historians analyzed Josephus’s earlier works with those of the first Christian gospels, they found them eerily similar, and about 40 of the stories were exactly the same. Because of these parallels, many historians concluded that early Christian literature, especially those pertaining to Jesus Christ, was the work of Josephus. Josephus’s early Christian writings established the foundation for the New Testament (aka the Christian Bible). The gospels of Mark, Luke, Matthew, John, etc. were believed to be the early works of Josephus. The fact that the original gospels were in Greek and Latin and not in Hebrew raised many doubts about their authenticity. Josephus and other Roman court historians were well-versed in Greek and Latin, but not the Semites, especially the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ, who spoke Hebrew or another Aramaic language.
By creating Christianity and placing the Messiah (Roman Emperor) at the centre of its founding, Josephus was able to usurp the Jewish Messianic movement that was spreading across Jewish communities. However, as history records, the majority of Jews had rejected Jesus as their Messiah.
With the aid of Josephus’s sophistry (the use of false arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving), the Roman Senate eventually approved Vespasian as a living god, and his two sons Titus (reign 79 – 81) and Domitian (reign 81 – 96) as the sons of god (does the concept of the “son of god” sound familiar?). The Flavian dynasty only lasted 27 years, but it taught future Roman emperors a very valuable lesson that it had learned from the Semites: It was much more efficient to control people with religion than with the sword.
The vast and deeply entrenched religious bureaucracy that had been moulded by the Julio-Claudian dynasty and perfected by the Flavian emperors had extended throughout the Roman Empire. It had served the pagan emperors effectively, and that extensive religious apparatus would serve future Christian emperors equally effectively. The Pope would soon replace the Emperor as ruler of the Roman Empire. And Christianity would be the linchpin of the Roman Empire’s control mechanism, through the Roman Catholic Church.
Now, back to the seminal events of Christianity. The perplexing question had always been, “Why was Josephus’s Christian writings backdated 40 years?”
To Pacify and Blame the Stubborn and Disobedient Jews
The Jews were stubborn and disobedient to the Romans, because the Jews were rebellious and had refused to submit to Roman rule. They had preferred death over subjugation, as witnessed in the siege of Masada. If only there were a Jewish god that blamed the Jews for all the Roman woes in Judea—that would be an emperor’s dream come true. It would divert attention from Roman aggression and blamed everything on the Jews. The son of god blaming the Jews was the perfect concoction—this fermented Christian hatred of the Jews lasting to this day. As noted by several sources, the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus were very favourable to the Romans and very hateful of the Jews. The Romans won the blame-game for a reason: The victor wrote his-story.
It Helped the Romans Maintain a Grip on Power Without Using Force
Jesus was created as a pacifist, therefore his followers were pacifists. These pacifists didn’t believe in violence, which was what the Roman rulers wanted. Furthermore, adherents of Catholicism (a sect of Christianity) had to go through Jesus to get to god, and in order to go through Jesus, they had to go through intermediaries such as pastors, priests, bishops, etc. These “men of god” were part of a central authority in, where else but, Rome (later the Roman Catholic Church). The Roman Imperial Cult bureaucrats had become the priests and bishops of the new Roman spiritual empire. The pontiff soon replaced the emperor.
It Endowed Jesus with Divine Gifts
Jesus predicted three key events: the Galilean towns would be destroyed, Jerusalem would be encircled and levelled, and the Temple would be razed—all of which came true. However, Josephus wrote the events after they had occurred and then backdated (retro-dated) his writings to make them appear prescient. Not surprisingly, those prophetic events occurred while Titus Flavius, son of Vespasian, was the Roman Emperor working his way through Palestine and Judea. And who had destroyed the Galilean towns, levelled Jerusalem, and razed the Temple? Titus himself. The first working concept of Jesus Christ was in the likeness of Roman Emperor Titus Flavius, Vespasian’s son. Josephus’s thinking was that since the Jews had refused to worship Roman emperors, they could worship a Jewish Messiah. But the person pulling the strings behind the scenes was still the emperor.
No One Could Disprove of Jesus’ Rocking Miracles
By backdating events by one generation (back then 40 years was considered a generation), it made it harder to refute that those miracles took place (or even nearly impossible since Vespasian and Titus had controlled the areas in which those miracles supposedly occurred). We’re talking about someone who walked on water, turned water into wine, fed thousands of people with a few fishes and loaves of bread, and resurrected from the dead. And no one had mentioned Jesus during his lifetime?
Imperial Court Intrigue
The Julio-Claudian dynasty was the enemy of the Flavian dynasty. By backdating everything 40 years, all the events of Jesus Christ’s suffering fell into the Julio-Claudian dynasty’s timeline. Again, no mention or record of Jesus Christ was found during the Julio-Claudian dynasty, but through the magic of backdating by the Flavian history revisionists, emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and the Jews were blamed for the deplorable death of the man who died for our sins (we weren’t alive back then, so we hadn’t committed any sin).
[*This relief from the Arch of Titus *]depicts Roman soldiers carrying treasures from the Temple of Jerusalem, including the Menorah. The city was besieged and destroyed by Titus in 70. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flavian_dynasty
The Blame Game: Christian Persecution
It was Vespasian and his sons Titus and Domitian who built the iconic Roman Colosseum between 72 – 80 (originally called the Flavian Amphitheatre). It was in the Colosseum that Christians were fed to the lions as a spectator sport. However, some scholars believed that only specific groups of Christians were persecuted or fed to the lions:
1) The militaristic Christians who rebelled against the empire.
2) The Christians who worshipped Jesus as an allegory. The Flavian emperors wanted all Christians to accept Jesus as a literal, historical character, one that actually existed.
3) The Christians of the pre-Flavian dynasty. The Flavian dynasty wanted Christians in its own image. However, in a twist of irony, the Nerva–Antonine dynasty (96 – 192) that succeeded the Flavian dynasty used the Colosseum to persecute the very Christians the Flavian emperors had groomed. The Roman Game of Thrones was about physically removing the sitting dynasty from power, and undoing its worldly work.
Domitian was the penultimate emperor of the Flavian dynasty. The Flavian dynasty ended when Domitian was assassinated by court officials on September 18, 96. However, its Christian legwork, originally commissioned by Vespasian, had survived. Christianity didn’t immediately takeoff, but it was slowly creeping into the expansive Roman Imperial Cult bureaucracy.
A snippet of history that few governments have learned from:
“From the study of this history we may also learn how a good government was to be established; for while all the emperors who succeeded to the throne by birth, except Titus, were bad, all were good who succeeded by adoption, as in the case of the five from Nerva to Marcus. But as soon as the empire fell once more to the heirs by birth, its ruin recommenced.” —Niccolò Machiavelli
Machiavelli believed that people born into wealth, power, and privilege made for pitiful rulers. Those born with a silver spoon in their mouths were detached from the commoners and failed to understand their needs. “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!” by Marie Antoinette was the epitome of Machiavelli’s analysis. Or “Let them eat cake!”
The Rise of Constantine and Christianity
Through all the royal court intrigues and the expansion of the empire, the Romans were polytheists who also worshipped their emperors, particularly the first five, as living gods. From the time of Rome’s founding in 753 BCE to 325, a period of 1078 years, Romans were polytheists who worshipped Etruscan and (mostly) Greek deities—the Roman pantheon was nearly all Greek. For most of 255 years (70 – 325), despite its root in the Flavian dynasty, Christianity was a backwater religion in the Roman Empire that eked out a meagre existence among the poor and marginalized.
However, Christianity had one thing going for it: Some of Rome’s highly placed bureaucrats had converted to Christianity. Even then, militaristic Christians and those who had refused to accept Jesus as a real person were still branded as members of a dangerous cult. They were persecuted and fed to the lions. But the suffering and persecution of the Christians changed on October 28, 312 at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (the Milvian Bridge was a bridge en route to the Tiber River in Italy).
Battle of the Milvian Bridge
At the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, Roman co-Emperor Constantine I (later Constantine the Great, Constantine the Saint) forever changed the course of Christianity, thus a large part of world history. More than any person in history, Constantine the Great, on the backs of the Roman Legions, was responsible for spreading Christianity throughout the world.
Bronze statue of Constantine I in York, England, near the spot where he was proclaimed Augustus by his troops in 306. Source: http://en.academic.ru
Prior to the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, the Roman Empire was on the brink of another civil war. The system of four Caesars was in tatters as each emperor secretly or overtly expressed desires to be the sole ruler. As the royal court intrigue played out, co-emperors Constantine I and Maxentius (278 – 312) eliminated the other two co-emperors to contend for the title of the one and only Emperor of the Roman Empire.
Colossal marble head of Emperor Constantine the Great, Roman, 4th century. Source: Jean-Christophe BENOIST, Wikipedia.org
[*Battle at The Milvian Bridge *]by Giulio Romano. The battle that forever changed the fate of Christianity. Photo: Wikipedia.org
Depending on the source, it was either the night before or just before (or both) the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, that Constantine I had an epiphany. He saw a cross in the sky with the words, “In This Sign Conquer.” Because Constantine’s mother was a devout Christian, he took the cross in the sky as the Christian cross of Christ. Before taking to the battlefield, Constantine ordered his legionnaires to paint the cross on their shields. With a force of less than 40,000 soldiers, Constantine was up against Maxentius’ army of 100,000. Outnumbered by more than 2 to 1, Constantine I won the Battle of the Milvian Bridge and became the sole Emperor of the Roman Empire. He later became Constantine the Great and Constantine the Saint.
After a hard fought victory, he believed that the cross he had seen in the sky before the battle was divine revelation. He believed the victory was the result of godly intervention from the son of god, Jesus Christ, or even god himself. Thereafter, Constantine became a deeply religious person and a devout Christian. Some historians suggested that Constantine became profoundly religious to atone for the crimes he had committed during his rise to power, and in particular for the murders of his son (Flavius Julius Crispus) and wife (Fausta).
Constantine the Great
After consolidating his power, Constantine moved the imperial headquarters of the Roman Empire from Rome to the Greek city of Byzantium (modern-day Istanbul, Turkey). He renamed Byzantium to Constantinople, which became the capital of the Byzantine Empire (aka Eastern Roman Empire). Thus, Constantine was the founder and first emperor of the Byzantine Empire. The Roman Empire was officially partitioned into the Eastern Roman Empire (aka the Byzantine Empire) and the Western Roman Empire.
After settling into his new imperial headquarters in Constantinople, Emperor Constantine the Great (272 – 337), decreed Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. During this time, the vast majority of the Byzantium Greeks and even Romans throughout the empire were still pagans. For the first time since Vespasian (about 250 years ago), Christians now had a champion of the Christian faith in the highest political office.
However, even during Constantine’s time, there were unsettled questions as to who Jesus Christ really was. Was Jesus a prophet, the son of god, or god himself reincarnated? Should he be celebrated as an allegory or a historical person? In 325, Constantine held the first meeting of the Christian bishops to resolve these and many other unsettled questions. It was called the Council of Nicea, and there were many more councils thereafter.
Councils of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea (/naɪˈsiːə/; Greek: Νίκαια [ˈni:kaɪja]) was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325. This first ecumenical council was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom. It was presided by Hosius of Corduba, a bishop from the West and probably a Papal delegate.
Its main accomplishments were settlement of the Christological issue of the nature of the Son of God and his relationship to God the Father, the construction of the first part of the Creed of Nicaea, establishing uniform observance of the date of Easter, and promulgation of early canon law…
The First Council of Nicaea was the first ecumenical council of the Church. Most significantly, it resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent local and regional councils of Bishops (Synods) to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy—the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom.
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea
The year 325, Eastern Orthodox icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea (the first of Seven Ecumenical Councils). Constantine the Great summoned 1800 bishops of the Christian Church to Nicaea to address divisions in the Church (mosaic in Hagia Sophia, Constantinople (Istanbul), ca. 1000). It would take a total of seven similar councils to establish the basis of Jesus’ divinity. After that was agreed, the Church split into two main denominations: Catholicism and Orthodox. Photo: Wikipedia.org
Keep in mind that when Constantine instituted Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire, he had the religious bureaucracy of the Roman Imperial Cult behind him. Using that platform, the worldwide proliferation of Christianity was guaranteed.
[*Jesus was a MYTH: Writer says Christ was many people rather than one. *]Jesus Christ was not a real person and is probably the result of a combination of stories about several different individuals, according to a writer and leading atheist activist. David Fitzgerald, a San Francisco based author, believes he has compiled compelling evidence that proves Jesus did not exist. He claims there are no contemporary mentions of Jesus in historical accounts from the time when he was supposed to have lived, yet other Jewish sect leaders from the time do appear. —RICHARD GRAY, Daily Mail UK, April 3, 2015
“It’s almost as if The Bible was written by racist, sexist, homophobic, violent, sexually frustrated men, instead of a loving god. Weird.” —Ricky Gervais
When Constantine the Great instituted Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire, it was only a matter of time before its subjects converted. It also helped that he built churches throughout the empire, financed missionaries, printed bibles, and donated to every Christian cause imaginable. The spread of Christianity throughout the world was not the work of god himself, but the work of the Roman legionnaires and their emperors.
￼[*Mural of Constantine the Saint *]in the Hagia Sophia. Constantine killed his son and wife. He also ordered the killings of tens of thousands of soldiers and citizens during his reign as Roman emperor. He desperately wanted redemption from a higher power and Christianity had the answer.
￼The Hagia Sophia (Constantine commissioned its construction). Source: Arild Vågen, Wikipedia.org
Decline of the Roman Empire
For the next several centuries, the Byzantine Empire flourished while its Western counterpart was attacked and eventually sacked by nomadic tribes: the Huns, Visigoths, Vandals, Ostrogoth, Franks, and Anglo-Saxons. However, what the Western Empire had lost in military power, it had more than made up for it through spiritual power. The ashes of the Western Roman Empire sparked another Roman empire that would outlast the Byzantine Empire: The Roman Catholic Church. It too was based in, no surprise, Rome. The Roman emperors had worn the purple robe and when the Western Empire declined, the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church appropriately wore the purple robe. The Pope had replaced the Emperor. The king is dead. Long live the king.
In the 8th century, the Roman lands that the barbarians had conquered gradually came under the control of the Pope’s Papal States. From thereon, the popes and the Roman Catholic Church became frustratingly meddlesome in European politics.
History note: It was not until February 11, 1929, that the Vatican State was formally founded as a sovereign city state in Rome, Italy.
Like all religions before it, due to the game of thrones, Christianity faced a schism. Even in Constantine’s time, Christendom had split into two main denominations: Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox. The Western Roman Empire practiced and spread Catholicism, while the Eastern (Byzantine) Empire practiced and spread Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
The Spread of Christianity
Now, how did Christianity spread to farflung places such as North America, South America, Russia, East Asia, New Zealand, and every corner of the globe?
For centuries Hispania (Spain, Portugal), Britannia (Britain), and Gaul (France) were Roman provinces or territories. These Roman subjects had adopted the Latin alphabet (derived from Indo-European, Greek, and Roman languages) and eventually Roman religion, ie Christianity.
During the periods of colonization and imperialism:
—Spain, under Christopher Columbus and his successors, brought Catholicism to South America; while Portugal introduced (some say forced) it to Brazil.
—(Great) Britain brought Christianity to North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada by establishing colonies in those lands.
—Holland and France colonized large parts of South East Asia, therefore brought Christianity to their colonies.
—The Byzantine Empire was responsible for spreading Eastern Orthodox Christianity to Russia, East Europe, and other places that practice Eastern Orthodoxy today.
—Britain, once a province of Rome, adopted the “White Man’s Burden” pseudo-theory by Rudyard Kipling. Missionaries, through the guise of the white man’s burden, brought Christianity to Africa.
The once subjugated provinces of the Roman Empire had learnt well from their Roman masters. Like their former Roman masters, Britain, France, Spain, and other European countries, too, became imperialists and secured their own colonies. And they too had passed to their colonies what the Romans had passed onto them: the Latin alphabet, the Senate, and Christianity.
All good things must come to an end. On May 29, 1453, the Islamic Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople and renamed it Istanbul. The centre of Christendom for over 1400 years had fallen to Muslim rule. After which, Constantinople and its surrounding territories became modern-day Turkey. The Hagia Sophia that Constantine the Great had commissioned was converted to a Muslim mosque. It’s now a museum.
History records that the Western Roman Empire ceased to exist as an coherent empire circa 418. It was in that period that the western empire was overrun by barbarians while Rome lost control of many of its colonies and provinces. But again, out of this military decline, rose the Roman Catholic Church. In total, the Eastern and Western Roman empires had lasted for roughly 1500 years. In contrast, the spiritual empire of the Roman Catholic Church have lasted for over 1600 years, and still controlling people with divine nonsense.
The pen is truly mightier than the sword.
“To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted and ‘improved’ by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors and copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning nine centuries” ―Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
Notable Periods in Christianity
“There once was a time when all people believed in God and the church ruled. This time was called the Dark Ages.” —Richard Lederer
After Constantine the Great solidified Christianity as the state religion, the bishops and popes became a political force. The purple robe of the bishops and popes had replaced the purple robe of the Roman emperors. These self-appointed men of god did an exceptional job of playing god. They believed they were the mandate of heaven. The word and will of these self-declared men of god were final. The result of their fallacious beliefs? The Roman Catholic Church, with the aid of marauding barbarians, had plunged most of Europe into the Dark Ages. Taking note of the western empire’s demise, several emperors from the Byzantine Empire attempted to reunite the Western Empire with the Eastern Empire into a single Roman Empire again. They failed. Eventually, even the Byzantine Empire weakened and fell to the Muslims in 1453.
Photo: A-revolt.org by imgur.
The Dark Ages lasted from the 6th to the 13th century (the beginning of the Renaissance). During this period, the popes possessed overreaching and staggering power, to the extend that they had a hand in selecting the monarchs of Europe, and even who those monarchs could or could not marry. These monarchs were petrified of being excommunicated from the Church and did whatever they could to appease the self-anointed men of god.
“When the churches literally ruled society, the human drama encompassed:
(b) the cruel subjection of women
© the most savage forms of legal punishment
(d) the absurd belief that kings ruled by divine right
(e) the daily imposition of physical abuse
(f) cold heartlessness for the sufferings of the poor
(g) as well as assorted pogroms (“ethnic cleansing” wars) between rival religions, capital punishment for literally hundreds of offenses, and countless other daily imposed moral outrages.
It was the free-thinking, challenging work by people of conscience, who almost invariably had to defy the religious and political status quo of their times, that brought us out of such darkness.” —Steve Allen
Yes, the infamous Crusades. It’s a dark history of people murdering people over religion. Another prime example of people using religion to justify anything.
For a brief history of the crusades, we revisit Wikipedia.org:
The Crusades were military campaigns sanctioned by the Latin Roman Catholic Church during the High Middle Ages and Late Middle Ages. In 1095, Pope Urban II proclaimed the First Crusade with the stated goal of restoring Christian access to holy places in and near Jerusalem. Following the First Crusade there was an intermittent 200-year struggle for control of the Holy Land, with seven more major crusades and numerous minor ones. In 1291, the conflict ended in failure with the fall of the last Christian stronghold in the Holy Land at Acre, after which Roman Catholic Europe mounted no further coherent response in the east.
Many historians and some of those involved at the time, like Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, give equal weight to other papal-sanctioned military campaigns undertaken for a variety of religious, economic, and political reasons, such as the Albigensian Crusade, the Aragonese Crusade, the Reconquista, and the Northern Crusades.
Some historians see the Crusades as confident, aggressive, papal-led expansion attempts by Western Christendom; some see them as part of long-running conflict at the frontiers of Europe; and others see them as part of a purely defensive war against Islamic conquest. Crusading attracted men and women of all classes. The massacres involved were mainly attributed as being caused by disorder, an epidemic of ergotism and economic distress.
The Byzantine Empire was unable to recover territory lost during the initial Muslim conquests under the expansionist Rashidun and Umayyad caliphs in the Arab–Byzantine Wars and the Byzantine–Seljuq Wars; these conquests culminated in the loss of fertile farmlands and vast grazing areas of Anatolia4 in 1071, after a sound victory by the occupying armies of Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Manzikert. Urban II sought to reunite the Christian church under his leadership by providing Emperor Alexios I with military support.
Several hundred thousand Roman Catholic Christians became crusaders by taking a public vow and receiving plenary indulgences from the church. These crusaders were Christians from all over Western Europe under feudal rather than unified command, and the politics were often complicated to the point of intra-faith competition leading to alliances between combatants of different faiths against their coreligionists, such as the Christian alliance with the Islamic Sultanate of Rûm during the Fifth Crusade. Furthermore, Pope Urban II promised forgiveness of all sins to whosoever took up the cross and joined in the war. While there were additional motivations for taking up the cross—opportunity for economic or political gain, desire for adventure, and the feudal obligation to follow one’s lord into battle—to become a soldier for Christ was to express total devotion to God. Certain monarchs across Europe also pledged their servants for service for the perks of being “a part of the war”.
The impact of the crusades was profound, and judgment of the conduct of crusaders has varied widely from laudatory to highly critical. Jonathan Riley-Smith identifies the independent states established, such as the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Crusader States, as the first experiments in “Europe Overseas”. These ventures reopened the Mediterranean to trade and travel, enabling Genoa and Venice to flourish. Crusading armies would engage in commerce with the local populations while on the march, with Orthodox Byzantine emperors often organizing markets for Crusader forces moving through their territory. The crusading movement consolidated the collective identity of the Latin Church under the Pope’s leadership and was the source of heroism, chivalry, and medieval piety. This in turn spawned medieval romance, philosophy, and literature. However, the crusades reinforced the connection between Western Christendom, feudalism, and militarism that ran counter to the Peace and Truce of God that Urban had promoted.
The crusaders often pillaged the countries through which they travelled in the typical medieval manner of supplying an army on the move. Nobles often retained much of the territory gained rather than returning it to the Byzantines as they had sworn to do. The Peoples’ Crusade prompted Rhineland massacres and the murder of thousands of Jews. The Fourth Crusade resulted in the sack of Constantinople by the Roman Catholics, effectively ending the chance of reuniting the Christian church by reconciling the East–West Schism and leading to the weakening and eventual fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottomans. Nevertheless, some crusaders were merely poor people trying to escape the hardships of medieval life in an armed pilgrimage leading to Apotheosis at Jerusalem…”
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusades
It should be obvious that men have used religion for their own political, monetary, and military gains. Religion was and is a form of social and political control. The self-proclaimed men of god have used whatever means necessary to maintain their control over the populace, even if it meant murdering millions of people. If god is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-merciful, he wouldn’t let his people kill one another in his name. Nor would he punish or kill those who question his existence. An all-powerful god does not need anyone to validate his existence.
“The Bible may, indeed does, contain a warrant for trafficking in humans, for ethnic cleansing, for slavery, for bride-price, and for indiscriminate massacre, but we are not bound by any of it because it was put together by crude, uncultured human mammals.” —Mark Fulton, Markfulton.org
Heresy as it pertains to religion is defined as “belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine.” In practice, heresy is the persecution of those who reject falsehood. With Christianity, it’s not only what can’t be proven, but the contradictions and absurdities are enough to make anyone with an ounce of common sense question the veracity of the Bible. What the Jewish Christians and the Roman Empire had shown us is that Jesus was the imagination of men. It took roughly 300 years to settle the question of who Jesus actually was—from 30 (70, retro-dated by 40 years) when Jesus supposedly founded his ministry to the First Council of Nicea in 325.
In a critical assessment, if Jesus was the son of god and god reincarnated, surely he would not had allowed men to define him so inconsistently as to leave doubt. The evolution of god is a prime example of the “we create god in our own image” paradigm. For example, if we drive from Holland to Spain, we notice that starting from Holland Jesus’ hair is blond, his eyes blue, and his skin fair. The farther south we travel, his hair becomes darker, his eyes browner, and his skin darker. We create god in our own image.
What was the Inquisition about? From Wikipedia.org:
The Inquisition was a group of institutions within the judicial system of the Roman Catholic Church whose aim was to combat heresy. It started in 12th-century France to combat religious sectarianism, in particular the Cathars and the Waldensians. Other groups which were investigated later include the Spiritual Franciscans, the Hussites (followers of Jan Hus) and Beguines. Beginning in the 1250s, inquisitors were generally chosen from members of the Dominican Order, to replace the earlier practice of using local clergy as judges. The term Medieval Inquisition covers these courts up through the 14th century.
In the Late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, the concept and scope of the Inquisition was significantly expanded in response to the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Its geographic scope was expanded to other European countries, resulting in the Spanish Inquisition and Portuguese Inquisition. Those two kingdoms in particular operated inquisitorial courts throughout their respective empires (Spanish and Portuguese) in the Americas (resulting in the Peruvian Inquisition and Mexican Inquisition), Asia, and Africa. One particular focus of the Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions was the issue of Jewish anusim and Muslim converts to Catholicism, partly because these minority groups were more numerous in Spain and Portugal than in many other parts of Europe, and partly because they were often considered suspect due to the assumption that they had secretly reverted to their previous religions.
Except within the Papal States, the institution of the Inquisition was abolished in the early 19th century, after the Napoleonic wars in Europe and after the Spanish American wars of independence in the Americas. The institution survived as part of the Roman Curia, but in 1904 was given the new name of “Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office”. In 1965 it became the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith…
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquisition:
The Spanish Inquisition of 1478 was probably the most well-known Inquisition. During this period, the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile forced all non-Christians (Muslims and Jews) to convert to Christianity or face death or expulsion from Spain. It’s important to note that large parts of Spain were once under Muslim rule for roughly 500 years (711 – 1212).
No Mention of Jesus Christ in History
Richard Gray, Daily Mail UK:
Historical researcher Michael Paulkovich has claimed that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist after he was unable to find any verifiable mention of Christ in historical texts by 126 writers during the ‘time of Jesus’ from the first to third centuries.
He claims that Jesus is a fictional character invented by followers of Christianity to create a figure to worship.
He says this is surprising despite his ‘global miracles and alleged worldwide fame.’
The 126 texts he studied were all written in the period during or soon after the supposed existence of Jesus, when Paulkovich says they would surely have heard of someone as famous as Jesus—but none mention him.
‘When I consider those 126 writers, all of whom should have heard of Jesus but did not—and Paul and Marcion and Athenagoras and Matthew with a tetralogy of opposing Christs, the silence from Qumram and Nazareth and Bethlehem, conflicting Bible stories, and so many other mysteries and omissions—I must conclude that Christ was a mythical character,’ he writes.
‘Jesus of Nazareth’ was nothing more than urban (or desert) legend, likely an agglomeration of several evangelic and deluded rabbis who might have existed.’ —Richard Gray, Daily Mail UK, April 3, 2015
The story of Jesus Christ was an apocryphal one. Apocryphal: A statement or story of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true.
Constant Reminder of Jesus’ Existence
If you follow religion enough, you’ll notice that 1-3 times a year, you’re constantly reminded of Jesus’ supposed existence. It’s subtle marketing at the subterfuge level. One to three times a year, there are articles or documentaries to cast certainty that Jesus actually existed. As examples, you’ll read headlines such as the ones below but never see the conclusion to those articles. These headlines, like the proclamation of the Second Coming of Jesus, appear and disappear decade after decade.
—Jesus’ Burial Tomb Uncovered: Here’s What Scientists Saw Inside
—Proof that the Shroud of Turin is the Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ
—Evidence About Jesus in the Dead Sea Scrolls
—Compelling Historical Evidence for the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ
—The Virgin Birth of Christ: Evidence That It Is a Historical Fact
—Shroud of Turin—Christ’s Blood Is Both There and on the Sudarium
Like the Second Coming of Jesus, these headlines are recycled generation after generation.
“Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time.” —Richard Dawkins
In 2015, Christianity, particularly the Catholic Church, saw a sharp decline in its church attendance. Many dioceses (diocese: area controlled by a bishop in a Christian church) were forced to sell their lands to pay for child molestation crimes committed by their past and present priests and bishops. It didn’t help matters when documents surfaced confirming members of the Catholic Church had been practicing pedaphelia since medieval times. More appalling was that the church used the freedom of religion shield to prevent its pedophile priests from talking to police investigators. This led some to speculate that many pedophiles became priests with the sole intent of sexually molesting children. In other words, the church was their demented playground where they took advantage of the most vulnerable, and the Churched used unjust and outdated religious edicts to hide them from public justice.
The self-anointed men of god are meddlesome today as they were in the Roman era. They use religion as a shield to justify their deplorable conducts in many areas—from politics, to child molestation, to theft, to murder, and even genocide. Often times, these self-anointed men of god have used their “divine” halo to act as informants, child molesters, fraudsters, cheaters, spies, and even drug smugglers.
Religious Nuttery Headlines
Below were a few headlines pertaining to the Christians, most taken in a 30 day period in 2015 highlighting the absurdity and violence of Christianity.
[*Texas Approves Textbooks with Moses as Founding Father. *]Christian conservatives win, children lose: Texas textbooks will teach public school students that the Founding Fathers based the Constitution on the Bible, and the American system of democracy was inspired by Moses.
On Friday the Republican-controlled Texas State Board of Education voted along party lines 10-5 to approve the biased and inaccurate textbooks. The vote signals a victory for Christian conservatives in Texas, and a disappointing defeat for historical accuracy and the education of innocent children. —Michael Stone. November 21, 2014 [Fortunately, it was overturned. Democracy was inspired by the Greeks; the US Constitution was inspired by the Magna Carta]
Quiet No More. 600 Iraqi Christians Form “Tiger Brigade” To Fight Back ISIS. The murderous gang of thugs known as the “Islamic State,” or ISIS, just got a new enemy. According to the Daily Mail, Iraq’s first Christian-only brigade of around 600 fighters recently joined the fight.
The fighters are called the “Tiger Brigade” and originate from the Nineveh plain, an area in the northeastern part of Iraq which is close to territory controlled by ISIS. —Mrctv.org [More evidence of religious nuttery: People of the same ethnic background killing each other over religion.]
Catholic Priest Says Yoga Is The Gateway To “Kingdom Of Darkness”. According to Father Roland Colhoun, practicing yoga is tantamount to Satanism and that the popular exercise and form of meditation will lead you directly into hell. —Higherperspective.com [Apparently, god approves paying billions in child molestation compensation but not yoga.]
American Pastor Who Helped Uganda Create “Kill The Gays Law” Will Be Tried For Crimes Against Humanity. National embarrassment Scott Lively finally lost his last appeal and will now face crimes against humanity charges. —Addictinginfo.org [The irony was not lost as the church itself harbored homosexual priests sexually molesting children in its churches throughout the world, dating back to the Middle Ages, 5th century).]
[*Pope says Vatican administration is sick with power and greed. *]The Vatican’s top administrators would have been expecting an exchange of pleasantries at their annual Christmas meeting with Pope Francis on Monday.
Instead, he chose the occasion to issue a stinging critique, telling the priests, bishops and cardinals who run the Curia, the central administration of the Roman Catholic Church, that careerism, scheming and greed had infected them with “spiritual Alzheimer’s”. —Reuters, December 22, 2014
Millions of Evangelical Christians Want to Start World War III…To Speed Up the Second Coming. Millions of Americans believe that Christ will not come again until Israel wipes out its competitors and there is widespread war in the Middle East. Some of these folks want to start a huge fire of war and death and destruction, so that Jesus comes quickly.
According to French President Chirac, Bush told him that the Iraq war was needed to bring on the apocalypse:
In Genesis and Ezekiel Gog and Magog were forces of the Apocalypse who were prophesied to come out of the north and destroy Israel unless stopped. The Book of Revelation took up the Old Testament prophesy:
“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the Earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”
Bush believed the time had now come for that battle, telling Chirac:
“This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins”… —Globalresearch.ca, February 18, 2012 [Every generation, the church has made a mint selling the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven. “It is coming and you’d better be prepared to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.” It never comes. ]
[*Huckster for Jesus: Huckabee caught pushing fraudulent Bible cancer cures. *]Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee takes heat for hustling the gullible by selling a phony cancer cure supposedly hidden in the Bible.
Appearing on CNN, Huckabee was challenged by host Jake Tapper for renting his email list to religious frauds promoting a phony cancer cure supposedly embedded in the Bible… —Michael Stone, Patheos.com, May 6, 2015
[*Australian Archbishop Charged With Concealing Child Abuse. *]A Roman Catholic archbishop in Australia was charged Tuesday with covering up for a pedophile priest during the 1970s.
Archbishop of Adelaide Philip Wilson said he was disappointed that New South Wales state police had decided to charge him with concealing a serious child sexual abuse offence. Wilson said he would fight the charge, which carries a potential two-year prison sentence.
The charge alleges the 64-year-old failed to report child sex abuse carried out by priest James Fletcher during the 1970s when they both served in the town of Maitland, north of Sydney. —Abcnews.com, March 17, 2015 [In the documentary PBS Frontline: Secrets of the Vatican, a pedophile priest was documented saying to his victim, “I’m giving you my body but my soul belongs to the church”, and, “If you tell anyone, your mother is going to hell.” ]
[*Tens of thousands of Muslims flee Christian militias in Central African Republic. *]BANGUI, Central African Republic – Tens of thousands of Muslims are fleeing to neighbouring countries by plane and truck as Christian militias stage brutal attacks, shattering the social fabric of this war-ravaged nation.
In towns and villages as well as here in the capital, Christian vigilantes wielding machetes have killed scores of Muslims, who are a minority here, and burned and looted their houses and mosques in recent days, according to witnesses, aid agencies and peacekeepers. Tens of thousands of Muslims have fled their homes. —Washingtonpost.com, February 7, 2015
[*The Worlds Most Prolific Serial Killers Are Devout Christians. Coincidence, or Men of Perfect Faith? *]The FBI gave the standard profile of a serial killer. He is a person with few friends. He became much more religious just before he started murdering people. Almost all serial killers start quoting one verse after another from the Christian Bible. After reading all the available studies I could find and studying all the articles in the newspapers for over 30 years, I find what is most outstanding is serial killers are sexually inhibited by their strong religious upbringing.
Nearly all serial killers are very devout men who were raised by members of Pentecostal sects, fundamentalist Catholics or were ‘hard-shell’ Baptists and Methodists.”
Studies after study show serial killers are a product of this [religious] environment, not genetics. —Dave King, Nov. 3, 2011, http://dave-king-newsvine.com
[*Catholic Church Says It’s Against Religion to Pay Sex Abuse Victims. *]The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which owes victims of pedophile priests (including one, Think Progress notes, who was accused of assaulting approximately 200 deaf children) $17 million has decided to put that money into a fund reserved for cemeteries and claims that to pay the victims what they’re owed is a violation of the church’s religious freedom. After all, if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Jesus is that he would have likely also placed millions of dollars into an untouchable fund to avoid paying the victims of his followers. It’s just the christly thing to do.
The archdiocese claims that the church has much to do before they pay any victim any money for anything. According to their religious guidelines, the church must maintain any and all burial places and mausoleums in perpetuity lest they fall into disrepair. The Archdiocese has been bankrupt since 2011 and in 2013 a court agreed that they had the right to transfer the money into an account meant for the upkeep of religious burial places, but the seventh circuit court of appeals has issued an important message to the church: Hell naw. —Mark Shrayber, Jezebel.com, March, 2015 [A perfect example of how anyone can use religious freedom to justify monstrous conducts.]
[*Catholic sex abuse cases in the United States. *]The issue of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests was first publicized in 1985 when a Louisiana priest pled guilty to 11 counts of molestation of boys. It was again brought to national attention when a number of books on the topic were published in the 1990s. In early 2002 the Boston Globe covered the criminal prosecutions of five Roman Catholic priests in an article that won an uncontested Pulitzer Prize. The issue of child rape and sexual assault of Roman Catholic children became a national scandal. The coverage of these cases encouraged others to come forward with allegations of abuse, resulting in more lawsuits and criminal cases…
In July 2008 the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver agreed “to pay $5.5 million to settle 18 claims of childhood sexual abuse.” The Associated Press estimated the total from settlements of sex abuse cases from 1950–2007 to be more than $2 billion. BishopAccountability reports that figure reached more than $3 billion in 2012. —http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sex_abuse_cases_in_the_United_States
[Pedophilia in the church is a worldwide phenomenon that has been documented since the Middle Ages.]
[*Shocking video shows con-artist Bishop blessing men’s PENISES to make them grow bigger. *]Bishop Daniel Obinim performs a ritual on men as he says he can enlarge their penis through “the spiritual realm”…A GHANAIAN preacher claims to be able to increase the size of a man’s penis using only his hands.
Bishop Daniel Obinim says he can offer the enlargement service with the power of God and a video has been revealed showing his hands-on work. —Dec. 5, 2016, Ellie Cambridge, The Sun
Those were just a few headlines taken over a short period. If we go over five year’s worth of religious upheavals, we would conclude that either god is evil or the self-proclaimed men of god are evil. And god doesn’t want to stop them. Or he can’t stop them. Or he doesn’t exist.
A Growing Number of Scholars Are Questioning the Historic Existence of Jesus
From BigThink.com: Today more and more, historians and bloggers alike are questioning whether the actual man called Jesus existed. Unfortunately, many of the writings we do have are tainted, the authors being religious scholars or atheists with an axe to grind. One important point is the lack of historical sources. In the bible, whole chunks of his life are missing. Jesus goes from age 12 to 30, without any word of what happened in-between.
Historians have measures in terms of a burden of proof. If an author for instance is writing about a subject more than 100 years after it occurred, it isn’t considered valid. Another important metric is the validity of authorship. If the author cannot be clearly established, it makes the record far less reliable.
What we do have are lots of sources completed several decades after the fact, by authors of the gospels who wanted to promote the faith. The gospels themselves are contradictory. For instance, they tell competing Easter stories. Another problem, there aren’t any real names attached to many of them, but rather an apostle’s who “signing off” on the manuscript. There is also evidence that the gospels were heavily edited over the years. (Some accounts of the Christmas story have no mention of the star or even the three wise men.)
St. Paul is the only one to write about events chronologically. Even then, few facts about Jesus are divulged. Paul’s Epistles rest on the “Heavenly Jesus,” but never mention the living man. For such an important revolutionary and religious figure, there are surprisingly no eyewitness counts. And the writings we do have are biased. Roman historians Josephus and Tacitus do make a few, scant remarks about his life. But that was a century after Jesus’s time. So they may have garnered their information from early Christians. And those threadbare accounts are controversial too, since the manuscripts had been altered over time by Christian scribes whose job it was to preserve them…
Read more: http://bigthink.com/philip-perry/a-growing-number-of-scholars-are-questioning-the-existence-of-jesus
Many Christians argue that were no historical records of Jesus because in the year 32 most people were illiterate and records were scarce. However,
1) There are volumes of records of Julius Caesar (100 BCE – 44 BCE). Caesar died 44 years before Jesus Christ was supposedly born. Caesar even kept a diary of own his life. There are biographies, paintings, sculptures, sketches, artifacts, and official records of Julius Caesar dated during his lifetime. During his lifetime, historians from different nations wrote about Julius Caesar’s life. A man of Jesus’ statue should had historians lining up to write about him during his lifetime.
2) Jesus was supposedly a teacher. A teacher, even in those days, had to know how to write. Also, if most people were illiterate and records were scarce in Jesus’ time, how was the Bible written with such detail?
“Back when the Bible was written, then edited, then rewritten, then rewritten, then re-edited, then translated from dead languages, then re-translated, then edited, then rewritten, then given to kings for them to take their favorite parts, then rewritten, then re-rewritten, then translated again, then given to the pope for him to approve, then rewritten, then edited again, the re-re-re-re-rewritten again…all based on stories that were told orally 30 to 90 years AFTER they happened.. to people who didn’t know how to write…” —David Cross
“Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man: she is to keep silent.” —Timothy 2:11
“I continue to be amazed when I see Christian women defending a bible that denigrates women.” —Seth Andrews
“I was born a sinner, too. My sin is mentioned in the Bible 25 times. I tried to change but couldn’t. Luckily society learned to accept us left-handed people.” —Nicholas Ferroni, educator and activist.
Reasons People Are Religious
“If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.” —Joseph Goebbels, World War II Nazi propaganda minister.
“It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.” —Mark Twain
If you need to believe in someone, believe in yourself. Be suspicious of anyone, especially the rabbis, priests, and imams who preach the word of god, who claim to know god, and who profess to speak with god. These lalatalers are delusional or are con-artists taking advantage of the unenlightened. An all-powerful, all-knowing god does not need anyone to represent him or require his subjects to go through intermediaries in order to reach him, her, or it.
We are born without knowledge and from this truth the world can be a cruel place for the unenlightened. We seek guidance and direction in times of uncertainty. In times of desperation, sorrow, and sadness, be weary of those who claim god has a plan for you, because if god has a plan tailored just for you, then he also has plans for the countless trillions of his creations in the Universe. And if there were a god that immensely powerful, he does not need a middleperson to communicate that plan to you. Again, be suspicious of those who claim to know god, to communicate with god, or to represent god—the greatest wealth and power in history have been accumulated by those who claim to have a special connection with god. It comes down to money, control, and power. For example, the church sanctioning the divine right of kings to rule, both benefiting the kings and the church.
In 2017, Earth’s population was roughly 7.5 billion. Of those, 2.2 billion were estimated to be Christians, 1.9 billion Muslims, and 15 million Jews. Of the 2.2 billion Christians, 1.2 billion were estimated to be Catholics.
Followers: 2.2 billion
Unaffiliated (atheists, agnostics)
Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project
Scientology: Going Clear or Going Broke?
In addition to the three Abrahamic faiths that have been a curse to humanity, fringe religions have also contributed to the mayhem. For example, the cult Scientology claims that humans are possessed by alien souls. Thus, our spirituality is suppressed and can only be freed through “going clear” audits administered by the Church of Scientology. These multi-level audits cost tens of thousands of dollars and many Scientologists have lost their homes and life savings in order to pay for these audit scams.
“Xenu, also Xemu (pronounced Zee-new), was, according to Scientology founder and science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, the dictator of the ‘Galactic Confederacy’ who, 75 million years ago, brought billions of his people to Earth in DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes and killed them using hydrogen bombs. Scientology holds that the essences of these many people remained, and that they form around people in modern times, causing them spiritual harm. Members of the Church of Scientology widely deny or try to hide the Xenu story.” —http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Xenu
It’s common for Jews, Christians, and Muslims to mock Scientology and its followers. After all, Scientology’s creation myth is based on intergalactic aliens and lost souls. Whereby, more plausible of course, the creation myth of the Abrahamic religions is based on god creating humans from dust and a talking snake that suppresses our spirituality. Obviously, in order to free our soul, we need to go through auditors (Scientology); rabbis, priests, and imams with the Abrahamic religions. These self-appointed middlemen of god have made fortunes throughout history.
If there were a god, he would let you know directly and not through self-appointed intermediaries such as rabbis, priests, imams, clerics, preachers, reverends, bishops, pastors, auditors, and so forth. Those who claim to know the will of god or to be the representatives of god are con artists taking advantage of the ignorant, or they themselves are ignorant (con artist: a person who cheats or tricks others by persuading them to believe something that is not true. —Google Dictionary). The idea that an omniscient god needs to convey his messages through a third party is ludicrous and an obvious scam.
“Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” —Mark Twain
“Beware of false knowledge. It is more dangerous than ignorance.” —George Bernard Shaw
Research has concluded that the higher a person’s level of education, the less likely they are to be religious. However, there are millions of highly educated people who do identify with a faith. This proves that people will believe anything, even for superfluous and superficial reasons, as long as they’re absolved of fault. No one wants to be told that their bad behavior is their own doing, they’d rather blame it on something or someone else. God is that perfect punching bag. God can’t be seen, can’t be heard, therefore the perfect scapegoat. This absolves the believers of personal responsibility.
Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that any god conjured by humans cannot adequately describe the physical world and the spiritual world, roughly 6 billion people still believe in a deity. Let’s examine some of the reasons for this phenomenon.
“The great trouble is that the preachers get the children from six to seven years of age and then it is almost impossible to do anything with them.” —Thomas Edison
Ahhh, the rich rituals and ceremonies of religion that have lured followers throughout time are alive and well today. The vast majority of theists are indoctrinated into religion through their immediate or extended families. Through family, they learn to practice rituals and ceremonies, which are then passed down for generations. It is also through family that they adopt belief systems describing the physical world and spiritual world. As examples, Christmas, Passover, Ramadan, and Easter are major religious events that should be familiar to most people regardless of their religion.
In addition, traditions and rituals such as meditation, baptism, bar/bat mitzvah, Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), Hanukah, circumcision, Sunday Mass, prayer, confession, fasting,chanting, animal sacrifice, kosher dietary practices, and a plethora of others have been woven into the fabric of daily life over the centuries. These ingrained traditions and rituals provide a sense of belonging and community. These practices and familial indoctrination are inherited in successive generations. The sense of belonging and community are powerful psychological incentives. Very few bother to question these ancient practices, but the few who do achieve freedom of thought—a liberated mind unburdened by outdated knowledge and practices.
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” —US Pledge of Allegiance
Since religion is indoctrinated in a child’s formative years by family, and the bond to family is strong, the bond to religion is also strong and immensely harder to break in adulthood.
Religion over the millennia, through its rituals and ceremonies, has become a form of social and familial conditioning deeply rooted in the communities of the world. In turn, these communal bonds have been reinforced to the present. In summary, people tend to adopt the religion that they are raised in.
Family ties can be the most difficult to break because humans are social and communal beings, and religion is deep-rooted in the family unit. Many people’s first religious indoctrination begins in the family. Eating turkey on Easter Sunday, opening presents on Christ(mas) Eve, drinking on St. Patrick’s Day, baptizing, experiencing the bar mitzvah, praying five times a day, and other religious activities are ingrained in the family unit. By default, people become religious through the state or family. Breaking from family can be painful to the psyche—few want to admit that their beloved parents believed in falsehood. For some, family tradition is a treasured way of life. However, in order to advance, we need to break with tradition and the status quo. We create our own life with the choices we make, not with the choices our family made. Most importantly, when new facts are discovered, your opinions must change to fit those facts.
“All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of god.” —Baron d’Holbach
Christians are taught to accept Jesus Christ into their lives as their lord and savior. From this, there is a deep emotional attachment of loving someone who died for their sins. Jesus is family to these devout Christians, and how could anyone abandon the person who died on the cross for their sins? That’s just evil.
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for a reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.” —Albert Einstein
Morality is the “recognition of the distinction between good and evil or between right and wrong.” Why do people do good things? Why do people do bad things? Why are some people greedy? Why are some people cruel? Is our life predetermined by an all-powerful, all-knowing entity? Does god have a plan for us?
According to the Abrahamic religions, Satan is the tempter of evil. It is Satan who seduces people to do wrong. Although no one has ever heard Satan’s voice, nor seen it, Satan is responsible for our wrongdoings. Satan is responsible for leading us astray. Satan is the deceiver. Every day we must fight Satan and defeat that mischievous devil who’s always up to no good. And if we want to do good, god has a plan for us. Only if it were that simple.
“They told me to use the brain god gave me. I did. Now I’m an atheist. Ironic, isn’t it?” —Naturalopist
According to psychological science, our sense of right and wrong, or good and evil can be explained by multiple theories. The primary theories of human behavior are:
-Social Psychology theories
All these theories of human behavior have many supporting sub-theories. If we objectively examine our life, every single action we’ve ever performed can be explained by one or more of the theories listed above.
Human nature in a historical context can be summed up in this way: same behaviors by different people in different eras. We can now explain human behaviour without the guiding hand of god or Satan.
Religion can provide a moral compass to many, but religion is unnecessary for a moral compass. The most effective deterrence to ill or evil behavior is karma, which teaches us to become aware of the consequences before we act.
The basis of morality can be summed up as:
Don’t lie, cheat, steal, or kill.
[*Or stated in positive terms: Be honest, fair, productive, and compassionate. *]
Morality can be taught because all the elements of morality can be learned. Again, when we are aware of the consequences in advance, we make better decisions.
“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” —Carl Sagan
At some point in our life, we want to know the meaning and purpose of life. Why are we here? What are we meant to do with our time? What happens to us after we die? These are pressing questions that can be answered with religious fables, or our own perceptions and experiences of reality.
“Religious beliefs, and its accompanied rituals, are forms of emotional based focusing techniques that manage stress. In short, they’re a broad based multifaceted security blanket akin to what a child employs to soothe itself when distressed.” —Naturalopist
When faced with life’s hardships, most of us want to be reassured that there is hope, that everything will be fine, that a brighter future awaits. It’s unfortunate that people are most vulnerable when they’re desperate or distressed. They need guidance and direction, and without previous experience they’ll turn to any belief system for comfort or spiritual fulfillment.
The above is a popular Internet meme by Vine Deloria, a Sioux. It implies that spirituality is best understood through personal experience. For example, when we survive our darkest hours, we gather strength and know what we’re capable of. From there we go from strength to strength, and during these trials and tribulations, where is god? That is when we accept, through empirical evidence and personal experience, that we are the creator of our life; that we can overcome any obstacle, setback, or hardship. We create our own life with the choices we make.
For some people, religion endows life with meaning, so when people are unable to find an alternative spiritual path, religion becomes the de facto path.
Many religious people commit transgressions or petty crimes during the week and ask for forgiveness on the weekend, believing that god will forgive their trespasses. Or many non-religious people commit heinous crimes and become imprisoned for their acts. They then adopt religion hoping a higher power will forgive them—the fact that many prisoners become deeply religious is a testimony to this pattern.
The belief that god forgives all is a dangerous precedent because people who believe they’ve been absolved of all responsibility venture into society to recommit crimes. After conversion, even lifelong criminals believe they are god’s children, and of course god loves all his children. By embracing religion, they believe they’ll be forgiven and enjoy eternal life in heaven. What people believe becomes their reality, even if what they believe is false. Religion has nothing to do with it.
Closely related to forgiveness is salvation (redemption, atonement), which is a common experience across all cultures. Salvation is the soul’s desire to right the wrongs we’ve done. Many seek salvation in synagogues, churches, mosques, and temples. It can be comforting to have self-professed men of god to guide us through the darkest hours. Adherents believe god had put them in devastating predicaments to test their will and faith—it’s all part of god’s plan for them. However, a god who wants people to suffer and die must have a sick and twisted mind.
For others, salvation is simply picking the shattered pieces and rebuilding their lives. To these people, a good and just god does not put them in perilous predicaments in the first place.
“The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshiped anything but himself.” ―Richard Francis Burton
Salvation is a theme that extends even beyond death: People fear death, but they fear what happens to them after they die even more. These god-fearing people believe in heaven and hell as places of eternal reward and damnation. They want to be rewarded with an eternal life in the grace of god and avoid eternal punishment for their “sins”. These are powerful motivations for people to embrace religion.
Peter Pan Syndrome
“Faith means the purposeful suspension of critical thinking. It’s nothing to be admired.” —Bill Maher
The fear of freedom and responsibility lurks in the hearts of men. Many people don’t want to grow up, while others are incapable of growing up, because with freedom comes responsibility. They know that with god on their side, if they lie, cheat, or steal, they need only to confess to the misdeeds and crimes and all will be forgiven. The running logic is that if they kill, it’s Satan’s fault and god will forgive. After all, god created Satan. This blame game is common for theists: “God created me. If I’m immoral, it is what god wants, and he’ll forgive me because he made me in his image.” Where is personality responsibility in this line of religious thinking?
When a person can defer personal responsibility to an imaginary figure, they can justify any injustice or crime—nearly all serial killers in US history were devout Christians.
“Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.” —Thomas Jefferson
An immature person wants to live in an ecosystem whereby they’re absolved of guilt and responsibility. Religion, with its quick-fix tradition of forgiveness, is ideal for the immature mind. When something goes wrong, blame the bearded guy in the sky. Or Satan made them do it.
Give yourself to god and you’ll be exonerated from personal responsibility. Who can resist divine redemption?
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” —George Carlin
One argument is that theists believe in god as the answer to everything because they’re intellectually lazy. Even without religion in the conversation, we know that the world is full of people who are naive (gullible), ignorant, or stupid.
The difference between an ignorant person and a stupid person is that an ignorant person hasn’t been enlightened, whereby a stupid person can’t become enlightened. In order to fathom the physical and spiritual worlds, we need to understand many disciplines ranging from physics to archaeology. All these disciplines require logic, reason, and the ability to construct sound arguments. But why subject the brain to such vigorous labour when we can “leave everything to god” or “let god be.”
The “only god knows”, “leave it to god”, and “let god be” boilerplate excuses are for people who don’t want to use Nature’s most complex creation: The awesome human brain.
The canned, standby god responses are a copout—cognitive laziness at its finest.
“When you control a man’s thinking, you do not have to worry about his actions. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will protest until one is made for his use. His education demands it.” —Dr. Carter Woodson
Without knowing it, many people have been miseducated from toddlerhood. Call it indoctrination, brainwashing, bullshit, or by any other name, it is religion’s irresponsible cradle-to-grave miseducation of our youth. This miseducation is detrimental and wastes precious time. Those who are miseducated have lost precious time learning hogwash, then have to spend more precious time unlearning and relearning.
When we understand the true nature of the physical world and spiritual world, we can make informed decisions. In this regard, religion miseducates and moves us further from the truth.
Perhaps religion should heed its own creed, “The truth shall set you free.”
Movies and TV shows with cultural references to Jesus Christ, the Bible, Moses, and other biblical characters and events are recurring. Phrases such as “Jesus Christ!”, “Oh my god!”, and “Holy shit!” are ubiquitous in the English language, used to express excitement, doubt, contempt, surprise, annoyance, anger, and so on. In a court of justice, the placing of the right hand on the Bible and the freedom to practice religion as part of the constitution are ingrained in our consciousness. It’s what we grew with and what we believe to be true. Religion provides a sense of belonging. And in many Muslim countries, religion is a national identity.
What happens if we abandon religion? We develop a new way of thinking and a new way of life. We experience spiritual growth and science becomes our new truth, rather than the words of self-declared men of god who have a human-god complex.
Historical fact: The motto “In God We Trust” on the U.S. dollar bills was not adopted by the founding fathers, but by the U.S. Congress in 1956 in response to fears of “godless” communism. The original motto (E. Pluribus Unum) adopted in 1782, means “Out of One, Many”, which reflected the heritage of diversity and tolerance. (Source: Being Liberal)
Many people use god as an excuse for their bad behavior or atrocities. It’s the old, “God made me do it.” As examples,
—An adulterer, “If god wanted me to be with one woman, I’d be with one woman.”
—A pedophile, “God made me this way.”
—A murderer, “God will forgive me.”
—A rapist, “Only god can judge me.”
“Domestic violence happens because women do not obey men.” —Archbishop Braulio Rodigruez Plaza
In other words, god is used in a grotesque way to cover for their moral weaknesses, sins, or crimes.
Anthropomorphism: The attribution of human characteristics to divine beings, animals, or objects.
Religious Trauma Syndrome
Below is an interview Valerie Tarico conducted with Dr. Marlene Winell.
Religious Trauma Syndrome: How Some Organized Religion Leads to Mental Health Problems
Let’s start this interview with the basics. What exactly is religious trauma syndrome?
Dr. Marlene Winell: Religious trauma syndrome (RTS) is a set of symptoms and characteristics that tend to go together and which are related to harmful experiences with religion. They are the result of two things: immersion in a controlling religion and the secondary impact of leaving a religious group. The RTS label provides a name and description that affected people often recognize immediately. Many other people are surprised by the idea of RTS, because in our culture it is generally assumed that religion is benign or good for you. Just like telling kids about Santa Claus and letting them work out their beliefs later, people see no harm in teaching religion to children.
But in reality, religious teachings and practices sometimes cause serious mental health damage. The public is somewhat familiar with sexual and physical abuse in a religious context. As Journalist Janet Heimlich has documented in, Breaking Their Will, Bible-based religious groups that emphasize patriarchal authority in family structure and use harsh parenting methods can be destructive.
But the problem isn’t just physical and sexual abuse. Emotional and mental treatment in authoritarian religious groups also can be damaging because of
1) toxic teachings like eternal damnation or original sin
2) religious practices or mindset, such as punishment, black and white thinking, or sexual guilt, and
3) neglect that prevents a person from having the information or opportunities to develop normally.
Can you give me an example of RTS from your consulting practice?
Dr. Marlene Winell: I can give you many. One of the symptom clusters is around fear and anxiety. People indoctrinated into fundamentalist Christianity as small children sometimes have memories of being terrified by images of hell and apocalypse before their brains could begin to make sense of such ideas. Some survivors, who I prefer to call “reclaimers,” have flashbacks, panic attacks, or nightmares in adulthood even when they intellectually no longer believe the theology. One client of mine, who during the day functioned well as a professional, struggled with intense fear many nights.
—Dr. Marlene Winell, Leaving the Fold–A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving their Religion
Read more: www.valerietarico.com/2013/03/26/religious-trauma-syndrome-was-it-real/
“An intelligent person does not need the promise of heaven to see the merit of good deeds.”
If god wanted you to live forever, you would live forever. There is no reason for god to create trillions of life forms, let them die, then resurrect them again so they could live forever. That line of thought assumes god is inefficient with his creation process.
People who waste the only life they know are likely to seek another life in another place. It’s known as Heaven. There are several problems with this assumption.
What happens after you die? In order to live again, you have to exist. In order to exist, you have to be made of matter. In what place would you live? If god provides everything, what would you do all day along? You would get along with everyone. You wouldn’t have to worry about anything. You wouldn’t have to do anything. If all that were true, everyone would be a robot in heaven.
If you don’t exist after you die, you don’t exist. You wouldn’t know it.
If god wanted you to live forever, you would live forever.
“After your death, you will be what you were before your birth.” —Arthur Schopenhauer
“…When you died, you were supposed to live on in the memories of others. That’s what I’d always been told. Didn’t matter what you believed, which religion you subscribed to, what god you worshipped. The simple fact was that none of us knew what lay beyond. Immortality and eternal life? The only sure shot at that was the memories of those you left behind: your friends and family…”
― Brian Keene, Dead Sea
The Problem with Religion
“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” —Thomas Paine
There are countless problems with religion, but let’s focus on a very problematic one in this chapter. In every religion, there are small groups of extremists (fundamentalists) who are dangerous because they use god as a moral justification for any wrongdoing, including rape, murder, slavery, terrorism, plunder, and war.
In addition, religion is backward thinking that hampers the advancement of knowledge. The “holy” scriptures are brimming with absurdities, inconsistencies, and fallacies that it would take an entire book to distill (many have been written). Let’s look at one obvious absurdity.
God created everything, including the heavens and Earth, and everything in them. God loves all his creations and wants them to obey his wishes and laws. However, every wrongdoing and evil are the responsibilities of the devil, and the devil is always working against mankind. But if god created everything, then he also created Satan. Does god love Satan? Why can’t god stop Satan from tempting people with evil? What kind of sick bastard would create the Devil?
In this day and age, parents who want their children to benefit from the advances of science are wise to steer them away from religion. Children need to be emotionally balanced, mentally strong, and intellectually well-adapted in the digital age and science age—the age of humanity. Children need to grow emotionally, mentally, intellectually, and spiritually. Religion no longer provides comfort with its pretenses of “that’s what god wants” and “the devil did it.” These subterfuges leave children in an emotional and intellectual coma from which they have to waste more time recovering from in adulthood.
You have free will. No one can tell you what to do. You create your own life with the choices you make. Over time, those choices accumulate and become YOUR LIFE.
Religion: Business, Politics, and War
“There will be no change because the people who stand to lose from change have all the power. And the people who stand to gain from change have none of the power.” —Niccolò Machiavelli
Imagine a movie about cocaine-binged nights, wild parties in lavish mansions, sex with underaged boys, money laundering, political coverup, legal intimidation, and millions of dollars at stake. It sounds like an Oliver Stone movie, but it’s not. It’s the true story of a high ranking Vatican official’s double life: man-of-god by day and pedophile-cocaine fiend by night. For years, the Vatican knew this pedophile priest had molested many children entrusted to his care. Vatican officials did everything to hide his crimes because he was the head of a Jesuit missionary unit that brought tens of millions of dollars into the Vatican coffers. What did this pedophile-priest, man-of-god tell his child victims to intimidate them into silence? “If you tell anybody, your parents will burn in hell.” The sordid details were exposed in the PBS Frontline documentary: Secrets of the Vatican.
Again, be leery of those who preach the word of god, who claim to know god, and who profess to communicate with god. These self-appointed men of god use religion as a powerbase to further their ambition and depravity. They lie, cheat, steal, kill, and use god to justify their behavior. They have a human-god complex similar to dictators.
To many religion is a crutch for the lame, hope for the destitute, and comfort for the dying, while others view religion as a discordant and intolerant worldview. Unfortunately, religion is ubiquitous in every section of society. Its tentacles reach into business, politics, and war. Therefore, religion is about money, control, and power. Almost every major event in history has had religion’s involvement, either indirectly or directly. The crusades, jihads, and other holy wars are a few examples.
Throughout history, the Vatican has had a hand in throning and deposing the monarchs of Europe. In the Middle East, many Muslim clerics are more powerful than state government officials. What makes these Muslim imams and clerics particularly dangerous is that their only qualification is the ability to passionately regurgitate outdated teachings from the 7th century.
Religion is meddlesome and rears its ugly head in places it has no business being in.
Religion Is Business
“If you want to make a little money, write a book. If you want to make a lot of money, create a religion.” —L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology
The faith-based industry is one of the largest businesses in the world. Business defined by Webster’s Dictionary is “commercial activity involving the exchange of money for goods or services.” So, what goods or services is religion selling? False promises and exaggerated claims, according to George Carlin.
Are you ready for a new life? Are you ready for something exciting? Are you finished with being weak, timid, and fearful and guilty and condemned? Are you tired of insecurity and having no confidence? I believe god’s words have the answers to all those problems…
-How can you have peace of mind?
-How can you overcome fear?
-How do you get what you want out of life?
-Have you felt insecure, rejected, abandoned?
-Are you having problems with your finances?
-Are you lonely, in pain, or feeling despair?
-Are you sick? Do you or anyone you know have cancer, diabetes, or heart disease?
Call now! There’s a miracle waiting for you! God has a plan for you!
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, then religion is for you! Do you want to donate $20, $50, $100, or $200? The more you donate, the higher your miracle will be prioritized. Your miracle is waiting for you! God’s helpers are waiting by the phone, so call now! And have your credit card ready!
God is eternal, all-powerful, and all-knowing, but he needs minions to collect money for him. He can simultaneously hear the prayers of billions of people but needs his little angels on Earth to collect donations. How much of that money really goes to god? And why would god need money?
In 2017, the religious industry had revenues of over $110 billion—all tax free. Some estimate the number was much higher because of cash donations. There are the Bible books, Bible self-help books (Bible Finance, Bible Love, Bible Cooking, Bible Healing, Bible this and Bible that). There are also Christian music, Holy Holidays (vacations to holy sites), holy wedding services, and holy merchandises such as clothing, figurines and jewelry. Religion is no longer a cottage industry, but it has become an industry unto itself. In Islam, the Hajj (annual pilgrimage to Mecca) brings in tens of millions of dollars for Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry.
“Jesus died on the cross so Pastor Joel Osteen could buy a $10.5 million home in Houston, Texas.” —Internet meme
“Jesus died on the cross so preacher Joyce Meyer could buy a $5 million private jet.” —Internet meme
God is evil and greedy if he requires that his followers donate money before he helps them.
Besides the tangible goods, there are also the intangible services that are timeless as time itself: salvation and eternal life. Who wants to be forgiven for their misdeeds? Everyone. Who wants live forever with loved ones in heaven? Everyone. After he dies, what man wants 72 virgins at his beck and call in paradise? Every man. These promises of redemption, an everlasting life, and vagina galore in paradise after death are nearly impossible to resist. What does one need to do to receive these gifts from god? Do the bidding of the middlemen (rabbis, priests, imams, clerics, etc.). For thousands of years, self-appointed men of god such as rabbis, priests, imams, and clerics have been promising their followers the impossible.
“But God loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!”[* *]—George Carlin
Every generation is told the Rapture is near, the Messiah is coming, the Kingdom of Heaven is upon us, Allah awaits. God hasn’t told us when these earthshaking events will happen. Nevertheless, prepare yourself and surrender to god (read: give your soul and property to the men with god-like complex so they can live lavishly this lifetime, while they give you an IOU (promise note) for the next life). Has anyone been to the next life and back? If god wants us to live in heaven, we would have been born in heaven.
Unfortunately, no one has died and came back to life to testify that there is an afterlife. We only live once and those who squander this life cling to hope that there’s another life. Throughout history, these self-anointed representatives of god were aware of this conundrum and took advantage of the ignorant and destitute.
￼If there were a god that constructed this 93 billion light-year big and expanding Universe, a god that created everything small and big, would he be so petty as to ask for donations?
“Follow the money trail. It will lead you to the truth.” —Naturalopist
The business of religion is about exploiting personal guilt, inherent human weaknesses, the fear of death, the afterlife, and the unknown. All of them neatly packaged in lalatales.
FAITH IS CHILD ABUSE: Teaching a child to blindly accept your religious lies is teaching them not to think. You are teaching them that belief, without evidence, is acceptable. This damages the child’s ability to reason. Add to that, teaching the child that normal behavior is sinful, and that the sinful are hell bound, and you get a clear pattern of psychological abuse.
In May 2015, Pope Francis made the following remark on greedy multinational corporations, “They support a ‘structurally perverse’ economic system where the rich exploit the poor and turn the earth into an immense pile of filth.”
Now, is the pontiff a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
The Vatican Net Worth
Besides artwork, the Vatican also owns a global network of churches and religious buildings that serve the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. While the Catholic Church gets a fair amount in donations, that’s definitely not where the majority of their money comes from.
The Vatican has a very dense and widespread investment portfolio–holding billions of shares in the most powerful international corporations. Just to give you an example–the Vatican is heavily invested in Gulf Oil, General Motors, General Electric, International Business Machines, Shell and many others. The Catholic powerhouse also has large investments with the Rothschild family, and a number of world-renowned banks. In the United States alone, the Vatican is deeply invested in the Morgan Bank, the Chase-Manhattan, the Bankers Trust Company and a number of others. Their investments are so diverse and abundant, that it could make for a separate story…
“The Catholic Church,” he said, “must be the biggest corporation in the United States. We have a branch office in every neighborhood. Our assets and real estate holdings must exceed those of Standard Oil, A.T.&T., and U.S. Steel combined. And our roster of dues-paying members must be second only to the tax rolls of the United States Government.” —May 8, 2015
Read more: www.myfirstclasslife.com/the-vatican-net-worth-what-life-style-does-pope-francis-really-live/
Religion in Politics
“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President—should he be Catholic—how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him. I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials.” —John F. Kennedy
As a non-profit institution, the Catholic Church is the largest landowner in the world. Overall, it is the 3rd largest landowner behind the Throne of England and Saudi Arabia’s monarch. The Catholic Church’s extensive portfolio of art, gold, stocks, bonds, land, and even its own bank are made possible by 1 700 years of tithe (usually 10%), donations, and tributes. From this financial base, the Vatican became very influential in politics.
However, it’s difficult to determine the wealth of Islam since Islam does not have a central governing body like the Vatican. However, oil-rich Gulf States (Arab nations that border the Persian Gulf) such as Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are enormous contributors to the spread of Islam. These nations have been known to financially support Islamic terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda, ISIS, and their offshoots. These state-sponsored terrorist organizations in turn have caused turmoil in every corner of the Earth, all in the name of god.
“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping the common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” —Napoleon Bonaparte
In 1947, religion’s political authority was on display when India was partitioned into three separate nations along religious affiliations:
—India (1.25 billion; Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and fast-growing Muslim)
—Pakistan (182 million; Shia Muslim)
—Bangladesh (156 million; Sunni Muslim)
The partition of India (into India and Pakistan, then Pakistan into Pakistan and Bangladesh) is a prime example of the divisive nature of religion and its influence in politics. In Muslim countries where Sharia law is enforced, its effects harken back to the Dark Ages.
“I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.” —George Carlin
As for the court intrigues of the Vatican, there has been wide speculation that the true power behind the Catholic Church and its immense wealth is the “Black Pope”. It is rumoured that this Jesuit Black Pope is the most powerful man in the world. Just like the politicians who have puppetmasters (campaign contributors), the Pope and bishops and cardinals also have puppetmasters who dictate policies behind the scenes in secret. The Black Pope and his secret Vatican conclaves may very well be the power behind the power.
“I do not believe that any type of religion should ever be introduced into the public schools of the United States.” —Thomas Edison
During the Vietnam War (1955 – 1975), it was widely rumoured by insiders that it was called “Cardinal Spellman’s War.” Archbishop Francis Spellman (1889 – 1967) of New York had called it the “war of civilizations.” He was politically connected and used his power in the Vatican and his political influence to ensure the Catholic South Vietnamese would defeat the atheist North Vietnamese. But Ho Chi Minh, a Nationalist before a Communist, had other plans.
Religion in politics goes back to the Medieval times when monarchs were terrified of being excommunicated by the Church, even the most powerful kings and queens of Europe succumbed to edicts of the popes.
“Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.” ― Robert A. Heinlein
In the US, “passing the plate for politics” is a common practice. Although, the US Constitution forbids the mingling of church and state, passing the plate for politics continues openly. In this practice, money is donated to the church and then used as political contributions, which buys influence and votes. Most laws passed at the behest of religious groups are antiquated and discriminatory, tending to persecute minority groups.
Religion, through politics, has dictated what people can and cannot do through the guise of “religious freedom.” Jesus would not have approved, obviously. The US is a country founded on the principle of freedom from religious persecution, but religion is now being used to persecute freedom.
Throughout the millennia, learned men have deliberately used religion as a powerbase. These self-declared men of god have used religion to justify hate, bigotry, war, and even genocide.
Religion in War
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” —Voltaire
“Religion: It has given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.” ―Jon Stewart
The Christian Crusades and the Muslim Jihads continue to this day. It is spiritual warfare, and where the pen fails, the sword prevails as god’s will and word. The crusaders and jihadists are alive and well today.
[*The spread of Islam *]with the pen and sword. Map: Washburn.edu
“The Bible tells us to be like god, and then on page after page it describes god as a mass murderer. This may be the single most important key to the political behavior of Western Civilization.” ―Robert Anton Wilson
[*The spread of Christianity *]with the pen and sword. Map: Worldreligions.psu.edu
The proliferation of spiritual warfare introduced people to a god that they had previously never heard of. As examples, Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei had no concept who the god of Islam was until they were introduced to him by Muslim merchants and missionaries. Now, those countries are predominantly Muslim.
Inter-faith and Sectarian Wars
Inter-faith conflicts and wars have been the hallmark of religious history.
When Judaism was concocted, it was in conflict with the pagan religions of its time.
When Christianity was concocted, it was in conflict with Judaism and the pagan religions of its time.
When Islam was concocted, it was in conflict with Judaism, Christianity, and the pagan religions of its time.
When Judaism, Christianity, and Islam became established, they branched into numerous denominations. What we have now is a splattered-manure waste of inter-faith conflicts and wars, and also sectarian conflicts and wars—wars between religions and wars within religions.
Below are just a few examples of the religious quagmire that still plagues humanity. Most were taken over a four month period in 2015. Imagine the madness we’d witness if we collected samples for the last 1,000 years.
Muslims Ambush Eighty-Two Christians As They Sleep On Their Beds, And Slaughter All Of Them In Major Massacre That The Media Is Ignoring. Muslims in Nigeria, who are all part of the Fulani tribe, ambushed eighty-two people in a Christian village as they slept in their beds and slaughtered all of them in a new massacre of Christians that the media is not paying any attention to. —Theodore Shoebat, Rightsidenews.com, March 25, 2015
[*Riots in Pakistan follow suicide attacks on two Christian churches. *]Anguished Pakistanis protesting suicide attacks on two Christian churches clashed with police and other residents in chaotic scenes in the city of Lahore on Monday, leaving one person dead and several others injured, police said.
The mainly Christian demonstrators hurled stones, damaged cars and blocked a major highway in the eastern city as helmeted riot police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds.
The protests followed twin suicide attacks at two churches during Sunday services that killed 15 people and wounded more than 70 others. The Pakistani Taliban militant organization, which is at war with the Pakistani state, claimed responsibility. —AOUN SAHI AND SHASHANK BENGALI, LAtimes.com, March, 2015
Armed Muslim Brotherhood Fanatics Attack Egyptian Church Over Plans to Honor 21 Beheaded Coptic Christians. A group of armed Muslim fanatics, who some have identified as Muslim Brotherhood members, attacked a church over plans to honor the 21 Coptic Christians beheaded by terror group ISIS in the Egyptian village of Al-Our. The church’s priest said that he made local police aware of plans for the attack, but the authorities offered no protection. —STOYAN ZAIMOV, Christianpost.com, March 30, 2015
Pregnant Muslim woman attacked in France. The 29-year-old woman, who was wearing a hijab, or Muslim headscarf, was hospitalized on Tuesday after being attacked on a street in Toulouse, southern France.
According to reports the heavily pregnant woman who is due to give birth in mid-April was approached by two men after she had dropped off her children at school. —Thelocal.fr, March 27, 2015
Sydney: ‘violent attack’ on Muslim woman highlights Islamophobia. The woman, who does not wish to be named, says she was shoved, kicked and called names between Sydney’s Central and Town Hall stations before anybody came to offer her support.
“When (the attacker) became loud, I looked around me… and I just thought ‘Nobody is here to help me,’ so if I keep speaking he may come closer to me and attack me physically,” she told SBS.
She says she knew the attack was religiously motivated because of the way he looked at her hijab and told her “you people get in our way,” before pushing her. —Rachael Hocking, Muslimvillage.com, March 28, 2015
Christian militias take bloody revenge on Muslims in Central African Republic. Children were reportedly targeted by Christian anti-balaka gangs set up in wake of attacks by Muslim Seleka rebels. They brought in the bodies one by one, laying them down on a white sheet concealed behind a flimsy black curtain. Among them was a man, probably in his 20s, his head twisted leftward, the skull dented on one side and cracked open on the other. The others also had fatal head injuries that stained the sheet crimson. The first flies began settling on the five corpses. —David Smith, Theguardian.com, March 10, 2015
Brooklyn Jews attacked with paint. New York police are investigating whether two incidents in which Jews were struck with paint are hate crimes. —Jta.org, Marc 30, 2015
Jewish Sites Attacked in UK, Hungary. A group of assailants entered a synagogue in London on Sunday and attacked worshipers and property, with reports indicating that some attackers shouted, “Kill the Jews.”
Those inside the Ahavas Torah synagogue had to defend themselves with chairs against the mob, which physically assaulted at least one person and smashed windows. British police later arrested six people in connection with the attack. —JNS, Breakingisraelnews.com, March 25, 2015
[*Netanyahu urges Jews to move to Israel after Copenhagen attacks. *]Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged European Jews to move to Israel after a Jewish man was killed in an attack outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue.
“Israel is your home. We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe,” Netanyahu said in a statement, repeating a similar call after attacks by jihadists in Paris last month when four Jews were among the dead.
Two police officers were also wounded in Sunday’s attack in Copenhagen, one of two fatal shootings in the normally peaceful Danish capital on the weekend. —AFP, Feb. 15, 2015
Power, Money, and Control
Religion boils down to money, power, and control. The unenlightened are the blind followers who donate their precious time and resources to self-proclaimed representatives of god. With all the wisdom of history at our disposal, these self-proclaimed “men of god” have no legal authority and should not be trusted with power.
Besides, if there were a god, he would provide the needs for all of his followers, rather than have them canvass streets to recruit followers to donate to his causes.
“Our religion has gotten into the kitchen.” —Swami Vivekananda
Muslims and Jews don’t eat pigs because they’re considered dirty animals (unless killed kosher-ly), Hindus don’t eat cows because they’re considered sacred, Christians should avoid meat on Good Friday. And according to King James Version (KJV), Leviticus 11:10-12, eating shellfish (shrimps, crabs, snails, mussels, clams, oysters, lobsters, scallops) are forbidden.
Leviticus 11:10-12: And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcasses in abomination.
Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.
[*Religion is intrusive. *]It is on the decline as people are turning away from human-conceived gods, as they have for thousands of years; detrimentally, only to be replaced by new gods. It is only a matter of time before we, too, will abandon the god of the Jews, Christians, Muslims and every human-concocted god.
But no one told me
(No one told me)
That the gods believe in nothing
So with empty hands I pray
And from day to hopeless day
They still don’t see me
—Hand to Mouth, George Michael
Terminologies and Notations
[* “Five percent of the people think; 10% percent of the people think they think; and the other 85% would rather die than think.” —Thomas Edison*]
This book was a short walk through history. It was a discussion between the author and the reader, therefore subjective. It is not meant as a scholarly work. It examines how religion fits into humanity’s timeline. Therefore, an explanation of a few terminologies and notations are required to make the reading easier.
Notations and Nomenclatures
BC (B.C.). BC is the abbreviation for “Before Christ.” A number postfixed with BC denotes a year before 1, since there is no year 0 in the Gregorian (Christian/Western Calendar). The year jumps from 1 BC to 1 AD. For example, 3 000 BC denotes 3 000 years before Christ’s first birthdate (year 1). If the current year is 2020, then 3 000 BC denotes the event occurred 5 020 years ago ( 3 000 + 2020 = 5 020).
BCE (B.C.E.). BCE stands for “Before the Common Era.” BC and BCE are interchangeable. Christians prefer using BC (Before Christ), whereas the non-religious prefer to use BCE. The common era begins with year 1, since there is also no year 0 using the BCE postfix. This book uses the BCE notation rather than the BC one.
AD (A.D.) . AD is the Latin abbreviation for Anno Domini (In the year of Our Lord). The BC/AD dating system was devised in 525 and became widely used in 800. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar to the world that eventually replaced the Julian calendar (named for Julius Caesar). The Gregorian calendar (Christian/Western calendar) corrected the 0.002% error in the Julian calendar. The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used dating system in the world today.
CE (C.E.). CE stands for “Common Era.” AD and CE are interchangeable. Christians prefer using AD, while the non-religious prefer using CE. The common era, like the AD notation begins with year 1, not 0. When a year is not postfixed, it is generally assumed to be after year 1. For example, 2020 is assumed to be 2020 AD or 2020 CE. This book uses the CE notation rather than the AD one.
Circa (ca. or c.). Circa means around, about, approximately, roughly. For example, circa 2500 BCE means 2500 years Before the Common Era. If the current year is 2020, then circa 2500 BCE denotes the event occurred roughly 4520 years ago (2020 + 2500 = 4520).
e.g. e.g., eg is the abbreviation for “for example.”
i.e. i.e., ie is the abbreviation for “that is.”
Religion: The belief in and worship of a supernatural controlling power, especially a personal god or gods.
Deity: A god or goddess; the state of being a god; divine characteristics, godhead.
Theist: A person who believes in the existence of a god or gods.
Atheist: A person who does not believe in the existence of god, one who has no religious affiliation.
Agnostic: A person who, in the absence of evidence, is uncertain about the existence of deities; one who needs further evidence.
Polytheism: The belief of the existence of many gods; eg a polytheist is someone worships multiple gods.
Monotheism: The belief in a single deity (one god or goddess); especially within an organized religion; i.e., a monotheist is someone who worships only one god.
Mythology: The collection of myths of a people, concerning the origin of the people, history, deities, ancestors and heroes; eg many religions of antiquity are now accepted as mythology.
Fairy tale: A folktale featuring fairies or similar fantasy characters; e.g., all religious text books contain several fairytale characters.
Myth: A traditional story which embodies a belief regarding some fact or phenomenon of experience, and in which often the forces of nature and of the soul are personified; a sacred narrative regarding a god, a hero, the origin of the world or of a people, etc.
[*Fable: *]A fictitious narrative intended to enforce some useful truth or precept, usually with animals, birds, etc., as characters; an apologue. Prototypically, Aesop’s Fables.
[*Pantheon: *]All the gods of a particular people or religion, particularly the ancient Greek gods residing on Olympus, considered as a group.
Philosophy: 1) The love of wisdom, 2) A view or outlook regarding fundamental principles underlying some domain.
[*Metaphysics: *]The branch of philosophy which studies fundamental principles intended to describe or explain all that is, and which are not themselves explained by anything more fundamental; the study of first principles; the study of being insofar as it was being.
[*Sectarian: *]Of, or relating to a sect; eg Sunni and Shia are two major sects of Islam.
Secular: Not specifically religious; not confined by religious rule.
Religious Text References
The Old Testament consists of 39 books if one is a Protestant and 46 or 47 books if one is a Catholic. The Christian Bible consists of 66 books, including those in the Old Testament.
The Holy Quran is a single book comprised of 114 chapters (suras) with roughly 6,236 verses (ayahs).
The Jewish Talmud is a single book organized into six major orders, 37 masechtas, and 63 tractates (treatises).
Passage: Book of Genesis, chapter 9
American Abbr.: Genesis 9
European Abbr.: Genesis 9
Passage: Book of Matthew, chapters 9-12
American Abbr.: Matthew 9-12
European Abbr.: Matthew 9-12
Passage: Book of Exodus, chapter 3, verse 2
American Abbr.: Exodus 3:2
European Abbr.: Exodus 3,2
Passage: Quran, chapter 5 , verse 20. The Quran was divided into suras (chapters) and ayahs (verses).
American Abbr.: Quran 5:20
European Abbr.: Quran 5,20
Lalatale, noun: Things and events that cannot be universally and empirically proven to exist but are believed to be true by certain groups of people; e.g. god, ghosts, reincarnation (past lives), Loch Ness Monster, tooth fairy, boogeyman, angels, demons, Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Jesus Christ, etc. The Bible, Talmud, and Quran are books of lalatales.
2) Ideas and things, usually based on primitive myths, that should be universally rejected due to conspicuous bias and subjective perspectives.
3) Things and ideas that are of insular knowledge and divisive in nature, tending to cause suffering, conflict, and war, eg religion.
[*Lalataling; verb, adjective: *]1) The act of espousing and spreading things and events that cannot be universally and empirically proven to exist, usually for one’s personal gain. 2) Of or relating to things and events that cannot be universally and empirically proven to exist. …Christian Bible preachers, Jewish rabbis, Muslim imams and clerics spend their lives lalataling.
[*Lalataler, noun: *]1) A person or group who believes in things and events that cannot be universally and empirically proven to exist. 2) A person with a high degree of irrationality who tends to reject common sense, reason, and logic…Anyone who acts as a middle-person or representative of god is a lalataler. The church, synagogue, and mosque are full of lalatalers.
About the Author
[*Live your life. No all-knowing, all-powerful god that created this immeasurably massive Universe would be petty enough to think what you thought about it. Don’t waste your time thinking about god. God can take care of herself/himself. *]
If you need to believe in someone, believe in yourself.
I was born to Roman Catholic parents, baptized as a Roman Catholic, and remained one for most of my adult life, until 2007. I had a grand uncle who was an archbishop in the Vatican. My family, like most of South Vietnamese families at the time, was devout Roman Catholic. As a child I regular attended Sunday school.
In the 17th century, the Vietnamese were introduced to Catholicism by Portuguese explorers and missionaries, and again in the 18th century by the French colonists. Prior to that (Vietnam was founded in 2879 BCE), the Vietnamese had no idea who Jesus Christ was.
For as long as I could remember, whenever I had problems with life I was told to, “Pray to Jesus.” And I did, to no avail—I never saw Jesus and he never answered my prayers. As my problems exacerbated, I assumed that I was a damned person. God had ordained me to suffer. My life had been predetermined. There was nothing I could do.
Then I studied nutrition and philosophy, and a new world of knowledge opened up. It was a catharsis. My worldview changed and I have never looked at the world the same way again. I studied stoicism, buddhism; and bits of taoism, confucianism, agnosticism, atheism, and other -ISMs. All these -ISMs had one thing in common: They were attempting to explain the nature of existence (the six primary existential questions of life). Many -ISMs were similar, while others were radically different— some even wacky.
The three most important things I learned were:
1) You are what you eat—a good mind begins with a healthy diet. If it comes from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, avoid it. In other words, eat natural foods that our ancestors ate for millions of years. Avoid processed foods made in factories because they’re devoid of nutrients.
2) You can attain spirituality without religion. Religion is one path to spirituality. There are others, such as philosophy.
3) People can think or say what they want. “In the end, the only thing that matters is what you’ve done” (Alexander the Great). When you die, you leave behind your children and your work. Everything else is secondary.
If there were a god that created our unimaginably massive 93 billion light year (and expanding) Universe, it would not care one iota what you thought of it either way, anymore than you would care if an electron changed orbitals in a rock on Mars. A god that powerful would not need to be validated by anyone or anything. Therefore:
The beliefs of your parents, if they are false, should not be your beliefs.
The beliefs of your peers, if they are outlandish, should not be your beliefs.
The beliefs of society, if they are dogmatic, should not be your beliefs.
The beliefs of your ancestors, if they are contentious, should not be your beliefs.
The beliefs of your country, if they are unjust, should not be your beliefs.
Abandon all false, outlandish, dogmatic, contentious, and unjust belief systems.
Accept what is right and not who is right. This is the path to spiritual enlightenment. Through spiritual enlightenment you will know the Truth and
The Truth shall set your mind free…
If you need to believe in someone, believe in yourself.
You only live once. Make it count.
Trung Nguyen. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. August, 2014
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Written by Trung Nguyen
Compiled by Trung Nguyen
April 2015, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
A Christian is one who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. What if Jesus never existed? Then whose teachings have Christians been following? Chapters in the book include: Is There a God? The Truth Shall Set You Free George Carlin of Religion The Abrahamic Religions History of Christianity Reasons People Are Religious Religion: Business, Politics, and War