The Jesus gang and the Mohammedan menace 12

We often say of Christianity, that its theology is absurd, its morality impossible, its history bloody; and that it brought down a thousand years of darkness.* 

Peter Gay, in the first volume, Chapter Four, of his two-volume magisterial work The Enlightenment: an Interpretation, describes Christianity in terms that are equally disparaging:

Romans had at least made a serious attempt to construct a civilization founded on reason, not myth. Then came Christianity, profiting, vulturelike, from decay, preserving ideas that deserved to perish, and stamping out ideas that deserved to survive.

In its early history, its very origins, there was something unsavory about Christianity. Significantly, it flourished in an age of decadence and among the lower orders, among men and women sunk in ignorance, vice, and despair. Significantly, too, it hammered out its doctrine, its discipline and organization, amidst undignified wranglings, inane debates in endless assemblies, angry conflicts over trivial matters, mutual slanders and persecutions. Christianity claimed to bring light, hope, and truth, but its central myth was incredible, its dogma a conflation of rustic superstitions, its sacred book an incoherent collection of primitive tales, its church a cohort of servile fanatics as long as they were out of power and of despotic fanatics once they had seized control. With its triumph in the fourth century, Christianity secured the victory of infantile credulity; one by one the lamps of learning were put out, and for centuries darkness covered the earth.

“St. Paul” was the author of the Christian religion. How his wild fantasy – that a dead Galilean Jew was “God” – came to be believed by uncountable millions of human beings for two millennia and continuing, is hard to account for. Edward Gibbon suggests in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, that the new religion caught on as it did – secondarily, says the great ironist, “to the convincing evidence of the doctrine itself, and to the ruling providence of its great Author” – was that it promised “a future life” after death. But Roman myth taught that there was an “afterlife” too, and if the Elysian Fields were not as glorious as Christian Heaven, at least Hades was not as terrible as Christian Hell.

As for the Galilean Jew himself – called “Jesus” by his Greek-speaking first worshiper who never met him and was not interested in his life or his birth name – well, he probably did exist, and was (again and always probably) crucified by the Romans as an insurgent leader. Like other insurrectionist Jews in the age of the Emperor Tiberius, he led a gang of cut-throats, including Judas Iscariot, the “dagger-man”, and James and John, the Boanerges, the “sons of thunder”. The only thing that was different about him was that he was an extreme religious fanatic, to the point of insanity, really believing that if he prayed hard and long enough, and his followers then brandished a couple of swords at some Roman soldiers, Jehovah would do the rest; upheave the earth, flood the valleys, terrify the Romans until they fled from Judea, so that the Israelite Kingdom could be restored. (“Thy Kingdom come!”) But as that didn’t happen, it is of no importance.

The religion founded by “St. Paul” has been of fearful import. But the worst of it is over. Discredited and disarmed, most effectively by the Enlightenment, it is not a serious threat to life and limb anywhere in the world any more – though some atheists complain that Christians in the southern states of the USA treat them harshly, and constitute an active danger to the thriving abortion industry.

The religion that is gravely dangerous to the world now is Islam. Islam needs to be discredited and disarmed. It needs to be exposed in all its naked nastiness for all that it truly is: supremacist, totalitarian, homophobic, misogynist, murderous and savagely cruel. It needs to be despised, argued against, relentlessly mocked.

Yet as long as “Jehovah”, and “God”, and “Jesus”, and the many gods of Hinduism, and even the frail and arcane divinities of academic “agnostics” continue to be fed with belief, it will be impossible to evaporate “Allah” into thin air forever as he desperately deserves. 

 

*For our full condemnation, see the series of essays titled The Birth and Early History of Christianity, under Pages in our margin.

Posted under Christianity by Jillian Becker on Sunday, January 28, 2018

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Gods: a brief guide 2

In the fictions of humanity, gods are among its worst characters.

Never mind your despicable, frivolous, quarreling, spiteful deities of Greece and Rome, your fiery baby-eating Mollochs, your South American blood-lusting monsters, and your bestial, deformed, multitudinous divinities of the Far East. Let’s just look at the gods of the three allegedly moral religions created in the Middle East.

God, the Hebrews’ invention, is a tyrant par excellence. Although lauded as good, merciful, and life-sustaining, he emerges from the story as petty, cruel, capricious, boastful, greedy, unjust (for ample examples read the book), and disproportionately vengeful. He takes particular pleasure in vengeance, teasing his worshippers into doing things that will give him a pretext for unleashing punishment not only on the guilty but on innocent successor generations; in one notorious and extremely consequential case by evicting a patriarchal couple from the pleasant garden home he first gets them accustomed to and forcing them to raise their children by hard labor in harsh conditions. (Plan: plant apple tree in garden, tell the two people who live in it not to eat the fruit, and when they do exile them forever with a heavy feeling of shame and guilt.) Incomprehensibly, his authors’ Jewish descendants continue to believe him to be beneficent, all-powerful, and of course actually in existence even when 6,000,000 of them are mercilessly exterminated. This holocaust that was visited on them as a religious group has not persuaded most of them to doubt the veracity of the story or change the characterization of God. As Christians claim to believe in him too he could be said to have many more believers in him than just the Jewish ones. To an objective observer, however, there is little resemblance between this voluble character and the reticent ‘father’ god of Christianity.

Christ, the divine ‘son’, is the Christian hero. He’s even better than God at causing folk to feel guilty. He’s made out to be a sweet good innocent type – who then has himself tortured to “death” so nice people are forced to feel really bad. He claims that he has suffered his pretend death to atone for everybody’s else’s sins so that they can be “saved”, yet he invents a place of eternal punishment for anyone who doesn’t manage to accomplish the impossible, unnatural, and unfair things he requires of them, such as loving everyone else and (unlike himself) forgiving them no matter what harm they’ve done. And then, on top of it, he says now and then in the story (he’s not kept consistent in his views and messages): “Reader, what you actually do doesn’t count: I’ll either “save” you or I won’t. My whim. No appeal.” The nature of this god is hard to grasp. He’s a hybrid god-man. A theo-anthro mongrel. Altogether, in what he is and what he does, what he causes to be done and has others punished for, he’s a bundle of contradictions, or a personified oxymoron. In every way a badly drawn character, he was based very loosely on one or more real-life preachy Jews of the Augustus-to-Tiberius era of the Roman Empire, but chiefly a particular man whose name is given in Greek as Jesus, but of whom no reliable facts are known to historians. The primary author of the fiction was one Paul, or Saul, but many other imaginations have worked on the tale.

Allah, the Muslims’ divine guy, while allegedly merciful, is the narrow-minded, belligerent, intensely misogynistic, ignorant yet dogmatic patron of a seventh century illiterate pedophile, highwayman, robber and mass murderer named Muhammad, to whom he is inseparably attached. The two of them, prophet and god, live on in the gullibility of billions. As their followers constitute an active threat to civilization by carrying out what they believe to be Allah’s commandments to kill and subdue non-believers, he’s at present the most dangerous of these three nasty yet widely popular gods.

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Monday, June 14, 2010

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Of witches and supernatural beings 0

Witch being decapitated in Saudi Arabia

'Witch' being decapitated in Saudi Arabia

From Asia News:

Ali Sibat, a Lebanese psychic who made predictions on a satellite TV channel from his home in Beirut, was arrested by religious police in the holy city of Madinah during a pilgrimage in May 2008 and then sentenced to death by decapitation on 9 November this year.

“He was the most popular psychic on the channel,” said May al-Khansa, Sibat’s lawyer. “The number of callers, including from all over the Gulf, spiked in number when he appeared,” she added. “He was told if he confessed to witchcraft, he will be released and allowed to return to Lebanon.”

Seems he ‘confessed’ and was not released.

Sibat’s case is not unique. Dozens of people are arrested each year on charges like witchcraft, recourse to supernatural beings, black magic and fortune telling. These practices are considered polytheistic and severely punished according to Sharia rules.

The Prophet Muhammad claimed that the angel Gabriel dictated the Koran to him. Did Muhammad not have ‘recourse to a supernatural being’?

And Allah himself, ‘the greatest’, what is he if not ‘a supernatural being’?

Ah, well! The religious mind is necessarily an inconsistent mind.