Secret sacraments of rape and sodomy 8

Religion is the prostitution of reason and the pornography of the intellect.

Why then is it to be wondered at that priests are lechers?

Christianity teaches hypocrisy. It commands that Christians love everybody and forgive all offense – against human nature. Priests of the Roman Catholic Christian denomination are required to be celibate – against human nature. Christians do not of course love everybody, do not forgive all offense; and Roman Catholic priests indulge in every variety of concupiscence.

St. Paul, the author of the Christian religion and its first moral instructor, had this to say about marriage, sexual intercourse, chastity, and homosexuality:

1 Corinthians 7:1,2,7-9 King James Version:

7  Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. …

For I would that all men were [celibate] even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.

But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

And this:

2 Corinthians 11:2 King James Version:

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

And this:

1 Corinthians 6:18 King James Version:

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

And this:

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 King James Version:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind … will inherit the kingdom of God.

That last quotations is made more explicit on the sin of homosexuality in other translations from the original Greek:

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men …  – New International Version

Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality …  – New Living Translation

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality … – English Standard Version

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who submit to or perform homosexual acts …- Berean Literal Bible

Or do you not know that the unrighteous ones will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals …  -New American Standard Bible

Don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: No sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, or males who have sex with males …  – Christian Standard Bible

Have ye not known that the unrighteous the reign of God shall not inherit? be not led astray; neither whoremongers, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor sodomites … -Young’s Literal Translation

It’s quite clear. Homosexuals will go to Hell.

Do Catholic priests believe it?

Seems not.

Vox (along with numerous other news outlets) reports:

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court made public one of the broadest-ever investigations into Catholic clerical sex abuse of minors in the United States … The document, a 1,400-page grand jury report, is the result of an 18-month probe by Pennsylvania state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, and names at least 300 priests accused of child sex abuse by more than 1,000 victims throughout the state. …

Shapiro told reporters at a news conference that the report details “systematic coverup by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican”. 

The latest revelation comes at the end of a summer already marked by scandal for the Catholic Church. Last month, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, previously the archbishop of Washington, DC, and among the highest-ranking Vatican officials in America, was forced to resign his cardinalship following numerous accusations of sex abuse from both adult seminarians and children. …

Earlier this year, Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s highest-ranking official, took a leave of absence to face criminal charges of child sex abuse in his native Australia.

These numerous high-profile cases have cast a wider media spotlight on an ongoing story of abuse, secrecy, and cover-up that dates back decades.

The Pennsylvania files, though, represent the most wide-ranging investigation yet into Catholic clerical child sexual abuse in the United States. Despite the fact that the report covers just six of Pennsylvania’s eight dioceses — just a fraction of the dioceses in America overall — it suggests a widespread and large-scale operation on the part of church hierarchy nationwide to cover up the behavior of offending priests and help them escape punishment.

The report, which is often graphic and disturbing, details widespread sexual abuse and rape by priests of both female and male minors, many of whom used the language and rhetoric of their office to convince their victims that their sexual abuse was “holy” or desired by God. …

The charges detailed in the report go back as far as 30 years, and implicate 300 priests in the abuse of more than 1,000 victims. (The report stresses that the actual number of victims and abusers in the state is probably much higher, given how common it is for victims to refuse to come forward.)

The report also implicates senior priests and bishops in knowingly reshuffling offenders from parish to parish, allowing them to continue their abuse unchecked. …

The report details a number of disturbing and lurid cases, including a priest accused of raping a 7-year-old girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils removed, and a ring of priests in the Pittsburgh area who traded pornographic photographs of their victims. …

For more on horrific cases, see the NYT report here.

Example:

The grand jury reported that it had uncovered a ring of predatory priests in the Pittsburgh diocese who “shared intelligence or information regarding victims”, created pornography using the victims, and exchanged victims among themselves. “This group of priests used whips, violence and sadism in raping their victims,” the report states.

What is the reaction of the Marxist Pope Francis to the report?

Breitbart tells us:

Pope Francis is reportedly “embittered” by allegations that he knowingly promoted a serial sex-offending cardinal but has no plans to retire.

The Italian news agency ANSA cited “close collaborators of the pope” Wednesday in its report of the pontiff’s reaction to an explosive 11-page testimony by the former papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.

In his report, the archbishop said that at least since 2013 Pope Francis knew of the serial homosexual abuse perpetrated by U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, along with sanctions imposed on his ministry by Pope Benedict XVI, and yet lifted those sanctions and promoted McCarrick to a position of influence, consulting him for the naming of future bishops.

Confronted with the charges by the media, Pope Francis has adopted a strategy of silence, refusing to utter a “single word” about the veracity of the allegations. …

While avoiding the subject of the grave allegations leveled against him, the pope instead returned to one of his favorite topics: care for the environment.

About which St. Paul had nothing to say.

At the end of his General Audience on Wednesday, Francis announced that next Saturday is “the fourth World Day of Prayer for the care of creation”.  In this year’s Message, which will be released Saturday, the pope said he would focus on “the question of water, a primary asset to be protected and made available to all”.

By pivoting from sex abuse to the environment, Pope Francis confirmed recent statements by the archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich, who told NBC News Tuesday that answering the allegations brought by the former nuncio was not a priority for the pope since he had more important things to worry about, such as the environment and immigration.

“The pope has a bigger agenda. He’s gotta get on with other things, of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the Church,” the cardinal said.

Never mind the suffering of children at the hands of his clergy. Never mind the breaking of priestly vows. Francis is a Marxist before he is a Catholic. And the proper concern of a Marxist is “the environment” and the protection of the Muslim hordes now raping Europe.

Nasty as the revelations of the report are, there is nothing surprising in them.

Nor is there anything hard to understand in a Pope’s unconcern for the victims of his Church and his religion. ‘Twas ever thus. And how could it be otherwise?

Out of the atheist closet – and into the mosque? 0

Britons – and most indigenous Europeans – have given up believing in “God” just in time to submit to “Allah”.

Of course British and European atheists don’t see it that way. The men don’t think they’ll be forced into mosques or to pray five times daily while groveling on the ground and banging their foreheads on it, letting their  wives and daughters out only if they’re encased in black tents, having their daughters’ reproduction organs mutilated and killing them themselves if they are raped or letting the neighbors half bury them in a hole and stone them to death, have their own hands cut off if they borrow from the till, and so on … or alternatively choose to hand over their earnings to the Islamic government and live in abject poverty.

Breathe deeply the air of freedom, British and European atheists! It will be possible only for a little while.

Here’s the first Member of Parliament to declare himself an atheist. While the shadows of Christian darkness have not entirely gone from corners of his world, he feels safe to admit that he’s godless.

James Arbuthnot writes at The Spectator (UK):

I’m a Conservative MP who doesn’t believe in God. Polls suggest that my lack of belief puts me in the same position as most people in the country. So what’s the big deal?

The reaction to my saying this has been mixed. One was a comment under an article in the Independent – ‘What kind of a pussy MP keeps his faith quiet just because there is pressure to do so?’  The answer, self-evidently, is this kind of pussy, the kind that wanted to be selected as a Conservative candidate and then elected as an MP.

… Peter Walker …  when he was a Minister answering questions in the House, was asked something about whether his motivation for supporting a particularly right-wing policy had been sycophancy or cowardice, and his answer was, ‘Almost certainly both’. It was a well-received joke (I was in the House at the time) which no doubt contained a kernel of truth.  And I would give the same answer in relation to my keeping quiet about not believing in God.

My lack of belief would not have prevented my election – the people of North East Hampshire are a generous lot – but it could well have stopped my being selected as a candidate, a notoriously competitive arena.  Conservative activists who used to do the selecting tend to be older and more traditionally minded – this is no surprise.

Another reaction has been, ‘Oh dear. Why did he need to say anything?’ This rather confirms what I have said.  In politics, the pressure of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is similar to that applied in the armed forces – and in some families – about being gay.  There’s nothing spoken about this pressure, but everybody knows it exists.

I don’t know of any other Conservative MP or candidate who has admitted publicly to not believing in God.  And yet, if the statistics are correct, only around a third of the country does believe in a God or Gods.  Either that makes Tory MPs completely unrepresentative (of course that’s possible, but I don’t myself believe it to be true) or it suggests that the Conservatives might benefit from more openness, in order to be more in touch with and representative of the electorate.

They have little to fear. The vast bulk of the reaction I have received, and not only from those who do not believe in God, has been ‘Well done. About time we had some rationality in politics!

Oh, James! On whom do you call now to save your gracious Queen?

On whom will you call in the coming years to save your gracious King?

Will he too kneel to Allah? Or be replaced with a caliph?

 

(Hat-tip to our British associate Chauncey Tinker)

Posted under Atheism, Britain, Christianity, Europe, Islam, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 24, 2018

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God the Father takes a selfie 8

For a bit of fun on a Sunday –

We quote two articles from Inside Edition.

First:

God

What does God look like to you? That was the question raised by a University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill study assessing America’s take on the Christian creator.

Their conclusion: God is an average white guy, according to the majority of 511 people, 74 percent of whom were Caucasian.

Participants were shown hundreds of randomly varying face-pairs and were tasked with selecting the face from each pair that looked more like their vision of God …

Researchers combined all the selected faces to assemble a composite “face of God”, the site says. The composite appears average-looking and white, with twinkling eyes.

The study found that some black Americans polled also saw God as a white male, though not all of them.

“People’s tendency to believe in a God that looks like them is consistent with an egocentric bias,” Professor Kurt Gray, a senior author told the College of Arts & Sciences’ site. “People often project their beliefs and traits onto others, and our study shows that God’s appearance is no different — people believe in a God who not only thinks like them, but also looks like them.”

God was also perceived differently down ideological lines.

While liberals tended to see God as more feminine, younger and more loving, conservatives saw God as more Caucasian and more powerful-looking.

Next (but with an illustration of our choosing):

 

God’s son Jesus

What did Jesus Christ really look like?

He has historically been portrayed as a light-skinned man with wavy brown hair down to his shoulders, with a full beard and moustache.

The look has been prominently featured in churches around the world and reinforced in classic Hollywood movies like King of Kings and The Passion of the Christ, as well as hit TV shows like The Bible.

Although the image can be traced back to the 3rd century, Dr. Tom Beaudoin, a professor of religion at Fordham University, explained the depiction is inaccurate.

“Jesus was modeled as a combination of a Greek god and a philosopher,” Beaudoin explained in an interview with Inside Edition.

He said many historians believe that the fair-skinned Jesus was actually inspired by the heir to the Borgia clan in Italy in the 15th century, Caesar Borgia. The Italian Cardinal was famed for his handsome features, and his father, Pope Alexander VI, commissioned Leonardo da Vinci to paint a portrait of Jesus modeled after his son.

But, citing historian Joan Taylor and her latest book, What Did Jesus Look Like?, Beaudoin speculated the real Jesus probably looked much different.

He said historians believe Jesus was much darker of skin, and stood at only 5 feet tall. He would have also worn his beard and hair short.

Instead of a long robe, Jesus likely wore a knee-length tunic with a short mantle or shawl, and wore leather sandals.

“He would have presented very typically, she argues, as a Jewish man of his day, which is quite different than how Jesus is often imagined in Christian churches today,” Beaudoin explained. “Think about Jewish people in Iraq today and this is how we should imagine Jesus. He would have looked like what we think of Middle Eastern presenting people today.”

Despite that characterization, Beaudoin speculates that the image of a light-skinned Jesus persisted to reflect the demographics of some churches in the United States.

“It reflects the whiteness of Christianity in the United States,” Beaudoin said. “We tend to have a very white Jesus in the United States, especially in white churches.”

So to believers in an anthropomorphic universe-creator, God is no longer, or not so much, an old man with a white beard sitting on a cloud. Now he just looks like lots of guys. Not old. Clean shaven. Amiable. Ordinary.

A face snapped in many a selfie.  

And though his son Jesus is still most often depicted as a pretty youth with beautifully shining shampooed well-brushed hair (brown, reddish or blond), and matching neatly trimmed beard and mustache, some believers, in need of verisimilitude, prefer to imagine a Middle Eastern type of Jew in the period of the Emperor Tiberius. Such a one as we show above. A mature man. Only a stumpy five feet in height? If they say so. Hair? He might have worn the hair on his head short like a Roman, but his beard would have been full, at most lightly trimmed. Short tunic like a Roman, even though no longer a youth? Hmm. More likely a long garment with, yes, a mantle – like the pious man in the picture. Sandals, sure. But maybe boots in winter.

And after Jesus rose in the flesh to rule enthroned at the right hand of God in perfect harmony with the not-so-old man? What did he put on his body then? What garment, made of what heavenly cloth – or none? With what razor do they trim or shave their beards?

What air do those four nostrils breathe? What divine foods pass those lips, growing in what gardens or wandering in what forests, and gathered, hunted, cooked by what ethereal processes? Do they digest as we digest, only with unaging entrails and no requirement for sewers?  What immortal hands made their thrones? Their own, that made the planets and the stars? And do they sit there through all the ages, and after time eternally? Do those bodies need no exercise?

And what of the Holy Ghost? Has anyone done a study of how believers visualize him nowadays? Is he still a “he”? Is he still a white dove? White? Are you sure?

Political religions and the politics of religion 1

Robert Spencer is an Eastern Orthodox Christian, so we make allowance for his mistaken belief that our Western civilization is “Judeo-Christian” rather than the product of the Enlightenment.

We quote him because he is expert on the history, texts and teaching of Islam.

Here he talks about Pope Francis appointing himself a defender of that intensely anti-Christian religion:

So the old joke question “Is the Pope Catholic?” is no longer funny. The serious answer is “No.”

The Pope’s opinions derive from various political religions, among them: Marxism, New Leftism, Liberation Theology, and Islam.

Let’s review what the Pope is defending when he defends Islam:

The subjugation of women, including the religion-sanctioned beating of wives, sex slavery, honor killings, and the stoning to death of women and little girls who have been raped

A death sentence for anyone who leaves the faith 

A  death sentence for homosexuals

Intense anti-Semitism; anti-Jew, anti-Christian, anti-Yezidi, anti-polytheist, anti-rival-Muslim-sect terrorism, persecution and enslavement

Routine torture of prisoners and extreme torture to death even of civilians, notably: slow beheading with a knife; stoning; burying alive (of children as well as adults); burning alive; drowning in boiling oil; the amputation of limbs; crucifixion; the throwing to the ground of homosexuals from high places; starvation.

So to defend Islam is to defend oppression, savage cruelty and murder. Judged by contemporary Western criteria, Islam is a deeply immoral religion.

Oppression, cruelty and murder are not, however, against traditional Catholic practice. Catholics can defend the use of torture and murder on the grounds that in the past the Roman Catholic Church needed to have people burnt alive in order to discourage heresy. For hundreds of years the Catholic Church tortured and murdered untold numbers of men, women and children who were guilty of nothing worse than a personal opinion that was not in conformity with Church dogma.

But not now. Now the Pope is virtue-signaling without reference to – and, he must suppose, without taint from – the past.

Now he has decided that capital punishment is “inadmissable”.   

This is a political decision against the teaching of the Roman Catholic religion:

Prior to the changes announced through the Vatican press office Thursday, the Catholic Catechism taught that recourse to the death penalty was not to be “excluded” as a legitimate punishment “if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.”

The Pope probably intended his ruling to have an effect chiefly on the laws of the United States, where capital punishment is still available to judges as a punishment for murder.  

And his decision may be taken notice of in the US.

But it will not make any difference in Islam. On that he relies. If he thought it at all likely to offend those stoners, burners, crucifiers, boilers, buriers, throwers from heights, beheaders and amputators, he would be very unlikely to announce it.

Possessing a fine talent for cognitive dissonance, Francis must be confident that his condemnation of capital punishment will not make his defense of Islam into a bad joke.

Posted under Christianity, Islam, jihad, Judaism, Muslims, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Sunday, August 5, 2018

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Rooting out Allah 6

What is the root, hub, core, foundation, or essence – any one of those words will do, no mixing of metaphors – of Islam?

Allah, of course.

Take away Allah and the whole growth, movement, body, edifice, or idea will wither away, stop, die, collapse, or fail.

Allah the War God is no more and no less a cause of Man-made Global Distress (MGD) than is Jehovah the Vengeful or that ludicrous empyrean bureau, the Trinity.

Christians and believing Jews have no valid argument against Islam.

So it is now the most important task of atheists to destroy Islam by destroying Allah, with Reason and laughter.

Trouble is, atheists on the Left have forged an alliance with Islam. They not only refuse to argue with it, they fiercely attack atheists on the Right who dare to say a word against that deeply immoral religion.

Attacks must not deter us.

Criticizing God is our business. Making him a laughing-stock is our pleasure.

 

 

 

(Hat-tip to Don L for the symbolic device)

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 3, 2018

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Atheism on the political right 58

World Religion News recently interviewed Lauren Ell, the founder of REPUBLICAN ATHEISTS.

She makes many interesting points, among them these:

WRN: Is there a historical precedent for this [Republicans being atheists], or would you call this a relatively new thought process?

LE: I don’t think atheist Republicans are new. They are new in the sense of being more outspoken about their atheist views, but they have existed as far back as the Civil War era. My organization, Republican Atheists, is the first organization I know of at this point that is representing atheist Republicans.

WRN: So you’ve mentioned you had this treatment by certain podcasters and writers, could you go into that in more detail?

LE: I started Republican Atheists in February of 2017 as an experimental project. I haven’t been involved with atheist organizations at all in the United States, such as American Atheists, Freedom From Religion Foundation, or Secular Coalition for America. Originally I had assumed these organizations would take some interest in Republican Atheists. I didn’t expect them to embrace our political views, but I thought at least they would maybe mention the existence of Republican Atheists to their base, considering many of these atheist organizations claim they are representing the entire atheist community in the United States. But I found when I contacted groups I did not get much response from them. They did not respond to the idea of mentioning Republican Atheists to their base. I was in contact with the Secular Coalition for America who at first had interest in Republican Atheists and said they would publish a guest article by me. I was in touch with their media coordinator and we discussed a topic to write about, and I wrote an article for them. It ended up being scrapped because they didn’t like my wording in the article, so I wrote it according to what they recommended and did multiple edits over a period of months. Despite all that time and effort of meeting their requests, at the end of the day they did not publish the article and didn’t even mention Republican Atheists to their base. They actually have not been responsive to me ever since. Some organizations haven’t responded to us at all, so I keep chipping away to build our relevance in the atheist community.

WRN: I would be interested in knowing about podcasters because you mentioned that specifically.

LE: I had an experience with one atheist podcast called Cognitive Dissonance. I actually hadn’t listened to them much, but I sent them an email introducing myself and offered to be interviewed on their show. They agreed to do a 45-minute interview. I was pretty excited because they are one of the more known atheist podcasts. I would say they have around 17,000 followers on Facebook. I ended up doing the interview with them, but they hung up on me 15 minutes into the interview because I mentioned something they didn’t agree with. They called it “the dumbest interview they’ve ever done”. I have actually been met with much more interest in gaining understanding by Christian podcasters.

WRN: What was the particular issue they didn’t agree with?

LE: We were talking about prominent movements such as Women’s March and the Occupy Movement which was big back in 2011. We discussed who is behind the movements in terms of people who financed protests, and I mentioned the name George Soros. The hosts didn’t want to continue the conversation after that.

In the course of the interview Lauren was so kind as to make favorable mention of our editor-in-chief, and simple vanity brings that part of the interview to this post:

WRN: So they’ve associated specific views on issues that don’t relate to Christianity directly, but they still associate it with Christianity. You’re saying within the Republican Party base you can reach a similar conclusion but through a different process and different thinking?

LE: Yes, that is what I do when I communicate with Republicans and Christians. I don’t bring up my atheist views up front and instead focus on what we have in common. I actually never really feel the need to talk about my atheist views unless I am trying to make a point about the existence of atheist Republicans. When I talk to people, I try to find what we have in common in terms of political policies and social policies. We’ll talk about education, taxation, freedom of speech, and so forth. I find a commonality with them, and once we have that commonality, they see that even though I’m atheist we have a lot in common. That is the situation I like to be in.

RN: This reminds me of Christopher Hitchens who was both an outspoken atheist and had several politically conservative stances. Is there anyone who you look to as a person who’s advocating besides of course yourself?

LE: There is a woman who is very impressive, and I wish she was mentioned a lot more. Her name is Jillian Becker, and she manages a blog called The Atheist Conservative. One thing I point out about Jillian Becker is she does not promote the Republican Party. Her thing is just conservatism, and there’s a difference. I always have to point out there’s a difference between an atheist conservative and an atheist Republican. I know a lot of people get it intertwined and sometimes conservatives get a little irritated. But Jillian Becker and I get along pretty well because we see eye to eye on a lot of issues. If you look her up you will see she has an impressive resume. She’s on Wikipedia. She has spoken with the British Parliament in regards to terrorism in the past. She’s a published author, has been featured in interviews, and is very outspoken. She is older now, so I wish she was mentioned more often. I also note Heather Mac Donald who is a published author and a conservative atheist. She was recently shut down on college campuses in California, and she has been interviewed about it.

We too are admirers of Heather Mac Donald, and strongly recommend her books – all of them.

Read the whole interview with Lauren Ell here.

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Conservatism, Religion general, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, June 14, 2018

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Christianity at start-up: “a stupid, pernicious, and vulgar religion” 6

What is also clear is that Celsus is more than just disdainful. He is worried. Pervading his writing is a clear anxiety that this religion—a religion that he considers stupid, pernicious and vulgar—might spread even further and, in so doing, damage Rome. Over 1,500 years later, the eighteenth-century English historian Edward Gibbon would draw similar conclusions, laying part of the blame for the fall of the Roman Empire firmly at the door of the Christians. The Christians’ belief in their forthcoming heavenly realm made them dangerously indifferent to the needs of their earthly one. Christians shirked military service, the clergy actively preached pusillanimity, and vast amounts of public money were spent not on protecting armies but squandered instead on the “useless multitudes” of the Church’s monks and nuns. They showed, Gibbon felt, an “indolent, or even criminal, disregard for the public welfare.  

The Catholic Church and its “useless multitudes” were, in return, magnificently unimpressed by Gibbon’s arguments, and they promptly placed his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, its list of banned books.

Even in liberal England, the atmosphere became fiercely hostile to the historian. Gibbon later said that he had been shocked by the response to his work. “Had I believed,” he wrote, “that the majority of English readers were so fondly attached even to the name and shadow of Christianity . . . I might, perhaps, have softened the two invidious chapters, which would create many enemies, and conciliate few friends.”

Celsus did not soften his attack either. This first assault on Christianity was vicious, powerful and, like Gibbon, immensely readable. Yet unlike Gibbon, today almost no one has heard of Celsus and fewer still have read his work. Because Celsus’s fears came true. Christianity continued to spread, and not just among the lower classes. Within 150 years of Celsus’s attack, even the emperor of Rome professed himself a follower of the religion.

(From The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey)

Posted under Christianity by Jillian Becker on Sunday, May 27, 2018

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More Christian vandalism 2

Medieval monks, at a time when parchment was expensive and classical learning held cheap, simply took pumice stones and scrubbed the last copies of classical works from the page. …

In some cases “whole groups of classical works were deliberately selected to be deleted and overwritten in around AD 700, often with texts authored by [the fathers of the Church or by] legal texts that criticised or banned pagan literature”.

Pliny, Plautus, Cicero, Seneca, Virgil, Ovid, Lucan, Livy and many, many more: all were scrubbed away by the hands of believers.   The evidence from surviving manuscripts is clear: at some point, a hundred or so years after Christianity comes to power, the transcription of the classical texts collapses. From AD 550 to 750 the numbers copied plummeted.

This is not, to be clear, an absolute collapse in copying: monasteries are still producing reams and reams of religious books. Bible after Bible, copy after copy of Augustine is made. And these works are vast. This was not about an absolute shortage of parchment; it was about a lack of interest verging on outright disgust for the ideas of a now-despised canon. The texts that suffer in this period are the texts of the wicked and sinful pagans.

From the entirety of the sixth century only “scraps” of two manuscripts by the satirical Roman poet Juvenal survive and mere “remnants” of two others, one by the Elder and one by the Younger Pliny.

From the next century there survives nothing save a single fragment of the poet Lucan.

From the start of the next century: nothing at all. Far from mourning the loss, Christians delighted in it. As John Chrysostom crowed, the writings “of the Greeks have all perished and are obliterated”.  He warmed to the theme in another sermon: “Where is Plato? Nowhere! Where Paul? In the mouths of all!”  …

It has been estimated that less than ten percent of all classical [Greek] literature has survived into the modern era.   For Latin, the figure is even worse: it is estimated that only one hundredth of all Latin literature remains.   If this was “preservation” — as it is often claimed to be — then it was astonishingly incompetent. If it was censorship, it was brilliantly effective. The ebullient, argumentative classical world was, quite literally, being erased.

 

(from The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey)

 

 

 

Posted under Christianity by Jillian Becker on Thursday, May 24, 2018

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The moment when Christianity brought darkness down on the West for a thousand years 3

More from The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey

In such an atmosphere, it took something for a law to stand out as particularly repressive.

Yet one law did. Out of all the froth and fury that was being issued from the government at the time, one law would become infamous for the next 1,500 years.

Read this law and, in comparison to some of Justinian’s other edicts, it sounds almost underwhelming. Filed under the usual dull bureaucratic subheading, it is now known as “Law 1.11.10.2.” “Moreover,” it reads, “we forbid the teaching of any doctrine by those who labour under the insanity of paganism” so that they might not “corrupt the souls of their disciples.” The law goes on, adding a finicky detail or two about pay, but largely that is it.

Its consequences were formidable.

This was the law that forced [the philosopher] Damascius and his followers to leave Athens. It was this law that caused the Academy to close.

It was this law that led the English scholar Edward Gibbon to declare that the entirety of the barbarian invasions had been less damaging to Athenian philosophy than Christianity was.  

This law’s consequences were described more simply by later historians. It was from this moment, they said, that a Dark Age began to descend upon Europe.

 

Posted under Christianity by Jillian Becker on Sunday, May 20, 2018

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The tragic destruction that Christ wrought 3

This quotation comes from The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 2018, 352 pages.

From the Amazon note about the author: “Her mother was a nun, her father was a monk, and she was brought up Catholic.” Not a conventional nun and monk, apparently. And one wonders if their daughter’s discoveries shock them.

Monasteries did preserve a lot of classical knowledge.

But it is far from the whole truth. In fact, this appealing narrative has almost entirely obscured an earlier, less glorious story. For before it preserved, the Church destroyed. In a spasm of destruction never seen before — and one that appalled many non-Christians watching it — during the fourth and fifth centuries, the Christian Church demolished, vandalized and melted down a simply staggering quantity of art. Classical statues were knocked from their plinths, defaced, defiled and torn limb from limb. Temples were razed to their foundations and mutilated. A temple widely considered to be the most magnificent in the entire empire was leveled. Many of the Parthenon sculptures were attacked, faces were mutilated, hands and limbs were hacked off, and gods were decapitated. Some of the finest statues on the whole building were almost certainly smashed off then ground into rubble that was then used to build churches.

Books — which were often stored in temples — suffered terribly. The remains of the greatest library in the ancient world, a library that had once held perhaps 700,000 volumes, were destroyed in this way by Christians. It was over a millennium before any other library would even come close to its holdings. Works by censured philosophers were forbidden and bonfires blazed across the empire as outlawed books went up in flames. 

We will quote more passages from this excellent book.

 

(Hat-tip Cogito)

 

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