Christianism logo image


from: A Rationalist Encyclopaedia, Joseph MaCabe [see 925], Watts, 1948.

[Persecutions; Martyrs]

'Decian Persecution, The. A work embodying the results of recent critical research on the martyrs has still to be written. On this subject J.M. Robertson's Short History of Christianity (1902), which allows about 2,000 victims and is very unjust to Roman character, is based upon out-of-date literature and materially erroneous--erring, that is to say, on the side of extreme liberality to the Church writers. The general question will be discussed under Martyrs [see 916-918]. The persecution under the Emperor Decius [Emperor 249 - 251 (c. 201 - 251)], in 250, is of peculiar interest. It is the first of the only TWO GENERAL PERSECUTIONS OF CHRISTIANS (DECIAN [250] AND DIOCLETIAN [302 - 305]) which modern authorities admit, and Catholic literature about the martyrs--the "Acts" of the martyrs and works based thereon--ascribes a very large number to the fifteen months of the persecution under Decius. He is supposed to have entertained an obscure hatred which moved him to attempt to "exterminate the Christian religion." Although, as will be shown, the highest Catholic authorities have proved that these "Acts of the Martyrs" (purporting to be contemporary records of their trial and execution) are generally spurious, even responsible Church writers continue to repeat the mythical horrors of the Decian persecution. Fr. Healy, who writes the article on it in the Catholic Encyclopaedia, is a professor of ecclesiastical history at the Catholic University of America, and this work is the most pretentious production of what is represented as the highest modern Catholic scholarship. He says that owing to the "appalling amount of laxity and corruption" in the Church of the third century (which is usually represented as redolent of piety and virtue) many forswore their faith, but "these defections, though numerous, were more than counterbalanced by the multitudes who suffered death, exile, confiscation, or torture, in all parts of the Empire." Since THERE WERE THEN [c. 250 C.E.] AT LEAST A MILLION--Fr. Healy would say at least five million--CHRISTIANS IN THE EMPIRE, and the decree extended to the whole of it, how many martyrs does this suggest?

YET WE CANNOT TRACE FIFTY INDIVIDUALS WHO WERE EXECUTED, and most of the evidence of crowds pressing to assert their faith and suffer torture or famine in jail is FROM A FOURTH-CENTURY LITERATURE WHICH REEKS WITH FICTION. Fortunately we have a special study by an ecclesiastical writer of this first of the only two general persecutions, The Decian Persecution (1897), by J.A. Gregg, who later became the Catholic Bishop of Ossory. He is not as critical as more recent Catholic martyrologists (Delehaye, etc.), yet the above is all that he can claim. He [Gregg] acknowledges that the text of the Emperor's decree is "lost" (suppressed), but even the Christian versions of and references to it make it very doubtful if Decius ordered the execution of Christians who would not sacrifice to the gods. In a feeble discussion of the causes, Gregg mentions that the Christians were accused of having

PAGE 914

supported the usurper of the purple, Philip, who had preceded Decius, but he does not explain that Philip, the unscrupulous son of an Arab bandit who had the legitimate and admirable Emperor assassinated, was a Christian and was hailed by the Christians; and that Decius, a patriot of the old Roman type, was disgusted at the repeated degradation of the purple by degenerate Oriental adventures. He finds, however, after diligent search, that only five Christians of the city of Rome (where Church writers claim a body of 20,000 faithful, 46 priests, and more than 100 other clerics) are known to have been martyred; that even less are positively identifiable in all the rest of Europe; and that in the East and Africa we have few quite reliable accounts of executions. Even on Gregg's uncritical acceptance of some of the evidence, we are left with a vague impression of at the most two or three dozen executions and a few hundred suffering, and in some cases dying, in jail or exile. Yet in face of these few hundred who suffered for the Faith, or a few score who were executed, out of more than a million Christians, the Catholic Encyclopaedia says that the defections were "more than counterbalanced by the multitudes who suffered," and actually quotes Gregg's work as its authority! The matter is important as an illustration of Catholic procedure even in its "highest scholarship."' [139-140] [End of entry].

'Diocletian Persecution, The. The second of the only two general persecutions of Christians in the Roman Empire admitted by modern historians. After the first general (and brief) persecution--the Decian [see], in 250--the Church in most parts of the Empire enjoyed peace for fifty-three years and made considerable progress. Bishop Eusebius [c. 260 - c. 340 ('Father of Church History') (Ox. Dict. C.C.)], in explaining why God permitted the new persecution ([Diocletian] 303­5), says that the peace led to a general corruption, and paints a somber picture of the state of the clergy everywhere by the end of the third century (Eccles. Hist., VIII, 1). Diocletian [245 - 313] ([Emperor] 284­305) was the ablest and finest Roman Emperor since Hadrian [76 - 138 (Emperor 117 - 138)], and he allowed remarkable freedom to Christians for nearly twenty years. They were permitted to build a large church near his palace at Nicomedia, and his wife and daughter joined the sect. The Christian orator Lactantius [c. 250 - c. 325 ("Christian apologist")], who lived at Nicomedia and was employed by the Court, tells his usual untruthful stories about the change of the Emperor's mood in his Deaths of the Persecutors, but reveals, incidentally, that the numerous Christian officials of the Court were insolent, on religious grounds, to the Emperor (making the sign of the cross at the sacrifices) and his mother, and that when Diocletian, whose life-aim was the restoration of the Empire to its old strength, ordered the destruction of their chapel, they tore down his edict and were suspected of having set fire to the palace. The Christian religion being still illicit in Roman law, Diocletian, who, though of humble origin, had a strong feeling of imperial dignity, issued a series of decrees ordering that the churches be destroyed and the copies of the Scriptures given up, and that all must offer sacrifice (burn a few grains of incense) or produce an official certificate that they had done so. Until modern times Christian literature counted a mass of martyrs under Diocletian that ran to something like 40,000, and Rome claimed a large share of these heroes. It is impossible to estimate how many were executed--these were largely zealots who demanded death--in the

PAGE 915

Empire, though the documents passed by modern experts [see Martyrs] suggest only a few hundred, but in Rome itself the apostasy was extraordinary. The Pope led the betrayal, and Diocletian's wife, Prisca (who nevertheless appears as three different lady-martyrs in the pious fiction), and daughter promptly quitted the Church. Pope Marcellinus is still "Saint and Martyr" in Catholic official literature, but the chief modern Catholic historian, Mgr. Duchesne, proves that he died in bed, and the official Papal Chronicle admits that he abjured the faith. Duchesne (History of the Christian Church, 3 vols., 1904) laboriously finds about a score of genuine martyrs in the whole Empire, including three at Rome, but the leading (and strictly orthodox) Catholic authority on martyrs, the Jesuit Fr. Delehaye, supported by his colleagues, does not find a single genuine contemporary record of a martyrdom at Rome (Prof. Ehrhard, Die altchristliche Literatur, 1900, 556). We must remember that within ten years Constantine [Emperor 306 (312) - 337] gave the Christians freedom, and they had full opportunity to write their records. The story of the persecution, like that of the Decian persecution, shows the appalling growth of what is politely called "PIOUS FICTION" in the Church after the year 305, and the superficial faith and low character of the overwhelming majority. There were at least 20,000 Christians at Rome, yet, allowing for a few hundred who concealed themselves, all but a handful offered the pagan sacrifice, or bought fraudulent certificates that they had done so.' [159-160] [End of entry]. [See (and compare): #22, 446-448].

'Martyrs, The Christian. The common use, as a proverb, of a phrase from a piece of early CHRISTIAN FICTION, "THE BLOOD OF MARTYRS IS THE SEED OF THE CHURCH," illustrates the thorough permeation of our general literature and the mind of the public with APOLOGETIC UNTRUTH. The scandal is in this case all the more flagrant from the fact that it is almost entirely Christian scholars, and mainly Catholic scholars, who have exposed the fiction. They have shown that NOT ONE MARTYR STORY IN A HUNDRED SURVIVES CRITICAL EXAMINATION, and in particular that at each of the two general persecutions not one Christian in many thousands was loyal to his faith, and that, instead of the blood of the very few martyrs being the seed of the Church, the close of each persecution saw the church everywhere appallingly shrunken and in a state of complete demoralization. Stories of pagans rushing to join the faithful at sight of the fortitude of the martyrs are taken entirely from fictitious lives or forged Acta (records of trials) of the martyrs. The contemporary bishops (Cyprian [d. 258], Eusebius [c. 260 - c. 340], etc.) speak of a few heroes and heroines and a vast apostasy. Read Eusebius's Ecclesiastical History (VIII, 1). But the work of fiction, which in the end produced a literature without parallel in the story of any other religion, began as soon as the axe [?] of the persecutor was laid aside. It was started by Lactantius [c. 250 - c. 325 ("Christian apologist")], an employee of the imperial household, who was in an exceptional position to know the truth, but wrote a recklessly false work On the Deaths of the Persecutors. The unscrupulous Pope (St.) Damasus [see] gave a powerful impetus to the work at Rome and, as the provincial churches now vied with each other to purchase "relics" of the glorious dead--even St. Ambrose [c. 339 - 397] stooped to cater dishonestly to this--the trade assumed heroic proportions during several centuries. It may seem strange that Catholic priests

PAGE 916

figure so largely in the modern exposure of the fiction, but the far greater part of it contains such grotesque anachronisms, yet continued to be respected in the Church during the centuries of "great Catholic scholarship" (twelfth to seventeenth centuries), that it had to be disowned, though the ignorant majority of Catholics are still encouraged to believe the most blatant stories, and even the Catholic Encyclopaedia is far from complete candour. We should note, moreover, that the work of exposure began among the French clergy (particularly by Tillemont) at the time when they held a very critical, largely cynical, attitude towards Rome. Tillemont's Memoirs (1698) slew [deleted] tens of thousands of martyrs with great cheerfulness, but Rome, except for a short and futile attempt at reform by Benedict XIV, remained obstinate until, in the nineteenth century, Protestant critics took up the subject. We have now a large Catholic literature analysing the stories. The most important are the works of the Jesuit Fr. Delehaye, who is a Bollandist (or expert on saints and martyrs), but the English and American authorities seem to have found the translation of one of his books (The Legends of the Saints [see #13, 322-323], 1922) so disturbing to the faithful that the more important, including one in which he shows that no Christian was put to death in the Coliseum [see], remain in French. The Catholic Prof. A. Ehrhard has a useful summary of the entire literature (Die altchristliche Literatur, 1900) which also is untranslated, and the liberal Mgr. Duchesne and other Continental priests (not the British and American priests who are so eager to tell the exact truth) co-operate. Protestant writers like Graf, Görres, Führer, Usener, etc., keep pace with them, but Prof. Biddle is insufficiently critical in The Martyrs (1931), and this must be said also of Prof. Gwatkin's article in the Ency. of Religion and Ethics.

How many martyrs survive this critical slaughter [deletion] it is impossible to say in a word. None of the writers attempts this, and the literature is too diffuse, too anxious to save what it can of the Church's credit, to sum the results in a general statement. A few points are clear. One is that even Rationalist estimates of the number of martyrs have been far too generous. J.M. Robertson, who does not take into account recent literature, suggests a maximum of 2,000 for the last or Diocletian persecution (A Short History of Christianity, 1902, p. 138), and that is probably about ten times the number of proved martyrs in two and a half centuries. The legendary literature claims about 40,000 martyrs in that persecution, but Mgr. Duchesne (History of the Christian Church, 3 vols. 1904-29) recognizes only a score, including three at Rome, and Delehaye and Ehrhard reject some of these. [See Diocletian Persecution.] Another vast crowd are claimed for the Decian (the only other general) Persecution [see]; yet the Catholic writer Gregg finds, after heavy research, only five (out of tens of thousands of Christians) at Rome and possibly thirty or forty (out of at least a million Christians) elsewhere. A fair summary of the critical work is that it claims definite reliability for accounts of a few score ["score" = 20] martyrdoms (in 250 years) and a fair historical probability for a few hundreds mentioned in contemporary letters or local traditions. All the stories of mass martyrdoms (the 11,000 Virgins of Cologne, St. Pappus and his 24,000 companions, the Thundering Legion, etc.) are disdainfully put aside, and the overwhelming majority of the Acta (the supposed verbatim reports of trials) are found to be SPURIOUS. Moreover, the

PAGE 917

martyrs in whose cases the Acta are considered genuine are such as Fructuosus, Augurius, Carpus, Papylus, etc., in whom even the Catholic is not interested, while the men and women who are popular--St. George, Catherine, Agnes, Laurence, Sebastain, Cecilia, Denis, etc.--the saints who are pressed upon children in all Roman and Anglican schools and even mentioned reverently in the Press, are FICTITIOUS. In a few cases the consolation is offered that a grave or a church testifies that a person of that name did exist, but the use to-day of detailed and often ludicrously false stories based upon these is dishonest; especially when the apologist builds upon them an argument that its richness in martyrs proves the supernatural character of the Church. Beyond these few dozen Acta which are, often on slender grounds, declared to be genuine, we have only letters of one church to another when persecution ceases. In some cases the martyr-makers used pagan deities (see Rendel Harris's Cult of the Heavenly Twins, and especially Ehrhard), and the same story was used repeatedly. ONLY A FEW HUNDRED REAL MARTYRS IN 250 YEARS CAN BE REASONABLY CLAIMED; while the Catholics killed many times that number of Arians in half a century, and between 1200 and 1700 they slew millions (Albigensians, the Waldensians, Lollards, Hussites, Witches, Huguenots, Jews, Moors, etc.) [note: the Crusades: 1095 - c. 1464; the Inquisitions: officially began [fourth century origins] with an edict in 1232, and continued to the 19th century (Ox. Dict. C.C., 1974)].' [378-380] [End of entry].

[Old Testament]

"Ezra School, The. In most articles bearing upon the Old Testament we mention the Ezra (or Esdras) school or the post-Exilic redaction of the Hebrew sacred books. It is usually said that Ezra--Esdras is the Greek form--was a Jewish priest who returned from Babylon to Jerusalem in the fifth century and led the reorganization of the cult of Jahveh. Other Biblical writers contend that there is no evidence that he was a priest, and describe him as a scribe. The more radical [sic] point out that this was the great age of historical fabrication, and the priestly writers may have invented Ezra as easily as other historical details....

THE OLD TESTAMENT as the Ezra school completed it, and we have it, is, in spite of the ineptness of the work, THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FORGERY IN LITERATURE." [203].

'Old Testament, The. A name for the collection of Jewish sacred books which came into use when Paul used the phrase "New Testament" [see]. There are few more striking illustrations of the soporific effect upon the intellect of religious organization than the acceptance of this as inspired (in the strict sense) by nearly all scholars in Christendom until the appearance of Deism, and by large numbers of refined or well-educated men and women until recent times. "In the Old Testament," says Bishop Barnes, "are found folk-lore, defective history, half-savage morality, and obsolete forms of worship, based upon primitive and erroneous ideas of the nature of God" (Should Such a Faith Offend, p. 74). The detached observer must use even less polite language, and the excuses which are made for still investing it with a unique

PAGE 918

prestige and imposing it upon children in our national schools are so poor as to seen insincere. It is not a "unique account of the growth of a religion," but an almost unique falsification of such growth. Divines prefer to say that the literature which the Hebrews had at the time of the Babylonian Captivity ["deported in two batches in 597 and 586 B.C."; "permitted to return after...538 B.C."; "many...did not return till...a hundred years later" (Ox Dict. C.C.)] was, at the close of that period, "redacted" by writers of the sacerdotal class. Since the aim of these writers was to establish solidly the cult of Jahveh and the power of his priests by imposing upon the people an untrue version of their early history and that of the cult and priesthood, the word "redacted" itself verges upon untruthfulness. It is now the general opinion of experts that the Hebrews had no Jahveh before the fourteenth century B.C., and that everything in their history is uncertain for five centuries afterwards. There is not much more sincerity in the excuse that the Old Testament is "great literature." The overwhelmingly greater part of the work is literature only in the sense that it is written composition, and the poetical passages in some of the prophets and psalms are largely unfit for children, and owe a good deal of their beauty to the fact that they were translated in an age of poetry and vivid imagination. The various writings do not in any age reach the best level, intellectually or morally, of contemporary civilizations, and, on account of the closing of the canon in the third century, they do not even show how the Dispersal lifted a large number of the Jews to those levels, so that they conceal a very important section of the growth of Hebrew religion.

The chief sections and features of the work are discussed in a score of subsidiary articles. In criticizing it one has to remember that the great majority of Jews and Christians, or at least four-fifths of the readers of the Bible, are entirely ignorant of the Ezraist revision [see] and FORGERIES, and take it to be in some sense "the Word of God" and incapable of serious error. Better educated or more liberal Christians complain that Rationalists are out-of-date when they criticize the Old Testament on the lines of Paine or Ingersoll. One might justly retort, since most of the work of Biblical criticism has been performed by clerics, that the Rationalist is merely attempting to bring up the immense half-educated majority of Church-members to the level of enlightenment of the Modernist and of most (perhaps) of the Congregationalists--a very small body. It is a fact of primary importance that it is the official teaching of the Church of Rome, accepted by all Catholics but a very slender minority (who dare not express their views) and of the Methodist and other Churches, and the belief of the majority even in the Baptist and Anglican Churches, that criticism has not substantially affected the traditional conception of the Old Testament; and the concern of the more liberal that we should concentrate on their position is mainly due to a consciousness that people are most apt to leave the Churches when their eyes are opened....

When we set aside the artificial pretexts of Jews and Christians who accept the modern critical view of the Old Testament--the claims that it is a unique literature or contains a superior moral or religious literature, by which they alleviate their surrender of the old view--their position does not [does?] invite criticism, and their plea that Rationalism ought to concern itself with them instead of "flogging a dead horse" (the

PAGE 919

very live and aggressive four-fifths of the members of the Churches) is foolish. They agree that the stories of the first few chapters of Genesis [see] are, directly or indirectly, of Babylonian origin, and that the narrative, to the end of the Hexateuch, is fabulous or is confirmed by independent testimony only on a few points which have no importance. They agree that the so-called "historical books" (Judges, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles) which follow are so full of anachronism [compare #11, 252], contradictions, and absurdities, that we cannot do-day say what documents or traditions the Ezraist "redactors" had before them and what was their value. They agree that the prophets did not prophesy, that the earlier prophets have a "half-savage morality," and that the later [prophets] evince ["show", etc.] a contact with civilization; and they recognize the very different values and dates of "the Wisdom Books ["generally reckoned to include Job, Prov., Eccles., Ecclus. and Wisdom" (Ox Dict. C.C.)]." Except that they are rarely candid about the intensely phallic and polytheistic cults of the Hebrews before the Captivity [Babylonian captivity, 6th century B.C.E.], and are still too prone, in spite of the overwhelming evidence, to claim superiority to contemporary culture, the Rationalist, whom they like to represent as "extreme" or "outdated," does not substantially differ from them. His aim is to instruct the majority, duped by their cheap literature, in this sound view of the Old Testament; nor will any Rationalist of experience take any notice of the quite untruthful plea that it disturbs or saddens these folk to be disillusioned. Scores of works for this purpose are recommended in various articles of this Encyclopaedia [see Archaeology; Babel; Babylonian Captivity; Bible; Canon; Chaldaeans; Creation; Daniel; David; Decalogue; Deluge; Deuteronomy; Dispersal; Ecclesiastes; Eden; Elohist; Ezra; Fall; Genesis; Gilgamesh; Golden Age; Hammurabi; Hebrews; Hymns; Isaiah; Jahveh; Jews; Joshua; Justice; Messiah; Monotheism; Moses; Priestly Code; Prophets; Song of Solomon], but these works are hardly suitable for people of little leisure or education. A few plain but substantial small manuals--on the borrowed stories of Genesis, the fabulous narrative from Abraham to Joshua, the true early history of the Hebrews as now suggested by Jewish scholars, the Ezraist forgery, and the contemporary moral and intellectual level in each age as compared with the Hebrew--would be of considerable educational value.' [417-419] [End of entry].

PAGE 920

from: The .-Rated Bible An Irreverent Survey of Sex in the Scriptures, Ben Edward Akerley, Pb. 1998 (1985).

"Lewd! Bizarre! Pornographic!

That's right, friends. We're talking about the Holy Bible, a book filled with incest, rape, adultery, exhibitionism, debauchery, abortion, prostitution, drugs, bestiality, castration, scatology--all the nasty stuff!

First published to national religious nausea in 1985, this expanded edition of The .-Rated Bible excerpts and explains many of the weird, dirty stories found in the Holy Writ. Now you know!

A Plastered Lot Knocks Up Both His Daughters
David Offers 200 Foreskins Taken From Philistine Corpses as a Dowry
Ammon Rapes His Sister Tamar
Jehovah Commands Hosea to Marry a Whore
Noah Gets Drunk and Exposes Himself

Author Ben Edward Akerley is a retired professor of the University of Southern California, lectures on Judeo-Christian anti-sexual ethic, and plays organ on Sunday." [back cover].

'One voice raised loud and clear against the Bible was that of America's great patriot-by-adoption, Thomas Paine (1737--1809). As a child, he was exposed to the Bible and its teachings and, at the age of seven or eight, heard a sermon on redemption in which there were frequent allusions to the Holy Scriptures. Paine recounts how he left the church and went outside into the churchyard garden completely revolted by what he had just heard. In The Age of Reason, published in 1784 ["Part I in 1794", "Part II in 1795" (Freethought in the United States, Brown and Stein, 1978)], Paine's recollection of this event was still vivid and undiminished with a lapse of nearly forty years. After describing his traumatic childhood experience, Paine concludes: "I moreover believe that any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child cannot be a true system."

Here is autobiographical evidence of at least one person who, as a child, felt that the Bible had a corrupting influence. Yet, judging by the very names of many anti-vice societies which are deeply rooted in the Bible, it is the protection of the morality of youth that is their primary concern.

Paine waxes even more vitriolic, again in The Age of Reason, and he pens an excoriating indictment of the Bible:

PAGE 921

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.

A famous contemporary [and friend] of Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809] who also was personally contemptuous of the Bible was Thomas Jefferson (1743--1862). It is a little-known but fascinating historical fact that he was so disgruntled with the New Testament in particular that he wrote his own "Jefferson's Bible" in which he radically altered most of the four Gospels dealing with the life of Christ. He rearranged them to suit his own interpretation of the events and entitled the work The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth. Since Jefferson had once written in a letter to Charles Clay: "I not only write nothing on religion, but rarely permit myself to speak on it," his Jefferson's Bible was presumably never intended for publication. Nevertheless, since Jefferson's death, it has been published in several editions and it makes engagingly interesting reading.

Another fearless critic of the Bible was D.M. Bennett [1818 - 1882], a freethought publisher whose journal The Truth Seeker came under fire during the heyday of the most fanatic anti-obscenity crusader America has ever produced, Anthony Comstock (1844--1915)....' [xv-xvi].

'The most famous and most outspoken American critic of the Bible was the great agnostic orator, Robert Green Ingersoll (1833--1899). At the zenith of his career, he once offered one thousand dollars in cash to any minister in the city of Cleveland who would agree to read to his congregation, from his pulpit on a Sunday morning, passages from the Bible to be selected by the agnostic. The offer was never accepted, and this in a day when one thousand dollars was a considerable sum.

Ingersoll once wrote in a letter to a friend:

Nobody holds in greater contempt than I the writers, publishers, or dealers in obscene literature. One of my objections to the Bible is that it contains hundreds of grossly obscene passages not fit to be read by any decent man; thousands of passages, in my judgment, calculated to corrupt the minds of youth. I hope the time will come when the good sense of the American people will demand a bible with all obscene passages left out.

Ingersoll's eloquent anti-theological lectures "Some Mistakes of Moses" and "About the Holy Bible" are masterpieces of oratorical defamation of the Scriptures.

Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens 1835 - 1910], a great admirer of Robert Ingersoll [Robert Ingersoll was a "great admirer" of Thomas Paine], once had occasion to take a jab at the Bible....' [xvii-xviii].

PAGE 922

"In my [Ben Edward Akerley] criticism of the fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible, I wish to focus only on sex. Anyone who doubts that there is much sex in the Bible need only read Genesis to find in just that opening chapter explicit and graphic examples of several varieties of incest, rape, adultery, indecent exposure, pimping, homosexual assault, bigamy, ritualistic circumcision, attempted seduction of a youth by an older woman, prostitution, baby-making by proxy, use of both an aphrodisiac and a fertility drug, fornication with devils, women punished with sterility, husband-swapping, masturbation/withdrawal and a fertility contest with four contestants.

I insist that if the Bible is inspired, the passages relating to sex should reveal great enlightenment and exceptionally advanced knowledge and understanding. What we encounter instead are superstition, fear, primitive thinking and gross misunderstanding of even the most basic sexual functions.

Several other books have been written about Biblical sexual practices, but they have always been authored by apologists who rationalize anything and everything to conform to their theological orthodoxy. My approach is different because I do not consider the Bible as sacrosanct or above even objective criticism.

Once we disabuse ourselves of the notion that the Bible is inspired, we see it in a new light and delving into its sexual mysteries becomes real fun....

Modern versions of the Bible are selling today as never before, but even in these easy-to-read and understand translations, many passages which refer specifically to sex are either glossed over or left without any explanation. In The .-Rated Bible, I leave nothing to the imagination since I am providing a comprehensive anthology of sex as we find it in the Scriptures." [xix].

'RIGHT-WING MAINSTAYS the Family Research Council (FRC), the Christian Coalition, and Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (ATH) have urged their members to cease using the King James Bible, first published in 1611 by James I of England. It appears that scholars of the period are in agreement that King James might better have been named Queen Mary. "James had a number of 'favorites,' such as the Earl of Somerset and the Duke of Buckingham, with whom he undoubtedly had sexual relationships," said biographer David Harris Wilson....

News item in Out magazine June 1998' [xxii].

[See (King James the First (torturer-murderer)): #24, 528-530; Appendix II, 696-698].

PAGE 923

[See (Bible): #3, 70 (Jean Meslier, c. 1729 French); #1, 2, 5, 10-12 (Thomas Paine, Joseph McCabe, et al.); #3, 77 (Max Nordau, 1885 English); #4, 122 (Homer Smith, 1952); etc.].

[See (All the Obscenities in the Bible): #5, 163; #7, 185].

[See (Queen Jane's Version, The Holy Bible for ...... Only): Addition #6, 884-886].

from 885: "Antiquated words and expressions spoken by 'holy men' or written down in 'holy books'--though no longer used in everyday conversation, except by priests, shamans, rabbis, or preachers--take on a mystical mumbo-jumbo, hocus-pocus, abracadabra quality that mesmerizes people into believing that there must be truth in such ANCIENT BLATHERING."

[See (The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy): Appendix #1, 675-676].

PAGE 924