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Subjects (abstracts): A Short History of the Bible; Christianity: The Sources of its Teaching and Symbolism; The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy; The History of Torture Throughout the Ages; The Militant Agnostic

from: A Short History of the Bible, Being A Popular Account of the Formation and Development of the Canon, Bronson C. Keeler, The Book Tree [P.O. Box 724, Escondido, CA 92033], 1997 (1881). [a Classic!].
[See: #25, 548-559 (same source)].

'Previous to the year 170 A.D., wherever the early Christian Fathers used the phrase "SCRIPTURE" or "IT IS WRITTEN," they always meant the OLD TESTAMENT.7 The name "NEW TESTAMENT" was first given to the collection by Tertullian [c. 160 -220],8 about the year 210 A.D., and the collection then lacked many books which are in it now. The word CANON, as signifying a list of authoritative Scriptures, was not used till Origen's [Origen c. 185 - c. 254] time.1 The word "CANONICAL" was used first in the decree of the Council of Laodicea,2 about 363 A.D. The word "BIBLE" was first applied to the books collectively by St. Chrysostom in the fifth century.3 And as in the case of the Old Testament, so in that of the New, copyists felt at liberty to change the language TO SUIT THEIR OWN IDEAS by taking out texts and inserting new ones[.]4 Prof. Davidson [Samuel Davidson 1806 - 1898] says: ....' [44-45].

'The first Old Testament list by a Christian writer, was by Melito, bishop of Sardis, about 175 A.D. He wrote to Onesimus:

"As you...were desirous of having an exact statement of the Old Testament, how many in number, and in what order the books were written, I have endeavored to perform this... When, therefore, I went to the East and came as far as the place where these things were proclaimed and done, I accurately ascertained the books of the Old Testament, and send them to thee here below. The names are as follows: Of Moses, five books, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; Joshua, Judges, Ruth; four of Kings, (1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings), two of Chronicles, the Psalms of David; Proverbs of Solomon, which is also called Wisdom, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Job; of Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah; of the twelve prophets, one book; Daniel, Ezekiel, Ezra, Nehemiah."1

There are three things to which I wish to call the reader's attention:
  1. So late as the year 175 A.D., a bishop in the Christian Church could not say what books were in the Old Testament till he had traveled in the East and made inquiries.
  2. In giving the list "accurately," he omits Esther and Lamentations.
  3. He was so little versed in the sacred writings that he did not know that Proverbs and the Wisdom of Solomon were two entirely different books.' [84].

PAGE 666

"While THERE IS NO TRACE OF OUR FOUR GOSPELS PREVIOUS TO THE YEAR 150 A.D. [see Supernatural Religion, Watts 1902 (1874-1877), 433-434: Matthew, Mark, John, no trace before c. 180; "Luke" [?], before 140], and while we do not know who it was after that time that wrote or compiled them, or exactly when they did it...." [29]. [repeat, from #25, 550]. [See: #3, 52, 257.; #4, 113, 471.].

"Irenaeus [c. 130 - c. 200] was the real founder of the New Testament canon. His date is from 180 to 200 A.D. Of our Gospels Luke was probably compiled or written about 170 A.D., Mark about 175 A.D., John about 178 A.D., and Matthew about 180 A.D. [Interesting! Not supported. Fanciful!] Irenaeus began to use them within a very short time after their origin, though it was probably not till the year 200 A.D. that he knew of them all. He used them exclusively, and his canon consisted of the Four Gospels, Acts, thirteen Epistles of Paul, (rejecting Hebrews), First John, and Revelation.1 In an appendix he placed, Prof. Davidson [Samuel Davidson 1806 -1898] thinks, as of less authority, Second John, First Peter and the Shepherd of Hermas.1 The Epistle of the Hebrews, Jude, James, Second Peter and Third John he ignored.1 As the reader sees, this is the first time we meet with anything like a recognition of our prese nt canon; and Irenaeus rejected several books which we now call divine." [84-85].

'But why should there be just four Gospels? Why not five, or six, or a dozen? Irenaeus, who was, as I have said, the real founder of the canon, and who spent his life in endeavoring to establish the Catholic Church and the Bible, determined this matter, and the church has followed him. Whatever reason he gives, therefore, for the present number of Gospels, will be the reason why we have that number. Fortunately, he is very explicit on this point, and we know exactly what decided him. He [Irenaeus] said that there were four quarters of the earth, and four universal winds, and that animals were four-legged, or four-formed, and therefore there should be four Gospels. His words are: ....

"It is not possible that the gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four quarters of the earth in which we live, and four universal winds, while the church is scattered throughout all the world, and the 'pillar and ground' of the church is the gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh....

Therefore the gospels are in accord with these things.... For the living creatures are quadriform and the gospel is quadriform.... These things being so, all who destroy the form of the gospel are vain, unlearned, and also audacious; those (I mean) who represent the aspects of the gospel as being either more in number than as aforesaid, or, on the other hand, fewer."1'

PAGE 667

'His ["Jerome (420 A.D.)"] reasons for excluding the apocryphal books of the Old Testament were:

"Both the Syriac and Chaldaic languages testify that there are twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet.... Moreover, there are five double letters, ..whence it is also thought by many that there are five double books, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra with Nehemiah, and Jeremiah with Lamentations. In the same way, therefore, as there are twenty-two elements by which we write all Hebrew which we speak, so there are twenty-two volumes, by which letters, as it were, the beginner is instructed in the doctrine of God."1

['1Intro. Samuel and Kings. The desire to see a mystery in numbers finds a curious illustration in the confession of Metrophanes Critopulus, where it is said that the Bible should contain "thirty-three books in all, equal in number to the years of our Savior's life." [Westcott, Canon, 435 (407) note.]']

This superstition was entertained by many of the Hebrew and early Christian theologians. Jerome's method of reckoning was as follows: The Pentateuch was counted five books; Judges and Ruth, which were originally one book, the two being called Judges, were considered one; the ten books cited above were called five "double" books; Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, twelve in all, were called one, according to the ancient custom; and each of the remaining books, one. The present age does not approve of such a means of establishing a theory, but to the theological intellect, endowed with "spiritual insight," nothing is absurd. This is the reason why the Protestant Bible has to-day fewer books than the Catholic. [The following 2 sentences, repeat, from 600] The two men most influential in determining the canon were Augustine [354 - 430] and Jerome [c . 342 - 420].2 The Catholic Church has followed the former, and Luther [1483 - 1546] and the reformers followed the latter.' [107-108].

PAGE 668

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from: Symbolism in Relation to Religion or Christianity: The Sources of Its Teaching and Symbolism, James Ballantyne Hannay [1855 - 1931], Kennikat, 1971 (1913).

"The Hebrew Bible was the book on which Christianity rested for its foundation; but it will be necessary before examining the history of its sources to have a clear idea of what is meant by Christianity, and who represents it." [8].

'There were always rationalists and critics who demanded on what authority or proof the church professed to teach its assertions about the creation of the world, life, and death, and the existence of a soul in man, and who questioned the truth of such assertions, as we see even in Holy Writ in the book of "Ecclesiastes," III., 20-22, and our own Bishops (see pp. 206 and 338). These critics easily pointed out contradictions and discrepancies in the "revelations" of all religions.' [8].

"By founding their religion on the Bible, which is full of direct contradictions and irreconcilable accounts of the same incidents (there are over 100,000 errors in the Bible), the Protestant Churches are forced along a line of development which is gradually eliminating the supernatural from their religion." [9].

"The Roman Catholic Church having always had scholars in its ranks whose dangerous discoveries were, by careful discipline, kept for the most part for the church's private information, took a much wiser course from the purely ecclesiastical (by no means moral) point of view. It declared that the true religion was that enunciated by the church alone (Protestants driven to this also, pp. 341-342), and claimed that it had been handed down by direct personal transmission from Jesus through his personal Apostles. It kept its prayers and church practices in the hand of the priests, and expressed them in a foreign tongue and allowed no private judgment or criticism." [9].

'It may be held that as the Roman Catholic Church does not proclaim the Bible as the foundation of its authority, and as Protestant Churches allow private judgment, i.e. criticism, the Bible has no real place as a standard in either religion, but is only used and interpreted and applied as the church directs. But the authority for the enforcement of their tenets is said to be derived from some supernatural or inspired source by direct revelation, and as the Bible is the only "inspired" book to which they refer, it is plainly the real source of their supposed authority....

[quoting J. Eslin Carpenter] "The Bible is Divine," it is urged, "because the church attests it."

"But how is the church empowered to give this attestation? Because its chief teachers are guided by the spirit [more hocus-pocus, presumption, Imperialism, fiction, knavery, skullduggery, attempted intellectual slavery, etc.]. But where is the proof of such guidance? It is found in the very record itself. Scripture and tradition thus in turn support each other. It is not usual for the foundations and the roof alternately to exchange places and serve in each capacity in the same building."

PAGE 669

In short—the Bible is true because the Church says so. The Church dogma is true because it is founded on the Bible.

"Thus a vicious circle of false proof is set up."

The Bible is certified by the Church, and the Church by the Bible, like two unknown men [con artists!] giving each other certificates of character (see p. 272). THERE IS NO "PROOF" IN SUCH ASSERTIONS.' [10].

'When scientific men, in the early years of the Nineteenth Century began to explore a little and to state their deductions, such as those of Lyell, the progress of knowledge was embarrassed by the resistance of theologians over the account of creation in Genesis.

This resistance was greatly weakened by the discoveries of George Smith, that the so-called inspired account of creation personally communicated to Moses by the Jewish god, was, after all, only an uninspired pagan fable, copied into the Jewish books from Babylon.

"When, therefore, the history of the globe began to be made plain,and the theory of evolution offered an explanation of the rise of intelligent life and the growth of man's social institutions, his arts, morals, and faiths, a new view of the history of the earth was forced on thoughtful people.

"From British-India and China came collections of sacred books rivalling the Bible in antiquity and rising to quite as high conceptions as those attributed to Moses and Jesus, and often in the same words and form" (Carpenter).

Discoveries in Egypt and Mesopotamia threw light on the origin of many of the Christian beliefs, showing that the Christian Scriptures were not communicated by their god to their prophets, but were derived from earlier religions.

Thus was created the science of comparative study of religions.' [10-11].

"Superstition seems to be inherent in humanity and is perhaps at present increasing, owing to the decline in the belief in dogmatic religions." [14].

PAGE 670

'The sacred books of India, China, and other great nations were taken up with the affairs of heaven, or gods, while the Jewish Bible is entirely absorbed with the affairs of earth.

The Jewish writers had most of the great thinkers of antiquity on their side. Cicero had no belief in a soul living after death, and Horace said, "Death is the end." The writer of Ecclesiastes held the same opinion, Chronicles [Ecclesiastes] iii., 19-21.

The most philosophic passages of the Old Testament, which uphold this view, are also the most beautiful and poetic although sad in tone and darkened with thoughts of the inevitable tragedy of the extinction of life by death.

Other texts which occur to me are Job i. 21, Job xiv. 2-14, Psalm cxv. 17, Eccl. ix. 5-6, Eccl. xii. 5, but as Dr. Sayce so well says, the Old Testament law has not a whisper of the doctrine of life beyond the grave and the contrary is everywhere implied.

Having briefly glanced at the mode of production of this book, let us now see how it has been handed down to us. There is no authentic copy of the Old Testament earlier than 916 A.D. According to Herzog, a high authority, the oldest MSS. of the Hebrew Bible dates from 1009—quite close to the Norman Conquest of England.

The Westminster revisers, who created the revised version, followed a text called the "Masoretic text," which was built upon the Samaritan Bible and the quasi Septuagint version, and they followed this "as it has come down in MSS. of no great antiquitythe earliest being 916 A.D." (or according to Herzog, 1009 A.D.)' [143].


[complex. research to corroborate, etc. (see: Ox. Dict. C.C., etc.)]

The Masoretic version was produced by the Masoretes, who were Rabbis of Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, and they finally established a canon and text of Scripture abut 550-650 A.D., from a collection of critical and marginal notes to the Old Testament made by Jewish writers. It is written in Aramaic, and was printed at Venice in 1525 A.D. The Masoretes were the first who divided the books into chapters, and the sections of the books into verses.

The word Masoretes means "possessors of the tradition." They were trained scholars, but relied on tradition." [143].

["Masoretic Version": touted by Christian "scholars" (apologists!)].

PAGE 671

'Hebrew began to be "pointed" by the early Masoretes, like our shorthand, with dots and lines to indicate vowels, but the pronunciation was quite indefinite and only known by tradition. Such "points" began to be used about 370 A.D., and the Masorah was finally established about 650 A.D. The variation in the spelling of names in the Greek Septuagint shows there were great differences of opinion as to the pronunciation of names, and it is clear from the visible blunders of the Masoretes that the original meaning had ceased to be intelligible even to these trained scholars.

Scholarship was then at a low ebb and there were no dictionaries, so that these Rabbis amended the text according to their faith or opinion and entirely on oral traditions.

THEY WORKED, NOT ON THE HEBREW BIBLE, BUT ON THE SAMARITAN VERSION. The division into verses and chapters was quite arbitrary, as we see in Genesis ii., and the Samaritans divided the Bible differently from ours, Genesis having 150 chapters in their version.

Dr. Ginsburg in his (the generally accepted) edition of the Masorah, relies on that of Jacob Ben Chayim, 1524 A.D.


The known Septuagint has no clear relation to its great prototype, as it is only composed from the Greek text of the great unicals of the 4th and 5th centuries; and the Vatican and Alexandrian MSS. have considerable differences.

The Greek text is as imperfect as the Hebrew, and was also often altered for religious purposes, while mistranslations, which make no sense frequently occur, with other corruptions. ("Faiths of Man," I., p. 304, Forlong.)' [144].

'Origen [c. 185 - c. 254] wrote that "there is a great difference in the copies (of the Scriptures) either from the carelessness of scribes or the rash and mischievous corrections of the text by others, or from the additions and omissions made by others at their own discretion.["]

Unfortunately he does exactly the same, uses "by the help of God other versions as our criterion...and where doubtful by the discordance of copies forming a judgement from other versions." Canon Selwyn's translation and italics.

Origen knew that the people must have some standard Bible, and finding that all known versions have been tampered with, "framed his Tetrapla as the best he can find," and proceeds to ["] TAMPER WITH THE TAMPERED," as Forlong graphically puts it.' [149].


THE BIBLE IS A GROWTH OF CENTURIES, DERIVED FROM FABLES AND ORAL TRADITION, which were themselves always in process of change; its form was decided, and its cosmogony written, by Babylonian priests.' [150].

PAGE 672

'The Holy Book from fragmentary copies, memory, and tradition. Besides these sources of error, there was always an evolution going on by alterations of passages, which could no longer be understood, to make them readable; as well as an absolute change of words, which referred to ancient superstitions, and especially words relating to Phallic observances, so that the obscene rites, which were quite moral and natural to an early people, might not shock and degrade those whose ideas had been changed by the advance of civilization. The English translators hid these Phallic practices by wilful mistranslation, so that the Bible is not that of the Hebrews alone, but also of the Westminster translators." ....

THE BIBLE WAS MIS-TRANSLATED BY KING JAMES' COMMISSION TO SUIT MODERN IDEAS, and is therefore not the "Word of God," but the "word of King James's translators" (pp. 158-159).' [150-151].

"The Gospels are not, in any sense, history, like the Old Testament.

They deal with a set of ideas far removed from those of the Old Testament, and quite foreign to Jerusalem.

THE OLD TESTAMENT IS A CRUDE HISTORY TELLING WHAT THE WRITERS BELIEVED had actually occurred, and letting us know in plain language what the people worshipped. It told us much about the intimate life of the people, their courtings, marriages, schemes, ambitions, deceptions, lies, jealousies, thefts, and murders.

THE NEW TESTAMENT, on the other hand, HAS NO RELATION TO REAL LIFE NOR TO TRUE HISTORY [see 676]; it is, from beginning to end, a skeleton created to form the frame of a dogma [propaganda], written to establish a reformed religion, and IT [NEW TESTAMENT] CREATES only such facts as are wanted,—miracles and sayings of Jesus, or Buddha.

We are never told what were the practices of the common people, and all references to Phallism are carefully avoided. Yet we know that it was rampant in all lands, and that the Eucharistic feasts of the Christians were simply the Saturnalia or Liberalia of all nations (p. 316)." [315].

PAGE 673

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from: #1, 6-7:

47."An Ephesian Tale, ascribed to a certain Xenophon with the by-name Ephesius ('of Ephesus'). Whether the author's name is a pseudonym alluding to the classical historian, who influenced both Chariton and 'the Ephesian', or whether the by-name has perhaps been given to him simply because the novel begins and ends in Ephesus (figure 7), are matters of speculation, and there are in the text itself no firm dating criteria. Generally one is inclined to put the novel in the second century AD, the great century of this genre [Fiction!]."

48."Our next extract reminds us that the novel [Ephesian Tale, "second century AD"] takes place in the same Near East, governed by the Romans, as the New Testament".

50."the Alexander Romance next to the New Testament the most successful work of Greek literature, bar none, if success is to be judged by diffusion."

51.["Religious Fiction"] "Christian leaders of the second and third centuries, whether they held the standard or the schismatic type of belief, were alive to the values of fiction in religion. Not only was fiction useful in propagating their views of truth [sic! (propaganda!)] but it was valuable as a substitute for the romances current among Greeks and Romans."

_____ _____ _____

from: #17, 360-361:

"The beginning of the MASSIVE PROLIFERATION OF FICTION can be assigned pretty clearly to the reign of the emperor Nero [(37 - 68) reign: 54 - 68], in the MIDDLE OF THE FIRST CENTURY OF THE CHRISTIAN ERA."

'Among the most conspicuous features of the fiction of the Roman empire, not only the prose romances but the mythological confections as well, is resurrection after death in the original body....


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The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy, C. Dennis McKinsey, Prometheus, 1995. [received, and first seen, 8/18/98] ["Must See"! (includes exposés of skullduggeries, of Christian apologists)].

'Realizing that the subject of biblical reliability is quite uncertain, Harold Lindsell in The Battle for the Bible tries one last, desperate gambit. On page 37 he states, "It must be remembered too that those who scoff at the inerrancy of the autographs [autograph: "an original handwritten manuscript"], because they can't be produced for examination, have no better case arguing for the errancy of the text they cannot produce either. At the worst it is a standoff."

In other words, when all else fails, Lindsell has decided that although he cannot prove that they are inerrant, opponents cannot prove they have errors. Talk about a PATHETIC approach! As we have so often said in regard to the existence of God, THE BURDEN OF PROOF LIES ON HIM WHO ALLEGES. It is the Achilles heel of the entire religious/superstitious movement. It is the lethal injection from all supernatural/superstitious thought. The importance of this comment lies in the fact that I am not saying God does not exist; the exponents of rational thought are only asking God's proponents to prove he does. After all, the latter ["GOD'S PROPONENTS"] ARE THE ONES WHO BROUGHT UP THE IDEA.' [26].

"Biblicists constantly talk about Christians surrendering their lives willingly in the cause of Jesus Christ. Yet there is no biblical text to that effect and precious little outside the Bible. The willingness of Christians to become martyrs in the cause of Jesus Christ is based far more on Christian mythology than sound history. I can remember attending a meeting several years ago sponsored by a Seventh-Day Adventist church. After enduring a rather protracted discussion of the martyrdom of Peter, Paul, 'and the Apostles, I had the temerity to ask where that could be found in Scripture. An air of consternation swept through the room followed by some rather feeble attempts to provide evidence of Christian self-sacrifice. When I asked for some biblical confirmation of their long-held, but never examined, beliefs, nothing of substance was forthcoming. Not one person in the audience had really questioned or examined some thing they had been told all their lives. Examples such as this clearly demonstrate the importance of indoctrination at an early age [remember (attributed to Catholics): "give me a child before 7..."]. If people are given information prior to their ability to critically examine what they hear, a mass of nonsense can slip through the door that would otherwise never be given a second thought." [49].

"Conclusion [to Chapter 2] We have now not only completed an extensive analysis of the pamphlet Jesus Christ is the Answer? but simultaneously illuminated twenty-two of the best questions one could ever employ in the struggle against Christianity in general and Jesus in particular. Every rational person should find them to be A WELCOME ADDITION TO HIS OR HER ANTISUPERSTITION PORTFOLIO." [52].

PAGE 675

"What's Needed?"

"Opposition, counterattacks, and censorship are to be expected. CENSORSHIP is especially insidious and surreptitious. After appearing on the radio I'm often told a return engagement is a distinct possibility, but it rarely occurs because of opposition from clergymen, station management, sponsors, hosts, callers, and other influential figures. I've had people admit as much during subsequent contacts. FREE SPEECH IS NOT AS PROMINENT AS WE ARE LED TO BELIEVE and this becomes increasingly obvious as one's presentation becomes more powerful, more accurate, more poignant, more cogent, and more relevant. Although I'm sometimes brought on the media as an interesting diversion or sideshow, those responsible quickly learn they have a major problem on their hands. When all is said and done, however, conditions are by no means hopeless, because a broad spectrum of believers in varying stages of evolution and open-mindedness are seeking answers." [500].


If you really delve into the Bible you will see that it is a maze, a mass, a veritable labyrinth of contradictions, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, poor mathematics, bad science, erroneous geography, false prophecies, immoral comments, degenerate heroes, and a multitude of other problems too numerous to mention. It may be somebody's word but it certainly isn't the product of a perfect, divine being." [501].

"A Personal Note

On a more personal note, people have often asked me why I would devote so much energy to analyzing the Bible. Why do you spend so much time reading a book you don't believe in anyway? they ask. Why do you waste your time? If the Book is not what it claims to be, then why do you care what it says? If people want to believe the Bible is divinely inspired, then why not leave them alone?

The answer to these questions is relatively simple. I spend so much time exposing the Bible because it needs to be done....

The Bible adversely affects millions of people in thousands of ways and it is crucial that both the Book's inadequacies and its negative teachings be exposed. Suffice to say, THE BIBLE IS A CONTRADICTORY, DECEPTIVE, INACCURATE, SUPERSTITIOUS, DEBILITATING, HALLUCINATORY CONGLOMERATION OF MYTHOLOGY AND FOLKLORE THAT KEEPS ITS ADHERENTS IN A DETACHED STUPOR MASQUERADING AS A VALID DEPICTION OF REALITY. Time is never wasted when it is devoted to altering the false opinions and beliefs of millions of my fellow citizens WHO vote and otherwise INFLUENCE MY ENVIRONMENT." [501].

PAGE 676

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from: The History of Torture Throughout the Ages, George Ryley Scott, Illustrated, Torchstream/Ravin, 1954 (1940).

'Chapter IX

The Progress of Torture

The Attitude of the Church

The pagan gods were merciless, revengeful, unjust and cruel. Yahveh, the God of Israel, according to the wealth of testimony provided in the Old Testament, for sheer cruelty, terrorism and frightfulness, surpassed belief. Those who displeased Him He massacred in thousands; He smote the Israelites "with a very great plague";1 He approved the punishment of derelictions of duty and petty offences by such tortures as stoning to death and BURNING ALIVE.

It was not unnatural that the ecclesiastical authorities, in punishing offences committed by the people, should be inspired by the example of the god they worshipped and feared....' [52].

'The Christian Approach

The Hebrew policy of retribution, as we have already noted, was adopted by the early Christians. THE HUMANITARIANISM OF JESUS, as expressed so repeatedly in the Gospels, has conveyed an impression that Christianity was mightily concerned with the negation of all cruelty. The belief IS FALLACIOUS. THE CONCEPT OF VENGEANCE LIVED. We read in St. Matthew: "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

To a very big extent the Christian Church adopted the Roman law of torture in regard to treason, applying it to heresy, which they construed to be "treason against God."1 It also adopted THE PRINCIPLE OF CONFISCATION OF ALL PROPERTY OWNED BY THOSE GUILTY OF HERESY;2 a policy peculiarly dangerous to society as a whole in view of THE CHURCH'S PERPETUAL NEED OF FUNDS and the opportunities afforded by such a measure for securing such funds.' [53].


PAGE 677

"Chapter X

The Holy Inquisition

The Birth and Development of the Holy Office

The Inquisition was a court of justice or tribunal founded by the Roman Catholic Church for the express purpose of suppressing and eradicating heresy. The war on heresy antedated the Inquisition by a thousand years, and, as we have seen, heretics were hounded without mercy from the time when Christianity was born. In the year of grace 382 an Act was passed by which anyone convicted of heresy was to be executed. Then, with Christianity firmly established, for some centuries the persecution of the heretics by the Church itself was not so blatant, so thorough or so merciless. Anyone guilty of the crime, for it continued to rank as a crime, was excommunicated, and in most cases the Church was content to let it go at that. Sometimes, probably as a result of sporadic campaigns, heretics were much more severely handled, and even on occasion condemned to death.

As time went on, however, and as a result of leniency, and other factors, various heretical cults gained strength, and even threatened to become rivals of Christianity itself, the ecclesiastical leaders came to the conclusion that sterner measures were essential....The result was the beginning of a war of extermination." [64].

'The first Inquisition was established at Toulouse in 1233. Five years later another court was opened at Aragon. The movement spread rapidly. In Germany, in Holland, in Spain, in Portugal, in France, courts were established and proceeded merrily in the war, deliberate and concerted, against heresy in all its forms.

These courts, in many cases, were magnificent structures. Often they were palaces. The Inquisition of Portugal, for instance, contained four courts, each of which was some forty feet square. The chief inquisitor had his own set of apartments, which were spacious and elegant. Around the huge courtyard were a number of magnificent salons and chambers, which the royal family, members of the court, and a number of other dignitaries, having an auto da fé, occupied for the purpose of observing the executions.

What a contrast these magnificent chambers and apartments presented to the dungeons or cells which housed the prisoners. There were some three hundred of these dungeons; dark, damp and small. Torres de Castilla [D. Alfonso Torres de Castilla: author, Historia de las Persecuciones], in describing the Portuguese Inquisition of Goa, says the places allocated to the prisoners were the

"dirtiest, darkest and most horrible that can possibly be, into which the rays of the sun never penetrate...."' [65].

PAGE 678

"The inquisitors, gorged with their inhumanity, developed a degree of callousness rarely rivalled in the annals of civilization. So wide was the interpretation of the term heresy that the free expression of opinion in all Catholic countries, for the five hundred years of the Inquisition's tyranny, may be said to have been inexistent. It was bad enough as regards spoken opinion; it was a hundred times worse in relation to the written word. Every book that came from the press was scrutinized minutely with the express object of finding some passage which might be interpreted as being against the principles or interests of the Catholic faith. THE CENSORSHIP OF BOOKS took three forms:

(I) complete condemnation and suppression;

(2) the expunging of certain objectionable passages or parts; and

(3) the correction of sentences or the deletion of specific words. A list of the various books condemned upon any of these three heads was printed every year, after which anyone found to be in the possession of a volume coming under section (I) or an unexpurgated or uncorrected copy of a volume coming under section (2) or (3) was deemed guilty of a crime and liable to serve punishment. The author and the publisher of any such book often spent the remainder of their lives in the dungeons of the Inquisition." [74].

"In a considerable number of instances charges were deliberately faked against individuals who, in some way or other, had incurred the enmity of the inquisitors or of high and powerful authorities, ecclesiastical or otherwise, connected with the Church....

The very fact of having a charge brought against one, and of being summoned to the Inquisition, was sufficient to strike abject terror into the bravest man or woman. For few who entered the doors of that hall of torment emerged whole in mind and body. If they escaped with their life, they were, with rare exceptions, MAIMED, PHYSICALLY OR MENTALLY, FOR EVER." [74].

'The allegation that death was due to an accident or to illness was a favourite method employed by the inquisitors when the torture inflicted had proved fatal and the case was one where it might conceivably be difficult to justify such extreme cruelty. Thus at Valladolid, in 1623, one Diego Enríquez, had an "accident" and died in hospital.1' [83].

PAGE 679

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from: The Militant Agnostic, E. Haldeman-Julius [1889 - 1951], Prometheus, 1995.

"The Freethought Library

Featuring Selections from the Haldeman-Julius Collection

Over a period of thirty years, Publisher E. Haldeman-Julius made available to millions of readers inexpensive paperback editions of classics of literature and freethought. Prometheus is proud to be reissuing selected numbers of the renowned Blue Books, which provided a broad forum for the discussion of rationalist issues." ["1"].


"In the 1940s Haldeman-Julius infuriated the Catholic Church by publishing a series of articles linking the Vatican with the Axis powers during World War II. An exposé of the FBI roused the ire of J. Edgar Hoover and led to an IRS INVESTIGATION. While awaiting an appeal on a charge of federal tax evasion, Haldeman-Julius drowned [?] in the swimming pool of his Girard estate on July 31, 1951."

["4"] [End of Introduction].

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"The Challenge of Print

We are being done to death by a sanctimonious crew of HYPOCRITES, petty BUSY-BODIES, blind CENSORS, IGNORANT THEOLOGIANS, CHRISTIAN MYTHAGOGUES and CHURCH TYRANTS craving power over our minds, our lives and our souls. The world has never known anything like them. THEY SIT ON THEIR PIOUS BOTTOMS AND LEGISLATE US TO HELL AND DAMNATION. THEY C0NSPIRE ENDLESSLY, with vast fortunes to draw upon, TO KILL THE SPIRIT OF TOLERATION—that same toleration which, as Voltaire said, has never been the cause of civil war. THEY HAVE SOAKED THE EARTH WITH BLOOD IN THE NAME OF RELIGION, and now, when they see that some beings have managed to escape from their strangle-hold, THEY PLOT AND COUNTER-PLOT in an attempt TO STRENGTHEN THEIR POWER AND CRUSH THOSE WHO DARE TO DISBELIEVE IN THEIR IGNORANT THEOLOGY AND MYTHOLOGICAL CLAP-TRAP. These croaking ministerial shysters use every weapon they can lay their hands on—the weapon of the law, the weapon of social ostracism, the weapon of abuse and calumny, the weapon of threat and slander. But, granting these slant-headed and bigoted yawpers have power, they have not enough to rule all of us, if we but dare to challenge their bluff. After all, they are a minority, and a rather small minority at that—a minority highly and efficiently organized, with control over many institutions, but they can be sent back to their caves if only those who do not swallow their poison will have the courage to say so plainly and bluntly.

I believe that America is waiting for a voice to be raised against their usurpations. I believe that a leader, speaking the truth as he sees it, can loosen the grips of these modern Torquemadas. The theocrats have gained a great deal of power, but not enough to drive us all into their intellectual goose-step. We can force them to keep their hands off, to let people live in peace, to go to church or go home to a good book, to believe as they please, to accept or reject openly without fear—we can compel them to keep their places and mouth their nonsense among themselves, if only a sufficient number of intelligent, thinking beings break their silence and let it be known that they do not intend to be forced to accept medieval and exploded dogmas. The printed word can be used effectively in this great war on superstition and ecclesiasticism. Publications—whether they be books or periodicals—can bring the people to realize that they do not have to obey these GOD-INTOXICATED, RABBLE-MONGERING CULTURAL PIRATES. They are using the press, the pulpit, the universities and the schools in their campaign to fit us all into their strait-jackets. We can use the printing press just as effectively, and, I believe, wriggle out of their grasp and then turn on them with solid, honest blows. The world is waiting for a campaign on religious grafters. Let us hurry it on." [18-19] [End of Selection].

"Sham, the Man Jesus, and other Things"

"OF COURSE JESUS MAY NEVER HAVE LIVED; his life may never have been truthfully recorded; he may be innocent of the wild conduct and speech attributed to him by his spiritual biographers: the modern psychologist can only say that, if Jesus was the kind of man he is portrayed to have been, he was a crazy man." [77-78].

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"Upton Sinclair and Jesus"

"A NUMBER OF SCHOLARS (and lately Upton's friend Georg Brandes) PUT JESUS IN THE CLASS OF PURELY MYTHICAL FIGURES, and the fact is that we know nothing really about him." [94].

"Tired Idealists"

'....And his ["the average man"] idealism may be said to be based partly on his realism. Realistically, he feels that he amounts to little. Idealistically, by associating himself with God and race and country, he increases his self-esteem.' [127]. [End of Selection].

Comment: then, "the average man", uses the associations ["with God and race and country"], to forge a hammer, to pound on everyone, and everything.

[The Malleus Maleficarum ("The Witches Hammer"), is a classic, heinous, etc., example].

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