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  1    H.L. Mencken on Religion 2567-2581
  2    Churches 2582-2584
  3    10 Commandments (Decalogue) 2585-2590
  4    Truth  2591-2591
  5    Leaving Christianity 2592-2592
  6    What Goal Now?, New Light on the New Testament 2593-2616
  7    A Lawyer Looks at the Bible 2617-2631
  8    Outspoken Essays The White Man and His Rivals 2632-2636
  9    2000 Years of Disbelief  2637-2638
10    men and apes  2639-2639
11    The Illustrated Naked Ape  2640-2642
12    Manwatching, A Field Guide to Human Behavior  2643-2647
13    The Crowd 2648-2648
14    Madness of Crowds  2648-2648
15    Victims of Groupthink  2648-2648
16    God's Defenders  2649-2656
17    Biography of the Gods 2657-2665


from: H.L. Mencken on Religion [which I spotted on a bookshelf, UCSD, 6/7/2003, while giving a family a Library tour], edited by S.T. Joshi, Prometheus, 2002.


HENRY LOUIS MENCKEN (1880-1956) was one of the last American intellectuals to speak out forcefully, pungently, and satirically against the follies of religion. In the course of a long career as journalist, essayist, and social commentator, Mencken relentlessly—but always with a liberal dose of wit, persiflage, and dry humour—exposed the multitudinous absurdities presented to his gaze by a country in which Fundamentalists, Christian Scientists, theosophists, and religionists of every other creed and sect cavorted before a populace too foolish and credulous to detect the logical fallacies and contradictions to known fact that every religion offers in such abundance. Himself a "theological moron"—one who was "absolutely devoid of what is called religious feeling"—he could gaze with insouciance and bland objectivity at the circus-show offered by American religion.' [11].

'Mencken's uncannily prescient article "Venture into Therapeutics" (1923)—in which he urged African Americans to convert en masse to Islam for the purpose of battling the Ku Klux Klan and, perhaps, of initiating a general race war in the South—appeared in the final year of his editorship of the Smart Set.' [13].

"It might seem that Mencken's views on religion were codified in his substantial Treatise on the Gods (1930), but this monograph, lengthy as it is, proves to be a rather dry anthropological account of the evolution of religion—specifically the Christian religion....

Mencken seems to have made a tactical mistake in attempting to write a sober and pseudoscholarly tome on the subject, especially as he decided to eschew the piquant humor that makes his newspaper and magazine work so distinctive. His anthropology is now a bit antiquated, and the work as a whole cannot stand up to intellectual scrutiny. Accordingly, I have not included any of it [Treatise on the Gods (see 2568, 2569)] in the present compilation.

In the final fifteen or so years of his career—prior to the stroke that incapacitated him in 1949 [stroke 11/23/48 (see 1009)]—Mencken wrote chiefly, and almost exclusively, on politics." [14].


Excursus: I (Lino Sanchez) e-mailed the editor, S.T. Joshi, thanked him, and, criticized his omission of Treatise on the Gods (1930) [see above] [no response], which contains some of my favorite expressions (3 examples, follow (see 2568)) [I began my research, c. 1992, in Treatise on the Gods, 1930]:



[1] [from: Appendix X, 827] "The devotee [of religion] somehow feels that he has lifted himself up—that he has established connections with a power that is superior, not only quantitatively but also qualitatively, to those of this world. His ego glows under the thought; he has demonstrated his significance in the cosmic scheme; he has put himself clearly


ABOVE THE BRUTES, BRAYING THERE IN THE MEADOW against a fate they cannot comprehend and in protest to powers they cannot even imagine."


[2] [from: Appendix X, 828] 'THE ONLY REALLY SAFE SKEPTIC IS OF THE THIRD GENERATION [see Article #4, 121]: his grandfather must have taken the Devil's shilling as a bachelor. THE REST, HOWEVER LOFTY THEIR PRETENSIONS, ARE ALL MORE OR LESS UNRELIABLE: no sensible man would trust them in the face of a Japanese invasion or after forty days and forty nights of rain. "The TRADITION of all the generations of the past," said Karl Marx, "weighs down like an Alp upon the brain of the living." Especially in the field of religion, where the weight of ancient credulities is reinforced by the even greater weight of decorum and sentimentality.




[3] [from: Appendix X, 829] "Thus he faces death the inexorable—not, perhaps, with complete serenity, but at least with dignity, calm, a brave spirit. If he has not proved positively that religion is not true, then he has certainly proved that it is not necessary. Men may live decently without it and they may die courageously without it. But not, of course, all men. The capacity for that proud imperturbability is rare in the race—maybe as rare as the capacity for honour. For the rest there must be faith, as there must be morals. It is their fate to live absurdly, flogged by categorical imperatives of their own shallow imagining, and to die insanely,




[from: Addition 16, 1010, Treatise on the Gods, 1946]


"....The story of Jesus is the sempiternal ["eternal", etc.] Cinderella story [from mistreated to heroine], lifted to cosmic dimensions. Beside it the best that you will find in the sacred literature of Moslem and Brahman, Parsee and Buddhist, seems flat, stale and unprofitable.

Moreover, it has the power, like all truly GREAT MYTHS, of throwing off lesser ones, apparently in an endless stream. The innumerable legends of the saints, many of them of great beauty, are mainly no more than variations of one detail or another of THE FABLE OF JESUS [the first edition, 1930, has: "THE CHRIST STORY"], and so are many of the STORIES THAT CHRISTIANITY HAS CONCOCTED out of what were, in the first place, pagan materials—for example, that of SANTA CLAUS."


I guessed: Treatise on the Gods (1930) was denigrated, to avoid the Mencken book, with the "best" "anti-semitic" remarks. Addition 16, 1008, has the anti-semitic remarks referred to (1930 edition); 1009 has the 1946 edition, edited anti-semitic remarks.


The Spring 2003 catalog, from Robb Marks, (Freethought, etc.) Bookseller [e-mail:], states: "Treatise on the Gods by H.L. Mencken, first published 1930 [this offer is the 1946 edition]. Examines religion everywhere, doctrines, dogmas, sacred texts, heresies and ceremonies. Mencken ranges far and wide but returns to the subject that most provokes him: Christianity. HLM considered Treatise on the Gods to be his best book, others consider it the best statement on agnosticism since Thomas H. Huxley. 318 pp p/b - $17."


End of Excursus

'In Mencken's view, "RELIGION BELONGS TO A VERY EARLY STAGE OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, and...its rapid decay in the world since the Reformation is evidence of genuine progress" ("The Ascent of Man"). The ideas of progress and civilization were important to Mencken. As he wrote in the late essay "What I Believe" (1930), "...MEN BECOME CIVILIZED NOT IN PROPORTION TO THEIR WILLINGNESS TO BELIEVE, BUT IN PROPORTION TO THEIR READINESS TO DOUBT." It is a sentiment exactly echoed by Bertrand Russell: "William James used to preach the 'will to believe.' for my part, I should wish to preach the 'will to doubt.'"2 And yet, Mencken believed that the "genuine progress" he sought affected only a tiny proportion of the human race; as he wrote in "Homo Neandertalensis [also, neanderthalensis]," one of his opening salvos in the Scopes trial:


[H.L. Mencken] It is common to assume that human progress affects everyone—that even the dullest man, in these bright days, knows more than any man of, say, the Eighteenth Century, and is far more civilized. This assumption is quite erroneous. The men of the educated minority, no doubt, know more than their predecessors, and of some of them, perhaps, it may be said that they are more civilized—though I should not like to be put to giving names—but




        But if this is the case, what is to be done? Is there any use even in speaking out against religion, given that it is not likely to affect the ignorant masses in any way? There is, because it is that "educated minority" who will carry on the banner of

civilization, and whose opinions are therefore worth influencing.


This latter point is of particular importance. Religionists have long claimed that their opinions, merely because they are religious, are sacrosanct; in prior ages they were able to enforce this view by the notably effective means of burning heretics and infidels at the stake, but the notion persists today. The feeble apologist Stephen L. Carter is constantly demanding "respect" for religious views without establishing that those views are deserving of respect. His stance was refuted more than seventy years ago by Mencken: "There is, in fact, nothing about religious opinions that entitles them to any more respect than other opinions. On the contrary, they tend to be noticeably silly.

...No; there is nothing notably dignified about religious ideas. They run, rather, to a peculiarly puerile and tedious kind of nonsense."' [15-16].


"Will another commentator, with a prominence analogous to what Mencken achieved in the period from around 1915 to 1930, even duplicate his boldness, his forthrightness, his pungency in battling orthodox religion? The prospects do not seem favorable. In contrast to Mencken's own strictures, religions have even more forcefully asserted the bad taste of criticizing their tenets, as if it were a sign of religious bigotry to point out the manifest errors and implausibilities that are fossilized in every sacred scripture ever devised by human beings. The various religious sects in this country have merely become a succession of political parties, each striving to gain a numerical majority of adherents without any regard to the truth or falsity of their dogmas; or worse, they have become hawkers of their wares, advertising their faith exactly as if it were just another commodity in our consumeristic culture. An H.L. Mencken of the twenty-first century would be a refreshing tonic against the buffooneries of American religion, but the chances of his emergence do not seem at the moment to be good.

—S.T. Joshi" [23]. [End of Introduction].



'The Beliefs of an Iconoclast

The Schooling of a Theologian

In the days of my earliest memories my father had an acquaintance named Mr. Garrigues, a highly respectable gentleman of French origin who operated a men's hat store in West Baltimore, not far from our home on Hollins Street. This hat store of his, though it drove an excellent trade, occupied him only on weekdays; on Sundays he threw himself, rather curiously for a man of his race, into superintending the Sunday school of a little Methodist chapel on nearby Wilkins Avenue....

The one thing I really remember about that Sunday school is the agreeable heartiness of the singing. It is, of course, the thing that all children enjoy most in Sunday schools, for there they are urged to whoop their loudest in praise of God, and that license is an immense relief from the shushing they are always hearing at home....

My favorite then, as now, was "Are You Ready for the Judgment Day?," a gay and ever rollicking tune with a saving hint of brimstone in the words. I am told by Paul Patterson, of the Baltimore Sunpapers, who got his vocal training in the Abraham Lincoln Belt of Inner Illinois, that the No. 1 hymn there in the eighties was "Shower of Blessing," but in Baltimore, though we sang it, it was far down the list. We grouped it, in fact, with such dolce but unexhilirating things as "The Sweet By-and-By" and "God Be with You Till We Meet Again"—pretty stuff, to be sure, but sadly lacking in bite and zowie. The runner-up to "Are You Ready?" was "I Went Down the Rock to Hide My Face," another hymn with a very lively swing to it, and after it came "Stand Up! Stand Up for Jesus!," "Draw Me Nearer, Nearer, Blessed Lord," "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" and "Revive Us Again," which last was cabbaged [stolen] by the I.W.W.s3 years later and converted into proletarian ribaldry. We also learned the more somber classics—"Nearer, My God, to Thee," "Onward, Christian Soldiers," "From Greenland's Icy Mountains," "Rock of Ages," "There Is a Green Hill Far Away," and so on—but they were not sung often and my brother and I had little fancy for them. It was not until I transferred to another Sunday school that I came to know such lugubrious horrors as "There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood." The Methodists avoided everything of that kind. They surely did not neglect Hell in their preaching, but when they lifted up their voices in song they liked to pretend that they were booked to escape it.

My early preference for "Are Your Ready?" was no doubt supported by the fact that it was also a favorite among the Aframerican evangelists who practiced in the alley behind Hollins Street, alarming and shaking down the resident sinners....

It was the dream of every alley evangelist to be called to a regular church, and sometimes that dream was realized. The call consisted in renting a room in a tumbledown house, putting in a couple of rows of benches, and finding two or three pious colored women to feed the pastor and pay the rent. There was always a sign outside giving the name of the establishment, the name of the pastor (invariably


followed by D.D. [probably one of the inspirations for acquiring (buying) my D.D.]), and the order of services. These signs followed an invariable pattern, with all of the "s"s backward, and plenty of small "a"s, "e"s and "r"s scattered throughout the capitals. Such signs are still plentiful in the poorer colored neighborhoods of Baltimore, and the old church names survive—the Watch Your Step Baptist Temple

[c. 1991, I adapted this, and have amusingly used: "The Watch Your Step Baptist Church"], the Sweet Violet Church of God, the No More Booze Pentecostal Tabernacle, and so on....


[reference to the preceding ("The Schooling of a Theologian"): I [Lino Sanchez] attended Sunday School, etc., at the Grace Baptist Church, Modesto, California. Like Mencken—I liked the singing. At an evening service (in the basement, for the young people), the "big kids" (which included my sister and one brother), offered me a nickel (more?) to sing: "Shall We Gather at the Railroad" (I had a train set, and, trains were prominent in Modesto). I, for my size (9 or 10 years?), belted it! The "big kids" would, surprisingly to me, giggle, and enjoy themselves—overmuch. Years later, I discovered the song was: "Shall We Gather at the River".

Many years later, as the fates would have it, the Grace Baptist Church, was purchased by the Reverend (now, Bishop) Kirby J. Hemsley, pastor of the well known: Universal Life Church. My oldest brother, who was ordained and married at the Grace Baptist Church—was very upset; he recovered. When Reverend Hemsley was finally devastated by the IRS, my other brother bought 3 of "Hemsley's" "60" houses—forced sales by the IRS.].

[New Yorker, July 8, 1939]' [25, 26, 27, 29, 31].

"Nietzsche [1844 - 1900] on Religion" [51] [see 2496]

'....His [Nietzsche's] objection to Christianity is simply that it is mushy, preposterous, unhealthy, insincere, enervating. It lays its chief stress, not upon the qualities of vigorous and efficient men, but upon the qualities of the weak and parasitical. True enough, the vast majority of men belong to the latter class: they have very little enterprise and very little courage. For these Christianity is good enough. It soothes them and heartens them; it apologizes for their vegetable existence; it fills them with an agreeable sense of virtue. But it holds out nothing to the men of the ruling minority; it is always in direct conflict with their vigor and enterprise; it seeks incessantly to weaken and destroy them. In consequence, Nietzsche urged them to abandon it. For such men he proposed a new morality—in his own phrase, a "transvaluation of values"—with strength as its highest good and renunciation as its chiefest evil. They waste themselves to-day by pulling against the ethical stream. How much faster they would go if the current were with them! But as I have said—and it cannot be repeated too often—Nietzsche by no means proposed a general repeal of the Christian ordinances. He saw that they met the needs of the majority of men, that only a small minority could hope to survive without them. In the theories and faiths of this majority he had little interest. He was content to have them believe whatever was most agreeable to them. His attention was fixed upon the minority.


He [Nietzsche] was a prophet of aristocracy. He planned to strike the shackles from the masters of the world.... [ellipses by Mencken]

[Smart Set, March 1915]' [51, 54-55].

"The Anthropomorphic Delusion

....The only practical effect of having a soul is that it fills man with anthropomorphic and anthropocentric vanities—in brief, with the cocky superstitions that make him disgusting. He struts and plumes himself because he has this soul—and overlooks the fact that it doesn't work. Thus he is the supreme imbecile of creation, the reductio ad absurdum of animated nature. He is like a cow who believed that she could jump over the moon, and ordered her whole life upon that theory [see Article #2, 19, 108. (cow)]. He is like a bullfrog boasting eternally of fighting lions, and flying over the Matterhorn, and swimming the Hellespont. And yet this is the poor brute we are asked to venerate as a gem in the forehead of the cosmos! This is the worm we are asked to defend as liege lord ["Entitled to the loyalty and services of vassals or subjects" (] of the earth—with all its millions of braver, nobler, decenter quadrupeds—its superb lions, its lithe and gallant leopards, its imperial elephants, its honest dogs, its courageous rats! This is the insect ["man"] we are besought, at infinite trouble, labor and expense, to reproduce!

[Smart Set, August 1919]" [55, 57].

'Infants in Hell

Children and Puritanism, by Sandford Fleming. $2.50. 236 pp. New Haven: The Yale University Press.

Dr. Fleming is professor of church history and religious education at the Berkeley Baptist Divinity School in California, and the present work is an abbreviation of a dissertation written "in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of doctor of philosophy" at the Yale Graduate School, apparently under the Faculty of Divinity. It is thus reasonable to assume that he is a man of pious habit and friendly to the Christian revelation, and that assumption is supported by various somewhat mellifluous passages in his exposition. Nevertheless, he has managed to write one of the most appalling indictments of the New England Puritans ever got upon paper, and it is made only the more damning by its total lack of indignation. Not once does he pause to cuss them out. Instead, he simply sets forth the evidence that he has gathered, and most of it comes out of their own mouths.

WHAT LAY AT THE BOTTOM OF THEIR SAVAGERY, OF COURSE, WAS THEIR IDIOTIC BELIEF IN CALVINISM—BEYOND QUESTION THE MOST BRUTAL AND BARBARIC THEOLOGY EVER SUBSCRIBED TO BY MORTAL MAN, whether in or out of the African bush. Its essence was a florid and obscene concept of Hell, and the believer was kept in a lather of fear by his uncertainty whether he would escape it or land in it. There was really no way for him to find out which way he was headed, for


he was taught that the bloody Jahveh who operated it chose candidates in a completely capricious and irrational fashion. The best of men might be damned to an eternity of fire, and the worst might be saved by the divine grace. A little child, cut short in its first innocent squawks, might begin at once a trillion years of boiling in brimstone, and an ancient sinner, with ten wives and forty concubines behind him, might be greeted post mortem by the massed brass bands of Heaven, and ushered to a soft and permanent seat on the right hand of its despotic Proprietor. This was the Calvinist doctrine of election, the center of the Puritan system....

[American Mercury, August 1933]' [111, 112, 114].

"Fundamentalists and Evangelicals" [115]

"Fundamentalism: Divine and Secular [note: this is the first time I have encountered the concept: Secular Fundamentalism. Excellent!]

Those optimists who plan to put down fundamentalism by educating Homo boobiens are on all fours, it seems to me, with that simpleton of fable who sought to lift himself over a stile by pulling at his boot straps. Homo boobiens is a fundamentalist for the precise reason that he is uneducable. That is to say, he is quite unable to grasp the complex evidences upon which the civilized minority bases its heresies, and so he seeks refuge in the sublime simplicities of revelation. Is Genesis incredible? Does it go counter to the known facts? Perhaps. But do not forget to add that it is divinely simple—that even a Tennessee judge can understand it....

The central difficulty lies in the fact that all of the sciences have made such great progress during the last century that they have got quite beyond the reach of the average man. There was a time when this was not so. Even down to the end of the eighteenth century any man of ordinary intelligence could understand every scientific concept in good repute, even in astronomy. In medicine the thing was quite simple. Read the memoirs and biographies of the period—for example, Boswell's [James Boswell 1740 - 1795] Johnson [Samuel (Dr.) Johnson 1709 - 1784]—and you will find every sick man disputing with his doctor as an equal, and often driving the good man into an uncomfortable corner.

But with the dawn of the nineteenth century all that began to change. Chemistry slowly took on the character of an exact science; physics, stimulated by the discovery of electricity, made vast and rapid progress; geology began to stand on its own legs; biology was born. More important, the sciences began to interchange facts and ideas; it was no longer possible for a zoölogist, say, to be ignorant of chemistry, or for a pathologist to neglect physics. There followed an era of synthesis, culminating dramatically in Darwin's [Charles Robert Darwin 1809 - 1882] publication of The Origin of Species [1859], and science was reborn....


Meanwhile, MAN in general has lagged far behind. He remains, indeed, precisely where he was when all this tremendous advance began. HIS MIND IS SIMPLE; HIS TALENTS ARE FEW. In the days when the sciences themselves were simple, he could be made, perhaps, to understand their elements—in other words, he was educable. But today the thing is quite beyond him. No conceivable training could convert an ice wagon driver into a pathologist or a hillbilly into a mathematical physicist. But the former may become a chiropractor and the latter may become a rustic judge. And there we are.

The fundamental fallacy is the assumption that all this is not true—that Homo boobiens is still capable of grasping anything and everything that goes on in the world. It is an imbecility, and hence dear to pedagogues. They are responsible, at bottom, for fundamentalism. Half-educated themselves, they have sought to crowd an impossible education upon their victims. The young moron in the village high school must be taught geology, paleontology, biology [see 2650]—all completely incomprehensible to him, and both incomprehensible and sinister to his pa. No wonder his pa sounds the fire alarm, rushes to the village tabernacle and appeals for succor to the Lord Jehovah!

[Chicago Sunday Tribune, September 20, 1925]" [120, 122, 123].


"Sister Aimée [(Sister) Aimée Semple McPherson 1890 - 1944]


This rev. sister in God, I confess, greatly disappointed me. Arriving in Los Angeles out of the dreadful deserts of Arizona and New Mexico, I naturally made tracks to hear and see the town's most distinguished citizen. Her basilica turned out to be a great distance from my hotel, far up a high hill and in the midst of a third-rate neighborhood. It was a cool and sunshiny Sunday afternoon, the place was packed, and the whisper had gone around that Aimée was heated up by the effort to jail her, and would give a gaudy show. But all I found myself gaping at, after half an hour, was an orthodox Methodist revival, with a few trimmings borrowed from the Baptists and United Brethren—in brief, precisely the sort of thing that goes on in the shabby suburbs and dark back streets of Baltimore, three hundred nights of every year....

What brought this commonplace and transparent mountebank to her present high estate, with thousands crowding her tabernacle daily and money flowing in upon her from whole regiments of eager dupes? The answer, it seems to me, is as plain as mud. For years she had been wandering about the West, first as a sideshow barker, then as a faith healer, and finally as a cow-town evangelist. One day, inspired by God, she decided to try her fortune in Los Angeles. Instantly she was a roaring success. And why? For the plain reason that there were more morons collected in Los Angeles than in any other town on earth—because it was a pasture foreordained for evangelists, and she was the first comer to give it anything low enough for its taste and comprehension.

The osteopaths, chiropractors and other such quacks had long marked and occupied it. It swarmed with swamis, spiritualists, Christian Scientists, crystal-gazers and the allied necromancers. It offered brilliant pickings for real estate speculators, oil-stock brokers, wire-tappers and so on. But the town pastors were not up to its opportunities. They ranged from melancholy High Church Episcopalians, laboriously trying to interest retired Iowa alfalfa kings in ritualism, down to struggling Methodists and Baptists, as earnestly seeking to inflame the wives of the same monarchs with the crimes of the Pope. All this was over the heads of the trade. The Iowans [I was born in Iowa, and as an infant, baptized in a Lutheran church] longed for something that they could get their teeth into. They wanted magic and noise. They wanted an excuse to whoop.

Then came Aimée....

[Baltimore Evening Sun, December 13, 1926]" [128, 130, 131].


"The Missionaries


If, as seems likely, the emerging Chinese [see 2632-2636] celebrate the end of their Freiheitskrieg ["war of liberation"] by heaving all the Christian missionaries into the sea, the sacrifice will put a brilliant, if somewhat shocking finish to one or the most grotesque episodes of the modern era.6 The effort to convert China, indeed, seems likely to go down into history as the least successful enterprise ever undertaken by civilized man. Its failure, after centuries of effort, actually exceeds that of Prohibition. Since the Nestorians first entered the country, far back in the Sixth Century, not a hundred Chinamen of any dignity or influence have ever succumbed to the missionaries' zeal, and among the gabble the number of converts has never gone beyond one-half of one per cent of the total population.

Here I allow everything to missionary enthusiasm, which only too often takes the form of palpable exaggeration. Every Chinese boy or girl who goes to a mission school is counted as a professing Christian, and even as a fanatic, though everyone knows that nine-tenths of them, once they have got what they want, revert to their ancestral theology. Among the unlettered coolies (apparently a Chinese distortion of the word coolidges) the percentage of bogus converts is probably still higher. Every time there is a famine, and soup-houses are opened by the missionaries, hundreds of thousands of the starving begin a feverish study of the International Sunday-School Lessons, but as soon as the grocery-stores resume traffic they forget all that they have learned and are pagans once more.

This has happened over and over again. In poor districts, I daresay, the same Chinaman has been converted four or five times, and during different famines has been Romanist, Hard-shell Baptist, High Church Episcopalian, Missouri Synod Lutheran and Seventh Day Adventist....

Man will never be wholly civilized until he ceases to intrude his snout into the shy, mysterious, highly private recess of his brother's soul.

[Baltimore Evening Sun, April 4, 1927]" [132, 135].

"Religion and Science

Cousin Jocko" [225]

"Whether man is a glorified grandson of the ape, or the ape is a degenerate man, or the two are descendents [also, descendants] of a common ancestor—this problem, perhaps, will never be solved. Nor is it important. The important thing is that ape and man are biological cousins and as closely related as duck and canary bird. The anatomical and physiological differences between them are mainly trivial; the likenesses are innumerable and profound. Shave a gorilla and it would be almost impossible, at twenty paces, to distinguish him from a heavyweight champion of the world. SKIN A CHIMPANZEE, AND IT WOULD TAKE AN AUTOPSY TO PROVE HE WAS NOT A THEOLOGIAN." [227].


"What these investigations demonstrate, in brief, is that all the higher apes actually think, and that their thinking process differs very little, if at all, from that of the lower orders of man. A gorilla, true enough, cannot write poetry, and neither can it grasp such a concept as that of Americanization or that of relativity, but is fully equal to all of thinking that a subway guard, a bass drummer, or a chiropractor has to do, and if it could only speak English it could be made into a competent train conductor or congressman in thirty days.

In some ways, indeed, it is measurably more clever than many men. It cannot be fooled as easily; it does not waste so much time doing useless things. If it desires, for example, to get a banana hung out of reach, it proceeds to the business with a singleness of purpose and a fertility of resource that, in a traffic policeman, would seem almost pathological. THERE ARE NO FUNDAMENTALISTS AMONG THE [OTHER] PRIMATES. THEY BELIEVE NOTHING THAT IS NOT DEMONSTRABLE. When they confront a fact they recognize it instantly, and turn it to their use with admirable readiness. There are liars among them, but no idealists.

[Chicago Sunday Tribune, November 8, 1925]" [228].

"Fides ante Intellectum [my translation: Faith before Understanding (intellect)]

A SCIENTIFIC MAN AND THE BIBLE, by Howard A. Kelly. Philadelphia: The Sunday-School Times Company.

The author of this astounding book is emeritus professor of gynecological surgery at the Johns Hopkins, and one of the most celebrated surgeons now alive in the United States....

"What I'd like to read is a scientific review, by a scientific psychologist—if any exists—of A Scientific Man and the Bible. By what route do otherwise sane men come to believe such palpable nonsense? How is it possible for a human brain to be divided into two insulated halves, one functioning normally, naturally and even brilliantly, and the other capable only of such ghastly balderdash which issues from the minds of Baptist evangelists? Such balderdash [see Article #2, 19, 108.] takes various forms, but it is at its worst when it is religious. Why should this be so? What is there in religion that completely flabbergasts the wits of those who believe in it? I see no logical necessity for that flabbergasting. RELIGION, AFTER ALL, IS NOTHING BUT AN HYPOTHESIS FRAMED TO ACCOUNT FOR WHAT IS EVIDENTIALLY UNACCOUNTED FOR. In other fields such hypotheses are common, and yet they do no apparent damage to those who incline to them. But in the religious field they quickly rush the believer to the intellectual Bad Lands. He not only becomes anaesthetic to objective fact; he becomes a violent enemy of objective fact. It annoys and irritates him. He sweeps it away as something somehow evil....

[American Mercury, February 1926]" [230-231].



IS IT GOD'S WORD? [1926] by Joseph Wheless. New York: The Wheless Publishers.

This is one of the soundest and most interesting books that I have read in months. The author, who is an associate editor of the American Bar Association Journal, was trained as a lawyer, but that training, somewhat surprisingly, seems to have left his logical powers unimpaired, and with them his capacity for differentiating between facts and mere appearances. There is no hint of the usual evasions and obfuscations of the advocate in his pages...." [231]. [See: Article #3, 89, 287. (Wheless)].

"IT IS THE NATURAL TENDENCY OF THE IGNORANT TO BELIEVE WHAT IS NOT TRUE. In order to overcome that tendency it is not sufficient to exhibit the true; it is also necessary to expose and denounce the false. To admit that the false has any standing in court, that it ought to be handled gently because millions of morons cherish it and thousands of quacks make their livings propagating it—to admit this, as the more fatuous of the reconcilers of science and religion inevitably do, is to abandon a just cause to its enemies, cravenly and without excuse.

It is, of course, quite true that there is a region in which science and religion do not conflict. That is the region of the unknowable...." [233].

"I commend Mr. Wheless' [Joseph Wheless] book to all who are interested in the battle. I am reasonably familiar, for a layman, with the literature of Biblical criticism. It has amused me for many years to follow the combat between the so-called higher critics and the more orthodox theologians—a combat marked by immense emissions of red-hot gases and malicious animal magnetism on both sides. But in all the books I have read I know of none that marshals the case against the historical soundness and divine inspiration of Holy Writ more effectively than this one. It simply knocks the Fundamentalists' case to pieces, and with it the cases of many theologians who hold themselves far above such canaille [riffraff (lower classes)]. How any man, after reading it, can still believe that the two Testaments were dictated by Omnipotence is more than I am able, on this lovely Spring morning, to imagine.

[American Mercury, May 1926]" [235].

"Another Inquisition Fails" [235]

"THERE IS SOMETHING IN THE HUMAN MIND, AT ALL TIMES AND EVERYWHERE, THAT RESISTS THE INTRUSION OF NEW IDEAS, and the sounder they are the more violently it resists them. Who was it that discovered that two and two make four? Probably some Egyptian or Phoenician. Whoever he was, you may be sure that the clergy of the time damned him to hell for blasphemy, and that the politicians accused him of taking Greek or Babylonian gold. Mississippi is a bit archaic, but still thoroughly human. Its resistance to the idea of organic evolution is a bit belated, and hence seems amusing to the people of more enlightened places, but it doesn't differ a particle from the resistance of our own forefathers to the idea of bathing....

[Chicago Sunday Tribune, April 3, 1927]" [238].


"Treason in the Tabernacle

ONE OF THE CHEERING SIGNS OF THE TIMES IS THE APPEARANCE OF AN ANTI-CLERICAL MOVEMENT AMONG AMERICANS OF DARK COMPLEXION. It was a long time coming, but here it is at last. Ever since the days of their earliest sojourn on these Christian shores the colored people have been under the hooves of ecclesiastical racketeers most of them densely ignorant and many of them dishonest. These racketeers were turned loose by the slave-owners, and with malice prepense. It was considered to be prudent to purge the slaves of their savage theology, and to implant in them instead the gentler ideas of Christianity, especially its resignationism. But the planters of tidewater did not want to see mobs of blacks crowding into their own very tidy and charming Episcopal churches, so they hired Baptist and Methodist evangelists to operate in the quarters. Such evangelists were as plentiful in the balmy South in those days as they are in these, and as ready to work hard for their pork-chops. As a result of their wizardries practically all of the slaves were converted to some sort of Calvinism, and their descendants remain a generally pious and Hell-fearing people to this day. There are many American Negroes who seldom if ever go to church, but downright atheists are rare among them, and even the worst of them, coming to the gallows, commonly ask for spiritual consolation. I have seen many Negroes hanged, but I can't recall one who was not attended by a pastor, whether Methodist or Baptist." [283-284].

"The typical black pastor, like the typical white labor leader, is only too willing to trade the dignity and security of his people for his own advantage. Whenever election day rolls 'round he is ready to be seen, and not infrequently his palm is crossed with something far more caressing than silver. This venality, of course, is also common among the lower orders of white evangelical clerics, but among the dark brethren it seems to extend to higher levels [now,?], and some of the most gaudy pastors (and even bishops) are very active politicians, and notoriously eager for political jobs. To satisfy that itch they have to deliver their customers on election day, and the safest and easiest way to deliver them is to keep them ignorant." [285].

"The old simple trust in the eventual justice and benevolence of the whites is passing out, and in place of it there is arising a conviction that the American Negroes, if they are ever to be delivered from their burdens, must manage the deliverance themselves. One hears less and less talk about coöperation with white philanthropists and more and more about coöperation between black and black. It is a good sign, and as a sincere friend of the colored people I view it with great satisfaction. In many obvious ways they are superior to the whites against whom they are commonly pitted. They are not only enormously decenter; they are also considerably shrewder." [285].

[American Mercury, June 1931]" [285].

[See: Addition 25, 1179: 'Interesting! The book ("King James Version of the Bible") of their ["African American culture"] enslavers! (see 1142, 1143-1144; etc.)'].


"Science and Theology" [242]

"All of the common arguments for survival after death may be reduced to four.

The first is logical and is to the effect that it would be impossible to imagine God creating so noble a beast as man, and then letting him die after a few unpleasant years on earth.

The answer is simple: I can imagine it, and so can many other men. Moreover, there is no reason to believe that God regards man as noble: on the contrary, all the available theological testimony runs the other way.

The second argument is that a belief in immortality is universal in mankind, and that its very universality is ample proof of its truth.

The answer is (a) that many men actually dissent, some of them in a very violent and ribald manner, and (b) that even if all men said aye it would prove nothing, for all men once said aye to the existence of witches.

The third argument is that the dead, speaking through the mouths of gifted mediums, frequently communicate with the living, and must thus be alive themselves.

Unfortunately, the evidence for this is so dubious that it takes a special kind of mind to credit it, and that kind of mind is far from persuasive. [see 2147-2157]

The fourth and final argument is based frankly on revelation: the soul is immortal because God hath said it is.

I confess that this last argument seems to me to be rather more respectable than any of the others: it at least makes no silly attempt to lug in the methods of science to prove a proposition in theology....

Failing light, I go on believing dismally that when the bells ring and the cannon are fired, and people go rushing about frantic with grief, and my [Henry Louis Mencken] mortal clay is stuffed for the National Museum at Washington, it will be the veritable end of the noble and lovely creature once answering to the name of Henry.

[American Mercury, September 1932]" [246, 247]. [See: 2182-2206].

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[e-mail] Tue, 30 Sep 2003 [Hong Kong]

[Dear Lino]

'In France, the State has taken over the cathedrals and most of the old church buildings, due to the Church having defaulted financially.

This results in French government officials actually chasing devout and pious old ladies and intrigued tourists out of the buildings when they close at Government Determined Times!

"But, Monsieur, our Transept is closed!"

"But, Monsieur, our Cathedral Hours are posted at City Hall for all to see!"

It's hysterically funny, because, still, in the US, the Government has a strict hands off policy with respect to Churches...

Yours, Art [Friend of 12 years. Professor. Early years, intense Catholic. French translator in Zaire, 8 years]'

_____ _____ _____

[e-mail] Tue, 30 Sep 2003 [Hong Kong]

[Dear Lino]

'Yes! This [see above] literally happened to me when I was in Toulouse.

If Parishioners schedule a religious event (say a Baptism) in advance, then the Government opens the Church for the pre-scheduled, pre-approved rites. Otherwise, the buildings are open only during government hours.

The Church, however, has a special arrangement with the Gov't in France for SUNDAYS when the buildings become "religious" again, but for Sunday Morning only.

Yours, Art'

Comment (Lino Sanchez): for "20" years I have said to friends and others: "I look forward to the day when the Vatican is a museum; with Jews as docents, and Cardinals as gardeners."

_____ _____ _____


[e-mail] Thu, 2 Oct 2003 [San Diego]


Australia desperately seeking dominatrix [dominatrixes] as Rugby World Cup arrives 1 hour, 59 minutes ago

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australian brothels are stocking up on whips and karaoke machines in anticipation of a boom in business generated by this month's Rugby World Cup, a sex industry spokesman revealed.

With more than 100,000 overseas visitors expected for the tournament, Eros Association coordinator Robbie Swan said business was set to increase by at least 30 percent.

Swan said rugby union's English public school heritage meant demand for bondage and domination services was likely to skyrocket.

"It's not something that's very big in Australia, so a lot of the brothels are looking at lining up dominatrix [dominatrixes] for the tournament," he told AFP.

"If you look at where the game came from, the English public schools, they're very much into correction and all that.

"You'll get your beer-drinking yobbos but at the higher end of the scale rugby union has a clientele that you just don't get with rugby league--the judges, lawyers and big decision makers who are into all this," he said.

Swan said the Sydney Olympics in 2000 resulted in prostitution increasing by up to 50 percent and major events were always good for business.


He said brothels were legal in Australia and about 16,000 sex workers plied their trade in up to 1,000 brothels.

"A lot of overseas visitors will be coming from countries where brothels are illegal so we think they'll find it refreshing here," he said. "They won't be looking over their shoulder the whole time."

Swan said the variety of nationalities in Australia for the world cup presented a unique challenge to the sex industry.

"It's funny how you can see what peccadillos people have from their nationality," he said.


Meanwhile, an Australian sex therapist has warned women their sex lives are likely to suffer during the rugby world cup.

Sydney-based counsellor Jo-Anne Baker advised women to accept their fate as rugby widows, warning they could permanently damage their relationship if they attempted to compete with their loved one's sporting obsession.

"It's not about saying it's an either-or. It's about saying we can have both," she told Australian Associated Press.

Baker said women's best chance of getting through to their partner was if his team won.

"Guys can celebrate the win of their favourite team by having great sex," she said.

"When people are happy they feel pretty high and they want to celebrate and having great sex is a pretty good way to celebrate."

David [Friend of 22 years. Early years, devout Catholic. Professor, Environmental Sciences]

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from: The San Diego-Union Tribune,

September 3, 2003, Column: Letters to the Editor:


The Ten Commandments controversy in Alabama mystifies me. Simply reading those 10 should tell any thinking person that this nation was not founded on these laws. In fact, all but one of the admonitions (stealing) are legal in the United States.

Consider the commandments:

1. "No other gods": We may chose one god, three gods or none.

2. "No graven images": We have no such law.

3. "Taking God's name in vain": We have no such law.

4. "Keeping the Sabbath": For many businesses, their biggest day is the Sabbath.

5. "Honor thy father and mother": Some children have legally "divorced" their parents. No law requires their being honored.

6. "Shalt not kill": Executions, abortions, euthanasia and war are OK.

7. "Not commit adultery": Let's not go there.

8. "Shalt not steal": Yes, we have this same law.

9. "Not bear false witness": Only under oath in a court of law is this illegal.

10. No "coveting of neighbor's wife, lands, goods": Coveting is encouraged by business and government as it creates demand for goods and a strong economy.

The nation most closely following the commandments is Afghanistan under the Taliban.

Our nation is modeled after the early Greek ideas of democracy [development: 594 (Solon) - 508 B.C.E. (Cleisthenes), etc.], later refined by British thinkers such as John Locke [1632 - 1704]. This nation values personal freedom, choices, justice and equality. Which of the commandments was the genesis of these values?


_____ _____ _____



The former ["old ten"] are to be banned from any place anyone might see them; the latter ["new ten"] are so popular that everybody knows them already.

Old No. 1: I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have no other gods before me.

New No. 1: Thou shalt have no gods at all, and certainly not to be mentioned in any public place, nor on network television nor in the newspapers.

Old No. 2: Thou shalt not make any graven image; thou shalt not bow down to them, nor serve them.

New No.. 2: Worship images 24 hours a day, as long as they are paid advertisements, sports heroes and entertainment stars.

Old No. 3: Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

New No. 3: Jesus (bleep) Christ, you can't talk worth (bleep) if you don't swear at lest once every sentence.

Old No. 4: Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

New No. 4: Sundays are made for shopping and watching football games.

Old No. 5: Honor thy father and mother.

New No. 5: Who cares about Mom and Dad unless they're giving you things?

Old No. 6: Thou shalt not kill.

New No. 6: Killing shows people they can't disrespect you, and it makes you a good gang member.

Old No. 7: Thou shalt not commit adultery.

New No. 7: Have sex with everybody you can; that makes you almost as cool as a gang banger.

Old No. 8: Thou shalt not steal.

New No. 8: Everybody steals, from the corporations down to the street. Just be sure to get yours first.

Old No. 9: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

New No. 9: Don't let truth get in the way of a good story; spreading scandals and rumors is fun; and putting the right spin on things is the path to career success.


Old No. 10: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, nor his wife, nor anything that is thy neighbor's.

New No. 10: Coveting makes the economy go round.

Of course we've got to get rid of the old commandments; they're religion, not morality. Now aren't you proud of yourself for making the world a better place?


_____ _____ _____

'They've Fallen Off the Top 10 List; Read closely: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS REFLECT A PRIMITIVE WORLDVIEW. Alan Dershowitz. Los Angeles Times. Sep 14, 2003. pg. M.5....

Abstract (Article Summary)

During the debate over removing a 2-ton monument featuring the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court [Judge Roy Moore, Chief Justice and, defendant], it has been repeatedly asserted that "America was built on the principles of the Ten Commandments" and that our system of government is based on the Decalogue. THE OPPOSITE IS MUCH CLOSER TO THE HISTORICAL TRUTH. As Thomas Jefferson [President 1801 - 1809 (1743 - 1826]--who rejected the divine origin of the Ten Commandments and found them to be "defective and doubtful"--recognized, our nation was founded on a rejection of much of what is in the actual content of the commandments.

So what is so American about the Ten Commandments? Nothing, I submit. The rules we accept actually precede the Ten Commandments and are accepted by all civilized nations. The remaining provisions--which call for punishing children for the sins of parents, acknowledge slavery, mark Saturday as the exclusive day of rest and were read as exempting married men from the prohibition against adultery--the United States has generally rejected.

Full Text (712 words)

During the debate over removing a 2-ton monument featuring the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the Alabama Supreme Court, it has been repeatedly asserted that "America was built on the principles of the Ten Commandments" and that our system of government is based on the Decalogue. The opposite is much closer to the historical truth. As Thomas Jefferson--who rejected the divine origin of the Ten Commandments and found them to be "defective and doubtful"--recognized our nation was founded on a rejection of much of what is in the actual content of the commandments.


Most Americans are unaware of what is included in the nearly 300 words that make up the Ten Commandments as set out in Exodus and Deuteronomy and translated in the King James (and other) versions of the Bible. They know only the CliffsNotes version: "Thou shalt not kill" (or "murder," depending on which translation one accepts); "Thou shall not commit adultery," which, in its time applied only to married women, not married men, who were free to have sex with unmarried women; and "Thou shalt not steal" or "bear false witness."

In theory at least, all civilized societies recognize those ancient principles, which aren't original to Mosaic law. They are based on earlier laws, such as the Code of Hammurabi and the Code of Lipit-Ishtar [1868 B.C.E., Nippur, (now) Iraq]. Can it be said then that the United States is based on pagan codes?

The complete text of the Ten Commandments, regardless of the translation, is much more controversial. It includes God's assertion that he is "a jealous God" and his threat to visit "the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation"--that is, to punish children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren for the sins of their ancestors.

Can anything be more un-American? Jefferson [Thomas Jefferson, President 1801 - 1809 (1743 - 1826)] agreed with Thomas Paine [1739 - 1809] that this commandment is "contrary to every principle of moral judgment." As my 13-year-old daughter has observed, how can a child be expected to "honor thy father and thy mother" if her evil parents are responsible for punishment she and her innocent children and grandchildren will suffer? The principle of intergenerational collective accountability is particularly unsuited to a nation that proclaimed itself a land of individual opportunity and rejected the European tradition of class based on parentage.

Nor does the U.S. accept the notion of having "no other gods" except the Judeo-Christian god. We have always welcomed people who have other gods, or no god. And we constantly take God's name in vain by invoking it at sporting events, on our money, in political campaigns and with all-American curses.

The full text of the commandments seems to [does] accept slavery, given that in the original Hebrew it condemns coveting your neighbor's "slave"--usually mistranslated as "servant" or "manservant." Moreover, coveting is as American as apple pie. Our entire market system encourages us to covet our neighbor's wealth.

The commandments also provide for a day of rest for "thy slave." And speaking of a day of rest, the commandments are unambiguous about which day is mandated, as well as the reason for it: It is the "seventh day"--Saturday--because God "rested the seventh day." It is not Sunday, the day selected centuries later by Christians because it is the day on which Jesus was resurrected. That choice was rejected by Jews and Seventh-day Adventists, while Muslims selected Friday as their day of rest.

Finally, there is the prohibition of "graven images"--a phrase that seems to describe the large monument in Alabama before which so many people have prostrated themselves in recent weeks.


So what is so American about the Ten Commandments? Nothing, I submit. The rules we accept precede the Ten Commandments and are accepted by all civilized nations. The remaining provisions--which call for punishing children for the sins of parents, acknowledge slavery, mark Saturday as the exclusive day of rest and were read as exempting married men from the prohibition against adultery--the United States has generally rejected.

Not only do the Ten Commandments not belong in public courthouses or classrooms, they do not even belong--at least without some amendments and explanatory footnotes--in the hearts and minds of contemporary Americans.

Credit: Alan Dershowitz is a law professor at Harvard University.'

_____ _____ _____


A Better Ten Commandments

-- Morality in Five Minutes --


  1. Thou shalt work and try hard -- especially mentally.


   2. Thou shalt work well and efficiently -- especially mentally.


  3. Thou shalt not lie to, delude, or brainwash thy sacred Self.


  4. Thou shalt not hide from nor ignore either the truth or thy sacred Self.


  5. Thou shalt have tons of fun -- always.


  6. Thou shalt not commit crimes: neither stealing others' property, nor injuring others physically, nor hurting kids mentally.


  7. Thou shalt not defend, support, or appease government tyranny or slavery; rather, thou shalt subvert and undermine it continuously and ruthlessly.


  8. Thou shalt not lie to others -- even strangers.


  9. Thou shalt generally be empathetic, supportive, and loyal to others -- especially those of high virtue, lovers, friends, relatives, kids, and pets.


10. Thou shalt generally make everyone else have tons of fun -- especially those of high virtue, lovers, friends, relatives, kids, and pets.

_____ _____ _____


Additional References

The Ten commandments; an investigation into the origin and meaning of the Decalogue and an analysis of its ethical and moral value as a code of conduct in modern society, by Joseph Lewis [1889 - 1968]. New York, N.Y., Freethought Press Association 1946.

Displaying the Decalogue, Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged, by A.J. Mattill, Jr., The Flatwoods Free Press, 750 Lum Fife Road, Gordo, Alabama 35466-3357, 2000.

God's Defenders, S.T. Joshi, Prometheus, 2003. [see Index: "Ten Commandments"].

Search, for: Uganda + ten commandments (and/or other search words and methods). Note the associated strife and atrocities.

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from: (main page):

'"The Truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off."'

_____ _____ _____



The Origin and Development of Truths"

"ALL GREAT TRUTHS BEGIN AS BLASPHEMIES. George Bernard Shaw [1856 - 1950]

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. [the classic] Schopenhauer [1788 - 1860]

Every great scientific truth, goes through three stages. First people say conflicts with the Bible. Next they say it had been discovered before. Lastly, they say they always believed it. Louis Agassiz [1807 - 1873]

Theories: Four stages of acceptance: i) this is worthless nonsense; ii) this is an interesting, but perverse, point of view; iii) this is true, but quite unimportant; iv) I always said so. (J.B.S. Haldane [1892 - 1964], Journal of Genetics #58, 1963, p. 464)" [1 of 13]. [See: 2592].

"Seeking, Finding, and Distinguishing the Truth" [2 of 13]

"Finding the occasional straw of truth awash in a great ocean of confusion and bamboozle requires intelligence, vigilance, dedication and courage. But if we don't practice these tough habits of thought, we cannot hope to solve the truly serious problems that face us- and we risk becoming a nation of suckers, up for grabs by the next charlatan who comes along. Carl Sagan [1934 - 1996]." [2 of 13]

"We Don't Want to Hear the Truth, It's Unpleasant" [12 of 13]

"I never gave them hell. I just tell the truth, and they think it is hell. Harry S. Truman [1884 - 1972] quoted in Look magazine" [12 of 13]

_____ _____ _____


from: Article #4, 121, 529.:

"Leaving Christianity" (excerpted comments):

"The first stage is denial."

"The next stage is grief."

"The third stage is anger."

"The final stage, the best stage, is acceptance."

"Eventually, after a critical mass of information has been imparted to the Christian, it will hit her/him that Christianity really isn't true."

"A person who has been raised in Christianity an entire lifetime has been effectively brainwashed."

"I don't know if a person can ever totally break free of psychological cues buried in their brain. While these cues may diminish over time, I don't think they are ever eradicated."

"The real hope lies in the next generation."

[see 12., 204., 528., 530., 564., etc.]. [See: Appendix X, 828 (Mencken) (Marx)].

● ● ● ● ●


from: What Goal Now?, New Light on the New Testament, by George Luther Clark, Distributed by The SPAP Company, 116 Broad Street, New York 4, N.Y., Mathers Publishing Company, 40 Washington Square South, New York, N.Y., c1948 ("1938" "inked out", and, 1948 printed. Appears to have been a stamp, with a bar to obscure 1938, and, 1948 to the right of the bar). [Signed (agedly): "Geo L. Clark"].

[Other books by George Luther Clark, include: Fundamentals of Early Christianity, c1928; A Lawyer Looks at the Bible, c1956 [see 2617]. Viewing the religious evolution of George Luther Clark, is interesting. The 1928 book, 901 pages, is a Bible student's delight. In the 1948 and 1956 books, Jesus is a Fictional character ("if Jesus had been a historical character" (1948, page 87; etc.))].

Comment: George Luther Clark was a prominent lawyer and writer. This book consists of very high quality "Sunday School" lessons. The author (George Luther Clark), has the disadvantages of explaining fictions—with fictions and fictional characters. Results: Many Fictions!


          There was a time, about four hundred years ago, when Copernicus stood alone in his theory that the earth revolved about the sun. About a century later, only Harvey thought that blood circulated throughout the human body. Less than a hundred years ago physicians scoffed at the chemist Pasteur for even suggesting that there could be any connection between bacteria and disease. The fact that a concept is new and strange does not mean that it is false.

          The ideas presented in the following pages are the result of long and patient study by one who has had no incentive except to find the truth about the matters discussed. If the conclusions reached are false they will and should come to nought; if they are true, no amount of criticism, however adverse, can prevent their ultimate acceptance." ["3"].


Chapter                                                                                                                           Page

I.        GOALS OF OTHER DAYS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

II.       SOME HERDSMEN WHO MADE HISTORY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

III.      A HOPE THAT FADED. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

IV.      A NEW GOAL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

V.       THE GOAL OF RULING THE WORLD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30

VI.      HISTORIZING THE INITIATION DRAMA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

VII.     IMPROVING THE HISTORIZATION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52

VIII.    A FURTHER HISTORIZATION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70

IX.      CHANGING GOALS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76

X.       WHAT GOAL NOW?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87




Chapter                                                                                                                           Page

I.        GOALS OF OTHER DAYS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109

II.       SOME HERDSMEN WHO MADE HISTORY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110

III.      A HOPE THAT FADED. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112

IV.      A NEW GOAL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .113

V.       THE GOAL OF RULING THE WORLD. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .117

VI.      HISTORIZING THE INITIATION DRAMA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119

VII.     IMPROVING THE HISTORIZATION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .132

VIII.    A FURTHER HISTORIZATION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137

IX.      CHANGING GOALS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .139

X.       WHAT GOAL NOW?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150

APPENDIX. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165

INDEX. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .173

[quotation marks omitted]. ["5"].



          Three peoples of antiquity, with widely different goals, have profoundly influenced our western civilization.

         The Greek goal, both of the individual and of the nation, was the achievement of he beautiful—in art, in sculpture, in literature, in the development of the human body.

          The Romans, with their genius for government and their emphasis upon the state rather than upon the individual, worked out no definite goal for the individual. They rested content with having reached their collective goal which they maintained for five hundred years—imperial sway over the Mediterranean world.

          The goal of the Hebrews, with only a limited span of independent political life, was primarily individual: long life, prosperity and honor, with the more ethically minded ones insisting that the way to reach that goal was through humility and through the practice of kindliness and righteous conduct toward fellow Jews. Their collective goal was the re-establishment of independence from Gentile domination.1

          From 200 A.D. down to 1900 A.D. the goal of the western world was of an entirely different sort; it was the avoidance of eternal punishment in hell and the attainment of eternal bliss in heaven. Most persons who can remember back fifty years will recall the fervor with which that theme was stressed in almost all the churches and especially by the popular evangelists at revivals. The chief—if not the only reason—urged by the pulpit orator of that day for joining church was to escape the flames of hell. Trained in the theology of his own sect, whatever it might be, he assured his hearers that if they would "accept Christ" and join his particular denomination they would be absolutely sure of heaven; but if they should refuse, they would have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone which the scriptures say is awaiting all unbelievers. As to those who should be so misguided as to belong to some other denomination, they might not necessarily be damned everlastingly. In his


infinite mercy God might overlook their failure to join the one and only true church, but of course it was wiser to be on the safe side.

          During the last few decades, due partly to the attacks made by Unitarians and Universalists, partly to the great increase in popular education and in popular knowledge of modern science, partly to natural revulsion against such an abhorrent doctrine, belief in hell has been losing ground so rapidly and so steadily that it has all but disappeared. As early as 1917, Dr. C.W. Emmet, an Anglican clergyman and writer, stated that "it is probably safe to say that except in a few restricted circles a living belief in hell has practically vanished today in the Church of England."

          But what about heaven, the affirmative goal? Nineteenth century theologians insisted that a heaven of everlasting bliss was of no significance if there was not also a hell of endless punishment. Each was the necessary complement of the other; both were equally well fortified by proof texts.2 As Dean Inge [1860 - 1954] has written: "It is hardly too much to say that heaven and hell stand and fall together." How then can belief in heaven long survive the demise of belief in hell? It seems likely that it can not.3 That it has not already disappeared is due to the attractiveness of such an amiable doctrine as everlasting bliss for all. But whether it will or will not disappear it is obvious that a heaven which is the common destiny of all has ceased to be in any sense a goal to be achieved. A very large part of the western world is therefore without a goal [?]. Hence the query, What Goal Now?' [7-8] [End of Chapter I].

'....the Nazarenes—now properly called Christians because they regarded their organization and its ethical teachings as the messiah of Christ—slowly developed a dramatic initiation ceremony which would impress upon the mind of each new initiate into the organization not only the importance of its teachings but also the imperative necessity of keeping secret the sect's conception of its own significance.

          In this initiation drama, as finally developed, there were two main characters; one was an official of the sect who played the part of the saviour-god Jesus Christ22, the symbol of the Christian organization and its teachings; the other was the candidate for initiation, who followed the official, each bearing a cross during at least a part of the ceremonial drama.23 The first stage in the initiation was the baptism with water administered by some official to the candidate. This baptism, emblematical of repentance, which had been inaugurated by John the Baptist24, was followed by the later developed but more important [The second stage] baptism into the spirit of Christianity, which was effected by oral instruction in its fundamental teachings.25

          The third stage was a communion meal participated in not only by the two main characters but by all the members present.26 This was a substitute for the sacrificial meal which was common to Judaism and to most, if not all, of the various Gentile religions. The purpose of this meal was to impress upon the mind of the candidate that just as the every day food of bread and wine became a part of his body, so the Christian teachings must become a part of his character and personality.27

          The fourth stage was the betrayal28 of the official and the candidate by a member of the sect into the hands of those members of the sect who were to administer the ceremonial crucifixion. The purpose of this was to dramatize to the candidate the danger to all the sect if the secrets of the organization should fall into outside hands.


          The fifth stage of the initiation was a ceremonial crucifixion both of the official impersonating Jesus and of the candidate29, each being crucified upon the cross which he had been carrying. Crucifixion was the punishment inflicted by Rome upon seditionists, insurrectionists and slaves, and the purpose of the double ceremonial crucifixion was to impress upon the mind of the candidate the danger both to himself and to his fellow Christians if he should reveal to the outside world that the sect regarded its teachings as the messiah; for if their secret should be discovered there was danger that many members of the organization might suffer an actual crucifixion as persons guilty of sedition.

          The sixth stage of the initiation drama was the ceremonial burial30 of the bodies of the official and the candidate; the seventh stage was their resurrection.31 The resurrection concept was not new in Jewish history. The career of David, who lived about 1000 B.C., in establishing, out of twelve turbulent, individualistic, semi-nomadic tribes, a large and prosperous nation had been such an outstanding success that late leaders, by doing some wishful thinking, predicted that a successor of David would arise and would restore the glories of the old Davidic kingdom. The Babylonian exile only served to accentuate these predictions of the coming of another successful king if only the Jews would remain true to Jehovah.

          As decade after decade passed the listeners to these predictions became skeptical and retorted to the leaders, "There is certainly no prospect of the coming of the messiah (that is, anointed one, king) during our lifetimes and what good will it do us if he should come after our death?" To this the Jewish leaders, by interpreting literally some figurative language in their scriptures, finally evolved the answer that whenever the messiah should come, no matter how far in the future, those Jews who had died after having been faithful to Jehovah would be resurrected to live another human life under the ideal conditions of the messianic age.32 Since the Christian organization insisted that their own teachings were the messiah and that therefore the messiah had already come, it was inevitable that they should [The seventh stage] use the resurrection in their initiation drama to symbolize to the candidate that he must rise above his old life of unrighteousness and unhappiness into a new life of uprightness and permanent happiness under the inspiration of the new teachings.33

          In the eighth and last stage of the ceremonial initiation the official and the candidate are seated on thrones34 to depict the complete triumph expected of the candidate in making the Christian teachings an integral part of his character and personality, and thereby achieving permanent happiness—the new goal which had been set up by the Christian organization.35' [27-29] [End of Chapter IV].


"Chapter VI.


"...Mark argued, there was no use to try to gain the attention of the Jews with the simple Christian message. For when Jews were approached by Christian missionaries they were prone to retort by asking whose teaching this was,3 and by insisting that if the Christians had a leader great enough to overthrow the Jewish ceremonial law he must have been able to perform miracles4 as Moses5 did; and Elijah6 and Elisha.7 Since the Jews could apparently be reached in no other way, Mark proposed that miracle stories be told in order to satisfy this demand and thereby give additional authority, in the minds of the Jews, to the Christian message. The stories could be so devised that, to the intelligent, they would carry an allegorical meaning just as did many of the miracle stories in the Hebrew scriptures.8 The less intelligent would, of course, understand them literally, but as soon as the new social order should be established, the real significance of these stories could be explained to them also. In the meantime signposts of warning could be inserted, to make clear to the intelligent that these stories were not meant to be understood literally.9" [34-35].

          "After Mark had convinced his co-workers that they had no real choice except to tell miracle stories, the next question that had to be faced was as to how they should be used. To whom should they be attributed? Not to Paul, in view of his emphatic written repudiation of miracles.12 Not to Peter, James or John after the way in which they had countenanced interference with Paul's missionary efforts; it would have been intolerable to exalt them above Paul in popular estimation by representing them as workers of miracles.13 Mark then suggested that since, according to the Hebrew scriptures, Jehovah had walked on the earth14 and talked with Adam15, Cain16, Enoch17, Abraham18, Moses19, Aaron20 and Elijah21, Jesus, the Christian saviour-god, might also walk on earth and the miracles be attributed to him.

          It was not difficult to think of Jesus as a man because every Christian was accustomed to seeing him represented as the leading actor in the initiation drama.22 And the idea of attributing miracles to him was the more attractive because Paul had described as miracles23 the marvellous transformation which had been effected in the characters of Gentile converts by the Christian teachings, which teachings had been symbolized by Jesus. Mark further decided to represent Jesus as constantly referring to himself as the son of man24 in order to emphasize that the saviour-god was also a man.

          Mark insisted that a historized Jesus—that is, a Jesus represented as a historical character—would satisfy perfectly the Jewish expectation of a human messiah and would make it possible to present to the Jews the idea of a new social order with an authority behind it which they would recognize. For a long time the Jews had been expecting that when the messiah came he would restore to them independence and prosperity. The historized JesusMark argued—could be so presented as to make it clear to the Jews that the messianic age which their scriptures had taught them to expect would find more than its fulfillment in the establishment of the new social order, because there would be not mere independence but there would be world dominion. Mark also pointed out that the prospect that


such a re-interpretation of their messianic hope would appeal to the Jews was improved by the fact that with the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple it was no longer possible for them to observe the sacrificial part of their ceremonial law, and consequently the means through which they had expected to usher in the messianic age was no longer available...." [35-36].

"...Mark set to work on his story. Galilee was chosen as the scene for the greater part of Jesus' activities and he was represented as preaching openly there as John the Baptist had done. It was the more appropriate that Galilee should be the scene of most of his activities because, with its half-Jewish, half-Gentile population it was not unlike the communities in which Paul and his co-workers had done their preaching.

          It was natural that Jesus would, as the outstanding preacher he was supposed to be, have a group of followers or disciples. Mark gave a list of twelve, the number having been suggested to him by the fact that there had been originally twelve tribes of Israel.34 For eleven of these twelve he used the names of men who had been apostles in the Judean churches as nearly as he could remember them. Peter, James and John were given special prominence because, in the days of Paul, they had been the most important leaders in Jerusalem and had been mentioned in Paul's letters.35

          There was a double advantage in representing the Judean apostles as disciples of the historized Jesus. First, it helped to make the whole story more convincing because the three men were well known historical characters. It was particularly fitting because of the important part played by them—especially Peter—in the development of the early church. Secondly, the unworthiness of the conduct of these leaders in obstructing the work which Paul had undertaken to accomplish, could be and was dramatically shown. Mark related several incidents in which the disciples show their stupidity and inability to understand their master and in some of these incidents, Jesus, as the mouthpiece of the Pauline party, severely rebukes them. For example, James and John, after many months of association with Jesus, were represented by Mark as having failed to learn the lesson of humility by asking for a promise of the chief places in the new social order when it should be established.36 The indignation of the other ten, fearing that the petition of the two might be granted, showed an equal failure to learn that lesson.

          Mark made the twelfth disciple a symbolic character, giving him the name, Judas Iscariot, meaning the Jew the Surrenderer.37 In the initiation drama there had been a betrayal or a giving over or a surrendering of the official and candidate preliminary to the ceremonial crucifixion.38 The purpose of this had been to dramatize, especially to the candidate, the danger in which all would stand if the secrets of the organization should be betrayed or handed over or otherwise fall into outside hands. In basing his gospel on the initiation drama it was natural, if not inevitable, that Mark should include a betrayal; and if a betrayal, then a betrayer.

          Mark had two reasons for making the betrayer one of the twelve disciples. One was the likelihood that it was through the treachery of one of the followers of Peter and James that the letter of Paul to the church at Corinth39 was put into the hands of the Roman authorities thus bringing about his execution. The other was that the betrayal or surrender being made by a Jewish disciple symbolized how the control of the Christian organization had been surrendered over40 into the hands of the followers of Paul by the disloyalty of the Judean Christians themselves.


          In telling the miracle stories Mark was careful to tell them in such a way that their fictitious character would be easily recognized by the intelligent Jews of the day and would be plain to any one when it was pointed out. Many of the stories closely parallelled miracle stories in the Hebrew scriptures. Both Moses41 and Elisha42 had cured leprosy; so according to Mark, did Jesus and cured many other diseases besides.43 Elijah and Elisha each had brought a dead person back to life44; Mark was afraid to have Jesus duplicate this feat, fearing it would be too incredible, so he represented Jesus as raising the daughter of Jairus who the people said was dead but Jesus said was only sleeping.45

          Moses had fed the children of Israel with manna46 and quail47; Mark had Jesus feed multitudes with a few loaves of bread and a few fish.48 Moses had parted the waters of the Red Sea49 and had quenched the thirst of his followers with water which he obtained from a rock by striking it with his rod.50 Mark represented Jesus as having similar control over natural forces by walking on the water51 and by stilling a great storm on the sea of Galilee.52

          Moses through his curse had brought plagues upon the Egyptians52; Mark represented Jesus cursing a fig tree for its barrenness and causing it to wither away.54 The indications of fictitiousness conveyed by this parallelism were re-enforced by an emphatic disavowal of all miracles when Mark has Jesus say, in answer to a challenge from the Pharisees, that "there will be no miracles given to this generation."55

          Mark felt that when the new social order should be established it would be easy to explain the telling of the miracle stories by merely revealing their allegorical meaning. This would be especially true in view of the fact that intelligent Jews had already sought out allegorical meanings for miracles related in the Old Testament when it was no longer possible for them to believe the stories literally. The cures by Jesus of leprosy and other diseases symbolized the transformations that had been wrought in many lives by following the Christian teachings. As the human body is subject to many different diseases—leprosy, paralysis, fever, blindness, deafness—so is human character; and the Christian teachings, symbolized by Jesus, cure them all.

          That the power of the Christian teachings can reach even those who seem dead to righteousness, was symbolized by the raising of Jairus' daughter. The feeding of the bodies of the multitudes symbolized the nourishment for the upbuilding of character which Christianity was giving to its followers. That after multitudes had been fed with a few loaves and fishes there were left over several baskets of food56 symbolized the marvelous capacity of the Christian teachings to nourish every one and at the same time to increase instead of to diminish their value and vitality.

          The miracles of walking on the water and of stilling a great storm symbolized in a general way the seemingly impossible things that Christianity had been able to accomplish. The cursing of the fig tree which bore only leaves referred to the emphasis which the party of Peter, James and John laid upon the observance, by Gentile converts, of the Jewish ceremonial law—represented in the story by the leaves—and to the utter failure of such an attitude to bear any fruit for the Christian organization as a whole.

          The withering of the fig tree after Jesus cursed it was a reminder of the fate which befell the Judean church with the destruction of Jerusalem and foreshadowed the end of the conservative party if they should persist in their antagonistic attitude toward the Pauline Gentile converts. When Mark had Jesus, in answer to Peter's comment concerning the fig tree, assure the disciples that if they will have faith in


God they will be able to remove mountains57, he is pointing out to the remnant of this party the tremendous part which they can still play in the establishment of the new social order if they will free themselves from their fears and anti-Gentile prejudices.

          The Jews had been accustomed to refer to the gods of the various Gentile religions as demons and to their occasional conversion of a Gentile to Judaism as the casting of demons out of such converts.58 Mark used the same symbolism to refer to the conversion of Gentiles to Christianity.59 The complete mastery of Jesus over demons showed the great superiority of Christianity over Judaism, which had been trying for centuries, with almost no success, to win Gentile converts.60 ...." [38-41].

          "Mark recognized that a historized crucifixion must be preceded by a death sentence pronounced at the conclusion of a trial, because an actual crucifixion, under Roman law, would only be executed upon one who had been formally condemned. He therefore was compelled to insert trial scenes in the story though there had been, of course, no trial in the initiation ceremony. He depicted two trial scenes, the first125 to show that the condemnation of Jesus came from the Jews, not the Romans; the second126 to give legal warrant for the execution, through a condemnation in the Roman courts.

          Mark represented the trial and crucifixion as taking place about a year after the execution of John the Baptist. It therefore fell within the period during which Pontius Pilate had been procurator of Judea, with the seat of his government in Jerusalem, and the second trial was represented as taking place before him. It was necessary to place the historized crucifixion in Jerusalem because it was only there that the clashes between Jesus and the various Jewish factions could take place. Moreover, placing it there was appropriate because so many of the Hebrew prophets had there been martyred.127 There was also a historical significance because it was probably from Jerusalem that James had sent to Peter at Antioch the warning message which had precipitated the rift between Peter and Paul128, and furthermore because the later obstruction to Paul's work among the Gentiles had emanated from the churches in Jerusalem.

          In the story Mark led up to the betrayal with a scene in a place called Gethsemane.129 He thus heightened the tragic intensity of the story and at the same time furnished another example of the stupidity and heartlessness of Peter, James and John who could not—or, at least, would not—keep themselves awake to watch even one hour during the agony of their master, though twice requested by him to do so. Then the betrayal is accomplished by one of his disciples, the symbolical figure Judas Iscariot, the Surrenderer130, and the rest of the disciples are so cowardly that they all forsake him and flee.131

          At this point Mark related an incident132 of a young man who, wrapped only in a linen sheet, still follows Jesus; but when those who had arrested Jesus attempt to seize the young man he leaves the sheet in their hands and flees away naked. This young man symbolized the God133 who had descended upon Jesus—in the form of a dove—at his baptism134, and who now departs from him. The linen sheet which the young man leaves in the hands of those who would have seized him symbolized the garment or body of flesh which the God had assumed during his short stay on the earth. Mark adopted this device because he could not bring himself to conceive of a God dying, even though death were to be followed by a resurrection. Later, in his


account of the crucifixion Mark preserved the significance of this incident by representing Jesus as crying out on the cross, "My God, why have you forsaken me?"135

          In the trial scenes Mark included a number of incidents portraying the attitude of the Jews and of the conservative Jewish Christian party toward Pauline Christianity, symbolized by Jesus. At the trial before the Jewish Sanhedrin Peter three times denies136 that he is a disciple of Jesus; these denials symbolized Peter's cowardly conduct at Antioch137 where he at first ate with the Gentile Christians, then drew back and denied their right to be accepted into the Christian organization. The leaders of the Jews show their attitude by condemning Jesus for blasphemy when he declares138, in answer to a question, that he is the Messiah; and again in the trial before Pilate, when they stir up the multitude to clamor for his crucifixion.139 The Jews choose Barabbas140 in preference to Jesus as the political prisoner to be released, according to custom, at the feast of the Passover. Barabbas symbolized the party of the Zealots141 and the choosing of Barabbas symbolized the attitude of the Jews in Judea who rejected the Christian program of peace and adopted the Zealot program of insurrection by which was brought about the destruction of Jerusalem.

          Mark ended his gospel with a brief account of the crucifixion142 and burial143 and a still briefer account of the resurrection.144 He had great difficulty with the resurrection part of the story because no one, of course, had ever seen an actual resurrection take place; the whole conception was completely outside the bounds of human experience. Therefore he ended his account by merely telling of a young man clothed in a long white garment whom the women find seated in the open and empty tomb, and who announces to them that Jesus is risen. He also instructs them to tell the disciples that Jesus would go before them into Galilee.145

          Thus ended the first attempt to historize the initiation drama." [49-51] [End of Chapter VI].

'Chapter VII.


          Though Mark's gospel was a radical innovation in the presentation of the Christian message this would, of course, raise no problems in communities in which Christianity had not been already presented. It was not as successful in winning Jewish converts as the leaders had hoped, but it was suggested that greater success could be achieved if some one should prepare a second gospel which would emphasize that most of the important events in the historized drama were fulfillments of what could be interpreted as messianic predictions in their scriptures. This suggestion was therefore carried out in the second gospel which, according to tradition, was produced by one Matthew1 who repeatedly writes that a certain thing happened or a certain statement was made in order "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying," etc.


          Wherever practicable Matthew followed Mark's gospel. He accepted the miracle stories almost as they stood, but added one, the healing of the centurion's servant.2 The purpose of that miracle story was to tell that Christianity had won recognition and support among Gentiles of high standing who were receiving it with humility and gratitude....' [52].

          "Mark had not represented Jesus as uttering many direct teachings; on the contrary, according to Mark, Jesus spoke only in parables.22 But Matthew attributed to Jesus a large number of direct teachings. Most of these are found in one long passage in the form of a sermon represented to have been delivered by Jesus, the Christian saviour-god, on a mountain side23, to correspond to the giving of the ten commandments by the Jewish god Jehovah on Mt. Sinai.24 In this sermon Matthew represented Jesus as declaring to his hearers that the ethical part of the Jewish law is not repudiated by accepting Christianity; that the Christian teachings are in fact its development and fulfilment; that so long as the heavens and earth shall exist not one dotting of an i or the crossing of a t will be dropped from the Jewish ethical law by the Christian organization25: Furthermore any Christian who is not more righteous than the scribes and Pharisees will have no part in the new social order when it is established.26

          How the Jewish ethical law had been further developed by Christianity, Matthew illustrated by several examples. The Jewish law forbade murder but the Christian teachings held that it was wrongful for a Christian merely to be angry with his brother Christian without just cause.27 The Jewish law forbade adultery; according to the Christian teachings any one who looks at a married woman who is not his wife, desiring to have sexual intercourse with her, has already, in his mind and heart, committed adultery with her.28 The Jewish law forbade default in the performance of covenants which had been solemnly entered into and sealed with oaths. The Christian teachings29 forbade oaths as being merely vain and empty ostentation because the Christian should regard his simple promise as binding without any oath...." [56].

          "To summarize, the most important points on which Matthew sought to improve on the gospel of Mark are as follows:

          (1) He emphasized that most of the important events in the historized drama were fulfilments of what could be interpreted as messianic predictions in the Hebrew scriptures.

          (2) In the parable of the talents he reminded his readers that when the new social order is established, government positions will be open to faithful Christians who shall have in the meantime demonstrated their ability.

          (3) In the parables of the net and of the wheat and tares he assured his readers that when the new social order is established, persons of unworthy character will be excluded from any part therein.


          (4) He justified the liberal position of admitting Gentiles into the Christian organization on the same basis as Jews by telling four parables. One told of the servant who refused to forgive a debt owed to him by a fellow servant; a second parable was about the employer who at various times of the day hired laborers to work in his vineyard; the third was of the two sons who were asked to work in their father's vineyard; the fourth was about the king who gave a marriage feast for his son.

          (5) He attributed to Jesus a long discourse delivered on a mountain side—the sermon on the mount—to correspond to the giving of the ten commandments on Mt. Sinai by Jehovah. This discourse included both the Golden Rule and the Lord's Prayer.

          (6) He represented Jesus as showing a less antagonistic attitude toward the twelve disciples and as denouncing the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy in pretending that following the Jewish ceremonial law would bring happiness.

          (7) In the story of the three temptations of Jesus Matthew branded as wholly evil and the invention of the devil the programs which were urged for the solution of Jewish problems by the Sadducees, the Herodians and the Zealots.

          (8) He smoothed over the difficulty created by Mark in representing half-heathen Galilee, in which there was not a single Christian church, as the scene of most of Jesus' activities. He did this by having Jesus denounce the important cities of Galilee for their failure to show any permanent results from his teachings.

          (9) He completed the story of the resurrection which Mark had left unfinished.

          (10) He gave a genealogy of forty-two generations from Abraham through David and Joseph to Jesus, but then added a virgin birth story which made Joseph merely the step-father of Jesus, thus breaking the connection between Jesus and the genealogy.

          (11) He modified the flat prohibition of divorce attributed to Jesus by Mark by introducing the exception of fornication and also by having Jesus declare that the saying thus modified was meant only for those who could receive it, thus attributing to Jesus the attitude of Paul on divorce.

          (12) He eliminated the incident of the young man who fled away naked, because he had represented Jesus as a god-man from birth and not merely from baptism." [67-69] [End of Chapter VII].


'Chapter VIII


          The fuller account and the changes introduced by Matthew made his gospel more effective than Mark's for missionary work among the Jews1, but some of the features which strengthened its appeal to Jews were of no advantage or were even a hindrance in working with Gentiles. Consequently a demand arose from missionaries working in communities where Jewish influence was slight, for a gospel as carefully designed to appeal to Gentile readers as was Matthew's to Jews. It was decided that such a gospel be prepared and the task fell to Luke2 who, like Mark, had been a co-worker with Paul and was himself a Gentile.

          In the first place, since Gentiles would obviously not be interested in representing that what Jesus said or did was in fulfilment of some real or supposed prediction in the Hebrew scriptures, Luke decided to omit most of the quotations and the formula with which they were always introduced, "All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying", etc.3 Again, Matthew's fierce denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees and his severe treatment of the twelve disciples could have no particular significance to Gentile readers. They could not, of course, be omitted entirely by Luke but he made them less prominent and toned down their severity.

          What Luke did emphasize, on the other hand, was the shortcomings of Gentile Christians. He felt that the most serious obstacle to success in bringing about the new social order had been the unwillingness of rich Gentile converts to put their wealth back of the movement and support wholeheartedly the carrying of the Christian message into new communities. He therefore attributed to Jesus scathing denunciations of these rich Gentile Christians predicting that woe would come to them for failure to use their wealth in the Christian cause.4 Finally, since Gentile Christian readers lacked the background of familiarity with the Hebrew scriptures Luke undertook to give his gospel more of the appeal of human interest than was present in either Mark's or Matthew's gospel.

          In writing his gospel Luke followed the general plan of Matthew's gospel in its final form. He started with an account of the birth and early childhood of the historized Jesus, amplifying Matthew's account and putting it into a form better designed to make an appeal to Gentiles. He worked out a story of the birth not only of Jesus but also of John the Baptist.5 According to Luke, John had a miraculous birth, of aged parents, the circumstances being modelled on the account in the Hebrew scriptures of the birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah6; and the name of John was represented as miraculously bestowed by the command of the angel Gabriel7 who had announced to Zacharias that when the son who was to be born to him should be grown he would act in the spirit and power of Elijah.8 The purpose of this was to explain why the forerunner of Jesus, if he was really the resurrected Elijah expected because of a scriptural prediction9 should bear the name of John.

          In Luke's account of the birth of Jesus he represented that his miraculous conception had been predicted to his mother, Mary, by the angel Gabriel.10 He told of a visit by Mary to Elizabeth11, who was expecting the birth of John, on which occasion Elizabeth congratulates Mary12 and Mary utters a poem of exultation that she should have been chosen to become the mother of the messiah.13 Matthew's story of


the visit of the wise men from the East with their rich gifts was omitted; instead Luke told of angels appearing to shepherds as they kept their flocks by night and of the shepherds coming to visit the infant Jesus whom they found lying in a manger because there had been no room for his parents in the inn.14 This symbolized, of course, the rejection of Christianity by the Jews—there was no room for it in Judaism. Luke then represented that on his eighth day Jesus was circumcised and was presented in the temple15 according to the Jewish law as to the first born who are males. Finally, according to Luke, Jesus visited the temple at the age of twelve16 and joined in discussions with the learned men there in a way that foreshadowed his messianic destiny.

          Luke followed Matthew in making Bethlehem the birthplace of Jesus but felt that the appeal of Jesus to Gentiles would be strengthened by having his ancestral home located in partially Gentile Galilee rather than in Jewish Bethlehem. So he accounted for the birth in Bethlehem by telling of a decree of Caesar Augustus that every one should be enrolled and by representing Joseph and Mary as having gone for their enrollment to Bethlehem because Joseph was of the house and lineage of David.17

          The miraculous birth story of course rendered any genealogy meaningless and besides, the genealogy given by Matthew gave only forty-two generations to cover the spread of fifteen hundred years from Abraham to Jesus. It was thought best, however, to give some kind of genealogy from Abraham to Jesus and then, so as not to give too much importance to David and Abraham he traced the descent beyond Abraham for twenty generations to Adam the "son of God".18 Luke felt that the glaring inconsistency between his genealogy and that of Matthew was not really important because the two gospels would be presented, for the most part, to two different classes of readers and because, as soon as the new social order should be ushered in, the temporary purpose of both gospels would be at once explained. The clash between the two genealogies was somewhat modified by Luke's reversing the order of generations and by placing his genealogy, not at the beginning of his gospel but after the baptism of Jesus19 had taken place.' [70-72].

          "To summarize, Luke differed from Matthew on the following matters:

          (1) Since he was writing for Gentiles he reduced the number of references to the fulfilment of supposed messianic predictions and toned down the severity of the denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees but represented Jesus as denouncing the rich Gentiles for not contributing to the support of the campaign for the new social order.

          (2) He gave a genealogy which was longer than that of Matthew and inconsistent with it; a genealogy which did not connect with Jesus but merely with Jesus' stepfather because he gave also a birth story; the birth story was inconsistent with that of Matthew.

          (3) He told of the miraculous birth of John the Baptist from aged parents, modelled on the story of the birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah.


          (4) He told of the circumcision of Jesus, his appearance at the temple at the age of twelve and stated what his age was at the beginning of his preaching career.

          (5) He justified the policy of the liberals in admitting Gentiles as Christians on the same basis as Jews by telling the incident of the healing of ten lepers, the story of Mary and Martha, the parables of the good Samaritan, of the prodigal son, and of the rich man and Lazarus.

          (6) Mark and Matthew closed their gospels with the resurrection; Luke told that Jesus ascended into heaven in the presence of his disciples." [75] [End of Chapter VIII].

"Chapter X.


          All of the books of the present New Testament canon were produced by 200 A.D.—perhaps by 150 A.D.; yet it was not till 300 A.D. that any single outstanding church teacher really accepted the thesis that Jesus, the Christian saviour-god, had existed as a man.1 There were several reasons for the reluctance with which the learned men of Christendom accepted this part of the new conception which substituted the goal of personal immortality for the goal of a new social order. Here is a brief summary of the omissions in the New Testament outside the gospels which were and are unexplainable IF JESUS HAD BEEN A HISTORICAL CHARACTER:

          (1) In the entire New Testament outside the gospels Jesus is never referred to as a teacher or preacher.2 There is not one exhortation to be found anywhere urging the Christians to study his teachings or to follow them.

          (2) In the entire New Testament outside the gospels there are only two purported quotations from the sayings of Jesus. Both occur in Acts, one of the latest of all the New Testament books and one which can safely be pronounced as unreliable, because of the many glaring inconsistencies between it and Paul's letters and the first three gospels. Neither of the sayings is identical with or even closely similar to any saying attributed to Jesus in the pospels [gospels]; one is wholly unlocatable3 and the other4 is a remark about baptism which had been attributed by Mark, Matthew and Luke to John the Baptist.5

          (3) There is not one reference, anywhere in the New Testament outside the gospels, to a single one of the many miracles attributed to Jesus in the gospels.6

          (4) There are many references—general, not detailed—to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus7—a situation which is easily understandable only if the references were to an initiation ceremony8 instead of to an actual crucifixion of a historical personage.9


          In addition to these omissions in the New Testament outside the gospels there are important hiatuses in the gospels themselves. Among the most significant of these are:

          (1) The two earliest gospels, Mark and Matthew, do not undertake to give the date of the birth of Jesus, though Matthew includes a genealogy of forty-two male ancestors reaching back some fifteen hundred years.10

          (2) Though these two gospels describe in detail in just what manner many of the miracles had been performed some forty years earlier, neither one undertakes to tell how old Jesus was when he began to teach11, or to tell the slightest thing about his previous life except that Mark leaves it to be inferred that he was a carpenter12 [see Article #9, 222 (carpenter)] and Matthew that he was a carpenter's son13 and adds a few childhood anecdotes, some of them obviously suggested by supposed messianic predictions.14

          (3) After Jesus begins teaching he apparently does nothing except perform miracles, fulfill supposed messianic predictions and utter sayings—miracles that are never referred to and sayings that are never quoted or referred to by any one after his death throughout the whole written stage of early Christianity.

          In addition to these omissions in the New Testament there is a significant omission in the works of Jewish historians and other writers who wrote between 50 A.D. and 200 A.D. For example, Josephus, the well known Jewish historian, gives, in his Antiquities, written about 93 A.D., a brief account of the activities of John the Baptist, and of his arrest, imprisonment and execution in the fear that he might cause a rebellion15, but of Jesus he says nothing [disputed]. On the basis of Jesus being a historical character this is like writing a history of European settlements in North America, including a short account of Patrick Henry but omitting any mention of George Washington and the American Revolution.16

          In addition to all these highly significant omissions in the New Testament and Josephus, there is, in the New Testament, A LARGE AMOUNT OF AFFIRMATIVE EVIDENCE THAT JESUS WAS A SYMBOLICAL AND NOT A HISTORICAL CHARACTER. Paul emphatically repudiates miracles.17 Mark18, Matthew and Luke all state, "An evil and adulterous (that is, idolatrous) generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given it"—except, according to Matthew19 and Luke20, the sign of the prophet Jonah, that is, the conversion of the Gentiles. In the fourth gospel Jesus is represented as saying: "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe."21 These repudiations, in the gospels themselves, deny the literal truth of the miracles they state, and inferentially require that all miracles narrated—and they were the chief activity of Jesus—must be given a symbolical significance.

          Furthermore, a large number of New Testament passages are rational and understandable only upon the assumption that Jesus was the God and symbol of the Christian organization and its teachings, but are MEANINGLESS UPON THE HYPOTHESIS THAT JESUS WAS A HISTORICAL CHARACTER. For example, such passages as Paul's emphasis upon speaking and listening with understanding22; the


constant appeals in Paul's letters and the gospels to reason, judgment and common sense23; the assurances that the spirit of truth will lead the readers into all truth24; and the large number of passages couched in figurative language which are meaningless and confusing unless they are references to an initiation ceremony in which Jesus was the leading character.25

          IN SPITE OF ALL THESE FORMIDABLE OBSTACLES, BELIEF IN THE HISTORICITY OF JESUS WAS FINALLY ESTABLISHED EVEN AMONG THE LEARNED, because it was absolutely necessary to the proper functioning of the new goal, that of avoiding everlasting punishment in hell and of attaining everlasting bliss in heaven. It was necessary to believe that there had been a historical Jesus who actually had been crucified because there was no other way in which atonement could have been made for the sins of the "believer" so that he might escape the flames of hell. With the disappearance, in the last few years, of belief in hell there is no longer any reason for the doctrine of the vicarious atonement, which was the one compelling reason why belief in a historical Jesus came to be established in spite of such tremendous obstacles. As a matter of strict logic, therefore, there is no reason why Christendom should not retrace its steps and restore its own objective the original goal of the early Nazarenes—permanent happiness for the individual through the exercise of kindliness, humility, courage and fairmindedness...." [87-90].

          "These groups—who usually call themselves liberals—have had an interesting development. The pioneers in the liberal movement were the Unitarians. Their early leaders contended that a god-man was a heathen conception and an impossibility. Jesus must have been either God or man; he could not have been both. According to their view Jesus was not God but a man, a great religious leader. He became a martyr to his teachings, and it was not till after his death that the idea grew up among his followers that he was God as well as man.29

          The influence of the Unitarian view spread gradually beyond the limits of the Unitarian membership until, during the last half century, there has sprung up in almost all the Protestant churches a liberal or modernistic element which is substantially Unitarian in belief. Once the view is adopted that Jesus is merely a man, it becomes an absurdity to teach that through his death atonement was made for the sins of the world, and that he inaugurated a plan of salvation under which personal immortality in the company of God and his angels was assured to those who "believe" in "christ crucified," while those who refuse to believe are condemned to everlasting punishment. Therefore the modernists have abandoned the doctrine of the vicarious atonement, but they have not yet fully realized that without that doctrine it can be of no religious significance whether or not one believes in the historical existence of Jesus. THE TRUTH OR FALSITY OF ETHICAL TEACHINGS IS IN NO WAY DEPENDENT UPON THE PERSONALITY OF THE ONE WHO UTTERS THEM.

          The answer of the conservatives or—as they call themselves, the fundamentalists—to the modernistic position is that if one takes out of the gospels the character of Jesus as both God and man, the miracles that he has performed, and his resurrection, there is nothing of value left. The modernist reply is that the important things in the gospels are the teachings of Jesus and the inspiration of his life. They


frankly admit that the presence of miracle stories in the gospels is a stumbling block since they can neither entirely accept nor explain them.30 They do not apologize for rejecting the theological doctrine of the vicarious atonement because it has turned men's thoughts away from ethical teachings and has weakened their sense of personal responsibility for their conduct.31

          The fundamentalists are right in declaring that if the miracle working Jesus and his character as God are taken out of the gospels there is not much left, upon the current superficial interpretation of them. The parables, remain, but neither conservative nor liberals have been able to extract from most of them any meaning that has value for modern life; or, if they do, they accomplish it by indulging in strained interpretations, attempting to treat them as one would the fables of Aesop, and force a moral out of each of them.

          For example, if one takes the plain meaning of the parables [see Article #3, 68, 356. (Taylor)] of the unjust steward32 and the treasure hidden in a field33, how can he find in them anything but a lesson in dishonesty? In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus34, what possible ethical significance can be found? The rich man goes to everlasting torment after his death apparently for no other reason than because he was rich, since nothing whatever is said in the parable about his ethical conduct. True, he appears to have paid little attention to the beggar at his gate, but at least he tolerated him there—which is more than most of us would do today—and allowed him to feed from the leavings of the table. On the other hand, the beggar Lazarus goes to Abraham's bosom apparently for no other reason than that he had been a beggar.

          The parables dealing with the kingdom of God, which amount to about half of all the parables35 also contain very little of ethical teaching. Furthermore, they are substantially unintelligible until the meaning of the phrase "kingdom of God" is ascertained; and the uses of that term in the New Testament are full of difficulties on any interpretation which either conservatives or liberals have yet proposed. In fact, there are only a few of the parables, such as the Pharisee and the publican36, the unforgiving servant37, and the Good Samaritan38, which contain teachings of definite ethical value.

          The modernists place considerable emphasis upon the teachings of Jesus and the inspiration of his life. As to the latter, if one takes the gospel stories without all that he has been ACCUSTOMED TO READ INTO THEM, and demand that they yield a plain meaning, as one expects of any other book, where is the supremely great character which we have always been taught that they portray? The liberals have deluded themselves into finding such a character in the stories, by refusing to recognize anything that is discreditable and by assuming that his every act and word must have a deep moral significance, whether it so appears in the account or not...." [93-95].


"Notes" [139]

          "[29.] Now if the liberal reader will ask himself, in just what did the uniqueness and greatness of Jesus consist, he will have some difficulty in finding a satisfactory answer. Of course the orthodox answer is simple enough: Jesus was unique because he was born of a virgin, performed stupendous miracles, and was himself raised from the dead and ascended into heaven. But we are not dealing here with orthodox but with liberal theology. And that theology rejects the stories of the virgin birth, the empty tomb and the miracles, though it attempts to rationalize some of the stories of healing.

          One answer of the liberal reader is likely to be that Jesus must have been unique to have had such stories—even though untrue in fact—told about him. But miracle stories are not unique in Jewish history. According to the Old Testament, Moses, Elijah and Elisha performed quite remarkable miracles; both Elijah and Elisha brought back the dead to life; I Kings 17:17–23; II Kings 4;19–37; and Elijah was translated into heaven while still alive; II Kings 2:1–11. It must be conceded that virgin birth stories are not found in Jewish literature, though quite common in heathen mythology. But only Matthew and Luke—the latter almost certainly a Gentile—tell of the virgin birth of Jesus; and these two stories, inconsistent with each other and with each of the two widely variant genealogies, are denounced, along with the genealogies in the purported letters to Timothy and Titus, as "profane and old wives' fables"; I Tim. 1:4; 4:7; and as "Jewish fables"; Tit. 1:14. So the gospel miracle stories furnish no solid basis for any claim to the uniqueness of Jesus.

          If it be suggested that Jesus was the first historical character whose personality survived death, the answer is that it is generally conceded that there is no proof of immortality, but if statements in the gospels be urged as proof, then the souls of Moses and Elijah had already survived death because both of them are represented by Mark, Matthew and Luke as talking with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration; Mk. 9:2–8; Mt. 17:1–18; Lu. 9:28–36. So no uniqueness can be claimed on that score.

          The other answer of the liberal reader is likely to be that Jesus was unique in his life and teachings. AS FOR HIS [JESUS] TEACHINGS, TWO OF THEM, POVERTY AND NON-RESISTANCE, HAVE BEEN REJECTED AS IMPRACTICAL BY NEARLY ALL OF CHRISTENDOM; WHILE SUBSTANTIALLY ALL THE REST OF THE TEACHINGS CAN BE FOUND EITHER IN THE OLD TESTAMENT OR IN HEATHEN LITERATURE. As for his effectiveness as a teacher, he spent most of his fifteen months of teaching and preaching in Galilee and Perea, yet there was apparently not a single church ever organized in either province. He [Jesus] is supposed to have trained twelve disciples [see 2471-2473]; of those one betrayed him to death and upon his arrest the other eleven all left him and fled; Mk. 14:43–50. After his death eight of those eleven were never heard of, and Christianity became a world religion largely because of the efforts of Paul, a non-Palestinian Jew who had never seen Jesus and who, upon his conversion to Christianity did not think it worth while even to get in touch with any of the disciples—Gal. 1:17—all of whom had been daily companions of Jesus for some fifteen months!


          What has happened is this. Most of the liberal leaders of the present day have been trained, in their earlier years, in orthodoxy. Orthodox theology still accepts the virgin birth of Jesus, the miracles attributed to him in the gospels, the resurrection of his body from the tomb and its ascension into heaven. Now every one will agree that if Jesus was actually born of a virgin; if he did perform all the miracles attributed to him; if life did come back to his dead body so that it emerged from the tomb and ascended above the clouds into heaven—then these happenings would render Jesus unique. Most of the liberal leaders of today have been thoroughly taught, in their impressionable years, not only that Jesus was unique, but the four reasons above given for his uniqueness. After they have become mature they have found it more and more difficult to continue to accept the stories of the virgin birth, the miracles, the bodily resurrection and ascension till they have finally rejected them as utterly incredible because inconsistent with modern scientific knowledge. But there is nothing incredible in the conception of Jesus' uniqueness; he might possible have been unique without having been born of a virgin, without having performed miracles, without having been resurrected from the dead, without having ascended into heaven. The result is that the liberal leaders have naturally, though illogically, retained the now unsupportable conception of the uniqueness of Jesus and have used it as a basis for their doctrine of Jesus' deification; a very neat illustration of eating one's cake and having it too.

          To recapitulate: there are two fundamental objections to the liberal doctrine of the deification of Jesus. One is that the deification must have been done by Christians who were Jews by birth and training; and after a religious tradition of several centuries of monotheism it is unthinkable that they would deify any historical character, however unique, there being not the slightest trace of any attempt by their ancestors to deify Moses or David or Elijah or Isaiah or any of their other great leaders.

          The second fundamental objection is that having repudiated the virgin birth, the miracles, the bodily resurrection and ascension of Jesus, there is nothing left upon which to base any claim to his being unique. In rejecting, therefore, those parts of the New Testament which represent Jesus as God, the liberals have automatically rejected any possible basis for their doctrine of his deification.

          30. There are many other things in the New Testament besides the stories of miracles attributed to Jesus and his disciples which modernists have been compelled either to repudiate or question seriously. They usually regard the stories of the birth of Jesus and John the Baptist as legendary; and for the same reason they reject the stories of the resurrection of the body of Jesus. They reject also the express and implied references to the church because they say that Jesus did not found a church and did not expect that one would be founded: Mt. 12:24–30; 13:36–43; 16–18, 19; 18:17. And still other passages are not accepted by some liberals as genuine because not consistent with the character of Jesus; for example, the cursing of the fig tree, Mt. 21:18–21; the harsh answer to the Syrophoenician woman, Mt. 15:26; the predictions of his return within a generation on the clouds of heaven and of a judgment, Mt. 24:30; Mk. 13:47–50; and the assertions that he spoke in parables in order to conceal, Mt. 13:11–17. They recognize the inconsistency between the


picture of Jesus in the synoptics and that in John and are compelled to reject or question a large part of the fourth gospel. And they are unable to explain the geographical inconsistencies in Mk. 6:45, 53, where Jesus starts toward Bethsaida and arrives at Gennesaret which is in the opposite direction; and the chronological inconsistency in Mt. 14:15, 23. In Mt. 14:15 Matthew says "When it was evening"; then in 14:16–22 he tells of the feeding of the five thousand and in 14:23, he again says, "when evening was come." Other geographical difficulties occur in Mt. 15:1–20; 29–31; 16:13." [end of 30.] [155-157].

          '[68.] A LARGE PART OF THE THEOLOGY OF THE PAST SEVENTEEN CENTURIES HAS BEEN BASED UPON THE SO-CALLED APOSTLES' CREED which was not formulated till many decades after the death of Peter and Paul and their contemporaries. It has in it so much of magic, myth and metaphysical speculation and so slight a trace of the Christian teachings with which Peter and Paul were familiar, that it is impossible to imagine either of them endorsing any such statement of belief. The first paragraph, "I believe in God, the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth" is, at most, nothing but metaphysical speculation [Mythology! ("Bullshit"!, by demand)]; we do not know how the universe came into existence and in the nature of things probably never will know. The apostles of the days of Peter and Paul were interested, not in how the universe came into being, but in finding out what kind of a universe it was so that they might learn to live in harmony with it and achieve permanent happiness.

          The apostles would have been more than willing to declare their belief in Jesus as the Christian God, symbolizing the sum total of the Christian teachings, but the Jesus depicted in the second paragraph is not the Christian God; he [Jesus] is a God-man, a composite [see Article #3, 46, 216., 66, 346., 85, 200.] made up from all the gospels combined, miraculously conceived and born, crucified, dead, buried and resurrected; ascended into heaven, sitting at the right hand of God, whence he will come to judge the living and dead. Neither Peter nor Paul nor any of their contemporaries knew any such Jesus; and even long after their death the authors of I and II Timothy and Titus warned against the story of the virgin birth.

          The apostles firmly believed in the importance of the holy spirit or attitude shown by those whose lives were inspired by the Christian teachings, but they knew nothing of a personified Holy Spirit, the third person of the theological trinity. They believed, too, in their church organization as an absolutely necessary means of spreading the influence of the Christian teachings; but the holy Catholic church named in the creed is obviously not one [a church] founded on the Christian teachings but upon metaphysical speculation. They believed in the forgiveness of sins that resulted naturally from the thorough-going acceptance of the Christian teachings; but the creed's forgiveness of sins is plainly nothing but a bit of magic. They believed in co-operation between all Christians, but the communion of saints referred to in the creed evidently involves some sort of co-operation between dead and living Christians—a bit of speculation which is a corollary to the doctrine of personal immortality which made its first appearance in Christian history with the fourth gospel. They recognized the resurrection in the initiation ceremony as a symbol of the triumph over hatred,


ostentation and prejudice which each Christian convert experienced as the result of following the Christian teachings; they believed that those teachings enabled one to live a life based upon the fundamental and eternal principles of the universe; but they did not believe in a life everlasting in duration after death, either with or without the resurrection of the body.

          There were two other theological doctrines that have played a part in the history of Protestantism: predestination and conversion. It was a source of never ending surprise to the early Christian that those whom they expected to be enthusiastic over the Christian teachings and program rejected Christianity while others were unexpectedly eager to accept it; Mt. 11:25; Lu. 10:21. After an unanticipated event had actually happened it was natural, if not inevitable, for them to take the position that God had so intended it; I Cor. 1:9. 24, 26; 7:18, 21, 24. This was especially true in view of the fact that Isaiah had followed the same course of reasoning; Is. 6:9, 10 quoted in Mt. 13:14, 15. Passages expressing this point of view have been constantly cited as proof texts of the theological doctrine of predestination. But that the early Christians did not believe in such a doctrine is made clear by the exhortations to be kindly, to be courageous, to be humble, to be fairminded, to test all things and hold fast those which were proved to be good. The outstanding proof texts of the theological doctrine are Rom. 8:29, 30, 33; 9:15, 18, 21; Eph. 1:5. See also II Pet. 1:10.

          As to the subject of conversion, the Christians of the days of Paul expected that those who were converted to Christianity would, in order to achieve the promised permanent happiness, give up—as far as was in their power—whatever was inconsistent with those teachings. There is no indication that this change of spirit or attitude was to be accompanied by any such emotional upheaval as became—some seventeen centuries later—an important part of Methodist theology. In fact the only outbursts of emotion referred to in Paul's letters were those produced by the prospect of a new social order in which the Christians would manage the world. The support of the Methodist doctrine of conversion is found in the fourth gospel in the discourse with Nicodemus where Jesus is represented as saying to him, "You must be born again"; Jo. 3:5, 7. See also Acts 2:3, 4; 19:2. Today the Methodists do not lay quite so much stress upon conversion as they did formerly.

          The incomprehensibility of theological doctrines is sometimes justified on the ground that they are mysteries. In writing to the Corinthians Paul speaks of Christian ministers as stewards of the mysteries of God; I Cor. 4:1. Matthew and Luke represent the historized Jesus as saying to his disciples—in explaining the parable of the sower—that only to them was it given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God; Mt. 13:11; Lu. 8:10. They also represent Jesus as being thankful that God "hid these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes"; Mt. 11:25; Lu. 10:21. These and other similar passages show that the Christian teachings were not difficult to understand; on the contrary they were so easy to comprehend that it was an inscrutable mystery that those learned in the Jewish ethical law should reject them. The passages also show that at least some of these teachings were expressed in language that was incomprehensible to non-Christians. Today it is common to justify or excuse such theological doctrines as the virgin birth, the vicarious atonement


and the trinity by saying that they are mysteries; but they are not mysteries in the sense used by Paul and the gospel writers, but mystifications, that is, puzzling statements which no one understands, which have no symbolic meaning, or ethical content, and which do nothing but confuse the reader.

          The recent decline of interest in theology has caused some ministers to refer frequently to the doctrine of "grace." This was a term often used by Paul to express the freedom and joy and happiness that came from practicing the Christian teachings, as contrasted with the disappointment which resulted from observing the burden-some Jewish ceremonial law; Gal. 5:4; also to express the favor of God in revealing to mankind the Christian teachings; I Cor. 1:4; or to indicate the happiness of those whose lives had been inspired by the Christian teachings; Gal. 2:9; 6:18. The word ["grace"] has not been used in this book because, like faith and love, it has been theologized and thereby rendered useless as a means of expressing any rational meaning; Heb. 2:9; Acts 15:11.' [end of 68.] [159-161].

          '72. UPON THE CURRENT HYPOTHESIS THAT JESUS WAS A HISTORICAL CHARACTER and that the synoptic gospels are to be accepted—as far as they can be reconciled with each other—as literal history, Christianity was founded by an itinerant preacher and miracle worker in a public ministry that lasted about a year. During that period he made possibly some few hundred converts and gathered about him a group of twelve disciples or personal followers, all of whom were so stupid that he frequently rebuked them for not understanding him. One of these betrayed him into the hands of the Jewish authorities who were plotting his death; another emphatically denied him at his trial before these authorities; and the rest of the twelve were so cowardly that they all forsook him and fled. Within a few years after his death the leadership of the Jerusalem Christians passed to his brother or half-brother who had not even been a convert during the lifetime of Jesus; and the great growth of Christianity among the Gentiles was brought about by a man who had never known Jesus personally, who knew nothing of his miracles or his teachings and who based his entire preaching upon the fact—of which he was not an eye witness—that Jesus rose from the dead. Is there any Bible miracle story—not excluding the story of Jonah and the whale—that is more difficult to believe than such an explanation? 

          Upon the thesis presented in this book, CHRISTIANITY, LIKE ALL OTHER RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS, WAS A SOCIAL PRODUCT. It was founded and developed by a large group of persons working in substantial harmony over a period of many years, under the intelligent and effective leadership of such capable men as John the Baptist, Peter and Paul. Modern history furnishes two outstanding examples of such movements: the Protestant Reformation was a social product with men like Luther, Zwingli and Calvin as leaders; and the work of the Methodists under the leadership of the Wesleys and Whitfield. Is there any explanation of the founding of Christianity more in keeping with known phenomena than this?


          For over a century New Testament scholars have been trying to find the historical Jesus. A German theologian, Albert Schweitzer [1875 - 1965], has made a careful review of the work of these scholars, and thus summarizes the results of their efforts (Quest of the Historical Jesus, 2nd English Ed. 1926):



"The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give his work its final consecration, never had any existence. He is a figure designed by rationalism, endowed with life by liberalism, and clothed by modern theology in an historical garb.

"This image has not been destroyed from without, it has fallen to pieces, cleft and disintegrated by the concrete historical problems which came to the surface one after another, and in spite of all the artifice, art, artificiality, and violence which was applied to them, refused to be planed down to fit the design on which the Jesus of the theology of the last hundred and thirty years had been constructed, and were no sooner covered over than they appeared again in a new form....

"Whatever the ultimate solution may be, the historical Jesus...will not be a Jesus Christ to whom the religion of the present can ascribe, according to its long-cherished custom, its own thought and ideas, as it did with the Jesus of its own making. Nor will He be a figure which can be made by a popular historical treatment so sympathetic and universally intelligible to the multitude. The historical Jesus will be to our times a stranger and an enigma."

          Let those of you who think that you see in the gospels a clear portrait of the historical Jesus ponder well the last sentence: "The historical Jesus will be to our times a stranger and an enigma." Contrast with this picture of Schweitzer's the thesis presented in this book of the many sensible, clear-headed founders of Christianity who were so modern that they anticipated by some eighteen centuries the methods and goal of modern science; so modern that if they should return to earth today they would feel entirely at home in the scientific laboratories, though utter strangers in practically all of the churches that call themselves Christian. To the youth of tomorrow how much more helpful and inspiring will be the career of the courageous, high spirited Paul who repudiated miracles and "philosophy," and who repeatedly risked and probably lost his life in carrying the good news of happiness to the Gentiles, than will be the figure of a Jesus who "will be to our times a stranger and an enigma"! [A Jesus who was (is) a Fictional character!]

          If we analyze carefully the aims of Paul and his associates, we will find that they had two different goals. First, happiness for themselves and for all others whom they could convert to the true Way of Life; second, the establishment, within a few years, of a new social order in which the Christians would rule the world. Their over optimism in regard to their second aim is not difficult to understand. The government of the Mediterranean world was already unified in the Roman Empire, and they probably believed that the human race was only about four thousand years old. On that basis, why not a new social order within a generation? We now feel fairly certain


that the human race—whatever its origin—has been slowly evolving for many, many thousands of years; and we are entirely certain that the future progress of the race must be so slow that no radical advance in social amelioration is possible within any single generation. The second goal must be seriously modified in order to fit modern ideas and modern conditions.

          But what of the other great aim which was so attractive to the Gentile world in the days of Paul? The recent decline in the influence of organized Christianity has been due largely to the fact that its goal of personal immortality has no longer the lure that it had a few decades ago. In the light of modern scientific knowledge and of common sense intelligent persons in increasing numbers are recognizing the flimsiness of the church's assurance of personal immortality—an assurance that has no basis whatever except that of metaphysical speculation. If Christianity is to accomplish what it should, it must abandon such a false goal with as much vigor and decisiveness as the early Christians gave up the Jewish ceremonial law. And what more effective course to pursue than to readopt the first goal of the early Christians? Happiness for all in this life. There is not, at the present day, nor is there likely to be in the future, any demand for an individual messiah, or for miracles, or for metaphysical speculation. So let the church announce that it has set for itself the worth while aims and purposes of early Christianity and it will command the respect and the confidence of the world. As was said in "Recent Social Trends in the United States," p. XLIII, "Happiness and unhappiness have been little studied by science, yet happiness is one of our most cherished goals."

          THE RESULT CAN NOT BE ACCOMPLISHED WITHOUT GIVING UP BELIEF IN A HISTORICAL JESUS. And that will not be easy, not only because of the long tradition behind it but because of the superficial plausibility and the emotional attractiveness of the Jesus story. Many Christian leaders did suffer martyrdom; and if there had been a historical Jesus he might very well have been crucified in some such way as the synoptic gospels indicate, for his attacks upon Jewish orthodoxy. But belief in a historical Jesus must be abandoned because it lies like a veil over the New Testament, completely concealing the origin and development of the Christian organization and obscuring the content of the early Christian teachings. As long as belief in a historical Jesus continues, the real significance of early Christianity is as much lost to the world as is the fate of the exiled ten tribes of Israel. In and of itself the historicity of Jesus is of slight consequence; but it is of tremendous importance to the world that organized Chrisitianity [Christianity] should advocate the high ethical principles and catch the vigorous spirit of its founders some nineteen centuries ago.' [161-163] [End of Notes].


Important New Testament Passages on the Four Fundamental

Christian Teachings—Kindliness, Humility, Courage

and Fairmindedness [origins? validity?]....[see Addition 34, 1496-1644]" [165].

_____ _____ _____


from: A Lawyer Looks at the Bible, by George L. Clark, Vantage Press, New York, Washington ● Hollywood ● Toronto, c1956.




In 1805, William DeWette [Wilhelm Martin Leberecht de Wette 1780 - 1849], in his thesis for a professorship at the University of Jena, clearly proved to the satisfaction of Biblical scholars that the "book of the law" referred to in II Kings 22:8 was the book of Deuteronomy. How did he do this? There was no statement to that effect anywhere in the Hebrew Scriptures, so the basis for his great discovery was rational inference from indirect evidence....

          In the following pages, there are set forth six main theses which the present writer has undertaken to prove by rational inference from indirect evidence, in the same way that DeWette proved that the "book of the law" was Deuteronomy. For these theses, there is, in the very nature of things, no direct proof, but there is sufficient indirect evidence in each case to prove by rational inference each of the theses presented. Here are the theses: ....

II. THE SECOND THESIS IS THAT JESUS WAS NOT A MAN—THAT IS, NOT A HISTORICAL PERSONAGE [see Article #3, 41-104; etc.]—who was later deified, but that he was the deity of the Nazarenes—who, under the leadership of Peter, James and John, undertook some nineteen centuries ago to repudiate for themselves and their fellow Jewish converts to the Nazarene sect the entire Jewish ceremonial law, including the complete sacrificial system, the dietary rules, circumcision and the meticulous observance of the Sabbath, and to restore as their sole deity the undiluted ethical teachings which had been handed down and preserved from the days on the grazing plains. Why did they need a new name for God, instead of Jehovah? Because, since the days of Deuteronomy, Jehovah had symbolized not only the ethical teachings, but also the sacrificial system which was offensive to the Nazarenes.

          As a matter of rational inference from indirect evidence, WHAT IS THE PROOF OF THE THESIS THAT JESUS WAS NOT A HISTORICAL PERSONAGE? Here is a part of it. In the entire New Testament, outside the gospels, he is never referred to as a teacher or preacher. There is not one exhortation to be found anywhere urging Christians to study his teachings or to follow them. If he was the great teacher he was supposed to be, this is entirely unexplainable.

          There is no quotation of a single one of the many teachings attributed to him in the gospels. There is no reference outside the gospels to a single one of the many miracles attributed to him in the gospels.

          There is no [it is debated] reference to Jesus in the works of Josephus, the great Jewish historian, who does, however, give a brief account of John the Baptist.

          Paul does, apparently, refer to the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, but a careful study of these passages shows that he is referring, not to historical events, but to the ceremony by which he and other converts to the


Nazarene teachings were initiated into the Nazarene-Christian organization. For example, Paul speaks in Galatians 2:20 of having been crucified with Christ; Paul certainly was not literally, but only ceremonially, crucified; and if his crucifixion was only a part of a symbolic ceremony, then the crucifixion of Jesus must also have been symbolic. Also, in Galatians 3:1, when Paul writes: "O foolish Galatians, who did bewitch you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth crucified," he is obviously referring to a ceremonial portrayal.

          Furthermore, if Paul was referring to an actual crucifixion of a historical character, why would he not have made some reference to the last supper; to the agony in Gethsemane; to the trials before the Jewish Sanhedrin and before Pontius Pilate; to the cowardice of the disciples who fled when Jesus was arrested; to the three denials made by Peter that he was a disciple of Jesus; to the absence of the disciples from the crucifixion on Calvary and the burial of the body of Jesus; and to the appearance of Jesus after the resurrection? Yet of all these matters, there is not the slightest mention.

          Is it not the rational inference from all this indirect evidence that there was no actual crucifixion, burial and resurrection and that Jesus was not a historical personage? That Jesus was the deity of the Christians is shown by the fact that throughout the New Testament he is spoken of as Lord, that is God.' [9, 10, 11-12].


"[The time is about A.D. 37 [a Fictional date, of a Fiction (LS)]; the place is the home of Peter in Jerusalem. Three years earlier Paul, in the midst of persecuting members of the Nazarene sect because of their open repudiation of the Jewish ceremonial law, had himself become a convert to the way of life taught by the Nazarenes. Shortly thereafter he had withdrawn to Arabia for some time, but had later returned to Syria and Cilicia. He has now come to visit Peter, the chief leader and apostle, or missionary, of the Nazarene sect. This visit—according to Paul's statement in his letter to the Galatian churches—lasted for fifteen days, a period long enough for them to talk over quite thoroughly the origin, development, teachings and progress of the sect.

          It seems quite probable that Peter addressed Paul by his Hebrew name, Saul; and that Paul addressed Peter by his Hebrew name, Simon, or by the Roman Cephas, which he later sometimes used in his letters in referring to Peter; but the names Peter and Paul are used here, because more familiar to the modern reader.

          The following pages contain what was probably the substance of their conversation [?].] [brackets and contents by the author (George Luther Clark)]

PETER: In your message to me, Paul, you stated that you wished to talk over several matters and, especially, to ask me some questions in regard to the origin and development of the Nazarenes and their teachings.


PAUL: Yes, Peter, I do. Ever since my conversion three years ago from a Pharisee to a follower of the Nazarene teachings, I have been so enthusiastic that I have talked about them to anyone who would listen to me. And some of these listeners raised questions which—partly because I left for Arabia so soon after my initiation—I was unable to answer satisfactorily; in fact, there were some questions that I was unable to answer at all. So I decided that it would be desirable for me to get from you, as the chief leader of the Nazarenes, accurate and authoritative answers to these questions.

PETER: I shall be very glad to oblige you, Paul, and answer any of your questions that I can. It so happens that I am not planning to go on another missionary journey for several days, so I can talk with you at least a part of each day for the next week or two; but before undertaking to answer any of your questions, I think it might be desirable for you to explain to me why you so suddenly became a convert to the Nazarene teachings. We had become accustomed here in Jerusalem to hearing of your persecuting Nazarenes and bringing them bound to Jerusalem to be punished by the Jewish authorities for their repudiation of the Jewish ceremonial law. And then, unexpectedly, we hear of your conversion and your initiation into the Nazarene organization. What happened, Paul, to cause such a complete reversal of your attitude? ...." [18-19].

"PAUL: Another question, Peter, is this. In the book of Job, one of the characters is Satan, who is permitted by Jehovah to inflict upon Job a great variety of misfortunes. He is apparently the personification of evil, as Jehovah is the personification of what is good for man. What is the Nazarene attitude on this matter?

PETER: We see no objection, Paul, to personifying evil as Satan, or the devil; it is a great convenience. That does not mean that mature-minded persons think of the devil as a distinct personality, though many immature-minded persons do thus think. As to whether the evil in the world is due to the greater power and intelligence which I have already mentioned, or whether there is a lesser power and intelligence—Satan, or the devil—who is responsible for it, we regard that as a matter of speculation in which we Nazarenes are not interested. ...." [50].


[The time is about A.D. 65 [a Fictional date, of a Fiction (LS)]; the place is Paul's prison in Rome. Paul has asked Mark to arrange to spend a few days with him so that they might talk over at some length plans for the future activity of the Christian churches, and Mark has come to visit Paul for that purpose.] [brackets and contents by the author (George Luther Clark)]

MARK: In response to your request, Paul, I have arranged to spend three days with you so that we will be able to consider the future of the churches. Just what do you wish to talk about first?


PAUL: Before we talk about future possibilities, I think it best to discuss first what has happened up till the present time. Some of these matters you are already acquainted with, but there are others which may be new to you.

          As you already know, I was born and brought up in Tarsus as a Pharisee and I took the Pharisee teachings very seriously. The Jews both in Judea and among the Dispersion were very unhappy and I saw no way of overcoming that unhappiness except by the appearance of the long-promised Messiah, who would restore Jewish independence and establish for all Jews such prosperity and happiness as had been enjoyed under King David. As I said, I took these teachings of the Pharisees very seriously and decided to devote my life in helping to bring about the Messianic age...." [53].


[The time is about AD 76 [a Fictional date, of a Fiction (LS)]; the place is Matthew's home. By previous appointment, Mark has come to tell Matthew that the Christian leaders have selected him to write a gospel to supersede Mark's for use among the Jewish Christians, and that Luke has been selected to write a gospel to be used among the churches that are predominantly Gentile in membership. Mark also suggests to Matthew that, before he has entirely completed his gospel, he visit Luke and compare the two gospels, so as to make them substantially similar.] [bracket and contents by the author (George Luther Clark)]

MARK: I have an important message to you, Matthew, from the Nazarene leaders; but before I tell you what it is, I think it would be desirable for me to tell you what happened about two years ago. At that time we had a meeting in which it was agreed that the antagonism of the conservative Jewish Christians under the leadership of Peter, James and John, and the death of Paul, were such severe blows to our missionary work among the Gentiles that something unusual had to be done if Paul's vision of a new Christianized social order—which he called the "Kingdom of God"—was to be realized. At that time I made a suggestion based upon the experience of a large number of Christian missionaries who took the position that there was little use in founding new Gentile Christian churches unless we should convert enough Jews who would be able, because of their ethical heritage and training, to act as a stabilizing force in each new Christian community. They must, therefore, make many more Jewish converts to Pauline Christianity. I then pointed out to the other leaders that, since a Roman army had taken Jerusalem and destroyed the temple, the activity of the Judean Christians in interfering with our missionary work and in making converts of their own had necessarily been slowed down, so that the missionary field was left largely to ourselves.

          I then pointed out that, in spite of this great advantage, there was no use trying to gain the attention of the Jews with the simple Christian message, although it consisted of ethical teachings handed down from he days of Abraham. For when Jews were approached by Christian missionaries, they were likely to retort by asking whose teaching this was1 and by insisting that, if the Christians had a leader great enough to overthrow the Jewish ceremonial law, he must have been able to perform miracles2 as Moses3 did, and Elijah4 and Elisha.5 Since the Jews could apparently be


reached in no other way, I proposed that miracle stories6 be told in order to satisfy this demand and thereby give additional authority, in the minds of the Jews, to the Christian message. I pointed out that the stories could be so devised that, to the mature-minded Jews, they would carry an allegorical meaning, just as did many of the miracle stories in the Hebrew Scriptures.7 The immature-minded would, of course, understand them literally, but I pointed out that, as soon as the new social order should be established, the real significance of these stories could be explained to them also. In the meantime signposts of warning could be inserted to make clear to the mature minded that these stories were not meant to be understood literally.8 ....' [62-64].

[footnotes to the preceding]

          '1. John 9:29: "We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this man, we know not whence he is."

          2. I Cor. 1:22: "The Jews demand miracles."

          3. Besides the various plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians by Jehovah at the prayer of Moses, as told in Ex. 5:1 to 14:14; the parting of the Red Sea, as told in Ex. 14:15–31; the raining of manna in the wilderness, as told in Ex. 16:1–36; the smiting of the rock so that it produced water, as told in Ex. 27:1–7; there was the curing of Miriam of leprosy, as told in Num. 12:10–15.

          4. I Kings 17–24, raising from the dead the widow's son at Zarephath; I Kings 18:19–38, calling down fire from haven to burn the sacrifice on the altar to Jehovah.

          5. II Kings 4:1–37, raising from the dead the son of the Shunamite woman; II Kings 5:1–6, curing Naaman the Syrian of leprosy; II Kings 6:4–7, causing an ax head to float on the water; II Kings 6:18, smiting many with blindness.

          6. See p. 208, Note 4, "Why Miracle Stories in the New Testament?"'

          7. That there was a tendency to read symbolical or allegorical meanings into the Old Testament stories is indicated by Paul's treatment in Gal. 4:21–31 of the story of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Hagar and Ishmael, as told in Gen. 16:1–15, 21:9–22; and in his interpretation in 1 Cor. 9:9–11 of Deut. 25:4, "You shall not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn." As to the miracle stories in the Old Testament, no symbolism was intended in them, but educated Jews of Paul's day, notably Philo of Alexandria, had undertaken to rationalize them by reading symbolism into them, because they could no longer believe them literally.

          8. Mark 8:11, 12; Matt. 12:38–42; Luke 11:29–32. In these passages the demand for miracles is solemnly and emphatically declared to be adulterous—that is, idolatrous. Since the Hebrew prophets were accustomed to speak of Israel not only as the son and daughter, but also as the wife of Jehovah, the worship by Israelites of heathen gods was denounced by them as adultery; this was the more appropriate because of the emphasis placed by those religions upon sex worships; see Hos. 2:2–13; Jer. 3:8, 9; 5:7; Ps. 50:18; Lev. 19:29.' [63, 64].


          "The Jews have been accustomed to refer to the gods of the various Gentile religions as demons and to their occasional conversion of a Gentile to Judaism as the casting of demons out of such converts.55 I have used similar symbolism to refer to the conversion of Gentiles to Christianity.56 The complete mastery of Jesus over demons shows the great superiority of Christianity over Judaism, which, as we all know, has been trying for centuries, with almost no success, to win Gentile converts.57

          As you no doubt have heard, the Jews have been so amazed by the success of Christianity among the Gentiles58 that they have sought to deny the genuineness of the conversion by charging that Christianity itself is idolatrous and that the Gentiles are merely going from one heathen religion to another. I present this Jewish argument and the answer to it in an incident59 in which the scribes charge that Jesus casts out demons by the help of the prince of the demons and I represent Jesus as replying, in a parable, that such a thing was necessarily impossible; but that if it were possible, and if it were happening, the Jewish leaders should rejoice, because that would mean the breaking up of the heathen religions, because a house divided against itself cannot stand.60

          As you know, Paul once boasted that he had never said or written anything which was not easy for his hearers or readers to understand.61 In many ways, it would have been advantageous for me to attribute to Jesus language that is easily understandable, but there are weighty reasons to the contrary. One is that I am representing Jesus to be not a mere man but a god-man; and, therefore, his every utterance must be so impressive that it will be accepted as true merely because he says it. For this reason, the language attributed to him must be compact and his sayings filled with hidden meanings. Furthermore, since the miracles I am attributing to him are all symbolical, it is appropriate that his sayings should be full of symbolism. This manner of speech also satisfies the need for secrecy in that portion of his discourses which have to do with the expected new social order. Even when he is represented as preaching the free acceptance of Gentiles into the Christian organization, the use of plain language is not desirable; for if I should represent him as declaring openly for this policy, someone will be sure to raise the question: Why did not Paul quote him in arguing this point in his letters?62

          Having thus worked out the manner of speech which should be attributed to Jesus, I have proceeded to apply the same principle to the incidents which I relate about him. These incidents I have created to contain symbolism which gives them special meanings. Some of the incidents I have introduced in order to historize the initiation drama; others, in fulfillment of what has been interpreted by the Jews to be Messianic predictions; others, for the purpose of paralleling incidents in the Hebrew Scriptures; and still others, in reinforcement of points in our ethical teachings.

          Thus, at the very beginning of Jesus' career as an itinerant preacher, I represent him as accepting baptism at the hands of John the Baptist;63 as making use of the initiation formula in the saying,64 "Whoever wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me"; as instituting the communion meal;65 as suffering betrayal66 and crucifixion;67 as being buried68 and resurrected.69 In recognition of his Messianic character, I represent that a phrase from the hymn that was formerly used at the coronation of the kings of Israel70 is pronounced over him at


his baptism by a voice from the clouds saying, "This is my beloved son."71 At another point in the gospel story, I represent him as being anointed,72 as had been all the kings of Israel.73

          The following incidents in my narrative have been suggested by passages from the Hebrew Scriptures which have been, or could be, interpreted as Messianic predictions: His riding into Jerusalem on an ass;74 his overthrowing the tables of the money changers in the temple;75 his being put to death between two thieves like an ordinary malefactor.76 Paralleling incidents in the lives of Moses77 and Elijah,78 I represent Jesus as fasting, at the beginning of his career, for forty days in the wilderness.79 And I represent him as being transfigured80 on a mountain in the presence of Moses and Elijah and of his three leading disciples, just as Moses had been transfigured so that his face shone as he came down from Mount Sinai.81

          But the most important acts and sayings which I attribute to Jesus in the gospel are those which reinforce the liberal Christian teachings concerning the free acceptance of the Gentiles and the Christian organization and the coming of the new social order. In his letters, Paul frequently addressed his Gentile converts as "babes"82 or "little children,"83 and the Jews before him were accustomed so to describe the Gentile converts to Judaism because, like little children, they must learn everything from the beginning.84 ....' [76-79].

[footnotes to the preceding]

          '55. See Matt. 12:27: "If I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your children cast them out?"

          56. The word translated in the Authorized version as "devils," and in the Revised version as "demons," is the Greek "daimon." In classic Greek, the word was used to mean any spirit superior to man and therefore, was often applied to the inferior deities. Greek has another word to mean god (theos); and still another to mean devil (diabolos). When, in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus is said to be tempted by the devil, the word "diabolos" is used; Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:1. But when a man is said to be possessed of a devil or devils, the Greek word is "daimon"; Mark 1:32; Matt. 4:24, 8:16, 28, 33; Luke 8:36.

          In the long struggle of the Hebrews to achieve a conception of the unity of the universe, which they finally expressed in a strict monotheism, or worship of only one God, Jehovah, symbol of their ethical teachings, they passed through a stage in which they insisted that, while Jehovah was not the only god, he was the greatest of gods, and the gods of the other nations were merely subordinate deities, or demons. There are two passages in the Old Testament in which the word "demons" is used in that sense; Deut. 32:17: "They sacrificed unto demons, which were no God, to gods they knew not, to new gods that came up of late, which your fathers dreaded not"; Ps. 106:37, 38: "Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto demons and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan." In I Cor. 10:20, 21, Paul follows a similar usage: "The things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not wish you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons."


          It was a common idea in all the heathen religions that the god was inside the worshiper, especially in moments of emotional ecstacy, while purporting to utter the will of the god, or just after eating and drinking the god in the sacrificial meal. The conversion of a worshiper of Gentile gods to Judaism was thus naturally spoken of as "casting out demons." When the synoptic gospels came to be written the expression was used repeatedly to mean the conversion of Gentiles to Christianity by casting out the Gentile gods. That this is the correct interpretation is reinforced by the further fact that Mark, Matthew and Luke all use "unclean spirits" as the alternative expression for "demons"; Mark 1:23; Matt. 10:1; Luke 4:33. Since Gentiles were regarded as unclean by Jews, it was natural to refer to the gods of the Gentiles as "unclean spirits."

          57. See Matt. 23:15: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass land and sea to make one proselyte."

          58. In Mark 1:23–27 is told the story of the very first activity of Jesus, the conversion from heathendom of the man in the synagogue; in verse 27, Mark says: "And they were all amazed so that they questioned among themselves, saying, What is this? a new teaching! with authority he commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him." That is, the Christian teachings were able to make converts even from the heathen religions. Since the man was in a synagogue and had only one unclean spirit, it was evidently only a mild case of idolatry. But in March 5:1–20, the author undertook to depict an extreme case; the man had a legion of unclean spirits, was naked, lived among tombs and was so violent as to be beyond any physical restraint. But even in this most difficult case, the man was restored—that is, Christianity was able to convert into ways of righteousness and decency even the most extreme case of idolatry. Allowing the spirits to enter the swine and to have the swine destroy themselves was an additional dramatic touch; the idolatry was too degrading even for swine. To the Jews of that day, there was nothing more unclean or repulsive than pigs and tombs.

          59. Mark 3:22–30.' [74-75].

60. See p. 240, Note 7, "Casting Our Demons."

          61. II Cor. 1:12, 13: see also I Cor. 14:1–28.

          62. Note especially the long, involved and farfetched arguments in Gal. 3:6–9, 14–29; 4:21–31.

          In order to avoid using the term "Gentiles," several different devices were employed. In many passages they are referred to as persons possessed of demons or unclean spirits; for example, Mark 5:1–20, the man in the country of the Gadarenes. See also Mark 4:24; Luke 4:41. In some passages they are symbolized by little children; see Mark 9:31; 10:15; Luke 18:17.

          They are also symbolized as the "poor" or the "poor in spirit"—that is, poor in ethical teachings, as in the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are the poor in spirit"; Matt. 5:3. And see Matt. 19:21, "Sell all that you have and give to the poor." See also Matt. 18:28, the poor debtor who owed a hundred pence; Mark 12:42, the poor widow who put only two mites into the temple treasury; Luke 16:20, the beggar Lazarus.

          In two passages, Gentiles are symbolized by Samaritans, the most hated of all Gentiles: Luke 17:16, the Samaritan leper who expressed thanks to Jesus for being healed of leprosy; Luke 10:30, the parable of the Good Samaritan.


          In one passage, Gentiles are symbolized by the prodigal son who had wasted his substance in riotous living: Luke 15:13; in another, as the woman taken in adultery, John 8:3; in still another, as a centurion, Luke 7:6; in still another, as Mary who sat at Jesus' feet and listened, Luke 10:38–42; and lastly, as the prostitute who anointed the feet of Jesus as he sat at meat in the house of Simon the Pharisee, Luke 7:38–46.

          63. Mark 1:9.

          64. Mark 8:34.

          65. Mark 14:12–25.

          66. Mark 14:43–45.

          67. Mark 15:21–41.

          68. Mark 15:42–47.

          69. Mark 16:1–8.

          70. Ps. 2:6, 7.

          71. Mark 1:11. The original form of this passage was no doubt copied exactly from Ps. 2:7: "You are my son; this day I have begotten you." This expressed perfectly Mark's conception, for he intended Jesus to become a god-man at the moment of baptism, through the spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. But after the birth stories of Matthew and Luke were written, the last phrase was changed to "in whom I am well pleased," in order to avoid too obvious a clash. The exact coronation formula appears in Acts 13:33 and in Heb. 1:5, 5:5.

          72. See p. 242, Note 8, "The Anointing of Jesus."

          73. I Sam. 10:1 (Saul); I Sam. 16:13 (David). See also I Kings 19:16 (where Elijah is commanded to anoint John to be king).

          74. Mark II:1–11. For the scriptural basis, see Matt. 21:4,5: "All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king comes to you, meek and sitting on an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass." The reference is to Zech. 9.9, a bit of Hebrew poetry; Matthew apparently did not understand that the last line was merely a repetition of the previous line in order to make the stanza complete, according to the customary form of Hebrew poetry. The horse was the symbol of war, and the ass the symbol of peace. It was highly appropriate that Jesus be represented as riding on an ass, because the Christian organization which he symbolized was not seeking world dominion through force, but through peaceable methods of persuasion.

          75. Mark 11:15–17. The first part of the quotation is from Isa. 56:7; the second part is from Jer. 7:11.

          76. Mark 15:27, 28. The passage referred to is Isa. 53:12.

          77. Ex. 24:18, 34:28.

          78. I Kings 19:5–8.

          79. Mark 1:12, 13.

          80. Mark 9:2–8. The chief purpose here was to show that there was nothing in Christianity that was inconsistent with the teachings of Moses or of Elijah.

          81. Ex. 34:29, 30.

          82. II Cor. 3:1, 2

          83. II Cor. 6:13; Gal. 4:19.

          84. In the Talmud, a sojourner who becomes a proselyte is likened to a little one who is born.' [76-79].



[The time is about A.D. 76 [a Fictional date, of a Fiction (LS)]; the place is Luke's home. Following the suggestion of Mark, Matthew has come to compare his gospel with that of Luke's and to talk over points on which there may be serious inconsistencies.] [brackets and contents by the author (George Luther Clark)]

MATTHEW: Last week I finished my gospel and I have come, pursuant to Mark's suggestion, to compare it with your gospel. I suggest that each of us tell the other of the changes he has made from the gospel of Mark and then we will decide whether any further changes will be necessary.

LUKE: That is a good suggestion, Matthew.1 So I suggest that you make your statement first, since you have probably made more changes than I have made.

MATTHEW: Very well, Luke, I will do so. At the outset, you are probably aware of the fact that I was chosen to do this work because you leaders wished me to tie up our organization and its teachings as closely as possible with the Hebrew Scriptures. So I have made several references to those Scriptures with the phrase, "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying," etc.

          As far as the miracle stories in Mark's gospel are concerned, I accepted all of them practically as Mark had told them. But I added one, on the cure of the centurion's servant.2 My purpose in relating that miracle story was to tell that Christianity has won recognition and support among Gentiles of high standing and that they were receiving the Christian teachings with humility and gratitude.

          As to the parables attributed to Jesus in Mark's gospel, I used all of them, except that, in place of the parable of the seed3 cast into the ground, which Mark had related to describe the secret and inexplicable growth of the Christian organization, I substituted a parable about some yeast which a woman took and buried in a large amount of flour until all the flour was leavened by the yeast.4 I have also added some parables on subjects which Mark has not dealt with. I have portrayed the great value of Christianity in a parable of a treasure hidden in a field5 and a parable of a very valuable pearl6 which was found by a dealer in fine pearls....' [94-95].

                     "1. Whoever the author was, he was a Pauline liberal and, therefore, not the conservative Matthew listed by Mark in 3:18 as one of the twelve disciples of the historized Jesus.

[footnotes to the preceding]

          2. Matt. 8:5–13.

          3. Mark 4:26–29.

          4. Matt. 13:33.

          5. Matt. 13:44.

          6. Matt. 13:45, 46." [94-95].



[The time is about A.D. 87 [a Fictional date, of a Fiction (LS)]. The place is Luke's home. Some ten days earlier, Luke had received by messenger from Julius, one of the foremost Christian leaders—the name is fictitious—a parcel containing three manuscripts; one a fourth gospel; another a letter purporting to have been written by Paul to the church at Rome; and a third purporting to tell of the acts of some of the apostles some fifty years earlier, just after the resurrection of the historized Jesus. The parcel also contained a note from Julius to Luke saying that in a few days he would visit Luke and explain to him the purpose of producing the manuscripts.] [brackets and contents by the author (George Luther Clark)]

LUKE: Yes, Julius, I received the three manuscripts and have read them carefully so that when you should come I would be in a position to learn from you the reason for their production. I am indeed glad to see you. I no longer do fulltime [full- time] missionary work, so there will be plenty of time to listen to you.

JULIUS: I am very glad to have this opportunity to see you and talk with you, Luke, though, of course, I much regret the necessity of my visit.

          The predicament in which the Christian organization now finds itself is due to the overoptimism of Paul, who, some thirty years ago, first conceived the notion that the Christian organization would soon become strong enough to take over, Christianize and administer the Roman Empire. Later, after the death of Paul and the fall of Jerusalem, the three gospels written by you, Mark and Matthew to promote Paul's idea of world dominion all put into the mouth of the historized Jesus solemn predictions and assurances that, to quote, "This generation shall not pass away," and, "There be some who stand here who shall not die till all these things be fulfilled"—that is, the establishment of the new social order in the Roman Empire. Those assurances were supposed to have been made during the procuratorship of Pontius Pilate over fifty years ago.


and in that way the solemn assurances had the effect of keeping members of our Christian organization on tiptoe with expectation at all times....' [124-125].

'JULIUS: I think that you will agree with me, Luke, that the most momentous single change that we are bringing about is that Jesus, represented temporarily in the three gospels as a God-man will now become permanently so. But what corroborating evidence is there that he was a historical character? Very little; and there is a great deal of evidence that he was not.

          In the first place, in our entire literature outside the gospels, Jesus is never referred to as a preacher or teacher.113 There is not one exhortation to be found anywhere urging Christians to study his teachings or to follow them.

          In all of our literature, there are only two purported quotations from the sayings of Jesus; those are in the new book of Acts, and we put them in just because there are no other purported quotations anywhere. Neither of the sayings is identical with


or closely similar to, any saying attributed to Jesus in the gospels, but it partially answers the question,114 Why is Jesus never quoted?115

          In the third place, there is not a single reference anywhere in our literature outside the gospels to a single one of the many miracles attributed to Jesus in the gospels.116

          In the fourth place, there are many references—general, not detailed—to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus,117 a situation which is understandable only if the references are to an initiation ceremony,118 instead of to an actual crucifixion.119

          In addition to these omissions in our literature outside the gospels, there are important omissions in the gospels themselves. The gospels of Mark and Matthew, as you know, do not undertake to give the date of the birth of Jesus, though Matthew includes a genealogy of forty-two supposed ancestors of Jesus, going back some fifteen hundred years.120 Though these two gospels describe the manner in which some of the miracles had been performed some forty years earlier, neither one undertakes to tell how old Jesus was when he began to teach121 or to tell the slightest thing about his previous life, except that Mark leaves it to be inferred that he was a carpenter122 and Matthew that he was a carpenter's son,123 and adds a few childhood anecdotes, some of them obviously suggested by supposed Messianic predictions.124

          After Jesus begins teaching, he apparently does nothing except to perform miracles, fulfill supposed Messianic predictions and utter sayings—miracles that are never referred to and sayings that are never quoted or referred to by anyone in all of our Christian [or (other) Pagan] literature.125

          In addition to all these highly significant omissions in our religious literature, there is a large amount of affirmative evidence that Jesus is a symbolical character—a symbol of the Christian teachings. Paul emphatically repudiates miracles.126 Each of the three gospels states, "An evil and adulterous127 generation seeks after a sign and no sign shall be given it,"128 except, according to Matthew129 and your own gospel,130 the sign of the prophet Jonah—that is, the conversion of the Gentiles. We are placing a similar repudiation in the fourth gospel, where Jesus is represented131 as saying: "Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe." These repudiations, in all four of the gospels, deny the literal truth of the miracle stories they tell and inferentially require that all miracles narrated—and they were the chief activity of Jesus—must be given a symbolical significance.

          Furthermore, a large number of passages in our literature are rational and understandable only upon the assumption that Jesus was the God and symbol of the Christian organization and its teachings, but are meaningless upon the hypothesis that Jesus was a historical character. For example, Paul's emphasis upon speaking and listening with understanding;132 the constant appeals in Paul's letters and the gospels to reason, judgment and common sense;133 the assurances that the spirit of truth-seeking will lead the readers into all truth;134 and a number of passages couched in figurative language which are meaningless and confusing unless they are references to an initiation ceremony in which Jesus was the leading character.135

          And, finally, we were careful to put into the new gospel a statement attributed to Jesus,136 "Before Abraham was, I am," which can mean nothing except that Jesus was not man, but God, the symbol of the ethical teachings which had been in existence always, long before Abraham and his associates tested and proved them.


          That is a brief statement, Luke, of the reasons we leaders have for believing that the confusion we are causing will ultimately be recognized as nothing but confusion, and that Jesus was God, not man. Once that is recognized, all the rest of the metaphysical subtleties will soon disappear.


LUKE: I hope, Julius, that your optimism will be justified by future events. How soon do you expect that the confusion will be cleared up?

JULIUS: That, Luke, is mere guesswork, but I think it should not take more than two hundred years, because of the tremendous amount of evidence, which I have just pointed out, that there is confusion. The antagonism between all the new literature already in existence is profound; to use an expression which you have employed in your parable of the rich man and Lazarus, "There is a great gulf fixed."

          Now this is all that I have to say, except to repeat with emphasis the apology, which I have already made to you, on behalf of all the leaders, that we found it necessary to attribute to you such a production as Acts of the Apostles, discreditable as it is in every way. But we had to write something and that is the best we could produce.' [149-153] [End of Chapter V.].

[footnotes to the preceding]

          '113. This in spite of the fact that in several passages there are references to preachers or prophets of the sect; for example, see Matt. 10:41; I Cor. 11:4, 5; 12:10, 28, 29; 14:3–5, 29; Eph. 4:11. There are also the exhortations: "Despise not prophesyings; test all things, hold fast that which is good," I Thes. 5:21; "Don't believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine whether they are of God," I John 4:1. Both of these exhortations would have been extremely irreverent if there had been a historical Jesus who had uttered the various sayings attributed to him.

          114. Acts 20:35: "It is more blessed to give than to receive," Acts 1:5, a remark about baptism attributed by Mark, Matthew and Luke to John the Baptist.

          115. Mark 1:8; Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16: "I indeed have baptized you with water, but he shall baptize you with the holy spirit." This situation seems an impossible one IF JESUS HAD BEEN A HISTORICAL CHARACTER. A great ethical teacher and leader would have so impressed both his immediate and later followers that his sayings would have sprung at once to the minds of every one of the various New Testament writers. Paul, one of the greatest leaders of early Christianity, would have known of any sayings which a historical Jesus had uttered. At times, by quoting one saying of Jesus, he could have avoided long and elaborate arguments on some disputed point; for example, on the admission of Gentiles; see Gal. 3:6–26, 4:21–31. The only possible reason for failing to quote Jesus was that there had been no such sayings. The sayings as we have them came into existence only when Mark, Matthew and Luke attributed them to the historized saviour-God as part of their undertaking to satisfy the Jewish demand for miracles and a human Messiah in order to help bring about a new social order.

          116. This is unbelievable if the writers of the other New Testament books had believed the miracle stories related by the gospel writers. Furthermore, there is only one passage which refers to Jesus as a worker of miracles. This is in Acts 2:22,


where Peter is represented as referring, in his speech at Pentecost, to "Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs." And it is this same book of Acts which tells of sick persons being healed by Peter's shadow and Paul's handkerchief!

          117. The one reference, in I Cor. 11:23–29, to the institution of the communion meal is also understandable only as a reference to an initiation ceremony, because Paul says that he "received of the Lord" the message which he writes. Since, if Jesus had been a historical character, Paul never saw him, the reference must have been to Paul's receiving the message at the time that he was himself initiated into the Christian organization from the official who played the part of Jesus, the Saviour-God.

          118. There are only three other passages which refer to any events in the life of Jesus not explainable as references to a symbolic initiation ceremony. All three occur in the two books—produced very late—which pretend to be letters of Peter. In

I Pet. 5:1, the author, in order to strengthen that pretense, says that he was a "witness of the sufferings of Christ"; in II Pet. 1:17, that he was present at the baptism; and in II Pet. 1:18, that he was present at the transfiguration. It is clearly implied, in the first three gospels, that Peter was not present at the baptism or the "sufferings"—i.e. the crucifixion. It is true that, according to the first three gospels, he was present at the transfiguration, but it is also true that he distinguished himself there by making a very stupid suggestion, so it seems unlikely that the real Peter would have ever referred to it.

          IF THERE HAD BEEN A HISTORICAL JESUS who had eaten and fraternized with Samaritans, the most hated of all Gentiles, with tax gatherers, most of whom were Gentiles, and with "sinners," a term which included Gentiles because it meant either an idolator or anyone who did not keep the Jewish ceremonial law, Paul would certainly have referred to these facts, in his important Galatian letter, to support his contention that Gentile converts should be received without requiring them to be circumcised.

          119. That there should be no reference to the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, to his conflict with the Pharisees, Herodians and Sadducees, to his agony in Gethsemane, to his trials or to the procession up Calvary—all this is unthinkable if Jesus had been a historical character. That all these omissions have not received wide attention has been due to the fact that ORGANIZED CHRISTIANITY HAS BEEN UNABLE TO EXPLAIN THEM and has, therefore, encouraged readers of the New Testament to think of it as a literary unit—an erroneous concept.

          120. Matt. 1:1–17. Since a genealogy depends upon direct descent in the male line, it is, of course, impossible for one to have more than one genealogy.

          121. It is only Luke who tells that Jesus was then about thirty years old, see Luke 3:23. This number was no doubt based upon the statements in the Hebrew Scriptures that Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, Gen. 41:46; and that David was thirty years old when he began to reign, II Sam. 5:4. It is from Luke's statement as to the age of Jesus and from the inference that his ministry lasted only about a year after the death of John the Baptist that the date of his birth and death have been computed.

          122. Mark 6:3: "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?"

          123. Matt. 13:55: "Is not this the carpenter's son?" Note that neither Mark nor Matthew makes a flat statement, but merely puts the rhetorical question into the mouths of bystanders. The purpose of these two passages and the statement in Mark


1:16–20 and Matt. 4:18–23 that Peter, James and John were fishermen was to emphasize that Christianity had a non-ecclesiastical origin among the common people. The statement in Acts 4:13 that Peter and John were "unlearned and ignorant men" probably meant merely that they were not learned in the Jewish ceremonial law.

          124. Matt. 2:1–23 (the wise men from the East, the flight into Egypt, the slaughter of the children by Herod, the removal to Nazareth).

          125. See Note 18, p. 277, "The Silence of Josephus."

          126. I Cor. 1:22, 23.

          127. That is, idolatrous.

          128. Mark 8:12, 38.

          129. Matt. 12:38–42. Verse 40 is almost certainly a later interpolation. The period that elapsed between the crucifixion and the resurrection was at most two days and was based upon Hos. 6:2, not upon the Jonah story.

          130. Luke 11:29–32. The Ninevites, converted by Jonah, were, of course, Gentiles. The book of Jonah was a bit of fiction written by a Jew, who was friendly to Gentiles, for the purpose of showing that the Gentiles were more responsive to Jewish ethical teachings than were the Jews themselves.

          131. John 4:48.

          132. I. Cor. 14:1–33. Verse 21 is an obvious interpolation.

          133. II Cor. 3:6; Mark 2:27; Matt. 6:25; 7:3, 9–11, 16; 9:5, 12, 16, 17; 10:25; 11:18, 19; 12:26, 34; 16:3; 21:28–31; Luke 12:57; 14:5, 28–30; John 7:24.

          134. John 16:13; 8:32.

          135. Especially Gal. 3:1.

          136. John 8:56–58.' [149-153].

"GLOSSARY" [298]


'CHRIST—From the Greek "Christos," is the equivalent of Messiah, and means literally, "the anointed one," and therefore, derivatively, "king," because all the Israelitish kings were anointed to be such by some outstanding preacher or religious leader. As soon as the Nazarenes accepted Simon Peter's discovery that the Nazarene organization and its teachings, symbolized by their god Jesus, were the Messiah or Christ, the Nazarenes became Christians and Jesus became Jesus the Christ, or Jesus Christ. The name Christians was apparently not applied to them till much later.


CIRCUMCISION—A rite practiced by the Jews upon all male children eight days old and relied upon by the Jews during the Babylonian captivity to prevent their being absorbed by the Babylonians. The conservative Jewish Christians insisted that the Gentile converts should at least be circumcised and Paul stoutly opposed this in his Galatian letter, in which he refers to the conservatives as "them of the circumcision."' [302].

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from: Outspoken Essays, (Second Series), William Ralph Inge [1860 - 1954], Dean of St Paul's [London], Longmans, Green and Co., 1927 (1922).


[Note: "White Man" (often) = Christian (to some degree, and influence)]

          "For a thousand years before the beginning of the modern period Europe had been on the defensive against Asia. Three times civilisation had been in imminent danger of being submerged by a torrent of Asiatic invaders. The first irruption of Mongols, in the fifth century, reached France, and nearly overthrew Roman civilisation at Chalons. The Arabs, within a few decades after their emergence from the desert, struck down the East Roman Empire, exterminated the Nordic Vandals in Africa, conquered Spain, invaded France, and even after they had begun to decline, drove the chivalry of Europe out of Palestine. The third period of nomadic aggression set the Tartar on the thrones of India and China, which he retained till within living memory, kept Russia in thraldom for two hundred years, obliterated the East Roman Empire, and as late as the seventeenth century threatened Vienna. The destruction of civilisation in all its most ancient seats has been the work of the Mongol. It is not true to say that he overthrew only decadent and feeble empires.

          Such was the state of the unending duel between West and Est, in the period before the great age of discovery. On the whole, the East had been the successful aggressor. The West had only once turned the tables on a large scale, in the time of Alexander the Great, who took advantage of a great temporary superiority in military science to conquer the home-lands of the Asiatic beyond the borders of India. The Roman Empire was only a device to protect the Mediterranean enclave, so insecurely guarded by mountain and river on the north, so open to nomadic raiders in Hungary and Syria. The Mediterranean peoples, except the Jews who were themselves Asiatics, accepted the heavy hand of Rome and did not often rebel; they knew the alternative too well.


          "Mr. Stoddard [Lothrop Stoddard 1883 - 1950], in his remarkable book on 'The Rising Tide of Colour [published 1920: "If we continue to allow them to enter they will in time drive us out of our own land by mere force of breeding." (xxx (Madison Grant))],' has collected evidence of the effect of this campaign upon the Japanese themselves. A temper of arrogant and aggressive imperialism has grown up among them. The semi-official Japanese Colonial Journal declared in the autumn of 1914: 'To protect Chinese territory Japan is ready to fight no matter what nation. Not only will Japan try to erase the ambitions of Russia and Germany; it will also do its best to prevent England and the United States from touching the Chinese cake.' The Great War seems to have raised their ambitions still higher. Count Okuma [Count (later, Marquis) Shigenbou Okuma 1838 - 1922, Japanese Prime Minister, 1898 (briefly), 1914 - 1916], in the summer of 1919, recommends an alliance with Russia, as soon as the Bolsheviks have been suppressed.


[Okuma] Then, by marching westward to the Balkans, to Germany, to France, to Italy, the greater part of the world may be brought under our sway.

          Another plan is to arm and drill the Chinese.


[Okuma] We have now China. China is our steed! Far shall we ride upon her! So our 50 millions become 500 millions; so our hundreds of millions of gold grow into billions....How our strength has grown and still grows! In 1895 we conquered China; Russia, Germany, and France stole the booty from us. In ten years we punished Russia and took back our own; in twenty we were quits with Germany; with France there is no need for haste. She knows that her Oriental possessions are ours for the taking. As for America, that fatuous booby with much money and sentiment but no cohesion and no brains of government [that claimed the Pearl Harbor attack [see 2648 (Janis)], 1941, was a surprise; that did not prevent the terrorists attacks, September 11, 2001 (see 2338 (Blowback)); etc.], were she alone we should not need our China steed. America is an immense melon, ripe for the cutting. North America will support a thousand million people; they shall be Japanese with their slaves.

          So wrote a Japanese imperialist [see 2338] [Okuma] in 1916.' [215-216].

          "Another symptom to which some our alarmists attach great importance is the Moslem revival. Islam is a great civilising influence in Africa, and is spreading rapidly among the negroes of the interior. It is also true that a very bitter feeling has been aroused among educated Moslems, in every country where they live, by the destruction of the Mohammedan kingdoms and governments. At the present time there is not a single Moslem ruler who is really independent of Europe. The downfall of that proud and conquering faith has been, from the political point of view, almost complete. This humiliation, we are told, may lead to a great militant revival. The Moslems may put themselves at the head of the Pan-Asiatic movement. They may convert Hindus, Chinamen, Japanese, and fill them with martial ardour for a Holy War against Europe. This prediction does not seem to be very probable." [217].

          "All who have had the opportunity of observing the Asiatic at work seem to agree that economically he is greatly superior to the European. Many years ago Mr. Kipling, after a day or two at Canton, records the horror which overpowered him at the deadly efficiency of the Chinese. 'Soon there will be no more white men, but only yellow men with black hearts'—the 'black hearts' were perhaps the result of witnessing a Chinese execution. Mr. Stoddard [see 2632] explains the cause of this efficiency in graphic language: 'Winnowed by ages of grim elimination in a land populated to the uttermost limits of subsistence, the Chinese race is selected as no other for survival under the fiercest conditions of economic stress. At home the average Chinese lives his whole life literally within a hand's breadth of starvation. Accordingly, when removed to the easier environment of other lands, the Chinaman brings with him a working capacity which simply appals [also, appalls] his competitors.'


That urbane Celestial, Doctor Wu-Ting-Fang, well says of his own people:


Experience proves that the Chinese as all-round labourers can easily out-distance all competitors. They are industrious, intelligent, and orderly. They can work under conditions that would kill a man of less hardy race; in heat that would kill a salamander, or in cold that would please a polar bear, sustaining their energies through long hours of unremitting toil with only a few bowls of rice.

          Professor C.H. Pearson bears the same testimony:


Flexible as Jews, they [Chinese] can thrive on the mountain plateaux of Tibet and under the sun of Singapore; more versatile even than Jews, they are excellent labourers, and not without merit as soldiers and sailors; while they have a capacity for trade which no other nation of the East possesses. They do not need even the accident of a man of genius to develop their magnificent future.

          Lafcadio Hearn [1850 - 1904] speaks of them [Chinese] as


a people of hundreds of millions disciplined for thousands of years to the most untiring industry and the most self-denying thrift, under conditions which would mean worse than death for our working masses—A PEOPLE, in short, QUITE CONTENT TO STRIVE TO THE UTTERMOST IN EXCHANGE FOR THE SIMPLE PRIVILEGE OF LIFE.

          An American, Mr. Clarence Poe, writes in 1911:


We must face in ever-increasing degree the rivalry of awakening peoples who are strong with the strength which comes from poverty and hardship, and who have set themselves to master and apply all our secrets in the coming world-struggle for industrial supremacy and for racial readjustment.

          Finally, to quote Mr. Stoddard again:


When the enormous outward thrust of coloured population-pressure bursts into a white land, it cannot let live, but automatically crushes the white man out—first the white labourer, then the white merchant, lastly the white aristocrat, until every vestige of white has gone from that land for ever.... Nowhere, absolutely nowhere, can white labour compete on equal terms with coloured immigrant labour.

          These warnings of the grim struggle which awaits the white [commonly, Christian] races are confirmed by several concrete examples...." [219-221].


"The result of the European, American, and Australian labour movement has been to produce a type of working-man who but for protection in its extremest[usage in England] form, the prohibition of immigration, would soon be swept out of existence. And this protection rests entirely on armed force; in the last resort, on war. It is useless to turn away from the facts, however unwelcome they may be to our socialists and pacifists. The abolition of war, and the establishment of a League to secure justice and equality of treatment for all nations, would seal the doom of the white labourer, such as he has made himself. There was a time when we went to war to compel the Chinese to trade with us, and when we ruined a flourishing Indian trade by the competition of Lancashire cotton. That was the period which it is the fashion to decry as a period of ruthless greed and exploitation. The working-man has brought that period to an end. To-day he is dreaming of fresh rewards, doles, and privileges which are to make the white countries a paradise for his class. And all the time he is living on sufferance, behind an artificial dyke of ironclads and bayonets, on the other side of which is a mass of far more efficient labour, which would swallow him up in a generation if the barriers were removed.

          The American books from which quotations have been made are written with the object of urging a policy of absolute exclusion. This is the remedy, and the only remedy, which finds favour in the United States, in British Columbia, in Australia, and in South Africa. There is probably no question on which the people of those countries are so nearly unanimous. 'The White Australia doctrine,' says one Australian writer, 'is based on the necessity for choosing between national existence and suicide.' Another says, 'Australians of all classes and political affiliations regard the [exclusion] policy much as Americans regard the Constitution.' 'Take down the barriers on the Pacific Coast, and there would be ten million Hindus in Canada in ten years.' A Californian [neglected to mention Latin America] echoes this Canadian protest: 'The multitudes of Asia are awake after their long sleep, as the multitudes of Europe were when our present flood of immigration began. We know what would happen on the Asiatic side, by what did happen on the European side. Against Asiatic immigration we could not survive.' And so a policy, which is rather time-discredited than time-honoured, is to be adopted, to preserve the white man in his half-empty Garden of Eden. As the Babylonians built the so-called Median Wall to keep out the roving nomads from the North, as the Chinese built their wonderful Great Wall to keep out the Tartars, as the Romans carried a line of fortifications from Newcastle to the Solway, so the white man is to erect a permanent barrier to exclude the Asiatic. All the under-populated countries are in the hands of the whites, and the overflow of China, Japan, and India is never to be allowed to reach them.

          It is likely that this policy will be successful? ...." [221-223].

          "Lastly, have we any right to assume that the supremacy of the Asiatic would be a retrograde step in the history of the world? The Americans do assume it as unquestionable; but they seldom condescend to give their reasons. There is no physical or intellectual inferiority in the yellow races—that is certain; and the moral inferiority of the Asiatic consists chiefly in a callousness about bearing and inflicting suffering, which the Orientals themselves admit. An Indian pundit said to Mr. Townsend 'The substantial difference between the English and us is not intellectual at all. We are the brighter, if anything; but you have pity (doya), and we have it not.'


An English officer told me that he once stood over the mangled body of a Chinaman who had met with a violent death. Noticing, as he thought, some sign of compassion on the stolid face of the dead man's companion, he said 'This is a sad sight.' 'Yes,' said the Celestial 'he owed me ten cents'! But there are other virtues in which the Oriental is our superior; the Japanese, especially, have achieved the boast of Pericles, that the Athenians are lovers of beauty combined with plain living, better than any other modern people. It is the plain living which sticks in the throat of the American; but it need not stick in ours. Probably the Eastern races will force upon us a general simplification of life, which will give us a social freedom to which we have long been strangers. A Russian—one of the survivors of the intelligentsia who have escaped from the Terror—has lately suggested that the psychological cause of the war is that people were 'stifling under the burden of civilisation,' compelled to make, to buy, and to consume countless unnecessary articles which were 'of use neither to him who made them nor to him who sold them, nor even to him who bought them.' To simplify life by abolishing irrational and unnecessary expenditure would increase our health and happiness, and would perhaps enable us to hold our own against the races of the East. A gradual assimilation in the modes of life of all civilised countries is to be expected. There will be no more hermit kingdoms. The Asiatic will have more wants; the European and American must be content with fewer. The chief danger to the white man arises from his arrogant contempt for other races, a contempt which in some lands is mixed with fear and hatred, and which has provoked fear and hatred in return. Europeans have recently enjoyed an unfair advantage over their rivals, which they have abused without the slightest regard for justice and fair play. This advantage will not be theirs in the future: they will have to compete on equal terms with nations schooled by adversity and winnowed by the hard struggle for existence. Victory will go to the races which are best equipped for that kind of competition; and it may well be that a modified caste system, not rigid, as in India, but such as prevailed till lately in Europe, may prove to have a greater survival value than either democracy or socialism, which in its present form desires to keep the whole population as nearly as possible on the same level. An English poet has given his opinion that fifty years of Europe are better than a cycle of Cathay. But the future may show that the European is a good sprinter and a bad stayer. It is better to be a hare than a tortoise; but it is better to be a live tortoise than a dead hare

[see Appendix VII, 784: "As a living dog, one is better off than a dead lion" (Ecclesiastes ix. 4)]."

[229-230] [End of essay: "The White Man and His Rivals"].

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from: 2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt, James A. Haught, Prometheus, 1996.


The Great American Think-Off is a philosophy competition held each year by the New York Mills Arts Retreat and Regional Cultural Center in Minnesota. The 1996 debate topic was "Does God Exist?" Here is the entry I submitted:


          Well, it depends on what you mean by God?

          The universe is a maze of mysteries. How can gravity—an invisible, unexplainable force—pull the Milky Way into a spiral? How can atoms contain such awesome power that an amount of matter smaller than a dime produced the energy in the bomb that killed one hundred thousand Hiroshima residents? How can the double-helix thread of DNA create all living things, from bacteria to trees to Beethoven? How can electrons, dormant in every atom of your body, explode into violent lightning bolts when they're detached? Finally, why does anything exist at all?

          If you say that the power of gravity, atoms, DNA. lightning and all the rest is God—that God is E = mc2—then God exists. Those baffling forces are undeniably real.

          Or if you say, as some do, that God is the love and pity in every human heart, then God exists. Those feelings are undeniably real—just like the paranoid capacity for suspicion, hate, jealousy, anger, and the like.

          But if you mean church-type deities—the three gods of the Christian Trinity, the 330 million gods of Hinduism, the wrathful Jehovah of the Old Testament, the multitudinous Greek and Roman gods, the invisible feathered serpent of the Aztecs, and so on—you've entered the Twilight Zone.

          Human logic can find no trustworthy evidence to prove, or disprove, the existence of unseen spirits. Weeping statues and holy apparitions aren't reliable proof. So the only truthful answer for an honest person is: I don't know.

          But honest people can go farther and speculate intelligently: Do demons exist? Angels? Leprechauns? Fairies? Vampires? Werewolves? Lack of tangible evidence leads educated people to laugh off these imaginary beings. It's a small step to apply the same rationale to holy ghosts, resurrected saviors, blessed virgins, and patron saints. You can't prove they aren't hovering invisibly in the room with you—but it's unlikely.

          Sigmund Freud [1856 - 1939] said the widespread belief in a father-god arises from psychology. Tiny children are awed by their fathers as seemingly all-powerful protectors and punishers. As maturity comes, fathers grow less awesome. But the infantile image remains buried in the subconscious, and attaches to an omnipotent, supernatural father in an invisible heaven. Without knowing it, Freud said, believers worship their hidden toddler impression of the biological father, "clothed in the grandeur in which he once appeared to the small child."


          That makes sense to me. It says the father-god is just a figment of the imagination. But you can't prove it's true [see Article #2, 19, 105.-109.].

          Through logic, you can see that the church concept of an all-loving heavenly creator doesn't hold water. If a divine Maker fashioned everything that exists, he designed breast cancer for women, childhood leukemia, cerebral palsy, leprosy, AIDS, Alzheimer's disease, and Down's syndrome. He mandated foxes to rip rabbits apart (bunnies emit a terrible shriek at that moment) and cheetahs to slaughter fawns. No human would be cruel enough to plan such horrors. If a supernatural being did so, he's a monster, not an all-merciful father.


          Priests have built worldwide, trillion-dollar empires on their claim that an unseen deity waits to reward or punish people after death. But such priests once said that witches exist, and burned thousands of women on charges that they flew through the sky, copulated with Satan, changed into animals, and so forth. Priests later dropped this claim (but never apologized for the witch-hunts). If their assertion about God is as valid as their assertion about witches, their trillion-dollar empires rest on fantasy [non sequitur! "Priests later dropped this claim", does not ipso facto, invalidate "witches exist", or, "God's existence"].

          The universe is a vast, amazing, seething dynamo which has no discernible purpose except to keep on churning. From quarks to quasars, it's alive with incredible power. But it seems utterly indifferent to any moral laws. It destroys as blindly as it nurtures.

          The philosopher Martin Heidegger [1889 - 1976] stated that we know only that we exist for a while, and that we are doomed to die without knowing why we are here. If you are scrupulously honest, you cannot say much more than that.

          Are the profound forces of the universe God? I don't know. Is human love God? I don't know. Is there a personal God waiting to reward me in a heaven or punish me in a hell? I don't know—but I doubt it.'

[323-324] [End of text]. [See: Article #23, 482-483 (Mencken)].

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An aside: re: "Pascal's Wager" [Blaise Pascal 1623 - 1662, Christian apologist]: much sophisticated writing has been done on the subject. A cultural affair! Fatuous!

'Pascal's notorious "wager," as well as his appeal to the heart, were anathema to Voltaire [1694 - 1778], who thought that our opinions in all fields should be based on evidence. "The interest I have in believing a thing," Voltaire wrote, "is not a proof of the existence of that thing." [Encyclopedia of Unbelief, 1985, Vol. Two, 714 ("Voltaire", Paul Edwards)].

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from: men and apes, Ramona and Desmond Morris, McGraw-Hill, c1966.

          'While it is clear that already in ancient times the ape was considered by some to be hideously ugly and evil, with the advent of Christianity its reputation sank lower than ever. The custom of applying the term "ape" to unworthy imitators and pretenders was continued enthusiastically by the early Christian writers, who applied it to all the enemies of Christ. Observing that certain pagan practices were similar in some ways to Christian rituals, the Church Fathers condemned them as devilish counterfeits. Not only infidels, but heretics and apostates were called man-imitating apes, on the grounds that they attempted to copy a lofty ideal in a crude and inadequate fashion.

          From the fall of the Roman Empire until the late Middle Ages the official view of the Church was that the ape was a diabolical beast. This idea may have been given impetus by the strong reaction of early Christians against Egyptian animal cults. During the riots of 391 A.D. at Alexandria, the pagan temples and idols were almost completely destroyed, but the Christians' leader, Bishop Theophilus [Patriarch of Alexandria 385 - 412 (d. 412)], ordered that one statue should be preserved as a monument to heathen depravity. That statue was the figure of an ape. Since the Egyptians considered the hamadryas baboon to be sacred, it almost inevitably followed that their ape-god should become the ape-devil of Christianity.

          The Church Fathers called the Devil an ape for, according to popular tradition, he could do nothing original, but tried to mimic everything that God did. Since he was an unholy fake, he eventually became known as "Simia Dei", or God's Ape. As late as the Reformation, Martin Luther [1483 - 1546] used the terms "ape" and "Devil" interchangeably. This association, however, apparently failed to really capture the public imagination. Pictures of the ape-devil are few and far between, and when the Devil was supposed to have manifested himself, he rarely took this form. If he did so, he usually assumed other animal guises as well. During the mid-fifteenth-century trial of the Vaudois [Waldensians], staged by the Inquisition [1459 - 1460] at Arras [France], the accused confessed to having attended a witches' sabbath at which the Devil had appeared among them as a male goat, a dog and an ape. As an act of homage, they had kissed these animals' bottoms.' [36-38].

_____ _____ _____


from: The Illustrated Naked Ape, A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal, Desmond Morris, Jonathan Cape, 1986 (The Naked Ape 1967).

          "Having brought up the question of RELIGION, it is perhaps worthwhile taking a closer look at this STRANGE PATTERN OF ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, before going on to deal with other aspects of the aggressive activities of our species. It is not an easy subject to deal with, but as zoologists we must do our best to observe what actually happens rather than listen to what is supposed to be happening. If we do this, we are forced to the conclusion that, in a behavioural sense, religious activities consist of the coming together of large groups of people to perform repeated and prolonged submissive displays to appease a dominant individual. The dominant individual concerned takes many forms in different cultures, but always has the common factor of immense power. Sometimes it takes the shape of an animal from another species, or an idealized version of it. Sometimes it is pictured more as a wise and elderly member of our own species. Sometimes it becomes more abstract and is referred to as simply 'the state', or in other such terms. The submissive responses to it may consist of closing the eyes, lowering the head, clasping the hands together in a begging gesture, kneeling, kissing the ground, or even extreme prostration, with the frequent accompaniment of wailing or changing vocalizations. If these submissive actions are successful, the dominant individual is appeased. Because its powers are so great, the appeasement ceremonies have to be performed at regular and frequent intervals, to prevent its anger from rising again. The dominant individual is usually, but not always, referred to as a god.

          Since none of these GODS exist in a tangible form, WHY HAVE THEY BEEN INVENTED? To find the answer to this we have to go right back to our ancestral origins. Before we evolved into co-operative hunters, we must have lived in social groups of the type seen today in other species of apes and monkeys. There, in typical cases, each group is dominated by a single male. He is the boss, the overlord, and every member of the group has to appease him or suffer the consequences. He is also most active in protecting the group from outside hazards and in settling squabbles between lesser members. The whole life of a member of such a group revolves around the dominant animals. His all-powerful role gives him a god-like status. Turning now to our immediate ancestors, it is clear that, with the growth of the co-operative spirit so vital for successful group hunting, the application of the dominant individual's authority had to be severely limited if he was to retain the active, as opposed to passive, loyalty of the other group members. They had to want to help him instead of simply fear him. He had to become more 'one of them'. The old-style monkey tyrant had to go, and in his place there arose a more tolerant, more co-operative naked ape leader. This step was essential for the new type of 'mutual-aid' organization that was evolving, but it gave rise to a problem. The total dominance of the Number One member of the group having been replaced by a qualified dominance, he could no longer command unquestioning allegiance. This change in the order of things, vital as it was to the new social system, nevertheless


left a gap. From our ancient background there remained a need for an all-powerful figure who could keep the group under control, and the vacancy was filled by the invention of a god. The influence of the invented god-figure could then operate as a force additional to the now more restricted influence of the group leader.

          At first sight, it is surprising that religion has been so successful, but its extreme potency is simply a measure of the strength of our fundamental biological tendency [see 2334-2336], inherited directly from our monkey and ape ancestors, to submit ourselves to an all-powerful, dominant member of the group. Because of this, religion has proved immensely valuable as a device for aiding social cohesion, and it is doubtful whether our species could have progressed far without it, given the unique combination of circumstances of our evolutionary origins. It has led to a number of bizarre by-products, such as a belief in 'another life' where we will at last meet up with the god figures. They were, for reasons already explained, unavoidably detained from joining us in the present life, but this omission can be corrected in an after-life. In order to facilitate this, all kinds of strange practices have been developed in connection with the disposal of our bodies when we die. If we are going to join our dominant overlords, we must be well prepared for the occasion and ELABORATE BURIAL CEREMONIES MUST BE PERFORMED [see 2182-2206].

          Religion has also given rise to a great deal of unnecessary suffering and misery, wherever it has become over-formalized in its application, and whenever the professional 'assistants' of the god figures have been unable to resist the temptation to borrow a little of his power and use it themselves. But despite its chequered history it is a feature of our social life that we cannot do without [see 2334-2336]. Whenever it becomes unacceptable, it is quietly, or sometimes violently, rejected, but in no time at all it is back again in a new form, carefully disguised perhaps, but containing all the same old basic elements. We simply have to 'believe in something'. Only a common belief will cement us together and keep us under control. It could be argued that, on this basis, any belief will do, so long as it is powerful enough; but this is not strictly true. It must be impressive and it must be seen to be impressive. Our communal nature demands the performance of and participation in elaborate group ritual. Elimination of the 'pomp and circumstance' will leave a terrible cultural gap and the indoctrination will fail to operate properly at the deep, emotional level so vital to it. Also, certain types of belief are more wasteful and stultifying than others and can side-track a community into rigidifying patterns of behaviour that hamper its qualitative development. As a species we are a predominantly intelligent and exploratory animal, and beliefs harnessed to this fact will be the most beneficial for us.


A belief in the validity of the acquisition of knowledge and a scientific understanding of the world we live in, the creation and appreciation of aesthetic phenomena in all their many forms, and the broadening and deepening of our range of experiences in day-to-day living, is rapidly becoming the 'religion' of our time. Experience and understanding are our rather abstract god-figures, and ignorance and stupidity will make them angry. Our schools and universities are our religious training centres, our libraries, museums, art galleries, theatres, concert halls and sports arenas are our places of communal worship. At home we worship with our books, newspapers, magazines, radios and television sets. In a sense, we still believe in an after-life, because part of the reward obtained from our creative works is the FEELING that, through them, we will 'live on' after we are dead. Like all religions, this one has its dangers, but if we have to have one, and it seems that we do, then it certainly appears to be the one most suitable for the unique biological qualities of our species. Its adoption by an ever growing majority of the world population can serve as a compensating and reassuring source of optimism to set against the pessimism expressed earlier concerning our immediate future as a surviving species." [124-127].

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from: Manwatching, A Field Guide to Human Behavior, Desmond Morris, Abrams, c1977.

"Religious Displays

Actions performed to placate imagined deities

Religious Displays, as distinct from religious beliefs, are submissive acts performed towards dominant individuals called gods. The acts themselves include various forms of body-lowering, such as kneeling, bowing, kowtowing, salaaming and prostrating; also chanting and rituals of debasement and sacrifice; the offering of gifts to the gods and the making of symbolic gestures of allegiance.

          The function of these actions is to appease the super-dominant beings and thereby obtain favours or avoid punishments. There is nothing unusual about this behaviour in itself. Subordinates throughout the animal world subject themselves to their most powerful companions in a similar way. But the strange feature of these human submissive actions, as we encounter them today, is that they are performed towards a dominant figure, or figures, who are never present in person. Instead they are represented by images and artifacts and operate entirely through agents called holy-men or priests. These middle-men enjoy a position of social influence and respect because some of the power of the gods rubs off on them. It is therefore extremely important to the holy-men to keep the worshippers permanently obedient to the super-dominant figures, and this is done in several ways:

          1. They encourage the social rejection of worshippers of rival deities. This pressure ranges from mild disapproval to scorn and anger, and often to severe persecution. Whether or not they preach social tolerance, many religions have practised intolerance. This is part of the role they play as cultural isolating mechanisms. The loyalty to the locally shared god-figure demands social separation from those who worship in a different way. It creates sects and breeds sectarian violence.

          2. They frequently construct convincing evidence that the deities can hurt the non-submissive. In the past, any natural disaster—flood, disease, famine or fire—is explained as a token of the deity's anger, sent to punish insubordinate behaviour. They exploit coincidences which have given rise to superstitions, and they play on the suggestibility of the worshippers.

          3. THEY INVENT AN AFTERWORLD where the subordinates who obey them will be rewarded and those who do not will suffer torment. There is evidence that belief in an afterlife existed many thousands of years ago. Ancient burials occurred with 'grave-goods' supplied for the corpse's journey to the other world. This practice dates back to the Stone Age and has continued with little change over the millenia.

          It is surprising that otherwise intelligent men have succumbed to these pressures and fears in so many different cultures and in so many epochs. There appear to be several factors aiding the agents of the gods:


          First, and perhaps most important, is the acquisition by our early ancestors of a sense of time. Other species can communicate with information about the present—about the moods they are in at the moment of communicating—but they cannot consider the future. Man can contemplate his own mortality and finds the thought intolerable. Any animal will struggle to protect itself from a threat of death. Faced with a predator, it flees, hides, fights or employs some other defensive mechanism, such as death-feigning or the emission of stinking fluids. There are many self-protection mechanisms, but they all occur as a response to an immediate danger. When man contemplates his future death, it is as if, by thinking of it, he renders it immediate. His defence is to deny it. He cannot deny that his body will die and rot—the evidence is too strong for that; so he [man] solves the problem by THE INVENTION OF AN IMMORTAL SOUL—a soul which is more 'him' than even his physical body is 'him'. If this soul can survive in an afterlife, then he has successfully defended himself against the threatened attack on his life.

          This gives the agents of the gods a powerful area of support. All they need to do is to remind their followers constantly of their mortality and to convince them that the afterlife itself is under the personal management of the particular gods they are promoting. The self-protective urges of their worshippers will do the rest.

          Second, the holy-men are aided by man's neoteny.


Excursus: from: Growing Young, Second Edition, Ashley Montagu, Bergin & Garvey, 1989 (c1981).


'It is by the neoteny of plasticity, of malleability, of adaptability, that the made-over ape became Homo sapiens, and it is upon the continued development of these same neotenous traits that his further evolution depends. In a Royal Institution lecture, delivered 6 March 1868, "On Some of the Conditions of Mental Development," that extraordinary genius, William Kingdon Clifford (1845–1879) [see Encyclopedia of Unbelief], pointed out that the first condition of mental development is that the mind should be creative rather than acquisitive, that intellectual food should go to form mental muscle, rather than mental fat. "And," he added, "if we consider that a race, in proportion as it is plastic and capable of change, may be regarded as young and vigorous, while a race which is fixed, persistent in form, unable to change, is as surely effete, worn out, in peril of extinction; we shall see, I think, the immense importance to a nation of checking the growth of conventionalities. It is quite possible for conventional rules of action and conventional habits of thought to get such power that progress is impossible, and the nation only fit to be improved away. In the face of such a danger it is not right to be proper." Hence, the dangers of conservatism and the slavish adherence to convention. As Emerson [1803 - 1882] remarked in The Conduct of Life (1864), "All conservatives are such from personal defects."

What stands clearly revealed before our eyes in the history of our species is that what has made us an evolutionary success has been our youthfulness and vigor, the willingness to explore, to challenge the orthodoxies....' [61].


End of Excursus


Neoteny is a biological condition found in certain species in which the juvenile form of the animal becomes increasingly adult. Or, to put it another way, the adults become increasingly juvenile. It is the 'Peter Pan' syndrome—the case of a species that never grows up, but starts to reproduce while still in the juvenile condition. In many ways, man is a neotenous ape. An adult man is more like a young ape than like an adult ape. He has the curiosity and playfulness of a young ape. When the ape becomes mature, he loses his infantile playfulness; but man never loses it.

          In the same way, dogs are really neotenous wolves. Man likes his 'best friend' to be playful and so he breeds more and more juvenile dogs. A fully grown domestic dog still leaps and bounds and plays with his master like a young wolf cub. But wolf cubs grow up and stop playing. Young dogs grow up too, but like man they remain infantile in their behaviour—they never stop playing. This means that they will respond to a man as if he is a parent. The dog's owner becomes the dog's dominant father-figure, or mother-figure. Being neotenous, the dog can mate and breed, but it still responds to parental domination and obeys its master. This makes it the perfect pet. To the dog, in other words, man is a god.

          Man's evolution as a neotenous ape has put him in a similar position to the dog's. He becomes sexually mature and yet he still needs a parent—a super-parent, one as impressive to him as a man must be to a dog. The answer was to invent a god—either a female super-parent in the shape of a Mother Goddess, or a male god in the shape of God the Father, or perhaps even a whole family of gods. Like real parents they would both protect, punish and be obeyed.

          It is a fair question to ask why a man's real parents could not play this role themselves. The answer is that, biologically speaking, parents must be bigger than their offspring if they are to remain truly parental. A child must physically look up to its parents. They must have superior strength to be biologically protective. Once the children have grown up and become the same size as their parents, and started to breed like their parents, the true parent-image has gone.

          But the gods and goddesses are immense. Like parents, they are 'up there'—we must look up to them in the heavens. And they are all-powerful, like good parents should be. No matter how old we become, we still call them 'Holy Mother' or 'Father' and put a child-like trust in them (or their agents, who often adopt similar titles for themselves).

          Third, the holy-men are aided by man's highly evolved co-operativeness. When our ancient ancestors became hunters, they were forced to co-operate with one another to a much greater degree than ever before. A leader had to rely on his companions for active co-operation, not merely passive submission. If they were to show initiative there was a danger that they would lack the blind, unquestioning allegiance to their leader or to their tribe. The intelligent co-operation that was desperately needed by the hunting group could easily work against the equally necessary group cohesion. How could a leader command both blind faith and questioning intelligence? The answer was to enlist the aid of a super-leader—a god-figure—to take care of the blind faith and to bind the group together in a common purpose, while leaving the members of the group free to exercise intelligent co-operation among themselves.


          These, then, are the three main factors helping the holy-men in their successful promotion of god-figures and religious behaviour: man's need to protect himself from THE THREAT OF DEATH; man's need for a super-parent; and man's need for a super-leader. A GOD THAT OFFERS AN AFTERLIFE IN ANOTHER WORLD, that protects his 'children' regardless of their age, and that offers them devotion to a grand cause and a socially unifying purpose, triggers off a powerful reaction in the human animal.

          One of the demands put upon the priests and holy-men is that they should provide impressive rituals. Nearly all religions include ceremonial procedures during which the followers of a particular deity can indulge in complex group activities. This is essential as a demonstration of the power of the gods—that they can dominate and command submissive behaviour from large numbers of people at one and the same time—and it is also a method of strengthening the social bonding in relation to the common belief. Since the gods are super-parents and super-leaders, they must necessarily have large houses in which to 'meet' with their followers. Anyone flying low over human settlements in a spacecraft and ignorant of our ways would notice immediately that in many of the villages and towns and cities there were one or two homes much bigger than the rest. Towering over the other houses, these large buildings must surely be the abodes of some enormous individuals, many times the size of the rest of the population. These—the houses of the gods—the temples, the churches and the cathedrals—are buildings apparently made for giants, and a space visitor would be surprised to find on closer examination that these giants are never at home. Their followers repeatedly visit them and bow down before them, but they themselves are invisible. Only their bell-like cries can be heard across the land. MAN IS INDEED AN IMAGINATIVE SPECIES."

[148-149, 151-152] [End of "Religious Displays"].


[photograph] "RELIGIOUS DISPLAYS ARE ESSENTIALLY SUBMISSIVE GESTURES PERFORMED TOWARDS A SUPER-DOMINANT FIGURE—THE DEITY. In this Brazilian act of supplication, the worshippers, as in so many religious ceremonies, adopt a subordinate, imploring attitude." [148].

[photograph] "Religion breeds sects and sectarian violence, like this confrontation in Northern Ireland. In this role, religious displays are operating as isolating mechanisms, separating one community from another. DESPITE PREACHING LOVE AND KINDNESS [OBVIOUSLY!, A "COVER"!], MANY RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS HAVE A LONG HISTORY OF HOLY WARS, REPRESSION AND INTOLERANCE." [149].

[drawings] "THE INVENTION OF AN AFTERWORLD where sinners will be horribly punished is a common threat-device employed by holymen to maintain the required level of submissiveness among worshippers. The scroll painting from Japan (right) shows the fate awaiting Buddhist sinners, while the early Christian mural from Cyprus (below) depicts the tortures of the damned." [150].

[photograph of a large church on a hill, above a village] "A visitor from outer space flying over earthly towns and villages would come to the conclusion that churches must have very large occupants, since they always tower over the other dwellings. The giants are never at home, apparently, but they are by implication sufficiently impressive to keep their tiny companions in a state of humble subordination." [151].

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from: The Crowd, Gustave LeBon [commonly: Le Bon] [1841 - 1931], Transaction, 1995 (1895 France). [a Classic!].

"From the moment that they form part of a crowd [compare: Church] the learned man and the ignoramus are equally incapable of observation." [62].

"Chapter IV

A Religious Shape Assumed by All the

Convictions of Crowds" ["93"].

          "Intolerance and fanaticism are the necessary accompaniments of the religious sentiment. They are inevitably displayed by those who believe themselves in the possession of the secret of earthly or eternal happiness." [94].


"The massacre of St. Bartholomew or the religious wars were no more the work of kings than the Reign of Terror was the work of Robespierre, Danton, or St. Just. At the bottom of such events is always to be found the working of the soul [biological imperatives] of the masses and never the power of potentates." [99] [End of Chapter IV].

Additional References

Fairy tale: "The Emperor's New Clothes", Hans Christian Andersen [1805 - 1875], 1837. [a Classic!]. [See: Article #2, 37, 179. (Propp)].

[Compare: "Jesus' Historicalness" (Results: No New Clothes! No Historicalness!)]. 2648

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, by Charles Mackay, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c1932 (1841). [a Classic!].

[See: 346-353 ("Influence of Politics and Religion on the Hair and Beard"), 354-461 ("The Crusades"), 462-564 ("The Witch Mania")].

Victims of Groupthink, Irving L. Janis, c1972.

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from: God's Defenders, What they Believe and Why They are Wrong, S.T. Joshi [1958 -], Prometheus, 2003. [found 6/6/2004, UCSD library shelf]. [See: 2590].


Introduction                                                    9


1.  The Pragmatical Professor: William James [1842 - 1910]   29


2.  The Bulldog and the Patrician:

    G.K. Chesterton [1874 - 1936] and T.S. Eliot [1888 - 1965]67


3.  Surprised by Folly: C.S. Lewis [1898 - 1963]            105

4.  God and the Yale Man: William F. Buckley Jr. [1925 -]   129

5.  Religion and Politics: Stephen L. Carter [1954 -]       161

6.  Fire and Brimstone: Jerry Falwell [1933 -]              183

7.  Hand-Wringing from the Literati:

    Reynolds Price [1933 -] and Annie Dillard [1945 -]       207

8.  Beautiful Souls: Elisabeth Kübler-Ross [1926 -]         227

9.  Chatting with the Big Guy: Neale Donald Walsch [c. 1943 -]247

10.  Religion and Morals: Guenter Lewy [1923 -]              265

Conclusion                                                    313

Index                                                         321



     Either there is one god, multiple gods, or none. Either there is such a thing called the human soul or there isn't, and, if there is, it either can or cannot survive the death of the body. Either Jesus Christ, if he existed, was the son of God or he wasn't. Either Mohammed, if he existed, was God's prophet or he wasn't.

     That the essential doctrines of many of the world's major religions—especially Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—are matters of truth or falsity is itself a fact around which no amount of sophistry or special pleading can get. Unfortunately for them, evidence has been steadily accumulating for at least the last half-millennium to suggest that these doctrines are false...." [9].


     'The dominant question thus becomes not why religion has not died away but why it continues to persist in the face of monumental evidence to the contrary. To my mind, the answer can be summed up in one straightforward sentence: People are stupid.

     The fundamental fact of human history is that people in the mass are irremediably ignorant. Even a cursory examination of such phenomena as network television, politicians, astrology, best-selling novels, the Weekly World News, psychic hotlines, horoscopes, alien abduction theories, professional wrestling, and fashion magazines proves the point with overwhelming emphasis. The great majority of genuinely intelligent thinkers in human history has endorsed the notion.

     Consider John Stuart Mill [1806 - 1873]: "on any matter not self-evident there are ninety-nine persons totally incapable of judging of it for one who is capable; and the capacity of the hundredth person is only comparative."2

     Consider H.L. Mencken [1880 - 1956]: "independent thought, to a good many men, is quite impossible, and to the overwhelming majority of men, extremely painful."3

     Consider Bertrand Russell [1872 - 1970]: "...nine-tenths of the beliefs of

nine-tenths of mankind are totally irrational."4

     Perhaps the most pungent, and most relevant in this context, is from George Santayana [1863 - 1952], in a letter to Bertrand Russell: "People are not intelligent. It is very unreasonable to expect them to be so, and that is a fate my philosophy reconciled me to long ago. How else could I have lived for forty years in America?"5' [12-13].

"When I declare that religion is so widespread because people in the mass are stupid, I assert that they lack the information needed to make a well-informed evaluation of the truth-claims of religion. Such an evaluation requires at least a surface knowledge of physics, biology, chemistry, geology, history (particularly the history of religions), psychology, anthropology, and philosophy (or, more generally, the ability to fashion reasoned arguments or to detect fallacious arguments). It is plain that the great majority of people can claim knowledge in no more than one or two of these disciplines, and most lack knowledge of them all. Indeed, so far as I can tell, only a single individual in the entire twentieth-century did possess a passing acquaintance with all these fields: Bertrand Russell, whose antireligious views are two well known for citation.

     I will go further and state that even if the mass of people had the concrete information (in science and philosophy) required for an assessment of the truth-claims of religion, they would be unable to process it; their brains simply cannot digest this kind of information. Even those who are intelligent or accomplished in other fields—authors, artists, composers, even some scientists and philosophers—are insufficiently acquainted with the many other intellectual disciplines relevant to the issue. Some scientists who have a prodigious expertise in one field of scientific

inquiry frequently lack even the rudiments of knowledge in others—which is why so


many physicists, for example, have lapsed into religious mysticism when approaching the edges of their subject. Knowledge is very inequitably divided—not only in the people at large, but in any given individual. I will happily maintain that all the thinkers whom I berate so lustily in this book were or are intelligent or accomplished in various ways—C.S. Lewis [1898 - 1963] as a literary critic, William F. Buckley as a political commentator, Reynolds Price as a novelist—but not one of them had the all-encompassing knowledge in fields that are vital to gauging the truth or falsity of religion.

     What has clearly happened in the case of many otherwise intelligent people, is that childhood crippling of their brains and emotions in favor of some dogmatic religion has for all practical purposes made their theistic views impervious to logical analysis. It is an area they simply will not investigate objectively or impartially, because it has become so deeply fused with their entire self-image that it is beyond their psychological powers to question it. My own view is that this infantile brainwashing is one of the great crimes against humanity—and it has been practiced for countless millennia (well before the advent of organized religion) and continues to be practiced to this day. Religious leaders would no doubt react with horror at the recommendation that children actually be allowed to make up their own minds about the adoption of a given religion, or any religion at all, until they are intellectually and emotionally ready to do so, without the prejudicial influence of parents, clerics, and the society at large." [13-15].

"[H.P. Lovecraft 1890 - 1937] Only the exceptional individual reared in the nineteenth century or before has any chance of holding any genuine opinion of value regarding the universe—except by a slow and painful process of courageous disillusionment. If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would insist on their unbending quest for truth...." [15].

     'The standard "proofs" for the existence of God—arguments that held sway throughout the medieval period and well into the nineteenth century—have all been destroyed and are now discarded even by most theologians. Most of these "proofs" can be refuted in approximately thirty seconds. Consider the most popular of them: ...." [16].

     "It will quickly be observed that this book makes more than occasional use of satire, repartee, persiflage, and other rhetorical devices not generally found in sober discussions of religion. I make no apology for such usages. I am not seeking to ridicule an argument simply for the sake of ridiculing it but because I regard it so plainly nonsensical that it deserves to be ridiculed. I find it rather disheartening that the long tradition of poking fun at religion—a tradition that can be traced at least as far back as Aristophanes [c. 448 - c. 388 B.C.E.], and on through Juvenal [c. 55 - c. 140 C.E.], Jonathan Swift, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, H.L. Mencken, and many others—appears to have suffered a decline in our overly polite and deferential age, with the solitary but monumental exception of Gore Vidal. A healthy dose of laughter would do more to shatter the pretensions of many religious


tenets than any amount of reasoned argument. If my opponents claim that I am merely heaping indiscriminate abuse and billingsgate upon my pious enemies, then they stand self-convicted of a failure to take note of the reasoned arguments that augment and, indeed, serve as the basis of my ridicule." [22-23].

'since religion and all it stands for comprises, to my mind, so large a proportion of what Bertrand Russell called "intellectual rubbish," it seems to me that a certain cleaning of the Augean stables is in order before a positive system can be advocated....' [23].

"it is plain that the battle against religious obscurantism must and will continue. The moment one folly is snuffed out, another and still greater folly seems to emerge to take its place. The greatest harm that religion has done, and continues to do—well beyond such malfeasances as the killing of witches and heretics, the suppression of civil liberties, the disastrous uniting of religion with morality, and the terrorizing of its own adherents with thoughts of hellfire and eternal damnation—is the subversion of clear thinking. This subversion, in my judgment, corrupts even the social benefits that religion has on occasion provided. My only plea, therefore, is that atheists, agnostics, and secularists speak out a bit more vociferously, even tartly and pungently, against their foes—for foes they certainly are, not only to human freedom and dignity, but to the advance of all human knowledge and civilization." [26] [End of Introduction].




and the


G.K. Chesterton

and T.S. Eliot

     There are few more irritating writers than G.K. Chesterton (1874–1936) [this has been my impression for years. I appreciate this sophisticated corroboration]. No doubt his supporters would argue that he is considered irritating because he scores telling blows in defense of religion against agnosticism, secularism, and atheism, but in fact the reverse is the case. There is a unique combination of ignorance and smugness that cripples nearly the whole of his literary work. Chesterton's only gift is a facile pen, but this very gift proves to be a double-edged sword, since it effectively conceals both from his readers and from Chesterton himself how little he knows about the subjects—and specifically his chief subject, Christianity—he treats in his multitudinous works. To anyone well informed on the issues, it becomes a mildly amusing sport to detect the fallacies and errors with which his work abounds. Chesterton may have thought himself—by analogy with Thomas Henry Huxley [1825 - 1895], nicknamed "Darwin's bulldog" for his vigorous support of the theory of


evolution—a kind of Catholic bulldog, but all he [Chesterton] can accomplish is a querulous snapping at the heels of his intellectual betters.' [67-68].





C.S. Lewis [1898 - 1963]" [105]

     'It would not seem necessary to conduct any detailed dissection of Lewis's theology, for the job has already been done by JOHN BEVERSLUIS [1934 -], who in C.S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion (1985) HAS KEENLY, PUNGENTLY, BUT ENTIRELY WITHOUT MALICE AND RANCOR KNOCKED DOWN EVERY PILLAR OF LEWIS'S DEFENSES OF GOD, JESUS, AND CHRISTIANITY. (Richard H. Purtill's sorry attempt at rebutting Beversluis only proves that Lewis's advocates are, on the whole, even less worthy of consideration than he was himself.)2 Beversluis exposes the manifold fallacies of Lewis's mode of argumentation: question-begging, false dichotomies, sheer ignorance of philosophical complexities, rhetorical sleight of hand, and much more. Perhaps his most frequent error is the enunciation of his opponents' views in a highly superficial and even misleading manner, to the point that they become caricatures of the positions he is attempting to refute. As Beversluis notes: "His tendency is to rush into battle, misrepresent the opposition, and then demolish it. The demolition is often swift and the victory decisive, but the view refuted is seldom a position anyone actually holds."3 One gains the strong impression that Lewis was simply unwilling, or perhaps even afraid, to deal forthrightly with views he disagreed with. It would be surprising to find someone of his general (but not philosophical) intelligence making such crude and grotesque errors in reasoning, were it not that he manifestly considered his opponents not merely factually wrong but morally repugnant and even dangerous, so that he set about attacking them with every weapon available, legitimate or otherwise.' [107-108].

'Lewis maintains that, like G.K. Chesterton [1874 - 1936] (a significant influence on his thought), he lost his faith as a teenager and actually became for a time an atheist—initially from reading pre-Christian literature (the Greco-Roman classics) and then under the influence of a freethinking tutor. This secularism lasted throughout his years as an Oxford undergraduate—a time, incidentally, when he began an affair with a married woman twenty-five years his senior, Janie Moore, whose estranged husband was away in Ireland. This affair, a bizarre psychosexual union with a woman Lewis himself referred to as his "adopted mother," continued unbroken until Moore's death in 1951. Lewis's reconversion, first to nondoctrinal theism in 1929 and then to full-blown Christianity in 1931, occurred, suggestively, not primarily through logical reasoning but through literature—Donne, Herbert, George Macdonald—and through discussions with such devout friends as J.R.R. Tolkien [1892 - 1973] and Owen Barfield. The death of Lewis's father—with whom he had a tortured love-hate


relationship—in 1929 is mentioned in only the briefest of sentences in Surprised by Joy, for, as A.N. Wilson states:


He was frightened that hostile readers of his theological work would be able to say that his religion could be "explained" in terms of the Oedipus complex...; and that he was only able to find peace for his heart by coming to terms with a Heavenly Father of his own projection when he had seen the last of his earthly father in Belfast. So much did he dread that his own [case] was a case of "redemption by parricide" that he emphasized the unwillingness with which he accepted the divine call with language which is exaggerated and almost coarse. He was a "prodigal who is brought kicking, struggling, resentful and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape."4

     After this, he settled into a comfortable Anglican faith, always remaining a bit suspicious of Roman Catholicism (an attitude that eventually soured his relations with the Catholic Tolkien) but saving his greatest wrath for the watering-down of Christian doctrine by other theologians, especially the modernists.' [108-109].

'ALL RELIGIONS THAT CLAIM EXCLUSIVE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH—AND THAT INCLUDES THE "BIG THREE" OF THE WEST: CHRISTIANITY, JUDAISM, AND ISLAM—ARE INHERENTLY TOTALITARIAN [see: Articles #16, 344-359; #14, 329-334]. If you believe you are right and everyone else is wrong (as all Christians, Jews, and Muslims are commanded by their respective scriptures to believe), then you have no option but to force your beliefs upon others.' [173].



from the


Reynolds Price and

Annie Dillard

     Literary folk should not write about religion. It does not require a C.P. Snow [1905 - 1980] to inform us that most of our novelists and poets are seriously, nay appallingly, ignorant of physics, biology, chemistry, geology, anthropology, philosophy, and the many other branches of human knowledge required for even a rudimentarily intelligent opinion on questions of the existence of God, the soul, and the afterlife. But beyond their plain ignorance, there is an added perniciousness in our literati's religious maunderings: their cleverness at word-spinning—even if it is shown to be intellectually vacuous, as it usually is—exercises a fatal attraction upon their equally ill-educated and naive readership...." [207].



     I contend that religion is of no value in modern society. It is of no value to knowledge, to government, to society, or to psychological well-being...." [313].

     'The adherents of most of the world's religions have unwittingly placed themselves in an intolerable bind. Their scriptures plainly compel them to adopt conceptions of the world, and of the human race, that are entirely at odds with the knowledge gained by patient human labor over the past two or three millennia; but the moment they deviate from those conceptions, they have implicitly underscored the lack of divine authority for the scriptures in which they profess to have faith. (The great majority of believers, of course, are blithely unaware of this dilemma because they are quite ignorant of the doctrines their own scriptures compel them to accept.) The only solutions for the pious are either the ostrich-act of the fundamentalists (who deny, in the fact of overwhelming evidence, the absurdities found in their own sacred texts) or the adoption of a deliberate vagueness and imprecision in regard to what they actually believe—hence the popularity of a nebulous, nondoctrinal, nondogmatic "spirituality" or "religious way of life" that could apply just as well to one religion or the other, and that is incapable of disproof or even viable rebuttal because the tenets adopted are so loose and cloudy that intellectual debate becomes all but impossible. But the unwitting effect of this vagueness is a stance that, closely scrutinized, is scarcely distinguishable from agnosticism or even atheism itself.' [316].

     'Will, then, religion ever die out even among the foolish and desperate? I must confess my doubts on the matter. And yet, even H.L. Mencken [1880 - 1956] felt some kind of optimism on this point:


The time must come inevitably when mankind shall surmount the imbecility of religion, as it has surmounted the imbecility of religion's ally, magic. It is impossible to imagine this world being really civilized so long as so much nonsense survives. In even its highest forms religion embraces concepts that run counter to all common sense. It can be defended only by making assumptions and adopting rules of logic that are never heard of in any other field of human thinking.3' [316-317].

'conventional religion in the West has declined incalculably in stature and prestige over the past five hundred years—as a direct result, I must again state, of the general advance of knowledge and civilization. This is why I am not concerned about the so-called rise of religious fundamentalism. The plain fact is that it and all other signs of religious "revival" are, in the overall history of the church within Western civilization, precisely analogous to the galvanic twitching of a corpse. Religion is dead as an arbiter of truth, as a dictator of governmental policy, as a societal bond, and even as an infallible guide to morals; and this death applies not merely to the intelligentsia but to the people at large.' [317].


     'Let me repeat what I stated at the outset: it would be a good idea if atheists, agnostics, and secularists were a bit more forthright in speaking out against the devout and their theological lackeys. Many years ago the poet George Sterling [1869 - 1926], writing to H.L. Mencken [1880 - 1956], noted that "we non-believers have been taking it lying down, and what this country needs is a good hot religious war, with the pen, not the sword."4 More recently, Gore Vidal [1925 -] has called for "an all-out war on the monotheists."5 I think a little more toughness in combating religious mummery and obscurantism would be welcome.

     Religion may never be doomed to utter extinction, but its function as a force that actually affects daily behavior, or broader, political, social, and moral tendencies, seems—except in pockets of fanaticism such as Christian and Islamic fundamentalist communities—definitively over. As John Beevers [1911 - 1975] noted long ago, the only problem is how to get rid of the corpse before it begins to smell too much.'

[320] [End of Conclusion].

● ● ● ● ●


from: Biography of the Gods, A. Eustace Haydon, Professor of History of Religions at the University of Chicago, Macmillan, 1941. [I purchased this book c. 1991].


Excursus: from: New York Times, 1975, April 2, 42:

'A Eustace Haydon Is Dead at 95;

Taught Religion at U. of Chicago


Santa Monica, Calif., April 1 (UPI)—A. Eustace Haydon [1880 - 1975], professor emeritus of comparative religion at the University of Chicago and a leader in teaching of religion in this country, died today of a heart attack at St. John's Hospital. He was 95 years old.

Mr. Haydon leaves three sons, Brownlee, Edward and Harold. Edward coaches track at the University of Chicago and Harold is professor of humanities at the University of Chicago.


Professor Haydon was a founder of the modern Humanist movement, which led to the Fellowship of Religious Humanists. He was also an author of the Humanist Manifesto and co-author of the new Humanist Manifesto issued some years ago.

He wrote several major books on religion. Among them are "Biography of the Gods," "Quest of the Ages," "Man's Search for the Good Life," "Modern Trends in World Religion" and "The Heritage of Eastern Asia."

My Haydon, who was born in Brampton, Ontario, attended Shurtleff College in Illinois. He received B.A., B.Th., B.D. and M.A. degrees from McMaster University in Ontario. The University of Saskatchewan gave him an M.A. in 1912 and he obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1918. He received an honorary Ll.D. in 1964 from McMaster.

He was a Baptist minister for more than a decade, occupying pulpits in Canada.' [End of obituary]. End of Excursus


          THE GODS ARE ON THIS SIDE OF THE MYSTERY THAT ENSHROUDS THE UNIVERSE. LIKE MAN, THEY ARE EARTHBORN. The roots of their ["gods"] lives are in the rich soil of human hopes and hungerings. If man had been perfect in joy and mastery the familiar folk gods of history would never have been. They ["gods"] were born and grew to grandeur because of man's desperate need. Through the ages they have walked with him, beloved companions of the way, powerful helpers in the age-long quest for knowledge, beauty and the joy of living.

          The gods move across the stage of history in forms innumerable: one note of pathos dominates the drama, man's longing for support, security, companionship and help from the environing universe. The biography of every god is an epic into which


are written the dreams and sorrows, tragedies and achievements of some human group [on dust jacket]. The names and characters of the gods are numberless but from the beginning even until now, faith in God is the daring confidence of man that the universe in its deepest meaning does allow and give support to our human hopes and ideals. The history of the gods is the fascinating story of human adventures in co-operation with what seemed helpful and trustworthy amid the dearth and danger of the changing centuries.

          The divine figures of our human story are, therefore, rooted in the social needs and aspirations of men. They grow and change with their peoples. TO DEFINE GOD IS LABOR LOST, for the meaning of God is a definite and specific meaning in a localized phase of the life of humanity in a definite span of time.

          Often pride in its own deity led one people to belittle the god of another, even to hurl the epithet "atheist." But "atheist" is a term without meaning unless there be some authoritative idea of God that has remained unchanged and unchallenged through the ages, and earth knows no such god. Usually the term means only that the distinctive character of the god of one group is lacking in the interpretation of reality adopted by another. But every group and individual must establish some working relationship with the environmental forces which control and enfold their lives. Their mental pictures of these realities vary with their environment, their needs, their powers of mastery over material things, their understanding of nature and of human nature. Therefore the gods are almost as numerous as the families and types of men. The philosopher does not speak of God in the language of the ignorant peasant. The seer catches a vision of life which makes all the old ideas of his inherited theology inadequate. India gazes into the shadows of time and reads the world story in a way that Europe has not known. Japan had a different experience from that of Tibet and her gods are different even though sometimes they bear the same names.

          Common to all races the wide world over is the unfaltering quest for a satisfactory life. The comradeship of man and woman, the love of little children, the loyalties of friends, the homely familiarity of the natural world, the shared tasks, sorrows, fears and hopes, the common life with its bonds of cozy custom, its safe habits and close comfortable contacts—these are the things which make up the realities of life for the dwellers on earth. But THE RIDDLE OF THE WORLD REMAINS UNREAD. Humanity is set in a cosmic environment too often cruelly unkind.


What relation does the environing universe bear to our hopes? What help is there for man in the living, social environment? The answer of the future waits beyond the gates of tomorrow; the gods are the answer of the past. In them history records man's ancient faith that the values essential to human joy and peace have sure cosmic support.


          THIS BOOK IS A SERIOUS ATTEMPT TO SKETCH THE PERSONAL HISTORIES OF THE FEW, GREAT, LIVING GODS, WITH A BACKWARD GLANCE AT SOME, ONCE GREAT, WHO WERE LEFT BEHIND IN THE MARCH TO THE MODERN WORLD [on dust jacket]. It is devoted only to the gods and it is not intended to tell the story of religions. 

          During the years in which the book has been taking shape, I have had Dr. Margaret Boell with me as a research assistant and collaborator. Her critical judgment and careful scholarship are so woven into the words, arrangement and materials that the final result is a joint product. For her untiring helpfulness I here record my deep gratitude.

A. Eustace Haydon

The University of Chicago

August 14, 1940' [vii-ix].

"Chapter I The Birth of the Gods"

          "The early gods were very near to man, companions of his nights and days, in tangible and visible form. They took their character from the earthly scene and grew in grandeur, nobility and power as man won his way to higher culture. Man accepted them and used them with little interest in understanding them. They were taken for granted as old friends. As far back as the memory of the fathers ran, they had been kindly helpers of the human family. Although the gods took up their residence in the unseen realm of spirits, they retained their intimate relationship with the life of their people. This connection was the source of their vitality. When, by some unhappy accident of time, the bond was broken, the gods died and were forgotten. Those who lived, grew and changed through the centuries because the roots of their being were in the soil of social history. The biography of a god can be written only as a phase of the life process of a people." [16] [End of Chapter I].

"Chapter III The Gods Who Died" [see Article #23, 482-483 (Mencken)]

          "The Teutonic peoples,10 in Pre-Christian times, had their own local families of gods who embodied the benefits of sky, sun, storm and the fertile earth. Leader of the divine company in Sweden was Frey, Thor in Norway and Odin in Germany. Before the rise of Odin, Ziu (Tyr), the old Sky-father of the Aryans, had been the greatest of the German gods. He was specialized in war. Odin supplanted him, took over the war portfolio and led his Aesir gods west and north in conquest. Under his leadership the Anglo-Saxons captured Britain. In the north, Frey, chief of the Vanir gods, was forced to yield to him. After Odin had won through to supremacy, the deities of the various groups settled down in peace to their old tasks of providing fertility, wealth and well-being for their peoples, in friendly co-operation. When the Christian God appeared upon the scene, death for the Teutonic gods followed in his wake. The mighty Odin survived, however, humbled and peaceful as St. Martin and St. Michael. Thor became St. George and St. Olaf. With the surrender of the


northern deities, in the tenth century, the Christian God stood triumphant among the graves of all the gods of ancient Europe." [56] [End of Chapter III].

"Chapter V

The Gods of India

Upon that excellent glory

Of the god Savitar may we meditate;

May he stimulate our thoughts.1

          The galaxy of India's gods is as complex and colorful as the endless variety of her geographical and cultural climate. No one great personal god strides in lonely splendor down the centuries, obliterating his predecessors, reducing his rivals to nothingness, until he holds the throne of the universe alone. In ages long ago THE GODS OF INDIA LEARNED THE ART OF TOLERANCE. THE ARROGANT ATTITUDE OF THE HIGH GOD [Yahweh, Jehovah, etc.] OF THE SEMITIC-CHRISTIAN TRADITIONS DOES NOT APPEAR. There was always room for the old gods if they retained their usefulness and for new gods if they carried gifts in their hands...." [89].

"For the thinkers of India no divine purpose threaded the events of history with beneficent meaning; no divine will marshalled all things toward a goal of perfection. Understanding of the ultimate nature of reality was always regarded as beyond the grasp of man's mind, hence thinkers found no basis for intolerance of the multitude of popular gods. The lowliest worshipper of the lowliest god might glimpse some ray of light from the truth which no one, not even the philosopher, could completely know. Thus the long life stories of the gods of India unfold in the mellow atmosphere of universal tolerance." [89-90].

          "In the atmosphere of intellectual tolerance, characteristic of India, the presence of no single god dominates the centuries." [119]. [See: Addition 20, 1033-1068 (India)].

"Chapter VII The Gods of China"

"Buddhist thinkers,...knew as well as the Chinese that the ultimate reality was not personal, that the personal gods were only a concession to the feeble powers of common men and not the final truth." [187].


"Chapter IX Yahweh"

          "Bearing the heavy responsibility for unfulfilled desires, he [Yahweh] walked with his people through the frustrated ages to the dawn of today. Now, in the company of other great gods, he is transferring his burden to the reluctant shoulders of men. The time of divine tutelage is over for the children of earth. Yahweh may rest from his labors, to be remembered so long as man shall live, as the inspiring champion of Israel's hopes during the long centuries of a brave adventure in culture building." [249] [End of Chapter IX].

"Chapter X

The Christian God

I believe in God the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth...

And in Jesus Christ His Son, our Lord...

And in the Holy Ghost.1

          THE MEDITERRANEAN WORLD IS A GRAVEYARD OF GODS [see Article #23, 482-483 (Mencken)]. Long before the records of history began, many generations of deities lived and died there. The spade of the modern excavator, probing deep into old ruins, reveals their long-forgotten names and tantalizing glimpses of their characters. When earlier culture builders yielded before the waves of hardier, hungrier folk, their gods too surrendered their sovereignty. But deities of culture do not die as men die. Their names may fade from memory but before they leave the stage they hand over their rôles to the gods who follow them. Behind the majestic figures of the Graeco-Roman deities the eye of the historian may see the shadowy forms of the lost gods whose heirs they were.

          When the early Christian missionaries began to preach the gospel of their Jewish Savior, the shores of the inland sea were the gathering place of a multitude of deities, embodying the cultural experiences of Egypt, Babylonia, Syria, Palestine, Asia Minor, Persia, Greece and Rome. In an atmosphere of tolerance and the interplay of cultures, the gods influenced each other in friendly rivalry. Each one held his place of honor for specific services rendered. The old deities of Greece and Rome were still active as patrons of cities, districts and families. Many hero gods who had proved their usefulness to man by cultural benefits were held in high esteem. Over the far-flung Roman Empire the majestic figure of the emperor towered like a god of order and peace. Everywhere in the Mediterranean area there were savior gods who had long outgrown their local origins as vegetation figures and assumed the rôle of redeemers from earthly tribulation and death. These deities had faced all the troubles that torment mankind and conquered them. They had gone down into the darkness of death and risen again, triumphant over man's last enemy. Consequently they could offer comfort, consolation and security to the lonely individual in this life and, beyond


the grave, a blissful immortality.2 In all the important cities, Yahweh of Israel was well known as a god of righteousness and power. Ahura Mazda of Iran stood on the eastern horizon, while Mithra, his Lord of Hosts, was following the Roman armies to all the borders of the Empire. Behind these many popular and personal gods, philosophers sought and found a principle of unity—AN ULTIMATE ONE, A FIRST CAUSE OR an immanent DIVINE LOGOS.

          The celestial population of spiritual beings was vividly real to men as time turned into the Christian era.3 Even the skeptical Epicureans were willing to admit the reality of the gods—not those of the popular cults, but a celestial company exiled to an eternity of blissful quiescence in an interstellar heaven.

          To this multitude of gods the early Christians added their Savior, the resurrected, heavenly Christ, associated with the jealous Yahweh of Israel. Neither they nor their gentile contemporaries realized that from their movement would emerge a new god to claim the lordship of the earth, before whose majesty all the elder, pagan deities would abandon their thrones, or linger in lowlier status to be christened as saints of the new religion...." [250-251].

          "It was not the teaching of Jesus about God, but the teachings of Christians about Jesus that gave the Christian God the qualities which distinguished him from all the other gods of the Graeco-Roman world. Like Jesus himself, the early disciples and Jewish Christian churches recognized no God but Yahweh of Israel. If Christianity had remained within the boundaries of Judaism, interpreting Jesus as the Messiah whom God rescued from the realm of the dead, exalted to heaven and, on some fateful day, would send again in power to establish the perfect kingdom on earth, there would have been no need of a distinctive Christian God. But the new movement broke the boundaries of Judaism and won a spectacular triumph as a popular way of salvation in the gentile world." [252].

          'As the leadership of the churches passed from Jews to men immersed in the religious ideas and patterns of Hellenistic culture, THE MESSIAH, [THE FICTIONAL] JESUS, WAS ADVANCED TO THE RANK OF DEITY. Gentile Christians, attuned to the pervasive climate of polytheism, felt no hesitation in proclaiming as a new god their Savior, Jesus Christ. The needs of salvation were fulfilled by him. He had conquered sin and death and broken the bondage of men to the demons. His resurrection linked him in function and prestige with the company of dying and rising gods popular in the Mediterranean world. BY THE BEGINNING OF THE SECOND CENTURY, CHRIST WAS WORSHIPPED AS THE REAL AND EFFICIENT GOD OF THE CHRISTIAN GROUP. Belief in him as the divine Lord and Savior was the only necessary test for entrance into the church.6 The Fourth Gospel treated him as a god. Ignatius of Antioch [c. 35 - c. 107 [?]] repeatedly called him "The God."7 In both east and west a brilliant galaxy of preachers and apologists—Justin [c. 100 - c. 165], Tatian [died c. 185], Tertullian [c. 160 - 220], Irenaeus [c. 130 - c. 200], Origen [c. 185 - c. 254]—all professed that he was God.8 Although the Christian Gnostics differed from other Christians in discarding the Old Testament and repudiating Yahweh, they were as devout and eager as any in proclaiming the true divinity of Jesus.' [253-254].


          'Ever since the time of Paul, Christ had been called the Son of God. The baptismal formula said, "Father, Son and Spirit."10 God the Father and God the Son were definite and distinct persons. The term, "Son," seemed to imply that Christ was later in time and subordinate, thus challenging his power and usefulness as a guarantor of salvation. To say that he was begotten before all ages helped a little, but still did not make him eternal. Origen's [185? - 254?] phrase, "eternal generation," was a purely verbal solution and meaningless. Justin and Origen both spoke of Christ as a subordinate God. Justin [Saint: c. 100 - c. 165] classified the three divine persons according to rank—the Father, first, "The Son, who is truly God," second, and the prophetic Spirit, third.11

          The confusion of language grew until by the close of the third century it became necessary to decide whether Christians believed in one God or three, and if one, to find a formula which would assert his unity and leave unchallenged the long established worship of three divine persons. The need of a united church to serve as a bond of unity and a source of spiritual reinforcement for the empire, moved Constantine to force the leaders of Christianity to a decision in the Council of Nicaea [325 C.E.].' [256].

'The only FORMULA [hocus-pocus] which could combine monotheism and the guarantee of eternal life for man was, God is one essence in three persons. It was necessary to say "three persons" rather than two because the Holy Spirit [relation to Logos?] had to be included. From ancient times he had been recognized as a mode of God's manifestation. He was the Father of Jesus. Paul had spoken of him as the spiritual bond which united Christ and Christians as sons of God. So he ["Holy Spirit"] joined the Father and Son to make the Christian God a Trinity.' [257-258].

[from Jefferson:].

          "When Rome, the imperial city, heir of a thousand brilliant years of Mediterranean culture, was captured by the barbarians, a chill of defeat struck to the heart of Christendom. Hope of a kingdom of God on earth faded. Supreme values took flight to the supernatural. A conviction of human frailty and futility, of the weakness of man's best strength and a deep sense of sin darkened the Christians' vision of the earthly scene. The drama of world history was vividly threaded with a single theme—the salvation of man from sin. The joy that the early church had felt in the assurance of the incarnation gave way to sombre emphasis on the crucifixion and the saving blood." [259].

          "A host of shadowy figures who bear the name of God are all that remains for thinkers of the once robust Christian deity, sovereign Lord of heaven and earth [see Article #23, 481-483 (Reade; Waite; Mencken)]. In modern times he has been known as the Absolute, the World-Soul;36 the Spirit of the Beloved Community;37 the Grand Etre;38 the Spiritual Nisus of an evolving universe;39 the Unknowable;40 the Totality of Life;41 the Life Force;42 a Christlike God;43 the Common Will of Humanity;44 an Eternal, Creative Good Will;45 the Determiner of Destiny;46 a conscious Person of perfect good will limited by the free choices of other persons and by restrictions within his own nature;47 a Growing God;48 a Cosmic Mathematician;49 the Symbol of Highest Social Values;50 the Principle of Concretion;51 the Utterly Other;52 That in the universe which


yields the maximum of good when man enters into right relations with it;53 the Totality of Personality producing Forces in the universe;54 the Supreme Person of a World of Free Spirits;55 an Eternal Cosmic Mind who suffers when matter makes his plans miscarry;56 the Imagined Synthesis of Ideal Ends.57

          In the bewilderment of this confusion of tongues the Christian God keeps precarious hold upon the thought of the intellectuals. Meanwhile, Christianity as a living religion, has been turning with serious purpose during the last three decades toward the solution of the social problems of human living. If this practical movement should gather into itself the trained workers capable of leading it to success, and the values for which the Christian God has stood—love, justice, peace, security and consolation—can be realized in human relations, the layman will not be greatly troubled by the conflicting reports brought back by theologians and philosophers from their adventures into the unknown." [282-283] [End of Chapter X].

"Chapter XII The Twilight of the Gods"



Our intellectual climate may become so different from that in which the historic deities were at home that it will be ever more difficult to find a place in the universe for any one of them. If they must live only as wistful ghosts behind the abstract phrases of philosophy, THE GODS with full-formed characters, whom the people loved and trusted, WILL BE NO MORE.' [317-318].

          "Each one of the great gods enshrined in the hearts of the people of the modern world has his own unbroken life-story of development from primitive beginnings to his present status as a richly endowed supreme God of the universe. All are different and all are alike. They bear the stamp of their cultures, but each of them has the qualities essential to guarantee ultimate happiness for man. The thought of past ages could not destroy them because the thinker, like his unlettered fellows, needed the salvation they could bring. The undying fire of human desire kept the altars of the gods alight.


ALL ROADS RETURN TO FOLK DEITIES. The god ideas of the past came neither by a grudging revelation from an incomprehensible god, nor a blind questing after him through time. In the long ages of his way-faring, man found his gods in nature's friendly phases, transformed them into mighty masters of the universe and molded them to meet his needs. Each of the great gods bore the standard of a people's


hopes through time. Faith gave them reality. If these gods are not real, faith in a veiled being who can never be truly known will not save God for the world."


          "ONLY ONE MORE WORD REMAINS TO BE SAID. MORE IMPORTANT THAN FAITH IN GOD IS DEVOTION TO THE HUMAN IDEALS OF WHICH he [GOD] HAS BECOME THE SYMBOL. Too long the strong gods have been made to bear the burden. Wistfully man has watched for the day of divine action to dawn and ever healed the hurt of disappointment with more passionate faith. Hopes hung in the heavens are of no avail. What the gods have been expected to do, and have failed to do through the ages, man must find the courage and intelligence to do for himself. More needful than faith in God is faith that man can give love, justice, peace and all his beloved moral values embodiment in human relations. Denial of this faith is the only real atheism [?]. Without it, belief in all the galaxies of gods is mere futility. With it, and the practice that flows from it, MAN NEED NOT MOURN THE PASSING OF THE GODS [INCLUDING THE FAMOUS FICTIONAL CHARACTER—JESUS!]."

[329] [End of Chapter XII] [End of text]. [See: #23, 482-483 (H.L. Mencken)].