The Case Against Religion
(originally, "Superior Men")
a book by James Hervey Johnson, 1949
The Jews Have
Suffered Great Persecution as a
Result of Biblical Teachings
The Jews, the founders of the Christian religion, have suffered tremendously as a result of their religion.
They are taught by the Bible that they were God's chosen people and that all other peoples were inferior. They adopted a patronizing and supercilious manner toward all other peoples. They believed, and many still believe, that other races are to be exploited, that they are fair game to be cheated and despoiled. They have the word of the Bible for it.
They have a whole Bible full of examples of glorified cheating, deceit, lying, jealousy, intolerance, trickery, crime, debauchery, rapine, murder, and revenge.
With this glorification of a god and prophets who used all the vile and unethical practices of barbarism, it was and is easy for those who absorb the Biblical teachings, to follow the precept of holy writ, which is constantly called to their attention by their rabbis. Examples and glorification of men such as David cannot build in the minds of the Jews a hatred of such practices. Quite the contrary.
Thus, by following the Biblical and rabbinical admonitions and examples, many Jews have, by their deceitful methods, selfishness, and intolerance, brought down the wrath of other races upon their heads.
They were evicted from Egypt as told in their own story of the Exodus in the second book of the Bible; evicted from Jerusalem, evicted from Spain, persecuted in England and the rest of Europe, suffered pogroms in Russia before the Bolshevist revolution, persecuted in Germany under Hitler, in Italy under Mussolini, in France under orders of Germany.
Millions have been killed, tortured, and had their property confiscated because they followed the Biblical promises that they were "God's chosen people" and would get the cream of wealth and happiness, because they followed the unethical examples of their sacred prophets and scriptures.
The Jews, more than any other people, as a whole, have much to gain by discarding their primitive religion which has been such a curse to them for so many centuries.
Where their religion has engendered egotism, selfishness, deceit, cheating, lying and unfairness they have always, and will always continue to come into conflict with other religions, races and peoples.
In Russia, where religion has been reduced, the Jews have suffered little since the revolution.
For another example, the Jews are supposed to eat Kosher meat only. Kosher meat is obtained from animals killed according to Jewish orthodox rituals, under the general supervision of a Jewish rabbi. By this method a great and unnecessarily cruel pain is inflicted on the animals. They are killed by having their throats cut and thus suffer great pain by bleeding slowly to death. The humane modern method is to stun the animal first by making it unconscious, then allowing it to bleed.
But the Jews, following ancient Biblical rituals do not have any sympathy or show any kindness for the animal being killed. By permitting only Kosher meat to be eaten, the Jewish butchers have restricted competition, and probably because of the religious angle involved the rabbis make a profit and a cruel and inhumane practice is continued under the guise of religion.
Such practices have brought hatred for the Jews, and have probably made the Jews a rather cruel race, lacking in the kindnesses they would probably have if it were not for their superstition.
Thus we have the Jews made vain, boastful, selfish, greedy, deceitful, cruel, and unkind by their religion, and these traits, along with other religious differences, have been the cause of persecution of that unhappy race for ages. If the Jews would eliminate their religious practices, they would probably, within a short time, be absorbed into other nations as individuals and the persecutions would cease.
In England and the United States where religion has less hold on the people, the Jews have prospered far beyond the other citizens, but even in the latter country, there is still bitter feeling against Jews because of their traits, which are encouraged and promoted largely by their religion.
Common people, either privately or publicly, usually applaud the ability of "smart" people to deceive others by tricks. The ethics or morals of the case are lost sight of and the point which seems to please the common public is the cleverness of the deceit or trick by which some dishonesty is practiced. This trait is well illustrated by the folk tales of Reynard the Fox and by such stories of bandits and robbers as Robin Hood, Pancho Villa, and many others. Youngsters especially have made heroes out of the most criminal types of gangsters in the United States, and the acts of rebels who murder their way to control of the country, such as the so-called presidents of many South American countries, are condoned, and the United States Government recognizes these bandits and rebellious anti-Government leaders who gain control of their countries by killing the presidents in power. Coups d'état are considered clever moves and the deceit or fraud or violence is not condemned by either the people or the United States Government, a so-called just government, or by the churches. If the churches were following out certain of the practices which they represent themselves as preaching, they would object to the access of power by the use of violence and would condemn and refuse to support any such methods or the leaders thereof.
The Bible is full of practices of deceit, trickery, and dishonesty; and these examples have been held up for the Jews especially to read. They cannot be blamed if they follow the example set before them by the book which they consider holy. They and many Christians like to boast of the clever tricks they have used to put something over on someone else to defraud him or to get more for an article than it is worth. There are almost no precepts in the Old Testament of the benefits of giving the other party to the transaction a fair and square deal.
According to Christian policies, a man who refuses to believe what the priests, preacher, or rabbi tells him, is more apt to burn in hell for eternity than if he tricks his neighbors, and it has been common practice for the church to excuse criminals, if they confess their wrongdoing, do some petty penance, and make a contribution to the church. The churches are full of rascals and hypocrites and this is generally known. The worst politicians and grafters usually have a church affiliation. If the churches lived up to the highest moral and ethical principles, they would refuse to permit such persons to fill their pews.
In the Freethinkers Bulletin, Volume 7, No. 6-7, Joseph Lewis, one of the foremost Freethought leaders in the world and a stalwart defender of atheism and the separation of church and state, among other criticisms of other religions, says, "I am not fighting to perpetuate Judaism -- I think it has brought a form of insanity to mankind."
A form of insanity, indeed -- this, and all religions, many or all of which have steeped the world in blood.
Religion is Aided and
Subsidized by Selfish
One of the biggest rackets on earth is the Christmas racket, exceeded only by the religious racket itself. At Christmas time people go wild buying and sending presents and cards to their friends. They pay exorbitant prices, spend needlessly, and give useless, impractical gifts.
But this is the harvest, and the Jews, who have rejected Christ, profit amazingly by selling Christmas goods to the Gentiles during the season.
Every merchant and manufacturer spends huge sums on advertising Christmas gifts and boosting Christmas, generally because it means profits in his pocket. It is a harvest time.
At Easter, the people are led to the purchase of new clothes and presents.
The result of the celebration of these religious festivals is a substantial income to the commercial interests which profit from them, so Christianity gets a promotion and an advertisement because it benefits the merchant class in addition to the priest class, who also reap a harvest at Christmas and Easter.
If gifts were given to show the generosity of the giver and for the benefit of all, little objection could be made, but the procedure is one of selfish promotion, with much show and sham.
Other commercial interests use religion as an aid to their advertising, and still others subsidize the churches so they can keep the people in ignorance and subjection.
Willard Price, an expert on the Japanese, tells how they controlled the formerly conquered Chinese with the physical drug of opium and the mental drug of Buddhism.
Down through the centuries, many selfish interests have organized to promote religion and to suppress opposition to it.
But all of these people are blind to the benefits of progress. Even those priests and preachers who fear to lose their lucrative positions and hence militantly fight for the propagation of their doctrines, would profit by the prosperity and the increase in intelligence which would prevail if religion were exposed and eliminated. The commercial interests which promote religion incidentally to selling their goods would likewise be more prosperous and safer if reason ruled the nations instead of religion.
God and the Atheists
God, according to the Christians, has created men who are atheists, who do not believe what the priests and preachers tell them; he has created sinners who do not know or do not understand his many conflicting commands.
Then God condemns all these persons to eternal hell fire, torture, and suffering. He is not satisfied with killing them, but wants to see them suffer for eternity. What an example of cruelty and hatred for a people to have set before them! What a fine way to encourage tolerance and a better world!
The Evidence for the Existence
of God is Worse Than Flimsy
Any so-called evidence of God is only hearsay. We must believe someone else's statement that there is a God. He cannot be seen nor heard. We have stories in the Bible saying some of the old prophets saw him. But the same Bible says, "No man hath seen God." So the Bible itself contradicts those who had boasted of seeing God. One mail order book seller advertises that he has talked with God. But until an individual has some definite knowledge of God, he should be doubtful of the claims of the prophets past or present. Most preachers and priests base their knowledge of God on what they have read in the Bible.
Others say every tree and stone and the earth itself is evidence of God. Look at the stars. Each one of the billions of them is a sun. Around some of the suns there are probably planets like our earth, so on to infinity. The Bible, written by ignorant, primitive Jews, claims that man was made in the image of God. Can any sensible person conceive of a God who controls the infinite universe looking like an ancient Jew, or any other man?
Hearsay, so-called circumstantial evidence (it isn't even that), faith, these we are called upon to consider as proof of God's existence. We cannot have him deliver a speech to us as the leaders of nations do over the radio. Nor can we see his picture as we do of a president or a king. He does not appear to us in the heavens, nor does he write inscriptions nor letters to us. If anyone was to tell us that some man with great influence had given us certain rules and regulations we would want to see him or his authority, or hear him. By using the same common sense we use regarding sea serpents and ghosts, we would come to the conclusion that God does not exist. Try to prove the existence of a ghost in a law court and you will be considered a fool.
The truth is that priests and preachers want us to believe what they tell us, and they do not want us to inquire into the truth of their stories, because they fear investigation will disclose them to be fakers. They want us to believe what they tell us so they will be able to have power over us, to control us, and to collect tithes, dues and contributions from us. All of their mysticism, ritual and "monkey shines" are for the purpose of keeping their influence over the minds of their ignorant, unreasoning followers.
A Reasonable Analysis of the
Sermon on the Mount
According to religious authorities, the principle teachings of Christ are contained in the Sermon on the Mount. The language of the sermon is childish, in keeping with the mental condition of the people, and the educational capabilities of Matthew who reported it.
Christ said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." Just what is meant by spirit is not understood by practical men.
"Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." When or why they should be comforted is not known, millions have mourned and millions mourning now, without comfort, many as the result of wars and many, especially during the Inquisition days, for their relatives killed as the result of Christian persecution.
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." But only the warlike races and those who have had the courage to fight to protect their liberties have inherited the earth. All others have become slaves, either politically or economically, to the aggressive races.
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." But here again the aggressors, the tyrants, the selfish elements of all countries, and the conquerors seem to have control of the earth and righteousness has not come to them. Apparently these "Beatitudes" were promises which are far from being fulfilled. What fulfillment has come is as a result of the actions of liberty-loving men who haven't been followers of the doctrines of Christ or the Christian Church.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." But that is seldom so, the kindest people are often the most imposed upon. Being merciful does not guarantee that mercy will be returned.
"Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God." None sees God, at least none who tells about it; so there must be no pure in heart, whatever that is.
"Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." But the Christian church with its long history of religious wars, persecution of Protestants and Freethinkers, burning of witches, crusades against infidels, the Inquisition, has not been a peacemaker. Calling the real peacemakers "the children of God" has not been of any benefit in bringing about peace, for there has been no peace; wars are more frequent destructive and bitter than ever. "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake." This blessing, without practical value, would include blessings on the millions of people who have been persecuted by the Christian church for standing for the righteousness of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom from oppression and religious persecution, freedom from slavery, the things, the Christian church has fought for ages.
"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you; falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for your reward is great in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets before you."
But here again we have many different prophets, and sects and churches and branches of them, all saying the others are wrong, all reviling the others and all claiming they do it in Christ's name; in fact, all their prayers are asked in Christ's name, including the prayers the Allied Nations made against the Axis forces, and the prayers of the Axis against the allied, all finished, "In the name of Jesus Christ, we ask." Both sides thought they were blessed, both sides thought they were doing things for Christ's sake, each side reviled the other.
"Ye, (his disciples) are the light of the world," but the truth is that his followers, with his morbid philosophy, by persecution, sword, faggot and fire, intolerance and hatred, brought on the Dark Ages, and it was only when liberalism emerged that the darkness of a thousand years began to grow less.
Then Christ reminds us of the commandment not to kill. But later on tells his followers that he came to bring "not peace but a sword," and to set father against brother and daughter against mother. He also says it is wrong for one to be angry with his brother, but at the same time he criticizes the Pharisees and Scribes (Scribes were those who were professional letter writers, as the populace, including Christ, were illiterate -- Christ left no written works). Here again was opposition to advancement, because he attacked those who had tried to improve themselves by learning to write.
Then Christ advises men to agree with "thine adversary quickly, lest he deliver thee to the judge and put thee in prison." This is the opposite of the previous advice for men to be cowardly and to fail to stand by their principles. Here Christ warns the people they will pay the uttermost farthing before they come out of the prison. The connection, or the importance of this connection, is not clear.
Christian philosophy is morbid. Christ not only reminds the people of adultery, but says that anyone who has desires for a woman, which if carried out would result in adultery, is an adulterer anyway. Thinking of a crime makes the thinker just as guilty as the criminal who commits such a crime. The thinker does no damage, and it is ridiculous to compare the two. Men who are attracted by pretty women, as nature intended them to be, cannot rightly be called sinful because they have normal desires. Had there been a just God he would not have created men with desires and then condemned them to eternal damnation because they thought of the desires.
Practical men will say that the man who has the desire to do something wrong, and who suppresses that desire is a more courageous man than the man who has no desire at all. From a reasonable standpoint, if no wrong is done, no blame should attach to the individual. It is only the extreme of fanaticism which would hold otherwise.
"If thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out" also seems to be fanatical and unreasonable advice. If something is wrong with the hand or eye, the condition should be corrected. It is no crime for a man to feel desire when he sees an attractive woman. It is natural, and to ask him to pluck his eye out for having followed his natural tendency, is the most debasing kind of philosophy.
Then comes one of the cruelest most fanatical causes of unhappiness the world has ever known. That is Christ's commandment against divorce, except for one cause, adultery. No matter how cruel a man might be to a woman, no matter how stingy and mean he would be to her and her children, no matter how sexually mismated they might be, no matter how much of a shrew she might be no matter how mean to the children, or each antagonistic to the other, no matter how much they may have grown apart, even if one had developed filthy habits, they were to stay together in unhappiness and misery, leading to crime and insanity. A sensible commandment would have been, "Live together if you can, but when life is unhappy for either of you, then separate and try to be happy with some other mate." The refusal of the Catholic Church to grant divorce and, through its political influence, to refuse to permit nations for centuries to legislate for civil divorce (not even now permitted in such backward states as priest-ridden New York), has been a great cause of unhappiness, crime, misery, insanity and murder. Christ's outburst was not based on the studies of science, medicine, psychology, and intelligence, but was a fanatical, magnified repetition of the old Jewish laws.
Next Christ commands against taking oaths. This leads to laws against swearing. Saying "By God," yes or no, seems to be no crime and a meaningless and harmless phrase to any reasonable, intelligent man. It is a childish expression, but of no importance, yet it has been magnified by the Church and severe penalties have been imposed upon those who wanted to have their right to use the kind of emphasis they desired in their speech.
Christ objects to people swearing "by the head," which seems to be an inconsequential matter and a method of speech, and a trivial matter for a great philosopher or a God to concern himself with. "For whatsoever is more than (aye or nay) these cometh of evil." No sensible person can feel that there is anything "evil" or wrong about "swearing by the head." All of it is childish.
After having or; many occasions advised the people to follow the Laws and the Prophets, which included the principle of "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," Christ reverses himself and advises a Philosophy of "resist not evil." But what can he mean by this when he had continually told his disciples to go out and preach against evil? That has been the whole doctrine of the Christian Church, to preach and work against what it called Evil. Christ threw out the evil money changers, he criticized the Scribes and Pharisees and rich men, and brought about his own death by criticizing and resisting evil, and he ordered his disciples to resist it, even to losing their lives. What kind of reversal is this?
But no sensible intelligent man would believe in such a philosophy. Evil, natural or man made, should be resisted as should oppression and wrong of any kind. The courageous fighters for right and liberty and freedom had and still have to fight against oppression. Only a coward would stand to be whipped, beaten, robbed, and humiliated without protest.
When hit on one cheek, turn the other -- is another part of the same philosophy; when a man takes a coat by law, give him the cloak. This is the philosophy of an insane fanatic and so unreasonable that it does not deserve comment except that it has been preached by the Christian Church for centuries and never followed by it or by any person.
Then Christ says we must love our enemies. But does the Church love its enemies? For centuries they burned them at the stake, and classified all those who did not believe exactly as they did as enemies, even though the non-believers wanted only the right peacefully and quietly to live their own lives. Not only do the Christians fight against non-Christians, but they fight, often to the death, among themselves, each claiming to be right according to Christ's word.
But further than this, did Christ preach a policy of love towards enemies when he threatened eternal hell fire for all those who did not believe in him?
Christ indicated that no credit was to be given those who loved in return, more than those who hated the individual. This is certainly an ungrateful, backward, and insane philosophy.
While telling his followers to do their good works before men so as to set an example, and not to hide their light under a bushel, he again reverses himself and tells them to do their alms in secret. No man should be blamed for naturally expecting gratitude for his generosity. It is no crime to expect and receive it.
Then Christ tells people not to pray openly and loudly, and while prayer is a waste of time as far as any benefit to this war-weary, prayer-weary, crime-ridden and trouble-soaked world; none of Christ's followers pray in secret; all churches and preachers pray loudly as if their God were quite deaf. They pray on the radio, broadcasting their prayers over the earth, not because they want God to hear, but because they put out propaganda by prayer; they advertise themselves and please their listeners by praying loudly and sometimes entertainingly.
The forgiving of trespasses as recommended by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, as recorded in Matthew 4, 5, and 6, is not a reasonable thing to do. If a man does wrong he should be made to make reparation, and it should not be easy for him to continue wrong doing. The greatest cause of crime may be the system of the Christian church for centuries, of forgiving sins and crimes upon the expression of belief in their doctrine and the doing of penance (at a price, of course, paid to the priest).
Then comes one of the most fanatically wrong commandments ever uttered, "Lay not up treasures on earth, take no thought for the morrow." No wonder famine followed Christian countries for more than 1000 years, with the people drugged with such listless ideas. No wonder progress was stopped. "Do nothing, wait for God to feed you. Use all you have, trust to God for the future. Do not resist evil. Do nothing, be nothing, sit and wait for a handout."
How much better it would have been if Jesus had said, "Be thrifty, save for your old age and to uplift yourselves from poverty.
Look to the future, famines and scarcity may come, be prepared for emergency, and for help to your brothers." That would have meant happiness and progress on earth.
Christ's reference to the birds of the fields would indicate that they had nothing to do but eat, but the poor little things have to scratch and fight for their food, watch for hawks and cats and freeze and shiver in the rain and the wind. Christ would put man back on the animal plane with his philosophy. Who indeed wants to be a beast of the field, fearing the hunter, eternally suffering from vermin, scarcity and disease, chased from one hill to the other, fighting to the death for the right to satisfy their mating instincts?
The reference to a man with one eye having a whole body full of light must refer to something of the superstitions of the times; the reference to the evil eye apparently bears this out, otherwise the reference to the one-eyed man being full of light is meaningless. It would be a sorry race if we followed Christ's orders "to take no thought for the morrow, what ye shall eat, or drink or wear," etc.
Men should do just the opposite; they should know what is best for them to eat and drink and should provide for what is needed for them to wear. No wonder Christianity has produced nations of loafers and beggars. These arguments of Christ were spectacular, uttered with the sincerity of a paranoiac, and they attracted the poor classes who were uneducated and stupid.
Take no thought of the morrow. What a terrible philosophy! Only by taking thought and preparing for the morrow does humanity progress. But here again do we have the paradox, Christ thinking only of the morrow after death, preaching it all the time, yet preaching against it here.
He criticizes hypocrites who criticize others, while they themselves have motes in their eye. But even if one does have faults, if he can improve conditions by calling other wrongs to the peoples' attention, it may be for the benefit of humanity.
Then the story of casting pearls before swine reminds us that often fake pearls are cast before real swine. But it is a meaningless, rather childish parable. Then he says "knock and it shall be opened to you, ask and ye shall receive," and similar instructions for getting what we want. But it takes more than that to achieve success and obtain what we need. If he referred to heavenly advice, it is true it may be had, even without the asking, but is of no practical benefit.
Then he warns against false prophets, as all prophets warn against all other prophets, each claiming divine authority. He promises security to those who follow his sayings and threatens with destruction those who do not follow them.
Here we have a jumble of sayings which could come from no one but a fanatic. They are contrary to reason and common sense. They have been held as the grandest sermon ever preached, as the essence of Christianity. Yet few men have taken time to read the actual words.
The Sermon on the Mount appears to be the expression of a paranoiac. The commands are childish. They preach a philosophy of morbidity as against happiness on earth. They are impractical. They present a program of despair, of inability to cope with the world and to improve it. They hinder progress. The practical result of them is that with all the power needed, neither the omnipotent God behind them nor the Son who promulgated them has proved their practicability in a trial over the last 1900 years.
The sermon is contrary to right, justice, and fairness. It is a plan of depravity; instead of making men of humanity, it seeks to make hopeless beggars of the race, indifferent to this life, waiting and praying for eternal happiness; a bunch of loafers, not willing to work for what they need.
The only good point in the whole sermon is the reference to the Golden Rule, "Do as you would be done by." But all the rest of the conflicting and confusing preachment destroys the effect of the Golden Rule.
Many persons, especially those who are ignorant unthinking, will listen to queer sayings and, especially if they do not quite understand them, will lend mystical weight to what would otherwise be discarded.
Then let a thousand priests say that a thing is good and the believing people will believe it. Let a silly custom start and it will continue without reason. There are African tribes which use dung to make their hair-dress. There it would be as out of order to criticize this style as it is here to criticize the Sermon on the Mount. All because people think that if many believe a thing, it must have merit.
Now, let us consider the matter of the "interpretations" of the Sermon on the Mount and other unreasonable religious doctrines. When a thing is not reasonable, when it is not intelligent, not approved by common sense, the religious "lawyers" get busy to make it seem what it is not. They do to the utterances of a crazy man, what a sharp lawyer does to the testimony of witnesses before a jury, trying to get his crooked client acquitted. They seek to make black appear as white, they accuse the criminal's victims of bad faith and dishonesty, confusion and inability to understand the situation. They play on the jury's sympathy, emotion, and credulity. They turn them from the main point at issue and often get murderers and the most vicious criminals freed. So it is with the Sermon on the Mount. It must be interpreted. The literal wording of it makes it appear foolish, 80 the interpreters get to work to dress it up, camouflage it and make it appear like a divine inspiration. But here again common sense should be used. When a confidence man comes to us with a contract which will ruin us, and we look it over carefully and find that he is trying to defraud us, and we call it to his attention, he also tries to interpret his contract and make us believe that what it says it does not mean, that it is for our benefit, even when it reads against us and for him, and he, like the priests, assumes an air of being sorry for us that we do not have the intelligence to interpret the document ourselves and must depend on his superior intellect and experience.
Let any man who had not been prepared from youth to believe whatever the priest told him, read the Sermon on the Mount, and if he is a reasonable man, he will tell you that it is the ranting of a fanatic, rather than the "most divine revelation ever made to man."
Christ Healed Fewer Persons
(if any) than the
Great stress has been placed upon the so called miraculous cures and the healing of people by Christ; but all of his cures would only be a fractional part of the cures that are effected by present day doctors. One woman doctor told me that she had removed something like ten thousand cataracts from the eyes of blind people. Psychiatrists say that many of the so-called healings may be brought about by hypnotism and there are all kinds of evangelical healers touring the country who claim miracles of healing.
However, if Christ had the power to heal without medical treatment the diseases of mankind, and if God had the power to prevent illness, why could not all of this be done by one command? Any God or savior who had the power to heal all the disease and suffering of the world and failed to use that power, must be held responsible for all suffering and sickness. It wouldn't even take an ordinary man to wish to eliminate these things, if he could, by the wave of his fiend. Only a cruel and monstrous god, who would be more like a devil, could be conceived of as sitting on his throne, gleefully watching the sickness and suffering of the men he had created.
The Crucifixion was Neither
Divine Nor Heroic
One of the strong points of the leaders of the Christian religion in obtaining converts is in telling of the story of the crucifixion. According to them, Christ was crucified in fulfillment of a previous prophecy and this act was deliberately planned by God, through which Christ, God's son, was to die for the salvation of the sinners that God had created with apparently sinful desires.
Thomas Paine has pointed out that it is contrary to moral principles for one man to die for the sins of others, but that if Christ did die for the salvation of the sinners, they still sin and they still die. They still have sickness and wars and crimes. For all practical purposes Christ's death on the cross has been of no advantage to mankind.
It is plain that these ideas of the prophecy of the crucifixion and the death for the salvation of the world were later thoughts of the early founders of the Christian church, probably grown out of the tradition of the mythological story of Christ's death. Any other kind of a death, or none at all, or any other miracle would have the same effect as the crucifixion.
Of course, a supreme being with full power to do anything could just as easily have changed men so they would not be born in sin and subject to penalties for violating laws that most of them did not know of.
At any rate, the one sided story of Christ's crucifixion, told as it is in the Gospels, can easily arouse the sympathy and compassion of the average non-thinking, non-reasoning person. As told, it appears a great injustice.
Of course, there is the other side of this story. Here is a man who preached against the Scribes and the Pharisees, against the priests and the religious leaders of those times, who were virtually the rulers of the Jews. In other words, he set himself up against both the religious and the political power of his time.
Apparently he was doing more damage to the priests and rabbis than he was to the Roman rulers. Every place he went he cursed and denounced the religious leaders. It is natural that they would want to do away with such a man. They do it now in most countries and go as far as they can in America. If the crucifixion was supposed to be an event of great significance, there is no reason why it should have been executed in such a niggardly fashion. In the first place, Christ was apparently so little known that the authorities were unable to tell who he was and had to bribe someone to point him out. It does not speak very well for Christ's hold upon his followers, nor of his philosophy, that one of them, Judas, should have betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver. This follower must have considered him an impostor instead of the Son of God, and if he had believed that Christ was the Son of God, he most certainly never would have betrayed his Master for such an insignificant sum, or for any amount. If one of Christ's own immediate and appointed followers could have so much doubt, why should those who have received the information about the so-called God, second and third hand, and thousands of years later, be persecuted for having doubts?
As a matter of fact, the Bible itself tells how the disciples all forsook Christ when he was apprehended. In Matthew 5:6 it is reported -- "Then all of the disciples forsook Him and fled."
There is the story of Peter having followed "afar off" the crowd that took Christ before Pilate and then having denied that he knew Him. All this illustrates is the natural tendency of men to save their own skins.
Christ's own actions at, and before, the time of the crucifixion were nothing heroic, as we would expect in the case of a man who was willingly and gladly sacrificing himself for the future salvation of all mankind.
Here another discrepancy occurs. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Judas is reported to have earned his thirty pieces of silver by kissing Christ, as an evidence of who he was, but in John 18:4 Christ is reported to have asked whom they sought and to have told who he was, all of which indicates that the various books of the Bible were based upon oral traditions handed down, translated, interpolated and edited by various leaders of the church.
That Christ had had some knowledge that he was being sought by the authorities is evident by his statements a few days before his apprehension, and it is evident that he was hiding out because it was necessary to find someone who would lead the authorities to him. Not only was he hiding out, but according to some of the testimony, it was at night that he was apprehended.
That Christ feared there might be some attempt to injure him is shown by his having left immediately after hearing rumors that an antagonistic group was gathering, and while his actions were perfectly proper from the standpoint of a prudent man, they cannot be said to be heroic, for it is told in Matthew 12:14 that "Then the Pharisees went out and held a counsel against him, how they might destroy him.
15: "But when Jesus knew it he withdrew himself from thence: And great multitudes followed him, and he held them off:"
16: "And charged them that they should not make him known." In other words, when he knew the religious leaders were opposed to him, he hid out and tried to keep his hiding place a secret.
Christ showed a considerable amount of caution, for it is related in Matthew 15 that when he heard of John the Baptist, his cousin, having been beheaded, he departed "thence, by ship, into a desert place apart."
In the 26th Chapter of Matthew, the story of Christ's being sorrowful, "even unto death shows that he was worried and frightened just like any other man would be in a similar case. It is also evident that besides hiding out, he and his disciples were watching to see that none came, for he chided them for going to sleep.
It is also quite evident from the difficulty of finding witnesses against him that he was not well known. And from Pilate's words it is clear that the Roman government considered him of no great danger to itself, and Pilate looked upon him much as any Judge would now look upon a religious fanatic claiming to be a King. His chief opponents appeared to be the priests and rabbis whom he had been roundly abusing for several years. It is also clear that Christ, before the crucifixion, believed that he would be able to call down the Powers of God to protect him, for he says: Matthew 26:53 -- "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of Angels?"
That Christ believed that he would be saved is also evident by his lamentation in Matthew 27:46 -- "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying: 'Eli, Eli, lame Sabachthani.' That is to say 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?'"
Now this may well be the mythological or the traditional story of a man, possibly a paranoiac (as stated by the eminent psychiatrist, Wm. Hirsch), who opposed the activities of the Jewish rabbis of his time, and who preached against them, incurring their enmity, and later being crucified at their behest by the civil authorities, who endeavored to keep the people they were governing in hand, by satisfying the religious elements of the land. As long as the religious rulers of a country can be appeased, and as long as they can have their own advantages, they tend to keep the people docile before foreign rulers. This is a method of governing people which has long been used by the British government, which in India and Africa and all of its far flung possessions permits its priests, preachers, and religious leaders to continue on with all of their fees and advantages as long as they do not interfere with the civil or military government.
But to claim the story of the crucifixion as the heroic death of a supreme being, or his son, or the third part of the trinity, is ridiculous.
Christ's Sayings Are
Garbled and Conflicting
It is said that the Bible is "all things to all men." Many rascals and many pious frauds use the Bible as a pretext for carrying on their activities. It is said that during two or three years Christ preached to the people, and many of his purported sayings are quoted in the Gospels, but judging from the conflicting philosophy, and the various reports of the sayings (which might have been made by a number of men), there is no consistency in them. Here we will examine many of the conflicting and garbled statements which have been the cause of confusion among Christian followers for two thousand years. Because of the differences in his statements, the different times and the different versions of them, as reported by the four Apostles, different Christian sects which have followed either one or the other phases have been in conflict for centuries.
It is probably true that in the early centuries of the church, before the days of printing, many churches had differing copies of various books of both the Old and the New Testament. Much of the material was handed down at first by oral tradition, and only later was it written. The copies would not be exact and the men who made the copies could change them to suit their own ideas, and as the manuscripts were passed from hand to hand, they were changed and edited and interpolated and translated until there are now hundreds of religious sects, each believing that the others are wrong, and each having a different idea of the Testaments they follow.
Added to all this is the change in the meaning of words and their interpretation in the Bible, each preacher, priest and religious leader interpreting them to suit his own needs, and their followers understanding them according to their own degree of intelligence, or lack of it.
In the fifth Chapter of Matthew, Christ appealed to the poor and poverty stricken, giving the impression that those who were successful and powerful would not go to Heaven, as was promised to the poor.
This is the typical talk of political demagogues who hope to get a large following by promising something to the lower classes.
Then he says: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfill." Contrast this with his statement that he "did not come to bring peace but a sword and to set brother against brother and daughter against daughter and father against mother."
He says "neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel" but that "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, which is in Heaven.
In the next chapter he says, "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them, otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in Heaven."
Here he expressly commands people to show their good works, but later he says: "Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth," and commands his followers not to permit their philanthropies to be known. What a ridiculous thing it is for him to say: "If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee, for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." Then he repeats about cutting off the offending hand. The result of this commandment has caused many weak-minded people to injure themselves, and only a few years ago a Canadian priest cut off his hand with a hatchet.
Christ's statement as to divorce is unreasonable. It is not the fault of two people that they are unable to live happily together. Why then should either or both be condemned to eternal hell fire because they divorce each other? Not only does Christ threaten them with hell fire, but the people they marry, according to Christ, also commit adultery and are subject to eternal damnation.
Some Biblical followers quote the Biblical instruction -- "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." Others, to satisfy their demands, quote Christ's saying -- "Resist not evil, but whoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." How does this contrast with the philosophy, later expressed by Christ of setting people against each other?
Besides this, it is a ridiculous thing and of no benefit in any way for people to encourage other people to injure them. Rational intelligence indicates that being good to other people when they are good to you, and protecting yourself against those who are injuring you, is the sensible way of life.
But let us consider whether the Christian followers have paid any attention to "turning the other cheek" -- "to returning good for evil." Down through the centuries the intolerant church leaders have burned at the stake, tortured, imprisoned, or massacred those who did not believe exactly as the religious leaders believed. Was that following the commandment to turn the other cheek?
Christ later exhorts his followers to "Enter into thy closet and pray and not to do it from the house tops," yet practically all of the religious congregations since that time pray loudly and publicly.
Another of Christ's philosophies is against thrift and saving.
He tells men to "take no thought of the morrow, to lay up no treasures," and if his suggestions were carried out we would have a nation of paupers expecting to be fed from heaven. Suppose everyone followed Christ's saying -- "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body what ye shall put on.... Behold the fowls of the air, they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly father feeds them." Of course, Christ does not tell of the terrific struggle that goes on among birds and other animals for survival; or how the birds fight, scratch, hunt, and dig all day for enough to eat, and how they must be vigilant against all kinds of enemies. As a rule they lead a very fearful life and few die of natural causes. If God is warden over the birds and the animals, he certainly is a poor protector, for many of them are wounded, injured in fights, starved, frozen, and torn to pieces by their fellows at the least sign of weakness or sickness.
At one place, Christ says: "Which of you, by thought, can add one cubit to his stature?" But in another place Christ claims "Thy faith can do anything, even to moving mountains."
Christ exhorts his followers to seek the kingdom of God, and for centuries priests and preachers have exhorted their followers to seek the kingdom of God. But what is the kingdom of God? Most of the priests and preachers have had different ideas as to what the kingdom of God is, and certainly the garbled accounts, exhortations and preachings of Christ give no idea as to what men are to do to seek the kingdom of God, because many of his statements are conflicting.
It is true that religious leaders have sought to pick out and magnify certain parts of the Christian philosophy as a basis for attracting followers, but if they choose to minimize some of Christ's sayings, that is only an indication that they don't believe in them fully and, again the argument is presented that if one part of the book is fallible or false, or erroneous, the whole structure, including the claim of the existence of a Supreme Being, falls.
Had Christ wanted to expound a philosophy of the golden rule, and let it go at that, there could have been little criticism of his sayings, and had the whole Bible been based on the golden rule, the bloodshed and persecution of the ages might have been avoided.
Certainly it is not a very reverent act for Christ to tell one of his followers to let his dead father lie, -- "let the dead bury the dead" and, of course, this is a commandment which the churches do not follow, as there is a huge revenue for them in conducting funerals.
In one passage Jesus denounces the publicans and sinners, but in Matthew 9:10 he sits down and eats with them.
At one place Christ quotes the golden rule, but in Matthew 10:21 he says: "And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child; and the children shall rise up against their parents and cause them to be put to death."
It is impossible to harmonize these two principles. At one place Christ tells his disciples: "But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another." But at another place he says: "Preach ye upon the house tops and fear not them which kill the body." What would a disciple do? Of course, this, like all of the Biblical injunctions, provide the followers with many "outs" or excuses to do whatever they want to do.
Christ's claiming to be the Son of God and the King of the Jews and boasting to John in Chapter 11:4, of the things that he had done, was the opposite of being meek and lowly, which he held up as one of the methods of getting to heaven.
Tolerance is not one of Christ's principles. In Matthew 11:20 he upbraids the cities where most of his work was done. He threatens many of them saying they "shall be brought down to hell."
If Christ, in person, was not able to influence these cities it speaks ill of his divine ability; and his then threatening the cities for not doing as he told them smacks of childish intolerance. Later Christ says: "For I am meek and lowly in heart."
In the 12th Chapter of Matthew he excuses his disciples for plucking corn on the Sabbath, but in other preachings he enjoins his followers to obey strictly the rites and rituals of the Old Testament.
Did Christ speak well of the people following his own commandment to speak well of people who spoke evil of them? No, in the 12th Chapter of Matthew he refers to the people of his times as "a generation of vipers."
Was it a sign of courteousness and friendliness when his mother and brother came to see him and he refused to recognize them, as related in the 12th Chapter of Matthew? Is it a philosophy of returning good for evil when Christ says of the people who did not follow him, that the Angels would come forth and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: "There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
Throughout Christ's preachings is the threat of hell fire -- eternal hell fire -- for those who fail to follow him, but at the same time he exhorts his followers to follow the teachings of the rabbis.
Another example of childishness, suspicion, and petty hatred is Christ's cursing of the fig tree mentioned in the 21st Chapter of Matthew. Christ was hungry and when he found no figs on the tree he cursed it, that it might never grow fruit again. It is childish to curse inanimate objects, and the tree certainly did not know that it was expected to have fruit for Christ that morning. As it was not the season for bearing figs, what advantage would it be to anyone to spitefully cause the tree to be withered because it was barren?
In the 23rd Chapter of Matthew, Christ, speaking of the Scribes and Pharisees, ordered his followers, -- "All, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do." But at the same time he denounces them for their acts, violates his own commandment to -- "speak well of those that hate you."
It was perfectly proper for Christ or anyone to criticize hypocrites and the religious leaders, but endeavoring to preach one thing and practice another is only an indication of the ridiculousness of the conflicting and garbled Biblical commandments.
Christ predicted that during the generation in which he was preaching, the sun would be darkened and the moon would not give light, the stars would fall from Heaven and the powers of the heaven would be shaken and the son of man would return and reign over the earth but, of course, this vain boast was never fulfilled.
There Are Grave Doubts
Whether Christ Ever Lived
Many eminent authorities claim that no such person as Christ ever lived, any more than such gods as Mars, Isis, Woden, Siva, Zeus, Jupiter, Juno, Baal, and a host of other reputed gods ever lived. Their lives have all been based on myths. Why the Christian believes in one myth rather than another is hard to determine.
They say that there is practically no evidence of the life of such a person in the writings of the contemporary historians.
The story of Christ closely parallels the story of the Hindu Krishna.
Krishna, reported to have been born 1000 years before Christ, was born of a virgin mother in a cave; he was worshiped by wise men; his father like Joseph had come to pay taxes; the tyrant who ruled ordered all children born that night to be slain; but Krishna's father, like Joseph, had had a dream and fled with the child; Krishna was a second person in a trinity; he was crucified; descended to hell like Christ; freed some saints; and ascended to Heaven in the flesh.
The story is very similar to the Christ story and it is very reasonable that the latter was copied from it. It was much easier in the days of ignorance and illiteracy to copy a myth than now, yet in this country today the average person who is not a student knows little or nothing of the story of Krishna.
A man who healed thousands by the touch of his hand, who died and was resurrected, would be so well known that his acts would be recorded at the time. Statues would have been raised to him, inscriptions carved, histories written, at the time. While the trivial events of those times were often recorded, nothing authentic has come to light of the life of Christ written at the time. All of the vast mountain of books about Christ and the Christian religion were written in later centuries.
For all practical purposes of course, it makes no difference whether Christ lived or not. It is certain that the devils and ghosts reported in the Bible never lived but that makes no difference; the churches still require their followers to believe in them Chapman Cohen, one of the great students of religion, says: "There is no document secular or religious, contemporary with Jesus, which mentions the alleged details chronicled in the Bible." Even the Egyptians 4000 years before had statues, stones, and tombs with engraved hieroglyphics recording their history and important events. No such records have been uncovered, contemporary with Christ, indicating his existence.
As has been shown, the veracity of the stories told in the Bible, like those told in the Arabian Nights fables, must be doubted by intelligent men, and if the rest of it is questionable, then the story of the life of Christ, if worth considering at all, must also be open to grave doubt.
Even Christians doubt the stories of the gods of other religions and cults; and the latter doubt the stories of the Christians, with their tales of ghosts, angels, devils, Satan, cherubim, seraphim, and all the unseen evil and good spirits of the Bible.