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There is not existent in the world a single original book or manuscript of Hebrew or Christian Scriptures, containing the inspired Word of Yahveh. The most ancient manuscripts of the Hebrew texts date only from the eighth century of the era of Christ; while of the Christian books, said to have been written by the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost within the first century of the era, all, all are lost, and the oldest “copies” bear the marks of the fourth century. And even in this fourth century, so gross was the corruption of text, so numberless the errors and conflicting readings, that the great St. Jerome, author of the celebrated Latin Vulgate version of the Scriptures, has left it recorded, as his reason for his great work, that the sacred texts “varied so much that there were almost as many readings as codices,” or manuscript copies of the text. And for years past, the papal authorities have been collating all known extant versions and bits of Scriptures for the purpose of trying to edit them into one approved version of the inspired Word of Yahveh Curious indeed it seems that in this inspired revelation of Yahveh, the Hebrew God, to Man, wherein the awful destinies of the human soul are said to be revealed to eternal salvation or damnation, some ten thousand different, conflicting, and disputed readings and textual corruptions and verbal slips of inspiration admittedly exist in the inspired texts, with the knowledge and sufferance of the God whose awful will it all is; while the Providence of that same God, Yahveh, by special miraculous intervention has preserved wholly “incorrupt” through all the ages of faith, the cadavers and ghastly scraps and relics of holy saints and martyrs galore, from
the very Year One on, which are yet to-day (or at last reports were-Cath. Encyc., passim) as fresh, fragrant, and wholly “encorrupt” of flesh as when alive-which, in very truth, in the case of many saints-as their lives are recorded by the monks-is not saying very much for either freshness or fragrance.

An instance-e pluribus unumis that of the pioneer Saint Pachomius, who, ambitious to outdo in bodily mortification his companions in filth,
left the pig-sty in which he dwelt, and sat himself on the ground at the entrance of a cave full of hyenas in the pious desire of entering glory via their bestial maws; but the hyenas, rushing out upon the holy saint, stopped short of a sudden, sniffed him all over, turned tail, and left him in disgust uneaten.
AND TRANSLATIONS OF TRANSLATIONS
On the title-page of Bibles in current use is the statement “translated out of the original tongues”; but this does not tell the whole or the true story. The first translation of some of the Hebrew Scriptures (for all were not yet written) was the Septuagint into Greek, undertaken at the behest of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, of Egypt, begun at Alexandria about the year 285 B.C., and completed after some three hundred years. In many places this Greek translation differed widely from the Hebrew. About 392 A.D. Jerome made his translation from the Hebrew into Latin, this being the “Vulgate” version, which only gradually made its way into acceptance and suffered so many perversions that it was pronounced by Roger Bacon to be “horribly corrupt”; but it was adopted by the
Council of Trent in 1546 as the “sole authoritative source of quotation; and it [the Council] threatened withpunishment those who presumed to interpret the Scriptures contrary to the sense given them by the Fathers”
(New Int. Encyc., Vol. ]3: p. 251 ).
This Latin Vulgate, Old and New Testaments alike, with the Apocrypha added, was in its turn translated into English in the Douai Catholic version of 1609, thus removed three steps of translation from the Hebrew and two from the Greek. The Protestant versions in English, including the King James version of 1611, are more directly from the Hebrew and Greek texts of the respective Testaments. It is reported that the Tennessee legislator who sponsored the notorious “Anti-evolution” law in that state was greatly surprised to learn, from
the eye-opening revelations of the Scopes trial, that his cherished King James version of Holy Writ, whose precious petrified “Sacred science” he sought to protect from the destroying effects of modern knowledge, was not in the original language of “revelation,” in which Yahveh and the talking snake spoke to Adam and Eve. Some further anomalies and a number of tricks of translation will appear in their due order as we proceed.
WHEN THE BOOKS WERE WRITTEN
It will be of signal value to inquire, for a moment, concerning the periods of time indicated by the Bible, and the times when the principal books of it were written and by whom they were written-oather, as that is the only course possible, to show, negatively, by whom, and when, they were not written. This inquiry will be confined to the “internal evidences” of the Bible texts themselves, with a bit of reference to their marginal editorial annotations. The force of such “internal proofs” is self-evident.
To assist to an easier understanding, take this illustration:
If one picks up a book, a newspaper, a letter, or any piece of written or printed matter which bears no datemark or name of some known writer, one may not be able to ascertain exactly when or by whom it was written or printed. But one can often very readily determine, by the nature of its contents, that it was not written or published until after such or such a known time; and hence that it could not have been written by some person already dead or of one not yet born. If such a document, for instance, contains the name of Julius Caesar or of Jesus Christ, this proves at once that it was written some time within the past 1900-odd years, and not possibly before the advent of these two personages. If it mentions President Washington or some incident of his administration, it is evident that it could not have been written before Washington became President, in 1789; if it mentions Presidents Washington, Lincoln, and Coolidge, it is proof that it was written as late as the date the latter became President.
So of every factual or fanciful allusion-it can go no higher than its source. In a word, we know that no writing can speak as of a matter of fact of any event, person, or thing, until after such event has become an accomplished fact, or such person or thing has existed. No one can to-day write even the name of the President of the United States in the year A.D. 1939. With this simple thumb-rule of ascertaining or approximating the time of production of written documents by what is known as their “internal evidences” we may gather some astonishing proofs as to when, and by whom, sundry inspired records of Holy Writ were not written-contrary to some currently accepted theories.
SOME LIGHTS ON BIBLE CHRONOLOGY
According to the chronology, or time-computations worked out of the Bible narratives (principally by Bishop Usaher) and printed in the margins of all well-edited Bibles, Catholic and Protestant alike, until recent ridicule shamed the Bible editors into quietly dropping them, the world and Man were created by the fiat or by the fingers of the Hebrew God Yahveh about 4004 years before the present so-called Christian Era, not yet two thousand years old; so that the reputed first man, Adam, inhabited the new-made earth slightly less than six
thousand years before the present time. The revelation of this interesting event-which by every token of human knowledge outside the Bible is known not to have occurred just when and how there related-and of many equally accredited events, is recorded (for wonder of mankind) in the first five books of the Bible Genesis to Deuteronomy, called the Pentateuch or Five Books, or, as entitled in the Bible, “The Five Books of Moses.”
Moses is reputed to have written them at the inspiration or by the revelation of Yahveh, the God of Israel. According to the Bible chronology, Moses lived some 1500 years before Christ; the date of his exodus out of Egypt with the Israelites is laid down as the year 1491 Before Christ, or some 2500 years after the Biblical creation of the world. So, if Moses wrote the account of the creation, the fall of man, the flood, and other notable historical events recorded in Genesis, he wrote of things happening, if ever they happened, 2500 years
more or less before his earthly time, and some of them before even man was created on earth; things which Moses of course could not personally have known. But it is explained that while this is true, yet Yahveh inspired Moses with a true knowledge or “revelation” of all those things unknown to him, and so what he wrote was revealed historical fact. This is a matter which will be noticed a little later.
But the Book of Genesis, and all the Five Books of Moses, contain many matters of “revealed” fact which occurred, if ever at all many hundreds of years after the death of Moses. Moses is not technically “numbered among the Prophets,” and he does not claim for himself to have been inspired both backwards and forwards, so as to write both past and future history. It is evident therefore, by every internal and human criterion, that these “five Books of Moses,” containing not only the past events referred to, but many future events-not in form of
prophecy, but as past occurrences — could not have been written by Moses, the principal character of the alleged Exodus and of the forty years’ wandering in the Wilderness of Sin, at the end of which he died. The cardinal significance of this fact, and of others connected with it, as bearing upon the historicity of Mosaic narrative and revelation, will appear in due course.
Indeed, in the light of modern knowledge, it is quite evident that Moses and the “Hebrews” of his supposed time (1500 B.C.) could not write at all; or, if at all, on the theory of their 430 years in Egypt, only in Egyptian hieroglyphs. Not till many centuries later did the Hebrews acquire the art of writing. Professor Breasted, the distinguished Egyptologist of the University of Chicago, points out that to the nomad Hebrews writing was unknown; and that it was not until about the time of Amos (about eight hundred years after Moses) that the Hebrews were just “learning to write”; that “they were now abandoning the clay tablet, and they wrote on papyrus with Egyptian pen and ink. They borrowed their alphabet from the Phoenician and Aramean merchants.” [James H. Breasted, Ancient Times (Boston: Ginn & Co.), see. 305] These Arameans themselves
borrowed the alphabet from the Phoenicians “about 1000 B.C.”; [Op. cit., see. 205.] the Phoenicians had
themselves “devised an alphabet drawn from Egyptian hieroglyphs.” [Op. cit., see. 400; see also Andrew
Norton, The Pentateuch, p. 44.]

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The purpose of this article is to outline what I consider to be the major arguments in support of a ―pure-myth‖ viewpoint or position concerning the question of the historicity of the biblical figure we know as Jesus, a.k.a. Jesus Christ, Jesus the Christ, or Jesus of Nazareth. A second purpose is to provide the reader with a selected bibliography of books, generally written by highly qualified biblical scholars, which the author has either used as sources of information, and/or has directly quoted from in the preparation of this paper. The author, himself, makes no pretense of being a ―biblical scholar,‖ only an avid reader of their works.

Before I attempt to present at least ―summaries‖ of arguments in support of the pure-myth point of view, (hereafter referred to as a ―position‖) I think it would be helpful to make clear the various positions which have traditionally been listed as possible. Some scholars have listed three positions. I prefer John Remsberg‘s four different options. The positions listed below are from Remsberg‘s 1909 book, The Christ, page 327, with slight additions of mine for clarification.

1. ―Orthodox Christians believe that Christ was a historical character. [However, he was] both supernatural and divine; and that the New Testament narratives, which purport to give a record of his life and teachings, contain nothing but infallible truth.‖ (This is generally know as the ―literalist position.‖)

 2. Conservative Rationalists, like Renan and the Unitarians, believe that Jesus of Nazareth is a historical character and that these narratives, eliminating the super-natural elements, which they regard as myths, give a fairly authentic account of his life.‖ (This is usually referred to as the ―historical myth‖ position.)

3. Many radical Freethinkers believe that Christ is a myth, of which Jesus of Nazareth is the basis, but that these narratives are so legendary and contradictory as to be almost if not wholly, unworthy of credit.‖ In other words, there was most likely a historical Jesus, but virtually all of the stories about him are mythical. (This is known as the ―philosophical myth‖ position.) My added comment would be that in the intervening years between 1909 and now, this position would no longer be considered at all ―radical,‖ and the Unitarians referred to in position 2, above, have shifted almost entirely to this third perspective.

 4. ―Other [‗more radical‘ is implied here] Freethinkers believe that Jesus Christ is a pure myth—that he never had an [historic] existence, except as a Messianic idea, or an imaginary solar deity.‖ I would add here that a natural concomitant of this position is that the four canonical gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are entirely fictional—made up stories, no parts of which have any basis in reality whatsoever. (This is the ―pure-myth‖ position.)

The Seven Major Arguments

I admit that there may very well be more than ―seven major arguments‖ for the pure-myth position, and that in some instances the arguments presented here partially overlap. Also, many of the same arguments can be used to support position three. However, I have, perhaps arbitrarily, outlined the following seven arguments for the reader‘s consideration:

(1) No one seemed to have noticed Jesus in his time.

(2) The Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses.

(3) The gospels are entirely fictional, pure myths.

(4) What we now call ―Christianity‖ existed long before Jesus‘ time. It was derived from earlier ―scripture‖ and more ancient myths.

 (5) Paul, writing earlier than the gospels, clearly spoke of a ―spiritual‖ Christ. He knew nothing of a real, live human Jesus.

(6) There is no agreement at all concerning this putative historical Jesus‘ looks, lineage, biography, character, moral worthiness, or even his central message.

(7) The ―you-can‘t-have-it-both-ways‖ argument.

Again, the combination of all the arguments and opinions outlined in support of the above points will not absolutely ―prove‖ that there was no historical Jesus. Logicians tell us it is impossible to absolutely prove a negative. It might be possible that there was a ―real‖ William Tell who served as the inspiration for, and may have even engaged in some of the activities ascribed to the legendary Swiss folk hero. However, the great preponderance of the evidence we have at this time argues very strongly against this possibility. I believe that position four, described above, is an exact parallel to the pure myth claim for William Tell. The same claim might also be made about any of the long list of crucified saviors that have ―visited‖ earth long before the beginning of the first century of this era. My claim is, in other words, that applying ―Ockham‘s razor,‖ (e.g. the simplest, most logical explanation that comports with all the known facts), and considering the tremendous dearth of evidence to the contrary, the most rational conclusion is that there never was an historical Jesus. Further, I contend that he, and consequently all that is said about him, are entirely fictional.

Now that I‘ve made that exceedingly clear, let‘s get on with the arguments, one by one.

No one noticed Jesus in “his day.”

As most of the readers of this article know, Christian apologists, world-wide, have ―pointed with pride‖ to a handful of early extra-biblical writings which directly mention Jesus, John the Baptist, and/or James the Just, a.k.a. James the Brother of the Lord as a real first-century historical persons. ―Ah ha,‖ they say. ―Since you skeptics erroneously believe that the four Gospels are works of fiction, how can you account for these writings of reliable, unbiased historians who wrote about or referred to Jesus at or very near the time when he was alive?‖

Just to mention the one ―main gun‖ that Christian apologist have been firing at us skeptics for the past 1,800 years, (The difficulty of defending the Gospels has been a well-recognized problem for the church since they first where apparently ―noticed‘ by anyone around the middle of the second century.), I will briefly discuss the famous ―Testimonium Flavium.‖ This Latin phrase refers to a single paragraph of about twelve sentences which appears to most critics to have been inserted awkwardly between two paragraphs which make perfectly good sense without the insertion. The reference is in a book by the well-known first century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus [37 – c95 CE]. The reference is contained in his book, The Antiquities of the Jews. This book is—appropriately enough for the reference to be contained in—a book about the early history of the Jews in the area where Jesus is supposed to have preached, and in the time when he was supposedly alive.

As Frank R. Zindler says, ―Although Flavius Josephus was born too late to be an eyewitness of the lives of Jesus or John the Baptist nevertheless he was a contemporary of the evangelists [assuming they existed] who wrote of these characters. He should have heard of Paul [if he existed, whom he never mentions]. Furthermore, from his priest-craft father, Matthias [b 6 CE] he should have known about the religious ferment supposedly stirred up by the doings of Jesus.‖ (Zindler, Frank R., The Jesus The Jews Never Knew, p. 35). Yet this well-respected historian mentions none of this with the single exception of the paragraph referred to above. In that paragraph only, he names a man called Jesus. ―He was the Christ,‖ Josephus is made to say. He was a ―doer of wonderful works‖ and that ―Pilate condemned him to the cross.‖ The paragraph concludes that, ―The tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.‖ ―This day‖ would be about the year 90 CE, approximately when Josephus wrote his history book. This phrase, at the very least, is an obvious later interpolation as there was no ―tribe of Christians‖ during Josephus‘s time. Christianity did not get off the ground until the second century.

It is also interesting that the mention of this particular Jesus, ―Jesus the Christ,‖ is divulged by Josephus with no more emphasis than he gives to the other 20 Jesuses he speaks of in his writings. (See Leidner, Harold, The Fabrication of the Christ Myth, p. 19 – 20). In summary, let me just say that the single paragraph referred to above has been one of the most thoroughly researched and debated topics in all of biblical criticism. Those that want a more detailed analysis can refer to Zindler‘s entire chapter on it in the above cited book, (―Faking Flavius‖, p. 31 to 73.) Additionally, Earl Doherty‘s book supporting the mythical Christ theory, The Jesus Puzzle discusses this and other early likely Christian interpolations in chapter 21, ―Flavius Josephus‖ p. 205 to 222. Referring to another oft-quoted reference to Jesus in the writings of the Roman historian Tacitas [c55CE-c120 CE], Doherty says, ―If the silence on Jesus in the earlier works of both Tacitus and Josephus casts doubt on the authenticity of their later references, then we truly have lost every clear non-Christian reference to Jesus as a human being [emphasis added] before the latter half of the second century.‖ (p. 222)

Think about that sentence for a minute. Dozens of books of Christian apologists will offer long lists of citations about Jesus from early writings. However, most of these citations refer to either clearly awkwardly done interpolations, whereas others were written by authors who lived anywhere from a century and a half up to several centuries past the time when Jesus was supposed to have lived. These quotations referring to Jesus and other Gospel characters simply repeat stories that the writer has heard from other Jesus cult enthusiasts. As such, they are of no value whatsoever. In addition to the above noted refutation of the most important references to a supposed historical Jesus written near Jesus‘ time, I should also mention at least two ―deafening silences‖ by highly regarded writers of the same time period. I am referring to the writings of Philo, an eminent Jewish philosopher and historian who lived during the early first century, and Justus of Tiberias, a native of Galilee who wrote a history covering the period in which Jesus is said to have lived. Neither one of them ever mentioned a ―Jesus.‖

The works of Justus have all perished now. However, we have the writings of a ninth century Christian Bishop and scholar of Constantinople, Photius, who says that he had read Justus‘ works. He reports, in utter amazement one might imagine, that, ―He (Justus) makes not the least mention of the appearance of Christ, of what things happened to him, or of the wonderful works he did.‖ (Jackson, J. G., Pagan Origins of the Jesus Myth, p. 8.) Personally, I find that quote absolutely jaw-dropping.

The Gospels were not written by eyewitnesses

Whether one believes that the canonical gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) are partly fictional elaborations of some core of truth, or whether you believe they are entirely fictional is not the issue at this point. (What I see as a separate issue of their fictional or non-fictional status will be taken up in the next point.) The question here is simply, were the gospels written by human witnesses to the ―life and times‖ of the putative Jesus? This point can be handled quite briefly. The answer is a resounding ―No!‖ There is virtual unanimity of opinion by all un-brainwashed, rational biblical scholars—even so-called Christian scholars (perhaps an oxymoron)—that the gospels were written by now unknown writers anytime between 40 years after Jesus‘ time up to about 185 years after his supposed death, depending on what scholar one consults. Most scholars place Mark, the generally recognized first written gospel, at about the year 70 CE, just after the destruction of the Jewish temple of Yahweh. However, Earl Doherty has advanced some closely reasoned arguments that support a time ―around the years 85 to 90 CE.‖ (The Jesus Puzzle, p. 3).

 Famed Jesus scholar, Dr. G. A Wells summarizes in his 1988 book, The Historical Evidence for Jesus, ―The gospels are usually put between 70 and 110, with Mark at about 70, Matthew and Luke a little later, and John, the latest, at about 100. Acts (written as we shall see, by the author of Luke) and some of the pseudo-Pauline epistles are assigned to the turn of the century. I find all this convincing enough, except in the case of Mark, which I date at about 90 rather than 70. If this is correct, then all four gospels were written soon after 90 and drew some of their material from earlier documents which have not survived and from oral tradition, much of which must have been available from about 80, although it would have taken time for them to have become generally disseminated.‖ (Wells, op. cit. p. 10 & 11).

There is near unanimous agreement that the very first mention of the existence of what we now call the gospels was by Justin Martyr, in the 150s. Doherty says, however, that he may only have known of Matthew and Luke. ―Even at that, he does not refer to them by name, calling the documents he is quoting from ‗memoirs of the Apostles.‘ Moreover, his quotations for the most part do not agree with our present texts.‖ (The Jesus Puzzle, p. 259)

So, it seems that the ―eyewitness testimony‖ of the so-called ―apostles‖ was still being sort of ―worked out‖ a century and a half after J.C.‘s supposed birth.

The gospels are entirely fictional, pure myths

Many large tomes have been entirely devoted to supporting the point that great sections, if not all, of the New Testament, as well as the Old Testament, are simply a retelling of fabulous tales based on older Jewish, Roman, Greek, Persian, and even more ancient Egyptian stories. Substantiating this point does not advance this paper‘s major thesis, except as it applies to the only supposed biblical ―evidence‖ in support of a historic Jesus—that is, that testimony provided by the four gospels. For those readers who might be interested in the spurious origins of not only the gospels, but also the entire bible, the names several entire books devoted to this subject can be found in the bibliography of this paper. It is interesting to me that a great many freethinkers and rationalists—people who might be reading this article—are very quick to agree that pretty much the entire bible is chock full of misinformation, forgeries, bad history and just plain lies. Not only that, but most rationalists are quite willing to accept the proposition that this mish-mash of prevarication was not simply a naive passing along of old legends, but were written for the express purpose of convincing (i.e. ―converting‖) the gullible reader into subscribing to the particular fanciful dogma the ancient writers were trying to peddle. However, for some reason or another that entirely escapes me—perhaps just early brainwashing imbedded as deeply as potty training—these same rationalists are reluctant to imagine that the four gospels are completely fictional.

Surely, they say, there must have been some sort of demythologized, even perhaps anonymous nobody who was arrested, tried by Roman authorities, then crucified. We can‘t be sure of any more details than that, they say. I simply ask, why must this be so? What more tangible evidence can anyone present that the whole story is not simply what it appears to be—a retelling of one or more of the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of ancient sun-god or sky-god‘s traditional, descending then ascending god myths, generally consisting of elements such as of first some tribulations (a trial), conviction, crucifixion, and finally resurrection? One could go on for several paragraphs pointing out the many details of the ―passion story‖ that have parallels not only in more ancient myths, but also in earlier Jewish writings including the Old Testament. See, for example, Zechariah 9: 9, which foreshadows Jesus‘ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem on an ass; actually ―on an ass and the foal of an ass‖—a neat trick, eh?), and the foreshadowing of the whole ―passion story‖ in Psalms 22, the virgin birth in Isaiah 7: 14, his birth in Bethlehem in Micah 5: 2. All of this has been well noted for centuries. Why in the world would any rational person imagine that any of these fables were in any sense true? It is interesting to speculate on the source material for the first written gospel, the Gospel according to Mark. Perhaps Mark—probably a well educated Greek-speaking member of the Jewish Diaspora—had read the works of ―Philo Judaeus, the Jewish philosopher-theologian of Alexandria in Egypt.‖ (A speculation of Alvar Ellegard, Jesus One Hundred Years Before Christ, p. 5) Or, perhaps he had heard the stories of the so-called ―Teacher of Righteousness‖ of the Essenes who may have lived (mythological or real—who knows?) sometime in the first century BCE. (Ellegard, op. cit., p. 258). Maybe Mark wrote in the second century as scholar Ellegard holds, and had read Flavius Philostratus‘s Life of Apollonius, whose life almost exactly paralleled the life of the mythical Jesus and who reportedly died in 98 CE. (See Randel Helms, Gospel Fictions, p. 9) Surely, he had read of the so-called ―Suffering Servant of the Lord‖ described in Isaiah 52: 13 – 53: 12. (See Doherty’s The Jesus Puzzle, p. 80). Certainly Mark, and later the other gospel writers, had no shortage of inspiration. What they didn‘t have is anyone who was in any sense ―real.‖ It is important to remain focused on the primary reason why these gospels were written, or perhaps ―compiled‖ would be a better word. They were written for the express purpose of convincing the uneducated and gullible masses that they no longer needed to believe in a sort of mystical, unseen, spiritual Christ—a somewhat difficult concept for the unsophisticated to grasp even though it was familiar to them as I will discuss later. Here, in the gospels, the new Jesus cult offers a ―real‖, flesh and blood incarnation of god to believe in. (In truth, there was a terrific argument early on between the Gnostic Christians and the main line, later to become the Catholic Christians as to this ―flesh and blood‖ issue.) This savior figure spoke real words (i.e. the Sermon on the Mount, etc.), ate food, performed miracles, visited real places, and spoke to ―multitudes.‖ He was truly crucified, not allegorically crucified in a heavenly realm. Remember ―doubting Thomas‖? He wanted to stick his fingers into Jesus‘ wounds, just to be sure. (John 20: 26-27) I thought that was a “nice touch‖ for the last gospel fiction writer to add; don‘t you? For those of you that might still be unconvinced of the absolute untrustworthiness of the gospels in particular, I offer just one more powerful quotation for your consideration: ―Nearly every thing written concerning the gospels to the year 325, and all the copies of the gospels themselves to the same period, are lost or destroyed. The truth is that very few early Christian texts exist because the autographs, or originals, were destroyed after the Council of Nicea and the ―retouching‖ of 506 CE under Emperor Anastasius, which included ―revision‖ of the Church fathers‘ works—catastrophic acts that would be inconceivable if these ‗documents‘ were truly the precious testaments of the very Apostles themselves regarding the ‗Lord and Savior,‘ whose alleged advent was so significant that it sparked profound fanaticism and endless wars. Repeating what would seem to be utter blasphemy, in the 11th and 12th centuries the ‗infallible Word of God‘ was ‗corrected‘ again by a variety of church officials. In addition to these major ‗revisions‘ have been many others, including copying and translation mistakes and deliberate mutilation and obfuscation of meaning.‖ (Acharya S, The Christ Conspiracy, p. 26).

Still think the gospels are about real events? If so, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I‘d like to talk to you about.

What we now call “Christianity” existed long before Jesus’ time

As with point two above, there is little or no debate among serious scholars that what we now call ―Christianity‖ has so heavily plagiarized from prior existing Christ and risen sun-god myths as to be virtually indistinguishable from many of them. Of course, first of all there is simply Judaism, which had long talked about and predicted a soon-to-arrive ―Christ.‖ Ironically, according to them, he still hasn‘t come. The documentation of this claim is the subject of literally hundreds of books. A small number of these books are quoted in this paper. Just to present a quick summation, I would like to quote a well-recognized scholar of the early 20th century. ―The Pagans had their holy days (from which the Christians plagiarized their Christmas, Easter, Rogation Days, etc.); their monks, nuns, religious processions carrying images of idols, incense, holy water, holy oil, chants, hymns, liturgies, confessions of sins to priests, revelations by gods to priests, prophecies, sacred writings of ‗holy bibles,‘ Pontiffs, Holy Fathers, holy crafty priesthoods. All these sacrosanct things of Christian ‗Revealed Religion,‘ were age-old pre-Christian Pagan myths and superstitions.‖ (Forgery in Christianity, by Joseph Wheless, p. 17 and 18) All of this is not even ―controversial‖ among knowledgeable secular biblical scholars. I will quote one more source, a small pamphlet published by The Freedom From Religion Foundation which ―zeroes in‖ on the mythical antecedents of the Jesus Christ figure. The pamphlet—really, a tract—is entitled, ―Cookie Cutter Christs.‖ The sun-god Mithra, who was very popular in the Roman Empire around 2000 years ago was ―born of a virgin about 600 BC, was celebrated on December 25. Magi brought gifts to his birth. His first worshipers were shepherds and he was followed in his travels by twelve companions. Mithra was slain upon a cross in Persia to make atonement for humankind and take away the sins of the world. His ascension to heaven was celebrated at the spring equinox (Easter).‖ Additionally, the pamphlet continues, ―Mithra celebrated a ‗Last Supper‘ with his 12 disciples. The Mythraists observed weekly sabbath days and celebrated the Eucharist by eating wafers marked with a cross.‖ Does any of this sound familiar? The same pamphlet notes that, ―Attis was born of a virgin mother named Nana, in Phrygia sometime before 200 BC. He was hanged on a tree, died, rose again, and was called ‗Father God‘.‖ ―Horus was born of the virgin Isis in Egypt around 1550 BC. Horus as an infant received gifts from three kings, and was crucified on a cross. There are about 200 close parallels of the careers of Horus and Jesus Christ.‖ ―Adonis (Tammuz) was born of a virgin mother called Ishtar (Easter), depicted like the Virgin Mary with her divine child in her arms. Adonis was regarded as both the son and husband of his mother Ishtar, as God the Father and God the Son.‖ We could go on and on. Any of the above named books will give the interested reader much more information about ancient gods along this same line. The mythology doesn‘t change much, just the name of the current sun-god de jure. Indeed, the parallels in the cult of Mithraism—perhaps Christianity‘s major contemporary and most competitive religion of the first century CE—most especially, are so striking that I have often reflected that had Emperor Constantine not mandated that Christianity be the Empire‘s only religion in 325 CE, and had that decree not been brutally enforced by the ―firebrand and the sword‖ for the next 1,700 years by the Catholic Church, then we might see steepled little Mithric Churches dotting the landscape throughout Europe and the United States especially. As part of this same fantasy, I have often wondered if there would now be heated debates as to whether or not the now recognized as mythic Mithra was somehow based on a historic, real flesh-and-blood, human being named Mithra. If the Catholic Mithraist myth enforcers had been equally as successful as have been the Catholic Jesus myth enforcers, I suppose the answer of the masses—and even of some atheists—throughout most of the world would clearly be, ―Yes, most likely there was a historic Mithra.‖ Incredible! What a brainwashing we have all been subjected to! Most well informed Christian apologists—even back to the early ―Church Fathers‖—admit that the above parallels are true. Their standard response is that just because there are all of these parallels doesn‘t necessarily prove that Jesus wasn‘t a real human figure who may have been just doing his best to ―fulfill‖ all the ancient prophesies, and to ―fit in‖ to the familiar legends about him. This counter-point can‘t be denied. I only ask the reader which of the two possible explanations seems the most likely?

Paul clearly spoke only of a “spiritual Christ,” not a human one.

 It is well recognized by all but the most fanatical fundamentalist bible scholars that Paul, writing between approximately 54 C. E. an 65 C.E., was not a ―witness to Jesus.‖ By his own admission, he saw Jesus ―in a vision‖ while on the road to Damascus. This Jesus was a purely mythical, ―spiritual Christ,‖ not in any sense a human being Christ. Paul ―received‖ this Jesus through a kind of divine revelation. I believe that Doherty explains this sort of ―Jesus‖ best when he says that the message Paul received, ―…was about a heavenly Son of God who was both an intermediary between God and the world, and a Savior figure. He was variously called Jesus, or Yeshua (meaning ‗Yahweh Saves‘ in Hebrew), the Christ (Greek for the Hebrew ―Mashiach,‖ or Messiah, meaning ‗Anointed One‘), and the Son. Some looked upon this new Son of God as a Reveler who bestowed saving knowledge of God, others as one who had undergone a sacrificial death and a resurrection. [In another heavenly realm] All manner of apostles like Paul were going about preaching this divine being and often not agreeing among themselves about him; indeed, they could be at each others‘ throats, as certain passages in Paul‘s letters revealed. This Son and Savior was not identified with a recent human man or placed in an earthly setting, much less given a ministry of teaching and miracle-working in Galilee. [Paul knew no details of the yet to be written, gospel ‗historical‘ Jesus.] Instead, he was a heavenly deity who had done his redeeming work in the supernatural dimension.‖ (The Jesus Puzzle p. 5.) This kind of thinking is very difficult for the modern mind. Remember that since every reader of this paper was born he or she has been constantly bombarded—well, except when you were in your church, synagogue, or mosque—with cause and effect, logical, scientific thinking. For the residents of Galilee two thousand years ago, however, nothing could have been more natural. The whole culture and the entire ―civilized world‖ was saturated with this way of thinking. It was, as Doherty explains, ―The view shared by a whole range of pagan salvation cults, each of which had its own savior god who had performed deeds in the mythical world. Like Paul‘s Christ, savior gods such as Attis and Osiris had been killed; like Paul‘s Christ, Osiris had been buried (after being dismembered); like Christ on the third day, Adonis and Dionysos had been resurrected from death. All these things were not regarded as historical; they had taken place in the world of myth and higher reality.‖ (Doherty, op cit. p. 16.) In summary, all of the parts of the New Testament attributed to a probably historical Paul are of no help at all in establishing a ―historical‖ Jesus, since they never speak of such a person.

There is no agreement on any information about this supposedly historical Jesus

By way of amplifying the above point, what I mean is that, normally, a very well-known historical person—even one existing as long as two thousand years ago—would certainly be much better known to historians than is Jesus. For example, we know much more about Alexander the Great, who lived 200 years before the Jesus character is said to have lived. Let‘s examine just a few points of reference that one might reasonably be expected to know about a person whose influence was so great that it literally change the course of history over the next two millenium. (1) Looks? No one in the entire bible gives any definitive description of Jesus whatsoever. He is depicted in artistic works, ranging from the ninth century up to modern times, as everything from being rather short with a ―male pattern baldness problem‖ to the tall, handsome Nordic Jesus with the neatly trimmed beard we all met in Sunday School. Secular scholar, Dr. William Harwood, an advocate of a ―historical nobody‖ who served as a basis of the mythical Jesus, believes that Jesus was, ―an odd looking man, balding, stooped, with joined eyebrows, and approximately 4 ft 6 in tall‖ (Mythology’s Last Gods, p. 63). Enough said. (2) Birth date? Biblical scholars of all stripes disagree as to the date of the mythical Jesus‘ birth. Dates range from about 4 BCE (the one most often quoted) to about 7 CA. (3) Birthplace? The bible says Bethlehem. However, Jesus is constantly referred to as ―Jesus of Nazareth.‖ Scholars now understand that this was probably a linguistic confusion and perhaps an early mistranslation. Jesus was a ―Nazarene,‖ the title of a sect, not a name having geographical associations. Thus, as G. A. Wells explains, ―‗Jesus the Nazarene‘ is equivalent to, say, ‗Henry the Quaker‘ or ‗George the Methodist.‘‖ (Wells, Did Jesus Exist, p. 147.) Furthermore, modern archeology has established that there was no such city as Nazareth in the first century. Dr. Harwood, mentioned above, argue strongly for the city of Capurnaum as a probable birth city. (4) Personal character and/or moral worthiness? Although we heard all about the loving, compassionate Jesus in church, and how we ought to ―turn the other cheek,‖ we were not given the quotations that urged his followers to bring those that would not have me for their leader and ―slay them before me.‖ (Luke 19: 27.) We were told not to lie. However, we read about how Jesus lied when it suited him. (See Mattill, A. J. Sweet Jesus, p. 103) We remember the part about not stealing, but we heard nothing about Jesus‘ habit of stealing pigs, wheat, donkeys, cash, cows, olive oil, and figs. (op. cit. p. 31-33.) Perhaps more critical than all of the above inconsistencies and silences is the confusion about what, exactly, was J.C.‘s central message? The problem of discerning a ―central message‖ is confounded not because there isn‘t one, but because there are too many. If one asks the average Christian what was Jesus‘ essential message to us, they look at you as if you must be the stupidest person they have ever met. Then, they explain patiently that, ―God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son to die for us so as to atone for our sins, and that if you would simply believe in him, you could have a sort of second life, ever-lasting, in a place called heaven.‖ Now, at first you must try to ignore the sheer imbecility of what you just heard, and ask a few follow-up questions. You may ask something like, ―Well, how can I ‗believe on him‘ as the bible phrases it, when I am not clear about his full message and his teachings?‖ The Christian has a ready answer. ―You can read the bible and there you will learn all about his wonderful message to us.‖ ―I already did that,‖ you might say, ― but then I became even more confused.‖ As mentioned above, there seems to be hundreds of messages, often with conflicting ideas and pronouncements. You might also add that you were a bit confused as to whether you should pay more attention to Peter‘s Jewish ‗works-based‘ Christianity, or to Paul‘s Gentile ‗faith-based‘ Christianity. You confess further confusion when you read about the early Gnostic Christian‘s ‗knowledge‘ (Gnosis) based Christianity. Despite all your reading, you say, you are still ―unclear on the concept.‖ At this point the Christian will generally say something like, ―Jesus loves you anyway‖ and walk away. The summary point here is that because of the great amount of hopelessly conflicting information and the lack of any definitive information on everything about Jesus—his looks, lineage, biography, nature (three in one; one in three?), character, moral worthiness, message, etc.—it is clear, at least to this writer, that there is simply no one underneath this great pile of b.s. to see.

You can’t have it both ways

This last point can be briefly explained. Despite its simplicity, I think it is a very powerful argument for a completely fictional Jesus. It has been said ―many times in many ways,‖ as the song lyric goes, but Frank Zindler recently stated it quite succinctly. Zindler notes that many liberal Christian apologists will readily agree that, ―While the gospels cannot be taken literally, they are at least evidence of somebody [emphasis in original] extraordinary. But these same apologists miss the irony of Jesus being so obscure that no secular record of him survives. (It is ironic also that despite being a well-known public figure and rabble-rouser, Jesus nevertheless is so colorless and forgettable that the authorities have to bribe Judas to point him out!)‖ (The Jesus The Jews Never Knew, p. 5) This last point Zindler puts in parenthesis because it assumes that the reader might think that at least some part of the gospel fables might be true. I believe, as does Zindler, that this is extraordinarily unlikely, to the point of a vanishing possibility. In conclusion, I believe that in this article I have at least ―hit the highlights‖ of the arguments for a purely fictional Jesus with his purely fictional ―gospel.‖ Clarence Darrow may have summarized the pure-myth position most succinctly when he said, ―I don‘t believe in Jesus because I don‘t believe in Mother Goose.‖ No, Virginia, I‘m afraid that it is time now to grow up. There really isn‘t any Santa Claus. And even though there may have been a Christian bishop, born in 270 CE, who was rumored to have secretly shared his inherited wealth with the poor, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the myth of the fat guy in a red suit who, on December 25th, drops down the chimney‘s of every world-wide Christian family who has one or more children to deliver presents, with the aide of a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. Additionally, there is also no Tooth Fairy, no Mother Goose, and Jesus never was!

———–

By Don Havis (havis@att.net)

Bibliography

Note: Some of the books listed here support a historical myth, or a philosophical myth position (positions 2 or 3, described earlier). Some, like Burton Mack, Robert Price and others seem to adopt an agnostic stance on the historicity matter, although they have often done some of the best research which has lead to a nearly complete destruction of any chance for such a historical Jesus. All the books in this bibliography are highly recommended. I have undoubtedly left out others that by chance I have not read or just didn‘t consider for inclusion. For those readers who wish to ―zero in‖ on the pure myth (position 4) supporters, I have indicated these books with an asterisk. *Acharya S, The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Conspiracy Ever Sold, Klempton, IL, Adventures Unlimited, 1999. Anonymous, ―Cookie Cutter Christs, nontract # 8‖, Madison, WI, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. No date. *Barker, Dan, Losing Faith in Faith, (See Chapter 51, ―Jesus: History or Myth‖), Madison, WI, Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc., 1992. *Doherty, Earl, Challenging the Verdict, Ottawa Canada, Age of Reason Publications, 2001. *_______ , The Jesus Puzzle, Ottawa Canada, Canadian Humanist Publications, 1999. Ellegard, Alvar, Jesus One Hundred Years Before Christ, Woodstock, NY, The Overlook Press, 1999. *Freke, Timothy & Gandy, Peter, The Jesus Mysteries, NY, Harmony Books, 2000. Harwood, William, Mythology’s Last Gods, Amherst, NY, Prometheus Books, 1992. Helms, Randel, Gospel Fictions, Amherst, NY, Prometheus Books, 1988. Jackson, John G., Christianity Before Christ, Austin, TX, American Atheist Press, 1985. _______ , ―Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth,‖ (a pamphlet), Austin, TX, American Atheist Press, no date given. Leidner, Harold, The Fabrication of the Christ Myth, Tampa, FL, Survey Books, 1999. Mack, Burton L., Who Wrote The New Testament? San Francisco, CA, HarperSanFrancisco, 1995. Mattill Jr., A. J., Sweet Jesus, Gordo, AL, The Flatwoods Free Press, 2002. McCabe, Joseph, The Forgery of the Old Testament and other essays, Buffalo, NY, Prometheus Books, 1993. Price, Robert M., Deconstructing Jesus, Amherst, NY, Prometheus Books, 2000. Smith, Homer W., Man And His Gods, Boston, Little Brown & Co., 1956. *Wells, G. A., Did Jesus Exist? London, Elek Books, Ltd., 1975. *_______ , The Historical Evidence for Jesus, Amherst, NY, Prometheus Books, 1988. Wheless, Joseph, Forgery in Christianity: A Documented Record of the Foundations of The Christian Religion, New York, Knopf, 1930. *Zindler, Frank R., The Jesus The Jews Never Knew, Cranford, NJ, American Atheist Press, 2003.

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The “Gospel”, is it the inspired word of God or a clumsy compilation of the later forged documents by the Greek priests in order to revive their dying religion or to incorporate this new Christian cult into the new world order? I have read the Bible countless times and been a hardcore Catholic, Born again, evangelist and so forth and so on, but the discrepancies of the Bible had always amused me and put a big question mark on the authenticity of the Gospels. The church has claimed that the Gospel is apostolic and divine work, directly from “God”. I will discuss the New Testament gospel, which is of main relevance and core of Christianity. The here & there story of Jesus Christ as written down by Mathew, Mark, Luke & John is the prima fascia of Christian faith, or I rather call it a blind faith.

 However, the affirmation of the Gospel being an inspiration only happened twice by the sacred Vatican council in 1546 AD & 1870 AD.

 “These books are sacred and canonical because they contain revelation without error, and because, written by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their Author.”(CE. fi, 543.)

 

 More recently, Pope Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Prov. Deus. (1893), thus reaffirms the plenary inspiration and inerrancy of Holy Writ: “It will never be lawful to restrict inspiration merely to certain portions of the Holy Scriptures, or to grant that the sacred writers could have made a mistake. … They render in exact language, with infallible truth, all that God commanded, and nothing else”.! (Ib.)

 ( “In 1546 the sacred council of Trent put Curse of God on any further tinkering with the inerrant Bible “Divine inspiration got amended under Leo XIII, known as the Pontifical Biblical Commission”. – CE. Ii,557 ).

It’s extremely difficult and impossible to trust that the Gospel is inspired by divinity, with all its forgeries and contradictions which can be noted by any scholar or a person who is a free thinker. Jesus Christ or his so-called apostles might or might not be the founders of Christianity, but it is sure that Emperor Constantine has great hand in making Christianity a state religion and to mould it in its current form. The entire credit of setting up the Christian faith rests solely in the hands of Emperor Constantine. In this posting, we are not going to discuss more on Constantine or other parts of Bible, but on the core and base of Christian foundation the Gospels according to Mark, Mathew, Luke and John.

Therefore lets go in the olden days when writing such fables for pleasure was in vogue among the scribes and writers to keep people busy in religious and mythological ideas, so that they would not have time to rebel against the rulers and the state. But in these Gospels the Hebrew God has been used apart from other Gods of Romans or Greeks or Egyptians. The possibility is the Hebrew God being used in creating the new Christian faith could be that the Hebrews had very strict codes in levels of authority and discipline in their faith as compared to other Gods in competition, which was loosely based and indiscipline. This ancient clerical trick of tempering with “Word of God” and amending its plenary divine inspiration and inerrancy, goes apace today, even to the extent of putting a veneer of civilization on the barbarian Hebrew God, and warping his own barbarian words so as to make a semblance of a “God of Mercy” out of the self-styled “Jealous God” of Holy Writ.

Associated Press dispatches published to the world today, relate that “the Vaticans International Commission on the revision of the Bible is taking steps to correct one of the most famous Biblical passages, Exodus XX,5, now believed to have been mistranslated” ! – N.Y.Times. May 18, 1930.

The actual text and “what the Vatican Commission THINKS it should read”, are here quoted so that all may judge of the immense farce and fraud of this Capital falsification;- Exodus XX,5 – as is … “For I the Lord thy God am a Jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me”;……

Ditto – as falsified …. “For I, the Lord thy God , am a God of loving-kindness and mercy, considering the errors of the fathers as mitigating circumstances in judging the children unto the third and fourth generation”!

Barbarian Yahweh of the Holy Writ gets white washed into a “White sepulcher” of civilized society!

The four Gospels of NT, Mark, Mathew, Luke & John were not known until the second half of the 2nd century. No other Pope, Bishop or Christian priest ( except Papias and until Irenaeus ), for nearly a century after Pope Clement ( died 98 AD ) mentions or quotes a Gospel, names Mathew, Mark, Luke or John. Therefore, after a century until the books bobbed up in the hands of Bishop St. Irenaeus and were tagged “Gospels according to Mark, Mathew, Luke and John”. It is humanly and divinely impossible to trust these Gospels are true and not a word being heard, written or quoted by early Churches in the first one and half century.

“It was not until about the middle of the second century that under the rubric of scripture the NT writings were assimilated to the old”! – CE.iii,275 – that is, became regarded as apostolic, sacred, inspired and canonical, – or “SCRIPTURES”.

If these four books of Gospels were intended to be the inspired word of God and the basics of Christian teaching then Peter himself would have authorized it to be read and preached on it in the churches or at least instructed to the Church that these books are divinely inspired and the basics of Christian faith as we have it today in the 21st century. From 1st Pope Peter and even till the end of 1st century St. Clement-I the pope ( died 98 AD ) do not endorse these four Gospels. That means these Gospels were not in existence during their times!!!

The sudden appearance at a certain late date of a previous unknown document, which is then attributed to an earlier age and long since dead writers, is one of the surest earmarks of FORGERY. If the NT writers were Jews, then how come the earlier versions of the Gospels were in Greek language ?

The OT was mostly in Hebrew and only the priests read and understood its clear meaning of Hebrew, and they always translated the Hebrew to Aramaic dialect for the Jewish people to understand, as Hebrew was almost a dead language. The NT Gospels were not written by Jews, but I assume it should be written by Greek priests. None of the illiterate 12 apostles wrote the Gospels this is a plausible understanding, as none of the Gospels were in circulation for almost 150 years after the so called existence of the apostles around that time. Every Church in the first two centuries had their own gospel and narrations about Jesus Christ and each vaguely different then another. Even the claim of Jesus being crucified at 30 years of age and his resurrection is absurd is among the early Church fathers. It is a very strange and fatal confession, in view of the insistent false pretense of the Church for centuries of the patent Divinity of the Four Gospels, and of its fallible inspiration and divine guidance against all doubt & error, Why these Four were chosen out of the hundred or perhaps even thousands of the Jesus stories in circulation nobody knows as CE confesses. Today these four Gospels are of divine utterance and sanction, WHY? One may well wonder!!!

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The Great Scandal: Christianity’s Role in the Rise of the Nazis by Gregory S. Paul


“You know what happens when atheists take over—remember Nazi Germany?” Many Christians point to Nazism, alongside Stalinism, to illustrate the perils of atheism in power.1 At the other extreme, some authors paint the Vatican as Hitler’s eager ally. Meanwhile, the Nazis are generally portrayed as using terror to bend a modern civilization to their agenda; yet we recognize that Hitler was initially popular. Amid these contradictions, where is the truth?

A growing body of scholarly research, some based on careful analysis of Nazi records, is clarifying this complex history.2 It reveals a convoluted pattern of religious and moral failure in which atheism and the nonreligious played little role, except as victims of the Nazis and their allies. In contrast, Christianity had the capacity to stop Nazism before it came to power, and to reduce or moderate its practices afterwards, but repeatedly failed to do so because the principal churches were complicit with—indeed, in the pay of—the Nazis.

Most German Christians supported the Reich; many continued to do so in the face of mounting evidence that the dictatorship was depraved and murderously cruel. Elsewhere in Europe the story was often the same. Only with Christianity’s forbearance and frequent cooperation could fascistic movements gain majority support in Christian nations. European fascism was the fruit of a Christian culture. Millions of Christians actively supported these notorious regimes. Thousands participated in their atrocities.

What, in God’s name, were they thinking?

Before we can consider the Nazis, we need to examine the historical and cultural religious context that would give rise to them.

 

Christian Foundations

Early Christian sects promoted loyalty to authoritarian rulers so long they were not intolerably anti-Christian or, worse, atheistic. Christian anti-Semitism sprang from one of the church’s first efforts to forge an accommodation with power. Reinterpreting the Gospels to shift blame for the Crucifixion from the Romans to the Jews (the “Christ killer” story) courted favor with Rome, an early example of Christian complicity for political purposes. Added energy came from Christians’ anger over most Jews’ refusal to convert.3

Christian anti-Semitism was only intermittently violent, but when violence occurred it was devastating. The first outright extermination of Jews occurred in 414 c.e. It would have innumerable successors, the worst nearly genocidal in scope. At standard rates of population growth, Diaspora Jewry should now number in the hundreds of millions. That there are only an estimated 13 million Jews in the world4 is largely the result of Christian violence and forced conversion.5

Anti-Semitic practices pioneered by Catholics included the forced wearing of yellow identification, ghettoization, confiscation of Jews’ property, and bans on intermarriage with Christians. European Protestantism bore the fierce impress of Martin Luther, whose 1543 tract On the Jews and Their Lies was a principal inspiration for Mein Kampf.6 In addition to his anti-Semitism, Luther was also a fervent authoritarian. Against the Robbing and Murdering Peasants, his vituperative commentary on a contemporary rebellion, contributed to the deaths of perhaps 100,000 Christians and helped to lay the groundwork for an increasingly severe Germo-Christian autocracy.7

With the Enlightenment, deistic and secular thinkers seeded Western culture with Greco-Roman notions of democracy and free expression. The feudal aristocracies and the churches counterattacked, couching their reactionary defense of privilege in self-consciously biblical language. This controversy would shape centuries of European history. As late as 1870, the Roman Catholic Church reaffirmed a reactionary program at the first Vatican Council. Convened by the ultraconservative Pope Pius IX (reigned 1846–1878), Vatican I stridently condemned modernism, democracy, capitalism, usury, and Marxism.8 Anti-Semitism was also part of the mix; well into the twentieth century, mainstream Catholic publications set an intolerant tone that later Nazi propaganda would imitate. Anti-Semitism remained conspicuous in mainstream Catholic literature even after Pope Pius XI (reigned 1922–1939) officially condemned it.

Protestantism, too, was largely hostile toward modernism and democracy during this period (with a few exceptions in northern Europe). Because Jews were seen as materialists who promoted and benefited from Enlightenment modernism, most Protestant denominations remained anti-Semitic.

With the nineteenth century came a European movement that viewed Judaism as a racial curse. Attracting both Protestant and Catholic dissidents within Germanic populations, Aryan Christianity differed from traditional Christianity in denying both that Christ was a Jew and that Christianity had grown out of Judaism.9 Adherents viewed Christ as a divine Aryan warrior who brought the sword to cleanse the earth of Jews.10 Aryans were held to be the only true humans, specially created by God through Adam and Eve; all other peoples were soulless subhumans, descended from apes or created by Satan with no hope of salvation.11 Most non-Aryans were considered suitable for subservient roles including slavery, but not the Jews. Spiritless yet clever and devious, Jews were seen as a satanic disease to be quarantined or eliminated.

During the same years neopagan and occult movements gained adherents and incubated their own form of Aryanism. Unlike Aryan Christians, neopagan Aryans acknowledged that Christ was a Jew—and for that reason rejected Christianity. They believed themselves descended from demigods whose divinity had degraded through centuries of interbreeding with lesser races. The Norse gods and even the Atlantis myth sometimes decorated Aryan mythology.

Attempting to deny that Nazi anti-Semitism had a Christian component, Christian apologists exaggerate the influence of Aryan neopaganism. Actually, neopaganism never had a large following.

German Aryanism, whether Christian or pagan, became known as “Volkism.” Volkism prophesied the emergence of a great God-chosen Aryan who would lead the people (Volk) to their grand destiny through the conquest of Lebensraum (living space). A common motto was “God and Volk.” Disregarding obvious theological contradictions, growing numbers of German nationalists managed to work Aryanism into their Protestant or Catholic confessions, much as contemporary adherents of Voudoun or Santería blend the occult with their Christian beliefs. Darwinian theory sometimes entered Volkism as a belief in the divinely intended survival of the fittest peoples. Democracy had no place, but Nietzschean philosophy had some influence—a point Christian apologists make much of. Yet Nietzsche’s influence was modest, as Volkists found his skepticism toward religion unacceptable.12

Though traceable to the ancient world, atheism first emerged as a major social movement in the mid-1800s.13 It would be associated with both pro- and antidemocratic worldviews. Strongly influenced by science, atheists tended to view all humans as descended in common from apes. There was no inherent anti-Semitic tradition. Some atheists accepted then-popular pseudoscientific racist views that the races exhibited varying levels of intellect due to differing genetic heritages. Some went further, embracing various forms of eugenics as a means of improving the human condition. But neither of these positions was uniquely or characteristically atheistic. “Scientific” racism is actually better understood as a tool by which Christians could perpetuate their own cultural prejudices—it was no accident that the races deemed inferior by Western Christian societies and “science” were the same!

When we seek precursors of Nazi anti-Semitism and authoritarianism, it is among European Christians, not among the atheists, that we must search.

Following World War I, the religious situation in Europe was complex. Scientific findings about the age of the Earth, Darwin’s theory of evolution, and biblical criticism had fueled the first major expansion of nontheism at Christianity’s expense among ordinary Europeans. The churches’ support for the catastrophic Great War further fueled public disaffection, as did (in Germany) the flight of the Kaiser, in whom both Protestant and Catholic clergy had vested heavily.14 But religion was not everywhere in retreat: postwar Germany experienced a Christian spiritual renaissance outside the traditional churches.15 Religious freedom was unprecedented, but the established churches enjoyed widespread state support and controlled their own education systems. They were far more influential than today.

Roughly two-thirds of Germans were Protestant, almost all of the rest Catholic. The pagan minority claimed at most 5 percent. Explicit nontheism was limited to an intellectual elite and to committed socialists. Just 1.5 percent of Germans identified themselves as unbelievers in a 1939 census, which means either that very few Nazis and National Socialist German Worker’s Party supporters were atheists, or that atheists feared to identify themselves to the pro-theistic regime.

Most religious Germans detested the impiety, secularism, and hedonistic decadence that they associated with such modernist ideas as democracy and free speech. If they feared democracy, they were terrified by Communism, to the point of being willing to accept extreme countermethods.

Thus it was a largely Christian, deeply racist, often antidemocratic, and in many respects dangerously primitive Western culture into which Nazism would arise. It was a theistic powder keg ready to explode.

 

Nazi Leaders, Theism, and Family Values

According to standard biographies, the principal Nazi leaders were all born, baptized, and raised Christian. Most grew up in strict, pious households where tolerance and democratic values were disparaged. Nazi leaders of Catholic background included Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich, and Joseph Goebbels.

Hitler did well in monastery school. He sang in the choir, found High Mass and other ceremonies intoxicating, and idolized priests. Impressed by their power, he at one time considered entering the priesthood.

Rudolf Hoess, who as commandant at Auschwitz-Birkinau pioneered the use of the Zyklon-B gas that killed half of all Holocaust victims, had strict Catholic parents. Hermann Goering had mixed Catholic-Protestant parentage, while Rudolf Hess, Martin Bormann, Albert Speer, and Adolf Eichmann had Protestant backgrounds. Not one of the top Nazi leaders was raised in a liberal or atheistic family—no doubt, the parents of any of them would have found such views scandalous. Traditionalists would never think to deprive their offspring of the faith-based moral foundations that they would need to grow into ethical adults.

So much for the Nazi leaders’ religious backgrounds. Assessing their religious views as adults is more difficult. On ancillary issues such as religion, Party doctrine was a deliberate tangle of contradictions.16 For Hitler consistency mattered less than having a statement at hand for any situation that might arise. History records many things that Hitler wrote or said about religion, but they too are sometimes contradictory. Many were crafted for a particular audience or moment and have limited value for illuminating Hitler’s true opinion; in any case, neither Hitler nor any other key Nazi leader was a trained theologian with carefully thought-out views.

Accuracy of transcription is another concern. Hitler’s public speeches were recorded reliably, but were often propagandistic. His private statements seem more likely to reflect his actual views, but their reliability varies widely.17 The passages Christian apologists cite most often to prove Hitler’s atheism are of questionable accuracy. Apologists often brandish them without noting historians’ reservations. Hitler’s personal library has been partly preserved, and a good deal is known about his reading habits, another possible window onto Hitler’s beliefs.18 Also important, and often ignored by apologists, are statements made by religious figures of the time, who generally—at least for public consumption—viewed Hitler as a Christian and a Catholic in good standing. Meanwhile, the silent testimony of photographs is irrefutable, much as apologists struggle to evade this damning visual evidence.

Despite these difficulties, enough is known to build a reasonable picture of what Hitler and other top Nazis believed.

Hitler was a Christian, but his Christ was no Jew. In his youth he dabbled with occult thinking but never became a devotee. As a young man he grew increasingly bohemian and stopped attending church. Initially no more anti-Semitic than the norm, in the years before the Great War he fell under the anti-Semitic influence of the Volkish Christian Social Party and other Aryan movements. After Germany’s stunning defeat and the ruinous terms of peace, Hitler became a full-blown Aryanist and anti-Semite. He grew obsessed with racial issues, which he unfailingly embedded in a religious context.

Apologists often suggest that Hitler did not hold a traditional belief in God because he believed that he was God. True, Hitler thought himself God’s chosen leader for the Aryan race. But he never claimed to be divine, and never presented himself in that manner to his followers. Members of the Wehrmacht swore this loyalty oath: “I swear by God this holy oath to the Führer of the German Reich and the German people, Adolf Hitler.” For Schutzstaffel (S.S.) members it was: “I pledge to you, Adolf Hitler, my obedience unto death, so help me God.”

Hitler repeatedly thanked God or Providence for his survival on the western front during the Great War, his safe escape from multiple assassination attempts, his seemingly miraculous rise from homelessness to influence and power, and his amazing international successes. He never tired of proclaiming that all of this was beyond the power of any mere mortal. Later in the war, Hitler portrayed German defeats as part of an epic test: God would reward his true chosen people with the final victory they deserved so long as they never gave up the struggle.

Reich iconography, too, reveals that Nazism never cut its ties to Christianity. The markings of Luftwaffe aircraft comprised just two swastikas—and six crosses. Likewise the Kreigsmarine (German Navy) flag combined the symbols. Hitler participated in public prayers and religious services at which the swastika and the cross were displayed together.

Hitler openly admired Martin Luther, whom he considered a brilliant reformer.19 Yet he said in several private conversations that he considered himself a Catholic. He said publicly on several occasions that Christ was his savior. As late as 1944, planning the last-ditch offensive the world would know as the Battle of the Bulge, he code-named it “Operation Christrose.”

Among his Nazi cronies Hitler criticized the established churches harshly and often. Some of these alleged statements must be treated with skepticism,20 but clearly he viewed the traditional Christian faiths as weak and contaminated by Judaism. Still, there is no warrant for the claim that he became anti-Christian or antireligious after coming to power. No reliably attributed quote reveals Hitler to be an atheist or in any way sympathetic to atheism. On the contrary, he often condemned atheism, as he did Christians who collaborated with such atheistic forces as Bolshevism. He consistently denied that the state could replace faith and instructed Speer to include churches in his beloved plans for a rebuilt Berlin. The Nazi-era constitution explicitly evoked God. Calculating that his victories over Europe and Bolshevism would make him so popular that people would be willing to abandon their traditional faiths, Hitler entertained plans to replace Protestantism and Catholicism with a reformed Christian church that would include all Aryans while removing foreign (Rome-based) influence. German Protestants had already rejected a more modest effort along these lines, as will be seen below. How Germans as a whole would have received this reform after a Nazi victory is open to question. In any case, Hitler saw himself as Christianity’s ultimate reformer, not its dedicated enemy.

Hitler was a complex figure, but based on the available evidence we can conclude our inquiry into his personal religious convictions by describing him as an Aryan Volkist Christian who had deep Catholic roots, strongly influenced by Protestantism, touched by strands of neopaganism and Darwinism, and minimally influenced by the occult. Though Hitler pontificated about God and religion at great length, he considered politics more important than religion as the means to achieve his agenda.

None of the leaders immediately beneath Hitler was a pious traditional Christian. But there is no compelling evidence that any top Nazi was nontheistic. Any so accused denied the charge with vehemence.

Reich-Führer Himmler regularly attended Catholic services until he lurched into an increasingly bizarre Aryanism. He authorized searches for the Holy Grail and other supposedly powerful Christian and Cathar relics. A believer in reincarnation, he sent expeditions to Tibet and the American tropics in search of the original Aryans and even Atlantians. He and Heydrich modeled the S.S. after the disciplined and secretive Jesuits; it would not accept atheists as members.21 Goering, least ideological among top Nazis, sometimes endorsed both Protestant and Catholic traditions. On other occasions he criticized them. Goebbels turned against Catholicism in favor of a reformed Aryan faith; both his and Goering’s children were baptized. Bormann was stridently opposed to contemporary organized Christianity; he was a leader of the Church Struggle, the inconsistently applied Nazi campaign to oppose the influence of established churches.22

The Nazis championed traditional family values: their ideology was conservative, bourgeois, patriarchal, and strongly antifeminist. Discipline and conformity were emphasized, marriage promoted, abortion and homosexuality despised.23

Traditionalism also dominated Nazi philosophy, such as it was. Though science and technology were lauded, the overall thrust opposed the Enlightenment, modernism, intellectualism, and rationality. It is hard to imagine how a movement with that agenda could have been friendly toward atheism, and the Nazis were not. Volkism was inherently hostile toward atheism: freethinkers clashed frequently with Nazis in the late 1920s and early 1930s. On taking power, Hitler banned freethought organizations and launched an “anti-godless” movement. In a 1933 speech he declared: “We have . . . undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.” This forthright hostility was far more straightforward than the Nazis’ complex, often contradictory stance toward traditional Christian faith.

 

Destroying Democracy: a Political-Religious Collaboration

As detailed by historian Ian Kershaw, Hitler made no secret of his intent to destroy democracy. Yet he came to power largely legally; in no sense was he a tyrant imposed upon the German people.

The Nazi takeover climaxed a lengthy, ironic rejection of democracy at the hands of a majority of German voters. By the early 1930s, ordinary Germans had lost patience with democracy; growing numbers hoped an authoritarian strongman would restore order and prosperity and return Germany to great-power status. Roughly two-thirds of German Christians repeatedly voted for candidates who promised to overthrow democracy. Authoritarianism was all but inevitable; at issue was merely who the new strongman would be.

What made democracy so fragile? Historian Klaus Scholder explains that Germany lacked a deep democratic tradition, and would have had difficulty in forming one because German society was so thoroughly divided into opposing Protestant and Catholic blocs. This division created a climate of competition, fear and prejudice between the confessions, which burdened all German domestic and foreign policies with an ideological element of incalculable weight and extent. This climate erected an almost insurmountable barrier to the formation of broad democratic center. And it favored the rise of Hitler, since ultimately both churches courted his favor—each fearing that the other would complete the Reformation or the Counter-Reformation through Hitler.24

Carefully plotting his strategy, Hitler purged some of the Volkish Nazi radicals most belligerent toward the traditional Christian churches. In this way he lessened the risk of ecclesiastical opposition. At the same time, he knew that the presence of both Catholics and Protestants among the Nazi leadership would ease churchmen’s fears that the Party might engage in sectarianism.

Though it had many Catholic leaders (including Hitler), the Nazi Party relied heavily on Protestant support. Protestants had given the Party its principal backing during the years leading up to 1933 at a level disproportionate to their national majority.25 Evangelical youth was especially pro-Nazi. It has been estimated that as many as 90 percent of Protestant university theologians supported the Party. Indeed, the participation of so many respected Protestants gave a early, comforting air of legitimacy to the often-thuggish Party. So did the frequent sight of Sturmabteilung (S.A.) units marching in uniform to church.

As German life between the wars grew more desperate, some Protestant pastors explicitly defended Nazi murders of “traitors to the Volk” from the pulpit. Antifascist Protestants found themselves marginalized. The once-unlikely topic of Volkist-Protestant compatibility became the leading theological subject of the day.26 This is less surprising when we consider that Volkism and German Protestantism were both strongly nationalistic; Lutheranism in particular had German roots.

This mirage of harmony enticed Hitler into a naïve attempt to unite the German Protestant churches into a single Volkish body under Nazi control. Launched shortly after the Nazis came to power, this project failed immediately. The evangelical sects proved as unwilling as ever to get along with one another, though much of their clergy eventually Nazified.

 

Catholicism and the Nazi Takeover

Ironically—but, as we shall see, for obvious reasons—Chancellor Hitler had greater initial success reaching accommodation with Roman Catholic leaders than with the Protestants. The irony lay in the fact that the Catholic Zentrum (Center) Party had been principally responsible for denying majorities to the Nazis in early elections. Although Teutonic in outlook, German Catholics had close emotional ties to Rome. As a group they were somewhat less nationalistic than most Protestants. Catholics were correspondingly more likely than Protestants to view Hitler (incorrectly) as godless, or as a neo-heathen anti-Christian. Catholic clergy consistently denounced Nazism, though they often undercut themselves by preaching traditional anti-Semitism at the same time.

Even so, and despite Catholicism’s minority status, it would be German Catholics and the Roman Catholic Church that whose actions would at last put total power within the Nazis’ reach.

Though it was not without antimodernists, the Catholic Zentrum party had antagonized the Vatican during the 1920s by forming governing coalitions with the secularized, moderate Left-oriented Social Democrats. This changed in 1928, when the priest Ludwig Kaas became the first cleric to head the party. To the dismay of some Catholics, Kaas and other Catholic politicians participated both actively and passively in destroying democratic rule, and in particular the Zentrum.

The devoutly Catholic chancellor Franz von Papen, not a fascist but stoutly right-wing, engineered the key electoral victory that brought Hitler to power. Disastrously Papen dissolved the Reichstag in 1932, then formed a Zentrum-Nazi coalition in violation of all previous principles. It was Papen who in 1933 made Hitler chancellor, Papen stepping down to the vice chancellorship.

The common claim that Papen acted in the hope that the Nazis could be controlled and ultimately discredited may be true, partly true, or false; but without Papen’s reckless aid, Hitler would not have become Germany’s leader.

The church congratulated Hitler on his assumption of power. German bishops released a statement that wiped out past criticism of Nazism by proclaiming the new regime acceptable, then followed doctrine by ordering the laity to be loyal to this regime just as they had commanded loyalty to previous regimes. Since Catholics had been instrumental in bringing Hitler to power and served in his cabinet, the bishops had little choice but to collaborate.

German Catholics were stunned by the magnitude and suddenness of this realignment. The rigidly conformist church had flipped from ordering its flock to oppose the Nazis to commanding cooperation. A minority among German Catholics was appalled and disheartened. But most “received the statement with relief—indeed with rejoicing—because it finally also cleared the way into the Third Reich for Catholic Christians” alongside millions of Protestants, who joined in exulting that the dream of a Nazi-Catholic-Protestant nationalist alliance had been achieved.27 The Catholic vote for the Nazis increased in the last multi-party elections after Hitler assumed control, doubling in some areas, inspiring a mass Catholic exodus from the Zentrum to the fascists. After the Reichstag fire, the Zentrum voted en masse to support the infamous Enabling Act, which would give the Hitler-Papen cabinet executive and legislative authority independent of the German Parliament. Zentrum’s bloc vote cemented the two-thirds majority needed to pass the Act.

Why did the church direct its party to provide the critical swing vote? It had its agenda, as we shall see below.

 

Deal Making with the Devil

Even after the Enabling Act, Hitler’s position remained tenuous. The Nazis needed to deepen majority popular support and cement relations with a skeptical German military. Hitler needed to ally all Aryans under the swastika while he undermined and demoralized regime opponents. What would solidify Hitler’s position? A foreign policy coup: the Concordat of 1933 between Nazi Germany and the Vatican.

The national and international legitimacy Hitler would gain through this treaty was incalculable. Failure to secure it after intense and openly promoted effort could have been a crushing humiliation. Hitler put exceptional effort into the project. He courted the Holy See, emphasizing his own Christianity, simultaneously striving to intimidate the Vatican with demonstrations of his swelling power.

Catholic apologists describe the Concordat of 1933 as a necessary move by a church desperate to protect itself against a violent regime which forced the accord upon it—passing over the contradiction at the heart of this argument. Actually, having failed in repeated attempts to negotiate the ardently desired concordat with a skeptical Weimar democracy, Kaas, Papen, the future Pius XII (who reigned 1939–1958), the sitting Pius XI, and other leading Catholics saw their chance to get what they had been seeking from an agreeable member of the church—that is, Hitler—at an historical moment when he and fascism in general were regarded as a natural ally by many Catholic leaders.28 Negotiations were initiated by both sides, modeled on the mutually advantageous 1929 concordat between Mussolini and the Vatican.

Now Zentrum’s pivotal role in assuring passage of the Enabling Act can be seen in context. It was part of the tacit Nazi-Vatican deal for a future concordat.29 The Enabling Act vote hollowed Zentrum, leaving little more than a shell. Thus, a clergy far more interested in church power than democratic politics could take control on both sides of the negotiating table. In a flagrant conflict of interest, the devout Papen helped to represent the German state. Concordat negotiations were largely held in Rome, so that Kaas could leave his vanishing party yet more rudderless. Papen, Kaas, and the future Pius XII worked overtime to finalize a treaty that would, among other things, put an end to the Zentrum. In negotiating away the party he led, Kaas eliminated the last political entity that might have opposed the new Führer.30 Nor did the Vatican protect Germany’s Catholic party. Contrary to the contention of some, evidence indicates that the Vatican was pleased to negotiate away all traces of the Zentrum, for which it had no more use save as a bargaining chip. In this the Holy See treated Zentrum no differently than it had the Italian Catholic party, which it negotiated away in the Concordat with Mussolini.

Hitler sought to eliminate Catholic opposition in favor of obligatory loyalty to his regime. For its part, the church was obsessed with its educational privileges,31 and especially with securing fresh sources of income. It would willingly sacrifice political power to protect them. As both sides worked in haste to produce a treaty that would normally have required years to complete, Hitler took masterful advantage of Vatican overeagerness. Filled with “certainty that Rome neither could nor would turn back, [Hitler] was now able to steer the negotiations almost as he wanted. The records prove he exploited the situation to the full.”32 Indeed, Hitler was so confident that he had the Church in his lap that he went ahead and promulgated his notorious sterilization decree before the Concordat’s final signing. Hitler’s project for involuntary sterilization of minorities and the mentally ill was an direct affront to Catholic teaching. But as Hitler surmised, not even this provocation could deflect the Holy See in its rush toward the Concordat. Because ordinary Catholics largely supported the Nazis, the party even felt free to use violence against the remaining politically active Catholics, frequently disrupting their rallies.

Signed on July 20, 1933, the Concordat was a fait accompli, the negotiations having been conducted largely in secret. Most German bishops gave their loyal, though impotent, approval to the pact that would strip away their power. A few bishops objected, criticizing the Nazi regime’s lack of morality (but never its lack of democracy).

The Concordat was a classic political kickback scheme. The church supported the new dictatorship by endorsing the end of democracy and free speech. In addition it bound its bishops to Hitler’s Reich by means of a loyalty oath. In exchange the church received enormous tax income and protection for church privileges. Religious instruction and prayer in school were reinstated. Criticism of the church was forbidden. Of course, nothing in the Concordat protected the rights of non-Catholics.

If Catholic officials were disappointed with the Concordat’s terms, they did not show it, sending messages of congratulation to the dictator. In Rome, a celebratory mass followed the treaty’s signing by Papen and the future Pius XII amid great pomp and circumstance. In Germany, the church and the Berlin government held a joint service of thanksgiving that featured a mix of Catholic, Reich, and swastika banners and flags. The musical program mixed hymns with a rousing performance of the repugnant Nazi anthem “Horst Wessel”—which was set, by the way, to the traditional hymn “How Great Thou Art.” All of this was projected by loudspeaker to the enthusiastic crowd outside; as most German Catholics welcomed the Concordat, the thanksgiving service drew far more than Berlin’s cathedral could hold.

Scholder comments that “anyone who saw things from the Roman perspective could come to the conclusion that . . . the treaty was . . . an indescribable success for Catholicism. Even a year before, the Holy See had only been able to dream of the concessions which the concordat contained. . . . On the Catholic side the concordat was accordingly described as ‘something very great,’ indeed as nothing short of a ‘masterpiece.’”33 Catholic response was so exuberant that Hitler felt it necessary to defend himself to Protestant clerics and Nazi radicals who viewed this sudden amity with Rome as a betrayal.

The practical results of the collaboration were clear enough. Most Catholics “soon adjusted to the dictatorship”34; indeed they flocked to the Party. Post-Concordat voting patterns suggest that Catholics, on average, even outdid Protestants in supporting the regime, further undermining any efforts by the clergy to challenge Nazi policies. In any case much of the Catholic clergy was Nazifying. Even the idiosyncratic S.S. welcomed Catholics, who would ultimately compose a quarter of its membership.

The Concordat’s disastrous consequences cannot be exaggerated. It bound all devout German Catholics to the state—the clergy through an oath and income, the laity through the authority of the church. If at any time the regime chose not to honor the agreement, Catholics had no open legal right to oppose it or its policies. Opponents of Nazism, Catholic and non-Catholic, were further discouraged and marginalized because the church had shown such want of moral fiber and consistency.

Apologists have insisted that the church had no choice but to accept the Concordat for the modest protections it provided. But those provisions were never needed. Major Protestant denominations suffered no more than Catholicism, though the Protestant churches lacked protective agreements and had snubbed Hitler’s early attempt to unite them. Apologists make much of Vatican “resistance” to Nazism, but the net effect of Vatican policy toward Hitler was collaborative.

Indeed, the 1933 Concordat stands as one of the most unethical, corrupt, duplicitous, and dangerous agreements ever forged between two authoritarian powers. Perhaps the Catholic strategy was to outlast the Nazi’s frankly popular tyranny rather than try to bring it down. But the Catholic Church made no attempt to revoke the Concordat and its loyalty clause during the Nazi regime. Indeed, the 1933 Concordat is the only diplomatic accord negotiated with the Nazi regime that remains in force anywhere in the world.

Germany’s Protestant sects were too decentralized to be coopted by a single document. To this extent Protestants who disputed Nazi policies could be said to enjoy a more favorable position than Catholics. But opposition was rare among Protestants too. Hitler cynically courted the major denominations even as they cynically courted him. Most smaller traditional Christian sects did little better. For example, Germany’s Mormons and Seventh-Day Adventists bent over backwards to accommodate National Socialism.35

 

Christian Comfort with the Rising Regime

Catholics and Protestants at first embraced the new German order. Germany was regaining international prestige, the economy improving thanks to growing overseas support.36 Industrialists like Henry Ford invested heavily in the new Reich. German Christians also looked to the Nazis for a revival of “Christian” values to help counter the rise of nontheism. Most welcomed the Nazis’ elimination of chronic public strife by terrorizing, imprisoning, and killing the fast-shrinking German Left. The leftists had long been despised by traditionalists, who composed four fifths of the population. The state purged a far higher proportion of atheists than traditional Christians. In newspapers and newsreels the Nazis proudly publicized their new concentration camps. Reports sanitized the camps’ true nature, but no one could mistake that they were part of a new police state—to which most German followers of Jesus raised no objection. The very high rate of “legal” executions reported in the press also met with mass indifference or positive approval.

Far from being hapless victims, the great bulk of German Christians joined, eagerly supported, collaborated with, or accommodated to a greater or lesser degree, the new tyranny.

 

Hitler: the Popular Oppressor

Apologists for Christian conduct during the Nazi era imagine that the regime suppressed dissent ruthlessly, no matter whom—or how many—it needed to slaughter to achieve its ends. Hitler’s regime is portrayed as Stalinesque in its response to dissent. This simplistic view reveals a failure to understand the complicated actuality of a popular terror state. The keyword is popular: Hitler was Europe’s most popular leader, and his goal was universal Aryan support. The Party obsessively tracked public opinion, something never seen in the USSR.37 Before the war, foreign tourism was encouraged; Hitler knew most Germans would speak well of the Reich to visitors, in sharp contrast to the USSR, whose leaders prudently feared interaction between foreigners and a citizenry of dubious loyalty. During most of the Reich, any unprovoked attempt to liberate Germany would have met fierce majority resistance.

Though there were assassination attempts, the top Nazis had little to fear from ordinary Germans.38 Hitler’s personal security was shockingly lax; Goering regularly drove his open convertible around Berlin.

If the apologists were right, we should expect the Gestapo to have been a massive organization, relentlessly searching out and crushing widespread dissent. Analysis of surviving Gestapo records reveals that in fact it was surprisingly small.39 Germany’s Christian population being largely satisfied, there was little resistance to suppress. Most cases the Gestapo handled were initiated by ordinary citizens looking to settle petty disputes and had no ideological content.

The Führer had been successful in buying off his Aryans with false egalitarian prosperity, stolen Jewish wealth, and his refusal to put Deutschland on a full war footing until well into the war. During the early war years civilians were under much tighter control in submarine-blockaded England than in Germany. Since nearly all Aryans were Protestant and Catholic, Hitler had to keep both sects reasonably happy, and he did. After all, the main focus of Nationalist Socialism was to make the divinely favored Aryan Volk, both Protestant and Catholic, thrive in order to transform the German population into a unified machine of domination over the lesser peoples. Contrary to Catholic apologists, the nominally Catholic Hitler had not the slightest desire to slaughter masses of the very Aryan people to whom he belonged, and whom he wanted to elevate to supreme power. Leaving aside the fact that doing so would have been ideological and racial suicide, the record makes clear that Hitler’s intention was to reform and standardize Aryans’ political, social, and ultimately their religious beliefs, not to purge them or to kill off groups of Aryans. Doing that would have grossly violated Nazi doctrine, undermined the myth of Aryan solidarity, grievously weakened the state, and risked religious civil war. Disloyalty of the Catholic third of the population would have been disastrous to a modest-sized nation trying to expand its resources in preparation for epic wars of conquest; it was this fact, not the Concordat, that would be the main constraint on Nazi actions. For that reason, apologist claims that thousands or millions of Catholics and Protestants would have joined the Jews had they protested Nazis policies are false. The proof is found in the historical record.

 

Rosenstrasse: the Power of Resistance

Far from exercising absolute power at home, Hitler often discontinued, modified, or concealed initiatives that threatened his regime’s precious popular approval. Stout public objection could and repeatedly did alter Nazi behavior. Flummoxed when the Protestant churches refused to unite, Hitler deferred his grand effort to reform German Christianity to a dreamlike utopian future. Later attempts by Nazi authorities to hamper church activities were often frustrated by sizeable demonstrations.40 When Party elements stripped Bavarian schools of their crucifixes without Hitler’s approval, vigorous protests by, among others, the mothers of schoolchildren quickly brought about their replacement.41 When Hitler denounced Protestant opposition bishops Hans Meiser and Theophil Wurm and ordered their ouster, public anger boiled over. One protest drew 7,000 demonstrators. Hitler reversed course and reinstated Meiser and Wurm with fulsome praise. Strong opposition to the mass killing of the mentally disabled circa 1941 drove it further underground, saving many lives, even though this program too enjoyed the Führer’s approval.

This is not to say that protesters courted no danger. Opposition figures were frequently harassed, sometimes killed. But the top Nazis knew how limited their power was. When regime officials contemplated forcing the removal of Muenster’s Catholic bishop, Clemens Galen, Goebbels warned that the “the population of Muenster could be regarded as lost during the war if anything were done against the bishop . . . [indeed] the whole of [the state] of Westphalia.”42 Though Galen suffered harassment, he remained active throughout the war and held his office.

In occupied countries from Norway to Italy, residents successfully opposed Nazi racial policies and saved hundreds of thousands of Jews. In Denmark, political and ecclesiastical leaders forcefully protested Nazi policies; the whole nation worked under the noses of the Gestapo to save almost all of Denmark’s Jews. Neither leaders or citizens suffered severe retaliation. French bishops who opposed Nazi actions against Jews likewise survived the war.

Most extraordinary and telling is the Rosenstrasse incident.43 Some 30,000 Jews lived openly in Germany as the spouses of Christians. Nine in ten such marriages remained intact despite ceaseless harassment. Oriented toward family values as they were, the Nazis could not decide how to handle these Jews without violating the sanctity of marriage. Early in 1943, Goebbels, then in charge of Berlin, decided it was time to cleanse the capital by rounding up these last Jews. Hitler agreed. Some 2,000 Jewish men from mixed marriages were seized and taken to a large downtown building on the Rosenstrasse, from which they would be deported to the camps.

For a week their Gentile wives stood in the winter cold, chanting “We want our husbands back!” Ordinary Germans sometimes joined them. All told, the protests involved about 6,000 people. They continued in the face of S.S. and Gestapo threats, even threats to use machine guns. They continued though British bombers pounded the city by night. But the Nazis dared not fire upon these defenseless, unorganized Aryan women. Berliners saw the protests directly. Foreign diplomats spread word of it to the world press. The British Broadcasting Company broadcast the story back into Germany.

What was the outcome of Nazi Germany’s only mass demonstration to save Jews? The 2,000 Jewish husbands were released with Hitler’s approval. Two dozen who had already been sent to Auschwitz were returned. Jewish-Christian couples continued to live openly and survived the war. They would comprise the great majority of German Jewish survivors.

Goebbels later commented to an associate that the regime relented “in order to eliminate the protest from the world, so that others didn’t begin to do the same.” Sadly, this strategy was successful: during the rest of the war, no similar action would ever be taken in defense of Jews in general.

Nor does this exhaust the catalogue of successful opposition. When Goebbels called for mass employment of housewives in war industries, also early in 1943, refusal was widespread. Again, reprisals were rare, partly because of the regime’s established emphasis on traditional roles for women. On a broader scale, Germans who refused to participate in atrocities—even if they were soldiers, party members, or S.S. men—almost never suffered retaliation. This was so well known that, after the war, Nazis accused of war crimes were forbidden to claim fear of retaliation as a defense.

These incidents suggest that the Nazi regime was at root cowardly, happy to pick on the weak and disorganized but intimidated by public demonstrations. When it came to the Volk, Nazi leaders preferred propaganda, education, persuasion, and social pressure to terror. They knew that terror worked best when its objective was supported by many and opposed by few. Only toward the end of the war was widespread domestic terror resorted to in Germany, and it was often ineffective.

Clearly ordinary citizens could oppose and alter state policy, all the more so if powerful nongovernemental institutions supported them.44 As Sarah Gordon comments, the “failure of German churches to speak out against racial persecution is a disgrace . . . because the Nazis feared the propaganda or political power of the churches, it is almost certain that church leaders could have spoken out more vehemently against racial persecution.”45

The apologist claim that Germany’s traditional Christians were impotent in the face of Nazi terror is an exaggeration on a scale that Goebbels might have appreciated. As the wives of Berlin discovered, Christians had the power to protect the lives and well-being of others and the potential to confound Hitler and his minions. Had they wished to, they need only have applied it.

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The significant character of the Christian faith, Jesus, to assume him as a historical personage, was a Jew, as were, by tradition, his disciples and followers. As is, of course, well known: .Christianity took its rise in Judaism; its Founder and His disciples were orthodox Jews, and the latter maintained their Jewish practices, at least for a time, after the day of Pentecost.

The Jews themselves looked upon the followers of Christ as a mere Israelites sect, … .the sect of the Nazarenes. (Acts xxiv, 15),…the believers in the Promised Messiah. (CE. iii, 713.) In this they were grievously deceived and disappointed, as, too the world knows; Christ’s humble and obscure life, ending in the ignominious death on the cross, was the very opposite of what the Jews expected of their Christ.. (CE. i, 620.) Jesus was a native of Galilee, .his own country. (Mt. ii, 23; xiii, 54-55), or of Judaea, .his own country. (.John iv, 43-44). He was born .in the days of Herod the King. (Mt. ii, 1), about 6 B.C., or .when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. (Luke ii, 1-7), about 7 A.D., or some 13 years later. (CE. viii, 377; EB. i, 307-8.) The destructive contradictions as to his lineage and parentage, and other essential particulars, are reserved for opportune notice. Jesus became a Jewish sectarian religious teacher of the zealot reformer type; so zealous that his own family thought him insane and sent out to apprehend him (Mark iii, 31); many of the people said of him, .He hath a devil, and is mad. (John x, 20); his own disciples, seeing his raid into the Temple after the money-changers, shook their heads and muttered the proverb: .The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. (John ii, 17).

 His ministry, of about one year, according to the first three Gospels, of some three years according to the fourth, was, by his own repeated assertion, limited exclusively to his own Jewish people: .I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Mt. xv, 24; ef. Acts iii, 25-26; xiii, 46; Rom. xv, 8); and he straightly enjoined on his Twelve Apostles: .Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Mt. X, 5-6); to the woman of Canaan who pleaded with him to have mercy on her daughter, .grievously vexed with a devil,. he retorted: .It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs. (Mt. xv, 22-28; vii, 6). His own announcement, and his command to the Twelve, was .Preach, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. (Mt. x, 7),..the exclusively Hebraic Kingdom of the Baptist (Mt. iii, 2), as of the Jewish Messianic apocrypha which we have noticed. Jesus lived at the height of the .age of apocryphal literature,. and in due time got into it, voluminously.

Before his death, time and again he made and repeated the assurance..the most positive and iterated of all the sayings attributed to him..of the immediate end of the world, and of his quick triumphant return to establish the Kingdom of God in the new earth and reign on the re-established throne of David forever. Time and again he said and repeated: .Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his Kingdom. (Mt. xvi, 28; Mk. ix, I; Lk. ix, 27);

This generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Mk. xiii, 30)…So quickly would this .second coming. be, that when the Twelve were sent out on their first preaching tour in little Palestine, their Master assured them: .Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of man be come. (Mt. x, 23). Caiapha, the high priest before whom Jesus was led after his capture in the Garden, solemnly conjured him .By the living God. for the truth; and Jesus replied: .Nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man … coming in the clouds of heaven.. (Mt. xxvi, 63, 64; Mk. xiv, 61, 62.) Some people are expecting him yet. Of course, there were, could be, none but Jews in heaven, or in this new Kingdom of Heaven on the new earth: .Salvation is of the Jews.. (John iv, 22.) It was 144,000 Jews, the .scaled. saints, who alone constituted the original Jewish .Kingdom of God. (Rev. vii).

With these explicit data we arrive at the first obvious and positive conclusion: With the expectation of a quick and sudden end of the world and of all things human, no books were written on the subject in that generation or, for a little leeway, the next or so, after the death of the expected returning King. The scant, number of credulous Jews who accepted this preachment as .Gospel truth. and lived in this expectation, were nourished with neighborhood gossip and oral traditions of the .good news,. and needed and had no written books of inspired record of these things. Thus many years passed. Only as the dread consummation was delayed, and the hope deferred sickened the hearts of the expectant Jews and they waned in faith, and as accused by Paul and Barnabas, .put it from you,. did the defeated propagandists of the .Faith that failed at the Cross,. give the shoulder to the Jews and .turn to the Gentiles. (Acts xiii, 46), and begin to expand the failing new Jewish faith among the superstitious Pagans of the countries round about. But this was still by the spoken word; on all the supposititious .missionary tours. the Word was spread by word of mouth written gospel books were not yet. When at last, the .coming. being still unrealized..these books began to be written, we can accurately determine something of the order of their writing, and finally, though negatively, the approximate times when they were written, by ascertaining when they were not yet written. We have seen that for a century and more the only .

Scriptures. used by the Jewish propagandists of the Christ were the Greek Septuagint translations of the old Hebrew sacred writings, .the Law and the Prophets. (CE. v, 702; i, 635); supplemented by sundry Jewish apocrypha and the Pagan Sibylline Oracles; these were the only .authorities. appealed to by the early .Fathers. for the propaganda of the new faith. Indubitably, if the wonderful .histories. of their Christ and the inspired pretended writings of his first, Apostles, forming now the New Testament, had then existed, even in scraps of writing, they would have been the most precious and potent documents of propaganda, would have been snatched at and quoted and appealed to with infinite zeal and ardor, as they have been through the centuries since. But, for some 150 years, as we shall see, little or nothing besides Old Testament and Pagan Oracles were known or quoted. As said by the great critic, Solomon Reinach, .With the exception of Papias, who speaks of a narrative by Mark, and a collection of sayings of Jesus, no Christian writer of the first half of the second century (i.e., up to 150 A.D.) quotes the Gospels or their reputed authors.. (Reinach, Orpheus, p. 218.) So, patently, as yet no .Gospels. and but few if any .Epistles. of our .canon. had as yet been written. Again, we read the 23 booklets from and including Acts to Revelation: there is not a solitary reference to a word of quotation from, any of our four Gospels; scarce a trace of the wonderful career and miracles of Jesus the Christ; not a word of his .gospel. or teachings mentioned or quoted. These Epistles, indeed, .preach Christ Crucified. (from oral tradition), as the basis of the propagandists. own .gospel.. But the written .Gospel of Jesus Christ. (his life and words and deeds), was unknown: indeed, jealous of the so called Petrine preaching which .perverts the gospel of Christ. as preached by him, the soi-disant Apostle Paul fulminates: .But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached, let, him be accursed. (Gal. i, 7, 8);..so early did priestly intolerance and priestly curses on opponents come into holy vogue. Therefore the conclusion is inevitable that when those 23 Acts and Epistles were written, none of the four .Gospel. biographies of Jesus the Christ had yet seen the light. .Written Gospels are neither mentioned nor implied in the NT epistles, nor in that, of Clemens Romanus, nor, probably, in that of Barnabas, nor in the Didache. Luke (i, 1-4) implies that .many gospels. Were current. (EB. ii, 1809), at the time that Gospel was written. The Acts and Epistles, therefore, with Revelation, were written before any of the Gospel biographies.

 If these Christ-histories had existed, how eagerly would they have been seized upon to garnish and glorify the preachment of the early propagandists of the Faith that failed at the Cross,..and would have perished wholly but for the all believing Pagan Gentiles, who, when they heard it, .were glad, and glorified the word of the lord. (Acts xiii, 48), as orally delivered. he significant character of the Christian faith, Jesus, to assume him as a historical personage, was a Jew, as were, by tradition, his disciples and followers. As is, of course, well known: .Christianity took its rise in Judaism; its Founder and His disciples were orthodox Jews, and the latter maintained their Jewish practices, at least for a time, after the day of Pentecost. The Jews themselves looked upon the followers of Christ as a mere Israelites sect, … .the sect of the Nazarenes. (Acts xxiv, 15),…the believers in the Promised Messiah. (CE. iii, 713.) In this they were grievously deceived and disappointed, as, too the world knows; .Christ’s humble and obscure life, ending in the ignominious death on the cross, was the very opposite of what the Jews expected of their Christ.. (CE. i, 620.) Jesus was a native of Galilee, .his own country. (Mt. ii, 23; xiii, 54-55), or of Judaea, .his own country. (.John iv, 43-44). He was born .in the days of Herod the King. (Mt. ii, 1), about 6 B.C., or .when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. (Luke ii, 1-7), about 7 A.D., or some 13 years later. (CE. viii, 377; EB. i, 307-8.) The destructive contradictions as to his lineage and parentage, and other essential particulars, are reserved for opportune notice. Jesus became a Jewish sectarian religious teacher of the zealot reformer type; so zealous that his own family thought him insane and sent out to apprehend him (Mark iii, 31); many of the people said of him, .He hath a devil, and is mad. (John x, 20); his own disciples, seeing his raid into the Temple after the money-changers, shook their heads and muttered the proverb: .The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. (John ii, 17). His ministry, of about one year, according to the first three Gospels, of some three years according to the fourth, was, by his own repeated assertion, limited exclusively to his own Jewish people: .I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Mt. xv, 24; ef. Acts iii, 25-26; xiii, 46; Rom. xv, 8); and he straightly enjoined on his Twelve Apostles: .Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Mt. X, 5-6); to the woman of Canaan who pleaded with him to have mercy on her daughter, .grievously vexed with a devil,. he retorted: .It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs. (Mt. xv, 22-28; vii, 6). His own announcement, and his command to the Twelve, was .Preach, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. (Mt. x, 7),..the exclusively Hebraic Kingdom of the Baptist (Mt. iii, 2), as of the Jewish Messianic apocrypha which we have noticed. Jesus lived at the height of the .age of apocryphal literature,. and in due time got into it, voluminously. Before his death, time and again he made and repeated the assurance..the most positive and iterated of all the sayings attributed to him..of the immediate end of the world, and of his quick triumphant return to establish the Kingdom of God in the new earth and reign on the re-established throne of David forever. Time and again he said and repeated: .Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his Kingdom. (Mt. xvi, 28; Mk. ix, I; Lk. ix, 27); .This generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Mk. xiii, 30)…So quickly would this .second coming. be, that when the Twelve were sent out on their first preaching tour in little Palestine, their Master assured them: .Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of man be come. (Mt. x, 23). Caiapha, the high priest before whom Jesus was led after his capture in the Garden, solemnly conjured him .By the living God. for the truth; and Jesus replied: .Nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man … coming in the clouds of heaven.. (Mt. xxvi, 63, 64; Mk. xiv, 61, 62.) Some people are expecting him yet. Of course, there were, could be, none but Jews in heaven, or in this new Kingdom of Heaven on the new earth: .Salvation is of the Jews.. (John iv, 22.) It was 144,000 Jews, the .scaled. saints, who alone constituted the original Jewish .Kingdom of God. (Rev. vii). With these explicit data we arrive at the first obvious and positive conclusion: With the expectation of a quick and sudden end of the world and of all things human, no books were written on the subject in that generation or, for a little leeway, the next or so, after the death of the expected returning King. The scant, number of credulous Jews who accepted this preachment as .Gospel truth. and lived in this expectation, were nourished with neighborhood gossip and oral traditions of the .good news,. and needed and had no written books of inspired record of these things. Thus many years passed. Only as the dread consummation was delayed, and the hope deferred sickened the hearts of the expectant Jews and they waned in faith, and as accused by Paul and Barnabas, .put it from you,. did the defeated propagandists of the .Faith that failed at the Cross,. give the shoulder to the Jews and .turn to the Gentiles. (Acts xiii, 46), and begin to expand the failing new Jewish faith among the superstitious Pagans of the countries round about. But this was still by the spoken word; on all the supposititious .missionary tours. the Word was spread by word of mouth written gospel books were not yet. When at last, the .coming. being still unrealized..these books began to be written, we can accurately determine something of the order of their writing, and finally, though negatively, the approximate times when they were written, by ascertaining when they were not yet written. We have seen that for a century and more the only .Scriptures. used by the Jewish propagandists of the Christ were the Greek Septuagint translations of the old Hebrew sacred writings, .the Law and the Prophets. (CE. v, 702; i, 635); supplemented by sundry Jewish apocrypha and the Pagan Sibylline Oracles; these were the only .authorities. appealed to by the early .Fathers. for the propaganda of the new faith. Indubitably, if the wonderful .histories. of their Christ and the inspired pretended writings of his first, Apostles, forming now the New Testament, had then existed, even in scraps of writing, they would have been the most precious and potent documents of propaganda, would have been snatched at and quoted and appealed to with infinite zeal and ardor, as they have been through the centuries since. But, for some 150 years, as we shall see, little or nothing besides Old Testament and Pagan Oracles were known or quoted. As said by the great critic, Solomon Reinach, .With the exception of Papias, who speaks of a narrative by Mark, and a collection of sayings of Jesus, no Christian writer of the first half of the second century (i.e., up to 150 A.D.) quotes the Gospels or their reputed authors.. (Reinach, Orpheus, p. 218.) So, patently, as yet no .Gospels. and but few if any .Epistles. of our .canon. had as yet been written. Again, we read the 23 booklets from and including Acts to Revelation: there is not a solitary reference to a word of quotation from, any of our four Gospels; scarce a trace of the wonderful career and miracles of Jesus the Christ; not a word of his .gospel. or teachings mentioned or quoted.

These Epistles, indeed, .preach Christ Crucified. (from oral tradition), as the basis of the propagandists. own .gospel.. But the written .Gospel of Jesus Christ. (his life and words and deeds), was unknown: indeed, jealous of the so called Petrine preaching which .perverts the gospel of Christ. as preached by him, the soi-disant Apostle Paul fulminates: .But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached, let, him be accursed. (Gal. i, 7, 8);..so early did priestly intolerance and priestly curses on opponents come into holy vogue. Therefore the conclusion is inevitable that when those 23 Acts and Epistles were written, none of the four .Gospel. biographies of Jesus the Christ had yet seen the light. .Written Gospels are neither mentioned nor implied in the NT epistles, nor in that, of Clemens Romanus, nor, probably, in that of Barnabas, nor in the Didache. Luke (i, 1-4) implies that .many gospels. Were current. (EB. ii, 1809), at the time that Gospel was written. The Acts and Epistles, therefore, with Revelation, were written before any of the Gospel biographies.

If these Christ-histories had existed, how eagerly would they have been seized upon to garnish and glorify the preachment of the early propagandists of the Faith that failed at the Cross,..and would have perished wholly but for the all believing Pagan Gentiles, who, when they heard it, .were glad, and glorified the word of the lord. (Acts xiii, 48), as orally delivered.

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( This post is especially for that special person who has walked last few years of her life as Christian and has heard me preach her and discuss about Bible for several hours and nights after nights, despite of temptations her affinity towards Jesus has always been monumental. Admittingly, I have turned away from Jesus Christ, but believe in God as supreme being, master, creator or whatever we might look upon him or her. I know there is God. Well I am writing this post as my last note to that extraordinary person if she reads this or not….but I know I have never betrayed that person and always have that special place in my heart & soul. No matter what she does or what she intends to do, she will always be remembered in my prayers and I pray that she walks her life as true Christian and ceases all her indecorous demeanor. You can place anyone above me but dont lie to yourself and dont place anyone above God – From the EVIL MAN)

Man’s greatest honour and privilege is to do the will of God. This was what the Lord Jesus taught His disciples. He once said that only those who did His Father’s will would enter the kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 7:21). He also said that His true brothers and sisters were those who did the will of God (Matt. 12:50).

This emphasis was duly passed on by the apostles to their generation. Peter declared that God sets men free from sin so that they can do His will (1 Pet. 4:1,2). Paul asserted that believers are created anew in Christ Jesus so that they can walk in a path God has already mapped out for them. He therefore exhorted the Ephesian Christians not to be foolish, but to understand what the will of the Lord was for their lives (Eph. 2:10; 5:17). He prayed for the Colossian Christians that they might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. He told them that his co-worker Epaphras was also praying for them that they might fulfill all the will of God (Col. 1:9; 4:12). The apostle John taught that only those who did the will of God would abide forever (1 John 2:17).

This emphasis is unfortunately rare in our day and generation. Hence the shallowness and powerlessness of the average believer today. Men are urged to come to Jesus merely to receive forgiveness. In apostolic times, people were told that forgiveness of sins was to be only a prelude to a life dedicated to the fulfillment of the whole will of God.

Acts 13:22 seems to imply that David was called “a man after God’s own heart” because he desired to do the will of God alone. David himself tells us elsewhere that he delighted in doing God’s will (Psa. 4:8). He was not a perfect man. He committed many sins, some very serious ones, for which God had to punish him severely. Yet God forgave him and found pleasure in him because basically David wanted to do all of God’s will. This encourages us to believe that in spite of all our imperfections, we too can be men and women after God’s own heart – if only our hearts are set on doing His will.

The New Testament urges believers to walk as Jesus walked, following His example. The guiding principle of Jesus’ entire life and ministry was to do the will of His Father. He never moved until His Father told Him to. And when He did move, neither the threats of His enemies nor the pleadings of His friends could stop Him from doing what His Father required of Him. His daily food was to fulfill His Father’s will (John 4:34). As men crave for food to nourish their bodies, He craved to do the will of the One Who had sent Him.

Every believer should have a similar hunger to fulfill all the will of God. How easy it is to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” and then to do just as we please, without seeking God’s guidance in our daily lives.

God’s plan is the best

It is the height of folly not to seek God’s guidance. If you were alone in the middle of a thick forest on a pitch dark night, not knowing which way to turn, you would be glad to have with you someone who knew every inch of the forest and whom you could trust fully. You would soon follow without question whatever way he took. It would be foolish to ignore his advice and to move on your own into that dark and dense forest, full of hidden dangers. Yet many believers do just that sort of thing.

The future that lies before us is darker than anything on earth could possibly be. We can see nothing ahead. Yet we have to move forward.

We sometimes come to crossroads in our lives, where we have to make decisions with far-reaching consequences. Decisions such as the choice of a career and a life-partner affect our entire future. How are we to decide at such times? We know nothing of the dangers and the hidden pitfalls along each path. We know nothing of the snares Satan has laid for us. And yet – we have to decide which path to take.

It would therefore be not only desirable but necessary for us to have someone beside us at such times whom we can trust fully, who knows the entire future. In the Lord Jesus Christ, we have just such a Person, and He is more than eager to guide us along the safest and best path.

The Bible teaches that God has a specific plan for each of our lives (Eph. 2:10). He has planned a career for us, chosen a life-partner for us and even planned where we should live and what we should do each day. In every case, His choice must be the best, for He knows us so well and He takes every factor into consideration. It is wisest then to seek His will in all matters – major as well as minor.

It is not only foolish but dangerous to follow the reasoning of our limited intellects and the dictates of our emotions alone. Unless we are gripped by the conviction that God’s plan is indeed the best, we are not likely to be in earnest about seeking it.

Many have made shipwreck of their lives by failing to seek the will of God right from their youth. It is indeed “good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lam. 3:27). In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus invites us to take His yoke upon us. What does it mean to take the yoke? Oxen that are used to plough fields are kept together by a yoke upon their necks. When a new ox is to be trained to plough, it is yoked together with an experienced ox. The new one is thus compelled to walk in the same direction and at the same speed as the older ox.

This is what it means to take the yoke of Jesus upon us. We shall have to walk with Jesus in the path that pleases Him, never rushing ahead to do anything without His leading, nor lagging behind when He calls to some new step of obedience. Few understand this meaning of the yoke. Fewer still are willing to accept it. The ox is forced by its owner to take the yoke upon its neck. But Jesus invites us. There is no compulsion here. How foolish we are to reject this invitation! We would rather take the heavy yoke of our own self-will with its accompanying frustrations, defeats, and regrets, than the light yoke of Jesus that brings true liberty and deep rest!

“Come to Me and I will give you rest – all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear My yoke…..and let Me teach you (as the older ox teaches the inexperienced one)….and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens” (Matt. 11:28-30-TLB).

We read of Enoch that he “walked with God” (Gen. 5:22) – i.e., he did not rush ahead nor lag behind, but walked in God’s appointed path as one under the yoke – for three hundred years. As a result, God testified that He was pleased with Enoch’s life (Heb. 11:5). This is the only way that we please God – by living and moving under His yoke, in His perfect will. Only thus shall we be able to stand before Him without regret when He comes again.

Missing God’s Plan

It is possible for a believer to miss God’s perfect will for his life. Saul was chosen by God to be king over Israel, but eventually as a result of his impatience and disobedience, God had to reject him. True, he remained on the throne for some years more, but he had missed God’s will for his life. Solomon is another example. He pleased God in this earlier years, but fell away later through marrying heathen women.

Twice in the New Testament we are exhorted to take a warning from the example of the Israelites who perished in the wilderness. God’s perfect will for them was that they should enter Canaan. But all except two of them missed God’s best through unbelief and disobedience (1 Cor. 10:1-12; Heb. 3:7-14). Many believers have similarly missed God’s perfect plan for their lives through disobedience and compromise – often in marriage or in the choice of a career.

G Christian Weiss in his book, `The Perfect Will of God’, tells of a teacher in a Bible School who told his students one day, “I have lived most of my life on God’s second best”. God had called him to be a missionary in his younger days, but he had turned aside from that calling as a result of marriage. He then began a selfish business life, working in a bank, with the primary purpose of making money. God continued to speak to him for a number of years, but he refused to yield. One day his little child had a fall from a chair and died. This drove him to his knees, and after a whole night spent in tears before God, he put his life into God’s hands completely. It was too late for him to go to Africa now. That door was closed. He knew that had been God’s best for him, but he had missed it. All that he could do was to ask God to put the rest of his life to some use. He became a teacher in a Bible School, but could never forget that this was only God’s second-best.

Weiss continues to say, “I have since met numerous people who have borne similar testimony. Usually these testimonies have been bathed, or at least marked, with bitter tears. For while, thank God, He has ways of using even those who have sinned and have gone past that single entrance into the channel of His perfect will, life can never be the way He originally intended it. It is a tragedy to miss the perfect will of God for one’s life. Christian, mark well these words and this testimony lest you too miss His first choice. God, doubtless, will use any life that is submitted to His hands, anywhere along life’s pathway, but let us be among those who have sought and surrendered to His will at the outset of life’s journey, and thus avoid those painful and shameful detours along the way.”

We just cannot live the victorious life or be of maximum use to the Lord, or be a blessing to others in any place we choose. Some may feel that they can choose their own career and their place of residence and then seek to be a witness for the Lord wherever they are. The Lord may in His mercy use such believers in a limited way. But their usefulness in God’s vineyard will be only a fraction of what it could have been had they earnestly sought His plan and remained in the center of His perfect will. Stunted spiritual growth and limited fruitfulness are but the consequences of a careless disregard of God’s laws.

If you have disobeyed God in some matter, turn to Him in repentance now, before it is too late. It may yet be possible for you, as in Jonah’s case, to come back into the mainstream of God’s plan for your life.

Each of us has but one life. Blessed is the man who like Paul, can say at the end of it, that he has finished his God-appointed task (2 Tim. 4:7).

“The world and all its passionate desires will one day disappear. But the man who is following God’s will is part of the Permanent and cannot die” (1 John 2:17-JBP).

“Live life then with a due sense of responsibility, not as men who do not know the meaning and purpose of life, but as those who do. Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days. Don’t be vague but firmly grasp what you know to be the will of God” (Eph. 5:15-17-JPB).

Summary

1. The Lord Jesus and His apostles taught that man’s greatest honour and privilege is to do the will of God.

2. It is foolish to move into the future on our own when God is waiting to guide us. His plan is the best. If we yield to Him, He can save us from Satan’s snares.

3. It is possible to miss God’s perfect will for our lives through carelessness or disobedience.

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The last few months have seen an historical earthquake, or volcano if you will, in the Middle East. Islamic countries, some with sizeable Christian minorities are witnessing revolutions which on the surface seem to display a desire by the peoples of the these countries for genuine democracy, something only to be found outside of the Middle East, except for Israel.

The story begins with an economic trigger of $147 a barrel for oil in 2008, leading to the near collapse of the world economy. With this near collapse of the world economy, the barrel of oil dropped back to $30, even if for only a few days, and then slowly began to climb back, hovering now around the $100 dollar mark.

Whether or not the world economy recovers or not, we all know that food prices have gone through the roof as a result of this greed. Higher oil prices mean higher food prices. Food prices will continue to spiral upwards and starvation will increase in many more places. When a Tunisian fruit and vegetable vendor self-immolated himself after a humiliating arrest that included being slapped in the face by a female officer and having his produce confiscated, ostensibly for not having a license (or paying a bribe), the word got out quickly thanks to mass online media like Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and massive riots ensued. The corruption, the lack of employment, the lack of freedom and democracy led these people in the Middle East to want and demand more, primarily what is to be found in the West where there is work, democracy and food.

These revolutions spread to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and other countries, and threaten to spread elsewhere as well, such as Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and perhaps even Iran. The Egyptian Revolution is a case in point. Christians and Moslems demonstrated together in Tahrir Square and other places calling for the overthrow of the Mubarak regime in hope of a better future. The Mubarak regime suffered from the same corruption and elitist domination of the economy by certain chosen groups. US President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the “democratic revolution” in Egypt as they are now doing in Libya. When the US Administration was warned of the dangers of the Moslem Brotherhood, Secretary Clinton’s response was: “They are only a 30% minority.” The problem is that throughout the Middle East, the governments are usually controlled by the minority, not the majority. By the way, Hitler came to power in Germany in January of 1933 with only 30% of the German democratic vote. Khomeini in Iran came to power in 1979 leading a wall-to-wall coalition of democratic forces, but in the end it was his fanatic group of fundamentalist Shi’ites that eliminated all the other groups leaving only Khomeini’s group in power. So today, the Egyptian Army in partnership with the Moslem Brotherhood are now the ruling forces. And there should be no doubt that the agenda in Egypt has never been for democracy, nor is it now. On the contrary, the Islamic motto is: We kill the Jews on Saturday, and we kill the Christians on Sunday. Now that there are no more Jews in Egypt (Saturday people), the Moslems say: “We will go for the Sunday people” (the Christians). There is no doubt that the condition of the Coptic Egyptian minority is indeed dire. Woman are being kidnapped, raped and forced to marry Moslem men who can anyway have multiple wives. When Christians protest about this, the Moslems riot and kill the Christians. Churches are being burned down and Christians gunned down. My fear is that the Egyptian Coptic community faces imminent and massive ethnic cleansing if not outright Holocaust at the hands of the Moslems. When the Egyptian Christian community is terminated, the economy will completely collapse and Egypt will become a desolation with tens of millions of Egyptian Christians and Moslems fleeing to the West were the grass is greener and there is food, employment and freedom, at least for now. In Syria, another country ruled by a minority, this time a pro-Iranian 10% Alawite minority, another volcano is about to explode. The Sunni population of 80% is seeking “democracy” or rule of the majority of the people.

The Christian population is about 10%, and until now has been protected by the Alawites. But if Bashar Assad and his regime fall from power, the Sunnis, led by the same Moslem Brotherhood as in Egypt, will decimate both the Alawites and the Christians, thus terminating the Christian presence in Syria, and by extension the Christians in Lebanon as well. We already have seen how the Sunni/Shi’ite struggle in Iraq killed Christians and forced them to flee to Syria. Now this is about to happen in Syria and, by extension, in Lebanon. Unfortunately, the Christian world in the West is silent about this as are most of the churches and denominational leadership. No one in the Christian world is saying or doing anything about the slaughter of Christians in Africa. And, of course, as the fundamentalist Moslem Brotherhood takes over in Egypt and Syria as it already has in Turkey and Gaza, I believe we are witnessing the creation of a Sunni Caliphate that will soon be surrounding Israel as well. Could this be a Gog and Magog scenario in the making? Will the world do anything about the Christians of Egypt and Syria? Will the world do anything to stand by Israel at that time? It is time for Jews and Christians to awaken and unite in an alliance for the defense of Christians, Jews, and all of Western Civilization threatened by this rising tide of Sunni Moslem Brotherhood fundamentalism.

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