A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
Who were the authors of it is
as impossible for us now to know, as it is for us to be assured that the
books in which the account is related were written by the persons whose
names they bear. The best surviving evidence we now have respecting this
affair is the Jews. They are regularly descended from the people who
lived in the time this resurrection and ascension is said to have
happened, and they say 'it is not true.' It has long appeared to me a
strange inconsistency to cite the Jews as a proof of the truth of the
story. It is just the same as if a man were to say, I will prove the
truth of what I have told you, by producing the people who say it is
false.

That such a person as Jesus Christ existed, and that he was crucified,
which was the mode of execution at that day, are historical relations
strictly within the limits of probability. He preached most excellent
morality, and the equality of man; but he preached also against the
corruptions and avarice of the Jewish priests, and this brought upon
him the hatred and vengeance of the whole order of priest-hood. The
accusation which those priests brought against him was that of sedition
and conspiracy against the Roman government, to which the Jews were
then subject and tributary; and it is not improbable that the Roman
government might have some secret apprehension of the effects of his
doctrine as well as the Jewish priests; neither is it improbable that
Jesus Christ had in contemplation the delivery of the Jewish nation
from the bondage of the Romans. Between the two, however, this virtuous
reformer and revolutionist lost his life. [NOTE: The French work has
here: "However this may be, for one or the other of these suppositions
this virtuous reformer, this revolutionist, too little imitated,
too much forgotten, too much misunderstood, lost his life."--Editor.
(Conway)]



CHAPTER IV - OF THE BASES OF CHRISTIANITY.

IT is upon this plain narrative of facts, together with another case I
am going to mention, that the Christian mythologists, calling themselves
the Christian Church, have erected their fable, which for absurdity
and extravagance is not exceeded by anything that is to be found in the
mythology of the ancients.

The ancient mythologists tell us that the race of Giants made war
against Jupiter, and that one of them threw a hundred rocks against him
at one throw; that Jupiter defeated him with thunder, and confined
him afterwards under Mount Etna; and that every time the Giant turns
himself, Mount Etna belches fire. It is here easy to see that the
circumstance of the mountain, that of its being a volcano, suggested the
idea of the fable; and that the fable is made to fit and wind itself up
with that circumstance.

The Christian mythologists tell that their Satan made war against the
Almighty, who defeated him, and confined him afterwards, not under a
mountain, but in a pit. It is here easy to see that the first fable
suggested the idea of the second; for the fable of Jupiter and the
Giants was told many hundred years before that of Satan.

Thus far the ancient and the Christian mythologists differ very little
from each other. But the latter have contrived to carry the matter much
farther. They have contrived to connect the fabulous part of the story
of Jesus Christ with the fable originating from Mount Etna; and, in
order to make all the parts of the story tie together, they have taken
to their aid the traditions of the Jews; for the Christian mythology is
made up partly from the ancient mythology, and partly from the Jewish
traditions.

The Christian mythologists, after having confined Satan in a pit, were
obliged to let him out again to bring on the sequel of the fable. He is
then introduced into the garden of Eden in the shape of a snake, or a
serpent, and in that shape he enters into familiar conversation with
Eve, who is no ways surprised to hear a snake talk; and the issue of
this tete-a-tate is, that he persuades her to eat an apple, and the
eating of that apple damns all mankind.

After giving Satan this triumph over the whole creation, one would have
supposed that the church mythologists would have been kind enough to
send him back again to the pit, or, if they had not done this, that they
would have put a mountain upon him, (for they say that their faith
can remove a mountain) or have put him under a mountain, as the former
mythologists had done, to prevent his getting again among the women,
and doing more mischief. But instead of this, they leave him at large,
without even obliging him to give his parole. The secret of which is,
that they could not do without him; and after being at the trouble of
making him, they bribed him to stay. They promised him ALL the Jews, ALL
the Turks by anticipation, nine-tenths of the world beside, and Mahomet
into the bargain. After this, who can doubt the bountifulness of the
Christian Mythology?

Having thus made an insurrection and a battle in heaven, in which none
of the combatants could be either killed or wounded--put Satan into
the pit--let him out again--given him a triumph over the whole
creation--damned all mankind by the eating of an apple, there Christian
mythologists bring the two ends of their fable together. They represent
this virtuous and amiable man, Jesus Christ, to be at once both God and
man, and also the Son of God, celestially begotten, on purpose to be
sacrificed, because they say that Eve in her longing [NOTE: The French
work has: "yielding to an unrestrained appetite."--Editor.] had eaten an
apple.



CHAPTER V - EXAMINATION IN DETAIL OF THE PRECEDING BASES.

PUTTING aside everything that might excite laughter by its absurdity,
or detestation by its profaneness, and confining ourselves merely to
an examination of the parts, it is impossible to conceive a story more
derogatory to the Almighty, more inconsistent with his wisdom, more
contradictory to his power, than this story is.

In order to make for it a foundation to rise upon, the inventors were
under the necessity of giving to the being whom they call Satan a power
equally as great, if not greater, than they attribute to the Almighty.
They have not only given him the power of liberating himself from
the pit, after what they call his fall, but they have made that power
increase afterwards to infinity. Before this fall they represent him
only as an angel of limited existence, as they represent the rest.
After his fall, he becomes, by their account, omnipresent. He exists
everywhere, and at the same time. He occupies the whole immensity of
space.

Not content with this deification of Satan, they represent him as
defeating by stratagem, in the shape of an animal of the creation,
all the power and wisdom of the Almighty. They represent him as having
compelled the Almighty to the direct necessity either of surrendering
the whole of the creation to the government and sovereignty of this
Satan, or of capitulating for its redemption by coming down upon earth,
and exhibiting himself upon a cross in the shape of a man.

Had the inventors of this story told it the contrary way, that is, had
they represented the Almighty as compelling Satan to exhibit himself
on a cross in the shape of a snake, as a punishment for his
new transgression, the story would have been less absurd, less
contradictory. But, instead of this they make the transgressor triumph,
and the Almighty fall.

That many good men have believed this strange fable, and lived very good
lives under that belief (for credulity is not a crime) is what I have no
doubt of. In the first place, they were educated to believe it, and they
would have believed anything else in the same manner. There are also
many who have been so enthusiastically enraptured by what they conceived
to be the infinite love of God to man, in making a sacrifice of himself,
that the vehemence of the idea has forbidden and deterred them from
examining into the absurdity and profaneness of the story. The more
unnatural anything is, the more is it capable of becoming the object
of dismal admiration. [NOTE: The French work has "blind and" preceding
dismal.--Editor.]



CHAPTER VI - OF THE TRUE THEOLOGY.

BUT if objects for gratitude and admiration are our desire, do they not
present themselves every hour to our eyes? Do we not see a fair creation
prepared to receive us the instant we are born--a world furnished to our
hands, that cost us nothing? Is it we that light up the sun; that pour
down the rain; and fill the earth with abundance? Whether we sleep
or wake, the vast machinery of the universe still goes on. Are these
things, and the blessings they indicate in future, nothing to, us? Can
our gross feelings be excited by no other subjects than tragedy and
suicide? Or is the gloomy pride of man become so intolerable, that
nothing can flatter it but a sacrifice of the Creator?

I know that this bold investigation will alarm many, but it would be
paying too great a compliment to their credulity to forbear it on that
account. The times and the subject demand it to be done. The suspicion
that the theory of what is called the Christian church is fabulous, is
becoming very extensive in all countries; and it will be a consolation
to men staggering under that suspicion, and doubting what to believe and
what to disbelieve, to see the subject freely investigated. I therefore
pass on to an examination of the books called the Old and the New
Testament.



CHAPTER VII - EXAMINATION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT.

THESE books, beginning with Genesis and ending with Revelations, (which,
by the bye, is a book of riddles that requires a revelation to explain
it) are, we are told, the word of God. It is, therefore, proper for
us to know who told us so, that we may know what credit to give to the
report. The answer to this question is, that nobody can tell, except
that we tell one another so. The case, however, historically appears to
be as follows:

When the church mythologists established their system, they collected
all the writings they could find, and managed them as they pleased. It
is a matter altogether of uncertainty to us whether such of the writings
as now appear under the name of the Old and the New Testament, are in
the same state in which those collectors say they found them; or whether
they added, altered, abridged, or dressed them up.

Be this as it may, they decided by vote which of the books out of the
collection they had made, should be the WORD OF GOD, and which should
not.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | 75 | | 76 | | 77 | | 78 | | 79 | | 80 | | 81 | | 82 | | 83 | | 84 | | 85 | | 86 | | 87 | | 88 | | 89 | | 90 | | 91 | | 92 | | 93 | | 94 | | 95 | | 96 | | 97 | | 98 | | 99 | | 100 | | 101 | | 102 | | 103 | | 104 | | 105 | | 106 | | 107 | | 108 | | 109 | | 110 | | 111 | | 112 | | 113 | | 114 | | 115 | | 116 | | 117 | | 118 | | 119 | | 120 | | 121 | | 122 | | 123 | | 124 | | 125 | | 126 | | 127 | | 128 | | 129 | | 130 | | 131 | | 132 | | 133 | | 134 | | 135 | | 136 | | 137 | | 138 | | 139 | | 140 | | 141 | | 142 | | 143 | | 144 | | 145 | | 146 | | 147 | | 148 | | 149 | | 150 | | 151 | | 152 | | 153 | | 154 | | 155 | | 156 | | 157 | | 158 | | 159 | | 160 | | 161 | | 162 | | 163 | | 164 | | 165 | | 166 | | 167 | | 168 | | 169 | | 170 | | 171 | | 172 | | 173 | | 174 | | 175 | | 176 | | 177 | | 178 | | 179 | | 180 | | 181 | | 182 | | 183 | | 184 | | 185 | | 186 | | 187 | | 188 | | 189 | | 190 | | 191 | | 192 | | 193 | | 194 | | 195 | | 196 | | 197 | | 198 | | 199 | | 200 | | 201 | | 202 | | 203 | | 204 | | 205 | | 206 | | 207 | | 208 | | 209 | | 210 | | 211 | | 212 | | 213 | | 214 | | 215 | | 216 | | 217 | | 218 | | 219 | | 220 | | 221 | | 222 | | 223 | | 224 | | 225 | | 226 | | 227 | | 228 | | 229 | | 230 | | 231 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.