2/28/2003                                                                                       View Comments

Why Come Out As An Agnostic or Atheist?

by Robby Berry

Should ex-Christians who become agnostic or atheists "come out of the closet"? That is, should they tell their friends, family and loved ones about their newfound loss of faith, or should they keep it to themselves and pretend to be Christians? I believe that coming out is far better than staying in, for the following reasons:

Staying in the closet is an emotionally draining experience. Most of us feel bad about deliberately lying, and really bad about deliberately lying to our close friends, family and loved ones. But staying in the closet requires precisely that. This generates loads of guilt, and carrying around that kind of guilt is pretty unhealthy from an emotional point of view. Making matters worse, you have to expend a great deal of mental effort to maintain the facade, a task made even more complicated by the fact that you are attempting to fool those who know you best, and thus are the most difficult to fool.

Staying in the closet tends to isolate you from the reasoning community, and get you more involved with the Christian community than you might want to be. People naturally gravitate towards people who are like themselves. We tend to choose friends who share our interests, our values, and our beliefs. But if everybody thinks you are a Christian, then atheists will tend to stay away, while Christians will want to get closer to you. This is the exact opposite of what you want. By coming out, those around you who are atheists or agnostics will be more likely to befriend you, providing you with much-needed emotional support. And in a society that is 90% "Christian", we need all the emotional support we can get.

Staying in the closet steals away time. When you pretend to be a Christian, it is inevitable that you will have to participate in Christian events such as going to church, attending prayer meetings and kinship groups, and the like. This sucks away time that you could be using for working, studying, playing or just sleeping in. Atheists know better than anybody that our time is finite, so why waste it practicing primitive superstitious rituals?

You run the risk of being found out. If this happens, the people you are trying to fool will be far less likely to give you the benefit of the doubt. If your spouse confessed to having an affair, you would be more likely to forgive your spouse than if you found out about it second-hand. By the same token, your friends and loved ones are far more likely to tolerate your atheism if you admit to it than if they happen to find your copy of "The Case Against Christianity" when you're not around.

Try this simple thought experiment. Imagine confessing your atheism to your friends and loved ones. Picture their reactions. Make it a worst case scenario. It's probably a scary scenario, isn't it? But if you are found out, their reactions will be even worse than what you've just imagined! Not only will they be angry at you for leaving the fold, but they'll be angry at you for lying as well. (And unlike atheism, lying is a legitimate thing to be angry at.) One other thing to keep in mind is that unless you only have a year or two left to live, you will be found out. Nobody can keep up that kind of facade for very long. In the long run, coming out will be significantly less straining than staying in.

Coming out is a powerful way of promoting tolerance for atheists. Remember that your Christian friends and family have had their heads filled with stereotypes about atheists by their pastors and fellow Christians. By coming out, you can show that these stereotypes are bull. Indeed, you may be the only atheist they know, and thus the only person capable of dispelling the stereotypes. And if they ever become interested in atheism themselves, they'll know who to turn to when it comes time to ask questions.

There are some people who stay in the closet because coming out could mean losing a job, or being kicked out of the house, or even being beaten or killed. Such people should probably stay in the closet, at least until they can get a new job, or find a home of their own, or move to a locale that isn't socially retarded. But even these people should come out eventually, after they have arranged things so that it is safe to do so. And those who stay in solely to avoid offending friends and family would be better served by coming out now. In the short run, it will be hell, but in the long run, it's the only way to go. The only real alternative is a lifetime of hypocrisy, self-loathing and fear.

I myself came out shortly after my deconversion. I haven't lost a single friend because of it. I am on excellent terms with my family and in-laws, most of whom are Christians, and many of whom are fundamentalists. In fact, in the case of my parents, I've actually noticed their Christianity mellowing out over the last few years, and I think my atheism may have had something to do with this. (Then again, maybe they just wised up on their own.) My then-girlfriend actually thought the atheist me was a big improvement, and went on to become my wife. I've never lost a job or been publicly humiliated because of my atheism, and I commonly drop casual mentions of my atheism in conversations with friends and coworkers without fear of trouble. Coming out has had tremendous benefits for me, and very few disadvantages.

The American public (and pretty much everyone else, for that matter) has a long way to go, but there has nonetheless been a great deal of progress for atheists. There was a time when coming out of the closet meant social and financial ruin, and shortly before that there was a time when coming out meant being executed. We have an incredible amount of freedom compared to atheists of the past, and I think we owe it to their memory to take advantage of it.

Essay obtained from http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Stage/1878/COME-OUT.HTM (link no longer valid)

2/27/2003                                                                                       View Comments

THE BIBLE IS GOD'S WORD?

Dear Believer:

I can't accept the Bible as God's Word because it contains hundreds of problems and contradictions that can't be solved, only rationalized. I ask only that you read what follows in line with James' teaching that Christians should be "open to reason" (James 3:17 RSV) and Isaiah's belief that we should "reason together" (Isa. 1:18) to see just a few of the Book's many shortcomings.

1. If you must accept Jesus as your Savior in order to be saved (John 14:6), what about the billions of beings that die as fetuses, infants, and mentally deficient, etc.? For them to accept Jesus would be impossible. So they are condemned to hell because of conditions over which they had no control. Deut. 32:4 says God is just, but where is the justice?

2. Why are we being punished for Adam's sin? After all, he ate the forbidden fruit, we didn't. It's his problem, not ours, especially in
light of Deut. 24:16, which says children shall not be punished for the sins of their fathers.

3. God created Adam, so he must have been perfect. How then, could he have sinned? Regardless of how much free will he had, if he chose to sin, he wasn't perfect.

4. How can Num. 23:19, which says God doesn't repent, be reconciled with Ex. 32:14, which clearly says he does?

5. How can 2 Kings 8:26, which says Ahaziah began to rule at age 22, be reconciled with 2 Chron. 22:2, which says he was 42?

6. How can Ex. 33:20, which says no man can see God's face and live, be squared with Gen. 32:30, which says a man saw God's face and his life was preserved?

7. Rom. 3:23 says "all have sinned." All means all. Yet, Gen. 6:9 says Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations. Job 1:1 & 1 :8 say Job was perfect. How could these men have been perfect if all have sinned?

8. How could Moses have written the first five books in the Bible (the Pentateuch) when his own death and burial are described in Deut. 34:5-6 ("So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab ...and he buried him in a valley. . . .")?

9. Did Solomon have 40,000 stalls for his horses (1 Kings 4:26) or 4,000 (2 Chron. 9:25)? Did Solomon's house contain 2,000 baths (1 Kings 7:26) or 3,000 (2 Chron. 4:5)?

10. Paul says Christianity lives or dies on the Resurrection (1 Cor.15:14,17). Yet, why would it be of any consequence since the Widow at Nain's son, Jairus's daughter, Lazarus, and many others rose before Jesus? By the time he rose this was a rather common occurrence. I would think it would have been met by a resounding yawn rather than surprise followed by: So what else can you do. Adam's act of coming into the world as a full grown adult is more spectacular.

11. Was Jehoiachin 18 years old when he began to reign in Jerusalem and did he reign 3 months (2 Kings 24:8), or was he 8 years old and reigned 3 months and 10 days (2 Chron. 36: 9). Did Nebuzaradan come to Jerusalem on the 7th (2 Kings 25:8) or 10th (Jer. 52:12) day of the 5th month?

12. How could we follow the 6th Commandment, even if we wanted to, when the authors of the various versions of the Bible can't agree on whether the key word is "kill" or “murder”? Surely they recognize the difference?

13. We are told the Bible has no scientific errors, yet it says the bat is a bird (Lev. 11:13,19), hares chew the cud (Lev. 11:5-6), and some fowl (Lev. 11:20-21) and insects (Lev. 11:22-23) have four legs.

14. Matt. 27:9-10 quotes a prophecy made by Jeremy the prophet. Yet, no Bible believer has ever been able to show me where it lies in the Book of Jeremiah.

15. Heaven is supposed to be a perfect place. Yet, it experienced a war (Rev. 12:7). How can there be a war in a perfect place and if it
happened before why couldn't it happen again? Why would I want to go to a place in which war can occur? That's exactly what I'm trying to escape, aren't you?

16. Believers are told in Mark 16:17-18 that they can drink "any deadly thing" and "it shall not hurt” them. But I don't think you would be naive enough to drink any arsenic offered. Perhaps I'm wrong and you would be willing to test the Book's veracity-"lay it on the line" so to speak?

17. We are told salvation is obtained by faith alone (John 3:18,36) " yet Jesus told a man to follow the Commandments-Matt. 19:16-18 (saving by works)-if he wanted eternal life.

18. According to the text there are 29 cities listed in Joshua 15:21-32 (RSV). One need only count them to see that biblical math is not to be trusted. The total is 36.

19. Surely you don't believe Eccl. 1:9 RSV ("What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun")? How many cities had an atomic bomb dropped on them prior to 1945, and how many people walked on the moon before 1969?

20. If the Bible is our moral guide, then how can it make pornographic statements such as: “...they may eat their own dung and drink their own piss with you" (2 Kings 18:27)? Is that what you want your children reading on Sunday?

21. If God created everything, (Col. 1:16, Eph. 3:9, Rev. 4:11, John 1:3), then he did create the world's evil (Isa. 45:7, Lam. 3:38). Thus,
he is responsible.

22. In Psalm 139:7-11 we are told God is everywhere. If so, why would God need to come down to earth to see a city (Gen. 11:5) when he is already here? And how could Satan leave the presence of the Lord (Job 1: 12, 2:7)?

23. For justice to exist, punishment must fit the crime. No matter how many bad deeds one commits in this world, there is a limit. Yet, hell's punishment is infinitely greater. It’s eternal.

24. Last, in Acts 20:35 Paul told people “to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Since Jesus never made such a biblical statement, isn't Paul guilty of deception?

These examples expose only a few of the many reasons I can't accept the Bible as the word of a perfect being. A far greater number can be found in the monthly publication, BIBLICAL ERRANCY, which is “An international periodical focusing on biblical errors, contradictions, and fallacies, while providing a hearing for apologists.”

A free copy of this in pamphlet form is available from Dennis McKinsey 2500 Punderson Drive, Hilliard, Ohio 43026 (614) 527-1703

2/22/2003                                                                                       View Comments

Calvin and the Reformers and their animosities

article submitted by Edward T. Babinski author of Leaving the Fold

"The Reformers" [not simply Luther and Calvin, but other Reformation leaders as well] sometimes employed degrees of theological and personal recriminations toward each other that might shock not a few readers who have never studied that particular phase of “Christian” history. (Which also makes me suspect that at least one attraction of “Christianity” or “Islam” or other such faiths is the fact that people can call each other neat sounding theological names like “heretic,” and also threaten each other with “God’s wrath” without such speech ever going to court. But then "Communism" also had it's own ideological code words of reprobation, like "decadent.")

The passages below are drawn from "History of the Life, Works, and Doctrines of John Calvin" by J. M. V. Audin, translated by Rev. John McGill (Louisville: B. J. Webb & Brother, 1850). Citations for each quotation can be found at the bottom of each page in Audin’s work.

[Audin, p. 158-159]
[On Jan. 12, 1538] Calvin [wrote] in a confidential letter to his friend, Bucer. “If Luther can, in the same embrace, bind us and our confusion, my heart will be overwhelmed with joy; but there is no one but himself in the church of God...What are we to think of Luther? In truth, I know not: I believe that he is a pious man; I would wish only that they are mistaken in representing him as they do (and the testimony is that of his friends,) as foolishly obstinate; and his conduct is well calculated to accredit these suspicions. They inform me that he boasts of having compelled all the churches of Wittenberg to recognize his lying doctrine; strange vanity! If he be tormented by so great a desire of glory, all serious hope of peace in the truth of the Lord must be renounced; with him there are not only pride and wickedness, but ignorance and hallucination the most gross. How absurd was he at first with his bread, which is the true body!

If now he believes that the body of Christ is enveloped in the material substance, it is a monstrous error. Ah! If they wish to inculcate such absurd doctrines to our Swiss, what a beautiful path to concord do they prepare! If, therefore, thou hast over Martin any influence, labor to chain to Christ, rather than to the doctor, all those souls with whom he has so unfortunately contended: let Martin at length give a hand to the truth which he has manifestly betrayed. As to myself, I can well render testimony, that, from the day on which I first tasted the word of truth, I have not been abandoned by God, to the point of not comprehending the nature of the sacraments and the sense of the Eucharistic institution.”

[Audin, p. 403-408]
At the death of Zwingli, the church of Zurich was divided into various sects: the Significatives, theTropists, the Energicals, the Arhabonarians, the Adessenarians, the Metaphorists, the Iscariotists, and the Nothingarians. The dispute for the moment tranquilized, was revived again on the slightest historical accident. Melanchthon vainly endeavoured to appease his master [Luther]. Luther declared, that, as long as there remained a drop of blood in his veins, or sufficient ink in his inkstand to fill his pen, he would wage war against the Sacramentarians. In 1543, he wrote to Foschauer, that the Saxon church could not live in peace with the heretical church of Zurich. And in his annotations on Genesis, published the year following, he acted the part of the Eternal Judge, and condemned [his fellow Protestant Reformers] Zwingli, Oecolampadius, and their adherents, to eternal flames…

The Zurichers commenced the contest with a pamphlet, the whole venom of which is in the title: “A summary of the teaching of the evangelists of Zurich, chiefly regarding the Lord’s Supper, against the calumnies, theoutrages, and the insolence of doctor Martin."…

Luther did not take up the gauntlet; but…some days prior to his death, he wrote: “Happy the man who has not walked in the counsel of the Sacramentarians, who has not been found in the ways of the Zwinglians, who has not seated himself in the chair of the Zurichers.”

Calvin for a moment flattered himself with the hope of reconciling divided minds by means of his hermaphrodite system. Farel advised his friend [Calvin] to go to Zurich, where his word, sustained by the Holy Ghost, would operate a reconciliation…

Calvin is tormented in contemplating this "son of Peleus," as he calls Luther, who listens to no advice, and marches upon his path, without fear of thickets and mountains. He would have Luther approximate to Zwingli, and to effect this approximation, he believed in the omnipotence of his treatise on the Lord’s Supper, which is welcomed no where.

“But of what terrible malady is your Pericles ill?” Calvin wrote to Melanchthon [i.e., "Pericles" being a reference to Luther]. “Whom has he [Luther] induced to think with him, by all his tumults of words? Let him play his real game of a furious fool. Certes [i.e., Melanchthon], I revere him, but he does me wrong. And what is most unfortunate is, that no person is found to repress, or even to calm an impetuosity so insolent.” [Calvin to Melanchthon, Jan. 28, 1545]

The Genovese reformer [Calvin] was still more confidential with Bullinger, because he was acquainted with the dispositions of his correspondent. He has no fear now that his revelations will be abused; he [Calvin] writes:

“I learn that Luther, with his insolent petulance, attacks us all together: I cannot decently hope that you will observe silence; for, after all, it is not just to be treated so badly, and not dare defend oneself. I acknowledge that Luther is a man of fine genius, that he has received extraordinary gifts from heaven, that he has an admirable fortitude of soul, a constancy above all trial, and that to this day he has combated the Antichrist. I have frequently said, that, were he to treat me as an incarnate demon, I would still not the less rank him as a great servant of Christ, but also great for his faults. Would to God he had employed against the enemies of the truth that bile, which he does not cease to pour out against the servants of Christ.” [Calvin to Bullinger, Nov. 25, 1544]

During ten years the private opinion of Calvin regarding Luther had undergone no variation. Already, in 1538, he [Luther] was a man of vanity and falsehood, laboring under gross hallucination, an absurd doctor, who maintained that material bread is the body of Christ; an insolent opponent of the truth. [Calvin to Bucer, Geneva, Jan. 12, 1538]

But language changes with circumstances. It happens that Calvin needs Luther’s patronage for his book against the Nicodemites; now, the writer’s words [Calvin’s words] are sweet as honey...

This morose monk [Luther] died, bequeathing to Leo Judae, Calvin, and the Sacramentarians the following testament, written in his [Luther’s] own hand:

“Seeing the heresies heaped upon heresies on every side, and that the devil puts neither limit nor term to his rage and fury, in order that after my death they may not be able to make use of my writings to defend the errors of the Sacramentarians, as has already been done by some brainless fellows, corrupters of the supper of the Lord and of baptism; I have desired, before God, and before men, to make my confession, in which, with the Lord’s aid, I wish to persevere and present myself before the tribunal of Jesus Christ…- I say likewise, of the Lord’s Supper; that in it, the true body and the true blood of Jesus Christ in the bread and wine, is eaten and drunk, even though those who give and those who receive it have lost faith, or abuse the sacraments…and if, in the struggle of my death, temptation should force from my mouth anything contrary to this, I disavow it, and by the confession which I make, I protest that such thing can only come from satan: So help me God. Amen.” [Luther in 3 parte de caena – Tran. De FL. De Remond]

Protestants would have us believe that, before his death, Luther denied some of his dogmas, and especially his formulary respecting the real presence; they stand in need of this apostacy in order to exalt Calvin. In default of official testimony, they have culled from an obscure writer an anecdote, which they quote in order to prove that Luther did not regard Calvin as a heretic. We ask nothing better than to recount this little story. [The "little story" is a bit too long to repeat here along with Audin’s comments. – Ed. Babinski]...

But the spectacle of those intestine divisions [amongst Protestant Reformers], doctrinal transformations, antilogies, of those prodigies of variations, retractations, and contradictions, does not in the least alarm Protestant historians, who, with great coolness, propound the statement:

That there is unity between the two churches, the reformed and the protestant church, if not of teaching, at least of faith in Jesus Christ. But then we will ask Calvin’s last biographer, to explain to us the anger of John of Noyan against Westphalius, Pighius, and Gentilis, all Protestants, who apparently believed in Jesus Christ and in the merits of his blood?

[Audin, p. 84-85]
We have beheld Luther at Marbourg, at the colloquy imagined by Philip of Hesse, refuse to give the kiss of peace to the Sacramentarians, whom Calvin represents, and in leaving for Wittenberg, devote them to the wrath of God and men...

Has not Luther just torn out the page in Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion -- where Calvin speaks of the bread and wine of the Eucharist as mere emblems -- as a page inspired by the evil spirit?...

If King Francis I embraces the symbol of Calvin, Luther threatens the King with reprobation. If the King listens to Luther, Calvin damns him irremediably, for allowing himself to be seduced by “the detestable error of the Real Presence.” Apostles of the Lord agree then among yourselves. You both tell me, take and read, here is the book of life, the bread of truth, the manna of the desert. I listen to you, and your word throws my soul into an abyss of doubts. – Who then will cause to shine “that first star of day,” as Calvin calls his gospel.
    “I will” says Osiander, “but accept my essential justice.”
    “I will,” says Calvin, “but reject the justice of the heretic Osiander,and accept my gratuitous justice.”
    “I will,” says Melanchthon, “but remain in the papacy, for the church
    must have a visible head.”
    “I will,” says Calvin, “but reject the pope, the prince of darkness, theanti-christ of flesh and bone.”
    “I will,” says Luther, “but believe that with your lips you receive thebody and blood of Christ.”
    “I will,” says Calvin, “but believe that your mouth only touches thesymbols of the flesh and blood, and that faith alone has the power totransform them into reality.”

Where then did the first star of day stop in its course?

    “At Zurich,” says Zwingli.
    “At Bale,” says Oecolampadius.
    “At Strasbourg,” says Bucer.
    “At Wittenberg,” says Luther.
    “At Neuchatel,” says Farel.

But in what Bible shall I read the word of God?
    “In Luther’s Bible,” says Hans Lufft, his printer.
    “In the Geneva Bible,” say Calvin and Beza.
    “In the Bible of Zurich,” exclaims Leo Judae.
    “In the Bible of Bale,” answers Oecolampadius.
    “In truth,” says Beza, “the translation of Bale is pitiful, and in manypassages offensive to the Holy Spirit.”
    “Cursed be the Geneva translation,” says the colloquy of Hamptoncourt, “it is the worst that exists.”
    “Be on your guard,” says Calvin, “against the Bible of Zwingli, it is poison; for Zwingli has written “that Paul did not recognize his epistles as holy, infallible scripture, and that immediately after they had been written, they had no authority among the Apostles.”


[Audin, p. 486-487]
All who have known him withdraw from him [Calvin], because they are unable to endure his arrogant speech, his bilious egotism, his bursts of vanity, and his immeasurable pride. Melanchthon reproaches him with a moroseness that nothing can bend. Bucer, with the disease of evil speaking which has passed into the very blood, like the virus of a mad-dog. Papire Masson, with an insatiable pride and thirst for blood, under the mask of modesty and simplicity; Balduinus, with an intolerable self sufficiency of which every one complains.

If he be such as his [Calvin’s] admiring biographers represent him to us, how did it happen, that one by one he lost all his friends, even the most devoted? Caroli, at the disputation of Lausanne, had tendered him [Calvin] the noblest pledges of devotedness. And Caroli, whom at first he had lauded, at length was nothing better than “a mad dog.” The reason, is that Caroli was unwilling to sell his liberty to the reformer. Castalion was one of his beloved disciples, whom he had placed at the head of the college of Geneva; but Castalion falls into disgrace with Calvin, because he understands the descendit ad infers of the Athanasian creed differently from him…Pighius, whose learning he [Calvin] has admired, is transformed into a beardless scholar, as soon as he questions the reformer’s authority. Bucer is compelled one day to explain: “thou [Calvin] lovest and thou hatest without any other motive than that insupportable
self-love, which annoys all that are acquainted with thee.” Luther, whom at first he regarded as an angel [after first reading Luther’s works], soon becomes a wicked woman, who would do much better to employ the fist she has received from God in correcting her own faults, than to be sustaining her shameless blasphemies of the “real presence.” Search all the pages of Protestant or Reformation biography, and you will not encounter a single reputation that he [Calvin] has not attacked, torn to pieces, vilified. He calls, “Luther, in ridicule, the Pericles of Germany;

Melanchthon, an inconstant person and a coward; Osiander, an enchanter, a seducer, a savage beast; Augiland, minister at Montebeliard, proud, strife making, wrathful; Capmulus, a nobody; Heshus, a stinking babbler; Staincer, an Arian; Memnon, a miserable Manichean.” Hence they were wont to say at Geneva: “better be in hell with Beza, than in paradise with Calvin.” [Beza thought ill of the same people and ideas that Calvin did. After Calvin died, Beza became Calvin’s biographer. But the saying went in Geneva that even “being in hell with Beza was better than being in heaven with Calvin.” -- Ed Babinski]

[Audin, p. 530-532]
Pope Paul III, when dying, forgave all his enemies after the example of the Saviour on his cross…including all those who had caused him to suffer in this life: without this evangelical wish, the Catholic priest never would say to the soul: Depart, Christian soul. Calvin treated Pope Paul III as Luther did Henry VIII, covering his face with mud. [And] Calvin in his last hour, pardoned nobody. Would Beza, who undertakes to describe the last moments of his friend; have forgotten to record the words of mercy which he should have heard?...On the 27th of May, 1564 [Calvin]…had ceased to breathe. “On that day,” says Beza, “the sun went down, and the greatest
luminary that ever came into the world for the direction of the church of God was withdrawn into heaven. On that night and the following day, there were great lamentations throughout the city: the prophet of the Lord was no more.” [Beza, The Life of Calvin] Beza adds, “There were many strangers who came from a distance and marvelously desired to see him [Calvin], dead as he was, and urged to be allowed this…But, to prevent all calumny, he was taken away about 8 in the morning, and about two hours before noon, he was borne in the usual manner...to the common burial place...” This “calumny” of which Beza here speaks was public rumor, which recounted strange things regarding the last moments of the Reformer. It was said that no one had been allowed to enter the death chamber, because the body of the deceased bore traces of a desperate struggle with death, and showed a decomposition in which the eye would have seen visible signs of divine anger, or marks of an infamous disease; also, they had hastened to veil the face of the corpse with a black cloth, and to bury it before the rumor of his death had been spread through the city, so great fear had they of indiscreet looks [at the face and body]. But it chanced that a young student, having glided into the chamber of the dead man, lifted the cloth, and beheld the mysteries which it was their interest to keep concealed. No one had asked him to reveal the secret. He wrote: “Calvin died, smitten by the hand of an avenging God; the victim of a shameful disease which ended in despair.” [Joann. Harennius, apud Pet. Cutzenum.]

This student was Harennius, who had come to Geneva to attend the lessons of the reformer.

[Audin, p. 550]
When at a later period, thanks to the efforts of the synod of Dort, thought was allowed to scrutinize the Genevese Confession [i.e., The Confession of Faith that Calvin authored for the people of Geneva when Calvin was the chief preacher and spiritual authority there], see how, each day, some one or other of the articles of the Confession has been given up, till of all Protestant cities Geneva has become the least Calvinistic...However the Reformation may seek to hide itself beneath the mantle of Zwingli, of Luther, of Calvin, of Oecolampadius, or of Knox, it cannot enjoy a dogmatic existence except by the favor of princes: its kingdom is of this world.

[Audin, p. 548-549]
Calvin's word, having been brought to the low countries [Holland, et al] and subjected to examination, had been found insufficient...Each city of Holland had an "apostle sent by God"...[and] of all of Calvin's books the only one that they considered the work of the Lord was Calvin's Treatise Concerning the Duty of Public Magistrates to Punish Heretics, which each Protestant sect translated in order to put it in practice against those who dissented.* Bogermann, professor of Fancker, wrote comments on the pamphlet, and added some new texts to prove that the civil power has the right to put to death the blasphemer of God's name. He called every one a blasphemer who did not think with him on the subject of grace. [Two Protestants] Jacob Arminius and Franz Gonar, revived the subjects of dispute that had occupied Luther [a Protestant] and Erasmus [a Catholic]. Franz Gomar damned Arminius, who maintained the liberty of the will; Arminius doomed to the flames Fanz Gomar, who preached the doctrine of serf-will. There were intolerants and tolerants, rigid Calvinists and moderate Calvinists, lapsarians and supralapsarians.
    [*Footnote by Audin at the bottom of page 549, "We refer those of our readers, desirous to become acquainted with the variations of the Reformation, to the German book of Hoeninghaus, _My Excursion Through Protestantism, or the Necessity of a Return to the Catholic Church, Demonstrated Exclusively by the Avowals of Protestant Theologians and Philosophers_. It is one of the finest books of the epoch, unfortunately almost unknown in France."]


To learn more about the mutual animosities of the Protestant Reformers visit this link

2/20/2003                                                                                       View Comments

Conservative Christian beliefs about masturbation:

We have not found any biblical verses which deal directly with masturbation. However, the practice is widely condemned by Evangelical Christian groups. A few articles on the subject are described below. They use very different approaches to develop their position. Two of the articles raise the threat of eternal punishment in Hell for the over 90% of men (and probably a lower percentage of women) who masturbate.

Masturbation is a form of adultery:

Religion-Cults.Com teaches that masturbation is an an abomination and a perversion. To pursue sexual pleasure or orgasm in manner not associated with marital intercourse that is love-giving and open to the creation of new life violates the will of God and is immoral. In fact they claim that: "In marriage, any kind of sexual stimulation can be given to the partner, but always ending the relation with sexual intercourse, depositing the semen into the vagina. Other kind of orgasm is a way of masturbation."

Masturbation is sinful because of the sexual fantasies it generates:

New-Life.Net appears to teach that masturbation is not a sexual sin of the same class as fornication (e.g. pre-marital sex). 2 "But it's sinful when accompanied, as is so often the case, by sexual fantasies and impure thoughts." It is also a sin when it becomes habit forming. They recommend diverting sexual energies to re-focus on "the service of God and of others." (Jesus is recorded as commenting on sexual fantasies in Matthew 5:28 as noted above) Further, they say that several bad side effects are inherent from long term masturbation including guilt feelings which make it hard for you to relate to other people, lack of self-control may make you susceptible to unfaithfulness in your marriage and because of the concentration on your own orgasm or release, it can train you to be selfish in marital sex. It is also common for masturbation to create a problem with pre-ejaculation in your marriage.

No documentation of these allegations is offered.


Masturbation is a form of impurity and uncleanness:

RBC Ministries admits that the Bible has no specific references to masturbation. 3 However, they believe that habitual self-pleasuring is contained within the catchall terms "lasciviousness," "impurity," and "uncleanness." They give no reasons why masturbation falls under these categories of sin. They cite some Biblical references: Leviticus 15:16-17; Mark 7:20-22; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3-5; Colossians 3:5. The Galatians and Ephesians are particularly serious, because they state that such people "will not inherit the kingdom of God." They will be headed for Hell fire when they die. On a positive note, they reject the concept that sexual desires and feelings are intrinsically evil. That, they believe, is an ancient Gnostic heresy.

Masturbation is addictive and a misuse of sexuality:

Christ Unlimited Ministries (CUM) concludes that God created sexuality in order to be enjoyed only between two heterosexual, married spouses. 4 Since masturbation only involves one person, it is an abuse of this gift of God. Masturbation is addictive; the individual craves "increasingly extreme acts to maintain the same degree of excitement." [The author of that essay does not provide any proof of this assertion.] Masturbation usually involves fantasy which is condemned in Job 31:1-3 and Matthew 5:28. The author offers a multi-point program for overcoming masturbation: Confess the sin to God; confess it to your pastor or another committed Christian; reject anything that aggravates the sin; seek deliverance from fellow Christians who provide a healing ministry; don't give up.

Masturbation is against natural law:

Good Morals.Org boldly asserts that "ANY sexual activity which attempts to bypass reproduction is a sin. God joined the creation of life together with the pleasures of sexual intercourse. Birth control and abortion attempt to defeat the creation of life that is entwined by Nature's God with the reproductive act. So does masturbation."

They continue on by clearly condemning masturbation as an act of homosexual perversion. This page uses the KJV and draws a direct parallel between "self-abuse" and the sin of Onan.

Masturbation is a violation of God's purpose for sex:

Dawson McAllister of Christian Answers Network (The English version of this article seems to have been recently removed) condemns masturbation for a variety of reasons: Genesis 2:18 describes how God created sex to overcome man's aloneness. Thus, sex was meant for two people. Thus, masturbation goes against God's purpose for sexuality.

Sexual fantasies almost always accompany masturbation. He cites Proverbs 12:11, although the passage does not appear to say anything about sexual fantasies.

Masturbation can damage a person sexually; their future sex life in marriage could suffer. He offers no reason why this will happen; he does not cites any studies in support of his conclusion.

He claims that masturbation is an unhealthy way to deal with loneliness. Again, he does not provide any references or support for the statement.

He claims that "Masturbation is almost always a symptom of a deeper need." Again, no supporting evidence is supplied.

If you Masturbate you are Homosexual!

The Centurion says the following. As usual there is absolutely no documentation of any kind offered to support their position.

"Do not be deceived, for masturbation is a form of homosexuality. The word "homo" means like or same. Therefore, when an individual masturbates, only one sex is present. The Bible promotes heterosexual relationships. In other words, all sexual relations that involve only one sex is homosexuality. This vile practice stems from a heart sanctified to Satan. The Holy Spirit will never instruct anyone to carry out such a corrupt thing. Masturbation is not the answer to sexual urges that one cannot carry out immediately for whatever reasons. Stop abusing yourself. Masturbation affects every aspect of life. It affects your spiritual, mental and physical well being. We must understand that these areas are not independent of the others but inter-dependent. All three work together to establish health. That is why the devil employs this weapon because he knows that the practice of masturbation will destroy man completely."

Okay, whatever. This next part I especially like because it uses nameless scientists for support:

"Scientists have accredited many physical ills to the practice of masturbation. They found out that masturbation disturbs the nervous system. The lungs and liver are affected and diseases such as neuralgia, rheumatism, affection in the spine, diseased kidneys and cancerous tumors are formed as well. in addition, catarrh, dropsy, headache, loss of memory and sight, weakness in the back and loins and insanity set in as well. So, when the Bible admonishes us to flee from the lusts of the flesh and walk after the spirit we can understand why."

Now that is just a pack of silly lies. There is absolutely no scientific evidence for any of the allegations made in that paragraph! I love it when people use the mysterious "they said" for support.


An Ex-Christian Perspective

Only a few of the many sites available condemning "self-relief" have been reviewed here. The writers of the referenced articles come from both Catholic and Protestant backgrounds. Each used the Bible and Tradition to support their positions.

It is my opinion that sexuality is simply a normal part of life much like eating, drinking, and breathing. We would never condemn a person for eating alone, saying that having a meal is an exclusively social affair. Sex is a primal urge programmed into us by nature to assure the survival of humankind into the foreseeable future. To saddle people with horrific guilt because they have surging hormones...that's just hideous.

I am not a personal advocate for promiscuity for many reasons, not the least of which would be the proliferation of disease, emotional trauma, and unwanted pregnancy. However, to be so invasive as to attempt to control another person's privately touching their own bodies—that's unfathomable.

And that is exactly what religion in general, and Christianity in particular, is all about—control. Specifically, controlling other people.

I know a young man who's wife only desired sex once or twice a month. She thought that her husband's demands for more than that was animal selfishness. Both husband and wife were in their twenties and had two children. They are also Christians who come from Christian homes. He took to masturbating in order to relieve the stress of the hormones surging through his blood. His wife caught him, reported it to his parents, and all hell broke loose in the family—and in their churches.

After several attempts to "heal" the boy of his terrible sin, his wife finally left him. HIS WIFE LEFT HIM!. Get this, he didn't leave her—she left him because she was convinced that masturbation was a form of adultery. She could not bear to live with him anymore once she finally came to the realization that he might never stop the heinous practice of stroking his 20-something, hormone-driven bone.

The funny thing is, from every non-religious article or book I have read on the subject, masturbating, far from alienating couples, actually enhances their sex-life. It does this because each person knows exactly what their body responses are. Instead of a lack of control in love making, each partner actually has much more control over themselves and can devote more thought and energy into satisfying their partners.

I generally have observed that problems with self-control in men, and an inability to orgasm in women, is often directly related to an avoidance of private personal experimentation. If a man knows exactly when to change his pace, or take a break in lovemaking, he will find premature orgasm is much less of a problem. If the woman knows exactly what it is that she needs to reach her peak, she can assist her husband instead of expecting him to be psychic.

When I was a Christian, I thought the way various heretical cults and religions controlled their followers' minds and habits was a crime.

Is Christianity really any different?

2/19/2003                                                                                       View Comments

EndVenture

by smithbrad

My good friend and empathologist Sharon Kukhahn cautioned me to not have "an agenda" in creating this web page, reminding me that the truth does not have to be proven if, indeed, it is the truth. And that coincides with something Eric Hoffer wrote in The True Believer:

Whence comes the impulse to proselytize? ... It is a search for a final and irrefutable demonstration that our absolute truth is indeed the one and only truth. The proselytizing fanatic strengthens his own faith by converting others. The creed whose legitimacy is most easily challenged is likely to develop the strongest proselytizing impulse.

Of course, Hoffer fails to recognize the fact that many Christian fundamentalists are sincere in their love of others, and are desperate than no one should perish, but that everyone should "repent of their sins" and be "saved" from eternal damnation. Regardless of what many atheists and ex-Christians want to believe, a good number of the most fervent Bible-thumpers really are motivated by love and concern. What else is one to do, who thinks a family member, friend or neighbor is going to burn forever? The Jesus-screaming fanatic on the street corner is living a life much more consistent with his faith than the Sunday morning Christian who is uncomfortable offending others with his religious beliefs.

But Christianity - especially the "hellfire and brimstone" brand - is what I've come to recognize as

A VERDICT WHICH DEMANDS EVIDENCE

I've chosen this tag based on the book by Christian apologist Josh McDowell entitled Evidence That Demands a Verdict. In this book, McDowell is clearly "preaching to the choir" in his attempt to prove fundamentalist Christianity, providing nothing more than opinion and circular reasoning as "evidence" to support the very "verdict" which his target readership is seeking.

Why does this verdict demand evidence?

A friend recently pointed out that if I'm wrong, and hell exists, I'll go there for not believing in it; but if he's wrong, and there is no such place, he has nothing to worry about. (This well-meaning Christian apparently does not know how upset "Allah" is with him for not believing in the hell of the Koran!)

There was a time when I agreed with this young man. After all, with no evidence to "prove" any belief system, it seemed better to play it safe, and believe that God was going to "get" me if I didn't find, then follow the correct version of the hundreds of brands of Christianity.

However, having found evidence to refute the fundamentalist concept of hell - evidence so overwhelming in volume that it makes the Bible look like The Hobbit - I finally understand what is meant by the phrase, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

There is no such place as hell. How can I make such a seemingly arbitrary assertion? Several reasons, all of which I will cover on this page. But the most important reason is that, while there is no evidence to support the existence of hell, there is, however, massive evidence to prove that almost all the major Christian religions are the products of a purposeful, concerted effort over the past two millennia to keep a large portion of the world's population in a state of fear.

This is why it is difficult for me to follow Sharon's advice to not have an agenda. Close to two billion people are living their lives in fear of, rather than in love with God and each other, due to this erroneous belief in hell. Specifically, the Columbine killers come to mind - boys who thought that, since they were not "good Christians", their only alternative was to believe in Marilyn Manson and Adolph Hitler.

But Sharon is right. Rather than use this evidence to "prove" anything to those who are attached to their fear-based theologies, my purpose in posting this page should be to provide sanctuary to those who have always known, despite what they have been taught to the contrary, that God is good, and loving, and righteous - and that God's moral standards are at least as high as our own.

I can hear it now: "That's blasphemy." Further into this page, I'll address the obvious reasons as to why God is incapable of creating a place like hell. But first I'll cover why humans are not only capable, but culpable of creating the concept of hell.

Though the different Christian sects which believe in hell vary in their specific methods for escaping this supposed wrath of God, all of them point to Jesus of Nazareth, whom most claim to be God in perfect human form, to be the way to salvation. But what if Jesus was not who they say he was? Since these sects all base their beliefs in the Bible (or on the Bible and tradition, or on the Bible and the writings of their founders), then it is obvious that overwhelming evidence against the Biblical Jesus Christ must either be accepted or refuted.

Again, the purpose of this page is not to "prove" my case to those who believe everything their church leaders and theologians claim regarding Jesus and the Bible. Its purpose is to present to you the evidence which shows that fear-based theology is the result of the twisted imaginations of those who would seek to control you.

Why does it matter if hell does or does not exist? Because the deception is so enormous. When I first discovered this material, I wondered, somewhat self-consciously, if everyone but a few ignorant fundamentalists and Catholics was familiar with the material I was discovering; but since I began my research I've found that no one I know has heard of this, even though there are dozens of books and websites providing the same information. So my motivation is not to win arguments or weaken another's faith, but to provide the reader with the real "gospel" ("good news"): the evidence supporting a verdict which states that hell does not exist; and also, the bad news, which is the unsettling fact that a lot of people do not want you to know it.

WHAT EVIDENCE?

The evidence has been on the shelves of the "godless, immoral, humanist" universities which your religious leaders warned you not to attend - as well as on the shelves of your local library - all this time. I discovered this when I first came across a website by a woman named Acharya S entitled "The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus Christ".

The amount of historical evidence she presents against the Biblical Jesus Christ (as well as her unconventional name) motivated me to research her claims. I thought I was embarking on a difficult project, but the author merely presents what every honest historian has known for over a century.

Before I relate the findings of my own independent research, I'll present some of the claims Acharya S makes about the origins of Christianity:

It is evident that there was no single historical person upon whom the Christian religion was founded, and that "Jesus Christ" is a compilation of legends, heroes, gods and godmen. There is not adequate room here to go into detail about each god or godman that contributed to the formation of the Jewish Jesus character; suffice it to say that there is plenty of documentation to show that this issue is not a question of "faith" or "belief." The truth is that during the era this character supposedly lived there was an extensive library at Alexandria and an incredibly nimble brotherhood network that stretched from Europe to China, and this information network had access to numerous manuscripts that told the same narrative portrayed in the New Testament with different place names and ethnicity for the characters. In actuality, the legend of Jesus nearly identically parallels the story of Krishna, for example, even in detail, as was presented by noted mythologist and scholar Gerald Massey over 100 years ago, as well as by Rev. Robert Taylor 160 years ago, among others. The Krishna tale as told in the Hindu Vedas has been dated to at least as far back as 1400 B.C.E. The same can be said of the well-woven Horus mythos, which also is practically identical, in detail, to the Jesus story, but which predates the Christian version by thousands of years.

The Jesus story incorporated elements from the tales of other deities recorded in this widespread area, such as many of the following world saviors and "sons of God," most or all of whom predate the Christian myth, and a number of whom were crucified or executed.

Adad of Assyria
Adonis, Apollo, Heracles ("Hercules") and Zeus of Greece
Alcides of Thebes
Attis of Phrygia
Baal of Phoenicia
Bali of Afghanistan
Beddru of Japan
Buddha of India
Crite of Chaldea
Deva Tat of Siam
Hesus of the Druids
Horus, Osiris, and Serapis of Egypt, whose long-haired,
bearded appearance was adopted for the Christ character
Indra of Tibet/India
Jao of Nepal
Krishna of India
Mikado of the Sintoos
Mithra of Persia
Odin of the Scandinavians
Prometheus of Caucasus/Greece
Quetzalcoatl of Mexico
Salivahana of Bermuda
Tammuz of Syria (who was, in a typical mythmaking move,
later turned into the disciple Thomas)
Thor of the Gauls
Universal Monarch of the Sibyls
Wittoba of the Bilingonese
Xamolxis of Thrace
Zarathustra/Zoroaster of Persia
Zoar of the Bonzes
The Major Players

Buddha

Although most people think of Buddha as being one person who lived around 500 B.C.E., the character commonly portrayed as Buddha can also be demonstrated to be a compilation of godmen, legends and sayings of various holy men both preceding and succeeding the period attributed to the Buddha.

The Buddha character has the following in common with the Christ figure:

Buddha was born of the virgin Maya, who was considered the "Queen of Heaven."
He was of royal descent.
He crushed a serpent's head.
He performed miracles and wonders, healed the sick, fed 500 men from a "small basket of cakes," and walked on water.
He abolished idolatry, was a "sower of the word," and preached "the establishment of a kingdom of righteousness."
He taught chastity, temperance, tolerance, compassion, love, and the equality of all.
He was transfigured on a mount.
Sakya Buddha was crucified in a sin-atonement, suffered for three days in hell, and was resurrected.
He ascended to Nirvana or "heaven."
Buddha was considered the "Good Shepherd", the "Carpenter", the "Infinite and Everlasting."
He was called the "Savior of the World" and the "Light of the World."

Horus of Egypt

The stories of Jesus and Horus are very similar, with Horus even contributing the name of Jesus Christ. Horus and his once-and-future Father, Osiris, are frequently interchangeable in the mythos ("I and my Father are one"). The legends of Horus go back thousands of years, and he shares the following in common with Jesus:

Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Meri on December 25th in a cave/manger, with his birth being announced by a star in the East and attended by three wise men.
He was a child teacher in the Temple and was baptized when he was 30 years old.
Horus was also baptized by "Anup the Baptizer," who becomes "John the Baptist."
He had 12 disciples.
He performed miracles and raised one man, El-Azar-us, from the dead.
He walked on water.
Horus was transfigured on the Mount.
He was crucified, buried in a tomb and resurrected.
He was also the "Way, the Truth, the Light, the Messiah, God's Anointed Son, the Son of Man, the Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God, the Word" etc.
He was "the Fisher," and was associated with the Lamb, Lion and Fish ("Ichthys").
Horus's personal epithet was "Iusa," the "ever-becoming son" of "Ptah," the "Father."
Horus was called "the KRST," or "Anointed One," long before the Christians duplicated the story.
In fact, in the catacombs at Rome are pictures of the baby Horus being held by the virgin mother Isis - the original "Madonna and Child" - and the Vatican itself is built upon the papacy of Mithra, who shares many qualities with Jesus and who existed as a deity long before the Jesus character was formalized. The Christian hierarchy is nearly identical to the Mithraic version it replaced. Virtually all of the elements of the Catholic ritual, from miter to wafer to water to altar to doxology, are directly taken from earlier pagan mystery religions.

Mithra, Sungod of Persia

The story of Mithra precedes the Christian fable by at least 600 years. According to Wheless, the cult of Mithra was, shortly before the Christian era, "the most popular and widely spread 'Pagan' religion of the times." Mithra has the following in common with the Christ character:

Mithra was born of a virgin on December 25th.
He was considered a great traveling teacher and master.
He had 12 companions or disciples.
He performed miracles.
He was buried in a tomb.
After three days he rose again.
His resurrection was celebrated every year.
Mithra was called "the Good Shepherd."
He was considered "the Way, the Truth and the Light, the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah."
He was identified with both the Lion and the Lamb.
His sacred day was Sunday, "the Lord's Day," hundreds of years before the appearance of Christ.
Mithra had his principal festival on what was later to become Easter, at which time he was resurrected.
His religion had a Eucharist or "Lord's Supper."

Krishna of India

The similarities between the Christian character and the Indian messiah are many. Indeed, Massey finds over 100 similarities between the Hindu and Christian saviors, and Graves, who includes the various noncanonical gospels in his analysis, lists over 300 likenesses. It should be noted that a common earlier English spelling of Krishna was "Christna," which reveals its relation to '"Christ." It should also be noted that, like the Jewish godman, many people have believed in a historical, carnalized Krishna.

Krishna was born of the Virgin Devaki ("Divine One")
His father was a carpenter.
His birth was attended by angels, wise men and shepherds, and he was presented with gold, frankincense and myrrh.
He was persecuted by a tyrant who ordered the slaughter of thousands of infants.
He was of royal descent.
He was baptized in the River Ganges.
He worked miracles and wonders.
He raised the dead and healed lepers, the deaf and the blind.
Krishna used parables to teach the people about charity and love.
"He lived poor and he loved the poor."
He was transfigured in front of his disciples.
In some traditions he died on a tree or was crucified between two thieves.
He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven.
Krishna is called the "Shepherd God" and "Lord of lords," and was considered "the Redeemer, Firstborn, Sin Bearer, Liberator, Universal Word."
He is the second person of the Trinity, and proclaimed himself the "Resurrection" and the "way to the Father."
He was considered the "Beginning, the Middle and the End," ("Alpha and Omega"), as well as being omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent.
His disciples bestowed upon him the title "Jezeus," meaning "pure essence."
Krishna is to return to do battle with the "Prince of Evil," who will desolate the earth.

Prometheus of Greece

The Greek god Prometheus has been claimed to have come from Egypt, but his drama took place in the Caucasus mountains. Prometheus shares a number of striking similarities with the Christ character.

Prometheus descended from heaven as God incarnate as man, to save mankind.
He was crucified, suffered and rose from the dead.
He was called the Logos or Word.
Five centuries before the Christian era, esteemed Greek poet Aeschylus wrote Prometheus Bound, which, according to Taylor, was presented in the theater in Athens. Taylor claims that in the play Prometheus is crucified "on a fatal tree" and the sky goes dark:

"The darkness which closed the scene on the suffering Prometheus, was easily exhibited on the stage, by putting out the lamps; but when the tragedy was to become history, and the fiction to be turned into fact, the lamp of day could not be so easily disposed of. Nor can it be denied that the miraculous darkness which the Evangelists so solemnly declare to have attended the crucifixion of Christ, labours under precisely the same fatality of an absolute and total want of evidence."

Tradition holds that Prometheus was crucified on a rock, yet some sources have opined that legend also held he was crucified on a tree and that Christians muddled the story and/or mutilated the text, as they did with the works of so many ancient authors. In any case, the sun hiding in darkness parallels the Christian fable of the darkness descending when Jesus was crucified. This remarkable occurrence is not recorded in history but is only explainable within the Mythos and as part of a recurring play.

The Creation of a Myth

The Christians went on a censorship rampage that led to the virtual illiteracy of the ancient world and ensured that their secret would be hidden from the masses, but the scholars of other schools/sects never gave up their arguments against the historicizing of a very ancient mythological creature. We have lost the arguments of these learned dissenters because the Christians destroyed any traces of their works. Nonetheless, the Christians preserved the contentions of their detractors through the Christians' own refutations.

For example, early Church Father Tertullian (@ 160-220 C.E.), an "ex-Pagan" and Bishop of Carthage, ironically admits the true origins of the Christ story and of all other such godmen by stating in refutation of his critics, "You say we worship the sun; so do you." Interestingly, a previously strident believer and defender of the faith, Tertullian later renounced Christianity.

The "Son" of God is the "Sun" of God

The reason why all these narratives are so similar, with a godman who is crucified and resurrected, who does miracles and has 12 disciples, is that these stories were based on the movements of the sun through the heavens, an astrotheological development that can be found throughout the planet because the sun and the 12 zodiac signs can be observed around the globe. In other words, Jesus Christ and all the others upon whom this character is predicated are personifications of the sun, and the Gospel fable is merely a rehash of a mythological formula (the "Mythos," as mentioned above) revolving around the movements of the sun through the heavens.

For instance, many of the world's crucified godmen have their traditional birthday on December 25th ("Christmas"). This is because the ancients recognized that (from an earthcentric perspective) the sun makes an annual descent southward until December 21st or 22nd, the winter solstice, when it stops moving southerly for three days and then starts to move northward again. During this time, the ancients declared that "God's sun" had "died" for three days and was "born again" on December 25th. The ancients realized quite abundantly that they needed the sun to return every day and that they would be in big trouble if the sun continued to move southward and did not stop and reverse its direction. Thus, these many different cultures celebrated the "sun of God's" birthday on December 25th. The following are the characteristics of the "sun of God":

The sun "dies" for three days on December 22nd, the winter solstice, when it stops in its movement south, to be born again or resurrected on December 25th, when it resumes its movement north.
In some areas, the calendar originally began in the constellation of Virgo, and the sun would therefore be "born of a Virgin."
The sun is the "Light of the World."
The sun "cometh on clouds, and every eye shall see him."
The sun rising in the morning is the "Savior of mankind."
The sun wears a corona, "crown of thorns" or halo.
The sun "walks on water."
The sun's "followers," "helpers" or "disciples" are the 12 months and the 12 signs of the zodiac or constellations, through which the sun must pass.
The sun at 12 noon is in the house or temple of the "Most High"; thus, "he" begins "his Father's work" at "age" 12.
The sun enters into each sign of the zodiac at 30°; hence, the "Sun of God" begins his ministry at "age" 30.
The sun is hung on a cross or "crucified," which represents its passing through the equinoxes, the vernal equinox being Easter, at which time it is then resurrected.
Contrary to popular belief, the ancients were not an ignorant and superstitious lot who actually believed their deities to be literal characters. Indeed, this slanderous propaganda has been part of the conspiracy to make the ancients appear as if they were truly the dark and dumb rabble that was in need of the "light of Jesus." The reality is that the ancients were no less advanced in their morals and spiritual practices, and in many cases were far more advanced, than the Christians in their own supposed morality and ideology, which, in its very attempt at historicity, is in actuality a degradation of the ancient Mythos. Indeed, unlike the "superior" Christians, the true intelligentsia amongst the ancients were well aware that their gods were astronomical and atmospheric in nature. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle surely knew that Zeus, the sky god father figure who migrated to Greece from India and/or Egypt, was never a real person, despite the fact that the Greeks have designated on Crete both a birth cave and a death cave of Zeus. In addition, all over the world are to be found sites where this god or that allegedly was born, walked, suffered, died, etc., a common and unremarkable occurrence that is not monopolized by, and did not originate with, Christianity.

Etymology Tells the Story

Zeus, aka "Zeus Pateras," who we now automatically believe to be a myth and not a historical figure, takes his name from the Indian version, "Dyaus Pitar." Dyaus Pitar in turn is related to the Egyptian "Ptah," and from both Pitar and Ptah comes the word "pater," or "father." "Zeus" equals "Dyaus," which became "Deos," "Deus" and "Dios" - "God." "Zeus Pateras," like Dyaus Pitar, means "God the Father," a very ancient concept that in no way originated with "Jesus" and Christianity. There is no question of Zeus being a historical character. Dyaus Pitar becomes "Jupiter" in Roman mythology, and likewise is not representative of an actual, historical character. In Egyptian mythology, Ptah, the Father, is the unseen god-force, and the sun was viewed as Ptah's visible proxy who brings everlasting life to the earth; hence, the "son of God" is really the "sun of God." Indeed, according to Hotema, the very name "Christ" comes from the Hindi word "Kris" (as in Krishna), which is a name for the sun.

Furthermore, since Horus was called "Iusa/Iao/Iesu" the "KRST," and Krishna/Christna was called "Jezeus," centuries before any Jewish character similarly named, it would be safe to assume that Jesus Christ is just a repeat of Horus and Krishna, among the rest. According to Rev. Taylor, the title "Christ" in its Hebraic form meaning "Anointed" ("Masiah") was held by all kings of Israel, as well as being "so commonly assumed by all sorts of impostors, conjurers, and pretenders to supernatural communications, that the very claim to it is in the gospel itself considered as an indication of imposture . . ." Hotema states that the name "Jesus Christ" was not formally adopted in its present form until after the first Council of Nicea, i.e., in 325 C.E.

In actuality, even the place names and the appellations of many other characters in the New Testament can be revealed to be Hebraicized renderings of the Egyptian texts.

As an example, in the fable of "Lazarus," the mummy raised from the dead by Jesus, the Christian copyists did not change his name much, "El-Azar-us" being the Egyptian mummy raised from the dead by Horus possibly 1,000 years or more before the Jewish version. This story is allegory for the sun reviving its old, dying self, or father, as in "El-Osiris." It is not a true story.

Horus's principal enemy - originally Horus's other face or "dark" aspect - was "Set" or "Sata," whence comes "Satan." Horus struggles with Set in the exact manner that Jesus battles with Satan, with 40 days in the wilderness, among other similarities. This is because this myth represents the triumph of light over dark, or the sun's return to relieve the terror of the night.

"Jerusalem" simply means "City of Peace," and the actual city in Israel was named after the holy city of peace in the Egyptian sacred texts that already existed at the time the city was founded. Likewise, "Bethany," site of the famous multiplying of the loaves, means "House of God," and is allegory for the "multiplication of the many out of the One." Any town of that designation was named for the allegorical place in the texts that existed before the town's foundation. The Egyptian predecessor and counterpart is "Bethanu."

The Book of Revelation is Egyptian and Zoroastrian

One can find certain allegorical place names such as "Jerusalem" and "Israel" in the Book of Revelation. Massey has stated that Revelation, rather than having been written by any apostle called John during the 1st Century C.E., is a very ancient text that dates to the beginning of this era of history, i.e. possibly as early as 4,000 years ago. Massey asserts that Revelation relates the Mithraic legend of Zarathustra/Zoroaster. Hotema says of this mysterious book, which has baffled mankind for centuries: "It is expressed in terms of creative phenomena; its hero is not Jesus but the Sun of the Universe, its heroine is the Moon; and all its other characters are Planets, Stars and Constellations; while its stage-setting comprises the Sky, the Earth, the Rivers and the Sea." The common form of this text has been attributed by Churchward to Horus's scribe, Aan, whose name has been passed down to us as "John."

The word Israel itself, far from being a Jewish appellation, probably comes from the combination of three different reigning deities: Isis, the Earth Mother Goddess revered throughout the ancient world; Ra, the Egyptian sungod; and El, the Semitic deity passed down in form as Saturn. El was one of the earliest names for the god of the ancient Hebrews (whence Emmanu-El, Micha-El, Gabri-El, Samu-El, etc.), and his worship is reflected in the fact that the Jews still consider Saturday as "God's Day."

Indeed, that the Christians worship on Sunday betrays the genuine origins of their god and godman. Their "savior" is actually the sun, which is the "Light of the world that every eye can see." The sun has been viewed consistently throughout history as the savior of mankind for reasons that are obvious. Without the sun, the planet would scarcely last one day. So important was the sun to the ancients that they composed a "Sun Book," or "Helio Biblia," which became the "Holy Bible."

The "Patriarchs" and "Saints" are the Gods of Other Cultures

When one studies mythmaking, one can readily discern and delineate a pattern that is repeated throughout history. Whenever an invading culture takes over its predecessors, it either vilifies the preceding deities or makes them into lesser gods, "patriarchs" or, in the case of Christianity, "saints." This process is exemplified in the adoption of the Hindu god Brahma as the Hebrew patriarch Abraham. Another school of thought proposes that the patriarch Joshua was based on Horus as "Iusa," since the cult of Horus had migrated by this period to the Levant. In this theory, the cult of Joshua, which was situated in exactly the area where the Christ drama allegedly took place, then mutated into the Christian story, with Joshua becoming Jesus. As Robertson says, "The Book of Joshua leads us to think that he had several attributes of the Sun-god, and that, like Samson and Moses, he was an ancient deity reduced to human status."

Indeed, the legend of Moses, rather than being that of a historical Hebrew character, is found around the ancient Middle and Far East, with the character having different names and races, depending on the locale: "Manou" is the Indian legislator; "Nemo the lawgiver," who brought down the tablets from the Mountain of God, hails from Babylon; "Mises" is found in Syria and Egypt, where also "Manes the lawgiver" takes the stage; "Minos" is the Cretan reformer; and the Ten Commandments are simply a repetition of the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi and the Hindu Vedas, among others. Like Moses, Krishna was placed by his mother in a reed boat and set adrift in a river to be discovered by another woman. A century ago, Massey outlined, and Graham recently reiterated, that even the Exodus itself is not a historical event. That the historicity of the Exodus has been questioned is echoed by the lack of any archaeological record, as is reported in Biblical Archaeology Review ("BAR"), September/October 1994.

Like many biblical characters, Noah is also a myth, long ago appropriated from the Egyptians, the Sumerians and others, as any sophisticated scholar could demonstrate, and yet we find all sorts of books - some even presumably "channeling" the "ultimate truth" from a mystical, omniscient, omnipresent and eternal being such as Jesus himself - prattling on about a genuine, historical Noah, his extraordinary adventures, and the "Great Flood!"

Additionally, the "Esther" of the Old Testament Book of Esther is a remake of the Goddess Ishtar, Astarte, Astoreth or Isis, from whom comes "Easter" and about whose long and ubiquitous reign little is said in "God's infallible Word." The Virgin Mother/Goddess/Queen of Heaven motif is found around the globe, long before the Christian era, with Isis, for instance, also being called "Mata-Meri" ("Mother Mary"). As Walker says, "Mari" was the "basic name of the Goddess known to the Chaldeans as Marratu, to the Jews as Marah, to the Persians as Mariham, to the Christians as Mary . . . Semites worshipped an androgynous combination of Goddess and God called Mari-El (Mary-God), corresponding to the Egyptian Meri-Ra, which combined the feminine principle of water with the masculine principle of the sun."

Even the Hebraic name of God, "Yahweh," was taken from the Egyptian "IAO."

In one of the most notorious of Christian deceptions, in order to convert followers of "Lord Buddha," the Church canonized him as "St. Josaphat," which represented a Christian corruption of the buddhistic title, "Bodhisat."

The "Disciples" are the Signs of the Zodiac

Moreover, it is no accident that there are 12 patriarchs and 12 disciples, 12 being the number of the astrological signs, or months. Indeed, like the 12 Herculean tasks and the 12 "helpers" of Horus, Jesus's 12 disciples are symbolic for the zodiacal signs and do not depict any literal figures who played out a drama upon the earth circa 30 C.E. The disciples can be shown to have been an earlier deity/folkloric hero/constellation. Peter is easily revealed to be a mythological character, while Judas has been said to represent Scorpio, "the backbiter," the time of year when the sun's rays are weakening and the sun appears to be dying. James, "brother of Jesus" and "brother of the Lord," is equivalent to Amset, brother of Osiris and brother of the Lord. Massey says "Taht-Matiu was the scribe of the gods, and in Christian art Matthew is depicted as the scribe of the gods, with an angel standing near him, to dictate the gospel." Even the apostle Paul is a compilation of several characters: The Old Testament Saul, Apollonius of Tyana and the Greek demigod Orpheus.

In just that portion of her article, Acharya S included over eighty footnotes (which you can read in detail here.) Even the article in its entirety is only a small portion of her book, The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold.

I downloaded and printed the article, then took it to a small county library in Parkland, Washington. I was not surprised that I didn't find the authors I was looking for in such a small library. I was surprised, however, to find that the stacks of books about mythology in that library backed up the above claims.

I carried about a dozen to the checkout line, where I noticed a cart of old library books for sale at fifty cents each. An old book by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (East and West in Religion) caught my eye, and as in waited in line I picked it up and opened the book to a random page, where I read the following:

Constantine's conversion to Christianity, which led to its triumph, was not quite assured for some considerable time. He hesitated a good deal between Mithra and Jesus, because the two religions of Mithraism and Christianity very closely resembled each other.

(In the above excerpt of the article by Acharya S, the third god listed under "The Major Players" is Mithra, Sungod of Persia.)

The old book I was holding was written in 1933, and it dawned on me that this information has been sitting on library shelves all over the free world, gathering dust, and it was exactly what I would have learned if I had attended one of the "godless, immoral, humanist" universities my Christian leaders warned me against.

Since then, I've been finding comparisons between the lives and teachings of the various godmen without even trying very hard. Type "sun god astrology" or "Christ myth" into a search engine (Dogpile is a good one), and you can spend hours reading the same comparisons.

Or click on this link to read what I've
found on the Internet so far regarding
sun worship and Christianity.

Or a trip to your local library will unearth the same information. The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.

WHAT IF THIS IS TRUE?

Most of the material I've found that takes issue with conventional evangelical fundamentalism or conservative Catholicism has been written by atheists. I'm not sure why that is, since lack of evidence for the traditional, Biblical Jesus does not automatically erase all possibility of God's existence.

If the Jesus many of us grew up believing in is, in fact, partly or wholly created by ambitious men to control the masses through fear of hell, does this mean that we now must believe that the universe evolved out of nothing, and that nothing exists outside the beginnings and ends of our short lives?

A respected psychology professor and textbook author was discovered to be a fraud. In one of his textbooks he happened to include his opinion that women are typically more emotional than men. Does that professor's tarnished credentials now make it impossible for his opinion to be true? The existence of God is a belief that is neither proved by its inclusion in the Bible and other ancient writings, nor disproved by disbelief in those texts.

So who was Jesus Christ? No one knows. We have no reliable records, and, as has always been the case, we all gather data to prove our presuppositions. Therefore, no one is going to hell for having died with the wrong conclusion.

Among the most pro-Christian of these anti-fundamentalist researchers is John Shelby Spong, author of (among many others) Why Christianity Must Change or Die.
Thomas Whitmore wrote 100 Scriptural Proofs That Jesus Christ Will Save All Mankind in 1840.
The Jehovah's Witnesses' Biblical argument against eternal suffering makes sense if one accepts the JW's claim that all translators other than those behind the New World Translation have purposefully slanted certain passages - an assertion that is becoming easier for me to believe.
Christian Science and Unity are two more Christian denominations untouched by fear-based fundamentalist theologies, and on the same metaphysical track is The Paradigm of Christ by Masahito Koishikawa.
For disillusioned Catholics, The White Robed Monks of St. Benedict might be a good place to start. (And did you know that in 1999, Pope John Paul II declared that hell and purgatory are not literal places?)
Finally, Jesus' Missing Years in India is one of many articles which explore the possibility that Jesus taught there between the ages of 18 and 30 (beliefs found in the teachings of such east/west spiritual masters as Yogananda and Radhakrishnan).
Personally, I've found the highest spiritual enlightenment, during this time of private religious upheaval, in Neale Donald Walsch's Conversations With God, as well as the writings of Wayne Dyer and Dan Millman.

You can't read everything that has ever been written. Browse the shelves of any large bookstore (especially one that sells used books) or surf the 'net for a few hours in search of ultimate Truth with a capital T. Some of the material is the result of hundreds (thousands?) of hours of writing; so are you supposed to do nothing for seventy years except read everything you can find about the nature of mankind, the universe and God, and then decide how you should have lived your life? Some say that this life is a test, but that method of living would make life more like a game show, in which the final answer is all that ultimately matters.

Even if this did turn out to be something along the lines of a cosmic game show, God is definitely not so cruel as to make an everlasting pit of liquid fire the consolation prize.

Fundamentalist Christianity, and Roman Catholicism in particular, view God as our father. Jesus is quoted in Matthew 7:9-11 as saying:

"Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"

Earlier I stated that God's moral standards are at least as high as our own; in the above passage, Jesus is claiming that God's moral standards are higher than ours.

So imagine a pit of lava beyond the point where your children are allowed to play. Now imagine writing them a letter to instruct them on how to avoid the burning pit. You refuse to actually appear in front of them and assure them that the letter is genuine - you expect them to discover the letter and figure out for themselves that you wrote it. (Okay, go ahead and include in the letter something like "all letters written by me, your father, are true, so pay attention to them" ... similar to the passage in 2 Timothy 3:16,17.) If they don't discover this important letter, it is the responsibility of their siblings to show it to them. If a child of yours goes too far and ends up in the lava pit, you feel sad, but it's the child's fault, and the fault of his siblings. Never mind that you could have physically stopped that child. Your ways and your thoughts are higher than the child's (Isaiah 55:9), and who is the child to argue with the father (Romans 9:19)? Mercy and compassion are doled out to your children at your pleasure (Romans 9:15).

As a result of your insane parental neglect, most of your offspring end up in the lava pit. After all, none of them have ever seen the pit, then returned to warn others about it; once they see it, they're in, burning and twisting, screaming for Daddy to rescue them. But Dad left that letter lying around, so they have no one to blame but themselves.

Did I mention that this lava pit doesn't kill your children immediately? They will suffer for days in that fire before they finally die. They really should have read that letter. (Some of your children did read the letter, but ignored it, or didn't recognize it as genuine. Serves them right, doesn't it?)

Of course, unless you're pure evil, you're not going along with any of this. You would start each day with a severe face-to-face warning on the dangers of that lava pit; your children would have no doubt that they were hearing the voice of Dad. You would physically prevent them from ever going near it. (If just one of them found his way into the lava, the knowledge that he suffered ultimate torment for several days before finally dying would be enough to drive you to suicide.) You would build a wall around your property to keep them away from the lava. There would be no discussion of free will, or sin, or the need for sacrifice. Your children are not going into that pit, period.

Better yet, if it was in your power to do so, you would remove the pit. In fact, you wouldn't have put the pit there to begin with!

God is an even better parent than you or I. If hell existed, he would have hung a flashing neon sign in the sky warning us to stay away from it. But God didn't create hell, because God is good; men created the concept of hell in order to frighten an ignorant population into submitting to their authority. In my example above, the lava burns the children for several days before killing them; but the hell we've been taught is one of eternal torment. God couldn't even think of that, let alone create it.

The real shocker for me was when I realized that, even back when God was in the habit of speaking directly to his children, he did not, according to the Genesis account, warn Adam and Eve that hell was the result of their sin!

Click here for a Biblical study of
Sheol ("the grave") and the
absence of hell in the Old Testament.

Though the concept of Sheol exists in the Old Testament books, the original children of the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob do not, and never did, believe in eternal punishment.

With the Roman Catholic Church officially out of the hell business since August 1999, and with most of her offshoots having preceded her in enlightenment, it is left to protestant evangelical fundamentalists to carry the banner of wrath and fear.

These are people who openly state that the Bible is their sole authority in matters of faith and doctrine (sola scriptura), even though the Bible says the opposite. Really think about that for a minute. Not a single Bible verse exists which claims the Bible is the Christian's final guide; send a fundie looking for a verse which teaches sola scriptura, and watch the hermeneutical gymnastics. The lack of such a passage is not enough to break the fundamentalist's hold on this false doctrine, and neither are the verses which state the opposite.

Just as most fundamentalists are surprised at the fact that the rapture is relatively new and distinctly American theory, most have no idea how recently Christian fundamentalism was formulated.

Fundamentalist writers - especially those who write against the Catholic Church - insist that fundamentalism is nothing but a continuation of Christian orthodoxy, which prevailed for three centuries after Christ, went underground for twelve hundred years, surfaced with the reformation, took its knocks from various sources, and was alternately influential and diminished in visibility. According to its partisans, fundamentalism is what remains after the rest of Christianity, if it can be granted the title, has fallen into apostasy. (Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism)

The Fundamentals was a 12-volume set commissioned by Milton and Lyman Stewart, written by 64 contributors (among them C.I. Scofield and W.J. Eerdman) and published in 1909, in order to "set forth the fundamentals of the Christian faith" (from the preface). The word "fundamentalists" found its way into print for the first time in 1920, coined by Curtis Lee Law in the New York Watchman Examiner. Christian fundamentalism is a fairly recent worldview, and its origins are the United States, not Bethlehem.

You can't read everything that has ever been written, and the Truth is not found in a single source. Divine inspiration can be found in parts of the Bible, in other sacred texts, in contemporary fiction and nonfiction, in movies, music and the ideas of others.

The fundamentalist position on all of this is that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and that those in rebellion toward God's will cannot see clearly enough to recognize what the Lord has given us. (Personally, once I stopped resisting God's will for my life, he led me out of fundamentalist Christianity in a hurry.)

Click here for the Christian apologetics claims most commonly used as "evidence" for the inspiration of the Bible.

But as soon as you point out the flaws in the reasoning of Bible fundamentalists, they fall back on "faith". They believe "God's word" because they "have faith".

In other words, deep inside is "a still, small voice" telling them what is Truth. That voice is in each of us, trying to guide. That's where God actually resides - inside each of us - and the fundie has to admit it in order to perpetuate his own belief system.

So why are we all getting conflicting reports?

A BLURRY LINE

I've tried to divide this page into what I'm convinced of and what I'm beginning to suspect; that dividing line, while admittedly blurry, is here. I've told you what I'm convinced of, and the remainder of this page will consist of my opinions as to why so many of us are finding conflicting answers in our search for truth.

We're getting clues, messages, ideas and supernatural experiences from "the other side of the barricade" (I'll get into that further down this page) - good and bad, true and false, beneficial and damaging. Here are three examples which immediately come to mind, all of which fundamentalist Christians like to attribute to "demonic activity":

The Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, witnessed by over 70,00 people, has certainly been responsible for a good share of converts to Roman Catholicism; Edgar Cayce, famous for putting himself into a trance in order to heal, look into the past or future and speak in other languages, was said to have had a 90% success rate; and the National UFO Reporting Center has logged an average of 217 sightings per month since September 1, 1999. (Click here for a broader look at these three phenomena.)

Suffice it to say that supernatural events and occurrences are happening all over the world, and have been throughout the ages. Professional skeptics do a good job of exposing the fakes and hoaxes, but if one percent of the claims are genuine, the question remains: Who is doing these things, and to what end?

I brought up the above three examples to show that some of the more public phenomena are hard to ignore, yet tend to mutually exclude each other's explanations. For example, in 1917, the year of the Miracle of the Sun, the Roman Catholic Church was still claiming to be the only way to "salvation"; and if that was true, the healings of Edgar Cayce and the sightings of UFOs could only be explained as the work of demons.

And even though I don't believe in Mormonism, I believe Joseph Smith's claim that he was given plates of scripture by a supernatural being; 11 witnesses to this miracle (three of whom claimed to have seen the angel Moroni, while the other eight claimed to have seen and touched the plates) went to their deaths without recanting their signed, sworn testimonies. As a once-orthodox Catholic, I had to conclude that this claim or experience of Smith's was either deception on his part, or on the part of a demon who disguised himself as an angel, for to believe Smith's claim would have meant accepting the Latter Day Saints' assertion that they are the "one true church".

We all gather data to prove our presuppositions, and there came a time when I had to admit to myself that I was doing just that with Fatima: it was data to prove what I was already trying to believe (Christianity). I had to admit that if I was going to believe in the Miracle of the Sun, then evidence supporting Cayce, UFOs, Mormonism, etc. deserved the same benefit of the doubt. The problem was, as I've already mentioned, that these phenomena cannot logically coexist.

During this period of my life my confusion was so intense that I wrote:

I really suspect, sometimes, that nothing exists - as in never has, doesn't now, never will. As in, none of this is real; it's not even a dream or a fantasy because no one exists to dream or think about it; it's not even a millisecond-long electrical spark that seems like billions of decades-long lives, because no space or energy exists in which the spark could have ignited. As in, nothing exists - not me, not this keyboard or this monitor, not even the past or the future.

Does that last paragraph sound insane? Of course it does. Is it as insane as claiming to exist and yet not being able to define existence? That's about a tie. To say "I think, therefore I am" is to employ circular reasoning, for only someone who exists can claim to possess thoughts.

If God created everything, then included in his creation was space and time; if he created space and time, then he also pre-existed those concepts; if he pre-existed space and time, then he once existed nowhere, at no time - which means he did not exist. Did he pop into existence out of nothingness, then, without the slightest hesitation, create space and time in an instant (the "big bang")?

I brought this up now to lay the groundwork for the remainder of this page by pointing out the idea that

OUR VERY EXISTENCE IS ABSURD!

During the same period of spiritual disillusionment I wrote:

Our existence is not only absurd, it's impossible! Even if the creator did exist from eternity past - if he was everywhere, all the time, even before he created time and space - would the vast superiority of his omnipotent intellect not drive him insane with the paradox of having no beginning? I'm not being flippant here; I really mean this.

I've always believed this - as an agnostic, a fundamentalist Christian, an orthodox Roman Catholic and now, as a Recreationist. Our very existence is absurd, and there is not a single explanation of our genesis that can stand up to logic. The reason I've gone to such pains to emphasize this point is to show that what I'm about to present is no less logical, credible or possible than any other theories of creation or evolution.

As I stated earlier, I have finished writing about what I'm convinced of, and have moved on to what suspect; therefore, I will not be backing up these claims with an abundance of hyperlinks and references. We all gather data to prove our presuppositions, and our very existence is absurd. It would have been nice if God had issued us textbooks, but since he didn't, all we have to go on is experience, the inner voice and input from outside sources.

My sources for the rest of this page are the experiences of the past several years; seemingly random events that later appeared to be suspiciously well orchestrated by some unseen intelligence; dreams and visions; the opinions and observations of friends, acquaintances and coworkers; the ideas of authors Richard Bach, Wayne Dyer, Harold Kushner, Dan Millman, Neale Donald Walsch and Paramahansa Yogananda; and, at the same time these beliefs were forming, the following movies were being released, each one presenting not-too-subtle "clues" which seemed to add to my emerging theology: American Beauty, The Icicle Thief, The Matrix, The Sixth Sense, The Truman Show and What Dreams May Come.

The above paragraph lists my sources as experience, dreams/visions, other people, books and movies ... but before you dismiss everything that follows, remember that some people base everything they believe on the Bible, even though they ultimately must admit that it is experience, intuition and the opinions of others, written and spoken, that is the basis of their belief in the Bible. We all gather evidence to support our presuppositions.

THE BEGINNING

God was once the "something" in the center of infinite nothingness. His size was irrelevant, since he was the only thing that existed, and "nothing" existed outside of him. There was no way for God to experience himself (and there was nothing else for him to experience!) in the absence of both space and time, so in an instant he split himself into an infinite number of pieces. This is the moment evolutionists refer to as "the big bang".

God did not destroy himself with this act, but rather is the sum of each of the infinite number of pieces. Our relationship to God is not that of a child to a parent, a servant to a master or any of the conventional theological models; our relationship to God is that of a twin, for we are all parts of the whole. God experiences himself though the lives of each one of us, and we experience God in the same manner.

God did not actually "create" anything; a more accurate description would be to say he manifested everything. Nothing exists outside of God, even after the big bang; everything that exists, from the highest good to the most horrible evil, is a part of God.

At first glance, this seems to place the blame for all the world's problems on God, and, in a way, that's correct; but each one of us is one of those pieces of God, and you, I and everyone who has lived, and will live, is responsible for the pain, the suffering, the hatred and the evil. When we want it to stop, all we have to do is stop it. But we choose all of it, the beauty and the beast, because we love all of it. Every second of our existence, at the soul level, we are swimming in joy and sorrow, hope and despair, generosity and bitterness.

We could end the world's suffering tomorrow if we wanted it to end, but since we love our existence exactly as it is, we oppose each other with politics, religion, greed and lust for power.

Eventually, we, the one "something" in the midst of "nothing", will grow bored with the game and get on with the creation process. The end result of the big bang is for us to "re-create" who we are, to "re-member" ourselves. As we collectively heal, love and nurture each other, we will be remembering and recreating, and in a few hundred or thousand or million years from now, we will once again be one single being. Then there will be nothing left to do but blow ourselves apart again. (This may not be the first time we've done this.)

In the meantime, when an individual dies, he once again becomes part of the ever-imploding "whole", once again knowing every part of himself, having lived every part that ever existed, past, present and future. He can remain a part of the whole, or he can reincarnate; he can choose who and where and when he wants to be, then dive back in and swim another lifetime.

In these lifetimes, supernatural events happen and hoaxes are perpetuated, these being the tools of those who exist "on the other side of the barricade". Having borrowed the word "barricade" from the opera Les Miserables - "Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?" - I'm referring to the three dimensional screen that separates us (the inhabitants of this dimension) from beings who take a very proactive role in our societal evolution.

Just as God manifested himself as an infinite number of selves, he also manifested himself as an infinite number of dimensions. There is much more to this, but before I go on I'll explain part of this with an analogy:

On the side of the freeway is a strip of grass, and its only purpose is to be a strip of grass on the side of the freeway. You can't build a house or a business, grow crops or have a picnic on that strip of grass, as it would be unsafe to do so just a few feet from all those rushing vehicles. Its only purpose is to just be a strip of grass by the freeway.

Under the grass and dirt are insects which never see the sun. They don't know there's a world above them, and even if they did, all they would know is a world of grass and noise. They could never understand what is making all that noise. If you could miraculously give these insects a human brain and teach them how to communicate, you would still have trouble expanding their consciousness enough to help them understand the history of automobiles and the interstate freeway system.

But if they understood you up to that point, the next step in their education would be nations, continents, oceans and the shape of the planet, not to mention your limited knowledge of world history. Then it would be time to teach them about the sun, the moon and our solar system.

If you and I were to take a position outside of the Milky Way galaxy, we would see that the earth is outside of the galaxy's outer edge. In addition, the Milky Way is dwarfed by much larger galaxies ... Earth is afloat on the distant boondocks of a minor galaxy. (William Bramley, The Gods of Eden)

Meanwhile, these insects are living way beneath the grass by the side of the freeway, surrounded by dirt which seems to go on in every direction, infinitely. They could not begin to understand the nature or purpose of a shovel, even if a shovel someday appeared. We humans are living in a more advanced dimension than the insects under the strip of grass by the freeway, and it is immensely easier for us to effect their existence than it is for them to effect ours.

OUTSIDE STIMULI

There are other beings living in dimensions so much more advanced than ours that we are comparable to the insects under the strip of grass by the freeway.

In one of those dimensions, we are mere entertainment ... not figurative, but literal entertainment. Each of these advanced beings is playing multiple roles as directors, writers and observers. To further complicate the situation, some of them are into soap operas, others enjoy dramas, some like comedies or thrillers or adult entertainment ... so each of us has a number of writers and directors mixing up our plots for their own entertainment and amusement. It doesn't matter if we devote our lives to the needy, or kill others for sport; the only wrong move is to give a half-hearted performance.

In another dimension, we are to the advanced species what wilderness animals are to civilized humans. There was a time when so few of us encountered these visitors that anyone who claimed to see one was scoffed at; later, they began to live among us; eventually they put us in enclosed places so they could watch us at their leisure; and lately, they have begun to experiment on us.

There is also a dimension wherein the "highly evolved" beings are a particularly unsavory crowd, comparable to a bunch of greasy, sweating gamblers in a smoke-filled basement ... and we are the roosters in a cosmic cockfight. These bastards have no other purpose than to keep us fighting. As a result, religious doctrines cancel each other out, political parties do everything possible to ensure that problems remain unsolved and wars rage across the planet like out-of-control brushfires - all for the amusement of some deranged sports fans.

As you can see, with all three of these dimensions interacting with us at once, without our knowledge (for the most part), the experience of life on this planet is decidedly complicated and unexplainable. If there were only three dimensions of advanced species messing with our civilization, we might have a fighting chance at piecing together the whole puzzle. But there are an infinite number of dimensions, all of them mixing in stimuli as busily as those in the last three paragraphs!

And if that weren't enough, most of them have their hands in each other's affairs, as well.

Who, then, is responsible for the secret societies, the rogue governments, conspiracies and cover-ups, the IRS, FBI and CIA, UFOs, AIDS, cancer, divine healings, the pyramids, apparitions, sacred writings, the foretelling of future events, near-death experiences and the Internet?

ONE SINGLE INDIVIDUAL

"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together." Does that sound familiar?

The whole theory of the universe is directed unerringly to one single individual - namely to You. (Walt Whitman)

We are an extremely imaginative God; you've known that from a very young age, but have since had it swept under the carpet of your consciousness by the programming of those on the other side of the barricade. They, as well as a good number of people right here in our own dimension, are, for their own education, entertainment and amusement, perpetually scattering the puzzle pieces. They want to stop the re-membering of God, in order to make this experience last as long as possible. Are they working against God? No, they are God ... no more or less God than you and I.

This is why death is such a beautiful experience: not because you get to fly around in heaven for eternity, but because you get to see the Big Picture. For these higher species from other dimensions are also parts of the whole. All of it - every human who has ever lived or will ever live, every creature on the planet, even the insects under the strip of grass by the freeway, all the plants, and minerals, every drop of water, every atom, and every atom from every other dimension - from the big bang to the final re-creation, it is all God, and you will know everything, all at once ... for as long as you want ... until you decide to dive back in and try it again.

Who is responsible? You are; I am. All of us are, individually and collectively, the I AM.

How does one accurately discern right from wrong? If you set out to drive from Seattle to Los Angeles, yet get on I-90 eastbound instead of I-5 southbound, you're "wrong" - you've made a choice inconsistent with your stated purpose. In the same way, if what you want for your world includes such values as peace, righteousness and security, and you decide to rape and kill, you're wrong.

And if one does not want a world filled with peace, righteousness and security? Then one might be tempted to rape and kill and commit any number of heinous acts. The fact that each of us is a member of the same divinity does not remove our autonomous natures, and in the same way that another's desire for safety did not keep you from harming him, your desire to freely move about the planet will not keep society from locking you up. Actions have consequences, but the only considerations which have ever guided your behavior have been whether or not your actions and their consequences are consistent with the kind of world in which you would like to live.

Then where is the justice?

THERE IS NO JUSTICE

Justice has never existed, and never will. We should all be fairly comforted by that fact, rather than disappointed by the truth that our enemies will not be burning in hell for eternity.

White Americans in particular seem to have a fixation with justice, fond of demanding it but quick to admit to rarely receiving it. Somehow, the problem always seems to be with "the present"; justice is something that was plentiful in the past, but has now been gradually taken away from "us". A few decades ago, there was "more justice" for white people than now; a half-century before that, for white men; and before that, for white male landowners. Clearly, the only justice that exists is the justice one is able to make for himself or his people.

In every society and every government since the beginning of time, those in power have enslaved the general population (those who were not members of the ruling elite), and America is no different. But as an experiment, America has been a resounding success: those in power have finally figured out that the way to keep an entire nation under the collective thumb of the powerful was to create very comfortable slaves, living lives that would make the royalty of most previous civilizations look like common proletariat. We often hear rumblings that suggest that open rebellion against our government is just around the corner, but, in reality, most would not take up arms against their government even if they did lose their SUVs, DVDs, computers, cell phones and credit cards. History has proven that only those who are hungry and threatened will lash out against their masters, and ours are never going to let that happen, as they have finally figured out how properly to enslave an entire population. We are happy slaves, and the powers that be want us to stay that way. It truly is a great nation.

Keep fighting perceived injustices; there's no sense in lying down and taking everything dished out by a bunch of unseen other-dimensional players who have nothing better to do than amuse themselves by messing with your act. Remember that there are players on the other side who are effecting the outcome to your advantage, but only if you continue to put on a good show. After all, no one wants to be bored.

But justice? Depending on how you want to look at it, the universe is perfectly just and balanced ... or justice does not exist.

Is the universe a friendly place? What do you think? You - the universe - are as friendly or menacing as you choose to be.