by Tyrone D. Williams
Without question my favorite movie of all time is The Wizard of Oz. From the black and white beginning in Kansas, to the colorful world of Oz. From the mundane antics of the farm hands and the natural threat of Miss Elmira Gulch, to the comic buffoonery of Dorothy’s new friends and the supernatural threat of the Wicked Witch of the West, I find The Wizard of Oz a marvelous tale of timeless delight for both young and old. I never get tired of watching that flick.
To me, The Wizard of Oz is the Greatest Story Ever Told. “There’s no place like home” dammit.
I especially love the ending, when Toto unceremoniously yanks back the curtain to reveal the scam of the carnival huckster. Apparently Toto was fed up with all the whining and cowering of his companions, so he blew the whistle on the deal.
“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!,” the big-headed apparition bellows, but it is much too late. Dorothy and friends have already seen too much. The “Wizard” is nothing but an old man. A “humbug”, the Scarecrow calls him. They are disgusted and disappointed, and rightly so. All that bowing, scraping and serving – all of that WORSHIP – and it was all for nothing. A lousy trick.
Sound familiar? It should. How can a working, rational mind fail to see the corollary between this scene of revelation and how religion works in our world? How can you NOT see “the man behind the curtain”? What will you do now? Close your eyes and pretend you didn’t see him? Would that be very wise?
Ironically, however, The Wizard of Oz is not the first fable to use this story telling mechanism to expose a religious scam.
Some of you might be familiar with a forbidden book called the Apocrypha. (So named by St. Jerome. It means lost books. But they aren’t lost, just hidden from view. And with good reason, as I shall demonstrate.) Within the pages of this volume of Jewish lore is a book of Daniel titled Bel and the Dragon. Here is an on-line copy for your enjoyment at "http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/bel.html".
In short the story goes like this:
Daniel (Yes, THAT Daniel.) is at it once again in the nation of Persia. Cyrus is King now, and as usual there is god/idol worship afoot and Daniel isn’t happy about it.
The priests of Bel claim that their statue is The Living God and they can prove it, because THEIR god eats! Daniel vehemently disagrees and of course is called out for blasphemy. King Cyrus is ready to kill SOMEBODY, so someone had better prove their case quickly.
So Daniel, ever the clever lad, cooks up a scheme. He has King Cyrus lay out all the food before the statue of Bel, as is his norm. Everyone is ushered out of the temple, leaving just the King and Daniel. Daniel then has ashes strewn all about the temple floor in the presence of the King. They then back out of the temple and all of the doors are sealed with the signet of the King.
During the night, as is their devious habit, the priests and their families enter the temple through some secret passage and they consume all the food left for Bel.
In the morning, the King and Daniel arrive. They find the seals unbroken. The doors are opened and the King marvels that the food has been consumed by Bel. But Daniel simply laughs and directs King Cyrus’ gaze down to the temple floor where the multitude of human foot prints of men, women and children have been trekked through the ashes.
King Cyrus is livid and as is always the case in these “holy” fables, Cyrus has the priests and their families executed and the statue of Bel destroyed.
(There is more to the story concerning the Dragon, but this should suffice for my purposes.)
This is an excellent story of how deceitful is the priesthood. Convincing everyone that god is real and living, when in fact it’s nothing but a trick of greedy, manipulative men and women. So…why has this story been placed on the Do Not Read list?
I should think it would be obvious. If Bel isn’t real…if “he” is a scam…then isn’t Jehovah also a scam? I mean, what’s the difference between a stone idol and an idol of the mind?
Not a damn bit of difference. The Jews rightly fear and dread this story because anyone with a lick of common sense would swiftly put two and two together and realize that it’s ALL bullshit! There is no “god”, just priests standing behind the curtain manipulating the evidence to deceive the gullible populace. This story scares the hell out of any self-preserving con artiste. (Notice that the church avoids it, too!)
Much better to claim that this story is NOT inspired, and then forbid it’s reading, and hope all copies are burned. Sorry! Found one! And I’m telling the story as often as I can, right along with The Wizard of Oz.
The problem, however, is that reality NEVER agrees with fantasy.
In both The Wizard of Oz and Bel and the Dragon, once the scam is revealed, both Dorothy, her companions and King Cyrus become indignant. They demand justice! They make sure that the scam is perpetrated no more.
But here in the Real World, when the curtain is pulled back and the ashes have human foot prints in them, the people simply shrug their shoulders and return to their worship service as if NOTHING has changed. The obvious proof is not enough to shake their “faith” in their god.
“Well, just because ONE priest/church/religion is bad, that doesn’t make them ALL bad,” they’ll rationalize.
This blind compartmentalization is enough to make a peaceful man pull out a shotgun and shoot such idiots. Better to put them out of their misery and spare the human gene pool of such contaminants.
How do you reason with and help people who REFUSE to see the truth right before their eyes? What more can you do? Sure, everyone has the RIGHT to believe what they choose, but god damn! How stupid must we allow people to be? Isn’t there a time when responsible, thinking people need to step in and take control over brains that malfunction THIS badly? We do it with the mentally retarded, criminals, children and the elderly. Why not with those deluded by religion? What makes THEM so special and exempt from the rules?
It’s just Common Sense. But it must not be TOO common, because it is surely in short supply in this world. May Thomas Paine rest in peace and stop spinning like a turbine generator in his grave.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)