Atheism In The 1700’s

 ABSTRACT OF THE TESTAMENT OF JOHN MESLIER

By Voltaire

Excerpted from a longer volume

In regard to the Lord’s Supper, the first three Evangelists note that Jesus Christ instituted the Sacrament of His body and His blood, in the form of bread and wine, the same as our Roman Christ-worshipers say; and John does not mention this mysterious sacrament. John says that after this supper, Jesus washed His apostles’ feet, and commanded them to do the same thing to each other, and relates a long discourse which He delivered then. But the other Evangelists do not speak of the washing of the feet, nor of the long discourse He gave them then.

On the contrary, they testify that immediately after this supper, He went with His apostles upon the Mount of Olives, where He gave up His Spirit to sadness, and was in anguish while His apostles slept, at a short distance. They contradict each other upon the day on which they say the Lord’s Supper took place; because on one side, they note that it took place Easter-eve, that is, the evening of the first day of Azymes, or of the feast of unleavened bread; as it is noted (1) in Exodus, (2) in Leviticus, and (3) in Numbers; and, on the other hand, they say that He was crucified the day following the Lord’s Supper, about midday after the Jews had His trial during the whole night and morning.

Now, according to what they say, the day after this supper took place, ought not to be Easter-eve. Therefore, if He died on the eve of Easter, toward midday, it was not on the eve of this feast that this supper took place. There is consequently a manifest error.

They contradict each other, also, in regard to the women who followed Jesus from Galilee, for the first three Evangelists say that these women, and those who knew Him, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary, mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s children, were looking on at a distance when He was hanged and nailed upon the cross. John says, on the contrary, that the mother of Jesus and His mother’s sister, and Mary Magdalene were standing near His cross with John, His apostle. The contradiction is manifest, for, if these women and this disciple were near Him, they were not at a distance, as the others say they were.

They contradict each other upon the pretended apparitions which they relate that Jesus made after His pretended resurrection; for Matthew speaks of but two apparitions: the one when He appeared to Mary Magdalene and to another woman, also named Mary, and when He appeared to His eleven disciples who had returned to Galilee upon the mountain where He had appointed to meet them.

Mark speaks of three apparitions: The first, when He appeared to Mary Magdalene; the second, when He appeared to His two disciples, who went to Emmaus; and the third, when He appeared to His eleven disciples, whom He reproaches for their incredulity.

Luke speaks of but two apparitions the same as Matthew; and John the Evangelist speaks of four apparitions, and adds to Mark’s three, the one which He made to seven or eight of His disciples who were fishing upon the shores of the Tiberian Sea.

They contradict each other, also, in regard to the place of these apparitions; for Matthew says that it was in Galilee, upon a mountain; Mark says that it was when they were at table; Luke says that He brought them out of Jerusalem as far as Bethany, where He left them by rising to Heaven; and John says that it was in the city of Jerusalem, in a house of which they had closed the doors, and another time upon the borders of the Tiberian Sea.

Thus is much contradiction in the report of these pretended apparitions. They contradict each other in regard to His pretended ascension to heaven; for Luke and Mark say positively that He went to heaven in presence of the eleven apostles, but neither Matthew nor John mentions at all this pretended ascension. More than this, Matthew testifies sufficiently that He did not ascend to heaven; for he said positively that Jesus Christ assured His apostles that He would be and remain always with them until the end of the world.

“Go ye,” He said to them, in this pretended apparition, “and teach all nations, and be assured that I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Luke contradicts himself upon the subject; for in his Gospel he says that it was in Bethany where He ascended to heaven in the presence of His apostles, and in his Acts of the Apostles (supposing him to have been the author) he says that it was upon the Mount of Olives.

He contradicts himself again about this ascension; for he notes in his Gospel that it was the very day of His resurrection, or the first night following, that He ascended to heaven; and in the Acts of the Apostles he says that it was forty days after His resurrection; this certainly does not correspond.

If all the apostles had really seen their Master gloriously rise to heaven, how could it be possible that Matthew and John, who would have seen it as well as the others, passed in silence such a glorious mystery, and which was so advantageous to their Master, considering that they relate many other circumstances of His life and of His actions which are much less important than this one?


How is it that Matthew does not mention this ascension? And why does Christ not explain   clearly how He would live with them always, although He left them visibly to ascend to heaven? It is not easy to comprehend by what secret He could live with those whom He left.

I pass in silence many other contradictions; what I have said is sufficient to show that these books are not of Divine Inspiration, nor even of human wisdom, and, consequently, do not deserve that we should put any faith in them.   JEAN MESLIER

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Did A Historical Jesus Really Exist

Did the Jesus who was supposed to be a God also really exist, or was he a mythical construct of people trying to get a religion off the ground?  The Christian religion arose in a time when people were inventing religions one after another.  There were hundreds of competing gods roaming around in the ancient times which Jesus was supposed to be born into.

The war of words and wildly different world-views between Christians and non-believers has been going on for nearly two millennia now, and may finally be coming to an end in our modern scientific age where the stories can be subjected to real investigation.

There is not the slightest bit of physical evidence to support a historical Jesus; no manuscripts written by him, no artifacts or works of carpentry, no surviving dwelling, nothing that is directly attributable to a man that was supposed to work magic and speak to hundreds or thousands of people, in a golden age of writing and recording the ancient world.

All the claims of a historical Jesus are derived from 2nd. Hand writings—that is non-eyewitnesses to the events.  All writings about Jesus come well after he was supposedly crucified and the ones that made it into the Bible are purposely mis-identified in the Bible as Apostles, when in fact we don’t know who wrote them. There are no Roman records that detail Pontius Pilate executing a man called Jesus.  All source material about Jesus is derived from hearsay accounts and come well after his death.

Laying the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Like, and John side by side we can see there are tremendous differences in the story.  These are not just “eyewitness” differences one would expect from different people seeing the same scene at the same time, they are fundamental differences that are not compatible.  What did Jesus say at the end? Did the women tell the Apostles that he was arisen–or not?  Who was at the tomb when the women came? Did the earth tremble and the sun go dark for three hours and graves spit out dead zombies?

We know the Gospels were written by anonymous authors and they were written from 35 to 70 years after his death.  We know they were originally written in Koine Greek, instead of  Aramaic, and that we only have copies of copies of copies instead of originals and we don’t even know for sure if we have the real words of the man—if he really existed.  We don’t have any secular writing that mentions Jesus…supposedly God Himself…that is contemporary to his (mythical) life.

All we have is hearsay…courts of  law do not allow hearsay as evidence, neither does modern scholarship, and we should not recognize the biblical writings as real evidence.  I don’t think an honest scholar can take any of the books from the New Testament as absolute ‘God breathed’ truth.

Now on top of all the above mentioned evidence is strong scientific circumstantial data that bears on the myth of Jesus.  As mentioned below in my blog post “Adam and Eve Are Dead…Finally” There is conclusive proof that Adam and Eve is nothing more than Biblical myth, and with no Adam and Eve around to commit “Original Sin” there is no need for Jesus to save us from their/our sin.  With no Adam and Eve, and no Jesus, we can just call the Bible what it really is…a book of fiction.  You know I’m right.  🙂

Lying for Jesus:
“What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church … a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.”  Martin Luther
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God…Bad Jesus…Good

God has a hissy fit. He still hasn’t learned to stay out of Hebrew affairs
Leviticus 26:27-34
” ‘If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters. I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you. I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings. I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled. I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins.”

1 Chronicles 21:14
“So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men.” These were innocents by the way.

Somehow I’m missing the love here.

Hosea 13:16
“The people of Samaria must bear the consequences of their guilt because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords.” I think I’m going to be sick here. Are we seeing the love yet?

These, of course, are just a few of the scriptures that illustrate the love that courses throughout the OT part of the Bible. How people can read past these things and not be suspicious of the supposed God behind them is beyond me.

Is it any wonder that Paul, in his New Testament takeover, quickly steers the focus of the faithful away from this Old Testament Ogre, and into the different world vision of his supposed encounter with Jesus on the road (in a beam of light) to Damascus. Using the established OT world vision that many/most people of that culture were acquainted with, and building a new mythology, a new religion based on a kinder, gentler God image. Jesus…a God of Love…yea, that’s the ticket. Well, he didn’t really work out Jesus being God…that had to wait until the Catholics got into power. The early theology was a little rough and had to be tweaked a bit to make it more believable

I think Paul was looking around at all the religious fervor going on in his time, and got to thinking that if he could somehow meld the established OT religion (which Jesus was espousing) into the new mold of a milder spiritual personality that didn’t go around killing, raping, and torturing …he just might achieve lifetime employment for himself. The apostles didn’t seem to be doing much with their inheritance, why not fudge a little and scoop up this opportunity and run with it.

The concept of ‘original sin’ was pure genius on his part. Oh, the possibilities of this for sermons, placing guilt on the masses, and solidifying his place in history. A new concept that heretofore was not even thought of or mentioned in OT writings, or by Jesus, and he was able…by himself… to get it accepted by the theologians and common folk. What a guy.

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Who is Mary Magdalene?

So just who is this woman Mary Magdalene; Is she Saint or sinner?

In one of the sermons that Pope Gregory I gave in 591, he identifies Mary Magdalene as: “She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary [of Bethany], we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark.” Remember this is the Pope who started celibacy in ‘The Church.’ The Catholics only reversed their unofficial position in the late 1960’s.

Peter was at odds with her. He openly criticizes her in front of other Apostles and is rebuked by Levi for his attitude towards her.

Did she actually write the Gospel of Mary? People of religion have told me that the Nag Hammadi Gnostic Gospels were too late (200’s-300’s CE) to be considered as real or applying to Christianity as we know it now. But, I think they forget that Eusebius was collecting letters and papers for the modern Bible as late as the 350’s CE.

Was she the enigmatic ‘Beloved Disciple’ of the Gospels; was she in fact the writer of the Gospel of John, as some people believe. See: Elaine Pagels …and others…check out Wikipedia and Mary Magdalene on the net. Sorry, no evidence that she had Jesus’ baby.

Did she retire to France, where 5 churches claim to have her bones, or did she retire along with John and Mary mother of Jesus, to Ephesus, Turkey where they all died?

Reading the convoluted history of the early Christian Church is much like reading a very anticipated crime novel by your favorite author. There are twists and turns that no one could even think of in earlier times. The level of scholarship relating to the early church is amazing and exhaustive. Modern researchers have turned upside down early theories and some biblical ‘truths’.

From Mary Magdalene article in Wikipedia:

“Further attestation of Mary of Magdala and her role among some early Christians is provided by the Gnostic, apocryphal Gospel of Mary Magdalene which survives in two 3rd century Greek fragments and a longer 5th century translation into Coptic. In the Gospel the testimony of a woman first needed to be defended. All of these manuscripts were first discovered and published between 1938 and 1983, but as early as the 3rd century there are Patristic references to the Gospel of Mary. These writings reveal the degree to which that gospel was despised and dismissed by the early Church fathers. In the fragmentary text, the disciples ask questions of the risen Savior (a designation that dates the original no earlier than the 2nd century) and are answered.”

The history I am finding…is fascinating, and I find a lot of it contradicts today’s evangelical fundamentalist thought. Of course they just think this stuff is lies spread by the devil.

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