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 Divine Jesus Really Exist or Was He Just Human

The following list is of the historians and writers who lived in the same area and within Christ’s alleged lifetime or within a hundred years after his death

Apollonius         Persius
Appian                Petronius
Arrian                 Phaedrus
Aulus Gellius    Philo-Judaeus
Columella           Phlegon
Damis                  Pliny the Elder
Dio Chrysostom     Pliny the Younger
Dion Pruseus       Plutarch
Epictetus              Pompon Mela
Favorinus             Ptolemy
Florus Lucius       Quintilian
Hermogones         Quintius Curtius
Josephus                Seneca
Justus of Tiberius     Silius Italicus
Juvenal                    Statius
Lucanus                   Suetonius
Lucian                      Tacitus
Lysias                       Theon of Smyran
Martial                     Valerius Flaccus
Paterculus              Valerius Maximus
Pausanias

However, aside from two passages in the works of a Jewish writer mentioned above and two heavily disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there just isn’t any contemporary–or soon after his death, mention of Jesus Christ in the writing of scholars and historians.

Philo (20 BC-50 AD) was born before the beginning of the Christian era, and lived well after the reputed death of Christ.

Philo was the one who developed the doctrine of the Logos, or Word, and although this Word incarnate (Jesus himself) supposedly dwelt in that land, and in the presence of multitudes he revealed himself and demonstrated his divine powers–Philo apparently never knew it.

His writings include an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ was said to exist on earth.  He lived in or near Jerusalem when Christ was supposedly born and when the Herod massacre occurred. Philo was there when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem; he was there when the crucifixion and reputed earthquake, supernatural darkness, and the resurrection of the dead zombies in the graveyard took place. – He never wrote about it.

Had these events really taken place you would think the word would spread all over the Middle East and Mediterranean world which at the time was teaming with religious fervor and many many stories going around about a Messiah.  Here was a man who would be the Messiah, who raised the dead and cured incurable diseases and yet no one wrote of him.

Justus of Tiberius was a Jewish author and historian who lived in the second half of the 1st century AD and was a native of Christ’s own country, Galilee. He wrote a history covering this time of Christ’s reputed existence. Sadly the original work has perished, but Photius, a Christian scholar and critic of the ninth century who was acquainted with it says: “He (Justus) makes not the least mention of the appearances of Christ, of what things happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did” (Photius’ Bibliotheca, code 33).

“Josephus:  (37 – c.100 AD) Late in the first century, Josephus wrote his celebrated work, “The Antiquities of the Jews”, giving a history of his race from the earliest ages down to his own time. Modern versions of this work contain the following passage:

“‘Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works; a teacher of such men as received the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was (the) Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day. (Book XVIII, Chapter iii, Section 3)

For sixteen hundred years or so Christians have been citing this passage as a testimonial, to the historical existence, and the divine character of Jesus Christ. However most all Biblical scholars agree that the sentence is probably a pious forgery written by a scribe or zealous Christian many years after Josephus.

Consider:

“Its brevity disproves its authenticity. Josephus’ work is voluminous and exhaustive. It comprises twenty books. Whole pages are devoted to petty robbers and obscure seditious leaders. Nearly forty chapters are devoted to the life of a single king. Yet this remarkable being, the greatest product of his race, a being of whom the prophets foretold ten thousand wonderful things, a being greater than any earthly king, is dismissed with a dozen lines.”– The Christ, John E. Remsburg, reprinted by Prometheus Books, New York, 1994, pages 171-3.

I’m divided on this…the man may have existed, but I really doubt he was the Messiah or divine in any way.  Just myths like the Old Testament.  Too much stuff just doesn’t add up…the whole story is incoherent and flawed…not a sign of a God inspired work.

“The world has been for a long time engaged in writing lives of Jesus… The library of such books has grown since then. But when we come to examine them, one startling fact confronts us: all of these books relate to a personage concerning whom there does not exist a single scrap of contemporary information — not one! By accepted tradition he was born in the reign of Augustus, the great literary age of the nation of which he was a subject. In the Augustan age historians flourished; poets, orators, critics and travelers abounded. Yet not one mentions the name of Jesus Christ, much less any incident in his life”…Moncure D. Conway, Modern Thought

 YEAH!!!…I just heard that bastard  Osama bin Laden is dead 
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