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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Jesus, Paul, and the Gospels

The Christian religion has had a few thousand years now to make a case for the fundamental concepts it pushes upon our world.  It has failed spectacularly to show ANY evidence for supernatural or magical forces, the existence of angels or demons or Satan, the efficacy of any ones prayers, the infallibility of heavens emissaries on earth (the Popes). It has failed horribly, and has never done what it claims it can do.

Of course I am not, by any means, the only person to understand this and note the inconsistencies and illogic that runs rampant throughout their beliefs.  Despite this several thousand years of apologetics and trying to clean up their Bible of the many mistakes it continues to be an unproven hypothesis.

“Many people– then and now– have assumed that these letters [of Paul] are genuine, and five of them were in fact incorporated into the New Testament as “letters of Paul.” Even today, scholars dispute which are authentic and which are not. Most scholars, however, agree that Paul actually wrote only eight of the thirteen “Pauline” letters now included in the New Testament collection: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Virtually all scholars agree that Paul himself did not write 1 or 2 Timothy or Titus– letters written in a style different from Paul’s and reflecting situations and viewpoints in a style different from those in Paul’s own letters. About the authorship of Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians, debate continues; but the majority of scholars include these, too, among the “deutero-Pauline”– literally, secondarily Pauline– letters.”
Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University

“When the Church mythologists established their system, they collected all the writings they could find and managed them as they pleased. It is a matter altogether of uncertainty to us whether such of the writings as now appear under the name of the Old and New Testaments are in the same state in which those collectors say they found them, or whether they added, altered, abridged or dressed them up”.   Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)

“All four gospels are anonymous texts. The familiar attributions of the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John come from the mid-second century and later and we have no good historical reason to accept these attributions.”
Steve Mason, professor of religious studies, York University,  Toronto

“A generation after Jesus’ death, when the Gospels were written, the Romans had destroyed the Jerusalem Temple (in 70 C.E.); the most influential centers of Christianity were cities of the Mediterranean world such as Alexandria, Antioch, Corinth, Damascus, Ephesus and Rome. Although large numbers of Jews were also followers of Jesus, non-Jews came to predominate in the early Church. They controlled how the Gospels were written after 70 C.E.”
Bruce Chilton, Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College

“Other scholars have concluded that the Bible is the product of a purely human endeavor, that the identity of the authors is forever lost and that their work has been largely obliterated by centuries of translation and editing.”
Jeffery L. Sheler,“ Who Wrote the Bible,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

“The clerical confessions of lies and frauds in the ponderous volumes of the Catholic Encyclopedia alone suffice …to wreck the Church and to destroy utterly the Christian religion…. The Church exists mostly for wealth and self-aggrandizement; to quit paying money to the priests would kill the whole scheme in a couple of years. This is the sovereign remedy.” Joseph Wheless, Forgery in Christianity

“Enterprising spirits responded to this natural craving by pretended gospels full of romantic fables, and fantastic and striking details; their fabrications were eagerly read and accepted as true by common folk who were devoid of any critical faculty and who were predisposed to believe what so luxuriously fed their pious curiosity. Both Catholics and Gnostics were concerned in writing these fictions. The former had no motive other than that of a Pious Fraud.”  Catholic Encyclopedia

“The Christian Fathers deemed it a pious act to employ deception and fraud.” “The greatest and most pious teachers were nearly all of them infected with this leprosy.” Johann Lorenz von Mosheim, “Ecclesiastical History”, Vol. I, p. 347

Many scholars think that Eusebius interpolated his writings. In Ecclesiastical History, he writes, “We shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwords to posterity.” (Vol. 8, chapter 2). In his Praeparatio Evangelica, he includes a chapter titled, “How it may be Lawful and Fitting to use Falsehood as a Medicine, and for the Benefit of those who Want to be Deceived” (Vol. 12, chapter 32).

There is not the slightest bit of physical evidence that supports a historical Jesus; there are no artifacts or dwellings, no works of carpentry, no written manuscripts (by Jesus), nothing.  All we have are writings from other people and there is no contemporary recording of the man/God nothing written while he was alive.  All documents about Jesus came well after his supposed life on earth from people who had never even met him, from unknown authors, or from fraudulent mythical /allegorical writings.  There are no Roman Records that show Pontius Pilate executed a man named Jesus.

“The gospels are all priestly forgeries over a century after their pretended dates.” Those who concocted some of the hundreds of “alternative” gospels and epistles that were being kicked about during the first several centuries C.E. have even admitted that they had forged the documents.”  Joseph Wheless, Forgery in Christianity

“Pauline/Roman Christians: When the Roman-backed instance of Christianity went in search of the ancient centers of Christianity, they discovered to their horror that the Ebionites and Gnostics pre-dated them. Their un-Christian answer was to edit verses, burn books, arrest and harass the other poverty-stricken Christians until no opposition was left. The form of Christianity that we have inherited from the Roman Empire is far from what Christianity originally was.”  Vexen Crabtree, Types of Christianity: Who were the original Christians? (2006)

According to the Gospels several things happened around the time that Jesus died on the cross.
His death was supposedly accompanied by a three hour blackout of the sun, earthquakes, and the rising of the dead. No record of these events can be found anywhere outside the Bible.

So what is a person to do? It seems to me that  anyone searching for something greater than oneself, a belief to offer hope and help, a God who’s always there to comfort and relieve stress is out of luck.  There are a little over 2.2 billion believers in the Christian God and only 1.1 billion non-believers, but those non-believers actually took the time to research their position and beliefs.  They didn’t come to that conclusion as a result of what they were born into. Of the 2.2 billion Christians in the world the vast majority have never researched one little bit of religion.  Their fathers and mothers were Christians…so they are too. They believe in some nebulous creator God who made the world 6,000 or so years ago and listens to their prayers and somehow watches over all of them.

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Some Failed Prophecy of the Bible

Genesis 26:4
“I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed”

Here God tells Isaac that his descendants (Hebrews) will be as numerous as the stars. There are billions and billions of stars…obviously this never happened

Isaiah 17:1
“An oracle concerning Damascus: See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.”

Carbon-14 dating at Tell Ramad, on the outskirts of Damascus, suggests that the site may have been occupied since the second half of the seventh millennium BC, possibly around 6300 BC. However, evidence of settlement in the wider Barada basin dating back to 9000 BC exists.  Damascus is known as the oldest continually inhabited city in the world.  There has never been a time when it was not a city since its founding.

Isaiah 19:4-5
“I will hand the Egyptians over to the power of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them, declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty. The waters of the river will dry up, and the riverbed will be parched and dry.”

The river mentioned here is the Nile which has never in recorded history dried up.

Isaiah 52:1
“Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again.”

There are uncircumcised and defiled people living in Jerusalem; has been for over a thousand years.

Ezekiel 29:10-11
“therefore I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste from Migdol to Aswan, as far as the border of Cush. No foot of man or animal will pass through it; no one will live there for forty years.”

Never in its long 6000+ year history has Egypt ever been uninhabited for forty years.

Ezekiel 30:10-11
“This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will put an end to the hordes of Egypt by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. He and his army – the most ruthless of nations – will be brought in to destroy the land. They will draw their swords against Egypt and fill the land with the slain.”

Ezekiel predicts that Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon will conquer Egypt utterly destroying it, slaying and scattering its people. In 568 BCE Nebuchadnezzar tried to conquer Egypt and Egypt survived with no apparent damage. Aahmes ruled for another generation over a prosperous Egypt and lived to see Nebuchadnezzar die. The Egyptians were not/ever scattered or dispersed.

Matthew 16:28
“I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Matthew 23:36
“I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.”

Matthew 24:34
“I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”
Jesus states that all the signs marking the end of the world in Matthew 24 would be fulfilled before his generation ended. That generation ended 2000 years ago, and the world has not come to an end, neither has all those signs been fulfilled.  Since Jesus pronounced this lie many, many disciples of this possibly fictitious character have predicted the end times….and here we are still living and breathing.  Never fear though, the faithful keep track of the predicted signs and they have still not been fulfilled.

Is The Christian Trinity Real?

Hi daymore,

In response to your Feb. 28, 2008 reply:
I am posting a reply to you in a regular column. I hope you don’t mind.

You write to my question of the trinity: “About trinity I can’t explain it to you. I can’t explain how telepathy works either. But I know it works. I live with many other mystries in life. Do you have answers to all questions about life that you live with, like how the food that you eat becomes blood and marrow? If you decide to eat only after you could explain fully how metabolism works, I bet you’ll never be able to eat.”

I don’t need explanation for digestion; that has been explained very adequately by doctors. Nor for telepathy, as I swear my wife can read my mind. The Trinity has not been.

You are basically saying to me that the Trinity is a mystery and could not be explained to me. I don’t care for the mumbo-jumbo I have been given as an answer to this question by you and others… I mean that in a nice way…perhaps I might explain it to you. 🙂

Matt. 26:39, “Going a little farther he [Jesus Christ] fell on his face and prayed, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

If the Father and the Son were not distinct individuals, such a prayer would have been meaningless. Jesus would have been praying to himself, and his will would of necessity have been the Father’s will.)

John 8:17, 18, “[Jesus answered the Jewish Pharisees:] In your law it is written that the testimony of two men is true; I bear witness to myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness to me.”

So, Jesus definitely spoke of himself as being an individual separate and distinct from the Father.

Acts 7:55, 56 reports that Stephen was given a vision of heaven in which he saw “Jesus standing at God’s right hand.”

John 14:28, “[Jesus said:] If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.”

Matthew 27:54, But the army officer and those with him watching over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things happening, grew very much afraid, saying: “Certainly this was God’s Son.”

The fact is, the word “trinity” does not even once occur in the Holy Bible. Nor are such expressions as “one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” or “one substance with the Father,” found in the Bible. To the contrary, the Bible speaks of Christ as “the beginning of the creation by God,” and says, “The head of the Christ is God.” (Rev. 3:14; 1 Cor. 11:3) Thus, the New Catholic Encyclopedia says of the Trinity: “It is not, as already seen, directly and immediately the word of God.”-Volume 14, page 304.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia also states: “The formulation ‘one God in three Persons’ was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century. But it is precisely this formulation that has first claim to the title the Trinitarian dogma. Among the Apostolic Fathers, there had been nothing even remotely approaching such a mentality or perspective.”-(1967), Vol. XIV, p. 299.

The New Encyclopædia Britannica says: “Neither the word Trinity, nor the explicit doctrine as such, appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Old Testament: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord’ (Deut. 6:4). . . . The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies. . . . By the end of the 4th century . . . the doctrine of the Trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since.”-(1976), Micropædia, Vol. X, p. 126.

The Encyclopedia Americana says: “Christianity derived from Judaism, and Judaism was strictly Unitarian [believing that God is one person]. The road that led from Jerusalem to Nicea was scarcely a straight one. Fourth century Trinitarianism did not reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God; it was, on the contrary, a deviation from this teaching.”-(1956), Vol. XXVII, p. 294L.

My interpretation of all of the above is that there is no “Trinity,” it is all made up; and men, specifically Early Catholic hierarchy, were the makeupees. This was done in the 4th. century AD, is not mentioned in either testament…I doubt it’s true.

Now perhaps you could try again. There are too many discrepancies going on in that Bible, or at least people seem to keep making them up.

Also, where in the Bible does it mention “rapture?” But, that’s for another time.

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