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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This piece was reformatted. Words are in the same order, none are added or subtracted, but paragraphs were changed for easier reading on-screen.

One Persons Take on Creation

The following is a reply to a correspondence entered into with someone who answered one of my posts.

Hi Ms. Stegall,
I understand that correspondence is harder than setting in front of a person and talking about difficult subjects. One cannot see the other persons facial movements, hear tone of voice and such, so I just want to say upfront that if I somehow sound mean or badgering, or something I write sounds disrespectful to you, please know that it would be entirely accidental, and if you let me know what it was, I will honestly apologize.

You Write;>>”I will list my primary reason as my sole reason and that is, for the sake of circular reasoning – I am in love with my Creator because of the proof in His very Creation.”<<

What do you consider proofs of his creation? Your existence, the universe, our world, all of the above, or none of the above?

What would your Proof be? i.e., any physical proofs, or are they just feelings, or senses?

You write:>> “Let me explain: Did you ever notice that even creation sings the song of redemption?”<<

With respect and good intention, I will ask: what does that mean; it’s not meaningful at all to me. 🙂

You write:>> “There is death of the day into night and the resurrection of the morning? There is the death of the flowers into the ground in the fall and resurrection in the spring? Even so, the seasons, there is the death of what is recognized as “life” in the winter, and just as the flower, it resurrects into life again in the spring.”<<

I must confess, that perhaps because of my upbringing, I think of day into night and the changing of the seasons in a purely physical-earth goes around sun, earth rotates, way. I know that ancient peoples thought they had to pray to the gods to bring back plants, sun, and so on. Once I had been taught about what was happening physically, I never thought about it any other way. But, I do consider the changing seasons a truly beautiful thing to behold.

You write:>>” I am in love for I am loved. I not only get to read freely of this redemption but I also get to see it over and over again, every day, every season, every year.”<<

That is a beautiful thought, and I will leave it totally alone.

You write:>> “I sincerely hope this solitary reasoning does not stand isolated but is recognized to have worth within the promises found in the Bible. I fear, however, using Scripture upon which to draw my argument, I would create further unrest. So, I will comfortably place my justification of my love for my Creator in creation itself.”<<

The first sentence is unclear to me: do you mean that you hope your answers are consistent with Biblical doctrine? Again, with respect: I read other blog’s about religion and see sentences that are similar to the above and my brain goes blank.
I am very comfortable with Scripture, and hold them in respect, although I don’t believe most of it. If a Scripture is able to convey your thoughts easier–please feel free to use them with me.

Your patience with me is appreciated no end, and I value the thoughts that you write about to me. I look forward to any further answers.

Many thanks for your time.

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