Chapter one of The Christ Conspiracy [CC] is titled, reasonably, “Introduction”. In this chapter Murdock (known at the time as Acharya S) discusses history. Now my primary love as a student was history. I am still buying and reading books on history — ancient, medieval, modern, western, eastern, global, local. When I travel I often spend ages in a museum presenting the history of wherever I am. I have visited and lived among peoples of diverse races, languages and cultures. I also have a fascination for how the animal kingdom works. I love watching and learning about any number of other species. What I find so educational are the many similarities between us and other species. We are not alone when it comes to violence, savagery, love and sacrifice. Nor, I believe, can anyone isolate beliefs alone as a motivator of human behaviour. Beliefs, rather, may be used to rationalize or excuse behaviour, both good and bad.
Religious beliefs are, we have to face it, as much a “human universal” as are language, jokes, toilet training, tool-making and conflict itself.
So when anyone isolates and blames a single cultural factor, religion, for our crimes I just don’t buy it. Blaming religion alone, even primarily, as a cause of violence, is demonstrating a very shallow, one-dimensional view of human nature.
Sure there are times when religious belief is pernicious and destructive. I like to think we would all be better off without religion. But as Tamas Pataki reminded us, can we be sure that by killing off all the pests in our gardens won’t upset the entire ecosystem?
So when in chapter one of CC Acharya blames religion for the world’s violence and cruelty I cringe a little. Chapter one is nothing but a diatribe against the evils of religion and an identification of religion with evil. Religion is responsible for the inhumanity, the violence, the tortures, the deceptions of this world.
So in this chapter Murdock writes:
no ideology is more divisive than religion, which rends humanity in a number of ways through extreme racism, sexism and even speciesism.
In history classes as early as high school I learned the difference between “religion” and “ideology”, so this sentence confuses me. But she will go further and target Christianity in particular:
Few religions of any antiquity have escaped unscathed by innumerable bloodbaths, and, while Islam is currently the source of much fear in the world today, Christianity is far and away the bloodiest in history.
Murdock wont even let the Communists and Nazis escape the bile of religion. Lenin and Marx were “(religious) Jews”. Hitler was a Roman Catholic. Stalin an Eastern Orthodox. (She doesn’t tell us what Mao or Pol Pot were.)
The events of WWII, in fact, were the grisly culmination of a centuries-old policy, started by the Church and continued by Martin Luther, as was well known by Hitler.
As I read this sort of thing I am rapidly losing confidence in the ability of this author to make any balanced assessment of historical evidence in the coming chapters. I am being conditioned to expect that any datum that can be found to fit into a thesis will be made to do so, and no time or trouble will be wasted trying to understand its nature and function in its own right.
But Hitler and the Church’s behavior was not an aberration in the history of Christianity, as from its inception, the religion was intolerant, zealous and violent, with its adherents engaging in terrorism.
From its inception?
While blessing peacemakers and exhorting love and forgiveness of enemies and trespassers, the “gentle Jesus” also paradoxically declares:
Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. (Mt. 10:34)
Jesus further states that “nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”; thus, with a few sentences, Jesus has seeded extreme division, sedition and enmity wherever Christianity is promulgated. In thus exhorting his followers to violence, however, Jesus himself was building on centuries-old Jewish thought that called for the “extermination” of non-Jews, i.e., “unbelievers,” in Christian parlance.
So we know what to expect when she reaches Paul:
The apostle Paul was a violent zealot who as a Jew first persecuted the Christians and as a Christian subsequently terrorized the Pagans.
Now I am recollecting why I was never able to read more than a few part pages here and there when this book first arrived. How can anyone have any confidence in an author who writes that the apostle Paul terrorized pagans?
Martyrdoms of Christians in the early years are rightly said to have been not so widespread as often claimed, but “Christians” are all lumped as a single unit when it comes to evil:
The author of Fourth Maccabees goes on to describe the most foul torture imaginable, including the infamous “racks” being used to tear limbs from the body, as well as the flesh being stripped off and tongues and entrails ripped out, along with the obligatory death by burning. These techniques were later adopted with tremendous enthusiasm by the Christians themselves, who then became the persecutors.
There is only one side to history:
These “conversion” methods by Catholics against men, women and children, Christians and Pagans alike, included burning, hanging and torture of all manner, using the tools described in Fourth Maccabees. Women and girls had hot pokers and sharp objects slammed up their vaginas, often after priests had raped them. Men and boys had their penises and testicles crushed or ripped or cut off. Both genders and all ages had their skin pulled off with hot pincers and their tongues ripped out, and were subjected to diabolical machinery designed for the weakest parts of the body, such as the knees, ankles, elbows and fingertips, all of which were crushed. Their legs and arms were broken with sledgehammers, and, if there was anything left of them, they were hanged or burned alive. Nothing more evil could possibly be imagined, and from this absolute evil came the “rapid” spread of Christianity.
So far this despicable legacy and crime against humanity remains unavenged and its main culprit unpunished, not only standing intact but inexplicably receiving the undying and unthinking support of hundreds of millions, including the educated, such as doctors, lawyers, scientists, etc.
Visiting the torture museum and crossing Charles Bridge with its statues of proud clergy standing atop tormented prisoners behind bars beneath is sobering and sickening enough. But one does not have to dig deep to soon learn that “religiosity” played second fiddle to political power interests. Gold, God and Glory — without lust for gold and power I don’t think God would have been much of a solo act.
The fact is that too much trauma and bloodshed have been caused throughout the millennia strictly on the basis of unfounded faith and excessive illogic . . .
“Strictly on the basis of [religion]”? Certainly “faith” and poor reasoning have a lot to answer for. But it would be difficult, I believe, to say that the world’s horrors have been caused “strictly” by these. I am getting the impression that our author is enthusiastic enough to overstate her case and blindly, with little thought or understanding, marshal anything she thinks she can fit into her case.
So this is why Murdock is writing this book:
It is for these reasons, among others, including the restoration of humanity, that we hope the oppressive and exploitative conspiracy behind religion in general and Christianity in particular will be exposed. . . . It is thus imperative that these all-important matters of religious ideology and doctrine be thoroughly explored and not left up to blind faith.
The point is clear. This book is written as an attempt to expose the evils of Christianity, and to expose the evil core of Christianity itself, and no argument will be spared — nor thought through too deeply — in making that effort. We are about to read a polemic.
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