IS IT GOD'S WORD?
THE CHRISTIAN "PLAN OF SALVATION"
ORIGINAL SIN AND ETERNAL DAMNATION
R RTHE CHRISTIAN "PLAN OF SALVATION" R R THE REVELATION OF THE FALL R R THE "CURSE" IN EDEN R R THE SNAKE CURSE
R RTHE CURSE ON WOMAN R R THE CURSE ON MAN R R THE "CURSE" INNOCUOUS R R THE "CURSE" LIFTED
R RTHE RIDDLE OF THE SERPENT SEED R R A BIG CHANCE MISSED R R DAMNATION A CHRISTIAN DOGMA R R PAUL THE APOSTLE
R RTHE "PLAN OF SALVATION" R R "REDEMPTION FROM THE CURSE" R R THE CURSE NOT 100% REDEEMED
R RRETURN TO THE INDEX OF CHAPTERS
"Redemption from the Curse"
THE whole philosophy of what is fondly known as the "Sacred science of Christianity" revolves around two extremes of inspired Bible history: the "curse on man" through Adam, and the "redemption from the curse" through Jesus Christ. The second Council of Orange (A.D. 529 ) thus declares and defines the deadly dogma: "One man [Adam] has transmitted to the whole human race not only the death of the body, which is the punishment of sin, but even sin itself, which is the death of the soul" (Cath. Encyc., Vol.11:p. 314.) St. Augustine, profoundest apologist of the Church and its dogmas, states the Christian scheme thus: "The whole Christian religion may be summed up in the intervention of two men, the one to ruin us, the other to save us" (De Pecc. Orig., 24; Cath. Encyc., Vol 11: p. 314 ). This is but a paraphrase of the proposition as formulated by the directly inspired originator of the dogma, St. Paul, who states it very explicitly:
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Cor.15: 22 )
Thus, by the express utterance of inspiration, the Christian religion rests totally upon, is inextricably and fatally involved with, the historicity of the Garden of Eden, of Adam and Eve, of the talking snake, and of the "curse" and the "Fall" -- for upon the verity of these events depends utterly the validity of the divine mission of Jesus Christ, Son of Yahveh God, sent by Yahveh to "redeem the world from the sin of Adam." It was the "original sin" of Adam which brought on the fearful curse of Yahveh which clings to every since-born human soul, until and unless "redeemed" by Jesus the Christ.
This frightful sin was thus defined by inspiration of the Holy Ghost in the sacred council of Trent (the italics are mine): "Original sin is described not only as the death of the soul, but as the privation of justice that each child contracts at its conception" (Coun. Trent, Sess. 6:chap. 3; Cath. Encyc., Vol. 11:p. 314 ). If this, in the mercies of a just God, is not true, it is the most fearful and blasting untruth which priest has ever inflicted on mankind. Let us examine the dogma with the fearful attention which it challenges.
Inevitably, if Genesis is not true, Jesus Christ, as God and "Savior," is not, cannot be, true; both stand or fall together; if one, then the other must be relegated to the same limbo of exploded myth. Adam, says Paul, "is the figure of him that was to come" (Rom. 5: 15 ); Jesus Christ, again he says, is the "last Adam" (I Cor.15: 45 ). If the "first Adam" goes into the discard, the "last Adam" must needs follow.
In a previous chapter we have examined a score or more of pretended "prophecies" of the Hebrew Scriptures, alleged to have been "fulfilled" in Jesus Christ and sundry of the events of his life and death. Every one of these we have found to be apocryphal. In addition to these ineptly invoked "prophecies" there are many other -- some one hundred and forty-nine -- jumbles of words scattered through the Hebrew Scriptures which the pious Bible editors, or the inspired Church, proclaim to be other "prophecies of Jesus Christ" -- of like quality with the former.
The very first of these is that of the "curse" and the "Fall," with its pretended "promise of the Redeemer." How priest ever proclaimed, and human intelligence ever believed, that a good and loving Father God (as Yahveh is naively described), who said that not a sparrow could fall without his anxious concern, would damn throughout eternity the errant masterpieces of his creation, on the very first day of their existence, for a simple disobedience, and involve all creation and all future humanity in a deadly curse on the soul of man until his Son should come, perhaps, four thousand years later, to "redeem" this humanity from the damnation of "original sin," and then leave damned or redamn all those who would not believe the "Word of God" about it, or who never heard of it and so never had a chance to disbelieve it -- this I leave to more knowing or more credulous minds to try to explain. I simply read the texts of the "Word of God" where this is all said by the priests to be revealed, to discover whether an unprejudiced lay mind can see it as they do.
THE REVELATION OF THE FALL
Chapter 3 of Genesis begins with the talking snake, who is praised as being more subtle than any beast of the field which Yahveh had made. The serpent meets, for the first time, Mother Eve under the shade of the wondrous tree of knowledge which flourished in the midst of the Garden of Eden, with respect to which Yahveh, in the first lie on record, had benignly threatened: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." The serpent tells Eve that this is really not a true statement, for the fruit of the tree was good to eat, and if eaten, "your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as the gods, knowing good from evil." Here again the verity of a plurality of gods is asserted.
This was Eve's first day on earth; she was totally inexperienced with the ways of the world or of serpents; so she was "beguiled" by the serpent and did eat of the fruit, and gave some to Adam. While the trio were yet together, but too late to do any good by prevention, Yahveh appears upon the scene, learns of the incident, flies into the most damning of all the rages recorded of him in all his Book of Curses, and immediately damns every person and thing in being and yet to come.
THE "CURSE" IN EDEN
This "curse" is a triple-plated damnation -- against the serpent, against the woman, and against the man. It is well worth the while to pause a moment to dissect it, curse by curse, as set out in Genesis 3:
THE SNAKE CURSE
"Yahveh Elohim said unto the serpent; Because thou hast done this,
" thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field;
" upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
" And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed;
" it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Gen. 3: 14, 15 )
While this is quite a blustering curse, it seems of slight practical consequence -- though the Bible editors and the inspired Church assure us that this really and truly is a pellucid and positive divine promise of Jesus Christ. As the serpent naturally went on his belly anyhow, one may wonder where is the point in cursing him to continue to "wriggle in and wriggle out" as usual; and as to eating dust for a steady diet, this must be a mistake, if the "curse" applied to snakes generally, as the "Funny-mentalists" insist, for snakes are not known to eat dirt, but they suck eggs, and eat birds and rabbits and rats and other snakes; not even Barnum's circus at its heyday ever had a snake addicted to such unusual and economical diet as dirt.
This dust diet is really prescribed only to this particular serpent; and there seems no just reason to read into the plain language of Yahveh the curse of a perpetual dirt diet for all snakes for all time, which is not in effect anyhow; and it would hardly be just in Yahveh to condemn all snakes in the world for the wrong of one snake. "Shall not the judge of all the earth be just?" And should the "just suffer for the unjust?" We shall consider the words "enmity between thee and the woman" and "thy seed" when we have noticed the other curses in their order.
THE CURSE ON WOMAN
"Unto the woman be said,
" I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception;
" in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children;
" and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." (Gen. 3: 16 )
Here the choleric Yahveh simply inflicts poor Eve in her own single person with increased pangs in child-birth and a multiplication of sorrows, which would do no credit to any kind and loving God. As for the rest, a desire or love only to her own husband, instead of her running off after affinities and soul- mates, would seem to be a blessing rather than a curse; and the subjection to her husband as the head of the household, is no accursed thing within reasonable limits of equality of personal privilege.
This curse on woman was also evidently limited to Eve alone; and there is no justice or reason in claiming, as some expositors insist, that Yahveh cursed all women for the simple act of one woman, any more than he did all serpents. The whole curse against Eve was really pain and sorrow in giving life, not eternal damnation after death.
THE CURSE ON MAN
"'Unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it:
" cursed is the ground for thy sake;
" in sorrow shalt thou eat (of) it all the days of thy life;
" Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee;
"[4 ) and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
"[5 ) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; "for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (Gen. 3: 17-19 ).
This was Adam's share in the tremendous curse; and just what was it? Let me state its terms again:
1. The ground is accursed;
2. in sorrow shalt thou (Adam) eat it all the days of thy life (though he was to die on the very day he ate it);
3. thorns and thistles shall grow from the ground;
4. thou shalt eat the herbs of the field;
5. thou shalt eat bread in the sweat of thy face until thou return unto the ground; that is, until thy death.
This is every single solitary item of the fearful "curse on man." it is no curse upon adam (man) at all, except the one item of having to work for an honest living; all the rest of the "curse" is upon the harmless and helpless earth, which Yahveh had just created with such a deal of pains that he had to rest a whole day -- which with him is as a thousand years (2 Peter 3: 8 ). But there is not a single word or remotest hint of sin, or death of soul, or eternal damnation. If Yahveh ever said: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" ( 2: 17 ) he either "repented" as usual, or it was all a brutal Jahvic bluff; for Adam continued to live, after that fatal day, for just nine hundred and thirty years, if the vital statistics of Genesis are to be credited. But I repeat that there is not one word in the whole record of sin or death or damnation as a penalty against Adam himself, much less against his posterity and all humanity.
THE "CURSE" INNOCUOUS
The "curse," as we have seen, is principally against the ground itself, not upon the man: "accursed is the ground for thy sake." The man is humorously condemned to eat ground, as was the snake; there is no "of" in the original Hebrew. The ground also should grow thorns and thistles; yet, according to Genesis 1:every kind of herb and plant and tree, including, of course, thorns and thistles, had already been created and "the earth brought forth" the same, on the third day ( 1: 12 ). The man was further condemned, as part of the "curse," to eat "the herb of the field"; but already, and as a divine providence for man, these same herbs of the field had been graciously bestowed upon him for food; for it is recorded: "And Elohim said, Behold, I have given you every herb, and every tree, in the which is the fruit; ... to you it shall be for meat" ( 1: 29 ). As for eating bread in the sweat of his face, or working to make the ground bring forth its produce of food, why, that was the express purpose for which man was created in the first place (in the second version of his creation) and put into the Garden of Eden -- a blessing of healthful work instead of idle existence. For, after the earth was created, and before man was put upon it, it is recorded: "And there was not a man to till the ground" ( 2: 5 ). So Yahveh proceeded to form man out of the dust of the ground, and then laid out and planted the Garden of Eden. Then Yahveh Elohim took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden "to dress it and to keep it" ( 2: 15 ) -- thus providing for him useful and healthful work, so that "by the sweat of his face" he should eat of all the varied products of nature which Yahveh had given the man for food, until his return to the dust from which he was taken.
So we see that every single clause of the "curse" on man, was no "curse"(?) at all; every item of it, except that of "eating dirt" all his life like the snake, and which he never acquired the habit of doing, was already provided by the bounteous Creator Yahveh as particular blessings for his masterpiece of creation. The statement about his death and return to dust was no part of the "curse" at all, for man was never designed to live on earth forever, but was mercifully to be released, in due time, from that intolerable fate. The pretence of some pious persons and of the Council of Orange that gut for this awful "original sin," man would have lived always without tasting death, besides being utterly absurd, is distinctly denied by the inspired record; for, in a very curious passage, Yahveh Elohim is represented in a colloquy with some of the other gods, anonymous in the record, and, says Yahveh: "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore Yahveh Elohim sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken" (3: 22, 23 ). Thus the man was driven away from the tree of life, which had the magic property of making earthly life everlasting, expressly to prevent him from acquiring immunity from death.
And he was driven forth from the garden expressly "to till the ground from whence he was taken" ( 3: 23 ) -- which was exactly the purpose for which he was originally put into the garden, "to dress it and to keep it" ( 2: 15 ). So the "curse" is seen to be quite innocuous; and I pledge my word of honor that there is not another word nor the remotest allusion in all the Hebrew Bible to the whole incident of the garden and the snake. The Old Testament is as silent as Sheol (the grave) about any pretended "original sin" and "curse" and "Fall," and of eternal damnation on account of that or of anything else.
THE "CURSE" LIFTED
And just here one very singular circumstance may be mentioned, which is another falsehood imputable to Yahveh. Just after the Flood, when pious reckless old Noah destroyed one-half of all his breeding stock for a burnt sacrifice to Yahveh, we are told that "Yahveh smelled a sweet savor; and Yahveh said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake" (Gen. 8: 21 ). This would certainly seem to indicate that Yahveh was appeased and the "curse" lifted, and that the new race of mankind would now have a fair new start in life. But this is evidently a mistake; for the "curse" of Eden yet rests upon the ground. Indeed, "all things continue as from the beginning of the world"; the ground still brings forth thorns and thistles, and in toil man still eats of it in the sweat of his face (for, as the poet sings: "How salt with sweat is the laborer's bread!"); snakes still wriggle through life on their belly; and in pain do women yet bring forth children. So Jahvistic injustice is still universal and his Holy Word is broken, believe either phase of it one may prefer.
This is the whole of the fearful "curse" and "fall of man," whereby, we are told, all humanity was placed under the "curse of God," and Jesus Christ had to be sent into the world by his Father Yahveh, after four thousand years of weary "watchful waiting," to suffer and die ignominiously in order "to redeem mankind from the sin and curse of Adam." But one may wonder where is any eternal death and damnation in all this, or any scheme of redemption -- where is the joke. I shall reveal it.
THE RIDDLE OF THE SERPENT SEED
Utterly all of the "plan of salvation" is revealed, or concealed, in one fatal verse of Genesis 3. The whole trick is in the riddle of Yahveh and his talking snake: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" ( 3: 15 ). Yahveh Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, in his infinite wisdom, said those few cabalistic words about snake- and woman-seed, and about bruising heads and heels, to his talking snake; and out of this inspired sentence the inspired oracles of the new dispensation, over four thousand years afterwards, conjured this fearful and wonderful combination of curse and prophecy, clear as mud: Mankind is damned through the sin of Adam to the last generation; but the merciful and loving Yahveh will send his son Jesus Christ, the Lord knows when, to "redeem and save" all those who believe this childish Jewish fable, and to re-damn in hell fire, not then invented, all those who do not and will not believe a word of it.
Of course, Yahveh did not say this in words that anybody but a talking snake or a priest could understand. The mystic remark was made to the serpent; it does not appear that Adam and Eve heard it or understood it to mean anything, and certainly not the tremendous curse of death, damnation, and salvation, four thousand years afterwards evolved out of it.
Nor did a single patriarch, priest, prophet, or seer of Israel, with all their frenzied visions and fiery cursings, ever imagine or mention anything of the sort. Of all persons on earth, these Old Testament worthies surely would not have overlooked so momentous and terrific a curse, in the very beginning of their own Book of Curses, if either by inspiration or ingenuity they could have unriddled such a sense out of these seemingly senseless words. Those holy ones of Israel surpassed all human skill of those ages in devising curses to terrify the Chosen People into abject submission to the priests and to Yahveh; but, fearfully effective as it was afterwards made, not a word of the awful "curse of Adam," with eternal hell fire and damnation, do they utter, or even hint, or suspect.
A BIG CHANCE MISSED
Moses is Yahveh's arch-terrorist; he piles Pelion on Ossa of threats and curses throughout all of his reputed Five Books, and sums them all up in his schedule of curses in the closing chapters of Deuteronomy. He elaborates the most frightful and blood-curdling catalogue of curses ever framed or imagined prior to the gentle and loving Jesus and his apostles and to medieval churchly anathemas. All which he threatens "shall come to pass if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of Yahveh thy God, to observe to do all his commandments; ... all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee." Cursed shalt thou be in this and cursed shalt thou be in that:
"Yahveh shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, ... until thou be destroyed. ... Yahveh shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land. ... Yahveh shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew. ... And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters" -- and countless other blood-curdling and diabolic horrors. And when old Moses has exhausted his powers of invention of terrors and his vocabulary of horrors, and is choked off by an apoplectic fit of rage, he sputters and spits forth a residuary clause of curses: "Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will Yahveh bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed" (Deut. 28: 15-61 ).
These gentle admonitions to belief and obedience, be it remembered, are by Moses himself -- the same inspired author of the riddle of the serpent seed, supposed by Christian propagandists to signify eternal damnation in hell fire. Read in the light of hell fire, this "curse of Adam" would have been the most potent of all the terrors of the priests of Yahveh, just as it always has been, until lately, of those of the later triplex Deity. Moses imposed the yoke of the priest upon the people by the threat of death: "The man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto [obey] the priest. ... even that man shall die" (Deut. 17: 12 ); and he exhausts the vocabulary of terrorism to instill the abject fear of the hierarchy into the minds and souls of the deluded Chosen: but never once does he hurl at them: "Doubt and be damned" -- "Fear him who hath power to destroy both soul and body in hell!" What a chance be missed!
But Moses, in all his fluency of frightfulness and fury of invention of terror, never once includes the "curse of Adam" in the catalogue of "all the curses that are written in this book"; he evidently did not read his own riddle that way; and no other priest or prophet from Moses to Malachi even hints at Adam's curse, or Fall, or eternal damnation in hell fire. Hell and its fire are totally non-existent in the entire Hebrew scheme of penalties and punishments.
Again, let it be noted in the reader's mind, and written indelibly upon his memory, that from the first "curse" in Genesis 3 until the final "Lest he come and smite the earth with a curse" in the last verse of Malachi" amid all the fearful cursings and ravings of the prophets of Yahveh calling down death and destruction upon his Chosen People, there is not one single mention or remotest reference again in all the Hebrew Bible to the snake story, or to the curse of Adam, or to the "fall of man," or to the necessity or propriety of redemption from "original sin" and from the fires of hell. All the furies of the dread Yahveh, invoked by all his holy prophets, are temporal terrors; all his pains and penalties are ended with the death of his miserable victims. In the grave (sheol) they are at rest; they are never pursued into any hell fire on account of Adam's sin or of their own. We must give even their Yahveh his due.
DAMNATION A CHRISTIAN DOGMA
Whence then, comes this fearful doctrine of "original sin," of the "fall of man," of eternal death and damnation -- of this curious and accursed "plan of salvation?" It is all a fiendish invention of the apostles and priests of the new dispensation, as will now be very easily seen. Hell fire and damnation are simply the genial sanction of the religion of the gentle and loving Jesus. But Jesus Christ never once even mentioned Adam or the pretended curse and the Fall; he never once intimated that his mission was due to the pretended talking snake scene in the Garden of Eden. More than that, not one of the four writers of the so-called gospels utters a word about Adam, or the curse, or the Fall, or of "redemption" by Jesus Christ for any sin of Adam, which is never even remotely referred to throughout their gospels. The single reference by the gospel writers to any Mosaic antecedent for any of the events of the life of Jesus Christ (except some pretended "prophecies" elsewhere examined ) is by John, "the disciple whom Jesus loved," his dearest and closest friend; and he only says: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up" (John 3: 14 ). But this is not because of the serpent in Eden, or of the "curse" on Adam and mankind, but simply, as John says, "that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." Thus neither Jesus nor any of his inspired biographers makes the remotest allusion to the very cornerstone of the "plan of salvation."
PAUL THE APOSTLE
The awful dogma was inflicted upon suffering superstitious humanity by one who never knew Jesus; who was the most malignant of the early persecutors of the believers in Jesus; one Saul of Tarsus, a Jew, a Pharisee, a doctrinaire, a garrulous, tergiversating zealot, who admits that he "profited in the Jews' religion above many" (Gal. 1: 14 ); then changed his name to Paul, and with the zeal of a new convert became perfectly frenzied as a propagandist of the new religion -- admittedly "lying to the glory of God" -- to such an extent that he came to be called "the second founder of Christianity," the creator of its dogma, and deviser of its dogmatic system, self-contradictory in most or all of its muddled propositions.
This Paul in a fit of frenzy gives vent to this: "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth [but certainly out of the mind]; such an one caught up to the third heaven; ... and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter" (2 Cor.12: 2 ). Notwithstanding this pretended trip to the very fount of inspiration, Paul is so uninspired by truth that he takes the prophets of old seriously, and assures us that "God ... at sundry times and in divers manners [i.e., by dreams, dice, and phallic ephods] spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets" (Heb. 1: 1 ) -- heedless that this same God himself had said: "The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not" (Jer.14: 14 ).
The grossness of his superstition and the proof that nothing he utters is to be believed as very "oracles of God" lie not only in his incessant contradictions of himself, but also in his own boasting confession before Felix: "But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers [Yahveh], believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets" (Acts 24: 14 ). We have just seen the portraiture of this Yahveh, "God of my fathers," and heard the maudlin "ravings" and monstrous lies of the meshuggah prophets, of whom Paul's old side-partner and rival Peter fatuously says: "Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Pet. 1: 21 ). But these "holy men of Yahveh" have abundantly admitted the sources of their "inspiration," and are totally discredited.
Now it is that this Paul inflicts his cruel and accursed "original sin" on humanity. If he had been inspired of truth by God, be would have known that Adam, Eve, the Garden of Eden, the talking snake, the "curse," Moses, and his Genesis, all were myths and fables. But he had been whisked into the third heaven, wherever that is, and this may have been one of the things he heard "which it is not lawful for a man to utter" -- at least, for an honest and truthful man; the chief advance agent of "revelation" deemed it unlawful to reveal things which he saw in heaven with his own eyes, and instead peddled ancient and false "prophecies" of the old meshuggahs of Israel. When he comes back to earth (but not to his senses), he maunders through some pages of myth and wrath of God and blood, and delivers himself of the solemn, oracular, and gratuitous utterances on his novel propositions of "original sin" and the "plan of salvation."
THE "PLAN OF SALVATION"
The whole of theology, founded on these fables of dogma, is aptly summed up in those memorable opening words of Milton's immortal epic:
"Of man's first disobedience and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us and regain that blissful seat,
Sing, heav'nly Muse."
But truly inspired of poesy as was Milton, let us turn to yet higher inspiration for the more authoritative theory of original sin and for the inspired originals of the plan of salvation. The great dogmatist of the faith, Paul, thus states and restates his doctrine, of which he is the originator:
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Cor.15: 22 )
This theorem he elaborates at great length and with much iteration in others of his letters, of which this is a fair example:
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, ... even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression. ... Through the offence of one many be dead. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." (Romans 5: 12-15, 19 )
And to cap his direful dogma, he emits this positive assurance:
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law." (Gal. 3: 13 )
Human language is inadequate for comment on the fearful fatality of these fatuous sentences. The fairest part of the earth has been under their blight for nearly twenty centuries; at this time and place it suffices to demonstrate their awful enormity of falsehood.
A childish fable of a talking snake and a muddled "curse," about as pregnant of the sense of "original sin" and eternal damnation as "chops and tomato sauce" are of breach of promise of marriage, are warped and twisted and tortured by the adroit Sergeant Buzfuz of Christianity into the priestly doctrine of eternal damnation in hell fire for all humanity! As there never was any Adam, it cannot be true that "in Adam all die"; therefore its corollary that "even so in Christ shall all be made alive" cannot follow. As it consequently is not true that "by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin," the superstition of "original sin" is false, as it is likewise false that "so death passed upon all men," in the sense of the soul's "death by sin" of Adam inflicted upon all succeeding generations by a "curse."
From this fatuous torturing of an idle fable, purely personal and temporal in its every fanciful term, comes the monstrous cardinal tenet of the Christian Church, that a great and glorious God damned all the countless millions of yet unborn humanity to eternal hell fire because one man in a fable ate a fabled apple at the instigation of a fabled talking snake, and for punishment was told that he must work for his living thereafter, and that "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die" -- which he leisurely enough is said to have done just 930 years after the fatal incident.
Based on this inspired story and on the amazing deductions from it by the inspired Doctor of Dogma, Paul, is the inspired doctrine thus formulated by the original one true Church of Yahveh, and fondly adopted by every sect in Christendom, however otherwise dissentient, as the very cornerstone of the ecclesiastical plan of salvation:
"The souls of those who depart in mortal sin, or only in original sin, go down immediately to hell" (Second Council of Lyons; and Decree Unionis, Council of Florence; Cath. Encyc., Vol. 7:p. 208 ).
The climax of this deadly doctrine is found in the awesome aphorism of sundry of the Christian creeds that "Hell is full of infants a span long," roasting in the torments of everlasting hell fire because of the "original sin" of Father Adam, who never lived, in a Garden of Eden that never was.
"REDEMPTION FROM THE CURSE"
The culminating doctrine of the whole series, perfectly typical of untruth of it all, is Paul's astonishing assertion: "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse" (Gal. 3: 13 ). Let us apply a moment's thought to this dogma of Paul and the priests.
According to the infamy imputed to Yahveh, he damned all future humanity into hell for the sin of the fabled first man. Awful, if true; all babes, however innocent; all men and women, however nobly good and virtuous in life -- all damned in hell irretrievably because of One; for "in Adam all men die" (1 Cor. 15: 22 ), "and so death passed upon all men" (Rom. 5: 12 ).
But after four thousand years Yahveh, who had done this, relenting, sent his "only begotten Son" to die and so save the world from this curse. Christ died that all might live; he redeemed us from the curse. This is just and righteous, however tardy, if true. As all were damned, whether they knew it or not, whether they believed it or not, whether they had sinned or not, surely, in righting the wrong, all should be saved quite as universally and effectively.
But no; the Christian plan of salvation does not work that way. Its terms and conditions are: "Believe, and ye shall be saved; believe not, and ye are damned already" (Mark16: 16; John 3: 18 ). Damned nolens volens: undamned only volens and credulous. Be born and be damned; believe unbelievable things and be saved, or remain damned: such is the "sacred science of Christianity."
Of course, if the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ is given full credit, its efficacy is, must be, universal. He was proclaimed from heaven: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1: 29 ); and Inspiration explicitly states: "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (I John 2: 2 ). Therefore, by every token of truth and reason, if the sacrifice of the cross really "redeemed us from the curse" as universally as Adam's reputed sin damned, then all are saved by that atoning act alone. But there would be then no use for priest and church and theology; and threats of hell fire would be as innocuous as water on the proverbial goose's back. So the zealous soul-savers, inventors and propagandists of hell fire, have "made the sacrifice of Christ of no avail," by limiting its effective redemption strictly to the microscopic minority of true believers alone, leaving the countless majority of mankind yet damned forever. Indeed, millions who cherish the heretic hope of salvation are doomed to infernal disappointment and eternal damnation for their unorthodox way of belief; for the venerable Athanasian Creed of the One True Church assures us: "Whoever will be saved, it is necessary above all things that he hold to the Catholic faith. Unless each one keep this whole and unbroken, he shall without doubt perish into eternal death. ... This is the Catholic faith: unless each believe it rightly and firmly, he cannot be saved" (Cath. Encyc., Vol. 2:p. 34 ).
THE CURSE NOT 100% REDEEMED
There are yet other curiosities of the plan of salvation -- of this "redemption" from the "curse" -- even for the true believers. If by the sacrifice of the cross the "curse" is taken away, even if only for those who believe, then why not all the curse? Why is the wondrous work of redemption so incomplete? The snake still goes pronely upon his belly, under the curse; the believing woman still brings forth her still damned child in birth pains, under the curse; the yet accursed ground yet brings forth thorns and thistles, under the curse, and yields its fruits, even to the true believer, only by dint of "the sweat of his face," under the curse; even the true believer yet eats his bread in the sweat of his face -- all exactly as pronounced in the "curse" from which his Christ "redeemed" him two thousand years ago. Surely "the wisdom of Yahveh is foolishness to men." And all this wisdom is the legitimate fruit of the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Such is the Sacred Science of Christianity.
The whole fabric of the Christian "faith" -- and not its admirable moral precepts, which are not new or peculiar to it at all, but its laboriously built up dogmatic theology, forged by Paul and his associate propagandists into a priestly system of beliefs and practices enforced by terrific threats of eternal damnation hereafter through eternity -- and so long as was possible by torture and death here on earth -- is seen to be totally dependent, as it was falsely founded, upon the idle fables of Yahveh of the primitive, superstitious, heathen Hebrews, and falls into vacuous nothingness with the disproof of the fabled Eden and the Fall.
Thus we see that the whole of the Christian faith, the entire Christian plan of salvation, -- the sole and only apology for Christian theology -- hangs like a Dead Sea apple from the fabled serpent-entwined tree of knowledge in the mythical Garden of Eden. And, like the Dead Sea apple, the "sacred science of Christianity," with its labored "plan of salvation," turns to vain ashes at the touch of truth and is blown away with a breath of reason.
Paul admits: "Beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it" (Gal. 1: 13 ), and he admits that he found his profit in the bloody business ( 1: 14 ). When he saw the "great light" on Damascus way, and took up the new faith, be became a much more bigoted persecutor of all unbelievers in his labored, ludicrous dogmas. He screams: "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema, Maran-atha" (1 Cor.16: 22 ) -- a frightful churchly curse; "If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that we have preached, let him be accursed"; and he pledges eternal hell fire to the skeptically inclined: "He that doubteth is damned" (Rom.14: 23 ) -- "suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 7 ). This is the nearest that ecclesiastical terrorism could get to inflicting torture and death upon disbelievers while the mighty Roman Empire stood guarding of human rights; the rack and the stake for unbelief came later, when the debased and christianized state had entered into a priest-imposed league of hell and covenant of death with the Holy Church, which Paul and his arch-adjutant Peter had created and established "Ad majorem Dei gloriam" and for their mutual profit and aggrandizement and that of the whole apostolic succession and even of dissenting Protestants ever since.
Jesus Christ founded the Church with a play on words, a pun: "Thou art Peter [Greek, Petros, a stone], and upon this rock I will build my church" -- and the assurance is fondly added: "and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matt.16: 18 ). Hell and the church are thus cut from the same piece by the Grand Master of both superstitions. The hell myth has long since been exploded, and the church was badly shaken by the explosion. When the keystone of the arch, ecclesiastic theology, is knocked out, the whole structure of superstition will crash down to ruin, "and great will be the fall thereof", to the universal advantage of true spiritual uplook and the brotherhood of man on earth.
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