Wednesday, July 23, 2014
The Real Martyrs
1546 Etienne Dolet, French printer and bookseller and passionate advocate of learning, was imprisoned several times for his outspoken criticisms of the Church.
Dolet was condemned for atheism and burnt at Lyons, along with his books, leaving his family destitute.
1553 Michael Servetus, the Spanish physician who discovered pulmonary blood circulation (an advance upon Galen) fled the Inquisition and thought himself safe among Protestants.
John Calvin, the puritanical "Protestant Pope" of Geneva proved his Christian credentials by having Servetus burnt at the stake for heresy. Servetus had criticized the Trinity and infant baptism.
"The Dutch Radicals did not forget to question, when questioning had gone out of fashion for the rest of theology."
– Albert Schweitzer, Geschichte der paulinischen Forschung, 108.
1589 Francis Kett, a tutor at Bene't (Corpus Christi), Cambridge, expressed doubts that JC may not have been the great moralist Christians believed.
For his audacity the professor was burnt to ashes.
1600 Giordano Bruno, Italian philosopher who taught in Paris and Wittenberg, paid the ultimate price for thinking for himself.
After languishing for 7 years in a dungeon of the Inquisition, where he was subjected to repeated torture, he was condemned and burned at the stake.
Bruno had had the audacity to suggest that space was boundless and that the sun and its planets were not unique.
1619 Lucilio Vanini (aka 'Giulio Cesare' - 'Julius Caesar').
Philosopher, teacher and freethinker, in 1616 the ex-Carmelite monk Vanini imprudently published his thoughts in “De admirandis naturae reginae deaeque mortalium arcanis” (“of the marvelous secrets of the queen and goddess of the mortal ones, nature."
His ideas included the possibility of human evolution from apes and the denial of an immortal soul.
Vanini rejected Christianity as a fiction invented by priests and argued for natural explanations for miracles. As a result he had to flee from place to place to avoid Catholic persecution.
But he was taken at Toulouse, condemned, his tongue cut out, strangled and burnt.
Thomas Paine (1737-1809) – revolutionary champion of liberty.
"I detest the Bible as I detest everything that is cruel."
Bruno Bauer (1809-1882) – the original iconoclast.
Kersey Graves (1813-1883) – Quaker who saw through the Jesus fraud.
Arthur Drews (1865-1935) – one of the great German pioneers in the denial of the historical existence of Jesus.
"The 'historical' Jesus is not earlier but later than Paul; and as such he has always existed merely as an idea, as a pious fiction in the minds of members of the community."
– Drews, The Religious Problem of the Present.
Gustaaf Adolf van den Bergh van Eysinga (1874-1957) – Dutch theologian and New Testament professor who refuted the existence of Jesus.
The End is Nigh
"Not only has the divinity of Christ been given up, but his existence as a man is being more and more seriously questioned.
Some of the ablest scholars of the world deny that he ever lived at all.
A commanding literature dealing with the inquiry, intense in its seriousness and profound and thorough in its research, is growing up in all countries, and spreading the conviction that Christ is a myth.
Jesus ... will have to take his place with the host of other demigods whose fancied lives and deeds make up the mythology of the world."
– Marshall J. Gauvin (Did Jesus Christ Really Live? 1922)
"Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about him."
- The philosopher Bertrand Russell, "Why I Am Not a Christian". (1927 lecture).
Dead Sea Scroll Scholar
In 1970 biblical scholar and Dead Sea Scroll expert John Allegro argued for the non-existence of Jesus Christ.
Allegro's thesis associated notions of the godman with narcotic-induced visions.
The hallucinatory plant in question was Amanita Muscaria (Fly-Agaric), the phallic mushroom, arguably used by early Christians and interpreted as a virgin (i.e. seedless) birth and "God come in the flesh."
Allegro was subjected to acrimonious fury and ostracised. He died in 1988.
“There is not a single contemporary historical mention of Jesus, not by Romans or by Jews, not by believers or by unbelievers, during his entire lifetime.
This does not disprove his existence, but it certainly casts great doubt on the historicity of a man who was supposedly widely known to have made a great impact on the world. Someone should have noticed.”– Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist (1992, p. 360).
Historian comes off the fence
"I have come to realize that mythicism is significantly more probably true than historicity. This I consider as radical a departure from my previous agnosticism as my agnosticism was from my previous historicism."
– Richard Carrier, Editor-in-Chief, Internet Infidels, July 18, 2005
Posted by jwdixon at 1:21 PM