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Chapter 01

Joseph Wheless

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                        IS IT GOD'S WORD?

           AN EXPOSITION OF THE FABLES AND MYTHOLOGY OF
           THE BIBLE AND OF THE IMPOSTURES OF THEOLOGY

                        BY JOSEPH WHELESS

              Lately Major, Judge Advocate, U.S.A.;
            Author of "Compendium of Laws of Mexico";
       Translator, Civil Code of Brazil; Associate Editor,
              American Bar Association Journal, in
                   Section of Comparative Law:
             Member of American Law Institute, etc.

               "Behold, the false pen of the Scribes hath
                    wrought falsely" -- Jeremiah VIII, 8 (R.V.)

                      NEW YORK  --:--  1926

             FOREWORD TO SECOND AND REVISED EDITION

     Like Saul of Tarsus before he changed his name -- but not his
nature -- the maker of the ensuing search of the Scriptures, born
down in the Bible Belt, was bred "after the straightest sect of our
religion," a Southern Methodist. Nurtured by earnestly Christian
parents, I was heir to their faith and joint heir to salvation with
them. Through youth and into maturer years, like Paul, "so
worshipped I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are
written in the law and in the prophets" of ancient Jewry, with the
heavy increment for faith of the Wesleyan brand of Protestant
Christianity superimposed.

     Being so born and taught, so I naturally believed. For
religious belief is all but exclusively a matter of birth and early
teaching, of environment. A man takes and holds, though often most
indifferently, the religion, or brand of belief, of his fathers, of
his family. Born a pagan, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Mohammedan, a
Mormon, that he remains, except one time in many thousands, through
life; though, if taken in infancy, he will as naturally fall heir
to and believe the most contrary faith: witness the famous
Janizaries, captive Christian children trained in the Moslem faith,
and Islam's most fanatic soldiers. If born into a Christian family,
Catholic or Protestant, or of one of the many sects of either, he
usually remains, at least nominally, Catholic or Protestant, as he
was born and taught. Children believe anything they are taught;
Santa Claus, fairies, goblins, ghosts, and witches are as real, as
veritably true, to a child as Jesus the Christ to a cleric -- often
much more so. It is a maxim of the Master of the Christian faith:
"Except ye ... become as little children, ye cannot enter the
kingdom of heaven: ... for of such is the kingdom" (Matt. xviii. 3;
xix, 14). Hence the reason of the churchly maxim: Disce primum quod
credendum est -- "Learn first of all what is to be believed."

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                        IS IT GOD'S WORD?

     From my earliest years the Methodist Sunday school and Church
were as a sort of home extension of religious atmosphere and
teaching; my earliest initiation was into the "infant class" of
that institution of sacred learning. There my infantile mind was
fed and fired with the venerable verities of our first parents and
the seductive wiles of the talking snake of Eden, of Balaam's
loquacious jackass, the anthropophagous whale of Jonah, the heroic
adventures of David with Goliath and with Bathsheba, of noble
Daniel, unscathed in the lions' den and in the fiery furnace, of
Peter's walking on the water, and the devils sent into the pigs,
with many other like articles of holy faith necessary to salvation.

     Fascinated with these ancient gems of inspiration, and deeply
imbued with the sense of Christian duty to "seek first the kingdom
of God," whereupon everything else needful would be added
liberally, daily I grew in biblical wisdom as I grew in stature and
in strength. And, too, I took my religion seriously, and seriously
strove to live as a Christian should, comforted by the saving
Methodist doctrine of the divine right of backsliding; if sometimes
I fell, I fell upon my knees, got up, and pursued resolutely my
pilgrimage through this vale of tears. My Bible was my constant
companion, guide, and friend.

     Years before my majority I led all others in old "Tulip
Street" in familiarity with Holy Writ; so when a great Sunday-
school Bible verse-quoting bee was held, I was easily the favorite
for winner, and as easily I won both prizes -- Heroes of the Cross
and some other like classic of literature -- for number and
correctness of verses quoted from memory. That Bible-quoting
contest of some forty years ago struck the spark which, long
smoldering, flames up now in this book of mine. In its original
form, written some years ago, the chapters which are now headed
"Harmony of the Gospels" and "Sacred Doctrines of Christianity"
reproduced in substance, and yet do in effect, that memorable
verse-matching contest.

     From a sense of Christian duty, as well as for its practical
aid in linguistic studies, I read the Bible often, and in several
modern languages, and picked a little at the ancient ones. Later,
when writing this book, I learned sufficient Hebrew for the
understanding and honest rendition of the sacred texts. In such
frequent readings of the Bible, and in more languages than one, I
could not but be struck with important differences of meaning given
in different versions to the same verse or text; memory, too, would
go back to the same story told quite differently in other of the
sacred texts; I would search out the parallel passage and find it
at right angles or criss-cross with the one before me. Such
adventures roused dangerous trains of thought, which I devoutly
sought to conjure out of mind. My honest mind was struck, too, and
shocked, by many things which, it seemed to me, were absurd or
abhorrent as human actions, and magnifiedly so as the alleged word
or deed of my God. But "he that doubteth is damned"; so faith
triumphed over reason for a long, long time, though I felt myself
ever a bit less "orthodox" as the years went by, and as I read and
thought. Yet so vital was my residuary faith, and so disturbed my
conscience over my disregard of the divine ban, "Be ye not
unequally yoked together with unbelievers: ... what part hath he 

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that believeth with an infidel?" (2 Cor. vi, 14, 15) that upon
entering the holy bonds I purposely backslid from my native
Methodism, and took the plunge -- on a cold winter night -- into
the Baptist communion, in the earnest hope of leading my new life
partner (whose family were of that persuasion) into that aqueous
fold of Christ with me. My faith and my chill bath were unrewarded
-- then. This book is my tribute of unalloyed admiration and
devotion to her whose beautiful character and soul shine out into
my life with no pale reflected light of storied Calvary, but in
their own native warmth and purity, untinged and untainted by any
superstition of unreality. Great now is my reward; our two minds
share cordially now the single thought -- always hers:

          "Do good, for good is good to do;
           Spurn bribe of heaven and threat of hell."

     Faith, I read, "has for its object the unknowable." How could
the things of faith be unknowable if they were all inerrantly
revealed by God in the "Holy Bible, book divine"? I determined to
know the truth, if it could be found in the Bible. I bought two
copies of that sacred book for what seemed must be the test of
truth. My method was simple and looked sure: from Genesis to
Revelation I reread one copy, pencil in hand; every passage that
seemed meet for my purpose I marked, noting book, chapter, and
verse on the margin of each copy for identification. These sacred
and marked volumes I then tore apart, and with scissors cut out
every marked passage. Patiently then I sorted the great mass of
clippings, putting apart into little piles all that told the same
tale differently, or treated the same Christian doctrine at cross-
purposes. This accomplished, I read and carefully "matched" one
inspired truth with another. Then, through several years, at every
opportunity which a rather active professional work and frequent
absences from the country permitted, and into the weary hours of
many a night, painstakingly, conscientiously, faithfully, in my
quest for truth out of the fountain of revelation, I carried on the
work of creating order out of the chaos which almost appalled me
with its multiplicity and its inconsistency. The result is here
presented; my book speaks for itself. The wayfarer, though a fool,
cannot mistake it.

     Thus it was that I took up the challenge of the Christ to
"search the Scriptures," haply to demonstrate to the seeker after
truth "whether these things were so," as in the Bible related for
belief, under the admonition of the Christ himself: "He that
believeth not shall be damned."

     No man, priest, parson, or zealot for his inherited faith, can
say with truth that this book of mine falsely or wantonly "attacks
the Bible," or defames the Bible God, or ridicules the Christian
religion. If iconoclastic results follow this candid search of the
Scriptures, the fault is with the Bible, for this my book speaks
truly. This book is based wholly on the Bible; its all but every
reference is to the Bible, faithfully quoted in exact words of
inspiration. The Hebrao-Christian God is depicted in plain words of
revelation for every word and deed attributed to him by the
inspired writers. This God "whom therefore ye ignorantly worship,
him declare I unto you," truly. This book is simply the Bible taken
by and large, and thus viewed in a light not shed upon it by pulpit

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                        IS IT GOD'S WORD?

expoundings of golden texts, or by private readings of isolated
choice fragments. Ye bibliologists cannot impeach or refute the
truth herein revealed out of Holy Writ --

                         "... nor all your piety nor wit
               Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
               Nor all your tears wash out a word of it!"

     The earnest hope is cherished for this book, that the simple
and sincere search here made of the Scriptures for truth's sake,
will serve to make only theology and religious intolerance vain and
ridiculous; that it shame contending Christians from an unfounded
faith in the untrue, and encourage them and all men into the
brotherhood of the only possible true and pure religion -- to

               "Do good, for good is good to do."

Then will indeed be realized the burden of the herald angel's song:

              "Peace on earth to men of good will."

                      CONTENTS

     I    THE GENESIS OF CHRISTIANITY
    II    A SKETCH OF HEBREW SCRIPTURES
   III    THE PATRIARCHS AND THE COVENANTS OF YAHWEH
    IV    THE WONDERS OF THE EXODUS
     V    THE FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS
    VI    THE "TEN COMMANDMENTS" AND THE "LAW"
   VII    THE "CONQUEST" OF THE PROMISED LAND
  VIII    THE HEBREW HEATHEN RELIGION. SEX WORSHIP AND IDOLS
    IX    THE PAGAN GOD -- AND GODS -- OF ISRAEL
     X    YAHWEH -- THE "TERRIBLE GOD" OF ISRAEL
    XI    THE HOLY PRIESTS AND PROPHETS OF YAHWEH
   XII    BIBLE THEOLOGY AND MODERN TRUTH
  XIII    THE "PROPHECIES" OF JESUS CHRIST
   XIV    THE INSPIRED "HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS"
    XV    MORE: "HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS"
   XVI    THE SACRED DOCTRINES OF CHRISTIANITY
  XVII    THE CHRISTIAN "PLAN OF SALVATION"
 XVIII    REVELATIONS OF THE HEREAFTER
   XIX    CESSET SUPERSTITION AND THEN?
          INDEX

                        IS IT GOD'S WORD?

                            CHAPTER I

                   THE GENESIS OF CHRISTIANITY

     WHAT Is Truth?" asked the mystified Pilate of Jesus the
Christ, as he stood before the Roman governor, accused by the
priests of the Jews of having proclaimed himself King of the Jews
and Messiah, thus "perverting the nation, and forbidding to give
tribute to Caesar, saying, That he himself is Christ a king" (Luke
xxiii, 2). Pilate asked Jesus, "Art thou the King of the Jews?" and

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a second time he queried, "Art thou a king then?" After standing
some time mute, Jesus finally, and equivocally, answered: "Thou
sayest that I am a king"; and he added: "To this end was I born,
and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear
witness unto the truth"; but, he averred, "My Kingdom is not of
this world" (John xviii, 37).

     Then Pilate's challenging Question, which has rung down the
nearly twenty centuries since, and yet challenges answer concerning
"this just person": Was he Christ? Was he the Son of God, Virgin-
born? Was he the heralded King of the Jews? Was he King of a
Kingdom not of this world? These things recorded of him, were they
so?

     The system of Christian theology grown up around this unique
Subject, and in current acceptance bound to the concept of a true
religion of the spirit, is wrought upon the basis of an implicit
belief in a composite of two miraculous "revelations of God to
Man." Of these the one is known as the Old Testament or will of
God, revealed in olden times to the Hebrew people; the other, of
the century of Jesus Christ, and revealed through himself and his
Jewish propagandists, is known as the New Testament or will of God.
These two revelations are committed to mankind through a
compilation of sixty-six small separate brochures of "Scriptures"
or writings, together called The Bible from the Greek Ta Biblia or
"The Books." This Bible constitutes all that we have or know of the
"revealed Word of God."

     Truth, without alloy of possible error, lies in the inspired
and sacred pages of this wonderful "Word of God" -- if full
credence be given to its claims for itself, and to the claims made
for it by the theologians.

     As for its own claims of inspired and inerrant truth, they
abound: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim. iii,
16); "For the 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
Peter i, 21); though the Hebrew Deity himself, as quoted by
Jeremiah, avers: "the prophets prophesy lies in my name" (Jer.
xxiii, 25); and this prophet adds: "The false pen of the scribes
hath wrought falsely" (Jer. viii, 8, Revised Version). John the
Evangelist says: "He that saw it bare record, and his record is
true; and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe"
(John xix, 35). And his Divine Subject declares: "I have greater
witness than that of John. ... Though I bear record of myself, yet
my record is true" (John v, 36; viii, 14). Paul, the chief of the
propagandists, asserts, "I speak the truth in Christ; I lie not"
(Rom. ix, 1) -- though with amazing naivete he has just admitted
that he does "lie unto the glory of God" (Rom. iii, 7), that His
truth may the more abound! The assumption of truth is usually
attached to a confession.

     The Scriptures Old and New, their verity thus vouched for, we
well know to be a collection of many separate pieces of writing by
many Different "inspired" Hebrew writers, through many ages of
Hebrew history. The Bible has not thus the advantage of unity of
authorship, as have the Sacred Scriptures of some other widespread 
faiths of the present day.

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     The Koran of Merbammed is fabled to have been brought down
from heaven to this prophet by the archangel Gabriel, full-written
on the parchment skin of the ram which was miraculously provided in
the nick of time just as Father Abraham was about to cut the throat
of his son Isaac as a sacrifice to Yahweh on Mt. Moriah; the later
Book of Mormon, miraculously written on golden plates, and hidden
in a cache on Cumorah Hill, near Palmyra, was specially revealed to
the late Prophet J. Smith, here in New York State, in the year
1823, by the angel Moroni. As these latter sacred texts were
written in an unknown hieroglyph, the angel loaned to Prophet Smith
a pair of patent spectacles called Urim and Thummim, which had the
miraculous faculty of rendering the strange script into rather
faulty English words to the eye of the seer, and so enabling him,
hidden from curious prying behind a kitchen screen, to translate
the mystic manuscript, upon the completion of which pious work the
golden plates and spectacles were taken by the angel back to
heaven.

     Over 600,000 people in the United States live and die in the
faith of this "revelation"; and the sect has been considerably
persecuted and martyred for its faith by other Americans who
believed other and more ancient Hebrew revelations (though they
hate and persecute the Jews). And more millions of human beings
have for 1200 years believed the "revelations" of Mohammed than
ever did believe the Hebrao-Christian revelations. So much for
"revealed" faiths. Before forgetting Prophet J. Smith, it may be
recalled, as a bit of curious American history, that in 1829, less
than one hundred years ago, John the Baptist himself, he who
baptized the Jewish Jesus, came down from heaven to New York State
and publicly ordained Prophet Smith and his confrere Oliver Cowdery
into "the Priesthood of Aaron"; and that the immortal Saints Peter,
James the Brother of Jesus, and John (which one not specified) then
and there conferred upon the two Prophets "the Order of the
Priesthood of Melchizedek," of which Jesus Christ was himself a
perpetual member (Heb. vi, 20).

     We shall examine the truth of the Christian theology,
searching the Scriptures whether the miraculous things therein
recounted for faith can possibly be so. Incidentally we shall catch
an occasional sidelight from sacred or secular history, but chiefly
we shall keep closely in our search to Holy Writ. First we shall
take a brief retrospective look at some of the secular and historic
phases of Christianity as it has prevailed unto the Christian
civilization of past and present.

                    THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY

     Judea, the birthplace of the Christ, was a small outlying
province of the far-flung Pagan Roman Empire, its turbulent Jewish
fanaticism curbed by Roman law and legions.

     The new religion rose there, but met with little acceptance in
its native place, where the Jews could not recognize in the humble
Carpenter of Nazareth the tokens of the kingly "Messiah" of their
olden prophecy. It spread with readier acceptance among the
neighboring pagans, who believed all gods and had no objection to
taking on another; they were familiar with virgin births and with 

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gods coming to earth in human form. At Lystra the pagan populace
even acclaimed Paul and Barnabas as pagan deities, crying, "The
gods are come down to us in the likeness of men," Barnabas being
called Jupiter himself, and Paul the lesser divinity, Mercury,
"because be was the chief speaker" (Acts xiv, 11, 12). This greater
pagan honor to 'Barnabas seems to have offended Paul's sense of
importance; for shortly afterward they quarreled, "and the
contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder
one from the other" (Acts xv, 39), in a rather un-christian humor.

     But the proselytizing campaigns continued, pushed with much
zeal, now almost exclusively among the pagans. Naturally the new
faith drifted toward imperial Rome, the head and heart of the
ancient Pagan world. There, too, it took root and spread among the
lowly and the slaves, its rites hidden away in the slums and in the
catacombs.

     This new religion, besides being purer and simpler -- at first
-- than some of the older cults, was coupled with some very
effective inducements. Its Founder proclaimed himself as very God;
he had come to establish a kingdom on earth and in heaven. To those
who would abandon their families and their poor possessions, he
made the positive promise of immense immediate reward: "There is no
man that hath left house ... or lands for my sake, but he shall
receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses ... and lands; and
in the world to come eternal life" (Mark x, 29, 30; Matt. xix, 29;
Luke xviii, 30). He proclaimed again and again that in a very short
time the existing world should end, that he would come in glory to
establish his kingdom and a new earth, where he would reign
forever. So soon, indeed, would this great reward be realized, the
prospective king asserted, that there were some "standing here, who
shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in
his kingdom" (Matt. xvi, 28). The new religion assured everlasting
felicity in its heaven to all who would just believe; it threatened
eternal torment in the fires of its hell for all who would not
believe and accept it.

     Under the spell of these promises and threats and of the
assurance of a quick end of the earth, the propagandists of the
cult promptly established a strange new scheme of which they were
the administrators -- a scheme of pure communism. As the world
would quickly come to an end, there was no reason and no need to
take heed of temporal affairs; they must all watch and pray and
pool all their poor belongings in their leaders' hands for the
common benefit. This the trembling and zealous proselytes did,
under the sanction of supreme fear: "Neither was any among them
that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold
them, and brought the price of the things that were sold, and they
laid them down at the Apostles' feet; and distribution was made
unto every man according as he had need" (Acts iv, 34, 35). And the
story of what befell Ananias and Sapphira (Acts v, 1-11) for
holding out a part of their substance from the common pool was
wholesome warning to any who, with a cautious eye to a possible
hitch in the "second coming," might be inclined to "lie to the Holy
Ghost," who kept the score of the contributions. The history of 

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Dowie, "Elijah II," and his New Zion, and of "Moses II," younger
brother of Jesus Christ," here in twentieth-century United States, 
illustrates the truth that certain human traits are not yet
extinct.

     Such was the intellectual enlightenment of the classes among
which the new faith was propagated, and for which the inspired
Gospel biographies of the Christ and the apostolic epistles were
put into circulation. The chief of the disciples and his associate
propagandists were admittedly "unlearned and ignorant men" (Acts
iv, 13) the new cult was that of fishermen and peasants, of the
ignorant, the disinherited, the slave as is proved by many of their
acts and sayings, recorded in the New Testament and in early church
history.

     Naturally the new religion gained adherents and slowly spread,
as all other religions have done: Mithraism, its closest and all
but successful rival; Mohammedanism, which far outspread it;
Mormonism, Spiritualism, Mother-Eddyism and many another cult and
superstition, including "heresies" combated and persecuted by the
new faith from the very first, several of which (like some entirely
"pagan" religions) all but overthrew the struggling new "orthodox"
creed of the Christ. But by virtue of its superior moral merits,
its exceptional system of rewards and punishments, and the great
zeal of its propagandists, it grew and strengthened and finally
gained the upper hold in the centuries-long struggle with paganism.

                 THE NEW AND THE OLDER RELIGIONS

     Christianity was not so new or so novel as we generally think
it. In its essentials it had hardly a new thought in it -- except
hell-fire and the oft-repeated and never realized dictum, "The end
of all things is at hand" (I Peter iv, 7). In lieu of the plurality
of gods of the pagan religions, it evolved the one pagan god
Yahweh, of old Hebrew mythology, into Three-in-One Christian
Godhead. The other pagan gods became, in effect, the "saints" of
the new cult; or, as the Catholic Encyclopedia has it, "the Saints
are the successors to the Gods" (Vol. XV, p. 710) -- though the
theory of the Psalmist tallies better with that of the new
theology: "All the gods of the heathen are devils" (Psalms xcvi, 5,
Vulgate). The incarnation of Gods in human form by virgin birth was
common place myth; their death, resurrection, transition to and fro
between heaven and earth, and the like, were articles of faith of
many pagan creeds and of all mythologies. Monotheism, without idol-
worship, is the single essential difference of the Christian
religion from paganism; and when one recalls the Trinity, and the
icons and sacred images of saints, even this difference seems
attenuated.

     The death and resurrection of pagan gods is alluded to
specifically by Ezekiel. Yahweh had brought him in his vision to
the north door of the Temple at Jerusalem; "and, behold, there sat
women weeping for Tammuz" (Ezek. viii, 14). Tammuz was a so-called
god of vegetation, fabled to have died and been resurrected with
the returning seasons. One month of the Hebrew calendar is named
Tammuz. The fable is simply a myth of the death of vegetation in
the winter and its rebirth in the spring. It was a very prevalent 

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superstition in ancient times, in Assyria, in Egypt (the myths of
Isis and Osiris), in Palestine, Greece, and other pagan countries;
and the Tammuz myth was one of the heathenish cults followed by the
pagan Hebrews. The women referred to by Ezekiel were celebrating
the annual death of their god Tammuz by weeping for him. Now they
weep annually over the death of Jesus Christ, and rejoice each year
on the Easter of his resurrection. This so-called Tammuz-cult was
native to Babylonia; and, says the Catholic Encyclopedia, "it was
unmistakably allied with the worship of Adonis and Attis, and even
of Dionysus. Much might have been hoped for these religions with
their yearly festival of the dying and rising Gods" (Vol. XI, p.
388). But they were otherwise corrupt and moribund, and gave way
finally to the newer, purer religion, but identical cult, of the
Christ.

     It would be interesting to develop the records of the adoption
by Christianity of the pagan myths and ceremonies. It is a large
subject, and we cannot go into it at length here, where our task is
limited to a study of the sacred texts for the proofs or disproofs
of their own validity which they so abundantly afford. But some
brief extracts from authoritative works may be included, for their
own significance and to point the way for further inquiry.

     True, practically every tenet and ceremonial of the Christian
religion has its counterpart in, and was adapted from, the beliefs
and ceremonies of the pagan religions which preceded it and for
centuries lived alongside it. We have just noticed the "Yearly
festival of the dying and rising God" in the ceremonials of
paganism. This is very like the death and resurrection of the
Christian God, Jesus Christ; and it is the resurrection of Jesus
which is the cornerstone of the Christian religion: "If Christ be
not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain"
(I Cor. xv, 14). To be as brief as may be in outlining this very
suggestive subject, I will quote a paragraph from a well-known
recent work, 'The Next Step in Religion,' by Ray Wood Sellars, 
[Ray Wood Sellers, The Next Step in Religion: An Essay toward the
Coming Renaissance. (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1918)]
supplemented by extracts from the Catholic Encyclopedia, the best
brief outlines of Christian adoptions and adaptations of paganism.
Says Mr. Sellars:

     "The Orphic cults in Greece, the Osiris and Isis cult in
     Egypt, the worship of Attis and Adonis in Syria [of which
     Palestine is part], the purification and communion ceremonies
     of Mithraism, all turned about the idea of a secret means of
     salvation. The God dies and is resurrected; the Virgin Goddess
     gives birth to a Son; the members of the religious community
     eat of their God and gain strength from the sacred meal. The
     Church Fathers were aware of these similarities, and sought to
     explain away their resemblances by means of the theory that
     the Devil had blasphemously imitated Christian rites and
     doctrines." -- I may pause to point out that these pagan rites
     long antedated the Christian analogies, and therefore the
     theory loses force. -- "The death and resurrection of a
     Savior-God was very prevalent in Tarsus, Paul's own city. The
     Attis Mysteries were celebrated in a season which corresponded
     to the end of our Lenten season and the beginning of Easter. 

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     They were preceded by fasting and began with lamentations; the
     votaries gathered in sorrow around the bier of the dead
     divinity; then followed the resurrection; and the risen God
     gave hope of salvation to the mystic brotherhood; and the
     whole service closed with the feast of rejoicing, the
     Hilaria." (Sellars, pp. 23-24.)

     Much more comprehensive, and constituting a very notable
admission, are the following passages from the Catholic
Encyclopedia. By way of introductory, it says: "Speaking from the
standpoint of pure history, no one will deny that much in the
antecedent and environing aspirations and ideals of paganism
formed, to use the Church phrase, a praeparatio evangelica of high
value. 'Christo jam tum venienti, crede, parata via est.' sings the
Hymn of Prudentius. The pagan world 'saw the road,' Augustine could
say, 'from its hill-top.' 'Et ipse Pitaetus Christianus est.' said
the Priest of Attis; while, of Heraclitus and the old Philosophers,
Justin avers that 'there were Christians before Christ.' Indeed,
the earlier apologists for Christianity go far beyond anything we
should wish to say, and indeed made difficulties for their
successors" (Vol. XI, p. 393). And again: "It has indeed been said
that the 'Saints are the successors to the Gods.' Instances have
been cited of pagan feasts becoming Christian; of pagan temples
consecrated to the worship of the true God; of statues of pagan
Gods baptized and transformed into Christian Saints" (Vol. XV, p.
710).

     A few instances out of the great number of these analogies
between pagan and Christian rites follow:

     "The Christian ritual developed when, in the third century,
the Church left the Catacombs. Many forms of self-expression must
needs be identical, in varying times, places, cults, as long as
human nature is the same. Water, oil, light, incense, singing,
procession, prostration, decoration of altars, vestments of
priests, are naturally at the service of universal religious
instinct. Little enough, however, was directly borrowed by the
Church -- nothing, without being 'baptized,' as was the Pantheon.
In all these things the spirit is the essential: the Church
assimilates to herself what she takes, or, if she cannot adapt, she
rejects it.

     "Even pagan feasts may be 'baptized': certainly our
processions of April 25th are the Robigalia; the Regation Days may
replace the Ambarualia; the date of Christmas Day may be due to the
same instinct which placed on December 25th the Natalis Invictis of
the Solar Cult (Vol. XI, p. 390).

     "The Roman Virtues, Fides, Castitas, Virtus (manliness) were
canonized [p. 391]. The Mysteries had already fostered, though not
created, the conviction of immortality. It was thought that
'initiation' insured a happy after-life and atoned for sins, that
else had been punished, if not in this life, in some place of
expiation (Plato, Rep. 366; cf. Pindar, Sophocles, Plutarch). These
Mysteries usually began with the selection of Initiandi, their
preliminary baptism, fasting, and confession. After many 

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sacrifices, the Mysteries proper were celebrated, including
tableaux showing heaven, hell, purgatory, the soul's destiny, the
gods. Apuleius (in Metamorphoses) tells us his thrilling and
profoundly religious experiences.

     "There was often seen the 'Passion' of the god Osiris; the
rape and return of Kore and the sorrows of Demeter (Eleusis) -- the
sacred marriage and divine births (Zeus, Brimos). Finally, there
was usually the Meal of mystic food; grains of all sorts at
Eleusis, bread and water in the cult of Mithra, wine (Dionysus),
milk and honey (Attis), raw bull's flesh in the Orphic Dionysus-
Zagreus cult. Sacred formukae were certainly imparted, of magical
value (Vol. XI, pp. 391-2). In the Tauroboliuml the Initiandi were
baptized by dipping in the bull's blood, whence the dipped emerged
renatus in aeternum ('reborn into Eternity'). In the sacred Meal
(which was not a sacrifice), the worshippers communicated in the
God and with one another.

     "The sacred Fish of Atargatis have nothing to do with the
origin of the Eucharist, nor with the Ichthys Anagram of the
Catacombs. The Anagram -- (Ichthys, the Greek word for Fish), does
indeed represent 'Iesous Christos Theou Uios Soter' -- (Jesus
Christ, Son of God, Savior); the propagation of the symbol was
often facilitated owing to the popular Syrian Fish-cult (from
Dagon, Syrian Fish-god). That the terminology of the Mysteries was
largely transported into Christian use is certain (Paul, Ignatius,
Origen, Clement, etc.); that the liturgy, especially of baptism,
organization of the Catechumenate, Disciplina Arcana, etc., were
affected by them, is highly probable. Always the Church has
forcefully molded words, and even concepts (as Savior, Epiphany,
Baptism, Illumination (photismos), Mysteries (teletes), Logos, to
suit her own Dogma and its expression. Thus it was that John could
take the expression 'Logos,' mould it to his Dogma, cut short all
perilous speculation among Christians, and assert once for all that
the "Word was made Flesh' and was Jesus Christ" (Cath.
Encyclopedia, Vol. XI, p. 392).

     The fish anagram above referred to was an ancient pagan symbol
of fecundity, of great vogue and veneration throughout pagandom,
and was adopted by Christendom for the double reason that the
initials acrostically formed the name and title of Jesus Christ and
that in ancient science fish were supposed to be generated in the
water without carnal copulation, and were thus peculiarly symbolic
of the virgin-born Christ. The pagan origin and Christian
significance of the symbol are attained by the authority just
quoted: "The most remarkable example of such a poem [acrostic or
anagram] is attributed by Lactantius and Eusebius to the Erythrean
Sibyl, the initial letters forming the words 'Iesous Xristos Theou
Uios Soter (stauros).' Omitting the doubtful parenthesis (cross),
these words form a minor acrostic: Ichthys, fish, the mystical
symbol of our Lord" (Cath. Encyc. Vol. I, p. 111).

     The pagan origin of the two greatest Christian festivals,
Christmas and Easter, may be emphasized by brief extracts.
"Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church. The
first evidence of the feast is from Egypt. ... [about 200 A.D.] ...
There is no month in the year to which respectable authorities have

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not ascribed Christ' birth. ... At Rome, then, the Nativity was
celebrated on 25 December before 354; in the East, at
Constantinople, not before 379. ... The well-known solar feast,
however, of Natalis Invictis, celebrated on 25 December, has a
strong claim on the responsibility for our December date. ... It
would be impossible here to even outline the history of solar
symbolism and language as applied to God, the Messiah, and Christ
in Jewish or Christian canonical, patristic, or devotional works.
Hymns and Christmas offices abound in instances. The earliest
rapprochement of the births of Christ and the Sun is in Cyprian (De
pasch. comp. xix): 'O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on
that day on which the Sun was born ... Christ should be born.' In
the fourth century Chrysostom (De Solst. et AEquin., II, p. 118)
says: 'But our Lord too is born in the month of December (25). ...
But they call it the "Birthday of the Unconquered." Who is so
unconquered as our Lord? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of
the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice.' ... Pope Leo I bitterly
reproves solar survivals -- Christians on the very door-step of the
Apostles' Basilica turn to adore the rising Sun. ... But even
should a deliberate and legitimate 'baptism? of a pagan feast be
seen here, no more than the transference of the date need be
supposed. The abundance of midwinter festivals may have helped the
choice of the December date, the same instinct which set Natalis
Invictis at the winter solstice will have sufficed, apart from
deliberate adaptation or curious calculation, to set the Christians
feast there too" (Cath. Encyc., Vol. III, pp. 724-727).

     This "baptism" of the most popular pagan festival of the Sun
as the birthday of the Son of God is thus evidently admitted to be
as the secular histories clearly prove it was -- a sop to the pagan
masses to conciliate them with Christianity by permitting them to
continue to enjoy their great festivals and ceremonies the more
readily to entice them into the paganized Christian Church.

     As Christmas is a "baptized" pagan festival of the solar cult,
celebrating the birth of the sun at the winter solstice, so is
Easter a pagan solar festivity, celebrated at the spring equinox in
all the Eastern pagan lands as the renewal of vegetal life and the
resurrection of nature from the long death of winter. The name
Easter, according to the Venerable Bede, "relates to Eostre, a
Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring" (Cath.
Encyc., Vol. V, p. 224). It is identically the Jewish passover; "in
fact, the Jewish feast was taken over into the Christian Easter
celebration" (Id. p: 225). But it is of even more pagan origin than
Judaism, with its festivals of "new moons"; its pagan solar
character is shown by the time of its celebration: "Easter was
celebrated in Rome and Alexandria on the first Sunday after the
first full moon after the spring equinox. ... Already in the third
century 25 March, was considered the day of the crucifixion" (Id.
p. 225). "A great number of pagan customs, celebrating the return
of spring, gravitated to Easter" (Id., p. 227).

     The foregoing is as comprehensive a statement of the admitted
"borrowings" or "adaptations" by Christianity from paganism as can
well be made in brief quotations. They are authoritative, and they
completely prove that there is nothing new in the Christian
religion except Hebrew monotheism, with threats of hell and 
damnation, and temporal torture and death for the unbeliever.

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     It may surprise and grieve many good Christians to know that
all their pious observances, prayers, hymns, baptism, communion at
the altar, redemption, salvation, the celebration of Christmas as
the birth of their God in mid-winter, and of Easter, his
resurrection as spring breaks, all, all, are pagan practices and
myths, thousands of years antedating their Jesus-religion.

     The simple truth is that paganism was outworn; its myths were
too childish to be believed by the enlightened minds of those days.
Four centuries before Christ, Socrates was put to death for
disbelief in the gods of Greece. Paganism, too, had become corrupt
in many of its practices; the time was ripe for a reform in
religion, and for a purer system based on belief in one God. One of
the many pretended Messiahs of Israel served as the occasion for
this reform. His own people did not largely accept him; his
propaganda found readier acceptance among the pagans, who had a
freer form of worship and were very prone to believe in any god and
in every fable. So the new cult made its way slowly through the
pagan Roman world.

     The new religion was at first tolerated throughout the Empire,
and at Rome. As it grew and spread, it interfered with the business
of many "Demetrius silversmiths," who violently opposed it as
destroying their idol-trade (Acts xix, 24). By their evil reports,
maybe, its votaries became suspected of criminal practices and
conspiracies against the Empire, and it suffered intermittent
persecutions, but it persisted. It met persecution and attempted
suppression, not as a religion, but as an interference with the
policy of the State. After three hundred years, during which
paganism flourished decadently and was the religion of "the best
peoples and best portions of the earth," the new religion gained
the adherence of the pagan Emperor Constantine, who became sole
emperor of the pagan world through a victory due, as he was made by
Christian priests superstitiously to believe, to a miraculous Sign
of the Cross, with the legend In Hoc Signo Vinces, hung out in
heaven for him during the battle at the Milvian Bridge by the
Christian's God himself. The emperor, in gratitude or as a shrewd
policy of state, adopted the new god and creed, and at the
instigation of the priests set up this creed as the state religion
and enthroned its priests in place and power in the state. In the
spirit of pagan tolerance, which one would think should be the
spirit of Christianity, Constantine decreed religious liberty
throughout the Empire. The terms of his Edict of Milan, in 313, are
worth recalling; they shame the very sect which was its intended
beneficiary.

            PAGAN TOLERANCE AND CHRISTIAN INTOLERANCE

     The proselytized emperor decreed: "It seems to us proper that
the Christians and all others should have liberty to follow that
mode of religion which to each of them appears best; for it befits
the well-ordered State and the tranquillity of our times that each
individual be allowed, according to his own choice, to worship the
Divinity."

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     But no sooner had the priests of the new religion foisted
themselves securely into power, and by their threats of hell fire 
dominated the superstitious minds of the emperors, than the old
decrees of persecution under which they themselves had previously
suffered were revamped and turned into engines of torture and
destruction of both pagans and "heretic" Christians alike, and
religious intolerance became the corner-stone of the Church
apostolic. Without mentioning earlier laws, in which the new
persecutors cautiously felt their way, it was enacted, at priestly
instigation, in the famous Codex Theodosianus, about A.D. 384: "We
desire that all the people under the rule of our clemency should
live by that religion which divine Peter the apostle is said to
hive given the Romans. ... We desire that heretics and schismatists
be subjected to various fines. ... We decree also that we shall
cease from making sacrifices to the gods. And if any one has
committed such a crime, let him be stricken with the avenging
sword" (Cod. Theod. xvi, 1, 2; 5, 1; 10, 4). What a contrast to the
Edict of Milan, granting tolerance to all! In these laws of the now
"Christian" empire priestly intolerance is made the law of the
land; and the accursed words "Inquisition of the Faith" and
"inquisitors" first appear in this code.

                THE DEADLY SANCTIONS OF RELIGION

     But the priests should not alone bear the infamy of these laws
of persecution and death, instigated by them. To the Devil his due!
The "Holy Ghost" itself, it is claimed by the Bible and the Church,
inspired and decreed by positive command all the bloody murders and
tortures by the priests from Moses to the last one committed; and
the spirit of them lives and is but hibernating to-day. The Holy
God of Israel, whose name is Merciful, thus decreed on Sinai: "He
that sacrificeth to any gods [elohim], save unto Yahweh only, he
shall be utterly destroyed" (Ex. xxii, 20). And hear this, which
the ancient priests attribute to their God:

          "If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or
     thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which
     is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go
     serve other gods, and ... Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor
     hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither
     shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou
     shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to
     put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.
     And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die" (Deut.
     xiii, 6--10)!

     Words are inadequate to comment on this murderous decree of a
barbarian God! And not only must all under penalty of a fiendish
death worship the Holy Yahweh of Israel, but listen to this other
fatal, infamous decree of the priests in the name of this God:

          "The man that will do presumptuously, and will not
     hearken unto the priest, even that man shall die" (Deut. xvii,
     12).

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     And the tergiversant slaughter-breathing persecutor for pay of
the early Christians, now turned for profit their chief apostle of 
persecution, pronounces time and again the anathema of the new
dispensation against all dissenters from his superstitious,
tortuous doctrines and dogmas, all such "whom I have delivered unto
Satan" (I Tim. i, 20), as be writes to advise his adjutant Timothy.
He flings at the scoffing Hebrews this question: "He that despised
Moses, law died without mercy ...: Of how much sorer punishment,
suppose ye shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot
the Son of God?" (Heb. x, 28, 29). All such "are set forth for an
example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 7); "that
they might all be damned who believed not the truth" (2 Thess. ii,
12); and even "he that doubteth is damned" (Rom. xiv, 23). This
Paul, who with such bigoted presumption "deals damnation 'round the
land on all he deems the foe" of his dogmas, is first seen
"consenting to the death" of the first martyr Stephen (Acts viii,
1); then he blusters through the country "breathing out
threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord" (Acts
ix, 1), the new converts to the new faith. Then, when he suddenly
professed miraculous "conversion" himself, his old masters turned
on him and sought to kill him, and he fled to these same disciples
for safety, to their great alarm (Acts ix, 23-26), and straightway
began to bully and threaten all who would not now believe his new
preachments. To Elymas, who "withstood them," the doughty new
dogmatist "set his eyes on him," and thus blasted him with inflated
vituperation: "O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child
of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease
to pervert the right ways of the Lord"? (Acts xiii, 8-10). Even the
"meek and loving Jesus" is quoted as giving the fateful admonition:
"Fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell"
(Matt. x, 28) -- here first invented and threatened by Jesus the
Christ himself, for added terror unto belief. Paul climaxes the
terror: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living
God" (Heb. x, 31).

     Thus "breathing out threatenings and Slaughter" against all
who would not believe their gospel of miracles and damnation, the
founders of the new faith forged and fastened the fetters of the
new superstition upon the already superstitious pagans about them,
and gradually throughout the Roman world. By fear of hell, pagan
individuals, and in later times, by the choice proffered by
"Christian" conquerors between the Cross and the sword, whole pagan
peoples fell under the domination of the new militant faith. Whole
tribes and nations were given the choice between Christianity and
death; early history abounds in instances. The Hungarians adopted
Christianity as the alternative to extermination in A.D. 1000; also
the pagan Wends when conquered in 1144, and most of the pagan
Teutonic tribes. Charlemagne required every male subject of the
Holy Roman Empire above the age of twelve to renew his oath of
allegiance and swear to be not only a good subject but also a good
Christian. To refuse baptism and to retract after baptism were
crimes punishable with death. It was indeed fearful danger and
death by torture, rack, and fire to show the faintest symptoms of
doubt of the faith of the Holy Church.

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                     "LIKE KING LIKE PEOPLE"

     Following the truism of Isaiah, "like king like people," very
great sections of the people throughout the Empire, especially the
official and subservient classes, hastened to adopt the name and
outward indicia of Christianity, now become official and popular.
But so "joined to their idols" were the masses of pagan "converts"
for convenience, and so addicted to its showy forms and ceremonies,
that the now officially recognized Church of Christ was not slow to
popularize itself with the pagan-Christian masses by taking over
bodily and "baptizing" to itself the temples, idols, rituals,
ceremonials, the whole pomp and glorious circumstance of paganism,
as we have just seen admitted by the paragraphs of church history
quoted from the work of Sellars and the authoritative Catholic
Encyclopedia. Christianity became thus scarcely more than a refined
veneer of paganism. A devout pagan becoming, either from
convenience or conviction, a Christian, no doubt felt quite
comfortable and at home in a "baptized" pagan-Christian temple,
aglow with all the trappings and ceremonials and resonant with all
the old familiar rituals and litanies of his just-recanted
paganism, with merely the name of Zeus or Jupiter replaced by that
of Jehovah, and of Adonis or Tammuz by that of Jesus, and with
"Mary, Mother of God," for Isis (with the child Horus), as the new
"Queen of Heaven." As the missionaries of Rome carried the new cult
into yet other countries, and various kings and rulers fell to the
appeal and pomp of the priests, whole tribes and nations of
heathens followed their leaders into the Church, veneering their
paganism with the name, forms, and ceremonials of Roman
Christianity. This is the testimony of early ecclesiastical and
secular history.

     Later instances more generally known, but the significance of
which is as generally overlooked, further confirm Isaiah's maxim.
For a millennium the Western Empire was more or less Roman
Christian; the Eastern Empire had the Greek Church with its own
Patriarch, but, with considerable vicissitudes of constancy, it
recognized the supremacy of papal Rome, and the formulas of faith
and creed were the same, with the exception of the age-long
controversy over the "filioque" clause of the Nicene Creed, and the
bitter feuds over image-worship known as iconoclasm. The rancours
engendered from these differences of belief, together with the
bigoted pretensions of patriarch and pope, led to the final rupture
between Greek and Roman Churches in the year 1053. All the West
followed their leader the pope; the East clung with equal tenacity
to the tenets of the patriarch. So bitter were the hatreds thus
perpetuated, that the Western popes and emperorsa refused all aid
to the beleaguered emperors and Church of the East in the fatal
conflicts with the Turks, till in 1453 Constantinople and the whole
Eastern empire fell before the Crescent, and Europe became Turkish
and Mohammedan up to the very gates of Vienna.

     But western and northern Europe remained of the Roman faith
until the Reformation begun by Luther in 1517. Here a most signal
vindication of "Like king like people" is witnessed. The Christian
kings and rulers who had political grievances against the pope
quickly took up the quarrel of Luther with the Roman Church; those
who were politically friendly to the pope seized arms to defend him

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and the Church; their respective peoples flocked to their standards
and followed them in their rival faiths, and Europe was a welter of
blood and strife during the ensuing fierce wars between Catholic
and Protestant Christians. The strife of hostile Christian faiths
yet endures, abated some-what in degree.

     England was wholly Romish before the Reformation; so staunch
a supporter of the True Faith was the lecherous Henry VIII that the
pope bestowed on him the title Fidei Defensor, Defender of the
Faith. Papal sanction being refused to his scandalous project of
divorce from Catharine, in order to marry Anne Boleyn, Henry broke
with the pope and became Protestant; carried England with him into
the Protestant ranks; founded the Church of England; and became its
supreme spiritual head. The old Romish practice of burning
dissenters at the stake was turned against the English Catholics to
suppress that sect entirely. Henry's Romish daughter "Bloody Mary"
succeeded him, and she was in turn succeeded by her Protestant bar-
sinister sister Elizabeth: each in turn kept the fires of
Smithfield blazing with the burning of the "heretics" of the
opposite faith. Finally, with the revolution against the Catholic
Stuarts, Protestantism won and England became what she is to-day,
the staunch bulwark of the reformed Faith and the Established
Church.

     On such chances and caprices of vanity and spite in Providence
doth the religious complexion of whole nations of loyal Christians
turn and depend. It is curious to remember that the Protestant
sovereigns of England yet bear the popish title "Fidei Defensor,"
which is blazoned on the national escutcheon and stamped on the
coin of the realm to-day,

     And so, through the long dark ages of faith, and so long as
the priest-prostituted State would use its civil power in
superstitious aid of the Holy Church, the Holy Church has zealously
fulfilled its Bible's commands and has murdered and tortured men,
women, and tender children by fire and sword through its special
agency of faith, the Holy Inquisition. This priest-ordained
institution was only abolished by the infidel Napoleon in Italy in
1808; but the moment his dreaded power fell, the "Scourge of God"
was eagerly re-established in the Papal States by God's Vicar Pope
Pius VII in 1814, and in Tuscany and Sardinia in 1835. It was only
finally abolished, along with the usurped "temporal power" of God's
vicars on earth, as one of the first glorious acts of the new
Kingdom of Italy, in 1870, -- just at the time when the Holy Ghost
came to the "Vatican prisoner" to reassert that the torture and
murder of dissenters from theological dogma was a God-imposed duty
and divine right of his Holy Church. We shall see how this is.

                     "NOT DEAD BUT SLEEPETH"

     It would appear, from what is quoted below, that Holy Church
does not accept complaisantly this deprivation of power to execute
these bloody features of the divine commands committed to it. It
recognizes perforce its temporal impotence, and seems, like the
modern Hun, to bide if not to toast "The Day," as it often
suggests? "Today the temporal penalties formerly inflicted on
apostates and heretics cannot be enforced, and have fallen into 

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abeyance"; -- abeyance, temporary suspension, reluctant disuse, if
you please, as may be read in Vol. I, p. 625, of the Catholic
Encyclopedia, published under the imprimatur of Holy Church but a
few years ago (1907), in New York City, and as is several times
repeated in its volumes. Its whole system for suppression even to
extermination yet exists intact, ready for instant resort when and
should "changed conditions" again permit. From Vol. XIV, p. 761, et
seq., commended to very thoughtful perusal, are quoted several
precious, pregnant paragraphs (the italics are mine):

          "Nearly all ecclesiastical legislation in regard to the
     repression of heresy proceeds upon the assumption that
     Heretics are in wilful revolt against lawful authority; that
     they are, in fact, Apostates who by their own culpable act
     have renounced the True Faith. ... It is easy to see that in
     the Middle Ages this was not an unreasonable assumption. ...

          "No one could be ignorant of the claims of the Church;
     and if certain people repudiated her authority, it was by an
     act of rebellion inevitably carrying with it a menace to the
     sovereignty which the rest of the world accepted. ...

          "The Canon Law deals very largely with the enunciation of
     principles of right and wrong which are in their own nature
     irreformable; the direct repeal of its provisions has never or
     very rarely been resorted to; but there remain upon the
     statute book a number of enactments which owing to changed
     conditions are to all practical intents and purposes obsolete.
     ...

          "The custom of burning heretics is really not a question
     of justice, but a question of civilization (p. 769). ...

          "'The gravest obligation,'" says Pope Leo XIII in his
     Encyclical "Immortals Dei" of Nov. 1, 1885, "requires the
     acceptance and practice not of the religion which one may
     choose, but of that which God prescribes and which is known by
     certain and indubitable marks to be the only true, one'"! (p.
     764).

     There we have the incubating germs of potential hell on earth
again in the name of God and the Christian  religion. It is not the
Roman Church alone which is guilty; now, and throughout this book,
I make no imputations against it as Catholic, but only as
Christian; for 1500 years it was the only, as it claims yet to be
the only true, "Christian" Church, -- "fons et origo malorum," of
religious superstitions and persecutions innumerable. Its greater
guilt lies only in its being the father of all these priestly
dogmas which have been and are the blight of civilization. The
dissenters were, and well might be again, their Providence
permitting, all that this same article above quoted imputes to
them; for in a typical tu quoque conclusion (which admits its own
guilt) Holy Church thus recites history: "On the other hand, the
ferocity of the leading Reformers more than equalled that of the
most fiercely denounced Inquisitors. Even the 'gentle' Melanchthon
wrote to Calvin to congratulate him on the burning of Servetus:
'The Church, both now and in all generations, owes and will owe you

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a debt of gratitude.' And, says Luther, 'Let there be no pity; it
is a time of wrath, not of mercy. Therefore, dear Lords, let him
who can slay, smite, destroy.' John Knox 'thought that every
Catholic in Scotland ought to be put to death.'" -- And the
authorized and authoritative Encyclopedia article just quoted
asserts solemnly that the inspired canon laws, including those
prescribing the torture and burning to death of "heretics," are in
their divine nature "irreformable," have accordingly never been
repealed and merely lie "in abeyance" or are "for practical
purposes obsolete," only because of "changed conditions"; and that
the infernal "custom of burning heretics is really not a question
of justice [i.e. of right or wrong], but a question of
civilization" -- which has gradually brought about these "changed
conditions," so that "burning heretics," while yet a divinely
sanctioned and unrepealed law of God and Church, cannot in these
days be enforced because of this secular "civilization" which
renders the burning laws of God and Church unpopular and impotent.

     Revolting and truly significant as this is, it is also a
confession which suggests the truth of the assertion often made
that "Christian civilization" is a misnomer, and that such
civilization as the world to-day enjoys exists, not because of the
Christian religion, but in despite and defiance of that religion
and its ministers. Only so far as the world has broken away from
the superstition and thrall of the theological dogmas of this
religion and its Holy Church and has caught something of its better
spirit, making "obsolete" the fires of the Church on earth and in
hell, has civilization slowly and painfully progressed, and have
human liberty of thought and conscience and political and civil
liberty become possible and been slowly and painfully realized in
some parts of the "Christian" world.

                  FAITH FLOURISHED ON IGNORANCE

     With the decline an fall of the Roman Empire the Christian
religion spread and grew, among the Barbarian destroyers of Rome.
The Dark Ages contemporaneously spread their intellectual pall over
Europe. Scarcely any but priests and monks could read. Charlemagne
learned to wield the pen only to the extent of scrawling his
signature. The barons who wrested Magna Carta from John Lackland
signed with their marks and seals. The worst criminals, provided
they were endowed with the rare and magic virtue of knowing how to
read even badly, enjoyed the "benefit of clergy" (i.e., of clerical
learning), and escaped immune or with greatly mitigated punishment.
There were no books save painfully-written manuscripts, worth the
ransom of princes, and utterly unattainable except by the very
wealthy and by the Church; not till about 1450 was the first
printed book known in Europe. The Bible existed only in Hebrew,
Greek, and Latin, and the ignorant masses were totally ignorant of
it other than what they heard from the priests, who told them that
they must believe it or be tortured and killed in life and damned
forever in the fires of hell after death. It is no wonder that
faith flourished under conditions so exceptionally favorable.

     During the long dark ages of faith, the Holy Church and
benightedness were at their apogee and holy heyday. Miracles of
superstition happened every day by the conjuration of unwashed 

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                        IS IT GOD'S WORD?

saints and the exorcisms of motley priests, just as they do to-day
in the jungles of Africa and the arctic regions of America, through
the conjurings of Hottentot medicine-men and Eskimo shamans; but
never a single true miracle such as the modern ones of medicine, of
surgery, of sanitation, of the physical sciences!

     Any who may question the accuracy -- or desire astonishing
details -- of this reference to the miracles and superstitions of
saints and Holy Church, is cheerfully recommended to the
exhaustless fount of authentic lore and accredited vouchers for it
all, in the sixteen volume Catholic Encyclopedia, under the names
of the myriad various saints and the articles Magic, Exorcism,
Necromancy, Sorcery, Witchcraft, and scores of other such, all
vouched for under the imprimatur of authority. And none of this,
with such sanction, can possibly be impeached of error; for the
same high source states: "Error is in one way or another the
product of ignorance." The priestly maxim of those dark ages of
faith is the accredited axiom of Hugo of St. Victor: "Disce premum
quod credendum est" -- "Learn first what is to be believed"! --
though amongst the churchmen it is said to have been a privileged
maxim for themselves, that they might "hold anything so long as
they hold their tongues."

     Under the sway and dominion of such "sacred science," genius
was dead; the human intellect atrophied; credulity was rampant. All
this followed swiftly upon the grafting of the Christian religion
upon the splendid though decadent civilization of the Roman Empire
in East and West. These all are simple facts of history.

                    "CHRISTIAN CIVILIZATION"

     Dickens's Child's History of England, in speaking of the early
pagan inhabitants of that island at the time of the Roman invasion,
55 years before the era of the so-called "Prince of peace," says:
"The ancient Britons, being divided into as many as thirty or forty
tribes, each commanded by its own little king, were constantly
fighting with each other, as savage people usually do."

     That single sentence epitomizes the whole history of
"Christian-civilized" Europe from that day to this: the Christian
has been no whit different from the savage as regards the savage
pastime of "constantly fighting with each other, as savage people
usually do." Read any history of Europe as a whole, or of any
particular people of Europe: its pages are replete with next to
nothing but fighting and wars, internecine and international, in
almost every single year of its bloody annals. And wars about what?

     Without an exception they have all been of one of three
inveterate classes: wars instigated by lust of conquest and power
on the part of "divine right" kings or even more popular rulers,
seeking to rob and steal each other's territories or to force their
will upon others; wars, and the most terrible and brutal of all,
incited by this Holy Christian religion before the Reformation,
with the holy purpose of exterminating unbelievers, as in the
Crusades and the Spanish butcheries of the Moors, or with the pious
object of exterminating, at Popish instigation, dissenting
"heretics," such as the Albigenses, Waldenses, Netherlanders, 

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                        IS IT GOD'S WORD?

Cathari, Huguenots, Jews, and scores of others; and after the
Reformation, furious exterminating wars of one fanatical faction of
Christians against another, all blasphemously in the name of God!
Such pious infamies, for a thousand years and more, from its
earliest usurpation of power until skeptic anti-clericalism made it
impotent, have been the chief occupation of the Church Persecutrix,
-- that

               "... saintly, murderous brood,
                To carnage and the Bible* given,
                Who think through unbelievers' blood
                Lies their directest path to heaven."
                         *The original reads "the Koran."

A third, and redeeming, class of European wars has been those
glorious and righteous struggles for liberty by oppressed and
debased peoples, ground to misery and desperation by Holy Church
and divine right kings -- both which institutions are thoroughly
Biblical and Christian -- to throw off their galling yokes and to
win political freedom and liberty of conscience for themselves and
their posterity. But the Christian religion, while instigating and
waging many of the most cruel wars, has never once prevented a
single accursed war, of which over fifty have plunged "civilized
Christian Europe" into a welter of blood and misery in the past
century alone; while the world to-day yet staggers under the
devastation of the greatest and most destructive war of all
history, which desolated humanity and all but overthrew
civilization. And no war has been in which the name of God was not
inscribed upon the bloody banners of the aggressor; assailants and
defenders alike swamp high heaven with frantic and fatuous prayers
to God to give victory to each against the other -- prayers which
God has never heard or attended to, for God, as Napoleon cynically
and truly said, "is always on the side of the heaviest guns" -- or
of the deadliest poison-gas and most ruthless butchery of men.

     Until wicked, brutal, damned war is ended on earth, there is
and can be no true civilization; for all war -- unless defensive --
is uncivilized, brutish barbarism. And to this holy consummation
the Christian religion, as such, will never lead or even
contribute. He whom the Christians fondly call "The Prince of
Peace" -- for what reason and with what reason God only knows -- is
not to be counted on to aid; for himself explicitly avers: "Think
not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send
peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against
his father, and the daughter against her mother, And a man's foes
shall be they of his own household" (Matt. x, 34-36)! Far from
preventing war, truly has his theology, or creedal religion,
throughout his era been the prolific cause and miserable pretext of
wars and woes unnumbered: of human misery degradation, ignorance,
intolerance, persecution, pogroms, murders by fire and sword -- in
a word, of most of the ills and sorrows which humanity, subject to
its thrall, has suffered from the days of Constantine's league with
the Church, A.D., 313, to this very year of Christ and his
religion. Gainsay this no man who knows history can.

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                        IS IT GOD'S WORD?

     The Christian religion has been the fearful sanction of human
slavery, of "divine right" rulers, of "God-anointed" priestly 
domination of the mind and soul of man, of the imposed inferiority
of woman. The deadly dogma of divine right of kings and of the sin
of resistance to oppression is positively ordained: "The powers
that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the
power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they, that resist shall
receive to themselves damnation" (Romans xiii, 1. 2). But the
Declaration of Independence reads otherwise. As for the priestly
dominance, we will take ancient Scripture for authority -- More
modern instances may occur to some: "The prophets prophesy falsely,
and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to
have it so" (Jer. v, 31); apd the pertinent query follows: "What
will ye do in the end the end thereof?" That is for this age to
answer unequivocally.

                     THE "CHRISTIAN" PEOPLES

     The best and most highly civilized portion of the human race
is within the pale of Christendom; but are these peoples so because
they profess the Christian religion? Just as well and truly say
that they are the most intelligent of mind, the fairest of
complexion, the most comely of form and face because they are
Christian.

     But as pagans, before ever they heard of Christianity, they
were the same: because they were of the Caucasian race, Aryan --
which means "noble." All know the story of the youthful priest,
later Gregory the Great, seeing a group of "barbarian" captives
exposed for sale in the Christian slave-market of Rome; struck with
their personal beauty, he asked of what country they were. Being
told "They are Angles," he exclaimed: "No, they are angels," and
was thus moved to send missionaries to their Teutonic homeland to
"convert" their nation from paganism to the true faith. Deathless
in history, in song and story, are "the glory that was Greece, the
grandeur that was Rome" -- the two highest civilizations of
antiquity as well as of the early Christian era: the glory and the
power were of pagan Greece, of pagan Rome long before and long
after the Christian religion came, and that glory, that high
civilization was eclipsed, swamped, by the night of the Christian
dark ages -- which were the ages of faith.

     Not only these greatest civilizations, but the greatest minds
of the ages, the best of men, were pagans: Aristotle, Plato,
Socrates, Epictetus, Demosthenes, Cicero, Seneca, the Plinys, the
Antonines, Marcus Aurelius, the philosophers, the poets, Pilate
himself -- the catalogue is long and illustrious: Justin had to
explain it thus -- "there were Christians before Christ." The
Augustan Age, just at the time of the advent of the Man of Sorrows,
was the glorious golden age of the ancient world -- and purely
pagan. And for centuries after Christ the greater part of Europe
remained pagan, and but slowly, and bloodily, gave way to
Christianity after the league of State with Church under
Constantine, as we may again notice in this sketch.

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                        IS IT GOD'S WORD?

     Having given a rapid retrospect of some of the phases of
Christian history, and sought to clear away some popular 
misconceptions, I shall proceed, in the following chapters, in all
conscience and truth of statement, easily verifiable by all, to
"search the Scriptures," Hebrew and Hebrao-Christian, whether these
things which they contain for our faith are worthy of faith and
credit. This search win truly "reveal" the Bible and its God in the
very words of inspiration. If they be found inspired of truth, the
first and highest duty of man is reverently to cherish and obey
them -- "for therein ye think ye have eternal life." If inspiration
and truth, divine and human, are found lacking, for God's sake and
humanity's, may intelligent people renounce forevermore the vain
priest-imposed "hope to merit heaven by making earth a hell" for
superstition's sake; let us cease wrangling and being intolerant
over moronic myths, and let us have peace from "idle tales" and
fables.

                          ****     ****

    Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

   The Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful,
scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of
suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the
Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our
nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and
religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to
the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so
that America can again become what its Founders intended --

                 The Free Market-Place of Ideas.

   The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old,
hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts
and information for today. If you have such books please contact
us, we need to give them back to America.

                          ****     ****

                        IS IT GOD'S WORD?
                               by
                         Joseph Wheless

                              1926

                          ****     ****

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                  Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
                                23
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