Perhaps the only positive result of the reign of the murderous moron in the White House as chieftain of the American empire is to what depths he has sunk the popular perception of Christianity.
The Bush mob’s initial political approval following the 9/11 catastrophe he allowed to occur, utilized both the flag and bible as its key iconography to fool the rubes. Although this is standard fare for craven politicians, the Republicans raised this cultural imaging to levels not seen in a hundred years. But, the unraveling of the reigning racket’s lies, the exposure of their greed, corruption, and their hypocrisy and that of their most pious spokesmen, both in the Congress and the pulpit, have created an opening for atheism that would have seemed impossible even a short time ago.
In 2005, a national poll was taken showing atheists being held in such low regard that most respondents stated they’d rather have their daughter marry a Muslim than a non-believer. Now, books on atheism, such as Richard Dawkins’, The God Delusion, and Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris, adorn The New York Times best seller list, and others of a similar nature are being rushed to market by publishers; they sense a boomlet.
The formal religions of the world–with their male sky gods, their blessing of temporal authority, their sexual repression, their authoritarian and hierarchal nature, their intertwining with the state, their misogyny and homophobia, and their horrific, bloody history of repression–are the implacable enemies of freedom. Oh, there are many in the reform movements who try to make the words of Jesus or other religious figures into instruments of justice, but the 2,000 year history of injustice caused by followers of these fictional figures requires not only a suspension of logic when faced with a preposterous proposition, but also a need to navigate around the mountain of corpses religion has produced.
As a small contribution to the struggle against this dangerous superstition, in 1975, the Fifth Estate published a fake edition of a Detroit daily newspaper announcing, “Christ’s Body Found: Easter Cancelled”–if he didn’t rise, there can’t be a celebration of a resurrection. We stuffed the facsimiles into the paper’s coin boxes and Pet-milked them on the doors of churches the night before Easter, all causing quite a scandal.
Now, life is imitating art.
According to an article in the February 27 New York Times, “A documentary shown recently by the Discovery Channel claims to provide evidence that a crypt unearthed 27 years ago in Jerusalem contains the bones of Jesus and that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, that the couple had a son, named Judah, and that all three were buried together.
‘The Lost Tomb of Jesus,’ revisits a site discovered by archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority in the East Talpiyot neighborhood of Jerusalem in 1980, when the area was being excavated for a building. The documentary’s case rests in large part on the interpretation of the inscriptions, which the film says are Jesus, Mary, Mary Magdalene, Matthew, Joseph and Judah.”
Can you say, “Da Vinci Code?” In fact, this is more evidence that, as the widely read novel of that name states, “Christianity is the greatest story ever sold.” So, cancel Easter; the basis of the myth has been rendered untenable.
It is even worse news for our religious friends who desperately try to make Christianity into a theology of liberation. Their task has always been a hopeless undertaking since their belief’s basic story is a terrible message about ourselves: we are all born, not with the potential for joy and fulfillment, but with a fatal flaw inherited from the mythical origins of the human race. Start off with that self-perception and anything is possible–Crusades, holocausts, ethnic cleansing of entire continents, world wars.
When the Christian myth, a Middle Eastern-centered spirituality, ceased being a messianic cult and cut a deal with the crumbling, corrupt, and decadent Roman Empire early on, it modeled its bureaucratic structure and territorial expansive ambitions in a manner identical to its new patron. Christianity established itself in Europe by extirpating the indigenous pagan and nature religions, and, in many cases, like Saint Patricius (meaning, member of the ruling class; or, Patrick), by exterminating their adherents. Christianity, like the civilization it sanctifies and which in return sponsors it, is a bloody sword.
Voltaire said in the 18th century, “Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.” It’s time for the world to cast off the formal, hierarchal faiths, and find other venues for expressing one’s spiritual connection with nature and its creatures.