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Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Cult of Christianity

I was born into a Christian world. My family is for the most part Northern European, and my genetics are traceable on my mother's side to English royalty. My genealogist buddy Don is certain that King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine are one set of my 24th great grandparents. Of course, Don is quick to point out that 100 million or so North Americans are descended from European royalty, which means that those guys were mighty busy back then! (And that Don and I are cousins, as we are to many of you reading this, but that's a subject for another post.)

My mother was raised a Baptist and later became a longtime Congregationalist. She died a Unitarian, after determining that her new local Congregational church was too harsh. My father, I'm not sure about. He didn't seem to like church, and I don't blame him. Unfortunately, my beloved father passed away when I was 26, long before I became the rankest religious philosopher of our era. I know Dad would have enjoyed my rabblerousing, and I would have felt safer on this planet if he'd been around. I didn't get mad at God when Dad died, because I wasn't a fervent believer, but I was pretty po'ed at the medical industry, which at times does not seem particularly competent.

I firmly believe that if my father had been disabused of the culturally engrained notion that we are all "born-in-sin" pieces of dog dung, he would have lived significantly longer. In retrospect, I can see that, despite his overtly agnostic position, Dad was profoundly affected by that negative conditioning, and struggled mightily with a lack of self esteem. At times he was possessed by a self loathing that spilled out beyond self and was directed at others. I know well that Dad was not alone in this perspective or behavior. Perhaps we are all prone to it. I can't conceive of anyone being immune to it, especially in a Christian culture.

One of my biggest beefs with Christianity is precisely this heinous teaching - forced into the innocent minds of countless beautiful children - that we humans are born-in-sin pieces of crap in the face of a glorious God. I find this brainwashing - or brain-dirtying, as the case may be - to be at the heart of much of the world's suffering. Whether or not this derogatory, anti-human perspective is confined to Christianity is immaterial to the present discussion, as it is within the cult of Christianity that it is most widely promulgated.

I am no Polyanna, nor do I wear rose-colored glasses, but I choose to see the beauty in the world in order to survive and thrive. Like practically everyone else, I have at times behaved badly and caused trouble in my life, albeit in a fairly mild manner. I have also been on the receiving end of a tremendous amount of grief and trauma. So, I can relate to many people's experiences. I cannot, however, understand the atrocious abuse heaped on people who do not subscribe to one religion/cult or another. Having studied in depth many of the world's religions - or mythologies, as I mostly see them - I cannot narrow down myself, my knowledge, my spirit, my intellect, my education or my integrity, to pronounce any one of them "the truth," to the exclusion of all the rest. I also perceive many of them to be cults, in both the anthropological and pejorative senses of the term. I do not comport myself by going around and threatening others to join my cult, nor do I expect others to do likewise. But they do. Oh, how they do.

For instance, for several months I have been under assault by a "good and loving" Christian who has obsessively scribbled page after page of calumny, libel and defamatory remarks about me. This disturbed person has relentlessly vilified me, even viciously attacking me and my family over horrible traumas and tragedies we have endured, making despicable commentary on these terrible and heart-breaking events. He portrays me in the most negative light possible in any instance he can find, depicting me as an evil person with sinister motives in everything I do. In fact, he speaks of me in precisely the same terms believers use for Satan, and he appears to believe that I am absolutely evil and that everything I do is evil, an evidently delusional state that insists on reducing living, breathing and feeling human beings into two-dimensional caricatures out of comic books. In reality, this person does not know me at all and is projecting Satan upon me in his delusional state. People who actually know me view me as a generally generous, benevolent, caring and loving person who goes out of her way for others. But this type of projection has happened to countless others over the centuries who have been entirely innocent of such untoward sentiments and violent charges leveled against them. It is the dualistic brainwashing of Christianity and other ideologies that has caused their persecutors to be blinded to their humanity and to fail to respect them as good and decent human beings. The bottom line is that Christianity allows for people to dehumanize and demonize others.

Moreover, in his hatred this person, who holds himself up as being righteous, has threatened to commit crimes against me. When called on his shameful and disgraceful behavior, he merely gets worse, making even more vile commentary about my person and life. He has clearly crossed the line of decency into becoming a deranged stalker who is committing hate crimes against me.

Another "good Christian" who has likewise incited hatred against me states that she would enjoy being a "fly on the wall" when God tortures me in the pits of hell. She is not alone in her hateful and sadistic sentiments, of course, as many people have expressed similar derangement towards others over the centuries. Once at a "New Age" expo, I confronted a Catholic priest who was asserting that bringing back "witch burnings" would make life better!

Why have these people been doing and saying these atrocious things to and about me? Merely because I have written books and articles daring to question whether or not Jesus Christ is as mythical as Hercules. I have studied mythology nearly all my life, and I frankly see little difference between Zeus and Hey-Zeus. Like so many others before me, I see no historical or archeological evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ, and I cannot in all honesty be convinced by the gospel fable any more than I can by The Iliad or by Gulliver's Travels. It would be with gross dishonesty and a betrayal of my hard-earned education to believe in such a tale as "historical fact." Because I try to live in the realm of honesty and integrity - not always succeeding but increasingly so as I get older - and because I feel I have something to offer to the world, I have taken a strong stance and made it known.

For that position, according to "compassionate" Christians I deserve to have endless scorn and derision heaped upon me. Their behavior has, in fact, constituted psychological and emotional abuse of a high order. I have not attacked anyone personally, but they have attacked me personally, over and over again. I have been lampooned in silly and meaningless cartoons - welcome to the Big Time! I have been assailed for not answering or cursorily answering deceptive emails from fanatics trying to trap me into impugning myself or bait me into a flame war, so they could publicize the results on webpages. And I have had the most false and vicious things said about me, as well as threats to post private affairs on the internet, in an attempt to show me in the harshest light possible. None of these obnoxious individuals, of course, knows me at all. None has spent even a minute in my presence, but they nonetheless present themselves as authorities on who I am. You see, because, like you, I am a born-in-sin piece of crap. According to this belief, we have no respectable wisdom or divine spark within us. Hence, we deserve to be abused and pilloried. These folks have no intelligent response to my argument that Christ is as mythical as Hercules, who was, like Jesus, once fervently believed to have been a "real person," so they resort to ad hominems of the lowest level in order to defame me and assassinate my character. If by throwing enough mud they can succeed in destroying a doubter's good reputation, apparently in their irrational minds that somehow proves Christ existed as a human being.

Still another, well-meaning Christian friend decided she was going to make her place in heaven by "converting" me. In the first place, there is nothing to "convert." I have already been a Christian - even briefly a born-again Christian, believe it or not. I know what it means. I choose not to behave in a cultish manner by begging an invisible Jewish man in the sky, but I certainly spend a great deal of time contemplating and studying him! So, what's the difference? A little begging? Not very dignified - or effective. How does the fervent believer know that he or she is not begging the wrong invisible person? Maybe he or she should be talking to Hercules!

One day, my good-hearted Christian friend - who spent much of her life addicted to appalling street drugs, has been in the pokey and rehab, and who barely lives above subsistence level - came to me somewhat tipsy and tried to argue her case. "I love you," she gushed, "but I wish you would think like I do!"

"Why?" I replied, thinking - not unkindly - "Fat lot of good it's done you!" Perhaps she needs to think like I do, but that's not important to me, as I am not interested in "converting" anyone. If they are happy with their lives and are not abusing others, so be it. But often they are not. And frequently, religious fanatics make life miserable for the rest of us.

If a "bona fide" cult - that is, a non-mainstream one - used abusive tactics in order to "convince" or "convert" others, it would be roundly condemned and its members scrutinized for possible criminal charges. In fact, it is considered criminal - and the mark of a conman - for someone to threaten another with harm - whether it be here or in the "afterlife" - if he or she does not subscribe to the aggressor's particular religious beliefs. Yet, this behavior is precisely what "good Christians" engage in on a daily basis, if you are not a member of their cult.

And I do view Christianity as a wacky cult - how not? It teaches that there is a giant being, the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God of the cosmos, who came down to Earth as a Jewish man through the womb of a young virgin girl! How much more cultish can you get? And how is this belief system different from so-called Pagan cults, such as that revolving around Hercules of Greece? Or Osiris of Egypt? Or Krishna of India? All of these gods, and so many more, have been believed by millions to have been holy beings who walked the earth - so, what makes the Christian set of beliefs any different? Little to nothing.

We are back at square one. I cannot believe in the cult of Christ any more than I believe in the cult of Hercules. I do not abuse others who do not believe in Hercules, and I expect the same courtesy in return for not believing in the cult of Christ. What you do with your mind is up to you, but do not expect me to do the same thing. And please, do not resort to cult indoctrination tactics in order to make me believe as you do.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are one of a few that are
SANE in a world of Ingnorance &
Insanity!
Religion is an invention of mankind!
The ancient Scribes had no way to describe Nature!
The closest they could do was "Fear of Yahwah" ( fear of god)

Anonymous said...

AS, have yet to become a blogger, I still must correspond with you as anonnymous. It seems our lives have run almost parralel courses, though I am much older than you. Also you have the education I lack to express the views you have so wonderfully put forth for those in the world to learn from. I am enjoying your blog, along with your books, etc. Thanks for all. You might recognize me as Jakujo

Jim Brandt said...

Hello, again A.S. Want to reply to your comments but I have trouble with the blog. Thanks for all your work, maybe I can get this straight and say what I really want to say.

Anonymous said...

TO ACHARYA S
I READ YOUR WONDERFUL BOOK THE
CHRIST CONSPIRACY, AND NEEDLESS
TO SAY IT WAS AND IS TRUELY
REMARKABLE AND WELL WRITTEN. I JUST
TURNED 54 YEARS OLD ON 3/10/52.
I WAS BORN INTO A CATHOLIC HOME AND
FROM THERE I BRANCHED OUT INTO
OTHER RELIGIONS STARTING WITH THE
PENTACOSTAL FAITH. I AM NOT GOING
LIST THE OTHERS BECAUSE IT IS NOT
NECESSARY. ANYWAY THE ATTACKS THAT
YOU GOING THROUGH WILL NOT STOP,
AND I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GOING
THROUGH AND I SUPPORT YOUR WORK,
EFFORT, AND BOLD APPROACH TO THIS
INFORMATION THAT THIS WORLD NEEDS.
WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU SOON.
RAY GONZALEZ PEACE TO YOU AND YOUR
FAMILY.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Xianity *IS* a Cult. Here is a tribe that puts the spotlight on Cults, how they operate & how to help folks recognize they may be in one & what to do about it.

http://cultcorruption.tribe.net/?_click_path=Application%5Btribe%5D.Tribe%5Bf0c9637d-01fe-4530-b1bb-dbea25f1a551%5D#

;

Anonymous said...

Hi Acharya. My name is Chris from Sherman Texas.

I have a question about a article I read on the web.

it has to do with Joseph Wheless' book Forgery in Christianity.

the article is titled:

Wheless, "Forgery in Christianity"-Checking the Quotes.

It had to do with the accuracy of the reference that Wheless attributed to his work.

It seems quite well researched.

I was wondering If you yourself have searched the reference's that Wheless gave? And also If you have 'by chance' heard or seen the article? Just wondering.
Here is the link.
http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/wheless/wheless_intro.htm

Many wonderful wishes.
Yashua1970@yahoo.com

Acharya S said...

Without going into nitpicking detail regarding Wheless, I will say that I did not use his work for Suns of God and was essentially able to prove the same germane points.

Moreover, subsequent to studying Wheless's book, I spent a great deal of time pouring over the writings of the early Church fathers, which are online, and I did not see any particular discrepancies. Tertullian's remarks as related by Taylor, et al., - "You say we worship the sun, so do you" - is paraphrased, but the meaning is the same in the original or the preferred translation. (I have not studied these writings in the original Latin, as that would take many years.) It is possible that Wheless was paraphrasing. Not everyone has had access to the same resources. For example, Taylor wrote much of his work from PRISON, where he had been put for "blasphemy" when he spilled the beans about Christianity being as mythological as so-called Paganism. He was brought books but he obviously didn't have access to a vast library of relevant texts. In consideration of that fact, I believe he did an outstanding job. Ditto with Wheless, although he surely had greater access to relevant texts. Nothing like we have today, with the ability to access almost anything on the net, which is why Wheless quotes Gibbon.

This same development occurred with The Christ Conspiracy: I basically used the texts within my personal library, which wasn't particularly extensive, in comparison to the library I used for Suns of God.

Don Hough said...

What century did Anonymous write? I assume most people who might be concerned about me will not be visiting same site or blog. If they are then good for them.
The hardest thing now is figuring out which books to read next. Suns of God seems to have completed the course. Thanks Don

Anonymous said...

ms. acharya, let me start by saying you are the "bomb." Your work, which I have only just begun to get in to, is amazing. Through you, the entire Universe has opened up for me in a way words cannot express. You have truly and thoroughly "washed my brain." To keep it short and sweet, keep up the good work. You are loved. Pleeze believe it. Maybe one day because of your fresh philosophy and words of wisdom, we'll wear a pendant of your image on a chain or erect monuments in your honor. (joking, of course.) signed, the preacher's kid. Destined for Hell from the wound, no less. Peace and Love Always, big sis.

Anonymous said...

sorry, I meant to say destined to hell from the "womb", not "wound" in my last post, although, I guess...well, never mind. signed, "doomed from the womb"

Jenn said...

Sorry to hear about the christian (small "c" on purpose) who is harassing you. I only know you through your website and your book, The Christ Conspiracy, but I would say you are a wonderful person. Your website is what started me on the road to reading and learning more about the so-called "truth" of christianity. Thank you for your books and your website. Hope you continue to spread the "good news." (Couldn't resist using their own line against them.)

Henry said...

Dear Acharya,
Your writings are wonderful. Which obviously emanate from an insightful, truthful, and compassionate being. It is my observation that much hatred and dysfunctional ways of being are probably due to the abuse all cultures perpetrate on children. We become what we learn and unless we do some unlearning and serious questioning of what we are taught we live in blame and hate. I think this hate is hate of self. I hope humankind can rise up as Prometheus and find intelligent life can exist on earth.

On another note an interesting book and radio program is here.
http://www.onpointradio.org/shows/2006/02/20060201_b_main.asp

It discusses religion as an evolutionary process. The title is "Breaking the Spell : Religion as a Natural Phenomenon" by Daniel Dennett. I have not read the book and I did hear the radio program and it makes some sense. At any rate by changing the culture of abuse and by seeking after truth many are changing self and thus changing the world in the process.

I love your energy and apparent intent. Thank You for sharing.

Henry

Anonymous said...

Keep on keepin' on, Acharya, and don't let these demented punks get you.
The truth of what you teach is borne out by the viciousness of these hypocrites' attacks.

You're trying to make a positive difference in the world by exposing hypocrisy, seeking truth, and liberating people from false and cruel ideologies/theologies. For that, of course you'll be attacked--all truth-seekers are-- especially by
the sickest of the sick religionists. Stand tall and put up a strong force field. All of our positive energy is with you.

Anonymous said...

I am a Christian.. I want to personally apologize for the people claiming to be christians that have treated you in a way that is completely against the teachings of Jesus. Jesus loved everyone and showed compassion. As I am sure that you know from studying his life. I was raised in a Christian home, and honestly I felt the same way you do about Christianity for most of my life. However, I read the book, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. I saw that Christianity isn't about condemnation and hate, but love and serving others. I would like to encourage the "christians" who couldn't wait to see you tortured in hell to read this book. I think it will shine a new light on what we are really supposed to do. It did for me. Once again, I am terribly sorry for the way Christians are percieved today...tele-evangelists, christian radio, the crusades, I apologize for it all...Jesus isn't about that.

Edo said...

I can't really say too much about your blog, I just discovered it a few days ago. I can however tell you that this year has been a real shocker for me. I was raised in a Christian home also and became a Christian at the age of 19 and began to study and preach. I am now almost 50 years of age and startled to learn some facts about the reality of Christian ignorance, namely my own. My father was a preacher and elder in church and he made sure all his children believed what the Bible (KJ) said was the gospel truth. I also raised my daughter to believe the same. I now have some major doubts about the validity of the so called inerrant Bible!!!!!

Anonymous said...

acharya,

hi! I'm from the Philippines. I'm an activist affiliated with the Left. Been one since 21 years old.Like you, I also came from a fiercely Catholic family. My parents even concentrated on parish work after they retired but they are nice people and i don't have problems with exchanging ideas with them because when i became an activist, i was able to make them realize that their religious beliefs are not the only truth in this world and they have since lived with that. But i do share your beef against all religious, especially the Catholic Church. I'd say I have become an agnostic since i first read in a history book way back in college that the Great Deluge was a mere reprise of the the Great Flood found in the Gilgamesh Epic and other pagan religious documents. This motivated me to further read about the Catholic Church which led me to the knowledge that the Church was, to a large extent, responsible for plunging the world into the Dark Ages from which mankind was only able to extricate by breaking away from much of the dogma the Cchurch and its Pope, with his assumed infallibility, imposed on the faithful. If not for your predecessors in Locke and Rousseau and others, who came up with the idea of separation of chrch and state, we would still be believing in the idea that the world is flat and conducting witch hunts on those who believe otherwise, ignoring and condemning all the breakthroughs in science.

So keep up the work. You enlighten this world. You are to the present what the philosophes and scientist of the 18th century were to the era of Enlightenment!

Alex

Acharya S said...

Hi Alex -

Thanks for sharing and for the vote of confidence.

One correction: I was not raised in a "fiercely Catholic family." Rather, my Protestant Christian upbringing was very mild and did not affect me negatively, except that I thought church was very boring.

Otherwise, obviously, I agree with you.

Anonymous said...

Acharya..
As you regularly experience, it is not easy being a sane and rational individual in the realm of cultish fanatics. As Mencken said: "Religion is a flight from reality." I am reminded of this one quite regularly...particularly around the month of December when 'xians' take it upon themselves to disrespectfully shove their limited and choking dogma down the throats of so many thinking people living in real peace.
Raised in a fundamentalist/evangelical type cult that I chose to leave, I've experienced all of the "joys" of 'xian-faith' a full 365 degrees. From the breaking up of families to the disowning of children to the chastising, labeling and judgment of individuals to the shunning of beautiful thinking people to the santimonious degradement of others of different perspectives and beliefs. As I stepped back and chose to respectfully reject that and mostly all of x-ianity, I realized how caged I was and how locked down my mind, soul, and spirit were. But, more importantly, that the exclusive group from which I came was no better or worse than any other xian church out there. It was the first time that I came to know the Divine without restraints and without human mandates. It was when I was truly born. I discovered that the 'persecution' I was supposed to receive as a xian, was nothing compared to the 'persecution' I and my family would receive at the hands on xians as we stepped outside of their lion's den. I am grateful that we are free to see the world as was originally intended..as innocent children. I am grateful that our children have maintained their innocence from birth and that we, as responsible parents, have not subjected them to the rampant and torturous child abuse of religious indoctrination. They are truly innocent and unadulterated. They will never be virtually beaten down in spirit with a Bible, choked in conscience with a rosary, or mentally crucified upon a cross. My only prayer is that all children can be spared from this sugar-coated slow and insidious trauma.
I admire the work that you've taken on and I completely resonate with every word of insight and wisdom you've written.