The historicity of Jesus Christ as described in the gospels has been for a long time one of the principal dogmas of all Christian denominations. In India where the history of the search for the Jesus of history remains unknown even to the so-called educated elite, the missionaries continue to hawk this dogma without fear of contradiction. The scene in the modern West, however, has undergone a great change. What we witness over there is that this “solid historical figure” has evaporated into thin air as a result of painstaking Biblical and Christological research undertaken over the last more than two hundred years, mostly by theologians belonging to the Protestant churches.
The bible was the real persecutor. The bible burned heretics, built dungeons, founded the Inquisition, and trampled upon all the liberties of men. How long, O how long, will mankind worship a book? How long will they grovel in the dust before the ignorant legends of the barbaric past? How long, O how long, will they pursue phantoms in a darkness deeper than death?
WAS he kinder, more forgiving, more self-sacrificing than Buddha? Was he wiser, did he meet death with more perfect calmness, than Socrates? Was he more patient, more charitable, than Epictetus? Was he a greater philosopher, a deeper thinker, than Epicurus? In what respect was he the superior of Zoroaster? Was he gentler than Laotse, more universal than Confucius? Were his ideas of human rights and duties superior to those of Zeno? Did he express grander truths than Cicero? Was his mind subtler than Spinoza’s? Was his brain equal to Kepler’s or Newton’s? Was he grander in death—a sublimer martyr than Bruno?
Read this book of Joshua—read of the slaughter of women, of wives, of mothers and babes—read its impossible miracles, its ruthless crimes, and all done according to the commands of Jehovah, and tell me whether this book is calculated to make us forgiving, generous and loving.
The Veda is considered to be the oldest sacred book of the Hindoos, and is evidently the oldest Bible now extant. There is a vast amount of evidence to prove that it was written long before the time of Moses, which establishes the fact that it borrowed nothing from the Jews or Jewish writings. They purport to be the inspired utterances of very ancient and holy saints and prophets, known as Rishis, who received them directly from the mouth of the great God Brahma about nine thousand years ago, after they had existed in his mind from all eternity.
The idea that very lowly living organisms might have been concealed within the clefts and crevices of meteorites, and might thus have fallen upon our earth and so have formed the first germs of life, was first formulated by that chemical genius, Justus Liebig.
As an idiot can not be made to understand a revelation, it is evident that a revelation presupposes a rational mind for its reception; otherwise the revelation would be perfectly useless. Hence it is evident the brain must be right before the revelation is given, or it will not be able to understand it. This makes the brain superior to, and of higher authority, than revelation.
Passing from the forms in which marriage is found in the Bible, we will next consider biblical marriage laws. In the earlier times there appear to have been no laws concerning it; Sarah “gave” Hagar to be Abraham’s wife (Gen. xvi., 3), and when she was tired of Hagar’s presence Abraham “sent her away” (xxi., 14) without any formalities. The validity of a Hebrew marriage later depended on the social status of the husband.
The cloven foot of the Christian Devil was probably derived from the God Pan, the joyous pipe-playing God of the spring-blossoming woods, whose lower limbs were the limbs of a goat; when the merry Pan was slain by the melancholy Christ, the God’s light-dancing legs became the appanage of Satan.
Dr. Carpenter’s book may do good there, because, with all its plain speaking, it conveys useful information; but what good—mental, physical, or moral—can be done to a young girl by reading Judges xix.? And the harm done is intensified by the fact that the ignorance in which girls are kept surrounds such a story with unwholesome interest, as giving a glimpse into what is, to them, the great mystery of sex.
The book is written in all sincerity. It is meant to do even justice, and to speak the truth alike without malice or prejudice. But it shows neither mercy for enthroned error, nor reverence for usurped authority. It demands for a spoliated past, that credit for its achievements which has been too long withheld. It calls for a restitution of borrowed robes, and the vindication of calumniated but glorious reputations. Toward no form of worship, no religious faith, no scientific hypothesis has its criticism been directed in any other spirit. Men and parties, sects and schools are but the mere ephemera of the world’s day. Truth, high-seated upon its rock of adamant, is alone eternal and supreme.