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06. Chú thích

17/05/201314:28(Xem: 5429)
06. Chú thích


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Trần Chung Ngọc


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CHÚ THÍCH

Chương I:

1. Avro Manhattan, Catholic Imperialism and World Freedom, pp. 341 - 365: Since its inception in the Far East, Christianity, having appeared in the apparel of religion, has always emerged as a political force at the service of Western individuals and nations. Protestantism is as guilty as Catholicism. Like the Catholic, so also the Protestan missionaries were invariably preceded or followed by traders, gun-boats, or military expeditions. Political Protestantism, however, although guilty, cannot be put on a par with Catholicism. The damage caused by political Catholicism in Asia has been incommensurably greater than anything done by all the other Christian Churches put together.

2. Hans Kung, Christianity, p. 783: Without peace between the religions, war between the civilizations. No peace among the religions without dialogue between the religions. No dialogue between the religions without investigation of the foundations of the religions.

3. Madalyn O’Hair, All The Questions You Ever Wanted To Ask American Atheists, back cover: The basic premise of Christianity is intolerance. The Christian cannot just have his belief and permit everyone else to have theirs. Jesus Christ demanded that the Christian convert and this has caused more grief to mankind than any other religion. The old pagan gods lived side by side. But when Christianity came with its exclusivism, based on the first of the Ten Commandments, "Thou shalt have no other God before me," the killing began.

4. Ernie Bringas, Going by the Book: Past and Present Tragedies of Biblical Authority, p. 18: Christianity has left an appalling trail of misery and death as recorded in the bloodstained pages of history. And the cruel, grotesque events they record are prime examples of misguided faith, perpetrated under the delusion (sometimes pretext) of divine guidance.

5. Hans Kung, Does God Exist?p. 615: It is impossible to understand the Christian God without the Jewish, for the Jewish is in fact the Christian God.

6. James Kavanaugh, The Birth of God, p. 72: The Old Testament rings with fervor of a religious people. But it also rings with mythology, archaic and superstitious ritual, narrownwss and national pride, cruelty and legalism... It is the record of the unparalleled religious evolution of the Jews. But it is not the "word of God". Nor is the New Testament. It cannot be understood except through the eyes of Jewish history. The men who wrote it were Jews, steeped in the law and traditions of their Jewish past. There is hardly reason for believing that God spoke to them directly; there is every reason for believing that they merely reacted as religious writers to the life and teachings of Christ, to the religious needs of their own times, to the problems they faced within their own religious communities.

7. Anene Obianyido, Christ or Devil? The Corrupt Face of Christianity in Africa, p. 17: To discuss the origin of Christianity, one of course has to start with the Jews and Judaism, the faith from which Christ broke away and was punished as a result.

8. James Kavanaugh, A Modern Priest Looks At His Outdated Church, p. 6: Our theology, however, has become a scholar's game. It is a code of rules accumulated in the petty wars of religious bitterness. It is a tale of tired truths, which only serve to rob man of personal responsibility and reduce him to the listlessness of a frightened slave. Theology took away man's mind and left him memorized words... This is the theology I learned and transmitted in every confession I heard, every class I taught, every sermon I gave to the guilt-infected flock.

9. William Harwood, Mythology's Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus, p. 16: One by one the various books of the bible were discovered to contain errors of fact; inaccurate guesses; rationalizations; prophecies ex-post-facto, usually combined with prophecies of the future that proved inaccurate; and unmistakable, deliberate lies. Had this discovery been allowed to reach general public, Judeo-Christian mythology would have suffered a blow from which it could not have hoped to recover. Facing elimination, the current Pope appointed his own historians to examine the secular historians' conclusions and find the flaw in their evidence that he believed must be there. The outcome was that the Papal historians confirmed that their bible really was falsifiable fantasy. They presented the Pope with their reports and, when he promptly suppressed them, they all ceased to be Catholics. So the Pope ordered his propaganda machine to invent an alternative methodology to combat that of the historians, a methodology created for the specific purpose of reaching the conclusion that the Judeo-Christian bible is nonfiction, no matter how severely the evidence had to be distorted in order to achieve that objective. That methodology was 'theology'.. Such was the power of the world's theocracies that, despite the publication of thousands of scholarly books and articles refuting every part of the Judeo-Christian bible, to this day the existence of unchallengeable proof that the bible is a work of fiction is unknown to ninety percent of the population of Christian-dominated societies.

10. David Voas, The Bad News Bible: The New Testament, Introduction: Theology, once queen of the sciences, now seems merely queen of the cloisters, still gossiping about the same old stories long after the choir boys have grown up and moved on. It's a shame... Granted, theology - the study of God - suffers from the suspicion that it has no subject, or at least none we can study. It is the only field with experts who don't know what they are talking about. Their subject matter being inaccessible, theologians must resort to the odd couple of imagination and authority... Christian thinkers now have the job of showing that scripture makes sense, is consistent, and appears morally defensible. This can be difficult.

11. John E. Remsburg, False Claims, p. 3: Among the intelligent classes of Europe and America, Christian theology is practically dead.

12. John Shelby Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, p. 99: A savior who restores us to our prefallen status is therefore pre-Darwinian superstition and post-Darwinian nonsense.

13. Trịnh Xuân Thuận, The Birth of the Universe, p. 120: The primates evolved some 20 million years ago, and about 2 million years ago the first representatives of Homo Sapiens trod the earth.

14. Frederick Heese Eaton, Scandalous Saints, pp. 63-81: According to the Bible tale, the Egyptians refused to let the Jews leave Egypt. However, this is unreasonable in light of the facts. The Egyptians were afraid of the Jews who out numbered them. Naturally they would have been delighted if the Israelites would leave their country (Exodus 1:9,10). What Saint Moses was undoubtedly trying to do was to persuade Pharaoh to ease up on the hard labor he required of the Jews. They were not anxious to leave Egypt. The Nile delta was by far the best cattle grazing land in that part of the world, and the Israelites were unwilling to leave it. Their cattle thrived there, and the Jews multiplied and grew rich. Even after the Hebrews left Egypt later on, they longed to return (Numbers 14:4).. However, when Pharaoh refused to ease their burdens, what could Moses tell his people? That he was a failure? No political leader wants to do that; and political leader Moses was. He was acting as the head of the Israelite nation. So, rather than admit he was a failure, he turned the story around and claimed that Pharaoh refused to let the Jews leave Egypt. Next in his bag of tricks, Moses persuaded his people that now he would perform a series of plagues upon the Egyptians which would force Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave Egypt. This setting up a straw man and then knocking him down is an old trick among politicians to divert their followers from seeing the facts.

Chương II:

1. John Dollison, Pope-Pourri, p. 174: We should always be disposed to believe that which appears white is really black, if the hierarchy of the Church so decides.

2. James Kavanaugh, God Lives: From Religious Fear To Spiritual Freedom, 39-40: I found it hard to believe that in the age of space technology a religious body could be so out of touch as to believe such a mythological penalty could have any meaning left for man.

...Excommunication had for centuries been authority's way of playing God. It was the inhuman and unchristian denial of man's freedom of conscience. But most of all it had been a deeply frigtened authority's frantic effort to dominate and control men and woman rather than to direct them toward a free and mature love. Excommunication attempted to turn the religious experience into a boot camp where the officer in charge aspires to build loyal robots by smothering them with confinement and indignity. Perhaps such methods might have had meaning in preparing man for combat. They are only childish and dishonest in dealing with a man or woman's relationship with God, but incredulously they still exist.

3. John Shelby Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, p. 4: The words of the Apostles' Creed, and its later expansion known as the Nicene Creed, were fashioned inside a worldview that no longer exists. Indeed, it is quite alien to the world in which I live. The way reality was perceived when the Christian creeds were formulated has been obliterated by the expansion of knowledge..

4. John Dollison, Pope-Pourri, p. 106: The woman, together with her own husband, is the image of God..., but when she is referred to separately..the woman alone, then she is not the image of God, but as regards the man alone, he is the image of God.

5. Ibid.: Woman is the gate of the Devil, the way of evil, the sting of the scorpion, in a word, a dangerous thing.

6. Ibid.: Among savage beasts none is found so harmful as a woman

7. Ibid.: When you see a woman, consider that you face not a human being, but the devil himself. The woman's voice is the hiss of the snake.

8 . Ruth Hurmence Green, The Book of Ruth, p. 59: There wansn't one page of this book that didn't offend me in some way. And when I encountered the Bible's disdain for women, I very often almost pitched the good book across the room. I vowed never to be seen in public with an unconcealed Bible in my hands.

9. Joseph L Daleiden, The Final Superstion, p. 82: Pope John Paul II believes in many superstitions that modern Catholics find embarassing. Just recently he gave three lessons in which he maintained that each person has no less than three guardian angels and discussed the various roles of angels working inside paradise. The pope shouted at the audience, "Watch out for the devil!" He believes Satan appears in the shape of a lion, a snake, a dragon, or a goat with horns.

10. John Shelby Spong, Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism, p. 34: If only human beings have souls, as the church has taught, one must be able to say when humanity became human and was infused with its divine and eternal soul. Without an instantaneous creation, that becomes quite problematic. Is Homo Erectus human? Or is that human definition to be reserved only for Homo Sapiens? If so, at what stage in the development of Homo Sapiens? Language appears to be no more than 35 thousand to 50 thousand years old. If biologists cannot pinpoint the moment at which Homo Erectus became Homo Sapiens, except to say that it occurred over a period of 1.5 million years, can theologians dare to be more specific?

11. G. W. Foote, Bible Romances, p. 7: In every Christian country the masses of the people are taught in childhood that God created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh. Yet every student knows this is utterly false, every man of science regards it as absurd, and the more educated clergy, are beginning to explain it away. But they must retain the Creation story in some sense or other, for two very strong reasons. First, it stands at the very threshold of the Bible, and if it is a mere fiction it enivitably throws discredit on all that follows. Secondly, it is inseparably connected with the Story of the Fall. Both live or perish together. And if the Fall is to be regarded as a myth, what becomes of Christianity? The Christian scheme of salvation is unintelligible without the antecedent doctrine of the Fall of Man. Without the Fall, and the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection are gigantic mistakes.

The Creation Story, as we shall attempt to show, is incoherent, self-contradictory, and absurd.

12. John Shelby Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, p. 10: What is heaven? Where is heaven? It is clear that in this ancient world the heaven that God created was thought of as God's home, and it was located beyond the sky. But those of us in this generation know that the sky is neither the roof of the world nor the floor of heaven. So what are we referring to when we assert that this almighty God created heaven? Are we talking about that almost infinite universe that no one living knew anything about when the Bible was written?

13. Colin Cross, Who Was Jesus, Introduction: Viewed from a distance and considered as a whole, Jesus of Nazareth is a reasonably tangible historical figure. But too close an examination of any individual detail of him causes him to blur...The reason for uncertainty about Jesus is the simplest possible. It is just that there is no record at all, of any kind, about the greater part of his life. He wrote no book. Even what he looked like is unknown. There is not a word of independent proof that he ever even existed. The records that do exist, the gospels, cover only a fraction of Jesus' life and are written from a cultic and ritualistic point of view and not as ordinary history. There are the gravest inconsistencies in the gospel accounts and also many blatant improbabilities.

14. Ernie Bringas, Going By The Book: Past And Present Tragedies of Biblical Authority, p. 191: The consensus today is that the historical Jesus - the words and actions of Jesus and the real events surrounding his life - cannot be determined with precision. While we know how the author of a Gospel regarded Jesus by what he reported (and how he reported it), it is not always possible to penetrate beyond the Gospel portrayals of Jesus to Jesus himself. We cannot determine with certainty what Gospel statements about his life and career are genuine.

15. Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, Edited by Philip S. Foner, p. 571: The history of Jesus Christ is contained in the four books ascribed to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The first chapter of Matthew begins with giving a genealogy of Jesus Christ; and in the third chapter of Luke there is also given a genealogy of Jesus Christ. Did those two agree, it would not prove the genealogy to be true, because it might, nevertheless, be a fabrication; but as they contradict each other in every particular, it proves falsehood absolutely.

If Matthew speaks truth, Luke speaks falsehood, and if Luke speaks truth, Matthew speaks falsehood; and as there is no authority for believing one more than the other, there is no authority for believing either; and if they cannot be believed even in the very first thing they say and set out to prove, they are not entitled to be believed in anything they say afterward...If they cannot be believed in their account of Jesus' genealogy, how are we to believe them when they tell us strange things such as Jesus was the Son of God begotten by a ghost, and that an angel announced this in secret to his mother?..

16. John Shelby Spong, Rescuing The Bible From Fundamentalism, p. 21: There are passages in the Gospels that portray Jesus of Nazareth as narrow-minded, vindictive, and even hypocritical.

17. Ibid.,pp. 21,24: Are we drawn to a Lord who would destroy a herd of pigs in order to exorcise a demon? Are we impressed when the one we call Lord curses a fig tree because it did not bear fruit out of season?...

A literal Bible presents me with far more problems than assets. It offers me a God I cannot respect, much less worship.

18. Reynolds Price, Time, Dec. 6, 1999: The suggestion that Jesus' childhood may have been dogged by the accusation of bastardy is perhaps implicit in his townspeople's question in Mark 6, "Isn't this Mary's son?" To be called one's mother son, as opposed to one's father's, was often an implication of bastardy, or at least a sign that one's paternity was unknown, whether divine or not. Early opponents likewise suggested that Mary had conceived Jesus with a Roman soldier, Panthera. His childhood may well be clouded by questions about his paternity.

19. John Shelby Spong, Born of a Woman: A Bishop Rethinks the Birth of Jesus, p. 41: He was a nobody, a child of Nazareth out of which nothing good was thought to come. No one seemmed to know his father. He might well have been illegitimate. Hints of that are scattered like undetected and unexploded nuggets of dynamite in the landscape of the early Christian tradition.

20. Uta Ranke-Heinemann, Putting Away Childish Things, p. 49: In the legend of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple, his parents fail to show any understanding. When Jesus speaks of his heavenly Father, they don’t know what he is talking about (Luke 2:50). This contradicts the story of the annunciation, which in turn shows that Luke has woven together differents strands of tradition. Among these the one on which this passge was based knows nothing about the virgin birth.

21. Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, Ibid., pp. 466, 574: When I am told that a woman called Virgin Mary, said, that she was with child without any cohabitation with a man, and that her bethrothed husband, Joseph, said that an angel told him so, I have a right to believe them or not; such a circumstance required a much stronger evidence than their bare word for it; but we have not even this - for neither Joseph nor Mary wrote any such matter themselves; it is only reported by others that they said so - it is hearsay upon hearsay, and I do not choose to rest my belief upon such evidence.

It is, however, not difficult to account for the credit that was given to the story of Jesus Christ being the Son of God. He was born at a time when the heathen mythology had prepared the people for the belief of such a story. Almost all the extraordinary men that lived under the heathen mythology were reputed to be the sons of some of their gods. It was not a new thing, at that time, to believe a man to have been celestially begotten; the intercourse of gods with women was then a matter of familiar opinion...

The story of the angel announcing what the Church calls the Virgin Birth is not so much as mentioned in the books ascribed to Mark and John; and is differently related in Matthew and Luke. The former says the angel appeared to Joseph; the latter says it was to Mary; but either Joseph or Mary was the worst evidence that could have been thought of, for it was others that would have testified for them, and not they for themselves.

Were any girl that is now with child to say, and even to swear it, that she was gotten with child by a ghost, and that an angel told her so, whould she be believed? Certainly she would not. Why, then, are we to believe the same thing of another girl, whom we never saw, told by nobody knows who, nor when, nor where?

22. John Shelby Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, p.12: Certainly if that phrase is to be understood literally, it violates everything we know about biology. Do we not yet recognize that all virgin birth tales - and there have been many in human history - are legendary? They are human attempts to suggest that humanity alone did not have the ability to produce a life like the one being described. All virgin birth stories, including the ones about Jesus, were fulled discredited as biological truths by the discovery of the existence of an egg cell. That discovery meant that the woman could no longer regarded simply as passive receptacle for the seed of the male, which is the implication of these narratives. Divinity thus could no longer be said to enter her offspring as a divine gift without being compromised by her own humanity. The woman from that moment on had to be recognized as a cocreator, an equal genetic participant in the procreation of every life. The primary assumption in the biblical story of the virgin birth - namely, that Jesus' divine nature came to him directly from God through his mother's impregnation by the Holy Spirit - is a hopeless sexist idea born in a totally patriarchal world that denied the woman's contribution to every new life. The story of Jesus' birth, when literalized, is now seen to be filled with the stuff of legends. Yet classical theology has placed the content of these legends into the basic Christian creed and for most of the years of the Church's life has treated these phrases as literally true. In our day, the advances in our knowledge have rendered these phrases nonsensical whenever the assumption is made that they describe some objective truth.

23. Uta Ranke-Heinemann, Ibid., pp. 43-44: The birth of Jesus was not supposed to imply any notion whatsoever of human generation. There was no male contribution here, there was no human contribution at all. The making of Jesus was to be exclusively God's creative work. comparable to the creation of Adam from a lump of clay. A woman, however, is not a clump of clay. The whole miraculous narrative of the virgin birth was composed at a time when nothing was known of the female ovum..The story of the virgin birth could be composed only at a time when the woman was thought to play a wholly passive role. Until the discovery of the ovum, in 1827, theologians, including Luke and Matthew, thought that women were nothing more than something like the soil, the flower pot, the petri dish into which the man placed the seed, out of which the child then grew. Such thinking was rooted in Aristotelian biology, which viewed the woman as an empty vessel for the masculine principle. Males did all the work of generation...

Thus, following this ancient model, Matthew and Luke could think that if an eartly father was excluded from the begetting of Jesus, the God alone would be the active force. They had no idea that to generate a person, two equally active partners were needed, so that even if the man was replaced by God, God would still not be the only active principle..

Ever since the discovery of the ovum - and with it of the woman's share in reproduction - the traditional idea of the virgin birth as an image of God's lonely creative action has become indefensible...

Thus ignorance served as the foundation for the idea of a virgin birth from the Holy Spirit in a sex-free domain. After the discovery of the ovum, any further claim that Mary gave birth virginally reduces God's role to that of a mere male substitute...

In addition, we have to consider the following: In the case of a virginal conception the first cell in Jesus' organism would have to be a female cell. And if this female cell miraculously were to begin to divide without the intervention of a man, so that a human being came into existence through furthert cellular division, then such a virginal pregnancy must inevitably issue in the birth of a female person.

24. Michael Martin, The Case Against Christianity, pp. 107-109: What historical evidence is there for the Virgin Birth of Jesus? The claim of the Virgin Birth is only made in two of the four gospels and these accounts differ. As I have already noted, in Matthew the news of the coming birth of Jesus is conveyed to Joseph in a dream; in Luke, Mary is told directly by the angel Gabriel. Furthermore, Matthew implies that when Jesus was born his parents lived in Bethlehem and they left when King Herod began a search to find and kill Jesus..

However, in Luke Jesus’ parents traveled from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem for a Roman census..

Indeed, it seems likely that if there were two independent notifications of the Virgin Birth, this would have been mentioned in at least one of the two gospels. In addition, because of the ways in which Mary and Joseph were notified - by an angel and through a dream - the announcements of the Virgin Birth are unsubstantiated by anyone other than Mary and Joseph. In the case of the story of Mary’s visitation by the angel Gabriel there could have been other witnesses but there were not; Mary was alone. In the case of Joseph’s dream there could not have been other witnesses since only the dreamer is a "witness" to his or her dream. Consequently, we have no independent confirmation of the witnesses to the two supernatural notifications...

In addition to all the apparent contradictions, historical inaccuracies, and implausibilities of Matthew and Luke, neither Mark nor John give any account of Jesus’ birth. On the supposition that the doctrine of the Virgin birth was a widely held belief among the earlier Christians this is remarkable. In particular, why would Mark, the earliest written gospel, fail to mention this doctrine if it was widely believed in the last part of the first century? Indeed, why would John, according to many accounts the last gospel, fail to mention it if it was widely held? Surely, the most likely explanation is that Mark and John did not consider the Virgin Birth to belong to a correct account of Jesus’ life. This surely detracts from the plausibility of the Virgin Birth story.

25. Russell Shorto, Gospel’s Truth,p. 198: Over centuries of incorporation into Christian art, crucifixion has become highly stylized - a thing of beauty, even - that it is difficult to imagine the true horror of it.. But the reality was something else. Consider, first, the horror it meant in a society where personal dignity - even a peasant’s dignity - was the highest virtue. To be made a public spectacle - convicted of a crime, exposed naked, and dying in agony - was punishment far beyond mere execution.

Then there is the torture. It generally included being bound to a post and flogged, either with a short whip consisting of several leather tongs beaded with lead or bone tips, or with sticks. The victim was usually mounted to the crossbar on the ground and it was then hoisted up and attached to the upright. Nails were usually driven through the hands or wrists, and the feet..

26. Foote, G. W., Bible Romances, p. 203: Just as the twenty-fifth of December, as the birthday of Jesus, is a perfect fiction, having been borrowed by the Church from ancient Paganism, so the date of the Crucifixion is purely arbitrary. If Jesus died at all he died on a particular day, which should be a regular fixture in the calendar.. The anniversary of his death always falls on a Friday. But it is sometimes in one month; and sometimes in another, and is never on the same date two years running; which conclusively proves that the death of "the Saviour" is a mythological occurrence. Why else should its anniversary be determined by an astronomical calculation? Why should it be the first Friday after the first full moon after the spring equinox?

Another aspect of this matter should be noted. "Good Friday" is a singular name for this astronomically determined date. It is supposed to have been a day of tragedy on Mount Calvary after the agony and blood sweat of the Garden of Gethsemane. He who cried out "O my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me," cried out still more bitterly, as he felt the cold shadow of the wings of death hovering over him, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" What a day to call Good Friday! To him it was Bad Friday or Black Friday. Yet his followers regard it as the happiest incident in the world’s history. He suffered that they might enjoy; he descended into hell in order that they might ascend into heaven; and they look upon this fatal day with gladness and rejoicing. So terribly vain and egoisticcal are human beings, and so generally is religion the consecration of selfishness! And of all the selfish religions in the world Christianity is the most selfish.

27. Richard Andrews & Paul Schellenberger, The Tomb of God, Foreword, p. xii: Our conclusions were startling, inherently dangerous, highly contentious, but ultimately the only logical deduction in the light of evidence.

We had stumbles across perhaps the greatest secret ever, a secret which shed light on the Catholic Church’s appalling over-reaction to criticism and rival dogmas over the centuries. That the Church had taken extreme measures to ensure the concealment of this, the ultimate heresy, is hardly surprising. Having based doctrine on an opposing belief, the Church could hardly admit that it had been wrong. What was surprising for us was the discovery of an alternative strand of Christianity, which had both co-existed covertly with mainstream Christianity and, more significantly, embraced the knowledge we now confronted and taken it to the heart of its teaching.

The more we investigated the traces of this "unofficial" Christianity, the more we could visiualize its potential for contemporary faith. For many people today mainstream Christianity, while promoting a valid code of conduct, requires a suspension of reason, a blind faith, that is unacceptable - causing them to drift away from the Church and reject formal worship..

28. Ibid., Aftewrword, pp. 427-428: We had come to the conclusion that Mount Cardou is the last resting-place of the remains of Jesus Christ, God on earth; it is, in fact the Tomd of God. Others, including some nineteenth-century priests, had arrived at the same conclusion. This "fact" and concept of the Gnostic message, incorporating the opposing forces of light and dark, had over the course of two millenia endured the best efforts of the Roman Church to eliminate it from the Western mind..

The Christian Church had severely narrowed its options for future change by promoting the concept of bodily resurrection and embodying it in the ritual of the Mass - the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus. The Church was to maintain its influence through this universal sacrament. The key to the success of the doctrine lay in the exploitation of human nature. The Catholic Church put the notion of guilt at the heart of its teachings, at the same time providing the means to alleviate that guilt. Confession, coupled with repentance, would - through the medium of the clergy - absolve sinner. This could be guaranteed at any time, whatever the enormity of prior sins. One hardly needs to be versed in theology to understand why such a concept became popular.

In contrast, Gnosticism, which promotes the path of self-determination, as distinct from obedience to the written word and the priesthood, offers a radically different challenge to the individual. The discovery of the Nag Hammadi gospels supplied further confirmation that disagreement between the followers of Christ had existed from the earliest times, and was still rife in the third century. Followers of the Church of Rome were required to await the return of Jesus on the Day of Judgement in order to share in the experience of Christ and ascend into heaven. If Christ had not resurrected, there could be no return. Allusion in any form to the insignificance of the Resurrection, let alone the existence on earth of Jesus’ physical remains, struck at the very heart of the Pauline Church.

29. Lloyd M. Graham, Deceptions and Myths of the Bible,pp. 463-468: What we offer here is admittedly and intentionally a one-sided picture, the dark and shameful side. Our reason for so presenting it is that millions of misguided souls are painting the other side and holding it up to a credulous world as the only side. We think both sides should be known, not only in the interest of truth but also for those who are living in spiritual bondage to a fraudulent authority. For these, a thousand years of crime and corruption are glossed over with the statement, "There were a few bad popes." Were their informers honest they would admit there were a few good.

We have spoken of the dishonesty of Catholic scholarship. Nowhere it is more evident than in its whitewash of wicked popes. Their crimes were all done by others and "unavoidable," their burning of heretics, a "necessity of the times," their debaucheries, but "love of godd cheer.". Contemporary records completely refute these claims, and the records were not written by the Church’s enemies, but mainly by its own historians, popes and cardinals: Victor II, Pius II, Cardinal Baronius, Bishop Liutprand, Father Salvianus, and historians, Milman, Gerbert, Burchard, Guicciardini, Vacandard, Draper, and others. These are the authority for the dark and shameful side. What we offer here is but a hop, skip and jump over some 1500 years, but sufficient, we think, to disprove any claim to divine selection and guidance.

During the Dark Ages these divinely guided popes murdered one another at such a rate there were ten in twelve years (891-903) and forty in little more than one hundred. Sergius III was a wholesaler; according to Cardinal Baronius and also Vulgarius, he murdered his two predecessors. In 708 Toto, a noble at the head of a rabble following, had his brother apointed pope. This was Constantine II whose eyes were put out by Christopher, his chief official. Then Christopher and his son plotted against Pope Gregory for they too had their eyes put out. The two nephews of Leo III, Pascal and Campulus, themselves clerics, conspired to replace Leo and set a band of paid assassins upon him as he rode through the streets. When the hirelings failed, the two nephews dragged the pope into a monastery and complete the work. Pure fiction, downright slander, you say. But no, it is from the record of the papal biographer.

This was the order of the day. Pope Leo the V was deposed by another Christopher, who was in turn deposed and succeeded by the aforesaid criminal Sergius III, who murdered his predecessors. At this time it was not the Holy Ghost that selected the popes but what cardinal Baronius called scortas, whores. This was the "rule of the courtesans," sometimes called Pornocracy, or reign of the whores. Among them was one Baronius called the "shameless whore," Theodora, and her equally shameless daughter Marozia. Both had sons by Sergius III, and both put their illegitimates on the papal throne - John XI and John XII. The first was imprisoned, the second "turned the Lateran Palace into a brothel." There was no crime he didn’t commit - murder, perjury, adultery, incest with his two sisters, bleeding and castrating his enemies, etc. He died, we are told, at the hand of an outraged husband.

According to the record, Cardinal Francone had Benedict VI strangled, after which he became Boniface VII, "a horrid monster surpassing all other mortals in wickedness," according to Gerbert. He was no worse however than Boniface VIII.. Yes indeed! To gain his tiara he had the halfwit Celestine V disposed of. He did not long enjoy his victory for soon he was driven out by the Romans. Under a successor, Clement V, he was tried posthumously and found guilty of every crime including pederasty and murder. And when Clement died, his successor, John XXII, revealed that Clement had been so very clement he had given his nephew the equivalent of five million dollars of papal money. It was at this time the papal court was moved to Avignon, and now St. Peter had two successors, one at Avignon and one at Rome. But even this was not enough; there were at one time three - Grogory XII, Alexander V, and John XXIII. Later, John XXIII was repudiated, the title was annulled and recently assumed by the successor of Pius XII.

So corrupt was the latter, Sigmund of Hungary called a council to investigate him. The result was fifty-four articles described him as "wicked, irreverend, unchaste, a liar, disobedient and infected with many vices." As a cardinal he had been "inhuman, unjust and cruel." As pope he was "an oppressor of the poor, persecutor of justice, pillar of the wicked, statue of the simoniacs, addicted to magic, the dregs of vice..wholly given to sleep and carnal desires, a mirror of infamy, a profound inventor of wickedness." He secured the Papacy by "violence and fraud and sold indulgences, benefices, sacraments and bulls." He practiced "sacrilege, adultery, murder, rape and theft.".. Some of these popes so outraged decency they were exiled. At least two of them had their eyes and tongue cut out, then were dragged through the streets tied to the tail of an ass. Still others were so despised their corpses were exhumed and thrown into the Tiber. After fourteen hundred years of Christianity morals had sunk so low that Pius II tells us: "scarcely a prince in Italy had been born in wedlock." A statement as applicable to the princes of the church as of the states.

Bad as all this was, the worst was yet to come - the Borgias, particularly Rodrigo. Of all the wicked popes he deserves the crown. By bribing fifteen cardinals with the equivalent of three million dollars he secured the election of one of the worst men in history - himself, Alexander VI. Guicciardini, the historian, describes him thus: "..private habits of the utmost obscenity, no shame or sense of truth, no fidelity to his engagements, no religious sentiments, insatiable avarice, unbridled ambition, cruelty beyond the cruelty of barbarous races, burning desire to elevate his sons by any means: of whom there were many, and among them one - not any less detestable than his father." This was the notorious Cesare Borgia who to gain a cardinalate murdered his brother John, his sister’s husband, and two cardinals..

While still a cardinal this rake and murderer turned his quarters in the Vatican into a brothel. According to Burchard, the papal historian at the time, he indulged in nightly revels in his rooms above the pope’s, and courtesans "danced naked before the servants of the Lord and the Vicar of Christ." And his sister, Lucrezia, distributed prized to those who "had a carnal intercourse with courtesans the largest number of times." This is the gaiety explained as "love of dood cheer."

Such were the Princes of the Church in those days. During the Middle Ages the College of cardinals was as corrupt a body as could be found in all history. Securing a cardinalate was but a matter of money and influence. Neither character, learning nor aptitude played any part in it. Indeed boys of fouteen and fifteen were sometimes invested with the office. Paul III appointed two of his teen-age grand children to this high office.. Paul IV made his nephew a cardinal, though, as he said, "his arm is dyed in blood to the elbow."

Yet these were the men who, with the help of the Holy Ghost, selected the popes..

Now why isn’t this disgraceful record known as well as that of the the good popes? Why aren’t Catholics told it was such men as these that caused the Reformation and not "that devil Luther?" Protestantism sprang not from Luther exclusively but from centuries of protestation against the crime and corruption of the Catholic Church. Satan Peter had outraged all Europe..

30. John Shelby Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, pp. 16-17: This creed concludes with a paragraph dedicated to the Holy Spirit, who was said to have created the church at Pentecost and who, it is suggested, continues to fill the church with "God presence". First, we need to note that all of these Pentecost symbols come out of the same three-tired skies into which Jesus was said to have ascended. The assumption lying behind the story of the sending of the Holy Spirit is that the earth is the center of the universe and that onto it the heavenly gifts of the God who lives above the sky can be poured. Second, the creed asserts that this spirit will issue in the communion of saints, which will continually renew the "holy Catholic church." The church, throughout its history, has indeed had moments when it certainly looked like saints living in communion. Many lives have been enriched and transformed by their associations with Christian worship and fellowship. But the church has also had in its history some rather dreadful moments marked by such things as "holy wars", "sacred crusades", inquisitions, inhumane anti-Semitism, and an overt, killing racism, sexism, and homophobia. In these episodes incredible violence has been unleashed upon both God’s people and God’s creation by those who counted themselves as believers. These horrors have even been inflicted in the name of the God of love. Where was the communion of saints during those episodes? What do we do with this known history when we recite these words in this creed?

31. John Shelby Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die,p. 95: A human father who would nail his son to a cross for any purpose would be arrested for child abuse. Yet that continued to be said of God as if it made God more holy and more worthy of worship.. I would choose to loathe rather than to whorship a deity who required the sacrifice of his son..

Chương III:

1. Joseph McCabe, The Truth About The Catholic Church, pp. 89-90: Recruits are now sought at a very early age, and usually from the less educated class...The Church now, in all countries, has a difficulty in securing the proper type of recruits, and the theoretical qualifications have to be considerably lowered. As a rule, the priesthood is recruited by the adoption of young boys to whom ordination means promotion to a position and prestige which their personal merits would not otherwise obtain for them.

This casts the burden of their training almost entirely upon the Church, and their education is generally very poor. Very few priests could read any Latin author (except Ceasar) at sight, or make much sense of Horace, Tacitus, or Juvenal. Of Greek they have, as a rule, received only an elementary knowledge, which they soon forget. Of science, history, and philosophy, in the modern sense, they, as a rule, know nothing.

Science is taught in very few training-colleges for the clergy, and then only in the most elementary form and for a very short time. History is represented only by a few lessons, from Catholic writers, on Church history...

In science and history I did not receive one single lesson in the whole course of my training; and, as I said, my "philosophy" had as little relation to modern philosophy as astrology has to astronomy.

The value of the education given to me in the Church was made plain the moment I returned to "the world"...I could not get a position as a teacher at ten dollars a week. My friend Mr. Forbes, regretfully told me, after a short examination, that my "education" was quite useless...Three of my colleagues secretly left the Church and tried to earn their living. Each failed, and had to return..The Church must have a high proportion of such men.

2. James Kavanaugh, A Modern Priest Looks at His Outdated Church, pp. 20-21: I studied four years after college until I was declared ready to be a priest. My studies spoke seldom of doubts or opinions and most frequently of blacks and whites.. In philosophy, for example, we could handle Berkeley, Hume, and Kant in a single week... We memorized each thesis and definition and proved that "reason" could only lead an honest man to faith. We were the only honest men as we defended by "reason" all the moral teachings of the Church. Catholic opposition to divorce and birth control, to freedom of speech and thought, to mercy killing and adultery were all the obvious conclusions of a "reason" unclouded by passion and pride. It did not seem important that there were millions of "unreasonable" men...It was an education without sympathy, a training without recourse. I heard what I was supposed to hear, and said what the administration expected me to say. Rebels were weeded out. Only the strong and legal-minded, or the naive and passive, could last. Creativity was discouraged unless it pursued the accepted patterns wich cautious minds approved. "heresy" was a word which ended every argument, and "the Church teaches" was the narrow outline of every debate. I was not educated, I was formed. I was not encouraged to think, but trained to defend. I was not asked to reflect, but to memorize.

...My God! What have I become? You asked me to minister with the weakness of my flesh, to serve the struggling sinner, and I have grown rigid and comfortable in the service of myself. I am not "another Christ," I am not even a man, I am only a prisoner, a synthetic paragon, a defender of the tired past.

God! If I am to be a priest, first lat me be a man. Do not let me hide behind my collar, my titles, my false front. Do not make me give answers I do not believe, nor mold men into impersonal and uncomplaining dolts. Let them know my doubts from my own lips, and let them tell me honestly of theirs. Let me not bind them with law and hell, nor frigten them with tales of unexpected death...

3. Emmett McLoughlin, American Culture and Catholic Schools, pp. 36 -37: I did not learn to think. As the years of childhood slipped through a frustrated adolescence (in the seminary) into the days that were supposed to be those of manhood, my mind was molded in an intellectual pattern as effectively as though it had been cast in concrete.

The closest approach to science that I experienced in those 21 years was that a non-laboratory course in elemental physics...Of the world's really great literature, in 12 years I learned practically nothing. Its greatest lights were locked in the prison of the Index of Forbidden Books.

In short, I was not educated. I was merely endoctrinated. I had achieved the level of the rigor mortis of intellectual mediocrity.

I had become an automaton, a priest of sacred, half known rites as meaningless in the efficacy as the chants of a Puerto Rican woodoo priest.

I was an ecclesiastical technician trained to mold other young, pliable minds...

4. Joseph McCabe, The Truth About The Catholic Church, p.70: The "sacrament" is, of course, merely a part of the system which raises a priestly caste, to their great advantage, above the common crowd. So it is with the sacrament of "holy orders" or the ordination of the clergy. The ritual is a maze, a stupendous collection of archaic prayers and mysic actions, to the onlooker. It is supposed to be so potent that henceforward the priest can order devils about, forgive sins, and turn bread into Christ. This your Catholic neighbor literally believes.

5. Joseph McCabe, The Truth About The Catholic Church, pp. 64-65: The sacrament of baptism is for infants... For a very serious reason. Every child of Adam has incurred the sin of Adam, and must pay the penalty. At first it was drastically held that every man, woman, or child who had not this stain "washed away" in the waters of baptism would burn in hell for ever. That was too much even for medieval human nature, and the theologians made a compromise...The unbaptized cannot enter heaven. The Church sticks to that. But the innocent babes do not go to hell. They go into a sort of dim modern extension of the underworld, and may even be happy there; but they will never "see God", or see their parents again.

So the babe is rushed to the church on the first Sunday afternoon after its birth. If it caches a fatal cold, the parent must not grieve. It has gone straight to heaven, absolutely spotless. The church, and often the water, are, however, now warmed, and the weird ceremony proceeds...

You spit on your finger, and daub the babe's mouth and eyes, and say to it "Ephetha". You put some salt into its mouth; which it generally resents in the usual manner and tone. You talk very severely, in bad Latin, to whatever devils there may be in the pink morsel, and bid them to go - to Protestants or anywhere. Then you pour a shell of water, very highly exorcized and blessed, over its head (taking extreme care that it touches the skin, not merely the hair, or the babe will never go to heaven); and the dreadful sentence which overhung it, because a legendary being named Adam ate a legendary apple in a legendary garden in the reign of King Khammurabi of Babylon, is mercifully cancelled.

It is difficult to discuss sacrament No. 1 seriouly. Spittle and devils, holy oils and holy water, lighted candles and collecting boxes, are bad enough, but the essential principle of the thing is intolerable. Even the comparative damnation of the unbaptized, with "every modern convenience", is too stupid for words. There are Catholic scholars now who regard Adam and Eden as "a beautiful legend"...Yet it is still the emphatic and obligatory teaching of the Church that every child born (except Mary - that is the real meaning of the "Immaculate Conception") shares "the sin of Adam". and must be put through the extraordinary performance I have described.)

6. Henri Guillemin, Malheureuse Église: Qui dit "Rome" aujourd'hui désigne le Vatican, le Saint-Siège, l'Église catholique dans son centre et son gouvernement... Rome, pour les prophètes, c'est le symbole même des vices et des infamies, et l'Apocalypse fait de la ville des Césars la "Bête" immonde, "aux sept têtes et dix cornes", la "prostituée fameuse", "la mère des abominations".

Cette Église, qui aujourd'hui s'effondre, est régie par un pontife de type médiéval qui, même s'il amendait sa technique, ne peut plus rien, à mon sens, pour empêcher de disparaitre, pratiquement et assez vite, au cours du troisième millénaire, du moins sous sa forme "romaine", une Église qui, pour ses deux "grands sacrements", recourt à la magie. Elle arrache d'abord, avec un peu d'eau et la comédie d'un dialogue, le nouveau-né aux griffes du Démon refermées sur lui par le "péché originel", puis, au moyen de quelques syllabes, elle insère, dans un fragment de pain, le corps, le corps physique de Jésus-Christ voué à une consommation buccale et stomacale...

7. John Shelby Spong, Why Christianity Must Change or Die, pp. 98-99: We human beings do not live in sin. We are not born in sin. We do not need to have the stain of our original sin washed away in baptism. We are not fallen creatures who will lose salvation if we are not baptized... A savior who restores us to our prefallen status is therefore pre-Darwinian superstition and post-Darwinian nonsense.

8. Uta Ranke-Heineman, Putting Away Childish Things,p. 212: But this Spirit is no Spirit to be possessed, because it blows where it wills and not where the Church or anyone else wants it to. We can assume, therefore, that the Church is merely a product of its own spirit.

9. Joseph McCabe, The Truth About The Catholic Church, pp. 69-70: The sacrament of "confirmation" proceeds on the admirable theory that when young folk attain, or approach, the age of puberty they need "confirming" - that is to say, strengthening. It may seem ungracious to cavil, but one wonders why the Almighty grants this stregth only through a bishop, and as part of a very antique and - to the young folk - totally unintelligible ritual. The "sacrament" is, of course, merely a part of the system which raises a priestly caste, to their great advantage, above the common crowd.

10. Ibid., pp. 66-68: The sacrament of the Eucharist - that is, the doctrine of the "real presence" of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine - is quite the central belief of the Catholic Church...It is on this priceless possession of a real live god in their midst, and on the miraculous nature of their papacy, that Catholics affect their amusing air of superiority to all the rest of mankind. And it is one of the most childish and foolish beliefs that was ever preserved in a civilized religion.

The doctrine of the Church is not generally understood. This is not due to "misrepresentation" but to the fact that a non-Catholic does not find it credible that any educated modern man or woman should believe such things... He is aware that Catholics profess the "real presence" of God in the Eucharist. Being accustomed to the belief that God is everywhere, he sees no intellectual enormity in this. He does not know, and can hardly convinced, that Catholics believe, and their Church sternly and dogmatically insists, that in what seems to the eye to be bread and wine, there is, after the words of consecration, no bread and wine at all, but the living body of Jesus Christ down to the last eye-lash and toe-nail.

In the earlier Middle Ages, as among the uneducated Catholic millions today, no explanation of the appearance of bread and wine was needed; nor was it necessary to attempt any explanation how the human body of Christ could be simultaneously in heaven and in a million places on the earth. To such minds anything is possible. Explanation is as superfluous as argument.

This was very convenient. By a supernatural operation, in the mass, the invisible "substance" of the bread and wine is replaced by the "substance" of the real, living body of Christ...As to how the body of Christ could be in a million places at once, and could exist in its full proportions in a crumb of bread, the answer was - bow to the mystery of "transubstantiation.".

11. Joseph McCabe, The Truth About The Catholic Church, pp. 71-74: The whole performance of "the sacrament of penance", and others call the practice of confession, is useless and stupid in the case of children. It merely "breaks them in". From that moment they must at least once a year, under pain of eternal damnation, kneel at the feet of a priest and confess their sins.

It is quite obvious that, like the sacrament of marriage, this also was, in the main, instituted in order to bring the laity under more perfect control.

After a few words of exhortation, I made the magic sign of the cross in the air, and repeated the solemn formula of absolution: not "God absolves thee," but "I absolve thee from thy sins".

The sacrament of penance no doubt helps some people; it rather debases others; it is just a painful necessity, doing neither good nor harm, to the great majority. Its essential evil is its almost incredible stupidity. It was quite openly instituted in the thirteenth century, as an obligatory practice, by priests who wanted to bring all Europe under absolute control; yet the Catholic persuades himself that Christ founded it. It central idea - the forgiveness of sin by a youth whose hands have been oiled - is grotesque. It is not even, as sentimental people outside the Church sometimes imagine, a good human device for promoting morality...

12. Emmett McLoughlin, Crime and Immorality in The Catholic Church,chapter 14, p. 215:

Confession - The First Step in Mental Enslavement:

In spite of her protestations that she is the only divinely founded church, that she is holy, that she can and does produce holiness in her members, the Roman Catholic Church has failed in the past to hold aloft the banner of morality. And in our time, she continues to harbor more criminals and sinners than other churches, more even than among people who renounce all religion..

A significant explanation for much of Roman Catholic lawlessness lies in the structure of Catholicism. Its code of behavior is built upon ritual and superstition rather than upon true religion, reasoned ethics, self-education and self-control.

The most important ritual for the control and rehabilitation of the behavior of Roman Catholics is the ceremony of Confession, also called the Sacrament of Penance. It is the epitome of superstition in the Church's centuries-old bag of magic tricks and amulets.

For the ritual of confession is a superstition, a word that Webster defines as follows:

An irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature or God proceeding from ignorance, unreasoning fear of the unknown or mysterious, morbid scrupulosity, a belief in magic or chance or the like, misdirected or unenlightened religion or interpretation of nature;...any belief, conception, act or practice resulting from such a state of mind...a fixed irrational idea...a notion maintained in spite of evidence to the contrary.

It is unfortunate for devout Catholics that this definition applies so exactly to what all of us were taught to be a sacrament established by Christ himself for the complete cleansing of souls fouled by sin and their restoration to a "state of grace".

13. Joseph McCabe, The Truth Abaut The Catholic Church, p. 70: The sacrament of "matrimony" requires little discussion. For at least six centuries after the establishment of Christianity the laity obstinately refused to submit their marriages to the clergy, and they freely used the right to divorce. The notion of a divine institution of this sacrament is a wonderful piece of audacity. It was men like Hildebrand, completing the enslavement of the people to the priests, who at last secured for the church complete control of marriage. As a "sacrament" the new type of marriage was indissoluble; and the morality of countries where the church still resists the right to dissolve unhappy marriages tells its own history. The whole thing is part of the determination of the priests to rule and exact fees.

14. Georges Las Vergnas, Pourquoi J’ai Quitté L’Église Romaine, p. 51: Ce qui importe, c’est de prononcer sans erreur. Un prêtre peut dire la formule sacramentelle sans la comprendre, et même sans y croire, mais pour que la magie opère, it doit vouloir faire ce que fait l’E溺ise. Mais s’il change une syllable rien ne va plus. Le "Sesame ouvre-toi" est, en principle, invariable..

Les sacrements ne sont pas seulement absurdes mais blasphématoires; j’appelle ca "moque-Dieu" dirait Rabelais.

J’en dis d’ailleurs autant de toute la "piété" catholique, assemblage de trucs et de recettes qui transforment le prêtre en charlatan et le fidèle en imbécile..

Le prêtre sait que la bêtise humaine est inepuisable: il en profite.

15. Joseph L. Daleiden, The Final Superstition, p. 131: I once believe in that primitive custom of which Cicero wrote in the first century B.C.E (long before Christianity adopted the practice): "How can a man be so stupid as to imagine that which he eats to be a god?" My only excuse is that it was before I had developed what slight powers of critical reasoning I now possess. Also, I had no way of knowing that anthropologists and historians had traced the practice of the ritualistic eating of a god to the primitive belief that we acquire the powers of the creatures we eat.

Finally, I was fooled by the semantic trick so prevalent in the pseudoscience of metaphysics: the confusion of words with things. The word "transubstantiation" is pretty awe-inspiring to an unsophisticated mind. When it is backed by the weight of an authority figure, such as a priest who describes how the "substance" of the bread and wine can change without a change in "properties", it is easy to be taken in. Besides, everyone likes a magic show. It is certainly more entertaining than plowing through the empiricist philisophy of David Hume or the critical analysis of Ludwig Feuerbach. It was these two men who first pointed out the obvious: for a thing (substance) to exist without its attributes (properties) is as silly an idea as the opposite notion - a property without a thing. (Show me along nothing, or a hard, green nothing.) Therefore, there are no separately existing substances that could undergo a magical transubstantiation. Once again theologians successfully bewitched minds with meaningless words. All the sacraments, like the feasts and symbols of Christianity, were simple attempts to accommodate pagan beliefs. The evidence for this conclusion is overwhelming to unbiased, rational minds.

16. Joseph McCabe, The Truth About The Catholic Church, p. 70: These are six of the seven sacraments, the glory and distinctive flower of Catholic belief, the most elaborate system of magic which any civilized religion ever invented. From first to last they are designed to enhance the power and prestige of the clergy. In their ritual and their fundamental ideas they are as alien from, as antagonistic to, the whole spirit of modern times as is alchemy or astrology. This is the set of beliefs to which the simple Catholic believes he will one day convert the whole United States! In fine, this is the set of beliefs which God, the Catholic says, was so deeply concerned to maintain in their purity that he overlooked all the horrors of the Middle Ages and all the corruptions of the Pope and the Papacy!

Thay Lời Kết:

1. Stephen Chapman, Chicago Tribune, Nov. 2, 1997: Americans proposing to halt trade with countries guilty of religious intolerance would do better to start elsewhere. Say, Saudi Arabia, where every religion but Islam is strictly forbidden and where a Muslim can be put to death for converting to another faith. But Saudi Arabia's theocracy didn't evoke protests in Washington when the US sent half a million troops to defend it against Saddam Hussein. No one outside of a psychiatric facility proposes to stop buying oill from Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest supplier.

2. Julian Pettifer & Richard Bradley, Missionaries, p. 186: In Asia there are few countries where missionaries can feel completely confident of an uninterrupted future for their work. Even the Thais are sensitive on the subject of missionaries and if evangelism is not carried out in a tactful manner, their tolerant attitude may change. At present, in a country where 97 percent of the population is Buddhist and 2 percent Muslim, there are obviously very few Christians.

Sulak Sivaraksa is a Buddhist intellectual who was educated in Christian schools. He is, however, severely irritated by evangelical literature that describes Thailand as "the territory of Satan"; that declares "99 percent of Thais are in bondage to demons"; that condemns Buddhism as "idolatry" and "a religion of hopeless escapism"; and which insists that "without Christian revelation, there is no relationship with God". As Sulak points out, this is the everyday language of a certain kind of mission literature, which is deeply offensive to Thai Buddhists.

3. Mc Kher, www.nycny.com:The Pope’s Asian-Spanish Inquisition: Recently, the Pope called for stepping up conversion in Asia. The Pope said that religious conversion is a human right. "Just as the first millennium saw the cross firmly planted in the soil of Europe, and, the second, in America and Africa, so may the third Christian millennium witness a great harvest of faith on this vast and vital continent"the Pope said.

The Pope said the Church acknowledged what was true and holy in such religions as Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam, but only Christ offered the way to ultimate salvation. The advent of Christianity in Europe, Americas, Australia, and large parts of Africa and the Pacific led to the systematic and complete elimination of the pre-Christian polytheistic religions and cultures. Truly, the bible was exchanged for the native lands with the help of the gun. Coming from Pope, the highest official of Catholicism, this call to conversion is a Declaration of War against Asian culture, Asian religions, and Asian society in general, and Hinduism in particular. Mass-conversion to Christianity seeks to destroy the soul of Asia, transplanting an un-needed philosophy. Asia does not need any lesson in religion or piety from anybody. Why should one religion try to eliminate other through mass-conversions? Clearly, the Pope seeks to achieve religious cleansing of Asia. This malicious and predatory approach is highly immoral and unethical. What makes the Pope think that his is the only true religion? This is self-righteousness and intolerance to the extreme. He may have the right to believe so, but he has no right to organize a concerted attack on other societies to destroy their very nature. Mass religious conversions have caused political partitions of many nations. The Pope will cause political instability in Asia through mass-conversions.. The worst thing about most of the Christian conversions in India is that they are influenced heavily by economic inducements. Under the garb of medical and social service, many Christian missionaries effectively blackmail poor people into Christianity. Whose God can be happy with such fraud?

The hypocrisy of Pope is really amazing. Last year during his Latin American tour, he had blamed the Protestant of poaching his flock! The same Pope today claims that religious conversion is a human right. Well, does the Vatican recognize any religion other than Catholicism? Obviously the Pope wants a one-way street of conversion to Christianity. While waxing eloquent about service and love, the Pope through his chauvinist and hardline theory of "only one true religion" makes it clear that the tolerance and goodness displayed by Hinduism counts for nothing. Hinduism is non-judgmental, and Hindus have graciously accepted the Christians amongst them. The Hindus simply ask the Church to spare them the fate of Europe and Americas. Satisfied with their religion, the Hindus do not like outsiders seeking to change their religious and political demography through orchestrated mass-conversions. But the Pope insists on mass-conversions. He leaves no incentive in being nice and accommodating.. But the Hindus are willing to live with Christians. They ask for only one thing: that the Church not seek to eliminate Hinduism through conversions, thus changing India forever. The existing Christians can live freely without trying to convert others. Isn't guarding one's land, liberty and culture the most basic human right? The Pope talks about "harvesting faith in Asia" as if the Hindus and others are mere crops, waiting to be cut off and stored in the elevator. Some may like being portrayed as a flock of cattle, but the Hindus dislike being shown as lifeless, immobile crops who can not protect themselves. While attending an inter-faith meeting, the Pope talked about dialogue, understanding, and solidarity between religions. The next day he reverted back to his insistence on Christianity as the only true religion, and gave a call to convert Asia. This is hypocrisy and duplicity at its worst. The Papal determination to eliminate Hinduism and Indian culture by converting masses to Christianity is barely one step short of medieval Talibanism. The medieval Islamites seek to eliminate the infidels through the sword; the Pope seeks to achieve this through mass-conversions. The end result is same in both cases. The Western press is not playing a positive role in this whole episode. Invariably, the reports from the Associated Press and Reuters suffix the word "hard-line" or "zealot" when describing Hindu groups which are resisting the Pope's attempts to take over their religion. Pray tell, shouldn't the party that says "only my way is correct" be described as hard-line, zealots and fascists? Instead, Hindus who are ready to co-exist with others - without being gobbled up by others - are maligned. In fact any group which claims exclusivity and believes that all others are wrong, and which on top actively tries to eliminate the other groups forfeits its claims to any special rights, privileges or tolerance from others. The dire need of the hour is religious tolerance and co-existence. The religions may continue to believe in themselves, but they should not seek to destroy others. Any organized offensive on a religion will invite doom for everybody.

--o0o--

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