"History is written by the victors." or so said Winston Churchill, but it's true. History IS written by the victors. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that the "history" that the "victors" wrote is untrue. It simply means that it might be. After all, consider the source. Well, after Jesus died (or rose, if that is what you believe), there is quite a bit of division amongst the masses. Was he God? Was he God-sent, but only a man? Did he really die? Is it wrong to sin? The problem was, that not everyone could agree. That is quite a problem, when trying to build a religion. You need consistency…just like raising a child. Why would the history of Christianity be important anyway? Well, I'll answer that with another quote, "If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development." (Aristotle)

Let's look at a few of the views of the non-victors. Later, all of these views were begin to be seen as heresy. Basically, anyone who did not agree with the church was considered a heretic. Heresy was equivocal to treason and treason was punishable by death (with no particular restrictions against cruel and unusual punishment). No biggie for the church though. We'll start with the Gnostics. The Gnostics predate Christianity by a century or more. They believed in 2 divine entities, one good, one bad. New Testament God good God. Old Testament God bad God. The bad god created the world and humans, according to them. They denied the reality of the crucifixion and maintained that it was a fraud perpetrated by Jesus. They must of considered him quite the con-man. There was also a Gnostic Christian sect called the Cathars. They had very strong beliefs in chastity, poverty and non-violence and were massacred on the order of Pope Innocent III. When the knights ordered to do the dirty work asked how they could tell the heretics from the non-heretics. The Pope (God's emissary on earth, according to Catholics) answered, "Kill them all. God will recognize his own." Pope Innocent, huh? He could belt out the Brittany Spear's anthem with complete honesty "I'm not that innocent! Oops, I did it again."

Moving on to the next heathens/heretics, the Antinomians. These people believed that we are saved by God's grace alone and there is therefore no reason whatsoever to abstain from any kind of sin (party-time). There were a few anti-Semitic versions of this in which, the Ten Commandments were to be systematically broken simply because they were laws of the Jews. They also believed in reincarnation, but it was like Buddhism on opposites day. While Buddhism holds the belief that you keep getting reincarnated until you learn all of your lessons, Antinomianism holds the belief that you keep getting reincarnated until you experience every possible sin. Sinning was a religious duty. Now, do remember that this was a Christian sect. As different as it may be, it was still a Christian sect. Even In Christianity today, many Christians (while sinning is not held up as the ideal; Also note, that I didn't say "all") don't hold sin as that big of a deal. After all, God will forgive…if and only if you are a Christian.

My personal favorite heretics (if only for entertainment value) were by far the Circumcellions. No, they were not they inhabitants of the planet Circumcell…somewhere in a far off galaxy. (but damn close!). And No, neither did they worship their own circumcised foreskin (although that would be rather interesting) Ok. Everyone remembers Heaven's Gate, the nutty suicide cult that killed themselves to join a spaceship hovering around behind a passing comet. Well, the Circumcellions were the Heaven's Gate of their time (way ahead of themselves)…or maybe slightly more demented Osama Bin Laden's (Suicide bombers without the bombs). But I digress. To get to the point the Circumcellions saw martyrdom as the ultimate Christian ideal. They got in the habit of wielding clubs (because they didn't "believe" in blades. Blades were immoral.) and beating travelers or priests (while chanting 'Praise the Lord' in Latin) in order to provoke them to anger and murder, thus becoming martyrs themselves. If that plan failed, they would jump off of a cliff. If not anything else, they were certainly entertaining. There were a bunch of other kinds of heresies. Among others there were the Waldensians (descendants of Waldo from the Where's Waldo books, maybe?). They were a bit like today's Protestants. Then there was also the Fraticelli. Poor heretics! Literally! They "believed" in poverty. Well, that's enough about past heresy for now. I'd really like to continue with my own form.

Well, the point of all that is that they held a meeting, voted and decided which belief was true. Christianity as we know it (Actually, Catholicism) won. History is written by the victor. If the vote would of gone the other way…You never know, America might have been a mass of club-wielding, cliff-jumping, lemming-like citizens. What fun!

When I was just a little tot, I was scared of shadows. Yes, I know that it sounds silly, but it is true. Somehow along the way, I managed to realize that shadows are not monsters and that monsters, in general, do not exist at all. They bogeyman that my friends would tell me about was utter nonsense, I decided. Freddy Krueger was just a character in a movie…not real at all. Sigh. I could finally relax! Consequently, I would think that any book, as entertaining as it may be that professes monsters as real must be utter nonsense. Let's take a look at the Bible.

Isaiah 13:21 states, "But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there." Satyrs? Meaning that creature from Greek mythology that looks like a man with goat legs and horns. Interesting! I wasn't aware that they existed at all. Satyrs are usually portrayed as very lustful creatures. As a matter of fact, in the drug store, I saw a sexual enhancement vitamin called "Horny Goat Weed" Now I know where it comes from! Well, if satyrs are in the Bible, they must have existed. I want one for a pet! I do hope that they cost less than a German Shepherd. Numbers 21:6 mentions fiery serpents. Just pull it's finger, er….tail and you have an automatic candle lighter. Those must exist too (Fiery Serpents and Candle lighters, all in one world. God is great!)! Jeremiah 8: 17 mentions a creature called a cockatrice. Cockatrices are known to be another mythological creature that can kill just by looking at someone. That whole "if looks could kill…" saying must of come from somewhere. I knew it! That just proves my Bible true! Hey, wasn't there are creature in one of the Harry Potter books that could kill just by looking. (Gasp!) Harry Potter must be true! What about unicorns? Well, they are not to be left out either. Isaiah 34:7 states, "And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls, and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness." Maybe that whole Tom Cruise movie (Damn it! What was it called?) with the unicorns and the scary looking devilish person was true too! Last but not least, we come to the monster of all monsters, the dragon. There are 16 separate references to the dragon. Those could be dinosaurs, except dinosaurs, scientifically speaking, (Yes, yes, I know that religion routinely ignores science) were not supposed to exist at the same time as humankind. However, that doesn't go over to well with the biblical creation and the references to these um…dragons. I simply find it all very interesting. So, a true Bible believer will have to admit that unicorns, dragons, fiery serpents, cockatrices and even satyrs must exist. Damn it to hell! What about the fairies? I wanted fairies to exist! Oh well, I guess I'll have to write my own Bible. It's not an impossible task. People do it all the time.

If you look up any of those Bible verses that I mentioned above and see no mention of those mythological creatures. Look again, in the King James Version. In versions that came out after that one, the mythological creatures were replaced with more believable creatures… like oxen. People in those times must have had quite different definitions of "synonyms".

The Bible seems to make some strange statements that are quite questionable in regards to medical plausibility. 2 Chronicles speaks of a bowel disorder that causes the bowels to fall out. So far, no such thing exists (unless you cut them out…or unless they Bible meant something that a bowel movement causes to fall out of the body; THAT we can do, although I wouldn't recommend doing it in the presence of others. Unsanitary!) King Hezekiah healed a boil by placing a fig on it. No one has heard of any such healing power in figs. John 9:2 seems to imply that the sins of the parents can cause blindness in a child. We know the reasons for blindness nowadays and the sins of the parents are not among them. That is just silly superstition. The Bible also speaks of a boy whose sickness was so sore that there was no breath in him. Ummm… Can we say "dead"? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. In opposition to Genesis 25:23, the fetus is not carried in the bowels (although some babies do have shitty dispositions). They are however carried in the uterus. Neither does semen come from the bowels. (What is this bowel fetish? That's kind of gross)

We have all heard of missionaries, people that go out to spread the word of God to heathens and unbelievers. Many times missionaries do this at their own peril, going into areas in which they might contract diseases and who knows what else. I remember sitting and nodding emphatically in church as the preacher spoke of the importance of witnessing to those that do not know the "true" word of God. Every denomination has their own version of Christianity. The "version" that I was always taught was that those that have never heard the word of God, will not go to hell, but will have a chance to hear the word of God after they die and will only be forced to endure the horrors of hell if they reject this in the afterlife. Now, the problem that I have with that is this: when "witnessing" to people, you might increase the number of believers, but not everyone who hears the Gospel accepts it as truth. So, by witnessing you increase the number of people that reject it. After all, they would be a lot more likely to accept it as truth, if they have already crossed over into the afterlife. No? Then there are those that believe that those that never hear the word of God will go to hell. In that case witnessing is essential, but… that puts God in a whole different perspective. You would have to admit at very least that God cannot possibly be considered fair if he condemns people who had no chance whatsoever at salvation to eternal torment. When I say "fair", I mean fair by human standards. Unless aliens are reading this essay, we can have no other standards but those. When we say God is "love" and that God is "just". We are talking about "love" by human standards and "just" by human standards. I know, I know…Who are we to judge God? Right? According to the Bible we certainly have the ability to discern right from wrong, obedience and disobedience. The fall of mankind and all consequent sin, salvation and damnation depends on being able to discern those petty differences. Most Christians agree on the whole "God is good" thing. However, if I say that my mom is good, I say that because of things that she has done for me. If I say that someone is bad, then I say that because they have abused me, someone else or done something that I considered bad. Judgements are based on actions. So, it is a perfectly reasonable idea that God be judged by his actions.

Matt 16:26 states"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" This puts salvation of the souls as the ultimate priority. So why are Christians ranting on about homosexuality, "promiscuous" sex and abortion? This might sounds like a ridiculously stupid question, but if a man doesn't believe in the right things, then he is going to hell whether he has sex with women or men and the same goes for all of those promiscuous teens. After all, it would be better to be a promiscuous, but Bible-believing teen then a virginal atheist. The promiscuous one still has a chance at the pearly gates. If the salvation of the soul is the thing of the utmost importance, then that is what Christians should be ranting and raving about, not lifestyles and actions.

Most Christians believe that all of those poor aborted babies will go straight to heaven. (Wishful thinking is a characteristic of every major religion) However, if this is true, then Christians should be thanking abortion doctors, because by denying life to those babies, then they are then denied any possibility of temptation and thus any possibility of entering hell. Looking at it from that point of view, you could consider abortion doctors as the only missionaries with a 100 rate of success. The point is simply that if aborted babies supposedly go straight to heaven, then why is it a "sin" to abort them? I guess because humanity as a whole fears death. No matter how much people pretend that there is a heaven and that they "know" that it is a better place, most people would rather be here. Nobody cares if those babies are supposedly better off in heaven, they should be here! Right?

Religion is self-centered. Me. Me. Me. I am so important that God himself came down here to save ME. I am so important that when I pray for an "A" on my test God grants ME my wish. (too bad that he doesn't do anything about starvation and world peace), as long as he listens to ME. I am so important that I was created specifically. Not only was I created, but I was created in the image of GOD himself (beat that!). If people believe what I believe, then they won't go to hell. It's just to bad that those other misguided people don't want to see the truth. I am right. They are wrong. Nanny-nanny boo-boo! I, I, I! Me, Me, Me! Religion really is the ultimate arrogance.

More quotes…

"The devil has not a single paid helper. The Opposition employs millions."
Mark Twain

"In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing."

Mark Twain, Autobiography, 1959

"Man is the religious animal. He is the only religious animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion –- several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat, if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven."

Mark Twain

"If you see a blind man, kick him. Why be kinder than God?"
Old Iranian proverb

"If "good" means "what God wills" then to say "God is good" can mean only "God wills what he wills." Which is equally true of you or me or Judas or Satan."
C.S. Lewis

"Funny how science gets it all RIGHT when you want a computer, medical science to eliminate smallpox or treat your "erectile disfunction," anti-lock brakes to save your life--but all evolutionists--using the scientific method you take advantage of all day long--are wrong."
Rob Mickus

"Miracles happen to those who believe in them. Otherwise why does not the Virgin Mary appear to Lamaists, Mohammedans, or Hindus who have never heard of her."
Bernard Berenson

"If the Bible had said that Jonah swallowed the whale, I would believe it."
William Jennings Bryan

"If we have to give up either religion or education, we should give up education."
William Jennings Bryan

"The missionaries go forth to Christianize the savages-- as if the savages weren't dangerous enough already."

Edward Abbey

"God hated the world so much that he sent his only son so that whoever does not believe in him will perish and be denied eternal life."

Anonymous

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"

Douglas Adams

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
Philip K. Dick

" AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharaoh's chariotters."
Jerry Falwell

" I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs."
Frederick Douglass, escaped slave

" If thinking freely for yourself is a sure ticket to hell, then the conversations in heaven must be awfully boring."
San Francisco's infamous Dr. Weirde

" Do you believe God makes you breath? How did he lose Six million Jews?"
Emerson, Lake, & Palmer

"The earth is flat, and anyone who disputes this claim is an atheist who deserves to be punished."
Muslim religious edict, 1993 Sheik Abdel-Aziz Ibn Baaz Supreme religious authority, Saudi Arabia

" Businesses may come and go, but religion will last forever, for in no other endeavor does the consumer blame himself for product failure."
Harvard Lampoon

" Armies of Bible scholars and theologians have for centuries found respected employment devising artful explanations of the Bible often not really meaning what it says."
J.S. Bullion, Jr.

" If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life."
Albert Camus

"I do not consider it an insult, but rather a compliment to be called an agnostic. I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure -- that is all that agnosticism means. "

Clarence Darrow

"The heresy of one age becomes the orthodoxy of the next."

Helen Keller

"This is no time to make new enemies."

Voltaire, when asked on his deathbed to forswear Satan

Poetry:

So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

John Godfrey Saxe, 1887: referring to the Buddhist fable of the Blind Sages and the Elephant, found in the Udana, chapter 6, section 4

The Brain—is wider than the Sky—
For—put them side by side—
The one the other will contain
With ease—and You—beside—

The Brain is deeper than the sea—
For—hold them—Blue to Blue—
The one the other will absorb—
As Sponges—Buckets—do—

The Brain is just the weight of God—
For—Heft them—Pound for Pound—
And they will differ—if they do—
As Syllable from Sound—

Emily Dickinson

FAITH is a fine invention

For gentlemen who see;

But microscopes are prudent

In an emergency!

Emily Dickinson

I woke up to an empty room

No more angels watching over me.
No more demons to be held at bay
by the invocation of
an Anglicized version
of a Hellenized version
of a Hebrew name

I woke up to an empty room:

Just a room. Four walls, ceiling, floor.
Just a room. Nothing more.

I woke up to an empty room
and embraced the solid air.

I woke up to an empty room and knew myself

awake.

Copyright © 1999 Secular Pagan