Christianity, the Tenth Plague
In Schopenhauer's posthumous tracts one can find an aphorism known as «a conversation from the year 33»:
-Have you heard the latest news?
-No, has something happened?
-The world is redeemed!
-The good Lord has put on a human form and traveled to Jerusalem, and has let himself be executed. An thus he has simply tricked the devil and redeemed us all!
-That is truly wonderful!
This is presumably blasphemy. I don't really know what that is. All I know is that, every now and then, the priests start moaning and groaning because someone has offended them – or God, which is almost the same thing.
If they e.g. don't get to decide the repertoire of the National Theater – If e.g. we heathens, we who go to the theater, get the urge to see a play that is not particularly religious, then they become hurt and offended, and there is shouting and complaining like you wouldn't believe.
But however one conduct oneself , I am gravely worried that whoever tries to give a clear and honest presentation of the Christian faith, will inevitably be guilty of blasphemy.
I will try to avoid that:
God is a creature who, with regard to the exterior, resembles us. We are created in his image. He is a man, has got a lot of hair and beard in particular, he has got a nose and a mouth and an intestinal canal, I think, and for all I know about him, he has also got a sexual organ. Or maybe he hasn't got one?
Regarding other things he differs from us. We are also eternal beings, we can as is known never die. But God has been forever.
A beautiful day about 6000 years ago he created the heavens and the earth. He could very well have done so earlier, but he didn't want to. But 6000 years ago he wanted to.
He also created mankind. He sent the devil to them to make them 'sin'. He is omniscient, so he knows beforehand they will succumb to temptation, he is nevertheless enraged, and from now on he punishes every human with eternal hell.
This is the case for about 4000 years, but as God is also good, it suddenly occurs to him to save us.
The good Lord could by no means forgive us, the almighty God could also not save us in any other way but to send the 'Holy Ghost' down to a virgin and 'herald' her, after which she gave birth to the Son of God, who is executed, not because he did something wrong, but for our sins.
The original scapegoat.
It is also strange that, from the moment man in addition to his current sins commits another sin, graver than all the others, namely the sin of killing the Son of God, then he can be forgiven, then God is not angry anymore.
But yet we are far from salvation. First we have to be dipped in water in the name of the holy 'Trinity', that is the name of the three gods who are one god, 3 = 1.
I say water, but it is not that simple. In Luther's catechism, as it is used today in school, it says: 'Baptism isn't just regular water, but it is water which is confined by the command of God and united by the word of God.'
What it means, no living man can comprehend, but the children are bound to understand!
Let's look at it one more time: Water, confined by the command of God - !?!
Later on we eat the body of God and drinks his blood.
This disgusting, cannibalistic magic is practiced till this day. But if one have the stomach to participate in this ritual, then one is saved. Then one can allow oneself almost any disgracefulness, if only one prays to God afterwards. If only one believes and is baptized.
This is no exaggeration. This is the pure teachings, the Christian faith, the faith of my childhood. I have not forgotten it, it was beat into me with a stick, and no one can take it away from me!
Naturally there were many in the days of the apostles whose conversion didn't come easy; there were a lot of wicked people who didn't want to believe. That is why the apostles traveled around and preformed miracles. They 'healed' people by prayer, oils and the laying on of hands, and they let them rise from the dead.
Not only humans, animals too. It could of course happen that the situation made it necessary to perform a wonder, and if there were no one to rise from the dead in the whole neighborhood one had to see if one could find e.g. a dead cat.
But the without comparison most powerful deed was performed by St. Petrus. He woke a salt herring in the name of Jesus!
The history is indeed apocryphal, but it is not forbidden to believe it. On the contrary, if one does, it only shows extra piety, a special gift of faith.
Oh my God, one might say, there is nevertheless no one who in earnest believes in this hopeless humbug. We should in heaven's name let the priests keep at it; but we can not be discussing such things. - Besides, what is the point? One can not appeal to any common sense in the believer. All arguments are just water off a duck's back to a Christian. Stupidity is immortal, and Christianity also has eternal life.
I am not sure of it. Currently there are probably many who believe this and that. But there are not so many now, as there were a hundred years ago. There was a time when religious illusions were common also among rational people. Now the congregation is made up of largely twisted weirdos and backward people.
The decline is steady. An in that moment when the state church is abolished, and Christianity no longer is an industry – which it actually is for thousands of priests and teachers – in that moment it will suffer a deadly blow.
The decline is steady. Doctor of Theology Kristian Schelderup published a couple of years ago a book about Christianity in light of the theory of relativity. But even bishop Berggrav, whose relationship with God is of a quite different, practical nature – even Berggrav might travel to Copenhagen to give a speech on the following subject: Is Christianity sufficiently “funkis”.
A really strong and earnest faith is expressed quite differently. The Negroes give their gods food when they want something from then, and if that doesn't help there will be a beating. They trash their gods, with great enthusiasm.
And it is told in the Bible of Jacob's wife Rachel, that when she was about to leave home, she stole her father's god so that god would be with her.
You see, this is real faith. But when God is relative and Jesus “funkis”, then it is in a poor state.
But even if grownups from time to time claim to maintain the Christian dogmatics and confine themselves to stirring together a kind of milk soup like private religion, where god is reduced to an abstract and vague philosophical “principle”, a liquid gel that fills the entire universe (God is all!) - this doesn't help the children. They go to school, and there they are taught bible history, psalm verses and the catechism, and this is ruining their minds.
The other day I remembered a verse, a kind of poetry, that I probably learned 35 years ago. I have consequently remembered this for 35 years! It goes like this:
The scepter shall not be moved from Juda,
nor the emperors staff from his feet,
until the king of peace has come,
and people obediently obey.
This I was taught in school. With this knowledge I should be well equipped for life!
It is not hard to show, that the intellect in a peculiar way is brought out of gear in most people; one don't need to carry out any IQ tests, one just need to look at the nearest newspaper. Then one will find the weak point: The Christian ability is halted in its development, and the inquisitive nature is killed.
Hand in hand with a blind faith in authority, walks an invincible aversion towards comprehension, a true fear of facts and a passion for the irrational.
Maybe one stops praying to God. Maybe one gives up hoping to change the Lord's mind, be it by giving the all knowing various information or by refreshing his memory: You know, dear God, who knows everything... (This explicit assurance that God knows all already sounds a little fishy. It seems to be covering an absolutely excessive mistrust).
By doing so one wanders into theosophy and mysticism, even if one is not directly taking part in the gravest of the spiritualistic rituals, at least “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
And simply by quoting this trite banality, one is a “deep thinker” and not a “superficial materialist”.
Never has the human cowardice found a more redeeming expression!
There are in physics and chemistry, like in every other science, unresolved problems. There are probably undiscovered forces of nature. But there are no gods or other ghosts “in heaven and earth”. Such things live in the head of the “deep thinker”.
There are many things we don't know, and many things we would want to know. But every time our knowledge, by the help of science, is pushed a little step forward, the congregation turns pale with terror. It is afraid it might make God ill, that he might die, that Christianity might dissolve, Christianity that was supposed to protect us from knowledge. One is afraid a ray of light will force its way trough the darkness, in which one buries oneself to escape.
In other words: One is afraid to lose one's father, afraid to grow up, afraid to have to engage in the fight of life for one's own account and at one's own risk. And one is afraid to die. Therefore the Father shall live forever, he shall help us, when things go wrong, or when danger lurks, and after death one shall get to go to him and be with him. - An exemplary compromise between the bitter experience and the desperate desire.
Only a very few people ever grow up, and so by far the most need a god to worship. They are God's children.
Even the ancient Egyptians had noticed, that corpses tended to decompose, and that one was no longer alive, when one was dead. The situation was intolerable; but the the art of embalmment was invented, and when on in addition provided the mummies with certain spells, it no longer seemed impossible that they might come to life.
These spells generally contained the most energetic assurances that the deceased had lost none of his vitality: I breathe with my nose, I chew with my jaws, I run, I am Osiris!
Of course on could not set out embalming the common man, that was way too expensive, but at least the priests were beatified.
Later one has discovered that the soul with the greatest ease can detach itself from the body and live forever. This is a democratic if somewhat hazy thought. The soul one imagines as a fairly airy body, a “shadow”. It is considerably more pure than the body, and it has no ailments, but it can neither be said it is having fun.
It doesn't draw much attention to itself, and it cannot be seen except in spirit photographies, and it cannot express itself except through a “medium”. It doesn't have much to tell about the hereafter, it has lost most of its common sense, but is otherwise quite content: I am having a ball!
Evil and infidel people indeed know that the “soul” simply passes away, if it doesn't, through the sensory organs, constantly receive a flow of new impressions.
The congregation turns pale with terror every time it feels threatened by a new thought. Then it gathers itself for resistance and counterattack. This happens frequently under the battle cry: The materialism is obsolete!
A while ago a young “idealist” wrote an article in “Present Times”. He had heard something about the possibility of splitting atoms, and that the concept of matter was under revision. Thus: matter could no longer be trusted, maybe it didn't exist in the end, maybe it was all just “spirit”?
And the wish for it to be so, immediately turned into the conviction that it was so: The materialism is obsolete!
First if all: What does it mean that matter is spirit? - My boots are spirit?
And this spirit, who is he anyway? - It isn't by any chance God?
Secondly: As physics revise the concept of matter, every scientific way of thinking are obsolete - the theologians believe. They believe!
It is the very principle of causation one wants to eliminate, the principle, that everything that happens has a cause. (And that nothing that happens can have a “supernatural” cause.)
But the causation principle is nothing more than the way we think, and the only way we can think. If we give it up, we can think no more thoughts. Then we will all be theologians.
Even clearer than the young idealist, was in his time a reporter for “The Times”. He was sent to listen to a lecture given by the German professor Heisenberg: “Even the deadest thing is alive”, he wrote. “The atoms are living creatures with demonstrable intelligence”. “The atoms are controlled by a living, conscious intelligence”.
This is more than can be said for “The Times”.
Professor Werenskiold denied this the following day: “Nonsense has a limit, even in a newspaper report”, he said.
But this tendency to sneak God in trough some loophole or other, to cheat him in through the back door and up the kitchen stairs, disguised as “spirit” rather than matter or as a “living conscious intelligence” - this tendency is so common you run the risk of bumping into God even in the universities' laboratories.
Through the ages man has always admired the nature's purposefulness. But it is worth noting that few if any of us have seen any other worlds, and thus it is hard to make any comparisons.
We develop our skills by applying them. Our intelligence has also developed as we have used it to navigate this world. Our mind is not prepared to comprehend anything else. Thus, even the most eloquent portrayal of heaven and hell never contain any inventory that is not known in our own vale of tears.
One has the choice between equipping the angels with white clothes, trumpets and feathers – and letting them disappear between the clouds.
Nevertheless one has always been lost in thought about nature's purposefulness, and one has always “philosophized” that such a beautiful world must have been “created” by someone. It cannot have created itself, it would not have functioned so precisely, the moon would have fallen down on earth, if there were no “universal puppet master”.
No one can be surprised that Sigrid Undset came to the same conclusion – when even Edison came dragging along this blessed master of puppets!
It is just that such a wonderful puppet master cannot have created himself, just think about how precisely he function! At least there must be a puppet master to control him. More precisely, there must be a dynasty of puppet masters – that is, if we don't accept the explanation the god Set gives us. The ancient Egyptian gods have left behind holy scriptures as well. - The god Set says plainly: “I have created myself, as I have originated from my own loins”. That seems like the simplest solution.
By investigating Christianity, as well as other religions, one will soon realize there is no limit to the things there are possible to make people believe. It is impossible to come up with an absurdity so grave that people will refuse to believe it, and nothing is easier than making a camel go trough the eye of a needle.
No one demands that the doctrines be given a coat of plausibility, no one is embarrassed that logically they are mutually exclusive.
Then why do people believe in them? - For it is clear that in some way they have to satisfy the congregation. It can arise a bitter argument about whether a bottle of port really is the blood of Christ, or if it is just a bottle of port, or partially both. The latter as is known being Luther's opinion. But on the essential points all religions agree.
There is a good God, who has created the universe, and who controls it with great competence and intelligence, and after death there is eternal life, where man shall reap his rewards and infidels get their punishment. The latter being by far the most important.
One could be tempted to say, if only it was so – and in saying that, one has pointed out the very reason religions come into being. They emerge out of clear and unambiguous pipe dreams.
Most religions have three gods, a father, a mother and a son. Of course.
He who suffers defeat in the struggle for existence, will readily dream himself away. He escapes into childhood. He identifies with the son, seeks comfort and love from the mother and makes her intercede for him to the strong and powerful father.
Because of neurotic difficulties in the church fathers, the Christian trinity however became crooked, the mother was pushed aside, and one invented a strange surrogate which one called “The Holy Ghost”. This “holy ghost” was approved by a quite narrow majority at the First Council of Nicaea and after pressure from Constantine.
Later the Catholics have corrected this, and once more elevated the mother to goddess. At the same time Jesus has once again become a little child, who sits on his mother's lap. Joseph is in the background representing the Holy Father.
This family bliss is immediately far more attractive than the tormented wretchedness that is nailed to the walls in every protestant church.
The catholic picture of the “holy family” makes the process of identification far easier, and it controls the erotic ties between the human child and his divine parents.
When one sees, how religion has sprung from man's fear of death and his desire to return to the child's protected position in the family, then it is not difficult to understand, that it is devoid of logic. The infantile and wish-based thinking quite naturally falls back into pre-logic trains of thought – the religious thinking is older than the logic.
The Christians themselves call their religion the faith of their childhood. But this dawning self-realization doesn't prevent them from demanding that adults share this faith of their childhoods as well.
Initially this was a pious wish. While the Christians made up a small, oppressed minority, they were all for freedom of religion. But in that moment when they came to power, they didn't think twice about using it.
During the first centuries the Christians were often subject to oppression and persecution. Church history doesn't try to hide this fact. According to professor Harnack it is exaggerating considerably. But one thing one is reluctant to talk about, or one drowns it out with theology: Never has man sacrificed to a more blood-stained Moloch than the Christian's God!
According to Voltaire's calculations, which are considered very conservative, more than 10 million people have been slaughtered in God's honor.
In Spain, during three centuries, from 1471 to 1781, 32 000 heretics were burned to death, and 290 000 were left rotting in jail. God is love. The torture the courts of the Inquisition applied, can only be compared to the hell the priests fantasized about, when they had nothing better to do.
They succeeded in this way literally in eradicating the heresy. Then what do the priest do? - Oh yes, they invent witchcraft.
They thought it quite reasonable, that women every now and then had to give in to the devil's temptations, and that they also were tricked into inflicting diseases on both man and beast.
The fire-and-brimstone preachings had the effect that from time to time sheer epidemics of hysteria erupted among the people, and it wasn't unusual that the women actually thought they had had intercourse with the devil.
It had to be prevented.
“In order to be able to take a witch to court”, Alfred Lehmann says in his book “Superstition and Witchcraft”, “it didn't take an accusation supported by evidence; a simple denunciation was sufficient. Thereby the accuser was free of all responsibility if the accusations turned out to be wrong.
But they almost never did. Owing to the fact that the real evidence one obtained from the witches own confessions, and they should be extorted by torture. And if a witch didn't confess, despite of the torture, then her guilt was utterly evident, as she naturally only with the help of the devil could be able to display such stubbornness”.
“Six women in the city of Lindheim were submitted to torture to confess that they had dug up the corpse of a child at the cemetery, to be used in their magic potions. They confessed. The spouse of one of the women managed to have the grave opened in presence of authority, and the child was found in the coffin untouched. But the inquisitor claimed that the untouched body was merely a diabolical illusion, and as they had all confessed, one had to trust this confession more than one's own senses. Thus, they were all burnt alive”.
“How many that, in the course of the centuries, have been burnt at the stake, it is now impossible to establish; but one has managed, in one single city in one year, to kill 1000 people, and there were whole landscapes in Germany, where only two women were alive when the prosecutions were stopped, and the men had far from been spared. Thereof all experts agree, that the number of burned witches has to be counted in millions”.
But to return to Spain. Based on the assumption, that the heretics made up the most valuable elements of the population, the English eugenicist Galton imagines “it is unthinkable, that a people can be subject to such politics without paying huge fines in the form of degeneration, as is evident in the moderns Spain's ignorant and unintelligent population”.
I don't know, to what degree later eugenicists will find this reasoning significant. The fact remains: Christianity is accompanied by a discomforting cultural decline, which coincides exactly with the glory days of the church.
This can be due to many reasons. One of them is evident: The church has to all times been the bitterest of enemies to all culture and all intellectual life.
The theologians will tell you, that it was in the monasteries the culture of the antiquity was preserved. Yes, sir, they preserved the culture, they hid it well, and then it was gone.
Indeed, some monks were sitting here and there copying Aristotle. Other places other monks were busy eradicating irreplaceable manuscripts, writing prayers to God on them.
In this context, it is not so important that the popes entertained a couple of court painters. It is not as important as Jens Thiis believe.
The church music is undoubtedly of cultural value. It would be very strange if we couldn't find a single asset.
The Bible contains everything a Christian need to know. The church father Tertullian declares that any branch of science is superfluous as one has the Gospels. And not only is it superfluous, it is harmful and blasphemous, as it dares to add something to the word of God.
Augustin however makes an exception for astronomy, as he allows one to observe the orbit of the moon, or one wouldn't be capable of deciding correctly when to celebrate Easter.
When the church had consolidated its power, it was quite risky to engage in scientific studies. It went quite bad for Galileo, and Giordano Bruno was burned to death.
They were infidels. They refused to believe, that the earth was the center of the universe. This was punishable by death in the days of old.
The church's attitude towards art is perfectly consistent. Where it acts as a servant of the church, it is tolerated and payed for. Where it acts independently, it is banned as sinful, abominable and profane.
But we should at least keep the Christian morals, even if we abandon the dogmatics? The Christian morals certainly represents huge progress compared to paganism? Just think of all the love! Love thy enemy etc.
I don't know. If a man says he's so nice he loves his enemies, I'm not sure we would believe him. I think we would rather say, he is a fool.
On the other hand, we would like to see occasionally, the Christian morality manifesting itself in fairly decent behavior. After all – a moral, which not for an instant seems binding to its confessors, but whose prohibitions and commandments only shall be imposed on others, it is not worth a lot. And this love, which mainly expresses itself as sadism and lust for murder, one would prefer not to be exposed to.
But if the church in no way can realize these ideals, surely the moral thoughts found in the Gospels are pretty valuable?
Well, yes, but one can find them better and more clearly expressed by the pagan thinkers of the olden days. The morals of the Gospels may be sufficient for its time, but it is absolutely not Christian. It is no more Christian than the dogmatics, no more Christian than the sacraments, which exist in all religions, no more Christian than God.
In His case the circumstances are somewhat unclear. But we have to assume, that God became a Christian as early as the beginning of our time.
The most characteristic feature of the Christian moral is not its altruism, and even less so its tolerance or humanity – the most characteristic feature of the Christian moral is the sadomasochistic wrapping it has given the Stoic teachings.
Sadism and masochism are to special forms of perversity. Sadism refers to the desire to inflict pain or punishment on one's lover, masochism refers to the desire to have pain or punishment inflicted upon oneself. Both the sadistic and the masochistic practice can either be connected to or replace the normal copulation.
The masochistic ideal is the whipped, thorn of crown wearing, crucified Christ. The sadistic ideal is the executioner.
In the beginning the masochistic character appears in the early Christian's inclination to martyrdom, asceticism, humility and misery. Later the sadism emerges in the victorious church's thirst for power, its bloody wars of extermination against the infidels and in the church father's voluptuous fantasies of hell.
None of these characteristics are particularly moral.
I've got a pious and edifying book, which was printed in 1632.
“This book contains three tracts. The first is Extremum Judicium. That is, the final judgment day. The second Beatorum Delicium. That is, the chosen one's delight in the kingdom of God. The third Damnatorum Supplicum. That is, the eternal agony of the damned in hell.”
“The entrance to this tract.
The old church father Chrysostom says: There is nothing more useful than reflecting on the agonies of hell; Because it makes our hearts pure as gold.
These words from the golden mouth is worth more than a thousand pieces of gold and silver, if they are obeyed. Because when neither gold nor silver, goods nor fortune can help us on judgment day, our daily reflections on hell will have helped us...
God wants man to speak of hell at all times, in all places, at banquets, chapels and on the road etc...
Imagine that you see some black ghost, that breathe fire, you will be longing for the judgment of the ungodly. Imagine as well you see before your eyes a glowing pit of sulfur and tar, in which there are several ghastly and terrible worms, snakes, scorpions and dragons crawling and biting the damned, every day increasing their agonies...
When one thinks of such things, one forgets all about carnal lust.”
But the fourth chapter is about “the worst torment of hell, namely, to be alienated from God...”
The fifth chapter is about a milder punishment, though.
“Fire and brimstone, and a terrible storm will be meted out to them.” They will be so “tightly bound, that they will not be able to move neither feet nor hands, so fragile and powerless they will be, they won't be able to remove a snake from their eyes...
Here in hell there is an inextinguishable fire, an immortal snake, miserable crying, pitiful grinding of teeth, an insufferable stench, a fearsome devil's sin, the terrible wrath of God, torment of insatiable evil, insurmountable despair, an eternal and immortal death, heat and frost, hunger and thirst, fear and terror, difficulty and work, darkness and mist, smoke and steam, anxiety and distress, moaning and grief, torment and pain, awful and abominable sin, indeed eternal damnation. It will be like a roaring sea of tears and howling. And when the damned have been burning in hell for thousands of years, they will still remain for a long time, and be taken from one painful punishment to the next, and this will continue for all eternity without any hope of termination. And the very most frightful aspect, is that one never becomes happy...
However no one will pity them, but the angels and the chosen ones will take pleasure in their misery, and wish them forever greater and more terrifying misery.”
The Christian sexual moral is a chapter, that could have deserved a separate treatment.
Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully, has, as is known, already committed adultery with her in his heart. It is true, what is said. When a young man sees a pretty girl, he wants her. It is just so peculiar that this, which is a biological necessity, also is a mortal sin. This man, who expressed such an opinion, -whatever his name is- can not have been well.
Practically all the church fathers have agreed to denote erotic emotions as sinful, beauty and grace as the devil's delusion and the woman as Satan's gateway.
This aversion to women and female charm, that is so loudly expressed by the church fathers, is a homosexual characteristic. It is this, which is called moral purity.
The perverted church fathers have really succeeded in making love dirty, and in poisoning mankind with such sexual anxiety, that medieval Europe, if one tries to see it in perspective, looks like a single, giant madhouse.
And even in our times, young people are quite often half mad with fear when they notice their sexual drive. Half of all women are more or less frigid (erotically insensitive), a third of all men are impotent in the sense that they either don't dare, don't want or are not able to have normal sexual intercourse. And a predominant majority of people who are not having a normal sexual life, are unhappy, twisted, dysfunctional.
This is the fruits of the Christian sexual moral.
In his book “Die Zukunft einer illusion”, Freud mentions the neurotic character of Christianity. He says:
“We know that children growing up in a modern cultural environment won't get trough adolescence without going trough a more or less evident neurotic phase. This is a result of the child having many urges it is not allowed to keep, and not able to eliminate trough reason. These urges are then subject to repression, behind which there usually lies a motive of anxiety.
During the childhood these child neurosis are generally spontaneously conquered, the obsessive neurosis often being the easiest to deal with.
At the same time one can assume that mankind as a whole, during its thousands of years of development goes trough periods which offer analogies to the neurosis, and which have corresponding causes. One can as it is, assume, that people on the early cultural levels, as they are ignorant and intellectually underdeveloped, not are able to overcome their antisocial urges aside from the strictly affective forces.
The culture then for a long time had to contain processes of repression, which earlier generations had gone trough. And religion would come to be a social obsessive neurosis, with roots in the same Oedipus complex that marks the child's neurosis.
If this interpretation is right, one can also envisage the dechristianization being completed with the same inherent orderliness as marks all growth, and that we currently find ourself in the early phase of development.
The nature of religion is probably not completely described by this analogy. If religion on one hand leads to coercive inhibitions, just like the individual obsessive neurosis, it contains on the other hand a system of wishful thinking connected with a denial of realities, that can only find its like in amentia, this happy hallucinatory confusion”.
Now, there are many priests, who are mild and liberal and understanding, and who are willing to admit to any number of things: One can say what one wants about Christianity; but it is nevertheless the religion of the poor and oppressed. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened!”
And the monks, the pious brothers, they live a life in poverty and heavy labor (?)
But the monasteries had slaves! And the slaves of the monasteries were the last to be emancipated!
The Negro slavery which were upheld in America up until the middle of the last century, were defended by the priests as well as a pious and moral institution. A movement arose, whose goal was to have the Negro slavery abolished. It was called the abolitionism.. It was not well thought of in the beginning. The common opinion, was that whoever wanted the slavery abolished, had to be some ungodly and appalling people, and one was not ashamed to suggest, that the abolitionists wanted to spread the evil seed of doubt across the country.
This unacceptable brutalizing, which Christianity carried with it, also reflects itself in the barbaric administration of justice in the medieval times. Ant the fact that the church has been the direct cause of a number of the history's most bloody and gruesome wars, is nothing more than had to be expected:
“Christianity is in summary the gospel of peace”.
From the Christian quarters one will hear that while some of these things can be said about the church, it has nothing to do with Christianity. Christianity is a doctrine whose value cannot be diminished by the errors of the church.
Other theologians admittedly says that Christianity is not a doctrine but a way of life. It is also said, that a three shall be known by its fruits.
What a man believes, is a private matter, as long as he keeps his faith to himself. But he is not always content to do so. He congregates with his fellow believers, and it is such a congregation that constitutes the Christian church.
Seen from outside, church and Christianity are one and the same. What the Christians believe, is none of our business. What the Christians do, we can not overlook, because they exert violence.
Now, one will object, this is old. It may be of historical interest, but it is not relevant.
It is in any case, sufficiently relevant, for the state to still be entertaining a couple of thousand wizards, who provide services in a thousand churches every Sunday. And sufficiently relevant for radio services to be held practically every day all year round! And sufficiently relevant for all conservative newspapers to have Sunday observations.
And it is not enough for the children to have several hours of religious instruction every week. Every subject in school are ruined and transformed to theology!
If this is not done exactly out of care for the salvation of our soul, it is done because of the experience that Christianity is conservative, a factor in preserving society. God preserves the fatherland, then it is only fair that the fatherland preserves God.
The church was democratic, Christianity was the religion of the poor, as long as it itself was poor. It was not long before it thought better of it.
I was in Russia once, and had the opportunity to walk trough the museums of Kremlin. The old majestic luxury was quite impressive. But it looked almost shabby next to the grandeur and splendor of the priests.
Among other things, there were some cloaks the bishops must have used in God's honor. They were probably of silk, but this could not be seen. It could not be seen, because spun gold and pearl embroideries and the most precious jewels formed a carapace on the outside!
It was the successors of Christ.
There is no authority except Christ, say the priests. With that, we know were we have them.
We see it as well. We see it all the time, how the church and the priests take part in the class struggle on the capitalists' side against the poor and oppressed, whose spokesmen they should be. And we see, how they partake in nationalistic excesses, warmongering and blessing the weapons. In 1914 the priest participated everywhere in the imperialistic propaganda. And yet, the could have prevented the world war by joining the peace movement!
A friend of the monetary authorities, an enemy of truth and justice, of science and art, of enlightenment and culture, that is the church!
Now, one will no doubt say I give Christianity the blame for all the world's misery. The theologians surely see it this way, because they believe Christianity has come to man from the outside and changed them. I believe neither that God created mankind, nor that Christianity reshaped it.
One time a small flock of poor and homeless, of beggars and hobos created Christianity to fit their needs: to find comfort in their misery. Later the rulers have reshaped it to fit their needs: to suppress the poor.
As professor Hallesby has been so kind as to direct the police's attention to me, then I should , for the sake of politeness, direct the audience's attention to professor Hallesby.
He is a teacher with the Norwegian School of Theology, and consequently a teacher for a majority of the students of theology in this country. I have before me his book: “The Christian moral philosophy”, which is used as a textbook by the School of Theology.
The entire book reek of zeal. It is dark as a dungeon and boring as eternal salvation. Completely unreadable. But I have sampled a few sections and skimmed trough a few chapters, among them one named: “Social Justice”. I will quote some of it:
“If we now try and see these intricate relationships in a Christian light, we will first of all declare that from a Christian point of view there is nothing objectionable about the struggle the workers lead to improve their conditions".
This sounds good. Let's continue:
“But the Christian cannot partake in this struggle, which is led for the rights of the workers. It is the way of the fighting and the means of the struggle, which is decisive to him. First of all he can not take part in sowing dissatisfaction, envy and hatred in the hearts of the workers”.
“He can not at all use means of fighting, which are against the laws of the country or which undermine the legal basis on which the whole society rests”.
Then what can he do? - Well, he can pray to God.
Continuing: “It is not generosity, but justice the possessionless are entitled to”.
Once more it sound good. Let's continue:
“This justice contains first of all the right to work. This question contain however great practical difficulty. We see that just now, as it is the union leaders who are the most energetic in denying the ones willing to work that right”.
In short: The moral philosophy of strikebreaking.
Hallesby doesn't neglect to communicate that he fully understands the demand for social justice. Of course he is for justice. But it has to be realized by itself. To do anything which would serve to realize this social justice, is against the will of God.
Hallesby is just as eager in his work for peace:
“It is our ethical duty to prevent (!) war with prayer (!)”.
These means have so far not turned out to be effective. But Hallesby won't take any other road. Any disarmament is out of the question:
“Some think, that not only does one solve the social problems, but also the problems of war by abolishing private assets. But that this is a naive illusion, the Russian communist state has clearly established. No state is as dangerous to the world peace”.
A moral philosophy for liars.
Under the title “The unfolding of Christian life”, Hallesby writes:
“Both war and the death penalty were commanded by the Lord”.
“None of the horrors of war are incompatible with the holy and punishing love of God. Nor are the suffering of the many innocents during the war”.
Notice the “punishing love”! It is Hallesby's favorite subject, his complex.
However, all war is not justified. It has to be a “just” war. But it can very well be an offensive war, “because in modern warfare, attack is becoming an increasingly necessary means of defense”.
For Hallesby it is quite clear, that when two peoples go to war, one army is made up of criminals, the other one of executioners.
The compulsory military service, he defends with the reasoning that “every intelligent man has to remind himself, that the trained executioner is better for all involved than the untrained”.
The Government has “the right to acquire many executioners, when an enforced war demands a mass execution of criminals... Then the authorities acquire soldiers”.
The more enthusiastic Hallesby gets, when he lets his fantasies revolve around the executioner, the more necessary it becomes for him to make the hangman into a moral ideal:
“He can carry out the death penalty coldly and indifferently, but he can as well carry it out with deep love and compassion for the condemned”*. [* O. Hallseby: The Christian moral philosophy, page 327-28]
Here we see once more the “punishing love”. We may well use Hallesby's own terminology. But this, which is quoted here, is not written by a man of common sense. It is written by a man who cannot control himself.
It is incidentally a mistake, when Hallesby believes the executioner can carry out the death penalty coldly and indifferently. He carries it out exactly in a state of “punishing love”. To kill a man is actually a sadistic sexual act, and no one applies to the position of executioner without having a predisposition for it.
But it is not good, that one finds sadistic pleasures glorified under the title “ The unfolding of Christian life”. It is not good.
It may be suitable; but it doesn't look good.
This was a small sample of Christianity in Norway today. And I have heard many people say, it will go wrong, if we don't have this Christianity to keep people in awe.
But it won't be so bad, as long as the Labor Party maintains its wavering and diffuse attitude towards the state church.
As long as the church is safe. And the Labor Party as well: There will be no revolution, as long as one leaves the upbringing of the coming generation to our Lord's and the employer's servants.
The knowledge the children acquire in school, bears fruit.
They are taught, that in the old days there was an outstandingly good man, whose name was Abraham, and who became 175 years old, and who were so outstandingly good, that he was going to slaughter his own son, because God wanted to “strengthen his faith”.
They are taught, that it is not completely impossible, for a corpse to become alive again, if one says: Lazarus, come forth! - But that it is extremely rare, that God fetches living prophets to heaven in a chariot of fire.
They are taught we shall “fear and love God, so we do not by his name swear, do magic, lie or cheat”.
They are taught, that “we are buried with Christ from baptism until death, so that, as Christ is arisen from the dead by the Father's glory, so shall we wander in a new life as well”.
And the ten year old children are taught, thank God, not to commit adultery.
They are taught to “pray”: Hallowed be thy name. - what does the catechism say about this? - God's name is surely holy in itself -
Thy kingdom come. - God's kingdom will surely come by itself without our prayers -
Thy will be done. - God's good and gracious will will surely be done without our prayers -
Give us this day our daily bread. - God surely gives even the wicked their daily bread without our prayers -
And lead us not into temptation. - God surely tempts no one -
Judging from Luther's explanation, strictly speaking it shouldn't be necessary to pray for all this.
Finally, they are taught about David and Uriah and Bathsheba.
But not a word about Darwin.
The irrational, the immoral and dishonest “Christian knowledge”, which are forced upon the children in an age when they are very suggestible and intellectually defenseless, it bears fruit.
The prohibition of thinking bears fruit.
When the children are not allowed to ask about the things which interest them, which they find strange or unreasonable, - when their questions are answered in an evasive, ambiguous or lying fashion, - when their intellectual working capacity is exploited to teach them knowledge they are not allowed to criticize or process in any way – then the effect is the direct opposite of education.
The children become “intellectually poor”, the become sleepy, obedient cowards – they become Christians!
This should make one think.
But first of all one should never allow oneself to defend the state church and religious instruction with the reasoning, that at least one has the priests under control, but not the lay preachers, and if the state church is abolished, the independent congregations will take over.
For it is not we who control the priest, it is the priest who control us and our children. And if an atheist respects his intellect, he cannot accept, that the state maintains government officials, whose only official duty are to tell lies to the people – just so the lay preachers won't tell them even worse lies.
Even less so a worker can accept to hand over his children to the Christian public school, whose only conceivable purpose is to turn them into intellectually retarded, stooping slaves of the capitalistic system.
The ninth plague God sent to man, was total darkness. It covered Egypt for three days.
The tenth plague was a darkness that spread across the entire Europe and America, and it has lasted for 1900 years.
Wednesday, 20 August 2008
In 1933, Norwegian poet and writer Arnulf Øverland was tried for blasphemy after giving the speech "Christianity, the tenth plague" to the Student's Association in Oslo. He was acquitted to the great disappointment of professor Hallesby. Translation by Eivind.