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"By the late medieval period, the Church held the kind of absolute ideological power that might have been envied by Stalin, Hitler, or Pol Pot. … Bishops and cardinals amassed fabulous fortunes from the sale of tithes and indulgences (forgiveness of sins purchased from the Church)."

William Bernstein, "The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World Was Created," New York: McGraw-Hill Trade, 2004, p33

"The book of Revelation is regarded by secular readers - and even by progressive Christians of various denominations - as a biblical oddity at best and, at worst, a kind of petri dish for the breeding of dangerous religious eccentricity."

Jonathan Kirsch, "A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization," New York: Harper Collins, 2006, p3

"No one was more active in persecuting the Protestants who distributed the English Bible than Sir Thomas More, a brilliant lawyer, writer and intellectual who was a particularly nasty sadomasochistic pervert. He enjoyed being flogged by his favourite daughter as much as flogging heretics, beggars and lunatics in his garden. He humiliated his wife by pointing out to his guests, in her presence, how ugly she was in order to show that he had not married her because he was lusting for a beautiful woman. When he was writing as a propagandist for the Catholic Church, he was a shameless liar. [Aren't they all?] On one occasion he wrote a very favourable review of his own book, pretending that it had been written by a non-existent, foreign theologian, when in fact he had written it himself."

Jasper Ridley, "Bloody Mary's martyrs: the story of England's terror," New York, Carroll and Graf Publishers, 2002, p7

"We may look for a moment at several of the most notorious of the forgeries perpetrated for the glory of God and for imposture upon the superstitious Christians to enhance Pagan credulity in the tales of Christ.  If the Gospel tales were true, why should God need pious lies to give them credit?  Lies and forgeries are only needed to bolster up falsehood: 'nothing stands in need of lying but a lie.'  But Jesus Christ must needs be propagated by lies; upon lies, and what better proof of his actuality than to exhibit letters written by him in his own handwriting?"

Joseph Wheless, "Forgery in Christianity: A Documented Record of the Foundations of the Christian Religion," Cosimo Classics, 2007 (Originally published in 1868), p186

"Mr. Plantinga says he accepts the scientific theory of evolution, as all Christians should. Mr. Dennett and his fellow atheists, he argues, are the ones who are misreading Darwin. Their belief that evolution rules out the existence of God - including a God who purposely created human beings through a process of guided evolution - is not a scientific claim, he writes, but 'a metaphysical or theological addition.'"

Jennifer Schuessler, "Philosopher Sticks Up for God," New York Times, December 13, 2011

It wasn't Darwin or scientists who claimed there was an issue between evolution and god. It was the priests who screamed 'thou shalt not contradict my lies' and 'thou shalt not expose my ignorance' the instant Darwin published. They declared war. Not scientists. Furthermore, this omniscient being that created humans made a lot of errors like the blind spot in the eye - atheist just like to point out yet another obvious contradiction in the theist belief system.

"Johann Weyer (1515-1588) served as a physician in witch prisons and spoke from first hand knowledge of women driven half mad 'by frequent torture ... kept in prolonged squalor and darkness of their dungeons ... and constantly dragged out to undergo atrocious torment until they would gladly exchange at any moment this most bitter existence for death, are willing to confess whatever crimes are suggested to them rather than be thrust back into their hideous dungeon amid ever recurring torture.'”

Barbara G. Walker, "The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets," New York: Harper Collins, 1983, p1004.

Johann Weyer (1515-1588), Dutch physician and demonologist. One of the most important sceptics disbelieving that people really made pacts with the devil and declaring their confessions the aberration of the mentally ill.

"Respect your elders; cults certainly do. They respect elders' retirement incomes, investment portfolios and paid-for homes. No longer satisfied with recruiting wide-eyed and penniless youths, the cults have shifted their focus to older people - even those who have little more to offer than their Social Security checks or small pensions. From the Branch Davidians in Waco to the Church universal and Triumphant nationwide, cults are obeying the cardinal rule of all confidence games: Follow the money."

Catherine Collins and Douglas Frantz, "Let's prey - Targeting the Elderly," Modern Maturity Magazine June 1994 [bimonthly for members of the American Association of Retired People]

"A boy born inside the Colonia would spend the first years of life not with his parents (who themselves lived apart from each other) but with nurses in the hospital as one of The Babies. … Group members lived together, six or more to a room, in dormitory-type buildings. They had few individual possessions: pyjamas, a set of work clothes, a set of leisure clothes, and a week's supply of underwear. Everything else, including their shoes, was kept locked away in a closet."

Bruce Falconer, "The Torture Colony," The American Scholar, Autumn 2008.

Colonia Dignidad, cult started by Paul Schäfer, a former Nazi Luftwaffe medic turned fundamentalist preacher who lured hundreds of German suckers to Chile to live the rest of their lives in a concentration camp; and condemn their children to hell.  In 1959, he fled Germany because the law was after him - for what? I’m glad you asked.  Yes, that’s right.  He was a pedophile.

"Jim Jones built a financial empire through welfare fraud. He seemed to tailor his appeal to those most eligible for Federal assistance: troubled youths, the poor, the elderly. He used nursing homes, foster care, group homes for the retarded and emotionally disturbed, drug rehabilitation programs -- all of which enhanced his humanitarian reputation in the outside community; all of which were desperate, horrible places. He had a genius for twisting social work jargon to suit his purposes. In applying for the legal guardianship of a black youth, his lawyers promised: 'a positive educational environment in a rural setting.' The rural setting was, of course, Guyana."

Joe Klein, "The Beast in the Jungle," New York Times, November, 16 1980.

"There is no more lamentable lesson to be culled from history than that contained in her inability to furnish a single instance of a religion accepted with unquestioning sincerity and fervour which did not, out of those very qualities, beget intolerance. It would seem that only when a faith has been diluted by certain general elements of doubt, that only when a certain degree of indifference has crept into the observance of a prevailing cult, does it become possible for the members of that cult to bear themselves complacently towards the members of another. Until this comes to pass, intolerance is the very breath of religion and - when the power is present - this intolerance never fails to express itself in persecution."

Rafael Sabatini, "Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition a History," University of Toronto Libraries, 2011 (Originally published 1913), p17-18

"Nearly half (48 percent) of the public [USA] rejects the scientific theory of evolution; one-third (34 percent) of college graduates say they accept the Biblical account of creation as fact. Seventy-three percent of Evangelical Protestants say they believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years; 39 percent of non-Evangelical Protestants and 41 percent of Catholics agree with that view."

Brian Braiker, "God's Numbers," Newsweek, March 31, 2007.

Scary numbers. Dark ages, here we come.

"Mr. Plantinga readily admits that he has no proof that God exists. But he also thinks that doesn't matter. Belief in God, he argues, is what philosophers call a basic belief: It is no more in need of proof than the belief that the past exists, or that other people have minds, or that one plus one equals two."

Jennifer Schuessler, "Philosopher Sticks Up for God," New York Times, December 13, 2011

Nice piece of sophistry from a philosopher who should know better.  It's not like belief in the past at all. It's like belief in Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy. What they're really arguing is a basic belief is only basic when it's held by an adult. Five year olds believe in the tooth fairy, is that not a basic belief?

"It will probably be asked, Why not retain and incorporate the blacks into the state, and thus save the expense of supplying, by importation of white settlers, the vacancies they will leave? Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race."

Thomas Jefferson, "Notes on the State of Virginia," New York: Library of American, 1984 (Originally published 1781), p264

Evil people live in fear their victims will retaliate. Here Jefferson is describing exactly this fear. The fear of the slave-holding South of it's victims uprising. It was a central idea in Charles Manson's version of the Christian apocalypse narrative. It is the fear that drives the USA Jim Crow Drug Scam which railroads thousands (millions?) of black Americans into prison. It is still a potent and destructive part of the American psyche.

"Although it has its partial precedents in U.S. history, the Rehnquist putsch was something new. First of all, it was effected by a GOP that is not only dominated by the super-rich (who also own much of the Democratic party) but managed by a host of vengeful ultra rightists whose alliance is peculiar to this time and place: Nixon men still seething over Watergate; military men still smouldering over Vietnam; Southerners still livid over the desegregation of schools, the end of lynch law, the extension of the franchise, and the burning of Atlanta; Christian fundamentalists still steaming over rock and roll, the Scopes trial, and modernity in general; Catholics fuming over Roe v. Wade.”

Mark Crispin Miller, "The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder," New York:
W. W. Norton & Company, 2002, p262

"The Church of Scientology's Top Gun has been lobbying the White House. Tom Cruise has been meeting with officials from the Department of Education and lawmakers at the White House, reports the Washington Post, and a source says he believes that Cruise is hoping to get government funding for the church. 'It looks to me like he is seeking federal funds for Scientology schools under President Bush's Faith-Based Initiative.' … Ross also says that Cruise is appealing to the Bush administration to pressure some European countries to ease up on their anti-Scientology policies - just as John Travolta lobbied the Clinton administration."

Ashley Pearson, "Cruise: Show Scientology the money," MSNBC, June 19, 2003.

"Opposition to Church corruption, while relatively quiet and scattered, slowly grew, particularly in the post apocalyptic atmosphere that followed the fourteenth-century plague outbreak."

William Bernstein, "The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World Was Created,"
New York: McGraw-Hill Trade, 2004, p34

"Curiously enough, however, literary critics have yet to scrutinize a striking paradox in the portrayal of slave-narrative violence-namely, its frequent association with Christianity. … Equiano, Douglass, and Jacobs are especially adept at demonstrating how devout Christians used the theological concepts of original sin, blood sacrifice, and spiritual atonement to rationalize the moral contradictions and brutality that attended the practice of Christian slavery."

SallyAnn H. Ferguson, "Christian Violence and the Slave Narrative," American Literature, Vol. 68, No. 2. (Jun., 1996), pp. 297-320.  

"An estimated 30,000 women were sent to church-run laundries, where they were abused and worked for years with no pay. … [In 1993] the bodies of 155 women who had died in the laundry were exhumed from unmarked graves and the media began to ask questions. … the shame of giving birth to an illegitimate child was so great that many unmarried mothers were rejected by their families. … The Magdalene laundries were a network of profit-making workhouses run by four religious communities - the Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters of Charity, the Good Shepherd Sisters and the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity. … However, there is evidence that the state was involved. The Irish courts routinely sent women who were handed down a suspended sentence for petty crimes to the laundries, which operated as a kind of parallel detention system … public records show the government also awarded lucrative contracts to the nuns for its army and hospital laundry without ever insisting on fair wages for the "workers," nor did it inspect conditions inside … testimony from Magdalene women claim that state employees like the Irish police force and social workers brought women to the laundries and returned those who had escaped."

Carol Ryan, "Irish Church's Forgotten Victims Take Case to U.N.," New York Times, May 25, 2011.

"From the earliest days of its history, persecution has unfailingly signalised the spread of Christianity until to the thoughtful observer Christianity must afford the grimmest, the saddest - indeed the most tragic - of all paradoxes that go to make up the history of civilized man. It's benign gospel of love has been thundered forth in malign hatred; its divine lesson of patience and forbearance has been taught in murderous impatience and bloodthirsty intolerance; its mild tenants of mercy and compassion have been ferociously expounded with fire and sword and rack; its precepts of humility have been inculcated with a pride and arrogance as harsh as any that the world has known."

Rafael Sabatini, "Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition a History," University of Toronto
Libraries, 2011 (Originally published 1913), p18

Or...maybe the tenets of patience, forbearance, mercy, compassion and humility are just lies.  Ever thought of that? No more sincere than the abusive husband who tells his wife he loves her as he's picking her up off the floor, and wiping the blood from her face.

"All countries require revenue … just as successful nations guarantee property rights by demanding impartiality in deciding ownership, so, too, must they demonstrate the same fairness in deciding how they tax wealth and income. Such was decidedly not the case in the medieval world, where the nobles, in exchange for physically 'protecting' their serfs [like a Mafia protection racket], were exempted from land taxes. The priesthood got into the game as well. Since it spiritually 'protected' the serfs, the feudal tax structure also spared the clergy, to whom great wealth was often no stranger."

William Bernstein, "The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World Was Created," New York: McGraw-Hill Trade, 2004, p32

Whose game was it? Priests wrote the rules.  They own the game.  And they can almost always find secular governments to do their dirty work.

"Like the popes and kings of the Middle Ages who consulted with apocalyptic seers for advice on statecraft, more than one recent American president was raised in a faith that instructs him to read and heed the book of Revelation as God's master plan for human history. And so, if the book of Revelation is still embraced by men with the power to destroy the world, we urgently need to now what is written there, how it came to be written in the first place, and how it has been used and abused throughout the history of a world that refuses to end."

Jonathan Kirsch, "A History of the End of the World: How the Most Controversial Book in the Bible Changed the Course of Western Civilization," New York: Harper Collins, 2006, p4

"When Martin Luther finally used the Gutenberg press as a battering ram to topple Church authority, he replaced it with an equally odious, if less corrupt, tyranny. Typically of this new Protestant zeal was John Calvin's role in Geneva. … Over the sixteen years of Calvin's guidance, the Consistory condemned eighty-nine people to death, mostly for witchcraft. By the standards of the time, this was unexceptional."

William Bernstein, "The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World Was Created," New York: McGraw-Hill Trade, 2004, p35

"'In most African-American communities, it is more acceptable to be a criminal who goes to church on Sunday, while selling drugs to kids all week, than to be an atheist who ... contributes to society and supports his family.'"

Emily Brennan, "The Unbelievers," New York Times, November 25, 2011

Being a good Christian has nothing to do with being a good person.

"Nevertheless, overwhelming numbers of slave testimonies and documents from breeding farms confirm the autobiographical accounts of slavery as a means of enabling Euro-Americans literally to re-create the black-skinned African in their own image. In fact, these mostly male re-creators were so successful that one would be hard pressed to find among the heirs of millions of American slaves one family tree left untouched by white blood."

SallyAnn H. Ferguson, "Christian Violence and the Slave Narrative," American Literature, Vol. 68, No. 2. (Jun., 1996), pp. 297-320.